Data is timeless

I was listening to good ol’ Radio 2 on the way to work yesterday and it mentioned a study that:-

‘… concluded that Children of older fathers have lower IQs.’

The study was done by Australian scientists using data from the U.S.

So I thought, “Yawn! Another red wine is bad for you, red wine isn’t bad for you paper fodder production.”

But what caught my ears (if there is such an expression) was when Liza Tarbuck said that the data they used for the report was collected between 1959 and 1965.

Eh?

Firstly I’m not sure a study done in one country is necessarily relevant in another. Secondly they used stuff that’s at least 44 years old!

I know that the results from these studies seem to be released every day and are taken with a pinch of salt (which is also apparently bad for you, a study says so) by most people.

What I never considered was how old can the data they use be? I just assumed it would be up to date as implied in the news headlines, “A recent report …” or “The latest study …”

Well it seems that it can be very old indeed. What relevancy data written on parchment paper is now is very questionable to me. Everything has changed since way back when. Unless it is meant as a Historical study but I don’t think it’s being presented as such.

But then I suppose these studies are not meant to be taken too seriously are they? After all they’re just designed to keep a bunch of scientists employed and guarantee a new grant when their existing one expires. Perhaps as long as they publish something then that’s enough to keep the cheques coming.

“Not breathing can seriously shorten your life span”, a new study shows.

“Masturbation causes Cancer.”

“Masturbation doesn’t cause cancer.” (Teenage youth heaves a sigh of relief.)

“A new report shows that staying in bed is safer than climbing K2.”

It does make you wonder how many studies out there are using data that Noah started. (“Building a wooden ark in times of severe flood can greatly increase your chance of survival”, a scribe says.)

I know we all have to earn a crust but it would be nice if people spent their time on pursuits that actually meant something in the real world. Surely there are useful things to study out there?

But I’m obviously missing the point.

Must be a lack of data.

Comments

  1. My bloke read about that study and came to me yesterday morning all dismayed. I wish I’d read this post and been able to reassure him because all I did was hammer the nail in deeper. “Well,” I said to him. “A recent study says that older women have children with higher IQs, so our kids should just about make the average.” It’s not often older women have the evolutionary edge on older men. Let us enjoy our little moment of schadenfreude. Lucy

  2. Don’t worry.

    I’ll have to send you the link to the latest scientific report entitled, “Hammering the nail in deeper is not harmful to the human psyche.”

    It’s a blast.

Speak Your Mind

*