Denialism and data careers do not mix

Yukio
2 min readAug 27, 2022
Image source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNs2YMblqwU

Lately, I’ve been trying to convince people who follow my Instagram account — Universidade dos Dados (Portuguese translation for Data University) — the importance of trusting science and data more than their opinions. I now share with my followers many scientific articles from good journals with conclusions that are often counterintuitive for most people. I do this, in part, because I believe it’s important to raise the bar in their studies. After all, you shouldn’t study only with Medium tutorials — which are great to start with, but it’s not the kind of thing I’d recommend (I respect anyone who disagree with, it’s just my silly opinion). But mainly because I believe you can’t work with data and be so resistant to empirical evidence.

Be real, if you don’t accept the results of those robust studies, why would you think that you would behave any different at work? You’d probably also priotize your beliefs instead of what the data is showing you. If you’re not a data-driven person to talk about economics, health or any other topic, you won’t be at your job either. A data professional needs to learn to accept that their assumptions may be wrong, that assumptions/hypothesis are not superior to data. You need to learn to deal with your biases and know that our intuition fails. That kind of resistance will lead you to be a terrible professional, I guarantee you!

Finally, not trusting the data can also be an indication that you need to get a deep understanding of the topic you’re discussing, or maybe on the basis of data analysis. Learning statistics, understanding sampling and other concepts is essential to know why that counterintuitive conclusion is more relevant than your guess, than your anecdotal evidence.

Here’s a short list of books that may help you understand how your beliefs deceive you and why it’s so important to take a close look at data:
- Freakonomics, The Hidden Side of Everything
- Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us about Who We Really Are
- Thinking, Fast and Slow
- The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

Hopefully, denialism will lose the fight against data!

--

--

Yukio

Mathematician with a master degree in Economics. Working as a Data Scientist for the last 10 years.