Friday, September 15, 2006

Correlation Is Not Causation, Folks

Scientists need to learn the difference between correlation and causation. Just because two sets of data have the same trend over the same period of time does not mean that one trend caused the other. The good folks at the church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have demonstrated this with their priceless pirate/global warming graph.

Now, another group of scientists has been so kind as to demonstrate the difference between correlation and causation, albeit unintentionally. Feast your eyes upon the alcohol/income study of 2006. This wonderful paper proves, beyond a doubt, that drinking causes your income to increase.

No wonder the cost of living in Utah is so low.

Given, the researchers make some good points, including the point that social networking is extremely important when it comes to advancing in corporate circles and thus increasing your income. But linking social networking to alcohol is somewhat silly; partygoers could just as easily be drinking Coca-Cola or lemonade as a glass of red wine. Furthermore, the study is skewed by the fact that more well-off people can afford more alcohol than their less affluent neighbors. And the fact that a lot of poorer country areas contain "dry counties" where alcohol cannot be purchased.

But I'm choosing to buy into this study. If you need me, I'll be on my back porch drinking a fifth of whiskey and waiting for the money to roll in.

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