Coorelating evidence does not always have a cause and effect relationship

One of the larger mistakes I see frequently made is the assumption that correlating evidence has a cause and effect relationship, and often that's just not true.  A child might conclude that going outside makes the rain stop because every time mom sends them outside it's not raining.  Mom knows better, she doesn't send her children out to play when it's raining and that's not the same thing. 


Many correlations sound like reasonable causes, if you don't study them carefully enough to see if they actually do have a cause and effect relationship.  In another WB forum suicide rates were compared to see if the number of guns influences the number of deaths, and they don't seem to despite the fact that most people would almost assume they do.


Many assume man made global warming is a fact, often based on bits and pieces of natural cycles that out of context make it appear we're doomed.  Al Gore's inconvenient truth highlighted many coorleatons that turned out to be far more misleading than the factual predictors he convinced most of us they were.


Most of the racist behavior used to demonize our police is bases on statistics that sound very damning when not considered in context and contrasted with other influencing factors.


Indeed even most of the evidence women's libbers use to claim women are discriminated against in the workplace ignores contemporary statistical evidence.  Things aren't like they use to be.


It's time for all of us to take a wider look at all our paradigms to see where our own blinders might be preventing us from seeing the bigger picture and realizing the truth.


Mustafa Kemal Added May 8, 2018 - 9:28pm
Riley, you are spot on and this logical fallacy permeates the whole human mindset.
In statistical inference, this fact is well known! Curiously it is only in the Bayesian framework where they feel they have a grip on this. However, many confuse Bayesian confidence with statistical confidence, and since Bayesian inference is based on updating“beliefs” based on observations, I find it hard to see their justification. regardingless of their “causality” assertions, I have never been impressed with why  I should trust “their updated beliefs”
Here I have one for you.  We all have heard about the correlation between smoking and lung cancer. The obvious inference is that  smoking causes lung cancer. But statistically, you can just as well turn this around and claim; 
having a predisposition to getting lung cancer contributes to an urge  to smoke.
Thomas Sutrina Added May 8, 2018 - 9:48pm
Riley Brown, thank you for a good short article.  I have tried to put a proper light when I respond or write an article.
Guns is one area you pointed out.   Even liberal researchers have been forced to change their mind when they gather the evidence.  You mentioned suicide in which guns are a major part of the deaths.
TexasLynn Added May 8, 2018 - 10:12pm
I subscribe to the old Mark Twain proverb... "There are lies, dam lies, and statistics."
You've got to know that a lot of those spouting this stuff know better... especially in the realm of global warming; but now that I think of it... all the examples you cited.  Often the point was never to inform but to obfuscate, infuriate, and lead by the nose.
In a recent article on abortion, a commenter stated that "A woman has a 1 in 1800 risk of dying during pregnancy and/or childbirth".  I can't even imagine that's true even if she was quoting a worldwide average (certainly not outside the 3rd world).  The thing is I have no doubt she believed the number ... but it was more a matter of faith than rational research.  The next question is where was that stat obtained and what was the agenda of those who pushed it?  I just let it go... the effort wasn't going to be worth it.
OK... that's my take.  Good observations and post...
Ohhh... I have another related quote (paraphrased) from the book "The Last Unicorn" by Peter S. Beagle.
"I trust not what I hear nor what I see.  There may be truth somewhere in the world, but it never gets down to me." -- Peter S. Beagle.  :)
Riley, good post, as usual. However, I must say, people see what they want to see, hear want they want to hear, and believe what they want to believe. End of story.
Dave Volek Added May 9, 2018 - 12:08am
I think there is an old statistical axiom that says: "Correlation is not necessarily causation." Sometimes it's a little difficult to sort the two out. 
And of course, statistics can be manipulated to suit a certain agenda--which then gives application of statistics a bad name. 
Riley Brown Added May 9, 2018 - 12:12am
Mustafa, I don't think smoking causes cancer but rather suspect it causes an irritation that turns into cancer in people whose bodies aren't good at stopping it.
Since we've never really figured out how that works and whose susceptible, I wouldn't advise anyone to smoke, there is just too good a chance if they do they will suffer from cancer later in life.
For years we blamed ulcers on lots of things and then learned it was caused by infections we could treat.  Even so it wasn't a bad idea for people who had ulcers to treat the symptoms, because doing so generally improved their quality of life.  Similarly I'd say never smoking generally gives you a greatly improved chance of living long and dying of something other than cancer.  I don't need to know how it works to know how to improve my odds.
Riley Brown Added May 9, 2018 - 12:17am
Thomas, most of those who claim we pick on poor blacks fail to account for the cultural propensity of poor blacks to be involved in criminal behavior.  Even Black Lives Matters ignores the fact that most of their poster-boys were guilty of crimes and not cooperating with the police when they were shot.  Some were innocent people in the wrong place at the wrong time, but that also happens to poor white folks too.
Riley Brown Added May 9, 2018 - 12:22am
Texas, I often see that in statistics, where parties cherry pick the time periods and subsets carefully to illustrate their points, intentionally excluding and or ignoring a preponderance of evidence to the contrary.  Gun statistics are often done that way.  The term children is often applied to anyone under 18 or sometimes even 21, and police shootings and suicides are almost always included in the number of homicides.  The word homicides makes people think all those folks were murdered, and I hardly think it's fair to include the Columbine or Las Vegas shooter in that number.
Riley Brown Added May 9, 2018 - 12:24am
Dave you are right and I always try to look further than statistics that come from an obviously biases source.  However I've found many government entities statistics can also be flawed like for guns where the definitions from differing agencies like the FBI and CDC are different because they don't define them the same way or don't track some types.
Neil Lock Added May 9, 2018 - 2:21am
Riley: Good article. The way I think of correlation versus causation, is that if two things A and B appear correlated, there are four possibilities to consider. (1) A causes B. (2) B causes A. (3) Some common factor causes both A and B. (4) The apparent correlation is spurious; they have nothing to do with each other.
And your examples are spot on.
Riley Brown Added May 9, 2018 - 9:23am
Neil, your 3 & 4 are most common and I tend to go easy on the "causes" word because often there is just a very strong correlation between a cause and an effect.
The poverty and crime rate for inner city black families is horrendous, causing many to jump to the conclusion that black people are born so disadvantaged that they can't possibly be equal unless we give them head starts and achievement exemptions.
If Black caused the massive failure to achieve there wouldn't be so many exemptions, and so many black families that escape poverty and then they and their decedents never return to it.
Most programs created to help them are based on the presumption that black skin causes that problem, and gives anyone with black skin, even Obama's children, help to offset their presumed genetic disadvantage.
Katharine Otto Added May 9, 2018 - 11:57am
Good article, and I appreciate that you are inspiring people to think about assumptions generally taken for granted.
I question the whole cultural bias towards ideas of "cause and effect."  Of course, the scientific method is founded on that, so the scientists and would-be scientists want to align with the in-crowd.
However, Carl Jung broached the idea of "synchronicity," which is similar to your notion of "correlation."  He said some things "like" to happen together.  A neurologist I knew said the "germ theory" is still just a theory.  Did the germs cause the disease, or did the disease cause the germs?  Or, as Carl Jung might suggest, the germs and disease may just "like" to happen together.
Oriental philosophy bypasses the notions of cause-and-effect altogether and explains everything as portions of patterns, a holographic gestalt in which all perceived effects are influenced in multi-factorial ways.  If someone comes down with cancer, who's to say what "caused" it?  Smoking, environmental toxins, stress, genetics, and any number of known and unknown contributors may have led to the disease, but none can specifically be cited as more or less causative than others.  It's like trying to explain artwork by cause-and-effect.  What part of the painting "caused" another?
Your examples of how statistics are manipulated to promote specific agendas are well taken.
Riley Brown Added May 9, 2018 - 12:46pm
Katharine, many correlations are related but many are also just simple extensions of logic. 
Released felons are much more likely to commit crimes than people who have never committed a crime, but that does not mean imprisoning people makes them commit crimes or that we'd be better off if we closed our prisons.
People who don't own guns can't accidentally shoot themselves, but that doesn't mean they are safer without them.  The mayor of London has just told everyone that they are safer if THEY don't carry knives, not realizing of course that it's not the knife that make their lives dangerous but on average the lifestyle of people who tend to carry them for self defense or to help them prey on victims.
RJGnyc Added May 9, 2018 - 3:41pm
Your post and responses deal with two subjects I have a more than passing familiarity with:  statistics and biology.  I would like to help set the record straight on a few statements.

Regarding "I don't think smoking causes cancer but rather suspect it causes an irritation that turns into cancer in people whose bodies aren't good at stopping it [....] we've never really figured out how that works."  Actually, for some cancers it's fairly well established what the biochemical cellular pathways are that facilitate the formation of specific malignancies.  In those cases, the questions remaining open involve identifying the genetic markers that determine who is at greater/lesser risk due to an ability to shut down the processes.

"For years we blamed ulcers on lots of things and then learned it was caused by infections we could treat."  Yes, most stomach (gastric) ulcers and most duodenal ulcers (ulcerative colitis is not known to be attributable to infection).  Your basic point is right:  the medical establishment was incorrect about the cause of most ulcers.  However, that idea was not based on any statistics, but on an unsupported theory.  Statistics actually demonstrated the truth about H. pylori as the primary cause of most peptic ulcers.

Regarding "the cultural propensity of poor blacks to be involved in criminal behavior" -- I am at a loss for what to say.  No statistics back up such a statement.  There may indeed be a propensity for criminal behavior amont poor people in general, but to introduce race into the equation is offensive.  And it probably isn't a "cultural" propensity -- face it, poor people have more of a need to burglarize.  (Wealthy people are more subtle about theft.)

Regarding global warming:  Correlation does not prove causation.  However, when one variable is introduced that changes a condition, we may conclude that there is an influence.  Climate is complex, and as scientists have learned more about how climate changes over time, they have largely come to the conclusion that human industrial activity is a major cause of global warming.  This isn't just "what we feel" but is supported by advanced models and computer simulations that mathematically take into account a number of variables.  If someone wants to blame warming on methane from bovine flatulence, I'd say it's a load of BS (so to speak) -- but burning fossil fuels is definitively known a cause -- at least, as far as most scientists are concerned.

Certainly you are entitled to reject any and all theories as you choose.  But very educated people with advanced study and powerful statistical tools are giving this advice without any hidden agenda; the response from those who reject their warnings is generally from oil company representatives, who DO have an agenda that serves solely their own economic interests.  So ... take your pick:  do you trust the guy who's making money from burning coal, or the guy who's making nothing by warning you about the smoke?
Dusty Koellhoffer Added May 9, 2018 - 5:45pm
Nicely said, Riley.  The difference between a conservative and a liberal is both education and the critical examination of facts rather than jumping to conclusions.  Liberals are told my Democrats that scientists all say global warming is real and caused by man's CO2 pollution, and they believe it as a matter of faith because the same people tell them they are educated and smart.  Those of us who are educated in science actually smart recognize that the "science" they use is fractured, and that these Chicken Little's all say the solution to avoiding the end of life is for us to give them our money to save us.  Glad to see there are some Millennials that weren't born yesterday.
Another is racism by police and in prisons.  Obama & Co. claim police are racists putting away ten times more black than white criminals.  He deliberately ignores the fact that Democrats have promoted a black culture that glorifies criminals.  It's all part of keeping their welfare voter slaves ginned up to hate white people and keep racism alive in their hearts so they never advance in American society.
Keep up the good sense thinking!
Riley Brown Added May 10, 2018 - 8:55am
Regarding cancer, I say we never figured out what really causes cancer from things like smoking because we know some people are not afflicted with cancer who smoke and we don't know why.  There are relationships that are explicitly understood like when you cut yourself with a knife.  There is no doubt that unless you're a mythological super hero, a slash on exposed flesh will result in a cut.  With smoking and cancer its not that clear, and we don't know why.  Two people can smoke and one may get cancer and the other not, we really don't know why yet.
Regarding poor blacks, how can you say you can't see a correlation between being a poor black and being involved in criminal behavior, the rated of crime and incarceration is tremendously higher in poor black neighborhoods than it is even in affluent black neighborhoods.  However as I pointed out that doesn't mean having black skin causes that to be true, it's a correlation not a cause.  Personally I blame the culture embraced in poor black neighborhoods.
Regarding Man Made Global Warming, (I was very specific), you and I might just have to disagree.  If you think things like modeling and computer simulations have any real predictive value I think you need to remember that the best models we have right now can't even predict the weather a month from now, or where a hurricane will go.  Al Gore's predictions were all very well calculated out and time proved him to be very wrong. 
With Man Made Global Warming people often forget that just because the majority of the public believes something doesn't make it any more factual, especially if the majority of them don't understand the science that the belief is based on.  The earth's climate has never stopped changing, and the cycled we are in now has repeated many times long before man walked upright.  We well might be able to influence our climate, but this time most people got it wrong.  When the next ice age starts they will wish we could warm the earth back up.
Riley Brown Added May 10, 2018 - 9:16am
Dusty, I think the Global Warming advocates started from a large group of very well meaning people who attached themselves to the movement because the "solution" included asking people to do a lot of things that ARE very good for us.  Think about all the things we were asked to do to help...
Reduce pollution levels, use less fossil fuels, build and drive higher mileage cars that pollute less, use less energy in our buildings and factories, and clean up the environment.
All those are good things that prior to the Global Warming craze were largely ignored by a public who didn't care enough to do them.  With the Global Warming scare things changed, people changed and lots of effort and money went into that direction.
Right now our air is much cleaner and we use less energy per person, I think that's a good thing, whether or not we are causing the problem or not. 
However I believe the Ice Age cycle will not stop and eventually these great times, (the warm period we're in now), will end one day as the natural cycle repeats as it has many times.  I know mankind will be much worse off then, than we are now or will be if CO2 levels rise a bit more and the earth is warmer than it is now.  Having a third of the earth covered with ice is more devastating to mankind than losing land close to sea level.  Many cities are built near the shore, most farming is inland.  The sea level rise is so slow that most buildings near the shore would need to be replaced about the time they would be threatened by sea level rise.
I also believe that the global warming gas that is the gorilla in the room is water vapor, (which is a global warming gas), not CO2.  CO2 is far less prevalent and influential.  Water vapor's average presence in our atmosphere is about 5,000 ppm, CO2's is about 400. 
Riley Brown Added May 10, 2018 - 9:21am
Dusty I don't think group thinking and the tendency to agree with your peers is a liberal quality, I think it's a an easy trap anyone can fall into and know liberals and conservatives who both do just that.
Its easy to rely on "facts" from friendly sources, and work to check them out to see if they are biased, and most folks won't especially if they like the implications of what they hear.
TexasLynn Added May 10, 2018 - 9:51am
RB >> Regarding poor blacks, how can you say you can't see a correlation between being a poor black and being involved in criminal behavior, the rated of crime and incarceration is tremendously higher in poor black neighborhoods than it is even in affluent black neighborhoods. 
I was reading an article on this phenomenon years ago and remember this point.  Statistically if you want to bring those crime and incarceration numbers down for poor black men to the same level as affluent black men you need do only one thing... place a father in the household with the mother.  When only poor households that had both parents present were considered... the stats were the same.
This get back to the point of your whole article concerning what exactly is the cause for this effect?
Bill Kamps Added May 10, 2018 - 10:25am
All, yes this is a good conversation because many things, global warming, the economy, tax policy, crime, welfare, are rather complex systems.   Complex systems are, 1) non linear 2) have multiple inputs working in different directions 3) are not static, meaning when you increase a causation factor the system changes often times dampening the impact.
So yes raising the minimum wage causes some people to lose their jobs, some people to earn more, some businesses to do worse, some changes in what businesses sell, etc, etc.  All of the above.  What is the net result? well we can guess but we cant know for sure because the system is too complex to model correctly.
Predictions are difficult, especially about the future, Yogi Berra.
Riley Brown Added May 10, 2018 - 10:34am
Texas, I think it's hard for folks to separate correlations and cause and effects from facts when it comes to emotional issues, like why so many blacks live in poverty and are involved in crime so often.
On one hand it's been easy and tends to be the liberal belief that white America denies them opportunity and focuses more police attention on them, and that accounts for the difference between their achievement and criminal arrests.  On the other hand conservatives tend to believe they don't try as hard to escape poverty as those who do and succeed, and resort to criminal behaviors much more frequently which explains the higher incarceration rates.
I think years ago the truth was in the middle, but today I am sad to say that the misleading statistics I see most often only focus on raw numbers and never the real causes. 
Those blacks who continue to live in generational poverty tend to embrace evidence that blames others for their plight and makes them feel better about why they can't do better.  It's always easier to blame others for our own failures, than it is to accept the real facts and then emulate the success of others who escaped that lifestyle.  Those who escaped did so by looking at the real evidence and realizing their skin color wasn't what was holding them back, despite what everyone else around them said.
Riley Brown Added May 10, 2018 - 10:38am
Bill, I have noticed how ineffective modeling has been when it comes to complex systems.  Everyone tries and few ever do manage to create models that really do predict the future.  The best they do is teach us more about interrelationships and what is and is not important.  They are helpful but I almost never trust conclusions reached by modeling.
Bill Kamps Added May 10, 2018 - 11:28am
Riley, we can model "simple" things, which is why a 787 will stay up in the air.  The thing with the 787 is that it does not change a lot, when we run it at high speed.   If it changed shape a lot,, or if the aluminum changed strength a lot, as it flew faster, then things would be a lot more complicated.
Second and third order things like thermodynamics, while complicated are at least predictable.
Complicated dynamic systems evolve themselves in unpredictable ways.
That is why hurricanes are so difficult to predict.  They are not only complex by dynamic.  Which means how they will change is not predictable because  there are too many variables, and the range of possible outcomes is large.  Small changes can result in a hurricane going to Cat 5, from Cat 2, or changing direction.   Many variables, and a highly sensitive system, makes it almost impossible predict very far in the future.
In engineering we would call this an unstable system, because small changes result in large changes in the outcome.  Small changes in a stable system, should result in small changes in the outcome. 
Tubularsock Added May 10, 2018 - 11:35am
Riley, great post and very interesting. We live in an illusion of our own making and WE are the projector. We fill in the blanks with whatever “facts” and method of observation that produces the observations and conclusions we settle upon.
No matter how clear new informations happens to be, people tend to stick with “what they know” based on their projected view.
Terms like liberal, progressive, conservative are meaningless terms. And bunching people into groups always is a misconception because the exceptions outnumber the similarities when dealing with individuals.
However, Tubularsock has noticed that as a society we attempt to collect positions into boxes in order to contain free thinking ideas from taking hold. That way, the system keeps the game rigged and change is slow in coming.
What we really need is another WAR so we can focus on fear rather than change. It has always worked before and in that is our comfort zone.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added May 10, 2018 - 11:37am
Good points, Riley, but it is important to recognize the distinction between "group think" of people who all believe in a lie and parallel thinking of people who agree with one another on the truth.  Yes, people are not especially intelligent or knowledgeable, but it doesn't take a smart man to understand morality as Forrest Gump proved.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added May 10, 2018 - 11:51am
On global warming you rightly point out that computer models are based on fictions, which liberals do not understand.  We can model hurricanes and track their paths, but look how wildly they vary.  We can only do this because we have tracked hundreds of hurricanes and follow weather patterns.  There is no empirical data to measure global warming and the effect of mankind's pollution on it.  The only empirical data that exists still proves that the climate is governed by the output of the Sun.  Leftists reject this, which is why nothing they claim to be science can be trusted.  And when their solutions are all to have Americans sacrifice their energy and wealth to them then it becomes obvious it's just a scam.
I lived through the beginnings of the environmentalist movement in the 60s that came about because pollution had become a critical problem with rivers being polluted to the point of actually poisoning people.  We began the efforts to force manufacturers to clean up and it has worked well.  But Democrats saw this as an opportunity to shake down companies and force them to comply with their extreme codes of making the environment not just clean but pristine.  Since then the socialists have taken over the movement as a means by which to tear down America and siphon off wealth to themselves.  The global warming craze of the Left didn't start America working to clean up the environment, they usurped it for their own benefit.
As for the next Ice Age, scientists don't have the first clue what causes ice ages or the warm periods between.  As for the plight of blacks in America, yes it's true the South oppressed them for a hundred years after the Civil War.  But that oppression was ended with Civil Rights legislation that Republicans, not Democrats, passed.  Democrats have since used that legislation to create the welfare state and put blacks once more in thrall to them.  That they use freedom to promote racism by glorifying gangsters and then blaming Republicans when black criminals go to prison is as great as scam as man-made global warming.  Kanye West may have a better chance at waking them up to this than any conservative black man has had who has exposed it all only to be mocked and denigrated by the Left so that blacks do not listen to their wisdom.
Mike Haluska Added May 10, 2018 - 3:33pm
Wendell -
This young guy has figured this out - have you come around yet???
Riley Brown Added May 10, 2018 - 6:41pm
Bill, are you suggesting we can model and predict Global Warming because it's not much more dynamic than modeling a jet?
If you are I very strongly disagree. 
We aren't even sure how all the variables like ocean currents work.
Riley Brown Added May 10, 2018 - 6:42pm
Tubestock, wars make people forget about all the BS in their lives and focus on survival.  I wish we could do that without the war part.
Riley Brown Added May 10, 2018 - 6:49pm
Dusty, I never said thee was anything wrong with being kind to the environment and remember "smog days" when we tried not to go outside or exercise and I could hardly take a deep breath without my chest hurting.  I remember getting less than 10 mpg and my eyes watering from exhaust. 

Things are better but that still doesn't justify what we currently spend reducing CO2 and the hole in the Ozone is not lots worse, but banning things like Halogen fire extinguishers is worse than the harm they caused.
I can de-rate a boiler to make it legal to operate without a permit, that doesn't make it any less polluting.  I can rent a polluting generator without a permit, but I can't own one myself.  We do lots of politically correct stuff that makes little sense.
Bill Kamps Added May 12, 2018 - 10:39am
Riley, no sorry if I was unclear.  We can model a 787 which for most people is complex, but we cant model weather, the economy, and other unstable systems.  
The thing with things like weather and the economy, is that when forces act on them, they change in unpredictable ways.  Small changes in the forces acting on them, may create large future differences.  In addition, counterbalancing forces are also created, and these are of an unknown size and duration.
When we raise the minimum wage, it is not into a static situation.  Businesses change behavior in unpredictable ways, some people make more money, some lose their jobs, some businesses close, some do better because of changing business plans.  We cant predict all the many actions that will take place.  The same with the weather and climate.  We  introduce CO2 in the air, and everything reacts, trees, the oceans, the atmosphere, all in non linear ways.
We couldnt fly the 787, if when the forces on it changed slightly, the aircraft reacted violently.   We couldnt fly it, if when it increased speed, the plane changed shape to try to reach an "equilibrium" and stay on the ground. 
David Montaigne Added May 13, 2018 - 7:37am
Riley is spot on that many false comparisons are made, wrongly linking alleged cause and effect.  But I see no easy way to prevent this, as most people accept what they read as presented to them, and are unwilling or unable to do their own research to a meaningful degree.  Not to mention even well-intentioned scientists can be mislead by apparent statistical correlations.  Perhaps our best hope is to encourage teaching science and logic, and hope that more and more people will think outside the box.
Kurt Bresler Added May 13, 2018 - 8:36am
Compare:  Hillary to Hawaii;  An open fissure spewing gas and spit wads. 
Dusty Koellhoffer Added May 13, 2018 - 11:03am
I've been locked out from commenting for the last few days.  It had better be because of a technical glitch and not because the editors stupidly believed some liberal's lies complaining about me and blocked my account.  If that is the case then I won't be back to talk better sense than any liberal can.
Riley, I didn't say, or even imply, that there was anything wrong with your support of a cleaner environment.  I agreed with you and related my experiences at the beginning of the environmental movement that stopped manufacturers from fouling our rivers and polluting our air.  What I said was that leftist communists have hijacked this movement to demand corporations make air and water pristine or pay shakedown money if they are less than perfect.  You are correct about political correctness imposing rules that make no sense because they don't, unless you examine the reason behind them.  Then it becomes clear that all of the Left's rules and restrictions are designed for only one thing - to control other people and make them subservient to their ideology.
Riley Brown Added May 13, 2018 - 11:15am
Dusty, thank you for clarifying, and I too was locked out for several days so don't take it personally.
There is a lithium ion battery factory I am intimately acquainted with that got in big trouble for releasing too much cadmium into their waste water, they were threatened with finds and public humiliation, (published as a polluting company destroying the environment by the waste water folks).  Only two problems:
First they had been put in a "batter manufacturing" category that is designed for lead acid batteries.   Lead acid battery battery manufactures use things like Lead and Cadmium in their processes and the wast water people want to make sure they don't dump water containing high levels, into the outgoing sewage.  They don't have a category for lithium ion batteries, and won't create one so they are measuring for things that don't make sense.
Second, the standards are outrageous, there is a limit that is so low that it's below what is already in the incoming water at this company.  The water in their drinking fountain can not be permitted to go down the drain into the sewage, because the limit is so strict.  When water is used for anything, even in a drinking fountain some evaporates which also raises the concentration and makes it even worse. 
This company spends millions making the waste water more cadmium free than the water they get from the city.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added May 13, 2018 - 6:26pm
So you are well acquainted with the outrageous restrictions these politicians put on businesses.  Do you understand the reason behind it?  They do this so to get kickbacks and then they will lift those restrictions.  It's corruption through and through disguised as "caring about the environment."  If the company pays they are cleared to operate.  If not then they are smeared in public and destroyed.  It's called racketeering, except instead of criminals offering businesses pay them "protection" money (from themselves), it is the government offering businesses pay them"protection" money (from themselves).
Joe Chiang Added May 13, 2018 - 10:24pm
Riley, good article.  I would like to point a couple of things out.
1.  Cigarettes and cancer were studied differently than so far mentioned.  There were two control groups, one that smoked and one that did not.  There was a much larger incidence of people who smoked and contracted cancer, than in the non-smoking group.  This experiment was repeated many times with the same result.  The conclusion is logical deduction.
2.  Global Warming was calculated in reverse.  The conclusion was determined, then statistics were attempted to be gathered to support the base premises.  This is not the scientific method nor proper statistical methodology.
3.  It seems that the group we call liberals come to all their conclusions in the way explained in number 2.  Gun control, abortions, racism, and women's rights.  These all begin with the conclusion and then seek "statistical Evidence" to "prove" their conclusion.  Conservatives spend/waste all their time pointing out the stupidity of the liberal "arguments".  This is actually the goal of the liberals, to goad conservatives to waste their time arguing about stupidity instead of organizing to correct real problems and issues.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added May 14, 2018 - 7:24am
Excellent points, Joe.  I wrote an article about how liberals jump to conclusions and then seek evidence to prove their assumptions.
You smoking example is perfect.  The result of the study was that smoking MAY cause cancer, not the it WILL.  I might also add to point #3 that it is also the goal of liberals to always have conservatives waste time defending themselves against false accusations such as being racists, sexists, and bigots.  It doesn't matter what you say or do.  With them you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.  Whenever accused of racism, my response is always "GFY," and continue to make my points while counter-attacking them for having closed minds incapable of understanding new facts they reject.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added May 14, 2018 - 7:24am
Incidentally, Riley, you might talk to the editors about making the spelling correction in the title to Correlation. ;)
Rusty Smith Added May 14, 2018 - 10:35am
Joe Chiang, I think by now everyone realizes people who smoke greatly increase their chances of getting several types of cancer that are strongly associated with smoking but it's still only a correlation, not a cause.
There are people who never smoke and still get those cancers, and plenty who smoke their entire lives and never get cancer.  
Walking in bad neighborhoods does not cause you to be mugged, and being poor and black doesn't make a person into a criminal.  Strong correlations aren't causes, they are just strong correlations that are likely connected by other factors that may be causes.
I will agree that we should all consider correlations when we make decisions, but at the same time we should be careful not to daemonize correlations which may not be the cause of our problems.
I see that with people who blame guns for suicides, and black skin for making people into criminals.  Both are slippery slopes which ignore the real causes.
Dave Volek Added May 14, 2018 - 4:08pm
Great analogy between engineering a jet plane and a hurricane.
Your boiler example was great. But since I returned to WB, I am sensing an American pattern in that it takes an awful lot of political effort to change a bad piece of legislation. I don't think we have that big of problem in Canada.
Yep, we need to keep an open mind when applying correlations to our life decisions.
Conservatives also manufacture their own correlations to push their agenda. Both sides are guilty of twisting statistics to their own purpose.
I'm really not into some kind of liberal conspiracy. If this ideology were truly in charge, we would be a lot further down the path you really don't like. In the end, the politicians are the ones we entrust to find the balance. The election of Mr. Trump proves the liberals are far from any kind of majority to impose their will on the minority.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added May 14, 2018 - 5:54pm
Dave, but they did.  It only takes one person to dupe many, and the liberal minority duped the majority of Americans to elect a Moslem socialist wannabe dictator for eight years who tore this country apart.  They are currently leading the persecution of Trump/Republicans through lies and false accusations, while at the same time giving voting rights to illegal invaders to commit massive voter fraud to retake power.  As you must know, it took only 7% of Germans who were dedicated Nazis to get Hitler elected to take absolute power.
Dave Volek Added May 14, 2018 - 8:57pm
Obama certainly did not get to a point where he could deem himself dictator for life. In fact, he willingly stepped aside when his legal mandate was deemed over.
I kind of doubt that 7% of the American population can take over. American democracy is too robust for a minority to have their way. Works for both parties.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added May 14, 2018 - 9:33pm
True enough.  Obama could not seize power as Hitler did.  He would have to murder thousands of political enemies, not just sixty men.  7% of the American population cannot take over or force America to change by force or coercion because the majority of Americans are too well armed and willing to fight for freedom.  But they can dupe a large enough portion of the population to force political change.  They can coerce through deception and censorship.  They can create the conditions for such voter fraud that they can overcome citizen votes.  And that is exactly what they are doing.  So long as illegal voters are allowed to cast ballots and no legal challenge be made to stop them because liberals keep claiming they don't commit voter fraud then the situation will only get worse.
Dave Volek Added May 15, 2018 - 3:01pm
I thought Mr. Trump won the election.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added May 15, 2018 - 5:02pm
Yes, but I don't see him taking any action against the massive voter fraud going on in states like California, NY, and Virginia.  People keep saying there's no proof because they never allow any investigations, yet we see it all the time like the counties in Florida that report 50% more ballots cast than registered voters.  It's only because so many more Americans are voting Republican that Democrats are losing, which is why they are becoming so desperate as to give voting rights to foreigners.  If allowed to continue they can eventually overcome Republican voters and we'll be right back into Obamaism.
Joe Chiang Added May 16, 2018 - 10:44am
Dave, good points.  But just because a man calls himself a woman, this does not make him a woman.  Oh yeah, here in the states it does.  LOL  But we have what we call RINOs (Republicans in Name Only).  Perhaps in this use we should call them CINOs (Conservatives in Name Only)   One Senator of North Dakota is a former Democrat, but could only win office as a Republican.  However, he votes with the Democrats so often, he may as well still be a Democrat.
Also, I might point out that Trump did not win the election, just the Presidency.  The majority of the Senate is still Democrats and RINOs.  They block any real accomplishment that might otherwise be made.
Dusty, I believe that Obama would have declared himself dictator, like Caesar before him, if he had successfully disarmed the citizens.  I believe the 2nd Amendment is the ONLY thing that stopped him.  My gosh, he was a Constitutional Law Professor who had no idea what the Constitution said of appreciation for the Rule of Law.
Also, if you look closely, President Trump is approaching getting things done in the same way as one would do it in business.  You make a list of all the things that you need to get done, then prioritize that list, then begin with what you believe to be the most important and "Get er Done".  I have items I believe are of more importance that he is just now getting to.  It is only that our priorities differ as to WHEN to address each problem, not IF it is a problem to be addressed.  Obama created problems, while Trump is fixing problems.
One last point Dusty, illegal voters do vote Democratic.  JFK may not have won had Chicago's dead not voted for him in mass.  This carried Chicago, which carried IL, which carried the country.  Indeed, many voting districts had 110% of all votes going Democratic, not even ONE Republican vote and more Democratic votes than ballots cast.  LOL  This has happened at least in PA, OH, and FL voting districts.
Riley Brown Added May 16, 2018 - 6:17pm
In Southern California we have a lot of illegals, especially in Sanctuary Cities, and a large portion of them do vote.  I'm speculating most vote Democratic, and that's why the Democratic politicians who run the state don't want anything done that might stop them, like making them show ID when they vote.
Joe Chiang Added May 16, 2018 - 8:17pm
But if ALL intelligent voters voted those a***** out of office, and/or run real conservatives for offices.
Please check out the Constitution Party in CA.  Please note the 3 Pillars and 7 Principles on the National Party page: 
In general the Constitution Party is for a moral, small, conservative government that has transparent governance.  Note:  Voting for the lesser of two evil is still evil.
Riley Brown Added May 16, 2018 - 11:16pm
I dislike knowing my vote won't count if I'm not in favor of whatever the Democrats in Calif are selling and try to avoid getting too upset because I can't change the facts and know I'm in a deep blue state that gives all of California's votes to the prevailing candidate.
I always do vote but try to be practical and sometimes that means trying to sabotage the party I don't like by supporting their underdog.  I figure the closer their primary the more divided their party will be and the more damage they will do to each of their potential candidates before the winner goes head to head with the party I prefer.
It's a bit like volunteering to help them campaign and then quietly tossing all the printed materials they give me to distribute.  The end result is they have less money and impact than they would if I ignore them. I did that a lot when I was in college, and destroyed a lot of Hate Group literature.  I've always wondered if anyone would understand if I was spotted and documented picking the stuff up.
Dave Volek Added May 17, 2018 - 4:29pm
I would just like to make a few points on the supposed illegal voters in California.
1) Voter lists are never 100% accurate. Electoral rules are not 100% applied properly. But if the electoral system is operating at 98%, then a few illegal voters is not a sign of rampant cheating.
2) If I were an illegal immigrant, I would not risk exposing myself by voting. It's better to keep a low profile as possible, regardless of the party in office.
3) Republicans sit on all those electoral commissions. If they had evidence of widespread cheating in California, they have a vested interest to bring this evidence to the media and public. 
4) Mr Trump claimed "millions" of illegal voters across the country. He is now the President; he can order a commission to investigate this fraud. It is in his interest to do so for 2020. But he has not. Why?
This "illegal voter" issue is nothing but a little smoke with no fire.
Show the evidence!
Riley Brown Added May 17, 2018 - 5:20pm
Dave, I live in S Cal where a lot of the illegals vote and almost NO ONE ever gets in trouble for doing it.  The system encourages everyone including people here illegally to vote by making it so easy and publicizing how little risk they incur if they do.
Remember in this state they can't even be asked for ID when they vote.  If someone in front of me in line and told them he wanted my brother's ballot because he was my brother, I could challenge him but his vote would still count and no one would let me demand to see his id even if he claimed he lived in my house.  If I called the police they would ignore me.
When that happens the pole workers are supposed to make his vote count and then some time before the next election send someone to my house to see if he really does live there.  That person could do that 5 times at different voting locations and each would do the same.
I don't think it changes things here in California, the state is hard core Democratic, but perhaps not as much as it looks.  Many cities have tried to make it legal for illegals to vote on local issues like taxes for local schools, arguing those people might as well be citizens. 
TexasLynn Added May 17, 2018 - 6:08pm
Dave V >> This "illegal voter" issue is nothing but a little smoke with no fire. Show the evidence!
Though the left will never accept any amount of evidence and the Republicans are too %^$#less to do anything about it.  Mary Landrieu attained her Senate office through voter fraud in 1996.  The illegal busing (to multiple poling locations), the dead voting, and people paid to vote is widespread in New Orleans, LA. (corruption near to that of Chicago); all of it on behalf of the Democratic party.  Landrieu's family has been neck deep in such organized voter fraud in that city for generations.
Yes, Landrieu, won re-election as an entrenched incumbent after that... but she got her nose under the tent through voter fraud.  She served until 2015 which means she was a key vote in many Obama initiatives including Obamacare.
Senator Al Franken won his initial Senate seat through voter (and election) fraud as well.  The same goes for his impact.
So, don't tell me that since the numbers may not be in the millions there no fire there.  That's bullshit.  Voter fraud has consequences, just because you like the consequences doesn't mean it's right.  Would your political system ignore voter fraud because practitioners perceive there is no real influence?
It's crime, people should be held accountable.  Period.  Let’s call that (I don’t know), the rule of law.
Examples should be made to dissuade future crime of this type; especially where it is rife (like California).  If a state government is to liberal and corrupt (redundant I know) to address the issue; the feds should step in.  I won’t hold my breath.
Joe Chiang Added May 18, 2018 - 11:24am
Dave & TexasLynn:  I would not be surprised about the illegals voting in CA.  Here in ND, at least non-American citizens have been given the right to vote by Judicial ruling.  In the 2016 election, all a person had to do was show RESIDENCY for the prior 60 days to vote.  Could illegals do this?  Probably.  We know for sure that foreign students voted who were seen by and identified by their instructors!  Ruling by a Fargo, ND Judge.
Riley:  Please define "wasted vote".  I define it as voting for someone who will only vote opposite from my best interests and the nation's best interests.  This is always the blue party and the red party.  
I do NOT believe I wasted my vote because I voted for someone of integrity, moral, and wanting small government.  Someone who wants conservative transparent governance.  I found that is the backbone beliefs of the Constitution Party, nationally.
BTW:  do you live in or near San Diego.
Dave Volek Added May 18, 2018 - 12:35pm
If there is massive voter fraud, where is the commission to fix it?
The USA has an R president. Both houses are R. There should be a lot of political will and influence to fix it. A lot of states are R. Can you explain why there is no action?  Lots of talk, for sure, but no action.
In terms of vested interest, the R's should be right on top of this fraud. They stand the most to gain by forming this commission. But if there is no evidence . . . . .
Just to make myself clear, both parties proffered presidential candidates who should not have been there in the first place. Had the other side won, I would not have considered that a victory for democracy.
Neither Mr. Trump nor Ms. Clinton would have gone far in the TDG.
Joe Chiang Added May 18, 2018 - 5:21pm
But Dave, the Democrats and RINOs (Republicans in Namer Only) still have a majority in the Senate and maybe the House as well.  So they are blocking.  In addition, the problem is the Judiciary.  It takes years to overcome bad judicial decisions either through appeals or legislation.  
John Minehan Added May 19, 2018 - 10:57am
This is where Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) becomes important.
Riley Brown Added May 19, 2018 - 11:50am
Joe, my "wasted vote" happens every time I vote for anything but a Democrat President because the state is extremely Democratic and the rules say that all the delegates from California are automatically given to the prevailing parties Candidate, even if 49% of the states voters wanted someone else.
I do realize we don't have a real Democracy, and California has the right to turn my vote for another candidate into a supporting vote for the prevailing party's candidate, but don't think that is fair or good for the country.
One huge result is that smart candidates are forced to ignore the will and needs of people in states like California which are undisputed going to give all their votes to a known party, so they can attract or buy more votes in states that might or might not vote for them.
If the delegates were assigned based on the portion of the state that voted for each candidate it would be more fair and give candidates a good reason to try and appeal to and satisfy the needs of that portion of every state that might vote for them.
In the last election we saw Trump run a brilliant campaign by carefully spending his time, money and possibly tailoring his messages to maximize his delegate count because he was smart enough to know that's how Presidential elections are won.
In that election Hillary won the popular vote, but I strongly suspect that if Trump had also wanted to and tried to win the popular vote, he probably would have.  He didn't but then again he got NONE of the 55 delegate votes from California despite the fact that 1/3 of the state voted for him.  Many states only have 3 delegates, half don't have a total of 10 and California turned the all 18 of the delegates that represented Trump into Hillary delegates.
Riley Brown Added May 19, 2018 - 11:59am
Dave, looking from the outside I can see how you'd think a President who has both the House and Congress could slide his agenda through pretty easily but Trump is a Republican in name only because he agreed to run on the Republican ticket.
In truth he's very independent and most Republicans hate him almost as much as the Democrats hate him, so his own party is constantly sabotaging all his efforts to get things passed.  One big reason is that he's not a politician, and he campaigned on cutting out all the government waste and abuse that many politicians in both parties use to enrich themselves and their cronies.  He threatens the very institutions that existing politicians, including most Republicans depend on to secure their very affluent future.  Trump can do that because he's already very wealthy, he doesn't need the perks of being a government insider to secure his future, heck if he never made another dime his family will probably still be very well off for generations.
Remember that next time you see his agenda floundering because not even Republicans are supporting him.  If they did, he'd not need one Democrat vote to get the things he wants done.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added May 21, 2018 - 8:33am
There is no action in Congress to fix voter fraud for the same reason they took no action to fix the banking crisis in 2003 before Democrats crashed the economy in 2008.  It takes action with both Republicans and Democrats cooperating, which will never happen because the establishment likes working together for their own benefit.  It would take 60 conservative senators to get it done.
Riley Brown Added May 21, 2018 - 9:44am
Dusty, I'm not sure how many illegals there are in Southern California but the vast majority I speak to all voted Democratic and the state is already overwhelmingly Democratic.  I doubt the make any difference when it comes to Presidential elections because all 55 of California's electoral votes go to the prevailing, (Democratic), candidate one way or another.  The official vote count last time was about 1/3 for Trump but even still all 55 went to Hillary.  If removing all the illegals made it just a little under 50% for Trump all 55 would still have gone to Hillary.  There are a lot of illegals voting, but not that many. 
Congress doesn't need to fix the problem, it's already illegal for them to vote but it's an unenforced law and local politicians who are overwhelmingly Democratic want their votes so they keep rules that stop the law from being enforced.  That's why it's illegal to ask them for ID when they vote.  Heck you can't even by a cigarette or cash a check without ID but you can vote without  it.
It may not have helped Hillary, (in Calif), but it sure helps keep the rest of the smaller elected officials Democratic.  Democrats promise illegals in Calif everything from Sanctuary and jobs to massive social assistance programs like free educations, food, and housing, all pid for by American Taxpayers, so they vote for them.  Republicans who want change don't stand a chance.
Dusty Koellhoffer Added May 21, 2018 - 1:35pm
I think you would see a larger shift in California's electorate because in the current climate Republicans don't bother going to the polls because they know the state government is taking action to make sure their votes are either not counted or overwhelmed by illegal voters.