Manifesto for a statistically literate public
A great resource is now available online: Helping Doctors and Patients Make Sense of Health Statistics
by Gerd Gigerenzer, Wolfgang Gaissmaier, Elke Kurz-Milcke, Lisa M. Schwartz, and Steven Woloshin. This article is a robust polemic - a call-to-arms against numerical illiteracy in the face of claims about the health benefits of screening and treatments.
There's many examples of manipulation of public perception, either deliberate or through ignorance - such as 'mismatched framing' where the benefits of treatments are given in relative risks ("Women taking tamoxifen had about 49% fewere diagnoses of breast cancer") while harms are given in absolute risks ("the annual rate of uterine cancer in the tamoxifen arm was 30 per 10,000 compared to 8 per 10,000 in the placebo arm").
This should be compulsory reading.