This website is primarily concerned with statistical science, which may seem like an odd phrase given that it’s rarely used. Unlike ‘statistics’, which may often refer to ‘mathematical statistics’ and ‘applied statistics’, statistical science goes beyond probability theory and mathematics, and incorporates good principles of design and scientific thinking to maximize quantitative inferences drawn from data in the real world. So, why not just call it ‘applied statistics’ to differentiate it from mathematical statistics?
First ‘applied statistics’ becomes a tautology, for statistics is nothing without its applications. The phrase should be abandoned. It has arisen to distinguish it from ‘mathematical statistics’. However, this is also a misnomer, because it should be ‘statistical mathematics’, as A. C. Aitken entitled his book many years ago.
To make this change does not in any way diminish the importance of mathematics. Mathematics remains the source of our tools, but statistical science is not just a branch of mathematics; it is not a purely deductive system, because it is concerned with quantitative inferences from data obtained from the real world.
Highly influential statisticians besides Nelder have recognized the need for statistics to break away from mathematics and probaility such as Cox, Reid, Efron, & Greenland.2–5 I too share their goals and hope to promote good statistical science on this website within the context of medicine and nutrition.
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1. Nelder JA. From Statistics to Statistical Science. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series D (The Statistician). 1999;48(2):257-269.
2. Cox DR. Statistical science: A grammar for research. European Journal of Epidemiology. 2017;32(6):465-471. doi:10.1007/s10654-017-0288-1
3. Cox DR, Efron B. Statistical thinking for 21st century scientists. Science Advances. 2017;3(6):e1700768. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1700768
4. Greenland S. Invited commentary: The need for cognitive science in methodology. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2017;186(6):639-645. doi:10.1093/aje/kwx259
5. Reid N. A conversation with sir david cox. Statistical Science. 1994;9(3):439-455. doi:10.1214/ss/1177010394