Correlation does not imply causation. We all know this. Most of us can identify it academically, in abstract situations. In ‘real life’, however, it all too often combines with another fascinating bit of human fallibility: ‘confirmation bias’.
Confirmation bias is the tendency to screen out or forget facts or situations which don’t support our existing beliefs, while remembering with emphasis those which do. The thing where it seems to rain every time you wash your car (or do a ceremonial dance)? Celebrities dying in threes? The way people from certain racial groups or religious faiths seem to always X, Y, or Z? Yeah, that’s largely confirmation bias.
It’s normal. It’s human. But we could be a little more self-aware while doing it.