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Skeptical of Studies

Whenever I see a headline that begins with "New Study Proves...", I skip over it and move on to the next one. I love science, and I even like studies, but I have a big problem with the way studies are framed today, especially in the media. There are two major things wrong with these so-called scientific studies, which, combined, give us misleading and often outright incorrect headlines which many of us use to inform our decisions.

The first principle that is crucial to understand is that correlation is not the same thing as causation. For example, people who send their children to private schools are more likely to be convicted of stock market fraud than those who don't.

New Study Shows That Sending Children to Private School Could Lead to Criminal Behavior in Parents!

Well, no. People who have the money to send their kids to private school are more likely to be in a position to conduct stock frauds. There is a link between the two things, but it is not a causal link. In other words, sending your children to private school is not going to turn you into a criminal.

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