Friday, May 12, 2006

"Medicalizing" Behavior

Jonah Goldberg makes a good point about the desire to explain what appears self-evident (or what we want to appear self-evident) through "science":

Anyway, every day we hear about new studies “revealing” what should have been obvious to sentient beings for generations. A few recent headlines: “Fat kids become fat adults, says new study”: “Housewives not as desperate as singles over 40, a new study finds”; “Drowsiness, inattention play big role in car accidents, study finds.” Every few months newspapers breathlessly report that—surprise!—men and women are different, children are impressionable, and poisons are bad for you. What next? “Research shows wolverines don’t like to be teased”? Or “Running with scissors inadvisable, Mayo Clinic reports”?

3 Comments:

At 10:38 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Couldn't agree more.

But this....

Long before science conclusively “proves” that human beings are sinful and prone to temptation, we already know exactly that. Identifying the hormones and genes that make this so should not change our views.

Well, I agree with that not as much.

First, we don't already know exactly that. In point of fact, that's a philosophical debate we've been having for thousands of years, and I suspect that the debate will rage long after you and I make like Kansas and become Dust in the Wind.

Second, one of the incredibly valuable things about scientific discovery is that research builds upon research, and that seemingly stupid and insignificant discoveries can change the world.

I'm sure that there were more than a few people staring into a petri dish when penicilin (spelling?) was discovered, asking what the hell this mold stuff was supposed to do.

Comparing Mouse Trap and gun-assembly is stupid, seemingly, but if the study of testosterone leads to other discoveries that actually help us as a species, I'll buy more Mouse Trap for everybody.

:)

 
At 11:01 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Ex-O concurs.

 
At 11:25 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

You have the Con.

 

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