Mike S. said:
I would have stated the concept this way: "Experience without theory can be misleading."
Now that you have provided some additional comments, I can understand your question better. Experience and theory is the classic chicken and the egg problem. If you have a theory, you can use experience to prove or not. Or, if you have experience, then you could develop a theory around it.
I believe Deming was trying to show that data gathering and statistical techniques can be used to prove a theory that could be applied to future efforts. Management has a tendency to look at recent history and then make decisions rather than taking a more scientific approach, thus his comment that experience without theory teaches nothing. It is only misleading if you assume that all theory must be right. Deming looked at the data to determine if the theory was correct.
Good discussion that makes you think. Exactly want I expect and want from the Cove. If you need to think more, what about his quote "There is no substitute for knowledge".