Just Because It is True Doesn’t Make It Correct

May 5, 2014

The Wizard of Id cartoon recently featured the Wizard over time being given the “truth”, including milk is good for you, but eggs are bad (at age 6) and later that milk is bad for you, but eggs are good for you (age 100). The strip ends with the profound catch line: ”In all my years, I’ve learned one thing: no one knows what they’re talking about.”[1]

The point is well taken. The Economist’s columnist Lexington recently took on this topic in “When facts are weapons”.[2] He noted, in the political arena (and what is not eventually there) that while some experts are “sincere” in their efforts to explain aspects of the world, others are “partisans in disguise”.

So? Well, for those of us trying to understand an issue of importance when doing our competitive intelligence, we sometimes look for a “report” or “study” to help provide context, background, or just to educate ourselves in a novel area. Be very careful of what or who is the ultimate source of your “facts” or “study”, and, more importantly, why they even active are in that arena of ideas.

In other words, keep in mind two (cynical, but accurate) observations:

“In today’s politics everything is a weapon, with which to club the opposition. Why should facts be different?” Lexington.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” – attributed to Benjamin Disraeli by Mark Twain.

 

[1] http://www.gocomics.com/wizardofid/2014/05/04

[2] http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21601516-politicians-have-never-had-access-so-much-data-how-come-their-debates-are-so



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