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Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

When does peer review make no damn sense?

Disclaimer: This post is not peer reviewed in the traditional sense of being vetted for publication by three people with backgrounds similar to mine. Instead, thousands of commenters, many of whom are not my peers—in the useful sense that, not being my peers, your perspectives are different from mine, and you might catch big conceptual […]

Empirical violation of Arrow’s theorem!

Regular blog readers know about Arrow’s theorem, which is that any result can be published no more than five times. Well . . . I happened to be checking out Retraction Watch the other day and came across this: “Exactly the same clinical study” published six times Here’s the retraction notice in the journal Inflammation: […]

One thing I like about hierarchical modeling is that is not just about criticism. It’s a way to improve inferences, not just a way to adjust p-values.

In an email exchange regarding the difficulty many researchers have in engaging with statistical criticism (see here for a recent example), a colleague of mine opined: Nowadays, promotion requires more publications, and in an academic environment, researchers are asked to do more than they can. So many researchers just work like workers in a product […]

The time-reversal heuristic—a new way to think about a published finding that is followed up by a large, preregistered replication (in context of Amy Cuddy’s claims about power pose)

[Note to busy readers: If you’re sick of power pose, there’s still something of general interest in this post; scroll down to the section on the time-reversal heuristic. I really like that idea.] Someone pointed me to this discussion on Facebook in which Amy Cuddy expresses displeasure with my recent criticism (with Kaiser Fung) of […]

Ted Versus Powerpose and the Moneygoround, Part One

So. I was reading the newspaper the other day and came across a credulous review of the recent book by Amy “Power Pose” Cuddy. The review, by Heather Havrilesky, expressed some overall wariness regarding the self-help genre, but I was disappointed to see no skepticism regarding Cuddy’s scientific claims. And then I did a web […]

Irritating pseudo-populism, backed up by false statistics and implausible speculations

I was preparing my lecture for tomorrow and happened to come across this post from five years ago. And now I’m irritated by Matt Ridley all over again! I wonder if he’s still bashing “rich whites” and driving that 1975 Gremlin? Grrrr…

The devil really is in the details; or, You’ll be able to guess who I think are the good guys and who I think are the bad guys in this story, but I think it’s still worth telling because it provides some insight into how (some) scientists view statistics

I noticed this on Retraction Watch: “Scientists clearly cannot rely on the traditional avenues for correcting problems in the literature.” PubPeer responds to an editorial slamming the site. I’ve never actually read anything on PubPeer but I understand it’s a post-publication review site, and I like post-publication review. So I’m heading into this one on […]

Unz Ivy Stats Flashback

This news story reminded me of some threads from a few years ago about Ron Unz, the political activist who wrote a statistics-filled article a few years ago claiming that Harvard and other Ivy League colleges discriminate against Asian-Americans and in favor of Jews in undergraduate admissions. It turned out that some of his numbers […]

The PACE trial and the problems with discrete, yes/no thinking

I don’t often read the Iranian Journal of Cancer Prevention, but I like this quote: I was thinking more about the PACE trial. God is in every leaf of every tree. There’s been a lot of discussion about statistical problems with the PACE papers, and also about the research team’s depressing refusal to share their […]

PACE study and the Lancet: Journal reputation is a two-way street

One thing that struck me about this PACE scandal: if this study was so bad as all that, how did it taken so seriously by policymakers and the press? There’s been a lot of discussion about serious flaws in the published papers, and even more discussion about the unforgivable refusal of the research team to […]

Monty Got a Raw Hand

Now nonsense isn’t new to me . . . check out this new paper by Josh Miller and Adam Sanjurjo.

Top posts of 2015

Here they are: What to think about in 2015: How can the principles of statistical quality control be applied to statistics education Stethoscope as weapon of mass distraction “Why continue to teach and use hypothesis testing?” Relaxed plagiarism standards as a way to keep the tuition dollars flowing from foreign students What to do in […]

Comment of the week

From Elin: What’s most weird to me is the idea that living in a city that had a massive earthquake that caused tremendous loss of life and destruction of communities would somehow be the same thing as sitting on an inflatable pillow. Who thinks that?

Turbulent Studies, Rocky Statistics: Publicational Consequences of Experiencing Inferential Instability

Someone writes in: In the most recent absurd embodiment paper on wobbly stools leading to wobbly relationship beliefs, Psych Sci asked for a second study with a large N. The authors performed it, found no effect and then performed a mediation analysis to recover the effect. It’s a good example for garden of forking paths […]

LaCour and Green 1, This American Life 0

A couple days after listening to the segment where This American Life got conned by Mars One, I happened to listen to the This American Life segment on LaCour and Green. LaCour didn’t appear on the show but Green did. Wow, Ira Glass really got scammed. But it was a pretty elaborate con; LaCour not […]

Cannabis/IQ follow-up: Same old story

Ole Rogeberg writes: The way researchers respond to criticism is a recurring theme on your blog, so you might find this amusing as a brief follow-up on the cannabis/IQ discussion you’ve covered before: The Dunedin longitudinal study has now been going for 40 years, and the lead researchers in charge of the study recently published an […]

Rogue historian just can’t stop can’t stop copying copying copying

Terrie Lee Ekin points me to this update on the noted Arizona plagiarist: Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio wants a consultant to pay back the city $21,800, for monies paid to develop a course to teach police officers cultural awareness. DiCicco said Dr. Matthew Whitaker does not deserve the money he was paid after billing […]

First, second, and third order bias corrections (also, my ugly R code for the mortality-rate graphs!)

As an applied statistician, I don’t do a lot of heavy math. I did prove a true theorem once (with the help of some collaborators), but that was nearly twenty years ago. Most of the time I walk along pretty familiar paths, just hoping that other people will do the mathematical work necessary for me […]

Asking the question is the most important step

In statistics, the glamour often comes to those who perform a challenging data analysis that extracts signal from noise, as in Aki Vehtari’s decomposition of the famous birthday data which led to the stunning graphs on the cover of BDA3. But, from a social-science point of view, the biggest credit has to go to whoever […]

Pass the popcorn

Rodney Sparapini writes: I got this in my inbox today. I thought this might be of interest to you and your blog readers. It’s not at all of interest to me but it might interest some of my readers. I’m posting it here because there’s something amazing about seeing this intense dispute about something I’ve […]