Today in faulty causality: A study has found that a country's consumption of chocolate is directly correlated to the number of Nobel laureates it has produced. Leading the world in both chocoholism and Nobels: the Swiss, followed by the Swedes and the Danes. The U.S. would have to consume an additional 275 million pounds of chocolate per year to catch up (still no word on what benefits salt, a preponderance of processed foods, and trans-fats impart to a nation).
The correlation here is false, of course, and that's precisely why the study was published. New York physician Franz Messerli noticed the correlation and published the study to show how p-values--a statistical tool that nearly all medical studies employ to prove the veracity of the causal relationships they describe--can be seriously flawed.
P-values essentially measure the probability that a given result will be as "extreme" as the observation if indeed there is no real correlation. It's basically a test for randomness and a way for scientists to try to filter raw coincidence from their data. But in the case of the chocolate-to-Nobel correlation, Messerli calculated the p-value at 0.0001. That means the odds that this correlation is purely due to chance is just one in 10,000.
But Messerli himself calls the result "a complete nonsense correlation." While there could be some kind of indirect correlation--chocolate is a luxury good after all, so one could assume that countries rich in chocolate are also rich in other things, like health care, education, and other factors that might influence a person's chance of rising to Nobel status--there is no real established reason to believe that overall chocolate consumption (even dark chocolate, which has been shown in some studies to benefit the brain) generates Nobel laureates at an increased rate. Even the perceived link to wealth is incidental rather than causal. As a stand-alone finding, it is meaningless.
"Scientists look at hundreds and hundreds of different things, and every once in a while they will find two things that are surprisingly correlated with each other, and then they will say, 'Look at those very strong correlations and how important that is,'" American physicist and 2001 Nobel physics prize winner Eric Cornell told Reuters Health. "But what they don't do is tell you about all the different things that aren't correlated."
The lesson here: Brush up on your Nassim Nicholas Taleb and don't believe everything you read in the media. Some correlations are tempting and even statistically verifiable. But that doesn't necessarily make them, or the research they underpin, the undisputed truth.
Much a do, about nothing. PoPSCi wrote an article informing us about something the article says is not true.
Imagine all the other things they can inform us, that is not true, lol.
By the way, being alive may cause cancer.
Correlation != causation.
What it reveals is the committee bias toward their own central European interests - I'm sure their are other central European cultural links that would also coorelate to the prizes being handed out.
This is the eqivalent of stating that "the Quoran Scolarship" prize tends to go to countries that import the most food. Obviously, such a prize goes most often to a Mid-East country, most of the Mid-East is arid, and arid countries import more food.
I would suggest that this clear bias should tarnish the reputation of the Nobel Awards - but the Peace Prize (the most famous of them to the public) has already made it a laughing stock.
Serious, the EU for the Peace Prize (not the falling into pieces prize)?
Is this due to the EUs ability to keep financial crisis from devolving into a host of violent anti-austerity protests? Because that didn't happen.
Is this due to its ability to work to ease tensions with neighbors? Because that didn't happen.
Is this due to its ability to stabalize world markets and promote the general welfare? Because that didn't happen.
It this doe to its ability to calm Islamist and Anti-islamist violence without and beyond its borders? Because it REALLY didn't do that.
Due to the EU military envolvment in Lybia? Due to its non-involvement in Syria?
Nope - the prizes are a laughing stock to the world, so why not award them to your local central European buddies. Maybe the prize is just one more EU bailout measure.
Chocolate = money = development = science = nobels
More astounding correlations:
In general, 41 percent of people think Joe Biden is more likely than the Obama girls to one day end up on a reality show. But among those who trust professional critics' movie recommendations more than those of their friends, 60 percent think Joe Biden is more likely to end up on a reality show.
In general, 40 percent of people say they and their parents have substantially different political opinions. But among those who dislike mint chocolate chip ice cream, 54 percent say they and their parents have substantially different political opinions.
In general, 20 percent of people like the idea of single-sex public schools. But among those who oppose gay civil marriage, 46 percent like the idea of single-sex public schools.
brillant article, what an superb angle.
To find the world geniesses according to chocolate consumption
Denmark and Sweden are scandinavian countries and absolutlly not middle Europe.
"don’t believe everything you read in the media"
Those are certainly words to live by.
It also goes against the fact , blondes tend to be dumb ? Why don't blondes eat pickles?
Because they get their head stuck in the jar!
At this moment the argument of diet and Autism are seriously under consideration, and it relates to this article because some forms of Autism are associated with brain growth, severing long neurons. IQ has always been associated with the fat rich diets of countries and the lower IQ’s associated with fat poor countries. It is a direct connection to the neurons of the brain being mostly made of lipids, and the need and use of fats to produce those lipids during brain growth. Should it be surprises that are diets will prove to be a vital factor in Autism, and brain growth over an even lager population?
So, it should be noted that Isaac Newton came at a time in which sugar was being imported from the East Indies, and he was believed to be Autistic.