We recently took a guided tour of statistical significance, in which we focused on how the media often fails to correctly interpret statistical information. But, journalists are not the only group that is tripped up by statistics. The scientific community itself has been engaged in deep debate about the proper use of statistical methodology. These debates have been so intense that some have referred to them as the “Statistics Wars.” The latest salvo was a statement in Nature, the world’s premier scientific journal, signed by over 800 scientists and statisticians calling for the end of statistical significance.
Just what is it about statistical significance that gets scientists so worked up?