Correlation As Causation – Dylan Spina

Dylan Spina – @DylanSpina61

Scientist, and smart people who put out studies, I AM CALLING OUT YOUR BULLSHIT. In the major I’m going to school for, dietetics, I wind up reading a bunch of studies related to the field. The number one problem I have is claims of something that is correlated made to seem to be a direct causation in the matter.

First let’s define each term (Webster’s dictionary)

Correlation: a mutual relationship or connection between two or more things; a quantity measuring the extent of interdependence of variable quantities.

Causation: the action of causing something; the relationship between cause and effect; causality.

A lot of the material that is put out into articles are opinions on studies to get clicks to a site, brand, etc. I recently read a headline from a Health website that said “Vegan: Following the vegan diet can prevent Type 2 diabetes.” Without much education in the field, you may find the immediacy in wanting to prevent Type 2 diabetes would lead you to directly following a vegan diet. Not knowing really, the only thing that would matter in that is that you’re eating clean and you’ve eliminated processed sugars (which is a factor in developing type 2 diabetes.) The study read the correlation of the diet in comparison of the effects it had on Type 2 diabetes. But that was its only correlation making it a causation as if vegan was the only way to prevent Type 2 Diabetes.

Let’s go to an absurd outside fitness example. Hypothetically speaking, New Jersey news reports that the increase in sale of beef at local grocery stores has risen causing the number of shark attacks to go up. There is a correlation between the two, but one does not cause the other. But when two factors similar to themselves in categories we seem to think they do. See the problem?

This is a problem only because when uneducated people in a subject read something they panic and cause mass hysteria; like the result of What the Health did when it dropped. (Not to pick on veganism, I think it’s cool.)  It’s up to you to do your own research into something like such that’s sparks your emotions. Understanding that if “x” does cause “y” you truly understand why and not just oh that’s it and that’s the way it is. That’s why a lot of people fall into fads, especially in the health industry. Many want to become healthy, so they listen to Susan from the cubicle across the way who lost 20 lbs drinking just juices for 2 weeks. Yes, there is a correlation but was the juice really the causation of the weight lost or was it just the lack of calories coming in?

You need to do your own research into studies that incite emotion when you read. Don’t jump into something because there’s a correlation between the two with out any proof that it’s a direct causation. Be smart with your decisions, BE BETTER.

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