Words get blamed more often than numbers for causing trouble and I think this ought to be reconsidered, for at least three reasons, although I may want to add more:
Numbers are inflexible. They see no reason to change when they are perfect to begin with, as in “It’s THREE miles from here to there.”
Words are flexible, as in “I will get from here to there if the weather is good, traffic light, and I am in the mood to go.”
Numbers are sneaky. They drive behaviors but take no responsibility for it, as in “Account balance is zero. Stop shopping.”
Words are honest, as in “I can’t afford it, not exactly, but I can put it on hold.”
Numbers are dictatorial, as in “At 50 years of age, a woman is unlikely to give birth.
Words are hopeful, as in “You just never know what’s possible until you try.”
Numbers cause misunderstanding when used by anybody to prove a point that might not be true, as in “1 of every 10 people in this country is unemployed.”
Words foster understanding. For instance, no one in this country is NOT employed in doing SOMETHING, unless they have died, of course. But we shouldn’t count them.