The autism thing continues…

Someone at Slate theorised a while ago that television causes increased likelihood of getting autism. He’s at it again, but this time he has ‘proof’. Some people at Cornell and Purdue think there’s a relationship, too.

The trouble is, these people aren’t doctors but are economists at various management schools. For the scientifically inclined, here’s a link to their paper (PDF), which obfuscates things a whole lot less than the Slate article. It’s worth noting the paper hasn’t been sent to any peer-reviewed journals, but I’ll leave others to find the other, highly amusing boo-boos in their actual work.

I would point out though that:

  1. Rainfall in the area isn’t necessarily the best indicator of television-viewing habits among 0-4 year olds
  2. In a test to see if television can make people more prone to autism, the control group really shouldn’t be “those who can’t afford cable”.