The manual says a few things about stats, First off having a higher stat will increase the speed at which you will learn in a master a associated skill. The provided table also adds a few addition things like strength improving carry capacity, intelligence improving learning (I'm guessing reduces learning time of all skills?) It also pokes at what having higher skills will do for you, such as high swimming reduces energy drain.
My issue is there are many stats with no definition as to what it will actually do for you beyond that. I have been told by some players that having high stats also effects the outcome of your crafting but I see no way of realistically testing that, nor can I find any official word on the subject. I did a forum search and read tons of the Questions of the Week to no avail.
It would be nice to know if down the road I really need to worry about maxing out certain stats because I wont be as good of a crafter without them. Or without those higher stats it only takes me much longer to max out a particular skill.