Skip to content

Six quotes from Kaiser Fung

You may think you have all of the data. You don’t.

One of the biggest myth of Big Data is that data alone produce complete answers.

Their “data” have done no arguing; it is the humans who are making this claim.

Before getting into the methodological issues, one needs to ask the most basic question. Did the researchers check the quality of the data or just take the data as is?

We are not saying that statisticians should not tell stories. Story-telling is one of our responsibilities. What we want to see is a clear delineation of what is data-driven and what is theory (i.e., assumptions).

The standard claim is that the observed effect is so large as to obviate the need for having a representative sample. Sorry – the bad news is that a huge effect for a tiny non-random segment of a large population can coexist with no effect for the entire population.

That last one is an appropriate response to the Freshman Fallacy.


  1. Andrew says:

    P.S. I wanted to call this Six Quotes from Chairman Fung but I thought that might sound racist.

  2. Xi'an says:

    Great ones: my last slide for tomorrow’s intro stat course!

    • Keith O'Rourke says:

      > intro stat course!

      Agree, somehow these “assume anything that could go wrong did, so try to find what you can to fix” does not get focussed on enough as well as inadvertently encouraging the wishful thinking that data can speak on their own or should be allowed to.

      I once wrote that my most important contribution in clinical research was finding and correcting data entry errors. Perhaps the other was auditing the pharmacy’s implementation of randomisation procedures early in clinical trails.

  3. […] how to make Web analytics dashboards better by simplifying. And while we’re at it, here are six quotes from Kaiser Fung that Andrew Gelman […]

Leave a Reply