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The plural of “anecdote” is not “data”

18 Apr 2012, 13:42 UTC
The plural of “anecdote” is not “data”
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The title of this post is tongue-in-cheek, but it makes an important point. Just because many people believe, assert, or convey something does not immediately graduate whatever they report to become scientifically-reliable or even scientifically-useful. This is actually symptomatic of a larger cultural issue here in the US. Frankly, the dichotomy of what people choose [...]

Clarence Darrow during the 1925 Scopes Trial. (Credit: US Library of Congress)
The title of this post is tongue-in-cheek, but it makes an important point. Just because many people believe, assert, or convey something does not immediately graduate whatever they report to become scientifically-reliable or even scientifically-useful.
This is actually symptomatic of a larger cultural issue here in the US. Frankly, the dichotomy of what people choose to believe when it comes to personal testimony versus hard, scientific data in our society amazes me. -And not in a good way.
There are numerous instances where hard-and-fast data hasn’t convinced a jury (or social group) of the reality the data demonstrates, and conversely, there are numerous examples of personal testimony that would easily have a jury condemn a suspect to death that would never stand up under scientific peer-review.
The simple reality is that people ...

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