Misconception Mutt



Misconception Mutt extract from chapter 1

One day the Misconception Mutt was returning from his class at Fetchington University. He’d been learning all about how to do research and it all made perfect sense. He was thinking about how much fun it would be to chase some balls later on, but decided that first he should go over what he’d learnt. He was muttering under his breath (as I like to imagine that dogs tend to do).

‘A hypothesis is a prediction about what will happen,’ he whispered to himself in his deep, wheezy, jowly dog voice. Before he could finish, the ground before him became viscous, as though the earth had transformed into liquid. A slightly irritated-looking ginger cat rose slowly from the puddle.

‘Don’t even think about chasing me,’ he said in his whiny cat voice.

The mutt twitched as he inhibited the urge to chase the cat. ‘Who are you?’ he asked.

‘I am the Correcting Cat,’ said the cat wearily. ‘I travel the ether trying to correct people’s statistical misconceptions. It’s very hard work, there are a lot of misconceptions about.’

The dog raised an eyebrow.

‘For example,’ continued the cat, ‘you just said that a hypothesis is a prediction, but it is not.’ The dog looked puzzled. ‘A hypothesis is an explanatory statement about something, it is not itself observable. The prediction is not the hypothesis, it is something derived from the hypothesis that operationalizes it so that you can observe things that help you to determine the plausibility of the hypothesis.’ With that, the cat descended back into the ground.

‘What a smart-arse,’ the dog thought to himself. ‘I hope I never see him again.’