May 12 2014

Correlation and Causation

Every skeptic’s new favorite website is Spurious Correlations. The site is brilliant – it mines multiple data sets (such as causes of death, consumption of various products, divorce rates by state, etc.) and then tries to find correlations between different variables. The results are often hilarious.

The point of this exercise is to demonstrate that correlation does not necessarily equal causation. Often it is more effective to demonstrate a principle than simply to explain it. By showing impressive looking graphical correlations between phenomena that are clearly not related (at least proposing a causal connection superficially seems absurd.), it drives home the point that correlation is not enough to conclude causation.

I think most people can intuitively understand that funding on science, space, and technology is unlikely to have a meaningful causal connection to suicide by hanging, strangulation, or suffocation.

Yet – look at those curves. If a similar graph were shown with two variables that might be causally connected, that would seem very compelling.

There are a couple of points about this I want to explore a bit further. First is the important caveat that, while correlation is not necessarily causation, sometimes it is. Two variables that are causally related would correlate. I dislike the oversimplification that is sometimes presented: “correlation is not causation.” But it can be.

The second point is a statistical one. The important deeper lesson here is the power of data mining. Humans are great at sifting through lots of data and finding apparent patterns. In fact we have a huge bias toward false positives in this regard – we find patterns that are not really there but are just statistical flukes or complete illusions.

Correlations, however, seem compelling to us. If we dream about a friend we haven’t seen in 20 years then they call us the next day, that correlation seems uncanny, and we hunt for a cause. We aren’t even aware of the fact that we are sifting a massive set of data for this apparently stunning correlation – everything that happens to us throughout our day. The opportunities for chance correlations are huge, and it is not surprising that we find some.

This website is doing essentially the same thing, just with graphical data. It is sifting through large numbers of graphs, and finding spurious correlations.

This sometimes happens with published data as well, even if it is not completely apparent. Scientists may look through data for many possible correlations before finding one. They may or may not publish all the possible correlations they looked for, and when they don’t, the one that they found will be made to seem much more impressive than it is.

If correlations are questionable but not useless, how should we consider them? Finding correlations is a useful way to generate hypotheses, but is a very weak method for testing hypotheses. In other words, when an apparent correlation is found it should be considered a hypothesis, not a conclusion.

Before we engage in too much speculation about cause, it is better to confirm the correlation first. One way to do this is to look specifically for that one correlation in a fresh set of data. The initial observation of the correlation likely came out of many possible observed correlations, many more than may naively seem to be the case. We can control for this hidden multiple comparisons by looking only for the one apparent correlation.

It is critical, however, that a completely new and independent set of data be used. If you include the old data then you can be bringing forward the chance correlation.

Once the correlation is confirmed as probably real, the next step is to explore possible causal relationships. In general, if A correlates with B then it is possible that A causes B, B causes A, or both A and B are related to a third factor, C. This analysis should be guided by prior plausibility.

For example, many things correlate with population. So any area with a growing population will also see correlations between any factors that also tend to grow with population.

There are two basic ways to confirm a specific causal relationship – observational and experimental. The most reliable type of data is experimental, because you can control for variables. You can see if increasing A increases B, or the other way around.

It is not always possible to do controlled experiments, however. In such cases further observational data is useful. Each possible causal connection may make different predictions about further correlations, and these can be used to test the various causal hypotheses.

Observational data is always suspect, because there can be an unknown variable that is not being controlled for in the data. For example, there is some research showing a correlation between violence in video games and aggression. A recent study, however, showed that aggression actually correlates with frustration from playing difficult games, and not their level of violence. (I am not saying this is the final word – just that new research has exposed another confounding variable not accounted for in prior research.)

Conclusion

Correlations are an important part of scientific research. We also use apparent correlations in our everyday life to reach conclusions about cause and effect.

Having a nuanced understanding of the complex relationship between correlation and causation is very useful, and essential for any researcher or just anyone trying to make sense of published research.

The spurious correlations website drives home what is often the first lesson that we must internalize – correlation is not necessarily causation.

Neither, however, can we dismiss correlations, because sometimes they are real and are a clue to causation. Further thoughtful research is needed, however, to confirm that an apparent correlation is real, and then to explore the true implications of real correlations.

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49 responses so far

49 Responses to “Correlation and Causation”

  1. carbonUniton 12 May 2014 at 9:33 am

    They should try to find a similar graph for alt-med vs something bad. :)

    Thanks for bringing this site to my attention! I was unaware of it.

  2. Sherringtonon 12 May 2014 at 11:20 am

    One quick point and one question:

    Although experiments are the best way to get at causation, in cases in which they are not possible there are procedures for controlling for other variables. For example, let’s say you wanted to see if there was a correlation between the number of cigarettes smoked and health. There are statistical procedures for adjusting for other variables. (Of course, this is not as good as a true experiment in controlling for these extraneous variables).

    The questions is: Does a LACK of a correlation between two variables mean there is NO causation? I would argue no. Imagine that it was found that there was no correlation between A and B. It is possible still that A causes B, but that another variable is masking this.

  3. Insomniacon 12 May 2014 at 11:27 am

    I was wondering if the case for the relationship between lead removal in gas and the general decrease of violence is based solely on this correlation/causation confusion (see this plot http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/74298000/gif/_74298891_lead_crime_gra624.gif). At least here we have a plausible mechanism, since we know a great deal about the neurotoxicity of lead and its effects on human behavior. Plus some predictions seem to have been successfuly made, for example in countries where the decision to remove lead was delayed compared to others etc. However, here we’re in the situation where the only tool we have is observational, and as you said Steven, we can’t possibly control anything.

    Anyway, here are some details :
    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27067615

  4. Kawarthajonon 12 May 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Great website, just checked it out for the first time. Very funny.

    Ok, why are so many people dying by getting tangled in their bedsheets (over 700 in 2009)? How can this happen?

  5. BillyJoe7on 12 May 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Kawarthajon,

    I would say the cause would be asphyxiation and the person probably has an underlying predisposing factor such as OSA or general debility (the elderly and those with dementia).
    Only a guess though.

  6. tmac57on 12 May 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Juvenile arrests for possession of marijuana (US) went up as Honey producing bee colonies (US) went down.
    Fewer sting operations maybe?

  7. M_Morganon 12 May 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Dr Novella, a nice topic, with the value and drawbacks of correlations well explained. I shall rattle off a brief comment before rattling off to the office, although it is explained more fully in my free work at http://sdrv.ms/1a4HBbk The issue of causation, which is primary, is a difficult one for science. It goes all the way back to properly interpreting physical laws for particles and fields (of which our anatomy and its neurons are comprised). My view is that causation, properly defined, has an unbroken thread from physics through chemistry through biology and all the way to psychology. Beginning with physics, the task is to divide every physical state between a capacity to “cause” and be “effected” by the cause of other particles. This is simple but unrecognized in physics to date.

    In physics, see inertia as causal, so that when a particle (by way of fields) effects another, it is by its own inertia effecting the inertia of another to follow its own inertia – thus a solar system forms from a sun and planets maintaining their own paths or rotations (with conservation of momentum) whilst being drawn by others into adjusted paths – a solar system is the compromise between the various states of inertia. Electromagnetism in formation of atomic orbitals is as simple as gravitation in the formation of solar systems in its division between inertial capacities of an electron and proton to “be themselves” whilst conforming to “the other”, and they compromise in a rotation by field exchanges.

    The inertial, causal, thread reaching compromise by exchanges between particles using fields is always unbroken, or continual, as are the effects that enable compromise. These factors are already enshrined in the laws of physics as various “equivalence” principles”, and understandable mechanically in field exchanges to compromise inertias. All physics needs to do is create a clear definitional division between these dual, and (remarkably) equal capacities of particles in a new formalism I attempt in my work, It is a very simple and useful way of understanding physics.

    The logical development of this model of cause and effect as inertial compromise extends right through to chemistry and then biology (very remarkably), so there may be some hope to stiffen the spine of biology (and psychology from biology) using the model. Jumping several stages in this analysis to save time, “correlation” in neuroscience is a useful first step, but we need more spine there. Our anatomy, whilst entirely immersed in a world and thus at every moment subject to a world and its provisions, is an intact causal structure – to an extent. We collect stimulations from a world to our own schemes by conditioned motor control using our diverse human talents, but being subject to a world always conditions the causal freedom we might assume we have in that process of scheming and controlling.

    Thus, we can often forget the world that maintains us when we wilfully (causally) create our own world – and it bites us when global warming and pollution hit back. We can have the impression of Free Will (mentioned briefly in my post at the foot of the “Afterlife Debate” thread) by intact capture of neural stimulation from a world and from our own moves (which frame collections from a world). Our awareness is contained (it is undoubtedly ones’ own subjective construct) but at the same time entirely open to change across every moment of exposure to the world and adjustment of our own moves in a continually changing neural cycle – “intact” but equally “open”. In “mental illness” the connection between being intact and contained whilst entirely open to influence becomes confused. We are poised between our own schemes and what the world allows, as “causation”. Inevitably there is much more to say on this subject, perhaps on another day.

  8. ferrousbuelleron 12 May 2014 at 10:29 pm

    A warning to anyone who follows M_Morgan’s link: Be prepared for some almost “Time-Cube” level strangeness.

  9. Kawarthajonon 12 May 2014 at 11:27 pm

    tmac57: “Fewer sting operations maybe?”

    Groan…that was a good one!

  10. BillyJoe7on 13 May 2014 at 1:06 am

    “A warning to anyone who follows M_Morgan’s link: Be prepared for some almost “Time-Cube” level strangeness”

    Is this a first for the Neurologica blog?
    At least I cannot remember a crank posting here before, though some have come close.

  11. M_Morganon 13 May 2014 at 2:36 am

    @ ferrousbueller
    @ BillyJoe7

    Care to elaborate at all about my work? Should be easy to find a fact, or a logical point to raise beyond the cryptic comment of ““Time-Cube” level strangeness” and the insult “crank”.

    No argument at all – just troll comments? I am happy to engage in debate about it. Readers are heartily advised not to heed your troll comments.

  12. GeoManon 13 May 2014 at 3:36 am

    M_Morgan:

    Im not sure that you are talking about the same thing as the blog here.

    The blog covers the general idea about how statistics in science can be misused or misinterpreted, in this case referring to correlation and causation. It also talks about how it is used in research and its practical applications in science.

    From what I can understand of your post, you talk about causation in the physical world. Rather than the statistical/science reference of correlation and causation.

    It may be that I am not understanding your post however….

  13. BillyJoe7on 13 May 2014 at 6:56 am

    M. Morgan:

    “This is simple but unrecognized in physics to date”
    “It is a very simple and useful way of understanding physics”
    “I am a lawyer from Melbourne, Australia”

    I’m not sure that I need to comment any further.

    Of course, I will withdraw my characterisation of crankhood if Mr. Morgan can reveal relevant academic qualifications, involvement in peer review, and a list of his publications in recognised scientific journals.

  14. Draalon 13 May 2014 at 7:25 am

    “Observational data is always suspect, because there can be an unknown variable that is not being controlled for in the data. ”

    Suck for climate scientists, no? They make predictions but rely on observational data.

  15. davidsmithon 13 May 2014 at 7:35 am

    Neither, however, can we dismiss correlations, because sometimes they are real and are a clue to causation. Further thoughtful research is needed, however, to confirm that an apparent correlation is real, and then to explore the true implications of real correlations.

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. To me, the most interesting correlations that are suggested in the natural world are those that represent reports of precognition. Yes, these correlations may be real and may be a clue to causation, or rather retro-causation. We already have some thoughtful experimental confirmation suggesting that these correlations are real and some theoretical exposition (recent AAAS symposiums on retro-causation) to back them up. Much more work is needed of course, but I think this is a nice example of what Steven is talking about here.

  16. Draalon 13 May 2014 at 7:43 am

    I think MMorgan is an interesting fellow; no need to label as a crank. I read the first ten pages of his book. He uses the term my “theory” in a fast a lost way, as if a it was supported by overwhelming evidence instead of using the more appropriate term, hypothesis.
    My brain did melt trying to understand his diagrams. A side note, diagrams with a caption should stand on their own without the need to reference the the main text.

    Ooo! My favorite lines from skimming:
    “Levity at edges and gravity as bases applies to sex organs. Male testes and penis are at the esge of anatomy with levity. They aim multiple levity sperm at a massive gravity egg that falls down into a massive womb.”

    Make me think that that the levity of pellets aimed at the massive gravity of a chest is the reason that shotguns are so effective.

  17. BillyJoe7on 13 May 2014 at 8:00 am

    Draal’

    “I think MMorgan is an interesting fellow”

    Then…

    “He uses the term my “theory” in a fast a lost way, as if a it was supported by overwhelming evidence instead of using the more appropriate term, hypothesis”

    How many scientists would not understand the difference?”

    “My brain did melt trying to understand his diagrams”

    And you know they should be self-explanatory, right?

    M. Morgan quote: “Levity at edges and gravity as bases applies to sex organs. Male testes and penis are at the esge of anatomy with levity. They aim multiple levity sperm at a massive gravity egg that falls down into a massive womb”

    Well, I rest my case.

  18. BillyJoe7on 13 May 2014 at 8:02 am

    GeoMan re M. Morgan:

    “It may be that I am not understanding your post however….”

    :)

  19. Draalon 13 May 2014 at 8:14 am

    If MMorgan runs away before I have my fun, then it’s all your fault.

  20. tmac57on 13 May 2014 at 10:47 am

    Kwarthajon- I never have understood why people always groan at my puns…
    maybe too much ‘levity’ ?
    ;)

  21. ducktoeson 13 May 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I was just thinking about Steve talking about correlation and causation a few days ago, and lo and behold…

  22. ferrousbuelleron 13 May 2014 at 2:09 pm

    M_Morgan: “Care to elaborate at all about my work? Should be easy to find a fact, or a logical point to raise beyond the cryptic comment of ““Time-Cube” level strangeness” and the insult “crank”.”

    I don’t care to elaborate at all, but I’m going to anyway.

    I skimmed through your work, found it to be a disjointed word salad and moved on. I’ll address one point in your post to show how far out to lunch your “theories” are:

    “In physics, see inertia as causal, so that when a particle (by way of fields) effects another, it is by its own inertia effecting the inertia of another to follow its own inertia – thus a solar system forms from a sun and planets maintaining their own paths or rotations (with conservation of momentum) whilst being drawn by others into adjusted paths – a solar system is the compromise between the various states of inertia. Electromagnetism in formation of atomic orbitals is as simple as gravitation in the formation of solar systems in its division between inertial capacities of an electron and proton to “be themselves” whilst conforming to “the other”, and they compromise in a rotation by field exchanges.”

    You’ve demonstrated in this paragraph that your understanding of atomic physics only extends as far as the Bohr model, and you’ve even failed at fully grasping that simplistic view. Likening atomic orbitals to planetary orbits might fly in grade school, but it’ll get you laughed out of a University. Elsewhere you try to give a hand-wavey explanation of particle/particle interactions and causality without so much as mentioning the fundamentals of quantum mechanics or quantum field theory. Of course I’m not going to take your work seriously! Pro tip: if you can explain everything from mathematics to psychology in 240 pages, you’re missing out on a LOT.

  23. Hosson 13 May 2014 at 2:29 pm

    “I am a lawyer who converts jargon to real language for clients, or to read facts on Sundays. No scientist at all have exchanged views despite attempts over decades. The Philosophy Department Chair at Lehman College, New York, evaluated my work as “utter nonsense” and “shit”, in a one line reply to my book last year. So much for public debate. If academics are ashamed, get over it and open an essential public debate along the lines I propose. Our local news network, ABC, rejected my ideas as “self-promotion” when shared on a show they had about Universals. I replied I promote new ideas for free, then they banned any reference to my book at all. Ignorance is curable. Cowardice, hypocrisy, and basic human dishonesty are the only evils you need to worry about. Vested interest thrive on suppression.” – Last paragraph of M_Morgans book

    M_Morgan’s book seems to be nothing more than trying to explain several phenomena by pigeonholing them into his idea about a geometric design. He also fabricates tons of crap derived from his geometric idea as the quote about sexual reproduction illustrates. I might be slightly wrong since the book is utter nonsense and interpreting it is extremely difficult.

    FYI Levity, as used in the book, means “electromagnetic influences”.

    I’ve also found that when M_Morgan comments anywhere, he promotes his book(self publishing at its finest).

  24. willthepeopleon 13 May 2014 at 11:18 pm

    M. Morgan “I shall rattle off a brief comment before rattling off to the office”

    That was not a brief comment.

  25. The Other John Mcon 14 May 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Sherrington, meant to carry on this discussion earlier, you asked an interesting question:

    “The questions is: Does a LACK of a correlation between two variables mean there is NO causation? I would argue no. Imagine that it was found that there was no correlation between A and B. It is possible still that A causes B, but that another variable is masking this.”

    So there are a couple things to un-pack here. Statistical correlation is typically referring to linear correlation, so if a non-linear relationship exists, a typical linear corr may or may not come out significant. Also, if we have range restriction issues, a correlation that is actually present in a population would fail to appear within the restricted sample.

    Yet another issue is that correlations need some variability in the data to work properly. If my measurements look like this: (3,5) (3,5) (3,5) (3,5) with no variability in my data, there is no correlation to calculate.

    I’m not a professional statistician so I may be missing some other issues on this question.

    So, I believe you are correct in that failure to find a relationship does not absolutely rule out a true correlation or causation being present; it just makes it less likely there is a true effect there, or that the effect is complicated and interacting with other variables. Proper methodological design of studies can help alleviate some of these concerns, but the big obvious typically important effects can often be spotted with just a plain old linear correlation, hence its incredible utility in science.

    “It is possible still that A causes B, but that another variable is masking this.”
    Yes, check out moderating and mediating variables: http://academic.csuohio.edu/kneuendorf/c63111/hand22.pdf

    This all gets messily into multivariate analyses with complex modeling, and which some people absolutely love but I never developed the stomach for (it’s hard to keep clear in my head what the stats are telling us).

  26. The Other John Mcon 14 May 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Oh, and also, the way Null-Hypothesis Significance Testing (NHST) is formulated, a non-significant statistical finding leads only to the conclusion:

    “There is insufficient evidence at this time to reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative.”

    So if there truly was an underlying correlation/causation in the population, and your sample failed to find it, we don’t strictly interpret this as “proving the null” (we don’t conclude “there is definitely no relationship”). Again, this is another way of stating that what you conjectured was accurate: failure to find correlation does not absolutely, definitely prove there is no causation, though it may diminish our confidence.

  27. steve12on 14 May 2014 at 7:05 pm

    ” That was not a brief comment.”

    Funniest comment in the history of this blog

  28. Bill Openthalton 14 May 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Seconded!

  29. grabulaon 15 May 2014 at 12:56 am

    @fucktoes

    Are you trying to support a belief in precognition?

  30. grabulaon 15 May 2014 at 12:57 am

    Woah, my apology Ducktoes, auto correct murdered your name and I didn’t catch it!

  31. tmac57on 15 May 2014 at 11:14 am

    grabula- Are you suffering from a case of Ducktoes intolerance? ;)

  32. M_Morganon 15 May 2014 at 6:41 pm

    @ferrousbueller

    “You’ve demonstrated in this paragraph that your understanding of atomic physics only extends as far as the Bohr model”

    My understanding extends well beyond the paragraph you quote – is that all I have to say about atomic orbitals in the book?

    “Elsewhere you try to give a hand-wavey explanation of particle/particle interactions and causality without so much as mentioning the fundamentals of quantum mechanics or quantum field theory.”

    Where is this hand-wavey explanation in the book? Rubbish.

    “Pro tip: if you can explain everything from mathematics to psychology in 240 pages, you’re missing out on a LOT.”

    That’s it? Give up reading if you are not prepared to learn, you will go nowhere.

    @willthepeople

    “That was not a brief comment.”

    Really? Took about 5 minutes to write.

  33. M_Morganon 15 May 2014 at 6:43 pm

    @Hoss

    You obviously haven’t read it and you are just going with the flow of ignorance.

  34. Hosson 15 May 2014 at 7:21 pm

    M_morgan
    “You obviously haven’t read it and you are just going with the flow of ignorance.”

    How did you come to that conclusion? I read about 30 pages of that nonsense. You need an editor. The language you use obfuscates the points you are trying to make.

    You should stop being lazy and engage in argument without resorting to, it’s in my book.

    Seriously get an editor with a specialty in science for your book. It is illegible.

  35. M_Morganon 15 May 2014 at 8:00 pm

    @ Hoss

    You are welcome to your literary criticism, but I will just ignore it because its a rubbish attempt at continuing a smear with a façade of “reasonable consideration” of the work. You’re not a critic’s armpit.

    “the book is utter nonsense” (no worth in it at all?),

    “fabricates tons of crap” (none cited apart from another pathetic attempt at reproducing a quote with no further explanation, no context at all, and no definitions of terms)

    with the proviso “I might be slightly wrong” (not just slightly, you are ignorant and have no idea of the work from what you write).

    My advice is don’t be lazy, do some useful work, and educate yourself so that one day you CAN understand the book. Good luck!

  36. grabulaon 15 May 2014 at 9:01 pm

    @tmac

    Lol, my stupid auto correct apparently is

  37. grabulaon 15 May 2014 at 9:05 pm

    @m_morgan

    I haven’t read your book but I know there seems to be alot of confusion on your posts on this blog recently. To me that would be a sign that at the very least you might need to find another way to explain yourself?

    The other thing is a daresay most of the regular commentators here are fairly intelligent and if they can spot problems in the first few pages you might want to consider re-examining your points.

  38. Hosson 16 May 2014 at 1:22 am

    M_Morgan
    “You are welcome to your literary criticism, but I will just ignore it because its a rubbish attempt at continuing a smear with a façade of “reasonable consideration” of the work. You’re not a critic’s armpit.”

    First, I have no idea what you mean by critic’s armpit. Not being lazy, I googled the phrase. Can you guess what the results turned up? Let’s just say, I now know more than I want to know about Madonna’s armpit hair. Can you tell me what “critic’s armpit” means without insulting me for asking about it?

    “My advice is don’t be lazy, do some useful work, and educate yourself so that one day you CAN understand the book.”

    How did you come to the conclusion that your book is currently beyond my understanding? Your weakly supported ad hominems are extremely annoying. This isn’t the worse one either. I might be a bit harsh and poke fun at times, but what you said to Bill and Billyjoe was pretty disgusting. I have a feeling you do the same to most critics, and I doubt most critics get more than the first few pages because the writing is just bad.

    Now that is out of the way, I’m going to criticize you book. Also, I’m glossing over a lot of factual errors in the introduction since the arguments for them are latter in the book.

    “However, I have kept notes over four decades and compiled them gradually into this book explaining humans within nature. Hopefully, it will be of value, as it is completely new and original, and worth considering for its breadth and meaning. I avoid any jargon, and I present my ideas in plain language and very simply. ” Page 1

    You need to cite your sources. I haven’t read a scientific paper published in a journal without sources. This is almost a requirement if you want to be taken seriously.

    You don’t avoid using jargon. Several people have commented on the lack of readability of your writing, and I assume you hear this from most of the people giving you feedback. Also, don’t avoid using jargon. Use lots of jargon, so scientist can find your book readable.

    “If you are not familiar with accepted facts or established theories supporting my ideas, any science encyclopedia will assist you.” page 2
    “I do not provide references in the style of an academic paper, and only rely on facts and theories that are very simple and well established. One can always misstate a fact or theory in error. Confirmation is easily found in encyclopedias, including Wikipedia.” page 2-3

    Use citations, its what professional scientist and book writers do. Your rationalization for not doing so is weak. Do you know why there are references in academic papers? Those reasons are more important than your rationalization for not.

    “The point of my book is to fit basic facts and theories within the scope of my Design based on Universals.” page 3

    You flatly layout how you’re going to lead the evidence to your conclusions about “Design” rather than follow the evidence to its natural conclusion.

    “Levity and Gravity
    Two chemicals aggregate with more electromagnetic charge and may tend to rise with levity from agitation and heat, as do gasses and minerals. Two chemicals aggregate with more gravitational mass and may tend to fall with gravity from weight, as do liquids and solids. Rising levity capacities would position chemicals higher than falling gravity capacities, whether the chemicals have an external or internal position in the landscape. Gasses and minerals share electromagnetic charge and tend to rise with levity against gravity, from agitation and heat. On the other hand, liquids and solids tend to fall evenly by weight from gravity. This is a comparative statement, as they combine universally.” page 26

    Hot air does rise in a room, but the heat is not the reason why the air rises. The density differential in a system effected by gravity causes less dense object to move away from the center of gravity and denser objects to move toward the center of gravity. I have no idea why you invoke two chemical aggregates, states of matter, or electromagnetism since they are completely unnecessary.

    Since when do gasses and mineral share electromagnetic charges? I have no idea what this is suppose to mean. If I take it literally, then you’re factually wrong.

    I’m stopping here for the night. If I think M_Morgan response can be productive, then I will continue tomorrow.

    A word of warning. DO NOT READ M_MORGAN”S BOOK, unless you’re masochistic. It is some of the most painful reading I have ever done.

    Ok Morgan, you can start insulting me now.

  39. Bill Openthalton 16 May 2014 at 4:01 am

    Hoss –

    A word of warning. DO NOT READ M_MORGAN”S BOOK, unless you’re masochistic. It is some of the most painful reading I have ever done.

    I agree. But it is also a source of much levity, and the bits on sex are absolutely hilarious.

  40. SteveAon 16 May 2014 at 7:50 am

    Hoss: “A word of warning. DO NOT READ M_MORGAN”S BOOK, unless you’re masochistic. It is some of the most painful reading I have ever done.”

    Too late. It reminds me of some of the ‘sacred geometry’ books I’ve read. Where everything supposedly conforms to the same simple universal pattern. In this case a kind of up-down, left-right balancing act.

    I hope you get a response. I’m interested to find out why ‘minerals’ are not solids. Did his definition of mineral differ from the standard? I’d go back and look, but can’t summon the enthusiasm.

  41. Bill Openthalton 16 May 2014 at 8:42 am

    SteveA –

    I’d go back and look, but can’t summon the enthusiasm.

    Oddly enough, reading Marcus’ drivel made me revisit Miles Mathis’ site ( http://milesmathis.com/updates.html ). Miles is actually a nice guy, and a rather deft hand with a paintbrush.

    Just have a gander at his paper on salt (http://milesmathis.com/salt.pdf). He writes a lot better than Marcus, fortunately, and his challenges to accepted wisdom are not always without merit.

  42. The Other John Mcon 16 May 2014 at 8:52 am

    It would be great to do a word frequency analysis of MMorgan’s writing and compare to actual scientific/technical writing.

    Also, I’m pretty sure the use of quoted words is inversely proportional to clarity, so that might make a good objective measure of crankiness. Here’s an example from MM first post:

    Thus, we can often forget the world that maintains us when we wilfully (causally) create our own world – and it bites us when global warming and pollution hit back. We can have the impression of Free Will (mentioned briefly in my post at the foot of the “Afterlife Debate” thread) by intact capture of neural stimulation from a world and from our own moves (which frame collections from a world). Our awareness is contained (it is undoubtedly ones’ own subjective construct) but at the same time entirely open to change across every moment of exposure to the world and adjustment of our own moves in a continually changing neural cycle – “intact” but equally “open”. In “mental illness” the connection between being intact and contained whilst entirely open to influence becomes confused. We are poised between our own schemes and what the world allows, as “causation”. Inevitably there is much more to say on this subject, perhaps on another day.

  43. SteveAon 16 May 2014 at 9:17 am

    Bill Openthalt

    Thanks for the Mathis link. It does look well presented (and he can certainly draw), but I’m not so interested in physics to be tempted to investigate in any depth.

    The Other John Mc

    When I first saw the book I did wonder if chunks of it had been written by a machine. Random words and sentence fragments stitched together with grammar.

  44. Hosson 16 May 2014 at 9:37 am

    For the sake of entertainment, here are a few excepts from the book about sex. Enjoy.

    “Sexuality, Growth, and Awareness
    Levity at edges and gravity as bases applies to sex organs. Male testes and penis are at the edge of anatomy with levity. They aim multiple levity sperm at a massive gravity egg that falls down into a massive womb. A vagina extends down from a womb to hold and insulate friction of a risen and rising penis head till fertilization. A womb expands for an embryo till a baby falls down. Levity daily across yearly cycles are for male arousal. Gravity daily across monthly cycles are for female ovulation.

    Sexes arise by DNA encoding to further its interfaces with a blending continuum on pages 51-54, as a DNA digital strand blending as chromosomes and bonding as nucleotides. Females exactly match our lunar cycle’s duration, which is as precise as any features matching landscapes. Non-living gravity or levity features include basins and funnels to exploit by encoding. Gravity concentrates a surface at a vagina around a neutral center of a womb to fertilize an egg. Levity concentrates a center as testes building sperm to concentrate in a shaft, with a neutral surface of a penis head to spurt when a concentrated shaft penetrates a concentrated vaginal opening for neutral head to meet womb. That is the difference between electromagnetism and gravitation, explained later in chapters 12 and 13.

    Our anatomy is a welcoming base with edged border, as a home for a child. A mother extends herself into the world to hold from the causal origin of a home, but too often in ignorance of a world. A father contains himself as an edged border to sort the world to the causal ideal of a home, but too often with violence in the world. Society can substitute for family in an extension of altruism, or to extend its ignorance and violence. Growth and breeding are experienced hormonally, emotionally.” page 96

    “Strings & Loops and Sexuality
    Further coverage of sex can be given now. In Diagram 36, the two Gravitons make a vaginal opening with clitoris at the counter- rotation point. In Diagram 37, the two Photons make the head of a penis extending point first in as a hill, and base first out as a well, in entry into, and exit from, a vagina. Testes and penis are at the edge of anatomy, levitating to aim multiple tinysperm to levitate towards an egg. A vagina extends from one massive fallen egg in a uterus based inside the anatomy, which extends as an embryo grows. Copulation is levity oscillation within insulated gravity for rising friction until a centered match at fertilization.

    The Weak Force is a split between head and body by levity males to ideal ends of a home, and the Strong Force is attraction by females at a nurturing distance from the real origins of a home. We have Testosterone and Estrogen sex hormones, for males to be excited in springtime and females tidal monthly. The Weak is a mechanism for electromagnetism by neutron decay, with an opposite process of formation. From decay, photons can be sent. The Strong Force is attractive at a specific distance for protons or neutrons to confine in a nucleus, by Binding Energy from gravitation in high compression for larger atomic nuclei, for more atoms than hydrogen at the Big Bang, stars, and supernovae.” pg 195-196

    “Polite distance is essential for psychological nurturing of an infant to be alternately a child and a parent, and for the mother to know herself also as a partner at equally close distancing. Linguistics is edged and toned, unlike rough commands of males with logistics as a sorting edge to a home. In springtime, a penis rises to soothing linguistics easily distracting the male head for mating, requiring logistical commitment. Compression into a neutron is like a male disengaged from “atomic” template function by diversion into a “void” insulated by graviton loops of a vagina extending on strings from a womb. That diversion compresses anatomically and socially, like gravitation compresses particles into neutrons to be bound by the Strong and worked over by Weak decay. There is compression and decay by field affects, and with affects for new element creation. A male compresses to make and hold sperm rather than sublimating by normal function, then decays releasing photon sperm on edge between X or Y, with gene deficiency of the Y problematic to male health. The hormones of testes and penis are not compressed in “atomic” function. Levity changes from normal “atomic”, to compression, to decay, to normality.” page 197-198

  45. Hosson 16 May 2014 at 9:46 am

    SteveA
    SteveA:”Did his definition of mineral differ from the standard?”
    Minerals aren’t defined. This seems like the best reference in the book.

    Book: “In my book, I will explain how we have comprehensive awareness from an anatomy with perfect resemblance to the environment. If comprehensive awareness happens to derive from an embodiment of the gasses, liquids, minerals, and solids of our landscape, there may be a conspiracy at work. In this case, there may be a conspiracy in the laws of nature. The conspiracy in nature may extend beyond our planet. It is possible, if not likely, that the laws of nature conspire to evolve earth-type planets for human- type anatomies to evolve. In that process, the creation of a Biosphere of chemical elements and their combination into the layered chemical compounds of our landscape is essential.

    In this chapter, I will explore the combined role of atoms on earth’s surface and the epicycle around them to the shaping of our landscapes for the evolution of life. As noted, they would combine as one system. The sun, moon, pull of the earth, and spin of the earth would be essential to the shaping of atoms into layered compounds of gasses, liquids, minerals, and solids. The combination of atoms and epicycle might be perfectly harmonious, adding to a likelihood of predetermination.” page 17

  46. The Other John Mcon 16 May 2014 at 9:54 am

    Oh my god Hoss is that really real? Hilarious sections your provided.

    I am now convinced this is all one big elaborate (and awesome) prank by Billy Joe posing as MMorgan. BJ, that part about calling yourself a troll was genius, utterly priceless!

  47. SteveAon 16 May 2014 at 9:56 am

    Hoss: “Minerals aren’t defined. This seems like the best reference in the book.”

    Thanks. I can stop wondering now.

    Bill Openthalt

    Re-reading my last message to you, I think I came across as a bit snotty. If so, sorry. It wasn’t the intention. I just don’t know enough about physics to make sense (or not) of the Mathis stuff.

    To add to the cranks collection. Has anyone heard of Christoper Ball?

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reverse-Theory-Christopher-Ball-ebook/dp/B00BOOY9NK

  48. BillyJoe7on 17 May 2014 at 6:18 am

    The Other John Mac,

    “I am now convinced this is all one big elaborate (and awesome) prank by Billy Joe posing as MMorgan. BJ, that part about calling yourself a troll was genius, utterly priceless!”

    Yeah, that book took all of three hours on a Sunday afternoon. The program took a little longer. I thought the Melbourne, Australia address of MMorgan would be a dead giveaway. My only concern is that now Jeremiah knows who I am, but I’ve not seen him around for a while so I guess I’m safe.

    :)

  49. Caueon 22 May 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Simply awesome, as usual. Came here from the best SGU ever! http://www.reddit.com/r/SGU/comments/2690td/what_was_the_best_episode_ever/chosq7s

    I just wanted to thank you once again. Please, do keep the stunningly great work!

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