### Ashley Yakeley

Shared publicly -Hey mathematicians & statisticians (+John Baez +Dan Piponi +John Cook etc.)

From the outside, the field of statistics seems remarkably disorganised, like it’s a big grab-bag of tests and statistics for various situations. It seems like the kind of thing that in other mathematical fields would be sorted out by category theory and the like, but this seems not to have happened. I would have expected something like a general language of hypotheses or something.

What’s up with that? Am I way off-base here?

From the outside, the field of statistics seems remarkably disorganised, like it’s a big grab-bag of tests and statistics for various situations. It seems like the kind of thing that in other mathematical fields would be sorted out by category theory and the like, but this seems not to have happened. I would have expected something like a general language of hypotheses or something.

What’s up with that? Am I way off-base here?

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John Cook

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Statistics is messy because it is outwardly focused. The development of number theory is shaped by the questions number theorists ask themselves. But statistics is shaped by the questions asked by doctors, bureaucrats, electrical engineers, marketers, manufacturers, ... Different domains have different kinds of data and different objectives. Sometimes the requirements of a problem domain are mathematically awkward but cannot be avoided.

That said, Bayesian statistics is much better organized than frequentist statistics. All Bayesian inference takes the same form, and for that reason some people refer to "turning the Bayesian crank." Bayesian statistics is messy too at the application level, but at a fundamental level it is well organized.

That said, Bayesian statistics is much better organized than frequentist statistics. All Bayesian inference takes the same form, and for that reason some people refer to "turning the Bayesian crank." Bayesian statistics is messy too at the application level, but at a fundamental level it is well organized.

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