We’re All Going to Die!

For some strange reason, when trying to recall a subject where statistics lied, I remembered this particular news story:

http://www.ktvu.com/videos/news/special-report-keeping-cell-phone-in-bra-may-lead/vhPF8/

The story starts out telling us of women using their bras as a convenient place to keep their cell phones.  It show us two cases where it seemed the cell phone caused breast cancer; all of the sudden doctors and others they interview are convinced cell phones are giving us cancer.

Many things were wrong with this report.  First, as stated in the article 5 Ways Statistics Are Used to Lie to You Every Day they found a correlation between cell phones in bras and breast cancer.  This does not necessarily equal causation.  It could be that some people see a pattern that really isn’t there.  It might be just a coincidence.  There were only two examples shown in the video, and two examples are not enough to warrant sending the entire population into a frenzy.

The speakers in the video said they would probably need more evidence to confirm their findings, and indeed they do.  The video is a little dated, however, because when I tried to find it again I kept seeing articles that were telling the world the opposite story.  Cell phones do not cause cancer.  Nothing is found as of yet to back up their claims, no matter how eloquently portrayed they are in the video.  It may have sounded believable and official to their audience, with official looking people, testimonies, and it being broadcast on the news, but without real proof, it was merely speculation.

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5 thoughts on “We’re All Going to Die!

  1. I feel that people post things to early without evidence. However, when people see something on the internet they automatically believe it is true. I also like how you said that it doesn’t necessarily equal causation! Great post and great statements!

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  2. The article you chose was interesting especially since it talks about getting cancer. Nowadays we are really concerned of how we might get cancer or another deadly disease. Today we are in fear of cancer and Ebola and if anyone coughs around us we fear that we might get it. People however read articles or see videos and they think that it is all true. We need to not let that trick us and research more on the topic before coming to a conclusion. You did a great job in showing that correlation and causation can be misleading.

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  3. I remember when there was a big scare about that back when I was in the 6-7th grade and how people would get really upset and feeling personally offended when people would hold their phones in their bras. It was definitely an overreaction especially since there wasn’t really much evidence. Good that you mentioned that the video was a little dated and how you talked about the cause and effect not really being related whatsoever.

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  4. You point out that sometimes you have to do your own research on a statistic people give you, even if it is someone smart who we should trust. Though we can’t do this with everything we receive we should be careful who we believe.

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  5. I think that this is just an instance of reporting on a hot topic way too early and causing a panic. Lots of women put their phones in their bras. Lots of women also get breast cancer. Some people who store their phones in their bras are going to get breast cancer; this does not mean that the phone gave them cancer. This article was a very good example of causation not equaling correlation. Nice post!

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