Bad Chart Thursday: Abortions and House Fires
Hey, did you know that the leading cause of DEATH in the United States is not heart disease? It’s true. I saw it on Facebook, thanks to a tip from Deek over at Grounded Parents.
According to this chart from the National Pro-Life Alliance, the leading cause of death is abortions.
They aren’t talking about the death of women having abortions because the number is too high for that. They are talking about the death of potential people, the aborted embryos and fetuses. Oddly, they don’t include deaths from miscarriage, a number that would be much higher.
Now, before you start rolling your eyes at how nonsensical this is, keep in mind the opportunity this kind of logic presents. Consider the example of house fires. According to FEMA, there were 364,500 house fires in the United States in 2011. But what FEMA doesn’t realize is that the number is much, much higher when we take into account fires that burned down potential houses.
Consider wildfires, for example, which burned down 8.7 million acres in 2011. If an average house uses 30,000 square feet of lumber, or .69 acres of lumber, then we lose 12.8 billion potential houses in wildfires each year.*
Or how about the wood used in fireplaces and wood stoves? People actually burn potential houses within houses, which is really kind of sick when you think about it. According to the US Forest Service, we used 7.8 billion cubic feet of wood in 2011 for this purpose. That’s 179,063 acre-feet. Unfortunately, converting that to houses is more difficult because we’re talking volume vs. area measurements, but for our purposes, let’s just say we know that it’s at least 263,000 potential houses. That we deliberately burn within our own homes.
Add campfires and bonfires to the mix, and we have an epidemic of houses burning down in this country.
To chart this with wildfires included is ridiculous:
Without wildfires, though, we can see the significant chunk of houses lost in fireplaces and woodstoves alone:
In fact, how do we know that a particular person isn’t burning down our own potential house when they throw those logs on the fire? I smell lawsuits, or at the very least, criminal charges for arson. It’s no more ridiculous than criminalizing abortion. It’s no less ridiculous either.
*These are all rough calculations. Not all of that acreage is wood, of course, but this also doesn’t take into account tree height lost.
The idea for this post was inspired by neuroscientist Michael S. Gazzaniga’s discussion in The Ethical Brain.