January 17, 2008

Al Mohler on women's education

He reads that in 2017, female graduates will outnumber male by a healthy margin. His response?
Christians committed to a biblical model of marriage and gender relations must look to this social revolution with a deeper level of concern. The most significant concern must be the long-term consequences of a new matriarchal world order. While Christians support the cause of higher education, the biblical worldview puts a higher priority upon the rightly ordered family and church. This dramatic social change will only serve to subvert that purpose.
H/t BDW

131 comments:

Bootleg Blogger said...

I guess the point is that only males can be educated and value family. In Mohler's world an educated female doesn't value family and will run amok with their economic freedom. The sad thing is that alot of people give this guy a hearing.
Later
BB

Streak said...

Yeah, or that it is ok as long as women remember their place. This masculine fear seems really odd to me.

Dallas Tim said...

I think the issue is that we have seen a dramatic breakdown of the familial unit as a result of parents shrugging off their responsibility to make the family a priority while chasing the fictional "American Dream." Mom's off trying to help pay for the boat and trip to Florida, dad's working 80 hours per week to cover the expense of two new cars and the kids have zero connection with them in the process. Mom hangs out at the country club (if she doesn't have to work) and dads at the golf course all weekend. It's not that women who want a degree are the problem, it's that we've forgotten that money isn't the solution. Kids want mommy and daddy time (even as they get older) and there's no substitute for that. All the commercials make people who haven't forgotten look like backwards hillbillies for not having all the latest gadets and technological crap. And we wonder why kids are on heroin and meth. If a woman works just so the family can afford more stuff, then don't be suprised when little Johnny decides to do his own thing later on.

Bootleg Blogger said...

"If a woman works just so the family can afford more stuff...."

I would say "or a man". Mohler's emphasis is that he sees the high percentage of college grads being women. This gives very little credit to having a college education regardless of whether you enter the working world outside the home or in it. In Mohler's world things work better if a woman NEEDS a breadwinner that she has to depend on. If she's capable of providing for herself economically, the guy can't dominate as effectively i.e. she has alternatives.

While it may be a separate topic, I agree with DT that the pursuit of more stuff has a lot to do with many of our modern maladies. Unfortunately many of have to rely more and more on multiple incomes just to provide the basics, not to mention the bells and whistles.
Later- BB

Streak said...

Yeah, I have to agree with the bootlegger on this one--Mohler is not addressing consumerism and self-centered American accumulation. He is saying that a male led household pursuing wealth is fine--but a female led one is not.

I don't disagree that consumerism is a problem in our society. But to be frank, I am not sure that has not been a problem for Americans going back to the 1950s--even during the supposed heyday of the American family.

Dallas Tim said...

I'm may not really be disagreeing with you (Streak, BB) but the way I see it, the Bible stresses the importance of the woman being at home to keep things running smoothly. It doesn't forbid her from making money, dealing with finances, taking care of family/community issues, getting a Phd., etc... The problem is that so many women have decided that they'll do just what the men do while the children (who benefit greatly from a mother's day-to-day involvement) suffer. Men are simply not as suited for tender, communicative, care as women are (most men are far more protective of their mom than their dad, not because they don't love dad - it's just that they know women are more... well... feminine). Women are more gentle, they are softer, and when kids need someone to cry to, or on, they typically prefer mom's shoulder. That's just human nature. It doesn't mean all men are cold and heartless, it just means that women serve as much greater emotional nurtures than men. So when mom is busy at the office and little Johnny is stuck at day care or with a sitter, it just isn't the same. Another problem is that this family-centered role that I've described is made fun of and touted as simple and backwards. My wife works, but she spent the first crucial years of our (3) kid's lives at home making sure that they weren't at the mercy of a day-care worker who really had nothing but financial interest in the kids.

You can decry Mohler's point of view, but the more that people (both women and men) decide that there's no difference in what a man or woman provides to young children and thus the family in general, then you'll see more aimless kids, trying to find someone to give them what mom and dad should have. Unfortunately, society provides some flashy alternatives - they just don't typically ever even come close to a kid looking back at the blessing of having parents who put the family first, even if it meant living in a smaller house and driving an older car.

Streak said...

DT, we have had this conversation before, but when you say so firmly that women are better communicators and softer and more nurturing, you are asserting something that I am not sure we accept. We can accept that your wife is more nurturing, for example, or that your mother was than your father, but I, for one, am not nearly convinced that that is determined by gender and biology. For one thing, in just such anecdotal terms, I have known and know several women who are not nearly as nurturing as some of the men in their lives.

Public policy (which is kind of what Mohler is talking about) predicated on the assumption that women are more nurturing is irrational. Why not let the couples determine those roles in some kind of open negotiation?

leighton said...

It's not so much what parents can give their children as what family--or, more generally, reliable, consistent adults--can give them.

My parents had neighbors for a while where both the father and the mother worked two or three minimum-wage jobs between 50 and 70 hours a week in order to pay for rent, clothes, food and health care, but their kids were happy and well-adjusted because they had an aunt and a pair of grandparents providing them with care, education and guidance.

Rampant acquisitiveness is a problem in some middle-class families, but I think economic realities are a bigger concern for poor and lower middle-class families w/re raising and spending time with kids.

leighton said...

Men are simply not as suited for tender, communicative, care as women are (most men are far more protective of their mom than their dad, not because they don't love dad - it's just that they know women are more... well... feminine). Women are more gentle, they are softer, and when kids need someone to cry to, or on, they typically prefer mom's shoulder. That's just human nature.

Tim,

I'm pretty sure this is a regional phenomenon, rather than a universal human truth. This is false as often as true everywhere I've lived (Oregon, California and Colorado).

Dallas Tim said...

It really doesn't matter if you accept it or not - it's true in almost every culture. Even in most animal species, the female cares for the young (Again, not always, but usually). You can attribute that to natural selction or God, but either way it's the way things are. Sure some women may be cold and ruthless. Some Gang members may cry when they watch a chick flick. Please don't take everything I say as "Every guy is... and every woman is..." There are always softer guys and rougher women. My point is that when you look at Spanish culture, Russian culture, Chinese culture, whatever, the societal structure has, for the most part, been established with the woman setting the pace at home. With the kids especially. The man leaves to earn money, the woman cooks, cleans, washes, teaches, and whatever else needs to be done to run the house. Which is easier? Probably his job. Which is more important? Probably hers (that's why the athletes usually say "high MOM" to the camera (Not just here in the USA either, if you've ever watched any international sproting events - it's a worldwide phenomenon)

Leighton,

You know what you're talking about most of the time, but I'll have to disagree here. Having a grandma, or aunt, or sister who can take care of you is great, but if we as society just accept whoever instead of holding parents chiefly accountable, then we will continue to deteriorate as a society. Let's go back to natural selection. How many animal are raised by their grandma? Aunt? Sibling? Parents are best suited to do the job. If my wife and I are killed we have willed another couple to raise our kids. Hopefully they'll do fine, but It's not their job now - it's ours. Family and community do much to help reinforce what mom and dad do first, but if everyone were like your neighbour (and many are) then we'd have even more dysfunction than we already do (and we have lots, thanks to mom and dads not doing their jobs). And the idea of women doing the nuturing is about as regional a phenomenon as breast-feeding. Almost every culture, even the most primitive, see the men hunt and gather while the women stay home and tend the family.

Again, tending the family has been relegated to being illiterate, simple or lazy. Many have bought into that vein of thinking and it has resulted in a generation of disillutioned young people who only perpetuate the problem.

I'm not arguing for Mohler or against you - I'm just tired of everyone one acting like there's not much difference in a man vs. a woman. The Bible says woman are the "weaker" vessel. You can disagree all you want, but bring me an average woman and we'll arm wrestle. You know who'll win because you know it's the truth. Weaker doesn't mean "dumber" or "unimportant." But like anything of value, you protect and care for it more because it's worth so much. Society tells us that it's degrading to treat women like that. Actually the very opposite is true. A real woman likes to have the door opened for her. A real woman appreciates a man pulling her chair out when she sits. A real man says "I'll check it out" when there's a strange noise outside at 3am.

Check out the Bible. What did the Hebrew culture look like several thousand years ago. Who offered to care for Moses when he was found by the Egyptian queen? His dad? No, his sister, who then took him to mom. What did women do in early American culture? What about the American Indian culture? The early Europeans? The early Japanese, Chinese, Phillipino? Even the tribes in Indonesia. They all are based around the same model. Women working in and around the home.

It's like we've suddenly discovered a new and better way - but we're turning a blind eye to what it's doing to our kids. Sad.

The next time you go on a date - tell her that she's got an education and should have a job so she should pay for her own food just like you do. Just don't plan on getting married anytime soon, or ever!

leighton said...

Tim,

My parents' neighbors had the choice between feeding their kids and spending as much time with them as you, personally, from thousands of miles away, would like them to. For them, it was either-or. If you had to make the choice, and couldn't have both, would you rather your kids be fed, or happy?

I'm glad you don't have to make the choice. It doesn't mean there aren't families who do.

Streak said...

Dt, some of your examples are frankly silly. Athletes saying "hi mom"--are you kidding me? that is proof that the Bible is literally correct about this? As is your example of arm wrestling? Yes, I am sure that is what the Bible meant in its sexist manner about women being the "weaker vessel." Weaker upper body strength is the issue that defines weakness? How about tolerance to physical pain? Or endurance?

A real woman likes to have the door opened for her. A real woman appreciates a man pulling her chair out when she sits. A real man says "I'll check it out" when there's a strange noise outside at 3am.

Or perhaps real people like to have the door opened for them. I am sure all of your evidence has absolutely nothing to do with socialization. I am sure that women have not been taught for generations that they are the weaker vessel has anything to do with this, or that "chivalry" has been used to reinforce that women belong out of the leadership role.

DT make your choices all you want. I know many women who, in fact, are very comfortable in that setting and are quite good at it. But I also know women who are terrible at the nurturing, and forcing them to be the primary nurturer has had an impact on those around them.

Frankly, these stereotypes are simplistic and superficial. I will concede that I can do (for the most part) more pushups than the women around me. If that is what is meant by superior strength, and if that is the evidence for them not leading a family--then I give up.

Streak said...

Oh, and one more thing. DT, you said:

Again, tending the family has been relegated to being illiterate, simple or lazy. Many have bought into that vein of thinking and it has resulted in a generation of disillutioned young people who only perpetuate the problem.

Where does this come from? I have never heard tending to the family referred to that way. This seems like some kind of straw man argument. I hang out with and read a lot of feminists (hell, I consider myself one) and I have never heard one disparage the role of tending to family. They all respect the very hard work that it takes to raise a family.

Dallas Tim said...

Leighton,

Yes I'd want my kids fed, but the problem is that too many families have two working parents, not out of real neccesity, but just so they can have the new car/boat/house. It's one thing to say "Hey kids, mom and dad are both going to work so we can feed you" it's another to say "Hey kids, you know that ski trip we take every spring break, and the new Escalade you like riding in so much, well it ain't gettin' paid for with just dad's income."

Streak,

The "Hi mom" example was only to prove that most men see their mothers as the more benefiting from that type of tender recognition. As for tolerance to pain, men do better and the typical male is also more suited for physical endurance than the average woman. Mental acumen is a different story altogether. Yes I stated at the outset that not all women make better nurturer's but TYPICALLY in almost every culture they do the most when it comes to that role in the family (thank goodness). The reason is simply because they are more suited for the job.

The people who say that tending the family is a worthy task seem to be fading fast.

ubub said...

I wonder how many of those men who claim to have higher pain tolerances than women have ever given birth.

Streak said...

DT, I have to agree with Ubub on this one as well. I don't think men are better suited to tolerate pain as well.

And I would still like actual evidence where people denigrate raising a family. Even the feminists that conservatives like to disparage raise or are part of families.

ninjanun said...

Again, so sorry to be coming late to the party to see a bunch of men discussing what it's like to be a woman.

First off, Al Mohler is taking the female graduates statistic and extrapolating (as I think D-Tim is) that that means women are going to be in the work force and having children. Neither seems to consider that maybe women just want to have a career of their own, regardless of what their future marriage/child-rearing choices may be (Just like a man!).

If we just take what Al is saying at face-value, he's saying women shouldn't bother pursuing higher education; that's a man's job. So a single woman with a good career is unacceptable, because that's not part of the "rightly ordered family and church." Again, never mind that it's okay for a man to be single and pursue a career. Women should just pursue their "rightful place" as mother and caregiver.

And D-Tim gives a lot of anecdotal evidence and unsupported generalizations to try to make his claim that women belong at home, raising the family. Well, I can give anecdotal evidence too: my dad was better at raising me and my brother, and my mom had a higher income and a more steady, successful career than he did. My parents both raised us together. One could hardly say my mom was the "nurturer" and my dad was the "disciplinarian." Often, it was the other way around. My mom didn't work so we could afford exotic locations every year or a new car to cruise around in. She worked because it allowed all of us to live above the poverty line of hand-to-mouth. Because she worked, my brother and I could participate in extra-curricular activities like band, choir, piano lessons, and sports (all things cut out of our public education system). She worked because it enriched her life and it enriched ours. Yes, she was a mother, but she was so much more than a mother. Her example showed us that women are to be valued beyond their ability to produce and raise children.

Not every woman is a "natural" nurturer; and women who aren't should not be made to feel guilty or marginalized because they don't fit the supposed "biblical model" of what a woman should be. Deborah was a judge. Anna was a prophet. Priscilla taught Apollo and Paul. Junia was a female apostle. None of these are lauded for being mothers, but for being leaders. While women may (and that's very doubtful, given the history of women and the limited gender roles that have been given to them) be more nurturing than men, there are many women who are the exception to that generalization. At what point does the exception stop being the hard-fought exception, so that women are free to decide for themselves and be self-determinate about her future (like a man)?

Dallas Tim said...

It's amazing how one can say four or five different times that not EVERY woman is the best nurturer or that EVERY man doesn't quite do the job as well as a woman. I'm sure everyone of us could use examples from our own lives where the opposite is true. Again, that's not my argument and I've made that clear from the onset.


Ninja gives the perfect example of what I cited earlier where sometimes the woman works to make sure everyone eats or has clothes. My mom did that too.

The problem as many see it is that, in fact, many more women ARE choosing to get a degree, then a job, then get married and work with the kid at day care. many DO decide to have that sort of lifestyle long before the kids come along. And which of us knew who we were going to marry way before we tied the knot. Many women get the degree with no intention of marriage or kids and then meet Mr. "right" then get married and still cling to the career path while the unplanned family begins without the type of maternal (or paternal) involvement that fosters (percentage-wise) a much more stable environment.

It's just so funny to me to hear people tout natural selection and not realize that our species has been incredibly dependent on women having and nurturing their young (like virtually every other species). Yet our materialistic society tells us to buy the newest whatever, and that academic pursuits are the most noble path. Vacations, technology, travel, appliances, etc... are the deserved trophies for our hard work. So we go to school, get degrees, get good jobs, and then wonder why our middle-class kids are addicted to heroin or meth.

The familial structure is crucial to the stability of our society (and planet for that matter) and it is the western-influenced creed that head knowledge and wealth are the answer that is, in many aspects, slowly eroding away at that structure. Maybe not directly but very indirectly.

And as for the pain, it's not just upper body strength, It's lower body, upper body and everywhere in between. Men are simple better suited (again, thank natural selection or God) for strenuous physical activity than women.

Ever see a WNBA slam-dunk contest?

Streak said...

And as for the pain, it's not just upper body strength, It's lower body, upper body and everywhere in between. Men are simple better suited (again, thank natural selection or God) for strenuous physical activity than women.

Ok. That strikes me just as irrelevant as the WNBA comment. Perhaps I misunderstand, but I really don't see how my upper body strength makes me more capable at anything than my wife--except, perhaps doing pushups. That has nothing to do with her professional ability or my nurturing.

And I am still waiting that evidence that our society thinks only idiots raise children.

Leighton said...

It's just so funny to me to hear people tout natural selection and not realize that our species has been incredibly dependent on women having and nurturing their young (like virtually every other species).

Tim,

Can you give an example--a specific, concrete example with quotes, not another collection of vague, uncommunicative generalizations--of what you mean here? I'm honestly at a loss as to what you're trying to say.

Dallas Tim said...

Back when it took a plow, a hoe, a mule, an ax, a bow and arrow, a sword, a boat, a team of horses, a saw, logs, making your own ammunition, etc... to survive, (which is the better part of human history), men could get more done in the way of building, cutting, hauling, killing, catching, carrying, etc.... Now days most men and women go to the store. We shop online, we phone it in and they deliver. If you honestly think men didn't have a physical advantage when it came to building and providing back in the day, then you are out of touch with history. Women were just as important in and around the home but not when it came to hunting and building because back then it was much more physically demanding. Now that we live in a "get-it-now" society you're acting as if it's always been the same.

Leighton,

You're actually asking me to show proof that women have typically been the ones to care for the home and children? Just read the history of any culture. Have you ever seen a National Geographic special on African tribes? You know, were the men are out hunting and the women are home breast-feeding the kids or preparing meals for the family. Pick any continent/culture and you have virtually the same pattern. Certainly you often have entire families living together and helping out, but show me a group where mom and grandma go out hunting while the men sit around and feed the babies while cooking dinner. You can't. If women were better, then they'd be chasing and killing. If men could (as a whole) breast-feed, then they would. Unfortunately, natural selection has deemed otherwise and only in recent years has Western civilization started trying to blur the lines and the roles as if they are interchangeable in any scenario.

You guys don't have kids. Let's hear a married guy with kids out there who'll say "Yeah, I'm the more emotionally nurturing between my wife and I" (and then let's hear his wife agree). When a parent abandons their role, who typically gets left with the kid(s)? What's the ration between single mom vs. single dad's? We all know that usually the guy leaves the kid with mom. When there's a divorce who gets the kids? Mom (Dad's get weekends or some other visitation, but not as much as mom). Did you know that over 65% of all child abuse happens at the hands of a step-father. Women simply are more cut out for nurture and development and you can thank natural selection for this reality. Again, many dads are loving kind and compassionate, but when little johhny skins his knee he will, typically go to mom's shoulder to cry on.

Streak said...

Ninjanun! Were have you been? I assumed that "you womens were bad with the komputors." :) Thanks for jumping in here and please, do more of that!

DT, I always love it when non-historians tell me that I don't know anything about history. Perhaps I missed the day when we used generalizations in lieu of actual evidence.

Sorry for the snark, but I actually teach American history and spend a great deal of time talking about changes within the American family. It is my observation, both historically and simply by talking to students and individuals, that most have a very skewed idea of the history of families. I am well aware of human history and the physical challenges. But reading backward from your gendered stereotypes is not actually history.

We all know that usually the guy leaves the kid with mom. When there's a divorce who gets the kids? Mom (Dad's get weekends or some other visitation, but not as much as mom). Did you know that over 65% of all child abuse happens at the hands of a step-father.

And this is more of your evidence that women are more nurturing? I remain unconvinced.

Bootleg Blogger said...

I'm thinking we were originally discussing Mohler's statements about the higher percentage of female graduates vs male projected for 2017. If I may, I'd like to reiterate the point that Mohler seems to believe this is a reason for concern. His association of being educated as being somehow antifamily is ridiculous. His biblical family ideal (if you look closely, the most revered families in the bible were pretty fucked up) evidently can't handle educated women (educated men are just fine) and limits the value of education to bread-winning. This is more about power and less about the bible i.e. needing women to be economically dependent on men. I don't want Mohler anywhere near MY daughter with his archaic attitudes. Thank god my sister has a good career and isn't now wondering how she'll manage to make a living now that her husband is gone (deceased). Mohler's a white, probably upper middle class (now that he's been pres of the seminary for a while) male. What easier position from which to spout this crap could there be.

Ninjanun- "Here, here". Wholeheartedly agree.

DT- I can't really follow what you're arguing for/against. I think your hat-tip to history is good, but in my opinion history supports a woman getting a good education and making sure she can take care of herself independent of a man. Some of the roughest circumstances historically have been those of single women, mothers or without children. Education, while not a guarantee, still increases long term earning potential which can mean better health and quality of life for all concerned. I have no idea what physical strength has to do with whether or not a woman should get an education- you lost me there.

As far as what is breaking down the family unit-- I don't believe you can point to a single causative factor. Poor marital relationships have always been around, maybe even the norm if you take the biblical patriarchs as examples. I agree that economic pressures often help split couples up- but there's plenty of people for whom these pressures aren't consumer oriented. Plenty are are just trying to survive.

Later- BB

leighton said...

You're actually asking me to show proof that women have typically been the ones to care for the home and children?

I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. I was asking you for an example of (in your words) "people tout[ing] natural selection and not realiz[ing] that our species has been incredibly dependent on women having and nurturing their young (like virtually every other species)." I wasn't sure if you were thinking of something or someone specific, or just making another generalization.

Natural selection is a red herring here, as is your incorrect assumption about the social habits of other species. If you actually care about gender in biology (I'm not convinced you do, so my apologies if this is superfluous), check out Olivia Judson for a virtual encyclopedia of examples of how mating habits in reasonably well-known species aren't anything remotely like what non-biologists are familiar with. Biology has nothing to say to us about what we ought to do, any more than gravity tells us we should throw each other off bridges.

But this is all off topic, so my apologies to Streak and company.

Streak said...

Leighton, are you kidding?

Biology has nothing to say to us about what we ought to do, any more than gravity tells us we should throw each other off bridges.

That might be the best line on this blog. Ever.

Bootleg Blogger said...

Leighton- "but this is all off topic..." I disagree. I think you're right on- excellent points.
BB

ninjanun said...

D-Tim--I still don't understand the point you're making with your generalization. Are you saying that because women in general are better than men at nurturing, and men in general are physically stronger, that women in this day and age, regardless of their specific talents, skill, intelligence, and temperament, and regardless of the technological advances our society has made for procuring food and getting chores done, should be raising kids while all men should be out hunting and gathering?

And if you're going to be using the biology example by saying it's the mother and only the mother who raises the offspring, well pfffft. Humans have more complex social systems than that, and it seems having as many mature adults as possible help raise the kids would be a more advanced solution.

Generalizations, in my experience, have always been used to keep people down, not lift them up.

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

I know you are a history specialist. That's why I made the comment. We obviously aren't all on the same page here so I leave it with this. Nevermind the overwhelming cultural, and historical evidence that women have always (typically) taken and done best with the nurturing role. Stone cold historical facts are not "random generalizations" and the hard evidence of World history is all your up agianst but aside from that, you're obviously right.

Leighton,

Of course biology doesn't say what we SHOULD do, but natural selection is rooted in making sure that strong character traits keep the species up and running. That's why most other mammals are birthed and intially given primary care by mom. It works best because females are typically best suited for the job. You don't have kids so you can say there's no difference, but wait 'till you get married and then have a wife who carries around Leighton Jr. for nine months and then tell me you have a better nurturing instinct than she does. I call "bullshit" right now on that one. I'd hate to hear her response to the comment (if you made it) and any honest guy who's seen his wife carry/birth a child and then still has the balls to say he's more emotionally suited to nurture is simply full of numero dos.

Women getting their Phd's so that they can earn a living is fine, but the more families we have where both parents are equally interested in the career, then then more dysfunction we will see in kids who need the early nurturing that (typically) mom provides best.

It's not my case to prove - you are up against almost every other cultural system in the world. Again, if you doubt the nurturing advantage of women, show me the societal structure where the overall pattern is for men to stay home and tend the kids while mom goes out to bring home the bread/bacon/cereal.

leighton said...

Tim,

If the best you can do is "You're not married, so shut up," I think we're done here.

Tony said...

Like the ninjanun, I'm coming late to the party but found a comment by Dallas Tim distressing and must offer some personal evidence and call "bull****" on him.

DT said, You don't have kids so you can say there's no difference, but wait 'till you get married and then have a wife who carries around Leighton Jr. for nine months and then tell me you have a better nurturing instinct than she does. I call "bullshit" right now on that one.

I have five kids. My wife has often commented that I am just as caring, compassionate, nurturing, gentle, and kind to our kids (and others' kids) as she is. The only difference is she has the physiological capability to nurse them.

Plus, DT owes Leighton an apology.

Streak said...

Nevermind the overwhelming cultural, and historical evidence that women have always (typically) taken and done best with the nurturing role. Stone cold historical facts are not "random generalizations" and the hard evidence of World history is all your up agianst but aside from that, you're obviously right.

wow, so gracious. Yes, you are correct, for the bulk of human history, women have, in general been given the role of nurturer. That doesn't, in anyway, prove that they are biologically determined to be better at it. In fact, just as Leighton says about biology, history is not always the best teacher of what should be. For the last 1000 years or so, during most of that time, people of color have been second class citizens. Women lacked basic human rights.

If it worked for so long, why change now? Isn't that your argument? and if it was the norm before, that makes it right?

Dallas Tim said...

Leighton,

Sorry if I offended you. I was being honest and direct but was not trying to insult. There are just so many indications (both historically and medically) that point to a female's heightned ability to nurture that I really can't believe we're having this debate. I'll just stop there.

Tony,

Your wife sounds nice. Have you ever looked at her and bragged "I'm just as good at that as you?" You probably know better and are able to appreciate the differnces between husband and wife. I see you homeschool. I'm assuming you do most of that while your wife works? Who spends more time with the kids during the day? Again, you may be very gentle and caring. But your wife has a special bond/attatchment that 9 months of pregnancy couldn't have afforded you - it just doesn't happen. It's the way natural selection worked it out.



Streak,

Are women complaining about not wanting to nurture? Saying they're not smart enough to vote was problematic because it implied they weren't. Women typically gravitate to their own children's needs more than men. Go to an L&D area of a hospital and watch medical professionals handle a newborn. Moms basically call all the shots. If they don't want dad there, he can be legally removed, even against his will. The professionals know that mom typically will instinctively know what to do with this little bundle of life more so than a man and it continues on through early childhood development. If you want to ignore history's overwhelming evidence, then at least pay attention to medical professionals who study and are the most in tune with what's best for a child (typically). Mom has the upper hand from the start.

leighton said...

Tim,

The central problem, as I apparently haven't made clear, is that I am not sure what debate we are having. I cannot for the life of me figure out what your purpose in this thread is. Every time we focus on one specific subject, off we go like farmers after a greased pig onto another tangent.

We leap from "the Bible stresses the importance of the woman being at home to keep things running smoothly" and "[S]ocietal structure has, for the most part, been established with the woman setting the pace at home" (yet somehow you're "not arguing for Mohler or against [us]," when both of you are implying that these things are what we should be doing, not just what has happened in the past)...

...to you being "tired of everyone one acting like there's not much difference in a man vs. a woman," and those people who "relegate [tending the family] to being illiterate, simple or lazy," despite the fact that nobody on this blog (or anyone that I have personally encountered) has said anything of the sort, not to mention that "The people who say that tending the family is a worthy task seem to be fading fast" is something entirely foreign to our experience...

...to "Men are simply better suited [...] for strenuous physical activity than women" and women are inherently better nurturers, therefore "The problem as many [not you, of course, because you want to sell this bit of misogyny without being accountable for it] see it is that, in fact, many more women ARE choosing to get a degree, then a job, then get married and work with the kid at day care," wherein you argue by proxy that because women are inherently better nurturers, it is their responsibility to give up their careers rather than their husbands--oh, but maybe not always, but usually, or generally...

...to your initial red herring about natural selection, which was flat out wrong, and your continued erroneous conflation of NS with things like character traits (my biology profs would have an aneurysm if they read this)...

...and now here we are at an apparent stable point, where you have identified your thesis for the day that women, in general, have an easier time taking up a nurturing role, and feminist men want to deny women the ability to do this so they can strut around like peacocks getting warm fuzzies for being so nurturing themselves.

I'll respond to this; lord knows where this thread will wind up by the end of the day.

Two points. First, our emphasis isn't that "Men are just as good as women at X." It's usually true with enough hard work, but our point is that men ought to be accountable to their wives and families for putting in the time and effort to be caring, loving and nurturing, so that wives and daughters have a fair chance to pursue the things that interest them just as much as husbands and sons do.

The part about hard work is the second point, and I believe the more important one. My counterthesis to yours is It doesn't make a damn bit of difference whether or not one gender is more biologically suited to nurture. Nurturing, caring and loving are like every other worthwhile activity--communication, difficult job skills, painting, math, what have you--in that over time, the thing that matters most is the hard work you put in. Inherent capacity means you start further ahead; that's it. Over the course of years, it's your continued dedicated pursuit that matters most. You don't tell an artist "Wow, you were born with a lot of talent;" you say, "Wow, you really put in a lot of work to do that."

Communication, for instance, is damned hard. You can be skillful at turning a phrase and still manage to piss off and alienate the very people you're trying to persuade because you don't take the time or the effort to walk in their shoes and figure out what they're really saying, what they're really concerned about. Caring for kids is no different. Everyone has to put in the effort (not just parents), and I believe that when both parents--and, ideally, neighbors and members of the extended family as well--are trying their damndest to love their kids, a great many of them come up with some arrangement other than "Okay, honey, you quit your job and stay home with the kids bye now." And that's just fine, and there's no need to blow trumpets about the downfall of civilization over it.

Every proponent of the "Women are better at nurturing--I'm just sayin'" that I've seen, and I don't believe you're an exception, has really been saying that women ought to be the ones staying home most of the time with the kids, independently of her other gifts, talents, abilities and wishes. (In my experience it's usually also an excuse fathers use not to take an interest in their children's lives because they take time away from football, but I don't believe this is true with you.) If this is what you're saying, then we disagree. If this isn't what you're saying, then I need to work harder at understanding what you mean.

Streak said...

Leighton, I think you once again nail the problems with this discussion. I too noticed a sliding argument, but couldn't pin it down (even after BB noted a similar trend).

DT, my biggest problem with your approach here is that you seem to assert that what you see around you is determined by biology. You see women in charge of infants and good at it--so you assume that is the way it SHOULD be. Our legal system, somehow, is predicated on some biological superior nurturing trait in women? Perhaps it does assume that, but does that mean it is true? That same legal system often fails to recognize that many fathers would be better suited to raise their kids than the mothers. That same legal system, it should be noted, tend to treat minorities as more likely to be criminal than whites--I don't think any of us want to argue some kind of biological determined criminal element. Do we?

Second, as you note here: If you want to ignore history's overwhelming evidence, then at least pay attention to medical professionals who study

I am not ignoring history's evidence. I am not convinced you know what that evidence is or that it says what you say it does. Arrogantly then telling me to "stop ignoring history" accomplishes little.

ninjanun said...

D-Tim,

So freakin' what? So women may be better nurturers, although you can give us no qualitative or quantitative evidence other than "look at history." This proves nothing about their ability to excel in other areas.

And it still doesn't address why Al Mohler, and you, apparently, think that women getting an education is somehow a threat to family. The best you can come up with is that women will work outside the home so the family can live a luxurious lifestyle. That's utter bullshit.

You also twisted my words to make them say almost the exact opposite of what I intended. My mom didn't work lest we starve; we wouldn't have starved on just my dad's income. She worked so our lives could be enriched by extracurricular activities, and yes, we got to go on family vacations almost every year, to boot. We toured most of America in a motorhome (oh! and we owned a fishing/skiing boat, too), and this enriched our childhood as well. Lap of luxury, I tell ya. You also conveniently ignored the part where I said my DAD was the better nurturer, and my mom was the better disciplinarian. From how much evidence and counter-examples have been presented here by myself and others, and how blatantly or disingenuously you've tried to counter this, I'd say you suffer from a severe case of confirmation bias.

My point is, if the best you can do is to say women continue to have careers so that the family lifestyle is better, that's not a good enough reason. Here I am, a woman, telling you what my experience with my working mom was like for me, her child, and that's not good enough for you. You insist on presenting false generalities about the majority of working mothers, saying that they work so they can have a big house and five cars.

Yet you simultaneously insist that women are the better nurturers--except, of course, the ones you think are working for a Lexus and a McMansion, who let their kids smoke crack and pole dance (do you actually know of this happening on a regular basis, or are you just pulling the example out of your ass to "prove" your point?).

So which is it? Are women natural nurturers who would do anything for their kids, or are they bad, selfish mothers whose greed blinds them to their children's health and safety? And who are you to judge who is a good mother and a bad mother, seeing as how you don't actually know the situation of each and every family dynamic in America?

Let me reiterate--generalities do not typically lift people up, but rather are designed to keep them down. It is not for you to decide who gets to be the primary caregiver in the home, and you're doing a pretty poor job of connecting your argument about women being better nurturers to the statistic about women graduates listed above.

If you really think women should be the only one who can nurture and care for a child, and you believe it is one of the noblest jobs out there, I hope you are working on legislation to ensure all mothers are getting paid a living wage for their child-rearing duties so they never have to work outside the home.

Dallas Tim said...

Here's my take:

Women are better equipped at nurturing. Nurturing is important. Therefore we need women to remember that they need to make this avaliable to their children and families. Careers and Phd's are fine, but mom's impact is crucial and if she's gone as much as dad, then don't be surprised by the effects.

Ninja,

I sorry you are so easily upset. It's funny how I'm told how rude I am but then people like you come here and just go off on me for my views and are given a free pass to insult just because you're agreeing with the rest.

Your family is the exception if dad was a better nurturer. Just go to your local L&D unit (that's "labor and delivery" if you don't have kids) and tell them dad's should be the primary caregiver and watch them laugh you out of the hospital. I'm sure you'll go off on me again, but it might be theraputic for you to vent a little now and agian.

Tony said...

Dallas Tim,

Thanks for complimenting my wife; I appreciate that. However, your other questions pointed toward me really have nothing to do with the "debate" at hand.

You assume incorrectly. Just so you know, my wife stays at home with our children. I pastor.

But your wife has a special bond/attatchment that 9 months of pregnancy couldn't have afforded you - it just doesn't happen. It's the way natural selection worked it out.

Your assumptions really are naive as well as your understanding of natural selection. I think you let your own personal experience--or perhaps a personal bias--color your views here and that men for some odd reason unbeknown to me, cannot be gentle and nurturing. No, I cannot nurse my children, I cannot bear a child in pregnancy, but I do love my children very much and do a darn fine job caring for them. My wife thinks so to, and she often tells me she does a better job at it than I do. :)

Well, nevertheless, we have had this conversation so many times here at this blog in the past year I know I'm grabbing at wind with any comment I make in this regard. Ninjanun has already summed up what needs to be said here. Later.

leighton said...

Tim,

I'm sorry you're so easily upset by groups of people disagreeing with you. It's funny how you can call someone like Ninja rude when she has demonstrated a more than ample understanding of your position, and you haven't returned the favor.

Usually when you're a guest on someone else's blog and most people disagree (or seemingly disagree) with something you're trying to say, it's expedient to be diplomatic and seek to be understood rather than to push buttons. Do what you want, but don't be surprised if you come in with guns blazing and get shot up a bit.

Regarding your thesis:

Women are better equipped at nurturing. Nurturing is important. Therefore we need women to remember that they need to make this avaliable to their children and families. Careers and Phd's are fine, but mom's impact is crucial and if she's gone as much as dad, then don't be surprised by the effects.

I believe Sentence 1 is irrelevant, for reasons I explained in my last post. By working hard enough, fathers can make up the gap enough that a mother can have an actual life like normal people lead; her personhood doesn't end after she gives birth. My overall disagreement is grounded in my agreement with Sentence 2.

Your drive to blame women for society's problems because not enough of them sacrifice time from their other pursuits, when their husbands and the fathers of their children aren't held to the same expectations, is misogynist, by definition.

Dallas Tim said...

Tony,

You claim that my view is that...

"men for some odd reason unbeknown to me, cannot be gentle and nurturing."

Thanks for ignoring almost every comment I made where I specifically said that a woman's ability doesn't preclude men from also being gentle and tender in many regards.

It's funny how the one guy here who's married and has kids is also smart enough to have his wife home providing what's most important to his family. I don't know if you realize how much that only goes to prove my point even more.


Leighton,

It's hard to be upset when your smiling (and I am). Truth is the best defense.

If we're talking about the absence of dad's in so many situations, then we can talk about that as well. There are lots of things that contribute to familial problems. Mom's absence, dad's absence, sibling abuse, health issues. We were discussing the maternal aspect here so sorry if we changed the subject.

Dad's shouldn't have to "make up a gap." That's like driving slower on bad tires. Get new ones. In rare occasions, dad can step up, but to expect that as a routine event will only lead to more problems. Women provide the best natural source for emotional nurture and development. Men can do it as well (some more than others) but it comes easiest and most naturally to mothers. It's instinctive for them much more so than men. If you really can't accept that then I really don't have any other way to say it.

Maybe Tony can explain why he works and his wife stays home (especially) if he's just as suited to nurture.

I hear all this talk, but then the reality is that they're practicing exactly what I'm arguing for.

Funny how we like to SAY one thing, then actually DO another.

Streak said...

It sure is a puzzle why DT annoys people:

It's funny how the one guy here who's married and has kids is also smart enough to have his wife home providing what's most important to his family.

A shorter version might be that he thought Tony was smarter than the rest of us, but he was wrong.

But then:

Women provide the best natural source for emotional nurture and development.

Why? Because Dallas Tim asserts it as rock-solid fact. Anyone who disagrees with him is stupid or ignoring history.

Yes, it is a mystery why people lose their cool...

Tony said...

DT,

I apologize if I misunderstood any comments you have made. The point of this discussion (I think) has nothing to do with what one family or certain families DO to provide for their families but rather your hypergeneralized comments about women being more nurturing than men and that biology determines that.

I work and my wife stays home because that works best for us; it is a personal decision and really lends no credence to any point you have purported here on this thread. It is a lot more complicated than "my wife--female--stays home--looks after kids and home; me--male--go to work--bring home bacon." Again, from personal evidence, I know pastors (guys, btw) who stay home and take care of their kids while their wives work during the day and they do their pastoring on second shift.

Ahhh, but like I said...grabbing at wind.

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

They're not just ingoring history, but the current medical community as well. It must be fun to have to dodge those small facets while arguing your position. Was 9/11 a conspiracy too?

Don't lose your cool, I'm still smiling.


Tony,

What I'm betting is that you know families where the man hasn't found a job that would allow him to work full time while the wife stays home. They'd probably prefer that and as soon as they get a chance they'll do it but in the meantime they're making the best of a less-than-ideal situation. They pastor on second-shift not out of want but out of current necessity.

Yeah, you're choice has nothing to do with the validity of my claim... and welfare encourages people to get a job. Nice!

Listen guys - we've turned this into a tit-for-tat session. I firmly believe in the natural and ever-important involvement of moms in the early development of their children. Dad have responsibilities as well and when they fall short, other bad things happen. I feel I am making this decision on historical evidence as well as medical and psycological data. Men have their own important duties and sometimes the roles are shared more than others. Let's just all be right and quit arguing. I'm sorry if I insulted anyone - Streak, your own blog description even says you "poke fun" at .... If you can dish it out, please learn to take a little more. I don't mind people shooting straight with me, but just calm down when you listen as well. If we can't be friends then who really cares?

I promise to start all future comments with "I'm probably wrong on this one BUT..."

Everyone go call your mom and tell her how much you love her... and tell her to tell your dad the same thing when he gets home from work.

:)

Streak said...

Sorry DT. I forget that you have such a great knowledge of the scientific, historical and cultural world. Who are we to challenge you? And when you take such nice little digs at us (calling us stupid, uninformed--even in our profession--) and then say that all the men in Tony's example really prefer to work (must do pushups and prove I am stronger than chick). You don't know any of that. You assume it, because you don't want to stay home with your kids and your wife does. Great. Good for you. Glad it has worked out for you. Stop disparaging those men and women who make different choices than you.

Tony said...

Grabbing at wind, grabbing at wind.

Dallas Tim,

Why not go peddle your wares elsewhere?

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

I'm probably wrong on this one but I never called anyone "Stupid." I simply cited what the current legal and medical community recognizes. Do you know more than they do?

Tony,

I'm probably wrong on this one but what does the Bible say about all of this?

Streak said...

Streak,

I'm probably wrong on this one but I never called anyone "Stupid." I simply cited what the current legal and medical community recognizes. Do you know more than they do?


Ok. Since you are citing the current medical community's standards, let's see the cite.

Streak said...

Tim, to clarify, I don't object to you believing that women are more nurturing. I object to you assuming that your view of the world IS THE view. You have your opinion and that is valid. Why do you have to assert that it is the natural order of things?

ninjanun said...

And again, what does that have to do with women getting degrees, anyway? There are women who are good moms, and women who are bad moms, and it rarely has anything to do with whether or not they work outside the home.

While I don't see where I insulted you, I'm sorry that I did. Was it where I accused you that you pulled an outrageous example out of your ass, or where I accused you of being biased? Or something else? Please let me know so I may tread more carefully on your delicate sensibilities in the future.

And yeah, my family (and others) are the exception, and that's my point. You and Al Mohler don't get to decide how other people raise their family or distribute their child-rearing and household managing duties, no matter what you personally deem as normative.

steves said...

Didn't we just have this discussion not that long ago. I was a psych major as an undergrad, so I have been out of the loop for a while. IIRC, there is plenty of evidence that things are the way they are because of a complex interplay of culture and biology. While you can't ignore one over the other, I think this phrase sums up what I discovered when I did family therapy:

"Biology has nothing to say to us about what we ought to do, any more than gravity tells us we should throw each other off bridges."

People have choices and are free to work out whatever arrangement suits their family the best. Forcing someone into a certain role often leads to problems and resentment, IMO. If you want more, I can elaborate, but I think others here have already made the point well.

"Go to an L&D area of a hospital and watch medical professionals handle a newborn. Moms basically call all the shots. If they don't want dad there, he can be legally removed, even against his will."

This has nothing to do with who is the most nurturing, but rather who is the patient. The mother is the patient and calls the shots, just as she would for any other medical procedure. The father has no control (unless he has medical power of attorney and the mother is unable to consent to something) over what happens to the mother. Once, the baby is born, then the father has rights in regards to the baby. He can consent to treatment for the child and can sign any discharge papers.

"I simply cited what the current legal and medical community recognizes. Do you know more than they do?"

What legal standards are you talking about? Prior to the early 1970's, there was a rebuttable presumption that the mother was the best parent in a cusotdy dispute. This was changed in every state (as far as I know) to refelct the research at the time and be more fair. Currently, in a custody dispute, both parents have an equal shot at parenting time and courts are not supposed to make decisions based on gender.

It is true that women often get primary custody, but that may be due to the fact that many have spent more time with their children (which is one of the factors used to determine cusotdy) and that some judges may be biased.

Streak said...

Steve,

Great comment. I agree that biology and culture interplay in so much of these things.

What legal standards are you talking about? Prior to the early 1970's, there was a rebuttable presumption that the mother was the best parent in a cusotdy dispute. This was changed in every state (as far as I know) to refelct the research at the time and be more fair. Currently, in a custody dispute, both parents have an equal shot at parenting time and courts are not supposed to make decisions based on gender.

Interesting, and reminds me that prior to the Victorian motherhood trend, many groups felt that women were not only physically weaker, but also emotionally and morally weaker. Parenting manuals for Puritans were often written for the father as the mother was not to be trusted with that.

ubub said...

"You don't know the history of psychiatry - I do."

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

I'll give you several sites. Start at you local hospital. As I've mentioned already, go to the Maternity ward, or the L&D area. Tell any doctor or nurse that you are the father and that you want to take the child against the wishes of the child's mother. Tell them that there's no reason to think that the woman lying there after nine months of pregnancy and sevral hours of labor has no more instinctive ability to care for and/or nurture the baby than you do. Wait for their response. Be prepared to deal with hospital security and, given the sensitivity of that part of any hospital, the police as well. Then go to your local courthouse and tell the judge that things need to change and that you need dads to start getting custody of all children in divorce decrees with mom's only getting visitation (A reversal of the typical arrangement). Once you've been able to do those things, then I'll give you a few more places to verify my theory.

Things aren't the way they are because our male-dominated society decided that men need to be somewhat out of the loop when it comes to the best interest of children. They are the way they are because most every medical professional and legal authority (male and female) realize that reality is often the best way to structure early child-parent relations.

Quit asking me and call a pediatrician. Call someone who's around premature infants on a regular basis. Call someone who's delivered hundreds of babies and ask them, "Do you really think women (specifically the mother of any infant in question) are more naturally suited to nurture and give the most basic early emotional and physical care to their child?" You won't hear a single repsected professional say "No." Now, they're also not going to say "Yes, and dad suck at everything baby-related". Dads are vital. Sometimes the best thing a dad can do is care for mom while she's caring for the baby. Dad's have a huge role in not only the child's development, but the whole family as well. I'm not arguing that dad's are morons and thus irrelevant when it comes to child nurture. I am stating that when you have a newborn/very young child, the best person, the one who is most naturally suited to give it the best care (emotionally and physically) is mom. Not always, because a baby born with drugs in their system will be taken away from mom. But TYPICALLY mom calls all the shots. Not because the Illuminati, or some ancient male hierarchy decided it should be so, but because the entire scope of human history has seen that this was simply the way things are and how they work best.

Ninja,

I can't tell a woman "Hey, stay home with your kids, especially when they're really young." I'm not saying a woman who works or gets a degree is an idiot. I'm just echoing the fact that women don't need to forget that their kids need them. Women should be reminded that working less and being avaliable to their young children is just as high (or higher) a calling that any degree or job.

My wife and mom both worked so I'm hardly saying that women who work/get degrees are sub-par. I just think many young women are conditioned by our commercial society that staying home is not as exciting or rewarding as a degree or career. You can do both, just don't forget that kids benefit the most (typically) when mom (and dad) are actively involved with their early development.

Steve,

Once the baby is born, the father does NOT have as much rights with the child. Check with your local hospital and ask them "If mom says she doesn't want dad in the room alone with the baby, do you have to honor that?" They're answer will be "Yes." If dad says, "I want to take the child away from the hospital" and mom isn't on board, who do you think gets the final say? Mom does. Mom's are recognized by every doctor and legal professional as being more in tune with who has the child's best interest in mind. Period.

If mom and dad both work, then the court will still give primary custody (typically) to mom because, again, she's recognized after thousands of years of history as being the best primary caregiver. Call it bias if you want, but just don't ask for examples and then say their "biased" only because they contradict your opinions.

Streak said...

Hey, DT avoided the major critiques of his argument! Who knew?

by the way, DT, I asked for the cites not "sites." You instead give me more of your opinions: You won't hear a single repsected professional say "No." How about some evidence beyond "Dallas Tim says." Because, no offense, but you don't know much about history, and according to our resident lawyer and social work expert (Steve, if you didn't pay attention) you don't know much about the law either.

What you know is what you have already concluded. Tell you what, instead of telling me to do something worthless like bug people in a pediatric ward, why don't you read some actual history.

Barring that, please give us something that is actually evidence based. I recall asking for it on several occasions, including where Americans denigrated child rearing as stupid. But since you already "know" you simply ignore.

Your opinion is valid as far as it goes. When you start asserting that the rest of the sane world has the same opinion, you approach a bit of a God complex. Of course, you think he agrees with you too.

Sigh.

Leighton said...

Women should be reminded that working less and being avaliable to their young children is just as high (or higher) a calling that any degree or job.

Change women to people and we agree.

Leighton said...

Annnnd misclicked "Post" instead of "Preview" to check tags. Sorry about that.

The rest of my intended post:

However, reminding women of this more often than men is a good way of reinforcing sexist notions that women are second-class citizens whose personhood ends when they give birth.

Why not remind men of this just as often? And please don't say Because women are more nurturing. Men have to work just as hard as women do at loving their kids. Surely you agree with that.

Leighton said...

Oh, neat, when I'm logged in with my other gmail address, my name is capitalized. How funny.

Sorry...that was a bit off topic, wasn't it? >.>

Streak said...

Men have to work just as hard as women do at loving their kids. Surely you agree with that.

Uh, No. DT knows for a fact that due to Natural Selection, Women store their nurturing ability in their boobs. Everyone knows that. Every medical and legal professional will nod their head in agreement. Only idiots and men without children think otherwise. Or feminists who had a mom who worked on purpose. And we thought Tony was smart (smart enough to have his wife at home) but it turns out he isn't.

/snark

ubub said...

Streak, what about fat guys with man boobs? Are they more nurturing? Is this a result of Natural Selection?

Tony said...

It depends on whether or not they wear "bros". (Sorry, had to get a Seinfeld reference in here.)

Oh yeah, I is so smart!

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

Sorry - I thought you'd know the difference between "cite" as in a referenced document and "site" as in a place where hundreds of people with Phd.s work and where most would be glad to give you their "biased" opinions on why moms have the upper hand.

I also looked for a document that showed that hitting youself in the head with a hammer was not a good idea, but I guess some things are just understood. Your resident legal expert may know much about law, but he evidently hasn't checked out what it has to say about who calls the shots when it comes to a newborn - it's mom! Dad doesn't do anything without mom's ok. Sorry he missed that.

You're right - the only (worthless) evidence I have is at any hospital and/or courtroom in America. Wow - what flimsy support - you got me there.

You're opinion and diploma would be laughed at in front of a judge or doctor, but you know better than to go there don't you?

Leighton,

You make a very good point (and the thought of finally having someone agree with me is nice too). I will gladly substitute "people" there because it takes two parents and mom trying to do her part while dad goes hunting and drinking with the boys (if that means leaving her to do it all) is pretty sorry. I think men should work harder at be more nurturing. Teaching boys to be macho seems silly. As far as which one has to work harder to nurture... that seems irrelevant. You are correct that regardless of who does it better, both need to do their best to be the best for the family (for their spouse AND the kids).

Ubub,

Man-boobs might be the result of Natural Light, but probably not Natural selection :)

Are we still all smiling?

leighton said...

Tim,

I should have said instead, "Men ought to put just as much thought and effort into loving their children," etc., rather than hard work, even though it is hard work. The way I phrased it before suggested I was interested in how much work it takes to achieve a particular result, which actually isn't something I meant to comment on. Does that make more sense?

I also believe a second criteria in addition to the welfare of children is the welfare of the spouse. In two-parent homes, if one parent is putting in all the time and effort of child-rearing to the detriment of his or her (usually her) wellbeing, I would say that the spouse (usually the husband) has an ethical obligation to figure out ways to accommodate his/her spouse's mental and social needs, even (especially!) if the kids are fit as fiddles and happy as clams. In practice, stable homes arrive at a balance where parents' needs are met as well as children's needs; they're not mutually exclusive.

I don't know that there are many smiles around here, but them's the breaks. Back to work...

steves said...

While there are areas where I know little of the law (don't ever ask me about patents and intellectual property), family law happens to be one area where I am comfortable. I cannot speak for all states, as the laws probably vary to some degree across jurisdictions. In MI, the father can consent to treatment for a newborn child, as well as sign discharge papers. If there was some conflict, such as the mother claiming the man was not the father, then you are correct, the hospital would defer to the mother since it isan't that hard to figure out if she is actually the mother. The father would then need to establish paternity if they were not married. If they are married, there is a irrebuttable presumption that the husband is the father.

It is true that mothers are more often granted custody, though this is declining. As I said before, courts look at a variety of factors, but they are NOT allowed to make the decision based on a presumption that women are better at caring for children then men. Any judge doing that would be overturned on appeal. This has been the law in most states for at least 30 years! If you know a state that does not, please provide a cite.

I am not trying to be a dick when I ask for a cite, but if you are going to assert something as a fact and there is disagreement, then you better be willing to provide some evidence. Otherwise, you should said it is your opinion.

Dallas Tim said...

Leighton,

Very nice comments. I couldn't have said it any better. In my opinion, one of the saddest aspects of the American family is the father's abandonment of participation in his kid's and spouse's routine. The "Baby daddy" concept is just sad.

Your second paragraph is about as on-target an assesment as I've ever heard. As a Christian, I think all of what you said is Biblically supported as well and more men would help (indirectly) themselves if they'd just help their wives first (and kids).

Steve,

I agree that Judges don't say "Ok the woman is better - end of story." But they look at the overall best interest of the child and that's usually at the hands of mom. Not that dad's role is unimportant or non-existent, but that of the two, the child will benefit more from mom's care.

And I don't think you are a dick, but that's just my opinion :)

Streak said...

Why yes, DT, I always smile when someone who knows nothing about my profession or qualities says I would be laughed at. Especially when that person thinks their opinion=the truth. I especially like it when they use their own misinformation (site v. cite) to insult me. It makes my day and I smile the rest of the hours.

Steve, you weren't the dick in that conversation. All you did was posit actual evidence and actual experience instead of saying "what I believe is true." Or taking my request for a CITE (that's a c) and turning it into an insult and logical fallacy. No, you weren't the dick at all in that conversation.

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

Yes, and based on the evidence I've given (Hospital and Legal policy), it appears as if I'm not the only one who has that opinion.

How does Steve's evidence trump what I offered? The law gives preference (typically) to mothers and so do most medical facilities, even after the child is born. You can pretend it's the other way around, but just take that argument to court and see what the experts have to say. I hope you're still able to smile when they ask you if you're done and then tell you to leave. And if you do them like you do me and try to tell them your a history expert so what they say doesn't matter, then don't be surprised when they proceed to lock you up with a few other guys who then show you just how nurturing men can be.

Your attributing Steve's "real evidence and experience" over my uncontested description of how the laws handles the issue is perplexing to say the least...

But I could be wrong.

Smiling... almost laughing,
Dallas Tim

Streak said...

Sorry, DT,

I don't remember you giving anything remotely close to evidence. Do you really think you saying something is true makes it so? Is that how you order your world?

I would love to hear about all the professions where you know more than the professionals. You have already lectured me on history. Steve isn't a very good lawyer.

Perhaps we should approach this another way. What professions do you not claim expertise over the practitioners? Help me out here.

Then perhaps, you can explain to me what you mean by evidence. Then maybe you can tell me again that I know nothing about my field and would be laughed at.

Then tell me how smiley you are. That makes me feel better. And while you are at it, maybe you should look up passive aggressive.

ninjanun said...

And don't forget confirmation bias and logical fallacy.

steves said...

DT. In Michigan, the courts follow the Michigan Child Cusotdy Act of 1970, which states that custody and parenting time should be determined by what is in the "best interst of the child." The statute defines this in MCL 722.23, by listing 12 factors for the court to consider:

(a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.

(b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.

(c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.

(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

(e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.

(f) The moral fitness of the parties involved.

(g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved.

(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.

(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.

(j) The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.

(k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.

(l) Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.



You will notice that it does not make mention of gender in any of those factors. It is true that the mother will often get custody, as they are the primary caregiver in many families. If the father is the best choice, then they will get primary custody. I have worked with many fathers who would prevail.

Because you didn't take my word for this, I am sending a bill for $75. ; )

Streak said...

See DT, what Steve gave us there was not his assurances. He gave us actual evidence.

And I say that without meaning to be snarky again. I am very curious about how you define evidence. It seems to me that one of the problems we have in our culture today is actually the disconnect on how we understand knowledge and how we learn new bits of knowledge.

Dallas Tim said...

Steve,

I agree - There are many father's who can and should be given custody. Maybe the Brittany Spears debacle is a rather noteable example. I also agree that it's always the goal (hopefully) to do what's best for the child. The bottom line, though, is that all things considered (both parents of similar stability and mental soundness) the court will typically give custody to mom. If they are simply attempting to do what's best for the kid(s), then there's something understood there and my point is that what's understood is that typically mom will provide more in the way of nurture. Even something as basic as breastfeeding is accepted as better for newborns. Study after study shows that breastfeeding is beneficial not only to the baby, but to the mother as well. Obviously there are times when it's not the best option, but in most cases it is shown to be best. So from that standpoint alone, why would a court want to take a child away from the primary food source that's proven to be best. That's not the only reason, but it's huge. Women are just designed to provide the best care, especially early on, for their kids and most of the medical documentation supports that view where even the most basic needs are concerned (like milk/food).

As for the $75, just keep a running tab - I may need your help later on :)

leighton said...

Speaking of evidence, I don't believe the link I gave above to Olivia Judson's book counts as evidence, except indirectly, of the mating habits in various species. What the book is, instead, is a pointer to where you can find evidence. Her ample bibliography of research papers is a great starting point; you can find them in just about any university library, either present or available for a small fee (for non-students) through interlibrary loan. Papers with distant relevance to human medicine may even be available on PubMed.

If you're (hypothetical "you", no "you" in particular) still not satisfied with some things, make friends with researchers in the fields the papers appear in. State universities are a great place to start. (There's at least the presumption that they will occasionally be asked for comments by members of the public, so you're less likely to get a confused or disinterested reaction than at small private colleges or elite Ivy League research universities.) Many of them are very busy people with no time for questions, but there are also sociable ones who, if you catch them at the right time (usually in the summer when they have less coursework and fewer student researchers to supervise) and introduce yourself and ask if you can buy them lunch or a drink (if they drink--be mindful of Mormon, Muslim and 7th Day Adventist researchers) and ask them some more in-depth questions about their research, they'll tell you everything you want to know, and much more. A nearly always useful social device is to smile, nod enthusiastically and say "Could you tell me more about how X, which you've mentioned, relates to Y, which you've also just mentioned?" This works even when you have no idea what X or Y are, but it is important to at least pronounce them correctly.

An expert in a given field saying "X is true" is prima facie evidence that relies on the speaker's ethos as someone having spent years or decades studying the field as a participant. Joe Forumgoer, whose credentials and experience are unknown, can't make the same pronouncement with any kind of authority and expect to be taken seriously.

leighton said...

Tim,

If they are simply attempting to do what's best for the kid(s), then there's something understood there and my point is that what's understood is that typically mom will provide more in the way of nurture.

Do you honestly not see that what Steve has been saying is that this is false? That courts do not make their decisions on this basis?

Or are you disagreeing with the family lawyer about family law again?

Dallas Tim said...

Leighton,

I see decades of medical recommendations (like the one's on say - breastfeeding) leading most legal experts to give preference to the mother. Now, they can't come out and state across the board that mom's are always more apt to nurture because sometimes they just aren't. That's when the idea of looking at each situation uniquely and then deciding which is best in that specific situation. My take is that, as I mentioned before, if everything is equal (mom and dad are both competent, mom and dad are both working full-time, etc...) then they will still give custody to mom. Why would they do that if mom and dad both have full-time jobs? You'll have to show me lots of cases where this isn't the case to convince me it isn't because even Steve has conceded that it is. This was interesting as it states that an unwed father typically can't win custody if mom is a good parent. Why? This article (third paragraph, first sentence) seems to echo what I've been saying. Not always, but often it's the case. Why? It's almost like their putting the onus (I'm so glad the "o" and "a" are on opposite sides of the keyboard) on dad to prove mom's unfit in order to give him custody.

I will yield to Steve's expertise (pro bono in my case) regarding the specific wording, but since mom is typically primary-caregiver (according to him) then further questions might involve why this is (and has been) the case in so many situations? I think the answer goes back to much of the biological aspects of mom carrying the child through pregnancy, her ability to feed and the overwhelming reality of almost if not every culture recognizing that these things and others lend themselves to greater advantage where mom is concerned.

But back to my original point, isn't Dallas really the better team? I mean they beat New York tiwce already? I guess that's what I get for entrusting my hopes and dreams with a bunch of jocks.

Streak said...

overwhelming reality of almost if not every culture recognizing that these things and others lend themselves to greater advantage where mom is concerned.

There is a danger in this assumption A) that it is as you say almost every culture, and B) if true, that because something has been, it should be.

leighton said...

This was interesting as it states that an unwed father typically can't win custody if mom is a good parent. Why?

Because to date the mother has been the primary caregiver, which has nothing to do with your point.

The second link also doesn't support your point except in the case of infants and very small children, which isn't the conversation we've been having. In the eyes of the law, parents do start off on an equal footing and there's no particular advantage to mothers when it comes to a battle over residence, in particular, only echoes what everyone but you has been saying here.

Look, if you're just trying to save face, I'll back off. I don't care about convincing you. You're acting like your opinion somehow matters, when I think what people are more concerned with is the way you conduct yourself. If your purpose is to express outrage that anyone, anyone, would dare disagree with one of your presuppositions, you're doing a bang-up job; but you make it extremely difficult for people who want to agree with you on something to do so without condoning passive-aggressive and bullying behavior that the community here doesn't approve of.

I'm done for the day in this thread.

leighton said...

For further clarification, Tim, the impression I get is that you think of conversation like a football game, and you're wondering why the hell we complain when we get tackled. Isn't that the point of the game?

Our assumption is that conversation here is like lunch in a coffee shop, and we can't figure out why the hell you keep dumping our plates on the floor.

Don't know if this means anything, but I thought it might be worth a try.

steves said...

In regards to custody disputes, there can be several common scenarios:

1. Parents are married and child is living with them;

2. Parents are unmarried (and not living together) and child is living with one of them.

In the second scenario, the child will stay with the person they are living with, unless it is in their best interest to change custody.

"My take is that, as I mentioned before, if everything is equal (mom and dad are both competent, mom and dad are both working full-time, etc...) then they will still give custody to mom."

No, this is not true. In most cases, if the child had been living with both parents and they get a divorce, the court will grant joint custody and parenting time will be divided between both parents. Granting sole custody is rare.

The FAQ you link talks about an unmarried couple. If you look at the factors I listed, you will see that they favor the person who has had custody. If the father comes along after 6 months and wants custody, they will have a hard time satisfying the statutory test. OTOH, if the child had been living with the father for the first 6 months (let us say the mother ran off), then the mother would probably not get custody, as the 'test' would favor the father this time.

The second article is from the UK and deals with UK law, which is something I know very little about. It is has no relevance to US law or procedure.

As I have said (and the FAQ says), the primary caretaker is the person that is preferred in terms of custody. This person is often the mother, but that is because they are the person that typically performs most of the child-rearing tasks in many families. If the father is the one performing the tasks, then they will get preference. It is as simple as that.

You are assuming that since the mother performs this most often that they will be favored and that is not the case. You are skipping a step. Courts have to make a determination based on who is doing what in a specific family, not who does what based on statistics.

On a personal note, I have a pretty diverse group of friends. In almost all cases, both parents perform many of the care-giving tasks and the court would have a difficult time making a determination. I know that in my family, I perform many child-rearing tasks, such as scheduling doctor's appointments, volunteering in my daughter's classroom, fixing meals, and getting her ready to go to school.

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

"Dangerous" might be a little extreme, but #1 - I'll simply ask you or anyone to provide me any example of any culture (past or present) where the man is the primary care-giver. Not "well this culture had more men care givers than that one" or "this culture had the most male care givers" but one where the typical family situation was that the fathers held the role as primary care-giver. I'm betting you won't.

#2 - Saying that "because it has been means it should be" is not the best way to decide, I'll agree. But many things are the way they are because most people have relaized that it makes the most sense to do it that way. No one's asking to do away with the wheel because square tires haven't been given a fair shot.

Leighton,

Sure it does. What's the ratio of unwed dad's who have their kids vs. unwed moms? I'd bet the dad ratio is in the single digits. Why? Maybe because mom's typically have a more instinctive desire towards their children's early development. Mom's typically don't abandon their kids and leave them with dad - fathers, on the other hand, often do.

Steve,

If dad is providing better care, then he needs the kids. Yet in our society, as you mentioned, the woman typically fulfills this role. As I mentioned above, in my comments to Leighton, the woman typically steps up and takes this role. You don't see nearly as many men doing it. So if more women are stepping up then they will continue to be chosen by the courts as having promary responsibility. That takes us right back to the question of why do more single women take responsibility for their children than men? My answer is, because they have a biologically more instinctive nature to do it, especially very early on. If you can show me where this is a recent phenomenon or one that is specific to only one culture, then please do. If women were complaining about it, then I reconsider.

Streak said...

DT, until you answer some of the questions about evidence, I am not sure you have the standing to demand it from others. You have thrown out so many half-assed guesses without any substance beyond "everyone knows it is true" that it isn't funny. Hell, I am still waiting for some kind of evidence that this culture disparages child care. You said it was true. You said it was terrible and sad. You have yet to give any evidence that it is even true.

Likewise, you continue to assert a biological determined nurturing that you have no proof of beyond "everyone knows it is true."

I also think Leighton made some very good points about your argumentation style. Perhaps you might want to take those to heart. Or maybe your purpose here is simply to poke people in the eye, imply they are idiots, and then do some passive aggressive bullshit about smiling. If that is your goal here, then move on.

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

We have a credit crisis in America. People everywhere, especially many working-class families are up to their necks in debt. We're all seeing the effects now and most people don't deny that the idea of "pay-for-it-later" has caused problems for everyone. One of the funniest SNL skits was a parody commercial where this guy was selling a book intended to help people get out of debt. The book was cleverly titled "Do not buy stuff you cannot afford." Now, you would be hard pressed to find a credit card company who publicly says "Having alot of debt is a good thing." It's not so much that we hear that phrase, but that we are surrounded by a consumerized, materialistic society that indirectly encourages us to buy, buy, buy (often when we shouldn't).

My views on motherhood and parenting are much the same. I don't have a set of quotes from leaders or celebrities attacking motherhood. I simply see a culture where "getting ahead" is often seen as a more noble or exciting pursuit as opposed to motherhood. Women seem to have become less and less interested in being at home with their children than ever before. I think that this could be harmful in the long run for our society. Of course paternal abandonment is a real but entirely different problem altogether.

Women working may not affect every family the same, but generally speaking I feel that if a mom can stay home to be avaliable to her children, especially at an early age, then there is just alot less slack that has to be picked up in the long run. I can't paint with too broad a brush, but every family needs to decide what's best for them. Unfortunately, as with the credit issue, we're banking on what will make us happiest now and then in the future things end up costing the rest of us much more.

I just have trouble with a woman who could stay home but who decides to leave her child at daycare anyway so she can pursue a career. Kids are more important that careers (especially if the man makes enough money) and when studies show that things like breastfeeding and the home environment lead to more stability and better health, my only question would be why aren't you with your child? Even if dad stayed home and bottle-fed the little guy/gal, it would seem to present a much better foundation in the long run.

Anyway...

Streak said...

And Tim, I agree. I think we have way too much consumer debt and way too much consumer driven bs in our society.

But making the leap from that to assuming that people don't value raising children is, in fact, a leap. It is your opinion, and you are welcome to it, but that doesn't make it factual.

And that is the problem I have with much of your argumentation. You assert your assumptions about nature and nurture as capital T truth.

steves said...

What about a father that stays home, while the mother works? I have a good friend whose wife is an editor for a publishing house. He is a professional musician who stays home with the kids during the day while she works. He has gigs in the evening and she takes care of them then. By your logic, this is not what they should be doing.

My wife's doctor also goes to our church. She works, while her husband stays home with their children. He was a social worker, so from an income standpoint, it made more sense for him to stay home. Are their kids doomed?

There are hundreds (probably thousands) of studies on daycare, with some better than others. While there seems to be evidence that poor quality daycare and spending a tremendous amount of time in daycare is not good, there is also evidence that a moderate amount of daycare is not harmful. While there are couples that have two incomes for the sole purpose of getting more stuff, there are planty that need two incomes just to get by.

steves said...

Here is a study that shows nonmaternal care (versus maternal care) has no impact on child development.

Here is an article that referneces another study that shows children in high quality day care scored higher on tests of language, memory and other skills than did children of stay-at-home mothers or children in lower-quality day care.

I am certainly not trying to say mothers are not important, but I think people should make decisions for their family based on facts, not opinions or media hype.

Bootleg Blogger said...

DT: "Sure it does. What's the ratio of unwed dad's who have their kids vs. unwed moms? I'd bet the dad ratio is in the single digits. Why? Maybe because mom's typically have a more instinctive desire towards their children's early development. Mom's typically don't abandon their kids and leave them with dad - fathers, on the other hand, often do."

Don't forget that in plenty of cases the dad isn't around by the time of the birth (9 months between the fun and the agony). You seem to have a great fondness for touting what's "natural" as being how things "should" be. I think many of the participants here are trying to point out that genetic and gender predispositions do not have to dictate our behavior nor is it necessarily desirable in many cases. I don't think anyone is refuting your assertions of TENDENCIES or statistical trends. However, the point is that these don't have to dictate individual choice. In many cases they just don't have much to do with each other.

The breast feeding post is entertaining. How often do we get to type breast on this blog? Keep in mind, however, that women generally breastfeed for a relatively short period of a child's life. The faucets are only a factor briefly. Not only that, but plenty can pump which allows dear old dad to share in the bonding time. So, nature is great, but thankfully we aren't held to what's natural as the measure of what's best for us or our families.

I'm sure I'm repeating someone but figured I'd kill some time-BB

Tony said...

Steve,

You asked, What about a father that stays home, while the mother works?

I have already gone there in this thread (not chiding you for repeating) and well, DT responded thusly:

What I'm betting is that you know families where the man hasn't found a job that would allow him to work full time while the wife stays home. They'd probably prefer that and as soon as they get a chance they'll do it but in the meantime they're making the best of a less-than-ideal situation. They pastor on second-shift not out of want but out of current necessity.

I think the gist of your comment may entail where parents actually choose who does what or go the more economically feasible route rather than what is "biologically predetermined". In my example about my pastor friend whose wife works during the day, they made that choice because his wife's work schedule is more rigid, and as a pastor, he has greater flexibility. That way they both get to do what they love and the kids are still taken care of, more than adequately I might add.

Mary said...

It's fascinating to read a group of primarily men staging their own version of The Mommy Wars. ;-)

DT, I don't think anyone here argues with your indictment of the consumerist treadmill so many of us are on. I completely agree with you, but I can't believe that the answer to that is fewer women getting an education. Turning off the tv and not buying so much crap, yes. I really don’t see the connection you’re making between educated women and bad parenting.

Raising kids is often a hard slog, and like everything else, some people (male and female) just aren’t temperamentally suited for it. The problem I have with people who make blanket pronouncements (like DT has here)is that temperament, family choice and family circumstance are trumped by which pair of chromosomes you have. It’s a lot more complicated than that – and telling other people how to conduct their lives is something that rarely ends well;-)

Streak said...

Well stated, Mary. I agree.

Tony, remember, we used to think you were smart, but then DT told us you weren't. So there.

BB's comment on breast feeding reminds me of how little we really understand about how family life functioned in the past, and how our ancestors conceptualized childhood, marriage, and family. We make a big mistake if we assume that a family in 1808 thought about children the same way we do.

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

You are correct in that things have changed in the past decades and centuries when it comes to our societal outlook on family and parenting. I don't think one size fits all or that women who work are bad. I just think that the over the top consumerism is creeping in and somewhat making us turn our attention towards financing the "stuff" and I can sense Mohler's view are much like that. Mohler (in the snippet you posted) said only that in the Biblical world-view, men should be leaders too. If you read all of what he said, he was not so much speaking ill of women on campus and much as he was asking "Why aren't men keeping up as well?" Why are men suddenly not interested in education? (not all but it does seem to be declining) You took that response and said that he had some "masculine fear" or the Mohler was intimating that "an educated female doesn't value family." He said nothing of the sort.

Consider this statement by Mohler:

"The social impact of this revolution is huge. Look, for example, at a classroom of 12-year-olds. Fully one third of the college-bound girls will eventually have to settle for a husband who lacks a college education."

He's asking if this is a good trend. Should we just allow an alarmingly greater number of guys to avoid a degree. Are women getting the diploma because their husbands won't? Do we not need to address a possible problem now before we reap the consequences decades later? It may not be a problem, but the shift is worth considering. That's all Mohler is saying and you guys acted as if he's saying all women should be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. Then you attack me for being opinionated. You did the same thing to Mohler and then when I offered my critique Leighton said "I was knocking everyone's plates in the floor." I just don't get everyone taking Mohler's words and twisting them so that you can make fun of him.

What you failed to mention was that Mohler was simply responding to Rauch's observation that:

"For families, this will pose a dilemma. Women will have a comparative advantage at both parenting and breadwinning. Many women will want to take time off for child-rearing, but the cost of keeping a college-educated mom at home while a high-school-educated dad works will be high, often prohibitive.

Look, then, for rising pressure on government to provide new parental subsidies and child care programs, and on employers to provide more flextime and home-office options -- among various efforts to help women do it all. Look, too, for a cascading series of psychological and emotional adjustments as American society tilts, for the first time, toward matriarchy. What happens to male self-esteem when men are No. 2 (and not necessarily trying harder)? When more men work for women than the other way around?"

Mohler made his response based on his views of the Bible and how it instructs Christians to respond and react - not to disparage women. He might just think that families don't need a guy ill-equipped and therefore dependent on his wife to, as Rauch put it "... do it all."

That seems sensible to me. I know you like to make fun of the evangelical - you even say so in you blog description. Just don't be so surpried when someone like me comes along and tells their side and then holds you accountable for not telling the whole story or for putting words in someone's mouth.

leighton said...

Tim,

...That's all Mohler is saying and you guys acted as if he's saying all women should be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. Then you attack me for being opinionated. You did the same thing to Mohler and then when I offered my critique Leighton said "I was knocking everyone's plates in the floor." I just don't get everyone taking Mohler's words and twisting them so that you can make fun of him.

It's a bit late in the game to pretend that this whole time, your entire effort has centered around how we've allegedly misrepresented Mohler. If you really cared about that, which you don't (or if you do, it's a recent development), you wouldn't have taken us on all these tangents about economics and upper body strength and how society supposedly thinks raising kids is for idiots.

I'm glad you raise the issue of the communication problem, though, because this really is what we have. We are not complaining that you disagree with us. You could have said in your very first post, "I don't believe that comment is a fair representation of what Mohler said. I think he means..." and we would have had a perfectly civil, productive discussion about his meaning, and about the merits of his comments.

Rather, we object that you believe it is your divinely-ordained calling to, in your words, "hold [us] accountable" for not interpreting things in precisely the way you do. (Believe it or not, native English speakers can often disagree about the intent and nuances of a communication that is as poorly phrased and imprecise as Mohler's.) In polite internet society, regulating the opinions of their host and fellow guests is not what guests on a blog do. Policing us is not your job. If you have that kind of arrangement with your family with their consent, fine. If you have that kind of mutual relationship with people in your church, I hear that's also wonderful. But accountability among strangers operates by ongoing consent only, and here, it is done with courtesy and understanding, not with a bullhorn, and certainly not with enough tangents, red herrings and outright fabrications to balk even the most dedicated of readers.

If you don't like that we don't care what you think of us--well, nobody's twisting your arm and forcing you to post here. If you post, it's because for whatever reason, you want to, and if that's going to be an ongoing thing, it seems like it would be good to work out some way for that to happen without a lot of people getting pissed off.

I don't believe you answer to me, or to anyone else, for your beliefs--only your behavior. I wish you would extend the same courtesy to other people.

Streak said...

Ah yes, holding us accountable. Not implying that we are idiots or saying that I would be laughed out of court for my lack of DT-approved historical knowledge.

Bootleg Blogger said...

Mohlers statement was not in a vacuum. He has a history of consistency on this point. That is, he has been consistent since drinking the fundamentalist movement's kool-aide and heading to seminary presidency. Again, though, when men were the majority in universities folks like Mohler aren't too quick to voice concern. Guys marrying a woman without a college education???? Not a peep would sound.

Mohler is of the "equal before god but separate roles" point of view. I disagree AND I think his position as an educator is a tragedy. Differing opinion is one thing, separate but equal is another. Mohler is not an example of a pro-female theologian. Women are viewed largely using their relationships to men as the point of reference. Granted, Al has made dramatic (180 degree) turns before. Maybe another one is on the way- we can only hope.
Later-BB

Dallas Tim said...

Leighton,

I mentioned that women have held the role of primary care-giver in most cultures for most of the history of the world. Streak said I shouldn't say that because I don't know. I asked (repeatedly) for anyone to prove me wrong. No one has. I commented that the reason for this is because women typically appear to be more naturally suited to give primary care, especially early. I cited (Yes, "Cited" Streak) things like breastfeeding, the unbalanced number of single moms to single dads and the fact that dad does NOT have the same rights of access to a child in a hospital even after the child is born (as opposed to the mom). These are undisputed facts. They don't mean dads are irrelevant or that all moms are the most capable, but if the law allows hospitals to tell a dad "get lost - the mom doesn't want you here" then only someone unwilling to admit that this is the way things are need continue the argument. Then someone says, "Well lots of dads are not around anymore by the time the baby is born." WHY THE HELL DO YOU THINK THAT IS? Would have been a subtle response, but I didn't think of it at the time.

I guess in our male-dominated society, all the guys got together and decided that women should get the kids, not because they're more apt to care for them, but just because it's easier for us to shirk our responsibilities and drink beer and play cards with out buddies at night while she changes diapers and breastfeeds. Of course women everywhere are complaining about this unfair burden and most single moms secretly don't want their kids. Most moms complain when they receive primary custody and many women are working on legislation that alleviates this misogynist stigma. "Oh but the court can't say one is better than the other." Yes because certain mom's may be crack addicts and you can't make a blanket statement - you have to take each case and look at the best interest of the child. Dad may be better. Agreed. But more than just I have stated that typically the woman is awarded custody because SHE ALREADY IS THE PRIMARY CARE-GIVER. Of course that has nothing to do with it because Al Mohler forced them to fill that position against their will (He's a powerful man that Mohler). So that was my argument from the beginning. I repeated most of the points more than once and was still never given any answer as to which other culture had the men at home. Yet in spite of all the evidence I presented (Historical, Cultural, Medical, Legal) I was told well "that's your opinion." Ok.

So then I wondered why Mohler's remarks (in response to another article) were laughed at when he really didn't say or intimate what the remarks claimed that he did.

Now, I've changed the subject and that's not allowed either. DO you honestly think if I had said "Well, let's look at what Mohler really said..." that I be cut anymore slack?

Here's one response...

"...Mohlers statement was not in a vacuum. He has a history of consistency on this point. That is, he has been consistent since drinking the fundamentalist movement's kool-aide and heading to seminary presidency. Again, though, when men were the majority in universities folks like Mohler aren't too quick to voice concern. Guys marrying a woman without a college education???? Not a peep would sound."

Hmmmmm....

So the civil discussion would have included "No Tim, Mohler is an idiot, it's obvious what he meant."

Either way there's no way to agree when doing so means ignoring the truth.

Streak said...

Poor Tim,

It is difficult carrying on a conversation with us poor, unenlightened folk, isn't it? We aren't as smart as you, we don't believe the truth as you lay it out. And we obviously didn't recognize just how smart and misunderstood Al Mohler was. He would sympathize with you.

Poor Tim.

Streak said...

Yet in spite of all the evidence I presented (Historical, Cultural, Medical, Legal) I was told well "that's your opinion."

Hmm. I must have missed the historical evidence. Oh, and the medical evidence. Oh, and the legal evidence. Some stuff on breast feeding, but where again did you prove that historical link?

I know I am dumb, Tim, and a horrible historian by your counting, so you may have to help me out here. Someone of your elevated intelligence is so very hard to come by. An expert on nearly everything--so much so that your stating something as being obvious MAKES IT FACT.

That is a cool trick, and maybe when I am smarter, you can teach me that.

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

I never insulted anyone. The historical link is right there in... History. Prove me wrong. Every culture we've ever seen had/has women playing the role of primary care-giver. I hope that you're not implying that because I can't list every single culture since the dawn of time that I can't say anything about the ones I can. If you have proof otherwise, then why haven't you presented it. I know why... because it doesn't exist.

That's the bottom line. If you can tell me about another culture that's seen men as typical primary care-giver, then please tell us. If not then you can pretend that somehow proves your point, just don't question my undisputed proof (which by your own silence as a historian only supports my view).

Aztecs, Incas, Eskimos, Samoans, Gaelic, French, Aboriginal, Jewish, which ones show men as the primary care giver? (Silence)

You try to divert your lack of evidence by implying that I said you were dumb or not as smart as me. All I did was ask you or anyone to provide evidence to the contrary and no one has. I never questioned your knowledge of history, on the contrary, I deferred to your grasp of the subject to hopefully bring something to the table that could support your view. You couldn't/haven't/won't/can't.

Are you disputing that the law let's a hospital give preference to the mother. It's a easy as checking to verify. I worked in a hospital - I know the rules. I'm not an expert at everything, but don't tell me I can't state facts when it comes to something I saw first hand on more than one occasion in a major medical facility.

Show me I'm wrong about the history - you're the expert. Show me I'm wrong about what hospital policy is since I can't be.

leighton said...

I never questioned your knowledge of history, on the contrary, I deferred to your grasp of the subject to hopefully bring something to the table that could support your view.

We are men of action. Lies do not become us.

Streak said...

Tim, what has made this discussion vexing has been the passive aggressive tone (you absolutely suggested I was an idiot, and told me that I would be laughed out of court) and also the sliding nature of the debate.

The historical debate has been around your contention that all cultures have recognized that women were more nurturing. I have suggested that was not always true, that Puritans, for example, distrusted women's intellectual, mental and emotional and moral strength. In fact, I said in one comment "Yes, you are correct, for the bulk of human history, women have, in general been given the role of nurturer. That doesn't, in anyway, prove that they are biologically determined to be better at it." What is more, we seem to have a sliding scale here on what that nurturing means. No one here claims that men can give birth, breast feed, etc. But as BB noted (I believe), that phase is pretty short. Your contention was that women were the primary nurturers--better at nurturing because of natural selection (did you ever respond to the fact that you were misusing that term too?) and that anyone who thought differently was an idiot.

So where are we arguing now? We are arguing over your methods, and your assertion that what you believe is universally held to be true and is, in fact THE truth.

I never insulted anyone. Hmm. Really?


I never questioned your knowledge of history, on the contrary, I deferred to your grasp of the subject to hopefully bring something to the table that could support your view.

Oh hell, that is what that was. Instead of being passive aggressive bullshit, it was actually deference.

Tim, let's be clear here. Our disagreement is your use of evidence (or more accurately, your contention that your view is evidence) and your contention that your non-evidence proves that women are biologically given a shot of nurturing by God using natural selection.

leighton said...

I think this, though, is a fair question:

DO you honestly think if I had said "Well, let's look at what Mohler really said..." that I be cut anymore slack?

Honestly? At this point, no. You've blown your credibility to hell and squandered the goodwill of even those who've interacted with you over the course of years, all for the sake of a poorly-focused pissing contest.

I worked in a hospital - I know the rules. I'm not an expert at everything, but don't tell me I can't state facts when it comes to something I saw first hand on more than one occasion in a major medical facility.

See, this is exactly our point: YOU cannot tell US that WE cannot state facts of things WE'VE seen and studied firsthand. Working in a hospital is something that would have been very helpful to have mentioned earlier, just so we'd know that you weren't just fabricating it out of thin air like you were your natural selection or legal commentary.

And as for the scope of your experience, it means you knew the rules for that particular hospital. That's it--unless, of course, you have other experiences that you're not telling us about. One of my hats is an assistant at a law firm, but I don't try to tell Steve that he's wrong about or missing the point of family law. I don't even try to support him, because I don't believe I have the standing to do that. Everyone's experience has limits. That's what humility is about.

It doesn't mean you can't be really really confident about your opinions. Goodness knows I am (as are most people here, I think). But little gestures of courtesy like "I think..." and "It seems like..." and "It looks more likely that..." and "In my experience...," rather than expressing hesitancy or uncertainty, are about communicating to other people that one values their time and the relationship one has with them.

If people aren't learning from the conversation, what the hell is the point?

leighton said...

A second component of humility is respecting the desire of the conversational community to focus on the topics they wish. Everyone's time is precious. Nobody is obligated to show anyone anything; if they do, it's a gift; if they don't, the conversation should end and move on to different topics.

That's my take, anyway. Back to work...

steves said...

"Are you disputing that the law let's a hospital give preference to the mother. It's a easy as checking to verify. I worked in a hospital - I know the rules. I'm not an expert at everything, but don't tell me I can't state facts when it comes to something I saw first hand on more than one occasion in a major medical facility."

I can only speak for the law in my state and I can only speak for the hospital policy in reagrds to the one that delivered my daughter. Here are the facts:

1. Prior to delivery and during delivery, mom calls the shots. She is the patient and this would be true for any other procedure.

2. Post delivery. If the parents are married. The hospital will obtain signatures to send into the county clerk for an official birth certificate. At this stage, the father can consent to medical procedures for the child and has access to the child. I know this for a fact because this is what happened 5 years ago when my daughter was born. I consented to the immunizations and several tests. My wife was never even asked.

3. If the parents are not married or there is some conflict, then, absent some court order, they will defer to the mother. This is probably because they can pretty sure who the mother is, but there is no quick way to determine who the father is.

Both parents have equal rights in terms of their children. I can't think of a single state that grants the mother more rights. Either parent can consent to medical treatment for their child, sign permission slips, and sign other legal documents.

Bootleg Blogger said...

"So the civil discussion would have included "No Tim, Mohler is an idiot, it's obvious what he meant."

Unfortunately, no. I don't think Mohler is an idiot. I think he's intelligent and intentional.

I love ninjanun's term "the Mommy Wars".

As far as your "primary care giver" argument, I'm not sure who really cares. We're no longer in a society that chooses their roles based solely on natural selection. Since we left the hunter/gathering communities and farms, physical attributes have played lesser and lesser roles. I'm not sure what you're wanting to hear- "Women are more compassionate and make better primary caregivers for children"? I'd say probably so in many situations. Even if it were so in MOST situations (i.e. >50%) it still doesn't have anything to do with how a given family may operate. Again, doesn't have much significance other than a two minute conversation.

"Mohler made his response based on his views of the Bible and how it instructs Christians to respond and react - not to disparage women. He might just think that families don't need a guy ill-equipped and therefore dependent on his wife to, as Rauch put it "... do it all."" Again, having women ill equipped was fine. Suddenly Mohler is concerned about men. We must be pretty wimpy to need so many guys worrying about us making it now that the women are, in Mohler's view, getting ahead. Mohler wants to be in charge because he's the guy. Now that men may have to treat women as true equals he's getting alarmed. This is probably a good growing phase for old Al.
Later folks-BB

Streak said...

I think Mary called it the "mommy wars," but other than that, in total agreement.

Bootleg Blogger said...

Oops- credit where credit is due!

BTW, Streak. Speaking of highly educated and compassionate (not to mention competative, highly motivated, and opinionated) women, any chance we might hear SOF chime in on one of these discussions sometime? To me she, as well as my co-traveler, are the living examples of women who very early on demanded equal consideration, pursued education and careers that enabled them to, if they chose, to live independently. A relationship with them required any male to approach them as equals in every way that matters- emotionally, spiritually, intelligently, and as individuals with the same opportunities and choices as any guy, requiring a true partnership of equals. Correct me if thngs have changed :-).

Anyway, just a thought.- BB

Streak said...

I thought it would be fun to go through the different arguments that DT has suggested here in this thread. Now he is suggesting that all he has ever argued was that women are better at handling infants and breast feeding. Before that, he suggested that all Al Mohler wanted to do was to ask why men weren't going to school more.

From the beginning forward, a few snippets:

First, if women don't stay home, be ready for the kids to do drugs. "And we wonder why kids are on heroin and meth. If a woman works just so the family can afford more stuff, then don't be suprised when little Johnny decides to do his own thing later on."

Or simply counter to the Bible: "the way I see it, the Bible stresses the importance of the woman being at home to keep things running smoothly."

Or nature: "Men are simply not as suited for tender, communicative, care as women are (most men are far more protective of their mom than their dad, not because they don't love dad - it's just that they know women are more... well... feminine). Women are more gentle, they are softer, and when kids need someone to cry to, or on, they typically prefer mom's shoulder. That's just human nature. "

In all cultures, sez DT "The man leaves to earn money, the woman cooks, cleans, washes, teaches, and whatever else needs to be done to run the house. "

Unless you disagree with God. "The Bible says woman are the "weaker" vessel. You can disagree all you want, but bring me an average woman and we'll arm wrestle. "

Perhaps my favorite discussion of "real women" and "real men." "I put you on that pedestal out of luv! If you don't like it, you might be a lesbian." "But like anything of value, you protect and care for it more because it's worth so much. Society tells us that it's degrading to treat women like that. Actually the very opposite is true. A real woman likes to have the door opened for her. A real woman appreciates a man pulling her chair out when she sits. A real man says "I'll check it out" when there's a strange noise outside at 3am. "

"The next time you go on a date - tell her that she's got an education and should have a job so she should pay for her own food just like you do. Just don't plan on getting married anytime soon, or ever!"
Of course, she might be a feminist and like the sense of equality. But that probably means she is unnatural.

I call this section the "men-can-do-more-pushups section" which proves they are supposed to work. Or else they will crush the infants with their strength and pushup-ness. "And as for the pain, it's not just upper body strength, It's lower body, upper body and everywhere in between. Men are simple better suited (again, thank natural selection or God) for strenuous physical activity than women.

Ever see a WNBA slam-dunk contest?"

" If you honestly think men didn't have a physical advantage when it came to building and providing back in the day, then you are out of touch with history."


Now we enter the logical fallacy area. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc? Perhaps. Observing one thing and assuming causation? "We all know that usually the guy leaves the kid with mom. When there's a divorce who gets the kids? Mom (Dad's get weekends or some other visitation, but not as much as mom). Did you know that over 65% of all child abuse happens at the hands of a step-father. Women simply are more cut out for nurture and development and you can thank natural selection for this reality. "

Intermission: At 12:10 pm, 1/22 Leighton listed all the different angles DT has taken. He presciently notes, "I'll respond to this; lord knows where this thread will wind up by the end of the day." So true.

Back to DT:

I call this the beginnings of the passive aggressive shots. Talking to Tony: "It's funny how the one guy here who's married and has kids is also smart enough to have his wife home providing what's most important to his family. I don't know if you realize how much that only goes to prove my point even more. "
"Women provide the best natural source for emotional nurture and development. Men can do it as well (some more than others) but it comes easiest and most naturally to mothers. It's instinctive for them much more so than men. "


And of course, any man who stays home with the kids doesn't really want to. No matter what he says. "What I'm betting is that you know families where the man hasn't found a job that would allow him to work full time while the wife stays home. They'd probably prefer that and as soon as they get a chance they'll do it but in the meantime they're making the best of a less-than-ideal situation. They pastor on second-shift not out of want but out of current necessity."

Nice argumentation section: "I also looked for a document that showed that hitting youself in the head with a hammer was not a good idea, but I guess some things are just understood. Your resident legal expert may know much about law, but he evidently hasn't checked out what it has to say about who calls the shots when it comes to a newborn - it's mom! Dad doesn't do anything without mom's ok. Sorry he missed that."

"You're opinion and diploma would be laughed at in front of a judge or doctor, but you know better than to go there don't you?"


Then we were given a few links to breast-feeding articles. And we are pretty much up to speed. We are treated to an "all I was saying was that Mohler was worried about the mens" and never suggested that women shouldn't be educated or run a family. Except he did.

Streak said...

BB,

I will ask SOF if she wants to weigh in on this. To be honest, she has been snowed under at work, and hasn't kept up with these thread wars.

But no, your memory is not wrong.

ubub said...

Thanks for the recap. As Leighton pointed out, discussion should be a shared quest for insight and understanding. This ain't it.

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

My first two comments began with "I think..." and "the way I see it..."

I hold my opinions because I see the pattern in the Bible and because human history has echoed this pattern (not forced on women, but of natural acceptance) since the dawn of humanity. I see my opinions as true and gave evidence that supports such an opinion. The hospital I worked in was an HCA hospital and they are the largest group of hospitals in the nation. Obviously the laws may vary from state to state, but I think it safe to say that most, if not all, facilities give the mom preference until she and the baby leave the hospital (typically - there are circumstances where organiziations like CPS steps in). She, even after birth, can refuse dad access to her and the child and the hospital will support her (obviously, this is rare but it is a reality).

You still haven't given a single case where any other culture had the men as primary care-givers. The Puritan culture, despite your example, still saw the mothers as such. Most, if not all, mammals see mother's caring for their young. Humans are no exception and the fact that women normally do it of their own accord is much more overwhelming than not. I don't have non-disputable evidence, but I think the historical pattern is rather weighty. If you are not swayed to at least be duely inclined, then you free to your opinion(s).

Leighton,

I do feel that I am held to a different standard simply because I have a different take on what I stated from the beginning were my opinions (based on what I perceive to be the truth). It seems childish to have to continually say that I am giving my opinions based on what I see as truth, in order to be heard. Everyone else here pokes fun of those that they don't agree with and opinions are often offered as "Truth." I am able to distinguish between "Your take" and what the actual facts are, yet when I call into question someone else's comments, then I am not afforded the same slack. Everyone seems to know what Mohler "really" meant. Mohler never said "An educated women is not a good things" but no one questions BB's...

"Again, having women ill equipped was fine. Suddenly Mohler is concerned about men... Mohler wants to be in charge because he's the guy."

I state my opinions based on what I trust and the evidence that surrounds me - not just in my circle, but around the world and throughout time. I did take a few shots like "...thanking natural selection" but was I the only one who made a few wry remarks on this thread? Not hardly.

I really didn't expect to be extended the same set of rules by which to participate.

Saying I lied in my disscusion of the legal aspects of post-natal care on the hospital level was incorrect on your part. I realize that any attempt on my part to disagree with the regular participants on this blog, will lead to my being picked apart at evey level despite much of the same course of action being used by everyone else when discussing other topics here.

I'll leave it there.

Streak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Streak said...

I had a stronger comment than was probably fair, but decided to delete it. But Tim, your passive aggressive quality here is really annoying. You are misunderstood, misrepresented, and playing by different rules than the rest of us. Please.

In your most recent post, you imply that your only argument with me has always been that most cultures around the world have placed women in the role of primary child-rearer. Of course, I had already conceded that, but questioned how that meant anything like "women are naturally more nurturing." But has that been your only argument? No, of course not. As my most recent comment detailed, you have been all over the map, from comments about upper body strength to suggesting that "real women like men to take care of them" and "real men" are better at bread winning. Or something. You told Tony that his friends who stayed home with their children didn't really want to, because they aren't as naturally blessed with nurturing. Whatever. Then you were only defending Mohler because we had mischaracterized his statements.

Ok.

I won't ban you Tim, but your argument style sounds more like a Rush Limbaugh intern than thoughtful analyst. That is up to you. But don't be surprised when people take offense when you imply they are idiots or don't know anything.

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

I wager that any thread with over 100 comments has a nice variety of topics.

And I'm not whining - just trying not to get pulled down to a tit-for-tat argument. You whine quite a bit here on your blog so maybe you just meant that sarcastically.

I think my views are valid and supported by a large amount of proof. I don't have to insult to make them known and if you felt that I labled you as "ignorant", then you are incorrect, but I apologize if my statements were not taken in the proper context.

The evidence I gave stood much taller than that given in opposition and I'm not alone in my opinions. If you think I am wrong, then you also are free to feel as you wish.

I'll be more careful not to be so direct next time.

Streak said...

Shorter Tim.

"I am still right and the evidence is all on my side. Those who were insulted just didn't understand me."

I'll be more careful not to be so direct next time.

Are you kidding me? Seriously, have you ever really thought about passive aggressive behavior? Because you exemplify it. You can add smiles all you want, but you have acted like a jerk on this post. And this final comment is just more of the same dressed in a faux semi-apology.

That direct enough for you?

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

Your blog is a passive-aggressive showcase. Why do you not like it in only those who disagree?

And I do feel as if I am supported in my views. As are you in your attempts to mock everything that you feel deserves derision on your blog.

Double-standard?

Streak said...

Your blog is a passive-aggressive showcase. Why do you not like it in only those who disagree?

More of your "evidence?" That you say it is so? I have no problem with people who disagree. Nor do any of the other regular commenters here. Steve and I have disagreed quite vehemently on gun control. Tony and I have disagreed on a variety of issues. None of them resulted in this kind of frustration.

As I recall, you ran into similar responses at Greg's blog. I guess it is always the other people who just "don't understand you?"

Dallas Tim said...

Typically two people can have different views and voice those with passion. They may even experience frustration that the other doesn't either, understand their point of view or can't fully understand what their point is (or won't). I don't have to candy coat my positions in most of the conversations I have. Leighton said I should start with things like "I think..." or "the way I see it..." which I did in both of my original comments.

Greg and I remain "friends" (his words) despite our differences on many issues.

Again, if you want me to back down quickly when we disagree, just say so up front. Otherwise don't be so quick to judge my methods when you employ them at will against most of the other people you criticize here.

Streak said...

But that is just more passive aggressive bullshit, Tim. No one ever said you couldn't argue your case here--and no one said you had to sugar coat anything.

And: Leighton said I should start with things like "I think..." or "the way I see it..." which I did in both of my original comments.

And there was no harsh words in response, was there? We disagreed with some, agreed with others. It wasn't until you started saying that "nature says this and if you disagree, you must be blind" that problems arose. You are being disingenuous here. No one jumped you and no one said you couldn't argue those things. We challenged you positing your own opinion as fact. That was the conflict, and if you can address that, we might have some means for communication.

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

What does nature say? That's when I made note that almost every species (especially mammal's) have the female caring for the young. You even agreed to that. To then say, "Well, that doesn't say anything about who is more suited to nurture" just doesn't make sense to me. I'm not saying if it doesn't make sense to you then you are less intelligent than me, just that if it is like it is, then there might be a reason for it. I'm not a biologist, but when human history shows women as primary care-givers and we see more women willing to do it while the "baby daddy" does his own thing, then I think we see the reality that women are more willing to fill the role most of the time (when it's an either or situation). These are my observations. I feel that my observations are the reality and therefore the truth. Not because I'm the authority, but because the evidence points in that direction. I'm taking all of the evidence and making an observation based on that evidence and I think it reasonable to conclude that (typically) women are more instinctively driven to care for and nurture their children.

Again, you make all sorts of critical statements about things of which you disapprove on your blog. I may not agree but I can typically read between the lines of your acting as if we know everything to make a conclusive decision when in reality you are observing the activities and making statement as you feel they warrant a remark(s).

Please allow me the same freedom and don't take it personally when I offer my opinions.

I never intended to make anyone feel as though they were idiots or that I my conclusions were gospel (as in undisputed, no more evidence to look at). I only meant to convey that it seemed rather obvious to me how things were and that many who are the experts in their respective fields seem to be thus inclined.

I hope I can, in the future, be as clear without implying that you either agree with me or are just plain stupid.

Streak said...

I don't want to re-argue this, but nature doesn't say that women are naturally nurturing. That is the point of disconnect. You believe it. You assert that experts agree. When we disagreed, you suggested we were idiots.

Most of us here simply challenged that assumption. We didn't challenge that most often women have been tasked with that role, or that women can be very nurturing. We challenged the assumption that that nurturing was biologically determined.

I hope I can, in the future, be as clear without implying that you either agree with me or are just plain stupid.

I hope so too.

Bootleg Blogger said...

"You still haven't given a single case where any other culture had the men as primary care-givers." "What does nature say?"

I'm not clear on what this has to do with a man and woman living the 21st century America. Using what's "natural" as a guide will get you nowhere when it comes to role choices in modern humans. The traits that determined roles even 50 years ago in the US have little to do with our current role determination. Pulling the "natural" argument out for who should stay home with the kids seems pretty arbitrary.

As far as other cultures go, which one are you wanting to emulate? There are still plenty of cultures who have women as primary caregivers because they aren't given much of a choice in the matter. Plenty of agrarian societies (e.g. S Thai Malay) have plenty of mutual caregiver/mutual labor in their traditions. Everyone works. Everyone takes care of the kids once the faucets are no longer an issue.

I'll repeat- what does your argument (that you claim you are so right about) have to do with any individual person determining their roles in their family?
Later
BB

ubub said...

I am right and you are wrong. That is all.

Dallas Tim said...

BB,

I think most cultures do what easiest and most natural for everyone and that means most have seen women as primary-caregivers. Obviously there were/are times when people were forced by another class to do or be something against their will yet when it comes to mothering most do it because they want to and are no coerced. More men abandon this role and more women go it alone because of the "baby daddy" syndrome. Not all women want to be moms but the ones who do are not forced against their will. Give me 100 couples and then say "Ok, 50 will end up as single parents." I'll bet my next year's income that the vast majority of those 50 couples will be single moms because dad just didn't feel as obligated as she did. That's the cold hard fact in our society. Women just have a more natural inclination to care for the baby/child/kid. Not always, but usually.

If two parents decide to do it differently after they've assesed their own situation then they've probably thought it through more thoroughly and that's reassuring.


Streak,

I have had dinner (and lunch) with Emmylou Harris and went to a party at her house. Does that count for anything?

steves said...

"The hospital I worked in was an HCA hospital and they are the largest group of hospitals in the nation. Obviously the laws may vary from state to state, but I think it safe to say that most, if not all, facilities give the mom preference until she and the baby leave the hospital (typically - there are circumstances where organiziations like CPS steps in)."

No, I think it is unsafe to generalize in this way. You cannot take your experience at one hospital and say that is what happens at all hospitals across the nation. I limited my comments to my state, as I am not familiar with many of the laws in other states.

I agree that biology plays some role in nurturing, but it is not the only factor, nor should it be the only determining factor in child rearing.

Streak said...

As Steve says, it is dangerous to generalize.

Not all women want to be moms but the ones who do are not forced against their will.

Yeah, that isn't true either. Women are increasingly forced to be moms as many of the other options are limited.

vast majority of those 50 couples will be single moms because dad just didn't feel as obligated as she did. That's the cold hard fact in our society. Women just have a more natural inclination to care for the baby/child/kid. Not always, but usually.

See what you did there. You went from a generalization about our society to the idea that women are naturally more nurturing. That is the logical leap you constantly make. And I honestly think you make it not because you know really about how this works, but because you see what you see and simply extrapolate backward and say "haha! Nature."

Dallas Tim said...

Streak,

"Women are increasingly forced to be moms as many of the other options are limited."

What??? They can have abortions, give the child up for adoption and now that we have the Baby Moses law, they can even drop them off at a church or local fire department with no fear of prosecution.

Now I'm not encouraging abortion or dropping your kid off at the local fire station, but to say women are forced to keep their kids because they have limited options is a stretch. Women, more today than ever, DO have options (especially in the US) and yet we still have an overwhelmingly disproportionate number of single mom vs. single dads.

As for my illustration, I simply used it to say that I find it overwhelmingly supportive (as evidence) for my views, that women are more likely to assume the role of primary care-giver. Men just don't step up as readily. That tells me (and others) that women have a more instinctual drive to "mother" their little ones. It's like a smoking gun. It, to me, beggs the question of why? Why are women more willing? Apparently, because they're more inclined and have a greater sense of responsibility to do it.

And extrapolating backwards is what evolution is all about. It's also how we often solve crimes and resolve legal issues in the courtroom so don't be so quick to condemn the approach.

Streak said...

As for my illustration, I simply used it to say that I find it overwhelmingly supportive (as evidence) for my views, that women are more likely to assume the role of primary care-giver. Men just don't step up as readily. That tells me (and others) that women have a more instinctual drive to "mother" their little ones. It's like a smoking gun. It, to me, beggs the question of why? Why are women more willing? Apparently, because they're more inclined and have a greater sense of responsibility to do it.

But as Steve and others have suggested, you still generalize and conclude beyond the evidence. What role does socialization play here? How are little girls raised to encourage this kind of nurturing while little boys are not encouraged? Just in the last 20 years, more fathers are taking a bigger role in the raising of children--from diapers to all sorts of time with the kids--that they did not do nearly as much 30 years ago. Why? Could you suggest that men have been told they aren't good at that, but are finding out that they can be? You don't have a smoking gun. You have smoke--and you have already assumed the source.

Dallas Tim said...

Sure, in the western society you have seen more men trying to do more with their kids. On the other hand, I wonder what the ratio of single moms is today compared with say, 1950? How many more dads do you see (today) abandoning their pregnant girlfriends/wives because they just can't handle the "family" thing? I don't have the exact numbers, but in 1950 the percentage of single parent homes (mostly moms) was about 25 percent. Now it basically reversed. In 2000 I think the number of homes with both birth parents was only approx. 25 percent. So since we have such a tremendous jump in divorce rates and since mom usually has the kids, saying dads are taking more time to spend with them is a bit misleading. Yes, many are making extra effort because so many of their kids are with mom the rest of the week. Whatever some dads are doing better is paltry compared to the explosion of dads who are NOT present as a parent (either in limited capacity - or not at all). Mom usually ends up as primary care-giver - not because someone puts a gun to her head, but simply because she knows she'e the only one who will.

The number of two parent homes where dad participates more in changing the diapers dosen't quite make up for the increase of dads who have decided to bolt and leave mom to do most/all of it herself.

Streak said...

Sure, Tim, and I am not even disagreeing with that. I didn't offer the diaper changing dad as proof that all is well, merely to challenge some of the preconceptions about how men are taught to respond to kids.

And the historical data on single parent families is interesting. I would like to see how that compares to 19th century families, though that would be much harder data to retrieve. I know there was a lot of abandoned families during and immediately after the civil war. Many of those single women actually applied for and successfully obtained homesteads in the plains. Their "prove up" record was quite impressive.

But none of this proves that the causes of men abandoning families, or women tasked with raising children are biologically determined. That is my point. Does biology play a role here? I am sure it does. But so much of what we have said was biologically determined gendered behavior has fallen by the wayside. We were taught for years that women were biologically less logical or not suited for certain jobs (until WW2 when we wanted them to build ships and guns, etc). Now, there is no evidence that women can't be every bit as successful at many jobs that were previously thought to be "male."

Dallas Tim said...

That makes sense. I think whatever the cultural situation, people tend to (ideally anyway) do what works best/easiest. When (some) women had to pick up the slack, they did and if (some) men had to go it alone as a parent, they did as well.

My theory is that, all things considered, women just are more naturally inclined to take care of the kids in a more instinctive way.

Anyway, enough on this topic. I think we're both ready to discuss something else anyway...

steves said...

Your comments reminded me of one of my pet peeves. I took a divorce reform seminar in my last year of law school. It was quite eye opening in terms of dispelling some popular myths and stereotypes. One of them was the "deadbeat dad." While it is true that the number of dads that do not pay child support outnumbers the number of moms, this may be misleading and probably more due to the fact that more women get custody. The percentage of non-paying mothers greatly outnumbers non-paying fathers.

Dallas Tim said...

Steve,

That doesn't suprise me at all. Think about it - for a dad to have custody instead of the mom. What kind of totally jacked-up mess must her life be in to not have been awarded primary care-giver status. If she was wheels-off enough to lose her kids (when as we've all agreed - mom typically is the primary care-givern for one reason or another) then her ability to pay ANYTHING or even attempt to would be surprising. I have a relative (guy) who has primary custody of their son. In their case (and I'm not using this example across the board) she pretty much checked out mentally. For a woman to lose custody of her kids tells me she's probably much worse off than a typical dad who doesn't have full custody.

steves said...

That stat also includes parents with joint custody. Child support is paid in tose situations, though you won't pay if you have the children more than 50% of the time or if your income is significantly less than your spouse.

Streak said...

For a woman to lose custody of her kids tells me she's probably much worse off than a typical dad who doesn't have full custody.

I think that is more assumptions, but then again, I am tired of arguing on this one.

I am reading this Faludi book for one thing, and the emphasis in the post 9-11 world on domestic women is striking. Not only that, but the punishment or process of ignoring those who dare to step outside that model is also striking. We live in a more complicated world, I think.