Wednesday, August 19, 2015

An Uplifting Tale of Love and Determination

Work levels have prevented my blogging much lately. Rather than add to the gruesome news of beheadings and baby butchery, I will use a brief respite to call your attention to this inspiring article by Prof. Matt Might, who blogs regularly on computer science and academic topics at his own Website. In the course of preparing to write an article about academic tenure, he came across this question put up on another blog to which he contributes:
How can I minimize my chances of having a disabled child? I don't want an autistic or Downs child, for example. I am planning on having a strong career in computer science or medicine, and I want to marry someone who is doing the same and have kids some day, but I'm terrified that they'll be severely disabled, and my wife won't agree to abort the fetus. I (maybe naively) believe in love, so I wouldn't necessarily be able to leave my wife if I truly loved her and she refused to abort.

Note that this is purely hypothetical. I am only 16 years old at the moment, but I have thought about this a lot.

Prof. Might expounds powerfully on the answer he gave in this article. I suggest you read the whole thing; I promise you will find it greatly uplifting (particularly the addendum at the end). You see, the answer he gave began as follows:
First, your question is trivial to answer: to minimize the risk -- to zero -- that you'll have a disabled child, don't have a child.

Any attempt to have a child will incur risk, although you can take measures described in other answers to lower it.

But, let me tell you a story -- my story.

I am the father of a "disabled child," yet I'm a professor in computer science at the University of Utah, and also currently a professor at the Harvard Medical School.

Hopefully I've just dispelled your fear that having a disabled child is not compatible with a strong career in computer science or medicine.

In fact, what if I told you that much of what I've done was the result of my having a disabled child? Because I too (naively) believe in love, and love my wife and son dearly?

There is much, much more – including lots about achieving tenure, and many valuable and fascinating links – at the full-length post. Enjoy!



Thursday, August 13, 2015

Klintonerdämmerung

Have been taking a break from blogging for family celebrations in the midst of some heavy legal work, but this was too good not to share, in light of the continuing scandal of Hillary's emails. It is a creative adaptation of another scene from that famous "Hitler learns about ..." movie, and makes a wonderful new video-meme:



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nothing New under the Sun


With the heresies of the Episcopal Church (USA) still freshly assaulting my mind, I happened across this wisdom from 140 years ago:


THE THREE STAGES OF ERROR AND ITS ACCEPTANCE 

When error is admitted into the Church, it will be found that the stages of its progress are always three. It begins with toleration. Its friends say to the majority: You need not be afraid of us; we are few, and weak; only let us alone; we shall not disturb the faith of others. The Church has her standards of doctrine; of course we shall never interfere with them; we only ask for ourselves to be spared interference with our private opinions. 
Indulged in this for a time, error goes on to assert equal rights. Truth and error are two balancing forces. The Church shall do nothing which looks like deciding between them; that would be partiality. It is bigotry to assert any superior right for the truth. We agree to differ, and favoring of the truth, because it is truth, is partisanship. What the friends of truth and error hold in common is fundamental. Anything on which they differ is ipso facto non-essential. Anybody who makes account of such a thing is a disturber of the peace of the church. Truth and error are two co-ordinate powers, and the great secret of church-statesmanship is to preserve the balance between them. 
From this point of view error soon goes on to to its natural end, which is to assert supremacy. Truth started with tolerating; it comes to be merely tolerated, and that only for a time. Error claims a preference for its judgments on all disputed points. It puts men into positions, not as at first in spite of their departures from the Church’s faith but in consequence of it. Their recommendation is that they repudiate the faith, and position is given them to teach others to repudiate it, and to make them skillful in combating it. 

Charles Porterfield Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1875), pp. 195-196.