Correlation is not causation and the pandemic

I sometimes see or hear statements that I take as a joke, and then realize is meant seriously.

For instance, a friend has an uncle with cancer, he received the Covid vaccine, and at the next check it turned out that his cancer was worse. My friend was certain the vaccine somehow, as if through a miracle, caused the cancer to worsen, so she decided to not get the vaccine.

Another friend got the vaccine, later got a frozen shoulder, and is now convinced the vaccine caused the frozen shoulder and said he will never get another vaccine again.

My response is…

Correlation is not causation. Just because something happens close in time doesn’t mean that one thing caused the other. Innumerable things happen close together in time and have no causal relationship at all.

It’s the nature of cancers to get worse. It’s what cancers do. It’s their job. It doesn’t need any vaccine to get worse. And there is no known connection between vaccines or cancer, and no known mechanism for how there could be a connection.

A lot of people get frozen shoulders. Again, no vaccine is required. It’s what bodies do. Innumerable people get frozen shoulders without having taken any vaccine. Innumerable people take the vaccine and have no frozen shoulder or any other symptoms.

To find causality between the vaccine and anything at all, we need several large-scale studies. We need to look at the large-scale patterns using solid data and good statistics.

It’s very easy to find a large number of stories apparently “proving” anything if we assume correlation equals causation. We can collect thousands of stories of people eating strawberries, and then shortly after being diagnosed with cancer or something else. Or people going for a swim, and one of their relatives dying the following day. That doesn’t prove anything. It just shows that life is immensely rich and varied and anything can follow anything, and often does. It says nothing about causality.

For me, the correlation = causality thinking is lazy logic, intellectual dishonesty, superstitious thinking, and also unnecessarily fearful thinking.

Yes, there is a very small possibility there is a connection. It’s far more likely there isn’t. These patterns inevitably happen in life, and it’s all about what we look for and how we interpret it. And to find actual causality, we need science and several large-scale solid studies.

DRAFT

I sometimes see or hear statements that I initially assume is a joke, and then realize is meant seriously.

For instance, a friend has an uncle with cancer, he received the Covid vaccine, and at the next check it turned out that his cancer was worse. My friend was certain the vaccine somehow, through a miracle, caused the cancer to get worse, so she decided to not get the vaccine.

Another friend got the vaccine, a few weeks later got a frozen shoulder, and is now convinced the vaccine caused the frozen shoulder and said he will never get another vaccine again.

My response is…

Correlation is not causation. Just because something happens close in time doesn’t mean that one thing caused the other. Innumerable things happen close together in time and have no causal relationship at all.

It’s the nature of cancers to get worse. If you have cancer, it’s normal for it to suddenly get worse. It’s what cancers do. It’s their job. It doesn’t need any vaccine to get worse. And there is no known way a vaccine can worsen cancer. If vaccines did, we would know about it by now.

A lot of people get frozen shoulders. Again, no vaccine is required. It’s what bodies do. Innumerable people get frozen shoulders without having taken any vaccine. Innumerable people take the vaccine and have no frozen shoulder or anything else happen.

To find causality between the vaccine and anything at all, we need several large scale studies. We need to look at the large scale patterns using solid data and good statistics.

It’s very easy to find a large number of stories apparently “proving” anything if we assume correlation equals causation. We can collect thousands of stories of people eating strawberries, and then shortly after being diagnosed with cancer or something else. Or people going for a swim, and one of their relatives dying the following day. That doesn’t prove anything. It just shows that life is immensely rich and varied and anything can follow anything, and often does. It says nothing about causality.

For me, the correlation = causality thinking is lazy logic, intellectual dishonesty, superstitious thinking, and also unnecessarily fearful thinking.

Yes, there is a very small possibility there is a connection. Its far more likely there isn’t. These patterns inevitably happen in life, and it’s all about what we look for and how we interpret it. And to find actual causality, we need science and several large scale and solid studies.

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