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To wish people would realise that the plural of anecdote is not data!

(10 Posts)
Sansarya Tue 16-Jun-15 21:16:41

A friend just put up a Facebook status asking if any mothers on her friend list had induced labours. A few say yes and then she links to an article on some random site claiming that the prostaglandin used in induction can cause autism. Then she links to a Baby Centre forum post about long eyelashes being a sign of autism. Apparently the opinions of the mothers on these forums trumps any research scientists do into ASD, in her opinion. But come on, surely you need to research a bit beyond forum threads before you start making claims??

hiccoughybump Tue 16-Jun-15 21:25:37

This kind of thing irritates me beyond words, but I'm a sciencey person married to a scientific researcher from a sciencey background. Maybe not everyone has such a grasp on research methodology and statistics?

Sansarya Tue 16-Jun-15 21:27:45

That is also true, but you'd think basic common sense would dictate that comments on forum threads are not the best things to base your research on!

Devora Tue 16-Jun-15 21:29:27

I'm not a sciencey person, but I like to think I am a logical one. It irritates me beyond belief.

Denimwithdenim00 Tue 16-Jun-15 21:30:26

Agree op and it's potentially upsetting to vulnerable pregnant women. There's harmless old wives tales which are usually ok but stuff like this makes me very cross.

I would post that's it's crap too if it came up on my fb feed.

Eigg Tue 16-Jun-15 21:30:37

Apart from anything else that's just... Rude.

manicinsomniac Tue 16-Jun-15 21:33:43

Mostly, I think YANBU.

But the thing is, everyone probably thinks this until they get an anecdote of their own that 'proves' something to them.

You will find people who genuinely believe that vaccinations can cause autism because it happened to their child.
You will find people who genuinely believe in ghosts because they have seen one.
You will find people who genuinely believe their horoscope because it was true for them once.

And so on. None of those things have science to back them up but the 'experiencers' of the anecdotes will still be convinced.

peckforton Tue 16-Jun-15 21:41:58

Read Bad Science by Ben Goldacre it is full of "science" that people believe is true,

ItsNotAsPerfectAsItSeems Tue 16-Jun-15 21:43:37

It is ridiculous and very irresponsible for your friend to post such a thing on Facebook.

However, there has been a couple of papers (can't find link at the mo but will try in a while) suggesting a link between autism and syntocinon. There has been a couple of threads musing these suggestions (not sure they can be called findings) on the SN boards. No scientific proof of course but some women do believe there's a link.

HerrenaHarridan Tue 16-Jun-15 21:52:02

Autism seems to be a bit like cancer, in that it's caused by absolutely fucking everything.

This sort of thing drives me bananas.

The amount of people who will say autism has been 'linked' to apples, microwaves, or whatever meaning somebody published a study that found no evidence whatsoever but the two words were linked in a sentence.

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