Correlation Does Not Mean Cause

So, American “scientists” discovered that female college students who have multiple sex partners have lower grades than those who have a constant partner.

OK, that’s correlation. What the “scientists” derived – at least according to newspaper articles – was that their grades were related to their sex pattern. Well, I sincerely hope that this was a (certainly convenient) misinterpretation by the papers.

As a scientist you should point out that the correlation can, but does not necessarily mean, a causal relationship. There could also be

  • a common cause for both
  • a completely random correlation

In this case I am tempted to say that there is a common cause behind both, which is a certain lack of intell …  oh well, now I start speculating, and I’d better shut my trap.

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