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It's the part of mathematics that even mathematicians don't particularly like, 统计是数学的一部分,但是它是连数学家都不怎么喜欢的那一部分, because whereas the rest of maths is all about precision and certainty, statistics is almost the reverse of that. 因为与其它讲究精确与确定性的数学领域不同,统计学几乎是反其道而行之。 But actually, I was a late convert to the world of statistics myself. 事实上,我自己也是后来才转向统计学的。 If you'd asked my undergraduate professors what two subjects would I be least likely to excel in after university, 如果你们去问问我本科时的教授,我大学毕业后最不可能有卓越成就的两个领域是什么, they'd have told you statistics and computer programming, 他们会告诉你是统计和电脑编程, and yet here I am, about to show you some statistical graphics that I programmed. 然而现在,我要用我编的程序给你们展示统计图表。 So what inspired that change in me? What made me think that statistics was actually an interesting thing? 是什么激发我有了这样的转变呢?是什么让我对统计产生了兴趣? It's really because statistics are about us. 那是因为统计学是研究我们自身的科学。 If you look at the etymology of the word statistics, it's the science of dealing with data about the state or the community that we live in. 如果你看看统计的词源,它是处理数据的科学,围绕着我们所生活的国家或社区。 So statistics are about us as a group, not us as individuals. 所以,统计学是研究作为一个群体的我们,不是作为个人的我们。 And I think as social animals, we share this fascination about how we as individuals relate to our groups, to our peers. 而且我认为作为一种群居动物,我们会分享对作为一个个体,如何与所在的群体以及同辈之间发生联系的那种痴迷。 And statistics in this way are at their most powerful when they surprise us. 统计最强大的时候,是当它让我们惊讶的时候。 And there's been some really wonderful surveys carried out recently by Ipsos MORI in the last few years. 伊普索莫利在过去几年进行过一些很有意义的调查。 They did a survey of over 1,000 adults in the UK, and said, for every 100 people in England and Wales, how many of them are Muslim? 他们调查了超过1000个英国的成年人,提出的问题是,在每一百个英格兰和威尔士人当中有多少个穆斯林? Now the average answer from this survey, which was supposed to be representative of the total population, was 24. 调查的平均答案是24,这是具有国民代表性的答案。 That's what people thought. British people think 24 out of every 100 people in the country are Muslim. 这是国民的想法。英国人认为,在自己国家,每100个人中有24个信仰穆斯林。 Now, official figures reveal that figure to be about five. 而官方数据显示这个数字大约是5。 So there's this big variation between what we think, our perception, and the reality as given by statistics. 很明显,我们的感知与被统计资料呈现的事实之间有着巨大的差异。 And I think that's interesting. What could possibly be causing that misperception? 我觉得这很有趣。是什么原因引起这样的感知差距呢? 来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: http://www.tingvoa.com/html/20180410/549148.html