The Carriertom Into-wishen Research Institute is only about two inches from concluding that the scientific method is just a device for opinionated people to screen out evidence which points to conclusions they don’t want to hear about. For example:
Violent movies and television programs do not create violent viewers, says a University of Toronto professor who has just completed [Dec 2000] a comprehensive review of all of the research on the subject. "The scientific evidence simply does not show that watching violence either produces violence in people or desensitizes them to it." [italics mine]
When junior Institute staff member Tom Fishandchips read those words, his heart sang. He ran down to the store and bought the Super Columbine Massacre video game. He’d long had his eye on it, but he was afraid to buy it lest people think he was violent. He loaded the game on his work computer and started spending all his off-time blowing sim-students to Kingdom Come, splattering blood and guts everywhere.
A blog reader might be repulsed at this point. Isn’t this post obscene, since real school shoot-em-ups are quickly becoming an American growth industry?
Get over it. There’s no proof, says the U of T report, citing scientific evidence. You got something against science?
Fishandchips’ continual playing soon got on the nerves of the other Institute members….guys like Sheepandgoats, Wheatandweeds, and Weedsandwheat. I mean, if you’re trying to write about God, it doesn’t help to hear assault weapons, sirens and SWAT team noise in the background. Driven to distraction, these eminent theologians also checked the research and came up with different studies, much to Fishandchips’ chagrin.
From the American Pediatric Association:
An APA spokesman testified before Congress in 2000: “Since the l950s, more than 3,500 research studies in the United States and around the world using many investigative methods have examined whether there is an association between exposure to media violence and subsequent violent behavior. All but 18 have shown a positive correlation between media exposure and violent behavior.” [italics mine]
The U of T study, upon which Fishandchips based his Columbine purchase, was one of the 18 clunkers! How could that be?
Note that the 3500 studies used many investigative methods. The U of T study used the scientific method. Could it be that the 17 other clunkers also used the scientific method? Could the scientific method be the least reliable when it comes to measuring people?
It‘s worth asking. If you practice the scientific method, you’re looking for cause and effect relationships. You think up experiments to test for such relationships. The experiments should be repeatable. Factors that would screw up the results, but are not what you are testing for, should be screened out.
These goals you can achieve in a laboratory. But it’s not so easy to do in real society. There are too many influences that go into making people what they are. Time, places, and circumstances might not be repeatable. And many relationships are like the chicken and the egg; they influence (and reinforce) each other. Fat chance you’re going to find out which came first, but unless you can do just that, the scientific method isn’t interested.
Sometimes with people, you must settle for correlations. Here are a few correlations we’re familiar with:
There is a correlation between condom non-use and sexually transmitted HIV.
There is a correlation between lead exposure and lower I.Q.
Between passive tobacco smoke and lung cancer.
Between calcium intake and bone mass.
Pediatricians accept all these relationships as fact, and practice preventative medicine based upon them. Yet, the correlation between exposure to media violence and aggressive behavior is stronger than any of the above relationships!
If we use the scientific method as a tool with which to investigate, fine. But God help us if we use the scientific method as the One True Tool….the only way in which we can know anything. In that case, there’s a lot of knowable things that we’ll never know.
Crestfallen, Fishandchips went back to the store to return Super Columbine Massacre. But he was too embarrassed to go in. He didn’t want them to think he was a violent person.
“Violent entertainment is aimed at children because it is profitable. Questions of right or wrong, beneficial or harmful, are not considered. The only question is ‘Will it sell?’” Dr. David Walsh, author of Selling out America’s Children.
The LORD examines the righteous,
but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates. Ps 11:5 NIV
To Sheepandgoats' surprise, the Super Columbine Massacre game is not a corporate creation for the purpose of raking in big bucks. It was created by an aspiring filmaker, who distributed it free and calls it an indictment of our times. "The game does not glorify school shootings," [it's creator] told The Washington Post. "If you make it far enough into the game, you see very graphic photos of Eric and Dylan lying dead. I can't think of a more effective way to confront their actions and the consequences those actions had."
A modern day Alfred Nobel - dynamite story, perhaps?