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Old 06-17-2017, 02:23 AM   #17
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by plushkitty View Post
Yes, exactly! And the hell of it is that the difference between correlation and causation is covered early on in statistics classes. It's one of the first things you learn. Which means that all the so-called scientists and doctors behind the obesity panic are A) letting personal and societal bias overcome their education, B) deliberately skewing their results for profit, and/or C) slept through statistics class and cheated on the tests.

Bad science irritates me. Deliberately bad science unleashes my inner Hulk.
It's as prevalent in my favorite field of philosophy as it is in statistics. However, I don't like to assume the worst of people, or to propose conspiracies if there's any other explanation, so my guess would be that...

A. At this point, the assumption that fatness is bad is so much a part of the medical profession, that it's being fed to young doctors like a bottle of milk from the moment they enter medical school. In short, I think the societal bias is foisted upon them during their medical education, even if they don't otherwise have one (and admittedly, some do.)

B. I think many of them may be just inexperienced with logic. Many scientists are not trained in determining whether a logical deduction or an inference to the best explanation is valid or not, and they're used to reading medical papers that make these same mistakes, without reading the responses from philosophers of science. Combined with an uncritical backer, like, as you said, someone in the weight loss industry, who doesn't care much about presenting a very strong case, and a sort of general assumption that fatness is unhealthy, and it leads to the skewing of results. Many of them will be uncomprehending when this is challenged, as if someone had just questioned that 2+3=5. It's just not something they seriously question the evidence for.

C. As I said, I think it may just be that drawing conclusions on the basis of their findings is not their forte. Remember, the job of a scientist is primarily experimentation and measurement. They should really pass their findings off to philosophers; people who are trained in logic and the rules of inference, if they want someone to determine what those findings mean in practice.

In short, it's not so much that the science itself is bad (the correlations do exist,) but rather, that the logic being used to interpret those measurements is bad.
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