On Tuesday I attended Science Cafe in Leiden, a monthly discussion evening on all matters scientific and their role in society. The theme was the way chance, likelihood and statistics are (mis-)used and represented by the media, politicans and the law. Leading the discussion was Arnout Jaspers, columnist for Dutch science magazine Natuurwetenschap & Techniek, with special guest Richard Gill, Professor in Mathematical Statistics at Leiden University. Gill and Jaspers illustrated the potentially far-reaching consequences of bad statistics with two recent stories to hit the headlines: the reopening of the Lucia de Berk case, and the drug suspension of Germany’s most successful winter Olympian, Claudia Pechstein.
January 21, 2010 by