Sep 12 2013

The Undervaccinated and Motivated Numeracy

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8 responses so far

8 Responses to “The Undervaccinated and Motivated Numeracy”

  1. BillyJoe7on 12 Sep 2013 at 9:26 am

    There is also the slightly more complicated example of sex discrimination levelled at a particular university. Overall, compared with males, a much larger percentage of females who applied for admission to the university were refused admission. However, on further analysis, it was found that, for each course, compared with males, roughly the same percentage of females who applied for admission to that course were refused admission. How could this be explained? Well, apparently, females tended to apply for admission to courses that had a high refusal rate, whereas males tended to apply for admission to courses that had a low refusal rate.

  2. The Other John Mcon 12 Sep 2013 at 10:06 am

    Great article. Shouldn’t the term be “motivated innumeracy”?

  3. Bruce Woodwardon 12 Sep 2013 at 10:17 am

    This reminds me of that show Numb3rs that I think is cancelled now. My wife used to watch it all the time and I had to leave the room or be doing something that took my attention from it completely.

    The so called “smart” brother would throw around all kinds of fancy numbers and theories and heuristics that sometimes had absolutely no relation to the actual problem or were in fact HUGE oversimplifications made out to be super uber math(s) problems.

    This dude was a supposed genius but his ability to critically think was completely lacking… though I think that was more a result of bad writing than an intentional character flaw because his flawed techniques were the only way the bad guy was caught… ever.

    Terrible terrbile show. Being good at adding things in your head or even the ability to parse a logical statement in your head in super quick time does not mean you are able to analyse a piece of data and read the real story there.

  4. tmac57on 12 Sep 2013 at 10:20 am

    To paraphrase Robert M. Price- Statistics can be used like a ventriloquist’s dummy.You can make them say whatever you want them to say.(Price’s example was about the bible).

    Some (maybe most) people who do this may be just falling into a common mental trap of confirmation bias,but I suspect that there are many intellectually dishonest actors out there that are merely exploiting the numbers to push their ideology,while fully realizing that they are intentionally misleading (lying to) their audience.

  5. oldmanjenkinson 12 Sep 2013 at 11:09 am

    An excellent book (in my opinion) regarding cognitive processing is Thinking Fast and Slow by Professor Daniel Kahneman. It has very good incite into how these cognitive discrepancies occur. In a sense, we are more biologically programmed to think certain ways than some are willing to admit.

  6. The Other John Mcon 12 Sep 2013 at 11:45 am

    Old Man, I second that recommendation for basically anything by Kahneman, great stuff that lays out our mental shortcuts that we use all in the time in place of actual thinking.

  7. sonicon 12 Sep 2013 at 12:26 pm

    What an well done paper. So clear. And not behind a pay wall.

  8. Michael Bradyon 12 Sep 2013 at 1:28 pm


    “‘Motivated numeracy’ – losing basic math skills when ideologically motivated,” is a very gentle way to describe it.

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