Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Post hoc ergo propter hoc* for dummies

One of the Twitter morons is AMAZED to discover that two true things occurred at around the same time.

Here's his comment.:

Amazing, if true: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/article.php?p=137292

The link in the Tweet goes to a commercial masquerading as a news story, in which people are strongly encouraged to have their tfillin checked by computer. Why? Because over the last dozens or so years, a guy suffered the loss of two of his sons, and after he gave his tefillin to some other guy, the second guy almost lost one of his  sons. And wouldn't you know it? When the tefillin were finally checked at a fancy computer lab it was discovered the word בני [="my son"] was missing from one of the bible passages that are kept inside the T'fillin. 

The Twitter moron thinks this is terribly significant. Yet, when I told him that I scratched my knee and the kettle started to whistle he wasn't impressed! Very unfair, right?  If correlation implies causality for his story, shouldn't it also imply causality for mine

* Post hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for "after this, therefore because of this", is a logical fallacy (that states"Since that event followed this one, that event must have been caused by this one." [Wikipedia]

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