Intoxicated by statistics

The nature of statistical truth

♾ phil

I’m keep a quote here by the biologist Stephen Jay Gould, who criticized the interpretation of quantitative measures of intelligence as real:

The idea that we have detected something ‘underlying’ the externalities of a large set of correlation coefficients, something perhaps more real than the superficial measurements themselves, can be intoxicating. It is Plato’s essence, the abstract, external reality underlying superficial appearances. But it is a temptation that we must resist, for it reflects an ancient prejudice, not a truth of nature.