Ian Thorpe
Jun 26, 2018 · 2 min read

“ A research study led by the University of Edinburgh explored the science behind the biological processes that drive the creation of our memories.”

The article collapsed when I encountered the abuse of the word science in the above sentence. Biologoy is a natural science, i.e. the study of natural phenomena related to living organisms so in fact the biological processes underlie the science rather that the science driving the biological processes.

I was once a member of a much feared pub quiz team in north London, that was some years ago and I’m at the other end of the country now, but I still test myself against professional quizzers on TV quiz shows. Being good at quizzes is not an indicator of intelligence, nor memory (according to come cutting edge research every event is somehow recorded in the mind,) what determines who will be successful quiz contestants is the ability to recall things.

Yesterday a question came up on one of the shows, which of the following European cities was formerly known as Christiania?
“Oslo” I said before the choices were given. The options were Stockholm, Oslo and Helsinki. The correct answer was of course Oslo.

How can I, and others with the same instant recall ability, recall such trivia when I have never even been to Oslo? It is not associated with any major event in my life. And why is it that I can hardly remember anything about my wedding day (we’re still together 44 years later), yet recall in detail a playing a daft game with the children on a beach in Portugal over 35 years ago?

I’m afraid this study looks to me like another experiment in the science of starting with an answer, thinking up the question it answers and then creating evidence to support the connection in order to secure research grants.

Ian Thorpe

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Opted for comfortable retirement before I was fifty due to health problems and burn out. Now spend my time writing and goofing around. Home: northern England..