Daily Mail In Need Of Science Transplant


Feather DusterIn what has to be the weirdest and most bullshit-ridden thing I’ve seen in a long time, the Daily Mail last week ran with the headline: ‘Transplant has turned me into a housewife’: Man now addicted to cleaning after receiving woman’s cornea

I’ll let that sink in.

So, the story goes – workshy slob Will Palmer hated housework. Then, due to a condition called Fuchs’ Dystrophy – where cells lining the inner surface of the cornea to begin to die – his eyesight rapidly decreased to a point where he needed a cornea operation. Once he got his shiny new sight, he found he suddenly loves to clean. Which, apparently, can only be due to the new cornea and it’s previous owner. Because that’s how transplants work, obviously.

On top of scientifically-nonsensical, there’s an obscenely sexist angle to the story, which is expressed in the quote:

In fact, so profound is Mr Palmer’s new-found devotion to housework that he believes his transplanted cornea must have been donated by a woman.

‘It started as a joke that I must have been given the cornea of a woman but I really do think it’s true,’ Will said, ‘There’s a reason why men don’t clean like this and I think it’s because we just don’t see the dirt, but I see it everywhere I go.’

So housework is a woman’s job then? This is massively offensive to women (marginalising their role and enforcing age-old stereotypes) and to men (suggesting all men are workshy, lazy slobs). Which to my mind, therefore offends all of the potential readership of the story, barring the androgynous community. Which, and correct me if I’m wrong, isn’t the usual demographic for the Daily Mail. This is 2009 – it’s staggering that this level of sexist bullshit still goes on.

This whole thing reads like a standard nonsense donor-organ-characteristics stories that crop up from time to time. Like “My new kidney makes me like country music”, “my liver transplant turned me gay”, and there was even a shockingly poor film with Jessica Alba had a cornea transplant and began seeing visions of murder witnessed by the cornea’s previous owner.  In fact, research from Professor Bruce Hood, author of Supersense and regular Skeptics in the Pub speaker, suggests that one in three transplant patients believe they have taken on something of the donor’s personality.

Hear this story and more in Skeptics with a K episode #003

Hear this story and more on Skeptics with a K

Now, just to be clear to anyone who hadn’t realised – transplants do not change the personality of the new owner. It’s superstitious nonsense, and it’s ridiculous that the Mail would even consider running a story so shoddy and unscientific. No, wait, sorry – this is the Mail we’re talking about: this is exactly the kind of scientifically-ignorant, superstitious and ridiculous story we expect of them. Maybe one of their writers could get a cornea transplant from someone science-literate…

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  1. #1 by Stu on August 27, 2009 - 11:07

    I don’t know if there isn’t something to this Mail article. I recently received a new cornea which must have come from one of the Mail’s writers because I can’t stop masturbating!!

  2. #2 by AlexMagd on August 27, 2009 - 11:09

    Poor The Eye, one of a great many brilliant foreign films ruined by a heavy-handed Hollywood remake. I’m pretty much agog at the Mail article though. Just when you think it can’t get any lower, it defies all your expectations!

  3. #3 by Colin H on August 27, 2009 - 22:22

    The Daily Mail Gave Me Cancer…. of the brain.

  4. #4 by Michael on September 4, 2009 - 16:56

    Why, Oh why, Oh why. I am sorry. Why the ‘jumping-badgery-f*ck would you actually READ the Daily Nazi? Have you never read Nick Davies’ ‘Flat Earth News’ ? (http://www.flatearthnews.net/)
    I hope you never spent any money for it.
    Yours Disgusted of Tumbridge Wells!

  5. #5 by Marsh on September 5, 2009 - 12:17

    Ah, tres simple – we read it so you don’t have to! Fortunately, the online version is free, the only cost is to my sanity.

    As for Nick Davies’ book, I have indeed read it and thoroughly enjoyed it. As it happens, Nick was one of the speakers I was really hoping to get up for a Skeptics in the Pub talk, but unfortunately he has (for the time being, at least) vowed to leave off the public speaking a while so as to spend time with his family and day job. Understandable, of course, but a shame nonetheless.

(will not be published)