Statistics Class Correlation and Causation


Check out the post time/date. Pretty cool. The Dozen Day! A day with it own beat (“1-2-1-2-1-2…”).

To mark the coincidental pattern of numbers, I thought I should do a post that was somewhat numerical in theme.

The math instinct of the human mind is a highly flawed thing. This theme is explored extensively by Daniel Kahneman and a common theme here is the power of Scientific Method to counterbalance this human failing. Darren Brown’s ‘Tricks of the Mind’ (thanks Isley) also articulates the importance of this approach very eloquently…

  • “We all have it in us to believe most things quite happily. We can convince ourselves of anything we want to. If I believe that the Earth is round, but my uncle believes it’s flat, who is to say who is right? And how would we show who’s right? The answer comes down to evidence. Whereas non-scientific (and potentially dangerous) thinking starts with a premise and then looks for things that support it, scientific thinking constantly tries to disprove itself. That alone makes all the difference in the world. A scientist comes up with a premise: A causes B. Rather than look for all the cases where A causes B to support his premise, he starts trying to disprove that A causes B. Then, if after rigorous attempts to prove himself wrong it seems to hold up that A does indeed cause B, he’ll publish his results. Now it’s up for his peers to run their own experiments, to see if they replicate the results or disprove for themselves that A causes B.”

(thanks SEOMOz for graphic touch below of when the scientific method gets perverted by modern media)


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