Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Revealed: why slim people dislike the overweight

In yesterdays Independent is an article on "Revealed: why slim people dislike the overweight" which is about a scientific study (yes just one but that is how newspapers work!) that "according to research reported in Evolution and Human Behavior some people suffer abuse because being too fat is mistaken by the brain for a sign of disease. " Nonetheless intriguing. And I am casting no aspersions on this particular research in the following speculation:

To run way ahead with this are we going to see newspapers one day saying the equivalent of "Revealed: why religious people dislike atheists" showing research that some people suffer because being atheist is a sign for immorality. Or another variant "Revealed: why atheists dislike theists" showing research that people suffer because a theist is a sign of immorality (in this cynical extension, yes that particular argument can go either way - both are bigoted views and of no real worth). Of course a difference here (apart from obviously being a cynical rather than serious speculation) is these are about behavioural responses to beliefs rather than a physical condition. Then again as far as the brain is concerned wherever the data comes from, it will respond to information as appropriate. Why should there be an intrinsic difference between these different data sources?

I am attempting to create short (and quick) snappy responses to interesting news items I wish to share with readers of my blog. However it feels like I keep generating more questions than answers with my speculations (I am writing a big post in response to my comments in my own post on my freedom of speech post from yesterday). Given this point, I will stop now ! :-)