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  Topic: TV Causes Autism?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 16 2006,06:10   

I'm skeptical about this story, simply because Gregg Easterbrook is the worst science journalist alive. It's even possible that Denyse O'Leary is a better science journalist than Easterbrook. But if true, it's pretty interesting.

Quote
Today, Cornell University researchers are reporting what appears to be a statistically significant relationship between autism rates and television watching by children under the age of 3. The researchers studied autism incidence in California, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington state. They found that as cable television became common in California and Pennsylvania beginning around 1980, childhood autism rose more in the counties that had cable than in the counties that did not. They further found that in all the Western states, the more time toddlers spent in front of the television, the more likely they were to exhibit symptoms of autism disorders.



http://www.slate.com/id/2151538/

   
Ichthyic



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Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 16 2006,08:54   

sounds like a rather liberal definition of autism.

correlation not equal to causation, etc.

could also be that as kids spend more time in front of the tube, they spend less time doing something else important for cognitive development.

certainly sounds worthy of further investigation, but it sounds just as certain that conclusions are not warranted at this point.

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"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

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stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 16 2006,10:25   

Because we're so used to it, we forget that tv is a deeply weird thing. Perspective changes every few seconds. People in front of us, going about their lives as if we're not right there with them. Surreal, colorful graphics unlike anything in reality. It would not surprise me to learn that high doses of it can interfere with the normal development program of the brain.

   
BWE



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 16 2006,11:42   

TV approaches infinity on the wierd scale for sure. I wouldn't be surprised if it caused almost anything. Wait and see what exotic cognitive maladies develop into commonplace conditions as the current generation of internet users grows up. It was big news a few years ago:

Brain growth

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Russell



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 18 2006,08:47   

I agree that Easterbrook is the worst science journalist I've encountered, and therefore suggest more than the usual degree of skepticism here.

For what it's worth - my kid was diagnosed "autistic" when he was about 2 years old. We spent a lot of time, effort and money getting him to connect with "this" world. And, if I do say so myself, we've been pretty successful: he's 15 years old now, walks, talks, and navigates the world pretty much like other 15-year olds, may well go to college. As far as I can tell, his interest in television has been inversely related to symptoms of "autism".

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deejay



Posts: 113
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 20 2006,14:02   

Hello all:

Long time lurker, first time poster ;)  

I hope to contribute to the uncommonly dense thread soon.  First, however, I was hoping that Steve could expand on his judgment that Easterbrook is the worst science reporter ever.  I'm not sure I'd go that far, but I find Easterbrook to be quite annoying in many ways.  For example, when he decided that global warming was a reality, he made it seem like no one's opinion on the subject mattered more than his.  Also, he writes a regular football column for ESPN.com whose word total he pads with whatever random thoughts are on his mind.  At the end of last season, when the column was on nfl.com, he criticized past efforts in Georgia to label biology textbooks with stickers that evolution was "just a theory" and a similar movement in Utah.  But his spin on the issue was that the whackos who want to label textbooks were giving the "serious" work of intelligent design a bad name.  So in the end, the net effect was to give ID a whiff of legitimacy barely a month after the Dover trial.  Annoying, sure, but I'd love to hear other transgressions from Easterbrook regarding science.  I do know, for example, he's dismissive of dark matter, but that's not my field.  Thoughts, anyone?

  
ScaryFacts



Posts: 337
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 20 2006,16:26   

Quote (deejay @ Oct. 20 2006,20:02)
Hello all:

Long time lurker, first time poster ;)  

I hope to contribute to the uncommonly dense thread soon.  First, however, I was hoping that Steve could expand on his judgment that Easterbrook is the worst science reporter ever.  I'm not sure I'd go that far, but I find Easterbrook to be quite annoying in many ways.  For example, when he decided that global warming was a reality, he made it seem like no one's opinion on the subject mattered more than his.  Also, he writes a regular football column for ESPN.com whose word total he pads with whatever random thoughts are on his mind.  At the end of last season, when the column was on nfl.com, he criticized past efforts in Georgia to label biology textbooks with stickers that evolution was "just a theory" and a similar movement in Utah.  But his spin on the issue was that the whackos who want to label textbooks were giving the "serious" work of intelligent design a bad name.  So in the end, the net effect was to give ID a whiff of legitimacy barely a month after the Dover trial.  Annoying, sure, but I'd love to hear other transgressions from Easterbrook regarding science.  I do know, for example, he's dismissive of dark matter, but that's not my field.  Thoughts, anyone?

Welcome Deejay,

There are many here more able to address your issues/questions, but at least I can welcome you.

Scary

   
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 20 2006,16:33   

I'm afraid I can't elaborate easily. I'm a news junkie, and for a fairly known writer like Easterbrook it's safe to say I've read everything he's written for the last decade or so, and while I can't remember his exact positions, I recall thinking things like "Man, this article by Gregg Easterbrook is exceptionally sucky." many times. I don't recall the articles, but I do recall my reactions. I vaguely remember thinking that about articles on evolution and global warming, but those are vague memories.

   
mcc



Posts: 110
Joined: July 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 20 2006,17:32   

I've heard so many fruitcake attempts in the last five or so years to explain the "cause" of autism I can no longer believe any of them. Although this one sounds more believable than most of them.

  
deejay



Posts: 113
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 20 2006,17:35   

Scary, thanks for the welcome, and Steve, thanks for the reply.  I understand a lot of what you're saying; a lot of Easterbrook's work blurs together.  I really used to enjoy his NFL column when I first found it.  The football material was fresh for a while, but then he just repeated the same points over and over.  When he digressed from football into other areas, such as science, there were times he was genuinely curious and often reasonably analytical, but then he seemed to take on something of an anti-intellectual air.  With the issue of dark matter, from what I recall in his "football" columns, he would say something to the effect that it was ridiculous that a large portion of the universe was a substance that scientists couldn't detect, and from there he seemed unwilling to consider the issue more deeply.  When he worked for nfl.com, he suddenly stopped criticizing the monopoly deal between DirecTV and the NFL for the Sunday ticket.  I stopped reading his NFL column soon afterwards, but checked in at the end of the season and found his annoying take on ID.  At that point, I wasn't all that surprised.  Anyway, thanks for listening and sorry if I derailed the discussion.  Autism is a very scary disease, and the prospect of raising a sick child has been just one of many factors that have discouraged me from breeding.  I've recently softened my stance on that issue, and now I have to stay informed on issues like these.

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 20 2006,17:48   

I don't know anything about his NFL columns, I would have ignored those because I'm not into NFL. Of course, the reason for that is, the NFL is to the NBA as pyrite is to gold. ;-) But his science columns, well, it makes sense that he's a layman, because his grasp of science is roughly the same as your average poster to UncommonlyDense.

   
skeptic



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 20 2006,18:01   

That's it Steve, you've completely revealed your lunacy and lack of basic understanding and from this point forward I doubt if I'll ever believe a word you say again.  I mean really, how could anyone believe the NBA has any redeeming value much less believe it is better than the NFL!  What is this world coming to?!  :D

  
Ichthyic



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Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 21 2006,00:40   

Quote
What is this world coming to?!


a preference for wood paneled floors?

I'm sure that's where the attraction to basketball comes from.

;)

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Lou FCD



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 21 2006,02:26   

Quote (Ichthyic @ Oct. 21 2006,05:40)
Quote
What is this world coming to?!


a preference for wood paneled floors?

I'm sure that's where the attraction to basketball comes from.

;)

Exactly.  EVERYONE knows that the best floors are made of ice.

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 21 2006,10:26   

Quote
Exactly.  EVERYONE knows that the best floors are made of ice.


oops, except that much of the time those nice ice floors are covered by parquet floors, again showing the preference for nice wood flooring.

how many hockey arenas do you know that host basketball venues, instead of vice versa?

B-ball rules!

I wonder how long this little bit of OT will go...

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 21 2006,11:40   

Quote (Ichthyic @ Oct. 21 2006,15:26)
 
Quote
Exactly.  EVERYONE knows that the best floors are made of ice.


oops, except that much of the time those nice ice floors are covered by parquet floors, again showing the preference for nice wood flooring.

how many hockey arenas do you know that host basketball venues, instead of vice versa?

B-ball rules!

I wonder how long this little bit of OT will go...



Well, if Easterbrook writes for ESPN, then it's only tangentally off topic, right?  Plus,..

Well, I can't think of another reason why this isn't off topic, but any Intelligently Designed floor would be set up for hockey since hockey is the greatest sport in the 6,000 year history of the universe, and hockey can be played on both wood and ice.  Can you imagine playing roundball on ice?  I thought not.

I win.  (AFDave style.)

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
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Ichthyic



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Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 21 2006,18:10   

Quote
Can you imagine playing roundball on ice?  I thought not.


spiked cleats.

round ball's in your court.

:D

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 30 2006,14:49   

Quote (Ichthyic @ Oct. 21 2006,23:10)
spiked cleats.

round ball's in your court.

:D

Crap.

I used to like you.

:D

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
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