Category Archives: Science

Let’s talk about the measles outbreak in Texas

If you haven’t heard about it, head on over here, but be sure to come back! Read up on the situation? Good. Let’s discuss.

This subject is important to me because Oklahoma has been put on “measles alert” due to our close proximity to Texas. My kids have been immunized so I probably won’t have to worry about it, but Tulsa is a very religious city with several “megachurches” and a lot of people who believe anything they read on Facebook. It could be a real problem.

My personal view on vaccinations is this: there is not enough solid scientific evidence linking vaccines to autism and other problems for me to jump on that bandwagon. Also, my girls have been vaccinated for chicken pox, so they’ll never have to worry about getting them. My chicken pox experience happened in first grade. It’s one of my earliest memories, and it’s full of pain and discomfort. I had chicken pox eve.ry.where. On my eyelids, inside my mouth and nose, in unmentionable places. They were awful, and I remember feeling like I was dying. My girls will never have to go through that thanks to vaccines. So, there’s that.

I realize that vaccines are unnatural, but so is the food that a lot of parents (including me, yes) feed their children. You think GoGurt was on the menu for Grok’s kids? Not so much. Driving isn’t natural. There are a lot of things we do, like going to the hospital when we break a bone, that aren’t natural. But these things improve our quality of life.

The thing that makes me angriest about anti-vaccinators is that they are putting their children at risk because of their religion. I’ve known people who refused medical treatment for a child whose condition could be greatly improved by being treated. It’s just not fair to the child. I can’t imagine doing anything but what’s best for my child. Faith healing, as it’s called, is just plain child abuse in my book.

Do you vaccinate? Why or why not?

Bang Goes the Theory: Evolution Made Simple

Found this video via Parenting Beyond Belief. Absolutely awesome, but still a little above my 4-year-old’s head. 😉

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ld-db5njUJY

Encouraging Choice

I like to think I’m playing my part in phasing religion out of American life. One of the biggest changes I can see between my parenting style and that of my (divorced) parents is the emphasis on making good choices. I was never encouraged to make good choices. I was never asked to weigh the alternatives and examine the information to decide what course of action to take. I was simply told that the Bible is the end-all and be-all of authority and what is contained in that book is the absolute truth.

Therefore when it came to making choices about having sex, drinking, or pretty much anything, I fled to the Bible to find my answer. This made me a fearful and anxious person. I was constantly afraid of sinning, lest I bring god’s wrath down upon my head. Even though I knew I was saved, I didn’t really feel anything – except fear.

But, I digress. My parents never explained how important choices are in life. They never encouraged me to go to college (How dare I broaden my mind!) and they never encouraged me to make choices because I thought the choice was the right one to make.

Now that I have kids of my own, I find myself asking them questions constantly. When my oldest asks, “Why?” I always ask her, “Well, what do you think?” She spouts off her thoughts and then I explain the whys and why-nots to her. And most importantly, the I-don’t-knows. It seemed like my parents were afraid to say that. “What makes rain?” I would ask. “Rain is just god’s tears,” my mom would say, “and thunder is god bowling.” Yep. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing. Just because the answer isn’t obvious doesn’t mean it needs to be explained by something someone made up.

Ask my 4-year-old what makes thunder and she’ll tell you how lightning cuts through the air, causing it to slap back together to make a loud boom. It’s beautiful, and it helps me feel good about my non-religious parenting. My girls will grow up being able to analyze information and make proper choices, and I will always encourage learning and curiosity in their precious minds. I can only hope that they realize the value of this and pass it on to their children. Maybe someday the real truth – the provable truth – will prevail in our society. Maybe someday the person who believes in the imaginary man in the sky will be the weird one instead of the other way around. We can only hope.

Nature Macro Photography

As part of my love for science and inquiry, I’ve developed a passion for insect and nature macro photography. I wanted to share some of my favorite shots here on my blog. Most of the insect shots are from last spring. The snowflake shots are from the massive storms that hit Oklahoma this week and last. Enjoy!