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Mr. Furious
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I've seen the quote "the plural of anecdote is not 'data'" in various places, including in the "Your Favorite Quote" thread. I orginally saw it in the .sig of a snopester but (I'm really really sorry) I can't remember who.

I think it's a great quote, so I figured I'd Google it to see who originally said it. It's been attributed to quite a few different people, and I was curious if anyone had a definitive source. Here is a list of the names I found. It isn't complete by any means, since I stopped after the first few pages.

Roger Brinner (the most common)
David M. Berwick
Dr. Mulligan
George Stigler
Al Bothe, Jr.
Marjory Blumenthal
Thomas J. Kennedy, Jr.
Mike Quear (from a post by Paul Unwin in the Your Favorite Quote thread)

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Posts: 8729 | From: North Carolina | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Cure the Blues
We Three Blings


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quote:
I orginally saw it in the .sig of a snopester but (I'm really really sorry) I can't remember who.
It's Kathy B's sig, and an excellent one it is.

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Posts: 1186 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I got it from Rob Rosenberg's Virus Myths site. He attributed it to testimony given by Mike Quear at a congressional hearing. The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'
quote:
MIKE QUEAR WORKS as a technocrat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He addressed CSSPAB members the same day I did. My ears perked up at one point when Quear noted "the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data.' "
Maybe Mike picked it up from one of the folks you cited, I dunno. I just thought it was the perfect sentiment for snopes sig. Schnervel has met Mike & says he's still arond the Capitol.

Kathy "sig-nificant" B.

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The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."


Posts: 4255 | From: Sacramento, CA | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Mr. Furious
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Kathy B:
I got it from Rob Rosenberg's Virus Myths site. He attributed it to testimony given by Mike Quear at a congressional hearing. The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data' [QUOTE]MIKE QUEAR WORKS as a technocrat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He addressed CSSPAB members the same day I did. My ears perked up at one point when Quear noted "the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data.' "
Maybe Mike picked it up from one of the folks you cited, I dunno. I just thought it was the perfect sentiment for snopes sig. Schnervel has met Mike & says he's still arond the Capitol.

Kathy "sig-nificant" B.[/QUOTE]

I love that new smiley! Still like the "head-bashing one" though, too. I agree, that quote is absolutely perfect for a Snopes .sig.

I think you may be right about Mike Quear possibly picking it up from somebody else, though it's just as likely that somebody else picked it up from him. Probably won't ever find out who said it first. Most of the hits I found on Google attributed it to Roger Brinner, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.

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"He's not gonna let me in, I'm Mr. Dirty Mouth!"
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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I got interested & began rummaging. I found a good half dozen more "authors". Roger Brinner is a well-known economist; he looks like the kind of person who would say it. I found one citation referenced: Bernstein, I. S. (1988) Metaphor, cognitive belief, and science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11:247-24

I found this posted to a mesage board for economists:
" Can anyone tell me if and where George Stigler ever recorded in print his famous quip that "the plural of anecdote is not data"?" One response was: " I have the quote as "The plural of anecdote is data" attributed to George Stigler in The Parctice [sic] of Econometrics by Ernst Berndt in the front. " I ran into this version also "As Stigler once said, `how many anecdotes does it take to make a data set'? " Stigler won a Nobel prize for economics.

So, who knows?

Kathy "the plural of 'author' is 'anonymous'" B.

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The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."


Posts: 4255 | From: Sacramento, CA | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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