Why Data Is Like the BibleData is like the Bible in that people can make it say pretty much whatever they want it to say. Context is critical, but people quote data to justify just about anything imaginable, often without citing the source or explaining the story behind how they data was gathered.
Much like the Bible, I am most comfortable with people who approach data with an open mind and a sense that it should inform rather than drive decisions; and I cringe at those who use it as a tool for sorting, judging and applying condemnation instead of open doors to wisdom.
I'm a fan of the Bible. I'm also a fan of data. But if you're using either of these to cram ideology down my throat, chances are I quit listening a long time ago.
John Spencer is a teacher, author, speaker, and incessant doodler.
He is the co-author of Wendell the World's Worst Wizard
and the co-founder of Write About .