This WOULD be a catastrophe. This week, I was asked to write a commentary for Fitocracy on what has now become known as the “Red Meat Will Kill You” Study. The fallout in the blogosphere has been pretty dramatic (and by dramatic, I mean drama-filled and theatrical). There have been a few well-written, thoughtful commentaries, but by far, the bulk of criticism has been the general “correlation, not causation” crowd. While I think this is, by and large, a HYUGE step forward in general research literacy, it also makes me wonder if it’s just another sign of polarized, blinded thinking.
There is a fundamental difficulty with measuring long-term outcomes that are distantly removed from single-point events, and continuous repeated exposures. The three mainstream ways to get at the question of, “Does X make you live longer/shorter?” are:
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