Re: The integrity of data

From: John ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 05/18/04-03:11:19 PM Z
Message-id: <>

At 12:13 PM 5/18/2004 +0000, you wrote:

>P.S. It may be difficult for many people here, who have come up through
>art departments and been infected with a lot of postmodernist nonsense
>about science and truth and reality and evidence and epistemology and
>social constructivism and whatnot, to even fathom why I would care so
>much about data. To put it simply, you guys have been sold a shoddy bill
>of goods. The truth is that data matter; they matter very much, and we
>ignore them at our peril. There either are or are not weapons of mass
>destruction. That's data. A given company either has or doesn't have
>real earnings for the quarter. That's data. Teenage pregnancy is either
>on the increase, or it's not. That's data. When data are
>misrepresented, or ignored, there are consequences. Sometimes it's that
>bad policy decisions are made. Sometimes it's that shareholders lose
>money. Sometimes it's that an entire economy suffers. Sometimes it's
>that people lose their lives and the world becomes a more dangerous
>place.The consequences are never good, when data are not presented
>honestly. That's why I care.

         Unfortunately accurate and non-biased data is very hard (if not
impossible) to come by. It's all about who is asking the qustions, what
the questions are and who is paying for it. Mostly who is paying for it.

         A good example of bad data is to be seen right where I work in a
major call center for a major computer OEM. Unfortunately they value data
more than they value customers or employees (but not the flippin'
stockholders !) and yet they are still asking the wrong questions.
Received on Tue May 18 15:11:36 2004

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