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Links With Your Coffee - Wednesday

Coffee Cup

Confusing correlation with causation. Post hoc ergo propter hoc. These are two of the most common errors human beings make. Indeed, they're natural errors that our brains appear hard-wired to make, and, without scientific training, it's virtually impossible to avoid making the conclusion that, because two occurrences correlate with each other they must be related or because and event precedes the onset of a condition (like autism), then that something must have caused that condition. One can see how, living in the wilderness, seeing patterns and causes quickly was likely to be beneficial more often than it was harmful, but in today's world, not so much. Worse, in coming to scientific conclusions, post hoc explanations and confusing correlation with causation, as natural as they feel and as convincing as they seem, all too often lead to leaping to conclusions that are utterly incorrect.

Howdy How y'all, its your friendly neighborhood genetically modified organism, here, Frank N. Foode. I greet each sunrise with my chloroplast grana revving up their photosystems with the incoming light. Before long I am splitting water and ready to greet the world. Then I check my twitter feed (as all plants should). This morning I was in for a bit of a shock - and I don't mean from the cold morning air.


 

Comments

re: a good cup of coffee.

A favorite Auntie observed the words of wisdom and never drank coffee. A gracious hostess nonetheless, she kept a jar of instant on hand for guests.

I once mistakenly accepted her offer of such, only to discover it was the same jar of coffee that had been on the shelf for decades. Ugh. T'was foul enough to swear one off the stuff altogether and forever. wait... sweet Auntie with an ulterior motive? nah, couldn't be.

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