Information, Evidence, Data in the History of Statistics and Science

Charles Paxton (St Andrews University, UK)

This talk on very much on incomplete, indeed not even started, research will supply a skewed history of science and statistics based around a proposed grant proposal going to AHRC. The proposal:

Anecdote, Record or Datum?: Scientific Attitudes to Different Forms of "Fact", 1600 - Present concerns the history of scientific attitudes to what might be called data and "non-conventional information" that is numerical "facts" of a potentially more biased/unreliable nature than perhaps statisticians usually consider. Here I will provide an overview of a little of the amusing history of statistics and science which I currently think relates to this question and talk about the proposed questions being asked. All suggestions welcome.