Does Correlation Imply Causation?


Quick Answer

No correlation does not imply causation. It is important to note the difference between the two terms. Correlation means that two events occur at about the same time and might be associated with one another, but are not necessarily caused by one another, while causation means that one event is directly caused by another.

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Full Answer

There are many situations when two things happen in the same time period repeatedly, and it is easy to assume that one is causing the other in some way. For example, as the rate of ice cream sales increases each year so do the rate of drownings. It is therefore easy to think that the two must be somehow connected, but the truth is that ice cream sales do not in any way cause drownings. However, ice cream sales go up each year in the summer, which is the same time that more people go swimming. The summer heat is the common cause of both events and thus the reason for the correlation.

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