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Zombie semantics spread in the hope of keeping most on the same low road you are comfortable with now: Delaying the hardship of learning better methodology.

Now, everything is connected, but this is not primarily about persistent research misconceptions such as statistical significance. Instead it is about (inherently) interpretable ML versus (misleading with some nonzero frequency) explanatory ML that I previously blogged on just over a year ago. That was when I first become aware of work by Cynthia Rudin (Duke) […]

Filling/emptying the half empty/full glass of profitable science: Different views on retiring versus retaining thresholds for statistical significance.

Unless you are new to this blog, you likely will know what this is about. Now, by profitable science in the title is meant repeatedly producing logically good explanations  which “through subjection to the test of experiment experiment, to lead to the avoidance of all surprise and to the establishment of a habit of positive […]

The virtue of fake universes: A purposeful and safe way to explain empirical inference.

I keep being drawn to thinking there is a away to explain statistical reasoning to others that will actually do more good than harm. Now, I also keep thinking I should know better – but can’t stop.  My recent attempt starts with a shadow metaphor, then a review of analytical chemistry and moves to the […]

Brief summary notes on Statistical Thinking for enabling better review of clinical trials.

This post is not by Andrew. Now it was spurred by Andrew’s recent post on Statistical Thinking enabling good science. The day of that post, I happened to look in my email’s trash and noticed that it went back to 2011. One email way back then had an attachment entitled Learning Priorities of RCT versus […]

Explainable ML versus Interpretable ML

First, I (Keith) want to share something I was taught in MBA school –  all new (and old but still promoted) technologies exaggerate their benefits, are overly dismissive of difficulties, underestimate the true costs and fail to anticipate how older (less promoted) technologies can adapt and offer similar and/or even better benefits and/or with less […]

To better enable others to avoid being misled when trying to learn from observations, I promise not be transparent, open, sincere nor honest?

I recently read a paper by Stephen John with the title “Epistemic trust and the ethics of science communication: against transparency, openness, sincerity and honesty”. On a superficial level, John’s paper can be re-stated as honesty  (transparency, openness and sincerity) is not always the best policy. For instance, “publicising the inner workings of sausage factories does […]

Intelligence has always been artificial or at least artefactual.

I (Keith O’Rourke) thought I would revisit a post of Andrew’s on artificial intelligence (AI) and statistics. The main point seemed to be that “AI can be improved using long-established statistical principles. Or, to put it another way, that long-established statistical principles can be made more useful through AI techniques.” The point(s) I will try […]

Is it possible to paint an overly bleak picture of university based clinical research?

Recently I was reminiscing with an old colleague about  how our publications from almost 30 years ago that tried to encourage better conduct and reporting of clinical research seemed to have had so little impact. This one for instance. Recently, they suggested there is some reason to hope for better, pointing to a website reporting […]

Expediting organised experience: What statistics should be?

The above diagram is by John F. Sowa and it depicts a high level view of C.S. Peirce’s classification of the sciences of discovery (you have been warned). The dotted lines indicate what on the right should be informed by what is on the left. I think there is a missing spot (or better an […]

What I missed on fixed effects (plural).

In my [Keith] previous post that criticised a publish paper, the first author commented they wanted some time to respond and I agreed. I also suggested that if the response came in after most readers have moved on I would re-post their response as a new post pointing back to the previous. So here we are. […]

What am I missing and what will this paper likely lead researchers to think and do?

This post is by Keith. In a previous post Ken Rice brought our attention to a recent paper he had published with Julian Higgins and  Thomas Lumley (RHL). After I obtained access and read the paper, I made some critical comments regarding RHL which ended with “Or maybe I missed something.” This post will try to discern […]

What you value should set out how you act and that how you represent what to possibly act upon: Aesthetics -> Ethics -> Logic.

I often include references to CS Peirce in my comments. Some might think way too often. However, this whole post will be trying to extract some morsels of insight from some of his later work. With the hope that it will enable applying statistics more thoughtfully. Now, making sense of Peirce, that is getting him […]

What to make of reported statistical analysis summaries: Hear no distinction, see no ensembles, speak of no non-random error.

Recently there has been a lot of fuss about the inappropriate interpretations and uses of p-values, significance tests, Bayes factors, confidence intervals, credible intervals and almost anything anyone has ever thought of. That is to desperately discern what to make of reported statistical analysis summaries of individual studies –  largely on their own. Including a credible […]

Seemingly intuitive and low math intros to Bayes never seem to deliver as hoped: Why?

This post was prompted by recent nicely done videos by Rasmus Baath that provide an intuitive and low math introduction to Bayesian material. Now, I do not know that these have delivered less than he hoped for. Nor I have asked him. However, given similar material I and others have tried out in the past that […]

Take two on Laura Arnold’s TEDx talk.

This post is by Keith. In this post I try to be more concise and direct about what I found of value in Laura Arnold’s TEDx talk that I recently blogged about here. Primarily it was the disclosure from someone who could afford to buy good evidence (and experts to assess it) that they did not think good […]

Higher credence for the masses: From a Ted talk?

The Four Most Dangerous Words? A New Study Shows | Laura Arnold | TEDxPennsylvaniaAvenue I brought this link forward in some comments but wanted to promote it to a post as I think its important and I know many folks just do not read comments.

Representists versus Propertyists: RabbitDucks – being good for what?

It is not that unusual in statistics to get the same statistical output (uncertainty interval, estimate, tail probability,etc.) for every sample, or some samples or the same distribution of outputs or the same expectations of outputs or just close enough expectations of outputs. Then, I would argue one has a variation on a DuckRabbit. In […]

Applying statistics in science will likely remain unreasonably difficult in my life time: but I have no intention of changing careers.

This post is by Keith. image   (Image from There are a couple posts I have been struggling to put together, one is on what science is or should be (drawing on Charles Peirce). The other is on why a posterior is not a posterior is not a posterior: even if mathematically equivalent – they […]

The Prior: Fully comprehended last, put first, checked the least?

Priors are important in Bayesian inference. Some would even say : ” In Bayesian inference you can—OK, you must—assign a prior distribution representing the set of values the coefficient [i.e any unknown parameter] can be.” Although priors are put first in most expositions, my sense is that in most applications they are seldom considered first, are […]

Avoiding only the shadow knowing the motivating problem of a post.

Given I am starting to make some posts to this blog (again) I was pleased to run across a youtube of Xiao-Li Meng being interviewed on the same topic by Suzanne Smith the Director of the Center for Writing and Communicating Ideas. One thing I picked up was to make the problem being addressed in […]