Never more true than today

January 10, 2010 in Quotes

In his Chart Wars talk, Alex Lundry mentions a quote which he attributes to H. G. Wells:

Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write.

However, that statement was actually made by Samuel Wilks, who was paraphrasing a line in Wells' book Mankind in the Making:

The great body of physical science, a great deal of the essential fact of financial science, and endless social and political problems are only accessible and only thinkable to those who have had a sound training in mathematical analysis, and the time may not be very remote when it will be understood that for complete initiation as an efficient citizen of one of the new great complex worldwide States that are now developing, it is as necessary to be able to compute, to think in averages and maxima and minima, as it is now to be able to read and write.

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