Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 12.5

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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  1. I’m reading Susan Jacoby’s Age of American Unreason, and one portion deals with the “post-abortion syndrome.” Her very good point was that even if such a thing did exist, post-partum syndrome exists as well, and no one uses it as an excuse to ban women from birthing children.

  2. Nothing to do with quickies but I just heard on NPR that the scientist who discovered the glow in the dark jellyfish gene that allowed the three scientists who won this year’s Nobel Prize and then became an unemployed scientist, Douglas Prasher, and works as a courtesy driver for an Alabama car dealership will be going to the Nobel ceremony. The three scientists who won are flying Prasher and his wife out and will thank him in their acceptance speech and they are paying the expenses for Prasher and his wife.

  3. On Prop 8:
    The poll also showed that the measure got strong backing from voters who did not attend college (69 percent)…

    I’m sorry for California, but I do take some comfort in finding out that Tennessee is not the only state to suffer from the tyranny of the ignorant.

  4. @Rebecca: As someone who went through postpartum depression, I think this is a really important point. And another reason the whole “just give the baby up for adoption” argument against abortion isn’t so cut-and-dry.

  5. @Elyse: I have a house full of Shelties and cats, so I’m immunized against Puppy Cam Withdrawl Syndrome. ;-)

    @Rebecca: Loved that book and her previous ones. If the fundies ever take over, she’ll be one of the first up against the wall.

    Re: the poll stating that the Prop 8 decision was based on religion: “On another blazing, insightful note, the sun rose in the east this morning!” ;-) Of course, it was. The Mormons bought the decision by spending tons of money on their propaganda. And cats and dogs live together quite happily at my house, thank you very much. Suck it, fundies.

  6. @Jen: I took a class on abortion rights in college and we discussed research which showed that giving up a child for adoption is much much more likely to result in long term mental pain than having an abortion is.

  7. “The work ethic of science students, and their devotion to the lab, kept them out environments where they would meet women”
    “They’re carrying on doing their experiments, going to the library or doing their assignments.”

    This is sadly too familiar.

  8. @Rebecca: This! AND, when you think about it, just like with any other “marginalized” group, the fact that those who want or seek abortions are fucking protested against, who would be at all surprised that they might encounter more stress than the average person? And, besides, having any kind of surgery can be stressful.

  9. From the virgin nerd article:

    At the other end of the spectrum, female arts students ranked as the most sexually active.

    I am skeptical. I’m off to the art school for further study. I shall report on my findings.

    I am a Hedge

  10. @Amanda & @Jen:

    Adoption is one of my soap boxes. I get so annoyed when people talk about it as a way to save babies from abortion and/or a huge humitarian deed. It’s a fantastic way to build a family, but no one wants to be their mom and dad’s guaranteed daily good deed to flaunt.

  11. @Amanda: There’s a book called The Girls Who Went Away, about women before Roe v. Wade, and it’s just story after story about what they went through having to give up their children, and having so little say in the choice to do so. It took me so long to finish the book because I had to keep putting it aside to calm down.

  12. @marilove: I would be interested to know how many in the “we think you need to be punished with children you aren’t ready to raise” crowd work as foster parents or have adopted an unwanted child that was born addicted to drugs or with fetal alcohol syndrom or any of the various other problems that can happen with an unplanned unwanted pregnancy.

  13. @Elyse: The adoption system in the US is so fucked up, too. The lack of support for open adoptions is something that I just don’t understand, as open adoption tends to benefit everyone involved.

    @Jen: I’ll have to check that out. Have you read Back Rooms: Voices from the Illegal Abortion Era? That’s another book to really get you pissed off and sad at the same time.

  14. “I get so annoyed when people talk about it as a way to save babies from abortion and/or a huge humitarian deed. It’s a fantastic way to build a family, but no one wants to be their mom and dad’s guaranteed daily good deed to flaunt.”

    Serious COTW.

  15. @Amanda: I haven’t read that one, I’ll have to check it out. Here’s the link to the book I mentioned: http://www.thegirlswhowentaway.com/ It has some happier moments, too – it was written by a women who was adopted. But most of the stories in it are just heartbreaking.

    @Elyse: I’m actually interested in adopting, but don’t worry – it’s purely, selfishly because I want another kid and I want to avoid going through childbirth again. :)

  16. As if “post-abortion syndrome” isn’t bad enough, Bible Illuminated: The Book might be even further off course. I found the following at diaryofaneccentric:

    Some of the images made me uncomfortable, including a picture of the cult leader Jim Jones and the Jonestown mass suicide. On the picture of Jones is this verse from Philippians: “All I want is to know Christ and experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death, in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life.” And in the numerous pictures of celebrities and activists accompanied by the verse, “God said, ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you to open the way for you,'” is a picture of John Lennon smoking and wearing a tie with a nude woman on it. Out of all the pictures available of Lennon, why was that one chosen?

    Jim Jones and resurrection? John Lennon and John the Baptist (from themangotimes)?

    But then again, the book was put together by an advertising executive. Maybe he was looking for shock value.

  17. @Elyse:

    Please post about adoption. My husband and I have been considering it since having our own babies seems unlikely at this point. I would love to see a well thought out perspective on the pros and cons of adoption.

    As far as Post-abortion syndrome. I’ve had three miscarriages and all were terribly painful emotionally and physically. To say that having an abortion puts you at greater risk of emotional harm than any natural end to pregnancy is just not right. At least abortion is a choice. The worst thing about a miscarriage is the feeling that you are complete out of control of your body. I can imagine the same would be true for someone who is forced into carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. Post-partum depression also applies to women who have miscarriages so I see no need to create a new syndrome to apply only to women who have had abortions.

  18. Having returned from my field investigation in the art school, I find the study’s conclusion about female art students to be incorrect. I have been assured by many nice young ladies at the art school that there must be some mistake, and that they really are not interested.

    I am a Hedge

  19. @James Fox: When I was studying Biology I got lucky 2 or 3 times a month. I was a poor kid working my way through school and had limited time to date, flirt or party. This stayed pretty much the same when I switched over to Criminal Justice. Action improved a lot after my divorce. I was still young enough to date grad students and now I had more time and disposable income.

  20. Yeah , when I was a Botany major I had to work my ass off in competitive male dominated classes and ended up with B’s and C’s. The only time I saw a girl was in study groups where 3 other guys and I would awkwardly hit on the one girl in our group. When I moved to political science I could go out at night, put off papers till the night before, and basically B.S my way through exams. For all my (lack) of hard work I was rewarded with A’s and B’s. All of this on top of being in classes with mostly women and no shortage of study dates.

    @killyosaur42:
    The real downside to a liberal arts education is graduating. Turns out there are no philosophy factories and the job market could care less about my extensive knowledge of Cuban/ Soviet relations during the Cold War.
    Oh well, back to school for a degree in something that matters.
    @Amanda:
    The women who ventured into the math and sciences have it made. They have an endless selection of pale, skinny (or slightly overweight), awkward, nerd boys to choose from. Seriously, had a female friend who was a math major, never had a problem getting laid.

  21. @Pinkbunny: I’ve been involved in many dozens of adoption situations and I find generally they work well. However considerable effort should be made, if you’re wanting a child that will be “normal”, to know the parents mental health and substance abuse history. The children I see placed in adoptive home are generally from families with considerable histories of dysfunction and clearly genetics matter with regard to the personality and behavior of a child.

    Two of my best friends have adopted two girls from China and this has gone very very well. Both girls are very bright and engaging and even though the girls were both just under a year or age at adoption bonding has gone well. Another friend just adopted a child through a private agency and was able to meet the biological mother and even be at the hospital (hundreds of miles away) for the birth. The family history was known and the health status of the mother during her pregnancy was also known. And while this is ideal it was also very expensive. Adopting children from state child protection systems does not involve much cost, but has the added responsibility and risks of knowing that the child could have many more challenges.

    Good luck with your decision making and sorry about the events leading up to them.

    Oh, and I almost forgot…, I’m developing some pre-partum-depression involving my 18 year old son so your welcome to take him off my hands and skip the whole child rearing irritations! I’ll even throw in the ping pong table and a years high speed internet !!

  22. Wow, awesome quickies today. And @Rebecca hit the nail right on the head in the first comment!

    So let’s see… male science nerds… that article was so chock full of stereotypes that I can hardly take it seriously. Our astronomy/physics majors had no problem getting laid in college! Might also have something to do with the small school and nearly 50-50 gender ratio.

    Post abortion depression… wow, haven’t heard about that since my Catholic school days. I imagine it’s about as difficult to cope with as any difficult life decision. Whereas there is a physical basis for post-partum depression, right? Stuff that makes me scared to spawn…

    The Prop 8 story… not surprising although I was surprised at the quote, “The results mirror previous PPIC polls from the last three years, suggesting that the $73 million spent for and against the measure did not do much to change public attitudes.” I had thought that surely the vote had been heavily influenced by the “yes” side’s expensive campaign. Jack Black Jesus told me so.

  23. @Amanda:
    “The lack of support for open adoptions is something that I just don’t understand, as open adoption tends to benefit everyone involved.”

    So what is your knowledge/ experience with open-adoptions. I have only a little second hand knowledge about them and from what I have gathered it seems to be more trouble then its worth for the child and the adopting parents while only benefiting the birth mother. I’m not trying to be contradictory or combative; I’m mostly ignorant and would like to hear a proponents point of view as I have only heard negative.
    @James Fox:
    You said you had experience with adoptions, what is your take.

  24. @James Fox: While I would love an 18 year old, high speed internet and a ping pong I was hoping to start with a newer model. Besides one of my co-workers already offered me her 16 year old daughter complete with new boyfriend and a navel piercing. :)

  25. @skepticalhippie: I’d be curious to see some more recent statistics, actually. The talk I had with an open adoption supporter/adoption worker/adoptive father was a few years ago and he openly admitted that there were very few statistics on the outcome of open adoption. The studies that had been done at that point did suggest that it was beneficial both to the birth mother and the children. Note the source, though, and possibility for bias.

    Hopefully by this point further information is available. I’m looking forward to Elyse’s future post.

    Isn’t there a This American Life episode in which Dan Savage talks about the difficulties of having an open adoption of his son? Ah, here it is, as case four. Just an anecdote, but an interesting one.

  26. I am not sure why this CA Prop 8 phone poll is news – it is pretty consistent with the prior polls that had larger sample sizes. I couldn’t help but notice that the poll cited above did not report on African-Americans (indicating that the sample size of 2,003 was too small) and simply downplayed the effect of the “non-white” vote. The CNN exit polls on the CA Prop 8 (52% voting yes), FL Prop 2 (62% voting yes), and AZ Prop 102 (56% voting yes) (with samples sizes of 2,240 in CA, 3,212 in FL, and 1,213 in AZ) asked people coming right out of the voting booths, and these were the most significant trends:

    1. Republican: 82% (CA), 83% (FL), 81% (AZ)

    2. Attend church weekly: 82% (CA) (N/A in FL or AZ). (NOTE: This is far more significant a trend than particular denominations.)

    3. African-Americans: 70% (CA), 71% (FL), N/A in AZ (only make up 4% of electorate). Notably, the next highest minority voting yes in CA Prop 8 was Latinos at only 53%. Somebody on the blog downplayed the effect in CA Prop 8, but African-Americans made up over 10% of the electorate, and by my math, if only 50% of African-Americans in CA had voted for Prop 8 instead of 70%, the results would have been dead-even or less.

    4. Married w/ children: 68% (CA) (These were not available for FL and AZ.)

    5. Non-college attendees: 58% (CA), 67% (FL), 67% (AZ)

    6. 65 & older: 61% (CA), 66% (FL), 63% (AZ)

    Neither income levels nor sex showed any significant correlations.

    Source: http://edition.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#val=CAI01p1

  27. Having no maternal instinct or any sort of “I want a baby” gene (well, I am an automaton :D), I occasionally think that if I ever want to have a child in my life, adoption will be the only way. I don’t like the idea of being pregnant, and am not mad keen on babies. But, open adoptions make me feel uncomfortable, I must admit. I’m a fairly jealous person, I think I’d have an issue with the birth mother being in the child’s life. After all, if it’s so relevant to a child’s welfare, then adoption isn’t what it’s painted to be (nurture overruling nature) and not an equivalent substitute for having your ‘own’ child. I realise it’s not a black and white issue, but I don’t think I could adopt under those circumstances, I think I’d just feel like a financial vehicle rather than the child’s new parent. But I have zero experience of any of it so could be way off base.

  28. Nicole:

    Might also have something to do with the small school and nearly 50-50 gender ratio.

    Now that raises an interesting question, did this study control for the the male-female ratio in each subject area? If you assume that students have more opportunity to “mingle” with students studying similar subjects, this whole effect could be explained by the relative rarity of female science students.

  29. I loved the article about “Remarketing the Bible.”

    They’ve been doing this since I was a kid. And every version of the Bible is just as ridiculous as the original, no matter how they try to change the language or anything. They think if they change all the “thou” and “thee” jive that kids will think it’s “cool.”

    Why don’t they just give Jesus a shitty emo haircut, dress him like those tools in My Chemical Romance, and start up a Jesus Blog? First entry…

    “im so depressed. my dad totally forsook me and hung me up on a cross. all i wanted to do was love everybody ya know? what a douche right? he totally doesn’t get me at all. im converting to buddhism. peace out, JC”

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