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"Hitler or Coulter?" Quiz
Map1 - Teen Pregnancy
Map2 - Incarceration
Map3 - Homicide Rates
Map4 - Drop-out Rates
Map5 - Bankruptcy Rates
Map6 - Driving Distances
Map7 - Energy Use
Map8 - Gonorrhea!
Map9 - Tax Burden
Map10 - State GDP
Map11 - DHS funding
Map12 - Adult Illiteracy.
Map13 - Abortion Bans:
Map14 - ER Quality
Map15 - Hospital Quality
Map16 - Coal Burners
Map 17 - Infant Mortality
Map 18 - Toxic Waste
Map 19 - Obesity
Map 20 - Poverty
Map 21 - Occupational safety
Map 22 - Traffic deaths
Map 23 - Divorce
Figure 1 - Wages vs Right to work
Figure 2 - Unemployment vs Right to work
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Sunday, December 17, 2006

More of the usual
Not surprisingly, Dobson's BS anti-gay piece for time has been attacked by the scientists he quoted. Apparently Dobson, like all creationists/bigots/fundamentalists doesn't understand you can't just cherry-pick the science so that it says what you want.

But Gilligan claimed that Dobson distorted her findings, and says that she disagrees with his theory that same-sex couples are unsuitable parents. In a pointed letter to Dobson and released to the press, Gilligan demanded that he apologize and "cease and desist" from quoting her work in the future.

"I was mortified," Gilligan wrote, "to learn that you had distorted my work this week in a guest column you wrote in Time Magazine."

"My work in no way suggests same-gender families are harmful to children or can't raise these children to be as healthy and well adjusted as those brought up in traditional households," Gilligan asserts.

"I trust," her letter concluded, "that this will be the last time my work is cited by Focus on the Family."

Dr. Kyle Pruett of the Yale school of medicine was equally shocked to discover Dobson's use of his work in the column.

"You cherry-picked a phrase to shore up highly (in my view) discriminatory purposes," he wrote in a similar letter to Dobson. "This practice is condemned in real science, common though it may be in pseudo-science circles. There is nothing in my longitudinal research or any of my writings to support such conclusions."

In fact, Pruett's work suggests the opposite of Dobson's assertions. "On page 134 of the book you cite in your piece," he points out, "I wrote, 'What we do know is that there is no reason for concern about the development or psychological competence of children living with gay fathers. It is love that binds relationships, not sex.'"

Typical denialists tactics. You don't like that the science shows that gay parents can be just as competent as heterosexual parents, so what do you do? You use selectivity, false experts, red herrings, BS gay agenda conspiracies and other dishonest tactics to distract from the reality which you hate.

Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Dobson is an idiot and a liar
** Update ** He's apparently a plagiarist too.

Dobson writes a piece for time about Mary Cheney having a kid with her partner and they should be ashamed for publishing it. Not only is it just idiotic, and wrong, and stupid, but what could he possible want to be done about this? And where did they get the idea that two women raising a child is worse than one? Ignoring the fact that humans have reared children with multiple women in the household for generations, the science shows that as fewer women are raising children in American households, it's increasing stress on moms, and a worsening trend. If anything, the more women per household, the better. But onto the idiocy.

With all due respect to Cheney and her partner, Heather Poe, the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father. That is not to say Cheney and Poe will not love their child. But love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development. The two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy--any more than the two most loving men can be complete role models for a little girl.

So, unless you have the ideal family unit you shouldn't have children? This is an interesting viewpoint, not only does it ignore that you don't need to be directly related to a man or a woman for them to play the role model for you as a kid, but it also completely misstates the science. Not surprisingly, there has not been a single study that shows that lesbian or gay parents raise children that are any more or less maladjusted than those in a nuclear family. Seriously, show me one, and I'll believe this "Mom and Dad only can raise a family" crap. Certainly the science shows things are more difficult for single parents, but that by no means precludes them from raising healthy happy kids.

Then there's this idiocy:

According to educational psychologist Carol Gilligan, mothers tend to stress sympathy, grace and care to their children, while fathers accent justice, fairness and duty. Moms give a child a sense of hopefulness; dads provide a sense of right and wrong and its consequences. Other researchers have determined that boys are not born with an understanding of "maleness." They have to learn it, ideally from their fathers.

This sounds like total crap, and I bet if you talked to Carol Gilligan she'd be upset at Dobson using whatever it is she said out of context. I'd bet money that's the case. But besides that, this is just idiotic. Dads provide a sense of right and wrong and moms don't? Are you kidding me? Who buys into this kind of gender-pigeonholing anyway? This is idiotic and doesn't even deserve a serious response.

Finally, I'd just like to attack one more ridiculously stupid thing in this idiotic article. Dobson has made the mistake of bad-mouthing divorce.

This is a lesson we should have learned from no-fault divorce. Because adults wanted to dissolve difficult marriages with fewer strings attached, reformers made it easier in the late 1960s to dissolve nuclear families. Though there are exceptions, the legacy of no-fault divorce is countless shattered lives within three generations, adversely affecting children's behavior, academic performance and mental and physical health. No-fault divorce reflected our selfish determination to do what was convenient for adults, and it has been, on balance, a disaster.

First of all, let's see where we have divorce in this country:

And from my previous post on divorce.

This is a map of the states with divorce rates greater than 4 per thousand (excluding California, and Indiana and using 2002-2003 data for 2 other states that didn't report in 2004), the national average is somewhere between 3.7 and 4.1 depending on who you ask or whether you throw an estimate of California's rate in since they haven't reported a rate since 1990. The other key thing to remember is that divorce rates are falling in all states, by about 10% since the 90s. So, if California were included today based on its 1990 statistics it would probably now be well under 4, so don't let that worry you too much.

All the same, look at where divorce is actually a problem, in a nice band across the bible belt. The states with the lowest divorce rates? Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin have divorce rates that range from 1.8-3.0 per 1,000. The blue states included are in just barely at around 4.1-4.3 per 1,000. The highest two are Nevada at 6.3 and Arkansas at 6.1, over three times the rate of liberal Massachusetts. And even more interesting is the Barna survey done in 1999 showed that of all religious groups, Baptists and non-denominational Christians were the most likely to get divorced, surpassing all those evil heathen religions, Catholics and atheists. And where do the Baptists live? Well, largely in the areas highlighted in the above map.

Divorce in this country is at the lowest point it's been since before no fault divorce came of age. It was highest in the 1980s at a rate of about 40-43% and now has dropped to an overall rate of 30% of all marriages will end in divorce. The highest rates of divorce are in evangelicals and fundamentalist Christian sects. Now how about that? Maybe the real threat to the nuclear family are the stodgy and rigid concepts of manhood and womanhood inflicted by patriarchal assholes like Dobson.

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