Science and religion

The Canadian Medical Association Journal condemns the government’s census decision. The Canadian Jewish Congress and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada add their complaints. And Stephen Gordon has another go at Tony Clement.

The problem of a biased sampling methodology cannot be fixed by sending out more voluntary questionnaires: all you get is a bigger, biased sample. What’s particularly annoying is that Minister Clement is well aware of this point, because I explained it to him personally.

This decision was made without consulting anyone who understands statistics. After two weeks of criticism by everyone who does, the government’s strategy is not to explain why the material we teach in statistics courses is wrong. Instead, it chooses to pretend that the material we teach in statistics courses doesn’t exist.

Mr. Clement now says he went to Statistics Canada with his concerns and the voluntary survey is one of the options StatsCan offered him. I’ve sent a note to the agency asking if anyone there might be available, in light of this, to explain the decision and address some of the concerns raised.