Maria’s post about required statistics courses reminds me of a possibly apocryphal story. I think it concerns one of the very early British social surveys of urban poverty by Charles Booth, or Mackintosh or one of those guys. The results were resisted by many for political reasons, and one strategy was to discredit the new-fangled methods they relied on. Thus, one critic in (I believe) the House of Commons asserted that he could not find the results credible because the report “only relied on a sample of the population—and a mere random sample, at that.”
If anyone can confirm the source of this (doubtless mangled) story, let me know.