Yep, it's a done deal, guys. Sorry. A new (sort of joking) study claims that men are just more likely to be idiots.
The short study, published online this week in the British Medical Journal, looked at data for recipients of the Darwin Awards, which are given to those who have taken themselves out of the gene pool (a.k.a. died) in particularly dumb ways. The researchers used this data as a measure of sex differences in "idiotic" risk-taking behavior.
Out of 318 awards, an astonishing 282 of them were awarded to men. Just 36 were given to women. Another 14 were shared by men and women and were not included in the analyses. So, men received almost 89% of the Darwin Awards collected here, and, unsurprisingly, this finding was statistically very significant. The authors take this to be support for the "male idiot theory."
You can probably spot some issues with this study already. But, before we take it too seriously, let's remind ourselves of some previous holiday-edition BMJ studies, including last year's investigation into James Bond's drinking habits and 2012's observational study of red-nosed reindeers. It seems like the Journal tends to have a little more fun near the end of the year (although, this particular instance may have gone over TIME's head).
It's true that far more verifiable Darwin Awards have been given to men than women. But, perhaps the dumb acts of men are simply more well-documented — or maybe there's a sort of confirmation bias at work here (i.e. we might expect men to act more idiotically and, therefore, are more likely to remember when they do so). Sure, it's not a great study, but again, it's not really supposed to be.
Men might be idiots (and there is actually some research to suggest they act more impulsively in certain situations); all we're asking is for the idiot women to get their time in the spotlight, too.