Monday, July 11, 2005

A scientific study worthy of the litter box

In what is the latest example of 60's-era, no-personal-responsibility-for-anything psuedoscientific studies, researchers in Europe claim to have found a link between infection by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii and undesirable human behavior. The changes in behavior are so significant, say the researchers, that they may account for the difference between French and English cultures. (lvi)

Excuse me while I stifle a guffaw. This is some of the silliest research I have ever read, similar to the view of some 18th-century French scientists who said that sharks would bite Englishmen first because they ate more beef. There's a strong "environment-uber-alles" streak in the psychology and public health disciplines that leads many otherwise intelligent researchers to attribute every pathological human behavior to some environmental cause, thus relieving the infected person of any responsibility for his behavior.

Listen, I used to work with the dregs of society on a daily basis, and I have a different theory: How about men who are slobs and women who can't say no are more likely to contract toxoplasmosis because they don't have the self-discipline to wash their hands after they change the catbox? Makes more sense, doesn't it?

Ah, but there's the rub; such a view requires that they be responsible for their behavior, and that would never do.


At 3:31 AM, Blogger The Great El-ahrairah said...

Man, just when I thought that I could cash in on all those times when "mean Mom and Dad" made me, no forced me to clean out the cat box without regard to my human rights or the rights of cat feces to be left undisturbed. Rats!

Anyway, you spelled "pseudoscientific" wrong. I thought you were supposed to be the intelligent one.

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Captain Holly said...

So you want a spelling flame war, eh? Bring it on.


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