Water can be both life giving and destructive. In a glass, it’s good for drinking and healthy. As rain it helps water the earth and plants. Together in a river or stream it can provide habitat for fish, plants, and places for us to paddle.
The same water in a storm can be destructive. Rivers can move boulders, knock over trees, sweep away plants, people, cars and so on. It’s the same water; still H2O. But it has a very different type of power than when it is in a glass.
Data can be viewed similarly. Data can be both life giving. And certainly, when it is combined with other data in biased ways, it can be very destructive. The more we understand this, the more we watch out for the signs. The more we treat data with caution and with celebration. Understanding the difference is wisdom and often takes a group.