Thursday, September 21, 2006

Fights Cancer and Arthritis and Whitens Your Teeth

Okay, maybe not the last one.

I'm a science nerd, I admit it. Still, things like this are cool. I'd like to come up with something like this someday.

We'll see if I don't get sidetracked working in some lab on some non-descript project.


steve the troll said...

If the purpose of science is to understand our world, how much responsibility does science have towards improving it? I think this would be an interesting post.

For example, advances in reproductive control in humans (read: birth control) have significantly improved the quality of life for millions of people who have unwanted pregnancies and cannot afford to raise a child. This also improves the quality of your life, Hal, because contraception has led to a dramatic decrease in crime nationwide over the last 30 or so years.

I think it would be an interesting post, because in my opinion, a scientist should not be anti-choice, but I'm also not necessarily saying a scientist should be pro-choice, either. I really don't know. That's why we should have some rapport in this here cubicle.

Hal said...

contraception has led to a dramatic decrease in crime nationwide over the last 30 or so years

1. Source?
2. Correlation and causation. Help me find that link.

I'm somewhat familiar with the argument, but it's been a while since I dived into that can o' worms.

steve the troll said...

1. Source: Steven Leavitt, University of Chicago (Freakonomics)

2. I should rephrase: crime began dropping dramatically about ~20 years after Roe v. Wade (about the time statistically low-income, under-educated, would-be criminals were legally aborted). Leavitt suggests that the dramatic drop in crime under Giuliani's watch in NYC had nothing to do with the fact that there were more cops on the street, because the exact same drop in crime was found nationwide where no changes were made.

Hal said...

I suppose you could make the argument further. As I understand it, ~75% of black pregnancies end in abortion, and seeing as how black males already make commit a disproportionate share of crime, I can see how the argument can be made.

Still, that argues a cultural problem that abortion doesn't readily solve.

meera said...

um, do you have a source for that 75% statistic?

Hal said...


I can't back up that specific number. A few years ago, I surfed through the census data and statistics I could find and came up with the 75% number by finding the number of abortions for black women with the number of black births.

I can no longer find those specific statistics.

Still, the CDC reports that 50.3% of black pregnancies end in abortion (source). While this is not the number I calculated, it's still dreadfully high, high enough to make my point that there is a cultural problem at work in the black community.

Hal said...

An addendum: That 50.3% is for 2000. In 2002, the CDC reports 49.5%. The number seems to hover around 50%, it seems.


steve the troll said...

Still, that argues a cultural problem that abortion doesn't readily solve.

I think it begins to solve the cultural problem. If people have fewer children, and therefore are not extended beyond their means, they can be better parents and thus improve the culture.

PS Your blog is no longer feeding my RSS reader... do you know why?