X-Message-Number: 20449
From: "Lee Corbin" <>
Subject: Re: [Cryonics_Institute] Why this group may help both ways!
Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2002 10:42:48 -0800

John De Rivaz writes

> This news story suggests why this group could help in two ways -- those
> cryonicists who are generous with their time in helping other cryonicists
> members can benefit too!
> Of course the study may be fatally flawed.  If the group who are supposedly
> generous are mainly composed of the sort of person who is highly productive,
> a gift of a small amount of time may be at less personal expense than from
> someone who is time pressured because he is not really very productive.

Perhaps that's one flaw, but I am always curious about studies like this
in general.

> Generous oldsters live longer
> United Press International
> Older Americans who are generous with their time and help can reduce their
> risk of dying prematurely by 60 percent, a new study released Wednesday
> suggests.
> The study, to be published in a future issue of the journal Psychology
> Science, found people who reported providing no help to others were more
> than twice as likely to die sooner than people who gave of themselves.

Doesn't any ordinary skeptic immediately wonder, as John does above,
just what is cause and what is effect?  One very obvious explanation
could be that people who didn't provide help to others failed to do so
because they just didn't feel like it, i.e., they had less energy or
were sick, or were simply less healthy.  Then, duh, it wouldn't be any
big surprise that they didn't live as long.

> Psychologist Stephanie Brown, the study's author, said previous studies have
> credited receiving support from another individual with prolonging life.  The
> new research contradicts that finding, Brown said.  It is the giving, not the
> receiving, that increases longevity.

To wax absurd for a moment, will some multi-million dollar
study next reveal that people who decide to go to hospitals
are more than twice as likely to die as people who do not
decide to seek medical help?  Now professional psychologists
such as Stephanie Brown can hardly be considered stupid or
naive, so why isn't there a statement attending such findings
that such effects have been controlled for?

I *must* assume that such obvious effects have been controlled
for since this is the 21st century and not the 16th century.
I must assume that in fact a double-blind study was conducted,
mustn't I?  Which is the lesser miracle, that they don't control
for obvious effects like this, or that they don't mention that
they've controlled for effects like this?

Am I or am I not correct in assuming that they've controlled
for effects such as this?

Lee Corbin

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