HomeoldWhy Many “Scholarly Studies” Can’t Be Trusted

Why Many “Scholarly Studies” Can’t Be Trusted

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It is a common practice among authors of academic and scientific studies to first determine the objective of the study and then proceed to collect and analyse data in order to prove the hypothesis.

This appears to be the case in a study conducted by the University of Chicago’s International Human Rights Clinic. The study appears to have been designed to demonstrate that sex-selection abortion is not occurring in the USA, despite the availability of an early test for gender prediction.

From “The United States has a femicide problem” by Rachel Lu in The Federalist:

It [the study] wears its political agenda on its sleeve, presenting a list of “myths” (used by the pro-life movement to justify laws against sex-selective abortion) and replacing them with “facts” (intended to show that such laws are unnecessary).

The presentation builds up to “Myth #6” (“The primary motivation for laws banning sex-selective abortion in the United States is to prevent gender discrimination”), which is replaced by “Fact #6” (“Restricting access to abortion is the primary motivation for sex-selective abortion bans”). It’s refreshing that they’re so clear about their allegiances. Why muddy the waters with pretensions to academic detachment when abortion rights are at stake?

Indeed, this is precisely the case. The study is primarily intended to serve as a form of political advocacy, with the objective of countering pro-life efforts to prohibit eugenic sex-selection abortion, which is currently occurring in the West. The study also seeks to challenge proposals that force pro-abortion advocates out of their “pro-choice” stance.

We return to Lu. The study identified evidence of sex-selection abortion and delved deeply into the subject:

I advise you to pull up the study yourself and scroll to page 16, where the authors admit: “Our study of pooled ACS data confirms Almond and Edlund’s study with respect to third births in foreign-born Chinese, Indian, and Korean families who have already had two girls…”.

The authors have pulled a bit of a fast one on their [pro-choice] journalistic admirers by burying the single most important piece of information in a forest of far less relevant facts, graphs and meanderings about methodology. Amazingly, they don’t even bother to tell us what sex ratio they found for the single most critical case, two daughters. Did they think people wouldn’t be interested in that pesky little number?

Or do they simply prefer to hide unwelcome data by shining a bright spotlight on the statistics that are friendlier to their political agenda? It’s a neat bit of misdirection. Move over, David Copperfield.

A study was conducted with the objective of disproving the so-called “pro-life myths.” However, the study failed to provide evidence that would support the claims made by those who espouse these myths. This is a rather predictable outcome.

It should be noted, however, that not all studies are inherently biased. However, the problem arises when there are sufficient advocacy studies that discredit good and objective work by association.

Furthermore, this intellectual corruption has the potential to negatively impact the advancement of science and the humanities. The general public is no longer swayed by empirical studies, including those that should inform their thinking, because a significant proportion are in fact vehicles designed to advance or defend ideological agendas.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s great blog.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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