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Old 09-24-2017, 02:47 AM   #146
TwoSwords
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 284
TwoSwords knows EXACTLY what's going onTwoSwords knows EXACTLY what's going onTwoSwords knows EXACTLY what's going onTwoSwords knows EXACTLY what's going onTwoSwords knows EXACTLY what's going onTwoSwords knows EXACTLY what's going on
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Originally Posted by loopytheone View Post
I don't know if you have taken any statistics classes or anything, but were you ever given the example about ice cream and murders? It's a classic example used to explain to students why a strong correlation is not the same thing as cause and effect. The example is that if you were to plot a graph of ice cream consumption on one axis and murder rates on the other, you'd see a really strong correlation. Does that mean that ice cream makes people murderous, or that all murderers love ice cream? Of course not, the reason they correlate is because of the weather; people eat more ice cream in summer and more murders happen in summer. That's always my go to example when trying to explain the difference between correlation and cause and effect to people.

But yeah, you have exactly the same thoughts/wariness when it comes to these correlations around obesity as I do.
This is a really good example. I have not, specifically, taken classes in statistics, though some of my online classes in philosophy dealt with the topic in some detail, and it's important to have a good practical knowledge of them if you want to sift evidence for truth (my highest value.) I heard a similar example given in an article online, about the correlation between yellow teeth and lung cancer, because both are caused by a third factor; smoking. It's the same kind of thing, though a bit more direct.

I will say this; when actual science is done on this topic, it always points in the direction of obesity not being the cause of poor health. Reducing a patient's weight artificially, especially through surgery, never leads to marked improvements in their other health issues, no matter how much of their weight they lose. Also, those who lose lots of weight intentionally are actually in a higher-risk category for heart failure and other such health problems than obese people. This, too, is a correlation, but it shows that the evidence is not as cut-and-dry as the medical profession would have us believe.
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