Monthly Archives: February 2023

Happy Birthday R.A. Fisher: “Statistical methods and Scientific Induction” with replies by Neyman and E.S. Pearson

17 Feb 1890-29 July 1962

Today is R.A. Fisher’s birthday! I am reblogging what I call the “Triad”–an exchange between  Fisher, Neyman and Pearson (N-P) published 20 years after the Fisher-Neyman break-up. My seminar on PhilStat is studying these this week, so it’s timely. While my favorite is still the reply by E.S. Pearson, which alone should have shattered Fisher’s allegations that N-P “reinterpret” tests of significance as “some kind of acceptance procedure”, all three are chock full of gems for different reasons. They are short and worth rereading. Neyman’s article pulls back the cover on what is really behind Fisher’s over-the-top polemics, what with Russian 5-year plans and commercialism in the U.S. Not only is Fisher jealous that N-P tests came to overshadow “his” tests, he is furious at Neyman for driving home the fact that Fisher’s fiducial approach had been shown to be inconsistent (by others). The flaw is illustrated by Neyman in his portion of the triad. I discuss this briefly in my Philosophy of Science Association paper from a few months ago (slides are here*).Further details may be found in my book, SIST (2018) especially pp 388-392 linked to here. It speaks to a common fallacy seen every day in interpreting confidence intervals. As for Neyman’s “behaviorism”, Pearson’s last sentence is revealing.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY R.A. FISHER! Continue reading

Categories: E.S. Pearson, Fisher, Neyman, phil/history of stat | Leave a comment

Popper, Falsification and Pseudoscience (Notes from my philstat seminar)

My Phil Stat seminar has been meeting for 4 weeks now, and we’re soon to experiment with a small group of outside participants zooming in (write to us, if you are interested in joining us). I’ve been so busy with the seminar that I haven’t blogged. Have you been following? All the materials are on a continually updated syllabus on this blog (SYLLABUS). We’re up to Excursion 2, Tour II.

Last week, we did something unusual: we read from Popper’s Conjectures and Refutations. I wanted to do this because scientists often appeal to distorted and unsophisticated accounts of Popper, especially in discussing falsification, and what demarcates good science from poor science. While I don’t think Popper made good on his most winning slogans, he gives us many seminal launching-off points for improved accounts of falsification, induction, corroboration, and demarcation. Continue reading

Categories: highly probable vs highly probed, science vs pseudoscience, Statistical Inference as Severe Testing | Leave a comment

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