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Unformatted text preview: Correlations May Not Prove the Cause Often the observation of a correlation between two observables is used to proclaim a cause- effect relationship between them. For example, suppose that there was a possible correlation between sex education in schools and a recent rise in venereal disease and teenage pregnancy. One could say that sex education has caused the rise in VD and teen pregnancy, but the scientist cannot say that without a more detailed investigation. After all, there are many other factors that could be the causal agent behind this problem. A rise in the population of teenagers is possible, causing every activity related to teenagers to go up: automobile accidents or purchasing particular types of clothing and albums. Few would claim that sex education in schools has been the cause of increased purchases of acne lotion. There could be an increase in the population of particular types of teenagers, those in an area of the country where sex education is not taught or where early sexual experimentation is encouraged...
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- Fall '10