Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stuff I Never Got Around To - Part 1

The past couple weeks have been absolutely crazy with work. If I had stopped after one week and taken the rest of the month off, it would've been considered a pretty decent month. Two weeks in it's a really good month, and there's still plenty to go. But between the massive workload, long hours, some travel, and wanting to actually see my family at some point, I haven't had much time to write. Sorry, sometimes it happens.

So now that I have a few minutes free, I thought I'd search through my list of 'blog ideas' and write about something that I just never got around to. I've got quite a long list, so this could be a running item - if I get around to it. Today's entry from the dustbin of ideas comes from November of 2009. Here goes.

You may recall - well, you probably don't at this point - hearing news of this study about the noticeable effects of single parenting. In short, some scienticians took some rodents that normally are dual-parented. They removed the fathers from some of the families, and compared development of the control group with the single-parent rodents. To the utter shock and amazement of everyone who heard the results, taking away the fathers was bad, mmmkay?

A few commentators picked up on this study at the time, bringing it up just long enough to issue a collective "Well, DUH!!!" before moving on. I mean seriously, is it even the least bit surprising to anyone who knows anything about anything that having a father is better than not? I first read about this from the great Al Mohler, who does a nice enough job connecting the study to Biblical data, especially the emphasis on the vulnerability of the fatherless and our mandate to care for them.

But I wonder if the obviousness of the study's findings made it too easy to rush past without pondering the most significant aspect of the study - and how it obliterates a line of argumentation on a seemingly-unrelated social issue.

When I first read this article, my first reaction was amazement at the main finding - that a 'nurture' condition had been conclusively shown to alter the physical structure of the brain.

Now why is this significant? Ponder that, dear readers, and see if you can identify which issue this applies to. Leave thoughts in the comments; I'll provide hints of where I'm going if you need.


Phil said...

You can't judge me, I'm born gay and there is nothing anyone can do to change it.

Robert said...

I can think of a couple of issues. Phil is alluding to parenting. The other is single women wanting to have babies. Either of these leaves the child without a father and mother. And honestly, both are only focusing on the wants and desires of the individual wanting to be a parent and totally misses the whole point of parenting. Parenting isn't about making yourself feel good or complete. Although I'd say many people take the blessing and worship it instead of worshiping God, Who provides the blessing. (I'm guilty of this myself sometimes)

DJP said...

Wait... Phil's "gay"?

trogdor said...

Phil got to the gist of it right off the bat. Nice work.

The specific argument I had in mind revolves around the almighty hypothalamus, a tiny little section of the brain which nobody ever thinks or cares about other than homosexual perversion advocates. It's been shown that the hypothalamus in homosexuals is generally larger than in straights, and this is offered as ironclad proof that sexual orientation is pre-determined by brain structure and therefore unassailably judgment-proof.

The typical person (say, me in biology class) hearing this would naturally wonder whether the enlarged hypothalamus is the cause, effect, or mutual effect of a separate cause. The advocate/prof would of course then respond that it must be the cause, since we know that brain structure is genetically determined, locked in before birth, and then we're all just slaves to our brain chemistry.

Turns out that we don't know that after all.

Now, even without studies like this to shoot holes in that argument, it's pretty ridiculous. On the purely biological side, we would have to believe that the brain is the sole part of the body that is completely unaffected by how it's used. Imagine claiming that muscle mass is predetermined genetically, and will be the same for you regardless of what amount or type of physical activities you engage in. Laughable enough? Yet for some reason when the brain is involved, this type of nonsense is thrown around as if it's a product of reasonable thought.

Then of course there are the typical arguments against this "it's just how I'm made!" garbage. But that's for another time.

Phil said...

Hehe. I'm the daddy to the ORIGINAL baby trogdor. With that in my bag I am neither homosexual(gay) nor uncool(gay).

Anyhow, always like reading, I feel a strange kinship seeing as how you are at the same phase of life and theology as myself.