I just stumbled upon a particularly stupid “info graphic” I had saved some time ago. The claim is that sitting causes obesity. Have a look:
It is simply mind-boggling. Let’s assume it is a fact that between 1980 and 2000 exercise rate indeed stayed the same, sitting time increased by 8 %, and obesity doubled, just like it is claimed on that infographic. Does something strike you as odd? Does it, perhaps, remind you of “research” in bullshit subjects where people routinely mistake correlations for causation?
If so, then I don’t need to point out to you that there is a much better explanation why people got fatter: they eat a lot more. If exercise is constant but your energy intake doubles, you’ll balloon. Just look at Western women who get married — they fatten up faster than you can say “I should have married Asian”.
It’s easy to look at an abomination like that spurious correlation and laugh. Yet, there is a bit more to it. There are two plausible scenarios: First, the author is a fucking moron who knows nothing about statistics. He isn’t aware that he is making a fool of himself. Second, the author knows about statistics but is convinced that his audience consists of morons. It reminds you of the PUA industry, doesn’t it?