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why an anecdote can never be more than a starting point

At least a couple of times I've made a comment along the lines of "the plural of anecdote is not data". Now here's an excellent video (courtesy of Evidence-Based Thought) that explains why not:


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I know that voice, that's Thunderf00t, who does the Why People Laugh at Creationists series on YouTube. Always very perceptive and worth listening to.

There was a good example of such selective memory on a TV3 60 Minutes show a few years ago, in which host Melanie Reid "tested" medium Jeanette Wilson. The exchange went something like this:

Wilson: Does the name Ted or Edward mean anything to you?

Subject: Close - Edwin.

Wilson: And who's that?

Subject: It's my father.

Wilson: He's laughing something about fish.

Subject: Ah well, he was always a keen fisherman.

Later, when asked to rate Wilson's performance, the subject said it was quite impressive, because she had come up with her father's name and the fact that he was a keen fisherman!

Thunderf00t! Of course! I was struggling to remember who the voice belongs to :-)

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