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All of the jokes on this page pertain to the general category of “Statistics.”
ST1StatisticsA somewhat advanced society has figured how to package basic knowledge in pill form.
A student, needing some learning, goes to the pharmacy and asks what kind of knowledge pills are available. The pharmacist says, “Here’s a pill for English literature.” The student takes the pill and swallows it and has new knowledge about English literature!
“What else do you have?” asks the student. “Well, I have pills for art history, biology, and world history,” replies the pharmacist. The student asks for these, and swallows them and has new knowledge about those subjects!
Then the student asks, “Do you have a pill for statistics?” The pharmacist says “Wait just a moment…” and goes back into the storeroom and brings back a whopper of a pill that is about twice the size of a jawbreaker and plunks it on the counter. “I have to take that huge pill for statistics?” inquires the student.

The pharmacist understandingly nods his head and replies “Well, you know statistics always was a little hard to swallow.”
** Thanks to Matt Holtz for a glimpse of how education will be dispensed in the 21st century. **
ST2StatisticsThere was the statistics professor who, when driving his car, would always accelerate hard before coming to any intersection, whip straight through it, then slow down again once he’d got past it. One day, he took a passenger, who was understandably unnerved by his driving style, and asked him why he went so fast over intersections. The statistics professor replied, “Well, statistically speaking, you are far more likely to have an accident at an intersection, so I just make sure that I spend less time there.”
** To a colleague of mine who just had his driver’s license suspended, thanks for telling me this one. **
ST3StatisticsDid you know that the great majority of people have more than the average number of legs? It’s obvious really; amongst the 57 million people in Britain there are probably 5,000 people who have got only one leg. Therefore the average number of legs is:
((5000 * 1) + (56,995,000 * 2)) / 57,000,000 = 1.9999123
Since most people have two legs…

** Thanks to Joachim Verhagen’s Science Jokes for this play upon numbers.**
ST4Statistics In God we trust. All other must bring data.
** This emphasizes the lofty status of statistics in our everyday lives. This one is attributed to Robert Hayden of Plymouth State College. **
ST5StatisticsA physicist, a biologist, and a statistician see two people enter a house, and then after some time, they see three people leave the house.
The physicist concludes, “My initial observation must have been incorrect.” The biologist concludes, “Clearly, the two reproduced…” The statistician concludes, “Well, if one more person enters the house, then there will be no-one in the house!”

** A big thanks to Paul Dickman for this subtle piece of humor that many of my friends just don’t understand. **
ST6StatisticsWhy did the statistician become a statistician? He found accountancy too exciting.
** Thanks to Ian Story for this offering from Australia. **
ST7Statistics“79.48% of all statistics are made up on the spot.” – John A. Paulos
** Thanks to Bill Weaver for this quickie! **
ST8StatisticsStatistics are like a bikini: what is revealed is interesting; what is concealed is crucial.
** Thanks go out to R. Taylor for this little tidbit. **
ST9StatisticsTwo students were walking out of statistics class one day. One was grinning ear to ear and the other was frowning woefully. The one that was grinning said, “Boy, the instructor sure gave an inspired lecture on hypothesis testing today. He said that out of the four outcomes that can occur when you test the null hypothesis, two are correct decisions and two are errors. He praised this procedure as the Holy Grail of statistical analysis.”
The other student looked at his classmate in dismay. He stated, “Well I certainly was not impressed with his lecture and totally disagree with him. ANY STATISTICAL PROCEDURE FOR MAKING A CORRECT DECISION THAT IS NO BETTER THAN FLIPPING A COIN IS PRETTY BAD!!!”

** This discussion would make Neyman turn over in his grave. Please Sir Ronald don’t force me to reject or not reject my joke!!! **
ST10StatisticsA prisoner had just been sentenced for a heinous crime and was returned to his cell. An inquisitive guard could not wait to ask him about the outcome.
Guard: “What did you get for a sentence?”
Prisoner: “I could choose life or 100 years.”
Guard: “And what did you choose?”
Prisoner: “Well, life, obviously. Statistically speaking that is shorter.”

A physician makes an analysis of a complex illness whereas a statistician makes you ill with a complex analysis!

** This convict obviously knew a little about statistics but was lacking in common sense. Thanks go out to Coen Bernards from UCLA for sending this one my way. **
ST11StatisticsHave you heard about the statistics jokes gone horribly wrong?
Even the undergrads could understand it!!

** Hmmh! I always thought the critical attribute of a good statistics joke was its backward compatibilitiy with undergraduates. Oh well!! A big thanks to Kathleane Kaczor a biology major at ISU for sharing this bit of humor even though she was shocked that I liked it. **
Albert Einstein died and found himself on the train to heaven. In his car there were four men sitting on separate benches. He walked up to the first who said, “Hello! My name is Bob, and I have an IQ of 186.” Einstein smiled brilliantly, and said “Ah-hah! We shall discuss quantum physics together!” “Hello, sir. My name is Edward, and my IQ is 150.” Einstein smiled, replying “Excellent! We shall discuss mathematics together.”
Moving on, Einstein shook hands with the third man, who said, “Hello; my name is William, and my IQ is 119.” Smiling again, Einstein replied “Very good! We shall talk together about European history.”
The last man looked up glumly as Einstein approached, and said “Hi, my name’s Chuck, and my IQ’s only 87.” Einstein replied sadly “I see — we shall have to discuss statistics.”

** “Hmmm! I wonder if Einstein was really dissing the statistical profession or intent on giving Chuck a lesson on the Gaussian curve and telling him gently. **
** How true!! How true!! Thanks go out to Alvaro Montenegro Garcia for this contribution. **
ST14StatisticsA physicist, a geologist, and a statistician are talking about whose field is the most fundamental. The geologist says his is because it starts with the creation of the Earth. The physicist says his is the most fundamental because his field starts with the chaos in the universe even before the Earth was formed. The statistician smugly says, “And who do you think caused the chaos?”
** Gee, I spent my entire career teaching students a tool that breeds chaos. I would much prefer to think that I taught them something that created well organized mayhem!! (Only kidding.) Anyway, thanks to Arnie Diamond for sending me this joke. **
** Aha! now I know the raison d’etre for our beloved field. I wonder, however, if statistics had never evolved, would the earth still be a primordial swam;? Thanks Dietrich Trenkler from the University of Osnabruck for this insightful contribution. **
ST16StatisticsA statistics professor was completing what he thought was a very inspiring lecture on the importance of significance testing in today’s world. A young nursing student in the front row sheepishly raised her hand and said, “But sir, why do nurses have to take statistics courses?”
The professor thought for a few seconds and replied, “Young lady, statistics save lives!”
The nursing student was utterly surprised and after a short pause restored, “But sir, please tell us how statistics saves lives!”
“Well,” the professor’s voice grew loud and somewhat angry, “STATISTICS KEEPS ALL THE IDIOTS OUT OF THE NURSING PROFESSION!!!”

** I was always told by professors in other disciplines that statistics was the ultimate screening device. The frequency of occurrence of this question in my introductory statistics course prompted me to write this joke. I think it is wonderful that statistics truly does save lives but how can I give this response to a music therapy major? **
ST17StatisticsStatistics play an important role in genetics. For instance, statistics prove that numbers of offspring is an inherited trait. If your parent didn’t have any kids, odds are you won’t either.
** This is a neat little quip. Thanks Hugh W. Graham, a Quality Engineer from Abbott, for passing this one along. **
ST18StatisticsMy pain and confusion covary
At levels both looming and scary
To pass this exam
I’ll be needing some scam —
Oh statistics! I should have been wary.

** Thanks Deborah Apthorpe from down under at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, for sending me this cute little limerick. If this Joke Gallery can display Knock! Knock! jokes, we certainly can make room for a few statistical limericks. Debby suggests that instructors of statistics have their students write these competitively in class as a learning device. Great idea! **
ST19StatisticsSeveral weeks ago I received one of those infinitely forwarded e-mails that makes the rounds throughout the year. This one had some great graphical optical illusions along with a fascinating piece about how the human mind processes reading material. The following paragraph of prose was given in large print and the recipient was asked to read and attempt to understand the material even though the letters in each word were out of order and the words were thus atrociously garbled misspellings:
Cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the human mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy. It dn’seot mttaer in waht oreder the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny ipromatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.
Most of my friends could read this with understanding and rather quickly I might add. Then I had them read a statistical bit of literature:
Miittluvraae asilyans sattes an idtenossiy ctuoonr epilsle is the itternoiecsno of a panle pleralal to the xl-yapne and the sruacfe of a btiiarave nmarol dbttiisruein.
In general, the outcome changed dramatically with my friends sputtering and spattering the words with great difficulty and most ending up throwing in the towel! Remember the same rules were followed but with a not so glorious ending! HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? HAS STATISTICS RUINED A REASONABLE PREMISE?

** Don’t blame statistics. The words are just not as familiar and the concepts are more difficult to understand. The statistics statement reads: Multivariate analysis states an isodensity contour ellipse is the intersection of a plane parallel to the xy-plane and the surface of a bivariate normal distribution. Guuuulp! That’s right and a tough one to visualize. If you do ever take a course in multivariate analysis, I assure you an exciting adventure awaits you. First you extend the familiar univariate analysis to bivariate analysis with some new concepts and ways of looking at things. Then the real thrills are experienced that bring goose bumps to your skin. The bivariate case is generalized to the multivariate case with only the use of MATHEMATICS itself and the godsend of matrix algebra to serve as your GPS unit. No more graphs and drawings to help your visualization when you progress into four dimensions or more. This may be the only time you have ever been without diagrams or pictorial aids in your life. But I can guarantee you that mastery of this material and the realization of its all-encompassing power will give you one of the most exhilarating mental highs ever and an on-top-of-the-world feeling that is hard to exceed. I rest my case! **
ST20StatisticsIf a statistics course were a prerequisite for having sex, this country would not have a BIRTH CONTROL problem!!
** This was an actual quote by a former graduate student of mine in a second statistics called Statistics II offered by our department. Interestingly enough this fellow was among the highest achieving students in the class. I had to e-mail him (Dennis Wright) to recover the exact wording of this joke. Thanks Dennis for your immediate reply. I think his statement was intended to illustrate the perceived difficulty of a statistics course in any curriculum. **
ST21StatisticsDid you know Santa once took a statistics class? He had trouble remembering which hypothesis should have the equal sign so he would keep repeating: the null hypothesis, the null hypothesis, the null hypothesis.
** In fact, to this day you can hear him say Ho, Ho, Ho **
ST22StatisticsIt is believed by many humorists that statistical jokes are usually a flop in large nightclubs. Thus, if you examined graphically the frequency distribution of the number of statistics jokes told by every stand-up comedian in the USA, what would be the shape of the frequency polygon?
Shapeless—It would be a degenerate point distribution many units on the frequency scale above 0 on the score scale!

** Oh! I am in big trouble now–lumping all these comedians as degenerate. The fact remains that my statement is probably very close to being true. All we need, though, is a counter example to prove me wrong. So please send me a stat joke told by a stand-up comedian!! It is obvious how these people feel toward statistics humor–they know they could not make a living on the topic. Or is it possible that statistical humor is such a new phenomenon that it hasn’t been incorporated into their routines yet? **
ST23StatisticsWhat are stadium statistics?
They are ball park estimates that are foul and land in the stands or on the roof!

** Thank Ken Finstuen for the idea for this little quip. Would you say these estimates have run afoul of the ball park and do not even fall within the 99% confidence limits for the parameter? **
ST24StatisticsStudent A: What is the name of the theorem in statistics that states the sum of squares total is equal to the sum of squares between groups plus the sum of squares within groups (i.e., h2 = a2 + b2)?
Student B: Oh that is easy. That is called the Pythagorean Theorem.
Student A: I am sorry but that is wrong. You must have the right triangle for the Pythagorean theorem to hold and we did not assume that here.
Student B: OK so I had the wrong triangle. If you assume the right triangle then this statement becomes the Pythagorean Theorem.
Student A: You are now correct and it demonstrates how closely intertwined the relationship is between geometry and statistics!

** Holy Cow! What kind of statistics course are these students taking? Poor Pythagorus. He knew all about triangles and squares but statistics and variances never entered his life. The above statement is called the Basic Theorem of Analysis of Variance but the Pythagorean Theorem has no connection with it. In words, it simply states that if you take any set of scores, divide them up into a number of groups (not necessarily equal n’s) and compute the three sums of squares, then SST = SSB + SSW. This assumes nothing about triangles or where the scores came from. Elegant huh? **
ST25StatisticsAn energetic young statistician was hired at a large corporation. On his first day of work he was greeted by the senior statistician who decided immediately to put him through his paces. He asked him to double check the files in several dust-gathering boxes on the second floor that were boldly labeled, “NONSIGNIFICANT STUDIES.” He told the young man that the files in these boxes were destined for the incinerator unless he could find mistakes or evidence in the summary reports that would salvage them back to the land of Recommended for Replication.
The young statistician began his arduous task. After inspecting five of the studies, the results were quite surprising. He yelled at his senior that he found several studies with probabilities below
1 in a 100 or, most alarming to him in one study, as low as 1 in a 1000 recorded as nonsignificant and the null hypotheses retained in all of these. This was outrageous since these low probabilities exceed almost anyone’s definition of improbable. What was going on?
The senior statistician looked squint-eyed at the rambunctious and perturbed young statistician and exclaimed, “Young man I respect your extensive training in the statistical field, but the first thing you should have realized where you joined our organization is that we are on the BINARY SYSTEM here and consequently 1 IN 4 AND 1 IN 8 ARE NOT IN ANYONE’S BOOK IMPROBABLY!!!

** You have to feel sorry for this inauspicious start to the young statistician’s career. How many corporation in our society would have been on the BINARY instead of the DECIMAL system? As a reminder 100 (Binary) = 4 (Decimal) and 1000 (Binary) = 8 (Decimal). This story is all mine but I must give some credit to Patti Peters of Kent State University who made a Binary comment in my Guestbook. **
ST26StatisticsImagine The Shock:
Cardiology researchers at the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) ordered 24 whole hearts for a medical experiment. Many months passed, and then one day, 5 semi-tractor trailer rigs arrived at the receiving dock and started unloading 24 large wooden crates. The chief scientist and his statistician went to the dock to sign for the wooden crates. The chief scientist and his statistician went to the dock to sign for the shipment. Amazed at the number of huge packing cases, they checked the consignment bill of lading. Sure enough, it was a shipment of one each, quantity 24, WHALE hearts.
** As a statistician, just wondering if generalizing from whale hearts to human hearts is more valid than the proverbial generalizing from mice to humans? After all folks, whales are mammals and that should throw some credibility in favor of whales in comparative studies. Thanks go out to Ken Finstuen of San Antonio, Texas, for this one. This is a real hoot because it is so unimaginable. **

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