Wednesday, August 02, 2017

A Stable Father Prevents the Early Onset of Puberty(?)

Connor Murphy presents below an article that I am broadly sympathetic to but the social scientist in me causes me to have reservations.  He fails to consider that pervasively influential variable:  IQ.  Many people are aware that a high IQ leads to greater educational success but far fewer are aware that it also goes with better health and longer life.

So:  There is no doubt that there is a tendency for girls to mature physically rather earlier than they used to.  There is quite a lot of estrogen or estrogen mimics in modern processed foods so that is really no surprise.  The food freaks are in a constant state of uproar about phytoestrogens, BPAs and the rest in our food. They even warn us that you can get BPAs out of babies' bottles.

But Mr Murphy has other ideas.  He thinks that stress is the culprit.  It may of course be involved but the evidence he adduces for the claim is ambiguous.  He says:

“Boys who grow up in hardship are more than four times as at risk of starting puberty aged 10 than those who grow up in safer, wealthier households. And girls who grow up disadvantaged are twice as likely to start puberty early than others.”

But hardship families are very likely to be low IQ families and low IQs are associated with early maturation. American blacks, for instance, arrive at full growth about two years earlier than whites.  And chimpanzee infants go on to reach maturity as early as 8 years of age. So on balance stress has nothing to do with the tendency observed. The tendency is inborn.

Let us go on. Mr Murphy believes that the presence or absence of the father impacts female maturation:

“On average, a girl whose father divorces or separates from her mother and leaves the family home before she is 10 comes into puberty five months earlier than a girl from an intact family."

But absent fathers are by far commonest at the lowest end of the socio-economic scale.  And that is also the low end of the IQ range.  So again we most probaly have an IQ effect.  The finding can parsimoniously be explained by reference to IQ.  Both the absent father and the earlier maturation are explained by one underlying factor:  IQ

Mr. Murphy then goes on to associate the greatly increased divorce rate with earlier maturation.  But he offers no evidence to that effect. Living with a divorced single mother could well be less stressful that living in an unhappy family where parents are hostile to one-another.  Divorce is normally undertaken as the lesser evil and maybe it is in general.

So I share Mr Murphy's concerns and agree that girls benefit from a good relationship with their fathers but I doubt that he has established that.  On purely observational grounds, however, I have recently argued in favour of a similar view

The cult of modernity requires its adherents to believe that civilisation is on a linear upward path of progress and improvement. Coming to harsh conclusions about the degeneracy and sickness of our epoch is not allowed, despite the evidence of steep decline in core facets of existence like social cohesion, happiness, education, health, relationships, fertility rates, wages and governance.

Every now and then though the commissars of thought in the press make a mistake and accidentally report reality without a view to subversion, normally because they don’t realise the ramifications of what they are reporting on.

The Sydney Morning Herald recently published an extract from a book entitled “The New Puberty” by Amanda Dunn, under the title “Something is happening to our kids, and it’s time we talked about it”. The subtitle was “We are seeing a major shift in the development of children, particularly girls. We cannot afford to ignore it and hope it will go away”.

The extract observes that children, and particularly girls, are reaching puberty earlier. The main cause that the extract discusses is childhood obesity, i.e. previous generations did not have calorie surpluses like children do now, therefore the body is effectively receiving calories at such a rate that it “believes” it has the raw materials to begin the adolescent growth and transformation process and therefore does so earlier. In addition, the evidence indicates that menarche has also gotten earlier due to better nutrition as well, i.e. the additional calories are signalling to the body that it now has the availability of resources to create a baby.

Another article from the Herald observed that there was a clear socio-economic and stress link:

“Boys who grow up in hardship are more than four times as at risk of starting puberty aged 10 than those who grow up in safer, wealthier households. And girls who grow up disadvantaged are twice as likely to start puberty early than others.”

The findings suggest that early-onset puberty may be an evolutionary response to trauma and struggle. “When we are raised in sub-optimal living conditions that means we have a higher risk of premature death,” associate professor Sun said. “That means maybe we will die before we’re successfully reproductive, so we would choose an adaptive strategy to mature earlier, to have our first baby earlier, and maybe we could have more kids to ensure our genes transfer to the next generation.”

This was all logical to me so far, the body is responding to stimulus (more calories and/or stress) and reacting in a manner best suited to achieving Darwinian success by passing on its genes. The thing that piqued my interest though, is that while it is well established and acknowledged that our diets are more calorie intensive and that childhood obesity is a problem nowadays, I don’t seem to recall it being as widely acknowledged that modern childhood is significantly worse or sub-optimal, and much interest in analysis of why that is the case.

Let us start with the potential causes of these more stressful childhoods that we are allowed to discuss. Most people will concede that childhood may be more stressful nowadays due to social media and hyper-sexualisation via fashion and popular culture, but these forces are not unstoppable forces of nature. Children are exposed to social media and hyper-sexualisation because adults are choosing to let them be exposed to it. We could choose not to to expose them if we were so inclined. Given the consequences of early puberty, perhaps we should be inclined, “entering puberty young (before 11) correlates with a host of problems, from teenage pregnancy to depression. Only 2% of those who do so go on to enter higher education, regardless of their parents’ IQ and educational level.”

Another major societal change is the large increase in divorce and single mother households. Now this is an area you are allowed to talk about as long as we don’t attribute blame to anyone or to particular social movements:

“On average, a girl whose father divorces or separates from her mother and leaves the family home before she is 10 comes into puberty five months earlier than a girl from an intact family. But the impact of fathers is not limited to whether they are physically present. In intact families, girls reach puberty later if they have a positive rather than a negative relationship with their father; the more he is involved in her upbringing, the later she will have her first period. If the father is absent through illness or work rather than as a result of divorce or separation, the girl’s pubertal age is unaffected. Interestingly, too, an absent mother or a girl’s quality of relationship with her, does not affect the point at which she comes into puberty.”

The end of that quote bordered a little bit on thoughtcrime by implying that a father has a role to play that cannot be filled by a mother, but lets press on:

“Overall, the enormous increase in the divorce rate and in single-parent households since 1960 seems very likely to have played a major role in the decreasing age of puberty. However, it is not clear precisely why an absent or emotionally unengaged father should trigger earlier puberty. The strongest clue comes from the fact that if the father leaves the family home before the girl is six, she is twice as likely to have early first periods and four times more likely to start sex early. It suggests that the disruption to the mother, a lack of cash and all the other problems that go with single parenthood, probably make the girl more likely to be emotionally needy and to be eager to be able to use sexual allure as soon as possible to make people love her. The more times a girl’s family environment changes (with the mother taking new partners) in childhood, the greater the risk of early puberty. If there are three or more new partners, a girl is five times more likely to have a teenage pregnancy.”

Hmmm it might not be clear to the author of that piece why an absent or emotionally unengaged father might be a trigger, but it stands to reason that children are consciously and subconsciously aware if they are under the care and protection of an adult male, i.e. a patriarch. When they know they are not, they are more stressed as a result.


More and more young people feel entitled

We see once again the wisdom of the Christian teachings of humility and gratitude

Research has discovered that large amounts of young people are developing an entitlement complex. The psychological trend comes from the belief that you are superior to others and are more deserving of certain things.

This form of narcissism has some significant consequences such as disappointment and a tendency to lash out.

Pschology Today reports that some examples of entitlement range from the disregard of rules, freeloading, causing inconveniences and like to assume the role of leader when working in groups.

So called Millennials, who were born roughly between 1988 and 1994, tend to have this characteristic as a 2016 study found.

The University of Hampshire found that youngsters who were studied on issues of entitlement scored 25 percent higher than people aged 40 to 60 and 50 per cent higher than those over that age bracket.

Dr Joshua Grubbs, who conducted the research, which was published in the Psychological Bulletin is quoted by Spring as saying: "At extreme levels, entitlement is a toxic narcissistic trait, repeatedly exposing people to the risk of feeling frustrated, unhappy and disappointed with life"

Often times, life, health, ageing and the social world don’t treat us as well as we’d like.

Confronting these limitations is especially threatening to an entitled person because it violates their worldview of self-superiority.

The study looked at 170 cases and determined that entitlement leads to a cycle of disappointment, anger, negativity and a constant need for that person to tell themselves that they are special.

Professor Julie Exline, who was also involved in the study added that this system only creates more issues and can lead to problems with other people. The entire mindset pits someone against other people.

When people think that they should have everything they want — often for nothing — it comes at the cost of relationships with others and, ultimately, their own happiness

In order to break from this mentality experts believe that an individuals should learn to become more humble, more grateful and accept their limitations.

Psychology Today also offers some other alternatives to solving the problem.

These including retrospectively reflecting on annoying incidents from someone else's perspective, promote others achievements and stop justifying things to yourself that are wrong.


Elizabeth Warren Again Calls for ‘Equal Pay,’ Ignores Pay Gap in Own Office

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) spoke out on the issue of gender pay equality in a speech on Thursday without noting the equal pay shortcomings in her own senate office, where women earned a fraction of what was earned by men in 2016.

In an address to liberal activists of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Warren said that she is continually reminded on Capitol Hill that she needs to push equal pay.

"Boy, do they keep reminding me about this on Capitol Hill the need to say this," Warren said on Thursday. "We believe in equal pay for equal work."

Warren fell silent on the issue of equal pay after the Washington Free Beacon reported in April that women earned just 71 cents for each dollar earned by men. She notably failed to acknowledge Equal Pay Day this year, separating herself from every other female Democratic senator and most males as well.

Equal Pay Day was used by the Massachusetts senator in previous years to give strong statements demanding legislation to help alleviate the gender pay gap. In 2016, she called Equal Pay Day a "national day of embarrassment" and pledged to continue her "fight" until the pay gap was erased.

The significant pay gap in Warren's office—the median female salary was more than $20,000 less than the median male salary—was due largely to the fact that the top salaries went to men.

Only one woman employed for the entirety of 2016 made six figures, and five men made more than she did.

Warren's office did not respond at the time to requests for comment on its gender pay gap or on its decision to ignore Equal Pay Day after the report. It did, however, unsuccessfully attempt to discount the report by feeding flawed data to the Huffington Post, a liberal blog.

Warren is one of the candidates supported by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which sells baby onesies that say, "I'm from the Elizabeth Warren wing of American Politics" for $25. It also sells a Warren-themed comic book titled Female Force for $6.

A spokesperson for Warren's Senate office noted that she also brought up equal pay at the Massachusetts Democratic Convention last month.

Warren has been criticized for citing the gender pay gap as proof of sexism, given that many other factors are at play besides gender and that her own office has a significant gap.

"We can’t just aggregate the decisions of millions of workers, split them by sex, and infer gender discrimination," wrote the New Hampshire Union Leader editorial board. "Otherwise, we would have to conclude that Elizabeth Warren is sexist."


The Growing Fight Over Forcing Nonprofits to Disclose Donors

Conservatives in states across the country say that pushes to pass laws requiring nonprofits to report their donors’ private information threaten First Amendment rights.

“I’ve been contacted by dozens of constituents with concerns over their rights to privacy, and possible harassment by organizations or individuals, or even their employers, if their donation histories are made public,” Oklahoma state Rep. Mark Lepak, a Republican, told The Daily Signal in an email.

At least a dozen states have considered such donor disclosure legislation this year, but none has been successful, according to the State Policy Network, a nonprofit organization that supports independent think tanks around the nation.

“Since Jan. 1, 16 states have considered laws that would require causes and groups like The Heritage Foundation to report the names and addresses of their supporters to state government,” Tracie Sharp, president and CEO of the State Policy Network, said in an email to The Daily Signal.

Heritage, a leading conservative think tank, is the parent organization of The Daily Signal, its multimedia news operation.

None of these donor disclosure initiatives has passed so far, Starlee Coleman, senior policy adviser at the State Policy Network, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

“There is a coalition of groups that have been extremely active in trying to defeat these laws, so they are not just failing on their own,” Coleman said. “They are failing from a lot of work from nonprofit organizations coming together to defeat them.”

Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla Firefox, is a perfect example of the harm that donor disclosure laws can cause, Missouri state Sen. Bob Onder said.

“If anyone doubts that the donors can be intimidated and harmed when left-wing groups get a hold of their names, just ask Brendan Eich,” Onder, a Republican, said in a phone interview with The Daily Signal.

Political opponents forced Eich out of his job in 2014 after disclosure of his donation to a ballot initiative in California to preserve the state’s definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

“He had [made] a thousand-dollar donation to Proposition 8, which was the California marriage amendment, and he ended up having to step down as CEO of one of our top tech companies in the world because of the left’s intimidation,” Onder said. 

In Oklahoma, state legislators this year considered legislation requiring donor disclosure for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, a move Lepak says would impinge on constitutional rights.

“I have my own concerns,” said Lepak, who represents Rogers County in the northeastern part of Oklahoma. “We have a right to free speech, and today, we see acts of violence against those with whom we disagree, the well-publicized events on many college campuses being a prime example, and more recently, the shootings at the congressional baseball practice [outside] Washington, D.C.”

But state Rep. Jason Murphey, a Republican who represents Logan County in central Oklahoma, sponsored donor disclosure legislation in the House. Oklahoma state Sen. Anthony Sykes sponsored the bill in the Senate.

“I don’t think there were a series of groups behind this bill,” Murphey told The Daily Signal in an email. “I think that Sen. Sykes was exploring methods for more campaign transparency in response to issues arising from last fall’s Oklahoma ballot initiatives.”

South Dakota House Speaker Mark Mickelson, a Republican who represents the southeastern part of the state, also supports donor disclosure laws.

“That’s the point of this bill,” said Mickelson, who introduced the legislation in the House. “Why are you afraid to have your name associated with your ideas?”

Two states known for their donor disclosure laws are California and New York.

Both states “require nonprofits to violate the privacy of their supporters,” Matt Nese, director of external relations at the Center for Competitive Politics, an organization dedicated to defending First Amendment rights, told The Daily Signal in an email.

However, Nese said it is difficult to know how widespread the push for donor disclosure is.

“It’s hard to quantify the exact number of states that have laws on the books requiring nonprofits to report the private information—names, home addresses, and, in some cases, occupations, and employers—of their supporters to the government for publication in a permanent, searchable, online database,” Nese said.

Onder, who represents a portion of St. Charles County in Missouri, says citizens are aware that donor disclosure laws infringe on their right to privacy.

“Well, I think the public understand free speech rights and the First Amendment and the possibility of organizations having their donors intimidated,” Onder told The Daily Signal.

Onder said he helped stop the donor disclosure push in Missouri.

State Sen. Rob Schaaf, a Republican, offered legislation that would require nonprofits to disclose donors, he said. 

“I led the floor fight against that, and I didn’t really filibuster. I just offered a series of amendments, one of which would have protected donor privacy, and when [Schaaf] saw that my amendment was likely to pass, he just pulled back his bill and that was the end of his efforts,” Onder said.

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that he doesn’t think donor disclosure laws are necessary:

That to me is a violation of the First Amendment, there’s no reason for that. You don’t have to know who the donors are to the National Rifle Association or Planned Parenthood or the Sierra Club to make your own judgment as individuals about what their message is [and] whether it is credible.

Missouri state Sen. Ed Emery, a Republican who represents the western counties of Barton, Bates, Cass, Henry, and Vernon, says liberal activists and politicians are using donor disclosure to advance their political agenda.

“Political candidates have long been required in Missouri to disclose donors, because transparency is good for the political process,” Emery told The Daily Signal in an email, adding:

More recently, however, radical leftists have begun to use that information for aggression. Rather than it being a means to stay informed and advocate for or against the candidate or the issue, they have begun to attack the donor in order to limit or prohibit their free expression.

Once that began, donors had to either suffer the consequences of the attacks, stop donating, … or find a way to continue to support candidates and issues without becoming someone’s mortal enemy.

Donor disclosure limits individuals’ privacy rights, Amy Kjose Anderson, director of civil justice at the American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonpartisan organization for state legislators who favor limited government, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

“Privacy is for individuals,” Anderson said. “You can hear the term transparency and think, ‘That’s always good,’ but it is important to know that transparency is the tool by which the people hold our government responsible.”

Transparency shouldn’t be used to intimidate or silence donors to particular causes, she said.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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