Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Case # 5,342,576 for the study of Logic

You've probably read about the Indiana University/National Academy of Sciences study that "proved" that men select a mate based primarily on looks. It would seem, at first glance, that this "proves" that men are inherently shallow.

Not exactly true, to put it mildly. This study was conducted in the context of "speed dating," where a couple meets for an entire three to seven minutes. In other words, long enough to see whether they're cute or not.

On one level, it's sad to think that this kind of thing probably was funded with taxpayer dollars. On another, it's even sadder to think that someone, or maybe even a few people, probably got their Ph.D. for this. Look for them in a major research university in a few years.


pentamom said...

Not only is a methodology that demands a superficial result flawed, it's also a methodology that's psychologically associated with WANTING a superficial result.

That is to say, any man engaged in any activity in which he's told that he has only three to seven minutes to make a choice, KNOWS that he's not picking a life partner to have his babies and push his wheelchair around. At least that's true in this culture -- I won't speak to nomadic harem-selection rituals.

People really ought to face not only loss of funding, but attacks on their academic credentials, for that kind of experimental design. Unless the object of the study was strictly limited to determining what men do when they have three to seven minutes to do it, and not intended to reflect any larger thought processes, it's completely ridiculous. Even in that case, it shouldn't be getting any of anyone's money -- public OR private. But if it's claiming to address some larger issues, the research proposal should not only have been laughed out of the advisor's office, but burned on the spot.

Bike Bubba said...

I agree fully; now beyond sad and sadder, here is saddest; it doesn't appear that very many other people figured this out.

In short, our society is unarmed in a battle of wits. Yikes!