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 Wednesday, 06 July 2005
Wednesday, 06 July 2005 16:36:27 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) ( )

It is certainly true that you can make statistics say anything. People go to school specifically for this purpose and some become very good at it.


However, it is also true that anecdotes can be used to get people to feel anything. People spend a great deal of time becoming very good at this as well.


As a youth I did competitive debate and a form of competitive speech called discussion. In neither forum was anecdotal evidence permissible, because it was not proof of anything. Rather it was pure emotional manipulation and had no place in rational discourse.


For some time now the political right has been railing against “liberal judges”, and in particular the ones on the Supreme Court. To “prove” their point, the right has made heavy use of anecdotes that get people riled up about the loss of this or that bit of right-wing morality.


Turns out that, at least with one application of statistics, the conservative justices on the high court are far more likely to defy the will of the Congress and the people than the liberals… In terms of actively causing change, the conservative justices are the ones to watch out for!

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