Statistical quote of the day

Dason

Ambassador to the humans
#3
"Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful." - George Box

A variant: "Remember that all models are wrong; the practical question is how wrong do they have to be to not be useful." - George Box
 

noetsi

Fortran must die
#4
I still like the line Mark Twain popularized (he assigned it to Disraeli although there is no evidence Disraeli ever used it).

"There are three types of lies; lies, **** lies, and statistics."

Of course since twain's time we have found awesom new ways to lie with statistics, some so complex that no one outside the community can even tell we are lying :)
 

CowboyBear

Super Moderator
#7
Paul Meehl, describing a psychological researcher devoted to null hypothesis significance testing:

"In terms of his contribution to the enduring body of psychological knowledge, he has done hardly anything. His true position is that of a potent-but-sterile intellectual rake, who leaves in his merry path a long train of ravished maidens but no viable scientific offspring."

(he wasn't talking about anyone in specific here, just commenting on the pitfalls of NHST)
 

noetsi

Fortran must die
#11
About 15 years ago a group of professors at a conference were listening to their collegues who advocated population ecology models (which essentially assert strategy makes no difference in organizations) try to bridge the gap between their theories and the strategic managment literature. After they got done one of their "collegues" (almost certainly an advocate of strategic management) got up and said: "So what you are really saying is that everything you have argued the last twenty years is wrong." It got real nasty from that point.... :)

Nobelist Herbert Simon and Waldo (a noted public administration scholar) got into a donnybrook once through the footnotes of an article....

Being a professor is not for the faint of heart.
 

vinux

Dark Knight
#12
“P.S. Statisticians are special because, deep in our bones, we know about uncertainty. Economists know about incentives, physicists know about reality, movers can fit big things in the elevator on the first try, evolutionary psychologists know how to get their names in the newspaper, lawyers know you should never never never talk to the cops, and statisticians know about uncertainty. Of that, I’m sure.” Andrew Gelman
 
#13
About 15 years ago a group of professors at a conference were listening to their collegues who advocated population ecology models (which essentially assert strategy makes no difference in organizations) try to bridge the gap between their theories and the strategic managment literature. After they got done one of their "collegues" (almost certainly an advocate of strategic management) got up and said: "So what you are really saying is that everything you have argued the last twenty years is wrong." It got real nasty from that point.... :)
That is quite funny as those same 'neutral models' caused quite a stir-up in Ecology as well (some see the theory as a milestone in the evolution of ecology into a quantitative science).

btw what is a donnybrook?
 

spunky

Smelly poop man with doo doo pants.
#14
- " You can't fix through analysis what you screwed up by design "

i dont remember which of my profs said that back when i was an undergrad. but i printed it out in a huge poster and it's there, on my door, welcoming students and faculty alike everytime they drop by to ask me stats-related questions... :D
 

trinker

ggplot2orBust
#18
CowboyBear said:
Peer review just isn't designed to catch this kind of thing.
And let's face it, how many peer reviews are garbage, either someone skimming an article, or someone who had their GA/TA do the review? To some extent I think peer reviewers need to be held more accountable for their reviews. It's part of their job, and in some fields it seems like people see it as a barrier that gets in the way of their research. It results in good articles getting rejected and bad articles being published (even in top tiered journals).
 

trinker

ggplot2orBust
#19
what extent is the system to blame. When you're up for tenure they look at how many papers you've churned out to tier one journals. In my field the top journal accepted 2 articles in one publication? Are you kidding me? It's a quarterly jornal. You accept 8 articles a year? with maybe 10 tier one journals? How are people supposed to get published and get tenure?
 

CowboyBear

Super Moderator
#20
To some extent I think peer reviewers need to be held more accountable for their reviews.
Good point. Peer reviewers seem to wield a lot of power with not a lot of accountability. I wonder sometimes if the peer reviewers' names should be published along with articles and/or have their referees' reports attached in online supplements.