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Author Topic: Correlation does not indicate cause  (Read 2054 times)

Neko Desu

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Correlation does not indicate cause
« on: December 10, 2011, 12:54:00 am »

I like how Ybbald uses this quote a lot. At debate club we had a debate on the effects of violent television programs on children's behaviour, and my opponent cited several studies showing a correlation between violent TV and aggressive behaviour. I could've totally pwn'ed them if I had remembered this quote but I forgot about it and only remembered after the debate ended, so I lost the argument and that includes R=L
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Pokota

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Re: Correlation does not indicate cause
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2011, 01:14:14 am »

You could have countered that with "and 100% of people who drink water end up dead at some point in their life."

Yes, the "and" is important.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2011, 01:15:49 am by Ponchichi »
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ybbald

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Re: Correlation does not indicate cause
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2011, 01:21:52 am »

Next time, just scream at them
"CORRELATION DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSALITY"
^that's my favorite phrasing for the message, btw

Couple things to throw out if they resist this:
Holocausts before Jesus: 0
Holocausts after Jesus: 1
Jesus caused the holocaust

Nuclear wars before the slaves were freed: 0
Nuclear wars after the slaves were freed: 1
Freeing the slaves caused a nuclear war

you get the idea
anything like that works. If they resist your counterargument, ask them to explain why it doesn't work and then tell them that is exactly what they are doing

ninja'd
exactly!

edit:
well, babies... some babies die minutes after birth without ever drinking anything.

you are now thinking about infants dying
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Lt. Ragnarok

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Re: Correlation does not indicate cause
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2011, 01:25:57 am »

For a slightly less provocative response, remember that shark attacks tend to go up as ice cream consumption does, because both are greatest during the summer. Similarly, some outside circumstances, like poor parenting or something, could be the cause of both violent video game playing and aggression, instead of video games affecting aggression.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2011, 01:28:22 am by Non Sequitur »
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Kwiftee

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Re: Correlation does not indicate cause
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2011, 03:02:37 am »

I was under the impression that correlation DOES imply causality, it just doesn't prove causality.
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Lt. Ragnarok

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Re: Correlation does not indicate cause
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2011, 03:19:54 am »

I was under the impression that correlation DOES imply causality, it just doesn't prove causality.

Even if it did imply causality, it does not state which way the causality goes: X may cause Y, Y may cause X, or X and Y may be caused by Z.
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Salamander

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Re: Correlation does not indicate cause
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2011, 07:19:34 am »

Jesus caused the holocaust
...I am so going to use that one next chance I get.
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Nono

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Re: Correlation does not indicate cause
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2011, 08:20:25 am »

well, babies... some babies die minutes after birth without ever drinking anything.

you are now thinking about infants dying

Babies live in a sac of fluid inside of the womb. Before birth they drink from this fluid.
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ybbald

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Re: Correlation does not indicate cause
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2011, 11:58:19 pm »

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Dagnarok

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Re: Correlation does not indicate cause
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2011, 12:14:47 am »

Oh god I lol'd XD
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Neko Desu

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Re: Correlation does not indicate cause
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2011, 01:53:13 am »

Lawst
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Evan20000

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Re: Correlation does not indicate cause
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2011, 06:38:38 pm »

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Pokota

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Re: Correlation does not indicate cause
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2011, 08:08:44 pm »

Quote
well, babies... some babies die minutes after birth without ever drinking anything.
110% of people who are born die.

matlab

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Re: Correlation does not indicate cause
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2011, 11:33:57 am »

Quote
well, babies... some babies die minutes after birth without ever drinking anything.
110% of people who are born die.
Sometimes people also die when they are killed.
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うらめしや
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