Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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The quacking got deafening.
They like to call themselves right-to-life because it sounds better than anti-personal-choice.
They came to town last week to drum up support for the anti-abortion bill in South Dakota that is the subject of a referendum on the general election ballot this November.
A local physician was invited to address the group of 100. The attack point is the Roe vs. Wade decision of the Supreme Court. The good doctor said, according to the local newspaper, that at the time of the decision, the Supreme Court justices ruled they could not determine when life begins.
That is not what the decision stated. It stated that if authorities in the fields of medicine, philosophy, and theology could not reach a consensus on when life begins, the judiciary was not in a position to make a ruling based upon sound data and reasoning.
The doctor says that there is a wealth of new scientific knowledge that clearly shows that life begins at conception. In 1973, the Supreme Court understood that a rudimentary organism was initiated when sperm attached itself to egg. The question is a matter of at what point that organism becomes a viable, sentient being. There has, in fact, been no definitive scientific determinations of when viable, sentient life begins. Rather, there has been a proliferation of the contoversy, much of it based on old religious dicta and voodoo science.
Then the doctor commented on the report from the South Dakota Abortion Task Force whose findings led to the abortion ban to be voted upon this fall. He said that many South Dakota doctors have voiced opposition to the report, but that the vast majority of those have admitted they read it.
Here is where the quacking gets ear-shattering. We wonder what scientific polling organization surveyed South Dakota physicians to determine how many doctors voiced opposition. How were the questions in the poll phrased to indicate how many admitted they had not read it? Or did the good doctor take this poll himself? Or is this another false representation driven by another mindless and dishonest zealot? Is "science" being represented by the likes of this doctor?
We did not poll South Dakota physicians. We had a conversation with one in which we asked if he had read the Abortion Task Force Report. He said he glanced at it, and when he saw that it was not writtten or intended to be a scientific proposition supported by a careful documentation of scientific evidence, he did not finish it. He put it aside because the fraudulent citations of scientific evidence and the deliberate miscontrual of the studies mentioned was sheer quackery.
The report consists of claiming testimony that supports its authors' position and refutes the validity of anyone whose views do not agree with the authors. It lauds the testimony of the anti-abortion witnesses and dimisses everything else. It makes no attempt at rational analysis. There is absolutely no review of the scientific literature and no critical balancing of the viewpoints cited.
And we, who have read the report, note that it is a classic example of logical fallacies, and the misuse of documentation. If anyone needs a good example of how to lie with alleged documention, the Task Force report is a prime one.
If what the abortion ban and its proponents represent is science, we have regressed back beyong the Dark Ages into the primordial mists.
The campaign of 2006 is going to be one of the 21st century against the 8th.