Some myths concerning statistical hypothesis testing

Kenneth 'pawl' Collins k.p.collins at
Mon Nov 18 08:49:15 EST 2002

Clear discussion, Robert.

Beautiful, in fact.


Robert Dodier wrote in message
<6714766d.0211171827.612e3ad6 at>...
>"John H." <johnh at> wrote:
>> As a mathematical outsider I find it quite surprising that some of
>> fundamentals of statistical analysis, utilised so widely in the
>> remains in hot dispute by many people who obviously are not
>> outsiders. It just shows how even in such a 'pure' field as
>> there remains plenty of room for debate.
>Just to clarify the grounds of the debate, the questions of interest
>are not mathematical in nature -- so far as I know all parties agree
>on the theorems of probability, measure theory, etc. and nobody
>that their opponents have a false derivation or some error like
>The debate is best characterized as a scientific in nature --
>specifically, there is disagreement as to what the A, B, C, and
>X, Y, Z in the equations can stand for. It is something like a
>physicist exhibiting an equation for balance of phlogiston --
>even if the equation itself is OK, some people will object to
>interpreting the quantity P as a massless fluid that transfers
>Specifically, in the case of statistics, one group claims that it is
>meaningful to assess probability for any proposition, be it
>random variables or otherwise. Another influential group claims that
>is incorrect, and some mode of reasoning other than probability is
>required for any proposition not concerning random variables. This
>disagreement as to the scope of probability has lead to vastly
>different methodologies, and never the twain shall meet, AFAICT.
>Statistics courses for non-majors are almost entirely taught by
>the "probability for random variables only" party; this is a
>historical and sociological phenomenon. OTOH, I am aware that the
>other persuasion is popular in many computer science departments,
>specifically as it makes automated reasoning much easier to
>For what it's worth,
>Robert Dodier
>``He wins most who toys with the dies.'' -- David O'Bedlam

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