Raw Story

Shogun wedding: 'Ninja sister wives' attack, insightful reporting flees

Shogun wedding: 'Ninja sister wives' attack, insightful reporting flees

From reports out of Utah, it sounds like two women swapped marital skills for martial arts. And many media swapped solid substance for juicy soundbites.

Here's an early report from The Guardian. Yep, the story even got attention in London.

Two armed “polygamist women” dressed like “ninjas” were subdued by a sword-wielding man during a home invasion, according to police in suburban Utah.
Police said the two women, aged 18 and 22, were attacking the home of a witness and victim in a criminal child sex assault case against a man the women called their “husband”.
The women “violently attacked one of the adult males in the house who came to see who was coming,” Ian Adams of the West Jordan police department told the Guardian.
“Another adult male joined the fray in defense of the first male victim. He was armed with a sword, and using a sword … and with the other male [was] able to subdue the two women until police arrived and took them into custody.”

The account on the same day by the Salt Lake Tribune was more lucid:

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Study: Religious kids believe the Bible and other 'fiction'

Study: Religious kids believe the Bible and other 'fiction'

Is this Clutching at Straws Month? Because I don't know how to dress or what to buy for it. I do know how to celebrate, though. Just publish a study that counters traditional beliefs. And don’t ask questions that might uncover flaws. The latest example emerged this week in the July issue of Cognitive Science. Three researchers alleged that young children who are "exposed to religion" -- gotta love that wording -- have trouble telling fact from fiction.

This claim is in an appallingly brief, 291-word article in the Huffington Post -- which, true to form, swallows and regurgitates the stuff without chewing. We'll get to that in a bit.

First, here's how it went down:

Researchers presented 5- and 6-year-old children from both public and parochial schools with three different types of stories -- religious, fantastical and realistic -- in an effort to gauge how well they could identify narratives with impossible elements as fictional.

The study found that, of the 66 participants, children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school were significantly less able than secular children to identify supernatural elements, such as talking animals, as fictional.

By relating seemingly impossible religious events achieved through divine intervention (e.g., Jesus transforming water into wine) to fictional narratives, religious children would more heavily rely on religion to justify their false categorizations.

“In both studies, [children exposed to religion] were less likely to judge the characters in the fantastical stories as pretend, and in line with this equivocation, they made more appeals to reality and fewer appeals to impossibility than did secular children,” the study concluded.

Now let's dismantle this, starting with the sampling. I don’t often resort to italics, but c'mon -- sixty-six subjects? I saw several times that many kids yesterday at one Vacation Bible School. A sampling of 66 children is pretty small for an attempt to generalize to all children.

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Horny dads at a prom: Too juicy to get the whole story

Let’s talk about Clare, the homeschooled teenager in Richmond, Va., who was thrown out of a prom because of her dress. The facts are … Well, actually, we don’t know many of the facts, whatever you may have read in “news” accounts. Nearly all of them are based purely on her blogging rant about the flap.

In one of the most shameful abuses of social media ever, story after story takes as gospel truth how the girl conformed to the dance dress code, yet was thrown out by horny dads and intolerant chaperones. Even The Telegraph in London had to get in on the act, from across the Atlantic.

The Telegraph’s may be the cheapest, most garish version:

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