03 January 2006

Bad Science

"Pirates Cause Global Warming". According to Pasta-farians (see Wikipedia on Flying Spaghetti Monsterism), Global warming and other natural disasters are a direct consequence of the decline in the numbers of pirates since the 1800s.

Similarly, The Sydney Morning Herald printed an article today claiming that:
Having an abortion as a young woman raises the risk of developing later mental health problems - including depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol abuse - according to the most detailed long-term study to date into the divisive question.
Sorry. I can see one reason why having an abortion might lead to mental problems. I can see a few dozen reasons as to why having incipient mental problems (or physical problems that will eventually lead to mental problems, or social problems that will eventually lead to mental problems, or societal problems that will eventually lead to mental problems, or familial problems that will eventually lead to mental problems, etc.) could encourage a young woman to have an abortion.

The article stated:
At age 25, 42 per cent of those who had had an abortion had also experienced major depression at some stage during the previous four years - nearly double the rate of those who had never been pregnant and 35 per cent higher than those who had chosen to continue a pregnancy.
These numbers leads me to conclude that any woman who got pregnant had a 50% increased likelihood of depression than their peers. Should we discourage pregnancy as a way to avoid life experiences and the corresponding traumas?

Perhaps well-adjusted women practice birth control more successfully. Perhaps women in supportive nurturing famiies and relationships (who are, to some extent, spared mental illnesses due to nurturing environments) are more likely to keep their pregnancies to term.

The women were never interviewed as to why they got abortions or their attitudes toward abortions.

The researchers' intent was not political. However, a set of misunderstood results could be.


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