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View Diary: Cancer Treatment Centers of America: Misleading statistics and big money for tea party groups (156 comments)

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    You've transposed conditional probabilities, which is kind of a pet peeve of mine. "Most people who develop cancer have low Vitamin D" is not at all the same statement as "Most people who have low vitamin D develop cancer". The two probabilities involved are fractions that have the same numerator (the number of people who are both low on Vitamin D and develop cancer) but different denominators (respectively, the number of people who develop cancer and the number of people who are low on Vitamin D). In this case, the second denominator is a lot bigger than the first, so the chance of developing cancer if you're low on Vitamin D is way smaller than the chance of being low on Vitamin D if you develop cancer.

    Another example: "more than half of welfare recipients are black" does not imply "more than half of black people are on welfare", a mistake I've seen a lot of people make (and note that even the first statement requires a fairly narrow definition of what constitutes being "on welfare").

    Writing in all lower-case letters should be a capital offense

    by ebohlman on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:24:37 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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