The Science of Statistics in Victimhood Culture: Dignity and Dishonor
23 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2020 Last revised: 15 Oct 2020
Date Written: August 3, 2020
Recent renaming of the R. A. Fisher Award and Lectureship without official discussion among members of American Statistical Association (ASA), along with other events of similar type, was an important step in creating a new atmosphere in science in general. On the one hand, this is tightly related to such critical issues as freedom of speech, research and opinion; while on the other hand, it is related to conformity, yielding to irrelevant demand, and to denial of evidence as a first basic principle in science. The paper shows that a) all accusations against R. Fisher are factually groundless; b) the decision was motivated not by the facts, but by political and moral pressure, connected with allegedly “institutional racism” of the American society and the US police specifically; c) the decision was a natural consequence of the victim-hood culture, which penetrates more and more into academia; d) this culture, in turn, is counter-scientific in a sense that it does not need any evidence; e) particularly, the most popular current thesis about “police bias against black people”, - which seems a direct real trigger of the lecture renaming -, cannot be confirmed by available data. Showing all that, the paper could be considered a warning against dangerous social tendencies in modern science e in general and statistics in particular.
Published in reduced version in: Model Assisted Statistics and Applications 15 (2020) 181–195
Keywords: R. Fisher Award and Lectureship, Victim-hood Culture, Statistics, Scientific Dignity, Police Use of Force, Eugenics, Crime Statistics, Institutional Racism
JEL Classification: Z13, B20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation