The Echoes of the Mind (50-4) Statistics Misuse


Claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. ~ American epidemiologist John Ioannidis

As with all endeavors involving pecuniary interest: to find the fraud, follow the money. Corporate-funded scientific research is inherently untrustworthy for this reason. People are paid to find a desired result.

Further, the hotter a scientific subject is, the less likely that research findings are reliable: more teams are involved, and de facto under implicit competitive pressure to produce results. But the converse also presents the same problem.

The smaller the number of studies conducted in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true. ~ John Ioannidis

Researchers in a noncompetitive field need to produce noteworthy results to have any hope of continuing their work. The temptation for a little fiddling to sustain one’s livelihood is strong.

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Statistical inference is a nuanced mathematical art related to correlation which is widely misused as a yardstick of causality. Further, misunderstanding the concepts of statistics has meant falsely designating or denigrating significance – conclusions based on experiment design and measurement without proper accounting of actuality. As ubiquitously exercised, the employment of statistics in science is mostly delusion.

Most claimed research findings are false. ~ John Ioannidis