DNA Determines Dork Destiny

For Crime, Is Anatomy Destiny?

http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/0/77/599289-beagle_large.jpgPoverty, greed, anger, jealousy, pride, revenge. These are the usual suspects when it comes to discussing the causes of crime. In recent years, however, economists have started to investigate a different explanation for criminal activity: physical attributes.

A small band of economists has been studying how height, weight and beauty affect the likelihood of committing — or being convicted of — a crime. Looking at records from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, they have found evidence that shorter men are 20 to 30 percent more likely to end up in prison than their taller counterparts, and that obesity and physical attractiveness are linked to crime.

from the New York Times

OK, so just because of an abnormally high concentration of short, ugly fat guys in prison over the past 200 years, we can conclude that being an unattractive dwarf leads to a life of crime, or at least a propensity to crime, or at the very least a propensity for getting caught, convicted and sent to prison for a crime. No wonder Danny Devito was so convincing as the Penguin.

Actually, the Dowbrigade has been working on a research project of his own over the past several years which would fit into this category of sociological speculation. After rigorous field research and biometric measurement, we have determined that short, overweight and physically unattractive individuals are statistically overrepresented among the MIT student body. The clear conclusion is that these physical traits increase the danger that a given individual will develop into a genius.

Our methodology was impeccable.  In a classic double-blind study, subjects were shown mixed sets of photos of the MIT freshman class and the freshman class at the Barbizon School of Modeling. When asked which photos showed individuals they would like to meet in a mosh pit, subjects overwhelmingly chose the Barbizon students.  However, when asked which photos represented individuals who were also geniuses, the subjects also identified the Barbizon group.

To insure experimental integrity, both the subjects and the questioners were recruited from the Perkins School for the Blind in nearby Watertown, guarenteeing impartiality. Of course, the results should not be construed as supporting biological determinism. Clearly, not all short, chubby pug-uglies end up at MIT. Some, like Quasimodo, feel the call of the cloisters.

About dowbrigade

Semi-retired academic from Harvard, Boston University, Fulbright Commission, Universidad Laica Eloy Alfaro de Manta, currently columnist for El Diario de Portoviejo and La Marea de Manta.
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3 Responses to DNA Determines Dork Destiny

  1. Mike Noone says:

    This is a great example of being able to make statistics and research say whatever youwish it to say. The article is a wonderful illustration of the old adage “What you see is a what you get”

    I hesitate to use the other old adage “Lies, lies and damn statistics…” though I will admit that it crossed my mind.

    I believe it’s more of a constructed belief system that determines what we choose to see. To see what we see based on conditioning and beliefs that are based in what we think we should see.

    Interesting article nonetheless and a great illustration of the power of beliefs.


  2. interesting article, I never expected that there are so many aspects to determines the system. expecting more from you on this topic, I’m just lurking here and absorbing knowleages.:)


  3. I agree with Mike on this one. It is a great article.

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