Totally BOGUS

Ah, those end-of-year round-ups we all love and cherish…NOT. We here at Doc Gurley are not fans of the widespread New Year’s tradition of

Macaca fascicularis at Ngarai Sianok, Bukittin...
Image via Wikipedia

(probably auto-posted) re-hashing previous articles as filler-bytes. However sometimes a leftover is as good as a meal. Or even better. That’s the case with a year’s round-up of BOGUS awards. The group is actually more impressive than any one item. These “studies” (and their widespread, uncritical, world-wide media-coverage), as a whole, are stunning in their collective bogosity. Feeling skeptical? See for yourself – here, for your entertainment, is the year in BOGUS:

2008 started with the outstandingly BOGUS article about how macaque monkeys “pay” for sex with…grooming. Revealing way more about the (male) researchers’ sex lives than they probably intended, these “scientists” concluded that more time devoted to  foreplay grooming by male monkeys proved that a commercial transaction occurred, despite a total lack of commerce – by any definition. Sheesh, that’s just embarrassing…

Speaking of embarrassing, Michael Hayden was a Two-Time BOGUS Award winner, the second award occurring in 2008 for Broken, Obfuscating, and Grotesque Understanding of Statistics (BOGUS). Mr. Hayden got this special second-Award this time by stating that torturing waterboarding, and other “coercive” measures like kidnapping rendition were okay because, well, it didn’t “happen” that many times. Here’s a little PTSD flashback for those who missed the original article: “Michael Hayden’s blatant, intentional misconceptions turn up frequently in healthcare, usually among arrogant jerk doctors. See, the deal is, it’s no consolation to a patient that the horrible thing that kills [or tortures] them is relatively rare.” Mr. Hayden even got a special, BOGUS bonus: “P.S. As a bonus waterboarding-topic tidbit, here’s a Doc Gurley handy tip for deciding if an act is torture: if you have to strap someone down to do it to them, that’s torture. Go ahead, Michael, feel free to use this rule whenever you get confused.”

After that, the bogosity veered from tragedy to comedy. We have the BOGUS slut study, which “proved” that you can spot a slut by their facial features (the near-extinct guild of phrenologists cheered world-wide!). Then we had the Blatantly Overselling, Grasping, and Unbelievably Self-serving (BOGUS) unsubstantiated claim (by the watermelon-growers’ association “researchers”) that watermelon acts like Viagra (on whom?).

We plunged even deeper into absurdity with the Bad Olfactory Guesses Uncover Sexism (BOGUS) Award, where researchers claimed that allowing willy-nilly (pardon the pun) access to birth control pills could lead to incest and inbreeding.

And yet, still, we weren’t done.Who can forget our most recent deluge of bogosity – a trifecta of terribleness? We have doctors giving out placebos that even the doctors don’t realize are fakes (would that be a double, or triple fake-out?). Then the “factual” assertion (except in Africa) that AIDS (except in Africa) is overblown (except in Africa). Followed by the NY Times (of all places) giving widespread coverage to a commercial DNA test that claims, without any substantiation, to permanently destroy the lives of predict the sports future of babies (except for Usain Bolt).

Whew. What could next year possibly hold that could compete with this amount of BOGUS (rubs hands together)? Perhaps a very expensive, completely ineffective DNA test could tell us…

Have a BOGUS reaction to the year-in-review? Go ahead and share it in the comments section below (no comment too bogus)!

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