Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nancy Survey Part 2

*Sigh* I really need to lower my expectations. I've been told, by many who know me personally, that I'm too willing to trust people. I like to think the best of humanity. I'm not naive; I know that the world's inhabitants are far from perfect. But, still...I'll give people the benefit of the doubt until they give me a reason not to like them. Such is the case with Nancy and Tom. This survey by Sharon Parsons exposed their true colors.

Note: Sharon Parsons has read this blog for a while. I know her only from her comments, but she's never given me a reason to think that her request was anything but innocent. After speaking with her via e-mail, she feels like she opened a can of worms and is sorry. I don't think she has anything to feel sorry for. I chose to do the survey and no real harm came of it.

So, why the post? Nancy held her cool until she read the comments to my post. She decided to leave the following warm-fuzzy:


"Nancy
said...
1. I want to ask why your answers are about your daughters instead
of all your children. You say as a mother you want your daughter to be
independent with good character but not your son. Independentness can be a bad
problem. How can she meet her match if she is focusing on being alone with no
partner. Who will she marry? 2. Man and woman were created with different
purposes but here you say he is the same which is good. Men need power because
that is what God gave them. It is why marriages based on the Bible work since
you can't have two people who want control or you fight over everything. I trust
God to put my needs in Tom's heart which never fails to work. A good husband is
inpowered with spirit to see the family needs. 3. Why did you stop with four? I
cant help see that you didn't have more after being an atheist. Atheism is the
right thing right so why not have a whole army of atheists to continue brining
the message of atheism to the world. I see that this is God telling you he won't
bless you with children to go against him. Do you see? 4. Are you afraid of what
happens if you put morals in the classroom is that why you hang on academics for
your family? We learn much through the practice of forgiving and confessing. I
think secular people want to know everything which is impossible to do. Some
things have to be said I don't know let's give this to God. 8. God means to you.
You oppose him so he does mean something to you. Be honest okay. I was honest
when I answered. Saying that God means nothing to atheists is a lie. 11. Your
child can murder and you'll love them the same. I don't believe that you would.
The best love is to be careful with love so it can't be used."

Via e-mail, she claims that (since I knew Sharon vaguely, that this was a set-up). Tom is livid. I'll be sharing an e-mail from him at the end of this post. First, I want to respond to some things Nancy said.

I want to ask why your answers are about your daughters instead of all your
children. You say as a mother you want your daughter to be independent with good
character but not your son. Independentness can be a bad problem. How can she
meet her match if she is focusing on being alone with no partner. Who will she
marry?

I think you're misunderstanding me. As a woman, I think it's particularly important to be a role model for young girls and young ladies who will be the the women of the future. I want the same things for my sons. But, as you've pointed out without meaning to, boys and men seem to be taught independence from a very early age. Example: when teen aged girls cry, no one blinks. When a teen boy cries, there's a stigma. Why should it be that way? Why not advocate a healthy level of emotion AND independence for both sexes? I completely disagree with your observations about independence. What problems can possibly arise from feeling confident about your ability to be who you are without a spouse? Or, being financially independent? I want all of my children to marry for love. I want them to be equipped to offer their partners a full person. Then and only then, when you are a fulfilled individual, can you ever hope to maintain a solid marriage. My daughters, like my sons, will marry who they choose. And, if they don't want to marry, then that's perfectly acceptable. I'll trust their judgement.


Man and woman were created with different purposes but here you say he is
the same which is good. Men need power because that is what God gave them. It is
why marriages based on the Bible work since you can't have two people who want
control or you fight over everything. I trust God to put my needs in Tom's heart
which never fails to work. A good husband is inpowered with spirit to see the
family needs.

Biology "created" us with different purposes physically. But, there should be no mental/emotional/intellectual difference between the sexes. Such differences are the product of culture. Case in point - you can't fathom being equal to your husband. Why? I would hazard a guess that this was what you were taught as a child. It has nothing to do with "creation" and everything to do with socialization.


Reading this paragraph makes me feel ill. I hope you don't take this as condescension (that's not my intent AT ALL); but, I feel bad for you. When did your self-worth become attached to giving a man power? A decent and compassionate man does not need any power from their wife. They will share "power" willingly. I feel as if you're suggesting women give up their voice to make a man happy. Do you not see how damaging that is? Do you honestly want your daughters to be controlled in this fashion? What happened to you that made you accept such a passive position? A "good husband" or a "good wife" will anticipate the needs of each other. If they can't anticipate those needs, then one hopes that they will talk openly about what needs are left to be filled?



3. Why did you stop with four? I cant help see that you didn't have more after
being an atheist. Atheism is the right thing right so why not have a whole army
of atheists to continue brining the message of atheism to the world. I see that
this is God telling you he won't bless you with children to go against him. Do
you see?



Why did I stop at four? I'm tempted to say that I stopped at four because I didn't want five, but that seems dismissive. I stopped at four for health reasons. And, if we're going to be honest about this, we almost stopped at three. P4 was a glorious and joyous "oops!" But, after his birth (with all the complications), I knew that it would be incredibly selfish to have another child. I have a responsibility to the children who I have already birthed. As for the atheist army, I think that's scary as hell! Are you, in a round-about way, suggesting that you have six (almost seven) children because you wanted to add to some sort of christian militia? That's a terrible reason to have a child. It's not their job to carry out the religious jihad of your dreams. It's similar, in my opinion, for a couple of gymnasts to have a kid and force the kid into gymnastics because they didn't get the gold metal at the Olympics. A child should not be born with a job! Consequently, I would never have a child to make sure theism had one more opponent. As to your statement about God not giving me children after I came out on my atheism, that's crap! I had a freaking hysterectomy. But, since you threw it out there, if your God can knock me up without ovaries or a uterus, then I'll have a child to add to God's army. If he could do it to Mary, then he can do it here.


Are you afraid of what happens if you put morals in the classroom is that why
you hang on academics for your family?


No. I'm afraid of whack-nuts like you recruiting for God's army in the classroom. Morals and values should be taught and nurtured in the home. The purpose of education is to get the child to a point where they can use academia to put their morals and values to use. You can't cure cancer by sitting in a corner praying about how God never gives you more than you can handle. You can, however, have high odds of solving these illnesses by having a strong, supported foundation in the sciences, math, communications, and keen observatory skills. I "hang on academics" because education is something we highly value!


We learn much through the practice of forgiving and confessing. I think secular
people want to know everything which is impossible to do. Some things have to be
said I don't know let's give this to God



Give it to God. Where should we meet God? Does he have a Blackberry so we can formalize the plans to give *IT* to God? Oh, wait...that's just me being one of those pesky people who wants to receive answers to questions. I don't want to know everything. In fact, I think knowing everything would be a perpetual bummer. That said, what do you mean by the phrase "giving it up to God"? To me, it seems like a lack of passion on your part to educate yourself or seek out the answers.


God means to you. You oppose him so he does mean something to you. Be honest
okay. I was honest when I answered. Saying that God means nothing to atheists is
a lie.

I'm being totally and completely honest when I say, "You. Are. Wrong." How could you possibly know what God means to another person? When I say, "he means nothing", that's exactly what I mean. I realize that other people feel differently, but God means less to me than does Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or Leprechauns. I don't "oppose" God. I don't believe in him. That's a different perspective entirely. Do you oppose garden fairies? Are you creating an army of fairy haters? (I realize that last statement has a double entendre, but I'll leave it).

11. Your child can murder and you'll love them the same. I don't believe that
you would. The best love is to be careful with love so it can't be used."

First off, I highly doubt that my children are going to be come murderers,...just as not all schools turn into Columbine. You fear a great many things that are unlikely to ever happen. Why? If my child ever "murdered", then it would depend on the circumstance. I'm not going to say what I would or would not do because I can't see that ever happening. But, I do know that I would still love them. You don't erase someones childhood when they commit a crime. My loving my children is not contingent on how well they do or how much they disappoint me...it's unattached to those emotions. I'm very, very sorry that you don't understand that. Actually, I'm very sorry for your children, if you don't understand that. Do you have any idea how crippling it can be, as a child, to feel like your parents' love is something that can be pulled back like a fishing lure?

So...here we are. Now it's time to share Tom's e-mail.

"Possum Mama, I didn't start the noposszone for you to bring my wife down,
she is pregnant for God's sake! If you feel sorry for her at all you'll
stop sending your godless friends to get her. Deal with me from now on or don't
talk to us."

I don't know about the rest of you, but my irony meter is pegged out.

To Tom: Let's get real, shall we? YOU create a counter blog. YOU, with no interruption from me, keep this blog for months. You tell the world I'm a horrible mom with absolutely no grounds to claim such things. A third party sends a parenting survey that reveals the depth of dysfunction in your home and you're pissed? Whoa!

Here's the thing, Tom. I *do* feel sorry for your wife. Not because she's pregnant or reading responses to her "answers". I pity her because she has been hosed by your religion and your ego. She loves you, and fears your god, so much that she's willing to be a puppet on a string for you. You could kick her like a dog and she'd defend your right to do so. That makes your manhood a joke! I don't respect men who rule over the families. I don't respect men who get their power from a two-thousand year old book that had a bad copy editor on multiple occasions. You're not a bad husband because you're a Christian. You're a bad husband because you try to bully women into line. SINCE your wife is pregnant (and upset), why don't you go take care of getting dinner on the table or offer her a back rub? If my pregnant wife were upset, then I wouldn't be on the fricken computer!






42 comments:

Autonomous said...

AMEN!

(sorry!)

I love your last paragraph. I love my wife because she is strong-willed and independent. I really cannot understand these guys who are so insecure that they need a woman to bow to their every whim.

To Tom-as P-momma said, YOU started your blog, YOU'VE been accusing her of being a bad mother without cause. Yes, I do believe your wife is a bad mother. But unlike your bigotry, my opinion is based on her saying that she is willing to disown her children for blasphemy and that her only goal for them is thatthey be mindless drones bowing before your silly Chickverse God.

aimee said...

(((CLAPPING)))

Well said once again Pmomma. I wish I had half a way with words as you do.

To Tom: If your wife doesn't want people to respond, tell her to take her bare pregnant feet back to the kitchen where she belongs. Because that is how loving christian husbands believe, right?

LOL, Pmomma has not asked a single one of us to go and bitch you out on your public blog. We are all there of our own free will, just as you are here. I think you are just upset that you have no one in your corner while Pmomma has many. Even other christians and agnostics are telling you how wrong you are. Not quite what you had in mind when you started your little counter blog was it?
You are whiny, get some cheese to go with it, and give it over to god if you must.

knitography said...

I agree with all your counterpoints, but ultimately I can't help feeling extraordinarily sad for both Tom and Nancy (though obviously a little more for Nancy). They appear to be very poorly educated in many different ways, and as far as I can tell they are victims of their social conditioning in much the same way as their own children are victims of their social conditioning. Shame on any church or religion who would strive to produce such people. Having said that, lack of education and social conditioning aside, they are responsible for their own actions, and complaining about the criticisms they've received on a blog they set up to criticize a complete stranger? Well, they're living in a glass house, no question about it.

Knitterman said...

Excellent, P'momma!! Very well said.

There's no way to counter, diffuse, thwart, or otherwise discourage all the people who don't like you, your choices, your life, or your family.

If it were me I'd ignore NPZ, block their emails, and continue forward in your life. Screw 'em. It's not your job to educate, inform, and enlighten everybody. Your blog does the work for you.

Hang in there!

Karen said...

This has been a fascinating conversation (both parts). Tom is, clearly, a manifest jerk. Nancy is a victim both of him and of her own beliefs. And these two believe they can "minister" to Pmomma and maybe the rest of us atheists?

Here's some evidence against the presence of their god: if he did exist, and had the compassion of a cat, he'd knock both of them upside the head in the hope that small holes might let in some wisdom.

Cogito said...

Thanks, PMomma for providing such a lovely contrast. People who are wondering how atheists can parent well need only compare the approaches laid bare by the questionnaire.

I just have to ask, how is this a "set up?" "WAAAHH, we answered some questions, accurately revealing how we live our lives, and it made us look stupid!" Does that about sum it up?

Autonomous, I congratulate you on being a real man. A man who truly has cojones seeks out a strong, intelligent woman to be a partner. A weakling terrified of losing control uses the myths of ancient shepherds to shore up his lacking ego.

BeadKnitter said...

Hi Possummomma,
I have a question. Having dealt with more than my share of bullies when I was a kid, I learned an important lesson. "Ignore them and they go away." Why are you giving this nutcase fuel to harass you?

Please Please Please, stop answering to her. Block her emails, delete her comments on your blog, and move on with your life. I would not give these people the time of day. They are extremists. There is no way you can convince them of anything else other than what they believe. I know. My parents were just like them.

Anonomouse said...

"Having dealt with more than my share of bullies when I was a kid, I learned an important lesson. "Ignore them and they go away." Why are you giving this nutcase fuel to harass you?"

Because no one has ever gotten a Bully to change by ignoring them.

When you ignore a situation and you do nothing, and you say nothing, you are giving aa certain amount of implied consent to their actions.

Connie said...

Let me get this straight. Nancy is allowed to criticize you as much as she wants. You however may not criticize her because she gets upset. And after all she is pregnant.

She would hate my marriage. I am the full-time professional. My husband was the parent at home, and at school, and at athletic events...... . He also does all the laundry, most of the cooking and cleaning. We consider it a happy partnership that works for us.

I was raised protestant, in fact seriously calvinist in a town full of serious calvinists. Years of church every Sunday, Sunday school, and weekly chatechism. It was the whole concept of predestination and saved by grace that did me in as a teenager.

I do not believe in any mythical figures and I do not have any imaginary friends. Our daughter went to church with many friends over the years, youth groups for several years. And this bright college student thought it through for herself and is a non-believer.

Whatever upset Nancy is having about all this she should remember she started it by establishing her blog and telling about using P-momma as a bad atheist mom example for her bible study group.

Time to say good-bye forever to Nancy and her husband in charge.

Humanist Mama said...

AWESOME!! Well said PMomma :)

Enkidu said...

It's long past time to ignore the cretins. They can't or won't give others the respect they demand. They can't or won't acknowledge that other points of view may have some value. They can't even see that other points of view exist, hence their whining about us hating God.

If someone wants to know what you think of religion, education, or raising children, refer them to your blog. It's all there for anyone who cares enough to read.

Steve in MI said...

I echo Humanist Mama.

PM - it's been my experience that if you begin to feel like a lightning rod, it's often because you're doing something right. As always, thank you for the inspiration.

autonomous - "silly Chickverse God". I'm stealing that right now. :-)

Natasha Yar-Routh said...

Tom you pathetic, cyber-stalking little bully I have been around long enough to remember when you and Nancy started this whole thing. You were appalled that P1 was a intelligent independent young women. You sent Nancy in first to do the usual passive aggressive we're praying for you but your going to hell if you don't think what we tell you to think. After a number of people thoroughly deconstructed Nancey's arguments you charged in and accuse everyone of being mean to a women who just wanted to help. I see you're still using the same old script. The only thing mew is your vile obsessive little blog. You really can't stand that P-Momma is a freethinking independent women and great mother can you?

Tom really Why so serious?

Lets pou a smile on that face!

Perpetual Beginner said...

What's really striking to me about Tom and Nancy is how very afraid they are. Afraid of letting their children out of their immediate influence. Afraid of reading material that doesn't completely support their views. Afraid of almost everything, is what it looks like to me.

It's a little incomprehensible to me. One of the reasons I am a theist, is that I find it makes me less afraid, more open-minded, more tolerant. After all, if God is truth, then I cannot follow the truth without finding him. And if God is not true - then I would want to know that too.

The kind of fearfulness T&N show, strikes me as being desperately afraid of finding out that God is not true.

Dawn said...

I went to the NPZ site and read Nancy's answers, too. My heart broke.

We have, like you, thousands of books all over the house. I have never censored my children's reading materials. They read what interests them. They are bright, friendly, wonderful people. D1 takes the MCATs today.

Like you, I could NEVER disown my children. I would see them punished for murder, according to the laws of the country, if they were truly guilty, but I would still love them as my children. After all, isn't what their God says? Hate the sin, love the sinner?

I could never stay married to Tom. Any man who is that much of a control freak that he has to start his OWN church to teach his version of religion, scares me. I was in 1 relationship like that, and when I got out of it, realized how very horrible it was. Never happened again.

Tom and Nancy don't seem to read much of your blog. Is it better for you to die bearing more children? (NOT!!) You made the mature choice to stop in order to raise the ones you have, and let them have their mother for as long as her illness permits.

That being said, I hope that Nancy continues to do well with her pregnancy and she has a healthy baby and all goes well for her also. The risks for a grandmultipara are many.

spyderkl said...

Possummomma, you rock. Your answers were fantastic - unfortunately, the recipients (Tom and Nancy) will read what they choose into them, if that makes any sense.

I can't say that I feel sad for Tom and Nancy, as they're adults and presumably able to make their own decisions for themselves. I feel...fear for their children. Sadness for them, too.

Berlzebub said...

@ P-Momma:
I'm not intending to feed the troll(s), but the email from Tom has seriously pissed me off.

@ Tom:
"Possum Mama, I didn't start the noposszone for you to bring my wife down,"
No, you started it to make unfounded accusations against P-Momma and the Possum Family. All of it based on your belief in an imaginary friend.

There's a little thing called unintended consequences. The reason we do something may not be the only outcome. Sometimes, things don't go the way we expect.
"...she is pregnant for God's sake!"
So? P-Momma has lupus, and that lasts quite a bit longer than 9 months. You don't see her asking for special treatment.

(Oh, and invoking your deity doesn't work on some of us. We're 'godless' remember?)
"If you feel sorry for her at all you'll stop sending your godless friends to get her."
I do feel sorry for her, but not because she is pregnant. I feel sorry for her because she's married to an emotionally stunted, uneducated, delusional, mentally abusive, egotistical, and domineering man like you. It's no wonder you want to keep Nancy and your kids sheltered. If you allowed them out into the real world, they would see how weak and pathetic you are when it comes to dealing with reality.

Even if P-Momma did give the order for us heathens to "sic Nancy", that's what happens when you make a blog post that's visible to the public. Especially when the blog itself was created to demean P-Momma and her family. I guess you didn't realize how many of us love, respect, and appreciate P-Momma and her family though. Remember what I said above about unintended consequences.
"Deal with me from now on or don't talk to us."
What's wrong Tom? Afraid that your wife might have an indepedent thought? Nancy answered the questions, and now she seems unable to defend her responses. Since you taught her how to be a "good" wife and mother, it's not reflecting too well on you is it?

You've taught her to parrot what you say (her response about PZ Myer's blog showed that), and you in turn parrot what others say (your comment on a previous post that was so fractally wrong it probably took Kevin Greene hours to pick it apart). You're a sad excuse for a human being, a Christian, and a husband.

Oh, and I'm no forensic psychologist, but your "orders" to P-Momma say loads about you. I'm sure you're used to getting your way in your home, but this isn't your home. We don't have to do what you say because you say it. Nancy being pregnant is not an excuse. If she's well enough to type the answers, she should be well enough to defend them.

That's an advantage I have. I'm married to an independent Christian. She's able to think for herself, and defend those thoughts. Perhaps you should try it sometime.

Autonomous said...

I'm the subject of the new NPZ post! I'm so proud!

Cris said...

Tom's and Nancy's reaction seem to be the outcome of a terrible childhood and education, the same one that they are inflicting to their children.

When you grow up in isolation and are taught to follow blindly what a deity dictates, you don't learn to be responsible for your actions, to be rational, and you don't acquire any social skills. All you are really left with is suspicion, fear, and distrust for the outside world.
What a sad way to waste a life.

aimee said...

@Autonomous
"I'm the subject of the new NPZ post! I'm so proud!"

Aww, you're so lucky! : ) j/k

@Berlzebub
ENCORE, ENCORE!! Wonderful, absolutely wonderful, you said what we have all wanted to say but couldn't quite get it out.

KatieKat said...

These are the kinds of people that make me belive we should require a license to have children.
Okay, I'm kidding - I'm way too much in favor of free will for that.
But still, they SO don't deserve to have those children.

Spidergrackle said...

Word.

'Nuff said.

Baal's Bum said...

I am shocked.
Tom and Nancy's invisible friend is allowing all these bad atheists to to get the better of them. With their diabolical tools such as truth and logic not to mention the especially disgusting, science of the bleeding obvious.
Never mind they can console themselves we will get our come-uppance on judgement day.

Calladus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Calladus said...

Something that I find interesting about religious families with lots of children is that they often don't consider the odds.

Take Thomas' family, 7 children total (hopefully the next birth will be uneventful.) Compare it to the national average and do a little calculation.

There is almost a 70% chance that one of their children will be homosexual. There's not much that lifestyle can do to change that, although the poor child may try to hide it.

There is a hundred percent chance that one of their children will reject the religion of his or her parents, and almost a hundred percent chance that one of their children will have no religion at all.

And according to their own religious beliefs, there is a certainty that one of their children will not make it to Heaven, that he or she will spend eternity in Hell.

I don't know about Thomas, but the thought of one of my loved ones spending eternity in Hell would make Heaven unbearable for me.

@lankr1ta said...

AAh the suffering Nancy and TOm put up with- oh gosh, they suffer, poor dears- persecuted by atheists who want to live their own lives...

Can I get a new Irony meter?

Perpetual Beginner said...

Calludus - that's why they advocate for conditional love of their children. It makes the idea of hell so much more bearable if you don't keep loving the people you think will go there.

Poodles said...

Tom: "she's pregnant for god's sake"

Um, that's totally yours and Nancy's fault. Pregnancy is not a disability, but stupid is.

aimee said...

@poodles

^5 for this little gem.

Tom: "she's pregnant for god's sake"

Um, that's totally yours and Nancy's fault. Pregnancy is not a disability, but stupid is.

crden said...

Pmomma, from one atheist mom in a minivan to another, I salute you! You have a wonderful way with words, and I like that you're willing to tangle with Tom and Nancy to an extent. They need to see that there's something else out there.

Tom, you started your blog in order to say nasty things about Pmomma. I went over and read it. Frankly, if you spew venom at someone, then you have little reason to expect civility in return, and Pmomma herself has shown great restraint given the types of things you and Nancy have been saying about her. As a Christian, you are supposed to show others love and charity, are you not? I'm not seeing or hearing love from either you or Nancy, just a lot of fear and anger. I think it may well be time to take a break and search both in your own hearts and in the Bible for a different approach to those from outside your own little enclave. The very least one can say about how you and your wife are conducting your mission is that you've grossly misread the people you are supposedly trying so hard to reach, and are driving these people farther away from what you want rather than closer toward it.

Nancy, apparently I'm not supposed to talk to you since you're pregnant and all, but I have to tell you that as an independently-minded woman, I have a good life. I didn't have trouble finding family-minded men, and I love the one I settled upon. I'm in a long-lasting marriage, and have seen the good example of my parents' long-lasting marriage (they just celebrated their 40th anniversary recently) that did wonderfully without the benefit of Biblical guidance. Marriage without the Bible can work quite well too. :)

I have no interest in bearing an army to march against anyone. I find that idea rather appalling.

I have to admit confusion. You say that we learn much through forgiving, yet you make it quite clear that you are not willing to stay with a child who transgresses to the extent of becoming an atheist or toward one who murders. While I would be terribly ashamed of a child of mine if he did murder someone, I absolutely would still love him. My love for my children is indelibly stamped upon my heart. Does that mean I would not accept punishment of my child for said event? Nope. There's tough love and then there's forswearing love for acts, and your e-mail to Pmomma indicates that you believe in the latter. I find that incredibly sad, and think you should probably go study your Bible on the subject of God's unconditional love.

adspar said...

Biology "created" us with different purposes physically. But, there should be no mental/emotional/intellectual difference between the sexes. Such differences are the product of culture.

I just want to mention that this isn't really true. Our biology does create sex differences in emotional and behavioral characteristics that go along with the different physical purposes you mention.

As a specific example, men generally value youth and physical attractiveness in a sexual partner more highly than women, whereas women tend to value status or other indicators of ability to acquire resources. That's just our biology. (And it doesn't mean that violations of these tendencies are bad.)

There are many other emotional/mental differences between men and women. This doesn't mean men or women are more intelligent or that there's something wrong with men crying or women being independent. Culture can encourage differences as well, but biology doesn't make us blank slates.

Perpetual Beginner said...

Somebody's been reading a little too much pop evolutionary psychology.

With psychological differences, as with intellectual differences, the differences between individual men and women absolutely dwarf the differences between the groups. Also the complications of social conditioning, when combined with the huge individual variations makes picking out any actual "built-in" differences between men's and women's psychology pretty near impossible.

LCR said...

Sorry to jump on this tangent but...

Perpetual Beginner: "Pop" evolutionary psychology? :-)

There are HUGE behavioural differences between males and females of essentially all sexually reproducing creatures, including humans. Our "social conditioning", as you call it, may make it harder (but far from impossible... eg. off the top of my head, check out Betzig and Daly & Wilson) for us to detect them, but our difficulty in spotting them does not make them non-existant. Moreover, behaviours that impact human reproduction (mate choice and mate number, child number, child rearing practices, resource control, inheritance patterns, reproductive control measure, gender preferences in offspring) occur in clear, repeatable patterns, both across and within groups (most interestingly, across cultural groups) that are both predictable and explainable via evolutionary theory.

Some may like to believe "culture" has allowed us to ignore our biological urges and instincts. It hasn't. Its just made our potential responses more numerous and outwardly different from the non-humans around us. If a trait impacts the transmission of our genes into the next generation, be it physcial or behavioural, it will be shaped by evolutionary forces. I'm not a "hard gene wired" person by any means. But you are not giving genes enough credit.

Perpetual Beginner said...

LCR - I don't believe humans are a complete blank slate either. However, 99% of what hits the public isn't evolutionary psychology, it's Just So Stories for humans.

As mammals go, humans are not terribly sexually dimorphic. Based on trends among other animals, we would then expect to see fewer behavioral distinctions as well - though that doesn't mean they aren't there at all. I stand by my opinion though, that individual differences will prove to swamp group differences. Humans are immensely varied psychologically across both sexes.

LCR said...

Perpetual Beginner,

My exposure to evolutionary psychology comes from 7 years in graduate school and then teaching and research thereafter. Far beyond what hits the public. You are certainly welcome to your opinion on this, but if your opinion is based upon the public access material (and reading the horribly skewed views of people who don't like the idea that our behaviour might have a genetic component and do their best to dismiss it as "pop" science), consider that there is a lot more out there in the research world of behavioural ecology and sociobiology that might convince you otherwise.

Perpetual Beginner said...

LCR - I'm sure there's tons of evolutionary psychology that is sound science and worth paying attention to. My immediate reaction was to adspar's "youth and beauty" vs. "status and ability" commentary on mate selection. Of all the areas of EP to hit the public airwaves, the mating behavior of men and women is possibly the most egregiously cherry-picked, distorted, and mangled into excuses for whatever behavior the reporter/commenter deems natural, which oddly always seems to correlate with his own cultural norms. To the point where I will automatically dismiss contentions based on it unless they can send me to some actual peer-reviewed research (preferably several such) backing up their point.

In short, EP is a perfectly legitimate (and fascinating) field of study. It is hot in the running, though, for being this century's favorite way to get "scientific" backing for the popular view, even when the actual science didn't say that.

Poodles said...

@aimee
^5 back so we don't miss and look stupid trying. :-D

aimee said...

Poodles,

lol, that sucks when that happens : )

adspar said...

PB: "My immediate reaction was to adspar's "youth and beauty" vs. "status and ability" commentary on mate selection. Of all the areas of EP to hit the public airwaves, the mating behavior of men and women is possibly the most egregiously cherry-picked, distorted, and mangled into excuses for whatever behavior the reporter/commenter deems natural, which oddly always seems to correlate with his own cultural norms. To the point where I will automatically dismiss contentions based on it unless they can send me to some actual peer-reviewed research (preferably several such) backing up their point."

I picked that example offhand because it is both popular and very well established; there's tons of peer-reviewed lit to back it up. It might be the case that popular references misuse the research (I really don't pay much attention to popular science coverage), but like ICR I'm coming at this from the perspective of graduate studies in the field so I'm not just spouting off nonsense. There's lots of really cool research that you might like reading. Check this out.

Vamp said...

Hey PM, I'm curious as to why Sharon said "it'll be important later" in regards to Question 6.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

I spoke to Sharon via e-mail and she said she was going to make a few points about the differences and smiliarities in our families. She originally thought Nancy's kids were older. I think she was also going to make some reference to Nancy's kids all having names ripped straight out of the Bible. But, other than that, I'm not sure what her point was going to be.

Lizz said...

Her second comment is what really bugs me. as a independent teenage girl i feel women should ahve the same rights and mental strength as men. Many people think that beause i am young i'm not able to understand htings like this. but have seen enough women being beaten around by men who think they should control a womans life because the bible told them so. and i do not agree with that.

as for tom...... much disslike in his direction