16    Generalized Linear Madness

When I asked my high school physics teacher about statistics, she told me a joke. Here’s how I remember it. A physicist, an engineer, and a statistician go bow hunting together. After many hours, they spot a deer in the distance. The physicist does a quick ballistic calculation, ignoring air resistance. The arrow flies true but falls a few meters short of the target. The deer doesn’t notice. The engineer smirks, introduces a fudge factor for air resistance, and shoots. The second arrow lands instead a few meters long. The deer still doesn’t notice. The statistician takes the average and yells, “We got it!”

The sciences construct theories of natural processes. Eventually these theories are expressed formally, ...

Get Statistical Rethinking, 2nd Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.