Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

W.H. Auden wrote,
Thou shalt not answer questionnaires
Or quizzes upon World-Affairs,
Nor with compliance
Take any test. Thou shalt not sit
With statisticians nor commit
A social science.

How is it that I didn’t take this to heart before embarking on a PoliSci PhD? After 2 days of grappling with datasets and multivariate analysis, I’m ready to confirm that Mark Twain was correct: there are lies, there are damn lies, and there are statistics.


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