Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lydia McGrew, Protestant, does Catholic radio

I hope I've got this right. Lydia McGrew will be on Ave Maria radio today at 4 p.m. to take apart the oft-repeated media claim that 98% of Catholic women use birth control. This devastating statistic is naturally thought to showcase the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church in resisting the tyranny of Obama's contraceptive mandate. Even without doing research, I can say with confidence that that statistic is a lie (aside from being irrelevant to the principle at stake). But Lydia has actually crunched some numbers gotten from the purveyors of those statistics, and is ready to make the case that Guttmacher and all its lackeys can find no safety in numbers. You can listen to her here.

It all got started when she put up this post at W4, which then got picked up by Twitter, and once that happens you could end up with Pope Benedict as a follower.


Lydia McGrew said...

Thanks, Bill! Here is the audio archive:


It's the first segment of the first hour.

It was short but I think sweet. I think it went well. He followed it with some quotations from my post.

My guess is that Guttmacher i going to retrench and do a do-over, data-mining more stuff from the NSFG and massaging it until they get the number they want. You'll have noticed that the left always gets as many do-overs as it wants, and the right keeps having to answer them. If in the end they gerrymander

I've been thinking about how I can get hold of the NSFG raw data for myself, but haven't had luck with that yet.

Lydia McGrew said...

Sorry, didn't finish a sentence. If in the end they gerrymander *something* that has the number 98%, we'll all be expected to repent in dust and ashes for having questioned the original claim.

William Luse said...

I don't care how they come up with 98%. It's a lie.

I was at work all day and haven't heard the program yet, but will today.

William Luse said...

You were also linked at Ricochet: http://ricochet.com/main-feed/Lies-Damned-Lies-and-98-of-Catholic-Women

It seems to have gotten around.

Lydia McGrew said...

Yes, it really has. Kind of funny. And the other side is giving all manner of responses. On the thread at W4 I have a liberal semi-troll insisting that Figure 3 in the Guttmacher document is relevant, it is it is it is. Meanwhile Politifact is sending e-mails to a Catholic blogger, which he has forwarded to me, saying that Figure 3 isn't what this is all about _at all_, that this is based on "other data" (somewhere). Rachel Jones, the author of the Guttmacher document, could only manage to snark about not including 89-year-old women in response to the Washington Post blog. Evidently she didn't want to take the time to think about the statistical issues, though she may get around to doing so eventually.

I guess this is a sign there isn't really a conspiracy. :-) They can't get their story together.

Lydia McGrew said...

The administration has blinked on the statistic. Took down the link to the page that used it. That's in my latest post at W4.

Lydia McGrew said...

Guttmacher has decided to double down and die on the hill of what non-virginal Catholic women between the ages of 15-44 have ever done, even once, in their whole lives. See my latest post at W4.

I don't even think they've substantiated the claim that 98% of them "have ever" used non-NFP birth control.

Essentially, they've just _repeated_ that claim without further support. (Accompanied with the slightly surprising claim that 100% [!] of evangelical Protestant non-virgins have ever used non-NFP contraception.)

William Luse said...

I listened to the program and you done good, as always. I even admired Kresta for keeping up with you, because statistical analysis requires a certain talent for concentration I usually lack. But even I was able to follow.

I notice that the Guttmacher study includes only the years 2006-2008. So it amounts to a historical snapshot even if assumed to be accurate. Believe it or not, there are actually a fair number (not a majority by a long shot) of Catholic women (and some Protestants, I hear) who actually believe that contraceptive use is wrong. Some have never used it at all. Others used it for a time and then came to believe it was wrong. I have known such women. Does the Guttmacher study take these women into account? Because their statistics reduce those women to near invisibility. Or are they only interested in the rather negligible fact that a woman made recourse to contraceptives at least once in her life, even if she no longer uses them or outright repudiates such use?

Lydia McGrew said...

"Does the Guttmacher study take these women into account? Because their statistics reduce those women to near invisibility. Or are they only interested in the rather negligible fact that a woman made recourse to contraceptives at least once in her life, even if she no longer uses them or outright repudiates such use?"

Guttmacher data-mined the NSFG statistics on "ever use" and is trying to make that significant in itself, yes. That could easily include women who outright repudiate such use or did so only once in their lives. The NSFG examined both ever-use and current use. For the ever-use statistic, they expressly told the respondents that it could be only once in their lives.

So it's a totally irrelevant statistic.

The sample was very large, hence there is some reason to think of it as representative. If the data mining has been done without error, then _allegedly_ the number 2% represents self-identified Catholic women (who might be merely nominal) who never used anything but NFP. I'm thinking the number may be somewhat higher and that Guttmacher may have made an error in treating a number that included NFP-only users as if it excluded them, but they may also not have made that error. It's impossible to tell without access to further data, and their new chart is so hasty and so much just a reassertion of their original claim about ever-use that it's impossible to tell from it if they made that mistake.

In any event, the big headline should be the ludicrousness of such a statistic as a measure of probable later behavior.

William Luse said...

I see that some ideologues of the impervious-to-reason sort have been commenting at W4.