Any person.
Any study.
Any Cornelliana.

An alumni
blog about Ezra's
University. (more)


Suggestions? Tips?




[+] Cornell News

[+] Higher Ed News

[+] Campus Pubs

[+] Alumni Interest

[+] Diversions

[+] Blogs

[+] Sports

[+] Other Places


[+] By Month

[+] By Author

In Defense of Economists

There’s been some public outcry lately over a working paper written by Cornell economists that explores whether or not there may be a link between television watching among youth and autism.

It all started with a Slate article that lauded the paper, while stressing what the paper itself said: “some other factor may explain what only appears to be a television-autism relationship”. But then Time jumped into the fray, attacking the paper and calling it “irresponsible.” From there, it was just a hop, skip, and a jump until people started writing articles linking the Cornell researchers with a vast conspiracy including the Rockefellers, the Brookings Institution, and Big Pharma. Meanwhile, Elliott Back labeled the study “total BS” and called it a “bad public relations move on Cornell’s part.”

Even if there is absolutely no link between television and autism, the study certainly doesn’t deserve to be called the names it has been called. That Cornell professors are using the tools of their trade in researching possible causes for a societal epidemic and submitting their work for peer review is inherently a good thing—both for Cornell and humanity.

Let's remind ourselves of one simple fact: the Cornell professors only conclude by saying that their findings may warrant further research on the subject:

Although our findings are consistent with our hypothesis, we do not believe our findings represent definitive evidence for our hypothesis. We believe the only way to establish definitively whether or not early childhood television watching is a trigger for autism is to more directly test the hypothesis.

Isn’t that what any scientifically-minded research should be all about?

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on October 25, 2006 (#)

Other Recent Posts

-- WSJ: Cornell Wins NYC Tech Campus Bid (EBilmes)

-- Barrier Update: City Approves Nets (DJost)

-- Big Red Cymbal Guy (Nagowski)

-- New York Times Survey on Campus Recruiting is Flawed (KScott)

-- Barrier Update: Legal precedent suggests City of Ithaca will not be held liable for gorge suicide (DJost)

-- Despite MSG Loss, Big Potential for Big Red Hockey (EBilmes)

-- City Council Will Vote on Suicide Nets (DJost)

-- An Encounter on the Upper East Side (Nagowski)

-- Showing Off Your School Spirit (Nagowski)

-- Chipotle Ithaca? (KScott)

-- Cornell at the ING NYC Marathon (KScott)

-- Crossing Over a Fine Line: Commercial Activity on Campus (KScott)

-- Milstein's Downfall (Nagowski)

-- Can any Cornell-associated organization really be independent of the University? (Nagowski)

-- Slope Media Revisited (EBilmes)

-- Slope Media Group Approved for Byline Funding (KScott)

-- Occupy AEM? (KScott)

-- New campus pub to be good for both Greeks and non-Greeks (Nagowski)

-- Gagging the Election (Nagowski)

-- The Changing Structure of Rush Week (Nagowski)

-- Ivy League Humility in the Midwest (EBilmes)

-- Of Median Grades and Economics Minors (Nagowski)

-- Homecoming Recap (Nagowski)

-- My Cornell Bookshelf (Nagowski)

-- The Sun's Opinion Section Has Suddenly Gotten Good (Nagowski)

-- Remembering the 11th (Nagowski)

-- Cornellian Tapped as Top Economic Advisor (Nagowski)

-- Cutting Pledging, and the Good Which Comes With It (EBilmes)

-- Why Cornell Should Not Close Fall Creek Gorge (Nagowski)

-- Welcome to the Class of 2015 (Nagowski)