Thursday, November 29, 2012

That xkcd cartoon...

Old news now of course, but this was on xkcd a few weeks ago and Stoat pointed me to it in a comment:


I can't play all innocent because I've made similar jokes myself (eg here). However, I'm at least partly persuaded by Andrew Gelman (the comments thread is also interesting) that it's not an entirely fair criticism. Just because it's a valid frequentist calculation, doesn't make it a sensible one. On the other hand, it does highlight that even frequentists have to make sensible subjective decisions about what sort of analysis they are going to do (eg, which hypotheses to test). Which does knock a big hole in the claim you sometimes hear that frequentist methods are objective.

3 comments:

grinsted said...

I think it is an excellent cartoon, and both fair and illustrative for exactly the reason you give.

The comments over at Gelmans were great too. I added a few more blogs to my google reader list from these people.

David B. Benson said...

:-)

Chuck said...

As an empericist, I would just look at the moon.