I am very open to being corrected, and I’m looking forward to asking my students about this, but I think The Los Angeles Times this week has provided a perfect example of mistaking correlation with causation (which makes it a great topic for my TOK class) in their article, Who needs a car? Smartphones are driving teens’ social lives.
It says that since 28% of 16 year-old’s have drivers licenses today compared to nearly 50% thirty years ago, and since there has been a huge rise in teens using smartphones in that period, then the two are directly connected.
Though I’m not interested at this point in paying the $44 required to read the study the Times article is based upon, other reports on the same research seem to suggest that, though the research is solid on the lower percentage of teens getting licenses, it’s more conjecture than hard facts about the reasons behind the decline.
I’d be far more inclined to believe that the recession and increased expenses involved in driving are the primary factors behind the decline.
Let me know what you think, and/or if you have more info on the study….