Sunday, 18 January 2015

Republican Puts $2,500 Bounty on Transgender Children

Republican Puts $2,500 Bounty on Transgender People | Alternet
Think Progress breaks down the insanity:
The bill provides that any student who encounters “a person of the opposite biological sex” in a bathroom or locker room shall have a legal cause of action if it’s because the school gave the trans student permission or didn’t explicitly prohibit the trans student from using thatfacility. The “aggrieved” student would be entitled to $2,500 from the offending school “for each instance” he or she encountered a trans student in a sex-divided facility in addition to monetary damages “for all psychological, emotional, and physical harm suffered” and attorney fees.
Embry has stated that the bill will help schools avoid the “potential embarrassment, shame, and psychological injury to students” that he believes naturally occurs when trans people are allowed to use restrooms in accordance with their gender identity.

A $2500 payment for detecting an Intersex or Trans schoolkid using a restroom at school sounds like a bounty to me. Just as there's a bounty on detecting other noxious vermin such as fire ants in some places.

Remember, this is no ordinary bill. This is an EMERGENCY bill to combat the epidemic of psychological damage being reported by medics all over the USA as the result of children seeing a trans or intersex kid at school.

Well, so Fox news and "Dr" Keith Ablow would have us believe.

The Pacific Justice Institute is looking for parents of kids who have been damaged like this to come forth and tell their tragic stories, and are willing to pay top dollar. They'll be releasing a damning expose any day now, they promise. Meanwhile, continuing donations are needed to pay for this important work.

From the Bill's text -
"Biological sex" means the physical condition of being male or female, which is determined by a person's chromosomes, and is identified at birth by a person's anatomy..."
So appearance at birth determines the  chromosomes. Which in turn define "biological sex".

Not exactly scientifically literate, is he?

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

It wasn't always like this....

And standing there as big as life,
And smiling with his eyes,
Joe says, "What they can never kill,
Went on to organise.
-- Joe Hill

Royal College of Psychiatrists – (UK)
16 April 2002

Historical context:
From the 1930s to the 1960s, Trans people were understood to experience a congenital physical condition, and after appropriate clinical intervention, they had full civil liberties in their real sex. Their Birth Certificates could be corrected, they could marry if they wished, and live otherwise ordinary lives. In the late 1960s, however, two events contributed to a massive change in that status. First – and ironically at the point at which gay men were decriminalised in the UK, in 1967 – in the USA, John Money announced that he had solved the dilemma of whether nature or nurture decide our gender.
One of a pair of twin boy babies had accidentally been penectomised during circumcision, had been reassigned as female, never told of his reassignment, and brought up as a girl. Money, a self-styled ‘missionary of sex’ announced that, after long-term follow up, the girl had successfully adjusted to her new role and that it was, therefore, nurture and not nature that decided the gender of people. Incredibly, on the basis of one single case, that view became the dominant one. It was clear by analogy that Transsexualism was not congenital, and that Trans people should respond to nurture if it was persistent enough and firm enough.

Second, in 1970, the case of Corbett v Corbett ‘criminalised’ Trans people by removing civil status recognition from them. The effect of that trial was comparable to the effect of the trials of Oscar Wilde and of Radclyffe Hall: it produced ‘a brilliantly precise image’ of the Trans community, a ‘grafting of a narrow set of cultural signifiers’ onto an ostensibly homogenous body of Trans people. In the public imagination, Trans people would always be Trans women [so that Trans men became invisible] and Trans women would always be, in the judge’s terms, ‘a pastiche of femininity’, a sort of teapot-elegant drag-queen, a kind of figure of fun. Equally seriously, Trans people were no longer allowed to correct their Birth Certificates, could not marry, could not adopt, were sent to the wrong sex prison [where Trans women at least were routinely raped by male inmates and warders alike] and it became the norm for them to be dismissed from employment as soon as their condition was disclosed, whether at diagnosis or later. With further irony, in 1980, as homosexuality was removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Registered Mental Illnesses (DSM), Transsexualism was placed in it, to confirm by medicine this new edict of the law.

The first response of the UK Trans community was to feel crushed, and the second was to organise.

... in 1998, in the USA, Professor Milton Diamond discovered the real outcome of John Money’s iconoclastic research: the child who had been reassigned as a girl had never been happy in the female gender role; he had always experienced his gender as male, despite his female rearing, and female hormone treatment, and as soon as he was able he had reassigned to his male identity. John Money’s findings for his research were revealed as being grossly inaccurate at best, but not before a generation of tertiary specialists had been at least misdirected by someone who, for many of them, had been their mentor and pre-eminent amongst them. From the point of view of Trans people, of course, a generation of patients had been inadequately and inhumanely treated.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

When Worlds Collide.

World-views anyway.

 Here are two therapeutic handbooks, both widely used in psychological counseling.

The first is
The Christian World View of Psychology and Counseling
Mr. George C. Scipione, Th.M., M.A., Chairman
Dr. Lawrence Crabb, Ph.D., Co-Chairman
Dr. Ed Payne, M.D., Co-Chairman
With contributions by members of the Psychology and Counseling Committee of The Coalition on Revival
Dr. Jay Grimstead, D.Min., General Editor
Mr. E. Calvin Beisner, M.A., Assistant to the General Editor

6. Scientific Method
We affirm that the scientific method is useful in carrying out the creation mandate of Genesis 1:28 to subdue and have dominion over creation when the investigators have Biblical presuppositions and when the Bible does not directly give us the answers we seek; that the use of the scientific method is entirely controlled by the presuppositions of the investigators and therefore the results are a pronouncement of faith rather than of scientific fact; and that the faith nature of the results of scientific investigation is evidenced by the investigators’ proselytizing intent, that is, their attempt to transform man into their idea of what man should be.
We deny that the scientific method can ever be applied in psychology without its being thoroughly determined by the presuppositions of the investigators.
23 Angels and Demons
We affirm that creatures who have only a spiritual dimension exist, that some serve God faithfully(angels) and others are in active rebellion against God (demons), and that the latter may possess unregenerate persons and oppress or influence regenerate persons.
We deny that the Christian counselor may neglect the reality of demons, and that personal problems, organic or non-organic, are never the result of the influence of or possession by demons.

In this world view, scientific results are a pronouncement of faith, not facts. Evil Spirits and Demons exist, and can even "possess" people.

Here's another handbook, and a quite different world view. One where objective evidence exists, where facts matter. One devoid of ghosts and goblins.

Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health
7th Version 2011,%20V7.pdf
Mental health professionals need to be certified or licensed to practice in a given country according to that country’s professional regulations (Fraser, 2009b; Pope & Vasquez, 2011). Professionals must adhere to the ethical codes of their professional licensing or certifying organizations in all of their work with transsexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming clients.

Treatment aimed at trying to change a person’s gender identity and lived gender expression to become more congruent with sex assigned at birth has been attempted in the past (Gelder & Marks, 1969; Greenson, 1964), yet without success, particularly in the long term (Cohen-Kettenis & Kuiper, 1984; Pauly, 1965). Such treatment is no longer considered ethical.

If mental health professionals are uncomfortable with or inexperienced in working with transsexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming individuals and their families, they should refer clients to a competent provider or, at minimum, consult with an expert peer. If no local practitioners are available, consultation may be done via telehealth methods, assuming local requirements for distance consultation are met.
The results of using the first rather than the second are often fatal. Literally.

In the note, Alcorn details the difficulty she said she faced growing up.
"The life I would've lived isn't worth living in… because I'm transgender," read a portion of the post. "I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy's body, and I've felt that way ever since I was 4," the note states.
The note reportedly written by Alcorn detailed her experience coming out as gay and wrote that her peers and school were receptive, but that her parents were not. She said she was taken to Christian therapists, who did not help her overcome her depression.
"After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn't make mistakes, that I am wrong," the note states.

The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren't treated the way I was," reads the post. "They're treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something."
"Christian Counseling" kills Trans kids. Not an opinion, a fact, with a mountain of corpses as evidence for that. Now one more.

Superstition,  Snake-oil and Witchdoctors have no place in psychological therapy. They should be prevented from killing children.

From the religious site,
"Now I am going to say something that may seem harsh but remember I am talking to you about objective reality – where the rubber meets the road. It is better to die than to offend God."
When dealing with a case possibly involving suicidal ideation, I feel such a statement, however sincere and well-meant, is likely to be counterproductive, and that death is in fact not a more desirable outcome compared to mainstream medical treatment.

At least some "Christian Counselors" differ on that.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Twelve Years Ago

It's worth memorialising some of the trials and tribulations the FedSat team underwent when it came to building that bird.

Originally, the task was contracted to SIL - Space Innovations Limited
SIL is a space engineering company that specializes in the design and manufacture of satellite products, subsystems and complete small satellites, which generally weigh between 50 and 500 kilograms. This type of Earth orbiting satellite is often used for scientific and remote sensing applications. They could also form the basis of satellites for constellations similar to Teledesic, Globelstar and Iridium.
SIL recorded sales of approximately 745,000 U.K. pounds and profits of 20,800 U.K. pounds according to unaudited company records for the six-month period ended June 30, 1998. Based on current exchange rates, this is approximately $1.25 million in sales and approximately $35,000 in profits.
The wheels fell off though
Jan. 14, 2000 -- SpaceDev Inc. the world's first commercial space exploration and development company, and Space Innovations Limited (SIL), a wholly owned SpaceDev subsidiary in Newbury, England, today announced that SIL management has reacquired the company from SpaceDev. Commenting on the decision, SpaceDev Chairman Jim Benson stated: ``During the past year it became clear to the boards of SPDV and SIL that continued joint operations was not of sufficient long-term benefit to either firm, due primarily to the stringent U.S. State Department restrictions on the transfer of technology-related information implemented about a year ago. At times we found it difficult to discuss basic marketing strategies or product enhancement plans with our own employees.''
Professor Leonard Culhane, chairman of SIL, said: ``We all thought at the time that this acquisition would be synergistic and would benefit both firms, but the environment changed unexpectedly. We look forward now to assisting SpaceDev as a customer rather than one of its subsidiaries.''
In October 1998, SpaceDev acquired 100 percent of SIL via a stock-exchange agreement. The SIL acquisition was one of several strategic moves made by SpaceDev during the past 18 months to position it as a worldwide, integrated provider of affordable, reliable space missions involving small satellites. The decision to rescind the merger agreement was made final on Dec. 17, 1999. Terms of the amicable separation agreement include a re-exchange of common stock and Culhane relinquishing his seat on SpaceDev's board.

SIL found itself in very deep financial trouble. There were severe cash flow problems - they didn't have the money to complete the work they'd contracted to do. It was necessary that they get stuff out of the door, regardless of quality, just to get progress payments to keep the doors open. They could always remediate it later, after the immediate crisis had passed.

But not only did they cut corners, they tried to make the circles rounder. Components that would never have passed even the most basic Quality Assurance checks at the first stage of production went through to the end. What they produced and delivered wasn't just shoddy - it was junk.

What was delivered wasn't usually repairable. It was industrial waste. So we had to build the components ourselves, to SIL's design. You see, before they got into financial difficulties, they produced really good product, both in design and manufacture.

What you see there was made after they fired their highly talented team of competent staff, and got pretty much anyone present on site to attempt Rocket Science. Cleaners, Managers, Apprentices, Trained Monkeys for all I know. But not the SIL scientists who made the company what it had been - a by-word for excellent space engineering.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Why I haven't Blogged about Politics recently

First Dog On the Moon captures it exactly. Every Night Something Atrocious.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Satellite Separation


12 years ago... Australia had a Space Programme.

The video shows booster separation of the Japanese H2A at 12:15:40, the Japanese ADEOS-2 at 12:16:20, the Australian FedSat at 12:16:40, the Japanese MicroLabSat at 12:17:00 and WEOS at 12:17:20

That was 35 years since the previous Australian Space Programme, and the previous Australian Spacecraft, WRESAT in 1967. We were world leaders then, just as FedSat is still the most complex and capable MicroSat ever launched. And just as with FedSat, the powers that be decided that our future was in digging holes in the ground, not out in space.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Platygeanism, Biblical Literalism, and Martin Luther

I was recently asked
are you really saying that the flat earth people represent the majority of Christians?
Here's my answer:
No, not at all. Only the ones who take the Bible literally.

Very few do. Many say they do, but ask them if they believe snow and hail come from storehouses in the sky, as clearly stated in the book of Job, and they say "that bit's metaphorical". Yet Adam and Eve is not. Neither is the Great Flood, though that depends on the existence of a Firmament with valves in - the ""Windows of Heaven" to let the Waters Above in.

Martin Luther had it right. Either you can believe in scripture as inerrant and literal, or you can rely on "natural Philosophy" - science -, observable facts and reason. The two ideologies are irreconcilable. He therefore rejected reason and natural philosophy.

Natural philosophy because it was wicked,as it contradicted scripture. Reason because while it sometimes supported scripture, it just as often subverted it, it could never be relied on to tell you what you wanted to hear. It was, he said, a whore in that regard. The greatest enemy Faith has.

    "Scripture simply says that the moon, the sun, and the stars were placed in the firmament of the heaven, below and above which heaven are the waters...
    It is likely that the stars are fastened to the firmament like globes of fire, to shed light at night... We Christians must be different from the philosophers in the way we think about the causes of things. And if some are beyond our comprehension like those before us concerning the waters above the heavens, we must believe them rather than wickedly deny them or presumptuously interpret them in conformity with our understanding."

- Martin Luther, Luther's Works. Vol. 1. Lectures on Genesis

    “Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”

- Martin Luther

He was quite right. Reason will only tell you how things are, not how you know them to be through Faith alone.

To take as one example, the facts say that Herod died in 4BC, and that Quirinius became governor of Syria in 6CE, ten years later. The Bible says that Christ was born during Herod's reign, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

Reason would point out the contradiction. But Faith says the bible cannot by definition be erroneous or contradictory, so Reason must be abandoned.

Christ was born before 3BC, and also in 6CE, And if ( these facts) are beyond our comprehension we must believe them rather than wickedly deny them or presumptuously interpret them in conformity with our understanding.