Belloc on statistics

In Statistics on Tuesday 9th October, 2007 by Guy Tagged: , ,

Before the curse of statistics fell upon mankind we lived a happy, innocent life, full of merriment and go, and informed by fairly good judgment. We knew when the weather was cold and when it was dry; we knew what public opinion was; we knew what was good for us and what was bad for us, and all the rest. That state of affairs lasted for centuries. It was too good to last. The statistician was let loose. He came in the train of Discovery and the rest. He was part of Progress. He took up his authority in a world which could only count and was ceasing to think or to feel. He appealed to those what had learnt to read figure and to add up and to multiply and to spell, but who had learnt nothing else, who were even rapidly unlearning all things worth knowing.

— Hilaire Belloc, (Anglo-French poet and essayist), “The Silence of the Sea: And Other Essays”, 1940

I have seen the first sentence quoted in many places, but never the passage beyond it, and rarely the correct source, so I have taken it upon myself to rectify the situation. Consider the situation now-rectified.


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