html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: And me without a knitting project.

Monday, October 22, 2007

And me without a knitting project.

Conference all day today and tomorrow. I'll be surprised if I'm able to post. Enjoy yourselves!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hooray Commenters! Let's run amok!

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Science? I'll Give You Science... said...

The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness

By most objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women’s happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to male happiness.

The paradox of women’s declining relative well-being is found examining multiple countries, datasets, and measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men.

These declines have continued and a new gender gap is emerging—one with higher subjective well-being for men. Our findings raise provocative questions about the contribution of the women’s movement to women’s welfare and about the legitimacy of using subjective well-being to assess broad social changes.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous swissarmyd said...

oh, man!!! we can't even sustain a good amok. I'm sorry M, we failed, even the question of subjectivity and happiness, has failed to galvanize... so, did you have to stab yourself in the leg with a fork to keep yourself awake at the conference?

1:39 PM  
Blogger Noel said...

The chicks are depressed 'cause their deadlifts are so puny.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline said...

Men's jobs have gotten easier and more pleasant, whereas women have had to enter the workforce AND they still have to do most of the housework.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Noel said...

Jacqueline, in what way have they become easier? Do you mean the transition from blue- to white-collar work?

I have another hypothesis -- people are exposed to more choice and therefore rate their relative happiness lower as they are aware of a greater variety of experiences they don't get to have. For example, every time Megan posts about a lovely day in California I'm reminded about how damn miserable the weather is in Blighty. Pre-internet, this would not be such a concern.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Science? I'll Give You Science... said...

Well, the happiness gap does not manifest itself in suicide rates as guys still off themselves more often than women. Everyone talks about the high murder rate in the USA, but what's interesting is that more people murder themselves than other people in the USA. What a strange species we are.

What causes people to off themselves? The biggest factor according to the best available scientific data is atheism:

"...fluctuations in church attendance rates in the 1970s paralleled the suicide rates for different subgroups: whites, blacks, men, and women...In fact, the rate of church attendance predicts the suicide rate better than any other factor (including unemployment, traditionally regarded as the most powerful variable)."


According to a recent study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry religious affiliation is associated with significantly lower levels of suicide compared to religiously unaffiliated people, atheists and agnostics. Source: Kanita Dervic, Maria A. Oquendo, Michael F. Grunebaum, Steve Ellis, Ainsley K. Burke, and J. John Mann. "Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt" (161:2303-2308, December 2004)."

May I humbly suggest we turn the focus on two of the most heated debate topics, God and abortion, from the morality of the act\belief to the negative externalities generated by that act, externalities that you and I have to deal with in the workplace and elsewhere in society.

I can't imagine abortion isn't traumatic for a woman and to a much lesser extent a man. I don't need a PhD in math to look at the abortion statistics and look at my co-workers and estimate how many of them have had an abortion, and how that may effect their happiness and interactions with others.

Same goes for atheism; forget for a moment the theoretical problems of 6.5 billion people with 6.5 billion moral codes, now I deal at work with atheists, a subset of the population that is known to be 4 times more prone to suicide.

For context, I live in Ottawa, Canada, a city recently scientifically proven to be the rudest in Canada:

3:04 AM  
Anonymous lovingkindness? I'll give you lovingkindness... said...

All this talk about science is of course playing to my Asperger-y sterotype, so let's shift the focus to lovingkindess.

Where is the lovingkindess, man? I believe to some extent it is a function of the lovingkindness inside oneself and exuded toward others. If one takes this too far, though, one now accepts that one has super powers to influence people and events around the world in a manner not explained by conventional science. Another consideration is that I'm not sure I want atheists to be parasites on the host of my lovingkindness for the duration of my existence, that's like opiate of the masses squared.

I'm not feeling the love from women, homosexuals, and visible minorities and the question is which is the chicken and which is the egg. Yes, I understand that you get what you give, however if I need Buddha like qualities to co-exist with my fellow men and women I have to consider my alternatives.

History teaches that when the Jews get kicked out of countries as they have for centuries it is often followed by economic decline and a very polite request from the king for the Jews to return.

I am the new Jew. The decline is imminent, and I patiently await your polite request.

4:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I can't imagine abortion isn't traumatic for a woman"

Actually, studies show that many women find the "trauma" not in the abortion, but the circumstances that led to an unplanned pregnancy and concerns over any social stigma associated with abortion, and are in fact very ok with the procedure and the choice itself.

And that post-abortion trauma and depression are highly overstated, and scientifically unproven. Makes a good pro-life talking point though, so who needs the science?

(Megan, please come back and get these commenters and their gods out of my uterus!!)

8:50 AM  
Anonymous lovingkindness? I'll give you lovingkindness... said...

There is hope, though. I can count the number of days I have left at my current affirmative action workplace gig on one hand and I think my AA coworkers are feeling my vibe, which may be described as shellshocked, weary, and resigned at the tail end of a 9 year career.

In the same way one might have patronized and conveyed empathy for a black coworker 30 years ago by saying how you spent the weekend listening to Motown records some of my AA coworkers have exhibited behaviour toward me that indicates empathy and tacit acknowledgement of my "New Jew" predicament. The train hasn't stopped, we're still going in the wrong direction, but at least the engineer is considering stopping to ask for directions.

Excellence is of course always the best response and my loathing of affirmative action has spurred me to make a less unhappifying living which I shall begin shortly. But what will you do when the rest of us abandon the professional classes? Why not avoid having to make such a decision and show some love to a white guy today? This is a wonderful opportunity to shed what may or may not be an unfair reputation for being selfish, unlikeable, nihilist so and sos.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous swissarmyd said...

"(Megan, please come back and get these commenters and their gods out of my uterus!!)" anony...

now there's the full gonzo of all questions innit? We can all quote the statistics on this, as ScienceI has done, but anony8:50 seems to know the underlying question, and ScienceI, I would like you to consider soemthing. It's well and good to have this discussion as a generalization. It's something quite different to get a policy from that.

We can focus surely on abortion as a topic of some heat, but what are our presuppositions? For all the discussions I have ever had on the topic the intractible question always seems to be "when is human life? and how do we know that?" For the moment that seems to be a purely philisophical question, and it may always be.

It's really hard to make good public policy for purely philosophical questions IMHO.

And that's where we are... We need to be mindfull of every philosphy and religion when we make those decisions... including individual free will, don't we?

As a conversation, surely if we are civil, we can continue to discuss back and forth, I would certainly love to hear it...

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks swissarmyd.

I agree there is lots of room for civility in the discussion, and appreciate you turning it back to the question of how we (as a nation/governmental entitity/individuals in a diverse community) should create a policy and affect the rule of law.


10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"when is human life? and how do we know that?"

My presuppositions, I suppose, are that we don't know when human life begins, but we know when it exists. And we should do all we can to protect the certain life (the mother) and the rights of that individual, since we can all agree that life there exists. And I would therefore support a policy that always puts the mother's rights first and foremost.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline said...

I would like to know if any cross-cultural studies have been done on whether the emotional side effects of abortion correlate to how much abortion is stigmatized in a society (the level of stigmatization varies -- my understanding is that it is much more acceptable in Russia, for example).

I would like to know this because I wonder if the reported emotional "trauma" from abortion is really from the abortion, or if it's actually from the "pro-lifers" screaming about how it is "murder".

1:06 PM  
Anonymous civility? I'll give you civility... said...

Incivility takes many forms: passive-aggressive, sarcasm, snear n' smear, "Jesusing Up" a conversation that has nothing to do with religion, pushing buttons, outright dishonesty, patronage, facetiousness, etc.

What I value - honesty, straightforwardness, reticence - could reasonably be considered poor form in some circles which prefer soft, warm fuzzy feelings (see?) and so forth.

A greater concern is good faith. Suggesting that I can enter this virtual room full of predominantly female, socialist, atheist Californians who - and this is key - *benefit massively, materially, and otherwise under leftism* is analogous to me walking into a Hell's Angels clubhouse, explaining to them that dealing crack, extortion, and pimping are all somewhat detrimental to the community, and expecting them to earnestly listen to my arguments, agree with me, and close up shop.

I'd take it a step further and say your girls are so harcore that you'd withstand extreme levels of torture before you'd buy what I am selling. Candidly, I don't think y'all are emotionally capable of typing 3 sentences without injecting something not overly burdened with good faith, that is if you could discern right from wrong in the first place.

May I humbly suggest, for a second time, politely, that you not do the exact opposite of what I suggest but rather drop the "when does life begin?" circle jerk, because the social costs of abortion may be so high as to render the question moot. And allow me to further posit that immorality precedes, and is the cause of atheism. Which is to say some people are such hideous creatures that they hope to hell, rather than believe, that there is no God, or karma, or Hades, purely as a reaction to their behaviour.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous SwissArmyD said...

well, ScienceI/CivilityI Since I am a Centrist/Independent Lutheran [>< far away from pre-sem at one time] and a guy, I think your presuppostion as to who you are talking to, may be not so accurate.

That is what I would guess, going to be the rub... You've already made up your mind who your audience is, and seemingly are resigned that they won't listen anyway... so what is the point of what you are saying.

That was where I was angling with public policy, as a crteria. It doesn't matter if you pray to the machine messiah, a little bird that perches by your window everyday, or the Triune God. Public policy has to intersect that in the US. This is why the back and forth about when is a human, is relvant, even if we can't hope to have a definitive answer for now. You care a great deal about the well being of someone having an abortion, but do you respect their right to make a choice? Is that choice not predicated on when that mass of cell is considered to be a human?

If the argument about when life begins is based on a religious belief, and not on science, then why would it apply to anyone who wasn't part of that religion? Based on religion exclusively, how does it apply to public policy?

In terms of you position that immorality causes atheism, that would mean that every immoral person is an atheist, which is proven over and over infinitely to be untrue? There are plenty of fine upstanding religious people out there that are ruthlessly immoral. Farther extremes of that would be Jim Jones. Nearer extremes would be Warren Jeffs.

In either case both will proclaim from the rooftops how moral and upstanding they are/were. We could chronical the misdeeds of human beings throughout history, I think you would be surprised at how many were done in the name of some religion or other.

And it doesn't forward the conversation to argue over that. You lose your audience because you have a large piece of lumber in your eye. You can lead, you can have concern, and you can pray to whatever diety you like, even your puppy named moses. Trying to coerce someone to your will strengthens their resolve to their own.

This is why in my own humble opinion the community we live in requires buyin from many disparate groups to work, and compromise is required when things are subjective.

When human life begins, is subjective until we can prove it objectively. So we have to come to a compromise between those that feel it begins at conception, and those who feel it happens at birth. As a matter of PUBLIC policy. What we each feel or believe on our own, that is ours to feel and believe and no one elses. Just as it is our place to levy on another person the standards that we all agree to, and nothing more.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too value honesty and straightforwardness, and am even prone to disregard "warm fuzzy feelings". However, a skill I am working on is being an empathetic listener and participant in public life. And there are very active civic participants who place a tremendous value on their "feelings" - and I must accept that as their starting point, the foundation for their beliefs, and one piece of the conversation that cannot be blithely dismissed.

Side note: Correct on one count, I am female. Though I am rather religious, located on neither coast, and most certainly not a socialist.

Clarification: What do you mean by "leftism"? And could you be more specific about how it is benefiting me so profoundly? I'm afraid the generalization of us athiest hippie chicks sapping up government resources may fall a bit short in reality, but I'm open to discussion.

Lastly, I (and from my experience, most who comment here) are not so reluctant to "buy what you are selling" but are rather inquisitive, curious, intelligent people who are interested in learning and digesting varying opinions and, above all perhaps, as there are some government/agency junkies around, interested in how to reconcile those positions into sound policy. Doing this does not include being dismissive of any views summarily.

Perhaps if you stick around - even bite your tongue and just get familiar with the surroundings for a while - you will find an audience here who is surprisingly open, and who can go many more than 3 sentences without suggesting our individual moral supremacy(ies?).

And if you find our discussion, and our (apparently communal, California-athiest-socialist) perspective so repugnant, I invite you to seek out a blog-community where you feel more like a welcomed part of conversation and less a battered missionary. Then again, maybe some of the libertarians here will let you know what a pleasant place this is to constantly be wrong (a bit tongue in cheek here).

-A 8:50/10:26+9

9:56 AM  
Anonymous civility, etc. said...

anon asks: "most certainly not a socialist...Clarification: What do you mean by "leftism"?

I mean the same thing by socialist and leftist and define them as "a collusive unit consisting of but not limited to brown persons, atheists, women, homosexuals, retired white persons, and anyone who is beholden to said groups, such as pussy whipped white male husbands with teenagers, all of whom gang up on whites, males, Christians, and breeders to steal their money, jobs, children, families, cars, and homes".

Often this socialism is "off the books" and not socialist or whatever in the traditional sense of tax and spend, and it is of different flavour but similar enough up here in Canada, which is why there may be genuine miscommunication between us. Let me provide 4 solid examples how you as a woman might benefit thusly:

1. Microsoft recently dropped a technical supplier in the UK because they did not meet affirmative action goals. This was not as a result of any government regulation, but a business decision. Additionally, Norway is enforcing a government regulation that all of its corporations must have 40% female directors by the end of this year. I disagree with both decisions, and search in vain for a female blogger who agrees with me. While neither happened in the US, your country and mine are trending in that direction and possibly have more egregious examples, I'm just citing stuff off the top of my head.

2. Zero tolerance anti-free speech policies: in Canada and the USA many jurisdictions have policies where if 911 is called and there is a *nonviolent* domestic dispute where no violent threats have been uttered, at least one party is still getting charged, and it is overwhelmingly men who get charged in this case. Additionally, if one feels "disturbed" by an email, blog comment, or phone call in these jurisdictions one could have the police visit the other person's house "to see if everything is OK".

Hypothetically, if we lived in one of these jurisdictions and you maliciously interpreted one of my less charitable comments in an emotionally charged political debate I could conceivably end up with legal headaches. In my culture phoning the police on a girl for being mean on the internet, or on the phone, or even yelling at me in person would be considered unmanly and shunned; the reverse is not true when a woman calls the cops on men, which happens too often in our culture. You and your alleged collusive unit benefit from this arrangement to basically prosecute me if you don't like what I am saying at any moment, I don't.

3. The Liberal appointed Canadian Supreme Court recently ruled that child support payers, 91% of the whom are men, are now to pay tax on child support payments instead of being able to deduct it. Women, 39% of who don't pay income tax in Canada to begin with, can now claim the deduction. Your milage may vary in the USA, but this is an example of shifting wealth from one segment of society to the next which is fundamental to socialism and examples of this exist in your country too.

4. The Nobel Guy who just got canned for saying Africa has a lower IQ as compared to other continents. Sorry, I've seen one too many white guys like Larry Summers get canned for saying super extremely scientifically provable things which are politically incorrect. The silence from so-called libertarians is disappointing to say the least. Again, as a woman you benefit from suppressing any data that white boys may be ever so marginally better at anything.

Women also benefit from illegal immigration because they like the attention they get from immigrant brown men, who steal predominantly male jobs. Send 5 or 6 million 18 year old senoritas of generous morals up here to even things up and you'll smell what I am cooking, sisters.

Many people never utter a peep about any of the 4 above not-so-free aspects of our societies, and hundreds of other similar infringements on liberty, and call themselves libertarians and reject the label of socialist. Right.

Paradoxically, affirmative action and other stealth socialist tactics were invented and first deployed in America, ostensibly the beacon of freedom.

And then there is money. Boys are still good at making it and bear a greater tax burden than women, so women would still be less price sensitive to multi billion dollar spending schemes cooked up in Democratic or Republican debates.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous civility, etc. said...

Addenum: in my country for every woman in federal prison there are 49 men, a number that is a farce. Where's Amnesty International? You should be marching at the Canadian embassy for my rights!

While the ratio is not as high in the states we've all seen examples in the media of women, particularly female sex offender teachers, getting off easier than men. How does one reconcile being a libertarian and egalitarian simultaneously with silence in the face of such numbers?

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WIll our moderator kindly delete that guy's comments and ban his IP? I really think that his trolling here is of no value.

He's making me embarrassed to be a white boy.


4:39 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Aw Tim. I don't ascribe his views to you any more than I associate with his views on women.

I'm sorta tempted to delete, because I don't think he is writing from kindness. I think he is writing from that self-reinforcing think-y place I keep warning against. But he broke free of it before and I want to see if all my fancy idea of kindness actually work. I know that it is asking a lot of you guys, too. Thanks for sticking with me.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous civility, etc. said...

I'm getting old and my memory is failing me, but was it in the Diamond Sutras or Plato's Symposium that it was first posited a combination of condescension and duplicity were the highest forms of love? Meh. Buncha patriarchs anyway, eh?

I take time to write lengthy (for me) comments in good faith answering questions from your commentors in good faith. I provide data and ignore most of the passive aggressive stuff directed towards me.

Show me this fictitious atheist feminist socialist who can respond civilly and more importantly honestly to some genuine criticisms of our society I have raised, I don't believe she exists.

11:54 PM  
Anonymous swissarmyd said...

you might want to re-read your last paragraph civility/etc...

because you're right... she doesn't exist. At least not in that cardboard cutout form.

So since I only recently drilled down on your first set of links on atheism and suicide... perhaps I can start there...

Actual suicide statistics don't contain religion, after all, we don't have to officially register a religion, so how would the government know? It's probably the same way in Canada, but I'm guessing. So. If you take a look at the CDC data from directly after the data citations that your link mentioned, you can see the PDF here:
Suicide rates begin on page 486...
You may notice something right away. In the US, the affliction is primarily a young "white" guy thing. Famales and other races are 4X less likely to do it... and even then, in a country this large... there are something in the low 30k per year as opposed to 300m+ people who live here. The rates don't vary much over the 20 year period.

I'm having a really hard time seeing the causality link with true atheism. The supporting links at the religious toleration site are broken, so I couldn't get to the original write up to see how they sliced and diced the figures.

Interestingly at the adherents page there was a lot of info... one of the best to think about before betting the farm is this: The American Journal of Psych study was with 371 depressed inpatients. And then of those inpatients their conclusions were drawn from if they expressed a religious affilliation or not.

What is clear from that, is that for depressed inpatients there appears to be a correlation between religion and if they attempted suicide.

That doesn't seem to point to causality, though. IF the problem was based on how religious you were, seems to me that the numbers of suicides between males and females would be evenly split, since they would probably be evenly split between atheists and the religious, by gender.

Yet, based on the official CDC numbers it is 4X times as many males [24,538 in 98] as females [ 6038 in '98] who off themselves.

Is there any religious reason that could be true?

When wading through the links and such on the Adherents page I came on the links relative to the suicide rates for Mormons, and if they were committed to the church or not. And according to "Dr. Sterling C. Hilton of Brigham Young University: "These results provide evidence that a low level of religious commitment is a potential risk factor for suicide," Adherents

One wonders if the low level is the problem, or if it is in fact indicative of a different problem.

All that in one of the most homogeneously religious areas in the country. Their averages are not as high as much of the mountain west, but they are higher than the national average. If your atheism postulate held true, we would expect the numbers in Utah to be dramatically lower than the rest of the US, but they aren't.

Coupled with the fact that suicide is still far rarer than auto fatalites... and I would say the causal connection is hard to prove. Given the overall number of atheists, lapsed church and Synagog goers, we would be seeing a much higher number of suicides if it was directly related to not going to church.

Or being an atheist...

2:15 AM  
Anonymous civility, etc. said...

It's as if I stated that smoking causes lung cancer, and you attempted to disprove that by pointing to data that suggests exposure to asbestos also causes lung cancer.

I'm not doing you a favour by pretending that is an acceptable level of reasoning for an adult. Please don't address me further in this thread. Anyone else want to show me how clever they are?

5:18 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Andrew, civility, etc - you're talking about extraordinarily touchy subjects. If you must have this conversation, you will need to reach for extraordinary amounts of kindness.

I myself am not interested in that conversation, but you all have to abide by the comment policy. (I couldn't, not on those topics. But y'all tried.)

Andrew - if you malign the broad category of feminists again, I'll delete it. That maligns me and very many of my readers. You are skirting very close to the lines, and I've given more slack than usual.

Civility, if you enter this conversation, you have to do it as if you were talking to a dear friend. I know that is really counterintuitive. But... house rules.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous SwissArmyD said...

"It's as if I stated that smoking causes lung cancer"

No, actually it's not like that at all. It IS like saying lung cancer causes smoking... coupled to then saying la, la, la, la, I can't hear you. The first part being something we could have a discussion on where you obtain the fact to support that...

The second part being unsupportable by fact or reason.

I can understand if you are tired of the conversation now... every thread dies eventually or becomes boring. It's just that I've challenged your facts, and you've come back with... "I don't want to talk about it..." Instead of using real facts to show me where you percieve my error to be.

It's OK... it's not a life or death situation, it doesen't seem like anyone else is really interested. As always I entertain high hopes. Sparring with someone is what makes you quicker. I look foreward to the next time...


7:32 AM  
Anonymous civility, etc. said...

Looks like my work here is done. It is apparent to me from the rookie mistakes you make when arguing, as well as the deafening silence, that some of you folks haven't had, and don't want, your professed beliefs challenged.

11:06 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home