So I was having an argument with a friend and I know I'm right, but she just won't admit it and it's getting really irritating. She thinks this thing goes one way when it clearly actually goes down!

The argument got pretty heated and eventually she decided she was going to prove her point with data, so pointed to some statistics from two papers she'd printed out a while ago. But this was all pointless because BOTH OF THE PAPERS AGREED WITH ME.

You don't know how frustrating this is! I asked if the first paper supported my argument, and she said YES, and I asked if the second paper supported my argument, and she said YES.

So I said either the numbers in the papers are right and therefore I'm right (obviously), or the numbers in the papers are wrong and therefore you shouldn't use them as evidence! And she was like “well...“

I kind of lost track of the argument at this point because I was getting pretty pissed, but I should note that she was trying to show me this thing with dice (she was “improvising” since we had nothing to write with), which she ended up leaving on the table. Supposedly the first paper was researching even numbers and the second paper was researching odd numbers, which doesn't even make sense (what a surprise).

4 sets of 4 dice

(These are all unrelated examples BTW, she thought more examples would help for some reason.)

Anyway if any of you know how to convince my stubborn friend I'd like to know. She's a statistician and it gets to her head.


1 Answer 1


The only thing I can think of that you could be arguing about is

Simpson's paradox

Both of the papers can support your argument because

If your argument involves the whole population, then the first paper can have some downward trend in "even" numbers, and the second paper can have some downward trend in "odd" numbers, supporting your argument, but, when combined, the population as a whole can have an upward trend...
The examples you gave are really too broad for me to figure out what exactly you're talking about..

In conclusion

It is you, in fact, who is wrong. When taking the whole population into account your friend would be correct to observe that the trend changes..

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What would the dice be used for? $\endgroup$
    – Veedrac
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ rot13(Guvf vf npghnyyl gur evtug nafjre. Gur qvpr vyyhfgengr gur cnenqbk fbzrubj.) $\endgroup$
    – Veedrac
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 15:17

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