From Association to Causation : Some Remarks on the History of Statistics

  title={From Association to Causation : Some Remarks on the History of Statistics},
  author={David Freedman},
The “numerical method” in medicine goes back to Pierre Louis’ study of pneumonia (1835), and John Snow’s book on the epidemiology of cholera (1855). Snow took advantage of natural experiments and used convergent lines of evidence to demonstrate that cholera is a waterborne infectious disease. More recently, investigators in the social and life sciences have used statistical models and significance tests to deduce cause-and-effect relationships from patterns of association; an early example is… CONTINUE READING


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