Skip to main content

More on strange math

As pointed out by Marshall in the comments, states without bans on gay marriage have shown much larger decreases in the divorce rate than states that have prohibited gay marriage. Of course, correlation does not equal causation, but as Nate Silver points out at, in the face of these data one certainly cannot say that gay marriage is detrimental to straight marriage. The evidence of society's imminent downfall are not in the stats...

Not that there was really any doubt about this outcome. Straight people have been doing a perfectly good job of messing up marriages for years before gay people even thought about taking vows. Just ask Karl Rove. In case anyone forgot, Rove was the political strategist that put the fight over gay marriage at the forefront of the GOP agenda a decade ago as part of the "culture war." From his statement about his divorce: "the family requests that its privacy be respected." So when straight people get divorced, it's a personal matter and we should leave them alone. But when two gay people want to get married, it has to be put on a ballot measure.

Note: Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments on the last post. This is all part of my effort to write about more than my kids. Not that there won't be more cute pictures and videos. We have plenty of that to post soon. It's just that we don't want to end up as those parents who can't think of anything to talk about other than Owen's latest exploits at school or the color of Marcus' poo :)


mama mia said…
I totally appreciate the opportunity to hear more than what is out in mainstream news about today's issues. If not for you kids and the Daily Show, I'd not hear of other articles/studies/stories that may be contrary to what's on the network news shows.
But the photos and music videos are most welcome too :)
blissful_e said…
Please don't tell us the colour of Marcus' poo... unless he eats a crayon. :)
JohnJohn said…
Don't worry, e. We'll keep that to ourselves.

heh heh colour :)
Megan said…
John, I am late to reading your discussions, but think you put everything very well in these 2 posts. We do have a few gay friends, including one couple who is raising a child together, and it bugs me that they can't marry the same way that my husband and I have. Their love and commitment is very obvious. Maybe some day this form of discrimination will end.

Popular posts from this blog

An annual note to all the (NSF) haters

It's that time of year again: students have recently been notified about whether they received the prestigious NSF Graduate Student Research Fellowship. Known in the STEM community as "The NSF," the fellowship provides a student with three years of graduate school tuition and stipend, with the latter typically 5-10% above the standard institutional support for first- and second-year students. It's a sweet deal, and a real accellerant for young students to get their research career humming along smoothly because they don't need to restrict themselves to only advisors who have funding: the students fund themselves!
This is also the time of year that many a white dude executes what I call the "academic soccer flop." It looks kinda like this:

It typically sounds like this: "Congrats! Of course it's easier for you to win the NSF because you're, you know, the right demographic." Or worse: "She only won because she's Hispanic."…

Culture: Made Fresh Daily

There are two inspirations for this essay worth noting. The first is an impromptu talk I gave to the board of trustees at Thatcher School while I was visiting in October as an Anacapa Fellow. Spending time on this remarkable campus interacting with the students, faculty and staff helped solidify my notions about how culture can be intentionally created. The second source is Beam Times and Lifetimes by Sharon Tarweek, an in-depth exploration of the culture of particle physics told by an anthropologist embedded at SLAC for two decades. It's a fascinating look at the strange practices and norms that scientists take for granted.
One of the stories that scientists tell themselves, whether implicitly or explicitly, is that science exists outside of and independent of society. A corollary of this notion is that if a scientific subfield has a culture, e.g. the culture of astronomy vs. the culture of chemistry, that culture is essential rather than constructed. That is to say, scientific c…

The subtle yet real racism of the Supreme Court

Judge Roberts, a member of the highest court in the land, which is currently hearing the sad story of mediocre college aspirant Abigail Fischer, recently asked, "What unique ­perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class? I’m just wondering what the benefits of diversity are in that situation?" 
Did you catch the white supremacy in this question? If not, don't feel bad because it's subtly hidden beneath the cloaking field of colorblind racism. (As for Scalia's ign'nt-ass statements, I'm not even...)
Try rephrasing the question: "What unique perspective does a white student bring to a physics classroom?" The answer is, of course, absolutely nothing! Why? Because race isn't biological, and is therefore not deterministic of cognitive abilities. Did you perhaps forget that you knew that when considering Roberts' question? If so, again, it's understandable. Our society and culture condition all of us to forget basic facts …