Why do people flip flop on statistics?

I notice people flip flop about whether statistics are valid or not. If the statistics make them or their demographic look good or open minded, they support the statistics.

If the statistics make them or their demographics look bad, all of a sudden "70%+ statistics are made up on the spot" or the government is out to make certain groups (gays, blacks, whites--everyone is a self proclaimed victim) look bad.

For example,

statistics regarding p*nis size are easily eaten up by black men but they frown upon the stats showing that they make up a majority of the prisoner population in the US prison system. Why is that?

white men are not attracted to black women is shown in the stats that they (white men) are the most likely to date/marry interracially, only with Hispanic and Asian women. But "those stats are false" because it makes a certain group feel close minded.

For some reason, I notice overweight women believe there is an epidemic of anorexia but they don't seem to think there's a problem with being overweight. According to them, BMI is incorrect. Nevermind the scale telling you you're 100lbs+ overweight


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Most Helpful Guy

  • It's easier to accept compliments than criticism.

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What Guys Said 9

  • The number of people who know how to interpret statistics is very small as a proportion of the population. People tend to want to take them as either facts or throw them out and think they are meaningless. Intuitively people seem to cling to anecdotal evidence.

    Statistics are pieces if evidence. The strength of the evidence depends in the inputs and meta statistics. They must also be interpreted correctly.

    It's important not to assume causation.

    An old example of this is that you can easily show that the more fire trucks are sent to a fire, the more property damage there tends to be. This doesn't mean fire trucks cause damage - there's another factor linked to both (size of fire).

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    • Great comment, and an excellent metaphor I've never heard. I'll use that.

    • It's ironic how correlation doesn't imply causation when it suits a demographic...

      If the stats I linked were about something "positive" that wouldn't have been stated...

      But since it makes white guys feel close minded to look at reality...it's not to be said

  • I don't necessarily think some statistics are made up, if you asked people here those questions you'd still get those results if you did the poll yourself. Honestly people do have a very biased view on all of those subjects. I mean for example most guys I've ran into don't like girls outside their own race only with the exception of one or 2 celebrities (which is obviously unrealistic), on top of that many people are blatant racists. Again that could be to do with where I have lived, but the Uk doesn't seem to tolerate anyone from outside of it.

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    • Well, what else is to be expected of a largely homogenous place? Whites will tolerate racism as long as they aren't persecuted by it (by society). And not liking someone outside of your race doesn't imply racism--that's just a lack of attraction. Don't be a retarded liberal

    • I didn't say that it implies racism at all, you're jumping to conclusions there. I'm saying that many people are racist so if anything that pushes them further away from contemplating interracial relationships. I know the difference between preference and racism thanks.

    • Well I never know on this website. Everything is racist, sexist or homophobic according to people on here

  • Simply it's confirmation bias to the extreme. I'll explain it in simple terms. Say someone has a lucky sweatshirt. This person wears this sweatshirt because they believe that their team has a greater chance of winning when they wear the sweatshirt. That thought fills them with confidence and increases their faith in a victory. Now this is where confirmation bias comes in. If the person wearing the shirt wins the game it validates their belief in their superstition and causes them to believe it more strongly. On the other hand if the person loses the game they don't count that as a strike against their superstition because there's always next game and the thought fills them with confidence. Is this an easy enough explanation of why people believe positive stats and not negative ones? I hope this was explained simply enough but it seems whenever I give this explanation NOBODY seems to get what I'm trying to say.

    Confirmation bias is EVERYWHERE. It's in race, religion, politics. It's in sexual orientation, sports, and entertainment. People are far more willing to accept things that make them feel good regardless if it's true or not over things that are negative and factually based. We constantly seek out things that confirm our worldviews and reject things that conflict with our worldviews. It's a natural thing because we all want to feel confidence and happiness over being conflicted and confused. It doesn't make it right though. We should all try to be as unbiased as possible in our lives in my opinion even if it is more stressful and depressing because it is also an enlightening experience.

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  • People like to be right, and dislike being wrong. It's the human psyche, ego, often narcissism. What a person thinks is the most important, and is the right standpoint, no matter how many people think otherwise or how much evidence there is to support the contrary.

    It's just human nature basically.

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  • Because there are three types of lies.

    Lies

    Damned Lies

    and Statistics

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  • Overweight people aside, BMI is junk science. It was never intended to measure health of an individual. Most NFL football players are "obese".

    The problem with statistics is that they can be interpreted poorly. And correlation does not imply causation.

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    • Except for the fact that 2/3 of Americans ARE overweight. The avg woman is a size 16 while no other country has this issue

    • I'm not debating that at all. That's not the point I was making. The point is that BMI is junk science and shouldn't be used to establish health standards.

    • It worked perfectly fine up until recently.

      And the point I was making is that they say BMI doesn't matter in their case but when a girl is thin BMI all of a sudden matters

  • Statistics are not purely objective, even if the calculation methods are.

    They are calculated from a sample, and the sample is treated with one or several biases.

    Usually statistics, at least in the media, are only there to push certain ideas which aren't objective.

    You'll always find a sample that will give you the results you are expecting.

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  • You know the answer. Your "question" is rhetorical.

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    • I guess the answer was so simple that you were able to provide a thorough answer huh?

  • Stereotypes. People roll with the good ones and try to downplay the bad ones. People assume positive things about him that aren't necessarily true. If he can be thought of in a positive light, he might as well take it even if it's false confidence. If he can avoid any negative impressions, he'll do whatever it takes to avoid them…in this case it's simple denial of the statistics, or how he's an exception and "you can't group all of us together" even though he had that approach for the positive assumption.

    An unemployed deadbeat white guy will be on top of the world when he hears statistics about a higher chance for success, but will suddenly be quiet and look down at the ground when he sees statistics about spree shooters/serial killers/pedophiles.

    A black guy could have a normal size or even small penis, but that statistic makes him look good because he's grouped in with the people contributing to that statistic. He could have a job as a social media consultant or other pussy-type job and he won't like the crime statistic because it makes him look bad.

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What Girls Said 1

  • Statistics aren't bullshit when calculated properly. People just tend to be biased about any kind of evidence, statistics or otherwise.

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