The ongoing presidential debates mark the perfect time to take a brief look at logic and statistics. On any given issue, statistics are often used to create a bulletproof case, but things aren't always what they seem. In fact, statistics are tricky little buggers. They are used to strengthen arguments and make them appear logical, but how good is a statistic if you can't fact check it? Most of us aren't equipped to go beyond the basic steps of fact checking, even if the Internet makes it possible.
My rule of thumb: Do a quick Google search and look for multiple perspectives on the issue involved. If it's political, look for both conservative and liberal voices. If a study is mentioned, try to find the original and decipher it on your own, or look for a .edu website explaining it.
Here's an example from President Obama's 2016 State of the Union Address:
According to this speech, the U.S. spends "more on our military than the next eight nations combined." Presented this way, the numbers seem outrageous. Why are we spending so much on national defense when no one else even comes close? (By way of comparison, in 2009, U.S. defense spending accounted for 40% of global arms spending, and in 2012, our defense budget was 6x larger than China's).