Does a correlation between two random variables necessarily imply a causal relationship?

1 Answer
Nov 10, 2015



For example, there is a strong correlation between the presence of fire trucks at house fires, so does that mean fire trucks cause fires? Absolutely not!

Another example ...

Ice cream sales and the rate of drowning deaths are sharply positively correlated. Therefore, ice cream consumption causes drowning. Again, ridiculous! Both swimming deaths and ice cream sales increase sharply during the hot summer months , but neither causes the other event to happen.