Quotes: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

"The first way to check data is to check who's sharing it. This sounds unscientific, as we're meant to respect the data instead of being biased by who's presenting it, but it's already been biased by their presentation of it. Science only works when you use the whole thing. You have to consider all the results, not just the ones that support things you like. But pundits Google titles that match what they already believe, then wave quotes out of context to claim the power of SCIENCE. It's like ripping the shiniest part out of a Lamborghini engine and claiming you have the ability to sprint at 300 kilometers per hour."

75% percent of people will believe anything that has a statistic in it.
—Old joke


"Facts are ventriloquists' dummies. Sitting on a wise man's knee they may be made to utter words of wisdom; elsewhere, they say nothing, or talk nonsense, or indulge in sheer diabolism."
Aldous Huxley, Time Must Have A Stop (1944)

Triple H: Sixty six percent, that's almost better than a half chance for a DX victory!
Shawn Michaels: Seventy percent of statistics are wrong, eighty percent of the time.

Qwark: This Lombax is young. He does not understand that being a hero is 45% strength, 60% bravery, and 10% raw intelligence.
Ratchet: That's 115%!
"And I'm sure you can account for the fact that since your so-called "Justice" League formed, white-collar crime is up 3%!... On your watch, 50% of all marriages now end in divorce! And the other 50% in DEATH!!"
"Glorious" Gordon Godfrey, Justice League

Real Life

"If enough data is collected, a board of inquiry can prove anything."
Murphy's Law of Combat #75

"Nothing is so fallacious as facts, except figures."
George Canning

"Polls are for strippers and cross-country skiers."

"Because this is a meteorological fact I can prove with graphs and lying. It snows EVERY CHRISTMAS DAY. Oh, shut up, what do you know??"
Steven Moffat on the rules of Christmas Movies, Radio Times issue 18-31 December 2010

Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.
Aaron Levinstein

I never believe in statistics unless I've forged them myself.