Do numbers lie?

  1. IDONO profile image82
    IDONOposted 5 years ago

    Do numbers lie?

    This is kind of like asking " is there a such thing as a computer error?"

  2. Kathleen Cochran profile image83
    Kathleen Cochranposted 5 years ago

    OMG - yes!  "There are lies.  Then there are damned lies.  And then there are statistics (numbers)."

  3. SidKemp profile image95
    SidKempposted 5 years ago

    There is a wonderful book called "How to Lie with Statistics" that shows the way numbers can be used to support falsehood. It was published in 1954, as a warning to teach people to be careful of reading statistics. Unfortunately, it is a manual for almost everything written with stats these days. My mother was in the field of survey research, and efforts (even by the US government) to obtain and present real, unbiased data ended in the 1980s. Now, most people don't even know the difference. (See my brother's book, Business Statistics Demystified, for more.)

    The opposite of a lie is the truth, and the truth can be represented in numbers. But people have to want the truth, and then be willing to prevent or eliminate all kinds of error, and then know how to prevent and eliminate error. This is a field called Quality Management, now passe. (See my book, Quality Management Demystified, and my hubs on CMM and 6 Sigma for more.)