Yesterday I tested Catholic priest and radio personality John Corapi’s prediction that…
If we do not soon stop the genocide of abortion in the United States, we shall run the course of all those that prove by their actions that they are enemies of God—total collapse, economic, social, and national.
… with reference to actual data on relative social and economic collapse regarding the American states. The patterns in the actual data didn’t match Corapi’s description of “the course of all…”. In response the “Father Corapi rocks” contingent suggested that the reason I didn’t find bedrock confirmation of Corapi’s way of depicting different societies was that a) I cooked the books, and b) I tested variation between states, and really Corapi was talking about differences between countries.
In response to objection a), all I can say is that I’ve directly cited my sources of data, so you can find out for yourself whether I’m lying.
In response to objection b), fine, let’s look cross-nationally. Here’s a BBC map generated from a United Nations report characterizing abortion laws in Europe:
Working from this data, and data from Eurostat, the OECD, the OECD again and the UK home office, I’m happy to stick up some comparisons. As with the interstate comparisons, I’ve picked my variables before looking at the data; if you think I’m lying about that, too, go ahead and pick some variables of your own to see what comes up.
I’ve organized the countries into two groups: the European countries that place some form of ban on abortion (Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Finland, and the UK) and the European countries that allow abortion on demand. Taking the most lenient abortion-banners, Finland and the UK, out of this first group does not substantially change results. You can check out this Excel spreadsheet to see the averages for these two groups yourself, and to see from what nations data is missing for various of the variables (it must be hell to be a demographer on Malta or Cyprus).
Here are the results of my data dredge:
Divorce Rate per 1,000 (2005-2007 as available)
Abortion-banning European countries: 2.01
Abortion-on-demand European countries: 2.28
Homicide Rate per 100,000 (2000/2001 as available)
(note: I do not trust this data because it is relatively old and as the UK home office notes it comes from all sorts of places with different standards of criminality and measurement. I’m just including it to be parallel with yesterday’s post.)
Abortion-banning European countries: 1.68
Abortion-on-demand European countries: 3.02
National Income Per Capita, 2005/2006 (as available, in US $)
Abortion-banning European countries: $27,261
Abortion-on-demand European countries: $30,919
Unemployment Rate (% of civilian labor force)
Abortion-banning European countries: 7.9
Abortion-on-demand European countries: 7.2
In three of the four indicators, I don’t see such a huge difference between the two types of countries, of the sort where you could say, “Wow! These societies are in social or economic collapse and those ones aren’t!” They’re small differences — and two out of those three small differences are in the opposite direction from what Father Corapi contends. In the two indicators of economic collapse, if there is any difference it’s that countries banning abortion are a bit closer to economic collapse than countries.
One indicator of social collapse — the homicide rate per 100,000 — does show a pretty big difference, and in the direction John Corapi predicts. Countries banning abortion have nearly half the homicide rate of countries of countries allowing them on demand. As I noted above, these are the statistics in which I have the least confidence for consistency in collection… but let’s not quibble. Let’s give Father Corapi this one.
So is a religious prediction of “the course of all those that prove by their actions that they are enemies of God — total collapse, economic, social, and national” a prediction that’s on target when it scores one out of four? Does that indicate you should be listening to other empirical claims he makes about the way the world works? Or is some criterion other than his empirical accuracy paramount to you?