Saturday, 7 September 2013

Response to Pharyngula on Anne Jones's World issue that got me banned

So, in lieu of not being allowed back in Pharyngula, and also largely recognising that it would be completely pointless to try getting back in with a sockpuppet account, I'm replying here from now on. So without further adieu, here's the most important points (in between the abuse and accusations that were levelled my way) that I feel compelled to address. This relates to Anne Jones's World post I made in the Thunderdome of which Part 1 is here, and Part 2 follows on shortly after words. So here we go, and I'm going to try and tone down on anything that might be labelled as overly derogatory:

9b) sounds great, but the trouble with it is that teachers have no idea what's going on in a classroom while they aren't looking. Most bullying is never brought to the attention of any authority figure; and when it is, they almost inevitably know so little about it that they often take useless or even counterproductive measures, indeed, they routinely misunderstand the situation and blame the victim. Plus, from the kids perspective, the teachers are the enemy; telling on a bully is therefore considered treason. Guess what happens next. To simply claim that "bullying [...] will be dealt with" (my emphasis) is breathtakingly naïve. It's not how the world works.

I agree that those things are factors that affect the overall effectiveness of a program designed to curb bullying, but the only hope for changing those issues lies with changing the minds of those who witness or become aware of the behavior. Officials can't act if they don't know that it's happening and that's an inherent weakness of all anti-bullying campaigns. The goal is to convince kids that helping to rid the school of bullying makes it safer and more enjoyable for everyone, including themselves. If they become a victim of a bully, they would want others to do the right thing and report it to officials. We need to convince kids that bullying others is wrong, while at the same time show them that they, as a whole, benefit greatly from the concept of self-policing their own school.

As for not focusing on protecting particular groups there is good reason for not doing so. An anti-gay-bullying campaign, for instance, singles those people out and reinforces the notion that that group of people is somehow different than others, and I believe that message is counter-productive. I think it's best to teach that in the school setting, there is no room for treating ANYONE as being different, and not deserving of the same respect that you would like to receive. aren't aware, or don't care, that empirical evidence shows that corporal punishment is psychologically harmful to children: ... It's also wrong in principle.
I haven't done a great deal of research on this but thus far I have seen no empirical evidence that doesn't suffer from methodological issues that make it irrelevant to a discussion on corporal punishment in school. The link you posted, for instance, uses children who were subjected to other punishments that go beyond merely getting a swat by the principal. The author defines these actions as "harsh", and I would agree...

"The present research investigated the possible link between harsh physical punishment (i.e., pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, and hitting)..."
Secondly, the study environment was the home, and parents were the ones performing the behaviors. There is no doubt that the environment will be a more emotional one, and other factors may also be present that aren't being reported by the parents. Factors such as name calling, insults, even more harsh actions than those being reported, etc., are all much more likely to take place in an emotionally charged situation in the home...

"Harsh physical punishment, even in the absence of child maltreatment,..."
The researcher tries to isolate the action from any other factors involved in the situation but I find it hard to believe that someone who otherwise seems to be a decent parent, would just resort to "pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, and hitting" their child without other factors playing into the emotion of the situation. None of that would be at play in the school setting.

Those things combine to make most studies irrelevant to the discussion. If research exists I'm willing to look at it, but I'm aware of nothing that establishes a causal link between corporal punishment in the school, and any known negative outcomes. Like I said, it would be used only after other methods have failed, and in conjunction with parental knowledge that it was going to happen, if the behaviour continues. Further, it is not mandatory, and school administrators are free to use their own discretion in cases where it may not be appropriate, or may choose not to use it at all. It is merely a tool in their belt that acts as a deterrent by simply being there.

Deliberately inflicting pain on children in humiliating and degrading ways teaches them that their bodies are not their own and that people with power have the right to hurt them, and teaches them that violence is the right way to solve problems and enforce social control. These are not good lessons.

I disagree, I didn't learn any of those lessons nor did millions of others who were raised the same way, and went to the same kinds of schools that I did. What I learned was that if I want people to respect me, then I have to show that same respect for others. I learned that adults make rules for a reason, not just because they need something to do, and that as a child I was going to be expected to follow those rules or there were going to be consequences. As I gained maturity I learned that those rules were for my own good, and that I should show respect for those who know things that I don't, and are looking out for my well-being.

Now onto the abortion section:
Life began billions of years ago.

I was referring to the life of any particular individual.

Why are parents being given control over whether or not to risk their child"s life? Isn"t that a violation of the child's rights?
A child is still a minor child and is the responsibility of the parents until age 18, or the child is emancipated.

You want untrained people making medical recommendations as opposed to trained ones?

No, medical decisions will be made by the individual in consultation with medical professionals.

[Anne Jones's proposal to charge people with murder] is actually in direct contradiction to the Bible, where the punishment for murder is separate for the punishment to killing a foetus.

I'm not sure I agree with that statement but without knowing what you're referring to I can't comment. Here is a good, short article on the Biblical stance on abortion...

Planned parenthood actually has many trained professionals on hand for this sort of thing; the only reason you're cutting them out, I assume, is your weird assumption that PP is some sort of abortion mill.

Yes, I do view any and all abortion clinics as mills thus they will be closed, but maybe PP can get into the spay and neuter business for animals.

Once someone is pregnant, the decision on reproduction and planning has already been made. From that point it is no longer an issue of deciding whether to become a parent, with the exceptions that I mentioned, and no longer requires those trained in counselling women on whether to get pregnant or not, and methods of birth control. From that point on it is a medical issue to be dealt with by medical professionals.

Also, the idea that a foetus is a person does not change the fact that denying control of ones body is a violation of human rights, which is exactly what your proposal would do to thousands of women who do not want to be pregnant and who do not want to be treated as mere incubators.

All I can say is that I'm sorry that those women take such an immature irresponsible view of the situation that their own actions, have caused. That's not to imply that the male isn't equally as irresponsible, or equally as deserving of being held responsible for his actions.

Women who argue for abortion need to back up a step and realize that babies don't just randomly pop into their bodies. They are the result of irresponsibility on that woman's part. Sexual promiscuity produces pregnancy, and they know this yet they do it anyway. If they don't want their bodies to be used as incubators, then they need to act in a way that prevents the incubator from being loaded. That solves the problem, without resorting to killing babies as a means of birth control.

[Anne Jones also said that "intentionally ending a human life is murder"]. Maybe, but choosing not to let someone else use your organs is a normal choice for humans. If you're not cavilling that people should be forced to give up their organs in any other sense, uteri should be no different. Also, I'm a human life. I'm about 2000% sure that if my life required a kidney transplant, you would be against the state mandating that kidney transplant from you (assuming you were a match).

If I were personally responsible for you having the condition that requires the transplant, then I would have no problem with the state mandating that. Bottom line is that the two people having sex are responsible for putting themselves in that position, and their predicament was totally avoidable. They chose to take the risk and now they will be held responsible for their actions.

What is the point of your divorce proposals, other than punishing people who made a mistake? The beauty of "no fault" divorce is that you don't need to prove abuse or neglect, since such things are notoriously difficult to prove. Also, you said: "no one is required to marry someone that they don't love", But, by your reasoning, one is required to stay in a marriage to someone they do not love. You seem to think that relationship are static rather than dynamic. You also make it significantly harder for one in an abusive relationship to leave their abuser; you've ignored that particular criticism.

Most areas have domestic abuse laws that didn't exist decades ago, and those laws require the abuser to be arrested. Even if he flees the scene, he risks being found if he comes back. In the meantime, the wife can get a restraining order (police should be able to issue these on-site). Standards of proof for divorce cases will be less strict than criminal cases because we are not dealing with confining someone to jail.

Also, commitment's already in marriage. Do you think divorce is easy? No-fault restricts the punitive aspects, yes, but that doesn't mean it's some cakewalk, either legally or emotionally. And uh, actually people are not much less forced to marry now as they have been historically (Social pressure can be a terrible thing). People have always been in unhappy marriages; that's why divorce, solely amongst Europeans, has existed for more than a millennia (Let alone anyone else). We just restricted it nonsensically.

I'm not as hard-line and totally unopposed to negotiation on this issue as I am on say, abortion. I'm open to suggestions that help accomplish the goals of discouraging people from rushing into marriage, or running out of it once they run into some trouble. The relationship between two people is one thing, but once they bring kids into the mix, the landscape changes and the kids become priority one, for me, not the adults.

Now onto my sex education proposal:

Do the parents also get to decide that their child does not get to learn math?

I'm not sure that any parents have a problem with their child being taught the 3 R's.

What is the point [of segregating on gender]?

I think it would be a more comfortable environment where kids will be more apt to ask questions because all the other kids in the class will be facing the exact same issues. It also allows the teacher to focus on issues that are unique to that gender.

Given that you allow gay lifestyles above (in private at least), the word "only" is wrong [in the sentence "only acceptable form"].

No, the "only acceptable form" is exactly the idea that I mean to portray. That we allow sexual behaviour between consenting adults in the privacy of the home doesn't mean that we are condoning it as acceptable. It simply means that what you do in your home sexually is your choice.

[Since you're not allowing schools to assist kids with getting access to condoms and birth control,] will you also be teaching kids how to use a seat belt, and then cutting them out of cars they drive?

I'm missing the connection here.

Defining marriage according to the biological productivity of a relationship inhibits arbitrarily, while a definition that allows for any two consenting adults to marry does not. It's the state saying "No, you can't enjoy the benefits of married life ever, and you can"' list yourselves as married without suffering retribution", the latter especially in your model. Whereas in mine, nothing stops you from campaigning against gay people except your concern for other people's opinions of you. Claiming that your proposal "allows for what you approve of while still prohibiting others" is too ambiguous to parse well.

It doesn't inhibit arbitrarily, nature decides. The natural biological productivity of the male/female relationship, along with the complementarity of the two genders, are what made people realize the significance of that relationship, in the first place. It is not something that we have decided arbitrarily over the years, it is simply something that is natural, and its significance recognized as something that is fundamental to the existence of our species. When a man and woman enter into such a relationship, it is called marriage.

And marriage has never been natural. [There is no such thing as "marriages" in the rest of the animal kingdom].

I have to concede that I'd be quite surprised to learn that gorillas can get a break by filing a joint tax return, but I think you'd be hard pressed to prove that animals don't recognize another as its mate, or recognize the importance of family, which is about as close as we can expect to see in creatures that are so fundamentally different than us. See video.

Now for sex reassignment:

does the revoking of US Citizenship apply to all crimes, or just sex reassignment?

I'm not revoking anything, it is being voluntarily surrendered. The choice rests entirely with them.

Also, does body dysphonia count as "gender irregularity"?

No, it is a mental disorder and has nothing to do with whether you're biologically male or female.

Now for the prayer issue:

[it was a school board who the atheist group from Wisconsin tried to stop.] School boards are not students, and your proposed change doesn't address this.

Yes, I realize it was a school board but the student's action was in protest against the school board being bullied by the atheist group. By labelling prayer a legitimate form of religious expression, that means that no group has the authority to stop people who want to pray, from doing so. Likewise, an atheist can't be forced to participate in prayer.

I'm curious as to what damages the group from Wisconsin might have suffered as a result of the school board in South Carolina praying before their meeting.

Also, the valedictorian represents the student body, not his or herself. If you want to express prayer at your graduation, do it on behalf of yourself, not the entire student body

He did so on his own behalf. The valedictorian earned the honour of speaking at graduation through his own hard work, he is not there as an elected representative of the student body.

And now, lastly, for the "perversions" issue.

freedom of speech explicitly means being able to promote "perversion" in public, especially without the threat of state power hanging over our heads. The entire concept revolves around the right to make political statements (Like "Gay people are normal people", because the world is messed up enough to question it in the real world, let alone your vision) without the state threatening to punish you based on the contents of your beliefs, or your willingness to share them. I differ from most socialists in that I don't agree with the absolutist form that they tend to demand, but I don't hail myself as a defender of Free Speech as you do.

I would not give free speech rights to paedophiles, animal lovers, or those involved in incest, that allows them to promote their sexual behaviour as normal. Just like homosexuality, they are aberrant sexual behaviours which are, by definition, abnormal.

That should suffice. I hope to get a good array of responses.

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