Premiership of Benjamin Disraeli

Image via Wikipedia

Lies, damned lies, and statistics. The three kinds of lies in order of wickedness according to former prime minister of England, Benjamin Disraeli. Statistics are the last refuge of a scoundrel. According to a recent survey of scoundrels, of those responding, 78% admitted to using statistics to prove a point within the past 30 days.

Is that really true? No, it is not. I made up that survey and its results to prove a point. Statistics can be used to “prove” just about anything. And some of the unscrupulous will just make up the numbers. Because numbers are authoritative and some of us will accept them uncritically. In these times of stress and distress, what is needed is thought and discussion, not numbers (statistics) used to prove one side or the other is correct.