Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Science x Religion = Scigion?

In a recent issue of the New York Times, the John Templeton Foundation. They're a scientific finance group that used to sponsor Nova. They've instead gotten into running large, two-page ads in the Times about "The Big Questions." Such as: who is Britney dating, and, where can I get g00d che@p \/|@gra from C@n@d@?

The most recent one was; Does science make belief in God obsolete? They solicited answers from a wide variety of people, I give them credit, including one of my heroes, Michael Shermer. They also got Christopher Hitchens, who is always entertaining. I do wish they had gotten more people with hard-core philosophical backgrounds. They got a few with theological training, and ONE person, Mary Midgley, with focus on ethics. But this has nothing to do with ethics. Where are the epistemologists and metaphysicists? They had boat-loads of physicists and biologists, a few priests, and one very devout guy, but no philosophers.

I think the question was also formulated poorly, since almost everyone re-stated the question before answering it. Surprisingly, most of them re-stated it similarly. I, too, restate it. I find the question multi-faceted. The first question is “can someone believe in science and God simultaneously,” and “can someone be a scientist and believe in God.”

The answer to the first question is no, and the answer to the second is yes. “Belief,” as it were, in science requires an acceptance of causality, probability, and basing thought and actions on these two tenets. I do not cower in a closet for fear of being killed by a rogue baseball, since the probability of that is very low. Likewise, since God is outside of causality, probability, and inquiry, there is no reason to believe. So, yes, a dedicated belief in causality and probability and the analysis thereof negates if not the actual existence of God, but the belief.

Science can be done by anyone, though. It can be done passively and effectively. How long this will be true is anyone’s guess, since most of our scientific tinkering is still in its earliest stages. What of the days when we will manipulate the very fabric of space-time. I think we will find it much harder to simply work with what is in front of us and assume the existence of a divine entity in the wings, watching over us. But the point remains, anyone can do science by observing, recording, predicting, and controlling. On the face of it, it’s obvious that religious belief need not intrude on this activity at all. My belief in God does not affect my ability to make a better television or cancer drug.

I think the question is better stated as whether it is possible to live a religious life and a scientific life simultaneously, and that is a resounding no. One cannot accept the tenets of science as a system by which to live a life and the tenets of religion. Science requires inquiry, experiment, and prediction. Religion requires the abandonment of all three. Religion requires the baseless assumption of God, faith, and the assumption that He is outside our ken. Science rejects that.

Obviously, it could be argued that a religious foundation and a scientific foundation are fundamentally equal. We are unsure of God's existence, but we are also unsure of our own existence. All we know is that we think, therefore we are. So the world may be an illusion, and as such scientific inquiry is as much a figment of our imagination as religion is.

This is true, but this figment is involuntary and universal amongst people. Religion, however, is not. We have to think about religion, come up with it, and watch it evolve. Religion has changed, human perception has not. I am just sitting here, having my perceptions forced on me. I have no rational reason to doubt them to such a degree as believe The Matrix is real. If I must base the world on something, it may be the things I do not have to contemplate.

At least this question was better farmed than the Does the Universe Have a Purpose? question. Again, where are all the philosophers?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

This Just Gets Better

Somewhere back there, I wrote a post about Ben Stein going from quirky b-list celebrity to first-rate idiot for producing a movie supporting intelligent design. I'm sorry, but if you believe ID, that goes beyond the boundaries of religion. You're just dumb. And boy, I couldn't have hoped for this movie to be any dumber.

Apparently, they interview a variety of big names in the skeptical, scientific, and biological world in a search for evidence that scientists all know that ID is true, they're just keeping it secret, seemingly because they hate Jews. I'm not kidding! I haven't seen the movie, but the Darwin/Hitler connection is supposedly harped on for some time. Well, the scientists are pretty pissed.

They say that they're words are being twisted, they encountered bizarre interview techniques that seemed more like an interrogation (repeated questions, etc.), and, most importantly, all of the "academics" who were let go or refused advancement suffered not because they believed in ID, but because they were just sucky academics.

So read up! Enjoy the hullaballoo. The brouhaha, if you will. Oh, with a film about academics expelling ideas, they were smart enough to expel PZ Myers from the screening. Smart. Intelligent, even.

New Anti-Evolution Film Stirs Controversy (
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed--Scientific American's Take (Scientific American)
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed--Ben Stein Launches a Science-free Attack on Darwin (Scientific American)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Do I Hate Women or Just Think They Suck?

There is a really interesting discussion about the difference between misogyny and sexism over on a New York Times blog. If you have a good couple of hours you might be able to read the 170+ comments, but it's somewhat worth it. There are a remarkable number of well-thought-out comments and only a small amount of sniping and name-calling.

Misogyny Vs. Sexism (Via The New York Times)


That is the sound of an idea. A recent issue, the March 24th, of Time Magazine was dedicated to them. They mention the term paradigm shift, referring to a fundamental change in perception, such as when people started to realize the Earth was not the center of the universe. Not only did I find the ten ideas listed to come nowhere near that benchmark for the term, most of them are already old-hat.

1: The Common Wealth- Yes. Wouldn't the world be nice if we were all rich and happy. Well drop this stupid, hippy idea and wake up to reality. This concept has been floating around for decades. There will always be amazingly rich people and amazingly poor people. It's the end result of an economic spectrum. Going global with this just means we'll have rich and poor countries. And, sorry to say, the world economy is far ahead of any humanitarians in thinking globally. Business is very worried about the environment, world peace, and all these other great ideals because problems in any area mean lost money. This article is almost superfluous because people already know these things.

Oh, and 100mpg cars in 2030? Try 2010. We'll have those running around in very short order with $10 gas.

2: The End of Customer Service- Apparently, those self-checkouts at Wal*Mart are a paradigm shift. "...the need to interact with human beings is quickly disappearing." Anyone who has interacted with those HAL-like nightmares knows that there is still a very big place for human interaction. Especially after waiting at a kiosk behind a 4,000 year-old woman as she tries to figure out which way to swipe this new-fangled credit card.

3: The Post-Movie-Star Era- The death of modern Hollywood has been predicted before. People have known that big name stars do not correlate well with move success for some times. They should have talked about the emergence of the 15-Minutes-of-Fame era, compliments of the internet and YouTube. Big name stars will continue to be a thing because their names mean little, only that a big name is attached, thus indicating a big movie. They mention Ratatouille, Alvin & The Chipmunks, and Transformers as bucking the system. No, idiots. The big names in those movies were the brands, themselves. You didn't need big stars to advertise that it was a big movie.

4: Reverse Radicalism- What? Ok, fine, studying terrorists. I'll support that. But a paradigm shift?

5: Kitchen Chemistry- Again, a paradigm shift? I think not. They set up a straw man in the opening paragraph by saying "you've been cooking like an idiot. You press on meat... to guess how rare it is; you trow spagetti at the wall to see if it's done; you add an amount of salt that looks pretty... If people made medicine this way, we'd all be dead." We are not changing the way we cook forever. Many people are very precise, analytical, and scientific about their food. We've been this way for centuries. Hell, 300 years ago, food was more scientific than it is now. This not new. People have been precise, anal, and analytical about food for a long time. Oh, and molecular gastronomy has been around for decades. It has not caught on because it's a niche product.

6: Geoengineering- This is a good idea, but certainly not a paradigm shift. These ideas have all been around for some time. In the early days in an effort to manipulate the weather for farming.

7: Synthetic Authenticity- Basically a business model. It's been around since at least the 60's and pretty much defines modern marketing. And seriously, there is not such thing as a paradigm shift in advertising.

8: The New Austerity- Yet another credit doomsayer. He lists all the previous doomsayers who were wrong in the first paragraph as though that gives this doomsaying credibility. The fact that I kind of agree with him notwithstanding, this isn't a paradigm shift.

9: Mandatory Health- Paradigm shift? New idea? Really? Go ask Milton Hershey who created Hershey, PA as a healthful haven for all employees. They could live there on the cheap... as long as they exercised, didn't do anything naughty, and were early to bed, early to rise, and all that rot.

10: Re-Judaising Jesus- There are so many fucking splinter groups of Christianity, they've given up the ability to have a paradigm shift. Every idea, EVER, has been posited and discussed. Nowadays, you have a paradigm shift by switching religion, which for many people, according to a recent study, happens once every few days.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Hey, FDR Had Polio. It Can't Be All Bad

Ok, Jenny McCarthy, a paragon of intelligence and scientific inquiry if there ever was one, appeared on Larry King to discuss autism. Her son was apparently diagnosed with autism three years ago, but, get this, he's O-K now.

Sure. Because you know how autism can be cured with a good vegetarian diet and "detoxification." Detoxification is one of the worst examples of new age dietary garbage. As though the world is toxic and good vegan foods are cleansing. Please. Show me the data! Show me the chemical equations showing how asparagus scrubs heavy metals from my flesh. You twits.

McCarthy said that "I believe that parents' anecdotal information is science-based information." Really? You believe that, do ya'? And that is why you aren't a scientist. Anecdotal evidence is the very opposite of scientific or science-based (whatever the fuck that is) information. If we relied on anecdotal information, werewolves, witches, possession, and miracles would all be scientific. And she REPEATS that, twice, just to absolutely drive home the fact that she is not a scientist.

This was especially interesting for me because, as I said in an earlier post, I don't think autism is a thing. It's a pattern of behavior that could be caused by damn-near anything. If her son stopped displaying the behavior pattern, which I can't confirm, he never had autism, in the psychiatric sense. Maybe he just liked acting weird.

Everything McCarthy says seems to indicate that she knows little to nothing about autism. She calls it a global epidemic. I wonder if the young woman from my previous post had anything to say about that. First things first, an it is an epidemic in only a pop-usage of the word. An actual epidemic is a disease, and a disease has a pathogen. In CNN-ese, drug use is an epidemic, but in epidemiology, it's an epidemic only if it has a pathogenic cause. The very vaccines she campaigns against are tools against actual epidemics. Autism as an epidemic exists only in the mind of alarmist news shows.

And even assuming that we can use the word 'epidemic' in the sense she does, the data on which she's likely relying does not indicate a rise in autism, only a rise in diagnosis, which could mean multiple things. We have yet to prove if autism is a thing and if we don't know what it is, how the hell can be diagnosis it? We don't say more people are becoming gay, we just say more of them are coming out of the closet.

She also, like so, so, so, so, so many other parents, reveals herself to know little to nothing about the way vaccines work. They can not have some magical, undetectable effect on the body in such a way to cause vaguely similar symptoms across a large population. If it doesn't cause the same things, it's not the cause. Vaccines can, at the most, cause the illness they're trying to prevent. If they had some other effect, the physiological results would be apparent in the same way we can see them in drug trial patients. These things cannot, I repeat, cannot have an untraceable effect on the circuitry of the brain. We... would... SEE IT. We'd see degradation to the myelin of the neurons. We'd see increases or decreases in neurotransmitters. Damage of the magnitude required to cause autistic behavior does not go unnoticed. And the data support me. You cannot fix vaccine damage because there is no damage to fix.

The show than plays a tape of McCarthy and her son being all cute. This is a disgusting tug at the viewers heart strings. Of course McCarthy loves her son. I'm sure whatever is ailing him has ripped her apart. And big surprise that she, and many other parents with autistic children are lashing out at anything they can to explain why their babies are broken. But this isn't about how much she loves her son. This is about a famous person planting the seeds of illogical fear into a large audience, and for that, she should be ripped apart.

Off subject, but her hair is ridiculous.

She talks about Defeat Autism Now, which itself refers to "autism spectrum." How the hell can you defeat it if you don't know what it is. Why not just call it "Defeat Weird Behavior Now." And again, you do not cure autism. If you cured it, it wasn't autism and we wouldn't have all these damned news shows talking about it. I would wager all the money in the world that you could see similar results with a cheesecake cure. Take kids brought in with autism spectrum and feed them nothing but cheesecake and you'll see similar results to what they're seeing now. And from my perspective, I'd be more worried about the massive seizures he was having as a child as opposed to some nebulous diagnosis of autism. And the seizures he continues to have are more worrying than anything else.

One of the exerpts brought on after the break says that vaccines don't cause autism, but they contribute to autism. He even then says that "nothing's proven." Well, if nothing's proven, shut up. Another expert, a pediatrician mocked McCarthy after she pointed to a list of 36 vaccines and asked if we really need them all. He said "which disease do you want your child to get?" The SciAm blog I linked asks if talking down to her helps the scientific community or makes her more sympathetic. I don't think so. She was being an ass. Her question of "Do we need THEM ALL" relies on emotion and an implication of excess. As though people listening will agree on a gut level "Jesus, that's a lot." It's relying on the ignorance and fear of a population that is distrustful of medicine, doctors, drugs, and shit they don't understand. My answer would have been subtly mocking, but much more straight-forward. I would have just said "yes."

The same expert that supports McCarthy said that we have to analyze the risks and benefits. Yes! Exactly! That's what we have to do! Too bad he than says that the risks of immunization outweigh the benefits, which is totally bunk. He says nothing's proven. The benefits of immunization are proven. Proven outweighs unproven. He's making no sense whatsoever. He also talks about the immune system, implying he says that autism may have something with do with an autoimmune response to the vaccines. Again, where's the damage, Mansley? In all autoimmune disorders, we can see the damage clearly in either scans, samples, or autopsy.

And the Amish comment is way off base. They are a small, closed-off population of less than 200,000. You cannot, in any way, generalize them to a population. One would have to get scientifically verifiable information of a massive group, ranging across cultures and genetic lines, to verify the correlation between vaccination and no vaccination. There is a definite link between autism and heritability, and the Amish are all Germanic, and they marry within their own group. With all that inbreeding, I wonder what other, wacky illnesses they have.

And their final point, the vaccine study; sounds like a great idea, but even assuming we could gather a large enough group, but there are some pretty serious ethical problems. We would need to assign vaccines and placebo on a random basis. We could not only allow parents who are anti-vaccine in because that confounds the study. The participants must be equal. And let's say it's discovered that there is no link between autism and vaccine. We know that there is a link between vaccine and illness, so the kids that got the placebo and die from smallpox render the study ethically impossible. And boy howdy, if you think you've seen parents angry about autism, kids that were killed by lack of vaccine will trigger the lawsuit to end all lawsuits.

Pediatrician zings Jenny McCarthy over vaccines and autism (Scientific American)

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Early Birds

Finally, some hard evidence to show that Monte Verde wasn't first. It's been pretty much accepted by everyone that Clovis wasn't first, but the oldest, certainly datable materials have been from Monte Verde. There have been tons of people claiming carbon from a fire or hearth dating to some absurd number, like 24,000 years, but nothing concrete. It's something that people in the know have been pulling their hair out over, since everything in them says that people were here earlier, but we had nothing to prove it.

This isn't the kind of date I would have fantasized about, that date is 20,000+, but 14,340 is pretty damned good. I just feel, with a degree of understanding about human nature, that if we were building boats, or roaming 20,000 years ago, we found our way to North and South America. Too bad the fuckers were so transigent that they likely never stayed in one place too long. And if Monte Verde, way in the southern part of Chile, was dated at more than 13,000 years, where are all the earlier people that traveled down? Did they come straight from the Pacific Islands? I find that hard to swallow because of the length of the journey, but damnit if Heyerdahl didn't make it. Granted, he was heading west which is easier than east. Still, it's possible.

And the theory of people following the coastline is impossible to deny. A group following the coastline and ignoring big game in favor of fishing could make the journey very quickly, maybe in a decade or less. And the fact that the feces discovered had little bison in it seems to indicate a reliance on smaller game.

And, for me, the Solutrean hypothesis is also hard to ignore. Again, a journey is possible, and a group following the southern glacier via small boats could make the journey quickly. If only we could find evidence in the Eastern US indicating an early presence. Still, this does not explain the first people to come to the continent.

These fecal droppings, otherwise known as poo, confirm East Asian origin, so Solutrean or not, people from Asia were certainly here and I would wager they were the first. I just know that there is evidence out there waiting to confirm a first steps date of well more than 20,000 years ago.

Again, I'm copying the whole Yahoo! article since they delete the articles after a week or so.

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer Thu Apr 3, 7:20 PM ET

WASHINGTON - New evidence shows humans lived in North America more than 14,000 years ago, 1,000 years earlier than had previously been known. Discovered in a cave in Oregon, fossil feces yielded DNA indicating these early residents were related to people living in Siberia and East Asia, according to a report in Thursday's online edition of the journal Science.

"This is the first time we have been able to get dates that are undeniably human, and they are 1,000 years before Clovis," said Dennis L. Jenkins, a University of Oregon archaeologist, referring to the Clovis culture, well known for its unique spear-points that have been studied previously.

Humans are widely believed to have arrived in North America from Asia over a land-bridge between Alaska and Siberia during a warmer period. A variety of dates has been proposed and some are in dispute.

Few artifacts were found in the cave, leading Jenkins to speculate that these people stayed there only a few days at a time before moving on, perhaps following game animals or looking for other food.

The petrified poop — coprolites to scientists — is yielding a look at the diet of these ancient Americans, Jenkins said.

While the analysis is not yet complete, he said there are bones of squirrels, bison hair, fish scales, protein from birds and dogs and the remains of plants such as grass and sunflowers.

The oldest of several coprolites studied is 14,340 calendar years old, said co-author Eske Willerslev, director of the Centre for Ancient Genetics at Denmark's University of Copenhagen.

"The Paisley Cave material represents, to the best of my knowledge, the oldest human DNA obtained from the Americas," he said. "Other pre-Clovis sites have been claimed, but no human DNA has been obtained."

The date for the new coprolites is similar to that of Monte Verde in southern Chile, where human artifacts have been discovered, added Willerslev.

Jenkins said it isn't clear exactly who these people living in the Oregon caves were, since there were few artifacts found. He said there was one stone tool, a hand tool used perhaps to polish or grind or mash bones or fat.

"We are not saying that these people were of a particular ethnic group. At this point, we know they most likely came from Siberia or Eastern Asia, and we know something about what they were eating, which is something we can learn from coprolites. We're talking about human signature," he said.

"If you are looking for the first people in North America, you are going to have to step back more than 1,000 years beyond Clovis to find them," Jenkins said.

The Clovis culture has been dated to between 13,200 and 12,900 calendar years ago and is best known by the tools left behind.

Michael Waters, director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M University, said the find, along with indications of human presence at other locations, adds to the evidence for a pre-Clovis human presence in North America.

"The genetic evidence from the coprolites from Paisley Caves is also consistent with the current genetic data for the peopling of the Americas — that the earliest inhabitants of the Americas came from Northeast Asia," added Waters, who was not part of the research team.

Anthropologist Ripan Malhi of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, said this data along with material from Alaska provide increasing "evidence that ancestors of Native Americans used a coastal route during the colonization of the Americas." Malhi was not part of the research team.

Jenkins said that discoveries like those in the Oregon caves "help us to reconstruct the American past."

"Our heritage is really important and it is important to the majority of the American public. If you don't know where you come from, it's hard to have a feeling of community, of participation."

To make sure the Oregon cave material hadn't been contaminated with modern DNA, the researchers tested more than 50 people who worked at the site. The DNA testing indicated that the feces belonged to Native Americans in two groups that can be traced to Siberia and East Asia.

In their paper the researchers dated the coprolites at 12,300 "carbon years" before the present. Prior to 3,000 years ago, carbon years differed from calendar years, resulting in the date of approximately 14,300 calendar years for the coprolites.

The research was funded by the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, University of Oregon; Association of Oregon Archaeologists and the Marie Curie Actions program.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Not to let Dubai hog all the limelight, yet another disgustingly rich arab guy has decided that the way into the Western world's heart is to build huge fuck-off buildings. My first point is that, no, I'm sorry, it doesn't work that way. The average Westerner has a hard time remembering where Paris is, much less the conglomerate of sand-covered metropoleis that these men call home. You do not "buy" your way out of being a backwater, horrid culture by spending your oil money to build the very shimmering towers of excess that so many in your countries decry. You will remain "those fellers that wear towels on their heads" to most of American for many, many years. And, in my eyes, you remain a bunch of savages as long as you have separate entrances for men and women.

But enough about that, the mile-high tower is very cool. It's sad, too. I was hoping that America would be the first to build the mile tower with the Illinois, Frank Lloyd Wright's swan song. Ah well, how they overcome a number of design issues is of immense interest to me.
  • The temperature between the top of the building and the bottom is going to be immense. Aside from the fact they're in the fucking desert, a mile difference straight up is going to play havoc with the materials used. Most buildings aren't used to 20-30 degree differences at the same time.

  • In the Illinois, the height would require an immense number of elevators to reach the upper floors. So many that a large portion of the lower floors and even middle floors would be taken up just servicing elevators. Large towers, today, have express elevators that reach certain levels which allow people to take slower, smaller elevators to their desired floor. Still, a mile high would require multiple stops, and express elevator speeds close to 60mph. Even still, times to get to your desired floor could be in excess of thirty minutes.

    Would they follow FLW's idea of massive, five-story elevators on the outside of the building? An elevator that large would have to make so many stops for all its passengers that you would be in the elevator for an eternity waiting to get to the top.

  • Just getting stuff moved around the building is an amazing problem. Getting water to the large population above is an engineering feat in and of itself. Would they let the waste water down and run generators from its flow to power more water up? Would they have recycling centers in the upper floors? Would they store reservoirs that would supply peak usage times and recharge during down time?

  • Materials! What the hell would they make it out of, or I should say, of what the hell would they make it? Steal flexes a lot, as does aluminum. Would they use composite materials, such as the layered fibers with which they make plane fuselages? Giant beams of reinforced carbon fiber could certainly fit the bill, but they aren't very resistant to heat. A good, two/three-inch coating of fire-resistant material could do it.

  • Powering the beast is another immense challenge. The size of the power infrastructure to get electricity to the upper regions would be amazing.

This reminds me a lot of Sky City, the never-realized super project to be built in the heart of Tokyo. It was on that show on Discovery that also had the floating city that was a mile long. I think the primary importance of this building, if it does get built, is the answer to all those technical questions. We're covering the globe with the pestilence that is us, and we have to build up. Towers measured in miles are truly the future of our species, and if our addiction to oil is what funds it, I can think of no better use for the money than our very survival.

P.S. Did I use the word immense, enough?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


In the most recent New York Times Magazine, there is an article about modern, college-level abstinence proponents. To them, abstinence is philosophical, research-based, an outgrowth of feminism, sexy and fun, and all of the above.

I agree with none of those statements.

  • It is not philosophical, it's ideological and theological, but I guess it could be argued.
  • Research-based is comical; more on that later.
  • Abstinence as feminism is just dumb. The virginal female, the group to whom these people used to market exclusively, is a classic male-constructed ideal. Feminism has nothing to do with holding back, it has everything to do with letting go and not being ostracized for it. Saying that abstinence is feminist is insulting.
  • Sexy and fun is also dumb. There is no such thing as sexy and fun without sex and fun. This is them trying to market their position and failing.

The first part, philosophy. The fact that the bulk of these people are Catholics gives you an idea of how much philosophy plays a part in this. True philosophical inquiry would see them questioning their own views and actively trying to bash their way to enlightenment and truth. This is dogma. Saying this has anything to do with philosophy degrades the pursuit.

You cannot form logical arguments from this. Go ahead, try. Write out a formal logic equation to support no sex before marriage. Try to discover a contradiction that makes abstinence the only choice. Metaphysics? Anything there? Maybe epistemology. We can break down the argument to degrees of justification. But, no, that's all just the analysis of semantics. This isn't philosophy. The arguments fall apart without theological or cynical axioms.

The second part, feminism. I guess you could call me a feminist. I'm apparently more a feminist than these wack-jobs. I want to see women able to fuck whoever they damn well please with absolute abandon and receive no negative response from society. Saying that holding back your precious virginity from the evil and vile males until they plop a ring on your finger is cynical, close-minded, and self-centered.

And when I say evil and vile, you can tell from even the short text in the magazine that that is how the main subject, Janie Fredell, feels. They focused on females, marketed with cards that said "Why wait? Because you're worth it." Again, precious virginity, but also that men are evil! We're here to steal your virginity!

Freddel had said that "She had awakened to the wage gap, to forced sterilization and female genital mutilation — to the different ways that men have, she said, of controlling women." You found out about these things in college? Don't you, like, read newspapers? This shit is common knowledge. Now, how did you get into Harvard?

Her "men are evil" theme continued;

One of these was sexual. Fredell had seen it often in her own life — men pushing for sex, she said, just to “have something to say in the locker room,” women feeling pressured to have sex in order to maintain a relationship. The more she studied and learned, the more Fredell came to realize that women suffer from having premarital sex, “due to a cultural double standard,” she said, “which devalues women for their sexual pasts and glorifies men for theirs.”

Yes, we have a double standard, but it's fading fast. And you know how all men are just waiting to talk about the pussy they just plowed to the guys at the bar? Yeah, the guys that do that are scumbags, anyhow. How they treat women is the least of our problems with them. If you're dating him, you're the moron for staying, not for sleeping with him. Smart women, here's a tip, DON'T DATE ASSHOLES! Now, I know it's hard, them all hot on their motorcycles, with their leather jackets and dance numbers, or whatever the hell bad boys do, but you know them. You can pick them out. Not all men are evil.

Even the guys hate guys!

Keliher was an earnest man in dark clothes, unwrinkled and untouched, with the face of a subdued boy. Quite openly, he explained that his father was sent to prison for child molestation and that Keliher’s mother later married an electrician who eventually left her for a woman 20 years younger. So it was not hard to understand Keliher’s point of view. “I just have a huge amount of frustration with guys,” he told me. “They need to know that so much hurt can come from the lack of respect for women.”

Man, it's just one big hate-fest. No, dude, you have frustration with assholes. Not guys. None of my friends are assholes. I'm a rather big asshole, but none of my friends are. Also, like everyone else involved, this guy is a raging Catholic. Apparently, his mother enrolled him into some Christian thing and he suddenly became a model student. He learned "how to love women out of strength and not out of need.'" What? I don't love my partner out of strength, I love her out of love. That's the dumbest freaking thing I've ever heard. I hate aphorisms.

I'd like to point out, here, that from an evolutionary standpoint, abstinence is great for guys since he knows with a high degree of certainty that the child for which he is providing is his genetic offspring.

And for poor Janie, someone so self-righteous, cynical, and close-minded is doomed. Unless she changes her views, she's never going to find a nice guy and will be miserable her whole life through. I guess that works. Everyone in her home town sounds that way, considering they called Harvard "Godless liberal Harvard." Oh yeah. The preeminent educational institution on the continent. Yep. You definitely know better, you twat.

She quotes John Stewart Mill, "She said she read in Mill that women are subordinated in relationships as a result of “socially constructed norms.”" John Stewart Mill died in Eighteen Seventy Three. Society has changed a little bit since then, but it gives you an idea of in what century her morals are stuck. You can quote philosophy from 1873, but social commentary has an expiration date.

Third part, research based. "If men are commonly more promiscuous than women, it is only because the culture allows it, she said." I've got a few evolutionary biologists who would seriously love to argue that point.

Murray and his girlfriend, Sarah Kinsella, decided that their club would focus on the issue “most immediately relevant” to people on campus — premarital sexual abstinence — and would try to persuade people toward it with arguments less philosophical than scientific. “Many people on our campus were deprived of information,” Murray told me, and so he says he went looking through peer-reviewed journals and government sources for research that supported the abstinence view.

That is the reason they're not scientists. Selectively plucking out data to support your statement is what Republicans do, not scientists. I've read all the same articles they've read, and that means they ignored the near-countless articles that do not support their ideals. I wonder if they saved all the work by the Camerons about how gay parents destroy children?

“We found a huge body of scholarship that suggested conclusions that nobody on our campus was making,” he says. They posted the conclusions on their Web site — the belief that “ ‘safe sex’ is not safe”; that even the most effective methods of birth control can fail; that early sexual activity is strongly associated with all manner of terrible outcomes, from increased risk of depression to greater likelihood of marital infidelity, divorce and maternal poverty. Premarital abstinence, on the other hand, is held up by True Love Revolution as improving health, promoting better relationships and, best of all, enabling “better sex in your future marriage.”

CORRELATION DOES NOT INDICATE CAUSATION! This basic, easy-to-remember premise from scientific research seems lost on the public. You can link lots of nasty stuff with other nasty stuff. It's really easy. I can probably link STD's to bank robbery. it doesn't mean that STD's cause banks to be robbed. And yes, the only form of birth control that is 100% effective is abstinence, but since you're Catholics, even that's not true. If 106 billion people have ever lived, half are female, that means any given female has a 1 in 53 billion chance of spontaneously producing a child. Bummer.

And if you use a condom correctly, combined with the pill, or even contraceptive foam, chances of pregnancy are so low as to be statistically insignificant. You will not get pregnant. And if, in some bizarre confluence of coincidence, you do get pregnant, abortions are easy to get. But, oh right, that's evil. I wonder if Lil' Janie came across the historical info about how the modern abortion wars are a direct result of religious oppression of women in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Anthony Comstock, and all that rot. You can literally trace, through the first and secondary sources, almost down to the month, when they changed from marketing abortion as something evil because it allowed women to be promiscuous to KILLING BABIES. They didn't see babies as anything more than property. It was a battle over contraception; specifically insofar as it had to do with women's freedom.

(And on the subject of Comstock, why do all these moral crusaders say they're defending the children? And if the previously mentioned guy, Keliher, and his discussion how amazingly horny he is is any indication, Comstock was against all this stuff because he wanted pussy but was too bleeding ugly to get any.)

Fourth part, it's sexy and fun. I think the sentence mocks itself. The quotes from Keliher imply that he's having no fun at all. He describes his sexuality as an "untamed beast." He talks about being unable to keep it under control. Oh yeah. Sounds like a blast. And sexy isn't sexy without sex. It's in the fucking word. Haha. Fucking word. I kill myself.

Ok, that's enough. Almost everything is wrong about this article. Lil' Janie talked about feeling that her lifestyle was being attacked in the school newspaper. Well, I have a tip for you, don't have such a ridiculous lifestyle. And if you do, admit what it is, religious, and go to where you won't be mocked. If you want to hang around with other religious types, head south, and leave the smart thoughts to us edge-oo-mucated folks. You're in college. Having an ice cream social filled with people pretending to be asexual overgrown kids is going to get ridiculed. Go home and leave us to our Godless liberalism. We don't want you.

Fact or Fiction?: Living People Outnumber the Dead (Scientific American)
Students of Virginity (The New York Times)