Regular readers know how much we love scientists here at Boggart Blog. There is seldom a week goes by in which their weird and whacky research projects and the surreal conclusions they draw from the results do not give us at least one story.
The latest such science story has the added distinction of being the first of a new decade. It concerns science and that eternal obsession of Daily Mail readers, how to guarantee their offspring are child prodigies.
A new scientific study published this week reports in its findings that if women eat plenty of fry – ups during pregnancy they will give birth to brighter children. Now you must remember this stuff is coming from the profession that likes to tell us homeopathy is a load of bollocks. So there you have it, fried foods, for so long demonised by nutritionists are the key to making sure your child is a genius. There’s no guarantee you will live to see them grow up and go on to see great things of course but I’m sure a remedy for clogged arteries is “just around the corner” as they like to say in the world of speculative research.
There are bound to be drawbacks of course, as there are with all medical advances. We foresee the boys down at the local greasy spoon being a tad but out when they cannot get their favourite all day breakfast because the caff is full of pregnant Daily Mail readers stuffing their faces with bacon, two sausages, egg, beans and fried slice in the sure and certain hope they will give birth to a genius while their disappointed looking spouses survey a bowl of museli with trepidation.
Enough of real world stuff though, we must focus on the science. It turns out the fry – up diet for creating little polymaths has only been tested on mice. So will it only work on mice? And how can anyone know if a baby mouse will grow up to be a Mouszart or an Einstein. While the thought of Daily Mail readers giving birth to intelligent, talking mice might explain the paper’s decision to give away free DVDs of Stuart Little last year is amusing, the study once again calls into question of the sanity of science. Like the work on autistic fruit flies and the research project involving mice with Parkinson’s disease one must, must one not, ask how can mouse intelligence be assessed?
They can be trained to poke buttons with their noses to earn a snack, that’s about it. Hardly a qualification for MENSA membership is it. Can you imagine the letter of acceptance:
To Mr Mausus Mus,
Dear Mr. Mus,
We are delighted to tell you that although you failed on mathematics, logic, language and comprehension, spatial relationships tests and critical analysis your score on pushing buttons with your nose to earn a snack was so high you have qualified for MENSA.
We can no more assess mouse intelligence in human terms that we can know it the wee cowering sleekit, tim’rous beasties are suffering from Parkinson’s disease or if a fruit fly is autistic. Just ask yourself how these things can be measured. Go on, ask yourself.
Because if you ask a scientist its odd on they will reply with the usual cop out, “You just don’t understand science.