A statistical analysis should give a black and white answer, and it does, but the answer is only as good as the information that is used, and the manner in which it is used.
It follows then that the application of analytical tools should be in the context of a way of thinking through problems, evolving and testing solutions, and connecting the resulting processes in such a way that they deliver repeatable solutions that deliver positive outcomes.
Statistics are not very useful with out the support provided by creative and insightful thinking, and such thinking is uninformed without the benefit of the analytical foundations of statistics.
Sometimes it all gets too stupid, as was the case during the resources tax debate prior to the removal of Kevin Rudd. Formerly reputable KPMG had done two studies on the tax, one for each of the protagonists, and ho, ho, who could guess, comes up with two opposing answers that just happen to support the opposing views of those who commissioned the studies.
This laughable tale highlights the paucity of real thought that went into the debate and the nonsense value of financial modeling without the supporting rigor of thought, and it goes on. The deal now done reduces the tax take on paper far more than the number put out by the government, the numbers simply do not add up, and it is easy to assume that there has been some more creative assumptions built in to alleviate the political heat associated with another “back-flip”.
Who would ever believe “financial modeling” again.