The quote is from George Box, 1979.
Please can Data Analysts get themselves together again and become whole Statisticians before it is too late? Before they, their employers, and their clients forget the other equally important parts of the job statisticians should be doing, such as designing investigations and building models?
I actually think the current term “data scientist” is an improvement over “data analyst” because the scientist can be involved in data collection and decision making, not just analysis.
Box also wrote:
It is widely recognized that the advancement of learning does not proceed by conjecture alone, nor by observation alone, but by an iteration involving both. Certainly, scientific investigation proceeds by such iteration. Examination of empirical data inspires a tentative explanation which, when further exposed to reality, may lead to its modification. . . .
Now, since scientific advance, to which all statisticians must accommodate, takes place by the alternation of two different kinds of reasoning, we would expect also that two different kinds of inferential process would be re- quired to put it into effect.
The first, used in estimating parameters from data conditional on the truth of some tentative model, is appropriately called Estimation. The second, used in checking whether, in the light of the data, any model of the kind proposed is plausible, has been aptly named by Cuthbert Daniel Criticism.
While estimation should, I believe, employ Bayes’ Theorem, or (for the fainthearted) likelihood, criticism needs a different approach. In practice, it is often best done in a rather informal way by examination of residuals or other suitable functions of the data. However, when it is done formally, using tests of goodness of fit, it must, I think, employ sampling theory for its justification.
He was writing in 1978, back before people realized the ways in which model criticism, exploratory data analysis, and sampling theory could be incorporated into Bayesian data analysis (see chapters 6-8 of BDA3 for a review).