Monday, December 28, 2009

Juxtaposition, Graphics, Lying Like a Rug

It's amazing what you can do with statistics. ("Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.") Here's a sample:

Funny how the addition of a graph makes a point stronger, while not necessarily making anything clearer or more correct.

The problem with this graph is its simplicity - those are not the only pertinent bits of information at play.

Teachers often can be incredibly one-sided and have too much effect on students by asking questions that require agreement with a false premise before answering. I have heard variations of all of these questions as I have passed by open classroom doors ...
  • Did Clinton cause that improvement on his own or did the computer age have more of an effect on the economy?
  • Did Bush really destroy the economy or were these events out of his control?
  • Did Bush know that his failures, including "Mission Accomplished", would come back to haunt him and his legacy?
  • What should Bush have done differently in the last six months of his Presidency?
  • Why didn't Bush do something while the economy imploded?
  • Is it a coincidence that Democrats have grown the economy while Republicans have not?
  • Since Democrats grow the economy,as seen in the graph above, why shouldn't we pass Health Care reform and save the lives of those less fortunate?
Why is this okay? Is it just because too many people are innumerate (to use Paulos's word for it) that this kind of thing is promoted and passed on?

Just sayin'.

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