View Full Version : Who coined this statement?
03-09-2004, 07:57 PM
Xiphos has the signature "The plural of anecdote is NOT data".
I have searched the web and found a few variations on this, but no original attribution.
"The plural of anecdote is not 'evidence'."
"The plural of anecdote is not 'fact'."
Does anyone know where it comes from?
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
03-09-2004, 08:18 PM
I do not know, but I first heard it on Dr. Dean Edell's radio program about 10 years ago.
03-09-2004, 08:48 PM
This web site (http://www.vmyths.com/rant.cfm?id=86&page=4) claims that one Michael Quear, a technocrat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The site gives no reference though.
This one (http://www.sysprog.net/quotdata.html) says Frank Kotsonis (looks lie a more reliable site). This site agrees: http://www.clarity.net/~adam/quotes.html
Haven't found a date, though.
There seem to be several Frank Kotsonises. I'd guess its the one who does research on aspartame.
This guy (http://liberaldesert.blogspot.com/2002_11_01_liberaldesert_archive.html) claims that Senator Moynihan said it over a decade ago, and that it shows up periodically in the congressional record. But, he doesn't know if it was Moynihan's original thought or not.
However, Moynihan's saying was the opposite: The plural of anecdote is data.
This site (http://www.keypress.com/fathom/quotes.html) attributes it to Roger Brinner.
The skeptic report agrees.
The earliest date for the negative form (not data) seems to be 1999.
I would guess the positive form has been around been around longer and is what Earl Snake-Hips Tucker recalls which also corresponds with Moynihan site. Then, scientists got pissy about it and started using the negative form, written down in the last 5-6 yrs.
The Brinner sites look better than the Kotsonis sites. Both Brinner and Kotsonis appear to be associated with medical research (Brinner with immunology).
Nobody has dates.
03-09-2004, 09:01 PM
hmm ... this page http://drugandhealthinfo.org/page05.php?ID=19 appears to site Martin Gardener in SKEPTICAL INQUIRER May/June 1999 p 13 as siting Dr. Herb Kleber of the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.
This page http://www.thesafetyvalve.com/archives/000080.html says its Howard Fienberg ... but I'm not gonna try and figure out who that is.
OK ... I'm done.
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
03-10-2004, 07:07 AM
I didn't make my point very clear. Dr. Dean said it, but was quoting someone else that he had heard say it. I do not recall that person's name.
vBulletin® v3.7.3, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.