- "We must be careful not to confuse data with the abstractions
we use to analyze them."
- "Maturity is the capacity to endure uncertainty."
- "Natural selection is a mechanism for generating an exceedingly
high degree of improbability."
R. A. Fisher
- "... the actual and physical conduct of an experiment must
govern the statistical procedure of its interpretation."
R. A. Fisher
- "Modern statisticians are familiar with the notion that any
finite body of data contains only a limited amount of
information on any point under examination; that this limit is
set by the nature of the data themselves, and cannot be
increased by any amount of ingenuity expended in their
statistical examination: that the statistician's task, in fact,
is limited to the extraction of the whole of the available
information on any particular issue."
R. A. Fisher
- "The science of statistics is the chief instrumentality
through which the progress of civilization is now measured, and
by which its development hereafter will be largely controlled."
S. N. D. North
- "While nothing is more uncertain than a single life, nothing is
more certain than the average duration of a thousand lives."
- "... the null hypothesis is never proved or established, but is
possibly disproved, in the course of experimentation. Every experiment
may be said to exist only to give the facts a chance of disproving the
R. A. Fisher
- "... a hypothesis test tells us whether the observed data are
consistent with the null hypothesis, and a confidence interval tells
us which hypotheses are consistent with the data."
William C. Blackwelder
- "You can't fix by analysis what you bungled by design."
Light, Singer and Willett, page v
- "Numerical quantities focus on expected values, graphical summaries on
- "Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for
efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write."
- "If you need statistics to prove it, it isn't true."
One of Barbara Doyle's Professors
- "Statistics are the triumph of the quantitative method, and the
quantitative method is the victory of sterility and death"
- "Facts speak louder than statistics"
Mr. Justice Streatfield (1950)
- "If all the statisticians in the world were laid head
to toe, they wouldn't be able to reach a conclusion"
Anon., after comment on economists by G. B. Shaw
- "You should treat as many patients as possible with the new drugs
while they still have the power to heal."
Armand Trousseau, 19 Century French physician
- "An approximate answer to the right problem is worth a good deal more
than an exact answer to an approximate problem."
- "Every third person in Israel saw 1.8 public theater shows last year."
Newspaper headline posted on Maya Bar Hillel's board.
- "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the
Ralph Waldo Emerson
- "By a small sample, we may judge of the whole piece."
Miguel de Cervantes from Don Quixote
- "The organized charity, scrimped and iced,
In the name of a cautious, statistical Christ."
John Boyle O'Reilly
- "The most important questions of life are, for the most part,
really only problems of probability."
Pierre Simon, Marquis de Laplace
- "Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book."
Isaiah, XXX 8
- "You believe in a God who plays dice, and I in complete law and order
in a world which objectively exists, and which I,
in a wildly speculative way, am trying to capture.
I firmly believe, but hope that someone will discover a more realistic way,
or rather a more tangible basis than it has been my lot to do.
Even the great initial success of the quantum theory
does not make me believe in the fundamental dice game,
although I am well aware that your younger colleagues
interpret this as a consequence of senility."
Albert Einstein, Letter to Max Born.
- "God not only plays dice. He also sometimes throws the dice
where they cannot be seen."
Stephen William Hawking
- "Thou shalt not answer questionnaires
Or quizzes upon world affairs,
Nor with compliance
Take any test.
Thou shalt not sit with statisticians nor commit
A social science."
W. H. Auden
- "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts--for support
rather than illumination."
- "If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better
Lord Ernest Rutherford
- "[Statistics are] the only tools by which an opening can be cut
through the formidable thicket of difficulties that bars the path of
those who pursue the science of man."
Sir Francis Galton
- "A judicious man looks on statistics not to get knowledge, but to save
himself from having ignorance foisted on him."
- "Statistics are the heart of democracy." Simeon Strunsky
- "Statistics are no substitute for judgment." Henry Clay
- "The only relevant test of the validity of a hypothesis is comparison
of its predictions with experience."
- "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data."
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- "If one takes care of the means, the end will take care of itself."
- "The sciences do not try to explain, they hardly even try to
interpret, they mainly make models. By a model is meant a mathematical
construct which, with the addition of certain verbal interpretations,
describes observed phenomena. The justification of such a mathematical
construct is solely and precisely that it is expected to work"
John Von Neumann
- "Absolute certainty is a privilege of uneducated minds-and
fanatics. It is, for scientific folk, an unattainable ideal."
Cassius J. Keyser
- "The aim of science is to seek the simplest explanation of complex
facts... Seek simplicity and distrust it."
A. N. Whitehead
- "The aim ... is to provide a clear and rigorous basis for
determining when a causal ordering can be said to hold between
two variables or groups of variables in a model . . . . The
concepts refer to a model-a system of equations-and not to the
'real' world the model purports to describe."
- "If ... we choose a group of social phenomena with no
antecedent knowledge of the causation or absence of causation
among them, then the calculation of correlation coefficients,
total or partial, will not advance us a step toward evaluating
the importance of the causes at work."
R. A. Fisher
- "Models should be as simple as possible, but not more so."
Attributed to Einstein
- "No aphorism is more frequently repeated in connection with
field trials, than that we must ask Nature few questions, or,
ideally, one question at a time. The writer is convinced that
this view is wholly mistaken. Nature, he suggests, will best
respond to a logical and carefully thought out questionnaire;
indeed, if we ask her a single question, she will often refuse
to answer until some other topic has been discussed."
R. A. Fisher