Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Did You Have a Nice Day on the Right Wing, Dear? Fox Confirms the Married Men Are "Nicer"

 "Married Men Are Nicer and Here's Why"

Seriously.  This title actually confuses a correlation (which I think is not really that surprising anyway) with fewer occurrences of anti-social behavior and likelihood of a male twin to be married.  Ignoring the fact that this is not really a major aha moment (a##holes are less likely to marry) and therefore not really that interesting, the title assigns a CAUSE!! "Here's Why."  They think they know why!!! 289 pairs of twin men and Fox can tell you "why". As my eighteen-month-old is fond of saying, "No;no;no;no;no;no;no!" Envision a little blond head wagging back and forth. Also, is someone who engages in fewer anti-social behaviors "nicer"? What does "nice" even mean? The English language has many words in it. It certainly has enough words to be more specific and descriptive than "nice."

When anyone has a theory about why populations in a study behave differently, it is simply that, a theory. It is not the cause. It is not "the why." The writer in this case assigns an "explanation" to a set of data. In this case Fox decided that it was a data set in search of the family values crowd to explain what they believe they already know (marriage is good because it make people behave in a certain way). Give me a break!

It gets better, in a paragraph that begins with the incorrect usage of the word "however", the reporter goes even further. According to the study, for those pairs in which one of the twins married during the observation period, "anti-social" behavior decreased. They don't tell us by how much. They don't tell us how many were in the sample. There was a questionable control group (the ones who didn't marry). What if twins behave differently in marriage than non-twins and those men behave worse after marrying? We're reaching beyond the relevant range here.
Is this Fox's way of saying, "get those wild boys married, or anti-social behavior will destroy our country"? Give them a day to pass this on to some of their more insane commentators and it might be.

This headline is beyond ridicule. It is FALSE. We don't really know why. Incidences of anti-social behavior decreased after the men married. We also don't know if men with fewer anti-social tendencies to begin with are more likely to marry, or marriage made them less anti-social.  Honestly, I'm not sure that i care. One type of anti-social behavior was an episode of binge drinking. The difference between the two groups (1.3 occurrences and 0.7). So over the study period, the non-married men got drunk one extra time. Shocking. Well, not really.

One other thing, the men who married during the study were OLDER when they married thatn they were at the outset of the study. Anyone think that age and maturity might have something to do with a reduction in "anti-social" behavior? Just wondering.

We don't know why married men are "nicer" (or if they even "ARE" nicer). I repeat, WE DON'T KNOW WHY. And neither do you, Fox news.

No comments:

Post a Comment