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Old January 15, 2009, 10:44 AM   #76
David Armstrong
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I think reading an academic study about crime and using the statistics within to formulate an action plan of self defense without understanding what the statistics mean and their context and bias might cause you to formulate a bad plan.
Failure to use something right is not an indictment of that thing. Using ANY source of information without understanding what it means may cause you to formulate a bad plan. And using the stats available, even if used wrong, is apt to be more accurate than watching the news, or listening to a trainer, or "I just think, or "better to have...", etc.
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My alternative? Training by experienced people supplemented by some reading on the subject (not an academic study).
First, many of those "experienced people" have little or no actual experience. Second, where do you think those "experienced people" come up with what they feel works, or what should be taught, and so on? It is by analyzing events. Some do it better than other becuase they actually look at the research. And academic studies are apt to be far more accurate and rigorous in their findings than are non-academic works. Academic studies get peer reviewed most of the time, while other readings are frequently done for profit.
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Old January 15, 2009, 10:47 AM   #77
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Past gunfights don't determine what wil lhappen in a new gunfight, true, but they do give us an indication of what is likely to happen and what is unlikely
Hmm. No, not really. Not for any particular single gunfight.

This is a quite common mistake for people to make about statistics; even people who have had training and should know better.

It is very common, for example, for physicians (most of whom have had some training in statistics) to quote statistics on medications and procedures in such a way as to communicate to the patient that: Because a certain medication/procedure has been shown to be effective in 78% of cases, then, should the patient choose this medication/procedure, she has a 78% chance of success.

Not so, of course.

In fact, no probability value for success/failure (in this one case) can be assigned with any confidence. I suppose a person could be excused for saying something like; “I think you’ve got a pretty good chance of success here” (not mathematically sound, but excusable).

Back to the main point; while statistics can be useful in the general sense of preparation for the average occurrence, it would be a serious error to depend upon them to predict how a particular situation will develop, let alone how it will work out in the end.

Stay safe and let your statistic be counted in the alive and breathing set.

Best,

Will
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Old January 15, 2009, 10:47 AM   #78
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There can be a tiger in your house. A few years ago, San Antonio had a major flood. Just a few miles from me, it washed out the fences on an animal rescue preserve. The lion got out. It ate the ostrich and then wandered down the road. It's distance and path was not in our direction. However, if it had chosen to walk in another direction, it would have reached our house.

True, it would have had quite a few other houses to choose from.

Years, ago - my mother-in-law moved into a neighborhood where some dirt bag kept a lion in the backyard as a pet.

Thus, I do worry about large predator attacks and plan accordingly.

Ok - one problem with this debate is that some of you (no offense) really don't understand statistical methodology usage. I keep seeing the error of planning as if the central tendency is guaranteed to happen and not understand confidence intervals and the various errors / risks associated with it.

It's very easy - what value to you give to the extremes in planning?
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Old January 15, 2009, 10:59 AM   #79
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No, simple percentage historical data only tell you what the chances where in the past. It is your interpretation of the historical data, your assumption, that they project into the future.
No, and this is where people continually get it wrong, IMO. The historical data (descriptive stats) does not tell you what the chances were in the past, is tells you what actually did happen in the past. Statistics then allow you to take that known data and make assumptions (inferential stats) based on certain proven mathematical formulas. Those allow you to determine, with a varying degree of accuracy, what the chances of something in the future will be.
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Part of the way in which the percentage average is kept low is due to gun capacities. Low capacity guns introduce a bias into the data that keep the percentages lower.
That is not a bias, that is a factual piece of data to be included. It's like saying the average age of people dying is kept low because people don't live long. Gun capacity is fairly low, but that doesn't change the fact that most gunfights are solved with a very low number of rounds.
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You have also assumed that the problem will "solved" with that number of rounds.
No, you have assumed there is an acceptable chance of success with that number of rounds. You accept the fact that you might be wrong, but decide the chance of being wrong is so low it does not justify any further investment in reducing that chance. Again, the tiger in the living room problem.
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In reality, that number of rounds average includes those where the shooter, good or bad, lost of the fight.
That can be a reality. Depending on how you choose to use the data and what data you collect you can have averages from win and lose, those who win only, those who lose only. As a matter of reality, most studies that I have seen show all three of those numbers being very close together.
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Old January 15, 2009, 11:10 AM   #80
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Hmm. No, not really. Not for any particular single gunfight.
Yes, they do. That is the essence of inferential statistics.
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In fact, no probability value for success/failure (in this one case) can be assigned with any confidence.
Sure it can. It is done all the time in all sorts of activities. I have seen nothing to indicate that DGUs would be any different.
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Old January 15, 2009, 11:15 AM   #81
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Failure to use something right is not an indictment of that thing.
It is if the "thing" has not been done right. See my links on academic studies that contradict one another.

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academic studies are apt to be far more accurate and rigorous in their findings than are non-academic works. Academic studies get peer reviewed most of the time, while other readings are frequently done for profit.
"academic" studies can be incredibly biased and politically motivated AND supported by sympathatic peers. Se the Joyce Foundation and the "studies" they commissioned since the 1990s that are clearly biased and anti-gun. I am not the only one to call them out the NRA does it regularly. Remember the "study" that said you are 40 soemthing times likely to be killed with a gun in home than ifyou didn't have one? Please.

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There can be a tiger in your house.
I have a friend who is married to one!

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I agree that a person needs a basic understanding of the data collection method, and also needs to consider context and bias, I just don't see how that argues more strongly against statistical data provided via academic study than it does against experiential (anecdotal) data provided via word of mouth/internet.
Come one John, who other than us forum dweebs are going to look at that kind of stuff. There are folks who regularly post on here that will say "statistics say!" and then won't give you the source or engage in sophistry when you ask the context of the statistics. I am not saying that statistics are useless but the OP said they were the most important rule. I think not.

For instance I have heard the statistic used that one in 200 people will need a gun. When I investigated further I found that statistic was not really true. That number comes from the UCS which says that 1 in 200 people out of the total population will be assaulted. But that number is misleading to apply to everyone as the poster did. It didn't take into account a whole lot of variables such as who really gets assaulted. Sometimes it is the same person many times because they live with an abusive husband or in a bad neighborhood on and on. I think I'll stick with training and some acknowledged experts who might even use some statistics BUT you know what they mean and apply them by common sense.
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Old January 15, 2009, 11:26 AM   #82
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Grandfather

My grandfather would say, "the first step in any scientific investigation is to get your head out of your ass". Everyone would chuckle, and somehow I got the sense that everyone knew what he meant.
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Old January 15, 2009, 11:42 AM   #83
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It is if the "thing" has not been done right. See my links on academic studies that contradict one another.
No it isn't. That is just like the anti-gunners blaming the guns when they are misused instead of blaming the people.
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"academic" studies can be incredibly biased and politically motivated AND supported by sympathatic peers.
Just like non-academic writings can be incredibly biased, motivated by profit or politics, and supported by sympathetic peers. The difference is that in the academic studies there are usually plenty of voices out there pointing out the problems with the studies so people can make a better informed, more accurate decision.
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Remember the "study" that said you are 40 soemthing times likely to be killed with a gun in home than ifyou didn't have one?
Sure I remember it, at least I think I know what you are talking about even though the description isn't real accurate. Do you remember that it was academics who wrote articles pointing out the inadequacies of the research, the limitations on it, and other problems with it? If your claim is that "experienced people" don't misuse data, don't pass on their biases, don't have agendas, and so on, you are sorely mistaken. I find far more factual errors in the popular literature than in the academic literature, and far weaker interpretations of the data.
As I've said before, I find it strange that so many in the world of guns seem to think that lack of knowledge is a good thing when it comes to DGU planning and response.

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Old January 15, 2009, 12:28 PM   #84
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As far as I'm concerned, there's really only one important rule in a self-defense situation.

Do everything needed to survive.
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Old January 15, 2009, 01:00 PM   #85
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I like to cc my S&W 50 cal, cause everyone else is making predictions based on the assumption that I'll carry something sensible. So, I can shoot thru armor, most bullet proof glass, can put down a lion, and can use the muzzle blast as a flamethrower if I need to clear any tunnels.

Just kidding

--thanks JohnSA for the explanation of the bucket o dice. That was really bugging me but I didn't know how to say it.

I really just carry a 9mm, six shot kahr, and only at night or when going to bars. That's my read from the "stats" I've mentally collected over the years...that is, all the fights I have witnessed have been in bars, and the only times I have been threatened were at night. Stats help us, but they can mislead too.

Most folks twist and crush stats to fit the notions they already have. People are just like that, but in the end, math doesn't lie, and inductive logic can be very useful. (90% of the folks who tried this drug died, but the rest were healed. So I'll probably pass on this drug unless I have a 100% chance of dying without it.)

I play poker and make all kinds of decisions based on math, and based on patterns, such as repeated behaviors (odds and stats). Any night I might loose, but over the long run I'm a winner. That's because I respect and use math and observation...that is stats.
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Old January 15, 2009, 04:26 PM   #86
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Well David, I thought I was on your ignore list I guess you "changed your mind" To your points.

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No it isn't. That is just like the anti-gunners blaming the guns when they are misused instead of blaming the people.
No that is a bad example. Academic studies say all sorts of things. They are far from any gospel. While many purport to use rigorous methods many do not and so cannot always be taken at face value. Anyway, I didn't say all statistics and all studies are bad, I just said that they weren't much good for these discussions since many of the "statistics" thrown about are not well explained or in context. Like saying we all have a 1 in 200 chance of needing a gun.

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The difference is that in the academic studies there are usually plenty of voices out there pointing out the problems with the studies so people can make a better informed, more accurate decision.
There are plenty of voices out here on the TFL doing such for "non-academic" writings as well. Some of these folks flush things out quite well. It is a myth and erroneous to assume that just because a writing is from an academic that it is always superior to writings by those who don't have a degree or title.

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Sure I remember it, at least I think I know what you are talking about even though the description isn't real accurate.
Here it is if this helps: "Protection or Peril? An Analysis of Firearm-Related Deaths in the Home," Arthur L. Kellermann and Donald T. Reay, The New England Journal of Medicine 314, no., 24 (June 12, 1986)1557-1560. Lots of statistics used and it was flawed, that is why we need context to understand them properly.

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Do you remember that it was academics who wrote articles pointing out the inadequacies of the research, the limitations on it, and other problems with it?
No, I think it was the NRA that questioned it first and it didn't require an academic to discover them.

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As I've said before, I find it strange that so many in the world of guns seem to think that lack of knowledge is a good thing when it comes to DGU planning and response.
I don't think anyone advocates having less knowledge in the gun world. However, when it comes to tactics and training which this forum is about I find it odd that some choose to throw statistics about without showing what they mean; context or otherwise and who don't provide sources for that data.

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Stats help us, but they can mislead too.
Agreed kiov especially when they are taken out of context.
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Old January 15, 2009, 05:12 PM   #87
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Statistics can be accurate and not applicable at the same time.
Take the "1 in 200" stat as an example. The problem with that number is that it is all-inclusive. It is ENTIRELY accurate that only 1 in 200 of ALL THE PEOPLE WHO CARRY in the ENTIRE COUNTRY will ever need their guns. What that number fails to do however is take into account regional variations. In my area, there is probably a 1 in 10,000 chance of ever needing my gun. In Portland, OR, especially right now, there might be a 1 in 10 chance.

The other problem is that we very often get no information except the "average", usually the "mean". While that information may be helpful, in and of itself there is no way of knowing what it tells us. Look at this example:

I have a set of 500 numbers with an average of 500. What sort of distribution do those numbers occupy? You have NO WAY of knowing without additional information. I could have 499 "1's" and 1 "249,501" and the average would be 500. I could have 500 "500's" and the average would still be 500. Much helpful information, like Standard Deviation and Median, are left out of the information available to the public because, frankly, most people wouldn't have the foggiest idea what it meant anyway.

Why am I talking about this on a gun forum? I forget now, but it's interesting.
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Old January 15, 2009, 05:34 PM   #88
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"I may say that this is the greatest factor -- the way in which the expedition is equipped -- the way in which every difficulty is foreseen, and precautions taken for meeting or avoiding it. Victory awaits him who has everything in order -- luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck."
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Old January 15, 2009, 05:53 PM   #89
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Hey nate!

Roald made it to the South Pole but Robert Falcon Scott died trying.
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Old January 15, 2009, 06:36 PM   #90
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Ahem, I have been talking about not assuming central tendency always happens, distributional shape, cut offs and the various errors from such, since we started talking about statistics.

So your point, Peetzakilla is well taken.

BTW, did you know that the NRA had/has folks trained in the social sciences that look at the gun research. They even go to the meetings where such is presented and raise criticisms.
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Old January 15, 2009, 07:00 PM   #91
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Ahem, I have been talking about not assuming central tendency always happens, distributional shape, cut offs and the various errors from such, since we started talking about statistics.

So your point, Peetzakilla is well taken.
I think, that most of us in this discussion agree more than we do not... on average.
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Old January 15, 2009, 07:56 PM   #92
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Well David, I thought I was on your ignore list I guess you "changed your mind"
No, you are on my ignore list, along with a few other folks who I have found to be problematic in the past. I wish you would have the same courtesy and put me on yours, but of course that lack of courtesy is one thing that got you put on the ignore list to start with. However, since I found that it was a quote of yours that I was responding to in one of JohnKSa's posts I thought it only fair to continue the dialogue directly.
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No that is a bad example. Academic studies say all sorts of things. They are far from any gospel. While many purport to use rigorous methods many do not and so cannot always be taken at face value. Anyway, I didn't say all statistics and all studies are bad, I just said that they weren't much good for these discussions since many of the "statistics" thrown about are not well explained or in context. Like saying we all have a 1 in 200 chance of needing a gun.
No, it is a great examply because you are doing exactly what the antigunners do. And nobody has ever claimed that academic studies are gospel, just as the popular literature from your "experienced" folks is not gospel. However, one at least has the benefit of peer review and having any shortcomings openly challenged and discussed. As for whetgher the studies are any good or not, that is more a problem with the reciever than the sender. If one is unable or unwilling to learn to use the information available, that is not the problem of the person providing the information.
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There are plenty of voices out here on the TFL doing such for "non-academic" writings as well. Some of these folks flush things out quite well.
But the basic problem is that in a non-reviewed and refereed arena, such as this, there is often no way to know the source of the person who is flushing, no way to check their honesty, and a very regular problem of thinking that an opinion is the same as a fact. Way too many folks here and on other forums (and off the forums!) believe what is essentially myth and mythology.
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Here it is if this helps:
Yep, it is the one I thought you might be talking about.
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No, I think it was the NRA that questioned it first and it didn't require an academic to discover them.
I don't think it was the NRA that questioned it first, but yes, the NRA did publicize the issue. AND the person doing the publicizing, criticizing, etc was an ACADEMIC, a full-blown Ph.D. type, working with the NRA.
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However, when it comes to tactics and training which this forum is about I find it odd that some choose to throw statistics about without showing what they mean; context or otherwise and who don't provide sources for that data.
Most stats tossed around here are pretty straightforward. I haven't seen anybody try to discuss things by talking about different types of test, data comparison, SPSS runs, and so on. Most of it is pretty direct---the odds are that this is most likely to happen, in this situation "X" is the msot probable outcome, etc. Not much need to show what that means, since it means exactly what it says. And sources are frequently provided for those who are too lazy to do a simple Google search, but even then they are rarely looked at.
As my dear Mother has been known to say, "Ignorance is bliss" and for whatever reason way too many folks in the gunworld have way too much bliss.
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Old January 15, 2009, 08:42 PM   #93
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I wish you would have the same courtesy and put me on yours,
Why? And miss all this fun? :

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However, since I found that it was a quote of yours that I was responding to in one of JohnKSa's posts I thought it only fair to continue the dialogue directly
Well good I am glad to know I am off the list now

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If one is unable or unwilling to learn to use the information available, that is not the problem of the person providing the information.
I think the question is whether the study used provides accurate and germane information. Also, that the person who quotes the info provides it properly and in context. If one says "well studies show" and they misquote the study (and don't provide a reference) or the study has flawed methods of gathering the data then the information is not much use, especially in formulating a plan of action for self-defense.

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in a non-reviewed and refereed arena, such as this, there is often no way to know the source of the person who is flushing, no way to check their honesty,
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don't think it was the NRA that questioned it first, but yes, the NRA did publicize the issue. AND the person doing the publicizing, criticizing, etc was an ACADEMIC, a full-blown Ph.D. type, working with the NRA.
Speaking of that, I don't see a reference and I am not sure that statement is accurate. Again, it does not require a PhD or an academic to read a study and question it's methods of data gathering.

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Most stats tossed around here are pretty straightforward.
Straightforward, maybe. Accurate and in context no. Like the "There is a 1 in 200 chance that you will one day need a gun". Incorrect use of a statistic.

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And sources are frequently provided for those who are too lazy to do a simple Google search, but even then they are rarely looked at.
I always thought that if you made a claim of fact on a forum and wished credibility you would provide the reference rather than tell someone to "look it up". Unless of course one feels they should not be questioned, but I don't know your credentials and so I would ask for references instead. Sort of a trust thing.

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As my dear Mother has been known to say, "Ignorance is bliss" and for whatever reason way too many folks in the gunworld have way too much bliss.
Perhaps and maybe you know better but as I once was told:“When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken."
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Old January 15, 2009, 08:52 PM   #94
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When I started this thread, I didnt mean to discuss complex statistical math or formulas.

My simple point is that if you do something enough times then the improbable becomes probable. The more traffic stops a police officer makes then the more probable that they will get attacked for example.

That was my original point.
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Old January 15, 2009, 08:59 PM   #95
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The more traffic stops a police officer makes then the more probable that they will get attacked for example.

Let's say that the odds of an attack are 1 in 10,000, just as an example. Statistically, each and every stop has those very same odds. If the officer has made 9,999 stops, is he guaranteed to be attacked on the next one? Nope. The odds are still 1 in 10,000.

If you had 4 officers that had made 40,000 stops you could expect 4 attacks in those stops. Those attacks could have all been on the same officer or 1 each or any other combination.


The part of your statement that is correct is that every stop has a small chance of resulting in an attack. Therefore, if the officer keeps making stops forever he will eventually be attacked. However, there is never any way of predicting which stop will result in an attack.

The improbable NEVER becomes probable. Having a rare event happen doesn't make it not rare. If you have a 1: 100 million chance of winning the lottery, and you do win, it was not suddenly "probable" that you would win. You just got really lucky being the "1" and not the "99,999,999"
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Old January 16, 2009, 06:06 PM   #96
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Why? And miss all this fun?
If you consider rudeness to be fun I think we are back to one of those character problems I mentioned.
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I think the question is whether the study used provides accurate and germane information.
That is a question that is not restricted to academic studies or statistical analysis. Whether it is germane or not is more of an individual issue rather than an information o study issue. You may not find it germane while others do.
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If one says "well studies show" and they misquote the study (and don't provide a reference) or the study has flawed methods of gathering the data then the information is not much use, especially in formulating a plan of action for self-defense.
How do you know if the study is misquoted or has flawed methods without looking at it yourself? Your assumption is that someone would come here and intentionally offer up incorrect information that they knew could be easily checked.
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Speaking of that, I don't see a reference and I am not sure that statement is accurate.
So what? You certainly don't provide references every time you say something, nor do most people, and generally claims for references are very selective in nature. If you are too lazy to look something up on your own, don't expect somebody else to do the work for you.
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Straightforward, maybe. Accurate and in context no.
A nice opinion that is not supported by fact. Just because a bit of data is not in context for you doesn't mean it is not in context for another person. The 1 in 200, at peetzakillah pointed out, is accurate and in context for one question. That you (or others) cannot figure out how to use that stat in context for your needs is not a problem with the data, the analysis, or the findings.
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I always thought that if you made a claim of fact on a forum and wished credibility you would provide the reference rather than tell someone to "look it up".
And if everybody who made any claim of fact always posted a reference communication on the forums would grind to a halt. Again, if one is too lazy to look something up it has no bearing on the credibility of somebody else.
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Old January 16, 2009, 06:30 PM   #97
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If you consider rudeness to be fun I think we are back to one of those character problems I mentioned.
Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone. Or better yet, remove the log from your own eye before you remove the splinter from your neighbor's.

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That is a question that is not restricted to academic studies or statistical analysis.
True, in a greater sense but the thread has revolved around studies and statistical analysis.

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You may not find it germane while others do.
I think that is why I post against using what you are asserting.

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How do you know if the study is misquoted or has flawed methods without looking at it yourself? Your assumption is that someone would come here and intentionally offer up incorrect information that they knew could be easily checked.
No, I don't know others intentions unless they tell me. Actually, I think some who use statistics and quote studies may not have really looked at and examined the studies themselves and so context and meaning of what those statistics show are misunderstood.

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If you are too lazy to look something up on your own, don't expect somebody else to do the work for you.
I think we confuse opinion and fact here. The more thoughtful posters provide references when they present something as fact, an opinion needs no reference. Presenting something as fact without a reference and then telling a person who questions the statement to go look it up is rather discourteous and lacks credibility.

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1 in 200, at peetzakillah pointed out, is accurate and in context for one question. That you (or others) cannot figure out how to use that stat in context for your needs is not a problem with the data, the analysis, or the findings.
Actually, it was a previous post you made not peetzakiller and the stat was out of context and plainly so.

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And if everybody who made any claim of fact always posted a reference communication on the forums would grind to a halt.
No, I think it would (and has) made the dialogue much better and useful.

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Never confuse knowledge and confidence with surety and arrogance.
From the Dictionary, Arrogance: an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions. I rest my case.
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Old January 16, 2009, 06:58 PM   #98
David Armstrong
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Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone.
Seems lots of sinners fall back on that to try to excuse their bad behavior.
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I think that is why I post against using what you are asserting.
Rarely do I assert much without providing the facts or findings to go with the assertion That is the problem, you seem unable to understand the difference between facts, findings, probabilities and your own beliefs.
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No, I don't know others intentions unless they tell me.
So you assume everyone is trying to lie to you and decieve you unless they specifically tell you they are not? Strange sort of system there.
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Actually, I think some who use statistics and quote studies may not have really looked at and examined the studies themselves and so context and meaning of what those statistics show are misunderstood.
Actually, given your record in the past and given you discussion here, it is obvious that you do not have the ability to accurately determine that. As others have pointed out, of course, you are not alone in that. But, as mentioned before, that you (or others) cannot figure out how to use that the material in no way indicates a problem with the data, the analysis, or the findings.
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Presenting something as fact without a reference and then telling a person who questions the statement to go look it up is rather discourteous and lacks credibility.
That's a nice opinion. The fact is that your inability or unwillingness to conduct a search on your own is not indicative of anything other than the fact that you are too lazy to do it on your own. If you disagree with the findings presented by somebody the proper response is to go and look at the material yourself and offer the evidence contradicting the findings, not to start whining "I don't believe you, prove it prove it." If you don't think the findings presented are right, show why they aren't right.
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Actually, it was a previous post you made not peetzakiller and the stat was out of context and plainly so.
As I mentioned, and as peetzakilla demonstrated, your inability to understand the context or figure out how to apply to your issue is not a problem with the data, the context, the findings, etc.
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No, I think it would (and has) made the dialogue much better and useful.
I would challenge you to find any public forum where communication and posts are done in that manner.
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I rest my case.
Again, never confuse knowledge and confidence with surety and arrogance. But obviously attempting to have an intelligent, reasoned discussion with you based on knowledge and a reasonable understanding of what is being talked about has once again failed. Back to the ignore list you go. I would ask that you be polite enough to do the same, but I doubt that you will be that honorable. Bye now.
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Old January 16, 2009, 07:01 PM   #99
Tennessee Gentleman
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Back to the ignore list you go....Bye now.
Adios! See you later I am sure!
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Old January 20, 2009, 12:53 AM   #100
JohnKSa
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I should'a stayed on vacation...
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