Purpose of the book, Statistical Misconceptions

Misconception, n. The action or an act of misconceiving or misunderstanding something. Now chiefly: a view or opinion that is false or inaccurate because [it is] based on faulty thinking or understanding. [Oxford English Dictionary. (2008).]

People have misconceptions about many things. For example, it is commonly (but incorrectly) thought that the moon’s orbit around our planet takes 28 days, that Napoleon Bonaparte was short, that humid air is more dense than dry air, that the normal body temperature of humans is 98.6º Fahrenheit, and that the Earth was considered to be flat by most people when Columbus began his voyage in 1492. People also possess statistical misconceptions that have infiltrated the way they think about data. In a very real sense, therefore, this text is designed primarily to help people undo the statistical misconceptions that they already have. A secondary goal is to sharpen readers’ way of thinking so they are less likely to acquire, in the future, new misconceptions that have not as yet infected their notions about statistics.