Pubdate: Wed, 31 Mar 1999
Date: 03/31/1999
Source: Wall Street Journal (NY)
Author: Arthur Sobey
Section: Editorial Page
Note: referenced OPED

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.