Why Bloggers (and Reporters!) Should be Statistically Literate.
I’m going to leave the political dimensions regarding the prognosticating about the Medicaid study to my co-blogger Elias, and instead think about the importance of statistical literacy among bloggers.
Over the past 18 months we’ve had a vivid demonstration of the problems associated with writing about reports that deal in statistics with people who are, in essence innumerate. Everything from the ridiculous non-sense over “unskewing” poll results, to the R&R study’s faulty number crunching and finally the trumpeting of a Medicaid study that can’t even give us a decent sample size has shown us not the limitations of quantitative modeling, but a severe lack of critical reading skills in media new and old on statistics.
The simple fact is, in a world that’s becoming increasingly dominated by coverage of statistical information, the sheer lack of ability to parse that information and point out flaws by the fourth estate is troubling. It’s helping to lead to the stenography type coverage that makes the whole of reporting so problematic, particularly in policy matters.