Wednesday, April 24, 2013

SPUC, the American Edition

There are many ways one could respond to receipt of SPUC's anti marriage equality flyer. Perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing was this chap who ran it through a lawnmower. Others preferred the more cerebral approach of blogging about its flaws. A rather popular doctor I follow on Twitter chose to mention it which goes some way to explaining why I, an Irish blogger, have taken an interest.

Prying into UK affairs is not something I typically do. That said, given SPUC's long, prolonged and uninterrupted history of interfering in Irish referendums I feel justified in offering the playground retort: they started it.

For those perhaps new to this blog a little background is in order. I work in IT, and in my spare time I do a little programming around Twitter. For this project I pulled a list of everyone who follows @spucprolife. Here's a word cloud of their Twitter biographies to get a vague impression of their typical followers. Click for larger:

Largest word is Catholic, then Christian, then Conservative, then pro life

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Of David Quinn, the Cautious Skeptic

David Quinn is a man not unused to criticism so it likely came as little shock to him that his recent use of surveys has raised eyebrows. That his argument clings so heavily to an eleven year old paper was not the cause of bemusement, nor was the paper's unerring focus on North America source of consternation. Rather it was the prominent phrase on first page forming disclaimer "no conclusions can be drawn from this research about the wellbeing of children raised by same-sex parents".

It is fair to say that Quinn did not give this caveat equal prominence when he used it to advance his case against same sex marriage. (I venture to suggest that marriage and child rearing are no longer as tightly coupled as Quinn may think, rather denting another premise of his argument, but I digress.) Fellow blogger Humanisticus discussed this in depth and then addressed Quinn's attempts to refute the charges. Undaunted, Quinn seems to have risen early of this Saturday morning to put pen to paper - metaphorically speaking - with a further effort to refute the charges. I encourage you to read it in full: one should not judge the merits of an essay based on its critics alone.

Were I to distil the piece to two lines I would choose the following:

"To draw reliable conclusions about the effects of family structure you need large, random samples of each of the family types being examined.
The available data does not allow us to say how well children raised by same-sex couples fare compared with the biological married family."

This feels like a softening of Quinn's position. We've seen him move from saying that married biological parents provide the best possible environment for children to an admirable embrace of skepticism and desire to see widespread surveys to better quantify data. He is now agnostic on the matter, shunning any potential judgement of the efficacy of same sex parenthood until the data arrives.

So why do I not applaud?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Youth Defence Blog Post Review: Discussing Disability

"I’d tell you I love[sic], but then I’d have to kill you" This mangled attempt to reproduce the title of one of the author's "favourite spy books" may have slithered past Youth Defence's editor. Or perhaps it was shown mercy - given the inexhaustible supply of errors that constitute the remainder of this blog post a mere discarding of the sixth word of the title (the word 'you') may have been allowed stay to better lower the expectations of its unfortunate readers.

I assume of course that Críostíona speaks of that well known classic, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I 'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter. I'm assured it's popular with both pre teens and young adults alike. Of course, perhaps I err. It rests not outside the realms of possibility that Youth Defence members have access to works that encourage lethal responses to admissions of eros, as suggested by the offered title. Still, the former seems the most charitable reading so I'll progress with the assumption that Críostíona intended to commence her piece with a reference to a teenager who lies to most people she meets in the protection of a secret mission. (For those unduly troubled by excess free time the plot summary is here.)

What mission does Críostíona execute in this blog post? We discover by examining the first sentence to follow a rather hamfisted link with aforementioned book title: