Saturday, 18 January 2014

BAD Science in a (Twitter) Nutshell

The brouhaha over recent "explosive" data from Asia absotively proving the Abortion = Breast Cancer (ABC) link continues.

The Chinese study, eviscerated by Joyce Arthur here, fatally flawed by many scientific sins, but most egregiously (and obviously even to a lay-person) is Joel Brind's bland dismissal of the fundamental contradiction in it. (See Joyce's article for details.)

So what do lying liars do when challenged? Brind, the grandaddy of the ABC lie, doubles down.
The Bhadoria study of 320 breast cancer patients and 320 age and socio-economic status-matched healthy control women reported a 403% increased risk of getting breast cancer among Indian women who have had any abortions. Not only is this increase much larger than what had been reported in the Huang meta-analysis (44%) and by my colleagues and I in our worldwide meta-analysis of 1996 (30%), but it closely matches the 538% among Indian women reported earlier in 2013 by Dr. Ramchandra Kamath et al.

Also in 2013, Dr. S. Jabeen and colleagues reported a risk increase of almost 2,000% among women in Bangladesh!

Taken collectively, the studies from Asia should completely abolish any lingering credibility of the US National Cancer Institute’s politically correct” dictum that there is no ABC link.
From 30% to 44% to 403% to 538% to 2000% increase in breast cancer caused by abortion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(By the way, all reputable cancer research organizations categorically refute any such causation.)

The main flaw with all ABC BS studies is something called "recall bias". Google it and you'll find that it applies to all kinds of research in which patients are asked to remember their or their children's medical details, including birth defects, vaccination, Gulf War Syndrome, etc. etc.

But Brind et al. insist that recall bias is a conspiracy cooked up by pro-choice researchers and applied only to their own abortion "research".

So, as a non-scientist, I was going to go into all kinds of tedious detail about what recall bias is and isn't, when I thought to ask famed bullshit-detector PZ Myers to comment. After all, he has taken on the BAD (biased, agenda-driven) science of the anti-choice movement before.

He replied promptly.

And thus shortened this blog-post considerably. Thanks, PZ. (I'm sure our readers will thank you too.)

UPDATE: And here's James Coyne, author of a multi-part spanking of Priscilla Coleman for the equally dishonest abuse of statistics.


JJ said...

Well done, my dear... there's nothing that pisses me off more than this particular NON-issue. Keep fightin' the good fight.

fern hill said...

JJ! Good to see your electrons. You keep fighting the good fight too.

Alison said...

Hey, JJ. Brilliant to see you!

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