Monday, June 18, 2012

Dear Atlantic I thought you were better than this...

In general I'm a fan of the Atlantic, their articles are quite often interesting and thought provoking and presented at a level that accessible to non-experts. But last week there was an article which commits the worst logical errors I've seen them make - correlation does not imply causation. In fact part of me thinks this article is a satire. The author argues that graduation rates would improve if more students take out debt. His whole argument is based on a study which found that 29% of students who take out loans drop out while 44% of students who don't take out loans drop out. But there are a thousand reasons why this might be the case! Making the leap to "students should take out more loans" is an outright logical fallacy! It's like saying people who drive luxury cars are rich so if you want to be rich buy a luxury car.

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