The New York Times makes a classic error, portraying the correlation between eating together as a family and various positive outcomes as a causal relationship:
The family dinner table, meanwhile, has mostly managed to retain something of a sanctified aura - the last meeting ground left in a world of working parents, relentless afterschool activities and an array of solitary technological amusements.
Science backs tradition: numerous research studies have shown that eating together as a family does everything from raise test scores to reduce the risk of behavioral problems, drug addiction and depression. One recent University of Michigan study found the communal dinner had more influence on a child's development than church-going or studying.
It's more likely, of course, that eating together is a proxy for various unmeasured characteristics of the family -- unless someone wants to claim that the meal itself is driving all of those factors? I doubt it.