# The Book of Why

*Judea Pearl*

Summary: Not very engaging but definitely important topic of correlation, causation, statistics and AI.

Score: 75 / 100

I read ~30% of the book normally and the rest as blinks.

With the diagrams it is possible to tell why. To move from correlation to causality.

Three ladders.

## CLippings

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 5 | Location 70-71 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 9:54:55 PM

# The new science does not have a fancy name: I call it simply “causal inference,”

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 5 | Location 75-75 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 9:55:52 PM

# Why? Causal inference is all about taking this question seriously.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 7 | Location 101-101 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:00:19 PM

# the founders of modern statistics, Francis Galton and Karl Pearson,

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 9 | Location 124-125 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:05:32 PM

# mathematicians like Blaise Pascal (1654), Pierre de Fermat (1654), and Christiaan Huygens (1657) find it necessary to develop what we today call probability theory.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 9 | Location 126-127 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:06:42 PM

# mathematicians like Edmond Halley (1693) and Abraham de Moivre (1725) begin looking at mortality tables to calculate life expectancies.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 9 | Location 127-128 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:07:09 PM

# Jacob Bernoulli, Pierre-Simon Laplace, and Carl Friedrich Gauss to develop a theory of errors to help us extract signals from noise.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 9 | Location 135-136 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:08:42 PM

# when you prohibit speech, you prohibit thought

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 10 | Location 140-141 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:09:22 PM

# index of a statistics textbook for an entry on “cause.” Students are not allowed to say that X is the cause of Y—only that X and Y are “related” or “associated.”

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 10 | Location 140-141 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:09:30 PM

# Students are not allowed to say that X is the cause of Y—only that X and Y are “related” or “associated.”

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 10 | Location 143-144 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:10:07 PM

# geneticist Sewall Wright in the 1920s and a direct ancestor of the methods we will entertain in this book.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 10 | Location 150-150 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:11:25 PM

# data are profoundly dumb. Data can tell you that the people who took a medicine

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 10 | Location 150-150 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:11:38 PM

# data are profoundly dumb.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 13 | Location 194-195 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:18:29 PM

# Seeing the barometer fall increases the probability of the storm, while forcing it to fall does not affect this probability.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 14 | Location 214-215 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:21:48 PM

# Two people who share the same causal model will also share all counterfactual judgments.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 15 | Location 223-224 | Added on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:23:39 PM

# You cannot answer a question that you cannot ask, and you cannot ask a question that you have no words for.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 19 | Location 284-284 | Added on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 6:48:13 AM

# data are profoundly dumb about causal relationships.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 26 | Location 392-392 | Added on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 10:06:13 PM

# you are smarter than your data.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 26 | Location 393-393 | Added on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 10:06:34 PM

# there is no better way to understand ourselves than by emulating ourselves.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 27 | Location 414-414 | Added on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 10:10:14 PM

# God asked “what,” and they answered “why.”

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 32 | Location 489-489 | Added on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 10:24:53 PM

# the vertical line means “given that you see.”

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 33 | Location 499-499 | Added on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 10:26:25 PM

# deep learning has succeeded primarily by showing that certain questions or

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 33 | Location 499-500 | Added on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 10:26:34 PM

# deep learning has succeeded primarily by showing that certain questions or tasks we thought were difficult are in fact not.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 33 | Location 503-503 | Added on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 10:27:11 PM

# the field of artificial intelligence is “bursting with microdiscoveries”—the

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 38 | Location 568-569 | Added on Friday, October 2, 2020 8:51:24 PM

# Democritus (460–370 BC) said, “I would rather discover one cause than be the King of Persia.”

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 46 | Location 704-705 | Added on Friday, October 2, 2020 9:10:35 PM

# Computers are not good at breaking rules, a skill at which children excel.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 48 | Location 736-737 | Added on Friday, October 2, 2020 9:21:39 PM

# Very often the structure of the diagram itself enables us to estimate all sorts of causal and counterfactual relationships: simple or complicated,

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 48 | Location 736-737 | Added on Friday, October 2, 2020 9:21:42 PM

# Very often the structure of the diagram itself enables us to estimate all sorts of causal and counterfactual relationships: simple or complicated,

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 48 | Location 736-738 | Added on Friday, October 2, 2020 9:21:53 PM

# Very often the structure of the diagram itself enables us to estimate all sorts of causal and counterfactual relationships: simple or complicated, deterministic or probabilistic, linear or nonlinear.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 49 | Location 749-750 | Added on Friday, October 2, 2020 9:25:13 PM

# in both a cognitive and a philosophical sense, the idea of causes and effects is much more fundamental than the idea of probability.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 50 | Location 757-758 | Added on Friday, October 2, 2020 9:26:33 PM

# estimate for our query. It is because of this robustness, I conjecture, that human intuition is organized around causal, not

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 50 | Location 757-758 | Added on Friday, October 2, 2020 9:26:41 PM

# It is because of this robustness, I conjecture, that human intuition

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 50 | Location 757-758 | Added on Friday, October 2, 2020 9:26:49 PM

# It is because of this robustness, I conjecture, that human intuition

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 50 | Location 757-758 | Added on Friday, October 2, 2020 9:26:54 PM

# new data and produce a new estimate for our query. It is because of this robustness, I conjecture, that human intuition is organized around causal, not statistical, relations.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 50 | Location 757-757 | Added on Friday, October 2, 2020 9:26:58 PM

# new data and produce a new estimate for our query. It is

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 50 | Location 757-758 | Added on Friday, October 2, 2020 9:27:04 PM

# It is because of this robustness, I conjecture, that human intuition is organized around causal, not statistical, relations.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 55 | Location 836-837 | Added on Friday, October 2, 2020 10:10:33 PM

# while probabilities encode our beliefs about a static world, causality tells us whether and how probabilities change when the world changes, be it by intervention or by act of imagination.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 60 | Location 919-920 | Added on Saturday, October 3, 2020 6:02:19 PM

# “Success = talent + luck.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 60 | Location 919-920 | Added on Saturday, October 3, 2020 6:02:26 PM

# “Success = talent + luck. Great success = a little more talent + a lot of luck.”

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 88 | Location 1348-1348 | Added on Saturday, October 3, 2020 9:21:08 PM

# Scientists will always prefer routine calculations on data to methods that challenge their scientific knowledge.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 88 | Location 1348-1348 | Added on Friday, October 9, 2020 8:13:36 PM

# Scientists will always prefer routine calculations on data to methods that challenge their scientific knowledge.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 88 | Location 1348-1348 | Added on Friday, October 9, 2020 8:13:39 PM

# Scientists will always prefer routine calculations on data to methods that challenge their scientific knowledge.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 89 | Location 1353-1354 | Added on Friday, October 9, 2020 9:03:03 PM

# Fisher was right about one point: once you remove causation from statistics, reduction of data is the only thing left.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 113 | Location 1726-1726 | Added on Friday, October 9, 2020 10:04:36 PM

# David Rumelhart, a cognitive scientist at University of California, San Diego,

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 115 | Location 1762-1763 | Added on Friday, October 9, 2020 10:08:35 PM

# Bayes’s rule tells us how to reverse the procedure, specifically by multiplying the prior probability by a likelihood ratio.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 116 | Location 1773-1773 | Added on Saturday, October 10, 2020 8:35:22 PM

# Although we call them “fire alarms,” they are really smoke alarms.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 116 | Location 1778-1778 | Added on Saturday, October 10, 2020 8:36:01 PM

# Hans Reichenbach, a German-American philosopher of science.)

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 132 | Location 2017-2020 | Added on Sunday, October 11, 2020 1:49:38 PM

# For example, we cannot distinguish the fork A B C from the chain A B C by data alone, because the two

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 132 | Location 2017-2020 | Added on Sunday, October 11, 2020 1:49:50 PM

# For example, we cannot distinguish the fork A B C from the chain A B C by data alone, because the two diagrams imply the same independence conditions.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 138 | Location 2113-2114 | Added on Sunday, October 11, 2020 2:48:42 PM

# If you choose a diet based only on one friend’s experience, you are essentially saying that you believe you are similar to your friend in all relevant details: age, heredity, home environment, previous diet, and so forth.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 147 | Location 2241-2241 | Added on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 9:00:45 PM

# Nature is like a genie that answers exactly the question we pose, not necessarily the one we intend to ask. But

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 147 | Location 2241-2241 | Added on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 9:00:52 PM

# Nature is like a genie that answers exactly the question we pose, not necessarily the one we intend to ask.

The Book of Why (Judea Pearl)

- Your Highlight on page 148 | Location 2265-2266 | Added on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 9:04:16 PM

# Fisher realized that an uncertain answer to the right question is much better than a highly certain answer to the wrong question.

last modified: 2023-01-21