"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

More Faith-Based Stupidity 

The NYT reports today that the Heritage Foundation, well known for its unbiased focus I'm sure, has released a study 'refuting' evidence that abstinence-only education fails to work. For starters, the Foundation's study claimed statistical significance at p = 0.10, a glaring order of magnitude larger than the preferred standard of 0.01 and twice the generally accepted 0.05.

In defense of this loosening of standards, one of the co-authors said that this 'lets readers decide the merits of the findings.' This is, of course, complete and utter bullshit. Readers cannot 'decide the merits of the findings,' nor should they have to. That's why studies get funding for statisticians, and why we have peer-review (to which, needless to say, this study has not been nor will it be submitted).

The Heritage Foundation is using crap research to sway public opinion and policy because they know the 'Murkin public doesn't know the difference, and will listen any time someone says they know what's right, especially when it confirms the biases they already hold.

So what? Well, for starters, it means that these disastrous programs will become more and more prevalent, and their real results (increased unwanted pregnancies and STI rates) will continue to skyrocket. Especially among the poor. This is the Neo-conservative agenda.

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