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The Cause vs Correlation Pitch

Pitch Type:  Analytical 

The Cause vs Correlation Pitch says that the evidence may show a correlation but that it does not show causation.

What's a Pitch?

A pitch is a label for a commonly used argument or persuasion strategy.

Blog Post on Pitches


Willy Pedersen    Sociology Professor
The findings suggest that exposure to cannabis by itself does not lead to depression but that it may be associated with later suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Eric Neumayer    Economics Professor
This article argues that the link between income inequality and violent property crime might be spurious, complementing a similar argument [...] by the author on the determinants of homicide. ... [The link] might be spurious [because] income inequality is likely to be strongly correlated with country-specific fixed effects such as cultural differences. A high degree of inequality might be socially undesirable for any number of reasons, but that it causes violent crime is far from proven.

Denis Rancourt    Physics Professor
CO2 increases may accompany temperature increases rather than causing them. Indeed, some high resolution studies have suggested that the temperature increases precede the CO2 increases. Interestingly, also, ice core data shows strong temporal correlations between inferred temp. and amount of dust preserved in the ice core. Finally, the older geological record shows several dramatic examples of where CO2 concentration and global average temperature were either unrelated or even anti-correlated.

Robin Hanson    Economics Professor
So we don’t have clear evidence that smoking kills; it could be that most or all of the death-smoking correlations are due to selection effects, and not smoking causing death. ... Apparently we need bigger trials if we are going to see clearly if smoking kills. Alas the era of the large risk trial seems to be over, at least for now; it seems it will be a long time before we really know.

Drug Policy Alliance    Organization
Marijuana does not cause people to use hard drugs. What the gateway theory presents as a causal explanation is a statistic association between common and uncommon drugs, an association that changes over time as different drugs increase and decrease in prevalence. ... Indeed, for the large majority of people, marijuana is a terminus rather than a gateway drug.