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Correlation vs. Causation


 

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-brought to you by big bad pharma.

really, i'm about as against the anti-vax people as anyone can be, and because it's personal i also have a pretty good handle on the anti-vax arguments. their conspiritorial fear of the influence of the huge pharm. corporations is, unfortunately, well-founded, and this video, especially with it's appeal at the end to "vaccinate everyone you love before it's too late!" makes an excellent example of what freaks them out (and me too, truthfully). even the voiceover is like "big brother jr." and when he says the unvaccinated (like, the great unwashed) are mostly very poor or very rich (due to carry/mcarthy and the zombies, dont ya know) i got a very weird feeling about this. i happen to know, as does anyone intimately familiar with this thing, that the backbone of this movement is suburban women, educated, the oprah brigades- neither very poor nor very rich. there were a few other spooky things about the clip too. the main points about causation and correlation are true and important- and easily understood by any non- autistic 10 year old. is this the best we have against the anti-vax zombies? and how do you know this wasn't really produced (somehow, thru...channels) by big pharma? and maybe more importantly, if it were, would you care?

also especially, the bald moral statement that the tremendous good of not having problems with measles/mumps/rubella for the masses far outweighs the risk of a few thousand cases of autism was creepy in the extreme and totally uneccesary to making the case for vaccination. that's the kind of case you make when you're in an enemy prison camp and the gaurds demand a sacrifice of one of your number, not in a "vibrant" democratic discussion about how to deal with health, technology, business and the crossroads where they meet.

a clarification of a point i made above: mentioning the very poor here is a total red herring. neither this issue nor this video has anything to do with poor and/or third world people who simply don't have vaccinations available as an option. it's about people who are ideologically and "scientifically" (there's a legitimate use of quotation marks for ya) opposed to a government/big business sponsored program to legally force every citizen to undertake a series of medical procedures practically from birth, with no input or oversight from the population itself. as i said, i'm anti-anti-vax. but to be so one must understand the basic arguments and, indeed, fears, of the other side if you want to be effective. things that smell this strongly of propaganda and condecension are not helpful in my view and can only serve to increase the self-satisfaction level of people who already know where they stand. which is cool if that's what you're into, i guess.

Interesting points, Jon. So, how would you convince an anti-vax person that his or her claim is unfounded and/or potentially dangerous?

(bearing in mind all of their counter-arguments, cog-dis, and denialist tactics)

So, how would you convince an anti-vax person that his or her claim is unfounded and/or potentially dangerous?

it would depend on the individual and the situation. but one of the first points i'd be willing to concede right at the beginning is that there's plenty of propagandistic bullshit on our side, too, and i would suggest trashing all of it and starting with any genuine research that we could both agree is relatively unbiased.

propagandistic bullshit on our side, too, and i would suggest trashing all of it and starting with any genuine research

There is plenty of "genuine research" on our side. If you don't believe that is true then you're simply not paying attention.

Perhaps you'd like to present some examples of propagandistic bullshit on our side please. You can start with the propaganda you apparently believe is coming from the CDC.

This is not a question of both sides have good points. The anti-vaxers are 99 percent batshit crazy.

You can argue that the establishment doesn't do a very good job of making the case but to grant some equality to the two positions is bullshit.

I don't like this video because it makes exactly the same fallacy for which it accuses the anti-vac people. Namely, the fact that we don't know the causal relationship (or that some studies in some cases didn't even find the correlations) does NOT mean there is no causality. Doesn't mean there IS one either, but the author summarily dismisses correlations just because they are correlations and treats any correlation as clearly not causally related. That's just not sound logic.

Namely, the fact that we don't know the causal relationship (or that some studies in some cases didn't even find the correlations) does NOT mean there is no causality.

You can say the same thing about McDonald's causing autism. The point is that the very thought that autism can be caused by vaccines came out of thin air. The Wakefield study has been thoroughly discredited (as has been Wakefield himself), and all but 2 authors have retracted it.

P.S. by the authors' arguments about the intake of toxic substances at the end, I could take a gram of Arsenic every day! What is a gram compared to the kilograms of water I'm taking in?

studos: excellent points.

not granting equality at all. in giving up on ALL propagandistic bullshit, we're certainly getting the better end of the deal. yes, they certainly have a lot more of it than we do. so what? "they" include entertainment industry people. what can ya do?

but do you claim that there isn't on our side propaganda, purely bought, that wastes a lot of time showing what idiots the other side are, and how provax arguments are based on science, which is god, and therefore unassailable? do you think it's unfair to question the bankrollers of "science"? well i don't. i think there are enough good reasons to work with vaccination authorities rather than against them without relying on anything insulting, condescnding, dogmatic, and stinking of big brother or the vicarious worship thereof- like this clip. and, though my tired eyes and brain can't make you a list right now, i'm sure there's plenty of scientific studies without taint of mammon that could be accepted as a basis for discussion.

I still like this video better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEQB8decrxE

Maybe Jonathan does too.

There is plenty of room to question what we are told about disease and vaccines from corporate medicine. Some link to autism seems to be without a doubt disproved by real science. The effectiveness of vaccination is hard to question.

gonna play devils advocate, red7: links to autism haven't been disproved by real science. and the effectiveness of vaccination is hard to question- IF it's all about statistics and "the greatest good for the greatest number". which is, for the most part, ok with me. but IF there were a statistical correlation with some minority of kids sensitive to vaccine ingredients, don't you think this angle should also be pursued (while continuing to vaccinate, let's say) so that if there is a risk, and it's possible to reduce it, this can be done? i just think the propagandistic stuff is dangerous because it simply discourages this kind of research. but not half as much as big pharma money does... again, science hasn't proven there's no risk only that the evidence for it is far from conclusive. even the video admits correlation. why not continue to investigate the correlation? we couldn't possibly spend as much money on this as big parma is spending in it's suppression and ridicule.

You keep using the word "propagandistic" against people concerned with the unsubstantiated (and unscientific) claims of the anti-vax crowd, yet you're using propagandistic anti-vax language like "big pharma."

I'm a little confused by this... are you saying that anti-vax people have a special privilege in this regard?

And what of "big pharma?" You say that "big pharma" is spending a lot of money on "suppression and ridicule." That's a big claim. I don't doubt that it's NOT TRUE, but I haven't seen any evidence to say that it IS TRUE. All I'm hearing is a lot of innuendo.

your assumption that it's not true strikes me as pollyannish in the extreme, especially for one apparently familiar with "the story thus far".

i don't see my job as providing "evidence" for abuses of the science/business relationship. it's not hard to find, especially in this area. i'm not a scientist, i'm an expert in propaganda. i'm just saying we can win this without the use of blatantly manipulative and disengeuous propaganda a la the other side. make of this what you will.

btw, in a large sense we've already won, as per the landmark new york case ruling earlier this year (which my ex-wife the antivaxxer was involved with) shows. i'm not even sure what the current danger is that this video is trying to address. if it's directed at individuals who will refuse vaccination "come hell or high water" as a matter of personal ideology, well, they probably won't even watch it and won't be very impressed if they do. so what's the point?

for me, the bottom line is: my kids are back in school, and had to be vaccinated in order to return to the educational cesspool. what more can i ask?

The best current individual strategy is to have everybody ELSE vaccinated and exempt your family, thus getting the benefits of a vaccinated population whilst avoiding any potential risks of vaccinating yourself and your child. Game theory 101.

just from my own reading of bigdaddymalcontent's past comments, i'd like to see what he has to say about this.

The Video's show that there was some increase in both vaccination and autism diagnosis at the same time. Additional evidence shows that eliminating controversial substances from the vaccines does not precipitate a decrease in the disease.

There are a series of studies that have been done on the causality and all came up negative. The data on increases in autism is bad because of diagnosis changes. If a correlation exists I would strongly urge research into such a correlation despite evidence against causation. But it seems very hard to believe that causation exists without a correlation.

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