Sunday, February 27, 2005
numberwatch:Reader Andrew went so far as to write to his MP about the Government claim that 30% of accidents are speed related. He pointed out that this figure was achieved by:This is clearly correct. The punchline is in the reply from the sub-minister involved which I will explain as soon as you have read it:
1) counting the proportion of accidents where excess speed was recorded as a factor, (Each accident could have up to 4 causal factors) and adding it to the proportion of accidents where 'speed related factors' such as slippery roads, driver being in a hurry, tailgating etc were recorded as factors to make 30% or so.
2) Then announcing that '30% of causal factors are speed related'.
3) Then sliding to '30% of accidents are caused by speed' in the hope that no one would notice the change of ground.
Andrew pointed out that accidents involving tailgating, drivers being in a hurry and so on may not involve excess speed at all, and that those that did would already be included in the count of accidents with excess speed as a factor and so were effectively being double counted.
His MP received a reply from Lord Whitty of the DETR which contained the following:Only in Britain would you find a politician so honest (or stupid) as to explain to an opponent how he intends to fake government figures by issuing "revised guidance" to the police on how they are to officially but fraudulently record accidents. No wonder crime figures are falling. Mind you since police time is relatively expensive - it would be cheaper to have a clerk at the ministry write "& excessive speed" on all reports.
"With regard to Mr Bent's claim about "double counting", the relatively low incidence of excessive speed as a stand alone factor in the report suggests that, where other factors such as slippery roads and drivers being in a hurry (sic), the police may consider it unnecessary to record excessive speed as well. We are addressing this in the revised guidance being developed with the police for officers who complete accident forms."
Particularly revealing were the almost sensational results of a surveyThis is part of a report about a German scientific conference with, unusually representatives from both sides. If 1/4 of European climate researchers don't believe that the majority of any warming is caused by mankind then how many of the rest believe there is historically unusual warming at all (my guess 2/3rds of the 3/4s). How many of that rest believe it is remotely enough to start melting ice (my guess 1/4). How many of those believe Kyoto is an effective response (guess 1/10th) If this is what pro-Kyoto Europeans think & we know many American & Russian scientists are less convinced what proportion of world scientists agree (60%)?
conducted by Prof. Bray among some 500 German and European climate
researchers. The results show impressively that the much- repeated claim of
a "scientific consensus" on anthropogenic global warming is a carefully
constructed piece of fiction: According to the survey results, some 25% of
European climate researchers who took part in the survey still doubt
whether most of the moderate warming during the last 150 years can be
attributed to human activities and CO2 emissions.
If the consensus position is only held by (3/4 X 3/4 X 1/4 X 1/10 X 60%) 0.8% of scientists how exactly is that a scientific consensus? (It may be a political consensus in the same way that Lysenkoism in the USSR was - except more disastrous)