are scientists deliberately dense by design?

reading in the washington post today…

How ‘political intelligence’ can come from Congress itself

By , and , Published: May 6

On the same morning a congressional staffer told investors in a private call that odds were improving for a government decision that would help medical insurers, trading spiked in a major health-care company.The private call, arranged by a consulting firm called Capitol Street, took place the morning of March 18. At 11:05 a.m., a certain form of speculative trading in Humana, the health insurer, jumped. That day, there was nearly 10 times as much volume as any day in the previous two weeks.
…[Sen Orrin] Hatch spokeswoman Antonia Ferrier denied that the call had anything to do with the spike in trading or that the staff member revealed confidential information.

“To say that a staffer who got it wrong contributed to a spike in the market is like saying that because the sky is blue and a train went through Washington, the reason the train went through Washington is because the sky is blue,” Ferrier said. “The fact is correlation isn’t causality.”

this was posted to the news aggregator, reader supported news

at that site i posted the following comment:

“post hoc ergo propter hoc… after this therefore because of this.” yes, this is a logical fallacy and scientists who try to prove causality using correlational data do not (or *should* not) survive peer review. BUT! that is the very same slippery argument the tobacco companies used for decades to deny overwhelming evidence that their products killed people. the correlation was overwhelming: smoking->cancer /heart disease/etc->death. but logically, it simply cannot stand as “proof.” the likelihood of the data correlation being caused by other factors or by random chance may be reduced to such miniscule proportions as to be too ridiculous even to consider, but still the standard of “proof” in a rigorous, mathematical sense has not been met. so the tobacco companies kept killing people and reaping profits. the same tricks the tobacco companies used are in use everywhere corporations and institutions wish to deny the impact of their crimes and misdeeds.
how has it come to be that “good” science – the insistence upon rigorous proof – is being used for such nefarious purposes? 
beware the sophists!

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