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Although it is couched in affirmatory language and positive values, what Marsh et al. really boils down to is a significant advance towards the moulding of citizens through brainwashing and psychopharmaca to the will of an elite. That smacks of Huxley’s Brave New World and we can read it as a hopeful sign, that a sizeable minority seems to remain relatively immune to these machinations.
That said even more hope is to be found in the study’s serious weaknesses. Looking at figure 1A we find the weak trend to be driven by a few extreme outliers alone. Taking two or at most three points away it will vanish entirely. In table 2 the mean and SD are totally inappropriate values to describe the strongly skewed distribution. With the values given, one sixth (about 4) subjects in both groups have given less than minus ten or minus thirteen Euros in 2015, an obvious nonsense. In figure one all the error bars are standard errors. The SDs are five times as large drowning out all of the signal. The result, such as it is, is driven by a few extreme individuals alone. Viewed on a whole population level the outcome is meaningless.
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