Saturday 30 March 2013

Church of England demonstrates how not to do statistics

While I'm complaining about my church - see post below - I do take exception to the church behaving like the BBC or the Daily Telegraph when it comes to writing a story*. This headline Four out of five believe in the power of prayer has nothing to do with the story. The question that was asked, on which the responses were based, was "Irrespective of whether you currently pray or not, if you were to pray for something at the moment, what would it be for?"  That little word "if" is a dead giveaway. The press release has been taken apart by Thinking Anglicans (there are some) among others. I am merely adding my two pennyworth for the delectation of my sociology students, who I am always trying to teach how to use statistics wisely.

*I was compiling a list of articles where the headline did not reflect the truth as outlined in the story. But the list got too long. The BBC and the DT are both serial offenders in this regard, though by no means the only ones.

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