Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

Dr. Weeks’ Comment: So much of what eventually becomes the standard of care is consensus based decisions which are predicated, in part, upon statistics.  The time honored, anecdotal basis of a case study – the “N of 1” -has fallen out of favor,  but periodically it behoves us to reexamine what actually is a statistical “fact”.

 

Statistics are like a Bikini bathing suit. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.
– Aaron Levenstein, 1911 – 1986

The history of the world shows us that men are not to be counted by their numbers, but by the fire and vigour of their passions.
– Sydney Smith, 1771 – 1845

Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.
– Laurence J. Peter, 1919 – 1990

Sanity is not statistical.

– George Orwell, 1903 – 1950

The average family exists only on paper and its average budget is a fiction, invented by statisticians for the convenience of statisticians.
– Sylvia Porter, 1913 – 1991

Statistics show that of those who contract the habit of eating, very few survive.
– Wallace Irwin, 1875 – 1959

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