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« Making homeless animals out of animals with homes -Sikeston, MO Edition | Main | Considering your sources - redux - what is a reliable source? »

January 17, 2013



thanks for pointing this out. i reported the lawyer's page complaining about the bogus statistic. maybe, hopefully... it will get edited.


Excellent point which I have considered myself. Being a bit older I can remember a time when as a general rule you could "trust" that most data from a reliable news organization could generally be trusted and had been vetted so to speak. However today with all the citizen reporters out there it is easy for false data to spread and the general internet public appears to trust such data and does little back checking. No matter which side of an arguemnt you are on I have seen false or questionable data thrown around as if fact. Guess it is a brave new world and "buyer be ware".


Unfortunately, "truth" is whatever we want to believe.

When presented with a "statistic", if it is something that fits with our view, we ask ourselves "Can I believe this?" If it sounds plausible, we accept it as truth.

If it doesn't fit with our view, we ask ourselves "Must I believe this?", and go on a quest to discredit it.

Best practices in logical thinking would encourage us to test the veracity of any "fact". But it's just not the way humans are wired.


Randy -- I used to be that way with news organizations too. Now I wonder if they've always been wrong, or if we're just now aware of it because there are more options. I've actually seen some citizen reporters who are more accurate than mainstream media -- and yet, the other extreme happens there too.

Joel -- agree on the "can I believe this?" thing. I always call it the "sniff test" -- does it sound plausible? Often things just don't pass the sniff test and make me look into them further (which is where I was on the 1 in 600 pit bulls item I noted above). And this stat simply didn't pass the sniff test because for it to be true, there would have been 2.35 million pit bull and rottweiler bites last year...which would have been about 1 out of every 3 or 4 dogs of these types being involved -- which is just unfathomable.


Another point re the 4.7 million dog bites: They were not "reported" dog bites in Sacks et al's what-if paper. They were an estimate of the number that could possibly be happening which is very different.

I've even seen this number presented as bites requiring medical attention, which is even more ludicrous.

I just wish some of these silly myths would die a natural death, instead of having to be debunked every single time.

Also, you forgot the scare quotes around "data" when referring to Clifton's incoherent nonsense LOL


I would also add that as idiotic as some of the "facts" are that the dog bite loons like to trot out, efforts to discredit them are compromised when silly facts like these are used by the other side.


Bret-Valid point, maybe the good old days were not much different we just did not know better, lol. While I have not studied it a lot real data in the animal welfare world seems very limited and hence eaisly miss used. I know there are some groups that claim to know the shelter population and hence what can be done (typically by adoptions) to eliminate shelter over crowding. Yet I can find no reliable data on the subject. Evenif it was good data it would not account for the number of strays or ferals which are intakes to the shelter too. As for bites I believe you made the comment that they seem to hit the headlines. True I guess and not to minimize the severity but my guess is deaths due to toxic chemicals in the houshold far exceed the deaths from dog bites yet one never hears about it.

Jen Brighton

I get frustrated with my husband when I tell him about a study I read and he won't accept the "facts" until I cite all the references and whether it was a peer-reviewed study. But I guess we all need to ask ourselves the same questions.

As a law office employee, I am shocked that a lawyer would actually list such silly statistics. Where in the world did she get her information to come up with the half comment? DBO, perhaps? Makes me glad I don't work for her! She should be embarrassed.

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