Andrew Sullivan Gets Him Some Data: Contraception and Abortion edition.
Readers of this blog know that I usually slag off on Sullivan’s reluctance to engage data on issues in which he has strong views.I don’t believe, by and large, that he has a very solid grasp of either quantitative methods or scientific practice. (See, e.g., this post or this one.)
But when he’s onto something he does care about where the data and its manipulation matter, he can be like a dog to a bone, and today’s he’s done good.
The issue? Whether contraception reduces the incidence of abortion. His dissection of the dishonest manipulation of the research record (e.g. admixing a study of US women with a 197 country study) can be found here.
Theocons cannot have it every which way. Practically speaking, if you really believe that all abortion is murder, a huge program of contraception education and access is the most practical life-saver out there. And yet the Catholic pro-lifers refuse to embrace it and go to these kinds of lengths to deny reality. By their own logic, they are the ones enabling the massacre of millions.
I’m about to wrap up a three part post on Sullivan’s theodicy issues (part one and part two, for your delectation) and I’ve had some harsh things to say, with worse to come in the last section. But when he is able to achieve some remove from his own internal conflicts on the vexing tensions in his faith, he is no dummy, not at all. Credit where credit is due….
*Note: I haven’t linked all the way through to the deeply disturbed person who calls herself the Anchoress…but if you want to see that with which Sullivan’s arguing, go ahead. And surf through the second link; Elizabeth Pisani is as good as it gets on deflating the murderous hypocrisy and self-delusion of the better-to-die than-than-have-safe-sex crowd.
Image: Postcard published in 1909; photograph by Irvin M. Kline, 1907.