*Should we change our name?

ctfaulkn at utkvx.utk.edu ctfaulkn at utkvx.utk.edu
Fri Jun 17 01:42:30 EST 1994


In Article <199406161956.MAA13263 at net.bio.net>
LYONSW at UCONNVM.UCONN.EDU (James) writes:
>Apparently, dynamic discussion is not welcome by some in Bioforum.
>Statistics are an indispensable tool that many biologists rely upon
>toprevent making fools of themselves.  Given the diversity of
>backgrounds in the bioforum at net.bio.net community, my Squares and
>Sticks puzzle was appropriate because some of the expertise in
>Bayesian (with hundreds of applications to the world of Life) might
>not be immediately familiar with terms like autapomorphy, syanapomorphy,
>(terms unique to a burgeoning field {i.e., systematics}).
>
>Puzzles in the life sciences take many a form...

I don't believe a name change is necessary, but I wonder why a statistical 
puzzle has to take the form of match sticks, tooth picks or something other
than biological entities. Is the field so diverse that we can not ask "what
is the probability that 3 (or more ) organisims from these localities will
share the same attribute (morphological, behavioral etc.). I think that by 
not explicitly dealing with biological examples we continue to make statistics
seem to be something magical and mathematical, rather than a tool with obvious
advantages to understanding the complexity of the phenomenological world. If 
the goal is to teach students to look at the possibilities of Bayesian
probability for their work, then lead them into it rather than expecting them 
to jump from the abstract toothpick world of the statistican and apply it
blindly. 



**********************************
*      Charles T. Faulkner       *
*  Univ of Tennessee, Knoxville  *
*   (ctfaulkn at utkvx.utk.edu)     *
*********************************                                





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