Yes, yes, we know
….Correlation DOES NOT equal causation, but deciphering all of the data we’re bombarded with everyday can be challenging.
Here are a few examples of correlation vs. causation I dug up, in order of absurdity. Some examples are so ridiculous that you should recognize them immediately as miss-use of correlation vs. causation data, but others will make you think a little more about what data we need to make conclusions about what is really going on.
(1) The Cuteness Effect: More Bunnies = Less War. This figure from an internet meme site shows how ridiculous relationships can be constructed from almost any data.
(2) Drill Baby, Drill: US Oil production mirrors Quality of Rock Music. This plot has an accompanying “theoretical” blog post, which you can read here.
(3) Bring on the Oreos: Organic Food Is Causing Autism. This plot from grist shows a supposed relationship between organic food and autism…I think we need more data!
(4) Getting Hotter: Global Climate Change. This plot is from NASA shows a correlation in historic data between Carbon Dioxide, Methane, and Temperature. How is this plot different from the others? It’s backed up with massive amounts of DATA !