Enthusiastically presenting your neck to the sword of truth

A statistician interprets research for other people, so that those other people do not themselves have to be statisticians. The others hope the job is done objectively, and want to be able to trust in that, but that trust will always be limited if they don't know who the statistician is.

In an organization with many statisticians, such as a census bureau, we can trust in the fact that they tend to put more than one pair of eyes on each analysis before publishing results. But that's not the norm in science. The norm is one to two people per paper (the author and their supervisor) who really interprets the research!

(Peer-review is still spotty and subject to luck; there are almost no journals in 2022 with systematic peer-review, and it appears fairly easy to get lorem ipsum text published in high-impact journals. Not to mention simonwillison.net/2024/Mar/15/certainly-here-is-google-scholar/)

Knowing this, most papers should be assigned low a priori believability. I think researchers—and statisticians when that's not the same thing—both stand to gain a lot of credibility by going public with their persona, like Andrew Gelman, via personal blogs, books, or something like that, where they make transparent how they think and do their very best to be pedagogical.

(At least if their only agenda is the search for truth. If they have other agendas, it may not be wise.)

They'd also admit every bias they have, every belief they currently hold, and what they used to believe that turned out to be wrong. They'd tell us where they came from and how they were raised. We need it in order to properly be able to interpret that person's interpretations, so at least for me, I'd feel better knowing these things and could be more secure in trusting their reasoning.

The path by which someone arrives at their conclusion is just as important to know as the conclusion itself.

Thus, publicly Unpacking beliefs. A public PredictionBook. Publicly making bets with real money (per one of the closing remarks of Book: Inadequate Equilibria).

Enthusiastically presenting your neck to the sword of truth.

Excited for it to slice your head off—a bit less when it turns out that Truth was already on your side and you have to keep your head. That's, like, time wasted. Who needs their beliefs confirmed?

Created (2 years ago)
Updated (2 months ago)