Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

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SpyderEdgeForever
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Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:15 pm

In a wider context, how can we pin down the effect of certain causes, when it comes to more indirect things?

For example: It is common to hear that eating certain fatty foods stops up the arteries and leads to heart disease and heart attacks and other illnesses. And yet we also see examples where people spend their entire lives eating such fatty foods and they live to a ripe old age and even do not seem to gain alot of excess weight. But then there are examples of people who are as thin as a rail who die of heart attacks. And so, can we say with surety that fatty food is a major cause of heart diseases and heart attacks or not?

Obviously some things are more direct: If a person has a condition like diabetes and does not take their insulin if they have to take insulin, they can go into diabetic shock.

Take something like seat belts and helmets for those who bike. Is there any objective proof and evidence that wearing seat belts definitely cuts down on motorist deaths, and that bike helmets save the lives of bikers and bicyclists in crashes?

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Re: Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

Postby Skidoosh » Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:51 pm

Causation and correlation are two different things but often confused. There are always exceptions.

After the introduction of helmets in WWI head injuries went up.

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Re: Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

Postby knivesandbooks » Mon Nov 26, 2018 7:53 pm

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Re: Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

Postby The Deacon » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:24 am

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:15 pm
Take something like seat belts and helmets for those who bike. Is there any objective proof and evidence that wearing seat belts definitely cuts down on motorist deaths, and that bike helmets save the lives of bikers and bicyclists in crashes?

Neither is a panacea but, IMHO, both seat belts and helmets do save lives. Don't know how scientific it is, but in the reports of darn near every fatal auto accident I've read about here in SC it will be noted that the deceased party or parties were not wearing seat belts. Same hold true for lack of helmets in fatal motorcycle, scooter, and moped accident. Now, granted, motorcycle accidents are a bit more problematic than car accidents. There's a point where, above a certain speed, the best a helmet can do is allow an open casket funeral and the worst it can do is to prevent death but create a human vegetable.
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Re: Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

Postby ChrisinHove » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:15 am

Various official sounding bodies will tell you that car seat belts and motorcycle helmets save lives overall, and that “rings true” to my mind. The introduction of air bags must have helped the statistics, as well.

There have been calls for compulsory bicycle helmets as well. That seems less clear cut, as fatal injuries are much less common, and anything that deters exercise in the wider population may have a bigger net negative effect.

There is also the risk that as drivers feel safer, they may drive less cautiously, also working against any positive effects.

My first car had a big bolt up through the steering column, with a flimsy plastic cap, no airbag. In a crash it would have executed me! I slowed down a bit after I discovered that...

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Re: Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

Postby The Deacon » Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:09 pm

ChrisinHove wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:15 am
Various official sounding bodies will tell you that car seat belts and motorcycle helmets save lives overall, and that “rings true” to my mind. The introduction of air bags must have helped the statistics, as well.

There have been calls for compulsory bicycle helmets as well. That seems less clear cut, as fatal injuries are much less common, and anything that deters exercise in the wider population may have a bigger net negative effect.

There is also the risk that as drivers feel safer, they may drive less cautiously, also working against any positive effects.

My first car had a big bolt up through the steering column, with a flimsy plastic cap, no airbag. In a crash it would have executed me! I slowed down a bit after I discovered that...

True, and of course there's always the possibility that the same people who don't use seat belts in cars or wear helmets on bikes are just worse drivers than those who do and thus have a greater chance of crashing.

As for bicycle helmets, I recall reading a study that claimed that, while they decrease the risk of head trauma, they increase the risk of neck trauma. However, I've come to believe that most "studies" are merely devices to give credence to someone's preconceived notions.
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Re: Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

Postby Evil D » Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:26 pm

Seat belts and helmets absolutely save lives, that much isn't even up for debate. The auto industry alone has come so far in safety in the last 50 years it's ridiculous.

As for general cause and effect, do you believe in the "butterfly effect"?
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Re: Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

Postby kiwisailor » Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:30 pm

Bicycle Helmets have been compulsory here in N.Z. for at least 10 yrs.
I feel this is a very positive move as younger cyclists (kids) have a tendency to have more accidents due to higher risk taking and not being so aware of other road and footpath users.

It is so dangerous to ride a bike here on roads, I just don't bother, even with helmet.

When riding Mt. Bike on tracks, I certainly wear Helmet and feel naked without it. Summer is coming but still too cold to ride naked, even with helmet.. :D

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Re: Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

Postby demoncase » Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:51 pm

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:15 pm
In a wider context, how can we pin down the effect of certain causes, when it comes to more indirect things?

For example: It is common to hear that eating certain fatty foods stops up the arteries and leads to heart disease and heart attacks and other illnesses. And yet we also see examples where people spend their entire lives eating such fatty foods and they live to a ripe old age and even do not seem to gain alot of excess weight. But then there are examples of people who are as thin as a rail who die of heart attacks. And so, can we say with surety that fatty food is a major cause of heart diseases and heart attacks or not?

Obviously some things are more direct: If a person has a condition like diabetes and does not take their insulin if they have to take insulin, they can go into diabetic shock.

Take something like seat belts and helmets for those who bike. Is there any objective proof and evidence that wearing seat belts definitely cuts down on motorist deaths, and that bike helmets save the lives of bikers and bicyclists in crashes?
1. Good experimental technique gives good data and carefully understanding any biases and uncontrolled environmental effects allows us to make solid predictions that certain causes will create certain effect- with all other things being equal

2. Human beings are messy sources of good data due to many, many variables which become impossible to control- not the least of which is the fact that we react differently when we know we are in some form of a trial (and that's without annoying stuff like the placebo effect etc)
Add in our genetic propensity to develop certain illnesses (There's a reason they ask if there's a family history of heart attacks on medical surveys) and it becomes even messier

So- when it comes to humans we have to get into big statistical studies and that means any cause/effect relationships
Any prediction made is based on the average- not the outliers.

So: Helmets
in 1973 it became mandatory to wear a helmet on a motorcycle in the UK.
In 1969 there were 1600 motorcycle fatalities
In 1975 there were 600 motorcycle fatalities.
UK Motorcycle fatalities have had a general downward trend.....despite the average top speed of motorcycles greatly increasing.
You don't have to a genius to realise that the human skull and body is designed to survive impacts at our maximum running speed of about 20mph.
When we travel much faster than that and we (soft bag of meat) hit something harder than we are (like every single other thing we'll encounter on or near the road) then we come off worst.

So#2: Foods.
The stuff with fats-vs-carbs-vs-sugars at the moment is part of a long complicated history of food science which gets wrapped up in the various lobby groups and dodgy data that results......Never forget that fad diets are created so writers can sell books first and foremost ;)

Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh self-prepared meals along with a reasonable amount of exercise will do as much to put you in the best place from a health perspective as any fad diet.
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Bloke
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Re: Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

Postby Bloke » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:10 pm

kiwisailor wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:30 pm
It is so dangerous to ride a bike here
Image
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Re: Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

Postby ChrisinHove » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:06 am

:D

Must be an Irish ram ....

(Rugby reference)

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Re: Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

Postby rossco599 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:59 am

Direct because it's a chain of events and when you're spinning round things come undone.
Videos proof:
https://youtu.be/vlAa0IGCXCw

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Re: Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

Postby kiwisailor » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:33 pm

Bloke, BRILLIANT.
Good thing he had His clothes on.

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Re: Cause and Effect: Direct and Indirect?

Postby The Mastiff » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:58 pm

Bloke, that guy/ram was on TV up here. He's a celebrity.

Joe


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