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Richard Carrier was just focusing on the widely-reported claim that bacon causes cancer, but he outlines all the important considerations so well that it makes a great template.

For instance, compare my writing on the base rate to his:

This does depend, though, on the base rate. For example, smoking’s +900% is the increased risk of death, period. That’s bad. But bacon’s +18% is really only the increased risk of colorectal cancer. Not “of death.” By anything. Much less the cancer. But the base rate of colorectal cancer is already really small. If it were huge—like, say, anywhere near the risk level of dying by driving—an 18% increase would be a matter of some concern. It would translate into a lot more knocked off your average expected lifespan than a year or two. But this is not the case here. Even if all colorectal cancer were fatal (it isn’t, though it’s bad enough to suffer through it, so I’ll consider that fact of little concern to your calculations), you will almost certainly never get it. No matter how much processed meat you eat (unless you eat such prodigious quantities as to be self-evidently foolish).

Go check it out. And if you like it, he’ll teach you the process personally.

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