As much as I want to fisk Steve Richards' article in this morning's Independent I can't bring myself to do it fully, lest I become seen as a sad obsessive blogger with a one track mind. I realise that's fashionable these days, but I don't like following trends. Given this I just want to point to two quotes that struck me as interesting instead. Firstly, the opening paragraph of his column which said,
"The much-trumpeted Unicef report on child welfare is an unreliable guide. There are too many sweeping assertions based on tendentious evidence. Even the authors admit they are still learning the most effective ways of compiling evidence. Yet in placing Britain bottom of the international league, it manages still to strike a chord. The authors are the equivalent of novice detectives that stumble on to something big."Alternatively this could be read as, "I know that bleach is dangerous. I know that drinking it will kill me. I've never drunk it before though so I shall try it anyway". The second quote
"In its distinctive way the report has echoes with Oliver James's best-seller Affluenza. James identifies the insatiable hunger for material well-being in Britain as a cause for clinical depression."Wrong. Affluenza finds a correlation between clincal depression and desire for material well-being. Correlation is not cause. You could equally find a correlation between masturbation in 12 year old boys and the migration pattern of swans. It does not therefore follow that if swans stop migrating that 12 year old boys will stop getting their rocks off.