Reading Reflection #9: Rival Causes and Statistics

Are There Rival Causes?

  1. Rival causes are alternatives to an explanation that explains why something occurred. Can I think of any other way to interpret the evidence? What else might have caused this act or these findings? If I looked at this event from another point of view, what might I see as
    important causes? If this interpretation is incorrect, what other interpretation might make sense?
  2.  Causation is when two things are associated with each other, one causes the other to happen. Association is when two things influence each other. Causation is easier to demonstrate because sometimes it is based on initial reaction and association is often not looked at.
  3. ¬†Conclusion: College students are getting more sick; Reason: students are less likely to sanitize areas; Rival causes: around more students who could be possibly sick; Evaluation: The argument isn’t strong, sanitizing surfaces is one possibility of sickness but there are many other things that could contribute to the illness

Are Any Statistics Deceptive?

  • Unknowable and biased statistics: sometimes the precision is not accurate, ambiguity of terms, educated guesses; How did the author arrive at that estimate?
  • Confusing averages: there are different ways to show average; most events wont match the exact average
  • Measurement errors: measurements can be affected by many different sources; read multiple sources to figure out true evidence
  • Concluding one thing, proving another: sometimes authors provide you evidence to conclude on thing but it actually proves something else; What statistical evidence would be helpful in proving her conclusion?
  • Deceiving by omitting information: statistics can be incomplete or missing important information; What relevant information
    is missing?

Conclusion: Home is dangerous to spend time

Reasons/causes: In 2005, approximately 2300 children aged 14 and under died from accidents in the home; 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year; 42,000 people are injured by televisions and television stands each year

Evaluation: The statistics are weak to the argument, first it doesn’t state who among people are at risk such as age/gender; It is also only a small number of children they show; it doesn’t state where in the world these sort of things are happening; overall its missing important information that could help make the argument stronger.


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