Moving from correlation to causation is one of the most subtle and puzzling topics in social science. I think Judea Pearl is a genius, and this book is well worth reading. Andrew Gelman is right in that there is a lot to disagree with in Pearl's intellectual history—Pearl seems unable to give an even slightly charitable or generous reading of anybody else. But Andrew Gelman is also right that the meat of the book—the case studies and examples—"is great". And I at least think that Andrew Gelman is wrong in thinking that Pearl's writing on causal inference has little point. I believe Pearl's framework of confounders-colliders-mediators is of great help, at least to those of us whose thought is not as smart and subtle as Andrew Gelman's:

Andrew Gelman: "The Book of Why" by Pearl and Mackenzie: "Pearl and Mackenzie’s book is really three books... an exposition of Pearl’s approach to causal inference... an intellectual history... a series of examples.... I have difficulty understanding the point of Pearl’s writing on causal inference.... About the intellectual history... I disagree with a lot of what Pearl says.... The examples in the book. These are great.... The examples are interesting and they engage the reader—at least, they engage me—and I think they are a big part of what makes the book work...

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#noted

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