Cherry picking is bad. At least warn us when you do it.
Ben Goldacre illustrates how biased ‘cherry picking’ and choosing from the relevant evidence can result in unreliable conclusions.Key Concepts addressed:
Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 24 September 2011
Last week the Daily Mail and the Today programme took some bait from Aric Sigman, an author of popular sciencey books about the merits of traditional values. “Sending babies and toddlers to day care could do untold damage to the development of their brains and their future health,” explained the Mail.
These news stories were based on a scientific paper by Sigman in The Biologist. It misrepresents individual studies, as Professor Dorothy Bishop demonstrated almost immediately, and it cherry-picks the scientific literature, selectively referencing only the studies that support Sigman’s view. Normally this charge of cherry-picking would take a column of effort to prove, but this time Sigman himself admits it, frankly, in a PDF posted on his own website.