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To “p” or not to “p”

“A biologist and a statistician are in prison and, before being executed, are asked about their last wish. Statistician wants to give a course on statistics. Biologist is asking to be executed first …”
This old joke reflects the difficult relationships between statistics and many biologists. Indeed, at least from the outside, in the eyes of professional biostatisticians, biologists are resistant to learn and keep following wrong practices. Is that really so?
Our readers have most likely seen the recent proposal to abandon the use of P values. Published in a top journal and signed by hundreds of experts worldwide, this proposal aimed to trigger a change.
Yet, before we had a chance to digest the message and to start thinking how to survive in a “p-free” world, another group of respected scientists has challenged the proposal.
This interesting discussion is still ongoing and we, the non-statisticians, hope to have a clear guidance one day. How clear should the guidance be? Hopefully, similar to what Harvey Motulsky has published several years ago in pharmacology journals – and still remaining the main text on data analysis and statistics that we recommend our peers to read.

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