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Biology Laboratory Manual, 6/e

# The Importance of Statistics

 The Importance of StatisticsStatistics is simply the most important tool of the sciences, particularly biology. Because scientists often must use large amounts of data to gain a representative sample of a population, it is not possible to simply look at the numbers and understand what is happening. Statistics allows a trained person to see the significance of data, the relationship between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and predict what may happen in the future or determine what may have happened in the past.Statistics, however, is not only useful in science. Insurance agencies use actuary tables to determine the likelihood that you will have a car accident and will adjust your premiums accordingly. Doctors can determine the likelihood that you will develop cancer or a have a heart attack. And, political scientists use statistics to determine how citizens feel about current issues and their likelihood to vote for a particular candidate.