Famous Quotes about Statistics

To call in the statistician after the experiment is done may be no more than asking him to perform a post-mortem examination: he may be able to say what the experiment died of. – Sir R.A. Fisher (1938)

All models are wrong, but some are useful. – George Box

Statisticians, like artists, have the bad habit of falling in love with their models. – George Box

The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see. – John Tukey

Data is the sword of the 21st century, those who wield it well, the Samurai. – Jonathan Rosenberg

Those who ignore Statistics are condemned to reinvent it. – Brad Efron

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. – Mark Twain

My thesis is simply this: probability does not exist. – Bruno de Finetti

The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic. – Joseph Stalin

The plural of anecdote is not data. – Roger Brinner

To find out what happens when you change something, it is necessary to change it. – Box, Hunter, and Hunter, Statistics for Experimenters (1978).

All we know about the world teaches us that the effects of A and B are always different—in some decimal place—for any A and B. Thus asking “are the effects different?” is foolish. – John Tukey

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. – Carl Sagan

… the null hypothesis is never proved or established, but is possibly disproved, in the course of experimentation. Every experiment may be said to exist only to give the facts a chance of disproving the null hypothesis. – Sir R.A. Fisher

I think it is much more interesting to live with uncertainty than to live with answers that might be wrong. – Richard Feynman

Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future. – Niels Bohr

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Strange events permit themselves the luxury of occurring. – Charlie Chan

The combination of some data and an aching desire for an answer does not ensure that a reasonable answer can be extracted from a given body of data. – John Tukey

Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary a qualification for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write. – H.G. Wells

In God we trust. All others must bring data. – W. Edwards Deming

An approximate answer to the right problem is worth a good deal more than an exact answer to an approximate problem. – John Tukey

If you think that statistics has nothing to say about what you do or how you could do it better, then you are either wrong or in need of a more interesting job. – Stephen Senn

If I can’t picture it, I can’t understand it. – Albert Einstein

A statistical analysis, properly conducted, is a delicate dissection of uncertainties, a surgery of suppositions. – M.J. Moroney

[Statistics are] the only tools by which an opening can be cut through the formidable thicket of difficulties that bars the path of those who pursue the science of man. – Sir Francis Galton

New methods always look better than old ones. Neural nets are better than logistic regression, support vector machines are better than neural nets, etc. – Brad Efron

… no scientific worker has a fixed level of significance at which from year to year, and in all circumstances, he rejects hypotheses; he rather gives his mind to each particular case in the light of his evidence and his ideas.” – Sir R.A. Fisher (1956)

The business of the statistician is to catalyze the scientific learning process. – George Box

Statistics’ real contribution to society is primarily moral, not technical. – Steve Vardeman and Max Morris