EppsNet Archive: Causality

Youth E-Cig Use Increases Odds of Cigarette Use?

AMERICAN ADOLESCENTS who smoke e-cigarettes are more than four times as likely to try a cigarette … as those who have no prior tobacco use history, a new cohort study finds. “Youth E-Cig Use Increases Odds of Cigarette Use,” US News This is from a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, using data from a study between 2013 and 2016 of youths aged 12 to 15 years who had never used cigarettes, e-cigarettes or other tobacco products at the beginning of the time period. Prior e-cigarette users had 4.09 times the odds of having ever smoked a cigarette compared with peers with no previous tobacco use. That’s the stat I see cited most often, always incorrectly, regarding kids and vaping. The report doesn’t say 4 times more likely to start smoking cigarettes, it says 4 times more likely to have ever smoked a cigarette. Sometimes it’s cited… Read more →

Climate Change is Making People More Stupid

(HealthDay News) — Add another possible woe to the growing list of consequences of climate change: Kidney stones. A new study of American cities suggests that rising temperatures may increase the number of people who develop the painful urinary obstructions. — Will a warmer climate mean more kidney stones? – MSN Healthy Living You have to read all the way down to the second-to-last sentence of the article to find this: The study uncovered a connection between higher temperatures and risk of kidney stones, but didn’t prove cause-and-effect. The article implies cause and effect only to fess up right at the end and admit that there is no cause and effect. In the absence of cause and effect, what exactly is the point? In the epilogue of War and Peace, a peasant notices a “connection” between smoke and locomotives and infers cause and effect: the smoke causes the locomotive to… Read more →

Fundamental Principles of Analytical Design

Looking over my notes from an Edward Tufte course . . . Show comparisons, contrasts, differences. Show causality, mechanism, explanation, systematic structure. Show multivariate data; that is, show more than 1 or 2 variables. Completely integrate words, numbers, images, diagrams. Thoroughly describe the evidence. Provide a detailed title, indicate the authors and sponsors, document the data sources, show complete measurement scales, point out relevant issues. Analytical presentations ultimately stand or fall depending on the quality, relevance, and integrity of their content. Read more →