Statistical results are everywhere in science. When the Higgs boson discovery was announced, nearly every news article mentioned how there was just a one in 1.74 million chance that the results were a statistical fluke. Well, that’s not entirely true: some said one in 5 million, others one in 2 million, others one in a million.
All of them were wrong.
The science journalists had fallen into one of the most common statistical traps in modern science. Read through recently-published scientific papers and you will find many other errors, from the subtle to the glaring. Scientists often aren’t formally taught statistics, so data analysis tends to be a seat-of-the-pants affair.
There are many kinds of error and many examples in the literature, so I decided to put together a guide. No prior statistical knowledge required. I hope you’ll read it through, print a copy, and use it to smack people who continue to make statistically unjustified claims.