The difference between correlation and causation are two concepts in scientific thinking that seem very similar. But to confuse these two concepts can lead to a variety of misconceptions and misunderstandings. I think that the correlation-causation fallacy is an important concept of scientific thinking because it can be overlooked so easily and can lead to a conclusion that is far from the truth. Also, this fallacy is widely overlooked in the media and in popular opinion. Correlation, means that two variables are associated with each other, which is similar, but different from one variable causing the other. There are an almost endless amount of examples of this by media outlets. Usually, when a media outlet reports on some large scientific study that has found that two things are correlated, like the sexual lyrics and sexual behavior example from the text, they present it in a way such that the reader could easily overlook the fact that there is not necessarily a causational relationship between the two things. I also think that many times, this is intentional. A causational relationship is much more interesting than simply a correlation. In our world where everything is about instant information and headlines and sound bites, looking past the headline is not valued. It is much easier to frame the relationship as causational than to explain the real relationship. I think that causation sells better than correlation because of this. So the real importance of the concept of the correlation-causation fallacy is the ability to recognize this fallacy that can be so easily overlooked and to avoid forming misguided views based on a false premise of a causational relationship that is actually just a correlation.
Correlation vs Causation
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