Department of Statistics and Applied Probability |
Faculty of Science |
National University of Singapore
The N's justify the means.
Doubt everything or believe everything: these are two
equally convenient strategies. With either we dispense with the need
-- Henri Poincare, who might as well have been
talking about the choice of alpha and power in hypothesis testing
The rule of staying alive as a forecaster is to give 'em a
number or give 'em a date, but never give 'em both at once.
In God We Trust. All others must bring data.
Lord Mansfield gave the following advice to the
newly-appointed governor of a West India island. `There is no
difficulty in deciding a case -- only hear both sides patiently, then
consider what you think justice requires, and decide accordingly; but
never give reasons, for your judgment will probably be right, but your
reasons will certainly be wrong.
-- A. H. Engelbach, More
Anecdotes of Bench and Bar Cited by H. Jeffreys at the beginning
of his chapter on frequentist methods.
Methodology, like sex, is better demonstrated than
discussed, though often better anticipated than experienced.
The goverment [is] very keen on amassing statistics. They
collect them, add them, raise them to the nth power, take the cube
root and prepare wonderful diagrams. But you must never forget that
every one of these figures comes in the first instance from the
village watchman, who just puts down what he damn well pleases.
-- Sir Josiah Stamp (1880-1941), British economist
Old actuaries never die, they just get broken down by sex
Nothing is easier than to get some sort of figures
.... Nothing is harder to get than figures on which we can rely.
-- First Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the State
of Connecticut for the Five Months Ending Nov. 30, 1885,
A statistician is a person who passes as an expert on the
grounds of being able to turn out with prolific fortitude vast
quantities of incomprehensible numeric figures calculated with
micromatic precision from vague assumptions based on debated results
taken from incomplete data carried out through the forms of
problematical accuracy by persons of questionable reliability and
debatable intelligence for the avowed purpose of annoying and
confusing a hopelessly befuddled group of key personnel who never read
the damned statistic anyway.
Author: Berwin A Turlach
Date Last modified:Wed Jan 3 10:03:20 SGT 2007
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