Firstly, this occurrence may be as initially assumed-that an increase in the consumption of ice cream indeed increases the cases of drowning. Thus its reduction would automatically reduce the drowning cases. In this case on variable is dependent on the other. On the other hand, in actual sense there might be no correlation between the two variables whatsoever. The observed or assumed correlation may not be real, but a rather a factor of a third variable unknown that may be affecting the two variables (ice cream consumption and drowning). Therefore, in the second case we may say that the two variables have either a direct or indirect relation to this third variable, but they actually tend to move in the same direction (the increase direction) (Haanel, 2007). Thirdly, the occurrence of the seemingly direct correlation may be as a matter coincidence or chance seen through an appeal of chronology. In this case the two variables may have happened to vary in the manner they did not because there is any relationship, but due to mere coincidence and a common occurrence in time (Haanel, 2007). The probability of the first scenario being true depends on whether there is indeed a direct relationship. If correlation cannot be established the relevant coefficient then there is zero probability of scenario one being true. This can be tested by varying one variable in this case the ice cream consumption to find out whether there is a change in the second variable (drowning). The second scenario depends on whether a third factor can be found that will have a correlation and a coefficient that will relate to each variable independently of each other. This can be analyzed by establishing a third factor that may relate to both. If there is no found third factor the probability of scenario two is nil. Finally, the probability of the third scenario occurring entirely depends on the first two. If none of them can explain the relationship or occurrence then chances are high or the probability is high for scenario three being the explanation for the occurrence. Anonymous, (2010), The Illusion of Cause-Vaccines and autism, retrieved on 20 Haanel, F.C. (2007), Cause and Effect Kessinger Publishing, LLC. |