Whether about pets, politics, or parenting, we've all been there: looking something up online only to find conflicting information around every corner. In today's digital age, we have the cumulative wealth of human knowledge (...mostly) available at our fingertips... and yet it seems that every trip to google is an homage to that campfire game of two truths and a lie. Luckily, there are a few strategies on your side for evaluating every internet expert.
"Correlation isn't causation," it an accurate statement that is, unfortunately, oft' misemployed when members of the public discuss science or research. Specifically, it is used (incorrectly) to undermine actual instances of causative relationships. While correlations can be due either to a non-causative, indirect relationship (such as a common causative factor, or simply random chance) or to a mechanism of causation, whenever causation is present, correlation is as well. Rather than broadly dismissing actual instances of causation by appealing to the existence of a correlation between two values, one must ask themselves: When is correlation due to causation?