Figure 8.3 Dialogue on Summary Statistics


Al D., kn29: 01:03PM 2/14/95 --> It is neccesary to reduce people to statistics so that we can get the overall picture. We don't have time to anylize each individual case. Example: The dominoes pizza video we saw It is justified because they need to know people generally, not specifically. Once we summarize people into statistics, we can use this data to come up with what the average individual is like.

Haley Saint Vincent, kn8: 01:15PM 2/14/95 --> I think it is bad to catagorize everyone into numbers just to get data for things. It takes away from the individual traits that people have which are just generalized into numbers for people who are collecting data.

Chuck Leapley, kn19: 01:19PM 2/14/95 --> breaking down raw data into meaningful information is the basic summary of statistics. I feel statistics opens the door to lifes questions and problems. It's a good thing!

Gia Vassanelli, kn35: 01:45PM 2/14/95 --> I think the only way to show many types of data is to reduce people to numbers. It is not dehumanizing people, its just summerizing and simplifing things.

MICHAEL SUGARMAN, KN33: 01:57PM 2/14/95 --> Statitics is good for generaliztion of people, but it is hard to talk about the individual using statics. Cynthia Morris, kn25: 04:06PM 2/14/95 --> I think that we need statistics. The important thing is not to forget that the numbers represent an actual person. It would be impossible to deal with the number of people if we did not have statistics. Edie Lebson, kn20: 10:37PM 2/14/95 --> I agree that people shouldn't be reduced to numbers, but at the same time, science would be nowhere without the power of statistics. As a science major then, I guess numbers are important, even if they hurt individuality.

Haley Saint Vincent, kn8: 11:31AM 2/15/95 --> I think it is useful in some ways, but overall, I don' think it is good. It takes personal things away from each individual and generalizes for everyone in a catagory which is condusive to a particular study which I don't really think is accurate. You lose a lot when you take traits away from people and make general statements for statistics.

Cynthia Morris, kn25: 01:21PM 2/15/95 --> Statistics is an essential part of our everyday activities. Its almost impossible to go throughout the day without seeing at least one thing that deals with statistics. Basically, statistics allows us to make quick observations.

Chuck Leapley, kn19: 01:41PM 2/15/95 --> Statistics is about knowing or finding the truth. However, if there is some degree of error in statistics how can statistics be the truth? hannah yecheskel, kn37: 03:14PM 2/15/95 --> Statistics is a tool when generalizations are necessary to determine an overall picture. However, it should not be misunderstood or misused in a way that can dehumanize or hurt people. It:'s good to get a general idea on an issue, but not to oversimplify it.

Wendy Capochino, kn6: 03:19PM 2/15/95 --> I feel that every individual is special in his or her own way and that reducing a person to a statistic is dehumanizing. It assumes that every person's situation is identical to that of another's.

laura, kn23: 03:35PM 2/15/95 --> laura loterszpil kn23 2/15/95 I think that changing people into numbers is necessary if we need specific information to test an hypothesis. Unfortunatelly, what I feel is that statistics is abuot depersonalizing people into nubers. I think that the problem (my problem also) is that many of us have never understand the meaning behind this concept.

amanda adkins, kn2: 06:45PM 2/15/95 --> I think It is very important to have statistics in our society. It is the quickest way to analyze data pertaining to the whole population. It would be a waste of time if we had to study each individual person. hannah yecheskel, kn37: 06:47PM 2/15/95 --> I really think that statistics is an important aspect to learning current general trends and ideas. It can be used to make adjustments in society in order to make the general population happier.

Edie Lebson, kn20: 08:28PM 2/15/95 --> I like what chuck said. If there is always a degree of error, what truth have we found? Statistics is more philosophical- it has generalizations but these generalizations may not always be put to use in reality.

NICOLE ABEYA, KN1: 10:22AM 2/16/95 --> Statistics is a very important tool for analyzing the millions of data society has to deal with. For example, it is very useful in analyzing the average ages one is expected to develope certain illnesses like breast cancer. If it wasn't known that the average age for a woman to have a mamogram is 40 and over, think of how many people would die without proper treatment. Without the proper studies, tests, and statistical analyzation, doctors would have never come to this valuable and life saving conclusion. While I understand that statistics may seem to lump individuals into a generalized category, I feel that it is important to acknowledge the significance of statistics, and realize that statistics, while 'hurtful' to others, is actually a much needed science in many disciplines that help us make sense of the world around us.

min, kn32: 10:44AM 2/16/95 --> I agree with Al D because in order for us to learn about anything, we have to research on the matter in question but as humans we do not have the time to go around and collect data from the whold population, that is why we take samples of the whole so we can get a general picture. One thing I do not understand is when people because fractions. I can't see a people being divided up into a group of 3.2675 persons.

NICOLE ABEYA, KN1: 11:02AM 2/16/95 --> While there is always a degree of error in statistical data, one must realize that this degree of error is there for a reason--this perecentage takes into consideration those same individual differences that everyone has been so worried about. There is not one statistical fact that is 100% truth, however, there are statistics that come very close. These are the useful statistics needed to understand and make sense of the facts around us. For example, it has been statistically proven that condoms greatly reduces the risk of getting AIDS and other STDs--would you chose not to use one out of your fear for not wanting to be lumped into the generalized and dehumanzined population?

Al D., kn29: 12:20PM 2/16/95 --> In response to the problem of error, that is something that statistics helps. When anylizing individuals, there is always going to be mistakes. Taking say, the average of a lot of people helps to lessen individual error.

Wendy Capochino, kn6: 12:21PM 2/16/95 --> I agree with Nicole. I feel that even though Statistics can be dehumanizing, they can also be very useful in making people aware of problems such as AIDs and STDs.

MICHAEL SUGARMAN, KN33: 12:25PM 2/16/95 --> statistics also can create a scare because it can over estimate the problem. If the data is flawed.

ghazaleh, kn38: 12:27PM 2/16/95 --> Numbers are essential in figuring out many important values that we need everyday but I don't think that you can reduce people to numbers for everything. Only with certain necessary things will it work.

Chuck Leapley, kn19: 12:29PM 2/16/95 --> It's ok to reduce people in statistics. It's all a learning process. A new drug on the market needs to be tested. People are the ones used as the lab rats (if the drug makes it that far) So therefore, statistics is needed for the advancement of technology. For the good of human-kind.

Gia Vassanelli, kn35: 12:29PM 2/16/95 --> I agree with ghazaleh in that we can't reduce people to numbers for everything. But for the things that we can, I think that statistics is very helpful.

min, kn32: 12:31PM 2/16/95 --> In response to Michael Sugarman's statement that statistics can cause a scare because the data can be flawed, I think that is why experiments are done over and over again with many, many samples so that certain experiments with drastically different results can be corrected. Although statistics can be a scare they can also be of great help in gaining knowledge in infinite amount of fields.

Aladdin, kn12: 12:32PM 2/16/95 --> I think that summary statistics are useful for research today. With the human population at a number of over 8 billion and ever growing it would be impossible to find out the things that affect our population without generalizing. It would be great to learn about the individual characterics of ever single person on earth but all that information would probably be to specific for any surveys or experiments .

ryan kraven, kn17: 12:33PM 2/16/95 --> Even though statistics can be manipulated by such forces as the media, I feel they are essential for the bettering of lives for everybody.

Larry Balducci, kn13: 12:05AM 2/17/95 --> If it wasn't for these statistics , how else would we know how many people give a rats ass about O.J. Simpson , and his three ring circus.

kara bergmann, kn5: 11:33AM 2/17/95 --> Personally I think statistics are a very good resource even though the validity of some statistical experiments are questionable at times. I agree that they are de-humanizing and don't look in the individual aspect, but I don't think that statistics were made to do that.

jessica fields, kn10: 01:16PM 2/17/95 --> Since I am a stong individualist, I believe that one should not lower the people down to numbers. Many times the statistics are overexaggerated so that they apply to the whole population and this I believe, is unjustyfied. Although, I also believe that in many cases statistics are needed in order to determine what the majority of people approve of. I think when statistics are used they should be observerd with a critical mind. Some things are overgeneralized while others can be accepted; it just depends on the topic and what the results are. Everything has to oberved critically and not just accepted without questioning.

laura, kn23: 01:32PM 2/17/95 --> kn23 I think that if we summerize it then we are going to have a hard time with the process of understanding why we do what we de.

Jill Greenspan, kn11: 04:33PM 2/17/95 --> Although I think statistics are confusing, and I don't understand how to come up with any yet, I think I is vital to have statistics. There is very impotant information for the general public to be aware of. I do not think it is bad to categorize people.

ghazaleh, kn38: 10:45AM 2/18/95 --> Also, I could not imagine how we would manage our lives, if somehow we were not reduced to numbers for specific purposes. What I mean is that we would have no way of relating to the society if we did not have certain statistical data available.

jessica fields, kn10: 11:14AM 2/18/95 --> I agree partly with Wendy Capochino that the individual case is lost when statistics are used and that many of the statistics that are in use can not be applied to every individual person. But this is the reason that in many ifelds there are case studies that are being done to bring out the individual. These studies show that not all people are the same. However, when I see a graph that is ment to apply to a whole society I usually look at it critically because how do they know how I feel? But when it comes to the pizza that most people prefer, I believe that staistics are very important so that the comany can adjust to the taste of the majority of the population. Statistics and many psychological studies must be observed with a critical eye. Aladdin, kn12: 04:21PM 2/18/95 --> I think all of us are too looking at this question too narrowly. Not everything that statistics deals with relates to us, as humans, directly. Summary statistics can also be used in determining whether a pharmaceutical druge should be put on the market or it can be used to show trends that are occurring. For example whether AZT is a good drug for the treatment of AIDS. Also statistics are used everywhere like the spread on the next MARYLAND game (go TERPS), or trends in the economy or even something as simple as pizza. SO, before we make a final statement on whether summary statistics are good or not, we must take a look at the whole picture and not just how bad it its. Like anything else we come in contact with it will have it's advantages and disadvantages.

Christine Zeiler, kn39: 08:02PM 2/19/95 --> In order for certain needs of society to be met (ie the benefits of certain prescription drugs), an overall, summerizing view of society's needs must be observed; which is done through statistics. Although there is some dehumanization involved, the overall use of the information gathered is for the good of over everyone.

greg crofford, kn7: 08:19PM 2/19/95 --> Statistics are important. Without them Kent will not be able to prove his theisis on the electronic class room and become famous. We are all numbers in this life, get used to it. Your social security number, your kn number, your drivers I. D. number, your number on line at the grocery store. With so many people and so much information, numbers are a lot easier than the discribing a person and using a name. After all there are only so many combinations of names, while the numerical system is endless and also more accurate.

rocky w, kn36: 11:42PM 2/19/95 --> i Think that stats are very useful in some cases. But only if the research is done correctly. Also the people who read these stats should not believe everything they see. I think it would be great if we could analize everyone or thing individually but it just would not work because of the numbers. kerri arenholz, kn3: 11:51PM 2/19/95 --> I agree with aladdin, summary statistics isn't just about humans they help this world in so many different ways that are of a great advantage to us. It isn't just reducing people to a number, it's aslo helping the world in so many diffeent ways.

Kent L. Norman, knorman: 11:42AM 2/20/95 --> Hi Justyne. Just looking at the list of participants. Is this your first input??

Justyne, kn14: 12:29PM 2/20/95 --> Ok Dr. Norman , I get the hint. Well anyway, I believe that in people's everyday lives, they are always a part of some sort of group or category which cause them to loose their individualism. So why should statistics be any different? Nicole Vasilkioti, kn34: 01:19PM 2/20/95 --> I agree with this idea. People are always being put into some sort of category and I feel that it is important in the feild of research to be able to use people for statistics. Therefore by simply representing people as a number so many things about people in general are brought to light.

Adam L., kn18: 01:27PM 2/20/95 --> I think that reducing people down to numbers is an unfortunate but necessary process. The numbers measured by scientists are often so extremely high that they have no choice but to carry out equations and make percentages that everybody can understand. It is important that the scientist does a very complete search and take into account every variable when reducing people to numbers. If this is not done than statistics can be very inaccurate. An example of a statistical measue that is not accurate is of a country's wealth. In Saudi Arabia for example, it would seem from statistics that the population as a whole is very wealthy. But at further glance the truth is the wealth is held by a very few while the general population is very poor. Justification for errors like these is that generaly statistics provide more accurate observations. But is important that the person who cited statistics as proof acknowledges error and the observer understands that error is possible.

Haley Saint Vincent, kn8: 02:11PM 2/20/95 --> I do agree with wendy and nicole that statistics are very useful in assuming things about a particular population or sample of people or objects, etc. However, I think the way they are gathered from people gives the summary statistic somewhat of a bias because the statistic is assuming and classifying different items, things, etc. based on something they all have in common. I suppose that statistics are very helpful is assuming certain things in the world and help to make a lot of things easy, I just don't like the way they aer gathered and the things they overlook, but then again nothing is perfect is is?

Jill Greenspan, kn11: 02:25PM 2/20/95 --> I have thought the question over again, and I do think that statistics generalizes in some ways that are unfair to humans. This is one of the ways that our society makes up stereotypes. For example, when AIDS started to become very popular among gays, our society genralized, and came up with the notion that gays are the only ones to spread the virus of AIDS, which has proven untrue.

Adam L., kn18: 03:05PM 2/20/95 --> I agree with Justyne in that people today are always being put into some sort of category that causes them to lose their humanity. Statistics are no different but are still essential if we are to understand the way the world around is.

Rao Mamata, kn28: 05:05PM 2/20/95 --> Mamata Rao, kn 28: 5:00pm 2/20/95 I think that statistics is very important in order to analyze , because looking at each individual case would be difficult and time consuming; therefore, it has to be done although it might hurt some people. Example: the # of teenagers who commit suicide is necessary to how so that we can prevent it from happening. It can be justified because it helps people understand themselves and others better and I believe I share this opinion with many people who answered to this question.

Aladdin, kn12: 05:06PM 2/20/95 --> I think that can be very important even if they are dehumanizing. Moving away from pharmaceuticals, statistics can tell us what the interest of the American people. For example if you are a person involved in the realm of commercialization (not to exclude politicians), one must be very careful to take into consideration the desires of the population of the general population. How else would a company know what products to put on the market . In the case the people invloved in a political campaign the public relations staff must know in what areas their political candidates must improve to be a better voting rating so that they can get elected to office. In this time and age everybody wants their individual rights and freedom. However, there are some things that we just need to concede to in order to benefit the population as a whole.

Kendra Scouten, kn30: 05:10PM 2/20/95 --> Although I do not like the idea of refering to people as numbers, I do think that it is necessary. Esspecially in Psychology, people often reveal personal and private information and would prefer to remain anonymous rather than having their real name used. Numbers are necessary just becsue it would be impossible to record all the names of the subjects, it would be absurd and would keep pertinient subjects from feeling comfortable about participating in an experiement.

Aladdin, kn12: 05:13PM 2/20/95 --> Not too be overly redudant , but as a great example. Look at all the comments that have been entered in the course of this assignement. Wouldn't it just be more fruitful to get the over all view of the comments that have been listed here or is it necessary to look over all the above statements to get an idea of what the students in our class feel about summary statistics. Suppose all of our comments were put into a book, would any average person want to sit down reading thousands upon thousands of pages of comments which state the same things except for the fact that each person has their unique touch to it. I know I wouldn't even consider picking up the book. So summarizing is necessary and preferred in some instances.

Kendra Scouten, kn30: 05:14PM 2/20/95 --> Sorry that it took me so long to reply to this question, but everytime I log on i mess up and then i try and log on again and it says that i've logged on too many times, but hopefully from now on i can do it right the first time

kara bergmann, kn5: 05:17PM 2/20/95 --> I think the point that a lot of people are missing is that statistics, like any kind of data has a certain degree to which it accurate. Therefore if we are assuming that it is not totally correct with some error, how can we say that it is totally de-humanizing?

Rao Mamata, kn28: 05:17PM 2/20/95 --> According to Aladdin, everybody wants their individual rights and freedom and I agree with that. I don't mind statistics reducing people to numbers because it provides many benefits and provides people with true facts.

Chuck Nethery, kn26: 05:37PM 2/20/95 --> I think summary statistics are needed to make generalizations about specific groups of people. They are very important in the field of medical research. Many experimental drugs are tested and the FDA looks at the effectiveness and side effects on a sample of subjects to determine whether they will be released to the general population. They are also used by large companies to come up with marketing strategies, as we saw in the Dominos Pizza video.

Chuck Nethery, kn26: 06:03PM 2/20/95 --> Well I guess I'm going to have to come back tomorrow morning to do my second input, since I seemed to miss everybody by a half hour, oh well -- SI YA.

Christine Zeiler, kn39: 08:58PM 2/20/95 --> I think that summary statistics is important, even though it reduces people over all it is important to our society. It would be impossible to learn anything within our society if it weren't for statistics. Tara Lobb

Justyne, kn14: 09:11PM 2/20/95 --> I believe that statistics is important because it lets people know what's going on around them. For example in a third world country without statistics, it's hard to understand problems. And not understanding problems leads to less aid for assistance. And without any proof that problems exist, you can't go through the governmetal channels to get things done because everything is done so bureaucratically.

Christine Zeiler, kn39: 09:12PM 2/20/95 --> I think Alladin's input gave a perfect example! Who wants to read all this stuff? Statistics gives an accurate and precise picture than is easy to read and interpret.

Christine Zeiler, kn39: 09:16PM 2/20/95 --> I still believe that we need statistics to help in almost everyday activities. It makes things run a lot smoother and faster. Tara Lobb

rocky w, kn36: 10:54PM 2/20/95 --> I just learned in my social devieance class many ways stats can be misleading and how it is used in the wrong way. But I dont think that just because some people present numbers wrong and generalize that we sould stop looking at stats. We should just look more into it and find out more because they are misleading. find out what the numbers really stand for.

kerri arenholz, kn3: 12:40AM 2/21/95 --> Some stats can be misleading but they can help us generalize so many things. They help us with diseases and how different things in the world effect different people. they provide for us so much different information that in the long run helps us tremendously.

Chuck Nethery, kn26: 10:58AM 2/21/95 --> I agree with what most people have said. Summary statistics are the lesser of two evils. They can be used to mislead and confuse the uninformed. The solution, as Rocky said, is to be informed and understand what the numbers really stand for. The major importance of statistics is interpretation of the data, and hopefully this class will help us do that for ourselves and not mindlessly believe someone else's interpretation of the data.

Nancy Kramer, kn16: 12:27PM 2/21/95 --> Although statistics due reduce people to numbers, it is neccesary to solve some of the world's most important problems. Honestly, out of all of the things that we have to worry about in today's world this should not be one of them. Statistics saves lives!

ryan kraven, kn17: 12:32PM 2/21/95 --> Certain aspects of statistics can be insulting, but on a whole they are extremely useful to the bettering of our lives.

Danielle Kolb, kn15: 12:33PM 2/21/95 --> Kent- please see CH 1 for my first entry I typed it there by mistake!!!! Anyways, this is in response to what Jill wrote. I agree that statistics is benifitial in regards to proving research being right or wrong. As in the case with AIDS research.

Nicole Vasilkioti, kn34: 12:33PM 2/21/95 --> In actuality I do see it as being important to use statistics, and the fact that it reduces people down to numbers should really not be a topic of major concern since it helps so many things.

Jonathan, kn21: 12:34PM 2/21/95 --> Statistics are important for gaining knowledge about people and things: statistics is useful to test scientific hypotheses. However, people can get carried away with statistics and lose sight of human individuality.

Mike Shaffir, kn31: 02:00PM 2/21/95 --> Although I think that statistics are very important, in a lot of cases just being another number really upsets me. For instance, I just feel like another student at this university because my social security number is how I am recognized.

Mike Shaffir, kn31: 08:17PM 2/22/95 --> I agree with what Chuck Nethery said about statistics being needed to make generalizations about specific groups of people. If we didn't have summary statistics then we may not be where we are today.

greg crofford, kn7: 09:25PM 2/22/95 --> Statistics are important, very important. By using raw data, like say our test scores, Dr. Norman can gather some very important information reguarding the general outcome of the exam. By taking this raw data and evaluating it Dr. Norman might just curve the exam.

Larry Balducci, kn13: 10:31PM 2/22/95 --> I do not mind being a number once in a while . As stated by others , it just simplifies things . I can think of alot of other names or descriptions that I would rather not be called or classified as.

Mike Shaffir, kn31: 11:42AM 2/23/95 --> This is the third time that I am entering something. In regards to what Greg Crofford has said, in test situations like the one we are going to have in an hour, someone like say Dr. Norman may want to use statistics to look at our scores and then curve them.

Jason Ott, kn27: 02:09AM 3/13/95 --> It sucks that people have to be reduced into mere numbers. But statistical information is vital throughout the world. No matter how superficial statistics are, they are needed to perform research and to develop our technological and scientific theories. And it is these ideas that are essential in us becoming a more practical and modern society. If it was not for statistics our medical advances would not be along as they are. There is no way to justify the fact that in alot of fields all people really are , are mere numbers. So don't try to justify it just accept it!!! Peace out Dr. Norman--obviously there was no way to have a classmate in between my answers. I hope you understand. Thanks chief.