Solved – What are the worst (commonly adopted) ideas/principles in statistics

In my statistical teaching, I encounter some stubborn ideas/principles relating to statistics that have become popularised, yet seem to me to be misleading, or in some cases utterly without merit. I would like to solicit the views of others on this forum to see what are the worst (commonly adopted) ideas/principles in statistical analysis/inference. I am mostly interested in ideas that are not just novice errors; i.e., ideas that are accepted and practiced by some actual statisticians/data analysts. To allow efficient voting on these, please give only one bad principle per answer, but feel free to give multiple answers.

I'll present one novice error (in this answer) and perhaps one error committed by more seasoned people.

Very often, even on this website, I see people lamenting that their data are not normally distributed and so t-tests or linear regression are out of the question. Even stranger, I will see people try to rationalize their choice for linear regression because their covariates are normally distributed.

I don't have to tell you that regression assumptions are about the conditional distribution, not the marginal. My absolute favorite way to demonstrate this flaw in thinking is to essentially compute a t-test with linear regression as I do here.

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