New York Times Dicks Around with Circ Stats

The New York Times proclaimed the other day in a Global Update from Uganda:
Male Circumcision May Help Protect Sexual Partners Against Cervical Cancer

My friend Gil Hedley and I are in in complete agreement about not mutilating infant male genitalia, so I sent him the article, and he replied with a particularly (and characteristically) funny rant, which he has given me permission to share…

Me: Hey, Gil.   What do you make of this?
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/health/18global.html?nl=health&emc=healthupdateema4

Gil:  If the NYT were not a pathetic, relentless voicebox for an agenda, they could just as easily have retitled the article “Circumcision Provides Inferior Protection to Cervical Cancer Than Other Methods and May Provide No Protection At All Due to the Impossibility of Isolating Relevant Associated Variables.” 

For fifty years we thought non-eating of bacon afforded protection. Then we realized that it had no effect. Then we thought circumcision was a protective factor, but it turned out that it had nothing to do with it. Now we are pretty sure that frontal lobotomies may provide the best protection against cervical cancer, though another more excellent protection is prophylactic cervical excision. Studies have demonstrated that when the cervix is removed from frontal lobotomy patients, there is a lower incidence of cervical cancer, though we don’t really know as we never followed through to find out, because the suicide rate of such patients did increase by 543%, though this could have been due to the fact the surgeries were performed during channukah, which increased the rate of depression amongst the study group, which statement is based on a significant correlation of Myers-Briggs outcomes and fly-fishing casting skills.

If scientists and reports were forced to take Philosophy 101, they might actually say something sensible!!!

Most people will just read that headline, skip the article, and take it as gospel going forward, the brain dropping the “may” caveat and substituting it with “does”…
How can you not love a guy who’s mind works that way, and who also makes a living artfully disassembling human cadavers?  I’m really looking forward to my next dissection intensive with Gil in May.

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