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January 20
2014年1月20日

吹牛、誤用、造假

Way Cool Blog


 

吹牛、誤用、造假:吹牛快樂嗎?不精準誤事嗎?造假害人可以嗎?

各種定量、定性的統計數字時時刻刻圍繞著我們,也隨時隨地、有意無意被人誤用、亂用。可是,還有更糟糕的,它們還常被人隨便或者故意地濫用,甚至惡意扭曲編造。

同樣一個數字在不同的行業有不同的解讀。同一個數字背後代表的不同意義,應該留待專業研究,才知所以。如果不懂該行業,或不了解數字在該行業的行情,最好不要插手。

社會上吹牛的故事很多,誤用的數據也不少。有時候,以幽默的方式談些數字或文字,可博君一笑。前兩年我在美航的飛機上,空姐對一般旅客並沒有任何表示,唯獨對一位體重極端超重、舉步維艱的旅客說:「You look good!」原來 good 可以有如此不同的解讀方式,這是有條件的。

有些人把數字當作形容詞使用,雖然可能產生誤導,若是無傷大雅,不值得計較。更多時候,有些人誇張吹牛、誤用數據,可笑又令人厭煩。當然,還有些利用統計數字造謠生事,傷害他人,絕不可取。

從本篇起,將舉些信手拈來的所見所聞、俯拾即得的故事,不定時作些介紹。

Boasting, misusing, fakery

Can pleasure be derived from boasting? Is inaccuracy responsible for bungling matters? Is it acceptable to harm people by twisting the truth?

For instance, quantitative and qualitative statistics are constantly misused, intentionally or otherwise, and frequently manipulated for malevolent reasons. It is common to find the same data interpreted in different ways in different jobs for different reasons, which is why it is always advisable to have professionals check over numbers, figures and statistics.

The golden rule? Refrain from meddling with numbers, figures and statistics if you are unfamiliar with that particular profession, or situations related to that profession.

Similarly, facts can be "massaged" for different reasons. Here's an example. During a flight on a US airline a couple of years ago, one of the flight attendants seemed indifferent to most of the passengers but showed particular interest in one extremely overweight traveler who had mobility problems.

The flight attendant said to this passenger, "You look good!" But the use of "good" here is open to interpretations in this context, wouldn't you say?

Some people use numbers as adjectives in a misleading way; others simply "talk big" by misusing statistics, which is laughable and rather disagreeable if they don't understand how statistics work!

Of course, there will always be "bad apples" who take advantage of statistics to cook up stories that hurt others, which is intolerable.

So I would like to share with readers what I have seen or heard or experienced with regard to boasting, misusing and twisting the truth, on an irregular basis.

January 20, 2014

 

 

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