- "Statistics is the grammar of science." Karl Pearson
- "Statistics is, or should be, about scientific investigation and how to do it better, but many statisticians believe it is a branch of mathematics. Now I agree that the physicist, the chemist, the engineer, and the statistician can never know too much mathematics, but their objectives should be better physics, better chemistry, better engineering, and in the case of statistics, better scientific investigation. Whether in any given study this implies more or less mathematics is incidental." George E. P. Box
- "In our lust for measurement, we frequently measure that which we can rather than that which we wish to measure... and forget that there is a difference." George Udny Yule
- "We must be careful not to confuse data with the abstractions we use to analyze them." William James
- "Maturity is the capacity to endure uncertainty." John Finley
- "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." Elizur Wright
- "... 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 null hypothesis." 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 unexpected values." John Tukey
- "Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write." H.G.Wells
- "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" Hilaire Belloc
- "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." John Tukey
- "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 better." 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." Andrew Lang
- "If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment." 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." Thomas Carlyle
- "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." Milton Friedman
- "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." Ghandi
- "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." H. Simon
- "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
- "Randomization is too important to be left to chance." J. D. Petruccelli