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Friday, September 18, 2009

Judeo-Christian Statistics

Andrew Gelman has this entry supposedly from Pat Robertson's Regent University course catalog (although I could not find such a listing via Google):

GOV 601 Quantitative Analysis (3) Skills for quantitative data gathering, measurement, policy analysis and program evaluation. Research and sampling design, surveys, data collection and data reduction and display. Review of basic statistics through multivariate analysis, z-scores, regression through the use of statistical computer package (SPSS), and a Judeo-Christian perspective on the use of statistics.


So, what is a Judeo-Christian perspective on the use of statistics?

SPSS: Statistical Package for the Seriously Saved.

The "T" test is best, and is always significant.

Cross-over designs are preferred.

Work by Jewish statisticians formed the basis, but has now been superceded by the revelations of Christian statisticians.

Update: Since there was no actual link given in Gelman's post, I thought this might be an urban legend. But here's the link: http://www.regent.edu/academics/catalogs/GRAD_catalog_2009-10.pdf The description is on page 226 (page 230 of the PDF)

Some commenters have said that perhaps this phrase is just required to be in every course description at Regent. A glance at the catalog shows that's not true. While it's certainly more common in the course descriptions than it would be at, say, Yale, this and similar phrases are only in a minority of the course descriptions.