Here’s a quick quiz for you…
1. “Fact” and “Statistic” are the same. (true or false)
2. Facts matter more than Opinion. (true or false)
3. Statistics are more about Opinion than Fact. (true or false)
The answers to all of these would be: false. Here’s why.
Facts are nothing more than confirmed, validated, data. Statistics are derived from portions of data, based upon sampling, and apportionment goals. And I’ll get to opinions in a second. This covers question 1 for the most part.
Question 3 would be answered correctly as “it depends”. The reason being that the rationale, justification and methodology applied to establishing the methods for sampling, apportioning and grouping are human-based, and therefore prone to influence from many sources for many agenda.
Question 2 would be best explained like this: If facts were all that were used by Edison, Tesla, Marconi, Einstein or Ford, it’s doubtful their contributions would have been as significant as they’ve been. There’s little debate that each of these inventors/innovators were as known for their wit and opinion as for their deliverable. In fact, their perspective was often when sold their ideas to those who funded and/or purchased the results.
But this brings up an important distinction: [fact + opinion] is not equal to [opinion without fact]. It’s like a car with paint, versus paint without a car. As long as the opinion is clearly based on the facts on which it pertains, it gets a new name: hypothesis (or theory). Opinion without factual basis gets a different name: bullshit.