Daniel P. Sulmasy, OFM, MD, PhD
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Sulmasy DP. Toward Evidence-Based Statistics. Ann Intern Med. 2000;132:507. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-132-6-200003210-00015
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2000;132(6):507.
TO THE EDITOR:
I have two questions regarding Goodman's excellent articles on statistical inference (1, 2). First, does Goodman genuinely endorse the notion that “frequentist” probabilities are “objective” while inductive judgments are “subjective”? The word “probability” is ambiguous. “Probability” often means frequency, but “probability” can also refer to the degree of certitude in human judgments (3). Both senses of “probable” are objective in that their truth depends on the world, not the mind. Biomedical frequencies are objective values from which nonsystematic processes in the world cannot systematically deviate (4). Likewise, judgments about the truth of scientific hypotheses also depend on the objective world. No matter how certain or uncertain, ultimately, a hypothesis is either correct or incorrect.
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