Follow Up on RU-486

This post over at Jivin Jehosophat points to the number of women who have been injured, 600 women so far. Now, this is relevant to the issue of safety, but there is the possibility of post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this) type reasoning. Basically post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning works as follows: The rooster crowed, and then the sun rose; therefore the rooster caused the sun to rise. These might very well be legitimate complaints or they might not. The fact that there are incident reports for suspected adverse reactions is so that the FDA and researchers can try to determine if the drug is indeed the cause of these problems. However, I still urge restraint at this point, after all a quick web search for aspartame will lead you to some really whacked out views on what aspartame can cause (basically everything from acne to Waardenburg’s syndrome type 1–well okay not really on that last one, but the list of things that aspartame are supposed to cause is very long).

FILED UNDER: Health, Science & Technology
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. bryan says:


    I’m basically in agreement with you re: Malkin’s blatant emotionalism in her original post, and the statistical cherry-picking (logical fallacy: hasty generalization) that she engaged in.

    But at this point, I think you’re starting to sound like someone who’s going too far to defend something that’s under scrutiny. post hoc ergo propter hoc? C’mon, man. Even if you have the 700 women who have been allegedly injured from the drugs, that’s still a relatively low number. No need to go throwing out the logical fallacy card on this point.

    (and I should mention that I say this as someone who holds anti-abortion views)

  2. Bithead says:

    I’m disapointed, but not suprised at this reaction, Steve. Momentum, rather than actual thinking.