Numbers Lie, Too.

May 26, 2011

If I never heard the phrase "men lie. women lie. numbers don't." ever again for the rest of my life, I would die a happier man. No exaggeration. Reason being: Numbers lie, too.

I'm tired of people slangin' statistics around to bolster their argument, as if numbers are some automatic trump card. Recently, I heard someone say, "more black men are in prison than in college". That couldn't be any further from the truth. Nevertheless, MANY people believe in such nonsense because with a little manipulation of words and any number greater than 30%, anyone can become a master debater nowadays.

I threw the following image together in paint to further illustrate how numbers can also lie. (I think I saw this in sociology class before, btw):


Just looking at this chart, one could say "There is a positive correlation between icecream sales and homicide cases. As icecream sales increase, so does the # of homicides". And they would be RIGHT! But it doesn't take into account the extraneous variable of heat and its effects on the rise in icecream sales and homicides.

I swuhfolawd, I'ma lose it if I hear someone say that numbers don't lie. The fact of the matter is men lie, women lie, and numbers lie. And most importantly, people are too lazy to fact check, use active thought, and discern truth from error. The end.

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