Now you know how things roll around here. We don't do sappy on this here blog. But in the past a few of my friends have posted about what lessons they would like to pass on to their children. It got me thinking. It was a tough choice, but in the end I think I'd have to go with:
Correlation does not indicate causality.
Touching, I know. Of course there are more important things, but they're kind of a given. Really, this is something I think I am somewhat uniquely capable of passing on to my children. A firm grasp of basic statistics. Just think how much better the world would be if everyone understood that just because two things tend to happen "together" DOES NOT mean that one caused the other. Are you following me? Let's try an obvious example. When do kids usually start losing their first tooth? When do kids usually start public school? About the same time, right? So starting school causes kids to lose their teeth, right? Of course not, but society makes assumptions like that more often than we might like to admit. If my children can internalize this advice, then maybe they'll be capable of designing scientifically worthwhile experiments. Maybe they won't make rash judgments. Maybe they'll never get suckered into acupuncture.
Maybe I could jazz it up a little and hang it on my wall. I'm thinking floral cross-stitch:
What would be on your "cross stitch"?