Thursday, November 27, 2008

I have some good news and I have some bad news...

Disclaimer: When people mess with the well-being of children, it makes my blood boil. As such, even the "good news" section of this note results in a pretty strong rant. If you're faint of heart, keep reading - it'll be good for you.

Let's start with the bad: one last time, science is going to suffer at the hands of the current President before he is finally (and mercifully) sent packing back to that shithole we call "Texas."

Before he leaves, Dubya is filling federal positions dealing with science policies with the same type of people he has always appointed: those who are grossly unqualified. Needless to say, AAAS President James McCarthy is pissed:

"It's ludicrous to have people who do not have a scientific background, who are not trained and skilled in the ways of science, make decisions that involve resources, that involve facilities in the scientific infrastructure," said James McCarthy, a Harvard University oceanographer who is president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "You'd just like to think people have more respect for the institution of government than to leave wreckage behind with these appointments."

Ouch. This is coming from one of our most austere science organizations, and one that was slower than most to criticize ID for fear of offending people. Glad to see McCarthy pulling no punches over this.

So how bad could it be?

"In one recent example, Todd Harding -- a 30-year-old political appointee at the Energy Department -- applied for and won a post this month at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. There, he told colleagues in a Nov. 12 e-mail, he will work on "space-based science using satellites for geostationary and meteorological data." Harding earned a bachelor's degree in government from Kentucky's Centre College, where he also chaired the Kentucky Federation of College Republicans.

Also this month, Erik Akers, the congressional relations chief for the Drug Enforcement Administration, gained a permanent post at the agency after being denied a lower-level career appointment late last year.

And in mid-July, Jeffrey T. Salmon, who has a doctorate in world politics and was a speechwriter for Vice President Cheney when he served as defense secretary, had been selected as deputy director for resource management in the Energy Department's Office of Science. In that position, he oversees decisions on its grants and budget."

Can we please get this dangerous, simpering git out of Washington as soon as possible?

Ok, good news to balance that out. A Florida court has overturned the ban on gay adoption, and has included us a wonderful paragraph of sanity:

"It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person's ability to parent. A child in need of love, safety and stability does not first consider the sexual orientation of his parent. The exclusion causes some children to be deprived of a permanent placement with a family that is best suited to their needs."

Of course, we're already hearing "Judicial activism! Waaaaaaah!" from the religious other side. We're also hearing the same shit that came out of Arkansas a month ago:

"Everywhere in the law where children are affected, the standard must always be what is in the best interest of the child," said Stemberger, an attorney in Orlando. "What is stunning to me is that when it comes to dealing with gays, that standard goes out the window. Children do better with a mother and a father."

To quote my dad:

"They shovel that manure out as if leaving 2/3 of the foster care kids with NO HOME AT ALL somehow achieves that "best environment" and somehow doesn't "harm children in ways that show up later in life". How stupid and gullible can people be? Talk about shit for brains.

You have to hate and fear homosexuals a lot to pass a law that hurts both children and heterosexuals in order to "get the gays". I think it is both disgusting and pathetic that people would use children as expendable pawns in their culture wars."

You know what? Statistically, kids to better with rich parents than they do with poor parents. They also do better with educated parents than with non-educated parents and better with white parents than they do with black parents (statistically speaking), but any laws prohibiting those demographics from rescuing a child from a fucking orphanage would rightly look cruel and retarded (as long as we're talking about throwing standards out the window, jackass)

And as usual, what's the culprit? Faith. Not stupid people who happen to be religious, but faith. The culprit is the very notion that believing in things (and hence formulating your world view) without evidence and clinging to that belief no matter how ridiculous, discriminatory, or malicious is not only a good thing, but the best thing. It's the only way that people could divorce themselves from basic human empathy to such an extent as to harm children to get a group of people that want to help the children. And it's the only way people could so eagerly spit on the products of our 21st century understanding in order to do so.

Yet it's "disrespectful" for people like me to point out how indescribably stupid those beliefs are. Tough shit, your religion is false. Your religion, the only motivation there can possibly be to discriminate against these normal people given the findings of science is false, so you can stop believing it. There are no talking snakes, witches, or pernicious gods that get pissy when people work on the wrong day (and there never were), and dredging the moral imperatives of times before Christ into the 21st century based on believing such nonsense is the very definition of pious idiocy. At the very least you deserve to be mocked for being so gullible, even for the minority of voting Christian voices who don't let their credulity turn them into bigots.


Robert Madewell said...

Bravo JT.

Seems that here is Arkansas, it's going to get tougher for agencies to place children in foster care and adoptions. Not only did they prevent gay couples from adopting, they have prevented single straight people from adopting and fostering as well. It's like shooting into a crowd with a scatter-gun just to hit one person. You'll hit that person and anyone standing next to him.

There's even been an outcry for the married people who voted for this law to adopt childern or be a foster parent.

Here's a letter to the editor from "The Arkansas Democratic Gazette". This is a common sentiment among religious folks in Arkansas.

Opponents didn't care
I am tired of seeing all the Voices submissions calling on married couples who voted for children's rights to a stable home in Act 1 to line up to adopt children.

If these people cared enough about children, they would give up a sinful homosexual lifestyle or see that if you are not a person who can commit to marriage, then why should a child be put in your home and hope that you would commit to him?

I do help raise a child who isn't mine with my wife. Our children are a blessing from God and deserve a stable home that doesn't confuse them or send them packing when the going gets tough, like when they kick out a boyfriend or girlfriend when times get tough.

My guy didn't win the presidency, but my guy didn't believe in killing babies and homosexual marriage. Barack Obama can count on my prayers, though. I really hope that God will change his heart on some things like abortion. All I can say to the homosexuals and [those with] live in relationships is, why not hurt some poor folks and go buy a lottery ticket? I'm sure they voted for that.
--Mike Jenkins, North Little Rock
Arkansas Democrat Gazette,
Thursday, November 27, 2008, page 5B

Nice letter, huh? It just oozes with christian love.

Katja Shaw said...

"Statistically, kids to better with rich parents than they do with poor parents."

JT, never mention statistics with the likes of Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Bill O'Reilly, and Dumbya running around. It falls flat.

One of the problems today is that with some college graduates, rich and poor, they take what they've learned, thinking it's enough to be book smart, and turn into complete assholes on a superiority trip, burning off what few brain cells they have left.

JT stated: "They also do better with educated parents than with non-educated parents and better with white parents than they do with black parents (statistically speaking)"

First rule of journalism, never mention statistics without providing proof of these statistics, specially when it deals with race or upbringing, because you will come off as an elitist bigot, but you can clear this up, JT, with a few links to this info, and not just another person shouting statistics. I'm sure you can provide this, right? :)

Yeah, children shouldn't have to suffer because of religious fanatics. They wont adopt them, and wont allow these kids to be adopted by gay couples, even if it's their only chance of a normal life. SICK!

I'm not religious, but I respect others who are, and their beliefs, as long as it doesn't cause anyone harm, specially children. Why can't they keep to themselves?

On science, it needs to be grossly funded, and regulated, to make sure it's not used on dangerous experiments which physicists downplay by comparing it to colliding mosquitoes. ;)

Anonymous said...

"Statistically, kids to better with rich parents than they do with poor parents. They also do better with educated parents than with non-educated parents and better with white parents than they do with black parents (statistically speaking)" - JT

JT, how could you make a grammar mistake like that in the first sentence above? The letter T on the keyboard is higher up from the letter D and two keys over to the right.

Oh, sorry... It's your parents fault. You must have been poor, but you're not black! What gives?

Brian said...

Hey JT, I always thought of you as incredibly smart until today, now I see you as a bigot, I'm sad to say Not towards religion, but poor people, which I'm sure some are way more intelligent than you. Some of them do make it to college, and the few that don't, not all, are still extremely intelligent from learning on their own. There's a thing called books, you know, and common sense.

Personally, I know of more morons with PHD's, who can't independently think outside the box, but repeat what they've learned since their education was nothing more than flash cards to them. They think their experts in fields they have no knowledge of due to stupidity or unwillingness to research those fields since this requires brain activity. Being white with money doesn't make you a better parent if you're a rich moron.

I'm hoping portions of your blog entry were simple brain farts, but judging how you ended you entry, it doesn't look good.

For the record, I don't have a religion, and can't stand religious fanatics, or fellow graduates who think they're God, minus any intelligence.

JT Eberhard said...


Glad to. Moreover, very happy to do so without trying to work around providing the rational for my position. ;D

Child wellness by race.

On income, from "Children's Health Linked to Parents' Income, Education", Healthcare Financial Management; Nov2008, Vol. 62 Issue 11, p12-12, 1/2p. You can find it via any academic search client (I find all of my peer-review work and such via EBSCOhost).


The article discusses the report "America's Health Starts with Healthy Children: How Do States Compare?," published by the Commission to Build a Healthier America that explores the impact the income and education of parents on the health of the children in the U.S. The results revealed that nationwide infant mortality rates have increased by 50 percent when mothers did not complete high school. Furthermore, 15.9 percent of children are not at optimal health, where Texas had the highest percentage of children at 22.8 percent and Vermont had the lowest percentage at 6.9 percent.

On parents' education leading to greater child wellness.

Are you deriding knowledge again? I can't tell. It seems like you're insinuating that I'm on a superiority trip. It's true I don't like unreason, bad ideas, intellectual dishonesty, and the like. If that means I'm on a superiority trip, fine. Seems like an ad hominem to me.

Now, just as a reminder, isn't it you contributing to a blog flying in the face of virtually every physicist on Earth without tackling an iota of the science they deal with? ;)

On science - yes, it does need to be funded. It also needs to be decided by experts and not by laymen with conspiracy theories and an unmitigated medium in which they do not address (or apparently comprehend) the science they want to have a voice in.


JT Eberhard said...


Not sure what you're trying to accomplish with your comment.


JT Eberhard said...


I'm not sure I ever said that poor people were not, nor could be intelligent. You're addressing an argument I never made.

What I did say is that the children of wealthier parents are more often well than the offspring of poor parents. That's it. Taking note of this does not make me a bigot. Additionally, I'm not sure where I ever suggested I think less of poor people (I don't at all).

On moron's with PhDs - that's a personal anecdote and doesn't help me (or the conversation) any. The process of getting a PhD in a field is very rigorous, in which you must produce a dissertation that contributes to your field of study. It seems far more likely that PhDs represent the most elite minds in our various fields (and, generally, very perspicacious minds in general) and that your generalizing appraisal of the PhDs you know is either inaccurate or an extremely isolated incidence (how could you possibly determine if a PhD in, say, mathematics was an idiot about math?).

You seem to be convinced that I am saying that wealthy parents are ALWAYS better parents than poor, or that white parents ALWAYS produce healthier kids than blacks. I do not say this. I simply say that it occurs more often (I actually repeat it from pediatric experts, see the links in my response to Katja). In my post, I simply took note of this fact and then insisted that it should not play a role in a person's ability to rescue a child from an orphanage. I really do not see how you can brand me as a bigot for this. I do not think white people are better than black or wealthy better than poor...though I do confess I do have a higher estimation of educated people.

Not sure if you were referring to me at the end of your comment. If so, it's an ad hominem you couldn't possibly make without an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of my brain. It's a non-argument. I do not think I'm a god. I'm a music student at MSU who enjoys a variety of subjects. If I'm wrong, I'm open to evidence and logic. Sadly, most people tend to shy away from these things, choosing to go with the easier route of denigrating the other half of the discussion, straw-manning the other half of the discussion, or making generalizations that are counter-intuitive and trusting those testimonies to carry any weight. *sigh*