PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Controversy Over the Significance Controversy

In the face of misinterpretations and proposed bans of statistical significance tests, the American Statistical Association gathered leading statisticians in 2015 to articulate statistical fallacies, and galvanize discussion of statistical principles. I discuss key philosophical assumptions about the use and interpretation of p-values that lurk in the background of today’s recommended statistical “reforms”. I concur with criticisms of ritual uses of p-values. But without understanding their role as part of a repertoire of tools controlling the frequency of erroneous misinterpretations of data, there’s a danger of accepting reforms that throw out the error control baby with the “bad statistics” bathwater.

Author Information:

Deborah Mayo    
Virginia Tech


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