30 October 2008

Lies and Statistics - part two

Some quotations on lying:
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time - Abraham Lincoln (attributed)

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back - Carl Sagan

Always tell the truth. That way, you don't have to remember what you said - Mark Twain

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes - Mark Twain, again (attributed)

Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive! - Sir Walter Scott

Liars when they speak the truth are not believed - Aristotle

It is always the best policy to speak the truth--unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar - Jerome K. Jerome

A lie told often enough becomes the truth - Lenin

And a further mention of statistics, which was mentioned in part one and is shown clearly in the title of this thread. Statistics can prove anything - you analyse the data to try and make it demonstrate whatever it is you're trying to prove. Thus, although containing facts of one sort or another, statistics can lie as well.

A statistician is a person who stands in a bucket of ice water, sticks their head in an oven and says "on average, I feel fine!" - K.Dunnigan

More to follow.

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