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Saturday, June 04, 2005

More unfounded propaganda

When political correctness and radical feminism take over at an international human rights organization, it's not a pretty sight.

Or so Carey Roberts of Redstate.org would have you believe. That's right! Redstate has uncovered Amnesty International's true agenda: to promote feminist ideas and downplay the rights of men.

"So despite the fact that women are equally likely as men to commit domestic violence and even though men are twice as likely to die from violence-related causes [www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/en/, Amnesty International has opted to mortgage the credibility of its organization with the misleading message that women are more susceptible to violence."

Go ahead, try the link for yourself. It wouldn't work for me. You'd think if someone has the balls to make such a claim, they'd want readers to confirm the facts for themselves...no, wait...I forgot that this is Redstate.org. I think the page the are referencing is here, and it says exactly the opposite of Roberts' claim: "...the overwhelming health burden of partner violence is borne by women at the hands of men." Back to the redstate article:

"Here's an eye-witness story from its 1995 report, Women in Afghanistan: A Human Rights Catastrophe: "Fierce fighting broke out and we were all running away in the streets of Kabul...Suddenly, I noticed that my husband was not with us. I was crying hard calling out his name. A guard from one of the checkpoints came to me and told me to keep quiet. I told him that I had lost my husband."

The full account leaves the reader with the impression that the woman's grief deserves more sympathy than her husband's death. That's an abuse of the traditional notion that the taking of life is the greatest human rights violation of all."

I'm glad Roberts gave a reference for the story so that we can read the whole thing for ourselves...oh, no wait...there is no reference. But Roberts is so trustworthy--don't question authority. Here is where you can find the whole account, folks. Roberts completely misrepresents the story and ends the passage right before the climax:

"Then he looked at his commander who was standing in the nearby house behind a window. I heard the commander ordering the guard to kill us."

That's how republicans are-- always undermining our climaxes. I think this part of the account certainly puts it in a particular light that I like to call sympathetic. The whole thesis of the article is ridiculous. Doesn't the call to end torture in Guantánamo Bay qualify as pro-men? But then again, we're dealing with someone who writes:

"But one day someone noticed that women were "underrepresented" in the body counts. That's not good for feminist theory, which holds that women are always the victim in patriarchal societies."

Roberts, what the fuck would you know about feminist theory?

Update: Reader Monjo has kindly pointed out that this may be the reference Roberts uses to support the idea that women and men are equally violent. To which I have these major criticisms:


1) If this is the pdf that Roberts was linking to, it is even more indicative of the attempt to mislead. The statement that Roberts seems to be referring to, "university studies have also indicated similar rates of physical assault by men and women" is directly followed by except for sexual assault when women are overwhemingly the victims.

2) This study does not include sexual assault in it's definition of violence

3) This study does not differentiate between violence and self defense, it just gives rates of violence against a partner in general.

4)This study only addresses violence in university students which may not be representative of the mass population (considering that many studies cited in this report say there is an extremely high rate of violence among dating university students.)

5) Roberts is clearly trying to link to a World Health Organization article in the original post, yet I cannot find the pdf you suggest anywhere on the WHO site. I'd appreciate it if anyone can provide some insight here.

These are just some of my major criticisms; I have left several more in the comments section.



Friday, June 03, 2005

Why can't feminists just play nice?

We all know that presumptuous little girls taking advantage of our free education are taking away from little boys' opportunities to learn. This is an outrage!! Women shouldn't be allowed to go to school because it is men who build the schools. If you don't help build it, you can't go.

Mike Spaniola (MND):

"Although innovative and honest, the majority of men are nonetheless insulted by a political climate that holds men responsible for inferiorities contrived as impossibly unique to anyone else. Boys in school learn at the expense of the girls, we are told. But it is boys who have worked in the garages of America in their spare time to develop better cars and engines and, most recently, computers and software. How is society served then, when feminist teachers tell boys not to "monopolize" school computers so that girls can sit at the screen and gossip electronically? How will promising "boys of tech" hone developing computer skills? For having been industrious, men are now portrayed as shiftless; for having been innovative, men are shown as domineering; for having been sensitive and honest, men are now manipulated and degraded."

So,...because women were socially and legally prevented from taking part in much of the innovation, they should now be restricted from enjoying the luxuries that resulted from them. Okay, I get it. Women were not allowed to help draft the Constitution, so they are not covered by the laws therein. Men went through all the pain and suffering of building the schools, so only boys should be allowed to attend. I see.

Criticism of men comes easily when viewed by what you want rather than by what you must provide. For example, would women clamor for gold and diamonds if they had to dig and operate mines themselves? If men were to go on strike, infrastructure would suffer within a week, and imagine teen-age girls despairing as malls no longer received shipments of clothing, shoes and baubles. When Madonna sang the virtues of being a Material Girl, she forgot which gender accommodates that lifestyle most.

Oh, Jesus. Does this even deserve commentary?

UPDATE: Some comments that I left in response to this article have apparently hit a hot spot with some fans of the Sexist News Daily. Pretty annoying.

Crucial Update: The change to the new template erased the well over 70 comments for this post. Feel free to repost your own sentiments. Many apologies.


Feminist chides Walmart

Associated Press

"A feminist leader drew rounds of applause from Wal-Mart shareholders Friday as she chided company managers for having only two women on its 14-member board. In the end, Wal-Mart asked shareholders to reject initiatives she backed.

Martha Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, said Wal-Mart should give a breakdown, by race and gender, on how stock options are distributed.

...


At the start of her three-minute address, she told company Chairman Rob Walton that Wal-Mart needed to increase the number of women on its board.

"Two women on the board of Wal-Mart is not enough of 14. We can do better," Burk said, drawing applause."


Birdy-style

I'll jump on the weekly pet showboat and shamelessly exhibit the fauna that hang around my house.


Marty (front): 15 yrs, cinnamon cockatiel, fluffing up for a nap,
Carlo: 2yrs, gray cockatiel, eagerly mimicking his role model.


Carlo revealing his vanity.


Marty trying to build his nest in my silverware drawer.


(D)evolution heard 'round the world

Jason Miller from Left Hook has written an excellent analysis of the Kansas School board non-controversy ("Scopes II").

"Ironically, not one of the "performers" in Kansas’s version of the Cirque Plume holds a PhD in evolutionary biology. Their credentials qualifying them as “experts” qualified to objectively challenge the theory of Evolution are highly questionable."
...
"Intelligent Design is a cleverly packaged form of Creationism which the Religious Right is attempting to sneak into public classrooms through a variety of means, including this farcical "hearing" in Kansas."

Kansas may see a close shave yet. Meanwhile, the non-controversy may be spreading. Today in Science magazine (308.5727.1394), Martin Enserink reports from Amsterdam:

"When science and education minister Maria van der Hoeven recently announced plans to stimulate an academic debate about "intelligent design"--the movement that believes only the existence of a creator can explain the astonishing complexity of the living world--she triggered an uproar not unlike that raging in Kansas."

Although Van der Hoeven defends this as a way to unite multiple religions through their common belief in a creator (yeah, right), the community is responding appropriately with hostile questions like, "Does she want to go back to the Dark Ages?". Agitated by the controversy in Kansas, dutch men and women on both sides of the issue are 'a bit more sensitive' about the roles of religion and the state in education.

Update: Utah state senator Chris Buttars plans to lead his state on the IDiot bandwagon. Maintaining that "Devine Design" is different from Creationism, He thinks the new inclusive school curriculum would not violate current church-state separation laws. It's the same old story- the IDCists think that nature is 'too complex' to be an accident, but this is worth quoting:

"We get different types of dogs and different types of cats, but you have never seen a 'dat,' '' he said.



Thursday, June 02, 2005

Friday good news blogging

In the midst of corporate fraud, political turmoil, and a nonstop barrage of IDiocy and ignorance from the right, it's nice to stop and reflect on something pleasant that makes me proud to be human. (Or maybe I just want to plug something really cool.) Pie fanatics, art connoisseurs, one and all, there is hope. The Pie of the Month Club has opened membership to the general public!!!

What better way to celebrate humanity than with pie and pie-related art, like this great antique-botanical-style illustration of a pecan pie


or this awesome mini pie sculpture?



Got a pie question? Just ask The Pie Expert! Members receive one cool postcard every month, which features a recipe for a pie and cool original artwork by the Pie Expert extraordinaire! Such as:



Okay, I'll stop before this sounds anymore like an infomercial. But be warned, you can't wear the P.O.T.M.C shirts to church functions because they have the word POT on them...yes, seriously.


Speaking of Dinosaurs

Behold my new car emblem:



I'm also a big fan of the Procreation design:



These and more blasphemous decorations brought to you by Ring of Fire.


Jurassic fashion trends

via Pharyngula

"...There was a great flowering of sauropods in the Jurassic, and in addition to the gigantic long-necked forms we see in our movies and gas station signs, there were medium-sized ones, small ones, and ranges of neck lengths, like the short-necked Brachytrachelopan mesai. Some grazed on tall trees, and some browsed on low bushes. And they were all built on the same saurian plan, with tricky little detailed affinities in the structures of their bones, and they all went extinct, and the Designer hasn't bothered to poof any new ones into existence since.

It's almost as if they were all related, with a successful form radiating into many new niches, and once the root stock was extinguished, there was no way new related forms could arise."

Amen.


Pro-women, anti-feminist

How can you support women but oppose the objectives of the feminist movement? Elizabeth Daly favors the equality of the sexes but thinks that:

"The organized, militant feminists fail to respect the biological differences, or to acknowledge the differing biological roles, between men and women, and their goal appears to be to create a new breed of women with the psyche of men."

No one is arguing that men and women are identical. Feminists are not striving to create a hermaphroditic human species. There are biological differences, but those differences do not manifest differences in intellectual capacity.

"Foremost among [feminist] attitudes is disdain for "women's work." "
...
"Certainly women should be free to pursue any career to which their talents and inclinations lead them, but those who opt for hearth and home should not be deemed inferior..."

What feminist movement are you talking about? The feminism that I know and love is about choice--a woman should be able to choose a path for her life without dismay.

The article gets worse than that: Feminism has damaged the very psychological stability of both men and women!!

"It has caused serious psychological disorientation for both sexes, and wrought havoc in relationships between men and women. The traditional roles have been destroyed, and the new roles are found to be unsatisfying for both sexes... Men are not permitted to be manly, and women are not only not permitted to be womanly"

That's a little extreme, isn't it? It is possible to hold feminist values without compromising gender identity. She clearly does not support any of the claims she presents which leads me to believe Ms. Daly has some preconceived notions and likely has no inclination to further educate herself.



Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Virginia educators get it right

The Virginia-Pilot:

What, [Linda H. Anderson] asked her students at Tallwood High, is creationism? Their answers boiled down to the idea that God created the world and all its inhabitants.

Then: “Is there a reason why we don’t teach creationism?” Her answer: “Creationism is a belief, and we don’t go into different people’s beliefs, whereas evolution is based on some science. This is a science class.”

YAY!!! This is exactly the right way to handle it. Evolution is a science and is based on factual observations of natural phenomena. Intelligent Design is a personal belief based on faith and scripture written by men. Let the earth speak for itself and let us listen to what it says rather than blindly accepting what other men only believed to be true.

Anderson, though, couldn’t escape the controversy. It entered in the form of Jeremiah Horton , an outspoken freshman and evolution skeptic.

“Don’t you have to believe in evolution to think it’s true?” he said. “Isn’t it like a religion?” And later: “Why are we teaching it?”

Anderson, unruffled, responded: “Because it’s the scientific method. No one is asking you to believe in it. It’s a theory.” But one, she told the students, based on evidence. “It’s a hypothesis that’s been tested and tested.”

Well, besides the theory part, her response was okay. I would have said something like, "Well, not believing in gravity won't let you fly. Evolution is based on observable phenomena. The facts are still there whether you want to believe them or not." Unfortunately, many educators are avoiding the the topic of evolution for fear of retribution from parents and students:

“If you stay focused on what children need to master the SOLs by the time they graduate, you will avoid a lot of problems,” said Veronica E. Haynes , Norfolk’s senior coordinator of science. “We have to be sensitive to everybody’s beliefs. We don’t want to offend anyone.”

Instead of making all of our children more ignorant, maybe we can implement a policy that only believers in evolution can reap the benefits of those scientific findings (e.g. the flu vaccine). Then through natural selection, only true believers will survive.





'How to best subjugate women'

The Promise Keepers plan to combat allegations of sexist preaching by hosting an event where, for a mere $89, men learn how to become better "servants and leaders to their wives in the way that Jesus was a servant and leader to the church." This event will not pass without protest from the National Organization of Women :

Melanie Dietzel, president of the local and state chapters of NOW in Arkansas, said Tuesday that Promise Keepers' leaders have the right to rally, but that she has the right to protest their teachings, which she called anti-gay and anti-women.

"The Promise Kepers is an organization that is putting a vision and a mission out there to pull men back to a patriarchal stance," Dietzel said. "This is how we see it. The notion of putting women back in their place."

Dietzel said she thinks many of the men who will attend the weekend rally sincerely want to become better husbands and fathers, but don't realize exactly what the Promise Keepers' leadership teaches.

I'm glad to see NOW calling them on their shit. What does Steve Chavis, Promise Keeper's national spokesmen say to all of this:

Chavis said critics who complain that Promise Keepers' message is for men are right. He said that's necessary because "men have gone awry and if we don't do something for men to be men, we're in trouble."

He also said the "marketplace of ideas" is dominated by secularism and that Christian ideas are needed to clean up rampant unethical corporate practices, mend broken marriages and combat feminism.

That's right, folks. Secularism and all this 'equality' talk from women is the ultimate reason for corporate fraud and 50% divorce rate. Combat feminism? He is obviously brainwashed by Rush Limbaugh's phraseology. If more people understood the motivations of feminism they wouldn't be so quick to blame us for all the troubles in the world.


Kinsey Institue Kiss and Tell

Science Blog snagged a great interview with KI director, Dr. Julia Heiman. Among many other things, she discusses the obstacles that face researchers of sexual behavior:

"I don't like the difficulty of studying normal sexuality. We're always being pushed to study atypical sexual patterns or sexual patterns of smaller minorities. Smaller minorities are very important but we always have to leave out what happens to the majority of people a lot of the time. We don't understand basic things such as the structure and function of female physiology and sexuality. Things like why orgasms occur in women. I and other sex researchers have to struggle to understand the full range of sexuality across a broad range of people and there are no easy funding mechanisms."

...

""There are some behaviors that we can all agree on that shouldn't be happening, that are dangers to society, but while you're studying them, you have to figure out why they continue to happen. Why do we have fairly high rape rate? If we understand why somebody would be a repeated rapist, that does not mean we approve of that behavior. That is where things get confused in the public dialogue. If you study coercive sexual behavior or risky sex, in some way you are seen as supporting those behaviors. I don't know why that continues to happen, except that people may not appreciate why a scientific understanding of this is as important as social regulation."

She discusses how our nation's attitude impedes advances in sex research:

"...One of the countries that has solved more of their sexual problems. The Netherlands. They have a much lower rate of STDs. They have a low rate of teen pregnancy. They don't have a high rate of abortion. We have a higher rate of abortion. It's not like they are wildly sexual and the way they control it is by not making things happen on the other end or getting good treatment. They've addressed the sexual problems a society worries about. They do it by heads-up, from early ages, giving honest, straightforward sex education. Information about bodies. Information about sexuality and sexual health early on. They've worked out a way for them that is successful. One country can't just adopt another country's ideas. But to act as if no other country has solved some of these problems is just not accurate. That we're so special and so important that we couldn't possibly learn from another country is iconoclastic and not fair to our citizens who may want to benefit from the ways other countries have solved their problems."

The KI always takes a beating for the work it does, but the fact is that the KI is not opposed to abstinence. Dr. Heiman thinks that abstinence is a great idea. It is the ultimate way to prevent pregnancy and the transmission of STDs. It's the abstinence only position pushed by our administration and the religious right that poses a threat to our youth and their ability to make educated decisions about their own sexual activity.

In order to regulate sexual behavior, we must first understand it.



Monday, May 30, 2005

Einstein vs. Darwin?

Tom Barrett pits two of the most famous scientists against one another is this politically/religiously motivated attack on the Sanctity of Science.

Would you be surprised to know that millions of scientists around the world do not blindly accept Darwin's THEORY of evolution? Would it shock you to know that many of these professors and researchers are not religious, but they embrace the theory of Intelligent Design, which holds that our intricate universe could not have come about by chance? Would it blow you away to find that Albert Einstein was one of them?

Did you also know that Charles Darwin was himself a Christian and in fact postponed publishing On the Origin of Species (1859) because of his inner conflict with science and religion?

It is well documented that these famous scientists strongly disagreed on this important question. It is also well known that they, along with all credible scientists throughout history, strongly believed that all theories should be heard, all should be tested, and none should be ridiculed. This is the only way that science itself can be credible.

Completely misleading. Modern scientists do want all credible theories to be heard. Once they have been debunked, there is no use to give them attention.

Yet many politically active scientists today are desperately maneuvering to censor any mention of the theory of Intelligent Design in our schools, textbooks and media. Their accomplices in this blatant censorship are liberal politicians, atheists, most of the media and the national teacher's union (the Nation Education Association or NEA).

Who are these scientists? I certainly don't know any. The goal of science is not to spread ideology. Scientists want only to describe and analyze the universe for what it is. This includes having to draw the distinction between supportable fact and fantasy without regard to any person who may benefit from scientific findings. This is in direct contrast to religion, whose goal is to convert/recruit as many individuals as possible, willing or unwilling.

Darwin's theory is just that - a theory. It has never been proven, and cannot be proven. But the censors mentioned above want Darwin's THEORY taught as FACT, and they want no other theories even mentioned.

Wrong! This is perhaps the most misunderstood concept of Darwinian thought. Evolution happens. It can and is observed on a daily basis. It is not a theory. It is fact. The mechanism of evolution is the theory (but these can also be observed in some cases).

On the other hand, Darwin postulated that all life somehow crawled out of primordial ooze and miraculously became differentiated as mammals, reptiles, fish, fowl and so on.

There is nothing miraculous about it, my friend. On the other hand, this guy:

[believes] that God did what He said He did inGenesis: He created everything according to His plan.

And Tom offers this without any kind of supportive evidence, scientific or otherwise. Miracles are okay as long as God performs them and not Nature.

On page 293 of his book, "The Origin of the Species," Darwin stated that his THEORY would ultimately be proven by the fossil record. This has never happened. If the theory were true, at least some of the millions of fossils discovered by scientists would have provided a "missing link", a fossil that was clearly part one species as well as part another.

What about Archaeopteryx? The fossil, not the blog.

He continues on to display his complete ignorance of the goal modern scientists and concludes with his list of internet sources which include such helpful references as:

A Finely-Tuned Universe: What Are the Odds?

Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher about Evolution

I think it is called projection when a person attributes his own undesirable traits to his opponent. Scientists do not have a political agenda when it comes to actual science. We do want to keep non-science (and nonsense) topics out of science classrooms. Intelligent Design is not a science and therefore does not belong in a science class. If an individual wishes to teach his or her own children about ID, then do so outside of the science classroom.