50 debunked Science misconceptions

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Lance Kennedy
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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:04 am

Xouper

You are not using your brain . You have taken a slogan and derived a meaning that should not be there, and you are fixated on that slogan and that meaning. The slogan does not deny that most strong correlations are causal.

The wear on my cars tyres correlates to miles travelled. Wear on my cars brakes correlates to the number of times I apply the brakes. Rain correlates to cloud cover. Snow to low temperatures. Vegetable growth to fertiliser applied. Muscle strength to exercise. Wild life numbers to food available. Fever to infection. Healing to antibiotic usage. And a million more such examples.

The world is full of variable pairs that are strongly correlated and causal. You are just blinding yourself to this simple fact.

Use your brains instead of clinging , like a drowning man to a life buoy, to a slogan that has limited meaning. That is what being a skeptic is about. It is looking at data and using intelligence, instead of blindly accepting dogma.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:52 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:The world is full of variable pairs that are strongly correlated and causal. You are just blinding yourself to this simple fact.


Except I have not blinded myself to that simple fact.

I agree there are many such examples.

Contrary to your hostile accusations, I have never denied that fact.

It is dishonest of you to make such false accusations about me like that. Shame on you.



What I have objected to is your claim that there aren't as many examples that are strongly correlated and NOT causal.

You have not shown any evidence for that claim.

End of story. Time to put up or shut up.

In fact you claimed (falsely) I would only be able to find half a dozen on the internet. The problem with your claim is that years ago I had already found literally hundreds. I went and looked a few minutes ago. The number on that website is now up to 30,000 examples of "accidental" correlations.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.


Lance Kennedy wrote:Use your brains instead of clinging , like a drowning man to a life buoy, to a slogan that has limited meaning. That is what being a skeptic is about. It is looking at data and using intelligence, instead of blindly accepting dogma.


Lance, you're talking {!#%@} again.

Here's another correlation for you: When you have your head up your ass, all you see is {!#%@}.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Nikki Nyx » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:09 am

xouper wrote:
Nikki Nyx wrote:"Correlation might suggest the possibility of causation, depending upon the relationship between the factors being correlated, and subject to additional factual evidence that supports causation."


I understand the point you are making, and for the sake of getting along, I am tempted to agree to that kind of imprecise semantics, but I still object to the phrase "might suggest".
Understandable. I worded it that way mainly because I was thinking in a medical context, which I failed to specify. For example, there is a known correlation between chronic pain disorders and sleep disorders. Medical scientists, of course, did not insinuate a causal relationship in either direction, but it did lead them to study the issue with a broader viewpoint. Not only did they nail down a correlation between chronic pain and sleep disorders, they also were able to initiate symptoms that appeared to mimic chronic pain disorders by depriving healthy volunteers of sleep.

While this seems academic—if you don't get restorative sleep, your body doesn't get the "down time" it requires to heal and perform some necessary tasks—the apparent two-way correlation has now led to neurological studies on whether there's a relationship between long-term physical stress caused by sleep deprivation and the development of these chronic pain disorders. So the "might suggest" was vague, but I hope it was tempered by the two added dependent clauses.

xouper wrote:The word "suggest" is too imprecise and ambiguous and may lead to equivocation errors.
I agree, especially if the caveats are ignored. Perhaps they should have come first in my statement.

xouper wrote:Adding the word "might" is also ambiguous and not helpful because then the following statement will always be true: "Correlation might mean anything at all."
That largely depends on how you define "mean." It's possible to correlate two events that are completely unrelated in a way that makes them appear to be not only correlated, but also causally related. I'm reminded of the xenophobic fear-mongering over Sweden's "rape statistics."

xouper wrote:If you want to keep the words "might" and "suggest", then to reduce their ambiguity, I would prefer to say it this way:

"With any two factors X and Y, there might be a causal relation. However, that causal relation is suggested not by the correlation but rather by other information."
I'm not emotionally attached to either "might" or "suggest." :mrgreen: (If I'm being unusually dense or unclear, I apologize. These incessant storms have cast me into a horrid fibromyalgia flare, so quite a bit of my brain's processing power is busy beating the crap out of me. :roll: )
What are the facts? Again and again and again-what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:39 am

Nikki Nyx wrote:(If I'm being unusually dense or unclear, I apologize. These incessant storms have cast me into a horrid fibromyalgia flare, so quite a bit of my brain's processing power is busy beating the crap out of me. :roll: )


I'm sorry to hear that. I wish I could do something to help.

Anyway, thanks for explaining what you intended to say about correlations. That clears it up for me.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:21 am

xouper wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Whether you accept it or not, ....................


If something I write can be interpreted more than one way, whose interpretation is correct, yours or mine?

Answer: not yours.



When someone explains that your interpretation is incorrect, which is the honorable thing to do:

1. Continue to beat up on the straw man.

2. Accept their explanation and move on.


Well Xouper: the above is just not true. Two people with reasonable educations and experience look at the words in a sentence and one person says it means X, and the other person says it means Y. Which one is correct? Now....we both think that each of us is correct. Can this disagreement be resolved by you constantly saying I am wrong? ............. No.

Can it be resolved by me showing you exactly where your private intent to communicate X is faulty? .................... No.

Of the two explanations, which one correlates more strongly to valid interpretation: the one that merely repeats the argument, or the one that gives an explanation?

Yeah.........I know its not proof as you like to define it.

.................................... and the resolution will be made by those who read the two positions and conclude for themselves whether or not smoke is a better indication of fire, or they look for sources of water.

............................whether you agree or not. Lance, You and I are talking===many others are forming conclusions. Twisting common sense and observation as you do may win a draw from time to time, but overall, your credibility approaches zero.
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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:36 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
xouper wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Whether you accept it or not, ....................


If something I write can be interpreted more than one way, whose interpretation is correct, yours or mine?

Answer: not yours.



When someone explains that your interpretation is incorrect, which is the honorable thing to do:

1. Continue to beat up on the straw man.

2. Accept their explanation and move on.


Well Xouper: the above is just not true.


Yes it is.


bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Two people with reasonable educations and experience look at the words in a sentence and one person says it means X, and the other person says it means Y. Which one is correct?


That's easy to answer: The person who wrote it is the most qualified to say what they intended to mean, and what the correct interpretation should be.

I notice you did not answer my second question.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:27 am

30,000 accidental correlations ?

Someone must have spent years collecting that number.

Any scientist who was worth his salt would collect ten times that number of causal correlations in half the time. In fact, I could do it myself if I was prepared to waste my time in that fashion.

I notice, Xouper, you still have not accepted my challenge. I have posted several dozen causal correlations with just what came to mind. I could do dozens more with little effort. You could not do that with your accidental correlations.

This is an argument based on everyday experience, otherwise known as common sense. We can see causal correlations around us all the time. Accidental correlations rarely show themselves.

Science is packed with causal correlations. Accidental correlations appear only on dedicated web sites. Now find me a bunch of accidental correlations from your own personal experience. See if you can do that as easily as I dig up causal correlations from my experience. You cannot, because they are few and far between, while causal correlations are all around us.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:03 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:30,000 accidental correlations ?

Someone must have spent years collecting that number.

Any scientist who was worth his salt would collect ten times that number of causal correlations in half the time. In fact, I could do it myself if I was prepared to waste my time in that fashion.


Not relevant how long it takes.

What's relevant is that it disproves your claim that I could only find half a dozen such examples on the internet.


Lance Kennedy wrote:I notice, Xouper, you still have not accepted my challenge.


I already explained why. It has no relevance as evidence either for or against your claim.


Lance Kennedy wrote:This is an argument based on everyday experience, otherwise known as common sense. We can see causal correlations around us all the time. Accidental correlations rarely show themselves.

Science is packed with causal correlations. Accidental correlations appear only on dedicated web sites. Now find me a bunch of accidental correlations from your own personal experience. See if you can do that as easily as I dig up causal correlations from my experience. You cannot, because they are few and far between, while causal correlations are all around us.


Not relevant to your claim that K > N.

It doesn't matter where the examples come from, it only matters how many.

None of your handwaving counts as actual evidence that K > N.

This is a skeptic forum, Lance. You need actual evidence, not mere rhetoric.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:15 am

xouper wrote: That's easy to answer: The person who wrote it is the most qualified to say what they intended to mean, ....
Thats incorrect. In point of fact they are the ONLY person qualified or able to say what they "intended" to say. Sadly, you are only correct on an irrelevant point.

xouper wrote: ........ and what the correct interpretation should be.
Thats simply not the way communication "works." Trump says: "Mexico sends us their rapers, murderers and drug dealers, they don't send us their best...but there are some find people too." He wants this to mean he is just being entirely accurate and precise in his wording. but he's just an asshat. Remind you of anyone???????



xouper wrote: I notice you did not answer my second question.
Well, given my track record, lets go look:
When someone explains that your interpretation is incorrect, which is the honorable thing to do:

1. Continue to beat up on the straw man.

2. Accept their explanation and move on.


Do as i did: explain to the person that what they intend to say is not supported by what they actually post. AND as I very fairly pointed out, when neither person can convince the other person of which position is more likely correct.... then it is up to other people to take from the exchange what they will.

Honor--the appeal of a con man.
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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:27 am

Sorry, bobbo, but you do not get to tell me what I meant when I post something in this forum.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:50 am

xouper wrote:Sorry, bobbo, but you do not get to tell me what I meant when I post something in this forum.

JEEBUS XOUOPER: its not what you "meant" that is the issue.

Knock knock. Its the words you actually put down on paper. TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.

Get with it. solipsism to the point of retardation is never a good thing.
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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Nikki Nyx » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:09 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Xouper

Here is a mental exercise for you. Also for you, Oleg.

Without doing research on the internet or in books, think of ten relationships that are strongly correlated, and occur purely by accident. Then think of ten that are strongly correlated due to causation.

I have already done the latter, and more. I have no problem thinking up literally dozens. I cannot think of even one that is strongly correlated due to accident. Not one.
I can. All of these constitute strong correlations that occur purely by accident.
  • A large number of famous musicians has died from various causes at the age of 27. (cf. Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Amy Winehouse, et alia.) The correlation is so strong that this group has been dubbed "The 27 Club."
  • Also, many musicians have died in plane crashes. (cf. Buddy Holly, John Denver, most of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Big Bopper, Stevie Ray Vaugn, Ritchie Valens, Patsy Cline, Otis Redding, Jim Croce, Glenn Miller, et alia.)
  • The Clintons are associated with quite a few people who have died under bizarre circumstances. (We all know the stories.)
  • During the months of May, June, and July, ice cream consumption and incidences of murder increase at nearly the same rate.
  • Between 1997 and 2007, sales of organic food and the prevalence of autism increased at almost exactly the same rate. (I've used this one on anti-vaxxers.)
  • Level of obesity negatively correlates with level of education. More obese people tend to be less educated.
  • Per capita, there are far more people of color in the prison population than white people. (Racists have used this correlation to "prove" that people of color commit more crimes because they are inherently violent.)
  • In the home, cooking dinner is generally thought of as "women's work," yet the overwhelming majority of chefs are men. This negative correlation is duplicated for nearly all the unpaid work that is typically done by women in the home.
  • Salt & pepper shakers are sold in pairs, despite the fact that salt in unrelated to pepper in any meaningful way.
  • When the barometric pressure drops, when a storm is approaching, when it's raining, and when the humidity is high, my fibromyalgia pain increases to an intolerable level. I have not been able to find medical studies that confirm causation...but I can accurately predict an incoming storm when it's 300 miles away based on my rising pain level (and without, I might add, looking at a weather prediction or radar map).
That's ten off the top of my head. You can't prove your point by stacking the deck with examples you believe support your argument, while insisting that no examples to the contrary exist, simply because you can't think of any. Or by undervaluing examples that are reported by others, I should preemptively state. There are nearly infinite examples of strong correlations that are accidental, and in no way even suggest causation.

In any case, a debate about the logical meaning of the relationship between correlation and causation cannot be resolved by citing examples.
The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that occurs when people make judgments about the probability of events on the basis of how easy it is to think of examples. The availability heuristic operates on the notion that, "if you can think of it, it must be important." The availability of consequences associated with an action is positively related to perceptions of the magnitude of the consequences of that action. In other words, the easier it is to recall the consequences of something, the greater we perceive these consequences to be. Sometimes, this heuristic is beneficial, but the frequencies at which events come to mind are usually not accurate reflections of the probabilities of such events in real life. LINK
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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:53 pm

Nikki: you must still be under the weather? Easy to see casual links/possibilities/actualities in the correlations you listed. First two are actually: accidents. I thought you were developing a theme there, but you veered off.
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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:06 pm

Thanks Bobbo

That was the first thing I noticed in Nikkis list. It actually supports my thesis that strong correlations normally indicate causation. The 27 club, by the way, I suspect would be a very weak correlation, bearing in mind the thousands of musicians who achieved fame and died on other ages. In fact, I would suspect that a statistician who devoted some time to it would determine it to be comfortably within normal statistical variation, among those who die young. For a famous musician to die young is hardly a major surprise, bearing in mind the drug and alcohol scene.

Anyway, let me go for the ultimate.
Biologists estimate there are at least 10 million species of eukaryotes and at least 100 million of prokaryotes. Ecology, among other things measures interactions between species. Each species will interact with at least ten other species, and that interaction can be shown as a strong correlation. So, just from a tiny corner of ecology, there will be in excess of a billion strong causal correlations. And then there is the rest of science .....

Basically, accidental correlations are outnumbered by causal correlations to a degree that is massive.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:02 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Biologists estimate there are at least 10 million species of eukaryotes and at least 100 million of prokaryotes. Ecology, among other things measures interactions between species. Each species will interact with at least ten other species, and that interaction can be shown as a strong correlation.


Please show what you mean by a "correlation" in that example. What two factors are you "correlating"?

It seems to me you are merely showing a single correlation with billions of data points. Please explain how there are billions of correlations.


Lance Kennedy wrote: So, just from a tiny corner of ecology, there will be in excess of a billion strong causal correlations. And then there is the rest of science .....


What is the causal relation between all those "billions" of correlations? What are the two factors, and which factor causes the other factor?


Lance Kennedy wrote:Basically, accidental correlations are outnumbered by causal correlations to a degree that is massive.


Even supposing you have shown there are many examples of K, you have not yet shown that K > N.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:10 am

Nikki Nyx wrote:In any case, a debate about the logical meaning of the relationship between correlation and causation cannot be resolved by citing examples.

The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that occurs when people make judgments about the probability of events on the basis of how easy it is to think of examples. The availability heuristic operates on the notion that, "if you can think of it, it must be important." The availability of consequences associated with an action is positively related to perceptions of the magnitude of the consequences of that action. In other words, the easier it is to recall the consequences of something, the greater we perceive these consequences to be. Sometimes, this heuristic is beneficial, but the frequencies at which events come to mind are usually not accurate reflections of the probabilities of such events in real life. LINK


Well said.

That is exactly the flaw in Lance's challenge to see who has the bigger dick can cite the most examples.

That's why Lance's challenge cannot be evidence either for or against his claim that K > N.

That's why Lance's challenge is not relevant.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:16 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
xouper wrote:Sorry, bobbo, but you do not get to tell me what I meant when I post something in this forum.

JEEBUS XOUOPER: its not what you "meant" that is the issue.

Knock knock. Its the words you actually put down on paper. TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.

Get with it. solipsism to the point of retardation is never a good thing.


If you intend to argue I am wrong about something I posted, then yes, what I "meant" is at the very core of the issue.

When you argue using an incorrect interpretation of what I meant, that is the very definition of a straw man fallacy.

And as for what I meant, I get to determine what the correct interpretation is, not you.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:36 am

Xouper

If you did a population study of, for example, arctic snowy owls versus lemmings, you would find a clear cut causal correlation. More lemmings means more food for owls and thus more owls. After lemming populations fall, so does the population of snowy owls. Such correlations are universal in the world of living things. Every species has causal correlations with other species. Many such causal correlations per species. The total number of such causal correlations is astronomical.

My guestimate of more than a billion such correlations is badly conservative. A few years ago, I was privileged to sit down to evening meal with a group of academics, including a professor of zoology, whose specialty was nematology. He had been studying nematode populations in Aucklands Hauraki Gulf. His estimate of the number of such species, just in the marine sediments of that gulf was about one million. If you accept his estimate, and do a little basic arithmetic, you will realise that nematode species alone around the world will exceed 100 million. The total number of causal correlations between species reaches incredible figures.

Accidental correlations will be limited in number . Causal correlations literally astronomical.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:22 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Xouper

If you did a population study of, for example, arctic snowy owls versus lemmings, you would find a clear cut causal correlation. More lemmings means more food for owls and thus more owls. After lemming populations fall, so does the population of snowy owls.


If I am understanding what you just said, then if X is the number of lemmings and Y is the number of snowy owls, then X causes Y? Is that what you are saying?


Lance Kennedy wrote: Such correlations are universal in the world of living things. Every species has causal correlations with other species.


Please show how the number of humans correlates with the number of lemmings? And then please explain the causal relation between humans and lemmings?


Lance Kennedy wrote:Accidental correlations will be limited in number.


You keep saying that, but you have given no evidence for that assertion, despite repeated requests.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:28 am

Human interactions with lemmings are rather limited, and I did not say all species. Which means your arguments have fallen to the low level of the strawman.

If you want a human interaction, try local food crops. The Irish and potatoes. India and wheat. Native Americans and maize. Chinese and rice. Any major drop in those food crops resulted in famine and a drop in the human population. Not so much today, of course, with people from other nations and other districts helping. But in more primitive human societies there was a definite causal correlation between human numbers and the health of their major food crops.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:45 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Human interactions with lemmings are rather limited, and I did not say all species.


You are correct, I misinterpreted what you meant in that specific instance. My bad. I retract my question about humans and lemmings. I have no interest in making straw man arguments, so when you point one out, I will retract it and we can move on.

Now that you have clarified what you meant, I will accept your assertion that since there are a large number of species, there are also a large number of strong correlations with a causal relation.

Just for fun, let's call that number L (for Large number).

And just for fun, let's say that between various species, W is the number of strong correlations WITHOUT a causal relation.

You have not yet shown that L > W.

But I'm not going to ask you to show that because it is not relevant to the bigger question:

Given the set K of all strong correlations that also have a causal relation, and given the set N of all strong correlations that have NO causal relation, how do you intend to show that K > N?

Merely showing a large number for L is not evidence that K is larger than N.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:59 am

Probably not necessary anyway, Xouper.

You have agreed that causal correlations are very common. I regard that as a bit of a victory, which is probably all I will get. So let us leave it at this point.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:42 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Probably not necessary anyway, Xouper.

You have agreed that causal correlations are very common. I regard that as a bit of a victory,


OK, yes, I agree. You have persuaded me that causal correlations are very common.

I have no problem if you want to call that a victory. :good:

I'll even buy you a beer next time I'm in New Zealand.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Nikki Nyx » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:15 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Nikki: you must still be under the weather? Easy to see casual links/possibilities/actualities in the correlations you listed. First two are actually: accidents. I thought you were developing a theme there, but you veered off.
Lance specifically requested correlations that occurred completely by accident. And any causal links in the correlations I listed have nothing to do with the correlations themselves.
What are the facts? Again and again and again-what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:04 am

Nikki Nyx wrote: Lance specifically requested correlations that occurred completely by accident. And any causal links in the correlations I listed have nothing to do with the correlations themselves.

Please explain: causual means you will have a positive correlation. It has EVERYTHING to do with correlations.

What am I missing/what are you adding to the simple definition of the word?

...........................I do hope you aren't going all Xouper on us.
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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:22 am

http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-ar ... s/weather/
Nikki

The only one on your list that is truly accidental is the link between autism and organic food.

What you may have overlooked is the third form of causation. Let me remind you. If two variables, A and B are correlated, there are three categories of causation between them.
1. A causes B
2. B causes A
3. Both are caused by third variable, C.

I have already mentioned your 27 club which I doubt is a true correlation at all.
Let me discuss the remaining ones.
Celebrities dying on planes. That falls into the "More holes " explanation. A team of drillers were asked why they were more successful at striking oil than others. Reply: 'we drill more holes. ' The celebrities you talk of fly far more than ordinary people and so are more likely to be part of a plane crash. Deaths by plane crash correlate causally with hours in the air.

Clinton's and bizarre deaths. I will pass on this one. I do not know of these bizarre deaths and so I cannot judge the situation. My gut feel is that there is probably no correlation . Just a lot of publicity around a few events.

Ice creams and murder. That is class three. Both ice cream consumption and murder rate correlate to higher temperatures. The temperature makes tempers more brittle, hence more murders. Temperature and ice cream is obvious.

Autism and organic food. I grant this is probably accidental. Although both may correlate with a third variable, being a stage in development of western civilisation, which results in both more autism diagnoses, and people going on far food diets.

Obesity inversely correlated to education. Come on Nikki. You are smart enough to work this one out. Definitely causation.

Blacks in prison. Definitely causal. Related to social factors such as lack of education and poverty.

Chefs being men. Definitely causal. Although getting less so with time as more women become chefs. Being a chef is a traditional male vocation, probably because the first chefs were in the armed forces.

Salt and pepper shakers. Causal. The cause being the tradition of applying those to food together, and that is due to history. Salt has always been available (at least to the rich) and pepper was the first spice brought back to the west from India by the British in large amounts. Later spices were used more sparingly and thus not applied together.

Barometer drops versus your pain. I do not know the cause, but I know you are not alone. There is an underlying medical cause, shown by the fact that so many people with similar medical problems also suffer pain with the drop in barometric pressure. See reference above.

Actually, that last example raises another point. Some correlations are causal, but we do not know the cause. It is therefore a good idea to assume causation and search for the cause. That way we advance science.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:43 am

Blacks in prison. Definitely causal. Related to social factors such as lack of education and poverty.

///// with racists attitudes/culture/history/laws.........just an accident.
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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:39 am

Bobbo

Your last post is unclear. Are you saying blacks in prison is entirely a result of racism ?

If so, I must disagree. We have the same thing here in NZ with a disproportionate part of our prison population being Maori. I might have thought it was racism, but I had a conversation with a Maori policeman who straightened my ideas. He could not be accused of being biased, since he is Maori, and he had the experience. He made it very clear that the Maori in prison were there because they deserved to be, not because of prejudice. I have no doubt the same applies to Americans of African descent. But I am also aware that a lot of those darker skinned folks suffer from poverty and poor education and those qualities are strongly correlated with high conviction rates even among whites.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:45 pm

Lance..............seriously.................. you do crack me up. Educated and experienced and of good will: dumb as a cracker on so many issues. For grins:

1. "Your last post is unclear. Are you saying blacks in prison is entirely a result of racism ?" /// How could I mean THAT when I did not use the word/concept/implication of "entirely"? I think this demonstrates your own oblique way of "trying" to address issues. Making your own characterizations of an argument and going off in such direction.

2. "He could not be accused of being biased, since he is Maori,...." //// White racists here in USA LOVE trotting out the Black Police Chief: "no racism here....black officers killing black suspects at (some) rate but more than they kill white suspects........." Here its called some variety of "Blue Racism"=====>>>>>THEY ARE COPS. They don't get selected, trained, promoted if they don't get with the program. You see this with all too many professions. You do "look" don't you?????

3. "He made it very clear that the Maori in prison were there because they deserved to be, not because of prejudice. " /// Yep, thats what they say. "Nothing to see here." Just too many even cursory studies though show blacks are incarcerated at higher rates at each stage of the process. Details vary but "deserve to be" is on an intellectual level of "He's Moari so he can't be prejudiced......." Base line: moronic.

4. color of skin correlates to prison population. //// apply all the same rules. IN FACT.........in this case we have another form of causation to add to your list and to instruct Nikki: multiple causation: with variety here too. A,B,C all cause D. Some D's are caused only when all three stimuli are present....other D's need any two part combo....others only one. More often..... the more stimuli of the group you have, the more likely you get D. I put racism, poverty, history, culture, education, family, health, wealth, 30 more===>cause D. Most things with hoomans are more complex than A=>B. Multifactorial. No one factor negated because you can find others as well.

You got some thinking to do.
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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:21 pm

Bobbo

I can accept that the high rate of dark skin incarceration has many causes. But the fact that African Americans suffer lack of education and relative poverty should not be overlooked. It is very clear that white people who happen to lack education and suffer poverty are also far more likely to be convicted of a crime than their wealthier and more educated peers.

There is nothing unusual here. All around the world are cultural groups that share those things. High incarceration rate and a high rate of poor education and lots of poverty.

Actually, on the education thing there is a nice bit of irony. Christians tend to think of themselves as being virtuous and atheists the opposite. But on a per capita basis, a lot more Christians end up convicted of a crime. This is because high educational attainment correlates with atheism (definitely causal) and higher educational attainment also correlates with lower crime rates. Fewer atheists are criminals.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:32 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Nikki

The only one on your list that is truly accidental is the link between autism and organic food.

What you may have overlooked is the third form of causation. Let me remind you. If two variables, A and B are correlated, there are three categories of causation between them.
1. A causes B
2. B causes A
3. Both are caused by third variable, C.


Sorry Lance, but you do not get to redefine what mathematicians mean when they say two variables have a causal relation.

It means only #1 or #2, but not #3.

In the case of #3, the mathematics community considers a correlation between A and B to be spurious (accidental).

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/spurious+correlation wrote:spurious correlation - a correlation between two variables (e.g., between the number of electric motors in the home and grades at school) that does not result from any direct relation between them (buying electric motors will not raise grades) but from their relation to other variables

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spurious_relationship wrote:In statistics, a spurious relationship or spurious correlation[1][2] is a mathematical relationship in which two or more events or variables are not causally related to each other, yet it may be wrongly inferred that they are, due to either coincidence or the presence of a certain third, unseen factor (referred to as a "common response variable", "confounding factor", or "lurking variable").


When using statistical jargon in your argument, you should use the terms how they are defined by the mathematics community, not your own personal definitions.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:54 am

Semantics, semantics, semantics.

An indirect cause is still a cause.
Remember that Nikki claimed those correlations were accidental. And they were not. You may use the term 'spurious ' if you wish, but a rose by any other name ....

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:20 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Semantics, semantics, semantics.

An indirect cause is still a cause.
Remember that Nikki claimed those correlations were accidental. And they were not. You may use the term 'spurious ' if you wish, but a rose by any other name ....


The mathematics community does not agree with you.

Nikki's correlations are indeed accidental according to the mathematics community.

You are not entitled to substitute your own personal definition for the word Nikki used in order to argue that she is wrong.

Your argument is a clear example of a straw man fallacy.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:44 am

Accidental and spurious do not mean the same. Those correlations were not accidental. They had a cause.

When two variables, A and B, are correlated, but the causation is not direct, you can call it a spurious correlation. But if the cause is a common factor, C, then the correlation is not accidental.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:18 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Accidental and spurious do not mean the same.


In the context of correlations, they mean exactly the same thing.

Sorry Lance, but you do not get to redefine the jargon used by the mathematics community.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:24 am

Except that 'accidental 'is not such jargon. It is a perfectly good plain English word, and should be used in that way. And it does not mean the same thing as spurious in this context.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:05 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Except that 'accidental 'is not such jargon. It is a perfectly good plain English word, and should be used in that way. And it does not mean the same thing as spurious in this context.


Yes it does.

In any correlation, if a "causal relation" exists, it is defined to be only between A and B. If A does not cause B and B does not cause A, then there is no "causal relation" between A and B.

That is how the mathematics community defines a "causal relation" in this context.

When there is no "causal relation", then the correlation is said to be coincidental, accidental, or spurious. All three mean the same thing.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:38 am

Accidental as we used the word in this discussion meant a correlation that came about by random chance. If A and B are linked via a third factor, that cannot be called random.

I am aware, Xouper, that your underlying agenda is to try to establish correlations as being meaningless. They are NOT. They are an excellent indicator of a likely causal relationship.

I spent most of my adult working life as an industrial chemist. As such, I had occasion to look for correlations between two different variables in the search for causation. I found them on a number of occasions, and frankly, I never found a strong correlation that was not causation. My own experience tells me that your idea on this is total and utter crap.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:13 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Accidental as we used the word in this discussion meant a correlation that came about by random chance. If A and B are linked via a third factor, that cannot be called random.


Sorry, Lance, but you do not get to redefine the jargon used by the mathematics community.

I have already explained what the definitions are.


Lance Kennedy wrote:I am aware, Xouper, that your underlying agenda is to try to establish correlations as being meaningless.


That is factually incorrect.

And you know it, because earlier in this thread I have already explained — in quite a lot of detail — that I do in fact consider correlations to have meaning.

So stop lying about me.

It is dishonest of you to continue making that false accusation especially after you have been shown quite clearly that it's false.

Shame on you, Lance.


Lance Kennedy wrote:They are an excellent indicator of a likely causal relationship.


That is factually incorrect.

The scientific community disagrees with you.


Lance Kennedy wrote:I spent most of my adult working life as an industrial chemist. As such, I had occasion to look for correlations between two different variables in the search for causation. I found them on a number of occasions, and frankly, I never found a strong correlation that was not causation.


I am happy to know you have had a legitimate and productive career. I do not discount your professional experience, Lance, but your argument is the classic textbook fallacy described here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

Just because you personally have not found a strong correlation that was not causation, does not mean there are none.

Nor is your personal anecdote in any way evidence for your claim that K > N.


Lance Kennedy wrote:My own experience tells me that your idea on this is total and utter crap.


No one cares what your personal opinion is.

What matters is the opinion of the scientific community, and they disagree with you.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:34 pm

xouper wrote:
Lance Kennedy wrote:I am aware, Xouper, that your underlying agenda is to try to establish correlations as being meaningless.


That is factually incorrect.

And you know it, because earlier in this thread I have already explained — in quite a lot of detail — that I do in fact consider correlations to have meaning.


This is my conclusion as well. The product of saying both things ("merely" vs "strong association") with the majority of your verbiage falling on the merely side of the contradiction.

since you have already explained it....and the opposite: care to resolve the dispute so that even Lance and I can rest easy? In one or two succinct sentences: what is the meaning/value of a very strong correlation WITH an underlying theory of causation to link them??????????????/

IIRC Lance and I both think it is the very basis on which science takes its first steps. Your view is what????
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