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# Friday math movie: Teach statistics before calculus!

By Murray Bourne, 11 Jan 2013

Michael Shermer, author of the book Secrets of Mental Math, suggests people should know how probability and statistics works, before they know about calculus.

Now, I love calculus, but I'm the first to agree it's not so useful for most people down the track (good to know, for sure, but not necessarily essential). However, everyone should know how data is collected and analyzed, and how probability affects all our lives.

Do you agree with him?

## An illustration

Here's an ad that illustrates the point that statistics don't lie - but advertisers are very good at "bending" data to suit their message...

This is one of the reasons why I believe Shermer is right - people need to understand statistics and how to interpret data for themselves, so they can see through the part-truths promulgated by vested interests.

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