How to understand statisticsSunday 23 October, 13.10 - 13.50 , Frobisher Auditorium 1 Festival Attractions
“Child poverty is rising.” “Child poverty is falling.” What do you do when politicians make these opposing claims to the public, and both are backed by statistics? Do you turn off the TV or radio and bemoan the fact that politics is just “lies, damned lies, and statistics”? Instead, you could look more closely at the data, see that one politician is talking about absolute poverty and the other about relative poverty, and form your opinion based on these facts.
Public life has never before been so dominated by statistics, because never before have we had such rich sources of data with which to inform ourselves. It is easy for these numbers to become overwhelming or meaningless when they are thrown around without context, but they have the potential to be a powerful tool in understanding what the world actually looks like.
This session will be a short presentation on the uses and abuses of statistics, followed by an interactive session on how to understand statistics for yourself.
national coordinator, Debating Matters Competition, Institute of Ideas