|Use and abuse of figures|
If statistics were a human being, it would have been in deep therapy all of its 350-year life. The sessions might go like this:
Statistics: "Everyone hates me."
Therapist: "I'm sure it's not everyone..."
Statistics: "And they misunderstand me."
Therapist: "Sorry, I didn't quite get what you meant there..."
The problem is that statistics are misunderstood by the majority of the population and most people hate what they don't understand. Think of the well-known expressions: "Lies, damn lies and statistics" and "The government uses statistics as a drunkard uses a lamppost; more for support than for illumination."