Lies, damned lies, and statistics - WikipediaBest, professor of sociology at the University of Delaware and author of several books, including Random Violence , settles the question once and for all: Disraeli whom Twain credits for his use of the remark in his autobiography. The quote's misattribution is similar to the twisted course statistics often take as they "mutate" into bar-chart monsters with slim if any relation to the original numbers or reality. For instance, a few years ago it was estimated that , American women are anorexic. Somehow, this mutated into an erroneous if not dangerous statistic: , women die annually from anorexia. Since only about 55, American women between 15 and 44 the age range for most cases of anorexia die from all causes each year, this number challenges common sense and the ability of reporters to question what they write about. But it has become a frequently cited, "authoritative" figure that's hard to dispute.
SOS 7 - Lies, damned lies and statistics (Stop 007)
DAMNED LIES AND STATISTICS: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists
It is also sometimes colloquially used to doubt statistics used to prove an opponent's point. The phrase was popularized in the United States by Mark Twain among others , who attributed it to the British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli : "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Several other people have been listed as originators of the quote, and it is often erroneously attributed to Twain himself. Courtney , who used the phrase in and two years later became president of the Royal Statistical Society. Courtney is quoted by Baines as attributing the phrase to a "wise statesman",  but he may have been referring to a future statesman rather than a past one. The earliest instance of the phrase found in print dates to a letter written in the British newspaper National Observer on June 8, , published June 13, , p.