Some good news from the I am not making this up category — The NY Times published a balanced front-page article on pro-lifers and even included photos of aborted babies. “Pro-lifers are portrayed as smart, convicted, and compelling.” Wow!
Carlotta [check out her new blog format!] had a good summary of President Obama’s speech to the Human Rights Campaign, a pro-gay “rights” group. Obama’s comments on oxymoronic same-sex marriage were not surprising, even though they contradict his campaign rhetoric and are 180 degrees different than God’s view on the matter:
You will see a time in which we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men or two women as just as real and admirable as relationships between a man and a woman.
It shows how low we’ve sunk that someone could make such a statement and be taken seriously by part of the population.
Richard Dawkins cites fraudulent research, runs from public debate — Why won’t he debate Stephen Meyers?
Darwinian fundamentalist Ernst Haeckel’s embryo drawings were discredited as a fraud in the 19th century.
Yet they remained in high school textbooks for many decades and were used without criticism by Dawkins in a 2008 video! What utter dishonesty. He has to know how fraudulent they were. Apparently he hasn’t evolved to see the benefits of honesty. But you can totally trust what he writes in his books, right?
His [Dawkins’] popular brand of invincible ignorance coupled with foam-flecked fanaticism sells a lot of hymnals written for the kool-aid drinking choir. It’s not about science, it’s about creating your own private world where everyone is stupid except you. Dawkins is a self-help author for those raised by fundamentalist parents. It’s escapism. And if anyone asks them to debate, they can just deploy some insults and call it a day. Whatever sells books, right?
Dawkins does remind me a bit of Homer Simpson (“Everyone is stupid except me”).
Did you know that artificial breasts for a transexual are a “human right” as well?
A transsexual refused breast enlargement surgery on the NHS is to take her [sic] case to the High Court, at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds to the hospital’s budget.
The legally aided gender dysphoria sufferer, who has been living as a woman for over 10 years, says breast augmentation is essential to her [sic] female identity and emotional well-being and the refusal to give her [sic] the op amounts to sex discrimination.
Fulfilling that right via socialized medicine is way more important than pesky little problems like this one:
An 80-year-old grandmother who doctors identified as terminally ill and left to starve to death has recovered after her outraged daughter intervened.
Hazel Fenton, from East Sussex, is alive nine months after medics ruled she had only days to live, withdrew her antibiotics and denied her artificial feeding. The former school matron had been placed on a controversial care plan intended to ease the last days of dying patients.
0 thoughts on “Roundup”
Sorry I was so cranky in my anti-Dawkins post, but he just ran from ANOTHER debate with Stephen C. Meyer and ANOTHER debate with William Lane Craig. The man’s a lily-livered coward, in short.
Dawkins does not debate with people that do not use the scientific process as the basis for their hypotheses. Most scientists follow this guideline.
You’re baiting me aren’t you Neil?
Nope. You are mischaracterizing Dawkins’ position, and Dawkins doesn’t even adhere to his stated position.
So you criticize Dawkins for not debating evolution with someone who keeps bringing up the same old tired arguments?
I knew you’d say that, and I knew you wouldn’t see the difference between the two situations. You’ve mischaracterized Dawkins twice and now me. End of story, Ryan. You’re just like Dawkins.
Neil, why can’t your commenters ever be specific about anything? Why are they always so vague?
LIST the arguments used by Dawkins’ opponents. LIST the debates in which they we’re used. LIST the scholars with whom Dawkins tussels in his books. LIST the books by ID proponents that Dawkins refutes.
I can’t help but notice one of the things you haven’t mentioned is Dawkins’ own arguments. Have you actually read any of his books?
You clearly haven’t been listening. Take the crazy someplace else.
ID is a religious, not a scientific proposition. One of your own federal courts made that conclusion, based largely on the testimony of one of ID’s leading proponents.
Dawkins has been consistent in his refusal to debate creationists (ID being just another variant thereof); something he feels would lend them an air of legitimacy they don’t deserve. This may be a somewhat arrogant position, but at least he has earned his place in the scientific community (remember he’s been popularising science for more than 30 years, long before all this so-called “new atheism”). He did, I think, recently agree to debate Ray Comfort if Comfort would donate $100 000 to the Richard Dawkins foundation, and if the debate could be filmed by his own production team for entertainment value. I don’t know if Ray has found the money yet.
That court case was a joke on many counts, with serious mistakes on both sides plus the judge. I’m glad to take anyone seriously on the “ID is a religion” claim if they can convince me that they would have become IDers if the judge had decided in favor of it. In other words, I’ve yet to find anyone who I take seriously regarding that claim.
If by “popularizing science” you mean using breathlessly presenting known falsehoods (i.e., Haeckel’s embryos) to advance his agenda then I’m still not impressed by him.
Gee, he’ll debate anyone who pays $100,000? How magnanimous of him!
I haven’t read all Dawkins’ books, but I’ve read most of them, and I don’t recall reading about Haeckel’s embryos in any of them. In fact the only times I’ve heard of Haeckel’s embryos are when creationists trot them out, along with Piltdown Man as some kind of trump card, ignoring reasoned explanations like this.
No, just the banana man.
I stopped reading your link after the guy said this:
Whoever wrote that is a hypocritical liar. He accuses someone of lying then uses his own lies as “evidence.” What a joke.
The serial usage of Haeckel’s embryos is well documented. It isn’t a canard in any way.
The difference is that Ray Comfort was man enough and honest enough to admit he was wrong. He explictly and publicaly apologized, even though many hardened materialists won’t accept that (heh).
But the naturalists are so steeped in their deception that they trotted out Haeckels embryos for many decades after they were proved false, and they have the audacity to mock those who rightly point out the dishonest anti-ID movement. They are gutless and dishonest and will do anything to suppress the truth.
But I should totally trust these naturalists, right?!
I think that Comfort’s apology was genuine, and I think he was good to publicize it. However, at least from my perspective, is mistake shows that he is not qualified to speak on biological origins, since he has no understanding of the theories.
Why would Dawkins debate someone who does not have a basic understanding of the topic at hand?
Great points. Which is why no one should take any scientist seriously, EVER, who was part of the Haeckel’s embryo fraud. And that includes Dawkins.
But you don’t hold the evolutionists to the same criteria, do you? Your double standard is a non-standard, which is why I don’t take you seriously on this topic.
I know it probably annoys the heck out of you, but maybe you should read it all, and follow all the links, even though I know you’re busy.
I didn’t mean to re-ignite the banana controversy, seriously. That’s been dealt with, I may think Comfort’s a moron, but he’s not dishonest.
I thought it was telling that you would mention the banana thing, and quite ironic considering your main source about the embryos was a transparent liar accusing us of re-hashing what was nearly a century-long, willfully perpetrated fraud.
Contrast that with Ray’s banana example, which he was glad to correct, and then try to convince me that we’re the ones overplaying our hands.
Then go put polygraphs on all the New Atheists mocking Ray Comfort and see how many knew about the “intelligent design” (heh) of the banana. I’ll bet 99% of them had no idea.
And even if they did know, they are deliberately missing the larger point. Ray was demonstrating the obvious design of the universe. He picked a bad example then apologized for it clearly and publicly. He showed 100 times the class of the New Atheists and demonstrated his integrity at the same time.
Meanwhile, these cowards just try to shout down and bully anyone who disagrees with them. They are a pathetic lot.
For anyone interested in the topic under discussion, it’s worth checking out Thunderf00t and Ray Comfort. Look it up on Youtube. A reasonable discussion between two very different people, and Ray manages to avoid being smugly self-righteous.
Did you watch the video, or did you just write a bunch of nonsense that appealed to you? WATCH THE VIDEO. LOOK INTO THE TELESCOPE. THE EARTH IS ROUND, NOT FLAT.
The article I cited in which documents the persistent use of Haeckel’s embryos is from Science. The #1 peer-reviewed science journal in the world. Jonathan Wells documents the use of the fraudulent drawings in his book “Icons of Evolution”. OPEN YOUR EYES. LOOK THROUGH THE TELESCOPE. TH WORLD IS ROUND, NOT FLAT.
Wintery Nut, I think your caps lock key is stuck, you may want to check it out.
Hmmmm . . . petty name calling . . . Michael, someone stole your login!
Twas my alter ego, Nasty Boo. Fear not, he’s been banned from the internets for the next two weeks.
I’m sorry your legal system is such a joke. I’m just pointing out what a federal court judge said, citing primarily the testimony of Michael Behe.
I take your point about what we might have thought if the decision had been different. But, well, the decision is what it is. If it had been in ID’s favour, we’d never have heard the end of it.
Michael, are you having an off day? Cause I can’t help but notice that you brought it up. (“we’d never hear the end of it”)
The fact that the judge was mistaken is irrelevant. I appreciate you conceding my point that you only referenced the judge because he agreed with your side and would not have cared what he said if he had disagreed.
Um, no, i’m having a great day actually :-).
So was this judge mistaken or wasn’t he? And if he was, why has there been no appeal?
The case was ill-conceived by the IDers. Many in the ID community thought it was a bad idea. The judge was a joke.
Naturalism is an (anti-)religious philosophy, not a scientific proposition.
I remember the first time I heard, in school, that the embryo drawings were fraudulent. The first time I had a private debate with an atheistic, Darwinian evolutionist he brought the drawings up! I couldn’t believe it.
Apparently they don’t care if their “evidence” is phony as long as it proves what they want it to prove.
On the gay marriage issue, I thought Obama was a “Christian”. Yeah right.
It shows how low we’ve sunk that someone could make such a statement and be taken seriously by part of the population.
If anyone can’t see the difference between male / female marriages and gay / lesbian couples then they are liars or wildly ignorant. One can produce children and provide a mother and a father to children.
No one’s debating that they’re different. What I’m asking is what makes one so much less or more admirable than the other to warrant the reaction it has from the Christian community?
One is an abomination to God. It is an example of the rebellion of unrepentant sinners who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. It isn’t the only sin, but it is a sin.
Can I get something a little more objective than that, or…?
God is as objective as it gets.
“The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.” (Psalm 12:8, God)
Romans 1:26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do b what ought not to be done.
Straw man. Pathetic straw man. Childish, many-times-refuted, transparently stupid straw man.
Ryan, you are moderated now because you continue to make stupid comments like that. I deleted the rest of it. I’ve provided many examples like this but you just don’t get it.
I’ll attack the transsexual/breast implant issue:
I do have some (or a lot) of sympathy for women who lose their breasts to cancer. In America, insurance companies must pay for reconstruction. To me, this is no different than having insurance pay for plastic surgery for a burn victim or giving a settlement to a person who is scarred in an auto accident: the purpose is to get the person back to the way they were before the illness, accident, or injury.
Obviously, that justification does not apply to transsexuals: the entire point of the surgery is to change their appearance. As a woman, I find a lot of this agenda to be perplexing at best: breasts become part of our identity on account of our having them for our teen and adult lives, but aren’t really a part of what makes us women. I do not want to ruin Neil’s lovely family blog with full explanations, but, suffice to say, getting fake breasts midlife is the epitome of “missing the point.”
That brings me to a lot of my issue with transsexualism: men who claim to be women trapped in men’s bodies are unbelievably clueless. If I were to get my skin dyed a darker colour in a reverse Michael Jackson, the African-American community would be more than justified in throwing all sorts of anger my way. They would point out, rightly, that looking black doesn’t make me black. It wouldn’t replace my white parents with black parents, my white upbringing with my black upbringing, nor change the years of my life that I’ve been treated as a white person in our society. Race, unlike sex, isn’t even a scientific concept, which makes the transsexual movement all the more sad.
Breast augmentation surgery for TS women is like surgery to fix a cleft palate. A surgical remedy to a congenital problem.
I better give some evidence there, this isn’t exactly self-evident. Basically, men and women have different neurology just as they have different genitalia. There are degrees of course, and someone can resemble a male stereotype more in some areas than others. So there’s no excuse for treating men and women differently, you have to treat them as individuals. “Men are taller than women” is true. But some women are taller than some men.
If certain parts of the neurology – the lymbic nucleus, the left frontal gyrus, and possibly some others we haven’t investigated yet – are cross-sexed compared to the rest of the anatomy, then the gender identity is also cross-sexed. We’re not certain why, but we’ve never found an exception.
“Woman in a man’s body” is a gross over-simplification, but essentially true. You can see it in MRI scans and autopsies, there’s differences at the cellular level.
Some of the articles on the subject:
1.DF Swaab, WC Chung, FP Kruijver, MA Hofman, TA Ishunina
Structural and functional sex differences in the human hypothalamus
Horm Behav. Sep, 2001; 40(2): 93-8.
2. DF Swaab
Sexual differentiation of the human brain: relevance for gender identity, transsexualism and sexual orientation
Gynecol Endocrinol. Dec, 2004; 19(6): 301-12. Review.
3.IE Sommer, PT Cohen-Kettenis, T van Raalten, AJ Vd Veer, LE Ramsey, LJ Gooren, RS Kahn, NF Ramsey
Effects of cross-sex hormones on cerebral activation during language and mental rotation: An fMRI study in transsexuals
Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. Mar 2008; 18(3): 215-21.
4.H Berglund, P Lindstrom, C Dhejne-Helmy, I Savic
Male to female transsexuals show sex-atypical hypothalamus activation when smelling odorous steroids
Cereb Cortex. Aug 2008; 18(8): 1900-8.
Male–to–female transsexuals have female neuron numbers in a limbic nucleus. Kruiver et al J Clin Endocrinol Metab (2000) 85:2034–2041
A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality. by Zhou et al Nature (1995) 378:68–70.
A sex difference in the hypothalamic uncinate nucleus: relationship to gender identity. by Garcia-Falgueras et al Brain. 2008 Dec;131(Pt 12):3132-46.
…and many more.
Essentially, Transsexual people are people with an Intersex condition, like hundreds of other Intersex syndromes. Parts of their body are more male than female, other parts more female than male. Having a cross-sexed gender identity causes immense distress. Surgical and hormonal intervention to align body with brain has a 98% success rate.
How about this then?
Breast augmentation should NEVER be considered a right. Period.
You’ve never had a mastectomy then, from cancer. Nor had to deal with the xenophobia from people who have an irrational fear of those who “look different”. Nor burst into tears when looking in a mirror.
Zoe: augmentation is not reconstruction. Obviously.
Thank you. My Mom, a 20 year breast cancer survivor, had reconstruction.
Still, even reconstruction is not a RIGHT. A right is defined as something that cannot be denied you. Like free speech, free practice of religion, to bear arms, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
To say someone has a right to elective cosmetic surgery is idiotic.
In the context of the UK, health care is deemed a right. Freedom of speech, not so much, alas.
Now it can be argued just how much “health care” is a right, because resources are not unlimited. However, a certain minimum standard is looked upon as a right in the UK, and indeed, much of Europe.
A quote from the “Standards of Care” that all physicians in the US (and some other jurisdictions) must follow otherwise be held liable in a malpractice suit:
“Such a therapeutic regimen, when prescribed or recommended by qualified practitioners, is medically indicated and medically necessary. Sex reassignment is not “experimental,” “investigational,” “elective,” “cosmetic,” or optional in any meaningful sense”
Now whether mammoplasty is essential or not in such a therapy will depend on individual circumstances: in general, it is not. But in some cases, it is.
It appears in this one that it is: there is precedent, the same health trust had OK’d augmentation on a previous case of a cis-sexual woman where the distress of her condition was causing so many problems that it was cheaper to cure them by surgery than to manage them by continued lifelong psychiatric treatment.
This is also the attitude in Australia, which has a system very similar to the one Obama originally proposed for the US. So similar, it’s plagiarism, basically.
In order to minimise the bill to the taxpayer, some “elective” surgeries such as hip replacement are performed, simply because the costs of not dealing with the problem surgically are greater than the cost of surgery over 5 years.
There’s also a humanitarian utility too, but that counts for nothing, this is purely on financial grounds.
p.s. Hope your Mum’s remission continues indefinely.
That’s incredibly anti-feminist, Zoe. I assume you applauded Larry Summers for his take on why women aren’t succeeding in science?
I have a male brain – dominant in math, incredibly spatial, etc. Nevertheless, I have zero desire to mutilate my body and become a man, because I don’t see any problem with being a rational, math-oriented woman. My breasts and long hair don’t make me a dunce at math, contrary to the misogynistic stereotypes to the contrary.
Few people consider the statement “men are taller than women” to be controversial or anti-feminist. Even though it should really be “most men are taller than most women” or “men tend to be taller than women”.
No-one looks at a woman who’s 5ft 10″ and says she’s not really feminine, but is too mannish. Neither do they say to men, “sorry, you can’t be a jockey, that’s for women only as men are too tall”.
Yet if you point out the very real neurological differences between the sexes, you get accused of anti-feminism.
Conversely, women get denied access to employment because “women are no good at math” – which is as silly as saying “women are short”.
If all things were equal, no, 50% of engineers would not be female. It would be more like 30%. This is not a sign of sexism, just of relative talents that you’d find in a mass of people.
The trouble is, it’s not 30%. It’s more like 8%. And so those who claim that the imbalance is due entirely to sexism have a very good argument.
As for your own neurology – you appear to have the standard female-pattern lymbic system. Of course you have no desire to mutilate your body, any more than I do mine. But had your body been masculine, as some women’s are, then you really might consider hormonal therapy, as the male pattern endocrinology and female pattern lymbic nucleus would lead to pretty awful neurochemical imbalances. You might have difficulty getting that authorised though – in some places, your thinking patterns would be described as “too male” for them to be certain your gender identity is female, no matter what *you* say it is. They have to be certain of the diagnosis, and they have the power, not you. Yes, when it comes to gender reassignment, you need permission for treatment, unlike all other conditions.
We’re trying to get the message out, that the brain is not some monolithic block, male or female, but is as variable as genitalia. That women should not be expected to conform to some stereotype, often a demeaning and distorted one imposed by a conservative patriarchy.
No, you do NOT have a “male brain”, any more than I do. Parts of your cerebral cortex fit closer to a male stereotype than a female one. Other parts, to do with emotional response, senses of hearing and smell, instinctive body map etc etc etc conform to a female stereotype rather than a male one. You have a female gender identity.
Insisting that anyone who’s good at math must have a “male brain” is as silly as insisting that anyone who’s over 5′ 6″ is actually male. Insisting that men and women are actually the same average height, or that they have identical neurology, or that the differences in height or neurology are all environmentally caused, are all equally irrational.
Thank you for the perfect contradiction of what you said earlier. My case rests.
If you say so… as long as we agree that saying that men tend to be taller than women is no more and no less sexist than saying that men tend to be better at perceiving visio-spatial relationships.
I’m an engineer, and I get pretty fed up of the discouragement young women face during their time at school, if they want to go in “traditionally male” occupations. I’m fully cognisant of the problems after they enter the industry – I’ve been in it myself for 30 years. It’s better than it was, but still pretty dreadful, nowhere near acceptable. I do what I can to redress the balance.
Nonetheless, whether you like it or not, the experimental data says that there are significant neurological differences, just as height differs. There’s overlap, just as there is in height. Neuroplasticity is limited, and appears not to affect the areas of the brain under discussion. You can no more induce mathematical talent in a brain born without it than induce right-handedness.
Getting back to “transsexuality”…. while feminisation or masculinisation of one part of the brain, the lymbic nucleus, hypothalamus, corpus callosum etc etc has a high degree of correlation with feminisation or masculinisation of other parts, the correlation is imperfect. People differ. There’s overlap. To say “male brain” and “female brain” is over-simplifying, yet also contains a grain of truth. As much as “male height” or “female height”.
If we define “male” and “female” in terms of gender identity, hence specific neurology, then it makes sense to say that trans people have always been of their target gender, regardless of what they look like.
So for example, if you had either 5ARD or 17BHDD syndome, causing your body to masculinise so much that you may even be able to father children, your gender would not change. You’d still be female.
If you had a Karyotype, and found out that you had the relatively common CAI syndrome, or Swyer syndrome, or some of the rarer conditions that can cause a “genetically male” (46xy) person to be somatically female, that wouldn’t change your sex one iota. Though you would be banned from Michfest as a male infiltrating womyn’s spaces, and would be considered legally male in Kansas and parts of Texas.
Study some Intersex conditions, and you’ll realise just how wrong a strict binary model of sex is – and yet we can’t ignore that for 59 people in 60, it fits perfectly.
It’s 8% in the workforce, 18% in college, and up to 30% at some colleges.
Yet, engineering is a narrow way of looking at scientific aptitude. Women are in the majority of med school students, for example, but that often gets overlooked when talking about gender disparities.
There are no neurological differences in output, Zoe. I know why I’m the way I am… and as someone who has taught math, I know why many women don’t succeed as well as men do, and it isn’t neurology.
Many women – yes. But by the time they get to college, they’ve already withstood the peer-pressure and other sexist rubbish they’ve endured since Kindergarten.
In mathematics, there appears to be no significant difference (apart from maybe topology, where a stereotypical masculine brain may have an advantage, and number theory, where a stereotypical female brain may be equally advantaged) , but in other areas, there does.
The problem is that post-natal environment dominates, as we both well know. To take the height analogy further, a woman regardless of genetic background who has come from 3 consecutive generations of well-nourished parents will tend to be taller than any man, regardless of genetic background, who has had three consecutive generations of malnourished ancestors. Yet she’ll still tend to be shorter than males of her cohort.
We need to stop the intellectual stunting of growth of girls in “male dominated” areas. And stop the equivalent for boys too. But after we’ve done that, there still won’t be a 50/50 split everywhere.
Eeek! Penultimate sentence of the middle paragraph should be more coherent: while all women have breasts, there is a lot more to being a woman than having a nice, curvy figure, and it is somewhat insulting to imply that breasts separate women from men.