Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary a qualification for efficient
citizenship as the ability to read and write.
These days the statistician is often asked such questions as "Are
you a Bayesian?" "Are you a frequentist?" "Are you a data analyst?"
"Are you a designer of experiments?". I will argue that the
appropriate answer to ALL of these questions can be (and preferably
should be) "yes", and that we can see why this is so if we consider
the scientific context for what statisticians do.
If at first it doesn't fit, fit, fit again.
A picture is worth a thousand numbers.
There are Five kinds of lies:
Politicians quoting statistics
and Novellists quoting Politicians on Statistics.
--Stephen K Tagg
Statistical models are sometimes misunderstood in epidemiology. Statistical models for data are never true. The question whether a model is true is irrelevant. A more appropriate question is whether we obtain the correct scientific conclusion if we pretend that the process under study behaves according to a particular statistical model. --Scott Zeger, "Statistical reasoning in epidemiology" in the American Journal of Epidemiology, 1991
I always find that statistics are hard to swallow
and impossible to digest. The only one I can remember is
that if all the people who go to sleep in church were laid
end to end they would be a lot more comfortable.
--Mrs. Robert A. Taft
Do not put faith in what statistics say until you have
carefully considered what they do not say.
--William W. Watt
Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal
is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.
A judicious man uses statistics, not to get knowledge, but to save himself
from having ignorance foisted upon him.
A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.
To understand God's thoughts we must study statistics,
for these are the measure of His purpose.
There are two kinds of statistics, the kind
you look up and the kind you make up.
It is utterly implausible that a mathematical formula should
make the future known to us, and those who think it can would
once have believed in witchcraft.
--Betrand de Jouvenel, The Art of Conjectur
The invalid assumption that correlation implies cause is
probably among the two or three most serious and common errors
of human reasoning.
--Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man
The manipulation of statistical formulas is no substitute for
knowing what one is doing.
--Hubert M. Blalock, Jr., Social Statistics
Old Statisticians never die -- they just get broken down by age and sex.
When evaluating a model, at least two broad standards are
relevant. One is whether the model is consistent with the data.
The other is whether the model is consistent with the 'real
--Kenneth A. Bollen, Structural Equations with Latent Variables
The government are very keen on amassing statistics. They collect them, add
them, raise them to the n-th 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
--Comment of an English judge on the subject of Indian statistics; Quoted in Sir Josiah Stamp in _Some Economic Matters in Modern Life_
On statistical terminology
by Cory Lation
Whoever invented statistical terms
Had a head that was stuffed with worms.
All these new words are so much junk,
And if I don't learn them, I'm really sunk.
Why's the bell-shaped curve called normal?
Is it normal to be so formal?
There's nothing mean about the mean.
Its just average, as is clearly seen.
And what's so standard about that deviation?
Its a really malicious creation.
Confusing students is its only function.
It frustrates and mystifies, in conjunction.
And who needs the variance?
It only rhymes with hairy ants.
Variance is what analysis is of,
But all my friends would just love
To take all the sums of squares we've seen
And put them within the instructor's between.
I'm just not sure about probability.
I think it caused the prof's early senility.
I often frequent relatively conditional joints,
But that won't get me statistical points.
"Histogram" throws me, at least bit.
I remember the first time I heard of it.
I wanted an antihistogram to get rid of it.
But then I studied it, and after some beers,
I learned its a bar chart--there went my fears.
Just a bar chart--like Norm's tab at Cheers.
Skewness and kurtosis, there's a pair:
Something you'd wash out of your hair.
Research design, such a burn,
Just more weird terms to learn.
Your constructs are valid, so's your internal,
But if your validity isn't also external,
You should flush your data down the urinal
Or you'll go to a place where the heat is infernal
And study statistics for time eternal.
Then there's t, a test with jam and bread?
And F, the test that we all dread.
And what's so square about the chi?
If I don't get to the root of it, I'll just die.
Scatterplots, boxplots, stems-and-leaves grow,
Sounds like a radio gardening show.
Heteroscedasticity, now there's a word.
I think its when a turtle mates with a bird.
Then we study regression analysis,
A major cause of mental paralysis.
Least squares I like--minimize the nerds!
They like numbers better than words.
The most cools straight line--that's what we need.
I think I know where that line will lead.
Straight out of this class.
Were nearly done with this morass,
And my rhymes are running out of gas.
There's no chance I'll ever pass....
These data do not support the hypothesis.
Well...The first one does, but the second and third don't, now the fourth...
Which is more correct: "Statisticians are mean lovers" or "Statisticians
are average lovers" ?
Statisticians are deviate lovers.
Statisticians are discriminant lovers.
Statisticians are outlying lovers.
Statisticians do it with bootstraps.
Statisticians do it with confidence, frequency and variation.
--from the b-boards
If your result needs a statistician then you should design a better
--Baron Ernest Rutherford
The lottery is a tax on people who flunked math.
Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.
All thoughts emit a throw of dice.
Data! Data! Data! I can't make bricks without clay!
"Let us sit on this log at the roadside," said I, "and forget the inhumanity
and ribaldry of the poets. It is in the glorious columns of ascertained facts
and legalized measures that beauty is to be found. In this very log we sit up,
Mrs. Sampson," says I, "is statistics more wonderful than any poem. The rings
show it was sixty years old. At the depth of two thousand feet it would become
coal in three thousand years. The deepest coal mine in the world is at
Killingworth, near Newcastle. A box four feet long, three feet wide, and two
feet eight inches deep will hold a ton of coal. If an artery is cut, compress
it above the wound. A man's leg contains thirty bones. The Tower of London
was burned in 1841."
"Go on Mr. Pratt", says Mrs. Simpson. "Them ideas is so original and soothing. I think statistics are just as lovely as they can be."
---O'Henry in _The Handbook of Hymen_
Having given the number of instances respectively in which things are thus and
so, in which they are thus and not so, in which they are so and not thus, and in
which they are neither thus nor so, it is required to eliminate the gerneral
quantitative relativity inhering in the mere thingness of the things, and to
determine the special quantitative relativity subsisting between the thusness and
the soness of the things.
---M.H. Doolittle, 1887
In the field of observation, chance facors only the mind that is prepared.
All those who drink of this remedy recover in a short time, except those
whom it does not help, who die. Therefore, it is obvious that it fails
only in incurable cases.
--Galen (circa 100 A.D.)
Strangely, the motto chosen by the founders of the Statistical Society in
1834 was Aliis exterendum, which means "Let other thrash it out." William Cochran
confessed that "it is a little embaressing that statisticians started out
by proclaiming what they will not do."
--Edmund A. Gehan and Noreen A. Lemak in Statistics in Medical Research: Developments in Clinical Trials
There are aspects of statistics other than it being intellectually difficult that are barriers
to learning. For one thing, statistics does not benefit from a glamorous image that
motivates students to persist through tedious and frustrating lessons...there are no TV
dramas with a good-looking statsitician playing the lead, and few mothers' chests swell with
pride as they introduce their son or daughter as "the statistician."
---Chap T. Le and James R. Boen in Health and Numbers: Basic Statistical Methods
...while a man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a
mathematical certainty. You can, for example, never foretell what any one man
will do, but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to.
Individuals vary, but percentages remain constant. So says the
Statistically Speaking - a book of statsitical quotes. I know the authors visited my page to check out some quotes. :)
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