Understanding Statistics

As with most college students, statistics is a really hard subject to grasp, even for somebody that is good in math (i.e. algebra,calculus, etc.).
What one needs to realize is that although a good foundation in mathematics is needed to truly understand statistics, the concepts behind the use of statistics is actually quite simple.
Since I have always enjoyed hunting and fishing, I always love bringing up the example of the mathematicians and statistician that went hunting.
So, 2 mathematicians and a statistician went hunting for deer.  Both were standing in the same stand and talking about all the fun things in life, when all of a sudden the biggest and nicest buck on the property staggered into the area.
The first mathematician pulled his bow back and shot towards the deer.  Unfortunately the arrow missed it's target high and the mathmatecian became really sad.  Reveling in this new found opportunity, the second mathmatician took a shot at the deer and shot his arrow into the ground.
After the first and second mathmatician missed the deer both high and low, the lonely statistician jumped for joy and threw his bow to the ground, exclaiming "Woohoo, I shot the deer" before even shooting his arrow.
Although the story may seem extremely unlikely, it proves a valuable point about the difference between mathmatics and statistics.
Mathematics is an exact science that is always trying to find the exact answer to a situation, while statistics is more about trying to estimate an answer to the solution, the answer may not be exact, but if the process is done properly, statistics will be damn close to the exact answer. 


Gary D.

Statistics and SAS made easy for Science students

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