Sunday, November 6, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 12-Part 2

I love this section!  There are two themes running through the middle of this chapter.

 Theme one: A pair of highly sheltered very young women have determine what ALL men need in a wife. This theme is a hoot because any person who has been in a satisfying long-term relationship can shoot massive holes in this theme (and believe me, you will be seeing me take aim.)

Theme two: Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin are the most eligible women ever since they have all of the skills a man needs! This theme is rather depressing because it shows that neither of the Botkin Sisters - or their "editors" - can recognize a massive personal bias.

For every girl we know asking why so few young men are "ready," we know a young man asking where the ready and eligible girls are. Our brothers and their friends have told us that many of the qualities girls have cultivated to make themselves "eligible" are things that won't come up on young men's radar screens, and the qualities that young men are most looking for have been neglected. [...]
The first step in understanding how we can become "helper suitable" is to understand what exactly a man is supposed to be doing that he would need help with. A man who is taking Dominion (Genesis 1: 28), discipling the nations (Matthew 28: 19), and feeding Christ's sheep (John 21: 15 - 17) is going to require more of his wife then the ability to iron a shirt, cook a meal, and look good on his arm. We may not be able to predict whether our husbands will have a use for stenography skills over musical proficiency or business acumen, but what every good man we'll need from his wife (no matter what he does) will be a willingness to get her hands dirty, be stretched, learn new things, work hard, and die to herself. (pg. 215)
  • Ninety percent of my graduate program is learning how to read technical papers and how to check for mistakes in the procedure.  
    • Tip One: Make sure that the reference group or sample group is representative of the population as a whole.
      • The reference group for this "case study" is the Botkin Bros - two of which would have been teenagers when this book was written - and the friends of said brothers.
        • Implications: The reference group is highly sheltered and members of the same closed system of beliefs.  At the same time, many of the members have been raised by the same people and are more similar in beliefs than an average random sample from a closed system.
      • Outcome: This "case study" may be of value if you are a) a Botkin Brother, or  b) a friend of the Botkin Brothers, but is of limited value for the rest of humanity.
  • I don't mean to be wry, but being a good cook IS a way of feeding Christ's sheep.  See most ministries involving homeless people.  
  • I'll be willing to bet that business acumen - as indicated by the ability to hold a job, grow a career, or build a business - will be much more in demand than either stenography skills or musical proficiency in the absence of business skills.
  • In the real world, relatively few available men are in business for themselves.  Most people work for other people.  As such, most men (and most women) don't need specific skills from their spouse to grow their career.  My husband gave me a few new ideas for labs to do with my students and a listening ear when I needed to blow off steam.  That's honestly about as much as most spouses do directly for the other spouse's career.
Godly men need women who have intrepidity, courage, and sturdy virtue to come alongside of them in the rigors of  their lives. They also need wives who have a good grasp of such things as current affairs, worldview, and politics, and who care about the things their husbands are interested in and involved in. They need helpers who recognized that loving their men means loving the mission and the work their men are called to do (pg. 215-216).
  • OMG!  All men totes need the three things that the Botkin Family likes to pretend they are good at - current affairs, "worldview" and politics!   You should totes marry us!
  • Any bets on how much the Botkin Sisters understand about:
    • Educating politicians about the benefits and drawbacks of using Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices (GAAMP) as guidelines for nuisance suits involving farms?  
    • The potential benefits and problems with implementation of Common Core standards with the legal testing requirements in Michigan? 
    • Common issues with the standardized testing options available for determining how well secondary and post-secondary students understand the nature of science?
    • And yet, I know single men who work in each of these areas - and really don't want to hear about "worldview" or - God forbid - Geoffrey Botkin's thoughts on Brexit.
  • The best irony - the Botkin Sisters know women who were poorly prepared for what their husband actually needed from them in terms of career skills!  To be fair, this example was published after the book, but the Botkin Sisters have never retracted their views on this point.  I've linked the blog post about Genevieve (Smith) de Deugd's experiences of her first four months of marriage.  I've also pulled some choice sections: 

"We knew that working together on projects and in Pete’s sawmilling/woodworking business would add another dimension to our relationship, strengthen our marriage, grow our friendship and be a whole lot of fun!"
  • I'll give the de Deugds' credit: working in a spouse's business can either be great for a marriage or destroy a marriage in short time.  
    • For our marriage, we've decided it's healthiest for me to stay outside of the farm in terms of a career.  Family businesses can bring a lot of family baggage and I'm a better resource for my husband as a person outside of the system.  
 "Being a daughter in my father’s home and helping him was predominantly an intellectual and sedentary lifestyle. Being a wife in my husband’s home and helping him involves a lot of manual work and is a very active lifestyle. I’ve had a lot to learn."
  • I am intrigued by the fact that Genevieve thinks her dad's ministry that promotes homeschooling was more intellectual than doing sawmilling and woodworking.  I'm guessing that that dichotomy is mainly due to the fact that she's still learning about running a sawmill and woodworking.  The more advanced woodworking and sawmilling skills require some pretty solid mathematics skills.  
  • Is having Genevieve learn how to do some really basic work on the machinery really the best use of her talents?  Presumably, she learned a bit about marketing and website design in her work with her dad.  Rather than have her duplicate what her husband is doing, wouldn't the family have been better served by having her work to increase business?  (Or - gasp- bring in independent income through a job/career of her own?)
  • When I was first dating my husband, I thought that I would be learning how to milk cows and do other basic labor around the farm.  When we got more serious, my husband was very clear that he wanted to marry a wife who would be a partner in his life - not a substitute milker.  Plus, I could bring in more income and benefits by having an outside career.  When I moved out to the farm, I realized that my main benefit to the farm was understanding more about human resource management to give my husband support as the amount of time he spent managing workers increased.   I've still never milked a cow or driven a tractor; it's just not a good use of my time or skills.
  • I hope that she learned that wearing skirts around a shop and in junkyards is not a safe idea.  I've given up wearing shorts on the farm when I'm working in the shop or up in the haymow because my legs get cut up but good.  
Back to the Botkin Sisters....

A girl recently asked us what is the number one thing that most girls fail to learn in order to be ready for marriage. For years, we've been advocates for girls amassing a rigorous education, vast inter-disciplinary knowledge, boatloads of practical skills, and the like. But since watching two of our brothers choose their companions for life, we've had a slight shift in our understanding of what men really need. "The capacity for deep relationships," we replied. A wife and mother's job will call out many different strengths and abilities and each of us, we explained her, but the most important of all will be our ability to develop real relationships. If we get married, the biggest impact of our lives will come from our relationships with our husbands and our relationships with our children. If we never marry, the biggest contributions of our lives should still be our fruit for relationships with those around us (pg. 218).
  • Again, the Botkin Sisters begin with a vision of wifehood in which the wife is mainly a tool.  Actually, they never move off of the idea that women are supposed to be handy tools for men.  Their view of marriage isn't two people joined and growing within a marriage and raising up kids to be healthy adults; instead, women are a tool to develop relationships between people.
  • I do appreciate the Botkin Sisters' understanding that our main legacy is from our relationships with others; that's a worldview I can support.  I am disappointed, however, that the Sisters can't make the next connection that our relationships outside of our families can be as vital, as fulfilling and as live-changing as being a daughter, sister, wife and/or mother.
There is one post left in this series!  One post.  Wow.  There is an entire chapter on contentment, but there's no meat to it so I'm not going to waste time going over it.  I've got my next book picked out - a short one for a break from the Botkin Sisters for a month or two.   Last post: The Botkin sisters make a list of things that they are allowed to judge people on.  Plenty of fat-shaming, too.  May as well go out on a "high" point.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 12 - Part One

Chapter 12 is titled "What a Man Needs at His Side: How to Become a Girl a Man Would Want as a Wife as Well as a Friend.  Ironically, I can start by parsing the problems with the title of the chapter.
  • The first word of the chapter title is an interesting Freudian slip.  The Botkin Sisters use "What" - a term used to designate an object in English - instead of "Who".  A man apparently doesn't need a woman; he needs a tool.
  • Girls shouldn't marry.  Girls are by definition immature and still growing.  A man who is looking for a wife is looking for a woman or a lady.  (If a man is looking to marry a girl, he's not going to be a good husband.)
  • A healthy friendship is the cornerstone of a marriage.  CP/QF bloggers and talking heads get all wound up about sex and raising children - and forget the basics.  The tools used to keep a long-term friendship going are the same tools that are used in a marriage.

We knew from the beginning that this could not be a book about how to get married, as neither of us have had any personal experience doing that. However, in writing about how to be the kind of woman that the men around us need us to be, we knew that we couldn't ignore the elephant in the room: girls want to know what young men need in the one woman that is going to stand by them for the rest of their lives. What do they need in their best friend? What do they need their helpmeet? (pg.209)

Sunday, October 30, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: The Boys - Part 8

In our latest installment of "The Boys of Botkin", we get to hear the Botkin Sisters' male friends views on pitfalls in guy-girl relationships.  After transcribing the quotations, I am extremely doubtful that any of the guys (including their married brother Ben) have actually had a relationship with a woman.

Overarching Theme: Girls are TERRIFYING!  I'm so afraid!
Jack, inventor, says ...
Guys appreciate a girl who is emotionally stable and exhibits self-control. We can have actual friendships with girls who don't jump to conclusions and misconstrue small acts of kindness as signs of love and devotion. Presumptuous girls can create situations that are painful for us, but we are also concerned about their feelings. As frustrating as it can be to receive unwanted attention, it's far worse to be the cause of a disastrous heartbreak, even when it's no fault of your own.
It can feel like you're walking on eggshells when we're trying to be brothers in Christ to unpredictably hot-headed girls, never knowing whether the slightest word or gesture might start an emotional roller-coaster and misery for our sisters in Christ. Our gratitude for the more self-possessed girls who refused to indulge in every dreamy  whim cannot be overstated. (pg. 194)

Monday, October 17, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 11 - Part Four

We're down to the last two "stories" from Chapter 11!  The first story illustrates why Emo-Pur (Emotional Purity) is a giant waste of time and energy for everyone involved.

Candie is only 16, and knows that she and Jacob aren't ready to get married; but since they're officially just friends, they feel free to become as close as they like. Down inside, she knows this friendship trying to spin out of control - he's becoming more important to her than anything else in the world. He's always in her thoughts (and constantly popping up in her chat window); he's starting to monopolize her time and her focus, even coming between her and her parents. It's turning into a re-run of her friendship with Jonathan last year, which ended in her never being allowed to see him again - but she just can't stop...(pg.192)

Friday, October 14, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 11-Part Three

If the scenario that the Botkin Sisters are laying out in this bit is common in home schooled young adults, people need to rethink how they are raising their daughters.  The "girls" in this section manage to be both wimpy and overly rigid at the same time.  Let's go....

"Lauren is 22, and wondering how to handle the continual over-friendliness of Marshall, and his hints about someday making something happen, when she knows he's not ready and hasn't talked to her father about a relationship. She doesn't want to end our friendship, but also doesn't want to hurt to get too involved in something that may never happen... (pg. 192)."
  • Apparently, Lauren isn't worried about wasting time on non-existent problems.  
    • Marshall is interested in Lauren - at least kind of - and mentions it occasionally.  
    • Lauren, on the other hand, has meticulously determined Marshall's lack of readiness.
    • She's also worried because Marshall - who doesn't want a relationship right now - has NOT talked to Lauren's dad about starting a relationship.  It makes no sense at all for Marshall to ask Lauren's dad about a courtship right now.
    • The problem here is NOT Marshall.....
"There are such things as scoundrels and rakes; there are young men who genuinely don't know the right channels; there are good boys who aren't ready to get married yet; there are guys who are more interested in fun than commitment; and there are nice guys were just way too friendly with girls. How do we handle them?
Girls often come to us distraught over problems like, "He keeps telling me he really cares about me, but I know he hasn't talked to my dad..." "He's too friendly and I don't know what to do about it..." "He asked me for a date, but I'm committed to courtship!" "He keeps sending me gushy Facebook messages!" "He's not marriage material yet but I hate to push someone away who likes me so much..." "He stopped me in the store and asked me for my name and phone number..." "He follows me everywhere and asked me really personal questions!" "He is just so sensitive and sweet and affectionate towards me - I know he's pushing his boundaries, but I'm starting to fall for him anyway..."(pg. 196 )"
  • The Botkin Sisters have an entire podcast on the topic brought up in the first paragraph.  I do not recommend it; it's terrifying for multiple reasons.
  • The book takes multiple pages to come up with "answers" for each situation, but I think I can do it in much less.
    • "He hasn't talked to Dad."  If that's important to you, load him up with Pop's contact information.  If the guy doesn't call, move on.
    • "He's too friendly."  Is that really a problem?  If you don't like his friendliness, ignore him.  Cold-shoulder him.  Avoid him like the plague.  That will usually do the trick.
    • "Asked for a date; I want courtship." Explain the difference to him. Who knows?  He might be OK with that or he may move on.  Either way, you've made your expectations known.
    • "Stopped in a store for name and number."  I've never had that happen, but a "Who the (insert swear word of your choice) are you?!?" should stop that dead.
    • "Follows me everywhere" That sounds like a stalker.  Reach out to your local police to find out what you need to do.
    • "He's pushing his boundaries."  Chica, God did not make you responsible for him stepping over his boundaries.  Is he stepping over YOUR boundaries?  If he is, tell him to stop.  If not, stop worrying about it and enjoy the relationship.
These are the sort of situations that can be uncomfortable to deal with, but they don't have to get truly sticky unless we let them. We often have more power to direct this sort of situation than we realize. Young men have told us time and time again: girls are really the ones who set the tone for the interaction. (pg. 196)
  • This is true.  Women have power in relationships!  The vast majority of guys will respect boundaries you set - either by backing away from the boundary or leaving the relationship.
  • I never thought I'd agree with the Botkin Sisters on something, but this is decent advice.
In the case of Lauren and Marshall, Lauren is feeling overwhelmed with confusion over how to handle Marshall's clear interest, knowing that he's not marriage material yet, and hasn't approached to father. The solution, however, is very simple. Lauren simply needs to do three things:

Talk to her parents about the situation, and let them know her true thoughts and feelings regarding Marshall. Our parents can  help keep us accountable if our own hearts are swaying.  Our fathers are also our secret weapons in the area of dealing with guys. They are the strength that we don't have - they are the ones who can force the issues for us, the ones who can find out what a young man's intentions are towards us, the ones who can make sure no one leads us on. What if Marshall was only playing with her while he waited for something better to come along? (pg. 198)
  • Oh, good.  The world has righted itself again.  You can talk to your parents, or your friends or whoever - but this isn't an actual romantic relationship and putting this much time and energy into it is messed up.
  • Teaching your daughters that they can't determine a guy's intention and that they are too weak to do anything about issues that come up is sick, sick, sick, sick.  
  • Reality check:
    • Do you think these problems are going to disappear when you marry?  Issues will arise with your spouse; you need to know what your spouse's intentions are and you sure as hell better be able to figure out if you are being led on by your spouse!
    • What happens when you interact with the real world?  Even if you plan on being a SAHM, you will need to interact with men who are not your husband on a regular basis.  Being a push-over who can't read body language or actions is NOT going to work.
  • Notice how warped the Botkin Sisters view of men is; Marshall, who has done nothing wrong by most courtship standards, is dangled out as a potential playboy.  
"Interact with Marshall as a sister and not a girlfriend, as if nothing is going on... Because nothing is, right? Are pure and sisterly conduct can remind young men with their own should be.

Resist the urge to keep a candle burning for him in her heart just in case. We don't know who God intends for us to marry; we don't know who God intends for them to marry. What's important is that we keep our hearts open to what God wants. And that's going to be a lot harder if we already filled that spot with a certain someone. (pg. 198)"

  • The first step to treating Marshall as a brother-in-Christ or simply as a friend is to stop obsessing over this relationship.  Truly, Marshall is not the person with a problem here.
  • Yeah, it would be hard to find the person God wants Lauren to marry if Lauren is so focused on not getting into a relationship with Marshall that she's not looking at anyone else....
We're rolling through Chapter 11!  One more chunk of Botkin "Wisdom" then another session with the Boys.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 11 - Part 2

Welcome to the dangers of online relationships per the Botkin Sisters!  Let's dive in because there is a LOT to cover here:

Jessie is 18, sweet, naive, and longing for love and attention, but too shy to talk to the boys she knows. Online is easier. So is Omar, a wonderful charming new cyber friend. Within months, he's convinced her that no one could ever love her like he does that he's even urging her to "escape" from her home, and has bought her plane ticket to the city where he lives... (pg. 192).

Saturday, October 8, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 11 - Part 1

Ahh.  Now we launch into all the fun of reading about how Anna Sofia and Elizabeth have judging all their  friends failed (or not so failed) relationships.

I'm sure I'm going to say this a lot, but I find it crass that two young women who have had a grand total of a single rumored courtship between the two of them expect us to listen to them about how to have a healthy relationship with men.

Actually, I'm being overly optimistic.  We're going to hear about how all of their "friends" have shitty relationships.

Bluntly, I learned most of what I know about relationships from listening to adults discuss the positives and negatives of ongoing relationships going on around them.  I also watched the adults around me to see how people treated each other and which relationships I wanted to emulate some day.

"Ashley, 24, has known since she was 17 the Bradley was The One. All these years she's clung to every possible reason to hope, cherishes every friendly gesture... and now she's really from his announcement that he's just become engaged to one of her friends... (pg. 191)"

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: The Boys - Part 7

For people who have been reading along with Botkin Sisters through this series what I will say next will surprise no one. The Botkin Sisters  manage to find guys who are willing to talk about how girls should talk to each other about guys when no guys are around.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I find the idea of receiving moral advice on how I'm supposed to interact with other young women condescending.  Equally disturbing is the idea that all moral information has to be filtered through men. Heck, in this case the moral orbiters are not men but half-grown boys.
Ugh.  Here we go:

James, producer, says... Girls up and wonder why guys won't take the lead in approaching girls or simply initiating conversation. The truth is, that many guys I know are unwilling subject themselves to the gossip that they know will occur if they have a conversation with a girl. " Did you see Tommy talking to Sue? I wonder if he's interested in marrying her?" Worse yet are the mothers to try to play matchmaker. "So... When are you going to get married? What about Ruth? She's a nice girl. I saw you talking to her this afternoon. Are you guys courting?" It's not fun walking into a room and feeling like a fresh hunk of meat thrown into a shark tank, just waiting for the circle and women to attack. (pg. 181)

Friday, September 30, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 10 - Part Four

So far, the Botkin Sisters have focused on how to bother your friends show any interest in a romantic relationship. Next, the girls explain how to become a completely social isolated loser. 

 Don't believe me? Wait until you see the advice.

How to put out a fire

However, if you're dealing with a fire someone else has started, there's still things you can do.

When other people are having a gossip festival,  just remember that the best way to put out a fire is to be a wet blanket. Don't be afraid to put a damper on things by saying, "I really don't think we should be talking about this." "Do you know this for a fact?"   "Have you consulted your parents about this?"   "Have you talked to the people involved?" (pg. 188)
  • Yes! Everyone loves a wet blanket!  Simply by following this advice you can look both immature and self-important in  a few short sentences.
  • Most adults - and teenagers, actually - can change the subject in a conversation without putting another person down.  And honestly, these ideas are borderline rude. The last three sentences imply that the speaker is either immature,  lying, or spreading gossip.
  • As an adult woman, I am certain that my parents do not want me to consult them on every conversation about a romantic interlude between two other people that I hear about.   This was true even when I was 12. 
When you see a genuinely bad situation that requires intervention - for example, if two young people are doing things their parents don't know about that - there are appropriate channels  (your parents, and maybe theirs) to go through to the address the problem. Your girlfriends are not one of these channels. But talking to parents is different from gossip and inappropriate meddling.  (pg 189)
  • is your friend in danger? Is your friend in an abusive relationship?  If she is, by all means intervene. If she is not in danger, tread carefully.
  • How certain are you that your friend's parents are sane? Are you able and ready to deal with the outcome of your friend being kicked out parents who are unduly controlling? If not, mind your own business. 
  • How certain are you that you know exactly what one of your friends' parents is comfortable with their daughter doing in terms of a romantic relationship? If you are wrong, you will manage to embarrass your friend slightly and yourself immensely.
  • How many friends do you have? How many friends do you want to have? Following this advice is an excellent way to destroy a friendship so if you have too many friends follow the advice. If not. disregard this  advice.
When you're the one being gossiped about, don't respond emotionally or immaturely. Take this is an opportunity to examine yourself and your conduct - have you been giving people a reason to talk? If you and your parents are sure you haven't, then don't stress out about it, and don't take it personally. When people talk about you, it means they're watching you - be sure that you are modeling conduct that's  irreproachable. Give them a reason to whisper excitedly about how well you've been behaving.

When we discover that people are making things up behind our backs -"I bet they're not allowed to talk to boys." " Look at who she's talking to again! " " What horrible thing do you suppose Anna Sofia did to make her father force her to be single forever?" "Between Tom, Dick, and Harry, I'm betting Elizabeth marries Harry."  "Anna Sophia and Alfred would make a great couple. I think I'll go tell her!" - we don't need to let it get to us. This is the sort of thing that can bring comedy to our lives.(pg. 189)
  • Skip the self-reflection. People will gossip. it's not worth living your life based on what will give them the most minimal amount of gossip.
  • No one is ever going to whisper excitedly about how well you've been behaving. I am speaking from years of experience; no one gives a shit about people behave well.
  • in all fairness to the gossips, when your father has spent years telling people that you and your sister has been raised specifically for the purpose of being wives and mothers, do not be surprised when people ask why you are neither a wife nor a mother when approaching 30.  And if you think it's bad now, wait until you turn 35.
  • I don't see what's so wrong about telling an adult that you think they would make a nice couple with another adult.   Not a great idea if they're both 10, but I don't think 10 year-olds should be reading this book either... 
When people are prodding and prying, give an answer for the hope that is within you. 
With nearly fifty years of life between the two of us, we have had our share of encounters with both the well-meaning and the snoops who mistook our business for their business, asking everything from "why aren't you married yet?"  "So, are you interested in boys yet?" "So, when are you going to get married?" "Why don't you have a boyfriend?"  " plans?"  "Is something going on between you and Harry?" "Is it hard not being married?" "You do know you're getting older, right?" "Why won't you consider polygamy?" "Can I give your number to a friend of mine?" "Have you met Algernon? He's really cute and good with kids!" "So, who would you like to marry?" (pg. 189)
  • So, I'm just spitballing here, but I'm willing to bet that Elizabeth and Anna Sophia have had a lot more of these conversations know that they are approaching 50 years of life between the two of them then they had when this book was written.
  • I find it interesting how the questions are a mix of outright rude, standard curiosity, and well-meaning advice.  I wonder how many of their friends suspect that one or both of the sisters are lesbians and are asking the question about interest in boys to open a difficult conversation topic.
  • I would recommend that if a friend offered to give your number to a guy they know  - take them up on it. Likewise, if they know a guy they are willing to introduce you to who is cute and good with kids, say "Yes, I would love that."
Instead of dreading these questions, we should embrace the opportunity to tell them why we do have hope and not despair; why were not boy-crazy; why we trust the Lord with the future; how we guard our hearts and minds; how much fruit God is bringing from are single years; and how all the ways we are trying to serve the Lord now. These are the god-given opportunity is to show people a glimmer of hope, a bigger vision, giving them a reason to trust in God too.  (pg 189)
  • These are some of the worst conversation topics I've ever heard of.I can't believe it actually think someone who asked the question quote do you have a boyfriend? Quote is interested in a discussion about how big are their hearts and Minds.
  • presumably the Botkin Sisters have been sharing this conversation topics with their friends since the book was written. I also Imagine for most of the people who their friends with these topics of conversation has become stale. it's one thing to have a conversation with your friend  who is 23 about how trust the Lord with their future and another thing to have the same conversation when their friend is now 30.
  • Expecting your personal story to give people a glimmer of hope for a reason to trust in God can blow up in your face.  After all,  the Botkin Sisters have been telling these stories to their friends and conference attendees for the better part of ten years now. 
That's the end of this chapter. Now that the Botkin Sisters have passed on to their readers ways to scare off both men and women we can move on to the Botkin Sisters' interpretation of how a bunch of other young women have screwed up relationships. Sounds like fun!  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 10 - Part 3

This is the section where the Botkin Sisters decide to act as the arbitrators of how girls should interact with each other.  You might expect that they would have some personal experience in this area.  After reading this chunk, I don't think they have much more experience with female friends than they do with male friends.

Contributing to the delinquency of another  

They're not supposed to be head hunting... so don't ask them, “Who do you think is cute?” or “Who do you want to marry?” They don't need help thinking the wrong kinds of thoughts towards young men, or trying to pick out specific ones as if it were their place to do the choosing (pg 186).

Thursday, September 22, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 10-Part Two

I've started blogging again after a several month break.  I'm pregnant and my body responded to the change in hormones by having my digestive system go berserk and my hips widened by two inches from relaxing soft tissue which lead to lots of hip and back pain.  So, yeah, I spent most of the summer curled into a ball.

Good news is between a doctor-recommended mix of Unisom and B6 that caused me to stop vomiting and start eating again and lots of stretching, I'm back to my usual sardonic self.

Added bonus: when I restarted my grad school program, I found a free voice-based transcription software package online to help me transcribe the interviews I am collecting for my thesis.  This package lets me prepare selected quotes from the Botkin Sisters book in a quarter of the time it took me to type myself from the book.  Plus, reading this book aloud is a simple pleasure.  It reads a bit like a 1950's etiquette manual written by a grandmother rather than a 21st century book written by two women in their early twenties.

Let's dive back in:

Overarching Theme: Being involved in starting a romance is horrifyingly wrong! 

Trying to start things
Not that it's wrong to introduce people or say nice things about person A to person B and if one's interests are known to be bigger than love and marriage- if one of the general relationship broker and not just a romance broker - people will likely take such things in the healthy spirit in which it was meant. But then there's a kind of matchmaker that a friend of ours described as "much to be feared". Like the kind that sets up introductions and tete-a-tetes as though they were directing their own personal soap opera, and stand off to the side to watch and giggle. Or like the man who once called out loudly during a large dinner, "so X wants to marry one of the Y girls, and can't decide which one!" leaving X sitting at that very moment across from the Y girls to choke on his soup and turn purple. Not only did no marriage is come of it but the friendship possibilities were largely spoiled as well (not to mention the appetites). Or like the matchmaker that has a dreadful taste and keeps trying to set us up with her the lonely, strange friends. (pg. 181-182)

  • So now the only people allowed to act as matchmakers are the parents of the teenagers? I've never liked playing matchmaker but some people are quite good at it. if I were the Botkin Sisters, I would NOT hesitate to turn my nose up at a good date or courtship or whatever.
  • Yes, standing off to the side and watching two people you've introduced meet each other and giggling is immature. Like Junior High-level of immaturity . That's why we don't let junior high students be matchmakers. However, real adults generally do not behave like this. if you are a real adult and your friends behave like this, you need to find new friends.
  • Be honest now. How many married couples do you know that never had an awkward moment while dating due to an odd family member making an offhand reference? X may marry one of the Y girls someday and this would be a hilarious story to pass on in the family.
  • The Botkin sisters think that their friends keep setting them up with lonely, strange dates. Pot, meet kettle.
  • I am amazed at how bitchy the Botkin Sisters are towards their “friends”. Yeah, they lob some half-hearted criticisms at nameless feminists, but they save most of their venom for people they actually know. That's quite disturbing.

  • Trying to stop things
    Often this is because the meddler actually wants to start something else. We've seen good conversations hijacked by jealous third parties. We've seen people try to sabotage other people's relationships (sometimes throwing themselves in the way or interposing other people). We've seen girls complain about guys talking to and befriending other girls which would normally be the kind of thing that they would promote, were not their own interests in the way) and raising motions to get these things stopped. (pg. 182)
    • I really think the Botkin Sisters need new friends. This behavior is age appropriate between 12 and 14 years of age and should be completely gone by age 20.
    • When they use the word "interposing" this is actually a long set up for a footnote that invokes the Doctrine of Interposition as a joke. Look, I love academic jokes as much as the next person but your audience has to know the doctrine for the joke to make any sense. Based on my Google search, very few people study or use the Doctrine of Interposition on a regular basis.
    • Man, talk about cutting off your own nose to spite your face. Trying to get boy-girl talk banned will come back to bite you when you meet the next cute guy. Of course, most of us learn that lesson in - surprise, surprise! - Junior High.
    Looking out for number one
    Rather than looking out for everyone else is good, sometimes we're actually just looking out for our own good. Maybe we're not trying to set and match someone else's game. Maybe our own love life is the soap opera that we're trying to write and direct. Maybe we're manipulating circumstances and engineering stale mates among our friends because we want something or someone for ourselves. We interpose, hijack, flatter, slander, stalk and show two faces so that we can win this game. (pg. 185)
    • Welcome to reality. Most adults are in control of their own love life. They choose to take an active role in it. This is not new nor should it be condemned.
    • Ahh. Another example of "one thing is not like the other" from the Botkin Sisters. Flattery can be a part of romantic relationship. Hijacking, slandering, stalking and being two-faced is likely to end badly in the long run – and stalking is illegal. (Well, so is hijacking, but they are using a different use of the word....)
    • Looking back over various relationships and people who try to sabotage other people's relationships, I can't think of many examples where the relationship actually ended because of the sabotuer's actions. I mean, the couple isn't stupid; you can tell when someone is messing with you. Plus, I can't think of any time that the sabotuer ended up in a long-term relationship with the person whose relationship they ended.
    Well, the Botkin Sisters are really scraping the bottom of the barrel now for stories. Next up, lots of really helpful lists – especially if you want to get rid of any female friends you currently have.

    Friday, June 3, 2016

    It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 10 - Part One

    This chapter is titled "Playing with Matches: Meddling with Other People's Relationships".   Honestly, most of this very, very short chapter is on what you can and cannot talk to female friends about.

    The introduction for this chapter is the worst historical mangle of the entire book.

    "Once upon a time, in a nice Christian community named 'Peace', a bunch of average, church-going tweenaged (sic) girls began meeting in a kitchen for some "quality girl time", to enjoy space away from their parents, speculate about their future husbands, and complain about other people in the community.  Once their collective imaginations were fanned into hysteria, their meddlings set the community on fire.  By the year's end, 150 innocent people had been imprisoned and 20 had been hanged or pressed to death for witchcraft.  What this typical-girl talk had turned into was the Salem Witch Trials.

    Many know the sad story of Salem as a cautionary tale about the dangers of superstition, community hysteria, or lapses on due process.  But there is another lesson buried in these events, one especially one for young women.  When girls let their minds be overrun with curiosity and fear about the future (and the paranormal); when they cut themselves off from reality and accountability to commune together in secret girl-talk sessions; when they get hopped up on each other's estrogen and emotionalism; when they feed the fires of each other's conjecture and imaginings; when they stir the pot of gossip, grudges, and desire for attention - people can get burned." (pgs. 179-180)

    • The Botkin Family spends a great deal of time talking about how they understand history better than anyone else.  This section pretty clearly illustrates the difference between historical research done by professionals and what passes for research under the Botkin Family.
      • To save time, the book I used to debunk this section is "The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-By-Day Chronicle of A Community Under Siege" by Marilynne K. Roach published in 2002.  Ms. Roach spent 20 years compiling a timeline of the Salem Witch Trials using archived documents. This book provides a comprehensive overview of what was happening in Salem and surrounding communities.  She is also very clear when the record has gaps or questions that cannot be currently answered due to lost documents. 
      • By comparison, Anna Sofia and Elizabeth seem to have spent 20 minutes reading secondary sources and applying their conclusions too broadly.  (And by secondary sources, I mean they failed to do even a cursory read of the Wikipedia article.  Maybe they watched the first 15 minutes of "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller and failed to watch the rest of the film. Oh, who am I kidding?  They've never read or watched "The Crucible")  This is unfortunate because the Salem Witch Trials have a great deal to teach the followers of CP.
    Let's get the most obvious problem out of the way first:
    There is no evidence that the accusers in the Salem Witch Trials ever met together alone for girl talk or any communal dabblings in the occult.
    • It's easy enough to see where the mistaken idea came in.  Several girls in the community admitted to having tried to predict their future husbands using a trick of watching the shape that an egg white takes in a glass.  One of the local women made a witch cake early in the timeline to try and determine who was afflicting the girls.  Tituba, a female slave who lived in the same household as one of the accusers, explained that she didn't do any bad magic, but had done good magic to try and protect the girls' in the house from witchcraft.  
      • It doesn't take much from these unrelated events to craft the commonly understood story that a bunch of pre-teen or teenage girls were meeting with Tituba to learn some harmless occult practices.
    • On the flip side, when would these girls have had time to get together?  Salem Village or Salem Farms was a working community.  The amount of work that needed to be done during the growing season was staggering: planting, weeding, harvesting, preserving, preparing fibers, making cloth, making clothes, caring for livestock, making dairy products,  repairing household items, caring for the sick, young and elderly...the list never ends.  The winter had fewer chores, but cold weather and snow makes traveling dicey during 25% of the year.
    • Even if the girls did manage to get together, how would they have avoided their parents?  It's not like these girls lived in a modern home.  If one girl visited another, she would have likely been helping out with chores or been knitting under the watchful eye of the mother.  
    Salem was not a peaceful place during the time of the Salem Witch Trials.
    • The Botkin Family seems to believe that the end times are near.  If they do believe that, it would behoove them to look at the effects that a fractured society had on the people within it.
      • Massachusetts was in an uncertain legal status.  The original charter had been revoked.  England had sent over a greatly hated governor who was eventually removed from the colony.  The people of Massachusetts were uncertain of how England was going to respond and were facing a potential war against a much stronger nation.
      • France and allied Native American Tribes were attacking settlements in Maine.  
        • In "In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692" Mary Beth Norton makes a compelling argument that the witchcraft trials cannot be viewed apart from the wars between the Anglo-American and French / Native American peoples that had raged for 30 years. 
        • Many of the accusers would be diagnosed with PTSD today.  Refugees from towns attacked had come to Salem.  At least two of the accusers in the Salem Witch Trials had survived attacks that had killed family members.  The torments that the accusers used against the witches like "being roasted on a spit" or "being torn to pieces" were based on methods of torture the girls had witnessed while in captivity.
    Historians have been able to piece together some of the preceding events that linked the adult family members of the accusers with the people accused of witchcraft.
    • The story of the Salem Witch Trials is often reduced to a pat story where some girls accused women who were "traditional" victims of witchcraft, then everything spiralled out of control and random people were accused willy-nilly until the flames burned out.  That's not the reality of the situation.
      • The original set of accused witches weren't so cut and dried.  
        • Sarah Good is pointed out as being homeless and angry at people who turned away her requests for charity.  While that was true, it was also true that she had been involved in an ugly dispute over her father's will that predisposed her other siblings and their kin-by-marriage to justify the pittance she got on her behavior.
        • Sarah Osborne had married an indentured servant after she was widowed and did not turn over the farm she and her first husband had purchased to the son of her first marriage when he came of age.
        • Tituba is always described in the archived documents as an "Indian".  In a time where war was very close at hand, Tituba was likely seen as a potential traitor or double agent by some of the locals. (One of the most poignant portions of the trial for me is when Tituba explains that the Devil only required people to be his servant for 6 years.  Compare this with the fact that Tituba would never be freed.....)
        • Martha Corey was a member of the local church.  She had also had a child out of wedlock who was rumored to have an African-American or Indian father.  
        • Rebecca Nurse was viewed as an upstanding member of society.  Roach makes a cogent argument that the Nurse family's ability to pay for substitutes so that their sons did not need to fight in the recent and ongoing wars had lead to deep resentment among local members of Salem.
    Big ideas that the Botkin sisters missed:
    • Clashes between families can be transmitted across generations.  Most of the girls who were making accusations were far too young to have been directly involved in clashes between adults.  The girls had learned that it would be safe to accuse Sarah Good or Sarah Osborne through what they overheard adults say and do towards each other.
    • The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  
      • It's too easy and too trite to make lists of good people and bad people.  Heck, we still do that today when trying to categorize the people involved with the Salem Witch Trials, but it doesn't work.  
        • Abigail Hobbs was both accused of witchcraft and accused others of witchcraft.  She's left the clearest connection between the wars in Maine and the witchcraft trial when she accused George Burroughs of consorting with the Devil and causing the attacks on local settlements.  She also likely lost her mother during one of those attacks. she a good girl or a bad girl?
        • Mercy Lewis was around 19 during the trials.  She prevent some accusations of witchcraft while promoting others.  She had lost her position as a wealthy young woman in Maine when her entire family had been killed during the wars and had been reduced to work as a servant.  Does she go in the good or bad pile?
        • IMHO, the Salem Witch Trials drove home the point that every person can do good and every person can do evil.
      • Due process was thrown out the window in hopes of safety.  I don't believe in trying to force modern ideas on historical events - the Salem Witch Trials managed to destroy due process under their understanding of the idea.   
        • People got that "spectral evidence" and "witchcraft" was an accusation that could be easily abused.  To prevent this, the accused were supposed to testify without the accuser(s) present.  This tidbit of basic courtroom procedure was thrown out.
        • Previous courts made it clear that "folk" tests should not be used.  The Salem Witch Trials ignored this and made it really easy for the accusers to demonstrate that the accused were witches.  (Ironically, there were records of people being found innocent in other courts when the folk tests were used with the accuser being blindfolded.  It turns out that accusers are really bad at guessing if the person touching them is a witch if they can't see who it is.....)
        • It's AMAZING how much more detailed - and accurate! - people's descriptions of who they saw interacting with the Devil became after they were thrown into a communal jail.  Prior to being jailed, people might say that they saw some shadowy men or women.  After they had had a chance to discuss testimony with other accused people, the same person could identify people they saw with the Devil clearly - even people they hadn't met.....

    Tuesday, May 24, 2016

    It's Not That Complicated: The Boys - Part 6

    There are just a handful of quotes left from the Boys in Chapter Nine.  What I can't get over is how similar each of the guys' complaints about women is.

    Overarching Themes:
    What's good for the gander is unacceptable for the goose.....
    From "Jack, inventor"
    "I once had a long, tedious conversation with a girl who essentially introduced herself as the kind of person who read the dictionary from cover to cover, presumably because she thought this incredible feat made her seem intelligent.  When I admitted that I had never read through an entire reference book, she simultaneously bragged and lamented that guys didn't like talking to her because they thought she was "too smart".
    She must have noticed my increasing discomfort, because she pointed out that she was smarter than me, and asked why that bothered me.  I found it difficult to politely explain that her intelligence was not what was bothering me.  Looking back, I think she probably was smarter than me, but that didn't stop her from doing dumb things, like bragging about reading dictionaries cover-to-cover or trying to bully guys into feeling guilty about not liking her.
    Given half a choice, I'd much rather spend time with people who are smarter than I am.  Dumber people are far less stimulating, far less educational, and way harder to find.  Without exception, the guys that I know will actively pursue girls who are smart, will probably put up with girls who think that they are smart, and run away from girls who define themselves as smart." (pg. 171)

    • Jack thinks this anecdote makes him seem superior to a woman.  Actually, this anecdote makes him seem trite, self-important and socially impotent in one fell swoop.  Ironically, the two words I use to describe this quote are long and tedious.
    • The Botkin Sisters have harped on - and will continue to harp on - the importance of edifying and enlightening men in conversations.  When that's the stated goal of all conversations, why shouldn't a girl lead off by explaining that she's read an entire dictionary?  Perhaps the girl was attempting to tell Jack that he needed to broaden his vocabulary or that Jack uses words in an inappropriate way.
    • Notice that Jack never thought of changing the topic.  I know that silently judging people takes a lot of mental effort, but most people would have simply introduced a new topic like hunting small game.
    • The last sentence is a strange shade of Michael Pearl.  The ideally intelligent woman according to James is smart, but neither thinks of herself as smart nor defines herself as smart.  Good luck finding that, James.
    • Corollary: How many intelligent women would want to be around James?

    From "Chas, networking guru"
    "Sarcasm in a woman is particularly unattractive, even to sarcastic men.  The idea of spending the rest of my life in a house with a sarcastic woman is enough to drive me to take vows of lifelong celibacy. Proverbs talks about that, actually." (pg. 175)

    • Sarcastic men are unattractive as well, Chas.  Sarcasm is a backhanded indirect form of anger. 
    • I cannot find Chas' verse in Proverbs about sarcasm and women so the Botkin Sisters should have done a better job editing their quotations for accuracy.

    This is speaking hypothetically since I've never actually been around a girl....
    From "Jack, inventor",
    "There are many different levels of flirtation, but most guys are frustrated than flattered by conversations that exist only to be flirtatious.  It's like the female equivalent of pickup lines, or the kind of baby talk that people lapse into when around kittens - seemingly fun, then pointless, and ultimately irritating to the target.  When girls want to talk to me, but will only talk about superficial things, it's obvious that they only have a superficial interest in me.  If simply "talking to a guy" seems to be more important to a girl than actually communicating with a fellow human being, it's hard not to jump to conclusion about her motivation and maturity." (pg. 175)
    • Signs that you have never flirted with another person include believing that there are "levels" of flirtation.
    • Not everyone wants to have a deep conversation every moment of the day.  Not every woman is deeply interested in every man.  Expecting every woman to be willing and able to jump into a deep, meaningful conversation on your terms is extremely self-centered and not Christian.
    • The level of self-importance in these quotes is breathtaking.  Jack - along with many of his fellow boys - cannot conceptualize that a topic that is important to a girl may seem superficial to him.  Honestly, based on the limited exposure I've had to the Botkin Family through their books and their atrocious podcasts, I think their interest in history, art and religion is extremely superficial in spite of the sheer amount of time and energy that they claim to spend on it.

    From "Robert, entrepreneur"
    "Without taking the reins on a conversation, women can be very influential in its direction just by the nature of the women they are.  A woman whose identity is firmly rooted in every word of God, who can't discuss any topic without looking through a lens of biblical conviction, will have a tremendous influence on the nature of a conversation, without even thinking about it.  I've watched conversations amongst chums turn almost 180 degrees, simply because an honorable woman stepped near the group to politely listen in.  Good men, even just decent men, will raise themselves to the level of identity of the young woman in the conversation.
    Every interaction inspires either good or bad works.  Even if it's "shunning".  Sisters, brothers, girls and guys, even parents, look on at the actions of young men and women in a community, and have their convictions shaken or awakened by what they see. There is no such things as being invisible, and inspiring no works at all.  To not encourage, is to discourage." (pg. 176)
    • If men are the God-ordained spiritual leaders of humanity AND the CP/QF folk are the reborn spiritual prophets of the Reformation, men's topics of conversation should be lofty, educational and edifying regardless of who is present in the room.
    • Notice, yet again, the passive nature of women.  A woman listens.  A woman parrots Biblical truth.  Women shun bad ideas and works.  Women in BotkinLand never speak, lead or reprove.  How dull.
    • Even Rob-Bob manages to find a new way to shame women for failing to be a cheerleader since NOT ENCOURAGING => DISCOURAGING.  Sorry, dude, in real-life there is the neutral option.
    In the next post wins my favorite/most insane moment in the whole book.....

    Sunday, May 22, 2016

    ATI Wisdom Booklet 6: Science - Sheep! Part Two

    In the last post, we covered the first five reasons that sheep can teach us about meditation. Although, honestly, I really learned more about common misconceptions about sheep.

    • I hope that this section is meant to describe Biblical techniques for dealing with insect control because no one dumps tar and herbs on livestock anymore.  I will concede, however, that many insecticides are oily. 
    • Insect infestation decreases animal weight gain, but not because the sheep stop ruminating.  Remember, a ruminant who stops ruminating is a dead animal.  No, the animal is so busy chewing at sore spots that it eats less food in the first place and uses some of the energy that would go towards gaining weight goes towards healing the injuries from the insects and from the chewing.
    • "Relaxed and peaceful" is a relative term in livestock.  Yes, if your sheep are actively running away from a predator, chewing their legs off from fly-strike, or overheating from lack of shade, they won't ruminate right then.  On the other hand, when it's time to chew cud, the sheep will chew cud.  I've watched cows chew cud between contractions during labor while a tractor is running nearby and the overhead cooling fans are running on high.  This makes me very skeptical that "peace" let alone "relaxation" is needed for cud-chewing.

    • Sheep do not swallow sticks and stones while eating.  If they did, the sticks would be chewed up during rumination.  The stones would sit at the bottom of the rumen or in the reticulum for the rest of their lives.  In fact, the fact that heavy objects will sit in the reticulum is used to treat some diseases.  Since ruminants will eat small pieces of metal - think wiring from fences - farmers have the animals swallow a magnet.  The magnet will sit in the reticulum and hold any metal swallowed in place so it cannot hurt the animal.
      • The process is a lot like stuffing a pill down a cat's throat except that the cow weights over 1,000 pounds and the neck of a cow is the strongest portion of their body.  It's pretty much a wrestling match between the head of a restrained cow and the farmer and funny as hell to watch. My husband has had older cows who will "catch" the magnet in their reticulum, wait for him to walk away, then spit the magnet out into the feed bunk.  It took 3 separate attempts to get one cow to finally let the magnet fall into her rumen.  
    • Be grateful that most ruminants can't spit up stones.  If you haven't seen a llama or an alpaca spit, look up a video on YouTube and imagine how much worse it would be if the horrible smelling rumen-juice was mixed with gravel.
    • Nothing wrong in this section, thanks primarily to World Book Encyclopedia.
    • I don't think the author ever defined rumination.  Rumination (in animals) is the process of moving food that has already been eaten back up to the mouth so that the material can be chewed again.  

    • So, I'd go about explaining cellulose differently.  Cellulose is a specific type of carbohydrate formed in plants.  It's quite strong and hard for most organisms to digest, although certain bacteria can digest it easily.  Ruminants like sheep use bacteria to break down cellulose.  In fact, the entire rumen is a giant bacterial tank.  Rumen health - e.g., keeping the bacteria in the rumen alive and happy - is critical for the health of a ruminant animal.
    • The reason sheep ruminate is so that the bacteria can access every little bit of the plant material possible.  Rumination is exactly like humans grinding up food using a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
    • Sheep and other ruminants do pretty much live on digesting bacteria that pass from the rumen into the abomasum.  The bacteria convert the energy in grass to protein and use the protein to build structures and reproduce.  The cows digest a certain amount of the bacteria to get enough protein to stay alive.   
    • Having said that, making the jump to "sheep get nourishment from meat" is a bridge too far.  

    • I have no idea where the author got the idea that liquids do not go through the rumination process.  They do.  The entire process from beginning to end is chocked with liquids and gooey.

    • ATI likes their fat-shaming, eh?  Yes, overweight animals are more likely to be cast, but the two biggest reasons for casting in sheep are pregnancy and having a full fleece of wool.  
    • I suspect, although I could be wrong, that the average cast sheep doesn't roll over in the middle of rumination.  The sheep lays down to ruminante, then is off-balance when she tries to stand up and rolls over onto her back like a turtle.  
    • The treatment for cast is very simple: you put the sheep back on its feet.  In sheep, usually a single person can flip and lift the sheep.  We occasionally have a cast cow when a cow who was giving birth wiggled in the straw and caused her spine to end up lower than her feet.  Cows are much larger so multiple people are needed.  
    • Yes, casting can lead to death due to bloat and loss of circulation - but this takes a while and reversing casting takes a few minutes tops.  Hence why shepherds are needed.....

    • It's pretty rare for a healthy herd animal to decide to take off from the flock alone.  Sheep, cows, goats and other herd animals that do that face strong danger from predators, so most herd animals will become extremely agitated and frantically try to return to the flock rather than be alone.
    • Now, sheep are good at getting themselves stuck places that they cannot get out of.  They get cast.  They get stuck in brambles.  They are known for getting stuck in holes and ditches - that's why shepherds carry crooks - to aid pulling sheep out of weird places.  So, the sheep gets stuck and freaks out until someone comes to get them out of the tight spot and send them back to the herd.
    • The other problem is when a small herd breaks off from the large herd.  In cows, if less than 5 cows get out of a group or pasture, they are generally afraid to move very far from the rest of the herd.   What this looks like is a small group of cows who are outside of their pasture, but still stand by the fence. (This makes putting them back in the right place reasonably easy.)  If six or more get out, though, the cow feels that the "new" herd is safe enough from predators and they will take off.  Our farm's "best" distance record is currently held by a group of steers who got out and ended up 5 miles away at a different dairy farm before anyone noticed they were gone.  I don't know what the "small herd/large herd" divide is in sheep, but I bet every good shepherd knows.... :-)

    • Oh, fuck no.  That's complete bullshit.  In ruminants, a downed animal is a dead animal.  
      • The exact same cascade of problems that can occur in a cast sheep happens in a ruminant  who has a broken leg - gas builds up in the digestive system, the animal develops pressure sores from being unable to shift, and the animal dies within days of pneumonia and massive bacterial infection when the digestive tract ruptures from the pressure sores.
      •  There's no way that a shepherd can do all of the things needed to keep a downed sheep alive - placing a tube in the stomach to relieve bloat, adjusting the position of the sheep hourly, carrying it food and water - and still protect the remainder of the herd especially back in Biblical times.
      • Applying this to humans is horrific.  It's never ok to purposefully hurt another person under the guise of saving their life.  

    Friday, May 20, 2016

    ATI Wisdom Booklet 6: Science - Sheep!

    My husband is a dairy farmer.  He operates and acts as one of the herdsmen for our 1,200 milking head herd with a similar combined number of young stock and steers.  He also earned a technical degree in dairy management before completing his Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science from our local land-grant college.

    Why do I bring this up?  He's got a strong background in ruminant physiology,  behavior, and feeding patterns.   This section made his blood pressure go through the roof because it's THAT inaccurate.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    ATI Wisdom Booklet 5: Medical - Teeth and Bruxism

    In this post, ATI gives a crash overview of anger causes people to grind their teeth and the horrific side-effects that can ensue.  Of course, the anger-teeth grinding angle is overplayed while the effects are a mix of real and made-up consequences.

    Let's start with the overview:
    • I'm already confused after less than one sentence.  I don't understand why people have to yield personal rights in the first place.  Rights are generally used to describe basic human needs that all people should have access to.  It makes no sense that giving up basic human needs would make someone less angry instead of infuriated.
    • Chronic anger is bad for people and health so I agree with the author on that factoid.  Reputable medical sites like Mayo Clinic do list emotional and personality causes of bruxism, so that portion is not entirely made up.
    • I'm curious what "expensive treatments" the booklet is referring to.  Most people who have stress-related bruxism either use a mouthguard at night or seek short-term therapy for stress relief.  While therapy and mouthguards can require an outlay of cash, the benefits can continue for years - and neither are painful.

    1) Got me.  Meek people may be more likely to grind their teeth if they are repressing a lot of anger....
    2) Incisor, cuspids, bicuspids and molars
    3) Jesus Christ.  Neck pain, sore jaw, broken teeth, TMJ and cold'm out of  real ideas so....fear of frogs, death and uncontrolled hiccuping.
    4) Does the army want meek soldiers?  Seriously?

    • A person who doesn't expect much of other people will never be disappointed, angry, frustrated or bitter?  I think a better solution would be to expect reasonable behavior from most people and deal with the negative emotions that come up when others behave badly.  
    • What does mercy have to do with this?  Mercy requires the other person to admit they did wrong, but the affected person described here is running around with a chip on their shoulder (according to ATI) and no one who actually wronged them.
    • This brings up a warning sign I've never articulated before.  Be very cautious of groups who cannot see internal contradictions like the writing mass of contradictions that appear in the average ATI booklet.

    • God, that first paragraph is a mess.  A function is the job of a part of the body.  The job of teeth is not to have a nice smile or to support the lips.  Those are consequences of having intact teeth, but not the main function.  Also, there are a few other portions of the face that are quite important to how the lower half of the face looks including the cheekbones, the jaw, and the lips.
    • I could be wrong, but of that list of 4 sounds, I make the "l" sound by placing my tongue at the roof of my mouth and "p" by forcing air across my lips.  I do need my front teeth to pronounce a "th" and a "f" sound and developed one heck of a lisp when I was missing my front teeth as a seven-year-old.
    • Where did CP/QF people learn that you should place the most important reason last in informational topics?!?  The function of teeth is the mechanical processing of food and occasionally for defense or mating purposes.  Full stop.

    • I do have to give the author some kudos here.  First, the author managed to describe the four types of teeth correctly and succinctly.  Secondly, the diagram of the teeth is clear, elegant and informative.

    • Not a huge thing, but "condyle" is a term that describes a rounded area of a bone generally at a joint.  The condyle that is being discussed in this section is the mandibular condyle.  
    • Likewise, a person can laugh and swallow with their jaw held shut.

    • I'm wondering if ATI somehow conned a dentist into writing this section because the anatomy section is unusually good.
      • The only tricks I would add is having the students palpate the temporalis and masseter on themselves.  To feel the temporalis, place your fingers on your temples gently.  Clench your jaw and release a few times.  The movement you feel in the temple is due to the temporalis muscle. To feel the masseter, place your fingers on the jaw about an inch below the ears and slightly forward.  Clench and release the jaw to feel the masseter.

    • One concept that I worked diligently on when teaching high school was training students to be able to use common sense when looking at numbers.   Let's assume for a minute that 175 pounds per square inch is right.  
      • Does it seem logical that a person who is stressed could double (2x) the amount of force they apply to their teeth when stressed?  IMHO, that seems reasonable for a maximum force on teeth although it may do damage over time.
      • Does it seem logical that the force of a person who is stressed could increase by over five hundred times (500x)?  No, that sounds insane.
    • Based on a desultory search of internet resources, I've found a maximum bite force of ~260  pounds per tooth in humans.  The estimated bite force of a T. rex is 12,800 pounds per square inch.  That means the top range of the human bite force listed by ATI is over seven times (7x) stronger than a T. rex which is completely implausible.

    • Good news!  Science has rejected the link between malocclusion and bruxism.  Lots of people have malocclusions.  Some people have bruxism.  But malocclusions do not cause bruxism or vice versa.

    • This ATI booklet is the only place I can find that proffers the "people grind their teeth into pieces to reduce the pain of grinding their teeth into pieces argument."  Bruxism can damage teeth  but that's not the same as a cycle of grinding due to damage.
    • Man, I was about to give the booklet kudos for a decent list of symptoms until I hit the statement that bruxism can prevent people from opening their mouth.  Bruxism can reduce the amount a person can comfortably open their mouth, but it doesn't cause lockjaw.

    • Again, the link between bruxism and TMJ isn't very strong.  Some people with bruxism will have TMJ, but most people with TMJ don't have bruxism and most people with bruxism don't have TMJ.  
    • TMJ is pretty easily treated.  Many people, myself included, recover pretty quickly with OTC NSAIDS and rest.  If that doesn't work, there are lots of options like physical therapy or biofeedback that work.  If you've done a ton of damage, surgery is a n option.

    • That's not caused by bruxism.  It's usually a random occurrence with an unknown cause.  

    • I can't find anything about tooth strangulation.  The closes thing I found is when the root is reabsorbed after a traumatic injury.  
      • My husband had that happen to one of his teeth after surgery to remove his extra teeth.  (He had a partial third set that developed above his adult teeth.)  

    • Yes, bruxism is often related to stress, tension or anxiety - but not always.  Likewise, most people have times of stress, tension and anxiety in life, but only a small percentage have bruxism severe enough to require treatment.
      • No one besides the author of this booklet links bruxism to bitterness, unforgiveness, temporal values(?), immorality and/or unyielded rights.  That's just silly.

    • WTF?  
      • Basic training includes dental work.  A frequent side effect of dental work is sore jaws and teeth.  
      •  At the exact same time, basic training effectively trains soldiers to follow the orders of their drill sergeant.
      • Because of this, dental pain and the number of people following orders does roughly line-up but it's correlation not causation.   
    • Want to have some fun?  Send a message to all of your family and friends in the Armed Services with a copy of the section above. They will enjoy it. :-P

    • The last paragraph has to win some awards for overwrought writing.  Untreated bruxism is not going to ruin your life nearly as quickly as following Gothard's teachings.

      Remember, just say no to Wisdom Booklets!  Your sanity will thank you.