Slippery Math in Public Affairs: Price Tag and Defense

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Overview

Highlighting how slippery numbers and questionable mathematical conclusions emerge and what can be done to safeguard against them, this book examines flawed usage of math in public affairs through actual cases of how mathematical data and conclusions can be distorted and misrepresented to influence public opinion. The author analyzes the cost of "slippery math" in terms of squandered resources and identifies common misperceptions about the role of math in public affairs. He discusses how math education can be reformed to sharpen public awareness of "slippery math", the development of math models and their use and misuse, and proper and improper polling methods.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Adams (mathematics, Pace U., NY) takes to task the numbers used by all and sundry to support theories quantitatively. Following a brief synopsis of the use of fabricated numbers by a nonprofit organization, the US Department of Defense, and others, Adams describes various ways numbers are used and when and why we should be wary of their validity. Warily, one wonders why a book that is not on hard math should be so expensive. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780824707903
  • Publisher: CRC Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Pt. 1 Slippery Numbers in the Public Arena 1
1 Boldfaced Lies 4
2 Something's Amiss 10
3 Coming Up with the Numbers 23
4 Political and Ideological Coloring 49
5 Numbers, Numbers, Everywhere 62
6 There's Less to It Than Meets the Eye 72
7 Lessons from Chapters 1 to 6 86
Pt. 2 Math Model Portraits 117
8 What's the Cost of Smoking? 120
9 Andy and Rasa Take Vacations 129
10 Math Model Development 136
11 As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap 146
12 Hyperbole and Hype 162
13 Lessons from Chapters 8 to 12 174
Pt. 3 The Price Tag 189
14 The Numbers You Don't Know Can Hurt You 191
15 Consequences of Math Fiction 199
Pt. 4 Preventive Medicine: Education 211
16 Mathematics Education 213
Epilogue 220
References and Readings of Interest 229
Index 241
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