Critics’ Reviews

“Mark Battersby’s Is That a Fact? is a readable, entertaining, reliable and useful guide to an important life skill in today’s complex world: understanding, evaluating and using statistical information and reports of scientific research. Using a framework of four “critical questions” (What does the claim mean? How good is the evidence? What else is relevant? What are the fallacies?), Battersby takes the reader through the topics of polling, data, graphs, correlations and causes, and scientific claims. He then shows how to use the information one has evaluated to make decisions. Is That a Fact? is studded with extensive discussions of real-life examples that touch on matters of concern to everyone, such as the health risks of second-hand smoke and of cell-phone use. It is amply illustrated with figures, charts and well-drawn cartoons that vividly bring home key points.”
David Hitchcock
“Is That a Fact? provides an entertaining and enlightening tour of the often confusing world of probability and statistics, always with an eye on their proper role in good reasoning. A delightful discussion that beautifully clarifies what is all too often confusing or just plain confused. The book help will ordinary citizens to better understand and evaluate all sorts of scientific claims as they occur in the popular press and public policy debates. Hats off to Mark Battersby!”
Harvey Siegel
“One of the intellectual currents of our time has been a revolution in the study of reasoning and argument. Philosophers and other academics have broadened their horizons and turned their attention to the study and analysis of the reasoning, arguments and attempts at persuasion that inundate our lives. Mark Battersby has been an integral part of the movement in this direction. In Is That A Fact? he provides an engaging and thoroughly readable introduction to critical thinking on statistical and scientific claims. It can usefully inform the thinking of everyone who has to contend with such claims in their professional or personal lives.”
Leo Groarke
“Using timely and important examples, Professor Battersby provides a careful and well-documented discussion of statistics, and does this without sacrificing liveliness or readability. Is That a Fact? is a fascinating book about statistics to give to all your friends.”
Trudy Govier
“Is That a Fact? should be compulsory reading for every journalist, especially anyone calling themselves a ‘science writer’ or ‘investigative reporter’. This sometimes humorous and well illustrated guide to the world of data, graphs, and statistics is well written and fun to read. Finally we learn the difference between a correlation and an association and how to tell one from the other. Battersby also shows how to spot classic fallacies of reasoning, and how to read scientific articles with a critical eye. Highly recommended.”
Barry Shell

Posted on November 2, 2015