Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Being Careful When Reading

I review and read a lot of non-fiction parenting books. My husband, who is a scientist, also reads them. He has pointed out that many of these parenting books use deceptive phrases to promote their cause. Here's what I mean:

I've been reading a book called The Attachment Parent by Dr. Sears and Mrs. Sears. The book does not have an annotated bibliography. In case you don't know what one is, that's where all the references an author makes are located. Also the book does not contain footnotes. And only sparingly does the book make a reference in the text about which study it is talking about. Most of the text uses these two deceptive phrases when trying to show that there is scientific evidence to back up their thoughts: Scientists have found and Studies show. Which scientist? what studies? The authors make it nearly impossible for a person like myself to go look up the case studies in order to verify what the authors are saying. So is it true that babywearing makes children's IQ points higher? Where's the case study? Does co-sleeping help regulate a baby's temperature, heart rate, and breathing? Where's the scientific research?

Do not be fooled into thinking that their parenting method is scientifically backed because they haven't bothered to include the information that proves this. Granted I like the attachment parenting style, but I don't like it because scientific evidence says that it is the best method. Again there isn't any scientific evidence. I like it because it works for our family.

There is also another way non-fiction books or parenting books deceive their readers. They quote the studies and scientists. But you go and read the actual studies and that's not what the scientist concluded or even said. The author simply inferred or twisted the research to suit his agenda. I haven't got any actual evidence of this because honestly I haven't time to look up case studies, but hubby assures me that based on his own scholarly research people who write books on his subject but don't actually research it do this all the time.

So reader be weary. Don't take for face value what an author says just because he throw around random statics and say that "Scientists agree." Use your own judgment.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah every side does this :-/ Sometimes (well always) you just have to use common sense. I do happen to agree w/ baby wearing & co-sleeping, but not going to say it will necessarily raise an IQ lol.

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!