Thursday, June 01, 2017

When The Facts Don't Fit the Frame, Toss the Facts?

Americans often state, as fact, that female "emancipation" is necessary for fertility to decline. 

This is a classic case of embracing a frame while ignoring facts.

In fact, the United States has one of the highest Total Fertility Rates in the world, while "macho" countries in Latin America, as well as countries like Iran, have a much lower TFR.

In 1970, for example, Iran had a TFR of 6.44, while today the TFR of that nation is 1.7, well below the replacement rate of 2.1.

Iran's current TFR is considerably higher than the United States rate of 1.87, which is higher than than of Brazil and about the same as Colombia.

Saudi Arabia, perhaps the most misogynistic country in the world, has  a TFR of just 2.1

Catholic countries have some of the lowest TFRs in the world. Italy's TFR is just 1.39 and Spain's is just 1.27.

Many Asian countries also have very low TFR's: South Korea's TFR is just 1.20, China's is 1.56, and Japan's is 1.42.  Singapore's TFR is estimated to be an amazing 0.82!

India, one of the first major countries to elect a female head of states in 1966 has a TFR of 2.43, while Liberia, which has been headed by democratically elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf since 2006, has a TFR of 4.72.

Meanwhile, the "emancipated" United States has yet to elect a female head of state.

The point here is a simple one:  If the facts don't fit the frame, then the frame needs some re-examination.  

Clearly, reducing fertility is not as simple as "female emancipation" or "contraceptive availability" or "breaking the stranglehold of patriarchal religion".  Those things may be good and helpful unto themselves, but they are not fully explanatory.

In the world of dogs, we find a similar pattern:  facts are routinely thrown out in order to embrace warped, cracked, and shattered frames about breed purity, food- and toy-based dog training, and fanciful notions about canine nutrition and doggy origins.

When the facts are shown to not fit the frame, what happens?  Too often the facts are thrown out! And why?  Simple:  Because it's easier to find new facts (or throw clouds of dirt and dust in the air) than it is to develop a new frame and shape a new cosmology that might not be quite as simple, ego-satisfying, or lucrative.

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