Correlation does not imply causation

Well, I don’t particularly know why but I was reading about the housing market and
this jumped out at me:

“…There are a lot of figures out there that suggest owning a home is a no brain decision. And, it leads to shame for those who have not bought a home. One of the statistics that I cringe at every time that I hear it is the average net worth of a non-home owner is $4,000 and $184,000 for home owners according to the Federal Reserve. So, this statistic implies that if you own your home, you will be rich. However, before you buy this completely, let’s consider a few things:

Recent college graduates tend to rent and have sizable student loans (so negative net worth)

Low income workers can only afford a minimal apartment and have low net worth

Older workers tend to be homeowners and have retirement savings that count towards net worth

So, what came first the chicken or the egg? Do you need a higher net worth to afford to own a home or did the home make you have a high net worth? Yes, homes are a good investment (as are stocks, bonds, etc.). Yet, does home ownership make you rich or does saving over a long period of time make you rich? If you factor in age, income, and % of income saved (either in home or in stock & bonds), the statistics in net worth of home owners and renters would be drastically different. For me, I saved money before I bought my house. Thus, my net worth lead me to be able to be a home owner. And, owning a home has not significantly increased my net worth (due to living in Mid-West where home prices have not increased significantly).”

That reminded me of a phrase I sometimes heard in online arguments–Correlation does not imply causation…

A quick trip over to the Great Wiki and I found this:

“As ice cream sales increase, the rate of drowning deaths increases sharply.
Therefore, ice cream consumption causes drowning.

The aforementioned example fails to recognize the importance of time and temperature in relationship to ice cream sales. Ice cream is sold during the hot summer months at a much greater rate than during colder times, and it is during these hot summer months that people are more likely to engage in activities involving water, such as swimming. The increased drowning deaths are simply caused by more exposure to water-based activities, not ice cream. The stated conclusion is false.”

Well, I remember from one of Edgar Allan Poe’s detective stories hearing the term “a priori, a posteriori.”

A Priori is Latin for “from the before.”

A Posteriori is “from the latter.”

From the–

a pri·o·ri

1. Proceeding from a known or assumed cause to a necessarily related effect; deductive.
a. Derived by or designating the process of reasoning without reference to particular facts or experience.
b. Knowable without appeal to particular experience.
3. Made before or without examination; not supported by factual study.


a pos·te·ri·o·ri

1. Derived by or designating the process of reasoning from facts or particulars to general principles or from effects to causes; inductive; empirical.
a. Justified by appeal to experience.
b. Knowable from experience.

More from The Great Wiki:

“The terms “a priori” and “a posteriori” are used in philosophy to distinguish two different types of knowledge, justification, or argument: ‘a priori knowledge’ is known independently of experience (conceptual knowledge), and “a posteriori knowledge” is proven through experience.”

and an example my manosphere “buddies” might like:

“a posteriori knowledge or justification is dependent on experience or empirical evidence (for example “Some bachelors are very happy”). A posteriori justification makes reference to experience; but the issue concerns how one knows the proposition or claim in question—what justifies or grounds one’s belief in it.”

Now, upon doing some digging, I found this.

“…Many consider mathematical truths to be a priori, because they are true regardless of experiment or observation. For example:

2 + 2 = 4

The above is a statement which can be known a priori.

When used in reference to arguments, it means an argument which argues solely from general principles and through logical inferences.”

Then I dug a little further and found this.

“…It is claimed that mathematics is a higher form of knowledge. That even if the world around us doesn’t exist, mathematics is still true. That it is a form of knowledge that we can be certain of, even if we deny reality.

How do they make such a statement? First, they see that mathematics is the science of units, and any units are acceptable. I could have said trucks instead of apples above. The validity would be the same. It is true without reference to any unit.

This sounds okay at first. The problem stems from the method of deriving the mathematical abstractions. Teach a child to do simple arithmetic, and you’ll recognize that to gain the knowledge of math, one must use some units. Maybe apples. Maybe oranges. It doesn’t matter which units. It does matter, though, that some unit is picked. To grasp math, one needs a foundation. Particulars from which an abstraction can be made.

Calling mathematics a priori, or knowledge independent of reality, is to undercut its base. This is the essence of the second meaning of a priori. The meaning that is actually used. An abstraction is made from particulars. Once the abstraction is made, the process from which it was derived is then ignored. The base on which it was built is denied. The abstract knowledge is then said to exist without reference to reality, since the reference is ignored.”

at this point, my deranged brain recalled a lyric from a Living Colour song:

“Everything Is Possible and Nothing Is Real.”

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