In the case of Chicken v. Egg

This is a combination of three old blog posts combined.  Also, this was written back when I never capitalized anything.  I tried fixing it up, but I’m sure I missed a few things.


i love when there’s a news report about the findings of a new study.

My all-time favorite, from a half-dozen years ago, said, “Women who have unprotected sex are happier.” The male-dominated panel of experts went on to conclude that there must be something contained in male sperm (is that redundant?) that increases the happiness in women. Howard Stern had a field day with that report, claiming that women everywhere better start adding “protein” to their diet immediately, no matter which way they were receiving it. Unfortunately, nobody at the institute of “whatever science was lucky enough to figure out not only how to test that but get a grant to do so” was able to see that the reason the women were having unprotected sex was because they were in long-term, trusting relationships, nor were they able to surmise that people who are IN those long-term trusting relationships are generally happier than single people who are (hopefully) more likely to use condoms, therefore NOT having unprotected sex, Therefore not in a long-term relationship, and therefore not as happy as those in for the long haul.

Then there is the more recent  study that claims a glass of red wine a day will ease your heart, relax you, and help you live longer. Maybe so, but let’s try flipping that around. Isn’t it possible that the people who have the TIME to enjoy a glass of red wine each day are already relaxed, have less stress, and are in a comfortable enough financial position where they don’t have to work two or three jobs, don’t have money issues to worry about, and get home early enough in the day that they can sit, relax, and open up that bottle of red? And, therefore, live longer?

Sometimes science has already drawn its own conclusions and is out to prove them right instead of being sure of exactly which is the cause and which is the effect.

in 2004 there was an increase in suicides among adolescents and children, causing concern of course, but also causing misguided blame. Previous to the increase in suicides, there was an increase in the number of children and adolescents who were diagnosed as “depressed.” Those children were subsequently given prescriptions for anti-depressants. Previous to that was in increase in the number of parents who no longer wanted to talk to their kids about normal “kid issues,” so they sent those kids to psychiatrists , hoping someone could straighten them out.

So, more parents can’t deal with kids – more parents send kids to psychiatrists – who sent kids to pharmacists – who put kids on drugs – followed by an increase in suicides. Naturally, this was followed by a flood of parents, with lawyers trying to sue the psychiatrists and the drug companies because they believe the anti-depressant caused the kids to commit suicide. understandable – but wrong.

So the f.d.a. tells the drug companies to put warning labels on the prescriptions, and the psychiatrists no longer wrote as many prescriptions for anti-depressants. Naturally, you’d expect a drop in suicides, right? Not so. the next study showed a steady number, if not an increase in suicides.

Obviously the kids committed suicide because they were getting inefficient help, not because of the drugs. The concern was that a kid who takes the anti-depressant is more likely to commit suicide. Yes, that’s true, because the kids who are NOT taking the anti-depressants are NOT depressed, so they’re NOT likely to commit suicide. The kid who is taking the anti-depressant is – DEPRESSED, and maybe, just maybe it’s the depression that’s causing the suicide.

The drugs are not causing the suicides. We’re relying too much on the drugs and not doing anything else.

It’s like a recent study that said if someone tries just ONE cigarette, they have a 40% chance of becoming addicted. Hey, guess what? I could have figured that out myself. Wait, let me try one. If you never try a cigarette, you have a much less chance of becoming addicted? Am i right? Wheee!

Here’s another one i’ve read: most car accidents occur within a mile of your home. really? So if I park my car more than a mile from my home, walk to it, then drive, I’ll have much less chance of getting into an accident. Brilliant! I’ll also drive less. How about the idea that we don’t need a study to explain that no matter how far i drive, at some point i MUST be within a mile of my home? I would even say most of my trips only take me a mile from my home.

Does it ever stop? This flood of genius just seems to keep rolling along, and speaking of rolling…

Time magazine, February 21, 2011

 “In a British study of children and nutrition, kids who ate a healthy diet (lots of fruits, veggies, rice and pasta) at age 3 had higher IQ’s at age 8 ½ than kids who ate meals made up of a lot of fats, sugars, and processed foods.  The average difference was slight – less than two IQ points – but that can add up.  Disturbingly, improving the kids’ diets after age 3 could boost their overall health, but it didn’t change their intelligence scores.”

And this is a mystery?  When are we going to learn the single most important item, most important factor, most important word that affects who, what, where, how, and why our children will be – PARENTS.

Kids of a high IQ ate good food and became smart kids.  We’re going to think it was the food that made them smart?  Noooo.  It was the parents.  The parents decided to give the kids the good food.  Why?  Because they’re good parents.  Good parents usually give kids good food.  Good parents also give kids a good upbringing and a better chance at being smart and successful.

Bad parents aren’t usually as smart.  Bad parents usually don’t know the right foods to give their kids.  Bad parents eat crappy foods, and they give their kids crappy foods.  Why?  Because they usually don’t know better. 

When the kids with low IQ’s started out eating bad foods, but later they changed to good foods, their health improved but not their IQ.  Really?  That’s a mystery?  If you bought a crappy present but wrapped it really nicely, does that make it a better present?  No f-ing way.

34 thoughts on “In the case of Chicken v. Egg

  1. Love how you hammer the nail into the coffin of these convoluted theories Rich.
    As a grandparent I am a staunch believer in feeding my wee ones good food. Crisps, fries and in particular fizzy drinks are banished from my house. When they return home to their parents they are usually content and their behaviour is usually quite stable. When, of course, the parents slip back into the mode of sausage roll and packet of crisps for lunch, I am never surprised by my grandchildren’s erratic behaviour.

    Hope your editing is going well. 🙂

  2. OK, this is probably my favorite post that you’ve ever written… and I don’t mean that in a “Well they’re usually utter garbage!” kind of way…

    The simple way to state everything you said would have been, “OK kids, correlation DOES NOT equal causation”, but your drawn-out rampage of Mockery of Idiocy was definitely better. Love it!

  3. Thank you for this. Sometimes I really wonder what all that grant money is going towards. I mean, really? What is the point of studying happiness or other behavioural traits when people are all different? All a study like that is going to give you is an average–it doesn’t take into account the outliers on the edges of the data. In point of fact, it is standard practise to exclude outlier data so as not to “skew” the results.

    And don’t even get me started on the heinous f@(%ery that is statistical adjustment …

    There is obviously a reason I’m no longer a psychology major.

  4. When ‘scientists’, I use the term loosely, are lazy this is the result. The challenge is to pointing it out. Doesn’t it make you wonder, how many of these critical thinking ijits received grant money to produce these results.

  5. A new study shows that those who ate oatmeal for breakfast and read this post, have a better chance of comprehending it than those who did not and ate a low fibre diet!
    This was a Very enjoyable read! Thank you!

  6. Thank you for putting the “other” side to these arguments. It’s true in the kids’ food point that genetics come into play with the intelligence of a child. There is also a lot to be said for having the necessary support for parents so they know how to raise their children so that the children not only eat good food but also know how to talk to their parents about any issues they may have (and therefore the parents can deal with any childhood/teenage depression and prevent the need for medication which may or may not help).

  7. Pingback: The Weekend ~ 8/16/13 ~Radio Roulette | DCTdesigns Creative Canvas

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