Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Image result for correlation vs causation

Mathematics Education
Edward Hessler

We all know or have heard the rule that a correlation doesn't imply causation. By the way, not all people like this comic xkcd.  Here is a take-down on this particular panel.

Hmmm?  A correlation implies something and the trick is to separate promising leads from dead-ends. I like the way statistician Douglas Whitaker so beautifully and suggestively puts it in his short post about the xkcd panel. (Whitaker is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, just a hop, skip and a jump east of here.)

Correlation doesn't imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing look over here.

You will have to scroll down quite a bit to find the quote. It is under "Association."  The entry includes links to quite a few comics/cartoons about stats which Whitaker thoughtfully comments on throughout.

Minute Physics doesn't miss much and here is a quick primer on correlation and causation (causal networks) and how one can winnow down possibilities.  If you don't get it all the first time, it is short enough (4 minutes) that it can be reviewed easily. These videos challenge notetaking, perhaps even discourage it, but I find there is time to scratch down questions if you decide to take another look.

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