And one of the blurbs on the back cover quotes Arthur C. Clarke:
"In today's world, "innumeracy" is an even greater danger than illiteracy, and is perhaps even more common. Advertisers and politicians exploit is; intellectuals (self-styled) even flaunt it. I hope that this wise and witty book will provide cures where they are possible, and warnings where they are necessary.
"It's also a lot of fun. I can guarantee that 100%."
What can I add to that? Well, a couple of things. It really is an interesting book, and was a surprisingly easy read. However, I think I may have to read it again before too long -- I need to develop some way of internalizing my recognition of many of the math abuses so clearly illuminated here.
Also, I'm having a really hard time understanding why the likelihood of a false positive or false negative on, say, an AIDS test depends on the incidence of the disease in the population I come from. Sounds like voodoo statistics to me. Does this mean I have a different likelihood of a false positive if you consider me as coming from the population of "over-50-year-old white males" than if you consider me as coming from the population of "North American sf fans"? Just doesn't make sense to me.
On the other hand, I have no trouble at all with the fact that the law of averages demands that if I've just flipped a coin 800 times and have obtained 800 "heads," the chances of getting "heads" on the next flip is exactly 50/50.
In any case, the bottom line is I highly recommend this book.