Tuesday, 2 January 2007

"Why did they build Windsor Castle on the flight path of Heathrow?"

...and other stupid tourist questions: see here. I have to admit, I have a sinking feeling that most of those questions come from my fellow Americans - not only because I have heard them during tourist season here, but also because I once watched a programme where a family brought a fortnight's worth of food with them after someone at home told them that the British eat *chipmunk*, and they were really upset at the thought of accidentally eating an animal not native to the British Isles. I was excruciatingly embarrassed and turned to Catherine, who was laughing hysterically, and apologised for Americans everywhere. I'm still not sure she heard me, though; I suspect she was too busy trying to breathe.

On a more serious note, I want to know who thought this study was necessary:

"Physically abused and neglected children are much more likely to grow into severely depressed adults, a finding that researchers said on Monday points to an urgent need to test abused children for depression early on."

As a scientist, I can understand the need to determine causality as opposed to correlation. But I can accept that the horrors of abuse lead to depression without paying for a study. But wait, they'll cry. That isn't all - we'll throw in a second Time-Life conclusion for the same price:

"In addition, these findings reveal that onset of depression began in childhood for many of the children," the report said.

No sh*t, Sherlock.

They needed to waste precious money on a study to prove that being beaten, sexually abused, viciously verbally abused or emotionally/physically neglected was *CAUSALLY* related to depression? Hello? OF COURSE THEY'RE DEPRESSED - THEIR LIVES ARE IN DANGER EVERY DAY, YOU ACADEMIC ADDLE-PATES. THEY'RE GETTING BEATEN, THEY'RE SHUT IN CLOSETS, THEY'RE EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY VIOLATED - OR ELSE NO ONE TAKES CARE OF THEM. THEY'RE NEVER SAFE, SECURE AND LOVED. WHAT'S NOT TO BE DEPRESSED ABOUT? And considering that we've known since the dawn of time that our childhood forms the template for our lives, of course they're more at risk when they get older. For the love of God.

Instead of wasting our money on studies like this, why don't we give our money to associations like the NSPCC who are actually DOING something for these children: finding them places where they are safe, secure and loved and giving them the resources they need to start healing from a start in life none of us would wish on our worst enemies. They may still be at a higher risk for depression, but they're now safe and in a place where they can start to learn to love and be loved, to trust, to hope. What better way to cut that risk of later depression and to give them the tools to cope, should it arise?
Wasting funding on coming to the obvious conclusion that they are 59% more likely to suffer from depression and 'testing them' when places that save their lives are struggling for resources is beyond criminal. If I were one of those academics, I'd have to go to confession without passing 'Go' and without collecting £200. Please, support the places near you that help these children - everyone deserves to be safe and loved. We don't need expensive studies to tell us that.

Why blog about these two stories in the same post? Well, although one is amusing and the other infuriating, they both demonstrate a common principle - to quote Albert Einstein:

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."



Anonymous said...


I'm with you and Einstein.


Anonymous said...

Me too

Rudolf xx