I am a statistician, but I have worked in a department of predominantly econometricians for the past 17 years. It is a little like an Australian visiting the United States. Initially, it seems that we talk the same language, do the same sorts of things, and have a very similar culture. But the longer you stay there, the more you realise there are differences that run deep and affect the way you see the world.
The science writer Michael Shermer, has previously written about something he calls 'Darwin’s dictum'. It's based on a letter Charles Darwin sent to his friend Henry Fawcett in which he stated - 'How odd it is that anyone should not see that all observation must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service!' Shermer applies this to science, but it applies equally well to statistics, hence I propose a 'statistics dictum': all statistics must be for or against some view to be of any service and the underlying statistical concepts must be understood.
A lot has happened since the last time we wrote about the progress of the AllTrials campaign. In April, Members of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a law that will require all clinical trials to be registered and results reported. Now 80,000 people and 500 organisations have joined the AllTrials campaign for clinical trial transparency (the Royal Statistical Society signed the petition last year) and those numbers are growing all the time.
Did you know that wearing a helmet when riding a bike may be bad for you? Or that it’s possible to infer the rise of kidnappings in Nigeria from news reports? Or that we can predict the year when a majority of Americans will reject the death penalty (hint: 2044)? Or that it’s possible to see that healthcare prices in the US are 'insane' in 15 simple charts? Or that the 2015 El Niño event may increase the percentage of Americans who accept climate change as a reality?