Respectful Insolence

Piling on the “rain man” autism study…

…is Joseph at Autism Natural Variation.

It turns out that he can’t find the correlation between precipitation levels and autism diagnoses that Waldman et al study; he too points out that urbanicity was not controlled for; and he even thinks a bit of cherry picking may have occurred.

Meanwhile, Steve Novella is a bit less harsh, but his analysis is pretty skeptical as well.

Comments

  1. #1 Joseph
    November 5, 2008

    Thanks for linking. I was surprised that I couldn’t even find a state-level trend, and there was no need to control for urbanicity. I think the problem is that there are a few states that may be considered outliers. But it looks bleak.

    Then you have to ask yourself why it is that they chose those 3 states.

  2. #2 Tlazolteotl
    November 5, 2008

    Off topic, but Huffington Post was reporting today that JFK Jr. may be offered the post of EPA Administrator in the Obama administration. I got nowhere trying to explain to some people why I thought he would be a fairly bad choice, given that his association with the vaccine-autism woo crowd indicates that he may not recognize good science if it were to bite him on the backside.

    I think this may call for a dose of Respectful Insolence, as only you can prescribe….

  3. #3 Tlazolteotl
    November 5, 2008

    Well, shoot! It looks like you already have! Many thanks to you.

  4. #4 The Christian Cynic
    November 5, 2008

    Off topic, but Huffington Post was reporting today that JFK Jr. may be offered the post of EPA Administrator in the Obama administration. I got nowhere trying to explain to some people why I thought he would be a fairly bad choice

    I would think that being dead would be a good reason not to consider him…unless you really meant Robert Kennedy, Jr., that is.

  5. #5 Clark
    November 6, 2008

    If Obama really makes Kennedy the head of the EPA will we be talking about the Democratic War on Science the way we have the Republican War on Science? This seems like one of the worst moves Obama could make. I was really hoping it wouldn’t be same crap different name under Obama. I’m still giving him the benefit of doubt and just pray Kennedy is not in an Obama administration.

  6. #6 Clark
    November 6, 2008

    To add, putting someone as anti-science as Kennedy in a place that demands so much science like the EPA especially after years of Bush just boggles the mind…

  7. #7 KS
    November 6, 2008

    Turned on my TV to see Fox News (my coverage of choice for the election, not a usual preference) enthusiastically covering this ridiculous study.

    “What you must know about this devastating disease — where you live may be the cause.”

    I can only assume it’s being picked up as a human interest story by other networks as well. Made me sad.

  8. #8 Colin Bartlett
    November 8, 2008

    I saw a study recently that linked a lot of TV viewing before the age of 3 with autism; this would make sense to me, since you’re plopping children whose brains are churning out connections that tell them how to socially interact in front of boxes that have moving people inside of them that do not react to anything you say or do.
    Wouldn’t this rain study be a correlation of that? I mean, there’s a pretty strong connection between the amount of rain and the amount of time people spend watching TV.

  9. #9 HCN
    November 8, 2008

    The TV study is from the same group. And Joseph also covered it here:
    http://autismnaturalvariation.blogspot.com/2006/10/precipitation-rates-vs-population.html

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