“correlation is cause”

“If you believe something, it is easy enough to find facts that support it. That is how stereotypes work. It is called confirmation bias. And since the world has tons of accidental correlations, it is easy enough to find one to support your beliefs – and overlook those that do not.”

– Abagond, 2015.

Abagond

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“Correlation is cause” is a fallacy, a false argument. In fact, it is one of the most common errors in human reasoning. Correlation is used by science and misused by pseudoscience, racism and the news.

A correlation is when two measurements seem to go together. The more of A there is, the more there is of B. For example, in the 1970s some in the US said that violence on television made society more violent: people were watching more violent television (measure A) at the same time that the crime rate (measure B) was going up.

A correlation can benegative: the less there is of A, the more there is of B. For example, some people say that lack of money causes crime: the lower the average income (A) in a neighbourhood, the higher its crime rate (B).

The correlation between A and B can mean one of at…

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