Wednesday, September 10, 2008

worse than useless data | insidework


Mark Twain gave Benjamin Disraeli credit for the line: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Having posted recently on useless data, my thoughts are drawn to something worse — data that’s misappropriated, or even ginned up to make a point.

A friend asked me to read a draft document that included something he’d heard: “Studies estimate that nearly 90% of teens leave the church after graduating high school.” About the same time, another friend invoked another frequently repeated line: “Over the past few years, various research studies have found more than 75% of Christians leave their faith after high school and more than 60% after college.”

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