# All models are wrong

**driven by the relevant variables and assumptions**

"All models are wrong" is a common aphorism in statistics; it is often expanded as "All models are wrong, but some are useful".wikipedia

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### Statistical model

**modelprobabilistic modelstatistical modeling**

It is usually considered to be applicable to not only statistical models, but to scientific models generally.

Indeed, as Burnham & Anderson state, "A model is a simplification or approximation of reality and hence will not reflect all of reality" —whence the saying "all models are wrong".

### George E. P. Box

**George BoxGeorge Edward Pelham BoxBox, George E. P.**

The aphorism is generally attributed to the statistician George Box, although the underlying concept predates Box's writings.

Additionally, Box famously wrote, in various books and papers, that "all models are wrong, but some are useful".

### Scientific modelling

**modelmodelingmodels**

It is usually considered to be applicable to not only statistical models, but to scientific models generally.

### Model selection

**statistical model selectionselectingchoose a model**

In 2002, K.P. Burnham and D.R. Anderson published their much-cited book on statistical model selection.

### Aphorism

**aphorismsaphoristaphoristic**

"All models are wrong" is a common aphorism in statistics; it is often expanded as "All models are wrong, but some are useful".

### Statistics

**statisticalstatistical analysisstatistician**

"All models are wrong" is a common aphorism in statistics; it is often expanded as "All models are wrong, but some are useful".

### Statistician

**statisticiansStatistical theoristsstatistical analyst**

The aphorism is generally attributed to the statistician George Box, although the underlying concept predates Box's writings.

### Journal of the American Statistical Association

**JASA.ACS**

The first record of Box saying "all models are wrong" is in a 1976 paper published in the Journal of the American Statistical Association.

### William Hunter (statistician)

**William HunterHunter, WilliamWilliam G Hunter**

Box's widely cited book Statistics for Experimenters (co-authored with William Hunter) does not include the aphorism in its first edition (published in 1978).

### American Statistical Association

**ASAJournal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental StatisticsAmerican Statistical Society**

One example is from 1978, while Box was President of the American Statistical Association.

### Peter McCullagh

**McCullagh, PeterP. McCullagh**

In 1983, the statisticians Peter McCullagh and John Nelder published their much-cited book on generalized linear models.

### John Nelder

**John Ashworth NelderNelderNelder, John**

In 1983, the statisticians Peter McCullagh and John Nelder published their much-cited book on generalized linear models.

### Generalized linear model

**generalized linear modelslink functiongeneralised linear model**

In 1983, the statisticians Peter McCullagh and John Nelder published their much-cited book on generalized linear models.

### David Cox (statistician)

**David CoxSir David CoxDavid R. Cox**

In 1995, the statistician Sir David Cox commented as follows.

### J. Michael Steele

**Steele, J. MichaelSteele**

The statistician J. Michael Steele has commented on the aphorism as follows.

### Andrew Gelman

**GelmanGelman, A.Gelman, Andrew**

In 2008, the statistician Andrew Gelman responded to that, saying in particular the following.

### Philosophy of science

**philosopher of sciencephilosophers of sciencephilosophy**

In 2013, the philosopher of science Peter Truran published an essay related to the aphorism.

### Newton's law of universal gravitation

**law of universal gravitationuniversal gravitationNewtonian gravity**

Truran's essay further notes that Newton's theory of gravitation has been supplanted by Einstein's theory of relativity and yet Newton's theory remains generally "empirically adequate".

### Theory of relativity

**relativityrelativisticrelativity theory**

Truran's essay further notes that Newton's theory of gravitation has been supplanted by Einstein's theory of relativity and yet Newton's theory remains generally "empirically adequate".

### David Hand (statistician)

**David HandDavid J. HandD. J. Hand**

In 2014, the statistician David Hand made the following statement.

### Peter J. Bickel

**Peter BickelP.J. Bickel**

In 2016, P.J. Bickel and K.A. Doksum published the second volume of their book on mathematical statistics.

### Mathematical statistics

**mathematical statisticianstatistics mathematical statistics**

In 2016, P.J. Bickel and K.A. Doksum published the second volume of their book on mathematical statistics.

### Georg Rasch

**Rasch, GeorgRasch**

In 1960, Georg Rasch said the following.

### John von Neumann

**von NeumannJ. von NeumannNeumann, John von**

In 1947, the mathematician John von Neumann said that "truth … is much too complicated to allow anything but approximations".

### Paul Valéry

**Paul ValeryValéryValery**

In 1942, the French philosopher-poet Paul Valéry said the following.