the cult of statistical significance

Ziliak Claims Higgs Boson Is “Junk Science”

by Phillip Witteveen July 11, 2013

“I want to believe as much as the next person that particle physicists have discovered a Higgs boson, the so-called ‘God particle’”, writes author Stephen Ziliak in an op-ed appearing in a recent Financial Post. “But so far I do not buy the statistical claims being made about the discovery.” Ziliak is talking about the last remaining theorized particle in quantum physics. It’s only now that scientists claim to have actually discovered one. The problem the ‘discovery’ raises with Ziliak, an economist, is not with the particle itself, but with the means used to find it—namely, the fact that the claim is based […]

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Stephen T. Ziliak Discusses ‘Cult of Statistical Significance’ on BBC Radio 4

by Shaun Manning April 21, 2011

Stephen T. Ziliak, co-author with Deidre N. McCloskey of The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives, appeared on BBC Radio 4’s More or Less with Tim Harford to discuss the problems with significance testing. Harford’s program focuses on the way numbers and statistics are used and misused in the public realm, and for the April 15 episode he spoke with Ziliak about a recent Supreme Court decision that hinged on whether statistical significance was a meaningful standard by which to assess a company’s liability for a potentially dangerous product. Harford began using […]

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‘Cult of Statistical Significance’ authors celebrate victory in Supreme Court

by Trade Marketing March 29, 2011

"Statistical significance is neither necessary nor sufficient for proving a commercial or scientific result."  When two University of Michigan Press authors, Deirdre N. McCloskey and Stephen T. Ziliak, first began saying so, back in the 1980s, most of their colleagues dismissed their logic and findings.  Ziliak himself, a Trustee and Professor of Economics at Roosevelt University, was advised by some of his professors to stop talking about statistical significance.  But he and McCloskey, co-authors of the critically acclaimed book, The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives (2008), kept talking and talking. Now […]

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Economist blog quotes UM Press author in billion-dollar cold medicine case

by University of Michigan Press January 24, 2011

A letter from author Stephen Ziliak has been quoted extensively in The Economist’s View blog posted by Mark Thoma, in regards to the amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court on November 12, 2010. Ziliak’s brief claims that the very popular cold and flu relief medication, Zicam, has been found to cause users to permanently lose their sense of smell. The amicus brief filed by Ziliak is regarded with high importance, and “it is said to be one of the top ten cases of the year as the Court's decision has general and large implications for liability, regulation, and reporting […]

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“The Cult of Statistical Significance” authors challenge cold medicine makers’ math in Supreme Court case

by Trade Marketing December 28, 2010

In supposedly one of the top ten cases of the Supreme Court this year, authors of The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives, Stephen T. Ziliak and Deirdre N. McCloskey have filed a case involving Zicam, a common cold medicine from Matrixx which evidently causes users to permanently lose their sense of smell. The case will have general and large implications for liability, regulation and the Securities Exchange Commission. In addition, at least two of the other briefs filed for this case cite Ziliak and McCloskey (2008) to support their argument against […]

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