Sunday, January 30, 2005

Grandma was right

From Fox News we find out that chastity can prolong your life. Not because a vengeful God smites the sinners, but because being a skank puts one at greater risk of contracting serious venereal diseases.

(It seems logical that God, being the First Microbiologist, understood the basic principles of epidemiology better than anyone else, and thus warned His children accordingly.)

I'm not at all surprised. As a toxicologist, I have a much better perspective on the relative risks of everyday living. And one thing that jumps out is how modern medicine has greatly reduced the capriciousness of Nature.

Never before in human history has the average person had the ability to determine how long and well he lives. In the industrialized world, and especially in the United States, a person can pretty much guarantee that he will live to his 80's simply by the choices he makes.

Vaccines have eliminated much of the deadly epidemics that cut down millions yearly. Antibiotics have turned life-threatening infections into manageable inconveniences. Modern agriculture, combined with an expanding free market, have made starvation and malnutrition a thing of the past. Pesticides and window screens have eliminated malaria in the US.

Nature has been replaced as the main cause of human death. Most premature deaths in the US today are due to excess and poor choices. Simply put, we are in control of own physical destiny.

So what is the key to a long life? Well, what did your Grandma tell you to do?

Let's see. Eat your vegetables. Wash your hands. Don't smoke. Don't drink too much. Go to church. Wear your seatbelt. Go outside and play.

And (as the above article confirms) Find a nice girl, get married, and settle down.

Once again, modern science confirms the old adage: Grandma is always right.


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