31 January 2009

I Question Everything

I've been into science for a long time. I've been a Christian for a long time. I've been an adult leader at a church youth group for almost 10 years now. A long time ago I found a book on my dad's bookshelf called ,"How to Lie with Statistics." I was a bit young to read it, but after having two statistics classes in college, and dealing with statistics in my job all the time, I see how people do this all the time, both intentionally and unintentionally. After a few years of the kids are out of control mantra, by some, hard data is beginning to refute that.
Two sociologists in Philadelphia, Kathleen A. Bogle, of La Salle University, and Maria Kefalas, of St. Joseph’s University, both specialists in teen sexual behavior, told Parker-Pope that they’d had to struggle mightily to get people out of their “moral panic” mindset, and make them understand that teens are not “in a downward spiral” or “out of control.” The Myth of Lost Innocence - Judith Warner Blog - NYTimes.com
I work with teens, trying to build relationships and helping to guide them through that time of life that I would never want to go back to. I have to say that the students seem to be pretty healthy with most of their attitudes, and that it's only a few kids that are the "at risk type." My experience has been that the kids are all right. It isn't time to panic.

The last several years have been a turning point in the band wagon effect that I have suffered from my youth. I'm beginning to question everything I read and hear on the internet and test it all. From things that come out of religious circles like the 4% generation, to some man made global warming thoughts. My dealings with the media in the past to not tell the whole story, from the reporter being a flawed human being to the editor trying to sell newspapers or TV ratings. I have even seen and remember people pushing their own agenda, that was out of selfish motivation and not for the common good.

I looked on at the last presidential campaign and saw things on both sides of the spectrum that had little to do with anything. From the "is Barack Obama a natural born citizen to the Sarah Palin downs syndrome baby was really her daughter's. All of which have been proved false, but to this day continue on into the concious thought of the American public.

So, if people call me conservative, it is because that I think that we should slow down and not rush to judgement and question all of the things that people say. If people call me liberal, it is because I have looked at the raw data for myself and agreed that there is a problem that we need to combat now. That is why on my Facebook page, I list myself as, "A Little to the Right but not by much." Slow down people think about the crap in the media that is shovelled. Some is right, but some is wrong.

My main point that I guess that I'm trying to make is that my opinons have come to me over a long period of time. I try to remain open to new data, but I question it, and I question the old data, as well. I respect other people's opinions and try to arrive at my conclusion by using the scientific method. However, I am a flawed human just like the rest of us. I realize that I can be fooled by people, and that I need to remember to question everything.
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