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A reporter asked me for a quote regarding the importance of statistics. Science would be pretty much ok. The second law of thermodynamics is an observable fact, ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit the two-slit experiment and various experimental results revealing the nature of the atom. The A-bomb and, almost certainly, the H-bomb, maybe these would never have been invented without statistics, but on balance I think most people would feel that the world would be a better place without these particular scientific developments.

At a more applied level, statistics helped to win World War 2, most notably in cracking the Enigma code but also in various operations-research efforts. Where would civilian technology be without statistics?

In a world without statistics, would the study of quantum physics have progressed far enough so that transistors were invented? No transistors, though, that would make a difference in my life. No transistors, no blogging! And I guess we could also forget about various unequivocally beneficial technological innovations such as modern pacemakers, hearing aids, cochlear implants, and Clippy.

Modern biomedicine uses lots and lots of statistics, but would medicine be so much worse without it? Without statistics, I assume that various mistakes would get into the system, various ineffective treatments that people think are effective, etc.

But on balance I doubt these would be huge mistakes, and the big ones would eventually get caught, with careful record-keeping even without statistical ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit and adjustments. The Poverty Lab team use statistics and randomized experiments to see what works to help the lives of poor people around the world. Or, to put it another way, I suspect that the statistical validation serves mostly as a way to build political consensus for economic policies that will be effective in sharing the wealth.

So, sure, fine, but in this case the benefits of the statistical methods are somewhat indirect. Careful observation and precise measurement can be done, with or without statistical methods. Indeed, researchers often use statistics as a substitute for careful observation and precise measurement.

That is a horrible thing to do, and if you have a clear understanding of statistical theory, ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit can see why. But statistics is hard, and lots of researchers and journal editors, news reporters, etc. When statistics is used as a substitute for, rather than an adjunct to, scientific measurement, we get problems. But, would a world without polling be so horrible? Perhaps ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit most important benefits of statistics come not from the direct use of statistical methods in science and technology, but rather in helping us learn about the world.

Statisticians from Francis Galton and Ronald Fisher onward have used statistics to give us a much deeper understanding of human and biological variation. Forget about p-values, Bayesian inference, and the rest: For a more humble example, consider Bill Ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit. Baseball is a silly example, sure, but the point is to see how much understanding has been gained in this area through statistical measurement and comparison.

Without any statistics, there still would be numbersalong with ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit trying to interpret them. Could governments and large businesses be managed well without statistics? Given that half the U. But maybe things would be much worse without a common core of statistical agreement. Finally, one way that statistics is potentially having a huge impact in our lives is through the measurement of global warming and all the rest.

The basic physics is already there, as would be the careful measurements. And, even with statistics, much uncertainty remains. But statistics is central to how we think about the world. I still think that statistics is much less central to our lives than, say, chemistry. Why does polling need Statistics? If you just allow everyone to vote, all you need is arithmetic, right? Among uses, did you forget insurance? Statistics might help your business not go bust there.

A lot of modern financial instruments including HFT seem grounded in statistics. Again one may disagree about their utility. Even something basic like the formula for pricing a derivative seems statistically derived. On insurance, non-life insurance got by quite happily without any sort of stats whatsoever until the actuaries got involved. On the life side, although one can argue that much actuarial maths is statistical, it was and to a certain extent still is treated as a deterministic system with little attention paid to variation quite a lot of actuarial science predates the modern treatment of probability.

Having a language that allows uncertainty seems important and that this is applied to science also seems important. I think, at best, you could make the argument that without this formal framework a number of scientific discoveries would have been more difficult or taken longer to figure out. On the other hand, statistics is more than just a set of formal tests, it is a philosophical approach to inference.

And in a lot of ways there is a very fine line between statistics and just plain math. Imagine no publications I wonder if you can No need for tenure… A brotherhood of man Imagine ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit the professors Sharing all the world…. The outcome after the change is almost always variable so, statistical.

I think that scientists would assess variation intuitively. So statistics ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit be effectively replaced by intuitive statistics which is what we use to define priors.

That is, laws of large numbers, central limit theorem, etc. Individuals who understood this concept intuitively would make better scientists less likely to believe something is true with small n and an expected effect—look at all the psych experiments Andrew is always trashing.

A committee consisting of one physicist, two biologists, two geologists, one chemist, one mathematician, and one person who taught science to inservice elementary teachers that I was on a few years ago that was tasked with designing a science course for pre-service elementary teachers.

It sure gave lots of evidence of the assertion in item 1. But the discussion ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit fascinating. So the social sciences could probably learn a lot about doing science from these areas. Actually my impression is that WW2 was won by throwing overwhelming men and material at the Axis.

I forget which historian said this, but the wonder is not that Germany lost, but that it held out against the rest of the world for as many years as it did. Anyway, more to the ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit Any pointers to a thoughtful analysis of the role of the statistical method in WWII?

Most works I have seen are too science boosterish for my taste. Always check things like relative GNP and population before attacking someone. Ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit wait, those are statistics too Desciptive not inferential but still ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit. However I think there is a good argument that statistics contribued to shortening the war.

Certainly work by people like Alan Turing and his associates at Bletchly Park on the Ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit navel codes helped reduce the possibility of defeat if not win the Battle of the Atlantic. And some of the operations research work paid off quite well I believe. Not, probably as decisively as Enigma but I am not really up on this.

The likely reason they held out so long seems to be that qualitively the German army was better on man for man basis than any other. Germany might have held out much longer if Hitler was not so insane but he essentially doomed Germany when he invaded the USSR. As far as Enigma, the British told the Soviets the starting date of Barbarossa June 22, —Stalin dismissed thisand also let them know the starting date of Operation Citadel the attack on the Kursk salient—Stalin believed this one.

RADAR requires the measurement of elapsed time between signal propagation and return, so this is a statistical problem. But solving it does not require a knowledge of the mathematical theories underlying statistics.

As I expected, ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit Google search turned up some sources — e. A very young Freeman Dyson did operations research on the British bombing campaign over Germany. A fellow researcher used statistics to determine ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit the escape hatch for crew members attempting to parachute out of the plane was too narrow, and eventually got the RAF to widen it, but only after a massive bureaucratic struggle.

Actually the first efforts at cracking Enigma were led by Polish intelligence. After invasion of Poland the latter passed info to Britain. One area where cracking enigma proved super useful was in sinking German submarines blocking Atlantic supply routes. And in sinking supply vessels for Rommel in North Africa.

Without these war in Europe could have lasted as long as in the Pacific and, who knows, maybe given time for Germany to develop A bomb, though I doubt it.

The more important difference is with climate change. In my view, solid statistical analyses are absolutely vital to that field, and a good number of problems have arisen due to failures along those lines. Although some physical laws are indeed known with pretty high confidence, as you state, most notably the radiative forcings of important greenhouse gases, everything beyond that has a large degree of uncertainty attached to it.

When you start asking questions like how much of the observed GMST change since some baseline period is due to GHGs, or human drivers more broadly, you are immediately well beyond the realm of confidence implied by the knowledge of GHG forcing values alone.

As for tree rings and climate estimates specifically, those have even more fundamental problems which include gross oversimplifications ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit mathematical and statistical issues related to the fundamental form of the biological response to temperature Unimodal NOT linear! No statistical analysis of any kind can compensate or correct for these fundamental mathematical mistakes.

Statistics sometimes provides an illusion of understanding. Would the Soviet five year plans with their obsessive focus on hitting targets for everything from Steel to Shoes been possible without the intellectual apparatus and ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit provided by Ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit Can we attribute at least some of the misery caused by Central planning to a Cultish use of Statistics?

Statisticians have been on the end of this misery. Those who supervised the Soviet Census of were executed their numbers—accurately—reflected ooption trading software-related-8txt 8th circuit least a million deaths from the purge of And, of course, the Italian statisticians on trial for failing to predict an earthquake.

The book describes several developments in statistics that came about while working on real-world problems, notably in agriculture, weather and beer-making. Recommended reading to be sure. Censuses play a sizable role in both the New Testament c. I like that post very much.

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