Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Study: fathers are important for the development of children’s brains

Fathers and children

Fathers and children

The study was reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

Dr. Braun’s group found that at 21 days, the fatherless animals had less dense dendritic spines compared to animals raised by both parents, though they “caught up” by day 90. However, the length of some types of dendrites was significantly shorter in some parts of the brain, even in adulthood, in fatherless animals.

“It just shows that parents are leaving footprints on the brain of their kids,” says Dr. Braun, 54 years old.

The neuronal differences were observed in a part of the brain called the amygdala, which is related to emotional responses and fear, and the orbitofrontal cortex, or OFC, the brain’s decision-making center.

[…]The balance between these two brain parts is critical to normal emotional and cognitive functioning, according to Dr. Braun. If the OFC isn’t active, the amygdala “goes crazy, like a horse without a rider,” she says. In the case of the fatherless pups, there were fewer dendritic spines in the OFC, while the dendrite trees in the amygdala grew more and longer branches.

A preliminary analysis of the degus’ behavior showed that fatherless animals seemed to have a lack of impulse control, Dr. Braun says. And, when they played with siblings, they engaged in more play-fighting or aggressive behavior.

In a separate study in Dr. Braun’s lab conducted by post-doctoral researcher Joerg Bock, degu pups were removed from their caregivers for one hour a day. Just this small amount of stress leads the pups to exhibit more hyperactive behaviors and less focused attention, compared to those who aren’t separated, Dr. Braun says. They also exhibit changes in their brain.

The basic wiring between the brain regions in the degus is the same as in humans, and the nerve cells are identical in their function. “So on that level we can assume that what happens in the animal’s brain when it’s raised in an impoverished environment … should be very similar to what happens in our children’s brain,” Dr. Braun says.

Read the whole thing.

I think this is important because we hear so much today that marriage can be redefined, that having one of each parent doesn’t matter, that live-in boyfriends and stepfathers have the same motivation to care for a woman’s children as the biological father does. We don’t want to make judgments, even if setting boundaries is better for children. A child’s well-being is enormously affected by the woman’s choice of biological father.  You can’t have it both ways – either we are going to judge women who choose men who don’t have the desire to commit to marriage, and do the father role, OR we are going to take things away from children by encouraging women to choose men based on “feelings” instead of abilities. Lowering moral standards and removing moral obligations hurts children. It sounds so nice when we tell women, “you can do whatever you feel like, and just forget about responsibilities, expectations and obligations”, but letting women be guided by their feelings harms children. My stock broker makes me feel uncomfortable because he knows more than I do, and does not respect my opinion. But I pay him to make investment decisions for me. I mustn’t let my pride get in the way of letting him do his job – a job he is more qualified than I am to do. Let him do his job.

Here’s a related question: Are biological fathers or unrelated men more dangerous for children?

This article from the Weekly Standard answers the question.

Excerpt:

A March 1996 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics contains some interesting findings that indicate just how widespread the problem may be. In a nationally representative survey of state prisoners jailed for assaults against or murders of children, fully one-half of respondents reported the victim was a friend, acquaintance, or relative other than offspring. (All but 3 percent of those who committed violent crimes against children were men.) A close relationship between victim and victimizer is also suggested by the fact that three-quarters of all the crimes occurred in either the perpetrator’s home or the victim’s.

A 1994 paper published in the Journal of Comparative Family Studies looked at 32,000 documented cases of child abuse. Of the victims, only 28 percent lived with both biological parents (far fewer than the 68 percent of all children who live with both parents); 44 percent lived with their mother only (as do 25 percent of all children); and 18 percent lived with their mother and an unrelated adult (double the 9 percent of all children who live with their mother and an unrelated adult).

These findings mirror a 1993 British study by the Family Education Trust, which meticulously explored the relationship between family structure and child abuse. Using data on documented cases of abuse in Britain between 1982 and 1988, the report found a high correlation between child abuse and the marital status of the parents.

Specifically, the British study found that the incidence of abuse was an astounding 33 times higher in homes where the mother was cohabiting with an unrelated boyfriend than in stable nuclear families. Even when the boyfriend was the children’s biological father, the chances of abuse were twice as high.

These findings are consonant with those published a year earlier by Leslie Margolin of the University of Iowa in the journal Child Abuse and Neglect. Prof. Margolin found that boyfriends were 27 times more likely than natural parents to abuse a child. The next-riskiest group, siblings, were only twice as likely as parents to abuse a child.

More recently, a report by Dr. Michael Stiffman presented at the latest meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in October, studied the 175 Missouri children under the age of 5 who were murdered between 1992 and 1994. It found that the risk of a child’s dying at the hands of an adult living in the child’s own household was eight times higher if the adult was biologically unrelated.

The Heritage Foundation’s Patrick Fagan discovered that the number of child-abuse cases appeared to rise in the 1980s along with the general societal acceptance of cohabitation before, or instead of, marriage. That runs counter to the radical-feminist view, which holds that marriage is an oppressive male institution of which violence is an integral feature. If that were true, then child abuse and domestic violence should have decreased along with the rise in cohabitation.

Heritage also found that in the case of very poor children (those in households earning less than $ 15,000 per year), 75 percent lived in a household where the biological father was absent. And 50 percent of adults with less than a high-school education lived in cohabitation arrangements. “This mix — poverty, lack of education, children, and cohabitation — is an incubator for violence,” Fagan says.

Why, then, do we ignore the problem? Fagan has a theory: “It is extremely politically incorrect to suggest that living together might not be the best living arrangement.”

The moral of the story is that it is a lot safer for children if we promote marriage as a way of attaching mothers and fathers to their children. Fathers who have a biological connection to children are a lot less likely to harm them. We should probably be teaching women to choose men who have a certain tenderness towards people they mentor or nurture, as well. These things are not free, you have to persuade women to value the male tendency to want to lead / guide / mentor. A lot of social problems like child poverty, promiscuity and violence cannot be solved by replacing a father with a check from the government. We need to support fathers by empowering them in their traditional roles. Let the men lead. Swallow your feminist instincts, and prefer men who take seriously their role of leading others upward.

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UK’s largest teacher union tells teachers they MUST promote the gay lifestyle to students

Dina tweeted this article from the UK Daily Mail.

It says:

Schools should be forced to promote gay relationships in sex education lessons, union leaders say.

The National Union of Teachers has called for a ‘positive portrayal of same sex relationships’ in lessons to be made ‘compulsory’ under the next government.

It said MPs had a duty to tackle ‘homophobia, biphobia and transphobia’ in schools and create a ‘positive climate of understanding about sexuality’.

[…]Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute said: ‘This motion is itself an act of intolerance towards mainstream Christians and their beliefs. It would force Christian teachers to have to choose between their faith and their job.

‘I wonder whether Christian members of the NUT who have paid their dues can expect any help from the NUT when their jobs are on the line.’

He added that Church schools already teach ‘love and tolerance’ of others without having to explicitly approve of same sex relationships.

The proposal was contained in a motion on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights passed by the NUT at its annual conference in Harrogate yesterday.

It stated: ‘Conference instructs the executive to call upon the present and future government to … make it compulsory that all schools’ sex education policies include a positive portrayal of same sex relationships.’

That reminded me of this story from a few weeks ago about the Catholic teacher who was forced to take down pro-traditional marriage postings from her Facebook page.

The article says:

A Catholic high school teacher was forced to remove her Facebook page Wednesday after a petition surfaced online calling attention to her “homophobic” posts.

The petition was posted on change.org Tuesday and has 441 signatures as of Wednesday evening. It points directly to posts allegedly made by Patricia Jannuzzi, a theology teacher at Immaculata High School in Somerville, and has caught the eye of actress Susan Sarandon and former “Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast member Greg Bennett.

“Mrs Jannuzzi’s facebook is a religious curtain covering hateful message,” the petition reads. “The homophobic and short-sighted posts are disturbing and degrading.”

In a statement provided to NJ Advance Media, the school said it took “immediate action” and “mandated that the teacher involved permanently de-active her Facebook page.”

“The opinions reflected in these posts do not in any way represent the philosophy, mission or student experience of this high school,” the statement said. “… Through our investigation, we have determined that the information posted on this social media page has not been reflected in the curriculum content of the classes she teaches.”

[…]Another alumnus, Scott Lyons, who is gay and had Januzzi as a teacher, shared a letter on Facebook he sent to her after reading one of her posts. He said in the letter that he remembers Januzzi’s classes to be “focused on love and acceptance” but that he is “offended and disappointed” by her recent posts.

“While I respect the fact that people have different opinions on the matter what I can tell you from my heart is that I urge you to be careful with your words and the messaging you are putting out there,” he wrote.

Lyons is the nephew of Sarandon, who shared the post to her 3,000 followers.

“So proud of my nephew Scott and the dialogue he started,” Sarandon writes. “…High school is a tough time anyway… students don’t need teachers making it even more difficult.”

Immaculata said in its statement that the school is reviewing its social media policy with faculty and staff members.

“It is the policy of the school that all faculty and staff demonstrate respect and sensitivity to all people at all times and to avoid offending any individuals or groups,” the statement said.

The Catholic teacher linked to an article from Young Conservatives. A mainstream conservative site. And that’s what her employer did to her. Apparently, the employer is a Catholic school.

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

Conservative MP’s bill to ban sex-selection abortions is defeated

Conservative MP Fiona Bruce

Conservative MP Fiona Bruce

The leftist BBC reports.

Excerpt:

MPs have defeated a cross-party bid to clarify in law that abortion on the grounds of gender alone is illegal in the UK.

Conservative MP Fiona Bruce, who spearheaded the move, said the law was being “interpreted in different ways”.

But her proposal was defeated by 292 to 201. A review of the extent of sex selective abortion was agreed to.

[…]Her amendment would not have changed the law, but sought to update 1967 legislation that was drafted before it was possible to identify the sex of a foetus.

[…]Making the case for the change, the Congleton MP said her amendment would “clarify beyond doubt in statute that sex selective abortion is illegal in UK law”.

Now you might think that the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats would be against killing unborn girls, just because they are the “wrong” sex.

But you’d be wrong. The Shadow Secretary Yvette Cooper wrote to all the Labour MPs urging them to vote against the bill.

Life News says:

“Mrs Bruce has provoked furious opposition from the most radical elements in the pro-abortion lobby, who have now been joined by pro-abortion MPs like Yvette Cooper, Jenny Willott and Sarah Newton in attempts to block the condemnation of aborting baby girls,” he said.

“Most pro-abortion MPs were initially content to ignore this move because they know it will not change the law. However, the mere restatement of the law has split the ranks of the pro-abortion lobby, dividing feminists who recognise that it is used predominantly to abort girls, from feminists who regard the right to demand an abortion for any reason or no reason as the touchstone of feminist orthodoxy,” Tully explained. “The more extreme lobby regard the unborn child as a non-entity and won’t face the fact that each baby is either a boy or a girl. Aborting baby girls demeans all women, just as aborting babies because of their disability or racial characteristics demeans others like them. The truth is that every abortion demeans all of us.”

He concluded: “Ms Cooper’s statement undermines claims that Labour MPs are free to vote according to conscience on this issue.  As shadow Home Office Secretary, she has intervened not simply to tell Labour MPs to support abortion, but to support one of the most blatant abuses of the law.”

Cooper is a high-ranking Labour MP. Jenny Willott is a Liberal Democrat MP. Sarah Newton is a Conservative MP.

In the UK, the crime is not even being prosecuted.

From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Britain’s top law officer is to come under pressure in the House of Commons this week to say why the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute over the gender selection abortion scandal.

Dominic Grieve, the attorney general, will face questions from Tory MPs who want the Government to tighten up the 1967 Abortion Act in the wake of the scandal.

The comments come as Britain’s most senior prosecutor prepares to release a paper justifying his decision not to prosecute two doctors over an abortion scandal.

So, there was definitely a need for the law, since no one was being prosecuted for breaking it. And the measure strengthening the language was defeated – which tells me that they like things just the way they are now.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Christian magistrate punished for saying children need a mother and a father

Dina tweeted this article from the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

A Christian magistrate has been disciplined by a Tory Cabinet Minister for expressing the belief that children should be raised by both a mother and a father.

Richard Page told colleagues behind closed doors during an adoption case that he thought it would be better for a child to be brought up in a traditional family rather than by a gay couple.

He was shocked a week later when he found he had been reported to the judges’ watchdog for alleged prejudice, and was suspended from sitting on family court cases.

Mr Page, an experienced NHS manager, has now been found guilty of serious misconduct by Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling – who previously spoke in support of a Christian couple who turned away a gay couple from their B&B.

He has also been ordered to go on an equality course before he is allowed back in the courtroom.

The married 68-year-old was told he had broken the oath sworn by all Justices of the Peace (JPs) as well as Labour’s controversial Equality Act, by being guided by his religious views and discriminating against the same-sex adoptive parents.

Last night, critics said the case was another example of how people who hold traditional Christian views feel they have no freedom of speech and find it difficult to hold public office in modern Britain.

Mr Page told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There is tremendous pressure to keep quiet and go along with what is seen to be politically correct.

‘Everyone else seems to be allowed to stand up for their beliefs except for Christians.’ Mr Page was called on to consider an adoption order at a family court last July.

As a lay judge he is not required to be legally qualified and is meant to ‘bring a broad experience of life to the bench’ in making decisions. Because of the controversial secretive nature of such hearings, The Mail on Sunday cannot publish details of the case.

[…]‘I think there is something about a man, a woman and a baby, that it’s natural and therefore the others are not. That is the comment that I made,’ he said.

‘Therefore, since my task as a magistrate is to do the best for the child, my feeling was, quite reasonably, that a man and a woman would be better.’

I found it shocking that a Tory (Conservative Party) Cabinet minister would discipline this man, although I know that the Conservative Party in the UK is pro-same-sex marriage.

What is interesting is Grayling’s change of mind on conscience vs gay rights:

2010 As Shadow Home Secretary:

He backs Christian couple’s right to ban gay couple from their B&B (he subsequently lost his job)

‘I think we need to allow people to have their own consciences. If you look at the case of “Should a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude a gay couple from their hotel?”… I took the view that if it’s a question of somebody who’s doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn’t come into their own home

December 2014 as Lord Chancellor:

He disciplines Christian JP who suggested a man and a woman would be better parents for child than gay couple

‘The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice have Issued Mr Richard Page JP, a Magistrate assigned to the Central Kent Bench with a reprimand. Mr Page, whilst sitting in the Family Court, was found to have been influenced by his religious beliefs and not by the evidence.

‘The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice considered that this amounted to serious misconduct and that Mr Page should have recused himself from the matter.’

[…]As Shadow Home Secretary in 2010, Mr Grayling had backed a Christian couple’s right to turn away a gay couple from their B&B – and as a result of the furore initially missed out on a Cabinet post after the Election.

Wow. So this Anglican Christian initially used to support Christians doing what their consciences dictate, then after losing his job over it, he changed his mind, and now thinks the secular state should decide.I guess to me, being someone who is not in charge of other people and not very important, the most important thing to do with my life is to do whatever God approves of. At the end of the day, only his opinion matters.

I think what shocks me the most is the fact that Mr. Page was disciplined for just stating common sense about what children need. I wonder which parent the Conservative Party MP thinks a child can do without? Is it a mother? No, we have evidence showing that the mother is vital to boys and girls. Is it the father? I think everyone is well aware now what fatherlessness does to a child – be it a boy or a girl. So here is a Christian man trying to put himself in the place of this child and asking himself – what does a child need? A child needs a mother and father. Apparently, this is some sort of crime to say in the UK.

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

NHS appeals decision allowing midwives to conscientiously object to performing abortions

What happens when you let a secular government take over health care provisioning?

Here is a story from the BBC about the state-run health care system in the UK.

Excerpt:

The UK’s highest court will hear legal arguments on whether midwives have a right to refuse to take any part in abortion procedures on moral grounds.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde appealed to the Supreme Court after judges in Scotland said Roman Catholic midwives had a right to conscientious objection.

[…]Five judges in London will hear the case. A ruling is expected next year.

Ms Doogan, from Garrowhill in Glasgow, and Mrs Wood, from Clarkston in East Renfrewshire, were employed as labour ward co-ordinators at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.

[…]This landmark case tests the balance between those whose religious beliefs do not allow them to play any part whatsoever in abortion, and the health authorities’ duty under the law to enable women to have an abortion. Many Christian groups back the midwives’ position.

The midwives’ counsel, Gerry Moynihan QC, told the court in the women’s earlier successful appeal that the law was clear that the right to conscientious objection contained in the Abortion Act was intended to apply to the whole team whose involvement was necessary to achieve the procedure.

If the Supreme Court upholds the midwives’ earlier successful appeal, it could set a legal precedent, allowing other midwives who object to abortion to take the same stance.

The Royal College of Midwives and the women’s charity British Pregnancy Advisory Service have both warned that any such ruling could have severe implications for the care of women choosing to terminate their pregnancy.

The BPAS is the largest abortion provider in the UK. I blogged before about their leader, Ann Furedi, who supports sex-selection abortions. I thought then that sex-selection abortions was the worst thing about abortion, but now I see that she would actually force her moral views on other people, compelling them by the power of government to act against their beliefs. There is something deep inside me that just recoils from making a person do something that they think is morally wrong. But I guess pro-abortion people don’t share my concern.

When I blogged before about these two midwives when they won their appeal case, I wrote this:

If the health care system were private, then it would be easy for midwives to find another company to work for that did not violate their consciences. But when the government runs the whole health care system, where are you supposed to go? They are a monopoly and they make the rules. Yet another reasons for Christians to vote for smaller government. In a free market, if you don’t want to buy something from one store, you can go to another store. There is competition. But where are these nurses supposed to go? They are midwives, and the government and the courts make the rules in a government-run health care system.

This is why we need to keep the government OUT of health care. When you work for a government monopoly, and they want you to do something that you don’t want to do, you have two choices – do what they want or leave the country. If the only health care system is government-run, then if you want to practice health care, you have to leave. That seems unfair to me.

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

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