Friday, March 12, 2010

Worthlessness of social statistics ('01)

I sent this letter to the LATimes in June 2001 (not published):

Social statistics may be amusing points of conversation,
but they are of little practical value. People who think
that they are useful for everday interactions or in
formulating policy are misguided.

Whatever you may know about 62% or 78% or even 99.9% of
middle-aged white males residing in ZIP code 90031 tells
you absolutely nothing you can rely on about me.

And policy-makers, who deal with far larger populations,
should be even more careful not to rely on any social
statistics to make universal laws or regulations.

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