Thursday 21 December 2017

Lies, Damn Lies, and BAD Science

The War on Truth and Science continues.

Today, another story about women regretting abortion.

A majority of American women who aborted their unborn babies say that their lives didn’t improve at all or refused to answer a question about any positive effects of aborting, a new study reports.

Roughly 54 percent of women said that their lives post-aborting weren’t any better than before they had their abortion, according to a study published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Approximately 32 percent of women reported no significant positives from the decision to abort, while 22 percent did not respond to the question.
PDF here.

First thing: The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons sounds all legit, doesn't it? It is not. This is a group of whackadoodle conservative doctors who promote discredited BS like vaccines cause autism and abortion causes breast cancer.

Second thing: Lead author is our old pal, Priscilla Coleman. We'll get to her in a minute.

Third thing: Motive. This "study" is no doubt in response to several legit studies indicating that far from regretting abortion, a huge majority of women feel exquisite relief.

Ninety-five percent of women who have had abortions do not regret the decision to terminate their pregnancies, according to a study published last week in the multidisciplinary academic journal PLOS ONE.

Next thing: Look at the abstract, highlighted by me.

I think that's enough said.

Perfesser Coleman, also on Rewire's list of False Witnesses, aka liars for hire, came to our attention in 2012 when a paper of hers was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, a venue not known for BAD (biased, agenda=driven) Science.

Here's the result.
Results: Women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10% of the incidence of mental health problems was shown to be attributable to abortion.

Here's a real scientist, PZ Myers:

Those numbers are so extravagantly extreme that there ought to be alarm bells going off in your head right now, and the research had better be darned thorough and unimpeachably clean.

As it turns out, it isn’t. The author of the paper, Priscilla Coleman, is an anti-abortion advocate, and 11 of the 22 studies sampled for the meta-analysis are by…Priscilla Coleman. Methinks there might be a hint of publication bias there, something that has been confirmed statistically by Ben Goldacre.
And here's a bunch of scientists eviscerating her methodology, biases, and whatnot.

Maybe the good professor is learning something, though. Madly inflated numbers make even lay-people's alarm bells go off. The recent study's claims are much more modest. Let's see if it gets any traction in the mainstream press.

1 comment:

Pseudz said...

Zounds, FernHill! Dammit, it's good to see a DJ blog about the academic publishing zombie, Coleman. I thought that fruit-fly had been swatted.

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