So, do married men live longer?

Following up on my last post Exercise for Readers: Do married men live longer?, I would like to make a few remarks. But before I start, urge you to read the comments that were left under that post, if you haven’t yet done so. They are worth reading. I was particularly pleased by the wide variety of plausible approaches in the responses.

To recapitulate, the claim was that married men live longer. The only plausible interpretation of this statement is that those men live longer because they are married, and that it is better to die later. Otherwise, we would have a completely vacuous statement, not much more insightful than “married men have a wife”. What could be wrong with that claim? Note that it does not really matter if that claim is true. If it is false, we don’t need to bother, so we just assume that it might be true for the sake of the argument. But why might it be false?

Here is a big hint: how are health and marriage related? Could it be that healthier men are much more likely to marry than sickly men? Yes, of course this is likely! While I haven’t bothered to look up any studies, I would be very surprised if anyone found that good health and marriage are not positively correlated. It may of course be that a disastrous marriage ruins your health, but that is a whole ‘nother story. Yet, without good health you simply won’t get very far in life. You won’t do well at your job, you won’t look good, and you will need to bring your A-game every fucking time!! women just won’t be jumping your cock. Sorry, bro!

Considering the correlation between health and marriage, the feminist claim that men live longer if they marry is dubious at best because men of poor health are simply a lot less likely to get married. We can play this game with a lot of other attributes. Does marriage cause men to make more money? Sorry, idiot feminists, it’s more likely that if you make a lot of money, you are much more likely to marry. It would be downright absurd to play this game with fixed attributes. If I wrote, “married men are taller” or “married men are better looking”, you would cringe if I rephrased this as “marriage causes men to be taller”. Yet, the same absurd conclusion is drawn when we talk about attributes that are seemingly not predetermined. In reality, though, your genes play an enormous influence on you health. Thus, if anyone wanted to claim that marriage was beneficial for your health, we would need to compare healthy men who did not marry (this is called a “control group”) with healthy men who did.

Let me tell you something, guys: take an introductory course on statistics. The high-school level material taught on Khan Academy is perfectly fine. If you don’t have much of a clue of that field, then let clue you in on something: the media is drowning you in bullshit, and basic statistical knowledge (and a bit of basic logic) will allow you to see though it.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below, but keep the comment policy in mind.
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10 thoughts on “So, do married men live longer?

  1. This is the reason I’m excited to start my math degree with an emphasis on statistics in August. I’m very interested in how data is put together and conclusions are formed.

    1. Godspeed! The “sexiest job of the 21st century” (lol) is yours for the taking. Data Science is a pretty great gig, seriously. But anyone calling that kind of work, or any kind of job that involves sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day, “sexy” needs to get his head examined.

    2. Financial freedom is something people jack off about, and the minimum that Data Scientists are making these days is higher than the maximum most fields make even after years without requiring a Doctorate, so I can appreciate and understand their terminology. Put in less for it, get more out of it, and one of the fastest growing career fields.

    3. The “lol” is related to how exaggerated that claim is. The 21st century is very young and 100 years are a long, long time. Besides, I think that jobs in that area (big data, machine learning, and also quite a few software engineering roles) are just as sexy. It’s a great gig to have for sure. What is happening, though, is that Data Science as a field is getting diluted. Nowadays, there are a lot of companies rebranding their business analysts as data scientist, so we will soon be at a point where the label may lose a lot of its appeal. That being said, this is probably a sign of a maturing market. In software development, the title “software engineer” can be held by some dude updating legacy software or writing unit tests (not sexy), but also by guys designing and implementing algorithms (probably a lot sexier).

      Applied Maths with a solid statistics background is arguably one of the best and most versatile career paths out there, so it’s certainly an excellent choice.

  2. Thanks Aaron.

    It makes a lot of sense now.

    To put it simply; Marriage and Longevity is correlated because people predisposed to longevity get married more often.

    Can you enlighten me on why the same study found the opposite true for women? Is it in the nature of spurious correlation.

  3. The health, marriage link is very important. And probably true. Fuck, I wouldn’t even be here if a grandfather of mine had not ‘forgotten to mention’ his bad health condition to my grandmother. (She told me later in her life if she had known, she would not have married him, he was also the only man she really loved).

    Bit of a dark lesson into the nature of women/relationships from my late grandmother there.

  4. Your post calls to mind that adage about the three kinds of lies: “lies, damn lies and statistics.”

    Meaning you’re right, be careful of what stats are used to support an opinion. Especially when the hacks writing are leftist and probably don’t get basic maths.

  5. Sleazy’s discussion about feminists mistaking correlation for causation in “married men and longevity” also applies in the corporate world.

    I keep seeing articles at least once a week about how women on boards improve the bottom line and profitability of companies. Hence you have gender quotas being imposed. I believe France and Norway implemented this. (The funny thing is that this simply creates a ‘old girls club’ typically of one kind of background…but hey, ‘muh feelz’…)

    Canada (or some provinces) will soon have some kind of “Comply or explain” rule where public companies must have female representation.

    All of this premised on the feminist claim that women on boards = high profits.

    1. So aside from governmental pressures, why does this happen?
      I mean corporations are motivated by their bottom line- so one would assume that they would be motivated to take a second to apply a smidgen of critical thinking to claims like these.
      Are the people at the top simply retarded or just dont’t give a fuck, and spend their time playing golf (like Obamalama) knowing that they will always have a new gig and big payouts no matter what happens?

      Regarding governmental pressures- corporations have a lot of influence on government- so is the pressures from government back on the corporations an unintended result of the corporations own goals of globailsation and multiculturalism comming back and biting them in the ass when they end up themselves having to implement multiculturalism in their organizations (including “balanced” gender ratios)?

  6. A bit late to the party here Aaron, but other commenters have made my points for me, and others I wouldn’t even have thought of, far more eloquently than I ever could. However, it is also worth pointing out, as a commenter did (can’t remember who), that it’s entirely possible that married men do indeed live longer because they are married, at least partially. I’ve had a good few women, and people in general, who were positive influences on my life, and it doesn’t seem entirely out of the question that a happily married man, with a loving and caring wife, would indeed be healthier than that same man single. The problem isn’t noting the correlation, it’s believing that the correlation implies causation without doing a controlled study or even a basic reality check brainstorm for confounders.

    Stuff like this crops up all the goddamn time in Social Sciences. It’s sad, because I believe that Social Sciences have the potential to be tremendously beneficial for society, but there’s little point in trying to sift through the bullshit to find the truth.

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