Tuesday, November 21, 2006

There's no debate if the other side gives up

Well, no one can say that I am not trying to debate homebirth advocates.

I guess it's not surprising that I did not get very far in my attempt to draw Henci Goer into a debate. It can't be a true debate if one side will debate only if it is sure it can win.

Here's the end of Ms. Goer's most recent post to me:
"... To repeat the close of my first response, "We'll have to agree to disagree." Clearly you are not going to change my mind, and I am not going to change yours. Viewers can read what we both have written here and elsewhere and make up their own minds as to who has the more compelling arguments.."
Here's my response:
I'm sorry that you do not wish to engage in any further discussion. That suggests that you can't refute the arguments that I have made. Reluctance to engage in any debate about the other articles is not surprising, since it would quickly become apparent that most articles in support of homebirth and many articles that attempt to support natural childbirth are profoundly flawed. Indeed, no article to date shows homebirth to be as safe as hospital birth, regardless of what homebirth advocates continue to claim.

Homebirth advocates, in general, scrupulously avoid any debate with medical professionals. Medical professionals cannot be manipulated with faulty statistics, poorly contrived papers, and papers that make claims directly contradicted by their own evidence. Only lay people will fall for those tactics.

People who make scientifically defensible claims about obstetrics would have no hesitation in providing scientific evidence to support those claims, so other professionals can judge the various arguments on their merits. Unwillingness to present claims in a forum of medical and scientific professionals, the only people who can judge the veracity of those claims, indicates a fear of losing the debate.

Visitors to my website are constantly asking for a debate between a professional homebirth advocate and an obstetrician. I'd be happy to participate in such a debate on my website, or a neutral website, but I cannot find any professional homebirth advocates who are willing. Indeed, I cannot find any evidence that any professional homebirth advocate has presented his or her work to a scientific audience and taken questions in response. The unwillingness on the part of homebirth advocates to engage in a true scientific debate, a debate with others who have a command of the literature and a knowledge of statistics, speaks volumes about the quality of the claims; a large proportion of their claims are not defensible.


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