by Kenneth Lyen
Even if you receive the best intelligence, you can interpret it wrongly, and end up with stupid conclusions. This happens a lot in politics, but I will not go into this incendiary arena. Instead I will cite a few medical jokes, based on real data, to underline my point.
A. DIET AND HEART ATTACKS
The first (joke) example concerns the influence of diet and heart attacks. It was posted to me by a friend. Consider the following data taken from bona fide epidemiological research.
1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
3. The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
4. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
So what do you conclude? Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you!
The logic is impeccable, but the conclusion is absurd.
B. SHOES AND PEPTIC ULCERS
The second example comes from research trying to find the factors responsible for peptic ulcers. This study was done in India. It showed that the incidence of duodenal ulcers is significantly higher in people who wear shoes, and lower in barefoot populations.
The conclusion is that by not wearing shoes you can lower your incidence of intestinal ulcers.
Nothing wrong with the logic. But Im sure you have already spotted the flaw in this argument. The reason why peptic ulcers are more common in people who wear shoes in India is because this disease is associated with lifestyle. The more wealthy you are, the more likely you are to live in cities, experience greater job-related stress and eat less healthy diets. This predisposes you to more ulcers. And you wear shoes. In contrast if you are poor and cannot afford shoes, you might probably live in the countryside, your stresses are different, and your diet may be potentially less likely to cause ulcers.
I would suggest to our dear politician friends, that no matter how logical a conclusion sounds, please apply a bit more common sense!