Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The science of the bleedin' obvious

Scientists seem to love spending their time doing detailed studies that come to conclusions about a whole load of things we already know.

Such world-shattering research has shown us - scientifically and based on empirical evidence - that chocolate produces a stronger and longer buzz than a passionate kiss, tea makes us feel better, and - wait for it - "modern life puts stress on the heart”.

No kidding! As my sister would say, I'm gobsmacked. I’ll have to pass this latest pearl of wisdom on to my Other Half, though I suspect that he may already have a sneaking suspicion, having had a minor heart attack brought on by extreme stress at the tender age of 39.

What will they come up with next, I wonder? That we tend to feel more positive when the sun is shining and birds are singing? That water is good for you? That children are more likely to thrive when they're happy and secure at home? Or that regular bowel movements help prevent bloating?

With all due respect to science and medicine, but I look to those clever bods with the PhDs to tell me what I - a mere wordsmith - don't already know by virtue of my own common sense or general knowledge.

I want to know the secrets of the Universe, the winning number for the lottery (just once will do!), how to make a maximum profit with minimum effort (perhaps the scientists have claimed the monopoly on that one?), the key to happiness and how to achieve global peace and justice for all.

But no, they conduct exhaustive research into the bleedin' obvious, and their conclusions usually fall into one of three categories, depending on the response they invoke: "No shit, Sherlock", like the chocolate findings; "Why?" like the chemical formula for the perfect biscuit to dunk in your tea; and "What?" like the survey that showed that - in total (at work and at home, mind) - men in developed countries work harder than women.

"What?" I hear you cry (see, I told you). "Surely some mistake? What about the cooking, cleaning, ironing, bill paying, nose-wiping, priority setting, supermarket trawling, ego-massaging, ironing, et al, on top of the old 9-to-5 (or more) at a desk, shop counter or factory floor?"

Indeed. Show me a man that frets about shirts that need ironing, or makes a mental inventory of the contents of the fridge as he drives home to see if he needs to go the supermarket, and I’ll show you a confirmed bachelor. Not to mention the mental exercise of rustling up a nourishing family meal from the depleted contents of that fridge (a dried up clove of garlic, some withered tomatoes and a spoonful of cream cheese) in that gap between last month's salary running out and next one dropping gently into the bank.

Personally, I think the reason for this seriously scewed result is that most of the respondents to the survey were probably blokes.
Simple as that.
Of course fellas will say they work harder than women. To paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies' famous comment during the Profumo Trial back in the 1960s: They would, wouldn’t they?

Let’s face it, most of us girls (sorry, women) have far more important things to do with our time than fill in silly on-line questionnaires, don’t we?

So, with all due respect to the scientists, I think I shall continue to take their findings with a pinch of salt if you don’t mind.

That is, until the can tell us the very Meaning of Life - or at least a lasting cure for cellulite.


  1. My favourite scientists stating the bleeding obvious comment at the moment is that in order to avoid this Swine Flu, we should "wash our hands" and "use a handkerchief".

    And during the recent heatwave that we should "drink lots of water and try and stay cool".

    Really?? You don't say...

  2. hahahah. Loved this post. I honestly don't have any words right now. ahahahaha. WOMAN POWER!

    If you ever get the chance, be sure and stop by my blog and comment! And the photo caption contest is still going on, so submit a caption!


  3. And would you like to exchange blog links? :) Let me know.