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9 Reasons Numbers Don’t Lie But Liars Use Numbers

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8 min read

People often think that numbers lie. But how about the reasons numbers don’t lie? In this article, you will get to know nine reasons why it doesn’t lie.

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There is a common misconception people always have that numbers lie. Ironically, it should be liars who use numbers. While this may not seem convincing, there is got to be a well-proven fact to back it up.

But in the right sense, don’t you think people should mindful of how they use numbers so that it doesn’t give the wrong information?

We use numbers every day in our lives, and in every aspect of our lives to signify or represent one thing or the other. We

However, in cases where it requires human for numbers to signify or represent something, then it will be rather difficult to agree it lies.

How about cases where it requires someone’s interpretation for it to also have a meaning? That shows its innocence, too.

You will get to know why this is so, as well as how humans misuse numbers that always make you thinking numbers lie.

Because this article talks about reasons numbers don’t lie but lairs using numbers, we shall briefly look at the nature of the human lie.

Also, we shall look at how humans lie and how lie itself affects human behavior. But first, what does numbers don’t lie mean?

Numbers don’t lie meaning

The numbers don’t lie is a phrase meaning humans intentionally use numbers to pass the wrong information to other people.

It tells you the degree of tendency humans have in misusing numbers for their own Interests in an intentional manner.

That means any information presented in numbers could either be the right one or the wrong, depending on the individual who used the numbers.

A very good example of it is when someone says, “56843521.”

Now these are numbers, but it requires interpretation by the person who said it, else you may be wondering what it means.

Because the numbers could mean anything. It could mean a password, a signature, a slogan, a security number, or even a name.

However, if the interpreter says it’s a password whereas it’s a name in numbers, then the liar is the interpreter, not the numbers.

The saying “numbers don’t lie” and “statistics don’t lie but liars use statistics” was credited to Mark Twain

Nature of humans telling a lie

Sure, a liar is a person who tells lies, but why do liars lie?

Liars lie because it’s defensive, and they often lie to escape the results of what telling the truth may result in.

They may also lie to protect your feelings, save integrity, remain in a pleasant zone, or to maintain relationships or close contact with you.

You may also wonder if lying is genetic or not. For a fact, genetic lying could be determined when the lying appears to be extreme.

In such instances, these kinds of liars are constantly lying, and they are known as pathological liars.

Can these pathological liars change? Well, because most pathological liars are born that way, it can be difficult to say.

But the truth is that pathological liars can limit their lies when they get into lesser troubles, but changing may be hard. I mean really hard.

Even, these pathological liars have high self-assurance and don’t feel rejected, which makes them know they are lying.

Philosophers often say that lie can’t be justified because you cannot lie to another person because of circumstances or because another person has lied to you.

And this is not an exception to any type of lie a person commits. These types of lies are:

  • Denial lie not accepting the truth
  • Exaggeration lie – telling as greater or better.
  • Minimized lie – cutting short the effects of mistakes or faults
  • Restructuring lie – the content has been obstructed from the fact.
  • Error lie – lying by mistake
  • Omission lie – leaving out relevant information.
  • Fabrication lie – deliberately inventing a false story. 

Fun fact: The average person lies at least once during 10 – 15 minutes discussion and told an average of two to three lies in between.

Wow, that says a lot, I guess.

Detecting the liars

Have you ever noticed some sort of yawn when someone tells you something that may a lie? Right, a yawn is a technique liars often use.

Another way you can tell when a person is lying in the direction the person looks at while lying.

Psychology says that when people look up their upper right, then they may be lying.

However, you can tell when someone is lying by looking for these signs:

  • Voice changes
  • Still appearance
  • Hard pauses
  • Weird gestures
  • Eyes direction
  • Covers parts of the face
  • Body confusion
  • Pointing fingers

Even though a blue lie for example is intended to be of help to someone or a group, it is still a lie.

In addition to that, the types of liars as well would be needful here.

The types of liars are as follows:

  • Compulsive liars – The behavior of habitual lying, though compulsive is not a mental disorder
  • Sociopathic liars – unlike the pathological liars, sociopathic liars lie on a regular basis often without conscience
  • Pathological liars – The compulsive has the urge to lie about matters big and small, regardless of the situation
  • Occasional liars – just as the name implies, they lie on certain occasions

Reasons numbers don’t lie but liars use numbers

Having known the nature of humans telling a lie and how to detect a lie, we can now believe that humans are really capable of using numbers to lie.

But let’s dig deeper to know why numbers don’t lie, as to how humans use numbers to lie.

1. It requires interpretation

You must have been in a situation where you hear someone say some random numbers to you or to another person.

At least I have had someone say it to me, and trust me, I had no single idea what that person meant.

Whether he was insulting me or not I didn’t even know. But if he had lied to me (supposing I asked him), how would I have known?

But all I know, those numbers represent something, but if not interpreted, there’s no way I could be sure of what it means

Of course, it may be a computer password, a phone lock, a security code, or even a name in numbers.

Now, all this number did was to pass a message across that needs interpretation in order for you to know what it represents.

However, if the person to interpret what it means lies to you, then the interpreter lied with the numbers by giving you the wrong interpretation intentionally.

2. It represents data

Most times, you need the right information in form of data to give you a go-ahead with your decisions.

While such data could be in numbers, it is important to know that without the numbers, that kind of information cannot be given.

A good example of this is when you conduct a census.

If you had wanted to provide sufficient job opportunities for people in a certain place, that would be difficult without knowing the exact population of graduates and job seekers.

In that case, the population data will be necessary and it needs to be in numbers.

Whether the population increases or decreases, it still requires data in numbers to prove it.

But if those people conducting the census intentionally give the wrong information for a high population, you know what that means for the masses.

3. It tells the progress of something

Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades and centuries can tell the progress of something.

All these time differences are presented in numbers.

In that case, if you expect a certain task to be completed in 5 hours and it’s already 4 hours gone, but the task has not gone halfway, you can be sure the progress is poor.

All the number did in that situation was to help you determine how progressive you were with your task.

It hasn’t lied to you that you had all day to complete your task, rather it made you realize you had just an hour to complete the task.

4. It tells the level of growth

Taking humans as an example: One way you can tell if a person is a kid, teenager, youth or adult is when you are told the age of that person.

Aside from human beings, a company can also say a lot about its level of growth, depending on the company’s efforts in staying focus.

For example, a company giving you a series of numbers of employees will also tell the level of growth the company has achieved.

Although, the real number of the company’s employees is there, and of course, it requires numbers to pass the information across.

If the company is not as big as it stated, it would not have such a number of employees.

If someone doesn’t tell you his or her age, you may be wondering what exactly the age of that person may be.

5. It gives facts

A good number of people have to believe in reality for it to be regarded as a fact, and that is also what number is capable of doing.

For example, numbers giving the accurate population size of a country in millions of people that lots of people believe the country has such a population is a fact.

Everyone would agree with the data the numbers are giving, knowing very well that people believe the said country has such a population.

Also, if numbers are representing small figures for something people know to be small, then people will still believe it’s the fact.

However, all of these will only be giving the right facts if humans don’t manipulate them or someone tampering with it.

6. Makes people wise and experienced

Every day that goes by is recorded as part of the days that make up your age later on.

By that, since you count those days and years in numbers, later on when you get old, wise, and experienced, it will be as a result of those numbers.

They are the numbers counting as days and years that enabled you to get to the later age that made you wiser and experienced.

Humans wouldn’t have been wiser if they had not counted their days and learning from those days.

Counting those days and mistakes makes a person learn lessons, knowing that the records from the past days were not pleasant enough.

7. Data is life

If virtually everything we do depends on data to make sure we are all living in the right direction, then it makes sense to say data is life.

You have probably heard that “data is oxygen.”

Of course, humans rely on communication, information, and access to live a productive life and even personal development.

However, it is also important for you to know that all of these require data for it to happen on a daily basis.

The more accurate data you put into information, communication, and other vital aspects of life, the more meaningful life would be for everyone.

The only problem could be how humans may use the numbers to lie.

8. It tells the distance and length of things

When you want to move from one place to another, you can barely tell how far or close that place is.

The only time you can tell about the distance is when it is presented in either kilometer or in miles.

That means if you plan on going to a place you thought was close, not knowing it’s miles away, you had been sorry you never knew about it.

But with the right distance information, that way, you can tell from the information if it’s a place far or near.

If you decide to change your mind or know how long it will take you, then you will know what to decide on.

Also, if something is short, medium, or long, it’s still the data that will tell you how long or short that thing is.

This is another proof that numbers don’t lie, because all these data can sometimes be presented falsely by humans.

9. It tells how something is measured

The final proof that numbers don’t lie is that it tells how something is measured.

When someone says, “I got a million dollars” and the other says, “I got a thousand dollars”, of course, you can tell who has more money.

Whether you present this in written or spoken form, it will always be data.

The same thing applies to when you say you have 12 liters of water and another person says he has 5 liters of water.

Comparing the both to know which is greater, you already know that the other person’s litre of water is smaller than yours.

But without physical proof, you know humans could lie about it.

That’s why humans shouldn’t manipulate numbers so that it doesn’t seem like it lies.

Wrapping it up

Anyone could say number lies, especially when certain circumstances hit them.

Having known that numbers don’t lie means humans intentionally manipulating it, then yes, numbers really don’t lie.

Understanding the nature of humans telling lies would also make you draw a conclusion that yes, numbers don’t lie.

The reasons numbers don’t lie are always there, but because we are all humans, they may be unknown to us.

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