If It’s A Spurious Correlation, It Leads

Correlation doesn’t equal causation.

Every kid with a decent junior high science teacher knew that by, well, the end of junior high.

But Millennials didn’t have good science teachers. Seriously – how did medical schools find students, much less graduate doctors, over this past 15 years?

But I digress.

It also seems to be what passes for “Journalism” lately.

To wit – according to the WaPo, a spike in violent urban crime over the past three months “followed” the greatest wave in history of people…

  1. Standing in line, sometimes for hours
  2. Digging through diminished stock
  3. Taking a federal background check (sometimes, as in Minnesota, twice) and often jumping through other permitting hoops
  4. Buying a gun legally

“led to” a spike in violent crime.

Not dumb enough for you?

“We find that states where individuals are more likely to search for racial epithets experienced larger increases in June firearm sales,” they wrote, “even after adjusting for the personal security concerns that likely generated the March spikes in gun sales.” This is a new development: Running the same analysis on previous spikes in gun-buying yielded no correlation between racial animus and purchasing behavior.

No, it’s not the Babylon Bee. But it’s pretty damn close.

Question for the “reporters” involved: why are we so sure it’s not the other way around – that the crime wave didn’t cause the surge?

The death rate for media credibility is way ahead of the one for Covid.

8 thoughts on “If It’s A Spurious Correlation, It Leads

  1. where individuals are more likely to search for racial epithets

    This is ridiculous in its purpose and also how it is used. I mean, it’s kinda surprising how dumb it is.

  2. People search for racial epithets? As if “racists” didn’t have enough on hand and where looking for something to jazz up the next poker game?

  3. Exactly, NW! I was going to write exactly what you wrote because it was so dumb, but I wanted to check again. My browser apparently has too many WashPo cookies to read the source, so I let it go. Thanks for the confirmation.

  4. jdm, it appears they do not teach English and grammar in journalism school either.

  5. “The authors caution that a study of this nature cannot prove causality . . . .” Then what’s the point of the article?

    A lot of people bought guns. And there’s more gun violence. So obviously, people buying more guns caused more gun violence. It stands to reason.

    In other news, I got out of bed this morning. Later, the sun rose. So obviously, my getting out of bed caused the sun to rise. It stands to reason.

    “Post hoc ergo prompter hoc” must be Latin for I’m a Howling Idiot.

  6. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 07.16.20 : The Other McCain

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