In his review of my book Do Dice Play God?, Andrew Gelman focuses on sections covering his own field of applied statistics (Nature 569, 628–629; 2019). However, those sections form parts of just two of 18 chapters. Readers might have been better served had he described the book’s central topics — such as quantum uncertainty, to which the title of the book alludes.
Gelman accuses me of “transposing the probabilities” when discussing P values and of erroneously stating that a confidence interval indicates “the level of confidence in the results”. The phrase ‘95% confident’, to which the reviewer objects, should be read in context. The first mention (page 166) follows a discussion that ends “there’s only a 5% probability that such extreme values arise by chance. We therefore ... reject the null hypothesis at the 95% level”. The offending sentence is a simplified summary of something that has already been explained correctly. My discussion of confidence intervals has a reference to endnote 57 on page 274, which gives a more technical description and makes essentially the same point as the reviewer.
I also disagree with Gelman’s claim that I overlook the messiness of real data. I describe a typical medical study and explain how logistic and Cox regression address issues with real data (see pages 169–173). An endnote mentions the Kaplan-Meier estimator. The same passage deals with practical and ethical issues in medical studies.
Nature 571, 174 (2019)