Is There a Correlation?

We invite scientists looking for fresh hypotheses to prove (or disprove) to investigate these suppositions, applying academically rigorous methodology in the pursuit of truth. Or we can all simply agree that they’re true, knock off early from work, and have a glass of red wine.

Is there a correlation between a person’s tendency to litter and his habit of smoking cigarettes? Unscientific observation seems to reveal a pattern of blithe disregard for the environment by people who have a blithe disregard for their lungs. Cigarette butts are litter. Many smokers throw cigarette butts out of their car windows, onto the street curb, anywhere outside, usually with a strong flick meant to create distance between the smoker and the waste product. Possible explanation: It’s difficult to care about others when one does not seem to care about oneself.

Is there a correlation between a dearth of trash receptacles on Sunset Boulevard and the above-average amount of trash one sees on Sunset Boulevard? Unscientific observation seems to reveal a pattern of accumulated refuse — plastic bags, paper wrappers, fast food cups — strewn on the blocks between La Brea and Fairfax avenues on Sunset, where there is only one trash bin in an eight block stretch of urban concentration. Possible explanation: With few opportunities to properly dispose of litter, otherwise well-intentioned pedestrians lose their will and succumb to their expedient impulses.

Is there a correlation between those who seek political office and a rampant lust for power and wealth? Unscientific observation seems to reveal a pattern of corruption and mendacity among those who have been elected to “serve” their constituents in public office. Possible explanation: Winning public office switches on a latent “influence gene” in the DNA of even the most altruistic official, turning him into a rapacious, slightly demented power sponge who has a hard time saying no to “donations” from corporations with business before him.

Is there a correlation between movies with guns in their advertising posters and movies that are almost unbearable to watch? Unscientific observation seems to reveal a pattern of horrible movies with virtually no entertainment value being hawked with posters that feature the movie’s star gripping a gun, holstering a gun, or having a gun being pointed at his airbrushed face. Possible explanation: Since most movies are tired reiterations of the same tropes to which 15-year-old boys have become accustomed, marketers have discovered that the symbolic power of gun imagery sells the “idea” of their movie better than things like descriptive prose.

Is there a correlation between fundamentalist religious persons and an urge to control other people’s behavior? Unscientific observation seems to reveal a pattern of orthodox believers taking great umbrage at the heretical behavior of those who do not subscribe to their infallible convictions, with an ancillary tendency to enact legislation and bombings raids against the offenders. Possible explanation: Each of the holy books that promise the reader eternal salvation are political documents written by human beings bent on wielding influence over large groups of vassals. Or, alternatively, they’re ALL correct simultaneously, the other guy is the mistaken one, and the tenets of pure logic may be safely dismissed as a liberal conspiracy.

Scientists, do your thing!

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