Tag Archives: statistics

Understanding the reported risks of medicines, foods, toxic chemicals, etc.

We are constantly bombarded with news reports and claims like, “A new study found that chemical X increases your risk of disease Y by 100%” or “doing X makes you twice as likely to have Y,” but what do those … Continue reading

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The hierarchy of evidence: Is the study’s design robust?

People are extraordinarily prone to confirmation biases. We have a strong tendency to latch onto anything that supports our position and blindly ignore anything that doesn’t. This is especially true when it comes to scientific topics. People love to think … Continue reading

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Basic statistics part 4: understanding P values

If you’ve ever read a scientific paper, you’ve probably seen a statement like, “There was a significant difference between the groups (P = 0.002)” or “there was not a significant correlation between the variables (P = 0.1138),” but you may … Continue reading

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Debunking “10 scientific studies proving GMOs can be harmful to human health”

I recently stumbled across an article titled “10 Scientific Studies Proving GMOs Can Be Harmful To Human Health.” This article was written by Collective Evolution, which is a site that is right up there with Natural News and Whale.to for … Continue reading

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Yes, vaccines did save us from disease: a graphic analysis

If you have spent any time reading anti-vaccine pages, then you have inevitably come across graphs like Figure 1 (below) which claim that death rates were already declining prior to vaccines, and, therefore “vaccines did not save us from disease.” … Continue reading

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Falling branches: the illusion of miraculous divine intervention

Human beings like to have explanations for everything, and we find seemingly inexplicable events extremely troubling. We disdain the notion that some things just happen without any rhyme or reason for them. This dependency on meaningful events makes us prone … Continue reading

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Basic Statistics Part 3: The Dangers of Large Data Sets: A Tale of P values, Error Rates, and Bonferroni Corrections

In previous posts, I have explained the importance of having lots of data, but what I failed to mention was the dangers of analyzing these large data sets. You see, all real data has variation in it, and when you … Continue reading

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