Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What Color are Your Glasses?

Do you ever wonder where people purportedly writing about the same set of events get their information? Awhile back I had that experience when comparing how professors at Boise State and UC Santa Barbara wrote about the Reformation in Germany. The tone, some of the facts and the overall character of the articles is so different.

An Atheist Chaplain?

I'm not sure exactly who thought an atheist chaplain at Stanford would be a good idea, but it seems destined for failure.  Atheism is just too closely correlated with hedonism and not giving a rip about other people if one can't get anything out of it for something like this to work.

""A lot of people go back to religious organizations when they start having children," whether or not they believe in God, because religion offers community, Figdor said. "What I really want to do is create a vibrant, humanist community here in Silicon Valley, where people can find babysitters for their kids and young people can meet each other."

The problem is, you can't create a vibrant atheist community around babysitting groups.  Vibrant communities form when people have a common purpose and atheism itself is a really crappy motivator.  Any "religion" that teaches it's adherents that life is ultimately meaningless and there is no lasting purpose to existence is going to have trouble motivating people to do anything that requires sacrifice.  The article's explanation of why students themselves like having an atheist chaplain says it all.
"Armand Rundquist... president of AHA! - the campus group of atheists, humanists and agnostics - said many atheists aren't interested in having a chaplain.

Then they discovered additional benefits to Figdor's talents.

"He got us some discount tickets to the atheist film festival in San Francisco," said Rundquist, adding that "it's been really great" to have Figdor as part of what he called a new movement at Stanford."

Discounted entertainment!  Now that may be a reason to meet when you're a college student at one of our hedonistic universities, but it's destined for irrelevancy when one tries to apply it to the broader culture.  Learning that life is has no ultimate purpose or meaning is thin gruel after experiencing one of life's many setbacks.  Religion (especially historical Christianity), offers community that is there for you from cradle to grave.  It requires great sacrifice, but offers benefits for members and society at large that no atheist group can dream of matching.  Have you ever heard of a soup kitchen run by a voluntary community of dedicated atheists?  Do you have a family member with a disability or mental illness?  Good luck getting help from your local atheist community.

Speaking from my own personal experience, my wife's best friend from high school went out to their gradeschool playground and blew her brains out last summer.  It was a tragedy that hit my wife hard and left her unable to function for months.  It was clear within a couple weeks that homeschooling which had been tenuous before was no longer a possibility.  With just two weeks to go before school started, I had to find a place for my kids to attend.  The public schools in my state are just awful and sending them there was tantamount to handing them over to atheists who didn't give a rat's patootie about their spiritual life and would at best be educating them to mediocrity.  On the other hand the last couple years have seen my family experience some financial setbacks that made sending them to our parish school impossible until some people at our church stepped forward and quietly paid half the cost for my kids to attend.  I don't know these benefactors well.  I've never had them over for a meal and have only spoken to them before or after mass, but they cared enough about my family to fork over thousands dollars so that my kids could get a top notch education this year (and for as long as they are able and we need it).  Our parish school depends on many donors like this, since tuition only covers half the cost of operation for our 3 year old parish school that is operating on a shoestring budget.  The principal and teachers have all taken massive cuts in pay compared to what they could make elsewhere in order to create a rigorous academic and thoroughly Catholic educational environment.  It is this sort of sacrifice that is common among Christian communities, but is almost unheard of in atheist ones.  When life throws people curveballs, atheist communities just aren't there for each other.  For all the problems in our Christian communities, we are there for each other.  Is it any wonder that of all the religious groups in America, atheists have the lowest retention rate: just 30% of children raised by atheist parents remain atheist.  By leveraging control of our elite cultural institutions atheists have been successful in converting many Americans to their religion of meaninglessness, but they have failed where it matters most for long term viability: their own children.  Add that to the fact that committed atheists have very few children, and maintaining a stranglehold on our educational establishments and elite cultural institutions is the only way atheists have of reproducing ideologically.

As an aside, non-denominational Christians don't do much better in retaining their children: they are a full 24% below Catholics (hardly a healthy group to compare oneself with).  That rather surprised me, to be honest.  I can explain some of the Protestant non-retension to simple church hopping, but that has always struck me as more of a one-way street toward less denominationalism.  Are we seeing the children of non-denominational Protestants stick with a denomination or are they abandoning the faith altogether?  Does Pew survey adequately address these questions for Protestants?  These sorts of questions are always muddier and more difficult to answer for Protestants than for atheists, Hindus, Catholics and Mormons due to the clarity of their beliefs and religious identities.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Lure of Decriminalization

When people talk about the dangers of the black market, and the benefits that come from decriminalization, they are usually talking about drugs. Make drugs legal, they say, and most of the societal ills (and prison overcrowding) that come from the black market will go away almost overnight. This may be true. Particularly with low-impact drugs such as marijuana, this is an enticing idea. Today, on the Volokh Conspiracy blog, Ilya Somin trots out an even more extreme idea for decriminalization... creating a legal market in organs. Make it so that somebody who needs, say, an extra $10,000, can offer to sell a kidney on Craigslist. Somebody who needs a kidney can find one, pay the up-front cost, and get a new lease on life. I'm having a hard time finding the problem in his idea. I'm sure it's there, and I'm hoping one of you can point it out to me. It sure is a fascinating thought... Mark

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Outcomes for Adult Children of Homosexual Parents

The largest ever (and only decently sized) random sample study of the adult children of homosexual parents was published in a peer reviewed journal a couple weeks ago. The media has fed us a steady diet of studies of the children of gay households based on non-random samples with subjects recruited from advocacy groups, so it will come as a shocker for many that a truly random study doesn't agree with earlier "snowball" studies. Honestly, given the media conditioning we've received in the last few years, even I was shocked at the magnitude of some discrepancies in the well being of adults with a parent whose had a gay relationship. 

Some highlights...
a) 31% of adult children with lesbian mothers have been forced to have sex against their will vs. 8% from intact biological families.b) 23% of adult children with lesbian mothers have been sexually touched by a parent or adult caregiver vs. 2% from intact biological familiesc) 13% of adult children from intact biological families have had an affair while married or cohabiting vs. 41% with a lesbian motherd) 61% of adults with lesbian mothers identify entirely as heterosexual vs. 90% for adults from intact bio. families.e) only 29% of adults with lesbian mothers are currently employed full time while 28% are currently unemployed vs. 49% of adults with intact bio families having full time employment and only 8% being unemployed.f) While faring worse overall than adult children from intact biological families, adult children of gay men fare much better than adult children of lesbians. I found this incredibly counter-intuitive given the reputations women have over men as parents. 

Here are some some random reasons I've brainstormed on that last one... 
f1) I've read elsewhere lesbians tend to break up more than gay men (e.g., have a higher rate of dissolution of civil ceremonies/"marriages"). Unintuitive at first for me, until it was pointed out that women initiate more divorces.  Period.  Doubling the number of women in a relationship greatly increases the relationship standards and doubles the gender most likely to initiate.f2) the number of people with gay men as parents were much lower than the number of of people with lesbian mothers, since it's more unusual to have a parent who's a gay man and they typically have to work much harder to become a parent than women. That is, self selection for parenting plays a greater role for men.f3) The reputation women have as being more competent parents is extremely over-rated. f4) Lesbian women are more bitter than gay men, and children with bitter parents don't fare as well.  Before anyone gets mad at me for saying this, I've only heard it from people in favor of gay marriage and it honestly doesn't jive too well with most lesbians I've known.  So, get mad at other people, not me.f5) Your idea here________________

Overall, it's a fascinating read for those interested in such things.

Of course, none of this will matter, let alone get much media attention, because it doesn't agree with elite views on how society should be structured.  That and society hasn't given a rat's patootie about how divorce affects kids for the last 50+ years, so why should we start worrying now?  Damn the torpedoes.  Full speed ahead into cultural suicide!!!!

As an added bonus, here is a review of the totally inferior studies cited in the APA's brief on gay parenting.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Obama Births Birthers?

So, Obama himself appears to have likely pulled an Elizabeth Warren and in the process given birth to the birther movement. His publicist used the "born in Kenya" story in his biographical sketches for 16 years, until a month after Obama declared his candidacy for POTUS.

I find it ironic and more than a little funny that the biggest nutjobs in the conservative movement have bought a liberal lie so fully; hook, line and sinker. This is perfect material to use when one runs into that crazy conservative uncle. It's one thing to tell an extremist they're wrong; it's another to laugh at them for being so fooled by a lie originating with the very politician they so despise. Suckers!

Of course, if the crazies can spot that something just doesn't add up, why did it take the MSM so long to report on it? Oh, yeah, their hand was forced by Andrew Brietbart, posthumously.

This story is so good, you couldn't make it up if you tried. Well, at least I couldn't. I'm a terrible story teller. But I bet I'm not alone in not seeing this coming. I figured Obama may have lied on his law school application or something like that (politicians are not the most honest folk and those records have never been released). I never imagined that something this obvious would escape the attention of our erstwhile fourth estate. The guy was campaigning to be the the most prominent leader in the world, for crying out loud. Bar none. How could they miss it?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Obama Groupie: "Amurica. Fuck ya!"

If you hadn't noticed, a photo of a student in a Colorado bar went viral yesterday. The gal has the most hilarious look on her face.

I looked through a couple more images in her Twitter feed and one with an American flag caught my eye. However, boy was I surprised by the caption. "Amurica. Fuck ya!"
It can be found on Twitter at the following link until she decides to take it down.!/Madloid55/media/slideshow? Really?!?! The Obama student fanboy picture that goes viral features a viciously anti-American "pro student." Count me as someone who's not impressed with many of the folks this President attracts. Of course, nobody in the media would report something like this. Probably because that's the industry with the highest percentage of ignorant Obama groupies.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nobody Cares About the Sports League with the Third Highest Attendance Numbers in the US

"No offense to that club, but there’s no reason to go down the slippery slope that could lead us to Triple-A baseball, Major League Soccer and the WNBA. Better to draw the line at the major sports leagues, i.e. those that significant numbers of people care about."

Journalists are a pretty ignorant lot in general, and sports writers are the jocks of journalism, but I still expect better than this. Here's a guy who says that there aren't significant numbers of people who care about Major League Soccer, despite the fact that the MLS has the third highest per game attendance average of any sports league: more than the NBA and more than the NHL, which he includes in his list of leagues people care about. Maybe that was true 10 years ago. It was certainly true 20 years ago. However, to lump the MLS of today with the WNBA is ludicrous. There isn't a single AAA baseball team that averaged more than 10,000 fans per game. The WNBA can't even attract 10,000 people to their post-season games.'s_National_Basketball_Association

To keep it local, the Portland Trailblazers are considered the premier sports team in Portland, Oregon. They averaged 20,500 people the last couple years.

In contrast, the Portland Timbers sold out every home game last year and expanded seating to 20,000 for the last couple games to accomodate the crowds. This year, they will boost seating to 23,000 and expect to sell out every game. This will put give them a higher attendance per game attendance average than the Trailblazers, and the Trailblazers are consistently in the top 3 for attendance in the NBA.

The Seattle Mariners averaged 23,400 and the Seahawks averaged 66,400 in per game attendance. The Seattle Sounders averaged 38,500 fans for attendance.

Now, I know it isn't exactly fair to compare per game attendance numbers due to the larger number of games that the NBA and MLB have compared to the NFL and MLS, and due to the larger number of teams all those leagues have. Unlike the MLB, NHL, NBA and NFL, the MLS isn't the premier league in soccer. It isn't even close to being in the top 3. The best soccer players play in Europe where teams outspend even the New York Yankees. The MLS also has a long ways to go in reaching the average consumer: they don't have the history to attract much attention from non-sports fans, and there are still significant numbers of people with an anti-soccer bias due to its perception as a European sport. However, just because the best players play in Europe, doesn't mean the the MLS doesn't have quality players and a significant following. To write it off as an also-ran league comparable to the WNBA or minor league baseball is ludicrous. People who make their living writing about sports should know better.

My own opinion as to why the MLS has trouble garnering reasonable journalistic coverage has to do with advertising dollars. Most popular American sports leagues can make tons of money selling commercial time during stoppage of play. Soccer is a free-flowing game 90 minutes long where the only opportunity to sell commercials is pretty much limited to halftime. That greatly limits advertising dollars and makes it harder for TV networks to justify the airtime. It also means that soccer has to demonstrate strong grassroots support before networks will even consider airing a game. Also, due to the break-free nature of soccer, there are fewer opportunities for commentators to break down plays and explain to TV spectators what just happened. Either you get it or you don't. There is little time to bring the spectator up to speed.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

NBC News Tells Women to Avoid "Suffering" a Pregnancy, Get a "Termination Kit."

And the march toward classifying pregnancy as a disease to be cured continues...
NBC News Tells Women to Avoid "Suffering" a Pregnancy, Get a "Termination Kit."

Just another reminder that a contracepting culture is an aborting culture, especially given that a woman's chance of getting pregnant while on the pill is 70% over 10 years.

But what else could we expect from a liberal media in a country of sexual bulimics?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Attacking the First Amendment

Just last week Obama's justice department experienced a 9-0 drubbing at the Supreme Court in which the administration tried to dramatically increase government control over religion. This wasn't just a decision that went against Obama's justice department on a technicality. The idea they were proferring (that the government can interfere in who religions appoint to teach their faith) was roundly criticized by even Obama's own appointees as "extreme," "remarkable" and "untenable."

And so, a couple days later, the Obama Administration issued a proclamation honoring religious freedom. One might be forgiven for thinking that they had heard the rebuke and the first amendment would be safe. Alas, such thinking would be naive.

Instead the Obama Administration turned around 9 days after the 9-0 defeat at the Supreme Court and 7 days after issuing the proclamation on religious freedom and finalized the next point of attack in their war on religious freedom in the US. This time they are targeting religious organizations that believe that either contraception is wrong or that life begins at conception and killing early embryos is immoral. Specifically, the Department of Health and Human Services is requiring that all employers, including religious employers, cover all HHS defined contraceptives including Plan B (the morning after pill) and Ella (the week after pill that is "chemically similar to RU-486" and according to the FDA clearly caused abortions in rats and rabbits.

Thomas Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, had this to say. “Kathleen Sebelius says her decision to require Catholic colleges, hospitals and charitable associations to provide contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs respects religious freedom. How so? They have a year to get in line, or get out of business.”

What does the Obama Administration have to gain by attacking the First Amendment once more right on the heels of a 9-0 defeat for the same thing? I don't see it myself.

Hosanna Tabor vs. EEOC
*as a note, the Pew Forum got it wrong in their prebrief analysis when they said that the Obama Justice Dept. supported the ministerial exemption. That was the assumption based on the 6th circuit decision, but the Justice Dept. went off the rails in a later briefing and rejected the ministerial exemption outright. This is not covered in the Pew Forum's Sept. analysis of the case.
Colorado Christian College vs. Sebelius
Belmont Abbey College vs. Sebelius