Many Scientific studies are Bullshit we already know

I have long wondered why a lot of so called scientific, peer reviewed studies are just plain bullshit about human behavior. The latest I just read from google news is that a new study reported that Russian men who drink lots of vodka die earlier than those who don’t.

No shit. damn, I needed a study to tell me that. Another one i came across is a study reporting that married couples were happier when they had more sex than not. Go figure

Another one says that your dog will be happier if you walk him than leave him chained up all day. Wow, I wouldn’t have figured that out.

Another study reported that if you wash your hands you will be less likely to get germs.
Fuck, I would never have realized…

Organizations spend millions on this bullshit we already know. WTF?

Someone’s been listening to too much John Tesh.

Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

I havent thought about John Tesh in 20years. i had to google if he was still alive. How does he relate to my OP?


He has a radio show where he shits out a number of statistics and studies that are usually pretty lame, (like the ones you listed).

Think about it. I am just sayin that a lot of these studies are just talking about stuff we already know. You dont need a $200,000 grant to confirm that people that live in the South might not know how to drive in snow, as an example

These studies sound spurious because their conclusions have been condensed into a one second sound bite by the popular press. If you’re so smart, please tell me (without looking at the study you mentioned, or conducting your own) how much does drinking vodka decrease ones lifespan? Five years? Ten? Thirty? How much vodka is necessary to shorten one’s life? Is the relationship between vodka consumption and lifespan linear? Exponential?

Married couples who have lots of sex are happier than ones that don’t. Ok. Is that a cause-and-effect relationship, or simple correlation? How much happier? Can a couple living in grinding poverty who do the nasty 7 times a week expect to be happier than the financially stable couple who only do it 3 times a week? Is the effect dependent on age? Is there a point at which having more sex stops making you happier?

Washing your hands reduces the amount of germs on your hands. Please tell me, off the top of your head, does the amount of soap you use matter? What is the optimum amount of soap? What about the type of soap? Hot vs. cold water? How long should you wash your hands? Will washing your hands for 30 seconds rid your hands of three times as many germs as washing your hands for 10 seconds? What is the best hand-washing strategy for eliminating bacteria? Viruses? Is there a difference between the two?

These are the types of questions answered by these studies, but it doesn’t make for a snappy headline. Your beef should be with the popular press for doing such a shitty job reporting on current scientific research.

The trouble is, obvious things aren’t always what they seem. Example: Requiring children to be seat belted on airliners. No-brainer, right? No need to confirm that would be safer, right?

Maybe not (PDF)

As it stands now, children under two can be held in a lap, unsecured by a seat belt. While it’s true that being seat belted in their own seat would be safer for a given individual, there is more to consider. If you change that rule, it would require people to buy an extra seat for those kids. Some parents, according to the “diversion theory”, will choose to drive instead of fly for some trips.

Driving is much more dangerous than commercial flight. Therefore, by increasing safety on airplanes, you might actually produce more fatalities and injuries overall by causing more people to drive.

There is controversy about the diversion theory, which is exactly why this sort of thing is not obvious and requires study. But whenever I begin to describe this problem, most people’s reaction is, " Of course kids should should be seat belted - common sense!" Um… no.

Yeah, who needs science when everyone already knows shit. I mean, Drunk Uncle is just as good as Nature or Science.

Sometimes. OTOH, sometimes you follow the lead from one of these stories and you find an undergrad research project or even a completely nonscientific non-peer-reviewed “study” by an industry group that for one reason or another got summarized in a press release. It’s still always reported as “Scientists have done a study that finds…,” often with catty remarks about scientists waisting the public’s time and money. IOW, still the popular media’s fault, but for slightly different reasons.

Look, all I’m saying is that, once we’re dead, there’ll be a planet for the French, and a planet for the Chinese, and we’ll all be a lot happier.

Yeah, like what about the bullshit research that wastes money studying bacteria that live in superheated vents on the ocean floor? What do we care what happens down there? It’s not like it has any commercial value.

Wait, it does. Nevermind.

A lot of stuff that seem like “common sense” isn’t actually “sensical”.

Take the vodka study. We all know drinking a ton of vodka is unhealthy and makes you die sooner, right? Well, what if they had done the study and had found the opposite conclusion? And it was repeated over and over again and they kept finding the same pattern? Wouldn’t that be kinda interesting? Yes. But you can’t stumble into “interesting” without actually posing questions that seem to have “common sensical” answers.

Also, anyone who loves to argue in GD knows the power of a “cite”. I can say drinking vodka regularly is unhealthy. But without being able to point to scientific evidence, this is speculation.

Excellent examples. There’s also the consideration that it’s often (always?) best, before finding out what details of X influence Y, to determine that X *does *influence Y. What’s the point of funding half a dozen studies on the optimal soap, optimal water temp, optimal length of handwashing, etc. to reduce the amount of germs on your hands without first establishing that handwashing reduces the amount of germs on your hands? What if it doesn’t? Then we don’t need to do all those further studies, now do we?

Intuition is sometimes bullshit. We all know that spaceships should be streamlined, right? Oh, not in space, there it’s a vacuum* so it doesn’t matter what the shape of a spaceship is, but for getting it into and out of the atmosphere of a planet, it should be streamlined. It should be sleek and smooth, with a sharp needle tip to reduce wind resistance, which will reduce friction, which will reduce heat, which will make it all not so prone to burning up on reentry and pissing off your investors. Clearly, we don’t need a bunch of studies on this, it’s perfectly apparent to anyone who has stuck their hand out of a moving car and tried pointing their hand ahead and then holding it flat (heh, remember how much your elbow hurt when the air pushed your arm back into the door frame? :smiley: )

Except that all of that is totally wrong. Your intuition doesn’t know jack shit. It’s actually better to stick a blunt nose on your spaceship, the blunter the better. Blunt makes a heat shield cause SCIENCE** and that’s what’s used today.
*except it isn’t, but that’s another story
**science I don’t entirely grok, but that’s okay because I’m not a rocket scientist

Ain’t that the damn truth.

If by “interesting” you mean “totally awesome”… :smiley:

Your probably right but I’d like to see some sort of study on this.

Sometimes these studies show that what seems obvious is actually completely counter-intuitive. I recall one where they found out that during times of increased meat prices, more meat was being wasted. (I don’t recall why, so don’t ask).

You could argue that maybe when the result turns out to be the obvious intuitive result that it shouldn’t get much press. But you can’t argue the study shouldn’t be done.

I propose a 20 year study that I alone with conduct, with a requested grant of a mere $2 million. At the end of the study I propose to be able to tell you if what we know is pure bullshit or not.

I’d love to see the cites for all the studies mentioned in the OP. Where were they published? Abstracts? Or were they just news filler repeating what somebody with initials after their name had to say?

It’s just another step to "Vaccinations are bullshit. Who knows what’s in those shots, anyway? Besides, one time I got the shot & then got the flu the next day. "

Sounds like Andy Rooney in his declining years…

“Yet another groundbreaking story, from the pages of the medical journal, DUH.”
[/Norm MacDonald]