ROE R. Cross Distinguished Professor
Cooper B. Holmes
1990 - Cooper B. Holmes
There is a phrase made popular in the United States by Mark Twain that declares, “there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
Though Twain attributed the statement to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, history seems to have left us without an exact author for the statement. Perhaps, it is only fitting that it remains a mystery, much like the statistics it speaks of.
Dr. Cooper B. Holmes in his book, The Honest Truth About Lying With Statistics published in 1990, deals with this odd puzzle. What can we believe?
Using several real-life examples from that time period of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s — all of which are still causes for discussion in the 21st century — such as is cholesterol really as bad as some researchers say or is our American educational system a failure or what role does genetics play in psychology and how successful is therapy?
Holmes writes in his book, “There are many ways to create facts, manipulate facts, and distort facts. Sometimes these distortions are used very much on purpose to be sure only a certain picture is presented. Other times, the information is less than accurate, but there is no intentional manipulation on the part of the presenter.
As a professor of psychology and special education, Holmes joined the Emporia State faculty in 1971. Born in Hydes, Maryland, he served in the Army reserve and graduated from Washburn University with a BA in 1965. He went on to get a masters in clinical psychology from Bowling Green State University and then earned his Ph.D. in counseling from the University of Toledo. Holmes did his postdoctoral internship in neuropsychology at the Kansas City Veteran’s Administration Medical Center.
Holmes also was a research assistant from 1965-66 at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, a student/NDEA Fellow at Bowling Green from ‘67 to ‘68, and worked as a psychologist at the Toledo State Hospital from ‘68 to ‘71.
He is considered nationally as an expert on head injuries, and also has expertise in suicide and suicide prevention, child abuse, neuropsychology, and phobias.
Other books authored by Holmes are The Head-Injured College Students, widely used by professionals in the field, and Like a Lasting Storm: Helping with Real-Life Problems.
One truth that stands above any statistics is the success of Dr. Holmes in the classroom and in his research.
“The best way to teach and do research,” he once said, “is to have fun doing it. If you enjoy what you are doing, you’ll be good at it.”
One colleague wrote in his Roe R. Cross nomination:
“Dr. Holmes’ teaching is highly respected by his students, former students, and peers. He has managed to not only stay current in his field but he has been able to develop new areas of expertise. He gives his assistance to all without hesitation.”