Statistics can so easily be manipulated to give misleading impressions that a famous little book is titled How to Lie With Statistics.  The author wrote it in 1954.  My economics professor assigned it in 1971.  It’s still in print.

Such cautions and warnings are all to the good.  It’s as easy to sucker people with statistics today as it ever was.  But many people, having learned that they can be fooled, refuse to accept any statistics whatsoever.  They assume that all statistics are lies.  Students diligently write down the numbers their teachers feed them, just in case they’re on the exam.  But many go on believing what they want to believe.

Perhaps this wouldn’t be so bad if what they wanted to believe were guided by common sense.  But college in our day tends to be a destroyer of common sense, so all too often it’s coupled with epistemological relativism.  If what’s true for you may be false for me, why then, a lie for you may be honest for me.