Skip to main content

Correlation Does Not Imply Causation

Otherwise known by the Latin phrase "cum hoc ergo propter hoc" ('with this, therefore because of this'), this fallacy arises when one establishes via inference a causal relationship between two events occurring simultaneously and consistently without supporting it with evidence and/or strong reasoning so as to assert its existence as definite and true.

To demonstrate this fallacy in action, consider this example where an event of an increase in the sales of ice cream coincides with the event of an increase in the incidences of sunburn. Without additional information and/or flawed deduction, it can be implied that the increase in the cases of sunburn causes the increase in the sales of ice cream. However, in reality, both correlative events are justified by a causative agent not implied in the argument, i.e. due to peak summertime, in the case of the example.

It is one of more common and pernicious fallacy that we see being used to justify numerous instances of wrong conclusions, affecting political and social decisions, actions and sentiments.
In typological communities, this is particularly prevalent as many scramble for reasons so to make sense of their lack of knowledge on personality and psychological theories, and cater to their biases and prejudices in affirming their worldview, subsequently giving birth to stereotypes. For a relevant example, 

Written and maintained by PDB users for PDB users.