Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

The phrase lies, damned lies and statistics describes the power of numbers and the use of statistics to beef up weak arguments. In a recent Mother Jones piece, Kevin Drum bares to light the ‘statistics’ that the New York Times used in last weeks damning of GMO crops. It turns out that the statistic used to compare France’s rate of increase/decrease in pesticides glossed over the fact that overall use in France is much higher (although decreasing at a faster rate).

“By contrast, in France, use of insecticides and fungicides has fallen by a far greater percentage — 65 percent — and herbicide use has decreased as well, by 36 percent.” –NYT

The above quote is totally accurate, but check out the charts used on Kevin’s post (source is here).

“France still uses more pesticides per arable hectare than we do in the USA. In the case of fungicide & insecticides, a LOT more.” — Andrew Kniss

Read the Fine Print in GMO Statistics

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the discussion of GMOs can be likened to any Political discussion (let the listener beware). Suffice it to say that one must read the fine print.

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