Researchers in the United Kingdom studying “stupid deaths” have delighted women worldwide with evidence of what they have suspected all along: men are idiots.
In a study published Thursday in the special light-hearted Christmas issue of the medical journal BMJ, researchers revealed that the majority of Darwin Award recipients are male. Normally, winning an award would be a good thing, but not in this case.
To receive a Darwin Award, a person has to die in “an extraordinarily idiotic manner,” thus protecting the human gene pool and improving our chances of long-term survival. The “stupid deaths” must be verifiable, and the recipient of the award must be someone who is capable of sound judgment, but showed “an astonishing misapplication of common sense.”
Live Science cites the example of a Darwin Award winner in the study, who the researchers wrote was a “terrorist who posted a letter bomb with insufficient postage stamps and who, on its return, unthinkingly opened his own letter.”
The researchers examined the Darwin Awards database to test an idea they called “male idiot theory (MIT),” to see if men’s higher tendency for risk-taking led them to taking “idiotic risks” that could lead to death.
You guessed it – they were right.
The study looked at all the nominees for the award from 1995 to 2014, noting the gender of the winner each year. In all, the researchers examined 332 confirmed “stupid death” cases. After excluding 14 adventurous couples, they looked at the remaining 318 deaths.
Of the remaining “idiots,” only 36 were women. The other 282, or nearly 90 percent, were men – which the researches say support their theory that “men are idiots, and idiots do stupid things.” This Inquisitr report of the 2008 Darwin Award winners, all of which were men, supports their findings.
On a more serious note, the “male idiot theory” could also help explain why such a gender gap has been found in previous studies on risk-taking behavior and emergency department visits, which show that men suffer more accidental injuries and die in traffic accidents far more often than women.
Although the researchers agree that some of the gender gap can be explained by the fact that men are more likely to participate in riskier sports or have more dangerous occupations, the study shows that they are also more likely to do just plain stupid things that can kill them.
Alcohol use was also taken into consideration in the study, and the researchers say that the difference in its use and effect among men and women could have been a factor in the “stupid deaths.”
“Anecdotal data support the hypothesis that alcohol makes men feel ‘bulletproof’ after a few drinks, and it would be naïve to rule this out,” they wrote.
“We believe MIT deserves further investigation,” the researchers concluded, “and, with the festive season upon us, we intend to follow up with observational field studies and an experimental study—males and females, with and without alcohol—in a semi-naturalistic Christmas party setting.”
[Image via Reddit]