**Myths and Realities**

The word "statistics" evokes many different meanings, depending on each person's own experiences. What follows is a compilation of some common myths. We hope that we can help clarify the meaning of the discipline - its goals and limitations - as well as those of its practitioners.

To reveal the truth, please click on the corresponding myth.

Comments and suggestions: nakamura@cimat.mx To reveal the truth, please click on the corresponding myth.

**Myth 1:**It only makes sense to consult with a statistician after the data has already been collected.**Myth 2:**The uses of statistics are merely tabulating data, building histograms and graphs, and drawing pie charts and bar plots.**Myth 3:**A statistician's work can be replaced by a computer, because it is all about performing certain numerical calculations.**Myth 4:**Electoral survey projections were wrong. That is proof that statistics is useless.**Myth 5:**Since statistics can prove anything, it may be used (and indeed, is used) for lying.**Myth 6:**The statistician's job is to "gather statistics", that is, to compile data and figures, ranging from sport statistics to census statistics.**Myth 7:**Statisticians are only trained in methods, algorithms and numerical techniques that are commonly used in applications.**Myth 8:**We do not need to consult a statistician because one of our team members had two statistics courses as part of their undergraduate training.**Myth 9:**In order to think like a statistician, you need a degree in statistics.**Myth 10:**Statistics can't be referred to as an exact science, because it only yields approximate results**Myth 11:**The fields where statistics can be applied are very limited.**Myth 12:**Statistics consists of a set of known, fixed methods that do not change.**Myth 13:**A statistician would place his head in an oven and his feet in ice, and say that on average he feels fine.**Myth 14:**Statistics is the art of torturing numbers until they confess to anything.**Myth 15:**A deck of cards must be shuffled many times in order to produce a fair game.**Myth 16:**If a person knows probability theory, he/she can become a millionaire by participating in lotteries.Return