Significance Magazine waded into the culture wars by publishing “Deciding abortions by the toss of a coin?” by somebody called Michael A. Lewis. Here (in case the article is pulled) are the highlights:
I was recently listening to public radio one morning…[Wendy] Davis was able to stop, for the time being, an abortion bill that in her view would have greatly decreased Texas women’s access to abortion…ongoing battle in the U.S. between pro-choice and anti-abortion forces…in full disclosure I’m pro-choice. I’m so pro-choice…if we’re faced with a situation where forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term would (or would likely) result in that mother’s death but an abortion would result in the “child’s” death, why is it right to kill the child to save the mother?…better way to resolve this dilemma would be to draw on the laws of probability…
Assign the mother the number 1 and the fetus the number 0. Next we’d use the random digit generator in a computer to simulate a coin toss (to avoid the possibility of someone being able to manipulate a real coin by tossing it in a certain way) by randomly choosing either 1 or 0. If the number 0 is chosen, the abortion occurs, resulting in the death of the child. If the number 1 is chosen the mother is forced to carry the baby to term, resulting in her death…I’m personally horrified by this proposal…
I posted this comment, which went into moderation. Be interesting to see if it’s accepted.
What an appallingly stupid article. No, I don’t mean the immoral, murderous position so gleefully supported by its evil author.
I mean the asinine attempt to tie the killing of the lives inside not-to-be mothers to probability, in a journal purportedly about statistics.
What makes it worst of all is the concept of probability is wrong. Use a computer to “simulate a coin toss”? If the author were able to model the physics of coin tosses he’d realize that coin flips are fully deterministic. Meaning he’d have to explicitly pick whom to murder. So much for his scheme.
Come on, editors. Show some pride and common sense. Eschew blatant and ridiculous screeds like this. Go back to statistics.