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This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.

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Re: Scientific Statistics

Thanks Dave for posting that link. Fascinating stuff. I remember the Rutherford quote but never knew that the man was referring to that famous experiment.
Slighly off topic but did you see the piece in Physics World (Feb 26)?
"Both answers correct in century-old optics dilemma"
Is there anybody on this Forum that can understand this?"
"

Re: Scientific Statistics

Interesting. I was labouring under the impression that space curvature was the source of the apparent deflection of starlight, and not that Newtonian gravity could lead to a similar phenomenon.

Re: Scientific Statistics

It means that all our understanding of the real world is in the form of metaphors. Two metaphors for light are a stream of particles and a series of waves. Even a mathematical desciption is amethaphor, because it captures only one aspect of a phenomenon. Science doesn't reveal some kind of absolute truth about reality but gives us a handle on things. (Philosophy just permits us to play a better game of Philosophy)

Re: Scientific Statistics

I've also got a comment on Luboš Motl's claim that all science has to do is work to a 5 sigma confidence level, and everything is OK. I vaguely remembered that cold fusion was supposedly demonstrated to this confidence level, and I managed to find a link written by one of the 1980s pioneers of cold fusion that confirms this:

http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/JonesSEchasingano.pdf

What killed cold fusion off was its lack of reproducibility rather than any shortcomings in being statistically significant.