Saturday, March 15, 2008
The brother was put in foster care at an early age because his alcoholic father threatened to kill him with a knife. As a grown up, he found his birth mother. She had a daughter (mentally slow) and a son by a different man. She invited her biological son to stay with them. Family starved, he left his job and moved in with them. The mother had him stay in the same room as the sister. Then she died suddenly. They clung together in grief and one thing lead to another. They now have 4 children together (3 in foster care). They have both been tried. The brother has served time. Now the German Supreme Court is hearing his case and may well move in his favor. You can read the whole story at Speigel Online.
Florida Darwinists Can’t Get Story Straight about Opposition to Academic Freedom Act
Darwinists in Florida are in a tizzy trying to figure out why they oppose the proposed Academic Freedom Act in their state. Sometimes they claim the act isn’t needed because no one who questions Darwin is being denied academic freedom. Other times they insist the act should be rejected because academic freedom is nothing but “smelly crap.” Still other times, they insist the act is bad because it supposedly authorizes the teaching of religion in science class, even though the text of the act clearly says the exact opposite (“This section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.”)
Many times, of course, Darwinists simply declare that no scientific evidence challenging Darwinism exists for academic freedom to protect. But in an article Wednesday in the Miami Herald, even pro-Darwin reporter Marc Caputo had to concede that “indeed, natural selection is under active challenge from evolutionary-developmental biologists, who say multicellular organisms can dynamically change form under certain environmental conditions, producing major evolutionary jumps.” In point of fact, there are lots of scientific criticisms of Neo-Darwinism made by credentialed scientists. Yet teachers and scientists around the country have been harassed and fired for discussing them. That’s the situation the Academic Freedom Act is designed to remedy.
The Florida Darwinists’ latest gambit to scuttle the bill is to refocus the debate on intelligent design. This was the main point of Caputo’s article. Misrepresenting the words of Casey Luskin at Wednesday's press conferences, Caputo insinuates that the point of the Academic Freedom Act is to push intelligent design, despite the fact that the bill doesn’t even mention the term. The bill simply protects the right “to objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in connection.” Does this language protect information about intelligent design? The bill does not decide that question.
Right now, as Luskin correctly pointed out at the press conference, there is a debate raging over whether intelligent design is science. Scientists and philosophers who support ID certainly think it is scientific in precisely the same way Darwinism is scientific. But the proposed Academic Freedom Act does not wade into the design debate one way or another. If and when ID supporters are able to win the debate over whether ID science, then by definition any scientific information about it that pertains to biological or chemical evolution would be protected—just like any other scientific information relevant to those topics. But, again, the bill doesn’t decide the debate over whether ID is science. It leaves that debate alone.
So who would decide what is scientific under the bill?
The same people who currently must make that determination: science teachers themselves in consultation with their science curriculum staff and their school boards. And if they happen to promote something that isn’t science, we can be sure that groups like the ACLU will be ready to police their activities—just like they do now.
Ironically, the only reason Florida Darwinists would have to fear that this bill might protect intelligent design somewhere down the road is if they already have concluded they cannot win the debate over whether ID is science. Indeed, by insisting that intelligent design must be covered by the bill, Darwinists in Florida seem to have admitted that despite their rhetoric, they really believe that intelligent design is science after all! And that may be the most telling admission in the entire debate.
Posted by John West on March 14, 2008 5:38 AM
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Croatia has experienced a very dramatic drop in the abortion rate from 1989 when the nation's 51,289 abortions were nearly equal to the number of live births. The latest statistics, from 2005, indicate there were 4,563 abortions - a drop of nearly 90% since 1989. Significantly the law on abortion has not changed.
The main reason for the change of hearts and minds on abortion in the country has been the strength of the leadership of the Catholic hierarchy according to pro-life activists and others familiar with Croatia.
What if church leaders here had the same strength to take a stand? Could we put Planned Parenthood out of business for lack of customers without a change in the law?
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The 2007 True Stella Awards
Issued February 2008
(Click here to confirm these are legitimate.)
#3: Sentry Insurance Company. The company provided worker's compensation insurance for a Wisconsin "Meals on Wheels" program. Delivering a meal, a MoW volunteer (who was allegedly not even wearing boots) slipped and fell on a participant's driveway that had been cleared of snow, and Sentry had to pay to care for her resulting injuries. Sentry wanted its money back, so it sued the 81-year-old homeowner getting the Meals on Wheels service. It could have simply filed for "subrogation" from her homeowner's insurance company, but by naming her in the action, it dragged an old lady into court, reinforcing the image of insurance companies as concerned only about the bottom line, not "protecting" policyholders from loss.
#2: The family of Robert Hornbeck. Hornbeck volunteered for the Army and served a stint in Iraq. After getting home, he got drunk, wandered into a hotel's service area (passing "DANGER" warning signs), crawled into an air conditioning unit, and was severely cut when the machinery activated. Unable to care for himself due to his drunkenness, he bled to death. A tragedy, to be sure, but one solely caused by a supposedly responsible adult with military training. Despite his irresponsible behavior -- and his perhaps criminal trespassing -- Hornbeck's family sued the hotel for $10 million, as if it's reasonably foreseeable that some drunk fool would ignore warning signs and climb into its heavy duty machinery to sleep off his bender.
But those pale compared to...
The winner of the 2007 True Stella Award: Roy L. Pearson Jr. The 57-year-old Administrative Law Judge from Washington DC claims that a dry cleaner lost a pair of his pants, so he sued the mom-and-pop business for $65,462,500. That's right: more than $65 million for one pair of pants. Representing himself, Judge Pearson cried in court over the loss of his pants, whining that there certainly isn't a more compelling case in the District archives. But the Superior Court judge wasn't moved: he called the case "vexatious litigation", scolded Judge Pearson for his "bad faith", and awarded damages to the dry cleaners. But Pearson didn't take no for an answer: he's appealing the decision. And he has plenty of time on his hands, since he was dismissed from his job. Last we heard, Pearson's appeal is still pending.
©2007 by Randy Cassingham, StellaAwards.com. Reprinted with permission.
Monday, March 10, 2008
I was often tempted to ask him about maternity care in America on the blogger conference call. I never did because it is not necessarily a presidential issue, but I thought I would post about it now.
I find the maternity care portion of our health care system particularly annoying. In 2006, the US had the 2nd worst infant death rate of any developed nation (followed only by Latvia) according to this CNN article. Our maternal death rate is on the rise (though still rare), according to this 2007 article in the Boston Globe.
And to top it all off, we spend more per baby than most modernized countries. (I couldn’t find a link for that, but in your gut you know it is true.)
Why is this? In my opinion, we would be much better served as women and a country if we stopped going to surgeons for a God-designed function of a woman’s body. OB/GYNs are, first and foremost, surgeons. They spent many years after medical school at a teaching hospital in a surgical residency program and then an OB/GYN residency. If you think that they are prone to not use all of these well honed surgical skills, think again.
I acted as labor support (doula) for a while in Arizona. Every birth I attended was a hospital birth. The doctors often saw themselves as “saving” the woman via all sorts of interventions even when she did not want or need saving. Few doctors knew much about normal childbirth. I say this not to fault them. Their training, after all, is in intervening. So can we blame them when they do? And those services are sometimes necessary. For example, I have a friend who has a condition that makes pregnancy/childbirth very dangerous (her sister almost died in labor because no one new she had it). So my friend is signed up for a c-section at the end of the month.
But most women (around 85-90%) are low risk. Their bodies are perfectly formed to allow a baby to develop and give birth. So why send a healthy woman to a surgeon? All over the developed world there is another, safer, healthier, less expensive system in place. Certified midwives attend most deliveries. Great Britain’s government is even looking for a way to make midwife homebirths (as opposed to a birth center) more accessible. Check out the BBC News article here.
I know that giving birth at home with a midwife raises the image of leftist hippies, but I think that it is really a vertical issue. Both sides of the isle should stand up to the powerful lobby of doctors and usher in a freer, better maternity health care system. At least, we should have a choice. (In some states, women have few legal out-of-hospital choices besides unassisted homebirth.) In Arizona, Medicaid can be used for Certified Nurse Midwives. I can only imagine how many women and babies have benefited from this (I and my son are among them). I can only imagine how many tax payer dollars have been saved. In my case the amount saved was on the order of $30,000, but I won’t go into details on why right now. The average savings would be about $10,000 per delivery.
Along these lines, I stumbled onto a movie called The Business of Being Born. I give it four stars. It did a good job of covering the issue, but the f-word was left in a couple of times. Also for those of you sensitive to it, there was full nudity (in a completely non-sexual birthing way). Here is a link if you would like to see a preview.
Also, if you would like to learn more about midwifery in your state, go to http://www.birthpolicy.org/default.aspx. They have state by state resources.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
OK. Has the school district forgotten that all wars involved acts of violence? And since when is a supporting a war where our troops in harms way "promoting violation of law"? I think this is one of those times that people believe that inanimate objects can be evil. Many objects can be used for evil (knives, spraypaint, baseball bats, the internet, etc.). That does not mean that the objects themselves are evil. Guns are the same way. The people that objected to the PA teen's shirt would probably object to this one from http://www.abort73.org/. After all, anything with a gun picture on it must be evil. (Insert eye roll here.)