Thou Shalt Not Tell Half Truths

I am not a part of the Con brigade here (The Conference Brigade… Not the FTB version of Hustle) so I rarely get to show people one of the major issues in pseudoscientific reporting.

One of the major problems of reporting of medical literature is the “half truth”. Medical Literature and Research is boring. It’s a method of transferring factual data, not a method of holding your audience. It is statistics and flibbertigibbet. No one wants to hear that. They want answers! ANSWERS!!!

And some of the answers they get from literature are only half the story. This is a real piece of medical research that indicates that women who don’t carry a pregnancy to term often die. Up to 80% more likely to die. I can see why it’s true. But to claim it’s due to Abortion is pure idiocy.

The paper they quote is real, but the logic they use is frankly moronic.

For starters? The real way of reading a paper includes seeing who did the study. If the Pope produced a study about how condoms make your penis smaller would you believe him? The Elliot Institute (do not laugh at their website… Laughing at the website is verboten!) are responsible for this. For those unwilling to click on the link (It’s a website that looks like something I made circa 2001. Not the website of the scientifically minded. Any Steve with a website can start an institute. Doesn’t mean it’s recognised…) I have some choice sections to post here from there.

Our coalition seeks to address different concerns raised by unregulated human engineering with a single solution that will appeal to people from all walks of life: conservative or liberal, rich or poor, devout or indifferent, theist or atheist. 

Many, perhaps most, of our members are and will be motivated by the view that human life is sacred.  For these members, the idea that human nature is being altered and human embryos are being destroyed in science experiments, drives their support.

Others are chiefly concerned about the threats to public health, the environment, or the economic and social consequences of unregulated human engineering.  Some of the secular supporters of our effort may even be willing to accept some modification of the human genome, once it is proven to be safe.  But virtually all in this group believe voters, not just biotech entrepreneurs and eugenic utopians, should have a say about if and when we enter into the “Brave New World” of genetically altered human beings.

Many people will share have both religious and secular concerns.  The organizers of the coalition believe that both concerns are valid and should be considered, respected, and appealed to in our efforts to raise public awareness and concern about these issues.”

AKA they are pro-lifers masquerading as scientists. Any fucker can be a bio-medical ethicist. Hell, I was taught by one who seriously considered the ethical ramifications of the british technology to produce human chimera embryos using cow eggs with a human genome to be a worrying trend where these could give rise to monsters. I had to point out that any of these “chimeras” that grew to adulthood would be no different from us. They would be humans, and not required to live in my maze.

I said we shouldn’t laugh at the website. But it’s so very hard to if they put up pages like this. Because this stops being “research” and starts being a smear campaign.

Again… Some choice quotes…

“Chimeras [human-animal crossbreads] or parahumans might legitimately be fashioned to do dangerous or demeaning jobs. As it is now, low-grade work is shoved off on moronic and retarded individuals, the victims of uncontrolled reproduction. Should we not program such workers ‘thoughtfully’ instead of accidentally, by means of hybridization?” — Dr. Joseph Fletcher

Not a scientist. Joseph was actually a professor of Divinities. He later converted to Atheism from Christianity. And no I don’t think he said this. Ever. This may be a “Lady Grey Darwin Recant”.

“Science is moving at such a fast pace that scientists have proven that they can create headless mice through removal of genes in the embryo that control development of the head. But the body would have the capacity to keep the organs functional for use as transplants…. Embryonic stem cells, which holds promise of cure of any organ, is but a slow move towards immortality.” -Dr. P.B. Desai

Or you know. We could just grow the organ. That’s the point of the research. It takes 18 years to grow a human to full size… By that time most people would be dead. This clearly is a very stupid way of doing things. We would have to learn how to increase the speed of development. Or you know… Learn how to differentiate cells and either use 3D printing technology (something we already use for creating new ears and noses and have successfully done with the human bladder) to recreate full functioning organs. Or just learn how to grow organs independent from the body…

These are a selection of quotes by scientists pulled out of context and with no rhyme or reason. In short? It’s a pro-life “institute” that does “research” and thinks scientists and doctors are “mad” for often saying things which make sense. Bias… A lot of Bias.

Now go back to the article. How many alarm bells are ringing. Do you know why they are ringing? Congratulations you are thinking skeptically. But since the majority of my readers probably don’t understand how they came to these “figures” a little explanation is needed.

  • Our maternal mortality in the west is frankly miniscule. Yes yes yes! Here we need to ignore the pro-choicers who make a big fuss about childbirth being super deadly and face facts. It’s not. Not in the west. Yes, there are a few deaths but frankly Measles has a greater mortality rate and people STILL consider that harmless. We have utilised medical science to reduce maternal mortality rates to a very very very small number.
  • Now what’s the problem with very very small numbers? If one person per 1000 died in child birth and 1.8 people per 1000 died in abortion then you have an 80% increase in mortality. It’s actually not that high, it’s just portraying a small increase in a form that makes it seem like women are straight dropping dead from all those abortions. There are 12 maternal deaths per 100,000 births. When compared to abortion this means that 22 women die per 100,000 abortions (according to this article) in ten years after the abortion. Another ten? That’s it? It’s a difference of 0.01% in terms of mortality rates. And it is explainable as to why this occurs.
  • Another issue here is WHY women have abortions. The vast majority are due to “I don’t want to have a child”. They are fine. There are however a group of people who have to have abortions for medical reasons. Plenty of those are rather deadly and will kill you. You actually have predisposed a group to higher mortality rates by not excluding women who have had medical abortions due to illness. Because if you have cancer and a baby and have to undergo chemotherapy then you may get an abortion. The chemo may not work, you may metastatise and die. HIV, Cancer, Genetics… All play a part here. We are ignoring baseline mortality here because we are going to assume the baseline mortality is the same these are “extras”. Both women in the abortion and natural child birth groups die at the same rate of the same causes with the abortion group having few more extra deaths due to things that required abortions. The incidence is 1 in 10,000. That’s ludicrously small.
  • Another indicator that that’s behind this is that miscarriage is also considered an “abortion”. Wait what? Miscarriages are a completely different issue and serial miscarriage is pathological and indeed very depressing. It’s also indicative of other pathology which can cause deaths. You cannot compare the two things as the same.

Ultimately? Biased. Lies, damned lies and Statistics. This is the use of statistics to befuddle the casual reader and pollute the diatribe of the abortion debate by giving pro-lifers a seemingly secular “institute” to produce pro-life papers. No serious experimental medical and science group ever lists “mad scientists”.



  1. MaryL says

    Of course no explanation that “spontaneous abortion” is the medical term for what many call a miscarriage. (I assume that because I’m not going to read that piece of drek.)

  2. Yellow Thursday says

    I don’t understand why they’re looking at mortality rates within 10 years of first pregnancy. If they’re looking for deaths due to abortion, miscarriage, or childbirth, wouldn’t those complications take effect within a few months, at most, of the event?

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