Earlier this month, the medical journal Lancet made the rare move to retract a pivotal 1998 study that linked vaccinations with autism. Despite years of solid evidence that scientists cannot find such a connection, anti-vaccination advocates would have you believe otherwise. You want to do what’s best for your kids ― but how can you really know whom to trust?
For starters, take a statistics class.
If you did, you could better understand what what comprises a well-designed study (double-blind, placebo-controlled, large sample sizes) and also what types of results are truly meaningful. You could look at the data and determine yourself how much faith you have in the results of any treatment study.
Math professor Arthur Benjamin even thinks schools should prioritize statistics education over calculus. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’ve called upon my statistics education multiple times today, whereas I don’t remember when I last calculated the derivative of a function.
So go ― do yourself a favor and figure out standard deviations and p-values. You’d be surprised how much they might help you through life.