Angry Doctor

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sick, sick people 15

Dr Chin's latest letter brings a few letters in response today, two of which made angry doc smile.

Ms Tamsyn thinks Dr Chin "needs to quote his sources".

Ms Li obliges us by telling us that the figures Dr Chin used were "from the book by Alan P. Bell et al, Homosexuality: A Study Of Diversity Among Men & Women (1978)", and that "[o]ther studies on the number of partners of gays have contradicted the figures". She urges that "readers who write to the ST Forum be more careful with regard to their selection of studies to back up their arguments".

Well, the studies Ms Li quoted don't actually 'contradict' the figures, but they just happen to have found lower percentages of homosexual men with more than 500 partners than the first one. Still, 500 partners sound like a lot to angry doc, homosexual or heterosexual.

Nevertheless, angry doc finds it encouraging that Ms Tamsyn asked for the source of Dr Chin's data, and that Ms Li actully took it upon herself to find the source of Dr Chin's data, and also other similar studies.

Everything you read in the media (old and new, and that includes this blog) is there because somebody wants to influence the way you think and act. We need to recognise that statistics have to be interpreted in their context, and that evidence vary in quality.

Added: There is actually an interesting story behind Ms Li's letter, recounted in this post from Yawning Bread.

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  • Hi,

    I agree that my figures don't show that gays are not promiscuous. But my intention in checking the figures and writing the letter was to expose a selective use of statistics by the good Dr. When I read Chin's figures, I strongly suspected that they were cherry-picked and possibly not reliable. It would be pointless for me to merely cherry-pick other studies that produced smaller figures for lifetime partners --- instead, I wanted to explain why Chin's figures were unreliable in themselves . It is not just that there exist other studies that contradict Chin's figures, but that Chin's figures in particular have never been reproduced or even approximated (whereas, you may have noticed that the other studies I cited actually found broadly similar percentages). Sadly, the ST did not let me do this.

    By Blogger Bihui, At August 11, 2007 9:18 pm  

  • Bihui,

    Thanks for dropping by.

    Thank you also for taking the effort to look up the studies and writing to ST, and for sharing your experience with the ST Forum on YB - I can't imagine why they would make it a policy to not include references on the printed Forum.

    As for the figures, I think it's fair to say that it will be a stretch to use studies from the US or UK to try to extrapolate to the local population, but it would have been fairer to cite a range from various studies like you did than to cherry-pick.

    I hope to read more from you in the future.

    By Blogger angry doc, At August 11, 2007 9:45 pm  

  • Just a thought .. are gay men promiscuous because they are GAY, or because they are MEN?

    And another thought ... is Dr Chin against the gay lifestyle because it is gay or because it is high-risk? What if there's a gay man who wants a STABLE, MONOGAMOUS, COMMITTED and LOW-RISK gay lifestyle with his gay partner ... will Dr Chin support our monogamous gay man?

    And a final thought ... what is so bad about being promiscuous? Isn't it true that the more promiscuous male is also reproductively more successful than the oh so coy and not promiscuous male?

    from the thoughts of a straight woman ... :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At August 13, 2007 7:51 pm  

  • From: Kwok Heng Soo
    Subject: 'Gay teacher's outing not appropriate' (ST Forum, 22 Sep 2007)
    Date: 24 September 2007 12:10:06 AM

    Dear Editor,

    I refer to Ms Patricia Maria De Souza's 'Gay teacher's outing not appropriate' (ST Forum, 22 Sep 2007).

    If as per my original sentiments, I need not nor want to respond.

    But having just learnt of great mime artist, Marcel Marceau's passing--one who so, no doubt, would have had intimate access to the darkness of the human condition--I feel more so that I ought.

    Thusly, do I say:

    To a people who have an unexamined preoccupation with the 'natural'; to a people--likewise in ironic extremity--who have an unreflective preoccupation with technology, please do vote to spare me the most comic misfortune of being, Singaporean--that is, the veritable irony of one born, on National Day.

    After all, it's not as if it was some Christian who drafted the strategic direction of Neue Singapore.

    Best Regards,
    Soo Kwok Heng

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 23, 2007 11:01 pm  

  • No doubt, the writer is completely right.
    this site | 1 | this site

    By Anonymous Hubert, At October 18, 2012 8:19 pm  

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