Tim Harford Columnist

How far can common sense take us in the field of statistics? At first glance, not very. The discipline may be vital but it is also highly technical, and full of pitfalls and counter-intuitions.

Statistics can feel like numerical alchemy, incomprehensible to muggles — black magic, even. No wonder that, as I described last week, the most popular book on the topic, How to Lie with Statistics, is a warning about disinformation from start to finish.

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