Posts Tagged With: Schachtman

Palavering about Palavering about P-values


Nathan Schachtman (who was a special invited speaker at our recent Summer Seminar in Phil Stat) put up a post on his law blog the other day (“Palavering About P-values”) on an article by a statistics professor at Stanford, Helena Kraemer. “Palavering” is an interesting word choice of Schachtman’s. Its range of meanings is relevant here [i]; in my title, I intend both, in turn. You can read Schachtman’s full post here, it begins like this:

The American Statistical Association’s most recent confused and confusing communication about statistical significance testing has given rise to great mischief in the world of science and science publishing.[ASA II 2019]note Take for instance last week’s opinion piece about “Is It Time to Ban the P Value?” Please.

Admittedly, their recent statement, which I refer to as ASA II,note has seemed to open the floodgates to some very zany remarks about P-values, their meaning and role in statistical testing. Continuing with Schachtman’s post: Continue reading

Categories: ASA Guide to P-values, P-values | Tags:

Phil/Stat/Law: What Bayesian prior should a jury have? (Schachtman)

wavy capitalNathan Schachtman, Esq., PC* emailed me the following interesting query a while ago:

NAS-3When I was working through some of the Bayesian in the law issues with my class, I raised the problem of priors of 0 and 1 being off “out of bounds” for a Bayesian analyst.  I didn’t realize then that the problem had a name:  Cromwell’s Rule.

My point was then, and more so now, what is the appropriate prior the jury should have when it is sworn?  When it hears opening statements?  Just before the first piece of evidence is received?

Do we tell the jury that the defendant is presumed innocent, which means that it’s ok to entertain a very, very small prior probability of guilt, say no more than 1/N, where N is the total population of people? This seems wrong as a matter of legal theory.  But if the prior = 0, then no amount of evidence can move the jury off its prior.

*Schachtman’s legal practice focuses on the defense of product liability suits, with an emphasis on the scientific and medico-legal issues.  He teaches a course in statistics in the law at the Columbia Law School, NYC. He also has a legal blog here.

Categories: PhilStatLaw, Statistics | Tags:

Schachtman: High, Higher, Highest Quality Research Act

wavy capitalSince posting on the High Quality Research act a few weeks ago, I’ve been following it in the news, have received letters from professional committees (asking us to write letters), and now see that  Nathan A. Schachtman, Esq., PC posted the following on May 25, 2013 on his legal blog*:

NAS-3“The High Quality Research Act” (HQRA), which has not been formally introduced in Congress, continues to draw attention. SeeClowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right.”  Last week, Sarewitz suggests that “the problem” is the hype about the benefits of pure research and the let down that results from the realization that scientific progress is “often halting and incremental,” with much research not “particularly innovative or valuable.”  Fair enough, but why is this Congress such an unsophisticated consumer of scientific research in the 21st century?  How can it be a surprise that the scientific community engages in the same rent-seeking behaviors as do other segments of our society? Has it escaped Congress’s attention that scientists are subject to enthusiasms and group think, just like, … congressmen?

Nature published an editorial piece suggesting that the HQRA is not much of a threat. Daniel Sarewitz, “Pure hype of pure research helps no one, ” 497 Nature 411 (2013).

Still, Sarewitz believes that the HQRA bill is not particularly threatening to the funding of science:

“In other words, it’s not a very good bill, but neither is it much of a threat. In fact, it’s just the latest skirmish in a long-running battle for political control over publicly funded science — one fought since at least 1947, when President Truman vetoed the first bill to create the NSF because it didn’t include strong enough lines of political accountability.”

This sanguine evaluation misses the effect of the superlatives in the criteria for National Science Foundation funding:

“(1) is in the interests of the United States to advance the national health, prosperity, or welfare, and to secure the national defense by promoting the progress of science;

(2) is the finest quality, is ground breaking, and answers questions or solves problems that are of utmost importance to society at large; and

(3) is not duplicative of other research projects being funded by the Foundation or other Federal science agencies.” Continue reading

Categories: evidence-based policy, PhilStatLaw, Statistics | Tags:

PhilStatLaw: Bad-Faith Assertions of Conflicts of Interest?*

In response to an indication that the FDA might need to loosen conflict-of-interest (COI) rules to get sufficient experts to serve on their advisory panels, a list has been proferred of “industry-free” experts capable of serving with “clean hands”  (See Oct 10 post: Junk Science ) But why not also seek “litigation-free” experts, asks lawyer, Nathan Schachtman on his interesting blog (Dec. 28) The Continuing Saga of Bad-Faith Assertions of Conflicts of Interest:
Categories: Statistics | Tags: , , ,

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