Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Fertility and pregnancy: how long can a woman wait before having a baby?

This is from Aeon magazine. The author writes for several ultra-leftist publications, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Salon and Slate.

She writes:

Many studies show that women are not only woefully ignorant when it comes to fertility, conception and the efficacy of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) – but they overestimate their knowledge about the subject. For instance, a 2011 study in Fertility and Sterility surveyed 3,345 childless women in Canada between the ages of 20 and 50; despite the fact that the women initially assessed their own fertility knowledge as high, the researchers found only half of them answered six of the 16 questions correctly. 72.9 per cent of women thought that: ‘For women over 30, overall health and fitness level is a better indicator of fertility than age.’ (False.) And 90.9 per cent felt that: ‘Prior to menopause, assisted reproductive technologies (such as IVF) can help most women to have a baby using their own eggs.’ (Also false.) Many falsely believed that by not smoking and not being obese they could improve their fertility, rather than the fact that those factors simply negatively affect fertility.

Fertility fog infects cultures and nations worldwide, even those that place more of a premium on reproduction than we do in the West. A global study published for World Fertility Awareness Month in 2006 surveyed 17,500 people (most of childbearing age) from 10 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America, revealing very poor knowledge about fertility and the biology of reproduction. Take Israel, a country that puts such a premium on children that they offer free IVF to citizens up to age 45 for their first two children. According to a 2011 study in Human Reproduction, which surveyed 410 undergraduate students, most overestimated a women’s chances of spontaneous pregnancy in all age groups, but particularly after receiving IVF beyond age 40. Only 11 per cent of the students knew that genetic motherhood is unlikely to be achieved from the mid-40s onward, unless using oocytes or egg cells frozen in advance. ‘This can be explained by technological “hype” and favourable media coverage of very late pregnancies,’ the authors concluded.

[…]For a woman over 42, there’s only a 3.9 per cent chance that a live birth will result from an IVF cycle using her own, fresh eggs, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). A woman over 44 has just a 1.8 per cent chance of a live birth under the same scenario, according to the US National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Women using fresh donor eggs have about a 56.6 per cent chance of success per round for all ages.

Indeed, according to research from the Fertility Authority in New York, 51 per cent of women aged between 35 and 40 wait a year or more before consulting a specialist, in hopes of conceiving naturally first. ‘It’s ironic, considering that the wait of two years will coincide with diminished fertility,’ the group says.

[…]‘No one talks about fertility,’ said [reproductive endocrinologist Janelle Luk, medical director of Neway Fertility in New York City], who does not believe women are really open to hearing about it. ‘I don’t think women know that there’s a limit: the message is equal, equal, equal. Women say: “We want to go to college, we want to work on our careers, we want to be equal to men.” But our biological clock is not.’

[…]Another way women might even out the fertility playing field is by focussing on the so-called male biological clock. But is there one? Although there have been recent news stories about how advanced age in men (over 40 or 50) increases time to conception and the incidence of autism and schizophrenia, the absolute risk is negligible. ‘When you look at the numbers, you have to separate what the absolute risk and the increased risk is,’ said Natan Bar-Chama, director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. ‘The absolute risk is still really very small.’

I think if I ever have a daughter, I will be sure to urge her to be skeptical of her emotions and intuitions, to learn how to assess probabilities, to disregard exceptional cases when making plans, to resist the feminism in the culture, to get wisdom from older married women with children instead of young unmarried childless women, to accept that she is not so special that laws and rules don’t apply to her, and to accept that the universe is not malleable according to her needs and desires. I hope my wife will see the value of reining our daughter in before the catastrophes like infertility happen.

Where does the organized opposition to educating young women about fertility facts come from?

‘We feel that women should be able to talk to their ob/gyn about fertility,’ said Sandra Carson, ACOG’s vice president for education. ‘We certainly want to remind women gently that, as they get older, fertility is compromised, but we don’t want to do it in such a way that they feel that it might interfere with their career plans or make them nervous about losing their fertility.’ In other words, there are no guidelines for talking to a woman about her fertility unless she herself brings it up.

All this talk of ‘gentle’ reminders and ‘appropriate’ counselling has a history – a political one. Back in 2001, the ASRM devoted a six-figure sum to a fertility awareness campaign, whose goal was to show the effects of age, obesity, smoking and sexually transmitted diseases on fertility. Surprisingly, the US National Organization for Women (NOW) came out against it. ‘Certainly women are well aware of the so-called biological clock. And I don’t think that we need any more pressure to have kids,’ said Kim Gandy, then president of NOW. In a 2002 op-ed in USA Today, she wrote that NOW ‘commended’ doctors for ‘attempting’ to educate women about their health, but thought they were going about it the wrong way by making women feel ‘anxious about their bodies and guilty about their choices’.

We don’t want women to feel bad, so it’s best to let them follow their hearts. That view is not helpful to women! If we want to help women, we must tell them the truth, and take the consequences.

All this talk about fertility could be accompanied by a discussion of the hard fact that a woman’s attractiveness will decline as she ages. This is a troubling lesson that countless women have had to learn the hard way. When you are young, you stand a much better chance of finding a successful male with good values and who is willing to commit to marriage and parenting. Many women will testify that, as you get older, this convenience deteriorates quickly. The good men will be claimed by the responsible women who don’t waste their youthful years seeking thrills.  Men who are contemplating marriage value a woman’s appearance, fertility, vulnerability and submissiveness to his leadership. Women need to be careful not to embark on a course that will reduce their ability in any of these areas that are important to men, e.g. – careerism, premarital promiscuity, etc.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why is it so hard to get married these days?

A long, long time ago when I was in my “read one or two books about everything important” phase, I remember coming to marriage and picking out two books to read on that. The first was the Judith Wallerstein study on “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce”, which talked about children’s experience of divorce over the 25-year period following their parent’s decision to divorce. The second was F. Carolyn Graglia’s book “Domestic Tranquility”.

I found an essay about the latter book that seems to be either the introduction or chapter one. I just thought I would share it here, because I am at the point in my life where I am wondering why people find it so difficult to get married. It turns out that marriage was ruined for my generation a long time ago.

Let’s see how it happened:

Since the late 1960s, feminists have very successfully waged war against the traditional family, in which husbands are the principal breadwinners and wives are primarily homemakers. This war’s immediate purpose has been to undermine the homemaker’s position within both her family and society in order to drive her into the work force. Its long-term goal is to create a society in which women behave as much like men as possible, devoting as much time and energy to the pursuit of a career as men do, so that women will eventually hold equal political and economic power with men. This book examines feminism’s successful onslaught against the traditional family, considers the possible ramifications of that success, and defends a woman’s choice to be a homemaker. Feminists have used a variety of methods to achieve their goal. They have promoted a sexual revolution that encouraged women to mimic male sexual promiscuity. They have supported the enactment of no-fault divorce laws that have undermined housewives’ social and economic security. And they obtained the application of affirmative action requirements to women as a class, gaining educational and job preferences for women and undermining the ability of men who are victimized by this discrimination to function as family breadwinners.

Please read that part in bold again. A lot of people love to blame men for everything, and make women out to be perfect, but sexual promiscuity, no-fault divorce laws and affirmative action that discriminates against male providers, were the goals of radical feminists.

We continue:

Certainly, feminism is not alone responsible for our families’ sufferings. As Charles Murray details in Losing Ground,[1] President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs, for example, have often hurt families, particularly black families, and these programs were supported by a large constituency beyond the women’s movement. What distinguishes the women’s movement, however, is the fact that, despite the pro-family motives it sometimes ascribes to itself, it has actively sought the traditional family’s destruction. In its avowed aims and the programs it promotes, the movement has adopted Kate Millett’s goal, set forth in her Sexual Politics, in which she endorses Friedrich Engels’s conclusion that “the family, as that term is presently understood, must go”; “a kind fate,” she remarks, in “view of the institution’s history.[2] This goal has never changed: feminists view traditional nuclear families as inconsistent with feminism’s commitment to women’s independence and sexual freedom.[3]

If you think that Christian women are immune from this lionizing of  independence and sexual freedom, you are much mistaken. There is nothing in most sermons and Bible studies that takes on feminism in the least. Unless a Christian woman is reading books that offer a serious, scholarly defense to feminism (e.g. – Christina Hoff Sommers, Carrie Lukas, F. Carolyn Graglia, etc.) then you should assume that they believe feminism 100%. And you can see it in the way they choose men who are unsuited to marriage, in the way they delay marriage and in the way they idolize career, travel to foreign countries and/or mission trips.

More:

Emerging as a revitalized movement in the 1960s, feminism reflected women’s social discontent, which had arisen in response to the decline of the male breadwinner ethic and to the perception — heralded in Philip Wylie’s 1940s castigation of the evil “mom”[4] — that Western society does not value highly the roles of wife and mother. Women’s dissatisfactions, nevertheless, have often been aggravated rather than alleviated by the feminist reaction. To mitigate their discontent, feminists argued, women should pattern their lives after men’s, engaging in casual sexual intercourse on the same terms as sexually predatory males and making the same career commitments as men. In pursuit of these objectives, feminists have fought unceasingly for the ready availability of legal abortion and consistently derogated both motherhood and the worth of fulltime homemakers.

[…]Contemporary feminism has been remarkably successful in bringing about the institutionalization in our society of the two beliefs underlying its offensive: denial of the social worth of traditional homemakers and rejection of traditional sexual morality. The consequences have been pernicious and enduring. General societal assent to these beliefs has profoundly distorted men’s perceptions of their relationships with and obligations to women, women’s perceptions of their own needs, and the way in which women make decisions about their lives.

Read the rest, it’s a good introduction to the book. Like I said, this book was formative for me. I don’t have life experiences that make me annoyed with feminism, it was books like these that made me an anti-feminist.

So how have men responded to the sexual revolution and no-fault divorce? Well, it goes without saying that most men who do not have premarital sex closed off to them are not going to take on a life-long commitment to protect and provide, if they can get premarital sex with no strings attached for the price of a few drinks. Also, woman who has a lot of sexual experience with a lot of men does not make a very committed, loyal wife for anyone who marries her. The more premarital sex partners a woman has, the more unstable her marriage becomes. That’s the first point to make.

Secondly, if you ask any man today about what is holding him up from getting married, the first thing he will tell you is no-fault divorce laws. No-fault divorce laws were pushed by feminists so that women who became unhappy with their lives as housewives could get out of it easily. And how does this get paid for? Why by enslaving the husband with alimony and child support, of course. Men understand what no-fault divorce does to them, and this yet another way that feminism has made marriage such a difficult enterprise to carry out, especially for men. Whereas women may shy away from marriage because they are worried about being unhappy, men have a much, much more pressing danger in mind – the danger of having your entire life savings wiped out in an instant.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , ,

Should we “automatically believe rape claims” even if they are proven false?

There was a story about an alleged gang rape published in the Rolling Stone, which is an ultra-left wing magazine, which came under scrutiny from left-wing news sources like The New Republic and The Washington Post because it was not fact-checked and disagreed with known facts.

Yahoo News reports:

Rolling Stone has clarified its apology over a story that had reported a female student was gang-raped at a University of Virginia fraternity, telling readers the mistakes were the magazine’s fault, not the alleged victim’s.

[…]The magazine said that it shouldn’t have agreed to Jackie’s request not to contact the alleged assailants to get their side of the story, out of sensitivity to her. “These mistakes are on Rolling Stone, not on Jackie,” wrote the magazine’s managing editor, Will Dana. “We apologize to anyone who was affected by the story and we will continue to investigate the events of that evening.” The decision not to contact the alleged rapists prompted criticism from other news organizations.

[…]The allegations rocked the campus and elevated the issue of sexual assault, leading to protests, a suspension of fraternity activities and an emergency Board of Visitors meeting.

Dana’s updated message added some details calling into question the magazine’s original story. He noted that Phi Kappa Psi has denied the assault, and said it didn’t host an event on the night Jackie alleged she was raped. And Dana said that Jackie is now unsure that the man who allegedly lured her into a room to be gang-raped by seven men, identified as “Drew,” was a member of Phi Kappa Psi.

“According to the Washington Post, ‘Drew’ actually belongs to a different fraternity and when contacted by the paper, he denied knowing Jackie,” Dana wrote in the new note. “Jackie told Rolling Stone that after she was assaulted, she ran into ‘Drew’ at a UVA pool where they both worked as lifeguards. In its statement, the Phi Psi says none of its members worked at the pool in the fall of 2012.” Dana also cited the Post’s account of several of Jackie’s friends doubting her “narrative,” although Jackie told the Post she stood by the account she gave to Rolling Stone.

False rape charges actually occur quite frequently – remember the Duke University rape hoax or the Lehigh University rape hoax or the Hofstra University rape hoax? The left-wing media loves to cover them because it makes men look bad, and makes women think that they need to vote for bigger government in order to protect them from dangerous men.

But what’s been fascinating is the reaction of feminists on the left to the Rolling Stone’s apology. Do they care about fact-checking rape charges, or do they think that all rape charges are “automatically” true?

Here’s a story from the Washington Post with the title “No matter what Jackie said, we should automatically believe rape claims”. (archived here, H/T Mackenzie)

Tweet by the author captured: (H/T The Right Scoop)

Zerlina Maxwell "automatically believe rape claims"

Zerlina Maxwell “automatically believe rape claims”

She later changed the title of the article, but the URL still contains the word “automatically”. Automatically – believe the charge before checking the facts.

She writes:

Many people (not least UVA administrators) will be tempted to see this as a reminder that officials, reporters, and the general public should hear both sides of the story and collect all the evidence before coming to a conclusion in rape cases. This is what we mean in America when we say someone is “innocent until proven guilty.” After all, look what happened to the Duke lacrosse players.

In important ways, this is wrong. We should believe, as a matter of default, what an accuser says. Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist. Even if Jackie fabricated her account, UVA should have taken her word for it during the period while they endeavored to prove or disprove the accusation.

The author’s bio:

Zerlina Maxwell is a political analyst, speaker, lawyer, and writer. She typically writes about national politics and cultural issues including domestic violence, sexual assault, and gender inequality.

This is how people on the left form their beliefs in college. They listen to what professors tell them, and insult anyone who questions what they believe by calling them names like “racist”, “sexist”, “homophobe” or “Islamophobe”. This is a college education – at least in non-STEM fields. People pay money to be indoctrinated like this. Lots of money.

Well, maybe this is just a lone outlier, though. One bad feminist who doesn’t care about truth.

Nope! Here’s famous feminist Jessica Valenti, tweeting this:

Jessica Valenti: fake but accurate

Jessica Valenti: fake but accurate

Here’s another from Julia Horowitz, reported by Newsbusters: (links removed)

In a Politico magazine article on the UVA rape accusation debacle, in which the accuser’s allegations have unraveled, Julia Horowitz, an assistant managing editor at the college paper The Daily Cavalier, claimed “to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake.”

[I]t is becoming increasingly clear that the story that blew the lid off campus sexual assault has some major, major holes. Ultimately, though, from where I sit in Charlottesville, to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake….

It is no accident that the article came out, and it became apparent almost immediately that there were very tangible things we needed to discuss.

Yes, the story was sensational. But even the most sensational story, it seems, can contain frightening elements of truth.

Of course!  Facts can be so, well, inconvenient. Viva the “narrative.” We’re with the Alice in Wonderland Queen: “sentence first — verdict afterwards.”

And another one named Melissa McEwan tweeted this:

Something false can be true if I want it to be.

Something false can be true if a feminist says it’s true.

and this:

If you insist on fact-based inquiries, you are a rapist.

If you insist on fact-based inquiries, you are a rapist.

…before deleting her Twitter account once her craziness was discovered.

Mainstream media

Meanwhile in the mainstream media, the Rolling Stone apology was not news, even though the unretracted story was news:

When the now-retracted article by the Rolling Stone magazine was published on November 19 about a brutal gang rape of a first-year student at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia (UVA), the major broadcast networks rushed to the story and devoted multiple segments to both the article and reaction on the school’s campus.

[…]The “big three” of ABC, CBS and NBC offered coverage on their evening newscasts over the course of November 23 and 24, with ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News covering it on the 23rd. The following night, an additional report was filed by ABC and NBC each to go along with the first from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. On those two evenings alone, the total network coverage was 11 minutes and 14 seconds.

While the three programs combined for just under 8 minutes of thorough coverage on Friday night, that does little to excuse their inability to investigate the story independently or even check the facts of the Rolling Stone piece on their own.

[…]On NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams was the sole anchor to admit that his program had filed stories based off of the very article that he and NBC’s Kristen Welker would now report had major “discrepancies.”

Still, the networks had pitfalls in their coverage of the retraction. As suggested two sentences prior, ABC and CBS failed to join with NBC in not admitting to having previously blindly covered this subject.

Also, CBS and NBC fell short in only interviewing students who, respectively, suggested pieces like this are why victims hesitate coming forward and dismissed the fact that the story is now in severe doubt because the issue of sexual assault is “still a problem” on college campuses “even if it’s not real.”

Now, I thought that people who go to journalism school did nothing but learn how to discover the truth about a story. I thought that it was like police detective work – interviewing witnesses, checking facts, corroborating testimony, digging through records. How wrong I was. But I think I’ll be right about something else – I think a lot of people who read the original story will believe it based on intuitions and emotions, even now after significant portions of the story conflict with known facts. They’ll believe it because that’s what they’ve been brainwashed in non-STEM programs to believe. They’ve become incapable of critical thinking, incapable of updating their views according to evidence and incapable of respectful dialog with those who disagree with them.

Related posts

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Christian college’s accreditation threatened over adherence to Christian moral values

If you are a Christian, then you take Bible as an authority in sexual matters. That means no sex before marriage. And no sex outside marriage. Period.

Check out this article from Boston Business Journal.

Excerpt:

The regional body that accredits colleges and universities has given Gordon College a year to report back about a campus policy on homosexuality, one that may be in violation of accreditation standards.

The higher education commission of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges met last week and “considered whether Gordon College’s traditional inclusion of ‘homosexual practice’ as a forbidden activity” runs afoul of the commission’s standards for accreditation, according to a joint statement from NEASC and Gordon College.

The commission asked Gordon College to submit a report next September. The report should describe the process by which the college has approached its review of the policy “to ensure that the College’s policies and procedures are non-discriminatory,” the statement said.

So it doesn’t matter to the commission what they teach in the classroom, it just matters that they toe the line on secular sexual ethics. Accreditation doesn’t mean having academic standards, it means that your moral beliefs have to match those of the commission.

If you want to contact the four women (1 president, 3 vice presidents) who lead the commission, their contact information is here. I’m sure that these four women believe that they are acting out of compassion and tolerance in order to promote diversity, but from my perspective, I just see it is as another case of secularists trying to force their moral views on Christians by threats and coercion.

Previously, Gordon College was in the news for asking for an exemption from Obamacare, which forces Christians to subsidize the cost of drugs that cause abortions.

From Campus Reform.

Excerpt:

The town of Salem, Mass., has pitted itself against Gordon College after the president of the private Christian school added his name to a public letter to President Obama asking for a religious exemption from a planned federal mandate.

The expected executive order would force any organization receiving federal funds, including religiously based organizations, to hire people whose sexual conduct may not fall in line with their beliefs. Gordon says the mandate would be an “infringement on religious liberty” and “the rights of faith-based institutions to establish a set of standards and expectations for their community.”

Gordon’s statement of faith and conduct defines marriage as the “lifelong one-flesh union of one man and one woman.” It also clarifies that the school is against “homosexual acts,” not “same-sex orientation,” and claims that it expects its students and faculty to “refrain from any sexual intercourse—heterosexual or homosexual; premarital or extramarital—outside of the marriage covenant.”

“Signing the letter was in keeping with our decades-old conviction that, as an explicitly Christian institution, Gordon should set the conduct expectations for members of our community,” Gordon College President Michael Lindsay said in a statement. “Nothing has changed in our position.”

[…]It was Lindsay’s signature that prompted Salem Mayor Kimberly Driscoll to publicly chastise the school, calling the small Christian college’s longstanding policies of expressly forbidding homosexual practices “offensive” in a statement released by the city. Driscoll went on to say that the city was revoking its contract with the college over the management of the city’s Old Town Hall facility.

“While I respect your rights to embed religious values on a private college campus, religious freedom does not afford you the right to impose those beliefs upon others and cannot be extended into a publicly owned facility or any management contract or a publicly owned facility, like Old Town Hall,” she said.

This Obamacare mandate is one of the cases that shows why I always urge Christians to vote for smaller and smaller government. The more money stays in our hands, the more freedom we have to run our own lives. The more money we transfer to people in secular governments, the more power they have to intrude into our lives and force their beliefs on us. Part and parcel of the rejection of God as an authority figure is the desire to get the approval of everyone else around you for acting immorally and selfishly. When people reject God, they feel guilty, and it causes them to want to surround themselves with people who tell them that they are actually doing the right thing by doing the wrong thing. But no amount of celebration of their selfishness is enough, and that’s why the secular left is so much in favor of taxpayer-funded abortion, restricting disagreement with homosexuality and so on.

One way to stop their desire to get us to celebrate and affirm their immorality is to cut off the flow of money from families and job creators to the secular government. They should be getting no more of what we make than they need to perform their jobs – e.g., building roads, maintaining armed forces, etc. The more we can privatize things like education, health care, etc., the more free we will be. That could go as far as privatizing or even abolishing entire government departments.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , ,

New study: most younger evangelicals hold to Biblical views on sexual issues

This National Review article says that evangelical Protestants, which is the most conservative kind of Christian there is, are sticking with the Bible’s teachings on sex.

Excerpt:

The research, to be fully released in September, was introduced in Mark Regnerus’s presentation “Sex in America: Sociological Trends in American Sexuality,” unveiled at a recent gathering of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s leadership summit. According to Regnerus, when compared with the general population and with their non-observant peers, churchgoing Evangelical Christians are retaining orthodox views on Biblical sexuality, despite the shifts in broader American culture.

Regnerus surveyed 15,378 persons between the ages of 18 and 60, but he focuses in particular on respondents under 40. Significantly, Regnerus did the important work of differentiating between those who identify merely verbally with a particular religious tradition and those who actually attend church weekly. A political poll that didn’t differentiate between likely and unlikely voters wouldn’t be an accurate representation of the electorate, and for the same reasons, a survey should distinguish between someone who says “Catholic” or “Baptist” when asked for a religious identity and someone who actually shows up in the pews.

While support for same-sex marriage characterized a solid majority of those identifying as atheists, agnostics, liberal Catholics, and liberal Protestants, only 11 percent of young Evangelicals actively expressed support for same-sex marriage.

Approximately 6 percent of religiously active Evangelicals expressed support for abortion rights, while over 70 percent of their non-believing peer group said they believed in abortion rights.

While a large cross-section of all Americans believe in marriage’s importance, Regnerus found that, for example, Evangelicals are less likely than most to perceive marriage as “outdated.”

Evangelical Christians were also drastically less likely to believe that cohabitation is a good idea. While upward of 70 percent of those who claim no religious affiliation or those who are “spiritual but not religious” agree that cohabitation is acceptable, approximately 5 percent of Evangelicals agreed that cohabitation is acceptable. “While left-leaning Evangelicals have received considerable media attention lately, it pays to survey the masses and see just what’s going on,” says Regnerus. “These data suggest that while a modest minority of Evangelicals under 40 profess what we might call more sexually liberal attitudes, it’s not a significant minority. Minorities can be vocal. Survey data help us understand just how large or small they really are.”

I am glad that I am an evangelical Protestant Christian. Wherever the battle lines in the culture war are drawn, you can always count on us to be there.

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