Establishing Significance

Let us pause in our tour to discuss how significant connections are established between natural phenomena. We know that two happenings can be related if it is shown that when one occurs the other usually occurs and that the pair are coupled often enough that the joint happening most likely was not a random chance event. Sometimes, the scientists can exactly describe the physics and chemistry of the relationship and apply controlled tests to verify and understand the investigated processes. On other occasions, as a first step in developing the exact connection between the occurrences of two phenomena, specific mathematical test techniques need to be used. In the special science of probability and statistics there are numerous methods for comparing characteristics. The simplest is the linear correlation coefficient method; it has five important features:

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