Syphilis blamed for not knowing that correlation=/=causation

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Syphilis blamed for not knowing that correlation=/=causation

Postby Martin1988 » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:38 pm

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Re: Syphilis blamed for not knowing that correlation=/=causation

Postby Elessar » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:50 pm

I don't know - there could be a causal link. Having said that, there doesn't appear to be any actual research into it, so the figures really have just been plucked out of the air. Ben Goldacre's writing about it on Saturday, so that will hopefully put the matter to bed.

I saw something vaguely similar earlier: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8579310.stm

Apparently the internet is a threat to animal conservation, because it makes it easier for people to buy illegal animal products.
Well, yeah, but it also makes it easier for people to find out about what's going on, and to do something about it. Look at what someone like Brian May can do with his Soapbox! It's a double-edged sword.
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Re: Syphilis blamed for not knowing that correlation=/=causation

Postby Bomber Harris » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:08 pm

Ben Goldacre has been trying to get the exact figures for syphillis and other STDs from NHS Stockton-on-Tees. They started off giving it to him with inconsistent denominators, then eventually just stopped altogether. It's bloody ridiculous that they can't just tell him what they are, unless of course they know it'll prove this report wrong. And they wouldn't withold important information to cover their own backs now would they?
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Re: Syphilis blamed for not knowing that correlation=/=causation

Postby Elessar » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:33 pm

People should have learned by now that you can't make extraordinary claims without the nerd brigade demanding evidence. Facebook syphillis, homeopathy, ghosts, psychics, God...people can't just get away with proclaiming that they're real without very good reasons any more. And that's excellent.
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Re: Syphilis blamed for not knowing that correlation=/=causation

Postby Elessar » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:58 pm

Unfortunately, because of NHS Tees' refusal to provide the relevant data, the majority of this article is about that rather than the story itself. But it's still pretty good:

http://www.badscience.net/2010/03/faceb ... -nhs-tees/
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