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Risk, Chance, and CausationInvestigating the Origins and Treatment of Disease$
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Michael B. Bracken

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300188844

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300188844.001.0001

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Risk, Chance, and Causation

Risk, Chance, and Causation

Investigating the Origins and Treatment of Disease

(p.1) One Risk, Chance, and Causation
Risk, Chance, and Causation

Michael B. Bracken

Yale University Press

This chapter describes the ambiguity involved in determining risk and causality; confusion is not surprising since the science in determining both is itself uncertain. Epidemiology is the science that is most responsible for examining whether humans are likely to benefit or be at risk from environmental exposure, or whether medicines are effective and safe or not, and epidemiologists themselves do not completely agree on the methods of risk evaluation. There are only vaguely agreed-upon criteria for when causation has been demonstrated. It is blatantly obvious that many published studies must be erroneous since they completely contradict other studies, and it is not possible for all of them to be correct. The following chapters will delve into the sometimes profound consequences that result from ignorance or misunderstanding of the evidence about causation.

Keywords:   risk, causality, epidemiology, risk evaluation, causation, evidence about causation

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