Southern Religion

False correlation

It means very little that U.S. states whose residents have more conservative religious beliefs on average tend to have higher rates of teenagers giving birth. And being noised about by various news services did not alter the study’s meaning.

Researcher Joseph Strayhorn’s speculation “that religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging the use of contraception among their teenagers than they are in discouraging sexual intercourse itself” was a logical fallacy.

Specifically, the assumption that correlation between religiosity and teen birth rate implies that one was caused by the other is a cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

The researchers demonstrated in the article published in the peer-reviewed journal Reproductive Health that the the correlation is predictive. But the cause or causes of the teen birth rates in each state remains undiscovered.


September 17, 2009 - Posted by | Health, Religion

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