How are statistics best used in rhetoric?

In this article, Davies argues that statistics are neither an absolute truth, nor utter nonsense created by the government to sway public opinion, but rather something in the middle. I would agree with Davies in this regard. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to create a study that is 100% objective and therefore all statistics should be approached with at least a little bit of skepticism. It is very important that the data you are using is coming from as independent, unbiased source as possible, which can be difficult to find. However, I believe that unbiased statistics can be a very useful tool in making an argument or in a larger sense like a campaign. I believe the most effective way to use statistics in the context of a campaign would be to use them as additional information to back up the opinions and arguments within the campaign. For example, I argue in my campaign that in general, the public is relatively uneducated in the subject of autonomous cars and are therefore afraid of their arrival.  I found a study that I have referenced throughout the campaign that says that 60% of the people it sampled know “a little” or “nothing”, by their own admission, about autonomous cars. I think that this statistic is a strong addition to my argument and in adds some context to the point I am trying to make.

Unfortunately, people have begun to mistrust the validity of some sources of data, which makes rhetoricians jobs much more difficult. I think that you cannot completely denounce this line of thinking because some people are entrenched in this belief. But, the anti-statistics movement cannot influence you completely. As a public writer, you have to accept the fact that no matter how hard you try or how well you write, not everyone is going to agree with you. Once you realize this, you have to aim your focus at the people who are willing to listen to your ideas with an open mind. In order to convince these people that your views are the correct ones, it is best to be completely open with the reader and to used statistics from objective, independent sources.