‘Wednesday’ Words: 29 August 2013

The inverted commas are a concession to the fact that the twenty-ninth is Thursday. Publication was delayed due to (ahem) pressure of other commitments. There. Looks plausible, doesn’t it? I’ll stick to that, then…

How many times have you heard (or even said) that expression ‘you can prove anything on paper’ in a cynical way?

One somewhat scathing summary was:

“There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Benjamin Disraeli  (1804 – 1881)

But this is perhaps a kinder approach to the concept:

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts – for support
rather than illumination.”

Attributed to Andrew Lang  (1844 – 1912)

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One Response to ‘Wednesday’ Words: 29 August 2013

  1. Emma Day says:

    Hehe. I like the second one better. It explains more. I had an argument with someone recently who swore that something must be 100% true because she saw stats (I think in the form of a research study or survey result) which said so. I tried to assure her that for every study, you’ll find a counter study. That all survey samples have issues with validity. She was having none of it. If I’d had this quote to hand, I could have given her a literary middle finger!

    Great quotes. Thanks for joining in, as always. x

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