“I was a statistician before I became a scientist.”

Friday December 9, 2011

Filed under: statistics — jackman @ 6:40 pm

Ouch… From Freeman Dyson’s review of Danny Kahneman’s new book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, in the New York Review of Books (p40, Dec 22, 2011):

I was a statistician before I became a scientist.

Someone as smart as Dyson doesn’t toss a line away a line like that. So bugger him.

For many people in the social sciences, they don’t become scientists until they become statistical (if not statisticians).

On the other hand, Dyson’s review does stress Paul Meehl’s influence on Kahneman. My own exposure to Meehl comes via Paul Sniderman (who has been pushing Meehl onto many of us at Stanford for years!). It is extremely interesting to see Meehl’s concern with prediction — and the “real world” clinical setting — feature prominently in Kahneman’s formation too.

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