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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Statistics


Edsel Pena Colloquium

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 2:45pm

Statistics Department Colloquium

Where: LeConte College, Room 210

Speaker: Edsel Pena

Affiliation: University of South Carolina, Department of Statistics

Title:  Truth, Knowledge, P-Values, Bayes, & Inductive Inference

Abstract:  P-values has been, and still is, a central concept in Statistics and is a critical and controversial tool of scientific research. Recently it has elicited much, sometimes heated, debates and discussions. The American Statistical Association (ASA) was even compelled to release an official statement in early March 2016 regarding this issue, and a psychology journal has even gone to the extreme of banning the use of P-values in articles appearing in its journal. This debate has also been in relation to important issues of reproducibility in scientific research. In fact, this debate goes to the core of inductive inference and the different schools of thought (significance testing approach, Neyman-Pearson paradigm, Bayesian approach, etc.) on how inductive inference should be done. In this talk I would like to delve into these issues and to offer some viewpoints on whether P-values should be relegated to the dustbin of history or whether it will be there to stay as a tool of scientific investigations. In particular, I will touch on the representation of knowledge and its updating based on observations, and ask the question: “When given the P-value, what does it provide in the context of the updated knowledge of the phenomenon under consideration?”