Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The science is settled!

For those who insist that a scientific viewpoint has little credibility unless it has been published in a respected peer-reviewed journal, I’d like to ask: How did the following study survive peer review?

Daily Mail (UK), February 7:

Boredom could be shaving years off your life, scientists have found.

Researchers say that people who complain of boredom are more likely to die young, and that those who experienced 'high levels' of tedium are more than two-and-a-half times as likely to die from heart disease or stroke than those satisfied with their lot.

More than 7,000 civil servants were studied over 25 years - and those who said they were bored were nearly 40 per cent more likely to have died by the end of study than those who did not.

The scientists said this could be a result of those unhappy with their lives turning to such unhealthy habits as smoking or drinking, which would cut their life expectancy.

Specialists from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London, looked at data from 7,524 civil servants aged between 35 and 55 who were interviewed between 1985 and 1988 about their levels of boredom. They then found out whether they had died by April last year.

Researcher Martin Shipley, who co-wrote the report to be published in the International Journal of Epidemiology this week, said: 'The findings on heart disease show there was sufficient evidence to say there is a link with boredom.

So, they polled 7,000 government employees 25 years ago to find out if they were experiencing boredom at the time, and then checked back last year to see if they had died yet.

Does this methodology strike anyone else as ridiculously absurd?  Nevertheless, what appears to be a manifestly unscientific study has been published in a prestigious peer-reviewed medical journal.

Of course, nothing like this would ever happen in climate research, but pardon me if I don’t automatically genuflect when AGW advocates play the peer-review card.