Author: Andrew

Funny citation-year thing

So, I’m going through the final draft of Regression and Other Stories, adding index entries, cleaning up references, etc., and I noticed this: Yes, I cite myself a lot—sometimes people call it “self-citation” and act like it’s a bad thing—but I think it’s helpful to point people to my earlier writings on various topics. Anyway, […]

They misreport their experiments and don’t fess up when they’ve been caught.

Javier Benitez points us to this paper, “COMPare: Qualitative analysis of researchers’ responses to critical correspondence on a cohort of 58 misreported trials,” by Ben Goldacre, Henry Drysdale, Cicely Marston, Kamal Mahtani, Aaron Dale, Ioan Milosevic, Eirion Slade, Philip Hartley and Carl Heneghan, who write: Discrepancies between pre-specified and reported outcomes are an important and […]

Bank Shot

Tom Clark writes: I came across this paper and thought of you. You might be aware of some papers that have been published about the effect of military surplus equipment aid that is given to police departments. Some economists have claimed to find that it reduces crime. My coauthors and I thought the papers were […]

The State of the Art

Jesse Singal writes: This was presented, in Jennifer Eberhardt’s book Biased, as evidence to support the idea that even positive portrayals of black characters could be spreading and exacerbating unconscious antiblack bias. I did not see evidence to support that idea. I replied: I don’t understand what you’re saying here. I clicked thru and the […]

“Suppose that you work in a restaurant…”

In relation to yesterday’s post on Monty Hall, Josh Miller sends along this paper coauthored with the ubiquitous Adam Sanjurjo, “A Bridge from Monty Hall to the Hot Hand: The Principle of Restricted Choice,” which begins: Suppose that you work in a restaurant where two regular customers, Ann and Bob, are equally likely to come […]

Laplace Calling

Laplace calling to the faraway towns Now war is declared and battle come down Laplace calling to the underworld Come out of the sample, you boys and girls Laplace calling, now don’t look to us Phony Bayesmania has bitten the dust Laplace calling, see we ain’t got no swing Except for the ring of that […]

“Statistical Inference Enables Bad Science; Statistical Thinking Enables Good Science”

As promised, let’s continue yesterday’s discussion of Christopher Tong’s article, “Statistical Inference Enables Bad Science; Statistical Thinking Enables Good Science.” First, the title, which makes an excellent point. It can be valuable to think about measurement, comparison, and variation, even if commonly-used statistical methods can mislead. This reminds me of the idea in decision analysis […]

Harking, Sharking, Tharking

Bert Gunter writes: You may already have seen this [“Harking, Sharking, and Tharking: Making the Case for Post Hoc Analysis of Scientific Data,” John Hollenbeck, Patrick Wright]. It discusses many of the same themes that you and others have highlighted in the special American Statistician issue and elsewhere, but does so from a slightly different […]

“Superior: The Return of Race Science,” by Angela Saini

“People so much wanted the story to be true . . . that they couldn’t look past it to more mundane explanations.” – Angela Saini, Superior. I happened to be reading this book around the same time as I attended the Metascience conference, which was motivated by the realization during the past decade or so […]

I think that science is mostly “Brezhnevs.” It’s rare to see a “Gorbachev” who will abandon a paradigm just because it doesn’t do the job. Also, moving beyond naive falsificationism

Sandro Ambuehl writes: I’ve been following your blog and the discussion of replications and replicability across different fields daily, for years. I’m an experimental economist. The following question arose from a discussion I recently had with Anna Dreber, George Loewenstein, and others. You’ve previously written about the importance of sound theories (and the dangers of […]

Deterministic thinking (“dichotomania”): a problem in how we think, not just in how we act

This has come up before: – Basketball Stats: Don’t model the probability of win, model the expected score differential. – Econometrics, political science, epidemiology, etc.: Don’t model the probability of a discrete outcome, model the underlying continuous variable – Thinking like a statistician (continuously) rather than like a civilian (discretely) – Message to Booleans: It’s […]

My math is rusty

When I’m giving talks explaining how multilevel modeling can resolve some aspects of the replication crisis, I mention this well-known saying in mathematics: “When a problem is hard, solve it by embedding it in a harder problem.” As applied to statistics, the idea is that it could be hard to analyze a single small study, […]

The uncanny valley of Malcom Gladwell

Gladwell is a fun writer, and I like how he plays with ideas. To my taste, though, he lives in an uncanny valley between nonfiction and fiction, or maybe I should say between science and storytelling. I’d enjoy him more, and feel better about his influence, if he’d take the David Sedaris route and go […]

Exchange with Deborah Mayo on abandoning statistical significance

The philosopher wrote: The big move in the statistics wars these days is to fight irreplication by making it harder to reject, and find evidence against, a null hypothesis. Mayo is referring to, among other things, the proposal to “redefine statistical significance” as p less than 0.005. My colleagues and I do not actually like […]

Was Thomas Kuhn evil? I don’t really care.

OK, I guess I care a little . . . but when it comes to philosophy, I don’t really care about Kuhn’s personality or even what exactly he said in his books. I use Kuhn in my work, by which I mean that I use an idealized Kuhn, I take the best from his work […]