Correlation and causation

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Re: Correlation and causation

#161  Postby Fallible » Jan 22, 2020 6:44 pm

eduardo wrote:
Hermit wrote:
eduardo wrote:My grandmother smoked two packets a day and was run over by a bus.

Is that supposed to be an argument in favour that no correlation between tobacco use and increased chances of dying from cancer?

If so, I might argue that wars don't increase the chances of dying because my father and both my grandfathers were frontline officers during WWII and died of natural causes years after that war ended.


You are making the basic error. Smoking does not cause cancer. There is no clear cause for cancer.
There are some factors that increase the chances of cancer and the components of cigarette smoke are strongly correlated to this. The people who never smoke do get cancer and those that smoke sometimes die ofother things.


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Re: Correlation and causation

#162  Postby Alan B » Jan 24, 2020 12:58 pm

Racing pigeons cause lung disease.
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Re: Correlation and causation

#163  Postby GrahamH » Jan 24, 2020 1:02 pm

Alan B wrote:Racing pigeons cause lung disease.
Are you pointing out that disease vectors cause the spread of disease?
Why do you think that?
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Re: Correlation and causation

#164  Postby Alan B » Jan 24, 2020 1:02 pm

eduardo wrote:You are making the basic error. Smoking does not cause cancer. There is no clear cause for cancer.
There are some factors that increase the chances of cancer and the components of cigarette smoke are strongly correlated to this. The people who never smoke do get cancer and those that smoke sometimes die ofother things.


Proof at last! Goddit. :snooty:
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Re: Correlation and causation

#165  Postby Alan B » Jan 24, 2020 1:11 pm

My father raced pigeons for a hobby. About 30 years later he developed a lung problem which was shown to be due to dust from pigeon wings. I'm sure that tar products can be shown to cause cancer in the same way, e.g. biopsy.


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Re: Who Made God?

#166  Postby Svartalf » Jan 24, 2020 1:19 pm

GrahamH wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:Someone is almost sure to try to hold the airline to account for flying in hazardous airspace.


This was a flight out of Tehran. How safe could they be?

It may be that this flight was on a less frequented flightpath.

Not a matter, the guy behind the missile would not have known a thing about civilian flight paths, he wasn't able to notice that the suspect flying object was on a civiliain airport for hell's sake... he was just an incompetent moron, and a glitch in communication did not allow higher echelon personnel to override his incompetence.
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Re: Who Made God?

#167  Postby GrahamH » Jan 24, 2020 1:41 pm

Svartalf wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:Someone is almost sure to try to hold the airline to account for flying in hazardous airspace.


This was a flight out of Tehran. How safe could they be?

It may be that this flight was on a less frequented flightpath.

Not a matter, the guy behind the missile would not have known a thing about civilian flight paths, he wasn't able to notice that the suspect flying object was on a civiliain airport for hell's sake... he was just an incompetent moron, and a glitch in communication did not allow higher echelon personnel to override his incompetence.


That is all possible, but nothing more than supposition. For all we know the missile operator was highly competent but ordered to fire by a panicked commander who didn't want to be the next Soleimani.
What's the point of speculation?
Why do you think that?
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Re: Correlation and causation

#168  Postby eduardo » Jan 29, 2020 7:41 am

Alan B wrote:
eduardo wrote:You are making the basic error. Smoking does not cause cancer. There is no clear cause for cancer.
There are some factors that increase the chances of cancer and the components of cigarette smoke are strongly correlated to this. The people who never smoke do get cancer and those that smoke sometimes die ofother things.


Proof at last! Goddit. :snooty:

Yes. Ladders do not cause broken necks. People that fall off ladders have a higher chance of breaking necks.
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Re: Correlation and causation

#169  Postby Hermit » Jan 29, 2020 8:25 am

eduardo wrote:
Alan B wrote:
eduardo wrote:You are making the basic error. Smoking does not cause cancer. There is no clear cause for cancer.
There are some factors that increase the chances of cancer and the components of cigarette smoke are strongly correlated to this. The people who never smoke do get cancer and those that smoke sometimes die ofother things.

Proof at last! Goddit. :snooty:

Yes. Ladders do not cause broken necks. People that fall off ladders have a higher chance of breaking necks.

Exactly!

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Re: Correlation and causation

#170  Postby GrahamH » Jan 29, 2020 9:35 am

eduardo wrote:
Alan B wrote:
eduardo wrote:You are making the basic error. Smoking does not cause cancer. There is no clear cause for cancer.
There are some factors that increase the chances of cancer and the components of cigarette smoke are strongly correlated to this. The people who never smoke do get cancer and those that smoke sometimes die ofother things.


Proof at last! Goddit. :snooty:

Yes. Ladders do not cause broken necks. People that fall off ladders have a higher chance of breaking necks.
I think you have some bad assumption about singular causes. There are no singular causes for anything. The guy who breaks his neck in a fall from a ladder would not have broken his neck without the ladder. But obviously there are many ways to break your neck and none of the essential causal elements in a particular instance are sufficient in themselves for a broken neck.
Can you think of a counter example?

If smoking doesn't cause cancer what do you mean by cause?
Why do you think that?
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Re: Correlation and causation

#171  Postby eduardo » Feb 10, 2020 4:26 pm

The immediate cause of cancer is the activated oncogene
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Re: Correlation and causation

#172  Postby Thommo » Feb 10, 2020 4:34 pm

I don't think equivocating between "immediate cause" and "cause" is going to help.

Nonetheless cells with activated oncogenes and no blood supply don't cause cancer. Other conditions also must be present or absent.
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Re: Correlation and causation

#173  Postby GrahamH » Feb 10, 2020 4:48 pm

Thommo wrote:I don't think equivocating between "immediate cause" and "cause" is going to help.

Nonetheless cells with activated oncogenes and no blood supply don't cause cancer. Other conditions also must be present or absent.


Agreed, but isn't that true of all notions of causality? There are no singular necessary and sufficient causes of singular effects, are there? Isn't it always arbitrary what level of detail and what boundaries one draws around cause and affect?

Causality (also referred to as causation,[1] or cause and effect) is efficacy, by which one event, process or state, a cause, contributes to the production of another event, process or state, an effect,[2] where the cause is partly responsible for the effect, and the effect is partly dependent on the cause. In general, a process has many causes,[3] which are also said to be causal factors for it, and all lie in its past. An effect can in turn be a cause of, or causal factor for, many other effects, which all lie in its future.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality


Objections on the kind "sometimes effect E1 doesn't follow from cause C1" are misunderstanding the concept.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Correlation and causation

#174  Postby Thommo » Feb 10, 2020 4:53 pm

As far as I'm aware, yes. We tend to make background assumptions and omit details that aren't relevant to a specific frame of reference.

Like in that cancer example, a doctor is only interested in treating a living patient, so they can omit that the cancer is only caused by a cell that has a blood supply, isn't inundated with ionizing radiation or attacked by the immune system of the host organism (which would happen if you took cancer cells to a sufficiently different organism, say for example cross-species) and so on and so on. Ultimately if one was sufficiently invested it would theoretically be possible to break the cause down to fundamental physical forces and atoms (or, I guess, subatomic interactions). But no matter what level you get to as far as we are aware there are multiple interactions between multiple forces acting on multiple objects.

Even then the doctor is likely to distinguish between immediate causes and proximate causes.
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Re: Correlation and causation

#175  Postby GrahamH » Feb 10, 2020 5:04 pm

Thommo wrote:
Even then the doctor is likely to distinguish between immediate causes and proximate causes.


Yes. It seems useful to do that.

When the now absent Eduardo wrote:

eduardo wrote:You are making the basic error. Smoking does not cause cancer.There is no clear cause for cancer.
There are some factors that increase the chances of cancer and the components of cigarette smoke are strongly correlated to this. The people who never smoke do get cancer and those that smoke sometimes die ofother things.

[/quote]

that was pretty much a definition of smoking being a cause of cancer.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Correlation and causation

#176  Postby GrahamH » Feb 10, 2020 5:10 pm

oops
Why do you think that?
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Re: Correlation and causation

#177  Postby eduardo » Feb 10, 2020 11:37 pm

Thommo wrote:I don't think equivocating between "immediate cause" and "cause" is going to help.

Nonetheless cells with activated oncogenes and no blood supply don't cause cancer. Other conditions also must be present or absent.

That is true. It was what I was saying that there is no clear cause for cancer.
It is not simple like falling under a bus or off a ladder.
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Re: Correlation and causation

#178  Postby Spearthrower » Feb 11, 2020 1:06 am

eduardo wrote: It was what I was saying that there is no clear cause for cancer.


But what you're saying is wrong: smoking IS a clear cause of cancer. You know, like literally every single scientific & medical source makes clear.
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Re: Correlation and causation

#179  Postby GrahamH » Feb 11, 2020 12:44 pm

eduardo wrote:
Thommo wrote:I don't think equivocating between "immediate cause" and "cause" is going to help.

Nonetheless cells with activated oncogenes and no blood supply don't cause cancer. Other conditions also must be present or absent.

That is true. It was what I was saying that there is no clear cause for cancer.
It is not simple like falling under a bus or off a ladder.


What's the clear cause for falling under a bus?
Why do you think that?
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Re: Correlation and causation

#180  Postby Hermit » Feb 11, 2020 1:34 pm

GrahamH wrote:
eduardo wrote:
Thommo wrote:I don't think equivocating between "immediate cause" and "cause" is going to help.

Nonetheless cells with activated oncogenes and no blood supply don't cause cancer. Other conditions also must be present or absent.

That is true. It was what I was saying that there is no clear cause for cancer.
It is not simple like falling under a bus or off a ladder.

What's the clear cause for falling under a bus?

Smoking. The uncle of a classmate of mine was about to light a cigarette as he waited to cross the road. His lighter slipped out of his hand. As he bent down to pick it up he lost his balance and fell. The bus driver had no chance of stopping in time.
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