6th December 2013

Suppose its been discovered that children who eat more tomato ketchup do worse in their exams, why could this be?

CINAC states that correlation is not a cause. A commonly used example may be: “Imagine you are watching at a railway station. More and more people arrive until the platform is crowded, and then — hey presto — along comes a train. Did the people cause the train to arrive (A causes B)? Did the train cause the people to arrive (B causes A)? No, they both depended on a railway timetable (C caused both A and B).” This does not specifically specify that the causation has resulted in a correlation. Instead an outside variable factor has come into play. Some people may argue that there are certain chemicals in the ketchup that interfere with the brain activity of children, resulting in academic underperformance. Hence, “children who eat more tomato ketchup do worse in exams”. However, we have to take into account the limitation and weakness of language. We can rephrase this hypothesis into “stupid children eat more ketchup”, or “poorer people eat more junk food, and do worse in school”, we have to take into account the many different ways in which this hypothesis can be interpreted. A natural scientist may test this hypothesis through chemical analysis, analyzing the different chemicals present in a sample of ketchup and referring the chemicals to interference with brain activity. Whereas human scientists may approach this hypothesis differently, and collect their data through the use of questionnaires, surveys or interviews. However, both of these methods are limited due to the bias nature of scientists, uncontrollable variables in the experiment, as well as the quality of answers that vary from person to person. So, alright, if A doesn’t cause B, could B cause A? Does C (the variable factor) cause both B and A, Does C even have anything to do with B or A? How can we test this? Is there a method that will allow us to validate this theory?

“Suppose we find out that the more often people consult astrologers, or psychics, the longer they live.”

Is there a relationship between the amount of times a person consults a astrologer/psychic and the length of their life?” Many may argue that “Knowing the future means you can avoid dying”, “The longer you live, the more astrologers or psychics you will consult”etc, however by stating these reasonings, we ourselves are being bias which does not enable us to think like “scientists” nor does it allow us to see the full picture. I agree that all these ideas are testable, and can be attempted to be proven, however, what I am trying to get across is the fact that by stating the idea of correlation and causation, it allows humans to be imaginative which can often interfere with experiments. At the moment, no scientist has scientifically been able to prove that “the more often people consult astrologers, or psychics, the longer they live”. However, perhaps in the near future, due to advancement of technology, the increase in quality of qualitative work, as well as the development of the CINAC theory, this mystery may finally be able to be solved.

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One Response to 6th December 2013

  1. Well done for reflecting on the lesson and the CINAC questions promptly. As always your thinking is impressive and your writing lucid. To improve your blog you could insert links to related sites and research that you find and possibly make connections to other everyday situations.

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