Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Handwriting, Intelligent Design and the Value of a Good Steak

People love pseudoscience. I have no clue why.

Having thought for a second about leaving that post at those two sentences, I think I'll continue. It's not as though I'm a complete cynic, but good lord, the spread of pseudoscientific theories in media. Who on earth is continuing to come up with this stuff? Perhaps I should explain. I'm walking upstairs and I come across the remains of today's paper waiting to be taken to the recycling bin. It's open to the Lifestylesorsomething section and featured prominently is an article titled "Woman may never learn to stop worrying about Dr. Strangelove". I pause. I think "Hm. I've never seen Dr. Strangelove. Perhaps it's on soon," immediately being slammed down into the reality that no, this is an article about a woman who's so paranoid about her new significant other that she's mailed a sample of his handwriting (read: private letter) to a graphologist (handwriting analysis). The article continues to produce what is claimed to be a deep psychological profile of this poor gentleman based on the way he makes his "y" and how he crosses "t"'s. Specifically, his high crossbar on t indicates that he has lofty goals and is overly ambitious, but the fact that they're partial (I have no clue what that means. There's one t that doesn't have the line stretching over half of the word) indicates that he's not good at attaining his goals. Furthermore, his y indicates sexual frustration because the loop is triangular.

What the hell. Why is this in the paper? Yes, it's a small local paper and yes, this is technically the same section that is still waiting and hoping that "Mother Goose and Grimm" will eventually be funny, but come on, man. This is a step above phrenology, in that it actually incorporates some kind of creative expression, but has no evidence to back it up. "But graphologists often pick out the right kind of personality". Yes, but many cases involve extreme handwriting (such as, "in blood"). Horoscopes are occasionally right, but that doesn't make it science. Additionally, one has to accept a set of maxims to believe in graphology, including that handwriting cannot be modified without considerable and noticeable effort and that the part of the brain that deals with moving your hand to write correlates to the state of the mind as a whole.

But enough of that. It's not scientific, and it's troubling to think that people may base their life's decisions on what is determined from a triangular y, but it's overall not as bad as other pseudoscientific topics, like Intelligent Design (whose adherents take joy in having derived the theory that "doesn't necessitate the existence of God and is therefore scientific", except that it does necessitate, if not a divine being, a creator being which causes the question to become "Where did that thing come from", which does eventually end with the formation of some divine creature).

But enough of that.

Dr.Barry Beyerstein has an interesting paper on the subject of graphology.

Also, the Pirates won again today. Go Bucs.

And to fill out the title...steak is good.


Jenna said...

I happen to like Mother Goose and Grimm.

-Murphy said...

That's fine and good. It's still nothing compared to Fox Trot.

Rory said...

I wonder how a graphologist would interpret my use of gaping vagina sketches in place of all my vowels.

And I also like MG&G, but FoxTrot is definately the headliner in my mind after the retirement of the retirement of FarSide and C&H.