Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On Maturity

One of my daughters has been hurt by the accusation from certain friends that she is “immature”.  Now, I realize that I’m her mother, and I’m not objective.  And I know she has her faults, as does she.  But I would defy any objective adult to look at my daughter and her accusers and tell me that she is the least mature of the group.

I love this facepalm monkey.
Hubby and I have tried to explain to her that the problem, we think, is how these kids define maturity.   Their definitions have nothing to do with character and everything to do with lifestyle and experience.  My twelve-year-old daughter doesn’t wear make-up and isn’t into fashion and how she looks.  To them, this is a sign of immaturity.  Every "mature" girl they know their age is trying desperately to make themselves as attractive as possible to boys.
My daughter isn’t "boy crazy".  She has crushes on boys, but she doesn’t act silly around them and she doesn’t avoid their presence for fear of doing something embarrassing.  She is a big fan of Max Schneider, a Nickelodeon star, (in fact, she created her own fan blog – give her a thrill and check it out here), but she doesn’t act all kooky and gaga over him.  To her friends, this is immaturity.  Every "mature" girl they know their age is obsessed with boys, because that’s what is supposed to happen when you hit the middle school years and stop being a little girl.
My daughter doesn’t watch "Degrassi" or other shows of a similar nature aimed at kids her age.  She thinks the sexual content of these shows is ridiculous.  Keep in mind, she’s had crushes on boys since she was five, so it’s not like she’s not into the opposite sex yet.  She just doesn't buy into the idea that teenage romance must inherently involve stupidity – and she thinks shows that glorify stupid teenage romances are stupid.  To her friends, this is immature.  Every "mature" girl they know their age longs for the kinds of relationships they see portrayed in such programs and will take any opportunity they get to have one.
Of course, it now occurs to me . . . every other girl that these friends know goes to school.
There's an old joke among homeschoolers: when someone asks, "Aren't you worried about your kids' socialization?" they say, "Absolutely!  That's why we homeschool!"

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Post About Sex

You know, I realize that I – being a Southern Baptist pretty much from conception – am not typical in our society anymore.  But I honestly don’t understand the sex thing, folks.  Recently while listening to certain friends spill their guts about sexual encounters they’ve had and the havoc they caused in their lives, I’ve had to bite my tongue to keep from saying to them, “Look, here’s a simple way to prevent such problems:  don’t have sex with someone you’re not married to.”
Seriously.  I understand that we all are tempted and we all fall sometimes.  But right now, I’m talking about people who start with the mindset that there is simply nothing wrong with having sex with someone you’re not married to.  This is not an unusual mindset these days.  And I don’t understand that.  When did mankind decide that this was progress?  That this was the way to go for the betterment of humanity?
Just picture for a moment what things would be like if we, as a society, held to the good old-fashioned belief that sex is for married people only.  What would that world look like?  Let’s start with how many unwanted children would not be conceived – and also not aborted.  I realize monogamous sex would not end the problem, but surely nobody can argue that it wouldn’t improve matters tremendously.
Consider how many dating relationships would be so much healthier and happier because they are centered on something other than sex -- which would then lead to marriages starting on more solid foundations.  Lord knows the institute of marriage could use a shot in the arm these days.  Furthermore, how many married people’s sex lives would be more satisfying for lack of past wounds and experiences?  There is a lot of research out there about how people who waited for sex until their wedding night are far more satisfied with their sex lives later than those who felt no compulsion to show such restraint.
STDs?  They would almost go the way of the dinosaurs.
Think of the effect on young people – the impact of an entire generation spending their teen years NOT wasting their time and energy and intellectual resources scheming about getting in and out of various people’s pants, because they’ve entered their teen years assuming and accepting that this is not an option for them.  How much stronger would our young people be – particularly our young men – if we intentionally taught them how to rule their passions rather than to be ruled by their passions . . . and convinced them that it’s possible to do so?  Imagine what change a generation with that kind of self-discipline and commitment to high standards could make on society.
Is it difficult?  Of course.  Will people fail and need to pick up and try again?  Certainly.  Is it intrusive in people’s personal lives and free choice to even suggest it?  Well, we have no problem these days “intruding” into people’s personal choices about the food they eat.  We actively encourage good nutrition by teaching everyone about healthy food choices and why they’re healthy.  We teach it in schools – we campaign for junk food to be removed from school lunches – we are even starting to require restaurants to post calorie counts by the items on menus.  And we justify it as a public issue because of the health costs that obesity burdens society with.  Yet, we turn an amazingly blind eye to the public costs of sexual promiscuity – costs in physical health, emotional health, damaged family structures . . . they are countless and they are profoundly destructive.
It’s obvious why the religious community preaches abstinence.  What I don’t understand is why the nanny-state secular community hasn’t gotten on board. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

I Got a System for That

Monday morning, my husband found me in the laundry room, pulling sheets out of the dryer.  He looked around a second with a confused expression and said, “Is it Tuesday?”  And for a moment, I wondered if my life is just a bit too structured.
Yes, Tuesday is laundry day and has been for many, many years in our household -- and my laundry routine is like a well-oiled machine.  Monday is bill-paying day and houseplant-watering day.  Saturday is grocery day (in NJ it was Sunday night, while everyone else watched football).  I make daily to-do lists, which are derived from my weekly to-do lists, which – when I’m really organized – are derived from my monthly to-do list.  I was just weeding through old documents on our computer hard drive and found scads of checklists for a multitude of household tasks:  weekly chore lists for the girls . . . packing lists for trips back to Kansas . . . year-end to-do lists for my Creative Memories business . . . checklists for things to get done during the holiday season.  I survive day to day on systems I have set up for the tasks I have to accomplish.  I promise you, I am not nearly as obsessive in this regard as I used to be, but I still wonder if I would do well to learn to live with a bit more spontaneity.
My daughter has been questioning this tendency in herself, also.  Lately, she has taken to making very detailed to-do lists for herself everyday – down to “brush my teeth” and “take my vitamins”.  Ironic, because she might be the most self-disciplined person in the house these days, yet she wants a list to be sure she doesn’t miss something.
“I’m too organized!” she whined to me the other night.  She has routines set up in her life regarding even the smallest of details . . . like, how she brushes her teeth, she tells me.  And yeah, that’s a little extreme, maybe.  But is it a problem?  I don’t know….
Personally, I’m thrilled that I’m able to rely on her getting done what she needs to get done without my nagging her.  Even the things she doesn’t enjoy doing, she gets satisfaction when they’re done because she can check them off her list and that’s satisfying.  I can SO relate to that.  I don’t think that’s unhealthy.  That’s knowing thyself and working with your personality to make your life go smoothly.  Right?
Now, I told her, if your lists and routines start stressing you out . . . if you get interrupted brushing your teeth and mess up your routine and it annoys you to the point that you have to do it all again . . . if you find yourself crying at night because you didn’t get everything crossed off your list . . . if you find you’re living for your system rather than your system working for you . . . THEN we have a problem.
Neither of us are there yet.  But I’m thinking that I may need to get intentional about finding swaths of time for us to be intentionally unintentional.  I remember a recent holiday season when we were in town for a few days between Christmas and New Year’s and I refused to allow myself to make any list of any kind for any day.  I was as completely spontaneous as I could be.  And it was WONDERFUL.
For a while.  And then came Monday – bill-paying day and houseplant-watering day – and I happily settled into my comfort zone again.  J

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It Starts With a "P"

Hubby was checking online last night for the date of the local Daddy/Daughter Date Night event sponsored by the Rec Center.  "Guess what the theme is this year?" he asked our youngest.  "I'll give you a hint:  it starts with a P."

She thought for a while.  I offered "Pirate?" as a possibility.  Nope, no pirate theme. 

Suddenly her face perked up.  "Potential?" she asked.

Ahem.  Potential????  What the heck??

We roared about that for a while, and hubby gave her another clue:  it starts with PR.


Yes, dear.  Everybody goes to the Daddy/Daughter Date Night dressed as their favorite principal -- which would be a bit awkward for you since you're homeschooled and your principal is your DATE.


Oh, dear.  At least this is getting closer.  "It's not 'Prognosis' either, honey," hubby tells her.

At this point, we're all in stitches too much to offer any more guesses.  I suppose my twelve-year-old is truly not a little girl anymore when she can't come up with a "Princess" theme for Daddy/Daughter Date Night.

"Potential."  Smirk.  This is what happens when a vocab-loving, grammar-diva English teacher homeschools.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Although I don’t talk about abortion on here much, I bet it’s no surprise to anyone that I’m pro-life.  I had a conversation a while back with a Facebook friend who is pro-choice and very outspoken about it.  Amazingly, we found that we are each much more moderate than we realized.  In fact, I’d venture to say we might have agreed on more than we disagreed on.  It was a great surprise to me. 
We wondered together why it is that the people on our respective “sides” of this debate push for the most extreme of positions when their own views might actually be more moderate, like hers and mine.  We decided it was probably the “give an inch they’ll take a mile” fear.  I still think that's a big part of it, but I have another suspicion, too.
Another liberal FB friend posted something last week about how he does NOT want to take everyone’s guns away and he’s tired of his conservative friends thinking he does.  Amen, brother.  I reminded him of how many times I’ve had to tell my liberal friends that I don’t hate poor people just because I question the wisdom of Obamacare.  We’re both tired of being painted with the same brush as the most extreme loudmouths on our end of the spectrum. 
Here’s how I think that happens.  Conservatives get most of their news from conservative sources.  Conservative sources have as a primary goal the discrediting liberals, so they portray the extreme liberal as representative of the party to rally their base.  So your typical conservative assumes that your typical liberal is an ugly radical.  And, of course, vice versa. 
So, my pro-choice friend hears from her pro-choice sources that pro-lifers want to regulate everything possible about her reproductive organs and sex life, and she comes to believe it is true -- especially because her pro-life friends seem to be stupid enough to believe that she wants to allow rampant murder of any fetus out there for any reason.  We end up assuming the worst of each other -- and fearing the worst from each other.
We are a very divided nation right now.  And I suspect that division is rooted in vastly different worldviews, which make it difficult to overcome.  But I also believe that pragmatically, we can find a lot more common ground to walk together if we stop being so afraid of each other.  Turning off the extreme voices and talking to one another is a good place to start.

Friday, January 18, 2013

"Our Schoolmaster To Bring Us . . ."

School . . .

"School" is a means to force someone into the behaviors that are associated with education.  At school, you are required to devote certain time periods to certain subjects – you are required to listen to someone trying to deciminate information – you are required to read certain books, process certain information by answering questions – you are given deadlines to finish the work by – etc. etc. 

However, school is not education.  Education is something else.
Consider what would happen if one were freed from school.  If one were allowed to pursue education without the rigid requirements of a school setting.  What would you do?  Well, that depends a lot on your nature.  If you are of a “non-educational nature”, you would probably sit around, watch TV, eat a lot, hang out with friends . . . but you’re not likely to do anything that would lead to much education.  Your nature would prevent that.
But if you are of an “educational nature”, you would still end up getting an education – and perhaps a better one than the school could give you, because you would have the freedom to acquire knowledge and information in your own way.  You could focus on material that has meaning for you, which means the information would stick. You can adapt your method to your own learning style – visual, auditory, kinesthetic, left-brain, right-brain, convergent, divergent, morning, afternoon, evening, etc.  You would easily see the application of what you’re learning and, therefore, apply it.  This is REAL education. 
So, is school a bad thing? No, of course not.  There is some learning that happens better in a school environment.  But most importantly, most people would never be interested in being educated if school hasn’t gotten them started.  It reveals to us how much there is out there to learn.
Now, bear with me a minute as I articulate for myself a recent insight because in reality, this post is not about education.  This is about the Law, with a capital L, as referred to in the Bible in Romans and Galatians and all.  These verses were unclear to me for years, but there it is.  Law = school.  It forces us into the behaviors that are associated with righteousness, but it doesn’t produce righteousness itself.  It merely reveals how unrighteous we are.  Righteousness comes apart from the law, when we get a new nature – a righteous nature – from God.  Then we have the desire and ability to do the things that genuinely lead to righteousness. 
Not a new or perfect analogy, but you know – I’m a teacher – it spoke to me.  J

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Genesis 5

I’m not sure why I started reading Genesis 5 one night a while back. It’s the first of the tiresome “begat” passages in scripture that everyone jokes about.  Not generally very inspirational reading.  Many are intrigued by Enoch – how he walked with God and then “was no more, because God took him away.” 

But I was otherwise intrigued.  I’ve written before about the “day-age” theory of the beginnings – that each day of the Genesis 1 account is actually an “age” that could have lasted millions of years, thus giving the time necessary for the big-bang/evolution scenario that science offers us.  My reaction to that theory has been, “Meh.  Perhaps.”  It’s not as neat a solution as deistic evolutionists imply. There was evening and morning – the first day.  Evening and morning . . . I’m not sure how you have an evening and a morning in an age lasting millions of years.  As a friend noted once, it’s almost as if it was specifically written that way to eliminate the possibility of someone thinking it was anything other than an actual day.
I had similar thoughts reading the 5th chapter of Genesis that night.  If you aren’t familiar with it, take a look.  A list of generations from Adam to Noah.  A few things of note . . .
People lived a long time then (this was before the flood – many theorize that that environment changed significantly after the flood and severely reduced life spans, which is exactly what you see in the later genealogical lists in Genesis).  When you add up all those numbers and chart it out (as in the picture to the side here), it turns out that Adam was alive during the lives of all of these men.  Noah is the first one in the list who was born after Adam’s death.  That fact alone is fascinating – I see many script possibilities in the interaction of the various characters there.
Another intriguing tidbit: Methuselah, the infamous oldest man ever (he died at 969), died the year of the flood.  And his name can be interpreted to mean “his death shall bring it”.  And he was named by his father, Enoch – that one who was noted for walking with God and whom later New Testament writers call a prophet.
Many have pointed out that the Hebrew word used in this passage for “father of” can also mean “ancestor of”.  Duly noted.  They have used this fact to indicate that this might not be a literal father-son list, that there may be many generations missing, which would lend itself to much more time passing.  OK.  Again, duly noted.  I’m by no means a great Biblical scholar, and I don’t know the answers here.
But read closely:  “What Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch.”  Change that to “ancestor”.  How exactly does Jared suddenly become the ancestor of Enoch at 162 years old?  One becomes a father in a specific moment in time, during a specific year of life; not so an ancestor.  Again, it’s as if it was written that way to specifically eliminate the possibility of it being interpreted as an ancestor.
And what of all those numbers anyway?  If this was a general vague listing of ancestors, why would the lister include all of these specific numbers? 
I’ll concede that this could be a listing of ancestors.  It is a possible reading of the passage.  But is it a likely reading?  Is it the meaning that the writer intends for us to get out of the passage?  Would an objective reader come to these words and assume extra generations in there if he didn’t have a need to try to find extra generations because of an extra-scriptural source insisting on more time?  Hmmm.  I don’t know . . .

Monday, January 14, 2013

Capitalism and The Fall

Last summer, I read a book called The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism.  It is heavy reading, I’ll warn you.  Like a college textbook or something -- one of those books I had to mark up as I read to understand it.  I’d recommend it for your reading pleasure, but I suspect few of you would find its reading pleasurable, and then you’d be mad at me. J

In any case, the book makes a case for capitalism, and one of the points it makes is that capitalism assumes the fallenness of man and takes advantage of it.  Other systems, it contends, depend on people being good – either the general population or the particular people who are running things.  But Capitalism assumes that people are going to be selfish – because we are – and fashions things so that my working in my own self-interest ultimately works also in your interest (or, it at least does so as well as any system possibly could).

This sculpture is called "The Fallen Man".  It's more
about war than sin . . . but the image is wonderful
and applies to both concepts, I think.
A brief example: if I start a business selling groceries, my self-interest is to make as much money as I can, to support me and my family and whatever personal obsessions I have that require money.  But if I’m having to compete with other grocery stores to get your business, then the only way I can make that money is if I earn your business.  And the only way I can earn your business is by meeting your needs: offering you good quality groceries at a good price with good service.  I serve my interest by serving your interest.  Obviously, it gets more complicated than that, but that’s the idea.
Recent discussions from past posts of mine have revealed, however, how many friends I have who essentially don’t believe in “the fallenness of man”.  At least, not as the Bible teaches it and not as this defense of capitalism defines it.  These friends believe that if people are sinful, it’s not because they have an inherent sinful nature; it’s because society has screwed them over somehow and made them sinful.  And the solution to “sin”, then, is to re-shape society so it stops screwing people over.
And furthermore, I think that all of my friends who have espoused this belief about the nature of man also happen to be liberals.  In fact, at the moment, I can’t think of ANY Christian liberal friends of mine (and I do have Christian liberal friends) who also hold to traditional Biblical teachings about such things as the fallenness of man.  Surely there are some . . . hmmm . . .
I’ve had hopes for a long time of identifying the basic core differences between liberals and conservatives.  Surely I’m being too optimistic to think that I might have hit upon one . . .

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Sex Makes You Stupid"

My youngest introduced me recently to a song that her sister introduced her to:  Maroon 5’s “One More Night”.  She was hesitant about the song at first because, she said, the lyrics seemed to be “very inappropriate” (her words . . . obviously introjected from a lifetime with me).  But as she listened, she decided that the lyrics actually had a pretty good message.
But baby there you again, there you again making me love you
Yeah I stopped using my head, using my head let it all go
Got you stuck on my body, on my body like a tattoo
And now I'm feeling stupid, feeling stupid crawling back to you . . .
“I think,” she said, “that this is about how now that they’ve had sex, they're having a hard time leaving even though they realize this is a really lousy relationship.”  Looking at the full lyrics, I think that’s a reasonable interpretation.
And it seems all the more reasonable to me in light of an article a friend recently shared with me titled, “Sex Makes You Stupid”.  The author talks about how sex has a physiological effect of “clouding your vision”, giving you a case of temporary amnesia about certain transgressions and faults in your spouse.  And this is a good thing in a healthy marriage.  When you spend so much time together over many years, it is important to be able to let go of the minor annoyances and missteps.  God "programmed" that little blessing into the sex act to help smooth out the rough places in our marriages.
However, what is a blessing and a bond-enhancer in a marriage can be disastrous in a dating relationship.  Have you ever met anyone who is in a relationship where there are being treated like crap?  And you’ve wondered, why in the WORLD do they put up with this?  Why can’t they see this for what it really is?  I bet you that nine times out of ten, that couple is sleeping together.  Sex clouds your vision.  And you do NOT want your vision clouded during the part of the relationship where you are figuring out if you can trust this person with your heart.
I’m very glad my daughter gets this.  And very impressed that she seemed to get it before I even brought it up.  Not bad for a twelve-year-old.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Would YOU Eat Orange Tater Tots?

I have developed quite a fondness for sweet potatoes, particularly in fried forms.  I'll eat sweet potato fries dipped in barbecue sauce until the cows come home (interesting turn of phrase there, isn't it?  Cows . . . but I digress . . .).  For this reason, I've become curious about sweet potato tater tots.  I've never had them, but they sound like they might be good.

However, my eldest -- who doesn't love but will eat sweet potato fries with me -- assures me that sweet potato tater tots are all kinds of nasty.  And that every kid in her school agrees; she has yet to see anyone finish, or even make a dent in, their pile of orange tots since they've been added to the school lunch menu.  Nearly every one ends up in the trash can.

Orange tater tots are apparently a result of the Michelle Obama push for kids eating healthier food.  And I am all for Mrs. Obama's cause -- it's ridiculous how we eat in this country, and the only way to change that is to start instilling healthy eating habits when kids are young.  However, this particular wing of the movement, the school lunch initiative, is not being handled well, it doesn't seem.  If my daughter's school is representative (and I have no reason to believe it is not), kids are not eating healthier.  Kids are simply throwing away more food . . . and devouring more greasy fast food after school because they're starving.  (I still wonder which came first in our neighborhood -- the high school, or the McDonald's a few blocks away.  Mickey D folks are no idiots.)

My husband saw this coming (he sees a lot of things coming -- quite the prophet, he).  He's worked many years in the segment of the food industry that markets to school lunch programs and understands well the issues.  Schools have to buy food that is inexpensive, that is easy to prepare in large quantities, and now that meets a bunch of additional nutrition requirements.  BUT -- they also realize that if it doesn't look, sound, and taste good, it will end up scraped off of the trays into the trash barrels.  They watch it happen every day.  Some of them can compartmentalize all this and say, "Well, I did my job.  I provided food that meets all the requirements and did it within my budget.  Whether the kids eat it or not is not my problem."  But others actually give a crap about the well-being of their charges and want their brains to be nourished so they can learn.  So, they HAVE to care about whether or not the food appeals to the young 'uns.

I really don't know the answer to this.  Kids come to school with appetites already whetted for the bad stuff, and apart from some Brave New World type of protect-the-kids-from-their-parents approach (which is a topic for another day . . . ), I don't know how we stop that.  But I would be very curious to hear research on how well this new push to healthier school lunches is going -- specifically how much food is being wasted.

At the very least, they should compost that food they scrap.  It would be the green thing to do.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Bible and American Public Education

There’s yet another meme going around Facebook about the Bible not being allowed in schools.   Seeing it reminded me what a dangerous radical I am, because I taught from the Bible when I taught public high school English twenty years ago.

I did a lesson about the lead of your writing piece being tied to your audience and purpose.  My example was the four gospel accounts in the Bible, each of which was written to a different audience for a different purpose, and their leads reflect that.  For example, the book of Matthew was written to fellow Jews and emphasizes how Jesus fulfilled Hebrew prophecy; it begins with a genealogical account of Jesus’ ancestry, proving he was Jewish and a descendent of David which fulfilled prophecy.

I’m pretty sure there was at least one Biblical passage included in our literature textbook  – Psalm 23, I believe -- as an example of ancient poetry.  There might have also been one of Jesus’ parables in there, too.  And, of course, literature is filled with Biblical images and references that we ended up discussing in class.  Yep, I definitely taught the Bible.  I wonder if I'd be fired today.  :)

When I was a sophomore in high school, we read an essay that referred to the Book of Job.  One student pronounced “job” with an “ah” -- as in employment.  Mr. Umansky pronounced it correctly for him (with an “oh”) and asked if he knew what the Book of Job was . . .  the student said he assumed it was a job manual.  The teacher asked if anyone in the class knew what the Book of Job was; I was the only one in the class of honors students who did.  After a moment of stunned silence, Mr. Umansky emphatically told us that no American could ever consider themselves truly educated if they didn’t know the Bible, so it behooved us to buy one and read it.  Mr. Umansky was Jewish, by the way.

I agree.  Any truly literate and educated person in Western society should have a good basic knowledge of Greek mythology, Roman mythology AND Biblical stories.  They are part of the narrative by which we, in the Western world, communicate meaning and ideas.

While helping one of my students in an at-risk class with her history assignment once, I mentioned that the Roman Empire controlled Palestine at the time when Jesus lived.  (It wasn’t as random a comment as that sounds; I don’t remember the context, but it was pertinent to helping her pull together the facts she was studying.)  The young lady looked at me with disdain and shook her head.  “I don’t believe any of that stuff, Mrs. Kandt.”  I tried to explain to her that, whether or not she believed he was the Son of God or rose from the dead, historians tells us that there was a man named Jesus, he was killed by the Romans, and he lived in Palestine under the Roman Empire.  She just continued to smirk at me and shake her head.  Her contempt for my religious beliefs blocked her from learning what was secularly documented history.  It hindered her education . . . and closed her mind.

If I lived in Saudi Arabia, I would fully expect to learn about the Koran in school.  In fact, I would be disappointed in my school if I didn’t, because I assume that Arabian culture is as saturated with the Koran’s stories and teachings as Western culture is with the Bible’s, and I would have little hope of understanding the culture I was living in without a good knowledge of their holy book.  I would also want to know the historical background, because although I don't abide by Muhammed's teachings, I know he was a historical figure who had a prominent place in history which I also need to understand.  As long as I was not expected to profess faith in the Koran or change my lifestyle to fit its teachings, I would be tolerant -- even enthusiastic -- about it being included in my “public school” education because I want to be educated well.

Just sayin’.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Unpredictable Science

I read yesterday about a fascinating study by a scientist who studies scientists -- specifically, the scientists in four chemistry labs at Stanford.  He observed all their behavior and the research they did, interviewed them, read their notes and all.  And he found that science is a very frustrating endeavor . . . because nature simply doesn't cooperate.

Now, here's why that's interesting:  one of the premises of science is that the universe is a predictable, orderly place -- that once you figure out the nature of things and the rules they live by, you'll be able to say with great confidence what is going to happen in the future.  This is why scientific findings are required to be replicable before they are accepted.

But these scientists in some of the top-quality labs of the world were constantly stymied by the results of their experiments.  Basic findings could not be replicated.  Months' worth of work was tossed out because they could make no sense of the results.  In fact, "more than 50 percent of their data was unexpected.  (In some labs, the figure exceeded 75 percent.)"  In a supposedly systematic pursuit for supposedly predictable truth, things rarely happened like they expected.

Some observations about this.  Number one, I feel much better about how all of my homeschool science experiments fail.

Number two, if they had a theory that X would happen in this experiment and Y happened instead, isn't it more scientific to change your theory to accommodate Y than to throw out your data because it "didn't make sense"?  How many scientific theories are pushed on the public that are disproven in research 50-75 percent of the time, but the scientists refuse to believe the evidence of their eyes over the worldview in their brains?

Number three, if scientists are this unreliable about analyzing the natural phenomena happening right before their eyes and adjusting their theories and worldviews accordingly, why do we put such unrelenting trust in the theories they present us regarding the beginning of time, concerning phenomena that nobody has seen?

Number four, is it possible that our universe isn't as orderly and predictable as we want to believe it is?  That we arrogant heirs of the Enlightenment have convinced ourselves that we can stand apart from our world and figure everything out when our brains are simply not that grand and limitless?  That maybe God, in a loving attempt to draw us to Him, steps into the natural world and stirs things up a little just to remind us that He is God and we are not?

I'm not being anti-science here.  Really, nobody who uses computers or microwaves or pharmaceuticals has any business being anti-science.  But it behooves us to recognize arrogance in our species when we see it, and it behooves us to approach the claims of the consistently arrogant with some healthy skepticism.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Putting Her in God's Hands

My eldest had a friend who was supposed to come over on New Year’s Eve.  He never showed up.  She found out yesterday morning that this was because he had been arrested for drunk driving and was in jail.

It’s not like I didn’t know that kids drink.  It’s not even like I didn’t know that my daughter has friends who drink (they know she doesn’t and make a point of not even inviting her to activities where there will be alcohol). 
I think what disturbs me to my core about this is that the boy was very possibly on his way to our house when he was stopped.  And that he was so sure he was sober enough to drive.  And that he could possibly have invited my daughter to go with him somewhere that night after he arrived.  And that he could have crashed the car . . . and killed someone . . . another driver . . . himself . . . or my daughter.
I also wonder if there were adults at the party where he got the alcohol – adults who knew that there were kids drinking.  I know there are parents out there who don’t try to stop their children’s alcohol consumption.  They even buy it for them.  They argue that the kids are going to drink anyway – better that they do it at home where the parents can keep an eye on them and see that they’re safe.  Except that doesn’t always work.
I don’t drink, really.  I sip at wine once in a while.  I’ve never had enough alcohol to even get a buzz.  This is probably why I don’t understand why so many people think fun evenings must include a beer in their hands or they're not really fun.  When you look at the dangers involved in over-indulging – and the tendency so many people have to over-indulge – I’ve never understood the appeal. 
Luckily, both of my daughters feel the same way.  I just hope they always do.  Now, if I could just ensure that everyone who drives them anywhere agrees.  And everyone else driving on the road around them . . .