The RoanokeSlant

This file is a personal journal of commentary of examples of the Roanoke Times and Liberal Media Slant. lbhagen@aol.com

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

 

Promoting Faulty Cause And Effect Data

Roanoke Times, 2-3-10, Pg 5: Report linking autism to vaccine retracted.
The original report “was outrageous”, said Dr. Jeffrey Boscamp of the Hackensack Univ. Med. Cntr. In NJ. “Most of the authors asked for their names to be removed from the study; it undermined confidence in vaccines when in fact it wasn’t true at all”.
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Medical Journal Retracts Article Linking Vaccines and Autism
Tuesday, February 02, 2010 Associated Press
LONDON — A major British medical journal on Tuesday retracted a flawed study linking the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism and bowel disease.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,584656,00.html
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The media has yet again been the vehicle for anguish pain and suffering for thousands of people with their insatiable appetite for hyping unfounded fears in order to make money.
Circulation ratings are what are important – damn the validity and truth and perspective and for sure don’t give the contrarians equal coverage to add balance and demonstrate there is a viable alternative view.
Sounds a lot like the hype promoting the Gore-IPCC-Hypothesis on man-made global warming, doesn’t it?
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The sources of many of these false “exposes” are:
• It’s usually very difficult to establish cause-effect relationships in complex systems because one cannot determine, isolate and control the variables that are at the root cause of the problem.
• Thousands of students each year must publish a thesis to get their next degree. The bases of their thesis are not comprehensive studies but are actually hypothesis with some limited and questionable data indicating further study may be warranted.
• Publication of thousands of statistical studies each year showing that two things may be connected because statistical analysis of historical data shows a high correlation coefficient. Section one of chapter one of every statistics book includes the warning that “statistics of historical data can never be used to establish a cause-effect relationship”!
• Competing or hostile persons who are trying to disparage or sabotage another’s products or services.
• Just plain old nasty folks yelling FIRE in a crowded theatre.
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Why can’t educated people with a journalism degree understand these simple realities and present data in a way that would conform to basic “truth in advertising and labeling” requirements for their so called “news”? Apparently the answer is money and delusions of fame. Better to be wrong and publish junk than lose out on a big scoop!
Aggravating this situation is the lack of a media mea culpa in almost every exposed case!
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Yet Another Non-news non-scientific cause and effect "study"
Roanoke Times, 2-9-10, Pg 3: Study looks at parents, link to risk (Autism) risk for children.
There seems to be a correlation to the mother's age and the disorder, but maybe not.
We're not saying this is the fault of mothers or fathers. We're just saying this is a correlation that will direct research in the future.
Because of the large sample size, they were able to show how the risk of autism was affected by each parent's age.
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Why are "news" organizations cutting down perfectly good trees, that help to remove CO2 from the air, to print tripe like this? What a gross misuse and misdirection of news resources.
No -- they were not "able to show" anything! This is simply doing statistics on historical data that results in a high correlation coefficient that does NOT PROVE ANYTHING!
The valid quote in this article is "this is a correlation that will direct research in the future".
So, why is this a "news" story. What is the objective of traumatizing thousands of parents with a study that alludes to a scientific fact, when it actually does not present any definitive facts.
Just how cruel and sadistic are the news people who peddle this tripe?
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Click for some additional examples within this blog that highlight the sad record of journalists hyping and promoting bad information in the name of news reporting”:
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Shoveling Global Warming Frigid Storms
http://roanokeslant.blogspot.com/2010/01/shoveling-global-warming-frigid-storms.html
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ADHD: Cause & Effect?
http://roanokeslant.blogspot.com/2006/09/adhd-cause-effect.html
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Help Denied
http://roanokeslant.blogspot.com/2006/03/help-denied.html
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Vioxx Jury
http://roanokeslant.blogspot.com/2005/08/vioxx-jury.html
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Study wrong?
http://roanokeslant.blogspot.com/2005/07/study-wrong.html
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Amplifying Bad Data
http://roanokeslant.blogspot.com/2005/04/amplifying-bad-data.html
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Yet Another Stuck-on-Stupid Study
http://roanokeslant.blogspot.com/2009/07/yet-another-stuck-on-stupid-study.html
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