Monday, January 14, 2008

Lying with Statistics -- Using Soros Money

If you want to have an accurate study done, you have to make sure of a few things. 1) The researcher should be unbiased (or, if this is difficult, get two researchers, each with opposite biases to do it). 2) Keep the funding neutral -- the word "pattern" is derived from the word "patron," meaning that if someone receives money from someone else, we should not be surprised when the pattern of the work resembles that of the patron.

So we should not be surprised to learn that a study done of the number of deaths in Iraq since the advent of the war there with almost 50% of its funding from George Soros turns out to be more than 4 times higher than a report from a group that did not receive his funding. The Soros-funded group, led by an anti-war researcher, came up with 650,000 people killed, while the new research came up with 151,000 people killed. The Soros-funded group did its research by surveying "1,849 homes at 47 sites across Iraq, asking people about births, deaths and migration in their households." Without knowing the exact wording of the survey, it's hard to say how accurate it could possibly be. If they simply asked. "How many people have died in your family since 2003?" then we should not be surprised at such figures, as people are dying all the time -- of natural causes. This is how you lie with statistics. YOu ask that question, then put out a report saying, "Since 2003, 650,000 people have died in Iraq." This gets picked up as "Since 2003, 650,000 people have died in Iraq as a result of the war," and before long you have, "Since 2003, 650,000 people have been killed in Iraq as a result of the war." This is how the game of "Gossip" is played -- and Soros and his ilk know that.

No one should be celebrating the deaths of 151,000 or 650,000 people in a war -- but it doesn't make anyone's case to lie about the numbers -- or even to lie with statistics.
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