Critical Thinking for Homeland Security 2010-04-HLS-355-OL009 Written Assignment 5 By Gabriel A. Godart Thomas Edison State College. H.G. Wells noted that statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write. Indeed, statistics offer information from a new perspective, and most people do not have sufficient statistical knowledge to analyze the information presented in the form of graphs, tables or pie charts. Another fact is that people place a lot more trust in numbers over words as they are more explicit. Based on these factors, statisticians became very talented in the art of manipulating the information by re-arranging their results in order to demonstrate and prove their arguments. In the following discussion, we will examine graphical statistics representing the number of non-natural deaths and their causes. We will determine whether or not the information is presented correctly and we will point out any statistical fallacies and misinterpretations if any. The material presented to us is a series of data, tables, and graphs supposedly related to one another and created by the US Department of State to demonstrate and quantify the number of non-natural deaths abroad and their causes. At first sight it is not quite evident that these numbers are, in fact, related to the number of American deaths abroad. Therefore, if the reader does not verify the sources of these data, it could be quite confusing and the analysis quite challenging.
Looking at the first set of data provided, which states the period covered in the analysis, the total number of countries and foreign possessions, and the total number of non-natural
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