The fifth meeting of our Phil Stat Forum*:

The Statistics Wars
and Their Casualties

28 January, 2021

TIME: 15:00-16:45 (London); 10-11:45 a.m. (New York, EST)

“How can we improve replicability?”

Alexander Bird

ABSTRACT: It is my view that the unthinking application of null hypothesis significance testing is a leading cause of a high rate of replication failure in certain fields.  What can be done to address this, within the NHST framework?

Alexander Bird President, British Society for the Philosophy of Science, Bertrand Russell Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Cambridge, Fellow and Director of Studies, St John’s College, Cambridge. Previously he was the Peter Sowerby Professor of Philosophy and Medicine, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London and prior to that held the chair in Philosophy at the University of Bristol, and was lecturer and then reader at the University of Edinburgh before that. His work is principally in those areas where philosophy of science overlaps with metaphysics and epistemology. He has a particular interest in the philosophy of medicine, especially regarding methodological issues in causal and statistical inference. Website: 

For information about the Phil Stat Wars forum and how to join, click on this link. 


Bird, A. Understanding the Replication Crisis as a Base Rate Fallacy, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, axy051, (13 August 2018).

A few pages from D. Mayo: Statistical Inference as Severe Testing: How to get beyond the statistics wars (SIST), pp. 361-370:  Section 5.6 “Positive Predictive Value: Fine for Luggage”.

Slides and Video Links: (to be posted when available)

Alexander Bird Presentation:

Alexander Bird Discussion:


Mayo’s Memos: Any info or events that arise that seem relevant to share with y’all before the meeting. Please check back closer to the meeting day.

*Meeting 13 of our the general Phil Stat series which began with the LSE Seminar PH500 on May 21