Cause and Effect

I started with a flowchart, but that made this harder to understand than it should.

People traditionally have problems in this area. When observing phenomena that occur together, people often assign them a causal relationship in error.

To illustrate this, consider that I am born into a prehistoric tribe, and the tribe’s shaman every day does a sunrise dance. I am born into this society, and I am told that the sunrise dance is required to please the sun god, and the sun god reacts to this by rising above the horizon and giving us light and warmth and all good things. Through my life every day the shaman does this dance, and I am in fact trained to replace him so that on the day he dies, the next morning I do the sunrise dance and bring the sun up. Nobody is interested in testing this belief out because it will be disaster to not have the sun come up.

Thus, every day I believe:

I do the dance [cause]  ==> The sun comes up [effect]

The reality of it of course is that there is no causal relationship between my dance and the sunrise. Rather they are correlated phenomena that have to do with the time of day which is itself based on the rotation of the earth relative to the sun.

morning ==> sunrise dance

morning ==> sunrise

We see this kind of failure to sort out cause and effect consistently in buying behavior among collectors.

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