[Synoptic-L] "lies...statistics" source criticism (some % off-topic)
- The recent mention of statistics prompts me to offer a possibly-
interesting bit of new trivia.
We'll all heard what Mark Twain wrote: "There are three kinds of lies:
lies, damned lies, and statistics." Twain wrote (in Autobiography) that
this came from Disraeli; but Disraeli scholars say no.
The source turned up a couple of weeks ago--a statistician! In context,
in an 1895 article, the statement sounds somewhat different. Leonard
Courtney (M.P.) was addressing a NY audience on proportional
representation, and he created a future, fictional scenario to
illustrate the possibility that a political leader could be thrown out
of office even if winning the popular vote. The loser, a playfully-
named "Wise Statesman" (statistics originally being state accountings)
sputters words of denial, differently punctuated than in Twain: "Lies--
damned lies--and statistics."
For particulars, including the article, see:
Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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