If there is one catch phrase I could just smite and forever remove from anyone’s lips it would be “causation is not correlation.” That one just forms this little twitch over my left eyebrow every time I see it. It’s become a pet peeve of mine.
I understand the attraction, it makes people sound really smart. It’s very sciency. It implies you might know something about statistics, reason, and logical fallacies. I don’t mean to sound unkind here, but those of us who are actually smart, are just not impressed by such posturing. Be yourself, speak honestly and simply from your own heart, that’s like chocolate for our souls.
So, so many people use “causation is not correlation” all wrong. It has come to mean, there is no cause and effect. Nothing is ever related to anything else. Everything is just random, coincidence, having sprung forth from a total vacuum, a void. There is no interconnectedness between things, no symbiosis, no relationship. 2 + 2 does not equal four, those twos just orbit their own little planet in an entire solar system of their very own. The universe of twos.
How did we ever get fours? Fours simply exist in an alternate universe, a place where random happenstance just kept playing out until it was statistically inevitable that “four” came into existence. Kind of like life on earth. Except random happenstance, probability, synchronicity, billions of events lining up perfectly, sure sounds like causation with some kind of correlation.
Declaring causation is not correlation as if that were the answer for everything is like extreme compartmentalization of your own brain. In biblical terms I would call this, “believing themselves wise, they became fools.”
Now, I don’t wish to be too judgmental here, I really do appreciate some diversity of thought, different ways of perceiving data. Not everyone must be always be looking at connection and relationship between things in the same extreme manner that I do, but to refuse to ever note any connection or relationship, to defiantly refuse to acknowledge that cause and effect actually exists, is an extreme too far.
The bible backs me up here. In the beginning…. There was a beginning. Science also backs me up. They call it the big bang. There is a causation that correlates with creation. All those begets in Genesis? Cause and effect in action. God’s old testament covenants? You do this, I’ll do that. Causation and correlation.
Edward Tufte once said, “Correlation is not causation but it sure is a hint.”