Word Spy Blog

Spied: uncertainty laundering

pp. Using statistics to create the appearance of order or certainty, particularly when the underlying data is random or without significance.

Second, it seems to me that statistics is often sold as a sort of alchemy that transmutes randomness into certainty, an “uncertainty laundering” that begins with data and concludes with success as measured by statistical significance.
—Andrew Gelman, “The problems with p-values are not just with p-values: My comments on the recent ASA statement,” Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, March 7, 2016