"Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning."
"The fingers of your thoughts are molding your face ceaselessly."
"Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere."
"Humility enforces where neither virtue nor strength can prevail, nor reason."
"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."
Resistance Thinking Culture
Culture is a term used to describe why humans act the way they do. The study of culture attempts to explain why certain behaviours have special significance for some humans, where as for others it is completely meaningless. Culture encompasses everything from watching television and surfing the web, to doing yoga and having pre-arranged marriages.
All of the human behaviours that make up a particular culture are founded on a certain set of ideas. For instance, Islamic women wear a hijab for modesty because of teahcings in the Hadith and many Christians wear a cross around their neck in rememberance of Christ. These are human behaviours that are founded on a very clear set of ideas. Ideas are expressed in human behaviours that make up a certain culture.
In this culture section you will find articles, news and reviews on an extrememly diverse range of topics that relate to culture: the media - TV, news, magazines, movies etc., other religions - Islam, Judaism, New Age, Buddhism, Hinduism etc., philosophy - postmodernism, existentialism, humanism, consumerism etc., popular culture, music, Christian culture - music, moviews etc., and a whole lot more!
In 2005 the American Psychological Association (APA) released a Brief titled Lesbian & Gay Parenting which contained the emphatic quote that "there is no evidence to suggest that lesbian women or gay men are unfit to be parents or that psychosocial development among children of lesbian women or gay men is compromised relative to that among offspring of heterosexual parents. Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents" (pg 15, emphasis added). For many people this is as much evidence as anyone needs. The APA is, after-all, the leading body regarding psychological research and the Australian version (the Australian Psychological Society, APS) usually follows the positions of the APA. However, the empirical data does not support the claim that homosexual parenting eclipses (or even equals) that of intact biological, two-parent families. And there are recent studies that confirm this.
A recent study by Dr Loren Marks in the Social Science Research has critiqued the claims by the APA Brief above. I have linked directly to the study so you can peruse this at your own leisure. It is compelling reading. Marks shows that there are many significant issues with the contention that "[n]ot a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents". Here are some of his chief concerns:
77% of the 59 studies used by the APA to reach their position on homosexual parenting contained "small, non-representative, convenience samples of fewer than 100 participants" (Marks, pg 736). Only four of the studies could fall into the category of having "statistical power, consistent with APA's Publication Manual" (Marks, pg 747).
These studies have a tendency to be "racially homogeneous samples" (pg 736). That is, these studies mainly reflect and use research from Caucasian parents and display very limited diversity in the research subjects used.
Of the 59 studies, only eight of them "specifically addressed the outcomes of children from gay fathers" (pg 739).
Only 65.9% of the studies included a comparison to heterosexual parents. Only four of the eight studies of homosexual fathers contained such a comparison.
On the one hand, the selected representatives of same-sex parents are "predominantly [w]hite, well-educated [and] middle class" (Patterson (2000), pg 1064 quoted on Marks, pg 740).
On the other hand, many of the comparisons to lesbian parents include single heterosexual mothers (13 of the 33 studies with comparisons). As it has been unequivocally proven that children fare far better in intact biological, two-parent families than single parent families these comparisons fall short of proving the APA's claim (pg 741).
A key study exists that does not conform to the APA's claim. Sarantakos (1996) is only mentioned in the footnotes of the APA Brief, but he concludes that "[o]verall, the study has shown that children of married couples are more likely to do well at school in academic and social terms, than children of cohabiting and homosexual couples" (Sarantakos, pg 24). The APA did not include this study because the reporting was based on "subjective reports by teachers" (APA Brief, pg 6). Yet his study was only partially made up of teachers' reports in contrast to many of those studies that the APA references which rely "extensively on parents reports" (Marks, pg 743). It begs the question, out of teachers' reports and parents' reports, which is more likely to contain subjectivity and bias that may undermine a study?
Marks is similarly concerned with the type of outcomes investigated in the APA-endorsed studies. These studies usually discuss how children emotionally function, their sexual preferences and gender identity. Only a few research studies discussing how homosexual parenting affects a child's cognitive functioning (Anderssen et al (2002), pg 343).
Marks stresses that other concerns that were not addressed includes "excessive drinking, drug use, truancy, sexual deviance, and criminal offenses" (Sarantakos (2000), pg 131 quoted on Marks, pg 744).
The best way to reveal whether children have theses issues is to look at the long-term outcomes (i.e. when these children have reached adulthood - these are known as longitudinal studies). In other family research studies this is a key factor, but most studies in the APA Brief "lacks the statistical power and rigor of the large, random, representative samples used in marriage-based family studies" (Marks, pg 745).
Marks' final criticism of the studies mentioned in the APA Brief is pertinent. These studies are prone to committing the type II error. "[A] reported finding of "no statistically significant difference" is a grossly inadequate basis upon which to offer the science-based claim that the groups were conclusively "the same"" (Marks, pg 745) because one has to have a 95% certainty that a study determines that two groups are statistically significantly different to label it as such. Small, non-representative samples (like the majority of those in the APA Brief) are very likely to reach a finding of "no statistically significant difference". Indeed many of the studies were designed to increase the chances of the statistics proving just that (Marks, pg 747).
One of the chief criticisms by Loren Marks, as mentioned above, is the lack of longitudinal studies that examine the effects of homosexual parenting over a long period of time and into adulthood. The US National Longitudinal Family Study (NLLFS) has studied 78 adolescents (aged approximately 17 yrs) of lesbian mothers from birth to assess their quality of life. In some ways this provides new research beyond that which is available in the studies quoted in the APA Brief (because it is longitudinal).
However, another recent study by Mark Regnerus cannot be ignored. Regnerus provides both a critique of the NLLFS as well as a comprehensive study that offers compelling evidence that there are statically significant differences between children of homosexual parents and those of intact biological, two-parent families. Some of Regnerus' criticisms of the NLLFS include:
The recruitment process - self-selection occurring from announcements and posts "at lesbian events, in women's bookstores, and in lesbian newspapers" (Regnerus, pg 753).
The use of snowball samples - comparing a small group of 78 children to a much larger study (in this case the Washington Healthy Youth Survey of 7049 students) (Regnerus, pg 753).
The bias that occurs with parental self-reporting (Regnerus, pg 754).
Regnerus also provides a new study titled The New Family Structures Study (NFSS) which offers compelling reasons to believe there are significant differences between certain outcomes for children of homosexual parents and those of intact biological, two-parent families. The sample size (including comparisons) was "2988 Americans between the ages of 18 and 39" (Regnerus, pg 756) of which 236 reported that at least one of their parents had, at some point, a same-sex romantic relationship. It is interesting to note that 43% of children who reported their mother had a same-sex relationship were Black or Hispanic (showing the inadequacy of representation in the studies used in the APA Brief) (Regnerus, pg 756).
Some of the key differences between children of lesbian mothers (LM) and gay fathers (GF) and those of intact biological, two-parent families (IBF) shown in the results of this study include:
Current employment. 49% of IBF report full-time employment compared to 26% of LM and 34% of GF (Regnerus, pg 761).
Current unemployment. 8% of IBF report unemployment compared to 28% of LM and 20% of GF (Regnerus, pg 761).
Contemplated suicide. 5% of IBF report thinking about suicide compared to 12% of LM and 24% of GF (Regnerus, pg 761).
Had an affair. 13% of IBF report having an affair while married/cohabiting compared to 40% of LM and 25% of GF (Regnerus, pg 761).
Touched sexually by parent/adult. 2% of IBF report sexual assault by a parent or adult compared to 23% of LM and 6% of GF (Regnerus, pg 761).
Forced to have sex against will. 8% of IBF report having been forced to have sex against their will compared to 31% of LM and 25% of GF (Regnerus, pg 761).
Children of lesbian mothers report a greater frequency of smoking, watching TV and being arrestedto an extent that is statically significant when compared to children of intact biological families (Regnerus, pg 762).
Children of homosexual fathers report a greater frequency of being arrestedthat is statistically significant when compared to children of intact biological families.
Comparing the number of sex partnersis illuminating (Regnerus, pg 762). Children of lesbian mothers or homosexual fathers report having more sex partners (of both sex) on average than those children of intact biological families:
Intact bio family
N of female sex partners (among women)
N of female sex partners (among men)
N of male sex partners (among women)
N of male sex partners (among men)
The numbers in bold are those that are statistically significantly different.
Regnerus shows that in 25 of the 40 outcomes specified in his study there are statically-significant differences between children of intact biological families and children whose mothers had a same-sex relationship. This is not to say that this study is extensive, comprehensive or the final authority in this regard. But it does put incredible pressure upon the APA's assertions that not a single study reveals significant differences between the two types of parents. It is worth considering that this study was done with 2988 subjects involved with 163 children with mothers who have had a same-sex relationship and 73 children withfathers who have had a same-sex relationship. Of the 59 studies in the APA Brief only Morris' 2002 study (2431) and Johnson and O'Connor's 2002 study (415) contained more subjects who had same-sex parents.
It is worth investigating the question of the author of the Summary of Research Findings for the APA Brief. The author is Charlotte J. Patterson and she wrote the initial statement at the beginning of this article, saying"there is no evidence to suggest that lesbian women or gay men are unfit to be parents or that psychosocial development among children of lesbian women or gay men is compromised relative to that among offspring of heterosexual parents. Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents". Patterson is in a lesbian relationship and has three children. For most readers it seems counter-intuitive for someone with such a vested interest to be writing a summary for the APA on this issue. In fact, claiming that there are no studies that suggest that children do not benefit from having homosexual parents seems almost unavoidable considering Patterson's own family situation and her political leanings. This is not to say her research and experience should be ignored but one should approach her opinions with a healthy dose of scepticism.
Similarly, if we are to look at those involved in the research for the US National Longitudinal Family Study on Lesbian Mothers we find a similar bias. The principal researcher, Nanette Gartrell, is "married" to lesbian feminist activist Dee Mosbacher. Heidi Peyseris a contributor, and she is in a lesbian relationship and has twin sons. Naomi Goldberg, another contributor, is a research associate for Movement Advancement Project (MAP) who, ontheir own website, has something called an Equality Map designed to compare how pro-LGB or anti-LGB each American state is. It is clear that MAP is intended to be an empowering website for pro-homosexual political platforms.
This Longitudinal Family Studyshouldn't necessarily be completely disregarded but the final determinations that were ascertained should hardly come as any surprise given the researchers in charge. Almost universally, when lesbians conduct parenting studies the results reflect what is in the researcher's self-interest, namely that homosexual parents do not differ significantly from intact biological parents. There are some weaknesses in the Regnerus study, which he himself acknowledges. One weakness, for instance, is the Regnerus study confusing a broad behavioural question - "Did either of your parents ever have a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex?"with a structural question -"Please select the ages when you lived with the following persons" (for more on this visit http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2012/06/don_t_let_criticism_of_the_new_gay_parents_study_become_a_war_on_science.html).Regnerus cites poor sample sizes as the reason why he lumped all children of parents who'd ever had a same-sex relationship together. Another weakness, if it can be seen as such, is that the Regnerus study may seem to be more reflective of family instability than of homosexual parenting. However, Regnerus' study stands despite the scrutiny of those who do not like its political implications. Many may point to the instability as a reason for allowing same-sex marriage (as marriage is perceived to add stability) without realising that the Regnerus study had so many short-term same-sex relationships (as opposed to only a handful of children with parents in long-term same-sex relationships) because by-and-large this is reflective of these types of relationships. It is worth noting that the studies mentioned in the APA Brief would not withstand the type of attack theNew Family Structures Studyhas come under since it was published.
Such is the climate at the moment that any mention of homosexuality being detrimental to children will be shouted down. Even when the empirical evidence stares people in the face they will scoff and point to the numerous, methodologically unsound studies as if the number of studies (and not the accuracy) should be the deciding factor. Many point to leading bodies like the APA and present their findings as decisive. What Loren Marks has shown, however, is that very few of the studies presented by the APA withstand appropriate research scrutiny. With the addition of the Regnerus study one is left wondering how the APA can continue to endorse the notion that the results of studies universally show that there is no statistical difference between intact biological parents and homosexual parents when some of the most accurate studies are being disregarded. Surely others must be able to see through this façade.
Ted has hit cinema screens in the last two weeks. It is a movie about a foul-mouthed, drug-using teddy bear who has come to life and lives with an aging Mark Wahlberg.
Reports are in though that parents are taking their children to this movie:
"Because it's an R-rated movie in the US, children under 17 seeing Ted have to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. According to CinemaScore, a research group that interviews opening-night moviegoers around the US, the number of under-18 moviegoers for R-rated comedies tends to run somewhere between 10 percent to 13 percent.....
For Ted, it was a whopping 18 percent. And those are just opening-night figures. If the survey included Saturday night and Sunday afternoon moviegoers, the percentage would surely be considerably higher....."
1. It's not bad to want to have sex with your significant other. It'd be another sort of worry if you didn't. The key is to want to glorify Christ more than you want to have sex with each other.
2. The key to glorifying Christ more than you want to have sex with each other is that it is a decision to be made over and over again.
3. Persons in a dating or courting relationship are on their best behavior. So however they are now, you can expect, over time, for them to get "worse." As familiarity grows, people let their guards down. Marriage does not fix bad behavior; it often gives it freer reign. Ladies, this means if your boyfriend is controlling, suspicious, verbally condescending or manipulative, he will get worse, not better the longer your relationship goes on. Whatever you are making excuses for or overlooking now, will get harder to ignore and more prominent the longer your relationship goes on. You can't fix him, and marriage won't straighten him out.
4. Nearly every Christian I know who is married to an unbeliever loves their spouse and does not necessarily regret marrying them, but has experienced deep pain and discontent in their marriage because of this unequal yoking and would now never advise a believer to marry an unbeliever.
5. Assuming you're special and you're different and their experiences won't reflect yours is shortsighted, unwise, and arrogant. The people who love you and are warning/advising you against your relationship might be ignorant fools. Those sorts of people do exist. But odds are better that your parents, your pastor, your older married friends are wiser than you think.
7. Premarital sex de-incentivizes a young man to grow up, take responsibility, and lead his home and family.
8. Pre-marital sex wounds a young woman's heart, perhaps imperceptibly at first but undeniably over time, as she trades in covenant benefits without covenant security. This is not the way God designed sex to fulfill us. Never give your body to a man who has not pledged to God his faithfulness to you in covenant marriage, which presupposes an accountability to a local church. In short, don't give your heart to a man who is not accountable to anybody who provides godly discipline.
9. All of your relationships, including your romantic relationship, is meant to make Jesus look big more than it is meant to provide you personal fulfillment. When we make personal fulfillment our ultimate priority in our relationships, ironically enough, we find ourselves frustratingly unfulfilled.
10. You are loved by God with abundant grace in Christ's atoning work, and an embrace of this love by faith in Jesus provides Holy Spiritual power and satisfaction to pursue relationships that honor God and thereby maximize your joy.
In a hard-fought but slippery game on Thursday night Carlton managed to get within ten points at the final siren. Perhaps it didn't reflect that West Coast had ten more scoring shots but most of the Carlton players were giving their all in the second half and they almost upset the Eagles at home.
Through-out the game there were several peculiar calls. The 50-metre penalty against Carlton captain Chris Judd, the holding-the-ball against Aaron Joseph and numerous 50-50s that went to the home team where others that were borderline for Carlton were not paid. Admittedly the umpiring was not quite as bad as many Carlton posters alluded to but it was clear that the Blues were not aided in many ways by the men in green.
Because of some of these decisions many of the Carlton players made Twitter comments alluding to the obscurity of some of the umpire's calls. The most pertinent of these being Zach Tuoey's "Pity afl players cant have an opinion on the game we play without being criticized".The Irishman in his second year understands the stupidity of the AFL's position. He hasn't been constantly blasted and indoctrinated into being the tame modern footballer with a PC attitude.
It is likely the AFL will come down hard on him, Marc Murphy, Jeremy Laidler and Jarrad Waite. AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou has expressed his position on this issue before, "Everyone knows that commenting on umpires - whether it's through Facebook, Twitter, email, during a press conference or during a radio interview - is unacceptable."
Yet it is now time to challenge this position. Demetriou knows the AFL stance is positionally opposite to freedom of speech. However, he has qualified the AFL's position because "[f]reedom of speech has to come with some responsibility, if we were all allowed to say everything we wanted to say, we'd be in a bit of strife, particularly me".
This is deeply disturbing. The statement directly above is essentially quashing freedom of speech. You can't have conditional freedom of speech. Either you have or you don't. In this case AFL players and coaches do not have it. Furthermore, Demetriou's logic is flawed "if we were all allowed to say everything we wanted to say, we'd be in a bit of strife". Freedom of speech needs to operate in such a way that people can say whatever they want even if it is silly or hateful. Threatening another individual is the obvious and historical line where freedom of speech stops and for safety reasons should be continued.
Demetriou's position is ethically questionable. He has silenced the players, coaching staff and I'm sure different media outlets are on notice as to what they can and cannot publish. Essentially all the experts who are involved in the game cannot say a word against the umpires. Demetriou's reason for mimicking North Korea in this regard: "We have trouble recruiting umpires. There's more umpires leaving the game than coming in, at all levels. "So we will not accept any criticism of umpires."
Now I have no inclination to criticise umpires, unless they deserve it. I particularly try to avoid discussing the umpiring of West Coast because I know I am biased. However, there must be some way players and fans can voice their disapproval of erroneous decisions. To ignore this need is to limit freedom of speech, and a limited freedom of speech is actually an oxymoron.
The AFL's aims are excellent. We do need more umpire's in the game and sure, they are always the bad guys, no matter what side you are on. Yet, it is completely unethical that the AFL now holds a stance that allows zero speech regarding the performances of the umpires. It is post-modernist thinking and it is wrong. To inflict this upon the chief proponents of the AFL is unethical and dangerous.
In much the same way we have vilification laws that exist, and are proposed that limit our freedom of speech. Now, people should not be promoting hatred against any groups, but this is different from saying they must not. It is undemocratic to support such a law and most of the time these laws are extrapolated to include people who are not being hateful but merely are interpreted in a way that would allow legal action against their comments. Simply because others don't like their position. Like with the AFL's position, moving from freedom of speech destroys this right entirely. Indeed local Melbourne filmmaker Topher has made a short video on further developments against freedom of speech in the media:
What we are seeing, then, is a systemic problem in society. These collective decision-makers are trying to do something positive but to achieve it they must take a position that cannot be supported in a democratic society. The AFL stance is just one small area where it is happening and it must be challenged. Most footballers are too worried about their playing future to do so. As fans, however, we should not be silent. Our game and our liberties are at stake.