I don’t have a lot to say about the Family Tebow’s pro-life Super Bowl ad that isn’t said by Will Saletan (of all people!) here. The gist: Pam Tebow was diagnosed with a placental abruption during pregnancy. Doctors recommended abortion because the odds of Pam’s death were pretty high and the odds of stillbirth were even higher. She chose life, her son became an irritatingly pious Heisman winner, and they both made a TV ad. Saletan:
On Sunday, we won’t see all the women who chose life and found death. We’ll just see the Tebows, because they’re alive and happy to talk about it. In the business world, this is known as survivor bias: Failed mutual funds disappear, leaving behind the successful ones, which creates the illusion that mutual funds tend to beat market averages. In the Tebows’ case, the survivor bias is literal. If you’re diagnosed with placental abruption, you have the right to choose life. But don’t be so sure that life is what you’ll get.
Right. Or as Hobbes puts it, in his reply to the Foole’s contention that there is no justice, and if there is it isn’t worth paying attention to:
First, that when a man doth a thing, which notwithstanding any thing that can be foreseen, and reckoned on, tendeth to his own destruction, howsoever some accident which he could not expect, arriving, may turne it to his benefit, yet such events do not make it reasonably or wisely done.
It’s the percentages that matter. (As an aside, I’d find the ad’s line of argument more compelling if it focused on a case of disability that (a) usually led to abortion and (b) allowed the person with the disability to live a meaningful life, whatever that is. The use of a case where there’s serious risk of death makes the argument a lot less convincing.)