Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Defining Slut: Erratum

I wish to thank commentator R. Stanton Scott for pointing out an error of fact which I had made in the post, Defining Slut.

In that post I stated:
Slut, of course, is the term applied to a promiscuous women and debates rage as to what number of partners earns the title. I think this is the wrong way of looking at the problem. The real danger of a promiscuous woman is that she will be unfaithful, so the definition should be really centered around that concept. i.e How many sexual partners does a woman need to have before she becomes high risk marriage material? The study quoted above asked the question.
The study, Harmful Effects of Early Sexual Activity and Multiple Sexual Partners Among Women, by the Heritage Foundation did nothing of the sort. The study did not look at how many partners a woman needed to have before she became unfaithful, rather the study looked at the number of partners a woman had and her risk of divorce, an important distinction.

The error of fact was unintentional and once again I thank Mr Scott for pointing it out.


17 comments:

R. Stanton Scott said...

While I appreciate the mea culpa, I respectfully ask that you address two other critiques of the series of posts you wrote defining "sluts" using the Heritage Foundation report and the CDC study on cohabitation.

First, I wonder if you would comment on your characterization of the Heritage Foundation report as "based on CDC data" and therefore objective. You may have mislead your readers into thinking that Heritage and CDC worked together on their report, but they did not. Heritage massaged CDC data to reach its preferred conclusion--which is why peer review is important.

It is important to understand that this report by Heritage is very bad social science and does not in any way support the conclusion Heritage and you reach using the CDC data. The definitions of "stable marriage" and "extramarital sex partner" used here, for example, means that this study says little to nothing about the relationship between female promiscuity and the fitness of promiscuous women as mates.

You also make a crucial error when you attempt to tease out the effects of socioeconomic class and education on the research question. Since the definitions of "stable marriage" used in the Heritage report and CDC's Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the United States differ, using statistics from the two to calculate the effects of class and education on the relationship between promiscuity and marital fitness makes no statistical sense.

One more thing about peer review: I note in one of your comments that you criticize people who look upon studies like this skeptically when they have not been reviewed. There are good reasons for this, among them a desire to keep think tanks like Heritage from publishing bogus social science like this so that people like Susan Walsh can support an agenda based on propaganda and bad data. Given that you have a medical background, I wonder if you would feel the same way if I cited bogus medical research in support of treatment methods which will only hurt patients, but supports a social or political agenda I consider important.

R. Stanton Scott said...

And...the Heritage Foundation report did not look at "the number of partners a woman had and her risk of divorce." Heritage made no attempt in this paper to relate the number of female sex partners a woman has had with her probability of divorce. Instead, it looked at the number of female sex partners a woman has had and her probability of being in a marriage that has lasted longer than five years.

This is a critical distinction which matters when evaluating and arriving at conclusions based on this report, since this definition of "stable marriage" makes sense only if you want to make sure the data say what you want it to say.

The Social Pathologist said...

First, I wonder if you would comment on your characterization of the Heritage Foundation report as "based on CDC data" and therefore objective

In what way is the Heritage report non-objective? Does the mere fact that it is a right wing orginisation make it unobjective?

The fact that it used CDC data in no way gives the CDC's blessing to the Heritage Foundations report. Most intelligent people will recongnise that they are two seperate orginisations.

The question is, did the heritage foundation manipulate the data to produce the desired result? And it would appear to me not.

The unadulterated CDC data is there and anyone with a calculator can come to the same conclusions as the Heritage foundation. The one thing that is obviously clear is that women with higher partner counts are more likely to be divorced than women with lower counts. This to any sane person would imply a reasonable correlation.

Secondly, the CDC-and not the Heritage foundation--gives a socioeconomic and educational breakdown of the each of the partner cohorts, and they're all roughly the same. There is not an over representation of one group over the other to skew the effect, so sorry, that doesn't explain the affect.

it looked at the number of female sex partners a woman has had and her probability of being in a marriage that has lasted longer than five years.

That's because the Heritage foundation allowed remarriages to count as stable marriages. The Heritage report was biased towards the promiscuous. (see previous thread comments)

I've got no problem with people looking at the study skeptically, but I've got a problem with people with an agenda, which you appear to have.

Now, show me whats wrong with the data and how the heritage foundation massaged it.

All I've got so far is:

a) The report is biased because the Heritage foundation did it.

b) The data is irrelevant, which is stretching your credibility since the CDC data--don't even bother about the Heritage study--shows a clear link between the number of partners and the probability of divorce. Neither the CDC, nor I, propose a mechanism for the effect.

c)Their definition of stable marriage somehow rigs it in favour of the virgins. Sorry, but the Heritage study is flawed in that it was heavily biased towards the promiscuous. A woman could of screwed around throughout her entire teens, married at 30, and been 35 years old at the time of the study and counted as a stable marriage, whilst a woman with one partner in her twenties, who divorced before thirty, would of been classed as a failed marriage.

When smoking was correlated with lung cancer in the 50's, the tobacco companies did everything in their power to explain away the affect. It was only in 1996 that a direct link was established. Sorry, but you sound like a tobacco company executive.

R. Stanton Scott said...

"The one thing that is obviously clear is that women with higher partner counts are more likely to be divorced than women with lower counts."

No. The one thing that is obviously clear is that women with higher partner counts are less likely to be in a marriage that has lasted at least five years. The Heritage report says nothing at all about whether the women not currently in such a marriage are single because of divorce, or even whether they have ever been married in the first place.

I would want a closer look at the crosstabs before claiming that Heritage manipulated the data itself. But they certainly massaged it by choosing a flawed definition of "stable marriage." This definition, for example, means that some cohort of women in the study, the 15-20 year olds, are highly unlikely to be in a "stable marriage," and yet they are included in the percentage of women who have high partner counts.

I don't personally agree with the conclusions you and Heritage arrived at. But my only "agenda" is to push back against people who use bad social science to reach dubious conclusions.

And yes, I think the Heritage Foundation is biased and less than objective. It exists to publish "research" that pushes a social and political agenda. To real social scientists, this is not a controversial statement.

The Social Pathologist said...

Nope, wrong again.

Read the appendix in the Book of Charts.

The figures only apply to women over 30 who have been in a marriage for over 5 years. Any woman who was less than 30 was censored out. The less than 30 year olds did not affect the results at all.

R. Stanton Scott said...

And now it's my turn for a mea culpa.

But doesn't excluding women who married at 18 and are still married at 25--women who will be more likely to have fewer partners--skew the results?

And this does not change the central point: that the Heritage study says nothing at all about a relationship between promiscuity and divorce or fitness as a mate--only that women over 30 who have more sexual history are less likely to be in a 5+ year marriage at the time the survey was taken.

BASTA! said...

> Heritage study says nothing at all about
> a relationship between promiscuity and divorce
> or fitness as a mate--only that women over 30 who
> have more sexual history are less likely to
> be in a 5+ year marriage at the time the survey
> was taken.

The lone fact that women over 30 who have more sexual history are less likely to be in a 5+ year marriage says more than nothing about relationship between promiscuity and fitness as a mate.

Anonymous said...

So, as I read here, you two gentlemen, um tongue in cheek as to one of you, have completely denied and left out a larger sector of the slut component and population. The male sluts out here in the world are plentiful and abound. Many of them currenly involved in what might be viewed as loosely wed locked. Their women, mostly involved in career and family, have perhaps forgotten their partner and are out in the world finding themselves. The problem here is that they have either agreed to an open marriage where each spouse can go about and play at will. Or there are those with less esteem as their male counterparts seek younger, more attractive women for playmates, thus my term as to their becoming male sluts. Can a male slut have too many casual partners these days? Perhaps not. Thereby making them into bigger, better and more qualified male sluts. Mmy choice at the moment is to stay with the married male slut. If I were to write of the single male slut, I might be here for an eternity. More later. My married male slut boyfriend is calling and I must attend to his neediness. :)

Anonymous said...

Great агticle! This is thе type of info that should be shared around the net.
Shame on Gοogle for nοw not positioning this ѕubmіt
hіgher! Come оn over and consult with my
web sіte . Thanks =)

Fееl free tо ѵisit my wеb-site :: loans for bad credit
My web site loans for bad credit

Anonymous said...

Hi there, Үou hаve done аn incredible jοb.
I'll certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this website.

My web blog ... one month loan
Feel free to surf my website ; one month loan

Anonymous said...

Hi thеге, Yοu have done an incredіblе
job. I'll certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this website.

My homepage - one month loan
Also see my website > one month loan

Anonymous said...

Please let me know if yоu're looking for a author for your blog. You have some really great articles and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I'd rеаlly like to wгite somе artіcles for your blog in exchаnge for а link bаck to
mine. Pleasе blast me аn e-mail if interestеd.
Cheers!

Сheck out my blog рoѕt - keyword

Anonymous said...

If some one nеeds eхpеrt νieω concегning blοggіng
then і аԁvisе him/her to go to
see this web sitе, Keep up the fastidious jοb.


my ωebpаge; short term loan

Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog! Do уou have any suggestiοns for aspiгing writers?

I'm planning to start my own site soon but I'm a lіttlе
lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free plаtform like Wordpress or go for
a paid optіon? Theгe are sо mаny optiοns out there that I'm completely confused .. Any tips? Bless you!

Feel free to visit my web site; New Bingo Sites
Also see my page > New Bingo Sites

Anonymous said...

Νo matteг if somе one seaгсhеѕ fοr his requіrеd thing, so hе/she ԁeѕіrеs to be avаilable that іn detail, theгefore that thing is mаintаined over heгe.



Hеre іs mу web-sitе; losing weight

Anonymous said...

I аm ехtгemеly іmpгessеd with your writing sκіllѕ aѕ well as with the lауοut on yоur ωeblog.
Ӏs thіs а paid themе or did you
modifу іt yourself? Eitheг ωay keep uρ the
excellent quality wгiting, it іs rarе to
see a nісe blog like this one thеѕe
ԁаyѕ.

Fеel fгee tο ѕurf to my ѕite; payday loans for bad credit

Anonymous said...

I was rесommеnded this website by my cоusin.
I'm not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble. You are wonderful! Thanks!

Feel free to surf to my website ... personal loans