Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 1.28

Amanda

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

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20 Comments

  1. They’re getting colors from fossils? Cool. Can anyone put this in perspective in terms of what color can imply that we can’t infer from other traits? Like sexual selection, warning color, mimicry, etc.?

  2. When I was a kid, my brother and I both had identical dinosaur coloring books. I colored some of them with elaborate colors, and even stripes and other patterns. My brother informed that I had colored them wrong, and dinosaurs were only brown and green. I really should e-mail that link to him, but he probably doesn’t remember that incident.

  3. Wouldn’t it be amazing to discover that dinosaurs were colored like clowns? Or had hippie-tye-die motifs on them? I think that’d be awesome. The ones in the illustration included in the article look like my cat. I am now suspicious of her….

  4. @Amanda:

    …proponents of this view routinely ignore research on same-gender parents.

    Well, you can’t trust GAY research. They’re already treating the homos like humans, so obviously they’re biased.

  5. “Significant policy decisions have been swayed by the misconception across party lines that children need both a mother and a father.”

    I think this misconception biases a lot more than just the way we treat gay and lesbian parents. In custody cases, for example, there is an extreme bias toward the biological parents. Instead of asking “What is best for this child?” we ask “Whose penis and vagina made this child?” Society has all kinds of stigmas about adopted children, foster children, children raised by their grandparents, children raised by mixed races or ethnicities, and children raised by single parents. We constantly make policy decisions based on a prejudiced view of “family”.

    Instead of assuming we know what is best for a child, we should do the research!

  6. RE: Parenting article – I would have to agree that the idea of heterosexual fathers as the “best” role-models for boy’s (and even girl’s) culturally defined sex-roles, has been politicized to death. I’ve looked at quite a bit of research on the topic and there is no link at all between the presence of a heterosexual (or homosexual) father and a child’s sexual orientation.

    There is, however, some research showing that the presence of a warm and emotionally supportive father is particularly important. Here is a quote from a recent book that I am reading called “The Role of the Father in Child Development”, that I think sums this up well:

    “…as far as influences on children are concerned, very little about the gender of the parent seems to be distinctly important. The characteristics of the father as a parent rather than the characteristics of the father as a man appear to be most significant, although it is impossible to demonstrate that the father’s masculine characteristics are of no significance.”

    The book is written by Michael Lamb and Catherine Tamis-Lemonda and is in its 5th edition.

  7. Gender is a far less important issue than an actively-engaged parent’s ability to support and provide a healthy loving environment for their children.
    It’s too complex to say “single-parent = failed kid,” “homosexual parents = failed kid,” and “mother + father = best for kid.”

    @ Zapski: TIE-DYE DINOS FTW!

  8. Before reading the article, I assumed that the “holy” water was the kind you find when you enter a catholic church…. which had me wondering what the priests and alter boys were doing to the water. I was both relieved and slightly disappointed to read the real article.

  9. I heard the scientist who did the research for the dinosaur color on NPR while driving home last night. Sadly he said that based on how the color was determined it was unlikely we would ever know the color of the big favorites like T-rex.

  10. @Garrison22: The book says, “although it is impossible to demonstrate that the father’s masculine characteristics are of no significance.”

    This last sentence bothers me. It’s politically expedient, but intellectually dishonest. This provides fodder for those who would make the argument from ignorance that, since we can’t prove there isn’t a link, we should assume there is one. The burden of proof is absolutely on those who would say the link is significant.

    That’s what drives me insane about this. Just as an example, we know abusive parents, addicted parents, or psychologically deranged parents can have a very negative impact on a child. We don’t have any strong evidence that being raised in a non-conventional family has a negative impact. Even if it did, it seems to me that if the impact was even close to as negative as being raised by an abusive/addicted/psychotic parent, we’d have some very convincing studies by now.

    It seems to me that if there’s an effect at all, it must be very small compared to the quality of the person raising the child.

    But when deciding custody in most U.S. states, the most important deciding factors seem to be the biological parents of the child, the sexuality of the parents, and the gender of the parents. We decide based on what MIGHT have an influence, and all but ignore what very clearly DOES have an influence.

  11. @delphi_ote: Yeah, I can understand your reaction to this part of the quote. I took it somewhat out of context, as they go on for several paragraphs about mostly correlational research suggesting a *weak* link between a father’s masculinity (cultutrally determined) and a son’s understanding of sex-roles. I think that’s why they can’t completely discount the influence of masculinity. That is, there’s a link, even if it is weak.

    I do agree with what you say in your last paragraph. I could not say it any better. We have to stop assuming that biology trumps decency. A good parent is a good parent. Who cares what gender, sexual orientation they are!

  12. I’m thoroughly sick of all the “Mom+Dad+babies = only possible good family throughout time” claims. Um, if one actually reads the history books, they’ll find the nuclear family we find so traditional wasn’t really that common before the 2oth century. For most of the centuries of human society family has included grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, step-parents, polygamous families, half-siblings and all sorts of hired help. Yeah, the sitcoms of the 50’s made that sort of nuclear family seem ideal, but if when looking at the statistics, there were all sorts of indications they weren’t doing so well, like a high rate of drug use, a higher rate of teen pregnancy than we have now and child abuse. So if we look at the actual data without bias, maybe we’ll discover that children do best with one dad, two moms, three grandparents, an older brother, a younger sister and a wetnurse – and then we can form legislation to fight all families that don’t match that exactly.

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