Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fathers DO matter: Scientists claim they play crucial role in child's development

And fathers can be VERY important to daughters. Those daughters who become "Daddy's girl" (i.e. who have a very indulgent father) seem to develop a psychological strength and confidence that lasts them all their lives

In a world where advances in cloning and genetics are threatening to make men redundant, scientists finally have some reassuring news. A study has shown that fathers play a crucial in family life - and that without a dad present in the crucial first stage of life, offspring grow up to be less sociable.

Although the findings come from a study of animals, it adds to the growing evidence that fathers influence the way children develop. Previous studies have shown that girls reach puberty younger, become sexually active earlier and are more likely to get pregnant in their teens if their father are absent when they were young, New Scientist magazine says. Other work has suggested that sons of missing dads have lower self-esteem later in life.

The latest study looked for biological changes in laboratory mice when they were raised without fathers. A team at McGill University, Canada, used a strain of mice which, like people, are usually monogamous and tend to rear their young pups together. They removed the fathers from some of the mouse pups three days after birth until they were weaned at 30 to 40 days old. The scientists, led by Dr Gabriella Gobbi, then analysed the behaviour and brain cells of the pups - and compared them to mice brought up with both parents.

Brain cells in the 'single parent' mice had a muted response to the 'cuddle hormone' oxytocin, a feel-good chemical released in the brain during sex or moments of intimacy. That meant they were less likely to feel positive when in the company of others. The fatherless mice were also more anti-social.

'Usually if you put two animals in the same cage they investigate and touch each other, but when we put to animals deprived of a father together they ignored each other,' said Dr Gobbi.

The scientists are unsure whether the same biological changes take place in human children raised without a father - and whether the findings are applicable to people. In the strain of mice used in the experiment, the fathers lick and groom the young pups more than the mothers do. Because grooming affects the development of pups, it could be the lack of physical contact that cause the changes in the brain, the researchers say.

The finding follows another study which showed that men experience a huge surge in oxytocin after a child is born. Dr Ruth Feldman of Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel tested oxytocin levels of 80 couples before a child was born and six months afterwards. She found that levels of the feel-good chemical rose in mothers and fathers after the arrival of a child.

The chemical affected the parents in different ways. Mothers with the highest levels spent much longer gazing at their children, stroking and kissing them and speaking in a "sing song" voice, she found. Dads with the highest levels played more with their child than fathers with the lowest levels. 'Fathers and mothers contribute in a very specific and different way,' she told the magazine. She believes fathers may be 'biologically programmed' to help raise children.


PETA as racketeers

To some Americans, PETA may seem like a caring organization. Sure, you may say, they are a bit extreme -- but it's in defense of animals, after all. ... But have you stopped to consider just why PETA picks certain targets to go after?

Maybe it makes sense that they've gone after McDonalds and KFC -- until you wonder: Why McDonald's and not Wendy's, and why KFC and not Popeye's? ... And why go after MasterCard instead of Visa or American Express -- or the Gap instead of ... whoever else sells Gap-ish stuff?

The answer, of course, is money. PETA took in more than $34 million in 2008. Much of the money comes through legal kickbacks and grants, via their "partners". Much of their money comes from selling PETA's "seal of approval." And interestingly, many of PETA's "recommended products" also happen to directly compete with the companies they attack.

For example, PETA went after MasterCard for sponsoring the Ringling Bros Circus, and launched a "NastyCard" campaign. PETA then entered into a deal with VISA to offer a PETA Platinum card. And, of course, PETA received 1 percent of purchases made with a PETA branded VISA card. That's big money -- all for doing essentially nothing.

PETA also went after IAMS dog food, launching an "IamsCruelty" campaign. This, despite the fact that IAMS has been recognized as a leader in animal welfare advocacy. Interestingly, though, it turns out that PETA receives 8 percent of all proceeds from a partnership they have with a "holistic" pet food.

Over the last several years, PETA has grown from a radical fringe group that claimed to care about animal rights, into an organization that uses its influence to shake down companies -- and to build multi-million dollar fundraising relationships with "partners".

In fact, it seems PETA is so busy making money that they forgot to help animals. According to, PETA found homes for less than one out of every 300 animals, and they killed 95% of the dogs and cats in their care.

To say PETA is a questionable organization is being say it is a sham is more accurate. They used PETA a fur-loving burlesque queen, Dita von Teese, as a spokesmodel without any homework to find out she loved fur.

In her book, von Teese wrote "Who wouldn't love an opportunity to don a cuff of mink given them as a gift, or to wrap a luscious stole of fox around her shoulders on a chilly day? (I guess there are some people out there that wouldn't want to, but I am definitely not one of them!)" Isn't that one of their pet, sorry for the pun, causes - going after fur?

"PETA's totally aware of me," Von Teese told People Magazine back in 2007 before perf orming – in fox fur for a Macy's Passport AIDS benefit, adding "I'm not working with PETA to tell people to be vegetarians or to stop wearing fur. I am there to strictly speak about spaying and neutering your pets."

The animal-rights organization says it was aware of Von Teese's fur affections before approaching her to star in its campaign.

Combine the fact they will use mafia type tactics to bleed companies, rarely actually help animals, and look past core issues to hire a spokesmodel only illustrates how much they are a sham. Sadly, the media on the left fail to illustrate this point.


Saudi Arabia The world’s largest women’s prison

In an article on the liberal website Minbar Al-Hiwar Wal-'Ibra (, reformist Saudi journalist and human rights activist Wajeha Al-Huweidar described Saudi Arabia as "the world's largest women's prison." She added that unlike real prisoners, Saudi women have no prospect of ever being released, since throughout their life, they are under the control of a male guardian – their husband, father, grandfather, brother or son.

Huweidar and other women activists recently launched a campaign against the Saudi Mahram(1) Law, which forbids women to leave their home without a male guardian. She told the Kuwaiti daily Awan that the campaign, whose slogan is "treat us like adult citizens or we leave the country," was officially launched at the King Fahd Bridge, connecting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, where the women demanded to cross the border without a guardian.(2)

The following are excerpts from Al-Huweidar's article:

Prisoners Can Be Released From Prison – But Saudi Women Can't

"The laws of imprisonment are known all over the world. People who commit a crime or an offense are placed in a prison cell... where they serve their sentence. [When they complete it], or get time off for good behavior, they are released... except in cases [where a person is sentenced] to life imprisonment or death. In Saudi Arabia, there are two additional ways to get out of prison early: by learning the Koran or parts of it by heart... or by getting a pardon from the king on the occasion of a holiday or a coronation – after which the prisoner finds himself free and can enjoy life among his family and loved ones.

"However, none of these options exist for Saudi women – neither for those who live behind bars [i.e. who are actually in prison] nor for those who live outside the prison walls. None are ever released, except with the permission of their male guardian. A Saudi woman who committed a crime may not leave her cell when she has finished serving her sentence unless her guardian arrives to collect her. As a consequence, many Saudi women remain in prison just because their guardians refuse to come and get them. The state pardons them, but their guardians insist on prolonging their punishment.

"At the same time, even 'free' women need the permission of their guardian to leave their home, their city or their country. So in either case, the woman's freedom is [in the hands of] her guardian."

Prison Inmates Are Stripped Of All Authority Over Their Lives – And So Are Saudi Women

"As is customary in prisons throughout the world, inmates are stripped of all authority and sponsorship over their own [lives]. All their movements are monitored and controlled by the jailor. The prison authorities decide their fate and see to their needs, until the day of their release. This is also the usual situation of the Saudi woman. She has no right to make decisions, and may not take a single step without the permission of her jailor, namely her guardian. But in her case the term [of imprisonment] is unlimited.

"The Saudi Mahram Law turns the women into prisoners from the day they are born until the day they die. They cannot leave their cells, namely their homes, or the larger prison, namely the state, without signed permission... Although Saudi women are deprived of freedom and dignity more than any other women [in the world], they suffer all these forms of oppression and injustice in bitter silence, [and with an air of] suppressed anger and death-like dejection. Saudi women are peaceful in the full sense of the word, but so far the Saudi state has not appreciated their [noble] souls, their patience, and their quiet resistance..."

"The Clerics, Whom the State Has Authorized to Oppress the Women, Regard Their Silence And Patience As [a Sign of] Mental Backwardness"

"The clerics, whom the state has authorized to oppress the women, regard their silence and patience as [a sign of] mental backwardness and emotional weakness... Thus they have [allowed themselves] to increase the 'slumber' of oppression over the decades... They suffocate [the women] in all areas of life by means of oppressive laws [enforced by] the religious police, who follow them everywhere as if they were fugitives from justice. The laws pertaining to women have turned them into objects on which sick men can release their violent and sexual [urges].

"These Saudi clerics deny the Saudi women every opportunity to find a job, get an education, travel, receive medical treatment, or [realize] any [other] right, no matter how trivial, without the permission of their jailor, that is, their guardian – [all] based on oppressive fatwas sanctioned by the male [leaders] of the state."

Our "Mothers and Grandmothers ...Enjoyed Much Greater Freedom... Saudi Arabia Has Turned Itself Into the World's Largest Saudi Prison"

"[It is interesting to note that] the mothers and grandmothers [of today's Saudi women] had all these rights, and enjoyed much greater freedom [than today's women] – as did all Muslim women in past eras, such as the wives of the Prophet. [None of these women] were subjected to this oppressive Mahram Law, which is not based on the tenets of Islam and in fact has nothing to do with Islam.

"How blessed is Saudi Arabia, the humane kingdom, which has turned itself into the world's largest women's prison. [This is a land] which permits any man, without preconditions, to take the role of jailor, and which has turned its women into prisoners for life, when they have done nothing to deserve it."


When Journalists Say There Is No Such Thing As Truth Then the World Is in Big Trouble

By Barry Rubin

A reporter just wrote me a letter that contains a single sentence which I think reflects on why the Western world is in such trouble today. After understandably discussing such real problems of reporting as short deadlines, complex issues, and the duty of the reporter to report what people say, the letter concludes with this sentence: “And when it comes to the Middle East, one man’s [obscenity deleted] is another man’s truth.”

Woe to us that a journalist thinks this way. Of course, this is very similar to the older version that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

Recently, I heard that latter one from the Danish ambassador to the Council of Europe who said that Hamas and Hizballah were like the Danish resistance in World War Two. I replied, among other things, that I don’t remember the Danish or other World War Two European resistance movements bombing German kindergartens and glorying in getting Danish civilians killed as human shields. I also don't think that the Danes and other European resistance movements were attempting to commit genocide on the Germans. I do believe it was the other way around.

(PS: More Danes fought in the German army than in the Resistance, and that was true of other countries as well. Forgive me for remembering who was the main victim of terrorism and "freedom fighter" terrorists then and today. But I digress)

That a European country—and one of the more astute ones, to make matters worse--is represented by someone like that says something pretty sad about the state of the world today.

Regarding that dangerous kind of claim: People who murder civilians on purpose and organizations which have a strategy of mass murder are terrorists. The fact that these same organizations seek to put into power repressive dictatorships makes them even less like anything that might be called freedom fighters.

People who try their best not to murder civilians or to inflict suffering on them as an end in itself and who seek to create democratic governments with liberty are freedom fighters.

Those responsible for the Terror in the French Revolution, Nazis, Stalinists, Hamas, al-Qaida, etc., can be called terrorists. That list was not meant to be exhaustive.

Individuals can act in a terrorist manner but if the movements in which they participate are freedom fighter movements, they will limit, restrain, and punish such people. In terrorist groups—like say the PLO historically—such acts were glorified and rewarded.

Moreover, this concept is equally dangerous in implying that popularity is a rationale for crime. The government of the Third Reich was genuinely popular among its citizenry. When genocide was committed recently in Rwanda, it enjoyed broad support. Many such examples of such behavior can be offered. This, too, is a terrible and even criminal assumption.

Now obviously if one wants to try to come up with complex situations regarding the issues discussed briefly above where the answers aren’t so easy, this can be done without difficulty. But this does not prove such distinctions don’t exist, just that they are not always simple ones.

Democratic countries have rogue individuals, they make mistakes, and governments may have to be reined in by the rule of law. But that doesn’t make them the same as those for whom terrorism is their basic philosophy and strategy.

Regarding the newer version of this concept as voiced by the reporter in his letter, it is even worse. No, truth is not just a matter of opinion, even in the Middle East. And the belief that it is so has been one of the diseases so damaging contemporary intellectual life, politics, and international affairs.

There is something accurately to be called truth and even if we cannot quite reach it, the aspiration to try and the determination to attain the closest possible approximation should be the basis of academic and intellectual and professional life.

All civilizations have been working for a long time to come up with ways to do this. Western civilization has tried especially hard and succeeded—I’m tempted to add, up until recently?—in doing so.

What are these methods? Here are a few. For any statement, claim, or argument:

--Examining the internal consistency.

--Its compatibility with known facts and accepted postulates.

--Occam’s razor, the idea that excessive complexity can indicate an inaccurate explanation (thus, distrust in conspiracy theories)

--Usefulness in predictability, if it accurately describes the workings of some mechanism it should be able to tell us something about what has happed in the past and in the future.

--Replicability, can the result from the hypothesis be duplicated.

--The reliability of sources used.

--The accumulation of very specific evidence which all can pass the tests mentioned above.

--The construction and testing of hypotheses to see if they fit the facts and work.

--Extremely high standards of personal integrity including constant self-examination to see if one's personal viewpoint was getting in the way of being accurate.

--A willingness to change one's mind in light of additional facts.

--A reusal to hide relevant facts even if they contradict one's thesis

--Discussion and exchanges of ideas with others in the context of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and other things to ensure that ideas can battle it out and the truth emerge to the best possible extent.

[I’d be happy to hear your additions and, of course, a great deal more could be written about each of the points above.]

We call these things: logic, reason, the scientific method, the product of the Enlightenment; the Greek philosophical, Talmudic analytical, and the Scholastic methods; and many other names.

But recently, these have been shoved aside by the idea that truth is relative, there is no truth, and everyone’s opinion (narrative) is of the same value.

So it’s no accident that someone who thinks this way would give equal time to what my correspondent referred to as (expletive deleted). Actually, (expletive deleted) usually gets the upper hand. Nowhere do we see this more than in the Middle East and the “scholarship” and “journalism” applied to this part of the world.

Let me suggest an experiment. Take an apple or other handy piece of fruit or vegetable. Hold it in one hand. Then take a very sharp knife. Hold it in your other hand.

Then, say out loud: One man’s [expletive deleted] is another man’s truth.

Next, assuming that the location of the piece of fruit is a matter of personal opinion which has no relationship to spatial dimensions, slash out with the knife until you fall to the floor bleeding profusely.

Congratulations, you now understand the effect of such a doctrine on the Middle East.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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