University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

History of Science and Technology/Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science Colloquium

Friday, April 8th 2016
Speaker: Deborah Mayo, Department of Philosophy, Virginia Tech
Subject: How to Stop Refighting the Statistics Wars
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

If a statistical methodology is to be adequate, it needs to register how “questionable research practices” (QRPs) alter a method’s error probing capacities. If little has been done to rule out flaws in taking data as evidence for a claim, then that claim has not passed a stringent or severe test. The goal of severe testing is the linchpin for (re)interpreting frequentist methods so as to avoid long-standing fallacies at the heart of today’s statistics wars. A contrasting philosophy views statistical inference in terms of posterior probabilities in hypotheses: probabilism. Presupposing probabilism, critics mistakenly argue that significance and confidence levels are misinterpreted, exaggerate evidence, or are irrelevant for inference. Recommended replacements—Bayesian updating, Bayes factors, likelihood ratios—fail to control severity.

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