Correlation and Causation


When two events occur together or variables move in a manner that suggests they are related, we say that there is a "Correlation."  That means that the two are related in some way.  It does NOT mean that one causes the other (see pg. 14 of your textbook), although many people assume that it does.   One of the bloggers at Forbes has discussed this misunderstanding in her blog entry called TrueFact:  The lack of pirates is causing global warming.  Read this blog entry, paying attention to the logical errors described in cancer, business locations, and smoking.


Now read one of these links discussing/describing a study.   

You will now write one or two paragraphs in which you try to answer all five of the following questions. 


1.      What two variables were supposed to be correlated?

2.      Which one do you think the author believed was the cause?

3.      Which one did the author believe was an effect?

4.      We know that (repeat after me)  "Correlation is not causation."  Did the author offer any OTHER evidence (besides correlation) to support their belief

5.      Is there any way to improve our understanding of the situation?  What other studies COULD be done that would be better at demonstrating cause and effect? 


This paper should be completed by our next class period.  It should include your name, date, and the name of the class at the top, and should not exceed one page in length.  Be sure that your answer is in the form of a paragraph and not a numbered list.