Correlation/Causation (When It’s Convenient)

Last week, news came out that eating processed meats (like bacon and sausage) is strongly linked to developing cancer. 

My natural inclination was to make a few vegetarian-friendly jokes and move on. I already don’t eat that stuff so it didn’t really impact me in any strong way. 

But oh my god, y’all. The way people reacted was intense. Suddenly individuals who never normally bother to question anything from studies were dissecting every word of every article to point out the differences between correlation and causation. 

Because statistics are boring unless they mean someone might take away their bacon. 

If only people cared this much about correlation vs causation when it comes to other things, like fat acceptance. Everyone is perfectly happy to claim that being fat causes all these things and will make us die early without paying any mind to the difference between a definitive cause and a spurious relationship. 

Threaten someone’s meat consumption and suddenly they’re a statistical genius; point out that their fat hate is based on bad science and bias and it’s “everyone knows” and that we should never question a doctor. 

Apply the fervor with which you sought a loophole in the sausage-cancer link (no pun intended) to things that can actually help people, like combating misinformation about weight and health. 

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