Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Torture the Numbers Long Enough and They'll Say What You Want to Hear

From Dilbert:

Unethical Assumptions - Dilbert by Scott Adams

The headline is a rewording of econ Nobelist Ronald Coase's famous dictum:

"If you torture the data enough, nature will always confess." 
  •  Coase states that he said this in a talk at the University of Virginia in the early 1960s and that this saying, "in a somewhat altered form, has taken its place in the statistical literature."
    • Alternative: "If you torture the data long enough, it will confess."
      • Cited in: Gordon Tullock, "A Comment on Daniel Klein's 'A Plea to Economists Who Favor Liberty'", Eastern Economic Journal, Spring 2001.