A reader writes in:
I don’t know if you have seen this article in Newshub here, but it got my BS detector tingling when I read it. It’s around Maori suicide rates and the use of maramataka. It’s written in a pseudo-scientific manner, but it seems to be completely oblivious to what it is actually stating. Of note, this is a Public Interest Fund article, so probably why it has swallowed down with limited editorial input…
Lines like “In 2018, Solomon and Makiha correlated a decade of coronial suicide data with a Māori lunar calendar and found that many suicides occurred on the new moon and the full moon – 35 percent on the new moon and 16 percent on the full moon” The new moon and full moon are a week, In this two week period, per month, 51% of the suicides occured. Which hardly speaks to it being a special time of the month for suicides and is, I suspect, well within the bounds of probability that 51% of suicides happen in 2 weeks in every 4. Without further analysis, I suspect that even the 35% in one period is also not statistically significant.
But what the article is saying is that this pseudo-science woo is going to get government funding.
What is particularly annoying is that the author of this work (I hesitate to use the word journalist as that implies some degree of critical thinking) has pushed all this out as being a good thing.
I’m not trying to belittle the impact of suicide on any group, as an ex-police officer in the UK, I attended more than I would ever want to and seen the impact on families and friends, but I also don’t believe that pouring money into pseudo-scientific treatments is the way to go, especially when you consider the NZ Govt’s woefully inadequate funding of mental health services across the board.