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Bishops of the Holy Church of Embodied Cognition and editors of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Christ

Paul Alper points to a recent New York Times article about astrology as a sign that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. My reply: Astrology don’t bug me so much cos it doesn’t pretend to be science. I’m more bothered by PNAS-style fake science because it pretends to be real science. Same […]

A very short statistical consulting story

I received the following email: Professor Gelman, My firm represents ** (Defendant) in a case pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of **. This case concerns [a topic in political science that you have written about]. I’ve reviewed your background and think that your research and interests, in particular your statistical background, […]

2 PhD student positions on Bayesian workflow! With Paul Bürkner!

Paul Bürkner writes: The newly established work group for Bayesian Statistics of Dr. Paul-Christian Bürkner at the Cluster of Excellence SimTech, University of Stuttgart (Germany), is looking for 2 PhD students to work on Bayesian workflow and Stan-related topics. The positions are fully funded for at least 3 years and people with a Master’s degree […]

A new hot hand paradox

1. Effect sizes of just about everything are overestimated. Selection on statistical significance, motivation to find big effects to support favorite theories, researcher degrees of freedom, looking under the lamp-post, and various other biases. The Edlin factor is usually less than 1. (See here for a recent example.) 2. For the hot hand, it’s the […]

Further formalization of the “multiverse” idea in statistical modeling

Cristobal Young and Sheridan Stewart write: Social scientists face a dual problem of model uncertainty and methodological abundance. . . . This ‘uncertainty among abundance’ offers spiraling opportunities to discover a statistically significant result. The problem is acute when models with significant results are published, while those with non-significant results go unmentioned. Multiverse analysis addresses […]

Greek statistician is in trouble for . . . telling the truth!

Paul Alper points us to this news article by Catherine Rampell, which tells this story: Georgiou is not a mobster. He’s not a hit man or a spy. He’s a statistician. And the sin at the heart of his supposed crimes was publishing correct budget numbers. The government has brought a relentless series of criminal […]

The 200-year-old mentor

Carl Reiner died just this year and Mel Brooks is, amazingly, still alive. But in any case their torch will be carried forward, as long as there are social scientists who are not in full control of their data. The background is the much-discussed paper, “The association between early career informal mentorship in academic collaborations […]

Best comics of 2010-2019?

X linked to this list by Sam Thielman of the best comics of the decade. The praise is a bit over the top (“brimming with wit and pathos” . . . “Every page in Ferris’s enormous debut is a wonder” . . . “An astounding feat of craftsmanship and patience” . . . “never has […]

Today in spam

1. From “William Jessup,” subject line “Invitation: Would you like to join GlobalWonks?”: Dear Richard, I wanted to follow up one last time about my invitation to join our expert-network. We are happy to compensate you for up to $900 per hour for our client engagements. If you would like to join us, you may […]

Mister P for the 2020 presidential election in Belarus

An anonymous group of authors writes: Political situation Belarus is often called the “last dictatorship” in Europe. Rightly so, Aliaskandr Lukashenka has served as the country’s president since 1994. In the 26 years of his rule, Lukashenka has consolidated and extended his power, which is today absolute. Rigging referendums has been an effective means of […]

Is vs. ought in the study of public opinion: Coronavirus “opening up” edition

I came across this argument between two of my former co-bloggers which illustrates a general difficulty when thinking about political attitudes, which is confusion between two things: (a) public opinion, and (b) what we want public opinion to be. This is something I’ve been thinking about for many years, ever since our Red State Blue […]

Authors repeat same error in 2019 that they acknowledged and admitted was wrong in 2015

David Allison points to this story: Kobel et al. (2019) report results of a cluster randomized trial examining the effectiveness of the “Join the Healthy Boat” kindergarten intervention on BMI percentile, physical activity, and several exploratory outcomes. The authors pre-registered their study and described the outcomes and analysis plan in detail previously, which are to […]

Estimating efficacy of the vaccine from 95 true infections

Gaurav writes: The 94.5% efficacy announcement is based on comparing 5 of 15k to 90 of 15k: On Sunday, an independent monitoring board broke the code to examine 95 infections that were recorded starting two weeks after volunteers’ second dose — and discovered all but five illnesses occurred in participants who got the placebo. Similar […]

What went wrong with the polls in 2020? Another example.

Shortly before the election the New York Times ran this article, “The One Pollster in America Who Is Sure Trump Is Going to Win,” featuring Robert Cahaly, who on election day forecast Biden to win 235 electoral votes. As you may have heard, Biden actually won 306. Our Economist model gave a final prediction of […]

You don’t need a retina specialist to know which way the wind blows

Jayakrishna Ambati writes: I am a retina specialist and vision scientist at the University of Virginia. I am writing to you with a question on Bayesian statistics. I am performing a meta analysis of 5 clinical studies. In addition to a random effects meta analysis model, I am running Bayesian meta analysis models using half […]

The rise and fall and rise of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in international development

Gil Eyal sends along this fascinating paper coauthored with Luciana de Souza Leão, “The rise of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in international development in historical perspective.” Here’s the story: Although the buzz around RCT evaluations dates from the 2000s, we show that what we are witnessing now is a second wave of RCTs, while a […]

No, I don’t believe etc etc., even though they did a bunch of robustness checks.

Dale Lehman writes: You may have noticed this article mentioned on Marginal Revolution, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167629619301237. I [Lehman] don’t have access to the published piece, but here’s a working paper version. It might be worth your taking a look. It has all the usual culprits: forking paths, statistical significance as the filter, etc etc. As usual, it […]

How science and science communication really work: coronavirus edition

Now that the election’s over, we can return to our regular coronavirus coverage. Nothing new since last night, so I wanted to share a couple of posts from a few months ago that I think remain relevant: No, there is no “tension between getting it fast and getting it right”: On first hearing, this statement […]

The Pfizer-Biontech Vaccine May Be A Lot More Effective Than You Think?

Ian Fellows writes: I [Fellows] just wrote up a little Bayesian analysis that I thought you might be interested in. Specifically, everyone seems fixated on the 90% effectiveness lower bound reported for the Pfizer vaccine, but the true efficacy is likely closer to 97%. Please let me know if you see any errors. I’m basing […]

“In the world of educational technology, the future actually is what it used to be”

Following up on this post from Audrey Watters, Mark Palko writes: I [Palko] have been arguing for a while that the broad outlines of our concept of the future were mostly established in the late 19th/early 20th Centuries and put in its current form in the Postwar Period. Here are a few more data points […]