Mar 8, 2008

Pregnant Governor of Alaska

Radical Catholic Mom congratulates Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska who is pregnant with her fifth child at age 44. The Governor's office announces:
“Todd and I are five times blessed and couldn’t be happier,” Governor Palin said. “We look forward to welcoming our new addition in May.”
Gov. Palin's biography recently appeared in Alaska Magazine (my husband's favorite!). I found out that this very attractive woman with a lot of common sense (who is strongly pro-life) is being touted on a large number of sites and blogs as a premier vice-presidential candidate.

The Draft Palin for VP website reports the McCain-Palin button is outselling all other possible McCain-VP combinations. The Republican governor is enjoying one of the highest popularity ratings of any sitting state executive in the country--about 90 percent. No wonder Alaskans are beaming.

If you'd like to hear what she has to say, go here.

Mar 7, 2008

China--Optimism Superceded by Pessimism

"Many optimistic observers of China, often mollified by their close relations with the Communist regime, bet on a soft transition from despotism toward an open society, but recent events don’t support such a benign interpretation. Since the beginning of this year, repression of human rights activists, lawyers, and bloggers has been harsher than ever.

...Chen, a blind peasant and self-taught lawyer, had protested in 2005 against the kidnapping of some 3000 women in his hometown of Linyi. The women were sterilized or forced into having abortions in order to stabilize the population increase in the region. As this extreme violence violates Chinese law, Chen petitioned the central government – the only legally recognized form of protest in China. When carrying his petition to Beijing, escorted by a tiny group of lawyers, Chen was accused of disrupting traffic on the city’s clogged roads and condemned to four years in jail."
For more on the reality check on China and the 2008 Olympics, read this.

Mar 4, 2008

Unwed Mothers--Causes and Solutions

The National Center of Health Statistics has released preliminary 2006 statistics of births to unwed mothers in the U.S., and the news is hard to take because of its ruinous impact on our civilization.

The number of babies born to unwed mothers rose nearly 8 percent to a new record high in 2006 --a 20 percent increase since 2002. The percentage of all U.S. births to unmarried mothers increased from 36.9 percent in 2005 to 38.5 percent in 2006. That means almost two out of every five babies were born to illegitimate moms.

Compare this recent data to historical data with a minimal 3.5 percent of births to unwed mothers in the 1940s. By 1960, the figure had crept up to slightly more than 5 percent. As late as 1970, 89 percent of children were born to married women. But by the 1990s the numbers of children born to unwed mothers had dramatically jumped to the 32-33 per cent range. And the numbers increased to 38.5 percent of all births in 2006. Moreover, half of all births to unwed mothers were second and later children.

What caused the tragic growth in the number of babies conceived and born outside the bond of matrimony? I've looked high and low on the web to find a good scientific paper on the reasons for the dramatic increase and have yet to find one that adequately discusses the issues. So let this old granny take a crack at answering the question.

There are three major reasons that people avoid evil. First, if they believe in God, heaven, and hell, they either want to please Him and earn heaven, or at least want to avoid His wrath. Second, people don't err if they understand their peers will dislike them and disapprove of their bad actions. Third, most people won't do bad things if they know they will be punished by government policy or nature.

Sadly, the above reasons are all being violated in today's world. While most people say they believe in God, they reject God's punishment in hell. Go to any funeral and listen to the preacher or priest say the deceased is now in heaven. Belief in hell as taught by Jesus Christ has been abandoned, so people don't believe they will be punished for their sins. God is all good, they say, and he doesn't punish people. This belief contradicts traditional Christian teaching, "Mercy in this world, justice in the next."

The second reason deals with peer pressure. Most people avoid doing something that causes a friend, neighbor, or relative to look at them with disgust or irritation or disapproval. In parts of U.S. society today, families and friends expect and even approve of unwed motherhood, exactly the opposite of civilized societies which rightfully display indignation, shame, and sorrow over a baby that will not enjoy a lifetime of two parents.

What about government? What has it done to discourage unwed motherhood? For the past 40+ years, government has rewarded unwed motherhood with free money, free health benefits, free food, and other resources. No one seems to remember the old adage, "Actions that are rewarded will be multiplied."

If a girl or woman also believes there are few if any natural penalties for having children outside of wedlock, then why not get pregnant? Yet the natural effects from illegitimate pregnancies and child raising include poverty, inadequate care and training of children, bad behavior, crime, academic problems, bad example for the next generation, etc. The list goes on and on.

The solutions to unwed motherhood are easy to see by reading the above four paragraphs. Families, churches, neighbors, schools, and government all have roles to play in returning parenthood to exclusive married relationships.

ADDENDUM (3/30/2008)

A reader, Mary Jane, has commented: "I'm interested in your article. What are your sources for your statistics?" Here is the reply that was emailed to her.

The statistics describing births to unwed mothers are documented by the underlined references embedded in the above post. The statistics on the disadvantages and problems associated with single-parent families are sprinkled across many thousands of pages of the Internet. For example, see the Princeton-Brookings website.

If you ask for statistics to buttress my opinions on the causes and solutions of unwed motherhood, then perhaps taking the observations one at a time might be profitable.

I believe the first reason for the increase in unwed motherhood is the decreasing fear of displeasing God and the absence of belief in the possibility of being punished in hell. To look for statistics on changing religious viewpoints in the U.S., try the Pew Forum or the Barna Group. The latter group noted in 2003 that even though 73 percent of Americans believe in hell, "just one-half of 1% expect to go to Hell upon their death."

People have always embraced excuses for their bad choices, but now very few peers exist who have the fortitude to criticize their family and friends for undesirable behavior. The second reason for the increasing number of children born out of wedlock is that Americans are superbly trained by our over-tolerant culture never to say anything that offends anyone. In fact, that concept has been embodied in anti-harassment laws.

The lack of good peer pressure means girls are often proud they are pregnant and about to have a baby with their boyfriend. Unwed mothers wear the badge of single-motherhood as a badge of honor, whereas in the bad old days they had to wear a scarlet letter. Murphy Brown was defiantly proud of being an "unwed mother." She assumed the role of an independent woman, the do-it-all woman; so why should we be surprised that others have emulated her?

The appearance of rewards constitutes the third reason for increased rates of out-of-wedlock children. What are the rewards? Some of the governmental rewards include (see 2008 report of state expenditures on replacement programs for Aid to Dependent Children in Connecticut):
  1. Temporary Family Assistance(cash assistance)
  2. Child Care Subsidies
  3. Transitionary and other Rental Assistance Programs
  4. Transition to Employment Independence Program
  5. School-Based Health Centers
  6. Medicaid-funded health insurance for children and adult caretaker relatives
  7. Helping unwed mothers obtain financial and medical support from boyfriends
  8. Safety Net Services, including clothing, food, employment assistance and case management
  9. Etc.
Mary Jane, Thank you for your question.

Intelligence is Expelled....The Aftermath

"Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" is a movie about scientists who dare to question Darwin's theories, and who are subsequently shunned, persecuted, and virtually expelled from the scientific community, with no more opportunity for publishing their work. The movie features Ben Stein as the scientific journal editor who has the audacity to publish Dr. Steven C. Meyer's extensive review essay on the rationale and biological data for inferring intelligent design.

WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah reviews and gives more information on the movie. Bill O'Reilly interviews Ben Stein here on "Expelled." The trailer/preview also is quite interesting and gives a peek into the plot. I definitely plan to see "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" that opens April 18, 2008.

The movie focuses on the publishing of Dr. Meyer's paper on August 4th, 2004 in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington (volume 117, no. 2, pp. 213-239), a peer-reviewed biology journal published at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Meyer's article is entitled, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories”, [If you're interested in science and evolution, do read Meyer's seminal essay on the scientific basis for intelligent design of biological systems.]

If you're interested in science and evolution, do read Meyer's seminal essay on the scientific basis for the intelligent design of biological systems. Here are a few paragraphs for you to get a feel for a few of Meyer's arguments:

The “Cambrian explosion” refers to the geologically sudden appearance of many new animal body plans about 530 million years ago. At this time, at least nineteen, and perhaps as many as thirty-five phyla of forty total (Meyer et al. 2003), made their first appearance on earth within a narrow five- to ten-million-year window of geologic time (Bowring et al. 1993, 1998a:1, 1998b:40; Kerr 1993; Monastersky 1993; Aris-Brosou & Yang 2003). Many new subphyla, between 32 and 48 of 56 total (Meyer et al. 2003), and classes of animals also arose at this time with representatives of these new higher taxa manifesting significant morphological innovations. The Cambrian explosion thus marked a major episode of morphogenesis in which many new and disparate organismal forms arose in a geologically brief period of time.

....analyze whether the neo-Darwinian process of mutation and selection, or other processes of evolutionary change, can generate the form and information necessary to produce the animals that arise in the Cambrian.

For neo-Darwinism, new functional genes either arise from non-coding sections in the genome or from preexisting genes. Both scenarios are problematic.

In the first scenario, neo-Darwinists envision new genetic information arising from those sections of the genetic text that can presumably vary freely without consequence to the organism. According to this scenario, non-coding sections of the genome, or duplicated sections of coding regions, can experience a protracted period of “neutral evolution” (Kimura 1983) during which alterations in nucleotide sequences have no discernible effect on the function of the organism. Eventually, however, a new gene sequence will arise that can code for a novel protein. At that point, natural selection can favor the new gene and its functional protein product, thus securing the preservation and heritability of both.

This scenario has the advantage of allowing the genome to vary through many generations, as mutations “search” the space of possible base sequences. The scenario has an overriding problem, however: the size of the combinatorial space (i.e., the number of possible amino acid sequences) and the extreme rarity and isolation of the functional sequences within that space of possibilities. Since natural selection can do nothing to help generate new functional sequences, but rather can only preserve such sequences once they have arisen, chance alone--random variation--must do the work of information generation--that is, of finding the exceedingly rare functional sequences within the set of combinatorial possibilities. Yet the probability of randomly assembling (or “finding,” in the previous sense) a functional sequence is extremely small.

Best Catholic Blog in Kansas City

It's been at least two years since I started reading the Kansas City Catholic, and it keeps getting better and better--as over 200,000 visitors have already determined. I am amazed that this father of several very young children has the energy to write so many in-depth and imaginative posts. His story about inheriting a new peach orchard illustrates the man's excellent writing ability, his 'blossoming' imagination, and the credibility of his convictions.

Pro-life Political Blog--The Kansas Meadowlark

The Kansas Meadowlark wrote me a note today and asked me to look at his blog. I did and I highly recommend it for its great information on politics in Kansas--especially detailed items on abortionists and abortion supporters , such as Dr. Tiller (nicknamed 'the Killer') and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who celebrated her 59th birthday speaking at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser. Take a quick look because the blogger uses some nice techniques to put a lot of important news on the first page.