Statistics is confusing and non-daily subject? Here is the fun point!

Believe it or not is the question. Nowadays, our life is surrounded by much information including believable and unbelievable. What information should I believe? Based on what? Statistics will be your good advisor if you could get some idea of statistics. I'll try to explain it in the easiest way, as much as I can. Please take a look at the graph in the following, which shows the number of people who survives in every age by Hispanic origin, race, and sex.

(Example of Graph: United States Life Tables, 2017, National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol 68. is placed in National Center for Health Statistics in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. )

What is clear or unclear by statistics?

From this figure, I can tell you that you will be alive at age 80 in a chance of 73% if you are born as Hispanic female although I have never met you in person, according to the statistical knowledge from 100, 000 people. This is how statistics show the probability of things you want to know.

However, the important thing to keep in mind is, the statistics never tell you the exact date you will take the last breath on the face of the earth. Specific thing remains unclear.

Better not to misunderstand!

In another example, "A safe road to cross". The percentage of having an accident on this road is 0.0000001%. Which means, when someone crosses the road 1,000,000,000 times, only one accident occurs. So this is considerably a very safe road. However, if you are the person who involved in the accident in this place, then you may think this is the extremely dangerous road. You might want to tell others not to cross the road to everyone using SNS with good intentions. Like "You will be a next casualty", or other warning messages. Some readers may believe your thought, and help to spread widely.

But the truth is that this is the very safe road with extremely low percentage of accident. Why did this misunderstanding occur?

  1. The accident you had is the true story, but the probability of success is unknown. What I'm trying to say is that, SNS readers can not judge whether the story they read is common like happening 100 times-every day-type-of issue or unique case. If there are probabilities of other roads, it will be more useful for judgment.
  2. No one can tell such a specific thing like "You will be a next casualty." It's the wrong message statistically. When someone says assertive messages (and probably with shocking images), we tend to believe those, as a human nature, just because those give us very strong impression. There is a risk of misunderstanding of facts and we better be careful little bit when we see those and understand how the probabilities can be useful.

A further example, there is a controversy about the risk and efficacy of vaccines. I want to explain it at the next opportunity.

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