I'll be on holiday from 29 August to 15 September, after which I'll resume my regular posting on this blog. If you'd like to republish any of my articles, you are welcome to do so, with a link to the original post on my blog.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Same-sex Adoption: Not as Harmless as Portrayed

Children with two 'fathers'

Published on American Thinker

By Enza Ferreri

You may often see articles in the media claiming that "research has shown" that children of same-sex couples are thriving, in fact are physically and psychologically doing just as well as, or even better than, children of couples who are - let me use this currently underused word - normal.

Are these works reliable?

In July such a study, carried out in Australia, was much trumpeted by that pillar of "progressive" thinking, The Washington Post, under the headline "Children of same-sex couples are happier and healthier than peers, research shows".

Researcher Simon Crouch and his team at the University of Melbourne surveyed 315 homosexual parents with a total of 500 children across Australia.

Crouch writes:
We found that children from same-sex families scored, on average, 6% better on two key measures, general health and family cohesion, even when controlling for a number sociodemographic factors such as parent education and household income. But on most health measures, including emotional behaviour and physical functioning, there was no difference when compared with children from the general population.
So far so good. Unfortunately, there is a drawback:
In spite of doing well, many children did experience stigma, which was linked to lower scores on a number of scales...

Interestingly, there is growing evidence to suggest that the structure of same-sex parent families, particularly in relation to work and home duties, plays an important part in how well families get along. Same-sex parents, for instance, are more likely to share child care and work responsibilities more equitably than heterosexual-parent families. [Emphasis added]
In short, when children perform well it's due to same-sex parenting. When they perform not so well, it's due to stigma against same-sex parenting. A win-win situation for homosexual agitators.

But this apparent bias in the interpretation of the results is not the only, or even the main, problem with this study.

The method used in the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families (ACHESS) is the biggest obstacle to taking its outcome seriously.

Mark Regnerus, associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, research associate at its Population Research Center, and a senior fellow at the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture, has analysed the ACHESS's methodology both when an interim report appeared in 2012 and now, after the completion of the research.

He is concerned by this part of the study's methodology section:
The convenience sample was recruited using online and traditional recruitment techniques, accessing same-sex attracted parents through news media, community events and community groups. Three hundred and ninety eligible parents contacted the researchers…
And by the sampling approach of the interim report:
Initial recruitment will . . . include advertisements and media releases in gay and lesbian press, flyers at gay and lesbian social and support groups, and investigator attendance at gay and lesbian community events . . . Primarily recruitment will be through emails posted on gay and lesbian community email lists aimed at same-sex parenting. This will include, but not be limited to, Gay Dads Australia and the Rainbow Families Council of Victoria.
This is not a random sample, but a self-selected sample. Randomisation is one the most crucial parts of scientific research. The sample here is not representative of average same-sex households with children:
To compare the results from such an unusual sample with that of a population-based sample of everyone else [which is random] is just suspect science. And I may be putting that too mildly.
The ACHESS admits to employing "snowball recruitment techniques", where existing study subjects recruit future subjects from among their acquaintances.

The study includes a disproportionate number of children born in new ways: 80% of those with female parent(s) were born through home insemination or assisted reproductive technology (ART), and 82% of those with male parent(s) were born via surrogacy. How common ART and surrogacy are today in the average same-sex household remains unknown.

Most families who can afford the espense of ART and surrogacy are likely to belong to the homosexual socio-economic elite, the only kind of people this study's sample was likely to be comprising. And, also significantly when compared to a random sample of all other families, there were few unplanned pregnancies among the ACHESS parents.

In addition, "this non-random sample reflects those who actively pursued participating in the study, personal and political motivations included"; those who selected themselves for the study knew in advance its intentions, subject and political significance (so much for "blinding", another requirement of research methodology); and - wait for this - the actual children were not asked to report about themselves, only their parents reported about them, with all the obvious high risks involved in trusting parents self-reporting on their parental skills as shown by their children's outcome - also known as risks of “social desirability bias,” the tendency to portray oneself as better than one actually is -, without an attempt to independently verify the facts.

Taking into account all these circumstances, professor Regnerus declared himself surprised that the differences (3%-6%) between the ACHESS parents and the rest of the population were so small.

Which confirms once more that trusting the mainstream media on the complex and regrettably fashionable subject of homosexual marriage and its corollary, adoption, is not a good idea.

A Pew Research study showed how disconnected the media are from public opinion on this topic. In the news media, stories sympathetic to same-sex marriage in the 2-month period covered outnumbered those unsympathetic to it by a margin of more than 5-to-1: the former constitued 47% of all treatment of the subject, the latter 9%. For Huffington Post the gap was much higher, almost as high as that found in LGBT outlets.

In public opinion, by contrast, the percentage of respondents in favour of legalisation of homosexual marriage was 51%, while against 42%.

This media bias is consistent with the their highly critical coverage of the New Family Structures Study (NFSS), a work overseen by professor Mark Regnerus in which he examines nearly 3,000 adult children from 8 different family structures and evaluates them within 40 social and emotional categories.

The NFSS, he describes,
elected to talk to the children after they had grown up, to skip the parents entirely to ensure a more independent assessment, not to broadcast our key research questions in the title or initial screener questionnaire, and to locate participants randomly in a large population-based sample. If you’ve been paying attention, however, you’ll know that my NFSS studies—which mapped 248 respondents who told us their mother or father had been in a same-sex relationship—came to rather different conclusions than the ACHESS study has.
In his study, published in Social Science Research in 2012, Regnerus writes:
[T]he empirical claim that no notable differences exist must go. While it is certainly accurate to affirm that sexual orientation or parental sexual behavior need have nothing to do with the ability to be a good, effective parent, the data evaluated herein using population-based estimates drawn from a large, nationally-representative sample of young Americans suggest that it may affect the reality of family experiences among a significant number.
The NFSS's results showed that children who remain with their intact biological families were better educated, were in greater mental and physical health, reported overall higher levels of happiness, displayed less drug use and less criminal behaviour.

The greatest negative outcomes were found among children of lesbian mothers, contrary to faulty studies popularised by the media. The NFSS found negative outcomes for lesbians' adult children in 25 of 40 categories, including far higher rates of sexual assault (23% of lesbians' children were touched sexually by a parent or adult, compared to 2% raised by normal married parents), higher levels of depression, worse physical health, more marijuana use and greater unemployment (69% of lesbians' children were on welfare, compared to 17% of those with normal married parents).

Regnerus’ research disproved an often-cited 2005 brief by the American Psychological Association (APA) that concluded: "Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents." This sentence has now been removed from the APA' website.

And the confidence behind that assertion will be invalidated again and again, as more research unearths the problems associated with homosexual parenting and/or adoption.

One such investigation is that by associate professor at Louisiana State University Loren Marks, published in Social Science Research.

His work reviews the 59 published studies cited by the APA to support its above-quoted claim.

Marks found them wanting in various areas, including lack of homogeneous sampling, absence of comparison groups, presence of contradictory data and paucity of long-term outcome data. The scope of the children’s outcomes studied was too limited: they focused on "gender roles" and "sexual identities", while neglecting to examine the children’s education outcomes, employment, risk of substance abuse, criminal behavior or suicide.
The conclusion is that strong assertions, including those made by the APA, were not empirically warranted.
This debunking is particularly significant, in view of the fact that the APA-endorsed studies have been used in attempts to influence legal decisions in European and American courts, with claims like "no objective scientific evidence exists to justify different treatment of same sex couples who wish to adopt", "all reputable scientific studies have shown that the children of lesbian and gay parents are no more likely to suffer from emotional or other problems than the children of heterosexual parents.", and "a considerable body of professional literature provides evidence that children with parents who are homosexual can have the same advantages and the same expectations for health, adjustment, and development as can children whose parents are heterosexual.".

There's still work to do, but we are on the right track.

Milan and New York, AD 2014

These two astonishing pictures were not taken in Cairo, Islamabad or Riyadh. They are horrendous depictions of our Islamisation.

The first photo was shot in New York City, on Madison Avenue. The second in the place that is the heart and soul of Milan: Piazza del Duomo, Cathedral Square.

No comment is necessary.

Muslims praying in Madison Avenue, New York

Muslims praying in Piazza del Duomo, Milan, Italy

H/t Alessandra Nucci

Demography Is Not Destiny: the Internet Will Change the Outcome of Our Struggle for Freedom

Five men have so far been convicted for sexual abuse of more than 1,400 children in Rotherham, mainly by Pakistani Muslims, on which the media remained silent

[T]he advent of alternative media has reduced the Non-Fox Media’s ability to stir up urban riots. Today, it’s possible to get information that never would have seen the light of day in the 1980s.
What Ann Coulter says here (the first sentence refers to the Ferguson riots in the USA but the second is general), about the alternative media telling a truth that in the 1980s would have never seen the light of day because the old media were the only sources available, is true.

We keep making gloomy, nay catastrophic, predictions based on demographics (I suspect that some of us actually want the future to be as bad as they depict it). But that presumes the clause of coeteris paribus, or all other things being equal. New, unforeseen or - as in this case of the new media and internet use - simply not-considered-in-the-calculus-by-which-we-arrived-at-the-prediction developments may lead to different results.

People have been passive so far, but for many decades they've just been feed mainstream-media fairy tales.

Only recently have the internet new media started providing an alternative, disclosing facts that previously no widely-accessible source ever let people even suspect, explaining and exposing, informing and educating, expanding the range of opinions, releasing from the cage ideas that had remained until that moment taboo, giving expression to censored opinions, immensely widening the scope of what could be known, understood, debated, said and thought.

This digital cultural revolution no doubt will have consequences.

Once people will be less constrained by the blinkers created by the likes of the BBC and The New York Times, things may appear a bit clearer to them.

We probably still have to see the effects of that.

Add the social media, the internet forums and the comments section at the end of articles, which encourage people - albeit in a rough-and-ready sort of way - to form and articulate opinions, and something new may come out of all this.

Incidentally and interestingly, what socialists and communists have falsely believed they could forcefully impose with bloody revolutions and/or gigantic social engineering programs has instead been achieved by free capitalist enterprise and ingenuity. The internet has made highly affordable to everyone who wants it - at least in the developed countries - a first-class education with easy access to world libraries, academic journals, historic accounts, scientific reports. The best writers, the most skilled journalists, the most analytical thinkers, the most entertaining columnists and commentators.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

1 in 6 French People View ISIS Favourably

Islamic State jihadists

An ICM poll on behalf of the Russian state news agency Rossiya Segodnya tested the public attitude towards the group ISIS (formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant or ISIL, and now calling itself Islamic State or IS) in 3 European countries: Great Britain, France and Germany.

The news agency commissioning the poll may be Putin-friendly, but the polling firm ICM is as reputable as any.

The survey asked people whether they had a favourable or unfavourable view of ISIS.

In France, 16% say they have a favourable view.

In the UK, 7% say they have a favourable view.

In Germany, 2% say they have a favourable view.

The astonishing result concerns France. Considering that the official figures for France's Muslims are from 5 to 10% of the population, these data are difficult to explain. Either - as it's possible - "French" Muslims are more numerous than we are told, or French non-Muslims are displaying an odd sympathy for the Islamic State.

Not only that. If we break down the results by age group, we find even more worrisome outcomes, as shown below.
ICM poll results on attitudes to ISIS by age group

Almost 1 in 3 people aged 18-24 in France view ISIS positively.

Also significant are the percentages of respondents who say they have an unfavourable view of ISIS: 62% in France, 64% in Britan, and 82% in Germany.

Except in Germany, they are very low percentages indeed. Considering that the Islamic State is ethnically cleansing Iraq and Syria of Christians - or rather continuing the ethnic cleansing started before it -, and the brutality with which they treat Christians, one has to ask what the barbaric jihadists of the IS should do to get a 90% of "unfavourable views" (impossible in Islamised France anyway) from these apathetic populations feeding on Kim Kardashian (whoever that is), bad TV and Emmy Awards (whatever they are).

H/t Vox and Hot Air

Monday, 25 August 2014

Egalitarianism Is Not What Leftist Politicians Make You Think

Excavation of a mass grave outside the headquarters of the Kharkov Cheka, a department of the Bolshevik secret police, responsible for the Red Terror

"Egalitarianism" sounds so good, progressive, enlightened and compassionate. And above all, of course, caring.

But in reality the opposite of all those adjectives is closer to the truth of egalitarianism. For the only way to make all the individuals of a society equal is to reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator.

Recently it was the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Three years later, in 1917, the Russian Revolution took place.

This should remind us that in the past almost 100 years during which attempts at equalisation were repeatedly made, everybody - except the "equalisers", those ordering and doing the equalising - became equally poor, hungry, wretched, oppressed and slave. And these were the lucky ones who hadn't been killed in the process.

There is no way to equalise at the top or in the middle. It's only possible to equalise at the bottom.

The egalitarians of today, who obviously have not (or appear to have not) learnt the lesson of history, are either naive to the point of stupidity or know exactly the consequences of what they are promoting and don't find them morally reprehensible enough to desist.

Either way, they shouldn't be given power or heed.

Like the Biblical wolf in sheep's clothing, they appear like the contrary of what they are. Choosing a charitable-sounding label for yourself is in this case the verbal equivalent of dressing yourself up. Declaiming on social justice is a rhetorical mask hiding a dangerous predator's face.

Destroying an economy makes everybody in a society equally suffer. If this is the price of equality, only the fools or the evil may want it.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Italians Are Getting Tired of Muslim Invasion

Adel Smith

A small but significant story comes from Italy.

Adel Smith, born in Alexandria, Egypt, son of an Italian father and Egyptian mother and living in Ofena, a little town in the central Italian region of Abruzzi, has just died at 54 from a serious illness.

The reason why he is remembered is his constant attacks against Christianity, which this Muslim man probably believed to be an easy target in the current secularist climate.

In 2003, his intolerance for Christian objects in public buildings prompted him to request the removal of all Christian symbols, including crosses, from the primary school in Ofena attended by his children, request granted by L'Aquila Court judge Mario Montanaro.

In 2005, Smith succeded in his request to have even Christmas plays and Nativity scenes banned from the same school.

But eventually he met his comeuppance in 2006, when he was sentenced to 8 months in jail for contempt for religion for his gesture of 3 years before: at the height of his anti-Christian delirium, he had hurled a crucifix out of the window of the hospital where his mother was a patient.

There is only so much that Italians can take.

I found this story on the Facebook page of the aptly-named group "Italians are not racist, they're just tired of this invasion".

Friday, 22 August 2014

The Fate of the West

Muslims burning the Danish flag during a Muhammad-cartoons protest

Published on FrontPage Magazine

By Enza Ferreri

Either the West Will Become Christian Again or It Will Become Muslim

It's all very simple. We can't fight Islam in the West without fighting the enablers of Islam in the West, namely the Leftists.

And, since the Left has many different and separate aspects, we have to fight against each one of them. Secularism, environmentalism, global warming alarmism, homosexualism, militant feminism, sexual relativism, multiculturalism, anti-Christianity, Islamophilia, post-nationalism, internationalism are just as important targets to attack as Marxist economics, the expropriation of the capitalist class (or, in its modern reincarnation, high taxation and welfare state, aka redistribution of wealth), and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Neglecting any of these fronts is like fighting a war leaving a battleground to the enemy, like fighting on the Western front and leaving totally undefended the Eastern one.

Secularism and atheism are certainly the first lines of important wars.

A secularist West will always lose to Islam, because it will have enough compassion, tolerance and self-restraint from violence that are the remnants of its Christian heritage, but it will have lost the ideals, the passion and certainty of fighting for a just cause that were once part of Christianity and have disappeared with its erosion.

Two quotes here serve as epigrams. Robert Spencer wrote in his great work Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't: “People who are ashamed of their own culture will not defend it.” And Dennis Prager said during one of his radio broadcasts: “Only good religion can counter bad religion.”

Some people claim that there won't be a religious revival in Europe because we are past believing in God. That this is not true can be seen by the high - and increasing – number of Westerners who convert to Islam. Many of them give as a reason for their conversion the need for absolutes, boundaries and well-defined status.

A journalist writing for The Spectator on this subject explained why she is Catholic:
But above all, I like the moral certainties. I don’t mind the dogma one bit. I would rather dogma and impossible ideals than confusion and compromise. In that sense, I do identify with those who choose Islam over the way of no faith, or a seemingly uncertain faith, like the woolly old C of E.
William Kilpatrick, in Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West – a book I thoroughly recommend reading -, writes:
Brian Young's friends said he was troubled by the decadence of Western society. David Courtrailler's lawyer said, “For David, Islam ordered his life.” These are the sorts of reasons ordinary converts to Islam give. A common refrain from converts is that Islam provides a complete plan for life in contrast to the ruleless and clueless life offered by secular society. As Mary Fallot, a young French convert, explains, “Islam demands a closeness to God. Islam is simpler, more rigorous, and it's easier because it is explicit. I was looking for a framework; man needs rules and behavior to follow. Christianity did not give me the same reference points.” If you look at the convert testimonials on Muslim websites, they echo this refrain: Islam brings “peace”, “order”, “discipline”, and a way of life that Christianity and other religions fail to offer.
Human beings will never be past the need for believing in something bigger than themselves, because that need is part of the human mind.

Today the Christian religion is being replaced by the worship of the Goddess earth, New Age beliefs, the cult of celebrities (not coincidentally sometimes called "idols"), a blind faith in science, in chance as the creator and motor of the universe and in the absence of God.

And, last but not least, by Islam, which is increasingly filling the vacuum left by Christianity.

It is not surprising that Western people who feel a spiritual need may embrace Islam more easily than Christianity, when the latter has been the butt of constant attacks, denigrations and ridicule for a very long time, increasing since the 1960s, while the former is continually - albeit seriously mistakenly - praised as a religion of peace, tolerance and great wisdom.

Christian clergy is often criticized, sometimes rightly and sometimes not. But we tend to forget that clergymen are human beings, with all their imperfections. They too have been subjected to many decades of Leftist indoctrination and brainwashing. Even they, by the mere fact of living in this society, have been influenced by its insanity.

This applies to admitting homosexuals to priesthood and letting them work with young boys in the misguided hope of helping them overcome their pathology, as well as to displaying an extreme naivety towards Islam and its supremacist, violent nature.

We can expect guidance from our leaders, yes, but rather than castigating them we should make the first steps.

A clear direction was given by Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, Archbishop of Bologna, Italy.

As early as 30 September 2000, before 9/11, when very few in the West even thought of worrying about Islam, he delivered a very forward-looking speech, which included this premonition:
In an interview ten years ago, I was asked with great candor and with enviable optimism: “Are You among those who believe that Europe will either be Christian or cease to exist?”. I think my answer then may well serve to conclude my speech today.

I think – I said – that either Europe will become Christian again or it will become Muslim. What I see without future is the “culture of nothing”, of freedom without limits and without content, of skepticism boasted as intellectual achievement, which seems to be the attitude largely dominant among European peoples, all more or less rich of means and poor of truths. This “culture of nothingness” (sustained by hedonism and libertarian insatiability) will not be able to withstand the ideological onslaught of Islam, which will not be missing: only the rediscovery of the Christian event as the only salvation for man – and therefore only a strong resurrection of the ancient soul of Europe – will offer a different outcome to this inevitable confrontation.

Unfortunately, neither “secularists” nor “Catholics” seem to have so far realized the tragedy that is looming. “Secularists”, opposing the Church in every way, do not realize that they are fighting against the strongest inspiration and the most effective defense of Western civilization and its values of rationality and freedom: they might realize it too late.
An effect of the decline of Christian faith in Europe has been the strong decrease in birth rates, that are now below the population replacement level (for the indigenous, as the replacing – and then some - is done by Muslims). Why have babies when you feel that you don’t have anything valuable to pass on to them?

I remember a time when my friends and contemporaries of child-bearing age - but childless - were saying to me things to the effect that there was no point – indeed it was a crime to engage - in bringing people into this terrible world. This is the talk of faithless despair, no hope in this or another world, lack of belief.

Militant atheists à la Richard Dawkins have not really given enough thought to the long-term consequences of their ideas, which we are beginning to see.

And of which we are reminded whenever, for example, we read in the news of doctors and missionaries who die of Ebola while assisting affected patients for Christian charities. Not many atheist charities are involved in that work.