50 debunked Science misconceptions

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:53 pm

Xouper is still arguing semantics. I accept that some statistician somewhere co-opted the word 'spurious ' to describe a correlation in which the relationship between variables A and B are caused by variable C. But the use of that word does not change the fact that this kind of correlation is not caused by random chance. It is a causation relationship because it is generated by cause and effect.

Correlations have a very important role in science, because they are an indicator of possible cause and effect relationships. As I pointed out earlier, such relationships are present in enormous numbers and they generate strong correlations. I made full use of them during my career. Incidentally, my degree is in biology and my specialty was testing microbicides used in industry, meaning my skills in microbiology were paramount. My work involved an almost obsession with correlating microorganism numbers with industrial problems. Over four decades, I generated hundreds of such correlations, and never, not even once, did I find a strong correlation that was not causal.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Nikki Nyx » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:56 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
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'll take one as an example to show correlation without causal relationship.
  • A large number of musicians died of various causes when they were 27.
  • The two facts being correlated are "musician" and "27," and both are being correlated to the conclusion "death."
  • Neither fact is itself a cause of the conclusion "death." None died because s/he was a musician. None died because s/he was 27.
  • Taken together, the correlated facts are not causation, i.e., none died because s/he was BOTH a musician AND 27.
  • The fact that this correlation exists is, therefore, an accident. It is neither causal, nor does it suggest a causal relationship.
Let's take another, this time showing there is a cause, but no correlation.
  • Salt & pepper shakers are sold as a pair, despite the fact that there is no meaningful relationship between salt and pepper.
  • Salt is a compound of sodium and chloride acquired by mining or evaporation of sea water. Pepper is the dried fruit of a flowering vine.
  • Salt and pepper do not serve the same purpose when added to food. Salt enhances the natural flavors of food, blocking bitter flavors and making sweet, sour, and umami pop. Pepper is pungent and biting.
  • It is not a requirement to use BOTH salt AND pepper on any given dish.
  • It is not a requirement, when you are omitting salt, to also omit pepper. And vice versa.
So why are salt & pepper shakers sold as a pair? What's the cause? And what's the positive correlation you believe must be there? The cause is simply that Louis XIV hated herbed and spiced food...except for salt and pepper. And we've been putting the two together on our tables ever since. So while there is a reason (cause) for salt & pepper shakers being sold together, there is no correlation between salt and pepper.
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 Lance Kennedy » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:23 am

Hmm

Some strange logic there, Nikki. How can salt and pepper not be correlated ? They occur together and therefore there is a correlation regardless of cause.

The 27 thing I find unconvincing. What academic (preferably a statistician) has done the research to show a true correlation here ?
Famous musicians is a class that has many members. You would need to look at all famous musicians that died young, and then see how many died at 27. Bearing in mind that there is a lot of pressure on those people to drink lots of alcohol, consume lots of drugs, and engage in high stress activities, I would expect a rather large percentage not to make old bones. A few of those who died young doing it at 27 does not make a correlation, much less a strong one.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:54 am

I just had a look at a couple of web sites dedicated to spurious correlations. I am not very impressed. Two points about most of them.

1. Apart from a minority, all were less than 12 pairs of variables. As I told Xouper some time ago, fewer than 12 pairs of variables do not represent a valid correlation. So they were fake examples.

2. Because of this limited number of pairs of variable in the supposed correlation, they generally represent a time period of about a decade. Since most of the data used would go back a lot further, and often further forwards toward the present, I suspect strongly that they represent cherry picking. In other words, the writer has looked at data pairs which show no correlation whatever, but has selected a short time period where they match up. If he or she had run the correlation calculation over a longer period, there would have been no correlation.

In other words, this is a fraud. It is supposed data obtained by statistically unacceptable cheating.

My point is that genuine correlations that happen by random chance are few and far between, once you weed out the frauds. Strong correlations generated by true causation, are common as dirt.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:33 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:I just had a look at a couple of web sites dedicated to spurious correlations. I am not very impressed.


No one cares what impresses you. We only care what you can show evidence for.


Lance Kennedy wrote:1. Apart from a minority, all were less than 12 pairs of variables.


That is factually incorrect.

Most of those examples have more than 12 data points in the source data, but only show a subset of the data in the graphs, a point you concede farther down. They could easily include more data points and still show the same strong correlation.

And even if you stick to those examples with 12 or more data points (and there are thousands of them), that still refutes your claim that such examples do not exist.


Lance Kennedy wrote: As I told Xouper some time ago, fewer than 12 pairs of variables do not represent a valid correlation.


And I have already explained, there is no scientific consensus that correlations with fewer than 12 data points are invalid.

You have not, and cannot, cite a single scientific authority for your claim.

Just like all the other bogus claims you have made in this thread, that is merely your personal opinion, not a scientific truth.


Lance Kennedy wrote:2. Because of this limited number of pairs of variable in the supposed correlation, they generally represent a time period of about a decade. Since most of the data used would go back a lot further, and often further forwards toward the present, I suspect strongly that they represent cherry picking. In other words, the writer has looked at data pairs which show no correlation whatever, but has selected a short time period where they match up. If he or she had run the correlation calculation over a longer period, there would have been no correlation.


Prove it.


Lance Kennedy wrote:In other words, this is a fraud. It is supposed data obtained by statistically unacceptable cheating.


Prove it.

You cannot.

You are merely using your personal opinion to weasel out of evidence that refutes your position.


Lance Kennedy wrote:My point is that genuine correlations that happen by random chance are few and far between, once you weed out the frauds. Strong correlations generated by true causation, are common as dirt.


You keep repeating that same bogus claim without showing any evidence for it, despite repeated requests. If anyone is making a fraudulent claim here, it is you.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:43 am

I have used numerous examples to show my point is correct. No, I cannot "prove " it because proof in science does not exist. Those who demand proof in science are merely showing their ignorance.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:44 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Xouper is still arguing semantics.


In science and mathematics, semantics are important, which is why they try to use carefully defined jargon.

You on the other hand keep trying to substitute your own personal definitions in place of the scientific definitions. That's called a straw man fallacy.


Lance Kennedy wrote: I accept that some statistician somewhere co-opted the word 'spurious ' to describe a correlation in which the relationship between variables A and B are caused by variable C.


Science and mathematics often "co-opt" commons words and give them specific meanings. What else should they do?


Lance Kennedy wrote: But the use of that word does not change the fact that this kind of correlation is not caused by random chance.


Equivocation fallacy.


Lance Kennedy wrote:Correlations have a very important role in science, because they are an indicator of possible cause and effect relationships.


That is the bogus claim you keep repeating without giving any evidence for it.

Whereas I have cited numerous scientists and journal papers and textbooks that do not agree with you.


Lance Kennedy wrote: As I pointed out earlier, such relationships are present in enormous numbers and they generate strong correlations. I made full use of them during my career. Incidentally, my degree is in biology and my specialty was testing microbicides used in industry, meaning my skills in microbiology were paramount. My work involved an almost obsession with correlating microorganism numbers with industrial problems. Over four decades, I generated hundreds of such correlations, and never, not even once, did I find a strong correlation that was not causal.


You personal anecdote does not count as evidence for your claim. You of all people know this, since you are quite fond of dismissing such anecdotes when others try to use them.

Secondly, as I have pointed out before, it is a fallacy to argue that since you personally did not find any strong correlations without causation, they must not exist.

This is a forum for critical thinking, Lance, not for spouting logical fallacies as you keep doing.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:47 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:I have used numerous examples to show my point is correct. No, I cannot "prove " it because proof in science does not exist. Those who demand proof in science are merely showing their ignorance.


BS.

The scientific community does not agree with your position.

A few anecdotes do not count as "evidence".

Bottom line, you have NOT given sufficient justification for your claims. Not even close. Despite repeated requests to do so.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:51 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:No, I cannot "prove " it because proof in science does not exist. Those who demand proof in science are merely showing their ignorance.


You know damn well what I meant.

When I said "prove it", that was shorthand for "show sufficient supporting evidence."

And you know that, because we have had this conversation many times before.

You are just trying to weasel out of showing the evidence. Because you have none.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Sep 11, 2017 2:27 am

Numerous examples serve as evidence. One or two are merely anecdotes, but I have pointed out to you that causal correlations are present in the millions. You have merely said you found a web site with 30,000 random number generated correlations, but did not go any further. When I sought such a web site, I found fake correlations.

You claim you have quoted scientific references to show that correlations are not used as a guide to possible causation. That is bull-shit. You merely keep quoting the same slogan.

You even told me that the value of correlations was prediction, then went on to suggest that most correlations were accidental. Did it not occur to you that an accidental correlation is worthless for prediction, since it is based on randomness ? Only a correlation that reflects a causation relationship will provide the basis for a reliable prediction.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Nikki Nyx » Mon Sep 11, 2017 2:40 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Hmm

Some strange logic there, Nikki. How can salt and pepper not be correlated ? They occur together and therefore there is a correlation regardless of cause.
They occur together. But there is no correlation. They have no mutual relationship, common connection, or interdependence...except the personal tastes of one person that caused it to become customary to offer them together.

Lance Kennedy wrote:The 27 thing I find unconvincing. What academic (preferably a statistician) has done the research to show a true correlation here ?
Famous musicians is a class that has many members. You would need to look at all famous musicians that died young, and then see how many died at 27. Bearing in mind that there is a lot of pressure on those people to drink lots of alcohol, consume lots of drugs, and engage in high stress activities, I would expect a rather large percentage not to make old bones. A few of those who died young doing it at 27 does not make a correlation, much less a strong one.
Knock yourself out, Lance. Currently, no large scale research has been done. There is one study encompassing only UK artists, and another that includes only artists that died between 1959 and 1969. Neither is adequate for this purpose. Nevertheless, it is a correlation. And it's not "a few" who died at 27...it's more than 60.

I might add, I notice that you did not provide links for your correlations that you claimed equated to causation; you merely named them. So, if you expect me to scurry around looking for links, you should do the same.
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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:07 am

Nikki

Funny.
Your salt and pepper idea in one sense aligns with my position in that you deny correlation without causation. I know that is not quite what you meant, but it sounds like a similar idea. But Xouper is correct in one sense. You can have correlation without cause. Normally it is an incomplete correlation, in that collecting more data pairs will certainly undermine the calculation? The link between salt and pepper is real and has a cause. The cause, as you pointed out, is history, but that is still a cause.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:10 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Numerous examples serve as evidence. One or two are merely anecdotes, but I have pointed out to you that causal correlations are present in the millions. You have merely said you found a web site with 30,000 random number generated correlations, but did not go any further.


So what.

It is not my job to disprove your claim. You have not given sufficient evidence that K > N. You have merely asserted it without any evidence whatsoever.

You have shown that K is large. So what.

You have not shown that N is smaller than K, and that is the primary flaw in your argument.


Lance Kennedy wrote: When I sought such a web site, I found fake correlations.


They are examples of strong correlations between two variables with no causal relation. Calling them "fake" does not change that fact.


Lance Kennedy wrote:You claim you have quoted scientific references to show that correlations are not used as a guide to possible causation. That is bull-shit. You merely keep quoting the same slogan.


I know for a fact you have seen the threads and posts where I posted that evidence.

You are lying.

I did in fact post such evidence in other threads and we all know you have seen it.

You are blatantly and maliciously lying.

Shame on you.

Here's an example of a thread where I posted such evidence.

viewtopic.php?f=97&t=25429
viewtopic.php?p=458431#p458431

I have posted the same evidence in other threads that I know you have seen because you posted in them.

If you are the least bit honorable, you will apologize for falsely accusing me of not posting that evidence.



Lance Kennedy wrote: You even told me that the value of correlations was prediction,


Yes, that is what I said.

I am glad to see you recognize that your accusation is false that I said correlations are meaningless. An honorable person would also apologize for making those repeated and malicious accusations.


Lance Kennedy wrote: then went on to suggest that most correlations were accidental. Did it not occur to you that an accidental correlation is worthless for prediction, since it is based on randomness ?


A correlation without a known cause can still be used to make valid predictions. It just might be the case that no one cares about certain kinds of predictions. That does not refute my point that correlations have value.


Lance Kennedy wrote: Only a correlation that reflects a causation relationship will provide the basis for a reliable prediction.


That is factually incorrect.

Show the evidence for that claim. Oh, I almost forgot, you have none.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:02 am

Xouper

Scientists do, in fact, use correlations as a guide to potential causation. This is correct and you have NOT, absolutely NOT shown evidence to the contrary. I am prepared to accept that, having found a correlation, they will do more work to analyse the exact causation mechanism. But the correlation is the clue. The link between smoking and lung cancer is the most famous example. The correlation came first and led the medical researchers to uncover the harm done by tobacco smoke.

Your idea that a correlation based on random chance can permit useful predictions is just plain silly. You might as well throw sand in the air and make predictions from the pattern it falls into. Or analyse entrails.

One of the fraudulent correlations I saw on the web site I mentioned was age of the Miss America finalist with murders by steam. Quite a close match over ten years. But if you tried to use that to make a prediction for the following year, you would almost certainly fall flat ln your face

It is just like throwing heads three times and assuming the fourth time it will also be heads. Only an idiot uses such methods..

For a correlation to have predictive value, it must have a basis that is causation. It could be A causing B, B causing A, or C causing both. But a causation relationship is needed, or else it has no predictive value at all.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:22 am

Lance Kennedy, playing his tired old broken record, wrote:blah blah blah . . .


:roll:

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:42 am

https://hsm.stackexchange.com/questions ... iscoveries

I am not the only one to think correlations are important in science. In the reference above is a nice quote.

"Correlation may not imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing 'look over there '. "

Possibly the most important discovery in astronomy in the last 100 odd years was that cepheid variables have a brightness that correlates with their periodicity. That permitted astronomical distances to be determined. The cause of cholera came from a correlation between disease incidence and where people got their water. The entire germ theory of disease came from early microscopists noticing that certain microorganisms correlated with certain diseases. Modern genetics relies on observations of correlations between genome variations and phenotype variations. Plus numerous other correlation causation discoveries.

Basically, Xouper, you are wrong. Correlation may not imply causation if you simply define imply as 'leads to the conclusion ', but nevertheless, correlation is a vitally important scientific tool for its ability to indicate scientific truths around causation.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:08 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Basically, Xouper, you are wrong.


Sorry, Lance, but the scientific community does not agree with you, as I have so clearly demonstrated over and over and over . . .

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:36 am

And the scientific community goes right on uncovering correlations and using them as clues to discover causations as well.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:09 pm

I just read a very good example of what I have been talking about.

New Scientist, 9 September 2017. Page 20.

There is a very strong correlation on leaf size of lowland forest trees with proximity to the equator. Trees in the tropics, like the banana, tend to have very large leaves, while those in the arctic have very small, leaves. A strong correlation, but no known reason. Yet, botanists NEVER once assumed it was a spurious correlation. Instead, they accepted there was a cause, and they searched for the cause. The article shows the cause they finally discovered, which is to use transpiration from large leaf surfaces to provide cooling in the hot clime. A big leaf has more surface for this vital cooling.

This is standard for science. A clear cut and strong correlation is ASSUMED to have a cause and scientists search for the cause. Mostly, eventually, they find it.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:49 pm

So: "Correlation implies Causation." //// I approve. I think we already said exactly that.
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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:38 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:I just read a very good example of what I have been talking about.

New Scientist, 9 September 2017. Page 20.

There is a very strong correlation on leaf size of lowland forest trees with proximity to the equator. Trees in the tropics, like the banana, tend to have very large leaves, while those in the arctic have very small, leaves. A strong correlation, but no known reason. Yet, botanists NEVER once assumed it was a spurious correlation. Instead, they accepted there was a cause, and they searched for the cause. The article shows the cause they finally discovered, which is to use transpiration from large leaf surfaces to provide cooling in the hot clime. A big leaf has more surface for this vital cooling.

This is standard for science. A clear cut and strong correlation is ASSUMED to have a cause and scientists search for the cause. Mostly, eventually, they find it.


I disagree with your interpretation. The correlation posed an interesting mystery and scientists love solving mysteries.

In the justification for further investigation, it is not necessary to "assume" there's a cause, as you seem to be claiming.

(In fact, I am skeptical you know what they "assumed", unless you are a mind reader.)

Furthermore, and I know you've seen these, I can cite examples where the correlation posed an interesting mystery and yet after further investigation, the scientists found there was no causal relation.

The point is this: It is not always possible to say beforehand which correlations will have a casual relation and which will not. It is not safe to "assume" there will be a causal relation.

If there can be a statement we can both agree on, what do you think of this one:

If a correlation poses a sufficiently interesting mystery, then that is what motivates scientists to look further.


In any case, I want to quote something you said in another thread:

viewtopic.php?p=603601#p603601

Lance Kennedy wrote:. . . my required standard of evidence is a scientific paper published in a reputable and peer reviewed journal.


Since you have stated that requirement several times in that thread, I think it's safe to infer that is your general position, as stated.

Thus, it seems obvious to me that you should not be making claims that do not meet your personal standard.

For example, you have claimed that "correlation implies causation".

And yet despite repeated requests, you have never cited any scientific paper published in a reputable and peer reviewed journal that supports your claim.

Whereas I have posted (in other threads) legitimate evidence that contradicts your claim. Here it is again:

"Statistics and Causal Inference", Paul W. Holland, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Vol. 81, No. 396 (Dec., 1986), pp. 945-960

Paul W. Holland wrote:Correlation does not imply causation


You keep trying to dismiss it as merely a "slogan", and yet there it is in a reputable peer reviewed scientific journal, which according to your own words, meets your standard of evidence.


Second example: In other threads, you have claimed "more guns cause more gun murders".

And yet despite repeated requests, you have never cited any scientific paper published in a reputable and peer reviewed journal that purports to be evidence of that causal relation.

You have cited some journal papers that show a correlation, but they do not show the cause. In fact in each of those papers you cited, the authors specifically say their paper is not evidence of a causal relation.

Here they are again:

Firearm availability and homicide: A review of the literature
Lisa M Hepburn, David Hemenway,
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume 9, Issue 4, July 2004, Pages 417–440
None of the studies prove causation

Firearm Availability and Homicide Rates across 26 High-Income Countries
Hemenway, David PhD; Miller, and Matthew MD, MPH, ScD
The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care Volume 49(6), December 2000, pp 985-988
Cross-sectional studies like ours do not provide information about causality.

Rates of Household Firearm Ownership and Homicide Across US Regions and States, 1988–1997
Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, ScD, Deborah Azrael, MS, PhD, and David Hemenway, PhD
American Journal of Public Health. 2002; 92(12) : 1988-1993.
our study cannot determine causation

State-level homicide victimization rates in the US in relation to survey measures of household firearm ownership, 2001–2003
Matthew Miller, , David Hemenway , Deborah Azrael
Social Science & Medicine Volume 64, Issue 3, February 2007, Pages 656–664
causal inference is not warranted on the basis of the present study

The Relationship Between Gun Ownership and Firearm Homicide Rates in the United States, 1981-2010
Siegel M, Ross C, King III C.
American Journal Of Public Health November 2013;103(11):2098-2105.
we could not determine causation


Sorry, Lance, but your own sources contradict your claim that correlation is evidence of causation.

In both of your claims above (the first one "correlation implies causation, and the second one "more guns cause more gun murders"), you have not cited any papers from a reputable and peer reviewed journal that actually support your position.

Whereas I have cited evidence from reputable and peer reviewed journals that contradicts your claims.

Thus by your own words, I have met your standard of evidence, and you have not.

End of story.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:57 pm

Xouper

You have defined 'implies ' as meaning "leads to a conclusion ".
I agreed with you that, by that definition, the slogan is correct.

However, the discussion went on beyond that point to query whether a correlation can suggest the likelihood of a causation. This is a separate question.

My view is simple. A correlation definitely suggests a causation relationship if it meets four conditions. Note that a causation relationship is any relationship between variables in which cause and effect drives the way the variables influence each other. That goes beyond one variable influencing a second. It might be a third variable influencing the other two, for example. This is not the same as your "spurious correlation".

Anyway, the four conditions under which correlation means a high probability of a causation relationship.
1. The correlation coefficient is 0.5 or larger.
2. The number 'n' is large (more than 20).
3. The research leading to the correlation is done competently.
4. The results are honest, representing good science. No cherry picking data.

The example I gave of broad leaves in the tropics and small leaves in the arctic meet those conditions.
This thesis is from a life time of studying science and carrying out my own scientific testing.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:28 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Xouper

You have defined 'implies ' as meaning "leads to a conclusion ".
I agreed with you that, by that definition, the slogan is correct.


OK, sorry, I must have missed that. Never mind. Moving on . . .


Lance Kennedy wrote:My view is simple. A correlation definitely suggests a causation relationship if it meets four conditions. . . .


I understand your conditions and I get where you are coming from.

The word "suggests" is still problematic because it is too ambiguous.

If you can suggest a word that means "piques one's curiosity regarding the existence of" a casual relation, then I will accept that.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:53 pm

Suggests means 'increases the probability of'.

For a scientist, your other meaning will also apply.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:24 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:My view is simple. A correlation definitely suggests a causation relationship if it meets four conditions. . . .
Lance Kennedy wrote:Suggests means 'increases the probability of'.


If you can cite a scientific paper published in a reputable and peer reviewed journal that supports your view, then you will have met your standard of evidence for your claim.

Otherwise, no.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:12 pm

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probabilistic_causation

It is known as probabilistic causation, Xouper.
Not expressed as an imperfect slogan, but the principle is widely accepted in science anyway.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:25 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probabilistic_causation

It is known as probabilistic causation, Xouper.
Not expressed as an imperfect slogan, but the principle is widely accepted in science anyway.


Sorry, Lance, but "probabilistic causation" is not the same concept as "correlation means a higher probability of causation".

The two concepts are not the same.

Nowhere in that article does it say, or even imply, that a strong correlation means a higher probability of causation.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Nikki Nyx » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:57 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Nikki

Funny.
Your salt and pepper idea in one sense aligns with my position in that you deny correlation without causation.
I do not "deny correlation without causation," nor can you quote me as saying that I do. Further, I provided you with a number of examples in which there was correlation, but no causation.

Lance Kennedy wrote:But Xouper is correct in one sense. You can have correlation without cause. Normally it is an incomplete correlation, in that collecting more data pairs will certainly undermine the calculation?
No need to explain a concept that I've stated myself.

Lance Kennedy wrote:The link between salt and pepper is real and has a cause. The cause, as you pointed out, is history, but that is still a cause.
I never said that there wasn't a cause. I said there wasn't a correlation between salt and pepper, and there isn't...absent the third variable: Louis XIV.
Salt + Pepper = no correlation
(Salt + Pepper) + Louis XIV = correlation
Clear? In the second equation, there is both correlation AND causation, because the variable "Louis XIV" CREATES the correlation and IS the cause. Omit the third variable, and you lose the correlation.

Let's try another example with a third variable:
Increase in Ice Cream Sales + Increase in Incidences of Murder = weak correlation solely because two variables increase at the same rate

Increase in Ice Cream Sales + Increase in Incidences of Murder + Heatwave = the third variable provides the missing information that explains the weak correlation, and is also the cause of the other two variables and their coincidental relationship
Here, the third variable creates the strong correlation and is the cause. If you omit the third variable, you have nothing. Just a bizarre coincidence from which no conclusions may be drawn.
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!
—Lazarus Long, from Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:12 pm

Nikki Nyx wrote:
Lance Kennedy wrote:The link between salt and pepper is real and has a cause. The cause, as you pointed out, is history, but that is still a cause.
I never said that there wasn't a cause. I said there wasn't a correlation between salt and pepper, and there isn't...absent the third variable: Louis XIV.
Salt + Pepper = no correlation
(Salt + Pepper) + Louis XIV = correlation
Clear? In the second equation, there is both correlation AND causation, because the variable "Louis XIV" CREATES the correlation and IS the cause. Omit the third variable, and you lose the correlation.


Um, I'm a bit unclear on what you are trying to say. :confused:

My first impression, which I assume is wrong, is that you are not using the word "correlation" correctly.

So, if I may ask, could you please clarify what you mean when you say there is no correlation between salt and pepper? Do they not appear on the dinner table together more often than not?

How does taking away the third variable "lose" that correlation?

What am I missing here? :confused:


Nikki Nyx wrote:Let's try another example with a third variable:
Increase in Ice Cream Sales + Increase in Incidences of Murder = weak correlation solely because two variables increase at the same rate

Increase in Ice Cream Sales + Increase in Incidences of Murder + Heatwave = the third variable provides the missing information that explains the weak correlation, and is also the cause of the other two variables and their coincidental relationship
Here, the third variable creates the strong correlation and is the cause. If you omit the third variable, you have nothing. Just a bizarre coincidence from which no conclusions may be drawn.


Confused again.

I don't understand what you mean when you say the correlation does not exist between ice cream sales and murder? Irrespective of the third variable, the correlation coefficient does not change. Without knowledge of the third variable it may seem a bizarre coincidence, but it is still a correlation.

What am I missing?

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:22 pm

Not missing anything, Xouper except an appreciation that a good correlation increases the probability of causation.

Nikki is simply restating what we both have said before, I do not think I have a disagreement with Nikki. Perhaps a little misunderstanding.

I have used the term 'causation relationship ' for any situation where variables are influencing each other via cause and effect. This can be a relationship of more than two. Nikki' s example of murder and ice cream is a case in point. Those two are causally related, but only via a third variable, temperature.

The slogans you have quoted, Xouper, tend to be a bit limited, and do not seem to recognise the causal relationship of three.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:54 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Not missing anything, Xouper except an appreciation that a good correlation increases the probability of causation.


Still waiting for that journal paper saying a good correlation increases the probability of causation.


Lance Kennedy wrote:The slogans you have quoted, Xouper, tend to be a bit limited, and do not seem to recognise the causal relationship of three.


I already explained that.

You do not get to redefine what the scientific community means when they use the term "causal relation".

If two variables A and B have a correlation, but A does not cause B, and B does not cause A, then there is no causal relation between A and B. Even in the case where there is a third variable C, then C causes A, and C causes B, but there is no causal relation between A and B. The causal relation is between C and A, and between C and B, but not between A and B.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:47 am

It is still cause and effect.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Nikki Nyx » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:42 am

xouper wrote:
Nikki Nyx wrote:
Lance Kennedy wrote:The link between salt and pepper is real and has a cause. The cause, as you pointed out, is history, but that is still a cause.
I never said that there wasn't a cause. I said there wasn't a correlation between salt and pepper, and there isn't...absent the third variable: Louis XIV.
Salt + Pepper = no correlation
(Salt + Pepper) + Louis XIV = correlation
Clear? In the second equation, there is both correlation AND causation, because the variable "Louis XIV" CREATES the correlation and IS the cause. Omit the third variable, and you lose the correlation.


Um, I'm a bit unclear on what you are trying to say. :confused:
I apologize if I've been unclear or allowed errors to creep into what I've posted. Between a change in medication and increased pain, I'm not getting much quality sleep. Give me a few moments to review my whole post, then respond. I know what I meant to say, but I may not have said it. :mrgreen:

I'll edit this post after my review, rather than posting a new response.
——————————
Edit: Ok, I think I see what I did. Let me try again.
Salt + Pepper = weak correlation, based solely on statistical significance
(Salt + Pepper) + Louis XIV = strong correlation, as well as causation
I failed to consider statistical significance as correlative. However, I maintain that the correlation is quite weak, and the strong correlation is not created unless the two variables of the weak correlation are taken in combination.
Salt + Louis XIV = weak or no correlation
Pepper + Louis XIV = weak or no correlation
but
(Salt + Pepper) + Louis XIV = strong correlation
I hope that makes more sense. If not, I’ll try again after the fuzzy head goes away.

The second example is different from the first.
Increase in Ice Cream Sales + Increase in Incidences of Murder = weak correlation, based solely on the rates of increase paralleling each other

(Increase in Ice Cream Sales + Increase in Incidences of Murder) + Heatwave = while the third variable is the cause of both Increase in Ice Cream Sales and Increase in Incidences of Murder, it doesn't strengthen the correlation between the two

Increase in Ice Cream Sales + Heatwave = strong correlation
Increase in Incidences of Murder + Heatwave = strong correlation
but
Increase in Ice Cream Sales + Increase in Incidences of Murder = weak correlation
Hopefully, this makes more sense. I’m having difficulty concentrating, like I’m trying to juggle running chainsaws whilst being on fire. On an escalator. Yeesh.
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!
—Lazarus Long, from Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:43 am

Nikki

It is quite clear to me.

You have to make allowances for Xouper. Anyone who believes that accidental correlations, based on random assortment of numbers, can be used for effective predictions, has to be a bit slow mentally.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:03 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Nikki

It is quite clear to me.

You have to make allowances for Xouper. Anyone who believes that accidental correlations, based on random assortment of numbers, can be used for effective predictions, has to be a bit slow mentally.


Lance, making false disparaging comments about me personally does not refute my arguments, nor is it in any way helpful to the discussion. It just makes you look petty.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:30 am

Nikki Nyx wrote:
xouper wrote:
Nikki Nyx wrote:
Lance Kennedy wrote:The link between salt and pepper is real and has a cause. The cause, as you pointed out, is history, but that is still a cause.
I never said that there wasn't a cause. I said there wasn't a correlation between salt and pepper, and there isn't...absent the third variable: Louis XIV.
Salt + Pepper = no correlation
(Salt + Pepper) + Louis XIV = correlation
Clear? In the second equation, there is both correlation AND causation, because the variable "Louis XIV" CREATES the correlation and IS the cause. Omit the third variable, and you lose the correlation.


Um, I'm a bit unclear on what you are trying to say. :confused:
I apologize if I've been unclear or allowed errors to creep into what I've posted. Between a change in medication and increased pain, I'm not getting much quality sleep. Give me a few moments to review my whole post, then respond. I know what I meant to say, but I may not have said it. :mrgreen:

I'll edit this post after my review, rather than posting a new response.
——————————
Edit: Ok, I think I see what I did. Let me try again.
Salt + Pepper = weak correlation, based solely on statistical significance
(Salt + Pepper) + Louis XIV = strong correlation, as well as causation
I failed to consider statistical significance as correlative. However, I maintain that the correlation is quite weak, and the strong correlation is not created unless the two variables of the weak correlation are taken in combination.
Salt + Louis XIV = weak or no correlation
Pepper + Louis XIV = weak or no correlation
but
(Salt + Pepper) + Louis XIV = strong correlation
I hope that makes more sense. If not, I’ll try again after the fuzzy head goes away.

The second example is different from the first.
Increase in Ice Cream Sales + Increase in Incidences of Murder = weak correlation, based solely on the rates of increase paralleling each other

(Increase in Ice Cream Sales + Increase in Incidences of Murder) + Heatwave = while the third variable is the cause of both Increase in Ice Cream Sales and Increase in Incidences of Murder, it doesn't strengthen the correlation between the two

Increase in Ice Cream Sales + Heatwave = strong correlation
Increase in Incidences of Murder + Heatwave = strong correlation
but
Increase in Ice Cream Sales + Increase in Incidences of Murder = weak correlation
Hopefully, this makes more sense. I’m having difficulty concentrating, like I’m trying to juggle running chainsaws whilst being on fire. On an escalator. Yeesh.


I hear ya. Trouble concentrating, been there done that, although I cannot imagine what it is like for you in this circumstance. The conversation can wait, your well being is more important.

In any case, I am not any more clear on what you are trying to say. It still seems to me you are using the word "correlation" incorrectly.

A correlation in this context is nothing more than a statistical relationship between two variables, often expressed using a Pearson Correlation Coefficient, if the relation is sufficiently linear.

Perhaps you have something else in mind that would be better served using a different word?

If two variables A and B have a correlation coefficient of say .82, then adding a third variable C to the conversation does not change that correlation. It is still .82. Knowing about a third variable C as a cause for A and B does not strengthen the correlation (i.e. increase the correlation coefficient) between A and B.

So it is still not clear to me what you are trying to say.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Nikki Nyx » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:22 pm

xouper wrote:I hear ya. Trouble concentrating, been there done that, although I cannot imagine what it is like for you in this circumstance. The conversation can wait, your well being is more important.
Oh, I'm fine. Just slightly embarrassed and exceedingly frustrated because I can't seem to translate the thoughts in my head into words in a post. :oops:

xouper wrote:In any case, I am not any more clear on what you are trying to say. It still seems to me you are using the word "correlation" incorrectly. A correlation in this context is nothing more than a statistical relationship between two variables, often expressed using a Pearson Correlation Coefficient, if the relation is sufficiently linear.
Yes, I understand that, and don't believe I'm using the word incorrectly, just having difficulty explaining how I'm thinking about the relationships between the variables, and in what context. I accepted "weak correlation" for salt and pepper, because globally, it is weak. In cultures influenced by French history, there is a strong correlation. But for large parts of the world, the correlation is nonexistent.

xouper wrote:If two variables A and B have a correlation coefficient of say .82, then adding a third variable C to the conversation does not change that correlation. It is still .82. Knowing about a third variable C as a cause for A and B does not strengthen the correlation (i.e. increase the correlation coefficient) between A and B.
What I assumed, and therefore didn't explain, was that my use of parentheses would be interpreted as it is in mathematic equations. So, in this equation:
(Salt + Pepper) + Louis XIV = strong correlation
...I'm using the parentheses to indicate that salt and pepper are combined into one variable which, with Louis XIV, is a strong correlation (and also causation). I did, in my last post, separate the two to show the difference:
Salt + Louis XIV = weak or no correlation
Pepper + Louis XIV = weak or no correlation
but
(Salt + Pepper) + Louis XIV = strong correlation
...but didn't explain my methods.

Also, I believe I screwed this part up in the second example. Aarrgghh!! You know, I'm ok dealing with the damn pain all the time, but the cognitive fog is horribly frustrating. And embarrassing. I actually typed the non-word "unpolitely" yesterday and didn't see anything wrong with it until the third time I reviewed what I'd written. :roll:

When I home schooled my daughter for a couple years (due to her medical issues), I always approached teaching from the viewpoint that if she was unable to comprehend the concept I had explained, the fault was with me, not her. So I'd revise my explanation—multiple times, if necessary—until she did comprehend the concept. This situation feels similar: It's not you, xouper; it's me. :mrgreen:
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!
—Lazarus Long, from Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby Nikki Nyx » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:56 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Nikki

It is quite clear to me.

You have to make allowances for Xouper. Anyone who believes that accidental correlations, based on random assortment of numbers, can be used for effective predictions, has to be a bit slow mentally.
Lance, accusing other members of idiocy during a discussion or debate, merely because they disagree with your opinion, is both childish and rude. I don't believe you'd enjoy it were it directed at you. We are all different in age, gender, ability, and expertise, but we do share a common viewpoint that valid evidence is what leads to a factual conclusion, do we not?

You've stated yourself the quality of the evidence that is required. Yet you habitually make statements without presenting the evidence you demand from others. For example:
Anyone who believes that accidental correlations, based on random assortment of numbers, can be used for effective predictions, has to be a bit slow mentally.
Here, you've made an unsupported conclusion and a generalization. I can prove your statement to be false without a single second of research into the concept of correlations being used for effective predictions.
Children frequently believe that coincidences constitute correlation, and correlation equates to causation, and believe that effective predictions can be made. This does not mean that children are "a bit slow mentally." Therefore, your generalization and conclusion are false.


Three things, then:
1. You've stated that it's unusual for a person to admit he is wrong, and that you find this quality admirable. Why not try it yourself? No one is correct all the time, including you...even if you won't admit it.
2. The ad homs only hurt you in the long run. It makes people not want to engage you, because it's like walking on eggs where some of the eggs are grenades. Frankly, I scroll past a lot of what you post, because it's too much work to engage you when you don't bother providing evidence, you habitually indulge in ad homs, and you never admit your errors.
3. Based on your past behavior, I believe I can effectively predict that you will continue to attack anyone who doesn't agree with you, and that you will never admit it when you're wrong. Feel free to prove that my conclusion is false, which you can do this with one humble post. But if you revert, I can simply make the same prediction again. And, statistically, it will be a long time before the correlation ceases to exist.
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!
—Lazarus Long, from Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby xouper » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:47 pm

Nikki Nyx wrote:. . . just having difficulty explaining how I'm thinking about the relationships between the variables, and in what context. I accepted "weak correlation" for salt and pepper, because globally, it is weak. In cultures influenced by French history, there is a strong correlation. But for large parts of the world, the correlation is nonexistent.


That explains the part I was missing. Thanks.

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Re: 50 debunked Science misconceptions

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:55 pm

Ha, ha..............children are "slow" wits when it comes to Adult capabilities.

.........and the set up only requires changing slow witted to childish thinking.

Like salt and pepper.... you can pick the context and get opposite results.
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