If you want an in-depth explanation of why “correlation does not imply causation,” you’ll need a more educated source than me.
But here’s what I will say about NPR’s weekend report linking evangelical support of President Trump with rising tourism numbers in Israel: Evidence to support that storyline seems a little squishy to me.
Or maybe a whole lot squishy. I’ll explain in a moment. But first, here’s how NPR sets the scene:
President Trump's evident desire to identify who's most "loyal" to Israel has a clear winner: U.S. evangelicals.
Not only do they outpace U.S. Jews in their support for policies that favor the Israeli government, but U.S. evangelicals have also become the fastest-growing sector of the Israeli tourism market. The developments may even be related.
"I'd say close to 100% of our travelers come back extremely pro-Israel in their political views," says Andy Cook, a pastor who leads evangelical tours of the Holy Land twice a year.
OK, that description of evangelicals as “the fastest-growing sector of the Israeli tourism market” certainly sounds authoritative. However, unless I missed it, NPR doesn’t provide any internet links or other hard data to back up that characterization.
Does actual data exist?
Or is that description attributable to a tourism official eager to tout evangelical travel to a reporter clearing wanting to make that connection?
Let’s read a little more: