J. R. Molloy wrote,
> This resembles the old cause-and-effect-reversal that "married people live
> longer" used as an argument for getting married. Actually, people who live
> longer (because they're healthy and able-bodied) are more likely to marry.
Definitely! Whenever I see a statistical study, I always try
cause-and-effect reversal and independent causal analysis to see if they
make more sense.
If the assertion is that church-goers live longer, I ask if people who live
longer (i.e., are old) go to church more. This seems a more likely
Also, it could be an independent cause. Maybe the same belief system that
causes church-going also causes a safer environment: No drinking, no sex,
no driving fast, no staying up late, no partying, no gluttony, etc. Or it
may be that the extreme conservativism of the church to do everything the
old way and never try anything new helps protect people from exposure to any
new risks throughout their lives. Independent cause analysis usually is a
better explanation than the cause-and-effect reversal.
-- Harvey Newstrom <http://HarveyNewstrom.com> <http://Newstaff.com>
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