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A letter to the Editor opposing the misuse of statistics, published in The Weekend Australian on 18-19 May 1991, p.18

I know that despite our drive to become a clever Australia scientific and logical rigour is far from fashionable. So I should not have been surprised that pet ownership would be represented as a cause of healthier hearts (The Australian, 14/5).

Okay, so a study shows the two are linked, but that does not mean a 'causal link'. Owning a pet makes a healthy heart? Maybe having a healthy heart predisposes one to liking animals!

More likely, some third factor links the two: a love of the outdoors could mean both more exercise with tennis and bushwalking, and more lolloping around the backyard with a friendly red setter.

© 1991 - Stephen Dawson