New Phil Stat Forum: The Statistics Wars and Their Casualties

The Statistics Wars
and Their Casualties

(Postponed to 22-23 September 2022*) is now a monthly remote forum** 

*London School of Economics (CPNSS)

Yoav Benjamini (Tel Aviv University), Alexander Bird (University of Cambridge),
Mark Burgman (Imperial College London), Daniele Fanelli (London School of Economics and Political Science), Roman Frigg (London School of Economics and Political Science), Stephan Guettinger (London School of Economics and Political Science), ( David Hand (Imperial College London), Margherita Harris* (London School of Economics and Political Science), Christian Hennig (University of Bologna), Katrin Hohl (City University London), Daniël Lakens (Eindhoven University of Technology), Deborah Mayo (Virginia Tech), Richard Morey (Cardiff University), Stephen Senn (Edinburgh, Scotland), Jon Williamson (University of Kent)

*Panel Leader

While the field of statistics has a long history of passionate foundational controversy the last decade has, in many ways, been the most dramatic. Misuses of statistics, biasing selection effects, and high powered methods of Big-Data analysis, have helped to make it easy to find impressive-looking but spurious, results that fail to replicate. As the crisis of replication has spread beyond psychology and social sciences to biomedicine, genomics and other fields, people are getting serious about reforms.  Many are welcome (preregistration, transparency about data, eschewing mechanical uses of statistics); some are quite radical. The experts do not agree on how to restore scientific integrity, and these disagreements reflect philosophical battles–old and new– about the nature of inductive-statistical inference and the roles of probability in statistical inference and modeling. These philosophical issues simmer below the surface in competing views about the causes of problems and potential remedies. If statistical consumers are unaware of assumptions behind rival evidence-policy reforms, they cannot scrutinize the consequences that affect them (in personalized medicine, psychology, law, and so on). Critically reflecting on proposed reforms and changing standards requires insights from statisticians, philosophers of science, psychologists, journal editors, economists and practitioners from across the natural and social sciences. This workshop will bring together these interdisciplinary insights–from speakers as well as attendees.

Workshop OrganizersD. Mayo and R. Frigg

Logistician (chief logistics and contact person): Jean Miller 

**FORUM: This will be both a continuation of our LSEPH500 Seminar and a link to our delayed (but future) workshop.

 For information about how to participate in the forum, see this pdf

For an explanation about the meaning of statistical crises and their casualties see here.

Past & Future Meetings:

June 25, 2020 (LSE PH500 Bonus Meeting/Phil Stat Wars forum): Professor David Hand (Imperial College, London (mini-bio)) “Trustworthiness of Statistical Analysis”. (Abstract; For slides, recording & readings from this meeting, see this post.)

August 20, 2020 (15:00-16:45 (London); 10-11:45 a.m. (New York) EDT): Professor Daniël Lakens (Eindhoven University of Technology (mini-bio)) “Preregistration as a Tool to Evaluate the Severity of a Test”. (For slides, recording & readings from this meeting, see this post.)

September 24, 2020 (15:00-16:45 (London); 10-11:45 a.m. (New York) EDT):  Professor Richard Morey (Cardiff University (mini-bio)). “Bayes factors from all sides: who’s worried, who’s not, and why”. (For slides, recording & readings from this meeting, see this post.)

October 15, 2020. Statistics (P-value) Debate. Sponsored by the National Institute of Statistical Science: (For a recording, see this article.)

November 19, 2020 (15:00-16:45 (London); 10-11:45 a.m. (New York) EDT): Stephen Senn (Statistical Consultant, Scotland (mini-bio)).“Randomisation and control in the age of coronavirus?” (Abstract; For slides, recording & readings from this meeting, see this post.)

January 7, 2021 (16:00-17:30 (London); 11-12:30 (New York) EDT): D. Mayo (Philosophy, Virginia Tech (mini-bio))“Putting the Brakes on the Breakthrough, or ‘How I used simple logic to uncover a flaw in a controversial 60-year old “theorem” in statistical foundations’”. (Abstract)

January 28, 2021 (15:00-16:45 (London); 10-11:45 a.m. (New York) EDT): Alexander Bird (Philosophy,  University of Cambridge (mini-bio)). “How can we improve replicability?”

February 18, 2021 (15:00-16:45 (London); 10-11:45 a.m. (New York) EDT)Christian Hennig (Statistics, University of Bologna (mini-bio)). TBA

March 25, 2021 (15:00-16:45 (London); 10-11:45 a.m. (New York) EDT): Mark Burgman (Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London (mini-bio)). TBA

April 22, 2021 (15:00-16:45 (London); 10-11:45 a.m. (New York) EDT): Daniele Fanelli (Dept. of Methodology, LSE (mini-bio)). “How an information metric could bring truce to the statistics wars”.

May 20, 2021 (15:00-16:45 (London); 10-11:45 a.m. (New York) EDT): Jon Williamson (Centre for Reasoning, University of Kent (mini-bio)). “Objective Bayesianism from a philosophical perspective”.


June 24, 2021 (15:00-16:45 (London); 10-11:45 a.m. (New York) EDT): Katrin Hohl (Department of Sociology, City University London (mini-bio)).

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