The following is a hypothetical syllogism that isn’t new at all. It isn’t new to science; it isn’t new to philosophy. Well, at least in the colloquial sense. That is why I found it necessary to formulate it in a syllogistic form:
P1 Coincidence does not imply correlation
P2 Correlation does not imply causation
C Therefore, coincidence does not imply causation
Colloquially, P1 isn’t often said. Coincidence isn’t correlation. However, some of us make the error of conflating the two. Think of a Christian, for example; he/she prays for event x and then event x occurs. More specifically, he/she prays for a job and then gets a job. As if there are no causal events between the prayer and the event, he/she correlates event A (prayer) and event D (the job offer). Therefore, coincidence does not imply correlation is a useful reminder. The prayer had nothing to do with said Christian getting a job. So in actuality, the prayer isn’t event A. Event A is the phone call or email notifying said Christian of an interview date. Event B is the interview and event C is the job offer. A caused B and B caused C. To establish causation, one must establish correlation, but some events are entirely unrelated.
So this is a self-correction of sorts. I have frequently employed the maxim: correlation does not imply causation. Most recently, I used it when responding to a Christian who stated that she prayed for a relative’s cancer to be cured and then the relative’s cancer went into remission. I gave her prayer too much credit; in a strange sort of way, I assigned to it too much power. Her prayer was entirely unrelated—as are the prayers of the pious. Their prayers are events that fall outside of the sphere of causation. Their prayers are unrelated to the meaningful events in our reality. Their prayers are meaningless, powerless, useless and in futility; they are to no avail. The fact that a prayer was made prior to some event is mere coincidence and nothing more. I have learned from my error and though the syllogism is meant to remind the pious and the superstitious, it is also meant to remind us atheists. Some of us have mistakenly bought into their system; it is high time that they buy into ours.