It appears to be abortion week at GetReligion, so I don’t feel too bad about this shameless plug. Several weeks back, an editor from Beliefnet (host of Blog Heaven) approached me about a project that her website had in mind. There was this new book called Freakonomics, maybe I’d heard of it . . .
Beliefnet had permission to run an excerpt, and the site wanted a pro-lifer to subject Levitt and company to some scrutiny. I was asked to criticize the book’s abortion arguments on ethical grounds. Here’s the setup in the piece:
[S]uppose that economists and social scientists from other disciplines subject Levitt’s conclusions to a battery of tests and find he has proved not only loose correlation but ironclad causation. In other words, suppose that more abortions do translate into lower incidence of crime, and go from there. Should that affect how we think about abortion?
Short answer: no.
My only problem with this proposal was that I didn’t want to leave readers with the impression that Levitt’s findings on abortion are unassailable, so I offered to do a piece arguing against both the economics and the ethics of the abortion arguments in Freakonomics. The website turned this offer down, but promised to link prominently to Steve Sailer’s criticism of the book, and has done so.
Fun moment along the way: I was riding the Metro from D.C. to my home in Virginia. I took my seat along with a young woman who I’d never met.
“Well that’s weird,” I said, when I glanced over at her.
She agreed, and we traded stupid smiles.
We were both reading Freakonomics. Even more eerie: We were both on the same page in the middle of the book. Any other book and I would have started a conversation, but I didn’t want to accidentally start an argument about abortion on the Metro, so we’ll just have to add her to the long list of ones that got away.