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Working in the tradition of R. A. Fisher

The following appeared in an email list:

Philip Morris International (PMI), based in Switzerland, is a leading tobacco company outside the United States. . . . The primary mission of the PMI Research & Development Centre is to research and develop a new generation of products which may have the potential to reduce the risks of smoking.

To strengthen the department of Product Risk Management in Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland, we are looking for a:

Statistician (Modeler)

THE POSITION You will form part of a team in charge of a broad range of statistical and biostatistical activities, such as data analysis, and development of quantitative methods in various areas of smoking and health research. Furthermore, the building of probabilistic disease-models is an important responsibility of the team.

Our new modeler will bring his/her strong statistical background into the activities related to disease- and risk modeling. The work includes the development of Bayesian networks and comprises the identification, implementation and application of available methods. . . . You have profound knowledge of Bayesian
statistics, robust statistics, and re-sampling techniques.

P.S. Fisher links are here. (In fairness to Philip Morris, they do say that they’re trying to reduce the risks, which is a bit different than Fisher’s claim that inhaling reduces cancer risk.)

One Comment

  1. Keith O'Rourke says:

    > bit different than Fisher's claim that inhaling reduces cancer risk

    No!!! – Fisher was just portraying Hill and Doll as being foolish – if you believe their methods are convincing then you should also be convinced that inhaling reduces risk (which is silly).

    I had the pleasure of attending Doll's Fisher Memorial Lecture in 2001 (or 2002) – the personal animosities were still more than apparent.

    Fisher portrayed himself poorly as well, one explanation I heard was that he was so overly concerned that Hill and Doll's work would unduly lead others to believe that randomized experiments were unnecessary that he over reacted and showed very poor judgment in his relationships with the tobacco industry.

    Interesting issue as to whether it would be advisable to help a harmful product manufacturer make a less harmful product…