Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Correlation Without Causation

Ever heard that expression? (or "Correlation does not imply causation"?) I heard it in Psych 100, I think. I remembered it because it was so true of so many statements one reads in the press, especially when it comes to scientific studies and the like.

Don't get it? Ok, here's a simple example:

Red car sales increased last year.
The police issued more speeding tickets than ever last year.
Therefore, owning a red car causes a person to speed.

That's a retarded statement, and yet I can't tell you how many times I've read something similar in a newspaper or somesuch. There are any number of reasons the number of speeding tickets increased that have nothing to do with the colour of the cars on the road (though there's always the possibility that it IS caused by just that).

I came across this today and it made me laugh:

I'm such a geek.

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