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(Slate)   Next time some pseudo-intellectual internet blowhard tries to take away your carefully thought-out arguments with that "correlation does not imply causation" yarn, just send them here because YOU WIN   (slate.com) divider line 226
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27656 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Oct 2012 at 5:31 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-02 04:41:22 PM
I prefer to say "post hoc ergo propter hoc".
 
2012-10-02 04:44:47 PM
Argumentum ad ignorantiam
 
2012-10-02 04:48:23 PM
imgs.xkcd.com
 
2012-10-02 04:54:21 PM
I guess I'm just ignorant, because I certainly realize that correlation doesn't PROVE causation, but why doesn't it imply it? If A and B are correlated, possible explanations are that A causes B or B causes A. When we notice that smoking is correlated with lung cancer, why wouldn't we go looking to find causality?
 
2012-10-02 04:59:42 PM

kxs401: I guess I'm just ignorant, because I certainly realize that correlation doesn't PROVE causation, but why doesn't it imply it? If A and B are correlated, possible explanations are that A causes B or B causes A. When we notice that smoking is correlated with lung cancer, why wouldn't we go looking to find causality?


I think the "imply" has a different meaning in statistics. I know it certainly does in formal logic.
 
2012-10-02 05:06:13 PM
Oh look, it's another one of the "that thing doesn't exactly mean that!" articles. I'll step aside and let the pedants masturbate furiously over this one.
 
2012-10-02 05:07:06 PM

kxs401: I guess I'm just ignorant, because I certainly realize that correlation doesn't PROVE causation, but why doesn't it imply it? If A and B are correlated, possible explanations are that A causes B or B causes A. When we notice that smoking is correlated with lung cancer, why wouldn't we go looking to find causality?


You can probably find a correlation between two seemingly random things, however it does not imply that there necessarily has to be a causal link between them. I could probably correlate levels of beer consumptions with hours of football watched, for example. However, just because people who watch more football might also drink more beer means that watching football causes you to drink beer or that drinking beer causes to you watch football. The societal trend of drinking beer while watching football comes from an external social stimulus, not as an inherent property of beer or football.
 
2012-10-02 05:08:38 PM
Yah but correlation does NOT equal causation. Just like Opinion does not equal fact. It's a legitimate and commonly used logical fallacy.

And yes it's annoying when someone points it is, but that doesn't make it less true (assuming it is even true. Sometimes you are able to establish causation).
 
2012-10-02 05:09:24 PM
I'll just leave this here
 
2012-10-02 05:18:43 PM
Does email make a man depressed? Does sadness make a man send email? Or is something else again to blame for both? A correlation can't tell one from the other; in that sense it's inadequate.

So you're saying correlation does not imply causation?
 
2012-10-02 05:22:22 PM
Correlation does imply causation. Correlation does not confirm causation.
 
2012-10-02 05:25:20 PM

This About That: Correlation does imply causation.


Bad drivers need to drink in order to feel comfortable behind the whee..
 
2012-10-02 05:27:11 PM

TwoHead: I'll just leave this here


Interesting site.

In general, 51 percent of people have smoked marijuana. But among those who have never attended a wedding of a couple whom they didn't believe would last, only 32 percent have smoked marijuana.

"Among those unwilling to admit socially impolite behavior to a pollster, only 32 percent admitted to have smoked marijuana."
 
2012-10-02 05:28:36 PM

Donnchadha: kxs401: I guess I'm just ignorant, because I certainly realize that correlation doesn't PROVE causation, but why doesn't it imply it? If A and B are correlated, possible explanations are that A causes B or B causes A. When we notice that smoking is correlated with lung cancer, why wouldn't we go looking to find causality?

You can probably find a correlation between two seemingly random things, however it does not imply that there necessarily has to be a causal link between them. I could probably correlate levels of beer consumptions with hours of football watched, for example. However, just because people who watch more football might also drink more beer means that watching football causes you to drink beer or that drinking beer causes to you watch football. The societal trend of drinking beer while watching football comes from an external social stimulus, not as an inherent property of beer or football.


Yeah, thanks, got that. The example I use with my LSAT students is ice cream sales and boat accidents. But when scientists are looking for causation, wouldn't they start with correlations?
 
2012-10-02 05:35:35 PM

kxs401: Donnchadha: kxs401: I guess I'm just ignorant, because I certainly realize that correlation doesn't PROVE causation, but why doesn't it imply it? If A and B are correlated, possible explanations are that A causes B or B causes A. When we notice that smoking is correlated with lung cancer, why wouldn't we go looking to find causality?

You can probably find a correlation between two seemingly random things, however it does not imply that there necessarily has to be a causal link between them. I could probably correlate levels of beer consumptions with hours of football watched, for example. However, just because people who watch more football might also drink more beer means that watching football causes you to drink beer or that drinking beer causes to you watch football. The societal trend of drinking beer while watching football comes from an external social stimulus, not as an inherent property of beer or football.

Yeah, thanks, got that. The example I use with my LSAT students is ice cream sales and boat accidents. But when scientists are looking for causation, wouldn't they start with correlations?


Yes, but then they try test that remove a variable. Take away someone's email, does it make them happier, for example. Correlations tell you what you need to experiment on, it doesn't tell you the final outcome.
 
2012-10-02 05:36:59 PM

MindStalker: kxs401: Donnchadha: kxs401: I guess I'm just ignorant, because I certainly realize that correlation doesn't PROVE causation, but why doesn't it imply it? If A and B are correlated, possible explanations are that A causes B or B causes A. When we notice that smoking is correlated with lung cancer, why wouldn't we go looking to find causality?

You can probably find a correlation between two seemingly random things, however it does not imply that there necessarily has to be a causal link between them. I could probably correlate levels of beer consumptions with hours of football watched, for example. However, just because people who watch more football might also drink more beer means that watching football causes you to drink beer or that drinking beer causes to you watch football. The societal trend of drinking beer while watching football comes from an external social stimulus, not as an inherent property of beer or football.

Yeah, thanks, got that. The example I use with my LSAT students is ice cream sales and boat accidents. But when scientists are looking for causation, wouldn't they start with correlations?

Yes, but then they try test that remove a variable. Take away someone's email, does it make them happier, for example. Correlations tell you what you need to experiment on, it doesn't tell you the final outcome.


Right. Hence "imply," not "prove."
 
2012-10-02 05:37:18 PM
I had always heard it as "Correlation does not equal causation."

Either way:
benfry.com
 
2012-10-02 05:38:09 PM

Donnchadha: kxs401: I guess I'm just ignorant, because I certainly realize that correlation doesn't PROVE causation, but why doesn't it imply it? If A and B are correlated, possible explanations are that A causes B or B causes A. When we notice that smoking is correlated with lung cancer, why wouldn't we go looking to find causality?

You can probably find a correlation between two seemingly random things, however it does not imply that there necessarily has to be a causal link between them. I could probably correlate levels of beer consumptions with hours of football watched, for example. However, just because people who watch more football might also drink more beer means that watching football causes you to drink beer or that drinking beer causes to you watch football. The societal trend of drinking beer while watching football comes from an external social stimulus, not as an inherent property of beer or football.


I'd argue that beer is inherently necessary to be able to enjoy a game that's 11 minutes of actual action packed into a 60 minute format, nested within a 3.5 hour block of time on TV, most of which is commercials.

\Now back to your regularly scheduled statistics and logic slapfest.
 
2012-10-02 05:38:41 PM

kxs401: I guess I'm just ignorant, because I certainly realize that correlation doesn't PROVE causation, but why doesn't it imply it? If A and B are correlated, possible explanations are that A causes B or B causes A. When we notice that smoking is correlated with lung cancer, why wouldn't we go looking to find causality?


The whole article could have been the last paragraph instead of all the babble in between:

When we make a claim about causation, it's not so we can hide out from the world but so we can intervene in it. A false positive means approving drugs that have no effect, or imposing regulations that make no difference, or wasting money in schemes to limit unemployment. As science grows more powerful and government more technocratic, the stakes of correlation-of counterfeit relationships and bogus findings-grow ever larger. The false positive is now more onerous than it's ever been. And all we have to fight it is a catchphrase.
 
2012-10-02 05:40:54 PM

kxs401: I guess I'm just ignorant, because I certainly realize that correlation doesn't PROVE causation, but why doesn't it imply it? If A and B are correlated, possible explanations are that A causes B or B causes A. When we notice that smoking is correlated with lung cancer, why wouldn't we go looking to find causality?


Correlation may also exist due to a common cause of the compared data sets, or due to coincidence in the analyzed sample.
 
2012-10-02 05:41:02 PM
it's hubris.

why would they think and possibly learn something when they can quickly dismiss and belittle your time and effort studying something so stupid.
 
2012-10-02 05:41:26 PM
Sad people use IM and file-share. They play video games. They surf the Web in their own, sad way.

They also post comments on news-aggregator sites.
 
2012-10-02 05:42:21 PM

ultraholland: Sad people use IM and file-share. They play video games. They surf the Web in their own, sad way.

They also post comments on news-aggregator sites.


Zing!
 
2012-10-02 05:43:04 PM
The author is a whiny douche. I correlate his douchiness with his whininess. But they are not causal from one another. Instead, they are both direct results of him being a dicksmack.
 
2012-10-02 05:43:30 PM
Formal "imply" means that, if A implies B, then the truth or existence of A guarantees the same for B. Thus, if A, then always B.
 
2012-10-02 05:43:30 PM
I think the author of this article is butt hurt from losing too many internet arguments.
 
2012-10-02 05:44:16 PM
Oblig:
images.businessweek.com 
/hot
 
2012-10-02 05:44:49 PM
Formal Logic. Symbolic Logic. Whateva!!
 
2012-10-02 05:45:04 PM

Treygreen13: I had always heard it as "Correlation does not equal causation."

Either way:
[benfry.com image 500x358]


OMG! It totally IS the fault of the pirates! Pirates prevent global warming! Grab ye pigstickers me 'earties! Tis time to plunder!
 
2012-10-02 05:45:46 PM

89 Stick-Up Kid: I think the author of this article is butt hurt from losing too many internet arguments.


correlation does not imply causation
 
2012-10-02 05:47:07 PM
Flying geese cause the seasons to change.
 
2012-10-02 05:47:44 PM
Just thought you'd slip "imply" right by us sad mean internet folk, didn't you? Drop the "necessarily" (which is necessary) and you've got yourself a blog column.
 
2012-10-02 05:48:08 PM

PapaChester: Treygreen13: I had always heard it as "Correlation does not equal causation."

Either way:
[benfry.com image 500x358]

OMG! It totally IS the fault of the pirates! Pirates prevent global warming! Grab ye pigstickers me 'earties! Tis time to plunder!


Wait...what?
 
2012-10-02 05:48:29 PM

busy chillin': 89 Stick-Up Kid: I think the author of this article is butt hurt from losing too many internet arguments.

correlation does not imply causation


Ha!
 
2012-10-02 05:48:58 PM
I've noticed an interesting correlation between the number of sentences read in any given smarmy Slate article and my level of stabbiness.

Maybe this once, correlation does equal causation.
 
2012-10-02 05:49:11 PM

kxs401: Right. Hence "imply," not "prove."


Like I said, maybe "imply" has a different meaning in statistics as opposed to everyday speech. Sort of like how how "consideration" means something different depending on who you're talking with.
 
2012-10-02 05:50:20 PM
FTA: "We identified several features of Internet usage that correlated with depression," they said.

Well, duh. When someone makes no claim of causation, you'd have to be trolling to say "correlation does not imply causation."
 
2012-10-02 05:51:00 PM

RexTalionis: kxs401: Right. Hence "imply," not "prove."

Like I said, maybe "imply" has a different meaning in statistics as opposed to everyday speech. Sort of like how how "consideration" means something different depending on who you're talking with.


You may well be right, but morons on the internet aren't using it that way.
 
2012-10-02 05:52:38 PM

RexTalionis: I prefer to say "post hoc ergo propter hoc".


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua, I always say.
 
2012-10-02 05:54:12 PM
Correlation does not equal causation. Can it imply causation? Yes, and it can definitely heavily imply causation if you have enough evidence that likewise points to a connection.

However, here on The Internet, people often use a single data point or study as ULTIMATE PROOF, which leads people to say "Correlation does not equal causation."

So really, it's used as a reminder that one study that shows correlation doesn't mean anything. I think. Or at least, that's what I think when I see people use it.

/Lisa, I'd like to buy your rock.
 
2012-10-02 05:54:57 PM
Stupidity equals bad Slate articles.
 
2012-10-02 05:55:31 PM
Lemme see:

1. Fish oil + heart disease = CORRELATION FAIL
2. Lycopene + cancer = CORRELATION FAIL
3. Echinacea + immune system = CORRELATION FAIL

But, hey, keep farking that chicken about how "correlation implies causation". (Meanwhile, the "supplement" industry would like to rake in millions of dollars from you.)
 
2012-10-02 05:56:29 PM
I love TFA. The author says the phrase is overused and flawed, yet reaffirms that it is very much true. Theres not much there, until you realize that people who promote specious arguments using weak correlations have a lot invested in not being required to explain causation very well.

Best example is racism. People point to how some races do better than others financially as proof of inherited differences in intelligence. Clearly this a weak argument but it fits right in with what the author is suggesting. Because Progressives need for ppl to be impressed by arguments based on correlations, so they use similar logic.
 
2012-10-02 05:56:55 PM
I've been saying this for years. Correlation does not imply causation, but it doesn't deny it either. It's just a guidepost to tell you whether you need to study the phenomenon in more detail.
 
2012-10-02 05:57:53 PM

RexTalionis: I prefer to say "post hoc ergo propter hoc".


HOC!
 
2012-10-02 05:58:43 PM
Correlation does not necessarily imply causation. Pretty simple.

In my highschool geometry class, it was taught like this: take as a premise that if condition A exists, then it causes condition B to exist. It would follow, then, that if condition B existed, then condition A may or may not exist; there's just no way to prove whether it does based on the existence of condition B as the only information available.

The problem, in real-world applications, is that a lot of people are willing base their arguments on a faulty premise. But hey, if it makes you look smart...
 
2012-10-02 05:58:46 PM
pseudo intellectuals="I will repeat verbatim what someone far smarter than me said and I have nothing else to back it up if you try to question it so I'd better write QED on the end which means I win no matter what in latin or some shiat I don't know and if you reply to me I'll just reply with some general insults that I run through a thesaurus 5 times"
 
2012-10-02 05:58:50 PM

kxs401: I guess I'm just ignorant, because I certainly realize that correlation doesn't PROVE causation, but why doesn't it imply it? If A and B are correlated, possible explanations are that A causes B or B causes A. When we notice that smoking is correlated with lung cancer, why wouldn't we go looking to find causality?


You also have the possibility of C causing A and B together.

And ways to make a correlation stronger are to eliminate possible C's (like looking at equivalent economic levels for anything to do with race like inner city vs. appalachia, not inner city vs. gated communities) and to also make sure you're framing things both ways (like finding the marijuana users and seeing how many use hard drugs in addition to asking the hard drug users if they've used marijuana. the "gateway drug" myth only uses stats from the latter)
 
2012-10-02 05:59:19 PM
Doesn't prove it, but it suggests it, and that's where science begins.
 
2012-10-02 06:00:23 PM

Coolfusis: Oh look, it's another one of the "that thing doesn't exactly mean that!" articles. I'll step aside and let the pedants masturbate furiously over this one.


Hey Doc, don't look now, but your post was pretty pedantic.
 
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