A Statistical Guide for the Ethically Perplexed

Lawrence Hubert, Howard Wainer

September 25, 2012 by Chapman and Hall/CRC
Reference - 588 Pages - 7 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781439873687 - CAT# K13412

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  • Includes extensive discussions of U.S. federal court decisions where probabilistic and statistical reasoning was paramount
  • Clarifies a variety of statistical and probabilistic paradoxes and fallacies
  • Provides probabilistic tools to help readers understand the context that informs decision making in medical situations such as screening
  • Distinguishes between the notions of specific and general causation and explains how specific causation can be legally argued
  • Discusses the importance of cross-validation and the problem of making legitimate inferences based on culling and data mining
  • Explores the darker side of psychometrics, including forced sterilization, immigration restriction, and racial purity laws
  • Offers further reading and other supplements online


Lauded for their contributions to statistics, psychology, and psychometrics, the authors make statistical methods relevant to readers’ day-to-day lives by including real historical situations that demonstrate the role of statistics in reasoning and decision making. The historical vignettes encompass the English case of Sally Clark, breast cancer screening, risk and gambling, the Federal Rules of Evidence, "high-stakes" testing, regulatory issues in medicine, difficulties with observational studies, ethics in human experiments, health statistics, and much more. In addition to these topics, seven U.S. Supreme Court decisions reflect the influence of statistical and psychometric reasoning and interpretation/misinterpretation.

Exploring the intersection of ethics and statistics, this comprehensive guide assists readers in becoming critical and ethical consumers and producers of statistical reasoning and analyses. It will help them reason correctly and use statistics in an ethical manner.


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