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The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect

Key insights from Judea Pearl and Dana Mackenzie's

The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect


Key insights from Judea Pearl and Dana Mackenzie's

The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect

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Length:
9 minutes

The rebirth of causality and that it means for researchers, doctors, and everyone else.

For over a century, scientists have done everything they can to avoid confusing correlation with causation. Unfortunately, this has led policymakers, doctors, and ordinary people to miss out on countless opportunities to improve their lives and the society they live in. In this Snapshot, you’ll learn why the taboo of exploring causal relationships is now dead and what this means for scientific research and the greater good.

Read this Snapshot if you:

  • Are interested in statistics, economics, or social science
  • Don’t know the difference between causation and correlation
  • Want to understand causal relationships to achieve different (and better) outcomes
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Introduction

How do you know that a rooster’s crow doesn’t cause the sun to rise? Although a rooster’s crow tends to happen as the sun is coming up, you don’t need mathematics to know that a bird can’t impact the earth’s rotation — you just need common sense.

Unfortunately, determining the causal relationship between other variables, like crime and poverty or smoking and cancer, has proven more problematic for the scientific community. This is because most formulas that explain the relationship between one variable and another don’t indicate which variable is influencing which.

For example,...

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