55 comments posted · 1 followers · following 0

11 years ago @ http://heldts.blogspot... - The sin of adoption · 0 replies · +3 points

I'm an adoptive mom too, through international adoption. I think it's very important for adoptive families to acknowledge that every adoption begins with a tragedy. It's a tragedy for a child to be separated from his or her first family. Adoption is the attempt to heal the results of that tragedy as much as possible, but the tragedy can never be erased. To glorify adoption risks glorifying the separation of the child from the family, and risks encouraging relinquishment even in cases when it is not necessary.

14 years ago @ Hoi Logoi - God is not Aristotelian · 0 replies · +1 points

(This is the same person who posted the first comment—I just didn't bother logging into my Intense Debate account the first time.)

All known mammals nurse their young with milk produced in mammary glands, and no other known animals do so, but this is not the only characteristic of mammals—nor even, I would argue, the defining characteristic (despite the name "mammal"). Mammals have a number of unique skeletal features, such as a single jawbone (most vertebrates have several bones in their lower jaws) and the inner ear bones (these two are related: the inner ear bones are homologous to the additional jaw bones in other species). Mammal teeth are also a big deal, as mammals do not (unlike reptiles) replace their teeth continuously through life. Instead they have a predetermined number of tooth sets (two in humans: baby teeth and adult teeth, but this number differs in some species). And the teeth are differentiated in a specific way. Paleontologists who study ancient mammals pay lots of attention to teeth. One of my professors in college was one of them. (I decided not to become a paleontologist largely because I just couldn't get excited about fossil teeth the size of sand grains. But not until after I filled my head with stuff like mammal jaw bones.)

I'm biased towards paleontology. Most of what we know about the natural history of evolution came from paleontology—until a couple of decades ago, when genetics burst on the scene. Genetics is teaching us some incredible things, but in my heart I just don't trust it as much as fossils. (This is an outlook based on emotion, not logic, just fyi.)

14 years ago @ SC Magazine US - RockYou hack compromis... · 1 reply · +2 points

I am confused. Why did RockYou have people's web passwords in an SQL database to begin with? The only thing I can think of is the "service" offered by social networking sites to check for friends from your email contacts. Every time I have seen this, the site claims that the password is never stored. So is this a lie?

14 years ago @ The Freethinker - Mormonism for Dummies · 1 reply · +1 points

You know, I'm as far from becoming a Mormon as could possibly be—but I am not impressed by your argument against the LDS faith, which is nothing more than "argument by sneer." Anyone can use ridicule to make a point, but it is the basest way to do so. It's a childish schoolyard tactic.

If you really want to keep this approach, it would be better to use satire or parody—something that requires you to actually engage your brain. Simple disrespect won't influence anyone who is not already on your side. Alternatively, you could take a more dispassionate approach and point out what specific things you find disagreeable or illogical, and why. Hey, I'll start:

OK, it's actually hard to start. There's so much to choose from. Here's something:

Joseph Smith claims to have found the Book of Mormon on some golden plates, written in an unknown language. He used some rocks to translate it. Now the plates are mysteriously lost. I cannot give even a moment's credence to a religion that absolutely depends on a revelation that cannot be verified as existing anywhere outside of the reveal-ee's mind.

Now you try.

15 years ago @ Leave the lights on - Are parents selfish if... · 0 replies · +2 points

Just a quick note to all the excellent commenters:

This is not a personal blog. This blog views issues from a general perspective. That is why this post does not discuss any specific family.

Without discussing any particular family with special needs kids, I think something needs to be clarified. "Special needs" is just a label. A child is not defined by having so-called "special needs." The labels exist to make it easier to find the specific treatment that will benefit that child. But for the most part, they are just kids, normal kids in most ways. They aren't another species, monsters, or a reason to sacrifice the other aspects of life. The needs of each one have to be taken into consideration—but this is true for all children, whether or not they have a "label."

Thanks for your comments! I read them all.

15 years ago @ Leave the lights on - The ethics of surrogat... · 0 replies · +1 points

Your tone makes me think that you likely do not care about my response, but for the sake of others who might be interested, here it is.

For years, I was part of a loving, childless couple who couldn't do it on our own biologically. I have been there. I know what it is like. And I have never thought of it as a punishment, not for one second, not for us nor for any other such couple.

I want all infertile couples who want children to be able to "enjoy and appreciate one of life's most amazing gifts." I am deeply pro-life and this is part of being pro-life. Children, completely regardless of their origins, are always gifts.

According to Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, "the child...shall have the right from far as know and be cared for by his or her parents." (For more, see the blog Children Have Rights.) It is for this reason that I denounce surrogacy and gamete donation. The right of the child to know his roots is greater than the privilege (not right) of adults to have children. If having biological children cannot be accomplished without violating the rights of the child, then it should not be done at all. Period. This is natural law which can be known to atheists, agnostics, and theists, not some religious fiat that only applies to Christians. Couples in this situation can turn to adoption, as I did, or they can choose to care for children in other ways, such as having a child-oriented career (from daycare to pediatrics) or by caring for young family members (which I also did).

15 years ago @ Leave the lights on - Words nominated for ba... · 0 replies · +2 points

Yes, and clearly you failed to detect the sense of DEEP IRONY in my voice... :-)

15 years ago @ Leave the lights on - A primer on stem cells · 0 replies · +1 points

My understanding is that currently, no embryonic stem cell (ESC) treatments have been developed. The problem seems to be that pluripotent cells are too potent, and tend to develop into tumors called teratomas. The multipotent and oligopotent "adult" stem cells have been much more useful so far.

The blog Mary Meets Dolly, on my sidebar, is a great source of information on stem cell treatments. Check it out for more info.

I'll try to post some things here about stem cell research results, too. Thanks for your comment!

15 years ago @ Leave the lights on - Gardasil, poison, and ... · 1 reply · +1 points

Thanks for visiting and for your comment. Nobody ever said polysorbate is in ALL ice cream — the point is that it is considered safe for food use.

Also, I never said Gardasil is safe. I said that the vaccine components that Ms. Janak says are toxic are NOT. Gardasil may indeed be shown to be too unsafe to be useful — that is, its risks may outweigh its benefits. But the risks are NOT from substances like polysorbate, histadine, and table salt.

15 years ago @ Leave the lights on - Not vaccinating? Your ... · 0 replies · +1 points

HPV is not the public health hazard that, say, measles or whooping cough is. It's not spread through casual contact or through the air. So it's not exactly urgent to vaccinate against it.

I'm glad I don't have to make a decision about Gardisil for a long time, at least not until it's been on the market for a lot longer and there are data about its long-term safety and effectiveness.

I think the reason so many parents in this day and age are unconcerned about vaccinations is because they don't remember the days when these diseases were endemic. Your story about measles and your eyesight is a good reminder that these diseases are not only potentially deadly, but can also cause permanent disabilities.