Friday, 6 July 2007

The Chewing of Ears

I read an article today which purported to hold proof that "men are no less chatty than women". That's right: "the common notion that women are the more talkative sex has been dispelled by scientists in the US".

It's only when you read the body of the article, though, that you realise that in fact the study in question has actually proved that men are less chatty than women (by 546 words per day). Not only that, but "the researchers admit that their findings may not apply to all men as they only studied university students". In other words, all they have really managed to prove is that university students like to talk a lot (big surprise) and that female university students talk a bit more than male ones.

The point being that the story is complete nonsense, barely worthy of anybody's time, and yet it probably required a reasonable amount of man-hours and cash that could have been better spent on something worthwhile.

I'm interested in the way the article was written, though, because it suggests to me a certain bias that I've always suspected the BBC holds, and which it recently more or less admitted to, in favour of liberal politics.

One of the core values or beliefs of liberal politics is the idea of the "blank slate": namely that nurture usually trumps nature and that men and women's behaviours and attitudes are defined mostly by the environment. Men and women, in other words, are not equal-but-different, they are in fact mostly the same.

Regardless of my own personal opinion on the nature/nurture debate, it does seem that this article is evidence of that institutional bias towards the idea that men and women are in essence the same - because it twisted the facts of the story to create the impression that scientific evidence indicated one thing, when in fact it didn't.

Anyway, as is plain for all to see, in the chewing-the-hind-leg-off-a-donkey stakes women always win hands down. You can't get much more scientific than that.

No comments: