Data Science

Statistics: Top 10 Quotes

“There are two aspects of statistics that are continually mixed, the method and the science. Statistics are used as a method, whenever we measure something, for example, the size of a district, the number of inhabitants of a country, the quantity or price of certain commodities, etc. […] There is, moreover, a science of statistics. It consists of knowing how to gather numbers, combine them and calculate them, in the best way to lead to certain results. But this is, strictly speaking, a branch of mathematics.” (Alphonse P de Candolle, “Considerations on Crime Statistics”, 1833)

“[Statistics] are the only tools by which an opening can be cut through the formidable thicket of difficulties that bars the path of those who pursue the Science of man.” (Sir Francis Galton, “Natural Inheritance”, 1889)

“[…] statistics is the science of the measurement of the social organism, regarded as a whole, in all its manifestations.” (Sir Arthur L Bowley, “Elements of Statistics”, 1901)

“Statistics may be regarded as (i) the study of populations, (ii) as the study of variation, and (iii) as the study of methods of the reduction of data.” (Sir Ronald A Fisher, “Statistical Methods for Research Worker”, 1925)

“[Statistics] is both a science and an art. It is a science in that its methods are basically systematic and have general application; and an art in that their successful application depends to a considerable degree on the skill and special experience of the statistician, and on his knowledge of the field of application, e.g. economics.” (Leonard H C Tippett, “Statistics”, 1943)

“Statistics is the fundamental and most important part of inductive logic. It is both an art and a science, and it deals with the collection, the tabulation, the analysis and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative measurements. It is concerned with the classifying and determining of actual attributes as well as the making of estimates and the testing of various hypotheses by which probable, or expected, values are obtained. It is one of the means of carrying on scientific research in order to ascertain the laws of behavior of things — be they animate or inanimate. Statistics is the technique of the Scientific Method.” (Bruce D Greenschieldsw & Frank M Weida, “Statistics with Applications to Highway Traffic Analyses”, 1952)

“Statistics is a tool. In experimental science you plan and carry out experiments, and then analyse and interpret the results. To do this you use statistical arguments and calculations. Like any other tool — an oscilloscope, for example, or a spectrometer, or even a humble spanner — you can use it delicately or clumsily, skillfully or ineptly. The more you know about it and understand how it works, the better you will be able to use it and the more useful it will be.” (Roger Barlow, “Statistics: A Guide to the Use of Statistical Methods in the Physical Sciences”, 1989)

“The science of statistics may be described as exploring, analyzing and summarizing data; designing or choosing appropriate ways of collecting data and extracting information from them; and communicating that information. Statistics also involves constructing and testing models for describing chance phenomena. These models can be used as a basis for making inferences and drawing conclusions and, finally, perhaps for making decisions.” (Fergus Daly et al, “Elements of Statistics”, 1995)

“Statistics is a general intellectual method that applies wherever data, variation, and chance appear. It is a fundamental method because data, variation and chance are omnipresent in modern life. It is an independent discipline with its own core ideas rather than, for example, a branch of mathematics. […] Statistics offers general, fundamental, and independent ways of thinking.” (David S Moore, “Statistics among the Liberal Arts”, Journal of the American Statistical Association, 1998)

“[…] statistics is a method of pursuing truth. At a minimum, statistics can tell you the likelihood that your hunch is true in this time and place and with these sorts of people. This type of pursuit of truth, especially in the form of an event’s future likelihood, is the essence of psychology, of science, and of human evolution.” (Arthhur Aron et al, “Statistics for Phsychology” 6th Ed., 2012)

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