Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Coincidence or Spurious Correlation: Divorce Rate In Maine and the Per Capita Consumption of Butter in the US:

Here for spreading far and wide is another graphical reminder of the important distinction between correlation and causation.

Created by Tyler Vigen, Spurious Correlations is a website devoted to documenting examples of what are best described as spurious relationships – that is, relationships in which two events have no causal link, but still appear to due to either a coincidence or a third, confounding variable. The same way the rise in autism rates may look like it's caused by the rise in organic food sales, Vigen's charts show causal relationships between things like divorce rates in Maine and margarine consumption, the number of people who died by becoming tangled in their bedsheets and total revenue generated by skiing facilities, and US crude oil imports from Norway and the number of drivers killed per annum in railway train collisions. A good website to have on hand when discussing cognitive biases with antivaxxers.

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