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Study says many studies suck / Research shows we are far too drunk on stupid studies that tell us what research shows
Question No. 1 (please be as specific as possible): Exactly how much of an idiot are you? More to the point: How arrogant and ignorant and out of touch with your body, your heart, your mind, your divine sense of self do you feel you are on a day to day basis? Are you, in short, a moron? How much of a moron? Too much of a moron to actually understand this paragraph? Please check the little box on the right. No, the other right. Thank you.
From what I have gleaned from glancing through a whole slew of recent studies, these are, apparently, the questions we most need answered. These are the questions that plague us and torment us and, oh my God, if we only had the answers to these questions and the many, many other urgent queries like them, such as: Is sunlight necessary? Is breathing compulsory? Is having a dog around sort of nice? If you eat less crap, will you feel better? Sleep: Who cares? Should humans move? God: WTF? — we might just figure out how to live long enough to, you know, accidentally stab ourselves in the eye with a fork and bleed to death.
Which is perhaps an overly snarky way of saying: Many of these studies are getting dangerously inane. And insulting. And actually harmful. Because if you believe many of these deceptive factoids that fill our newspapers and magazines and universities, if you take them as they're meant to be taken, as helpful guidelines for behavior or even as some sort of serious demarcation of human understanding, well, we are doomed indeed.
Originally posted by jjkenobi
One of the issues with studies is objectivity. Just how a simple question is worded can influence what the responses will be. This makes it easy to skew a study and get favorable results towards whatever the surveyor wishes. Even an honest mistake in wording the question can cause skewed results.
Originally posted by TDawgRex
Studies show that 95% of the statistics in surveys are made up on the spot.
"42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot." -- Steven Wright
"Statistics means never having to say you're certain."
“A statistician can have his head in an oven and his feet in ice, and he will say that on the average he feels fine.”
"Statistics are no substitute for judgment." -- Henry Clay
"Statistics: the mathematical theory of ignorance." -- Morris Kline
"You can not feed the hungry on statistics." -- Heinrich Heine
"In earlier times, they had no statistics, and so they had to fall back on lies". -- Stephen Leacock
The year in nonsense
It’s been a vintage year for dodgy science in government. We saw reports on coc aine that were disappeared, dodgy evidence to justify DNA retention, and some government advisors who estimated the cost of piracy at 10% of GDP, to media applause, and then failed to tell everyone they’d got the figure wrong by 1000%.
A £6m Home Office drugs education study was published with no results, because it was so flawed it couldn’t produce any, we saw MPs being foolish about cervical screening and moon magic, and then when they didn’t like the scientific evidence they got from Professor David Nutt, they sacked him. If politicians want us to take them seriously on the evidence for global warming, they have to show they care about evidence everywhere. It’s only slightly worse in Iraq, where they’ve just spent $32m on 800 sciencey looking dowsing rods to detect bombs.
Elsewhere, alongside the usual barrage of PR reviewed data, we saw that exercise makes you fat, coffee makes you see dead people, and Facebook causes cancer, while housework prevents it, in women. There was industry-standard front page wrongness about vaccines (and the Irish Daily Mail campaigning for the cervical cancer vaccine, while the UK Daily Mail campaigned against it). We saw a man in a coma communicating with a method shown not to help people communicate, hideous distortion of research on rape, the earth’s magnetic field, and much more, although we also found that around half of all academic press releases fail to flag up studies’ flaws.
Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology looked at 52,087 individuals between the ages of 20 and 74. After adjusting for factors like age, smoking and blood pressure, researchers found women with high cholesterol (more than 270 mg/dl) had a 28 percent lower mortality risk than women with low cholesterol (under 193 mg/dl). Risk for heart disease, cardiac arrest and stroke also declined as cholesterol levels rose.