Prologue: “Let Others Thrash it out!” A Brief History

  • Lemuel A. Moyé


The Arabic doctor Avicenna in the eleventh century provided seven rules for medical experimentation involving human subjects [1]. Among these precepts was a recommendation for the use of control groups, the advice of repeating results (replication), and a warning against the use of variables that would confuse Avidenna’s decision about what variable is actually causing the effect of interest. These observations represented a great intellectual step forward; however, this step was taken in relative isolation. An additional six hundred years had to pass before the line of reasoning that led to p values eventually emerged. In order to understand the initial twists and turns of the development of this curious discipline, we need to take a quick diversion to life in Europe five hundred years ago.


Eighteenth Century Industrial Revolution Eleventh Century Plot Yield Initial Twist 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lemuel A. Moyé
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public HealthUniversity of TexasHoustonUSA

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