Oct 202014
 
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Well as an intelligent and scientific mind you might be inclined to shout out “No, why should it?”. But what if I told you there is statistically significant evidence that this is the case and that this was published in a respectable clinical journal?[1] Not so sure anymore?

Well then you have fallen into one of the most effective traps of statistics. Correlation does not imply causation (and indeed that is the point the paper cited above is making). There are many scenarios where in which two factors, A and B, might be correlated.
I) A might cause B
II) B might cause A
III) A and B might partially cause each other
IV) A and B might be caused by a common third factor C or A is caused by C which is correlated with A.

Confused yet? Let me give some examples:

A is correlated to B, B causes A: You can see a lot of people with umbrellas when it’s raining. Therefore umbrellas cause rain.
A and B cause each other: Students with test anxiety fail test more often.
A and B are caused by C: When ice-cream consumption increases, more people drown. Obviously (in this case) heat causes people to buy ice-cream and go swimming. This is for example far less obvious for the correlation of HDL levels (good cholesterol) and a lower chance to get a heart attack. However, increasing HDL levels by medication does not reduce the risk of heart attack.

So what about our astrological signs and illness? Do I, as a scorpion, have to worry about an abscess in the anal and rectal region (P= 0.0123)?[1] I sure hope not! And indeed there is a fifth case in which correlation is purely coincidental.

So if correlation does not imply causation, what does? Statisticians are working ways to be more certain if two correlating factors are really connected, but we are still missing the tools to reach absolute certainty.

– David Huesmann

Read more:

[1] P. C. Austin, M. M. Mamdani, D. N. Juurlink, J. E. Hux, J. Clin. Epidemiol. 2006, 59, 964–969.
[2] http://www.nih.gov/news/health/may2011/nhlbi-26.htm
[3] http://www.michaelnielsen.org/ddi/if-correlation-doesnt-imply-causation-then-what-does/
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation

  One Response to “Does our Astrological Sign influence why we have to go to the hospital?”

  1. Thank you, dear Mr Huesmann, for the statistical tango mindbending analysis. As an immediate response to the spirit of your writing and considering modern quantum physics findings on the power of expectation and perception, I am inclined to comment as follows.

    Given enough focus, anything that you correlate in your thoughts has the potential to be reflected in your reality as an experience, The same applies to any neglectance of thoughts that would prevent such a – here rather undesirable- reality from manifesting after now it has already been seeded in your brain as a possible reality. So, you have already been playing with the hospital idea quite precisely giving even a correlation to the body region that is said to be ruled by the scorpio sign quality. You do not state whether your example is coincidental. So, is it?

    You also express that you do doubt that such a correlation does exist. How about integrating both in the following way: “I am healthy and my body is a self-regualting and self-healing mechanism in many ways. I am open to the idea that each day has a rhythmic unique cosmic biochemical quality. As on the day of birth we are particularly receptive such a cosmic day quality could likely have a lasting effect on my body evidence and life experience. It could be that it is such a number of qualities that are commonly summed up in the symbolic use of a particular star sign. I chose to be open to the idea that any of those qualities benefits me and everybody else through me. I chose to imagine that the potential key to the solution is inherent in any problem itself.” Shortcut version: “I am the law upon my universe”, universe denoting the consciousness field of your perception based on your experience and imagination. Meaning: “The power of my thoughts can restore balance where currently some imbalance is being experienced. As a scientist, I am committed to observing and studying its principles inspired and not biased by any existing understanding of the matter.” I have read this between the lines of your article for you. Concerning statistics, you could get yourself a moon calendar – the ones by Paungge/Poppe work best in my experience, and engage into your own observation and experience with nature?s rhythms. After all, your intelligent and scientific mind will quite certainly appreciate the freedom of choice provided by being a non-judgmental literate observer of your personal body system?s statistics.

    So, again, anything we can imagine can manifest as we have already created the possibility of it in our mind. It is like going shopping. We have to be there in our mind first so that we can then actually find ourself in that particular place. Less focus and we might find ourselves being pushed around by other people?s stronger vision about where we would conveniently fit in their existing comfort zone. On the other hand, if we are too specific we might rob ourselves of much greater possibilities available than our limitations allow us to even venture in. This is where I see the power of deliberate non-conformity and healthy stubborness, being a wonderful soil for sudden new insights in an expanded rather than myopic viewpoint. There a more details to this, but I am sure everybody is equipped to figure this out how it applies directly to them.

    It?s not personal, it is principle. Is it not the most fascinating thing in science as well as in spiritual seeking – compare the ethymology of re-search – to experience the awe of a first time, a discovery, a sudden new understanding of how the whole thing works just to be puzzled again by a new challenge teasing you, calling you further? Feels like JUnQ journal spirit, does it not? Is it not a rather pacifying idea for any scientist, child and seeker that the universe will probably never disappoint us in providing surprises because it is just how we are wired. Weird included.

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