# Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics Quiz

### This quiz covers subjects from gun control and divorce to HIV and advertising, but the uniting theme is the manipulation of statistics. As the Hon. W. Richard Walton Sr. once said, "42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot."

A multiple-choice quiz by skylarb. Estimated time: 5 mins.

Author
skylarb
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
143,066
Updated
Jul 23 22
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
4265
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 68 (6/10), Guest 99 (6/10), buckeye52 (3/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. What British Prime Minister is often accredited with having originated the phrase, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics"? Hint

Archibald Primrose
Benjamin Disraeli
Margaret Thatcher
Winston Churchill

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2. United States cities with strict gun control laws have statistically higher rates of crime than cities with fewer gun controls. Therefore, gun control increases crime. What is wrong with this use of statistics? Hint

It is not true; cities with lots of gun control have less crime
Correlation does not necessarily imply causation
It manipulates the law of averages
Nothing is wrong with it

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3. It is commonly reported that in the United States, half of all marriages end in divorce. But what percentage of Americans who have ever been married have ever been divorced? Hint

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4. "Every year since 1950, the number of American children gunned down has doubled." What is wrong with this statistic? Hint

Correlation does not necessarily imply causation
It cannot possibly be true
Nothing is wrong with it
It is irrelevant

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5. It is commonly reported that in the United States, HIV is growing fastest in the heterosexual population. This is true. What is also true? Hint

Most new HIV cases are contracted by homosexuals
All HIV cases are found in homosexuals
Most new HIV cases are contracted by heterosexuals
Over 95 percent of HIV cases are found in heterosexuals

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6. A company is in arbitration with its labor unions, and runs an advertisement reporting that the average salary earned in its company is \$100,000 a year. However, it is a fact that 80 percent of its workers make less than \$25,000 a year. The company must be lying.

True
False

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7. An advertisement reports, "Brand X car uses 20 percent less gas." What's wrong with this statistic? Hint

It manipulates the law of averages
It cannot possibly be true
It is incomplete
Nothing is wrong with it

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8. "Eighty percent of all respondents preferred the Cowboys to the Redskins. Therefore, we can conclude that Americans prefer the Cowboys to the Redskins." What is wrong with this use of statistics? Hint

Correlation does not necessarily imply causation
It cannot possibly be true
The sample is not stated
Nothing is wrong with it

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9. What academy award winning documentary, directed by Michael Moore, is accused by critics of manipulating gun statistics?

Answer: (Three Words (1st word begins with B))

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10. Joe Schmoe has had his quizzes played 1,000 times. Janet Bobanet has had her quizzes played only 500 times. Joe's quizzes must be twice as popular as Janet's quizzes.

True
False

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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. What British Prime Minister is often accredited with having originated the phrase, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics"?

The original source of the phrase is unknown, but Benjamin Disraeli is often credited with it. Other proposed sources have included Sir Charles Dilke and Judge Baron Bramwell. Mark Twain popularized the saying in the United States while attributing it to Disraeli.
2. United States cities with strict gun control laws have statistically higher rates of crime than cities with fewer gun controls. Therefore, gun control increases crime. What is wrong with this use of statistics?

Answer: Correlation does not necessarily imply causation

This conclusion does not take into account other factors that may cause cities with strict gun control laws to have more crime than cities with more liberal gun control laws, such as difference in the population, cultural factors, location, economics, diversity, etc. It is important to remember that in statistics, "correlation does not necessarily imply causation."
3. It is commonly reported that in the United States, half of all marriages end in divorce. But what percentage of Americans who have ever been married have ever been divorced?

The 50 percent divorce rate statistic was first calculated by dividing the number of divorces in a given year by the number of marriages in that same year. The problem is that this equation fails to take into account any previously existing marriages. If instead statisticians ask how many people who have ever been married have ever been divorced, the answer is, depending on the survey, somewhere between 11 and 30 percent. (The website truthorfiction.com refers to two such surveys, one by pollster Louis Harris and another by George Barna, though there are others.)
4. "Every year since 1950, the number of American children gunned down has doubled." What is wrong with this statistic?

Answer: It cannot possibly be true

This was an actual statistic that appeared in a journal published in 1995, but it is obviously untrue. How can we tell? If this statistic were true, and even if only one child were gunned down in 1950, then by 1980, the number of American children gunned down would exceed the population of America, an obvious impossibility.

This statistic wins from Joel Best the label of "The Worst Social Statistic Ever," and it is described in his introduction to his book "Damned Lies and Statistics."
5. It is commonly reported that in the United States, HIV is growing fastest in the heterosexual population. This is true. What is also true?

Answer: Most new HIV cases are contracted by homosexuals

How can both be true? To make the math simple, let's say that in 1998 in one town there were 50 homosexuals with HIV and 10 heterosexuals with HIV. Let's say that in 1999 10 more homosexuals and 5 more heterosexuals contracted HIV. Well, HIV grew by 50 percent (or 5 out of 10) in the heterosexual population, but only by 20 percent (or 10 out of 50) in the homosexual population. Yet twice as many homosexuals contracted HIV as heterosexuals. So, while both statements are true, it all depends on how you want to slant the story.
6. A company is in arbitration with its labor unions, and runs an advertisement reporting that the average salary earned in its company is \$100,000 a year. However, it is a fact that 80 percent of its workers make less than \$25,000 a year. The company must be lying.

The average salary could still be \$100,000. Say there are 10 employees, and 8 make \$20,000 a year, and 2 make \$420,000. The average salary would be [(8 X \$20,000) + (2 X \$420,00)] / 10 = \$100,000.
7. An advertisement reports, "Brand X car uses 20 percent less gas." What's wrong with this statistic?

Twenty percent less gas than what? A city bus? Without knowing the object of comparison, this statistic is incomplete and therefore not very telling.
8. "Eighty percent of all respondents preferred the Cowboys to the Redskins. Therefore, we can conclude that Americans prefer the Cowboys to the Redskins." What is wrong with this use of statistics?

Answer: The sample is not stated

For all we know, only inhabitants of Texas were surveyed, which would certainly skew the results. Without knowing from where the sample is drawn, we cannot conclude that the statistic is an accurate representation of the country as a whole.
9. What academy award winning documentary, directed by Michael Moore, is accused by critics of manipulating gun statistics?

This film won the academy award for best documentary in 2003, but many critics claim it is more fiction than documentary. In addition to staging scenes and editing speeches (i.e. slicing together words to make speakers appear to say things they never actually said), Moore is accused of manipulating or simply manufacturing statistics about gun related homicides.
10. Joe Schmoe has had his quizzes played 1,000 times. Janet Bobanet has had her quizzes played only 500 times. Joe's quizzes must be twice as popular as Janet's quizzes.

Joe could have written 500 quizzes, each played only two times, and Janet could have written 5 quizzes, each played 100 times. And this is why you shouldn't judge your performance by FunTrivia statistics. Just have fun!
Source: Author skylarb

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor natsim before going online.
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