Adding two blogs

I’ve added two blogs to the widgets on the right side. The first is Nate’s Congress Shall Make No Law… The second is Michael’s Young, Hip and Conservative. Both are commenters here. I’ve placed them under “Teh Conservatives” just because they don’t fit the general theme I have going on under “Blogroll” right now.

I added Nate because he shows a degree of pragmatism that I generally find refreshing. We disagree on a lot of things, but he makes some good posts. Plus he likes The Liberal Cup. I added Michael because he makes a lot of intelligent posts. We actually do agree that there is no God and that gays shouldn’t be persecuted, but we diverge significantly on economics. “Conservative” for him doesn’t carry with it all the things it does when we refer to, say, any given FOX News employee.

But don’t worry. FTSOS is still the grand liberal bastion it has always been.

The Harry Baals Government Center

What’s wrong with Harry Baals?

A former Indiana mayor who won four terms in the 1930s and 1950s is proving less popular with modern-day city leaders, who say they probably won’t name a new government center for him because of the jokes his moniker could inspire.

Harry Baals is the runaway favorite in online voting to name the new building in Fort Wayne, about 120 miles northeast of Indianapolis. But Deputy Mayor Beth Malloy said that probably won’t be enough to put the name of the city’s longest-tenured mayor on the center.

And yes, he pronounced his last name “balls”.

The abuse of science

We see creationists distort science all the time. They usually do it when the topic is something they really don’t understand; they’re driven by an ugly agenda. Sometimes that agenda is to explicitly undermine real science. Other times it’s to abuse science. This post is about an instance of a creationist engaging in that abuse.

New study links father absence to increased bullying – so when people want to reduce bullying in schools across the board – instead of just protecting their favored students – remind them how important stable one man / one woman families are.

This comes from Neil, that religious nutbag who doesn’t know the difference between the scientific concept of development and his subjective declaration of “humanity”. Committing the same error as his source, he draws inappropriate conclusions from the study. Fortunately yours truly is here. As someone who isn’t interested in distorting science for my own gains, let me explain what the study actually said.

This research investigates the relationships among bullying behavior, mother’s and father’s work hours, and early adolescents’ perceptions of whether they spend sufficient time with their parents. In cross-sectional models, we find maternal work hours are modestly associated with increases in bullying behavior. However, in more rigorous change models, our findings indicate that over time maternal work hours bear no direct relationship to bullying behavior. Moreover, in our final models, an interaction between father’s work hours and perceptions of time spent with him has one of the most robust associations with bullying for adolescents. When paternal employment is full- or overtime and youth perceive they do not spend enough with their fathers, bullying behavior increases. Other important factors that shape bullying behavior are the quality of the home environment and the adolescent’s school performance.

That’s just the abstract; the rest is behind a paywall. More information can be found in the ScienceDaily article.

Basically what the study showed was that when kids had their fathers around, they were less likely to be dicks. Great. What the study didn’t do was compare children of gay couples who had both parents around. It is logically, scientifically, and morally inappropriate to conclude that same-sex marriages produce kids who tend to bully more. We have no evidence even suggesting as much.

It really bothers me when people take these sort of studies and then try and use them to denigrate gay marriage. It isn’t that the bigotry behind it all is frustrating – though it is. It’s that, hey look, we have this scientific study here that was done by a lot of hard-working people with a lot of experience and knowledge, their methods are good, the conclusions are interesting, and there are some clear things we can draw from it all. But then there are these anti-scientific, lazy people with no experience or relevant knowledge, no understanding or appreciation of the methods used, and they aren’t interested in the conclusions at all; it’s all about abusing the science for some petty point, a point that isn’t even on the right side of history.

I’m all for applying our scientific knowledge in how we run ourselves as a society, how we consider our worldviews. I just don’t want to see it all get abused for political points. That’s what happened to this study. It’s unfortunate. We have this serious issue of bullying being considered by a group of serious individuals, and we have these good results that tell us kids are more well adjusted in a particular category when they perceive their fathers, married and heterosexual, as being around more, but then someone has to come around and piss all over everything. All we know from this research is what is says about kids with married, heterosexual parents versus other kids with married, heterosexual parents. Claiming it tells us something different or more is an abuse of science.

Thought of the day

Here are some basic facts:

  • Micah predicts the Messiah to be born in Bethlehem.
  • Knowing this, Matthew places Joseph and Mary there all along.
  • Also knowing this but showing far less common sense, Luke concocts a census that caused Joseph and Mary to travel 100 miles to Bethlehem. First, we know the census never happened at that time (and certainly not on that scale). Second, if it did happen, Mary would not have needed to go with Joseph. Third, even if Mary did need to go with Joseph, she would have had a miscarriage. (I love when I can bend-over-backwards with Christian arguments, granting point after point, and what they say still isn’t true.)
  • In John, people were saying Jesus must be the Messiah, but then others question why he was not from Bethlehem if that was the case.
  • Archeological evidence says Bethlehem of Judaea probably didn’t even exist at the time.
  • Bethlehem of Galilee, on the other hand, does have archeological evidence that shows early Christians believed it was where Jesus was born. This actual evidence contradicts Matthew and Luke.

Take note: The only pieces of the puzzle that are at all resolved or resolvable are the ones that use scientific or historical methods. The Bible, on the other hand, offers no methods for internal resolution.