Right off the bat, the Science News article, “Odds Are, It’s Wrong“, reminds me of chapter 71’s, ‘Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty’. The patient search for truth pales next to our hunger for the answer. Science is humanity’s best attempt to balance this urge, but it often fails as this article points out. This is especially true for the softer sciences, e.g., sociological, economical, medical. The eye-opening information in this report helps remind us that we are animals first, and whatever else we think or wish we were a distant second.
The following quotes from experts in the field show there is push back. Although, like getting government to keep a balanced budget, their cries for caution will go unheeded, until some awful visitation descends upon them as chapter 72 cautions.
“Despite the awesome pre-eminence this method has attained … it is based upon a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of rational inference, and is seldom if ever appropriate to the aims of scientific research.” —William Rozeboom, 1960
“Huge sums of money are spent annually on research that is seriously flawed through the use of inappropriate designs, unrepresentative samples, small samples, incorrect methods of analysis, and faulty interpretation.” – D.G.Altman, 1994
“Many investigators do not know what our most cherished, and ubiquitous, research desideratum—’statistical significance’—really means. This … signals an educational failure of the first order.” – Raymond Hubbard and J. Scott Armstrong, 2006
“These classical methods [of significance testing] are in fact intellectually quite indefensible and do not deserve their social success.”- Colin Howson and Peter
“A finding of ‘statistical’ significance … is on its own almost valueless, a meaning-less parlor game.“ – Stephen Ziliak and Deirdre McCloskey, 2008
“The methods of statistical inference in current use … have contributed to a widespread misperception … that statistical methods can provide a num‑ber that by itself reflects a probability of reaching erroneous conclusions. This belief has damaged the quality of scientific reasoning and discourse.” – Steven Goodman, 1999
“What used to be called judgment is now called prejudice, and what used to be called prejudice is now called a null hypoth-esis…. It is dangerous nonsense.” – A, W F. Edwards, 1972