Monday, May 7, 2012

Statistics, Schmatistics...

William Briggs on statistics and p-values:

From the piece:
"The WSJ suggests that statistics can prove opposite results simultaneously when models are used on observational studies. This is so. But it is also true that statistics can prove a hypothesis true and false with a “randomized” controlled trial, the kind of experiment we repeatedly hear is the “gold standard” of science. Randomization is a red herring: what really counts is control (see this, this, and this)."
and it ends thusly:
 " It’s too costly and time consuming to do statistics the right way. Just look how long it takes and how it expensive it is to run any physics experiment (about genuinely unknown areas)! If all of science did their work as physicists must do theirs, then we would see about a 99 percent drop in papers published. Sociology would slow to a crawl. Tenure decisions would be held in semi-permanent abeyance. Grants would taper to a trickle. Assistant Deans, whose livelihoods depend on overhead, would have their jobs at risk. It would be pandemonium. Brrr. The whole thing is too painful to consider."
 Now if only Mr. Briggs would tell us how he really feels... ;-)

1 comment:

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