Monday, January 05, 2009

Probability of education

A learned professor has slipped through the information ministry's net and has had a long article published in The Times today regarding his recommendations for increasing awareness of probability. I have pointed out that the government's propaganda machine relies on our ignorance of such matters and so this will be the last we hear of this wise advice.

I reproduce(without permission) his summary guidance. If you click on the link below the summary you will be taken to the fall article at the Times Online..

Reality check
Professor Spiegelhalter’s four rules of risk, which he says everyone should know.

Stuff happens
We cannot predict exactly how every precise event will turn out, but we can often predict the overall pattern of events surprisingly well.

Compare like with like
If you want to show that speed cameras reduce road traffic accident rates, don’t just put them in places that have just had a run of accidents

What am I not being told?
This person may well have got better after she took this wonder treatment, but how many other people’s stories are not being featured?

Twice not-very-much is still not very much
Increasing a tiny risk may not be so important: almost everything interesting might help and it might also harm. The trick is working out the balance for you.

Full article...