Correlation is not Causation

An erstwhile colleague sent me this great link to a site made by Tyler Vigen. He has written a software that trawls through databases that store sets of data from unrelated contexts and domains looking for close correlations. Check his website to discover the latest emerging correlating sets of variables.

Some of the correlations are so close that you would be forgiven for thinking there was a causal link.

CINACAccording to Vigen’s findings the number of honey producing bee colonies in the US is inversely correlated to the incidence of arrests for possession of marijuana. Clearly we need to encourage beekeeping and home production of honey in order to fend off the supply of marujiana? Wait….! What?

  • Watch the video above to discover some interesting differences between the human and natural sciences;
  • See the extended set of resources on this issue on the Human Sciences page;
  • What ways of knowing are best for identifying causal mechanisms?
  • What are the limitations of statistical data when trying to understand human behaviour?

Check the website here


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