Statistical Model Maker's Oath

John D Cook points me to the model maker's version of the Hippocratic Oath:

  • I will remember that I didn't make the world and that it doesn't satisfy my equations.
  • Though I will use models boldly to estimate value, I will not be overly impressed by mathematics.
  • I will never sacrifice reality for elegance without explaining why I have done so. Nor will I give the people who use my model false comfort about its accuracy. Instead, I will make explicit its assumptions and oversights.
  • I understand that my work may have enormous effects on society and the economy, many of them beyond my comprehension.
  • From Mark Palko: "Our model only describes the data we used to build it; if you go outside of that range, you do so at your own risk."
  • In case you like to think of your methods as nonparametric or non-model-based: "Our method, just like any model, relies on assumptions which we have the duty to state and to check."