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January 27, 1906


JAMA. 1906;XLVI(4):278-279. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.02510310040007

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The bewilderments that lie in the path of the wanderer in the field of statistics have long served to edge the point of the jest that statistics can be made to prove anything. One witty essayist, in an article on "How to Know the Fallacies," thus delivers himself regarding the care necessary for raising these thrifty plants: "Statistics are recommended for a mulch. By covering a bed of fallacies with a heavy mulch of miscellaneous statistical matter it is protected from the early frosts and the later drought. The ground of the argument is kept thus in a good condition. No particular care is here needed in the application of statistics; any man who can handle a pitchfork can do all that is required. I have seen astonishing results obtained in this way. No one need be deterred by the consideration of expense. In these days statistics are so cheap

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