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Reply #17: predictability can only be achieved through a cause and effect relationshi [View All]

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treepig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-30-03 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. predictability can only be achieved through a cause and effect relationshi
and even then you must use caution!

first, regarding your aspirin example, it is not a scientific finding to make a statistical correlation between taking aspirin, and subsequent reduced headache pain. but, as you suggest, if you then use this information to lay out a hypothesis stating that aspirin reduces headache pain and do the placebo controlled studies you mention, then you have a scientific finding.

so when TIA uses his impeccable statistics to predict the outcome of future elections (instead of cherry picking results afterwards), then he'll have moved beyond the entertainment stage.

one more example about statistics - in the 80's i established a statistical correlation between the age of my sister's turtle and the distance of the voyager 1 spacecraft from earth. there was a very consistent relationship between the two variables; in fact the correlation co-efficient was greater than .99999! i even derived an equation that could predict one variable based on the value of the other. according to your statement "It's enough to show a conisstent relaitonship between two variables to have a scientific finding. It's predictability, rather than cause and effect, that researchers hang their hats on." i had come up with a rock-solid scientific finding. common sense would indicate otherwise, however, since there is absolutely no cause and effect relationship between this statistically unasailable finding.
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