Correlation is Not Causation
Posted on February 26, 2007 Comments (8)
Dr Austin, of course, does not draw those conclusions. His point was to shock medical researchers into using better statistics, because the ones they routinely employ today run the risk of identifying relationships when, in fact, there are none. He also wanted to explain why so many health claims that look important when they are first made are not substantiated in later studies.
As I said in, Seeing Patterns Where None Exists: “Page 8 of Statistics for Experimenters by George Box, William Hunter (my father) and Stu Hunter (no relation) shows a graph of the population (of people) versus the number of storks which shows a high correlation. “Although in this example few would be led to hypothesize that the increase in the number of storks caused the observed increase in population, investigators are sometimes guilty of this kind of mistake in other contexts.’”