Untrustworthy quotation in the wiki
« on: September 06, 2021, 03:33:58 PM »
Hey all,
I was browsing through the 'Assorted quotes' section of the wiki (link included), and i saw a bold claim:
“ 52 Percent Of The British Public Think The Moon Landings Were Faked, Claims Survey ”
I'll also leave a link to this at the end of the post. In the same survey, 12% of Brits supposedly believe in witches and wizardry. There is also 8% that believes in fairies and 5% that thinks there are DRAGONS around. (There's way more, but you can check the site for yourself)

The point I'm trying to make, is that we should check the sources we use on our wiki (yknow, the place with all of our well-researched info?), because if we're trying to find out the truth for ourselves, we should at least look at all the info here. As it turns out, the reason for these absurd stats, are because of the sample size (aka, the amount of people who took the survey). It was a mere 1003, yet the quote claims 52% of the British public believes this.

This is not an attack against the mods on this site, but just a reminder to always stay critical!

https://wiki.tfes.org/Assorted_Quotations
https://www.iflscience.com/space/52-percent-of-the-british-public-think-the-moon-landings-were-faked-claims-survey/

Re: Untrustworthy quotation in the wiki
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2021, 03:35:34 PM »
Sorry if this wasn't the right place on the forum for this, i didn't really know where else

*

Offline Tom Bishop

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 8999
  • Flat Earth Believer
    • View Profile
Re: Untrustworthy quotation in the wiki
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2021, 03:45:03 PM »
That's a pretty common size for a survey.

The margin of error for 1000 randomly selected people is only 3.2% - https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/references/sample-size-surveys

Quote


You can quickly see from the table that results from a survey with only 10 random participants are not reliable. The margin of error in this case is roughly 32%. This means that if you found, for example, that 6 out of your 10 participants (60%) had a fear of heights, then the actual proportion of the population with a fear of heights could vary by ±32%. In other words, the actual proportion could be as low as 28% (60 - 32) and as high as 92% (60 + 32). With a range that large, your small survey isn't saying much.

If you increase the sample size to 100 people, your margin of error falls to 10%. Now if 60% of the participants reported a fear of heights, there would be a 95% probability that between 50 and 70% of the total population have a fear of heights. Now you're getting somewhere. If you want to narrow the margin of error to ±5%, you have to survey 500 randomly-selected participants. The bottom line is, you need to survey a lot of people before you can start having any confidence in your results.

So that is suggesting that number of people can be confident. And considering that the research agency in the original link for the claim only uses accredited researchers, claims 20 years of experience, and claims to work professionally with businesses and government agencies to provide them reliable data, I will opt to side with them that they know how to research.

Also, a lot of people believe in things like magic. Not that surprising. Maybe you need to talk to people more before making assumptions.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2021, 04:03:59 AM by Tom Bishop »

*

Offline Pete Svarrior

  • e
  • Planar Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 13516
  • (>^_^)> it's propaganda time (◕‿◕✿)
    • View Profile
    • The Flat Earth Society
Re: Untrustworthy quotation in the wiki
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2021, 08:53:23 AM »
As it turns out, the reason for these absurd stats, are because of the sample size (aka, the amount of people who took the survey). It was a mere 1003, yet the quote claims 52% of the British public believes this.
You immediately reveal yourself to know nothing about statistical surveys. Where, then, did that brazen confidence of yours come from? Is it because IFLScience told you what to think?

Here, are a few articles for you to use as a starting point, in addition to Tom's:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/howcan-a-poll-of-only-100/
https://tools4dev.org/resources/how-to-choose-a-sample-size/
https://www.cloudresearch.com/resources/guides/statistical-significance/determine-sample-size/

If you end up finding the subject interesting, it should at least help you identify some questions to explore.

That aside, I propose that we shouldn't be quoting IFLScience on this. They're a clickfarm of dubious quality, and contains obvious errors (claims about sample size which inspired our friend above, citing the Daily Mash [a British equivalent of The Onion] as a source, etc). This survey in particular has been covered by more reputable media, e.g. the Daily Mirror.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2021, 08:58:19 AM by Pete Svarrior »
Read the FAQ before asking your question - chances are we already addressed it.
Follow the Flat Earth Society on Twitter and Facebook!

<Parsifal> I like looking at Chinese Wikipedia with Noto installed
<Parsifal> I don't understand any of it but the symbols look nice

Re: Untrustworthy quotation in the wiki
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2021, 03:07:06 AM »
but just a reminder to always stay critical!

We completely agree, though you must always work to avoid being presumptively incredulous (or credulous).

Incredulity, like skepticism, is valuable in moderation and sophistry in excess.

Have you ever heard that the truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction is obliged to possibilities?

I know it sounds absolutely impossible, and you are right to be skeptical but I've met them - and it's true.

Did you know that sir arthur conan doyle (author of sherlock holmes) was a staunch believer in fairies and a member of an exclusive fairy club with much of the aristocracy at the time.  Britain has a very long history with this nonsense - just look at the lord of the rings for god's sake.  This is a country that many of its citizens are taught was historically ruled/supported by an honest to goodness wizard named merlin.  Did you know that dragonslayer is the first last name in the history of mankind? Oxford did!

As for the moon landing, it might help to consider the enduring hard on britain still has and fosters in its citizens against its (former, but not in their hearts) rebel colony.  The brits were skeptical at the time ('69) and a lot of those views persisted and grew in a way that was not allowed in the US.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2021, 03:10:46 AM by jack44556677 »

*

Offline Tom Bishop

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 8999
  • Flat Earth Believer
    • View Profile
Re: Untrustworthy quotation in the wiki
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2021, 05:43:45 AM »
The Mirror looks like it might be a better reference for this. I went ahead and changed the quote on the page to:

“ Moon landing celebrates 47th anniversary but 52% of Brits don't believe it really happened ”
                  —The Mirror (Source)

Edit: I thought it was called Daily Mirror recently. I'm not sure if they just changed their name, but I went with The Mirror as stated on their about us page - https://www.mirror.co.uk/about-us/
« Last Edit: September 14, 2021, 05:50:07 AM by Tom Bishop »

*

Offline Pete Svarrior

  • e
  • Planar Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 13516
  • (>^_^)> it's propaganda time (◕‿◕✿)
    • View Profile
    • The Flat Earth Society
Re: Untrustworthy quotation in the wiki
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2021, 07:03:41 AM »
It's a British newspaper thing, one I don't entirely understand. The Mirror is an umbrella which publishes the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror in print, but their online publications are branded as just "The Mirror". It's analogous to e.g. the Daily Mail, which publishes their online stuff under the name "the Mail Online". People commonly still use print names to refer to those (like I did above without really thinking about it), and as far as I understand, either title would be considered acceptable.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2021, 07:05:50 AM by Pete Svarrior »
Read the FAQ before asking your question - chances are we already addressed it.
Follow the Flat Earth Society on Twitter and Facebook!

<Parsifal> I like looking at Chinese Wikipedia with Noto installed
<Parsifal> I don't understand any of it but the symbols look nice