Joel Best

Oct 19: 'Lies and Statistics'

Bad statistics can affect decision-making and funding that help to shape policy

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1:53 p.m., Sept. 28, 2011--University of Delaware Prof. Joel Best will speak about his book, Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers From the Media, Politicians, and Activists on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 3:30 p.m., in Room 132 Townsend Hall. A reception will follow.

According to the University of California Press, “In this book Best shows us exactly how and why bad statistics emerge, spread, and come to shape policy debates. He recommends specific ways to detect bad statistics, and shows how to think more critically about ‘stat wars,’ or disputes over social statistics among various experts.”

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Best is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at UD. He has written extensively about the sociology of social problems.  In addition to Damned Lies and Statistics and its sequels, his books include Threatened Children, Random Violence, Flavor of the Month, and two books published earlier this year – Everyone’s a Winner, and The Stupidity Epidemic.

He is a past president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the Midwest Sociological Society, the former editor of Social Problems, and the chief editor of the online journal Sociology Compass.  He has spoken about dubious statistics at campuses across the country, and before audiences of judges, journalists and legislators. 

The event is co-sponsored by the Northeast Center for Risk Management Education, the UD Department of Food and Resource Economics and the UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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