Saying someone doesn't understand science or statistics as a general statement is an ad hominem attack.
I agree with the first.
I think one needs to be careful with the second. Most of the time, people do not misunderstand the statistic or science - they just disagree with each other, or have a different focus on what is important. I think a lot of people think that "if they just understood what I was trying to say/just understood the stats and science, they would agree with what I am saying." That is not the case.
I am often in awe of the intelligence and articulation displayed by both the pro and non (and everything in between) vaxxers in this community - I am pretty darn sure most of them have the understanding of science and statistics necessary to make a decision.
Moreover, there is no non-inflammatory way to say "you misunderstand that statistic." Most people would respond to such a statement with defensiveness. Better, I think, to explain your reasoning with "I" statements rather than assumptive "no, you misunderstand……." statements.
Edited by purslaine - 5/22/12 at 9:59am