o rly?

Posted: February 27, 2009 in Culture, Education, Media, Science, Writing

There ought to be a special category or term for junk science that purports to make a positive out of a negative or works feverishly to demonstrate something that is obvious to even the casual observer. This report from BBC News tells of multiple studies that support the supposition that text messaging improves language skills. The fact that improves language skills is in scare quotes might suggest to the sharp reader that language skills are in fact not improved, that children’s “sophisticated understanding of the appropriate use of words” is to be expected even in the absence of text messaging, or that increased exposure to the written word improves literacy — even the debased variety found in text messaging — is so obvious that it hardly bears reporting. Or maybe the scare quotes are evidence that the news editors don’t know how to use quotes anymore. Either way, don’t believe everything you read, even when it comes from otherwise reputable science journals.

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