September 28, 2007

Full Moon

No, it's doesn't cause the kids to go nuts. This article should prove it for you. For you guys interested in teaching critical thinking or logical fallicies, this is the big one: confusing correlation with causation. There's plenty to say about this. One example is the MMR/autism connection. There is none. But let's say you're not sure. You break down and give your kid the MMR shot. Soon after, you find out he does in fact have autism. Was it the shot? No, of course not. But it's the only thing you know that could have caused it, right? You didn't notice any of the indicators before the shot.
The indicators were there all along. Your pre-disposal to fear the shot made you think it was the shot. But a whole gob of scientists have been studying this for years and have proven many times and in many ways that it couldn't be the shot. They took out the heavy metals thought to be the problem ten or twelve years ago. Autism rates should have dropped dramatically in that time if it had been the shot, but they haven't.
You're not dumb if you think the moon causes lunacy or the MMR shot causes autism. You are just doing something humans are meant to do: look for reasons. That's why teaching critical thinking is so important. These mistakes are easy to make and we need to train ourselves to be reasonable.

2 comments:

podblack said...

http://podblack.wordpress.com/2008/03/08/political-punditry-on-mccains-magical-thinking/

I took a bit longer to say the same thing...

podblack said...

Sorry, did it again... http://tiny.cc/KmKG4