small science prats with stats.

On the whole I think it would be fair to say I don’t believe in God. I keep trying to spell it with a small g but spellcheck or some lingering sense of awkward respect stops it from happening. Your God, their God, any God, they’re all the same to me. Show me once, just once, a face and a miracle and I might change my mind but until then you can have them all to yourselves. Wear what you want, pray how you please and preach what you feel like but don’t bother telling me there’s anything out there other than clouds and stars and holes and nothing. Anything that isn’t just a figment of your imagination.
The problem with not believing in God is that you have to put your faith in science. Well, you don’t have to, but it’s basically the default setting. And the problem with putting your faith in science is that it involves swallowing an awful lot of shit along the way. Old school science is fine; the fundamentals, established facts and building blocks are all safe. They can stay. Unfortunately we’ve become so desperate for advancement, to prove that science is, indeed must be, ever evolving that what we’re up against now is quackery and number crunching on a terrifying scale. I’ll do space colonising some other time.
And this is every day. A study from The University Of Ipswich has revealed that people who eat 3 pieces of toast a day are more likely to become fork lift truck drivers with gout. A study from The Institute Of Biscuits have revealed that 28% of people who prefer a dark chocolate Hobnob over a Rich Tea are 12% less likely to become paedophiles. A study of 250 people by The Department Of Hand Wringing Pedants have announced that (probably) at least half of the people who think they have a squirrel in their loft are likely to die of Ricketts or a Ricketts related accident involving a cattle grid. The Royal Society Of Tedious Inconclusive Scientific Research Waffly Bollocks have established that wearing leather hotpants increases your chance of contracting bubonic plague by as much as 0.07%.
Who cares? Who writes this rubbish? Who reads it? Me, clearly. Actually let’s re-work that: who reads it and then does anything about it? A glass of red wine every other Thursday between 5 and 7 in the evening can, by all accounts, give me cancer, not give me cancer, give me some more cancer but somewhere else, make me more prone to a heart attack, lower my cholesterol levels, increase my blood pressure, cut my lawn, stroke my cat, answer the doorbell and calculate how much I’d save if I switched to Southern Electric. By the time you’ve weighed up the options you may as well have bought your own padded cell and be urinating in the corner of it.
Sadly all this research is then applied to almost every variable, habit and condition that you never knew you didn’t have the time to care about. Your health and wellbeing (wellbeing, I must divert, is one of the biggest made-up, empty cons in history) is in serious jeopardy of being overloaded by potential crosshairs. On any given day the food you eat, the liquids you drink, the toothbrush you use, the weight of your wedding ring (if you don’t have wedding ring you are 54% less likely to get cancer of the knuckles), the colour of your living room wallpaper, the height of your neighbours fence and the third letter of the town where you were born can all point towards an extra 10 years of life or instant, excruciating death.
What to do about it? Well, without wishing to be too crude or blunt I would suggest the best thing to do is fuck all. Ignore every bit of research and every article in The Lancet and just try to get on with getting on. I know that I’ve more than likely shaved off a few years through bad habits but then an accident involving a glaziers van could just as easily shave my head clean off. Cavalier attitude, but still a point. And I’m still alive enough to write this, and aren’t we all grateful for that? These ‘scientists’ should be ashamed of themselves for using what was once such a noble pursuit to scare the life out of everyone. For a living. If the University of Quebec reckons I’m more likely to die of leprosy because I sing ‘Suspicious Minds’ in the shower on a Thursday morning then they should keep it to themselves.
The world is a shitty enough place and life is too hard (especially if your unemployed or starving or a dirt farmer caught up in a civil war, I imagine) to make it worse by having to throw away the half eaten bag of Skips you’re working your way through. This isn’t SCIENCE. It’s not even science with a small s. It’s shouldn’t be what science is for. It’s hokum and huckster lowdown stress mongering and should be banned for the sake of happiness (not wellbeing). That said I would love to know what percentage of pointless research scientists would benefit from a couple of hours on the rack. That experiment I would happily conduct myself. I hear it’s a good way to get your name on a paper, but surely that can’t be the whole point?

G B Hewitt. 05.10.2018

At least 0.000000000000000% of the global population might read this. But they probably won’t bother. Well done you.

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