Science without stats

Would any of us argue that it is important for many of the experimental scientists to have a basic training in statistics? I admit, I haven’t done much statistics myself, but if I was working in horticulture or biomedicine, I think it would be a no brainer that management of data would require a rudimentary understanding of statistics. I have been fortunate to have learnt from my colleagues the utility and applicability of statistics, and I have recently had the pleasure of watching Hans Rosling documentaries promoting the significance of statistics in our everyday lives. From this reflection, I am convinced that I am unqualified to carry out an experiment of any kind!

So why is it that at my university, that many of the future scientists will know little statistics beyond what I know?

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A depressing ritual

Suffered through the School’s Examiners Meeting yesterday, in what is becoming a rather depressing bi-annual ritual.

In this meeting, we all get together to look at the marks that are going to be sent to Faculty for ratification by the Faculty’s Board of Examiners. As is frequently the case, the Faculty’s contentious “scaling policy” played more of a role in the final marks for many units than any effort or achievement on the part of the class. For my second-year unit, the required scaling was so extreme that, while I have frequently beenĀ  uncomfortable in the past with this requirement, this year I feel for the first time that the practice has crossed the rubicon from “marking on the curve” to outright academic fraud.

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