Anyway, the Telegraph reports the story, a quick perusal of which flags up all manner of research flaws. Actually, this gives me an idea for some lighthearted fun during the festive season. Reading the report, can you identify problems and flaws with this study? Here are some possibilities to kick us off...
- How global was this research? (not very, actually, see below). For example, religious minorities in the UK on the whole seem pretty happy for us to celebrate Christmas, while arguably it is militant anti-Christian secular elites who seek to use "social cohesion" and political correctness to hide behind Christmas-bashing. (It's also interesting to note the difference between relaxed atheists who have no problems with Christmas and those who seek a God-free or pagan version for ideological reasons... actually, they are arguably wasting their time; today's celebrations of Christmas tend to be pretty pagan and materialist anyway). By the way, let's not mention the £7m Christmas tree at a UAE mall this year. Presumably if a 12-inch tree caused such consternation among non-Christians, the UAE jewelled variety must have caused mass communal strokes.
- Why is the non-Christian sample in the study 25% smaller than the Christian sample, given that the aim seems to be to determine how non-Christians respond to Christmas trees? For that matter, it's a rather infinitesimal sample anyway, isn't it? Seems pretty cavalier to reach conclusions on human behaviour on such a miserly sample. Oh, I forgot, this is the Psychology community we're talking about... two or three examples are more than enough.
- One of the main guys behind the research lets on it was based solely on a tree placed in a science lab, not in an everyday space (but remember, the research is about public spaces, wasn't it?). Arguably, not really representative, don't you think?
- "We're not suggesting 'no Christmas' or 'no Christmas displays at all,' but in contexts where we really do value respecting and including diversity in terms of religion, the safest option is not to have these kinds of displays." Ah, does he mean science labs?
- Why a 12-inch tree? (Indeed, perhaps no one even saw it;) It seems somewhat ambitious, then, to refer to a "Christmas room".
Anyway, just a few thoughts which immediately come to mind. Your comments on other flaws about this piece of "research" much appreciated. Merry Christmas!