Open Thoughts on Analytics
MAY 15, 2012 9:37am ET

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Politics of Data Models and Mining


I recently came across an interesting thread, “Is data mining still a sin against the norms of econometrics?”, from the Advanced Business Analytics LinkedIn Discussion Group. The point of departure for the dialog is a paper entitled “Three attitudes towards data mining”, written by couple of academic econometricians.

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Comments (3)
I'm not a statistician but I am a student of philosophy of science, in which a core concern is explanation vs discovery. As such I found it fascinating to learn that this conflict is apparently playing out in the field of statistics. I suspect that participants in this conflict, whatever side they are on, would benefit greatly from some study of philosopy of science, so as to appreciate the weaknesses as well as strengths of their position. It's interesting that most scientists, and presumably statisticians, do not have a grounding in this subject. The Teaching Company has a 36 lecture course on this topic which is an excellent introduction.
Posted by Mark F | Wednesday, May 16 2012 at 11:22AM ET
Great post! This is an important issue to discuss in the context of "big data," where many people claim that "more data" beats "better algorithms." I wrote about this recently,arguing that 350 years of proven scientific method cannot be dismissed off hand just because we have "more data." My conclusion: "While a lot of money will continue to drive blind exploration in both science and business, I'm certain that the advancements and triumphs of the future will come from cool minds developing imaginative models and theories and testing them with the help of new big data tools and technologies." For more, see
Posted by Gil P | Wednesday, May 16 2012 at 1:43PM ET
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