Interview with Herbert I. Weisberg - Part I


  • Author: Statistics Views
  • Date: 09 September 2016
  • Copyright: Statistics Views

In 2014, Wiley was proud to publish Willful Ignorance: The Mismeasure of Certainty, an original account of willful ignorance and how this principle relates to modern probability and statistical method.

Through a series of colorful stories about great thinkers and the problems they chose to solve, the author traces the historical evolution of probability and explains how statistical methods have helped to propel scientific research. However, the past success of statistics has depended on vast, deliberate simplifications amounting to willful ignorance, and this very success now threatens future advances in medicine, the social sciences, and other fields. Limitations of existing methods result in frequent reversals of scientific findings and recommendations, to the consternation of both scientists and the lay public.

thumbnail image: Interview with Herbert I. Weisberg - Part I

Here, Dr Weisberg describes how Willful Ignorance: The Mismeasure of Uncertainty exposes the fallacy of regarding probability as the full measure of our uncertainty. He explains how statistical methodology, though enormously productive and influential over the past century, is approaching a crisis. The deep and troubling divide between qualitative and quantitative modes of research, and between research and practice, are reflections of this underlying problem. Finally, Dr Weisberg outlines a path toward the re-engineering of data analysis to help close these gaps and accelerate scientific discovery.

Here Lynne Hare interviews Mr Weisberg about his book and the stories it reveals.

Herbert I. Weisberg, PhD, is Founder of Causalytics, LLC, which develops innovative technology for predictive analytics for both medical research and business applications. He was previously President of Correlation Research Inc., a consulting firm specializing in the application of statistics to various business and legal issues. A Fellow of the American Statistical Association, Dr. Weisberg has published numerous articles and two previous books related to applied statistics.

Lynne Hare is a consulting statistician emphasizing business process improvement in R&D, manufacturing, and other strategic functions. His former positions include having served as the director of applied statistics at Kraft Foods, chief of statistical engineering at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, director of technical services and manager of statistical applications at T.J. Lipton (a Unilever company), statistics group leader at Hunt-Wesson Foods, and visiting professor at Rutgers University.

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Published features on are checked for statistical accuracy by a panel from the European Network for Business and Industrial Statistics (ENBIS)   to whom Wiley and express their gratitude. This panel are: Ron Kenett, David Steinberg, Shirley Coleman, Irena Ograjenšek, Fabrizio Ruggeri, Rainer Göb, Philippe Castagliola, Xavier Tort-Martorell, Bart De Ketelaere, Antonio Pievatolo, Martina Vandebroek, Lance Mitchell, Gilbert Saporta, Helmut Waldl and Stelios Psarakis.