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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

Fallacy 2

Fallacy 2.

Statistics: Mr Wilson assumes that by mere reference to the official records of asylums data could at once be obtained enabling one "to measure the extent to which over-pressure is hurting the young: people of the community."

This assumption would not be true of any set of asylums in the world, and would not be true of any particular asylum unless it happened that the most minute and exhaustive special research had been carried out in such institution for the specific purpose of throwing light on the influence of school overpressure. Even then the definite conclusions which could be arrived at would be confined mainly to the results of extreme over-pressure leading to insanity during the actual course of study, since the general atmosphere of stress, common more or less to all young people under a faulty education system, might be exercising a baleful influence over the whole of the rising generation, and causing a widespread predisposition to insanity, without our being able to point with certainty to overpressure in-education as the main cause of particular cases of insanity, especially if occurring after school life. If everyone lived in a damp, unventilated coal mine we might expect harmful results, though proof would be lacking until a considerable number of similar people took to dwelling in the open sunlight, and thus afforded a standard for comparison. But we do know positively that the defects of our conditions of educa- page 28 tion actually lower the physique and nervous tone of the rising generation as a whole, and we cannot exclude this as a factor in the causation of any case of insanity arising at school or after-wards.