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To understand God's thoughts we must study statistics, for these are the measure of His purpose. ~ Florence Nightingale

Statistics is a mathematical science pertaining to the collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data.


  • The rise of biometry in this 20th century, like that of geometry in the 3rd century before Christ, seems to mark out one of the great ages or critical periods in the advance of the human understanding.
  • Politicians use statistics like drunkards use lampposts: not for illumination, but for support.
  • 91.7 percent of all statistics are made-up on the spot.
    • Anonymous
  • Average a left-hander with a right-hander and what do you get?
    • Donald Norman, The Design of Everyday Things (1988), Ch. 6, p. 162
  • The true foundation of theology is to ascertain the character of God. It is by the art of statistics that law in the social sphere can be ascertained and codified, and certain aspects of the character of God thereby revealed. The study of statistics is thus a religious service.
    • Attributed to Florence Nightingale by F.N. David in Games, Gods, and Gambling: A History of Probability and Statistical Ideas, 1962, page 103.
  • Numbers and stats bob in a sentimental slop, a swampy slurry of bits of hard data and buckets of mushy manipulation.
  • The individual source of the statistics may easily be the weakest link. Harold Cox tells a story of his life as a young man in India. He quoted some statistics to a Judge, an Englishman, and a very good fellow. His friend said, Cox, when you are a bit older, you will not quote Indian statistics with that assurance. The Government are very keen on amassing statistics—they collect them, add them, raise them to the nth power, take the cube root and prepare wonderful diagrams. But what you must never forget is that every one of those figures comes in the first instance from the chowty dar [chowkidar] (village watchman), who just puts down what he damn pleases.
  • Thomasina: If there is an equation for a curve like a bell, there must be an equation for one like a bluebell, and if a bluebell, why not a rose? Do we believe nature is written in numbers?
    Septimus: We do.
    Thomasina: Then why do your shapes describe only the shapes of manufacture?
    Septimus: I do not know.
    Thomasina: Armed thus, God could only make a cabinet.

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