The Rise and Fall of Statistics

Steve Sailer writes:

One reason that statistics have seemed new and cool in this century—witness the Freakonomics fad of 2005 and the Nate Silver mania of 2012—is that the basic conceptual tools of modern statistics, such as correlation, were not developed until puzzlingly late, even though the math is not particularly difficult.

Thus, our culture is still learning how to think statistically. Consider all those irritating people who over the last few years have taken to commenting whenever there’s a study they don’t like: “Correlation is not causation!” Well, sure, that’s lame, but that’s actually an improvement over what they had previously assumed.

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