Unlike earlier thinkers, who had sought to improve their...

Unlike earlier thinkers, who had sought to improve their accuracy by getting rid of error, Laplace realized that you should try to get more error: aggregate enough flawed data, and you get a glimpse of the truth. "The genius of statistics, as Laplace defined it, was that it did not ignore errors; it quantified them," the writer Louis Menand observed. "...The right answer is, in a sense, a function of the mistakes.

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