Lets try “Pressure to Publish Leads to Sensationalist Science.” I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the headline on MSNBC today. The story claims that just by naming a baby boy Ernest (Picture of Hemingway Above) or Malcolm (or one of the other 8 names in the article), you are setting them up for a life of resentment or worse. This claim is based on a study published in Social Science Quarterly by David Kalist and Daniel Lee.
It is not difficult to fathom, why such a study would exist in the first place. With studies coming out everyday about what makes kids smarter, fatter, louder, and homicidal it is definitely not a stretch for a study to try and prove predispositions to antisocial behavior. I wonder though whether calling these statistics out isn’t just predisposing us to treat kids with these names (or other characteristics) differently. Did they not consider all of the boys with the “Top 10 Bad Boy Names” who are already trying to make it through school and be good sons? What about parents who read this article and feel guilty about naming their kids these names? Well to them I say this:
You are the reason that your kids will succeed or fail. It is your attention, questions, and actions which will determine their fate. No matter what a couple of PHDs or some scientific journal with sensationalist tendencies thinks.
Let us not forget the mantra of the academic community: “Publish or Perish.” Kalist and Lee will gladly continue to publish obscure social statistics no matter what the consequences as long as it gets them an inch closer to tenure.