Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Back It Up!

One of the more thought provoking moments of my high school career came from a youth pastor who decided to find an amusing way of calling out a bunch of church kids.  It seemed he had at some point grown weary of hearing too many good church going adolescents start sentences with "Well it says in the Bible...." when what they actually mean was "I heard in a sermon/my Dad says/my mom believes/I read this book once/I'm pretty sure this is true".   Anyway,  he was a clever sort of youth pastor, and he realized that calling out and/or publicly shaming offenders would probably lead to lots of discord, hurt feelings, and possibly calls from parents, so he decided to take a different tack.

Starting with a few key young gentleman, he began to tell everyone that whenever they heard the phrase "It says in the Bible" they were all allowed (in fact encouraged) to all yell "BACK IT UP!!!!"  At this point whoever had made the claim had to stop and find a verse to back themselves up and read it to the group.  If they couldn't find a verse quickly, the conversation continued, and they were condemned to sitting rifling through the concordance until they either admitted they couldn't find it, or they stayed quiet for the rest of the conversation.

I bring this up because I WANT THIS TO BE A THING.

Wouldn't it be great if we could do this with research?  I bet the story I mentioned in my post this morning wouldn't have happened if every time we heard/read someone saying "Research shows" we could all scream "BACK IT UP!!!" and then silence them until they found the proper citation (and no, Wikipedia and Malcolm Gladwell would not count as actual citations).

For the printed word on the internet, we need some sort of meme for this that people could leave in comments sections of articles with vague "research" claims...perhaps a gif of some sort (where are the 4channers when I need them???).  I took a poke around the internets and this is the best I could find was this lady:


I think this could work.  There has to be an unemployed journalist or two out there who could help me spread this around.


  1. "Var star det skriver?" Where does it stand written? was the cry of the early Covenanters. It is usually simplified to "Var det skrivet," Where is it written, now.

  2. I think "[CITATION NEEDED]" will do.

    1. As much as I love [CITATION NEEDED] I feel that comes off as more of an English teacher grading papers than a real challenge to verify research. I'm thinking flashier, a challenge that can't be missed or passed over as nitpicking.

      A girl can dream can't she?

  3. As a kid my friends and I played a card game of bluffing where you challenged your opponent by yelling at the top of your 10 year old lungs, "I DOUBT IT!!" Maybe that could work.