Thursday, January 31, 2013

I can't believe I haven't updated this thing in a year. SO much has happened in a year. I'm all primed to get my Master's in the summer, and I had one of the best experiences of my life in Washington. It was absolutely incredible.

Right now I'm going a little stir crazy waiting for responses from graduate schools. I applied to a number of very good schools in order to obtain my PhD in Neurochemistry. I am trying to expand my chemistry knowledge and understanding of how drugs affect the nervous system.

I have had some changes in perspective over the last year, as well. My overzealous approach to atheism managed to hurt some dear friends of mine that happen to be religious. I overdid it and pushed them away. This sort of shocked me to re-examine how I approach religion, science and skepticism. This has been brewing for a little while, but the catalyst came in a conversation with one of these people, who very bluntly told me that they felt attacked. I told them that I want to make up for it if I can.

I will talk about this more in the future (addressing some articles written on Pharyngula and Neurologica) but I think that given the choice between a religious scientist and an atheist alt-meddler woo peddler, I'll go with the scientist every time.

I hope to post much more regularly. I seem to need a way to vent some of these thoughts.

Monday, January 16, 2012

MD =/= Naturopath

Beaten To The Punch.....

Just when I was about to write an article on this, PZ beats me to the punch.... again.

I swear, how do they all have TIME for this sort of thing?

Privatization of peer-reviewed research

Is it my imagination, or are Republicans trying to privatize EVERYTHING?

Shit Christians Say to Atheists

Yes, I Wrote That

I think that in order to be a religious scientist you must have a serious amount of cognitive dissonance going on. Science is about fact; it is about empirical exploration of our world. It depends upon logic, thinking critically, and the ability to weigh evidence.
Religion, on the other hand, is about faith (defined as belief without evidence). It is wholly dependent on the suspension of faculties relating to critical thinking. If one were to go out and look for evidence for a supernatural being, or for evidence that the bible is more than a collection of tribal legends written by bronze age goatherds, then you would come up with an awful lot of nothing.
You must therefore demand rigorous scientific testable evidence for one part of your life and accept faith as the only explanation for the other portion of your life. Dissonance it truly is, if one is to accept both."
Go look for more at Atheist Shit That Rocks. 

Raising A Glass

Friday, September 16, 2011

Surgery and The Doctors

While I was in the waiting room at San Francisco General Hospital for my surgical consult, I caught wind of a very terrible daytime television show called The Doctors.

This particular episode was about sex in America and the current state of how people approach sex. I had multiple problems with this episode, not least of which was the fact that the rather excrable Ann Coulter was on. I shall break it down for you point by point.

When arguing about the rise of teen pregnancies, not ONCE did anyone mention  the incredible damage that abstinence only education has done to this country's youth. Education on sex, how to prevent disease and pregnancy, and how to handle sexual situations is critical to decreasing these numbers, and yet all they could talk about was how people need to take better control of their kids and the teenagers need to take some responsibility for their actions. This is total bullshit, as the numbers bear out.

Ann Coulter started spewing random 'facts' about how 90% of people in jail were the product of single parent homes and how single parents are contributing to the breakdown of morals in this country. I was deeply proud of the doctor who pointed out that she was the product of a single parent household, and now she's an MD. If I'd been on that panel I would have said something like "This is hardly the fault of the person who sticks around and makes sure that the child is well taken care of. Those millions of couples who want to adopt don't exist. Ann, you have a long and sordid history of playing fast and loose with the facts, and I frankly cannot take any numbers you come up with out of your head seriously."

After Ann finally went away (thankfully) it became a show about slut-shaming. There was a pregnant 15 year old girl (was she really?) on who said that the condom broke. It's not nearly as common as people make it out to be. The whole point of the program from then on was "See? If you don't have sex you never have to deal with this."

It was all about scaring the crap out of kids in order to get them to never have sex. If they wanted to really help (I'm thinking about the gynecologist on the show who said some incredibly ignorant stuff) they would educate the kids: this is how birth control works, this is how condoms work, this is what the real risks are but lets talk in terms of statistics and how likely it is that you get diseases. Did they talk at all about the benefits of Gardisil and whether or not they should have it? Did they talk at all about Pap smears and pelvic exams and why they were a good idea? Nope. It was abstinence education all over again.

On a completely different note, I have a surgical date which thankfully does NOT involve me missing school. I am very very grateful for that.

I hope to finish my discussion of action potentials and hopefully look at the Dr. Oz show for juicy tidbits to debunk. Once I'm done with action potentials, I think I would like to talk a bit about imaging techniques and brain cancer/central nervous system tumors.

Yes, I'm back.