Pubdate: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 Date: 03/31/1999 Source: Wall Street Journal (NY) Author: Arthur Sobey Section: Editorial Page Note: referenced OPED http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n347.a07.html In his March 26 editorial-page commentary "The Grass Roots of Teen Drug Abuse," Joe Califano says the statistical correlation is so strong that there must be a gateway-type connection between marijuana and hard drug use. He has been pushing this nonsense for too long. Statistical correlations are the weakest form of proof that exists, and are the easiest numbers to fiddle with. In the 1950s the feds proved that cancer was caused by emanations from telephone wires. Eagle-eyed researchers noticed more cancers occurred close to phone wires. Of course, someone quickly pointed out that since more people live near phone wires, there is bound to be more of everything near them, even cancer. Using Mr. Califano's false logic, I can prove with statistical precision that eating bread leads directly to a life of crime. I can prove that working 40 hours a week is self-inflicted suicide since it leads directly to the grave. I can also prove that people like "Smoking Joe" have caused more damage to this nation's children than all the marijuana that has ever been consumed. Arthur Sobey Norfolk, Neb.