New Poll Shows Correlation is Causation

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WASHINGTON (AP) The results of a new survey conducted by pollsters
suggest that, contrary to common scientific wisdom, correlation does in
fact imply causation.  The highly reputable source, Gallup Polls, Inc.,
surveyed 1009 Americans during the month of October and asked them, "Do
you believe correlation implies causation?"  An overwhelming 64% of
American's answered "YES", while only 38% replied "NO".  Another 8% were
undecided.  This result threatens to shake the foundations of both the
scientific and mainstream community. 

"It is really a mandate from the people." commented one pundit who wished
to remain anonymous.  "It says that The American People are sick and tired
of the scientific mumbo-jumbo that they keep trying to shove down our
throats, and want some clear rules about what to believe.  Now that
correlation implies causation, not only is everything easier to
understand, it also shows that even Science must answer to the will of
John and Jane Q. Public." 

Others are excited because this new, important result actually gives
insight into why the result occurred in the first place.  "If you look at
the numbers over the past two decades, you can see that Americans have
been placing less and less faith in the old maxim 'Correlation is not
Causation' as time progresses."  explained pollster and pop media icon
Sarah Purcell.  "Now, with the results of the latest poll, we are able to
determine that people's lack of belief in correlation not being causal has
caused correlation to now become causal.  It is a real advance in the
field of meta-epistemology."

This major philosophical advance is, surprisingly, looked on with
skepticism amongst the theological community.  Rabbi Marvin Pachino feels
that the new finding will not affect the plight of theists around the
world. "You see, those who hold a deep religious belief have a thing
called faith, and with faith all things are possible.  We still fervently
believe, albeit contrary to strong evidence, that correlation does not
imply causation.  Our steadfast and determined faith has guided us through
thousands of years of trials and tribulations, and so we will weather this
storm and survive, as we have survived before." 

Joining the theologists in their skepticism are the philosophers.  "It's
really the chicken and the egg problem.  Back when we had to worry about
causation, we could debate which came first.  Now that correlation IS
causation, I'm pretty much out of work." philosopher-king Jesse "The Mind" 
Ventura told reporters. "I've spent the last fifteen years in a heated
philosophical debate about epistemics, and then all of the sudden Gallup
comes along and says, "Average household consumption of peanut butter is
up, people prefer red to blue, the way, CORRELATION IS CAUSATION. 
Do you know what this means?  This means that good looks actually make you
smarter!  This means that Katie Couric makes the sun come up in the
morning!  This means that Bill Gates was right and the Y2K bug is
Gregory's fault."  Ventura was referring to Pope Gregory XIII, the 16th
century pontiff who introduced the "Gregorian Calendar" we use today, and
who we now know is to blame for the year 2000.

The scientific community is deeply divided on this matter.  "It sure makes
my job a lot easier." confided neuroscientist Thad Polk.  "Those who
criticize my work always point out that, although highly correlated,
cerebral blood flow is not 'thought'. Now that we know correlation IS
causal, I can solve that pesky mind-body problem and conclude that
thinking is merely the dynamic movement of blood within cerebral tissue.  
This is going to make getting tenure a piece of cake!" 

Anti-correlationist Travis Seymour is more cynical.  "What about all the
previous correlational results?  Do they get grandfathered in?  Like, the
old stock market/hemline Pearson's rho is about 0.85.  Does this mean
dress lengths actually dictated the stock market, even though they did it
at a time when correlation did not imply causation?  And what about
negative and marginally significant correlations?  These questions must be
answered before the scientific community will accept the results of the
poll wholeheartedly. More research is definitely needed." 

Whether one welcomes the news or sheds a tear at the loss of the ages-old
maxim that hoped to eternally separate the highly correlated from the
causal, one must admit that the new logic is here and it's here to stay. 
Here to stay, of course, until next October, when Gallup, Inc.  plans on
administering the poll again.  But chances are, once Americans begin
seeing the entrepeneurial and market opportunities associated with this
major philosophical advance, there will be no returning to the darker age
when causal relationships were much more difficult to detect.

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