There’s science, bad science and then there’s the gays and drugs story
THE Daily Mail tells us that the gays are taking more drugs than the rest of us:
Gay people are seven times more likely to take illegal drugs than the general population, a new study conducted over two years has found. And one in five show signs of dependency on drugs or alcohol. The report, conducted by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) and the University of Central Lancashire, sampled more than 4,000 people over two years.
Cue mass hysteria about how we’ll all be raped in our beds as The Gayers destroy house prices.
Now, we could be sensible and serious about this. There’s certainly a subculture within the homosexual part of the population that has a higher use of poppers, amyl nitrite, than we’d expect to find in the general population. We’d also rather expect to find a lower use of the same drug by lesbians than in the general population. For the clear and obvious reason that the drug has different effects upon men and women.
But fortunately we don’t have to worry about all of that. For the survey itself is absolute nonsense. It’s not even bad science. It’s a self-selecting sample. Those who go to the internet site can fill it out. And that’s it really. No attempt is made to make this a random sampling, a representative sampling even, of the population under discussion. Even if we assume that no one’s ever filled it out just to play with peoples’ minds it’s still, by definition, only those gays who are concerned enough about drugsn’booze to fill out a 15 minute survey that has been sampled.
This is like sampling those attending an STD clinic for the prevalence of the clap in the general population, or AA meetings to count the percentage of alcoholics.
Now it is true that some people have been stupid enough to do surveys on this basis. The UN for one: they calculated the AIDS rate for sub Saharan Africa by looking at pregnant women. Hunh? You’re going to look at the prevalence of a sexually transmitted disease among the only group in the population that you absolutely know have had unprotected sex?
But we really shouldn’t be so stupid. This survey is valueless.