The three Cs - Mothering Forums
Vaccinations > The three Cs
Deborah's Avatar Deborah 09:24 PM 08-16-2014
Correlation

Causation

Coincidence

The correlation/causation argument is used selectively I think. It is used to dismiss vaccine reactions, but never seems to be used critically on other vaccine related problems.

For example, if the rate of diphtheria in the US was dropping before the vaccine was introduced and continued to decline at the same rate after the vaccine was introduced, did the introduction of the vaccine have any effect on the decline in incidence? After all, correlation doesn't equal causation.

And then there is the favorite explanation for vaccine non-reactions: COINCIDENCE!

So, I've now got a handy new shorthand--I'll just refer to them as the 3 Cs.

kathymuggle's Avatar kathymuggle 09:11 AM 08-17-2014
Thanks for starting this thread.

I don't really like the phrase "causation is not correlation." Oh, I doubt deny it is true, but it is very simplistic and often used as a conversation end point, when it is really should be just the beginning.


When someone says correlation does not equal causations it sounds to me like they are saying that since correlation doesn't equal causation, that correlation denies causation.
This is not true. Correlation does not equal causation means the incident in question may or may not have been caused by the trigger in question. We simply don't know. Correlation does not equal causation is just a foundational-beginning point, and one many agree on. It is not the end point, and we need to discuss what comes next.

So: a child receives a vaccine and dies. What happens?

Are there any test to determine if the child died of the vaccine?
No

Any plans to make any?
Not to my knowledge

What does happen?
VAERS and VICP

Vaers: a passive reporting system that most pro-vaxxers and many non-vaxxers think is borderline useless. (This is despite the fact most reports are made by doctors). Perhaps a more accountable system is in order?

VICP: most pro-vaxxers dismiss monies paid to those who had vaccine reactions, as the findings were done by courts as opposed to scientists (even though numerous scientists were probably called as witnesses). In any event, the vast majority of people, as far as we know, do not apply for money from vaccine court. The process is too arduous, there are timelines, inolved, etc.

So, to sum up, we have no tests to prove whether a vaccine caused a negative reaction, and VAERS and VICP do not prove it. We have close to nothing. The system is not set up to allow us to learn the truth about individual cases or to further understanding of drug reactions.

So, if we are batting zero with indidivual drug reactions in terms of causation, what do we have in large group studies?

Well, first off, there are those who believe epidemiological studies cannot prove causation. They might be right. Lets go down a step from causation - how about strong link?

In order to prove strong link, or lack thereof, you need (IMHO) numerous strong studies that:
-have decent numbers
-ask the right questions
-are designed properly
-use proper placebos
-avoid using sources with conflicts of interest.

I don't really think this happens very often in vaccine studies.

I find vaccine reactions as a whole to be dismissed by vaccine apologists, with no system set up to adequately address them.
Deborah's Avatar Deborah 05:12 PM 08-17-2014
Very good summary of the way vaccine reactions are currently handled. Although handled isn't the right terminology. Dismissed.
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