They Say

A new scientific study seems to appear almost every day.

Some of them might be useful.

Many of them are not.

For example, a recent study found that the reason natural fibre garments smell less than those derived from petrol is that natural fibres, such as cotton, wool or linen, absorb sweat whereas artificial ones do not.

Now I don’t know how much funding ‘they’ got for this study, or indeed how ‘they’ got any money at all, but I could have told them that before they started.

It’s common sense.

The problem is that what used to be common sense isn’t any more.

Money must be spent in order to establish the obvious.

Take another recent study that found that if an ‘independent study’ was made (that’s right – we even need studies about studies now) using money from an interested source, then it was 40% more likely to be biased.

In other words, and to give a fictional (?) example, if a cigarette company gives a lot of money to fund a study about the causes of lung cancer, it is more likely that the conclusion will be that the major cause in smokers is prevalent air pollution rather than smoking cigarettes.

Who would have guessed?

My only comment about that study would be that the 40% of increased probability is much too low and that some interested party probably put enough money into the study to get ‘them’ to bring the figure down from 100%.

Moral of the story: human beings are infinitely corruptible, especially where money is concerned.

So the next time you hear someone “they saying,” I suggest that your very first reaction should be:

“Who are “they”?”

Oh, it’s a report from a government body….

“No, who put up the money for the research?”

It was a health organization….

“No, who really put up the money?”

Because on closer inspection, no ‘independent report’ is independent.

Someone somewhere has always got something to prove, an agenda, an ‘interest.’

It would be much more honest to admit that bias.

Who knows, it might even help to make the findings useful?

Have a great weekend.