Section author: Danielle J. Navarro and David R. Foxcroft

Why do we learn statistics?

“Thou shalt not answer questionnaires
Or quizzes upon World Affairs,
Nor with compliance
Take any test. Thou shalt not sit
With statisticians nor commit
A social science”

—W.H. Auden[1]

[1]The quote comes from Auden’s 1946 poem Under Which Lyre: A Reactionary Tract for the Times, delivered as part of a commencement address at Harvard University. The history of the poem is kind of interesting.