Monday, September 22, 2008

Being mislead by statistics...

  • In a 1997 study, Beit-Hallahmi and Argyle concluded that out of 700 Nobel Prize winning scientists, only one beleives that there is a God.
  • A 1998 study by Larson and Witham revealed that of those American scientists considered eminent enough by their peers to have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, 93 percent do not believe in God.
  • In a 2006 British study by Elisabeth Cornwell and Michael Stirrat on the Fellows of the Royal Society, 95 percent of its members do not believe in God.
What does this tell us?

Well, if you listen to the propaganda, it tells us that the more intelligent you are, the less likely to believe in God you are.

Is this right or are we being blinded by skewed statistics?

What kind of person gets to win a Nobel prize? In the vast majority of cases its someone who is utterly devoted to their research and study. Someone with no time to, for example, take a day off every week and go to church. Who get elected the National Academy of Sciences or the Royal Society? People who have made the choice to put science first in their lives.

It is not a measure of intelligence, its a measure of a combination of intelligence, hard work and lifestyle choice. Those who decide to put something else first - be it God, church, family or friends - do not generally get elevated to such positions in science. But this is not necessarily a matter of intelligence, its a matter of choice.

Be careful of statistics. You can prove anything you want with them if the audience isn't thinking!

1 comment:

Chris Hamer-Hodges said...

Agree. It's an example of a "biased-sample fallacy."