Spurious Causations

What has the biggest association with death?

Cardiovascular disease?

Malignancy?

Suicide?

Motor vehicle accidents?

No.

The answer is birth. 100% of people who are born also die.

But while birth is a necessary precursor to death, is it fair to say that birth causes death? Hardly, unless you’re in an existential crisis.

Beware the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy; just because Event B follows Event A does not mean that A causes B.

References

  1. Dawes, R. M., & Kagan, J. (1988). Rational choice in an uncertain world. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
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