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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Causation vs Correlation

Just because one thing happens right after, or in tandem with, another; does not mean that the two things are causally related. If your newspaper is delivered every morning at the same time that your automatic coffee maker turns on, that does not mean that your coffee maker causes the paper to be delivered, or vice versa.

Of course you know all this. Too bad lots of journalists don't. Sometimes I think that people who love science but aren't smart enough to become actual scientists all become science journalists instead. Or health writers.

Today's headline: Seven or more eggs a week raises risk of death

Oh really? Here's the last paragraph:
Men who ate the most eggs also were older, fatter, ate more vegetables but less breakfast cereal, and were more likely to drink alcohol, smoke and less likely to exercise...
So the headline SHOULD have read: Seven or more eggs a week make you older, fatter, and more inclined to drinking and smoking. Why aren't any of the presidential candidates addressing this dire health threat?

Please Washington, for the love of humanity:
Ban eggs now!!!

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