Category Archives: Causation

Graphic Content: Correlation Or Coincidence?


A number of people have sent me this, so in case you haven’t seen the latest in the treasure trove of funny correlation does not imply causation graphs, here it is. From Businessweek:

(Click to see the full-size graphic on the original site, of course.) Most of these examples are absurd enough that people wouldn’t be likely to wrongly infer causality from them, but this might not be the case if the comparisons were more reasonable…or if people, as I do, believe that both Facebook and mountains are causing the downfall of Western civilization.

I was originally going to make a point about spurious correlation, but I am told that spurious correlation, rather than being random, occurs when events appear to be linked because they share a common cause. Raging narcissism of bankers aside, I can’t imagine that, for example, the rise of Facebook and the Greek debt crisis share a common cause, not can I craft a good story for what could be driving both M. Night Shyamalan’s lack of creativity/good sense and lack of interest in paper publications. Therefore, these sorts of relationships should get their own name and category- coincidental correlation is the best I can find right now, but I feel like this doesn’t even convey the level of random that some of these examples exhibit. Suggestions?

Graphic Content: Correlation Or Coincidence?
Sat, 17 Dec 2011 21:37:17 GMT