The misuse of Statistics as a scientific tool

By Mario deSantis, January 20, 2000

  I am becoming very disillusioned about the current business practice to have studies of statistical
studies of statistical surveys supporting the vested interests of the funding agencies surveys supporting the vested interests of the funding agencies. We are being told that these
statistical studies are based on the scientific analysis of hard data/facts and that their results
represent the so called truth within a given margin of error. So we are being told that the
University of Saskatchewan is being rated 14 out of 15 universities(1), that health reform have
improved the mortality rate of the rural population of Saskatchewan(2), that as at September 6,
1999 Premier Roy Romanow's NDP party enjoyed a 12 percentage differential lead over the
Saskatchewan Party(3). The results of these mentioned surveys did not provide any meaningful
insights on the studied phenomena, in fact the rating of the University of Saskatchewan did not
provide any relevant information for improving the university academic services, the so called
improvement of the mortality rate of the Saskatchewan rural population could be attributed to a
bad study and to different populations over the analysed period of time, and the commanding
  lead of the NDP party did not materialized at all at election time.
abusive and manipulative management directions What is happening to our scientific field of Statistics? Bad things are happening in this field,
and this is mostly due to the abusive and manipulative management directions of our political
and business leadership(4). Today, I read the article "Users back Saskatchewan's health
system(5)", and I have become more concerned than ever about the misuse of statistical
  We have been brainwashed to think of statistical studies as a search for the truth, while in
our truth is composed of our understanding reality the same funding agencies of these studies participate in the manipulation of the
supposed resulting truth. We are becoming so alienated and so confused in this convoluted
business world that we have lost our common sense. The search for the truth is not a number
or a fixed reality which is the same for everybody, it is just an effort by ourselves to make
sense of the world we live in. And, as we make sense of this world we see patterns and
relationships, we don't see numbers or fixed realities, therefore our truth is composed of our
  understanding of these patterns and relationships.
We must see events in their relationships When my son James decided to go back to his academic studies in the Fall of 1995 and later
received marks in the sixties I was very happy. James was not first in his class, didn't get top
marks, but he initiated a personal transformation which is still continuing today. We must see
events in their relationships, patterns and the way they lead to the betterment of our social
  causes or ourselves.
  The result of the above mentioned survey stating that the majority of health care users are happy
cosmetic results to appease the ignorant public doesn't make sense! Did this survey include the patients who could not be transferred to either
Saskatoon or Regina, and who later died in Yorkton and Weyburn(7) ? A relevant research would
have questioned if the present health system has improved in the last nine years. Instead, here we
go again with expensive consulting researches triggering additional expensive researches(8) and
coming up purposely with useless and cosmetic results to appease the ignorant public. The saga of
  our incompetent leaders and bean counters is continuing.


U of S ranks 14 out of 15: Why not being the best of yourself! By Mario deSantis, November 12, 1999. Published in the North Central Internet News


Fragmented Research comes to the help of Saskatchewan Reform, by Mario deSantis, September 28, 1999. Published in the North Central Internet News


Poll suggests Saskatchewan NDP continues to lead, Monday, September 6, 1999


SGI accused of meddling: Researcher claims she was told to falsify no-fault insurance study, by Kim McNairn, The StarPhoenix, May 14, 1999, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


Users back Saskatchewan's health system, by Jason Warick, The StarPhoenix, January 18, 2000, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The referred survey included 2,400 Canadians and was compiled by author Dale McMurchy for PricewaterhouseCoopers.


Howard Gardner's Comments on Gardner and Hirsch in the New York Times, Saturday, September 11, 1999. Howard Gardner questions the competence of some scientific researchers in reading statistical data. For example he questions the "...finding that a first grader's score on a standardized reading test is the best predictor of 11th grade academic achievement...". Dr. Gardner is a professor of Education and co-director of Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is also a research psychologist at the Boston Veterans Administration Medical Center and adjunct professor of Neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine. Since Frames of Mind, Dr. Gardner has written six books including The Mind's New Science, To Open Minds, The Unschooled Mind, Multiple Intelligences, Creating Minds, and Leading Minds.


Pat Atkinson: blaming the doctors for the deaths of patients, by Mario deSantis, January 17, 2000. Published in the North Central Internet News


Do we need further specialized researches in Saskatchewan health care?, by Mario deSantis, May 20, 1999. Published in the North Central Internet News