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Who Is Fisher As Anything Less Than A Genius?

Decent Essays
It is beyond reproach to think of R.A. Fisher as anything less than a genius. In the world of statistics he is a hero whose status in history is justifiably brilliant. However, in the late 1950’s, towards the end of his career, Fisher perplexingly became a staunch opponent of the tobacco hypothesis. Fisher would go on to hold public lectures, using his credentials in an attempt to marginalize the epidemiological data in support of the tobacco hypothesis. To understand Fisher’s staunch position, one should reflect upon a series of events or happenstances that helped define Fisher(44).
Fisher’s daughter and biographer, Joann Fisher Box, paid special attention to three seemingly superficial aspects of her father’s life that helped mold Fisher the man. Joann Box recounts in R.A. Fisher – The Life of a Scientist, how her father’s failing vision, the Great War, and a deep concern for western European civilization informed her father’s convictions. Fisher wore thick glasses and had a hard time seeing details distal to arm’s length. Some historians have hypothesized that Fisher’s uncorrected eyesight as a child led him to solve mathematical problems by visualizing them in his mind. It has even been suggested that Fisher’s eyesight limited his ability to work with large datasets, forcing him to closely evaluate smaller samples; perhaps leading to Fisher’s Exact Test. Additionally, Fisher was a principled man, who held a deep sense of civic duty. It was not surprising that Fisher
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