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Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Twisted Twin Tale

Lord David Alton stated last month that a pair of twins separated at birth had met and married. His remarks made international news last week.

"They were never told that they were twins," he said during the Dec. 10 debate on a law covering human fertility and embryology. They had been adopted by separate families and "met later in life and felt an inevitable attraction, and the judge had to deal with the consequences of the marriage that they entered into and all the issues of their separation."

No further details about the couple have emerged, and it is not known when the marriage took place or how long they were together before they discovered the truth. [Link]
Jon Henley is skeptical.
Here's the thing: it all came from a single remark more than a month ago by the vehemently anti-abortion Roman Catholic peer and father of four, Lord Alton, in favour of all children having the right to know the identity of their biological parents.

He had heard about this particular case, he said, from the judge who handled the annulment. Or perhaps (he later admitted) a judge who was "familiar with the case". Britain's top family judge, Sir Mark Potter, has never heard of the story. And, as the excellent Heresy Corner blog notes, the whole thing is statistically improbable, procedurally implausible (for 40 years, adoption practice has been to keep twins together) and based on the equivalent of a friend in the pub saying, "Hey, I heard the most amazing story the other day." [Link]
[Thanks to Nancy for the initial tip!]

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