Statistical significance testing — pseudo-intellectual garbage

10 October, 2015 at 09:56 | Posted in Statistics & Econometrics | Leave a comment

Decisions based on statistical significance testing certainly make life easier. But significance testing doesn’t give us the knowledge we want. It only gives an answer to a question we as researchers never ask — what is the probability of getting the result we have got, assuming that there is no difference between two sets of data (e. g. control group – experimental group, sample – population). On answering the question we really are interested in — how probable and reliable is our hypothesis — it remains silent.

aapipesmokinOne wonders whether the function of statistical techniques in the social sciences is not primarily to provide a machinery for producing phoney corroborations and thereby a semblance of ‘scientific progress’ where, in fact, there is nothing but an increase in pseudo-intellectual garbage. …

Imre Lakatos

 
 
 

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