Thursday, April 3, 2014

Causation without representation

Two recent studies that fail to acknowledge the difference between correlation and causation:

Morning Light Exposure Could Help Keep You Thinner

Mobile phones linked to erectile dysfunction, according to study

Can we please have scientists write up our science news tidbits instead of clueless news interns? Then maybe we can do justice to the scientific method and teach everyone the difference between CORRELATION and CAUSATION. When the titles of the articles are reworded to reflect what the studies actually found instead of what the reporters want to hear, they're not nearly as life-changing; in fact, they're pretty much common sense. For example, the first study becomes People Who Are Exposed to Light in Early Morning Tend to be Thinner. Hmm. People who get up early are in shape? Could this possibility be due to them waking up early in order to lose weight (ie WORK OUT)?? Of course the sun might actually be dosing these people with magical skinny rays. Seems like these researchers will need to do another study to find out... But when you look at the facts I doubt anyone would bother to give them funding for such a stupid project. D'oh.

The second study might not be as immediately obvious; but when we remove the magic phrase "linked to", all we're left with is that men who have erectile dysfunction are more likely to use their cell phones a lot. Again we don't need to invoke any kind of mystical unexplained energies (what is this, the freaking Middle Ages?) to explain this "linkage"; we can easily come up with two likely possibilities using basic human psychology. Namely, that guys who can't get it up and don't score very often look to other areas-such as Angry Birds, online poker, and Facebook- for their entertainment. An alternative (or additional) tidbit to consider is that cell phones tend to impose stress; they can allow work to find you at any time and create a pipeline for friends and family to demand attention, and responses, as needed (or wanted). We all know that stress can be a real performance crusher in bed, so why is it surprising that guys who carry around a stress-o-matic around in their pocket tend to have a hard time getting it on?

Sorry for all the attitude and cynicism lately, but I would appreciate if everyone would stop being silly so I can focus on my thesis instead of these angry posts.

posted from Bloggeroid

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