[Rd] Re: [R] p-value > 1 in fisher.test()

From: Uwe Ligges <ligges_at_statistik.uni-dortmund.de>
Date: Sat 04 Jun 2005 - 09:43:34 GMT

(Ted Harding) wrote:

> On 03-Jun-05 Ted Harding wrote:
>

>>And on mine
>>
>>(A: PII, Red Had 9, R-1.8.0):
>>
>> ff <- c(0,10,250,5000); dim(ff) <- c(2,2);
>>
>> 1-fisher.test(ff)$p.value
>> [1] 1.268219e-11
>>
>>(B: PIII, SuSE 7.2, R-2.1.0beta):
>>
>> ff <- c(0,10,250,5000); dim(ff) <- c(2,2);
>>
>> 1-fisher.test(ff)$p.value
>> [1] -1.384892e-12

>
>
> I have a suggestion (maybe it should also go to R-devel).
>
> There are many functions in R whose designated purpose is
> to return the value of a probability (or a probability
> density). This designated purpose is in the mind of the
> person who has coded the function, and is implicit in its
> usage.
>
> Therefore I suggest that every such function should have
> a built-in internal check that no probability should be
> less than 0 (and if the primary computation yields such
> a value then the function should set it exactly to zero),
> and should not exceed 1 (in which case the function should
> set it exactly to 1). [And, in view of recent echanges,
> I would suggest exactly +0, not -0!]
>
> Similar for any attempts to return a negative probability
> density; while of course a positive value can be allowed
> to be anything.
>
> All probabilities would then be guaranteed to be "clean"
> and issues like the Fisher exact test above would no longer
> be even a tiny problem.
>
> Implementing this in the possibly many cases where it is
> not already present is no doubt a long-term (and tedious)
> project.
>
> Meanwhile, people who encounter problems due to its absence
> can carry out their own checks and adjustments!

[moved to R-devel]

Ted, my (naive?) objection:
Many errors in the underlying code have been detected by a function returning a nonsensical value, but if the probability is silently set to 0 or 1 .......
Hence I would agree to do so in special cases where it makes sense because of numerical issues, but please not globally.

Uwe Ligges

> Best wishes to all,
> Ted.
>
>
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding@nessie.mcc.ac.uk>
> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
> Date: 04-Jun-05 Time: 00:02:32
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https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel Received on Sat Jun 04 19:45:29 2005

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