Professor Lesser's Cool Stat Quotes Page!


Statistical thinking will be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write." -- H.G. Wells

"Statistics is the grammar of science." -- Karl Pearson

"Then there is the man who drowned crossing a stream with an average depth of six inches." -- W.I.E. Gates

"Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say." --- William W. Wyatt

"An approximate answer to the right question is worth far more than a precise answer to the wrong one." -- John Tukey

"All models are wrong, but some are useful." -- G.E.P. Box

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." -- British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)

"I am one of the unpraised, unrewarded millions without whom Statistics would be a bankrupt science.  It is we who are born, who marry, who die, in constant ratio." -- Logan Pearsall Smith

Life is a school of probability.  -Walter Bagehot Quoted in J.R. Newman (ed.) The World of Mathematics, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1956, p. 1360.

It has been pointed out already that no knowledge of probabilities, less in degree than certainty, helps us to know what conclusions are true, and that there is no direct relation between truth of a proposition and its probability.  Probability begins and ends with probability.
-John Maynard Keynes The Application of Probability to Conduct

The excitement that a gambler feels when making a bet is equal to the amount he might win times the probability of winning it.
-Blaise Pascal In N. Rose Mathematical Maxims and Minims, Raleigh NC: Rome Press Inc., 1988

He who has heard the same thing told by 12,000 eye-witnesses has only 12,000 probabilities, which are equal to one strong probability, which is far from certain.   -Voltaire In J.R. Newman (ed.) The World of Mathematics, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956.

"Figures won't lie, but liars will figure." -- Charles H. Grosvenor

"There's little doubt that the Government figures are honest.  The problem is that the things the numbers are supposed to measure cannot be determined with precision. Furthermore, the problem is compounded when the figures are reported to the public. Unless one is aware of the pitfalls -- and few people are-- the statistics can become extremely misleading." -- T.F. O'Leary, Jr.

"Statisticians ... are much like lawyers.  They do not need to remember every technique exactly, but must know where to locate it when needed and be able to understand it once found." -- S.R. Searle

"(Statistics is) the most important science in the whole world, for upon it depends the practical application of every other science and of every art: the one science essential to all political and social administration, all education, for only it gives exact results of our understand Gd's thoughts, we must study statistics, for these are the measure of his purpose." --- Florence Nightingale

"It no longer suffices to know how things are constituted: we need to seek how things should be constituted so that this world of ours may present less suffering and destitution." -- 19th-century French statistician Eugene Buret

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