A group called The Edge (www.edge.org) asks a question each year of prominent scientists and a few select non-scientists. This group represents from a broad range of backgrounds and disciplines and provides an interesting variety of responses. Questions asked in the past include:
- What are you optimistic about?
- What is your dangerous idea? and
- What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?
Just recently, this group published responses to the 2008 question: What have you changed your mind about? Why? Several of the responses touch directly or indirectly on Statistics.
- Rebecca Goldstein criticizes the concept of falsifiability: edge.org/q2008/q08_9.html#goldstein.
- Gerd Gigerenzer is no longer so pessimistic about whether physicians, patients, and politicians could adopt and apply basic statistical literacy techniques to questions about health: edge.org/q2008/q08_13.html#gigerenzer.
- Beatrice Golomb cites the medical community’s change of mind about various treatments and cites the randomized trials of post-menopausal hormone therapy as a particular example: edge.org/q2008/q08_15.html#golomb.
- Bart Kosko now prefers to use the sample median rather than the sample mean to combine measurements into a single predictive value: edge.org/q2008/q08_16.html#kosko.
- Nassim Taleb no longer believes in the centrality of probability: edge.org/q2008/q08_17.html#taleb.
I might as well put my thoughts in as well. I no longer believe that statisticians are the gatekeepers to scientific integrity and that we need to impose certain restrictions on how data should be analyzed (e.g., only allow parametric tests when there is evidence that the assumptions of normality are met). I believe that scientists are sophisticated enough to understand rules of evidence and to apply them fairly in the absence of statistical input.
You can find an earlier version of this page on my original website.