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March 07, 2012

Comments

Ooh.
Then let's see the stats.
How rare is disagreement?
How do you quantify along the spectrum between agreement and disagreement?
At what level of disagreement does "fictional account" become the better explanation?
Where are the charts and when did you analyze them?

Thanks Daron,

I don't have numbers either.

But I have good reasons to think disagreement - especially strong disagreement - is rare in IVF couples.

I'll skip explaining this unless you disagree:

Most couples (more than half?, a lot more than half?, I don't know) are on the same page with respect to abortion.

The stronger the disagreement, the less common it is.

This will be more true among IVF couples than the general population.

I don't claim strong disagreement among IVF couples is impossible.

But, given that IVF has been done millions of times worldwide, a few examples of strong disagreement doesn't suggest to me that strong disagreement is common among IVF couples.

BTW, I'm inclined I believe the story you posted from the forum. The venue seems politically neutral. It reads like a true story. The poster, while unknown to me, apparently has 120 posts on that forum. She is not anonymous.

I haven't mentioned the anonymity before. People can tell the truth with any degree of anonymity but it's a trigger for me to take another look whether I agree with the material itself or not.

RonH

Most couples (more than half?, a lot more than half?, I don't know) are on the same page with respect to abortion.
Except those positions are nearly meaningless when it comes to this question. When you spend anytime on the forums where people are agonizing over their "reductions" the people often say things like "I am strongly pro-choice, but this just seems wrong" and, vice-versa, "I am strongly pro-life, but I felt I had to do this for my own reasons ..." Having a position on abortion, and agreeing in general strokes doesn't mean a whole lot when this issue comes home.


I don't claim strong disagreement among IVF couples is impossible.
It doesn't need to be so-called "strong disagreement" for this story to be true. Both can be pro-life, anti-abortion Christians and one can fear so much for her life and the babies, as the apparent dangers are made imminent, that she tips over just enough to make the decision solid. You can see this not only in the OP but in the links I attached. People claim all kinds of things and think they have all kinds of principles until the rubber meets the road (think Peter Singer).

But, given that IVF has been done millions of times worldwide, a few examples of strong disagreement doesn't suggest to me that strong disagreement is common among IVF couples.
But you have made a claim, a statistical claim, based upon nothing but what you think might be the case. You have no reason to think it so rare that the fact that this man reports it means he is lying. I've shown you several other examples where it occurs and you have no charts to show its rarity or what the line is at which rarity starts to indicate fabrication. In fact, because people change their minds and disagreements occur, some clinics have them sign an agreement before implantation that says they will reduce if multiple embryos take - such is the fickleness of the human heart when the unexpected happens.

Regarding anonymity, I tend to agree in general, but it is not much by way of evidence here. Most of the posters are anonymous, and a great number do not want their friends and family to know what is going on.
In fact, the fact that the writer in the OP is anonymous argues for his veracity in this case. It is a situation where anonymity is completely understandable. And an activist trying to change the world would more likely want to be known. Or, at least, would want to attach his name for more credibility.

Thanks Daron,

an activist trying to change the world would more likely want to be known. Or, at least, would want to attach his name for more credibility.

Are you saying Had an activist made up this story probably sign their real name to it?

I was going to say NO: Assuming this story is False (and presented as true), the probability that it is Anonymous is nearly 1.

That's P(A|F) = 1 if you have studied Bayes.

But I'm trying to work out how many people might be able to tell this lie,sign their name, and not expect to have the whole project backfire, hurt the cause, and ruin their reputation.

If the activist has no wife, the story will be obviously false to anyone who knows the activist.

If the activist is married, is the wife in on the lie? If she is not in on it the activist is again likely to be exposed - maybe even divorced.

So it seems like there needs to be a wife and she needs to be in on the lie.

Continuing: Does nobody know this couple well enough to know this story is not true?

And so on...

I'm asking why you think an activist would be at all likely to sign his real name to this story if it were not true.

BTW, here is a reason to think the writer was British whether the story is true or not. Thanks Brad B for getting me started on that. Interesting.

RonH

That should have been more like this...

Are you saying: Had an activist made up this story they probably would have signed their real name to it?

Hi Ron,

Are you saying Had an activist made up this story probably sign their real name to it?
If the story is total whole cloth then I don't think he'd use his own name. I think the odds are pretty good at least that he would have made up a name. It seems at least as likely as his writing it anonymously.

But let's pause to inventory.
Reductions are indicated as happening between 10-12 weeks.
But most people discussing it on the forums are well above 10 weeks, more likely 12 and 14.
Fetuses of 10 weeks, and especially 12 and 14, are very capable of reacting to their environments and retreating from stimuli.
Most people who have experienced this did not seriously consider or discuss the contingency of multiple pregnancies, and had not made decisions about what they would do in the eventuality.
Doctors usually strongly recommend reductions, emphasizing all the negative consequences, and the women are often terrified of carrying the babies.
Pro-life people abort, and pro-choice people refuse to; normal political leanings are no guarantee when people know the lives on the line.
Mothers and fathers are not guaranteed to agree on how to proceed, and fathers are likely to acquiesce (as they might be expected to) to the mother's desires, just as pro-life fathers consent to abortions, considering it truly the woman's decision.

There sure isn't much left of your case here, once we take the evidence into account.


They actually do IVF and reductions in the UK, too, though.
http://pjsaunders.blogspot.com/2012/01/selective-reduction-euphemism-for.html

This also puts your "strong disagreement" case in an even poorer light. About 1% of IVF pregnancies are aborted, including "reductions", so this disagreement , "rare", you say, out of the millions, really is a disagreement among thousands of cases. And over 75% of these involve recommendations due to the expectations of severe handicap, which is not the case in our OP. So rather than millions of IVF patients to sample we are down to about .25% of the thousands of cases, cases in which selective abortion is based strictly on the fact of multiple gestation.

Speaking of IVF, a change of heart, and disagreement: people even abort IVF pregnancies for these reasons alone.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10254133

"There sure isn't much left of your case here, once we take the evidence into account."

But Daron, that can't be! He's an atheist! They're super-rational! Far beyond the means of ordinary mortals like us, with our primitive superstitions!

Daron,

I didn't say that a UK connection (Coventry) weighs for fiction and I don't think it does. It was an aside.

I'm amazed you don't agree anonymity weighs, at least weakly, for fiction.

Anyway, this has been a good exchange. Thanks. (It's not that I'm unwilling to continue; I'm just recognizing we're near the typical lifetime of these comment exchanges.)

Bennett,

You are totally out of line.

RonH

Ron,

If you can't take what you dish...

To be clear, I'm sure it didn't need to be said, and I might even apologize if I thought it'd make a difference to you, me, or the trees. But if you're really going to take umbrage at banter around here, after the way you snark? It's going to be awfully hard to take serious.

Bennett,

I'm not talking about banter.
Or snark, if it says something (on topic).
I'm talking about ad hom.

Please don't apologize.
Please don't even reply.
Please just don't do it again.

Please, if you receive ad hom, just call it out.
Don't respond in kind.

RonH

I'll take the advice under consideration. Have a good day.

OTOH,
RonH has made exactly this declaration about himself - that he is more rational than Christians.

Daron,

Indeed. But some people do get awfully hurt if you quote their words back to them, when it's not advantageous to them. I don't want to injure anyone emotionally, especially if they are of a delicate and retiring temperament unsuited to conflict or barbed humor. So perhaps it would be best if I kept the kid gloves on.

Been reading along, and was reminded by Bennetts comments of a song by one of the all time great rock poets, Neil Peart.

"A world of difference
A world so out of touch
Overwhelmed by everything
But wanting more so much

Call it blind frustration
Call it blind man's bluff
Call each other names
Your voices rude
Your voices rough
Then you learn the lesson
That it's cool to be so tough

Handle with kid gloves
Handle with kid gloves
Then you learn the lessons
Taught in school won't be enough
Put on your kid gloves
Put on your kid gloves
Then you learn the lesson
That it's tough to be so cool

A world of indifference
Heads and hearts too full
Careless of the consequence
Of constant push and pull

Anger got bare knuckles
Anger play the fool
Anger wear a crown of thorns
Reverse the golden rule
Then you learn the lesson
That it's tough to be so cool

Handle with kid gloves
Handle with kid gloves
Then you learn the weapons
And the ways of hard knock school
Put on your kid gloves
Put on your kid gloves
Then you learn the lesson
That it's tough to be so cool"

Brad,

I'm not sure if I was just zinged or supported there. I will say this, though, and I think all atheists and theists alike can agree:

There is no better drummer than Neil Peart!

Agreed.

Hi Bennett, I think the song has a little irony similar to your thoughts to RonH since the theme seems to be caught up in the phrases "it's tough to be so cool", and "it's cool to be so tough". It's a quirky way of saying you reap what you sow.

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