My sister told me some shitty factoid today, apparently “people inherit their intelligence from their moms”.
Statements like that absolutely reek of bullshit, so I pressed her on it. “Yeah, I read it somewhere.” Let me guess, she online read the headline? Yeah, she did. Motherfucking headlines, truly the best way to spread false information in this day and age. Problem is, researchers can’t reasonably publish results without someone picking it up and over-sensationalizing it to an insane degree.
So they probably did do research to correlations between the parent’s IQ and the child’s IQ, or something similar. Maybe across their data set, 70% of the children had an IQ that was closer to their mother’s than to their fathers. But that alone doesn’t mean shit. How much closer was it, on average? Can we rule this out as a result of chance? How large was the sample size, did the kids spend more time with their mother than their father? Has this research been replicated yet, what were the results?
There’s so little a single experiment gives us. Barely anything that has any weight, at least. But inconclusive results don’t sell, crazy headlines do. And so those are delivered to the people. And because most everyone’s lazy enough to not care for checking beyond the first sentence or two.
No wonder everything both gives and cures cancer these days.