Thursday, March 13, 2008

Are they cowards and hypocrytes as well as liars?

Emervents recently commented on my previous post, in which she remarked that she had received much hate mail, which I presume to be from anti-choice wing-nuts. I've also noticed on the Tell the "Truth" blog that Ron has a habit of specifically writing posts that directly, by name, refer to comments Emervents has made on his blog.

I find this very interesting. I too am a regular commenter for the pro-choice position on that blog, and though I have had some comments in reply to mine, never has Ron seen fit to take me to task. And even though I, like Emervents, have my name linked to my Blogger profile, from where one may visit this blog, I've heard nothing: no comments from them on this blog, no email in my inbox. Well, there was one comment on his blog that made clear a reader of Ron's blog had visited me here, in which she confused humanoid for hominoid.

But anyway, the point I note is that Emervents and I seem to be being treated differently. The question thus arises, Why? Am I simply misunderstanding the response? Are my comments not worthy of responding to? Are my comments so dazzling that they are unable to respond? Am I reading to much in to this, seeing an illusion, a phantasm of my own creation? Or is it that Emervents is a woman, whereas I am a man?

I think the answer may lie in that last question. It is an aspect of the ideology of the anti-choice brigade to seek to control women, specifically the reproductive choices women are able to make, but also more generally. They view women as inherently weak, in need of special protection and care. They patronise, and so demean, women. A strong, articulate woman who develops and holds to her own beliefs contrary to their own is a woman to be feared. She is a virago and a witch, to be burnt upon the stake. They seek to harangue and shame women into compliance, and to point her out as the danger that an independent woman is. They would deny women the agency to act of their own accord. A woman is to be seen only as mother, and any action contrary to that by a woman is a horror and an abomination; such a woman is a monster to be destroyed.

Not so a man. A man possesses his own agency, and by it may take a foolish and false opinion. If he is to be confronted he is to be educated, not attacked. A man is his own. He is strong, and resilient. He will, indeed he ought, to fight back, so do not attack him. Far easier to go after a woman.

One more thing to note. In his most recent address to Emervents, Ron reprimands her for using anecdote. Apparently, "She told me so" (as Ron words it) is not an acceptable means of contributing to discussion. The irony of such a charge is grand, for the anti-choice brigade display no hesitancy in providing anecdote as evidence of the evil of abortion. Time and again, they will take any story that supports their position of the evil and harm of abortion, stories that are but anecdote.

Indeed, they are cowards and hypocrites as well as liars.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Are these people serious?

There's a new post by Ron on his Tell the "Truth" blog.

It's a serious WTF? post.

Ron links to an article in the the Age newspaper about the trial of teacher charged with "11 counts of sexual penetration of a 16 or 17-year-old child under his care or supervision". The article deals with the allegation that when the student became pregnant whilst in a sexual relationship with her teacher, the teacher paid for an abortion obtained by the student. Ron gets his knickers in a twist because the woman, now 25, in testifying at the trial stated that after she had undergone the abortion of her pregnancy "She could not get past it in her mind, but, she said, Morrow acted as though it had never happened."

In his post, Ron quotes the article. Here is that quote, taken from his post:

"The woman, who cannot be named, said she could not get the abortion out of her mind but Morrow acted as if it had never happened."...

"One or two days before the abortion Mr Morrow and I went to a motel. We had intercourse, the occasion was for his birthday," she said. "I had a whole romantic set up for the hotel. Candles. . . a small picnic."

The next day he accompanied her to the clinic and paid for the procedure, she said.

Notice what he has chosen to focus on and specifically point out by bolding text? Yep, the girl's response in the days following the abortion. Okay, his blog is focused on the issue of abortion, so it is perhaps not unreasonable that he chose to focus his attention on that. But remember the context: a teacher has a sexual relationship with a student, during which she becomes pregnant and obtains an abortion.

Ron's concern is the student's response in the days following the abortion, not that a teacher has abused his position and engaged in a sexual relationship with a student. Is he fucking serious? And then he has the unmitigated gall to go on and suggest that the issue of abortion is directly linked to the issue of teacher sexual-misconduct with students. It beggars belief.


My comment awaiting moderation on the post follows:

An average abortion?

Oh, wait. I see. Quote marks enclosing the word average means it really is a normal, everyday, circumstance for teachers to abuse their power and engage in illegal sexual relationships with their students. And of course it is a normal everyday experience for the female students so exploited to have abortions. Those darn irresponsible teenage girls and their unprotected sexual shenanigans. When will they ever learn?

What I find quite astounding about your post is that you choose to focus on the abortion rather than on the illegal, immoral, unethical and unprofessional conduct of the teacher. The issue in this story is not that a teen chose to abort her pregnancy, but that a teacher abused his position to engage in a sexual relationship with a student.

And to suggest that the issue of whether or not to legalise abortion is in any way tied to the issue of sexual misconduct by a teacher towards a student is not only egregious but outrageous.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Confused or Lying?

There's a new post by Ron over on the blog for "Tell the Truth" Coalition. I read it last night and it's taken me a while to process what I was reading. I knew there was something wrong, but couldn't put my finger on it. I was confused. The post was making claims that didn't follow from earlier claims.

It is now a day later and I have realised the problem: it's full of non sequiturs. I had been rendered dumb by the sheer inanity of it all. Having realised the problem, and now recovered, my analysis follows.

The central claim:
abortion causes more abortion.

The evidence:

Well, none actually.

What is being claimed as evidence, however, is that a study by Dr. Sabura Allen of Monash University, presented at the International Congress on Women's Mental Health and reported on in the Herald Sun, shows that women who are living with Depression have more sex than women who are not living with Depression. Let's call this C1.

Following this is the claim that abortion is directly linked to depression, a claim that has already been shown to false. Anyhow, this be C2.

The next claim is that women who have one abortion are more likely to have another abortion. This is actually the Conclusion. Let us call it Con for short.

From there it is further claimed that the reason for the Con is that women
will be having more sex in a desperate attempt to find the love you have just lost.

Yes, it is an inane claim, but it counts as C3.

So, do the claims merit the Con? No.

Although I have not read the study (it is yet to be published) and have only a newspaper report to go on, it is reasonable at this stage to believe that C1 is true. I urge the reader to go to the linked article for further clarification of what the study actually describes on this point. As noted earlier, C2 has been debunked. By stating C2 Ron is attempting to not only assert that abortion causes depression, but infer that a woman who does obtain an abortion will develop a Depressive Illness. He is also attempting to create a causal loop, a vicious cycle a woman is in grave danger of slipping in to, whereby (⇒) abortion ⇒ promiscuity ⇒ abortion ⇒ promiscuity ⇒ , and so on. It is a lie. Correlation does not equal causation, but it is an error to think so that many people do commit in all manner of circumstances. Anyhow, no such correlation has even been established.

The final claim, C3, is a pernicious little statement. It is attempting to assert that the reason a woman becomes 'promiscuous' (because she is Depressed, remember) is because she has had an abortion. The "love you have just lost" is a reference to the embryo or foetus of the women and the pregnancy she has aborted. It is a gross lie.

I mentioned at the beginning that the post by Ron was full of non sequiturs. This is because none of the claims follows the others, in whatever order one tries to put them in, and none lead to the Con. It is a confused mess of an argument. One might be generous and allow for some errors in logic by presuming the arguer does not know that non sequiturs make a mess of, and destroys, their argument. One might further point out such error in an attempt to educate. One can not be so generous in this instance. The argument presented by Ron is typical of anti-choice campaigners. They will lie, distort, and manipulate evidence in their attempts to convince others of the rightness of their position. When shown the errors they have have committed, they ignore it, and persist with their lies.

Friday, March 7, 2008


The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported on allegations of abuse by Mercy Ministries, a Christian organisation associated with the evangelical (read fundamentalist) Hillsong Church, that purports to treat young women living with a mental health or eating disorder.

Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bullemia, are serious health concerns that can lead to a number of further consequences to one's health, and even death. It is not an issue that is to be taken lightly. Medical care, including psychological care, is paramount in treating and recovering from such disorders.

The allegations of abuse by women who have attended the Mercy Ministries programme are disturbing. These claims include Bible Study, prayer, exorcisms, separation (i.e., no physical contact allowed between friends) and harsh punishments for breaking the rules. It's alleged that residents in the programme are required to sign over Centrelink benefits they may be in receipt of to the organisation, as well as the organisation claiming a Carer Benefit for each resident. There is no qualified psychiatric care, and medical care consists of an occasional visit to a GP that is monitored by a representative from Mercy Ministries.

The result of this supposed care: women emerging in worse shape than they went in, requiring urgent and greater intervention and care, having to deal with not only the issue they sought help for, but also the trauma of their supposed care.

That such abuse and mistreatment could occur is abominable. Just what are the requirements of establishing and operating a care facility such as Mercy Ministries? What oversight is there by the Health Department?

I am angry.

For more information about eating disorders, visit the Eating Disorders Foundation of Victoria website.

Monday, March 3, 2008

In the beginning...

G'day, and welcome to Holocene Hominoid.

As this is my first post I'd thought I'd start off by writing a general introduction with a Q&A.

Here goes.

So, you want to write a blog. Why?

I've been thinking about staring a blog for a while now, but have put it off because I've not been sure why I wanted one or what I would write about. After all, what could I write that would be worthwhile publishing and present to the world. There are others out there who write about what I am interested in, but are more knowledgeable and qualified.

Well, I'm calling bullshit. Such thinking is a load of tosh. I'll write because I have something to say, and that's all the reason needed.

So what is it you want to say?

Buggered if know. I'll think of something. Like the blog description reads, miscellaneous musings and random ramblings.

But I am interested in science, anthropology, archaeology, and many other ologies, human rights, feminism, skepticism, atheism, and, well, whatever takes my fancy, so I'll probably end up writing about such things.

Fair enough, but then why now? What spurred you to action?

A vile little pamphlet in the mail delivered by Tell the Truth Organisation, and its associated blog.

I can not remain silent. Christofascism used to be something foreign, but it is now raising it's ugly head in Australia. It must be fought against.

What about the name, Holocene Hominoid? Please explain.

You may have heard of the Jurassic, perhaps even the Triassic. These are geological periods. We live in the geological period know as the Holocene.

As for hominoid, well, I am a member of the species Homo sapiens. Humans are apes, and hominoid means ape. Usually when people think of apes they think of the great apes - chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. We humans are great apes too. Collectively we are called hominids (from the biological classification of the Family, Hominidae). But often, people don't know about the lesser apes, the gibbons (Hylobatidae).

Poor gibbons, left out and all by their lonesome. Won't someone think of the gibbons?

Well, together, the two Families of Hominidae and Hylobatidae comprise the Superfamily Hominoidia, the apes. Hence Hominoid.

Put together I am a Holocene Hominoid.