Friday, May 6, 2016

ATI Wisdom Booklet 3: Medical - Paralyzed eyelids

Today's ATI crazy medical bit takes us on a tour of how a partially paralyzed eyelid can explain humility.  Don't worry; this will make no more sense at the end than it does now.

  • I've got NO idea why ptosis would illustrate being "poor in spirit".  Drooping eyelids have been around forever so I'm going to hazard a guess that if Jesus thought people would understand the concept of being poor ins spirit better he would have used ptosis as an example.
  • Based on my web-based research, ptosis has some more severe side effects than difficulty looking up.  First, people with ptosis have a reduced field of vision when their eyelids obscure the pupil.  Second, if it is left untreated, the cornea can develop an unusual shape (astigmatism) or the pupil in the affected eye becomes unaligned with the strong eye (amblyopia or "lazy eye) that can lead to blindness in the affected eye.

  • The truth comes out: the "poor in spirit" bit is a red-herring.  What Gothard et al. really wants to impress on people is how eyes can be used to seduce people.

  • I'm not a linguist, but the fact that ptosis shares a Greek root with "ptochos" meaning poor feels misleading.  The word "ptosis" in Greek means "the act of falling" according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  The eyelid affected by ptosis looks like it is arrested in the act of falling hence the name.  Going back further than that implies more meaning than is present.  
    • You could make the same shaky argument by saying that comparing canon to cannon, lactose to galaxy, or state to stand.   
  • No one else uses the terms "normal ptosis" and "seductive ptosis" since that would mean "a normally paralyzed eyelid" and "a seductively paralyzed eyelid".
Next, the booklet goes into a full page on what eyelids do in terms of cleaning, protecting and resting the eyes.  The information is interesting enough, but isn't clearly or coherently connected to ptosis since a person with ptosis can still use the eyelid for each of these functions.  I'm skipping over most of that section, but I've included the two diagrams involved as "What NOT to do in a diagram" examples.

  • First, this diagram is absurdly crowded with information.
  • Second, there are several mislabeled - or poorly labeled - parts of the eye.
    • The tarsal plate and the palpebral conjunctiva are not the same part of the eye, but the pointers for both are pointing to the same structure.  The tarsal plate is the connective tissue a little further toward the middle of the eyelid.
    • What's the difference between the retina and the ora serrata in this diagram?  In real life, the two are differentiated by the quantity and quality of light receptive cells in the tissue.  Good luck figuring that out from the diagram.
    • There was a much better diagram of the musculature of the eye back in the first Wisdom Booklet that is completely ignored right now.
  • This is a much better diagram since including the definitions of the parts of the eye makes it much easier to figure out what the pointers are trying to show.
  • I can understand the appeal of trying to identify the conjunctiva and the sclera in this picture.  I really can.  The problem is that the conjunctiva is clear and overlays the sclera.  In other words, you can't see the conjunctiva in this diagram.
  • I love that the author felt compelled to explain that we have four eyelids.  That's a factoid that I've never thought about before, but could have figured out from common senses - or by using a mirror and counting if I was feeling confused.

  • This appears on the fourth page of information about ptosis or eyes.  A good editor would have moved it to the first page of information since it would guide the students more clearly through the information.
  • This is a surprisingly poor diagram of ptosis. A Google Image search pulls up many more options. Looking at one eye alone makes ptosis more difficult to detect than looking at both eyes or comparing one eye with the eyes held as wide open as possible.  (Opening the eyes wide makes the paralyzed lid even more prominent since it stays lowered.)

  • In the last Wisdom Booklet, students were exhorted NOT to study animals in comparison to humans because humans are created in God's image while animals are not and all of this leads inevitably to genetic engineering.  Clearly, the writer of this booklet missed that rule - not that I mind a section on tarsiers and basset hounds.
  • Winking is clearly immoral because people who tease others sometimes wink and seductive women wink sometimes.  This kind of logic leads to side-hugs among engaged's all so clear now. 

  • These paragraphs extolling the virtues of eyelids as paragons of communication make me laugh.  I have no idea who thinks that droopy eyelids alone are a sign of humility.  When trying to bring peace to another person, my eyelids are not the portions of my body that I use first, either.  
The next Wisdom Booklet has a section on why plow pan is a problem that I am going to skip since agricultural science isn't traditionally included in science education.  In all fairness, the plow pan section is pretty decent.  The next post in this series will be on the metabolic control of appetite and mourning.


  1. Seriously, ATI? An entire module devoted to why droopy eyes are sinful and winking is evil? It stuns me that so many fundamentalists ignore real social problems and fixate on irrelevant minutae.

    Thank you for reviewing these ATI materials and the Botkins' book. The more the public knows about this kind of fundamentalism, the better.

    1. No problem. I enjoy taking apart the crazy. My hope is that people who were affected by the crazy can use these posts to start looking at the world through a different lens.

    2. I was thinking the same thing. They are really petty and they get hung up on shit that doesn't matter. -Allison the Great AKA Double Dukes

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