|THE STUDY OF SOCIOLOGY.|
V. Objective Difficulties (continued).
ANOTHER common cause of very serious perversion of evidence is the unconscious confounding of observation with inference. Everywhere, a fertile source of error is the putting down as something perceived what is really a conclusion drawn from something perceived; and this is a more than usually fertile source of error in Sociology. Here is an instance:
A few years ago Dr. Stark published the results of comparisons he had made between the rates of mortality among the married and among the celibate; showing, as it seemed, the greater healthfulness of married life. Some criticisms made upon his argument did not seriously shake it; and he has been since referred to as having conclusively proved the alleged relation. More recently I have seen quoted from the Medical Press and Circular the following summary of results supposed to tell the same tale: