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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptic > 23.2 > The SkepDoc

The SkepDoc

Premature Ejaculation in the News: How Headlines Influence Our Thinking

NO, THIS IS NOT ABOUT SEX. EJACULATION doesn’t only mean discharge of semen, it also means “a short, sudden emotional utterance.” People make verbal ejaculations when they’re excited or have something important to say. Headlines are frequently ejaculations. They often express premature enthusiasm, hyping the questionable results of a new research study as if it were already well established truth. They may trumpet “Cancer cured!” when the accompanying article describes a minor improvement (not a cure) in laboratory rats. The headline is designed not for accuracy, but to entice the reader to read on. In a recent example, Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT) was hyped as a one-time, one-second, noninvasive cure for everything. It was a clear case of premature ejaculation.

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About Skeptic

THE RISE OF THE NONES Imagining No Heaven — The Rise of the Nones and the Decline of Religion; Never Doubting God — Surveys on Belief in God’s Existence; Persistence of Belief in a Purposeful Universe; Honor, Dignity, Victim — A review of The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars; The SkepDoc — Premature Ejaculation in the News: How Headlines Influence Our Thinking; Is the Earth Flat? Flat Earthers Are Back — How do You Best Make the Argument for a Round Earth?; Conspiracy Theorists and the Harm They Do; Bruce Perkins and Another Terrible Tragedy of the Recovered Memory Movement; Deterrence and Its Discontents: Now That Nuclear War Seems to Be Getting More Likely Again, It’s Time to Turn a Skeptical Eye on Deterrence; Reality Need Not Diminish Our Concept of Our Place in the Cosmos; Junior Skeptic — Perpetual Motion; and more…