In our society today, control is maintained by the authorities through regulation. In North America, major regulatory systems comprise two main systems of expertise. One is the criminal justice system, which is concerned with what will we do about crime and deviance. The other is the academic system of expertise, which is concerned with why crime and deviance exists. Academic expertise is the type of discourse deployed in the article by Michael Conlon to show, with ostensible authority, that maternal smoking during pregnancy is “linked” to adult criminal behaviour.
By using a recently published study, the article sets up the system of expertise to lend credibility to its headline and make a very persuasive (at first glance) claim. Scientists have high credibility and prestige in our society, and the article plays greatly on this assumption.
The key idea of the article is that criminal males are the product of mothers who smoked during pregnancy. The fallacy of affirming the consequent is evidenced in this statement when a closer look at the clarification of the meaning of the premise, and its significance, is made. To seriously answer questions of cause and consequent, the reader must assemble (“accurately”) measured covariables and variables and draw reliable conclusions from them. While the researchers of this data present certain conclusions, these conclusions may not necessarily be reflected in the media report. The media is capable of manipulating the information from the research report in order to support their own biases or beliefs.
In the year 2000, smoking has fallen out of public favour and is seen as an undesirable social and physical health hab...
... middle of paper ...
...nervous system, causing long-term misbehaviour.” The sentence is
intended to convey a purported “fact”, though a close look at the language used (i.e., “thought”, which does not connote fact) does not agree with this intention.
The construction of the media report on a correlational study between maternal smoking and male criminal behaviour suggests a media bias and framing of information to serve their biases. In a practical sense, the reader should only need the key “facts” to make a judgment on the reliability and validity of the reported claims. However, language, types of data description, popular fallacies, and spurious correlations deployed by the media can throw the reader off track. These media tactics make a critical analysis of the article’s “truth” not necessarily easy in assessing the extent of “blame” for deviance and crime in contemporary society.
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