Interesting piece on legal aspects of scientific "causality" at

----Original Message Follows----
From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List              
<[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 17:08:35 +0100

In the case of HPV, we actually have more that just epidemiology, we have a
great deal of research into the mechanisms by which the virus causes cancer.
Much of this was carried out by German virologist Harald zur Hausen, one of
the first profiles I wrote for Science back in the early 1990s. The
combination of epidemiology and molecular biology, just as with HIV, makes
it possible to conclude with high confidence that an agent is causal rather
than just correlated.

best, Michael

On 2/26/07, Eric Entemann <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>In experimental science, such as epidemiology, all we have is correlation.
>The better the correlation, the better the evidence to "believe" that
>causation exists, but causation cannot be proved, only
>"noncausation".  And
>even noncausation proofs might require unethical studies, as in "exposure
>n subjects in category p to x level of toxins for y days did not result in
>the occurrence of cervical cancer during the subsequent z years."
>----Original Message Follows----
>From: Mitchel Cohen <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List
><[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer
>Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 09:25:29 -0500
>I am not saying that HPV is not correlated with cervical cancer.
>and "cause" are two different things, though I appreciate the acceptance
>epidemiological findings as legitimate science, here. (Please remember
>for other discussions on HIV/AIDS, etc.)
>The main questions on Gardasil are:
>1) Is there sufficient evidence in the research studies Meerck performed
>conclude, as Meerck does, that Gardasil prevents cervical cancer?
>2) Have there been sufficient (or ANY) studies done on the longterm
>of the vaccine, particularly when given to young girls?
>3) Are there environmental/toxic-exposure causes for HPV? For cervical
>4) Can HPV be addressed by other, more natural and less toxic ways,
>including removal of any causes due to exposure to pollutants/toxins and
>supplementation with L-Lysine?
>Mitchel Cohen
>At 02:44 AM 2/26/2007, you wrote:
> >This has to be our starting point for any discussion of the vaccine,
> >because it is one of the most solid epidemiological findings for any type
> >of cancer. I have no intention of debating the issue here, because anyone
> >can easily find the original sources on this which are compelling and
> >been for a long time. It is obviously legitimate, however, to raise other
> >issues about the HPV vaccine, although I would caution against jumping to
> >conclusions about adverse effects from anecdotal reports of effects that
> >may have no relationship to the vaccine at all (like dizzy spells.)
> >researchers monitor such reports carefully to see if they fit a larger
> >pattern or not.
> >
> >Michael
> >
> >--
> ><>
> >
> >******************************************
> >Michael Balter
> >Contributing Correspondent, Science
> ><mailto:[log in to unmask]>[log in to unmask]
> >******************************************
>Want a degree but can't afford to quit? Top school degrees online - in as
>fast as 1 year


Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
[log in to unmask]

Want a degree but can't afford to quit? Top school degrees online - in as 
fast as 1 year