False Criteria of Causality *
DOI link for False Criteria of Causality *
False Criteria of Causality * book
Evidence for the statement comes from the thousands of people who smoke and yet live normal, healthy lives. A brief way of saying that observing a statistical association between two phenomena is only the first step in plausibly inferring causality. Since no one proposes trying to give people cancer or to make them delinquent, the fruitful way toward better causal analyses in these two fields is to concentrate on improving the statistical approach. Despite the greater ease with which noncausality may be demonstrated, many assertions of noncausality in the delinquency literature turn out to be invalid. But many more are invalid because the authors invoke one or another false criterion of noncausality. The "characteristic" criterion is thus statistically irrelevant to the task of assessing causality. It also appears to be inconsistent with the principle of multiple causation to which Barron elsewhere subscribes. The implications of the standards of causality for practical efforts to reduce delinquency are devastating.