So now that I understand that discredited data is still good enough to convince people who want to believe something badly enough, I would like to share some of the causal relationships my lifetime research has discovered. This research was peer-reviewed by people at the office water cooler, who said, "Yeah, that sounds about right."
1) The decline in the American education system is related to sneakers being considered acceptable everyday shoes for non-athletic pursuits.
It used to be athletic shoes were only seen in a gym, a playing field, or as part of an athletic uniform. When we as a nation decided it was not an egregious lack of class and decorum to wear them everyday to school and work, we see a correlation between sneakers and poor academic performance. This is because the difference in shoe tightness between loafers/wingtips and tennis shoes causes the brain to lose focus and be easily distracted. A graph showing the footwear market share of Nike/Converse/Reebok over the last 4 decades and the decline in high school standardized test scores since 1972 is available upon request.
A follow-up study on wearing sweatpants to the grocery store causing poor parking skills is in progress.
2) Peanut allergies are caused by having access to more channels on cable television.
According to infallible source wikipedia, "The number of young children affected (by peanut allergies) doubled between 1997 and 2002". In 1997, my cable subscription gave me about 20 channels. By 2002, I had over 50 channels for the same basic cable plan. COINCIDENCE?!? Parents who want to avoid raising a child with nut allergies are advised to cancel their cable subscriptions immediately.
3) People who own more than 30 hardcover books* take better care of their cats than non-readers.
Scoff all you want, but data proves that people with substantial book collections are 60% less likely to bring their cats to the vet for emergencies than people who only have magazines and paperbacks in their homes. In multiple studies, librarians have both the most impressive book collections and the healthiest cats, possibly meaning that organizing one's books in a logical classification on the shelf causes a positive immune response in cats who sleep near the bookshelves.
*excluding cookbooks or technical manuals
I've forwarded my research to the MacArthur folks and will be expecting my Genius Grant any day now, but I wanted my LJ friends to know about it first.