Correlation and causation

Split from 'Who Made God?' thread

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else below.

Moderators: Calilasseia, ADParker

Correlation and causation

#1  Postby Hermit » Jan 09, 2020 4:31 pm

Meh. Causation is just our label for the feeling that correlation has been transcended somehow.

Image
God is the mysterious veil under which we hide our ignorance of the cause. - Léo Errera


God created the universe
God just exists
User avatar
Hermit
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 3577
Age: 66
Male

Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Who Made God?

#2  Postby Cito di Pense » Jan 10, 2020 11:29 am

Hermit wrote:Meh. Causation is just our label for the feeling that correlation has been transcended somehow.


That's what Schrödinger's cat is up to when not on lab duty. A convenient explanation is that the guy on the bench farted, startling the pigeons, who were just having a nice MPG of some variant of chess.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
User avatar
Cito di Pense
 
Name: Fay Smask
Posts: 29222
Age: 23
Male

Country: The Heartland
Mongolia (mn)
Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#3  Postby Hermit » Jan 10, 2020 12:38 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
Hermit wrote:Meh. Causation is just our label for the feeling that correlation has been transcended somehow.

That's what Schrödinger's cat is up to when not on lab duty. A convenient explanation is that the guy on the bench farted, startling the pigeons, who were just having a nice MPG of some variant of chess.

Explanations are more a matter of what works for us than what is convenient, but until we find an objective criterion by which we can recognise causality we can only work with correlations. Nothing wrong with that, of course. Becoming aware of correlations is what helps survival. It even applies to pigeons. Unfortunately, it does not always work that way, as the inductivist Turkey discovered when its head was about to be separated from its neck.
God is the mysterious veil under which we hide our ignorance of the cause. - Léo Errera


God created the universe
God just exists
User avatar
Hermit
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 3577
Age: 66
Male

Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#4  Postby Spearthrower » Jan 10, 2020 12:59 pm

I think you've gone a bit far with The Black Swan

Was the appearance of your post on the screen after - but not before - you pressed 'submit' just correlation?
I'm not an atheist; I just don't believe in gods :- that which I don't belong to isn't a group!
Religion: Mass Stockholm Syndrome

Learn Stuff. Stuff good. https://www.coursera.org/
User avatar
Spearthrower
 
Posts: 27415
Age: 44
Male

Country: Thailand
Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#5  Postby Hermit » Jan 10, 2020 1:57 pm

Spearthrower wrote:I think you've gone a bit far with The Black Swan

Was the appearance of your post on the screen after - but not before - you pressed 'submit' just correlation?

Never mind the Black Swan. I want to see an objective criterion by which we can distinguish between correlation and causality. As unlikely as the chances of my post appearing before I pressed 'submit' are, this is not it. You just cited a non-existent correlation in an attempt to argue that the extant correlation must therefore be an instance of causation.
God is the mysterious veil under which we hide our ignorance of the cause. - Léo Errera


God created the universe
God just exists
User avatar
Hermit
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 3577
Age: 66
Male

Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#6  Postby Spearthrower » Jan 10, 2020 3:12 pm

Hermit wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:I think you've gone a bit far with The Black Swan

Was the appearance of your post on the screen after - but not before - you pressed 'submit' just correlation?


Never mind the Black Swan. I want to see an objective criterion by which we can distinguish between correlation and causality. As unlikely as the chances of my post appearing before I pressed 'submit' are, this is not it. You just cited a non-existent correlation in an attempt to argue that the extant correlation must therefore be an instance of causation.



Ok, I propose that you don't press 'submit' on any message at all, and wait to see if one of your posts happens to appear on this webforum absent that cause. Small steps, Hermit.
I'm not an atheist; I just don't believe in gods :- that which I don't belong to isn't a group!
Religion: Mass Stockholm Syndrome

Learn Stuff. Stuff good. https://www.coursera.org/
User avatar
Spearthrower
 
Posts: 27415
Age: 44
Male

Country: Thailand
Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#7  Postby GrahamH » Jan 10, 2020 3:30 pm

Hermit wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:I think you've gone a bit far with The Black Swan

Was the appearance of your post on the screen after - but not before - you pressed 'submit' just correlation?

Never mind the Black Swan. I want to see an objective criterion by which we can distinguish between correlation and causality. As unlikely as the chances of my post appearing before I pressed 'submit' are, this is not it. You just cited a non-existent correlation in an attempt to argue that the extant correlation must therefore be an instance of causation.


Maybe consider the difference between superstition and engineering.
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 20385

Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Who Made God?

#8  Postby Hermit » Jan 10, 2020 3:34 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
Hermit wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:I think you've gone a bit far with The Black Swan

Was the appearance of your post on the screen after - but not before - you pressed 'submit' just correlation?

Never mind the Black Swan. I want to see an objective criterion by which we can distinguish between correlation and causality. As unlikely as the chances of my post appearing before I pressed 'submit' are, this is not it. You just cited a non-existent correlation in an attempt to argue that the extant correlation must therefore be an instance of causation.

Ok, I propose that you don't press 'submit' on any message at all, and wait to see if one of your posts happens to appear on this webforum absent that cause. Small steps, Hermit.

No objective criterion by which we can distinguish between correlation and causality, then? Rightio. Thanks for nothing.
God is the mysterious veil under which we hide our ignorance of the cause. - Léo Errera


God created the universe
God just exists
User avatar
Hermit
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 3577
Age: 66
Male

Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#9  Postby Hermit » Jan 10, 2020 3:39 pm

GrahamH wrote:
Hermit wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:I think you've gone a bit far with The Black Swan

Was the appearance of your post on the screen after - but not before - you pressed 'submit' just correlation?

Never mind the Black Swan. I want to see an objective criterion by which we can distinguish between correlation and causality. As unlikely as the chances of my post appearing before I pressed 'submit' are, this is not it. You just cited a non-existent correlation in an attempt to argue that the extant correlation must therefore be an instance of causation.

Maybe consider the difference between superstition and engineering.

What bearing would that have on how we can objectively distinguish between correlation and causality?
God is the mysterious veil under which we hide our ignorance of the cause. - Léo Errera


God created the universe
God just exists
User avatar
Hermit
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 3577
Age: 66
Male

Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#10  Postby GrahamH » Jan 10, 2020 3:43 pm

Hermit wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
Hermit wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:I think you've gone a bit far with The Black Swan

Was the appearance of your post on the screen after - but not before - you pressed 'submit' just correlation?

Never mind the Black Swan. I want to see an objective criterion by which we can distinguish between correlation and causality. As unlikely as the chances of my post appearing before I pressed 'submit' are, this is not it. You just cited a non-existent correlation in an attempt to argue that the extant correlation must therefore be an instance of causation.

Maybe consider the difference between superstition and engineering.

What bearing would that have on how we can objectively distinguish between correlation and causality?


Correlation ignores mechanism.
But if you want to witter on about metaphysics you can fuck off.
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 20385

Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#11  Postby Spearthrower » Jan 10, 2020 3:52 pm

Hermit wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
Hermit wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:I think you've gone a bit far with The Black Swan

Was the appearance of your post on the screen after - but not before - you pressed 'submit' just correlation?

Never mind the Black Swan. I want to see an objective criterion by which we can distinguish between correlation and causality. As unlikely as the chances of my post appearing before I pressed 'submit' are, this is not it. You just cited a non-existent correlation in an attempt to argue that the extant correlation must therefore be an instance of causation.

Ok, I propose that you don't press 'submit' on any message at all, and wait to see if one of your posts happens to appear on this webforum absent that cause. Small steps, Hermit.


No objective criterion by which we can distinguish between correlation and causality, then? Rightio. Thanks for nothing.



WOW! You managed to post without clicking the submit button?

Are you looking to show us how we'd survive as a forum in the absence of jamest and aufbahrung?
I'm not an atheist; I just don't believe in gods :- that which I don't belong to isn't a group!
Religion: Mass Stockholm Syndrome

Learn Stuff. Stuff good. https://www.coursera.org/
User avatar
Spearthrower
 
Posts: 27415
Age: 44
Male

Country: Thailand
Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#12  Postby Spearthrower » Jan 10, 2020 3:55 pm

Ain't mystification fun?
I'm not an atheist; I just don't believe in gods :- that which I don't belong to isn't a group!
Religion: Mass Stockholm Syndrome

Learn Stuff. Stuff good. https://www.coursera.org/
User avatar
Spearthrower
 
Posts: 27415
Age: 44
Male

Country: Thailand
Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#13  Postby GrahamH » Jan 10, 2020 3:58 pm

Hermit wrote:Becoming aware of correlations is what helps survival. It even applies to pigeons. Unfortunately, it does not always work that way, as the inductivist Turkey discovered when its head was about to be separated from its neck.


Are you really unable to grasp the difference between being able to design mechanisms by applying laws of physics and superstition about the reliability of a turkey farmer? :nono:
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 20385

Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#14  Postby Spearthrower » Jan 10, 2020 4:00 pm

Farewell Physics; it was fun!
I'm not an atheist; I just don't believe in gods :- that which I don't belong to isn't a group!
Religion: Mass Stockholm Syndrome

Learn Stuff. Stuff good. https://www.coursera.org/
User avatar
Spearthrower
 
Posts: 27415
Age: 44
Male

Country: Thailand
Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#15  Postby Spearthrower » Jan 10, 2020 4:03 pm

GrahamH wrote:
Hermit wrote:Becoming aware of correlations is what helps survival. It even applies to pigeons. Unfortunately, it does not always work that way, as the inductivist Turkey discovered when its head was about to be separated from its neck.


Are you really unable to grasp the difference between being able to design mechanisms by applying laws of physics and superstition about the reliability of a turkey farmer? :nono:



I wouldn't read too much into it: Hermit's clearly just read The Black Swan and got just a little bit too carried away with it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black ... validation

The third chapter introduces the concepts of Extremistan and Mediocristan. He uses them as guides to define the predictability of the environment one is studying. Mediocristan environments can safely use Gaussian distribution. In Extremistan environments, a Gaussian distribution should be used at one's own peril. Chapter four brings together the topics discussed earlier into a narrative about a turkey who is fed and treated well for many consecutive days, only to be slaughtered and served as a meal. Taleb uses it to illustrate the philosophical problem of induction and how past performance is no indicator of future performance.
I'm not an atheist; I just don't believe in gods :- that which I don't belong to isn't a group!
Religion: Mass Stockholm Syndrome

Learn Stuff. Stuff good. https://www.coursera.org/
User avatar
Spearthrower
 
Posts: 27415
Age: 44
Male

Country: Thailand
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Who Made God?

#16  Postby GrahamH » Jan 10, 2020 4:11 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
Hermit wrote:Becoming aware of correlations is what helps survival. It even applies to pigeons. Unfortunately, it does not always work that way, as the inductivist Turkey discovered when its head was about to be separated from its neck.


Are you really unable to grasp the difference between being able to design mechanisms by applying laws of physics and superstition about the reliability of a turkey farmer? :nono:



I wouldn't read too much into it: Hermit's clearly just read The Black Swan and got just a little bit too carried away with it.

Taleb uses it to illustrate the philosophical problem of induction and how past performance is no indicator of future performance.


Indeed, but clearly past performance can be a very reliable indicator of future performance for certain types of system. It's not a metaphysical guarantee, we can imagine fantastical hypotheticals where the laws of physics change arbitrarily, but there is no sign of a turkey farmer, is there? If induction were used with rigour a smart turkey could discover what to expect near Xmas and Easter.
Why do you think that?
GrahamH
 
Posts: 20385

Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#17  Postby Hermit » Jan 10, 2020 4:13 pm

GrahamH wrote:Correlation ignores mechanism.

Sentient beings find correlations between x and y all the time. It's plain, empirically based pattern recognition and it's how they survive. Until they get them wrong. The trick is to which empirically observed correlations are valid and which are not.

GrahamH wrote:But if you want to witter on about metaphysics you can fuck off.

I hate metaphysics. What I'm asking for is an objective criterion by which we can distinguish between correlation and causality. Insisting on the existence of causality without being able to empirically prove it is metaphysics.
God is the mysterious veil under which we hide our ignorance of the cause. - Léo Errera


God created the universe
God just exists
User avatar
Hermit
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 3577
Age: 66
Male

Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#18  Postby Thommo » Jan 10, 2020 4:15 pm

Two of the differences between causation and correlation (other than one being a statistical relationship and the other being a physical relationship) are temporal ordering and presence of a mechanism.

For example, only three of the following are (regarded to be) true: Smoking is correlated with lung cancer, lung cancer is correlated with smoking, smoking causes lung cancer and lung cancer causes smoking. The first two are equivalent, the latter two are not.

There are epistemological constraints on when (and if) one can infer causation from correlation, but those exist at a practical level, not at the level of the concepts. One can apply hyperskepticism to the concept, but it's no more or less valid than applying hyperskepticism to other concepts, like existence vs. nonexistence of the universe, yourself or anything else.
User avatar
Thommo
 
Posts: 26874

Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#19  Postby Hermit » Jan 10, 2020 4:17 pm

Spearthrower wrote:Are you looking to show us how we'd survive as a forum in the absence of jamest and aufbahrung?

No. I want to see an objective criterion by which we can distinguish between correlation and causality.
God is the mysterious veil under which we hide our ignorance of the cause. - Léo Errera


God created the universe
God just exists
User avatar
Hermit
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 3577
Age: 66
Male

Print view this post

Re: Who Made God?

#20  Postby Hermit » Jan 10, 2020 4:27 pm

Spearthrower wrote:Ain't mystification fun?

For those who feel that causation exists without being able to provide an objective criterion by which we might recognise it as such.

In order to forestall any misunderstanding regarding my stance, I am not asserting that there is no such thing as causation. In fact, every time I act on a correlation it is because I assume there's a causal link between x and y. The problem is that I just cannot tell whether there is that causal link, or whether I am just another inductivist Turkey.
God is the mysterious veil under which we hide our ignorance of the cause. - Léo Errera


God created the universe
God just exists
User avatar
Hermit
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 3577
Age: 66
Male

Print view this post

Next

Return to General Science & Technology

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest