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November 25, 2005

"Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories": Abused Mothers and Children Speak. Fathers' Rights Activists Attack

This post links to all the documentation on my web site about "Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories". I'm going to enter this post in the fourth Carnival Of Feminists on December 7, 2005, so I've decided to compile all the relevant information in one post.

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Below are links related to the PBS documentary "Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories". This important documentary details how abused children are not believed, and are then awarded to their abusive fathers. Mothers who try to protect their abused children are accused of having Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). PAS is not recognized as a valid medical syndrome by the American Psychological Association. It is junk science that does not belong in a court of law.

This documentary is important in that it provides a voice for abused children who have been given over to the custody of their abusive fathers. Plus, it describes PAS as the garbage that it is. Fathers' rights activists are very intimidated by this documentary, and they have taken action. Fathers' rights activists have engaged in a vicious campaign to denigrate both the documentary and at least two of the people covered in it. Fathers' rights activists have sent hundreds of angry e-mails to PBS denouncing the documentary. They have made angry phone calls and written angry letters. They rant about this documentary on their web sites, mailing lists, and other Internet sites.

The latest attacks by fathers' rights activists misrepresent the American Psychological Association's statements about alienation. Most heinous of all is that with the help of one of the named fathers in the documentary, they have taken to attacking one of the protective mothers and her daughter who were courageous enough to speak out about the abuse the mother and daughter have experienced at the hands of the teenaged's girl's father. In particular, Glenn Sacks and Wendy McElroy have circulated outdated court documents provided to Sacks by this father, Scott Loeliger. He refers to his ex-wife, Sadiya Alilire, as a "child abuser". Ms. Alilire has sole custody of her daughter, Fatima Loeliger. Due to the attacks against her, Ms. Loeliger found it necessary to tell her side of the story.

One very telling thing about what fathers' rights activists are doing is that Glenn Sacks buried Fatima Loeliger's statement about abuse she had experienced in her fathers' household on a page originally entitled "The Opposition's Side Of The Story". A teenaged girl describing her own experience of abuse is called "The Opposition". That's one hell of a Freudian slip. Not only that, Sacks described Fatima's statement as being "by or for Fatima Loeliger", as if she had been coached by her mother. PAS advocates don't believe children who speak out about abuse. They often claim that these children have been coached, and cite that as evidence of PAS. Such a position ignores the child's own claims about abuse and favors the allegedly abusive father. Sacks has seen my statement that referring to Fatima's own story as "The Opposition" was a huge slip on his part, and he has since changed the name of that page to "Sadia [sic] Loeliger's Side Of The Story". That's another slip. It's not only Sadiya's side. It's also Fatima's side. I have lots of documentation here that is in Fatima's own words. "Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories" is about the children who have claimed that they have been abused by their fathers. Once again, children's voices are ignored.

These malicious attacks against Ms. Loeliger, Ms. Alilire, and the documentary mirror the experiences abused women and children experience from abusive fathers in court. Fathers' rights activists are engaging in the very malicious and abusive behavior in their attacks that the documentary describes.

Below are pertinent links about the documentary, Ms. Loeliger, and Ms. Alilire.

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PBS's Internal Memo That Was Leaked To Fathers' Rights Activists. Good for PBS. PBS provided reasonable responses for its employees who have to deal with ongoing invective and bile coming from angry fathers' rights activists. There's a mob mentality in the angry protests engaged in by fathers' rights activists. PBS is not caving to pressure from bully tactics used by those people. It is standing behind "Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories".

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The American Psychological Association's Statement About PAS. Bold emphasis mine.

Family courts frequently minimize the harmful impact of children's witnessing violence between their parents and sometimes are reluctant to believe mothers. If the court ignores the history of violence as the context for the mother's behavior in a custody evaluation, she may appear hostile, uncooperative, or mentally unstable. For example, she may refuse to disclose her address, or may resist unsupervised visitation, especially if she thinks her child is in danger. Psychological evaluators who minimize the importance of violence against the mother, or pathologize her responses to it, may accuse her of alienating the children from the father and may recommend giving the father custody in spite of his history of violence.

Some professionals assume that accusations of physical or sexual abuse of children that arise during divorce or custody disputes are likely to be false, but the empirical research to date shows no such increase in false reporting at that time. In many instances, children are frightened about being alone with a father they have seen use violence towards their mother or a father who has abused them. Sometimes children make it clear to the court that they wish to remain with the mother because they are afraid of the father, but their wishes are ignored.

APA Office of Public Affairs:
Statement on Parental Alienation Syndrome
October 28, 2005
(Bold emphasis mine.)

The American Psychological Association (APA) believes that all mental health practitioners as well as law enforcement officials and the courts must take any reports of domestic violence in divorce and child custody cases seriously. An APA 1996 Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family noted the lack of data to support so-called "parental alienation syndrome", and raised concern about the term's use. However, we have no official position on the purported syndrome.

More on Parental Alienation Syndrome, its status as junk science, and misrepresentations by Glenn Sacks and other fathers' rights activists may be found at these two links:

The Truth About Parental Alienation Syndrome And The American Psychological Association. A statement by Professor Joan S. Meier, Esq. (November 9, 2005)

Scientific and Professional Rejections of Parental Alienation Syndrome. A statement by Professor Joan S. Meier, Esq. (November 9, 2005)

More Below The Fold.

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Fathers' Rights Activists Attack Abused Mother And Her Teenaged Daughter

Statement By Sadiya Alilire

Fatima Loeliger's Story

Fatima Loeliger's Second Response - To Documentation Circulated By Her Father, Which Appears On Glenn Sacks's Web Site She addresses claims made about her and her mother on Glenn Sacks's web site. She says that she has never been abused by her mother, contrary to documentation posted on Sacks's site. Her mother is not a drug addict. She describes her father repeating calling Child Protective Services, claiming that her mother was abusing her. She also states that her father placed her in foster care when she stated she wanted to live with her mother. She ran away from her fathers' home. She described physical and emotional abuse in her fathers' household. She describes how her father tried to get people form the cult-like Rachel Foundation to talk to her when she stated she wanted to live with her mother. She states having been in and out of court since she was very young. She's been in court for nearly fifteen years. She describes verbal and emotional abuse from her father and step-mother, and states she wants to live with her mother. She lives with her mother now. She says she wants the custody battle to stop so she can live out her remaining couple of years like a normal teenager before she graduates from high school.

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Documentation Showing Sadiya Alilire Is Not A Child Abuser, And That Fatima Has Had Serious Problems While Under Her Fathers' Care

Testimony Of Fatima Loeliger, Part I She states having been in and out of court since she was very young. She's been in court for nearly fifteen years. She describes verbal and emotional abuse from her father and step-mother, and states she wants to live with her mother.

Testimony Of Fatima Loeliger, Part II Shows that she was living in foster care per her fathers' wishes. She describes verbal and emotional abuse from her father and step-mother, and states she wants to live with her mother.

Current Custody Order, Dated September 29, 2004. Sadiya Alilire has primary physical custody. Scott Loeliger is secondary parent. The parents have joint legal custody, but it is limited to Scott Loeliger having the right to obtain school and medical records. He has been ordered not to go to Fatima's classroom or to contact anyone listed on the school emergency card. Fatima will remain in therapy. There are other limits placed on both parents, especially regarding contacting each other.

Fatima Spoke At The International Conference On Child Violence . Newspaper article. She was one child who delivered victim impact statements to an international audience.

Newspaper Article About Fatima Being On An Award-Winning School Debate Team. There is a picture of the debate team.

Statement From Fatima's Soccer Coach, Dated July 7, 2004. The coach describes aggressive and intimidating behavior by Scott Loeliger.

Report By Rick Gore, DA Investigator, Child Abduction Unit. Dated 2004. Indicates that Fatima has run away from her father, and that Fatima had been living with Sadiya since 2003. Fatima was doing well, getting straight A's. Scott Loeliger wanted Fatima removed from her mother's care and placed in foster care. Gore did not see a reason to do that, since Fatima was thriving. Scott Loeliger insisted despite this that Fatima be put in foster care, claiming that Sadiya was not a good parent, despite no evidence to prove any such thing. Gore wrote that "I told him he allowed his daughter to get established, make friends, and develop relationships and to abruptly remove her from this does not appear reasonable. I kept wanting to know of a specific allegation on why now, did he want the [custody] order enforced. Again, he never explained his reasoning." Gore noted that Scott Loeliger "appeared more interested in winning rather than what was best for his child." Included are Fatima's own statements regarding how she wants to live with her mother. Gore saw no reason to remove Fatima from her mother's care.

Second Report By Rick Gore, Dated 2004. Gore describes "condescending, accusatory", "unreasonable", "badgering", and demanding behavior by Scott Loeliger. When Scott Loeliger did not see his demands met, he demanded to meet with Gore's supervisor.

Testimony Of Steven Prinz, one of Fatima's teachers. Prinz indicates that Fatima is a very good student - above average academically. He also stated she had lots of friends and was in leadership positions at school. He described Fatima saying she wanted to run away from her fathers' home. She described what Prinz referred to as "verbal and emotional abuse" - that her father and stepmother were "calling her names and demoralizing her".

Court-Ordered Psychological Evaluation By Dr. Karen J. Quinn, Dated 1994. Dr. Quinn describes Scott Loeliger's desire to relocate to Hawaii (which Dr. Quinn recommended be denied), Scott Loeliger's bigamy (he was married to another woman when he married Sadiya.), Sadiya's difficulty adjusting to America and the acrimonous court battles, the endless court records filed by mostly by Scott Loeliger, normal maladaptive behavior on Sadiya's part that anyone subjected to long and intense custody battles would exhibit, Sadiya's bond with Fatima being stronger than Scotts, Scott Loeliger's obsessive fixation with Sadiya's whereabouts (he harassed babysitters to find out where Sadiya was and he followed her through the hospital where she worked. Security guards had to escort her to her car.), Scott Loeliger takes no responsibility for problems between he and Sadiya, Scott Loeliger's "passive-aggressive and paranoid tendencies", and other controlling and manipulative behavior designed to push Sadiya's buttons. Dr. Quinn notes the importance of Fatima identifying with her African cultural descent, and that she is stressed by the post-divorce conflict. Dr. Quinn also recommended that Fatima have more time with her mother, and that the current custody order should be reversed.

Testimony By Randi Gottlieb Robinson, Dated Sometime After 1998. Robinson was a personal friend of Scott Loeliger whom he had enlisted to act as Fatima's therapist. Robinson never spoke to Sadiya Alilire. She got all her information from Scott Loeliger, who paid for the evaluation. She has been on vacation and various social outings with Scott Loeliger, including (according to Sadiya) including sharing family backyard barbecues and sharing cabins together while on vacation. Goes to bias. Most importantly, Robinson noted that Fatima Loeliger had recanted the abuse allegations Robinson had attributed to her.

Sadiya's Complaint Against Randi Gottleib Robinson, Dated November, 2004. Includes statements that Robinson is biased because she had a close personal relationship with Scott Loeliger, including family barbeques, vacationing together, and sharing cabings together. Sadiya also notes that she was told that Scott Loeliger and Randi Gottlieb Robinson were carrying on an extramarital affair.

CPS Letter Of Investigation Of Fatima's Home. CPS found that Sadiya's methods of discipline were appropriate. Most often, Fatima was not allowed to watch TV, listen to the radio, or get allowance if she misbehaved. The letter also describes discipline Sadiya gave to cousin Sarah, which was also deemed appropriate. The letter described Scott Loeliger audiotaping Fatima during a visitation as well as inappropriate pressuring behavior towards Fatima on the part of Scott Loeliger and his wife. Fatima indicates in a conversation that her mother never abused her.

CPS Letter Of Complaint From Sadiya Alilire. Sadiya Alilire wants to see her visitation resumed, since Fatima had expressed her wish to see her mother. Sadiya Aliilre claimed that CPS supervisor Michael Coffron "confronted Fatima in his office, calling her "manipulative" and other such detrogatory terms, bringing her to tears."

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About The Documentary, And The Malicious Fathers' Rights Attacks Against It

Critics of Child Abuse Film Miss the Point in Rush to Defend Fathers". Article By Paul J. Fink, Judge Sol Gothard, and Tasha Amador. Article addresses misconceptions circulated by fathers' rights activists about domestic violence and the documentary. In particular focuses on writings by fathers' rights activist Glenn Sacks.

The Latest Fathers' Rights Attack Against "Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories. Pro-PAS nonsense masquerading as fact.

"Custody Fight", by Bob Port. A supportive article about the documentary. (This article is also available on my blog.)

The National Organization For Women On "Breaking The Silence". This article is also available on my blog.

Angry Fathers' Rights Activists Vs. PBS.

Caught In The Middle: Documentary shows how kids can be pawns in abuse, custody cases".

Press Release From Stop Family Violence .

Stop Family Violence - Petition To Air "Breaking The Silence".

Stop Family Violence: Shocking PBS Documentary Exposes Secrets Of Family Court.

October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month - Includes mention of "Breaking The Silence" and fathers' rights protests.

Blogcritics: An Important Documentary - "Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories

Blogcritics: Fathers' Rights Activists Livid Over Airing Of "Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories

Posted on November 25, 2005 at 04:04 AM | Permalink

Comments

I have a simple question for you. I will be honest and up front, I am a custodial father of three children, who were removed from their mother's home by CPS (based on a report from the school, due to facial bruising and blood in the nose of our oldest child, whom her mother beat severely). I was an avid listener to Glenn Sacks, and agree with a lot of his philosophy. I have seen the show that is under controversy right now, and I have to wonder why it was presented the way it was presented. To begin with, I think we would all agree that both men and women, mothers and fathers, have been, and will continue to be guilty of abusing children. SO why were the only perpetrators of violence listed in the program male? Wouldn't it have been prudent, if it was the intention of the filmmaker, to show that both sexes can be violent? If only to make everyone aware of the dangers? But they failed to do that. They painted a picture of Mom as a protector, and Dad as an abuser. I tell you from personal experience, that is not always the case.
As for your implication that Glenn Sacks is "attacking" anyone, he is simply pointing out inaccuracies in the program, and showing where he feels that they are wrong. He even has a page on his website for people who oppose his own views. Forgive me if I missed it, but I do not see the same on your site. And what do you offer for his magnanimous addition of opposing views? You criticize the title of the page. That is kind of petty, wouldn't you say?
So, I offer you an opportunity. I think that anyone who reads this would agree that it contains no argumentative statements, or attacks. So, in the interest of fairness, and to at LEAST one up Mr. Sacks, I ask you to post this message. Thank you in advance for your time and Happy Holidays.

Posted by: Robert Barker at Nov 25, 2005 6:57:15 PM

Well Robert Barker good, I'm glad you go custody from an abusive mother but this documentary was about a different issue.

It was about men who use the court as a club against the mothers of their children...

Okay...

The equivalent would be if your ex was able to keep custody of the kids after she beat them up...

Then she even stopped you from visiting them claiming you were trying to alienating the kids by lying about the abuse...

Okay...

So since no mother CAN do that since she doesn't have the power that fathers do in family court today, it's a non-issue for men and you don't need a PBS special...

Find your own issues and deal with those...quick sniffing around every single issue that mothers have and trying to make it your own...

As the issue are different for mothers and fathers...

Thanks.

Posted by: at Nov 25, 2005 7:33:03 PM

Robert, that last commenter was 'NYMOM.' Do yourself a favor and ignore her. Debating her logic will only give you a migraine.

Posted by: Masculiste at Nov 25, 2005 7:39:15 PM

Robert Barker: "I have seen the show that is under controversy right now, and I have to wonder why it was presented the way it was presented. To begin with, I think we would all agree that both men and women, mothers and fathers, have been, and will continue to be guilty of abusing children. SO why were the only perpetrators of violence listed in the program male?"

Because abusive fathers are over-represented in contested custody cases. Ann White wrote for the Florida Bar Journal that "abusive fathers are more likely than non-abusive parents to fight for custody, not pay child support, and kidnap the children." The American Judges Association reported that "[o]ne of the most common reasons given for resuming an abusive relationship is the fear that the abuser will act on the threats of taking the children from the victim. Studies show that batterers have been able to convince authorities that the victim is unfit or undeserving of sole custody in approximately 70% of challenged cases." The documentary rightly dealt with cases where abusive fathers were able to gain custody of the children they had been abusing because it is mainly abusive fathers, not abusive mothers, who have been able to do this.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 25, 2005 7:59:10 PM

Why is it that the few times that abused mothers in custody cases or mothers at all dealing with contested custody cases manage to get some media attention, they are told that they have to present the dad's point of view to be "fair"? Why is it that abused children who talk about being awarded to the custody of their abusive fathers are ignored, or told that to be "fair", the side of dads must be included? If abused moms and abused children manage to have a documentary made about them that shows how abusive fathers have managed to gain custody, why should the documentary makers be told that they have to present cases about abusive mothers or alleged biases against dads in court? In the few instances that mothers experiencing problems with custody cases get their voices heard in the media, why are they told that to be "fair", the side of fathers must also be presented? Sorry, that just doesn't fly.

Fathers already have their side presented often in the media. They have a much bigger voice on the Internet than mothers have. They have conservative newspapers that publish their stories without presenting the other side - the side of mothers and abused mothers and abused children involved in contested custody cases. They have conservative radio. Why do they get so greedy to demand "equal time" when women's and children's sides are told without their input? It's not like they give the other side "equal time" when they get their side published or on the air.

Sorry, guys, but when mothers and children manage to get a little attention, deal with it. There doesn't have to be "equal sides presented" just because for a change you are being ignored. This documentary was right to place the focus on abused children who were awarded to the custody of their abusive fathers, without presenting the "other side". Stop whining. If you want to present the "other side", make your own documentary.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 25, 2005 8:09:12 PM

"The documentary rightly dealt with cases where abusive fathers were able to gain custody of the children they had been abusing because it is mainly abusive fathers, not abusive mothers, who have been able to do this".

In other words, if a kid gets abused by his mother and not
his father, it's ok?

The problem with this film is it's about what happens to kids
who have been abused by their fathers who got sole custody, period! It ignores the thousands of kids
who have been abused by mothers or other relatives, because the
incompetent and corrupt judges gave custody to the abusive
parent instead of the non-abusive parent.

According to Eloise Anderson, the greatest number of kids reported to be abused to the State of California Childrens Services live in single mother homes. So why wouldn't PBS do a documentary about these kids?
Because it wouldn't captivate viewers, like PBS was hoping
Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories was going to do.

Posted by: ewton at Nov 25, 2005 10:58:50 PM

'Mothers who try to protect their abused children are accused of having Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS).'

A Mother 'having' PAS? If you are going to comment on PAS, at least find out what is is first.

This somewhat dents your credibility.

A Parent may be accused of inducing PAS or possibly PA
but PAS could only be diagnosed in a child.

Posted by: at Nov 26, 2005 5:58:00 AM

The problem with PBS showing a one sided, slanted, biased program is that it is
a publicly funded outlet. When public money is used then that outlet should
always be balanced. Any amount of research would show that there is another
side to this story and that PBS did not make any effort to show it. You must
also face the fact that many women use false allegations of abuse in their
efforts to keep fathers out of their children's lives. Finally, if you go to
any of the government's websites and look for yourself you'll discover that
fathers do not get equal treatment in family courts and mothers do most of the
abuse of children.

Posted by: Darrick at Nov 28, 2005 2:59:07 PM

"Finally, if you go to any of the government's websites and look for yourself you'll discover that fathers do not get equal treatment in family courts and mothers do most of the
abuse of children."

Statistical lies...made up by men to get their own way...

Just as you did with the 'missile gap' in the Cold War and the "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq and a 101 other statistical lies men tell to fool the public.

Father do not get equal treatment in courts today but FAR BETTER treatment then mothers do, far better. Men go in front of judges with histories of alcohol and drugs abuse as well as documentary evidence of ignoring their own children for YEARS...and still walk out with custody...

I don't care what a government website saids about these things as men are disportionately represented in ALL sectors of government from the Supreme Court through BOTH houses, and of course you control the Presidency as well...so I'm not going to believe these instruments, as men control them and use them to make yourselves look better then you are...

Thus, there is NOTHING that comes out of these places that can be trusted...

It's that simple...

MORE statistical lies from men...

Okay...

Even these fatherhood statistics put out are total exaggerations to try to make mothers look bad...and, of course yourselves look better at our expense...

I found out just the other day how you lie even with that...as far fewer men respond to them than women. Yet you will count 1000 women responding versus 100 men and use that as your universe to get statistics making men look good.

One more example of how your numbers cannot be trusted.


You're a bunch of phonies...


Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 28, 2005 4:01:48 PM

"According to Eloise Anderson, the greatest number of kids reported to be abused to the State of California Childrens Services live in single mother homes. So why wouldn't PBS do a documentary about these kids?"


They probably don't do it because, once again, it would make men look bad if they did, as you are the ones who kill children in single mothers' homes...

Okay...

So it's another statistic lie of men, which would probably surface if you really dissected the numbers...

So even that covers up for you...avoiding that discussion...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 28, 2005 4:04:27 PM

"Robert, that last commenter was 'NYMOM.' Do yourself a favor and ignore her. Debating her logic will only give you a migraine."

Just remember this is NOT one of your mens' rights sites and you are not in a position to tell others to ignore me here...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 28, 2005 4:06:25 PM

"Robert Barker: "I have seen the show that is under controversy right now, and I have to wonder why it was presented the way it was presented. To begin with, I think we would all agree that both men and women, mothers and fathers, have been, and will continue to be guilty of abusing children. SO why were the only perpetrators of violence listed in the program male?"

Because abusive fathers are over-represented in contested custody cases. Ann White wrote for the Florida Bar Journal that "abusive fathers are more likely than non-abusive parents to fight for custody, not pay child support, and kidnap the children." The American Judges Association reported that "[o]ne of the most common reasons given for resuming an abusive relationship is the fear that the abuser will act on the threats of taking the children from the victim. Studies show that batterers have been able to convince authorities that the victim is unfit or undeserving of sole custody in approximately 70% of challenged cases." The documentary rightly dealt with cases where abusive fathers were able to gain custody of the children they had been abusing because it is mainly abusive fathers, not abusive mothers, who have been able to do this."

Exactly...

As men continue to control the courts just as they do in every other institution in this country...

Even though we worked for years to get women into positions of power, sadly they have disappointed us.

MOST should be kicked to the curb and driven from the cushy jobs OTHER WOMEN put them into...as they have proven totally useless in this crisis women have been facing for close to a decade now...

If you want to be honest really, these women have turned into bigger asses then the patriarchs we put them in to replace.

So they have to go..

The ONLY issue is how to get rid of them w/o embarrassing the women's movement too much...but go they must...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 28, 2005 4:12:00 PM

Statistics do show a CORRELATION betweeen single-parent households and child abuse. Partly because single-parenthood is also a proxy indicator of young and poor teenaged moms. Young and low-income parents are highly vulnerable to abuse. Especially low-income young fathers, who make up the vast majority of shaken baby syndrome perpetrators.

Check out these results from the Third National Incidence Study on Child Abuse, ESPECIALLY THE LAST PARAGRAPH:

Children of single parents were at higher risk of physical abuse and of all types of neglect and were overrepresented among seriously injured, moderately injured, and endangered children. Compared with their counterparts living with both parents, children in singleparent families had:


a 77% greater risk of being harmed by physical abuse (using the stringent Harm Standard) and a 63% greater risk of experiencing any countable physical abuse (using the Endangerment Standard);

an 87% greater risk of being harmed by physical neglect and a 165% greater risk of experiencing any countable physical neglect;

a 74% greater risk of being harmed by emotional neglect and a 64% greater risk of experiencing any countable emotional neglect;

a 220% (or more than three times) greater risk of being educationally neglected;

an approximately 80% greater risk of suffering serious injury or harm from abuse or neglect;

an approximately 90% greater risk of receiving moderate injury or harm as a result of child maltreatment; and

a 120% (or more than two times) greater risk of being endangered by some type of child abuse or neglect.
Among children in single-parent households, those living with only their fathers were approximately one and two-thirds times more likely to be physically abused than those living with only their mothers.

Posted by: silverside at Nov 28, 2005 4:14:35 PM

Darrick, PBS is not required to present all sides of an issue. The documentary was not slanted and biased merely because you didn't like that father's rights views and misconceptions were not included in it. In addition, as I have posted here numerous times, existing research shows that bona fide false allegations of abuse are rare. They account for only about 2 - 8% of all abuse cases, and are not any more likely to be false in the context of a divorce than they are in other cases. When a dad does not have his demands met in court that does not mean that courts are biased against him. As I and others have already pointed out here, government studies focus on single-mother homes, particularly homes of single teen moms. There is often not a father present, so it's no wonder that government statistics would find that mothers commit the most abuse. The government is actively looking at cases involving single moms with no father present. When abuse is separated from neglect, those same reports have found that fathers commit more abuse than mothers. Mothers are mostly convicted of neglect.

Guys, stop whining that the documentary is slanted because for once fathers' rights activists haven't seen their misconceptions aired. Sour grapes is not appealing to see in action. It's rather hypocritical of you to demand "equal time" when you do not give "equal time" to the views of abused women and abused children when you publish your screeds blaming women and feminists for everything under the sun. If you want to see your views presented about child abuse, make your own documentary.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 28, 2005 4:40:55 PM

Silverside and NYMOM, it's best to ignore "ewton". That's a men's rights troll who has been spewing all over my blog with various names since about September. Don't pay any attention to him. He's not worth it. I usually delete this moron's comments, but I was enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday, and these two comments got past me.

Hey, if he wants to waste his time trashing me and writing tripe with different names every night, let him. It's his life to waste.

Don't let the father's rights folk here allow this post to get off topic. Whenever the focus is on abused women and abused children, they always try to get things off topic by bringing up "rampant" false allegations, mothers supposedly committing the most abuse, and how PBS is supposedly being "unfair" when for once the side of abused mothers and abused children gets attention. They're angry that they are not getting their way, and they have been engaged in a vicious bully campaign against the documentary. Let them whine. It just shows how dreadful they really are, especially since they have been ignoring an abused child who has spoken out about the treatment she has been given by these lowlives.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 28, 2005 4:55:33 PM

Interesting NYMOM. I read somewhere that stated that 72.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot. But you've seemed to have stepped on your own toes with your statistics. If this is all true, and mothers are 90% of single parents, then it looks like women are abusing children at a far greater rate then fathers.

Here is a fact (which I'm sure means nothing to you). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, Child Maltreatment 1997 report states that child fatality perpetrators are 62.8% female. The mother/father ratio is actually greater than this, because many of the male abusers counted are not the biological fathers but instead step‑fathers, boyfriends, etc. And Children are 88% more likely to be seriously injured from abuse or neglect by their mothers than by their fathers. Look it up. But I suppose it's just another male lie as you say when the fact don't point your way. Countess, do you delete all posts that don't agree with your agenda?

Posted by: Trueman at Nov 28, 2005 6:30:25 PM

I know she delete's dozens of my posts. So I can only imagine how many others she deletes.
I wish she would stop being anti-Semitic.

Posted by: PK at Nov 28, 2005 7:14:02 PM

I wish you'd stop humping her leg. You look awful silly when you do that, you know.

Posted by: Sheelzebub at Nov 28, 2005 11:10:32 PM

I wish you'd stop humping her leg. You look awful silly when you do that, you know.

Posted by: Sheelzebub at Nov 28, 2005 11:12:12 PM

I haven't noticed any anti-Semitism here...

Posted by: Alon Levy at Nov 29, 2005 5:37:16 AM

"I haven't noticed any anti-Semitism here..."

It's a troll (as they call it)...I think his real name could be Pete Kaplan but he usually posts under other handles...

He has many issues about mens' rights, so uses every opportunity to bash women's sites under different handles.

You'll get used to him if you hang around long enough, as he pops up every now and then to throw a negative comment out...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 29, 2005 10:28:42 AM

"Here is a fact (which I'm sure means nothing to you). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, Child Maltreatment 1997 report states that child fatality perpetrators are 62.8% female. The mother/father ratio is actually greater than this, because many of the male abusers counted are not the biological fathers but instead step‑fathers, boyfriends, etc. And Children are 88% more likely to be seriously injured from abuse or neglect by their mothers than by their fathers. Look it up. But I suppose it's just another male lie as you say when the fact don't point your way. Countess, do you delete all posts that don't agree with your agenda?"

No. It's not a fact. More fathers kill children then mothers do...you just threw together all abuse and neglect statistics (including the ones perpetrated by step persons) and labeled them as mothers.

Thus you just posted a statistical lie.

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 29, 2005 10:32:46 AM

Silverside, this was a study conducted from 1986 to 1993. The site itself was updated in 2001, not the study or the information.
It also comes from DHHS. The same DHHS that now posts updated statistics that NYMOM is calling a lie.

So look up the UPDATED statistics, read 'em and weep.

Posted by: Masculiste at Nov 29, 2005 11:55:45 AM

Better yet, I'll show you the stats...call it a gift.

"This fact sheet summarizes Child Maltreatment 2003, a publication that provides child abuse statistics submitted by states to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) during 2003. Highlighted topics include reports of child abuse and neglect; victims of maltreatment; perpetrators; fatalities; and services. The maltreatment rate was 12.4 per 1,000 children in 2003. Over sixty percent of the children were neglected, 19 percent were physically abused, and 10 percent were sexually abused. The vast majority of children were maltreated by one parent, USUALLY THE MOTHER. Approximately 1,500 child deaths were related to abuse or neglect."

http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/general/stats/index.cfm#one

Don't call me a liar NYMOM...contact HHS and call them liars.

Posted by: Masculiste at Nov 29, 2005 12:02:12 PM

"Better yet, I'll show you the stats...call it a gift."

Yes, a gift of hate and another of his ongoing attempts to demonize women...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 29, 2005 12:53:45 PM

"Silverside, this was a study conducted from 1986 to 1993. The site itself was updated in 2001, not the study or the information.

It also comes from DHHS. The same DHHS that now posts updated statistics that NYMOM is calling a lie.

So look up the UPDATED statistics, read 'em and weep."

Don't pay any attempt to him...

This is what him and that whole mens/fathers rights bunch is about...

It's a hate group against women.

His whole site is one huge hate fest where he posts one horrible story about women after another, if he doesn't get enough from the US papers, he trolls other nation's news feeds until he finds more.

Nothing he saids can be believed.

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 29, 2005 12:57:14 PM

Ho hum. Same old (deliberate?) confusion. "Maltreatment" is the HHS unmbrella term covering both neglect and abuse. Most of what is under "maltreatment" is neglect, or failure to provide for a child's basic needs. Generally this is synonymous with being poor, and mothers are assumed to be the guilty ones, because it is typically assumed, rightly or wrongly, that mothers are responsible for insuring that their children get adequate food, shelter, and medical care. Abuse involves deliberate actions, physical or sexual, that harm a child.

That moms make up most of the reported "neglecters" is not news. Nor most "maltreaters," since most of maltreatment is neglect. But what about deliberate abuse? Somewhat different story.

This is what Child Abuse & Neglect Fatalities: Statistics and Interventions (2004)says:

Who Are the Perpetrators?
No matter how the fatal abuse occurs, one fact of great concern is that the perpetrators are, by definition, individuals responsible for the care and supervision of their victims. In 2002, one or both parents were involved in 79 percent of child abuse or neglect fatalities. Of the other 21 percent of fatalities, 16 percent were the result of maltreatment by nonparent caretakers, and 5 percent were unknown or missing. These percentages are consistent with findings from previous years.

There is no single profile of a perpetrator of fatal child abuse, although certain characteristics reappear in many studies. Frequently the perpetrator is a young adult in his or her mid-20s without a high school diploma, living at or below the poverty level, depressed, and who may have difficulty coping with stressful situations. In many instances, the perpetrator has experienced violence first-hand. Most fatalities from physical abuse are caused by fathers and other male caretakers. Mothers are most often held responsible for deaths resulting from child neglect. However, in some cases this may be because women are most often responsible (or assumed to be responsible) for children's care (U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, 1995).

This is what I found when I went to HHS and found Child Abuse & Negelct Fatalities: Statistics and Interventions (2004).

Posted by: silverside at Nov 29, 2005 1:03:37 PM

In addition, if you go to Male Perpetrators of Child Maltreatment: Findings from NCANDS (Jan. 2005), you will find that males make up just a little under 1/2 of all perpetrators of maltreatment (abuse and neglect combined) although only 60% of them were caretakers vs. 87% of the women. 51% of the male perps are bio dads. Non-bio dads or other males do inflate the numbers because they are more likely to be sexual abusers. However bio dads are hardly off the hook here. Bio dads were found more likely than other males to maltreat young children (probably because they are more likely to be put in a caretaker role), more likely to maltreat both boys and girls, and more likely to be involved in neglect cases. "These findings suggest that in comparison to other male perpetrators, the circumstances associated with biological fathers are more similar to mothers."

So it seems to me, that when biological fathers are in caretaking positions, they are even more likely to abuse than mothers. This is consistent with the finding that father custody homes have higher rates of physical abuse than mother custody homes. Given how few fathers have caretaking status, you would expect to see much lower "maltreatment" (abuse and neglect combined) figures for dads. But you don't.

By the way, recivitism rates are higher for bio dads than for adopted dads.

Posted by: silverside at Nov 29, 2005 1:37:10 PM

It's a troll (as they call it)...I think his real name could be Pete Kaplan but he usually posts under other handles...

He has many issues about mens' rights, so uses every opportunity to bash women's sites under different handles.

You'll get used to him if you hang around long enough, as he pops up every now and then to throw a negative comment out...

Yeah, I notice the trolls, but there seems to be a learning curve concerning who posts under which handle. It's just that the anti-Semitism accusation seems so outlandish and incomprehensible, I guess.

Posted by: Alon Levy at Nov 29, 2005 1:58:07 PM

"Yeah, I notice the trolls, but there seems to be a learning curve concerning who posts under which handle. It's just that the anti-Semitism accusation seems so outlandish and incomprehensible, I guess".

Start paying attention to who the countess is always criticizing in her blog and articles!
Jews. Primarily and mostly Jews. Jewish fathers rights advocates and jewish feminists.
That's all I have to say right now.

Posted by: Pete Kaplan at Nov 29, 2005 6:12:16 PM

Pete Kaplan: "Start paying attention to who the countess is always criticizing in her blog and articles! Jews. Primarily and mostly Jews. Jewish fathers rights advocates and jewish feminists. That's all I have to say right now."

This is so ridiculous and idiotic that I'm going to leave it up. That should let everyone know what a moron Pete Kaplan is. And he's been commenting on my blog since about September, posting the most idiotic crap under multiple names and often anonymous. I can track him with his IP address. I usually delete most of his crap because most of what he writes is a personal attack against me, but I'm leaving this up so everyone can see what a cretin he is.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 29, 2005 6:30:46 PM

In addition, if you go to Male Perpetrators of Child Maltreatment: Findings from NCANDS (Jan. 2005), you will find that males make up just a little under 1/2 of all perpetrators of maltreatment (abuse and neglect combined) although only 60% of them were caretakers vs. 87% of the women. 51% of the male perps are bio dads. Non-bio dads or other males do inflate the numbers because they are more likely to be sexual abusers. However bio dads are hardly off the hook here. Bio dads were found more likely than other males to maltreat young children (probably because they are more likely to be put in a caretaker role), more likely to maltreat both boys and girls, and more likely to be involved in neglect cases. "These findings suggest that in comparison to other male perpetrators, the circumstances associated with biological fathers are more similar to mothers."

Read it again S.S. If under half of all those cases are male, and of THAT percetage is 51% bio dads, then bio dads make up roughly 25% OF ALL CASES.

Posted by: Masculiste at Nov 29, 2005 7:59:17 PM

Those are cases of fathers acting alone.

If you get into cases of "joint" parental abuse, it goes up. And while fathers are seldom blamed for being silent or passive to a partner's abuse, mothers often are.

It is also the case, and you would be the first to affirm this, that 25% of all bio dads are not stay-at-home caretakers or assuming custodial responsibilities. In the social class which produces the most reported abuse, many bio dads are not in the picture at all, and not highly likely to assume an active parent role. So actually, I find it alarming that so many are abusers. In fact, given the opportunity and the situation, they abuse in higher numbers than moms. Hence the finding that single father households have higher rates of abuse than single mom households.

This is what it comes down to: numbers vs. rates. Women will obviously have higher numbers as they represent the vast majority of caretakers who will be blamed for neglect. But men have higher rates, especially in physical abuse. So what worries me is if more men assume primary caretaker responsibilities, child abuse will go up. We already know that the majority of shaken baby perpetrators are in fact biological fathers, generally low income and young. They just don't demonstrate, as a demographic group, what it takes to care for infants and young children properly.

Look at it this way. Assume that in the town of Zid, 60% of the residents have car accidents within 10 miles of Zid. Makes it sound like car trips around Zid are more dangerous than trips outside it. Could lead to a lot of theorizing: Zid drivers are not paying enough attention on local trips, etc. etc. But if you dig a little deeper, assume you find out that 90% of Zid trips are within 10 miles of home. Meaning that the 90% of trips are accounting for 60% of accidents. And that the 10% of trips greater than 10 miles outside of Zid are actually accounting for 40% of accidents. So where are you at most risk, driving within 10 miles of Zid or 10 miles outside of Zid?

Posted by: silverside at Nov 29, 2005 9:02:28 PM

Silverside...stop with the pretzel logic and the fuzzy math. The same study you're trying to re-interpret is TELLING you that women...MOTHERS...abuse in much higher numbers. A study is not a math quiz. It gives the conclusion and then presents the numbers that support and establish the conclusion.

Posted by: Masculiste at Nov 29, 2005 11:09:14 PM

"A study is not a math quiz. It gives the conclusion and then presents the numbers that support and establish the conclusion."

You're just very invested in believing these lies about women.

In fact, fathers DO kill more children then mothers do.

Actually even in cases where women and men get charged, it's generally men who have actually committed the murder, but they charge women with it as well.

Just like with this Christopher Rhodes recently being found guilty of stabbing a 7 year old 16 times in the face, head and neck.

The bottom line is the grandparents here should have been charged with the same crime.

If that was a mother, SHE would have been...


Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 30, 2005 12:54:23 AM

OK, time for some intellectual honesty. If you beleive that all of the government websites are male dominated and don't tell the truth about how unfair our courts are then can I assume that you would be for a presumption of equal physcial custody act for fit parents? In this act allegations of abuse would be removed from the equation unless one parent is convicted in a court of law of this abuse. This way mothers can't have their allegations held against them by letting judges decide who they think is best without a parent being proven unfit. Also, let's be even more honest, most fathers don't believe that they are better then mothers they think that they are equal. When PBS uses public money to make fathers in general look bad then they should automatically have a show that expresses the other side of the same issue. You admit that their are some mothers who do use false abuse allegations so why didn't they show this side of the issue?

Posted by: Darrick at Nov 30, 2005 10:41:06 AM

When PBS uses public money to make fathers in general look bad then they should automatically have a show that expresses the other side of the same issue.

I agree. If PBS ever makes a show that makes fathers in general look bad, they should make a show that shows the other side's argument. However, this is completely hypothetical, because Breaking the Silence doesn't make fathers look bad - it only makes abusive fathers look bad.

Posted by: Alon Levy at Nov 30, 2005 12:49:27 PM

Alon: "[...] Breaking the Silence doesn't make fathers look bad - it only makes abusive fathers look bad."

That's a major point that fathers' rights activists are purposefully ignoring. The documentary isn't about all dads. It's specifically about abusive dads who managed to get custody of their children.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 30, 2005 1:16:36 PM

CPB Ombudsman Skewers “Breaking the Silence”

Activism Pays Off

Our relentless campaign of pressure against this progandistic “documentary” has produced a big victory for fathers. The campaign, led by Fathers & Families in Boston and radio personality Glenn Sacks in Los Angeles, generated approximately 15,000 emails, letters, and calls to PBS, its separate affiliates, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Yesterday, the Ombudsman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) issued a lengthy critique of this anti-father screed. (The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is the single largest financial supporter of PBS, and it is obligated by law to assure that all public broadcasting programs conform to journalistic standards of objectivity and balance.)

The Ombudsman wrote, “My conclusion. . .is that there is no hint of balance in ‘Breaking the Silence.’ The father’s point of view is ignored. . .” He also wrote, “The producers apparently do not subscribe to the idea that an argument can be made more convincing by giving the other side a fair presentation. . .But this broadcast is so slanted as to raise suspicions that either the family courts of America have gone crazy or there must be another side to this story.”

Posted by: inyourface at Nov 30, 2005 3:54:27 PM

"OK, time for some intellectual honesty. If you beleive that all of the government websites are male dominated and don't tell the truth about how unfair our courts are then can I assume that you would be for a presumption of equal physcial custody act for fit parents?"

Yes, speaking for ONLY myself, I would be...

ONLY because it is the lesser of evils for mothers if we do NOT support it...


"In this act allegations of abuse would be removed from the equation unless one parent is convicted in a court of law of this abuse. This way mothers can't have their allegations held against them by letting judges decide who they think is best without a parent being proven unfit. Also, let's be even more honest, most fathers don't believe that they are better then mothers they think that they are equal."

I do NOT think most fathers are equal however, but again this joint, 50/50, physical, whatever you want to call it is the lesser of MANY MANY evils that could, and frequently does, befall mothers and children if we do NOT support it...

"When PBS uses public money to make fathers in general look bad then they should automatically have a show that expresses the other side of the same issue. You admit that their are some mothers who do use false abuse allegations so why didn't they show this side of the issue?"

That will be the documentary they will do next time...JUST to shut you up...


Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 30, 2005 4:53:49 PM

"But this broadcast is so slanted as to raise suspicions that either the family courts of America have gone crazy or there must be another side to this story.”

I would not say they have gone crazy but they are 'friendlier' to fathers then mothers now.

It's an issue of money, of course, as well as one of activism.

A good number of attorneys, Judges, GALS and Evaluators, for istance, are mens/fathers' right advocates. It's more politically correct now to try to get as many fathers to be the custodial parent as possible. They have taken over a good number of courts on the county level, where custody decisions are actually made. I mean how many mothers can afford to appeal these things? So between the activism and the money involved in these custody decisons (and let's face it MUCH of this nonsense with all these custody fights is about money, let's not lie about that) anyway men have managed to pull together a dynamic coalition working in their interest.

NOT the child's interest, but men's interest.

Meanwhile what do women have 'representing mothers and children' (which BTW, I consider MOST mothers to be the best natural advocate for their children that exists. This is the case in every species, as well as our own as per God, evolution, nature, whatever.), anyway our advocates unfortunately are a bunch of adroygnous gender-neutralized feminists.

Many don't even have any kids, their best friend is probably a cat.

Intellectually they support as many women losing custody as possible as there has always existed a branch of feminism that has seen this as a shortcut to their goal of a perfectly gender-neutralized society where everything is exactly 50/50 from 50% of women running around every battlefield, 50% of women on death row, 50% of mothers not having their kids (or more as there is no limit to the numbers of mothers and children they'll drag into this vast social engineering project that they are currently engaged in, none)...

So that's the basic problem here...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 30, 2005 5:17:37 PM

Meanwhile what do women have 'representing mothers and children' (which BTW, I consider MOST mothers to be the best natural advocate for their children that exists. This is the case in every species, as well as our own as per God, evolution, nature, whatever.), anyway our advocates unfortunately are a bunch of adroygnous gender-neutralized feminists.

Many don't even have any kids, their best friend is probably a cat.

What is this assertion based on?

Posted by: Alon Levy at Dec 1, 2005 2:13:11 PM

That many women who never take the leap of faith to have any kids are constantly sitting around pontificating about the women who DO...

Short list: Judge Arlene Goldberg, Ann Coulter, Cathy Young, Wendy McElroy...there are dozens of others whose names escape me right now, but I'm composing a longer list...

Sitting around either talking trash about mothers or writing columns against them...

What the heck have any of these women contributed of any use to anybody that gives them the right to sit around and talk about the mothers in this civilization...

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 1, 2005 8:08:33 PM

Even sadder are the women who HAVE had children and still have contributed nothing of any importance to society.

Posted by: Masculiste at Dec 1, 2005 9:45:01 PM

Why is it that women's worth is measured solely by whether they have children or not? I don't see anyone trash David Souter for not having children, so why the double standard?

Posted by: Alon Levy at Dec 2, 2005 4:49:21 AM

Because men not having kids are a dime a dozen...

Civilizations neither rise or fall based upon them.

The situation with women however is very different and if enough of us quit having kids, we don't exist anymore...

It's pretty simple.

You should understand that being connected with Israel.

It won't make a bit of difference how many high tech weapons you invent, if you don't have enough women willing to have children you are finished anyway...

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 2, 2005 9:42:51 AM

Okay, about Israel, for your information it has the highest fertility rate in the developed world. The people who worry most about Arabs' having a higher fertility rate than Jews are typically racists promoting expelling Arabs from Israel and Palestine.

But anyway, a similar thing to what you say about women not having children can be said about men: if a man chooses not to have children, it becomes more difficult for some woman to have children, so the social consequences are identical. At any rate, civilizations don't rise or fall based on birth rates. Europeans complain about their low birth rates till they're blue in the mouth, but the fact is that their civilization is secure, in fact much more so than most high-fertility civilizations. Chinese civilization is just as secure despite dwindling birth rates and an expected population decline beginning about 2030.

Posted by: Alon Levy at Dec 2, 2005 4:04:40 PM

Alon, do you have any links about what you've written that I could read? I'd like to learn more. I'm not familiar with Israel much, and I need to educate myself. I know that women in Japan are foregoing marriage and childrearing, which I've written about here before, but I'm not aware of anywhere in particular where men are not having children. I'd like to read up more on it.

Posted by: The Countess at Dec 2, 2005 4:22:17 PM

About the high fertility rate, you can find it in any country database; the one I use, the 2005 Human Development Report (get it here), says Israel's fertility rate is 2.9, whereas every other developed country has a fertility rate of at most 2.0. I can dig up English links showcasing how right-wing zealots in Israel argue that because Arabs have a higher fertility rate than Jews, Israel must expel all Arabs for the sake of preserving the Jewish state, but I'll do it in a few hours, after I wake up; it's now 6:45 am and I still haven't gone to sleep.

Posted by: Alon Levy at Dec 2, 2005 5:48:14 PM

Get some sleep, Alon. I'd like very much to see the stats about Arabs, especially anything saying Israel must expel Arabs to preserve the Jewish state. I don't have an opinion either way on the Arab and Israeli conflict, but I'd like to read stuff from both sides.

Posted by: The Countess at Dec 2, 2005 6:24:02 PM

I hate to tell the two of you but MEN DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN.

OKAY...

The do not HAVE children...

They play a very limited role in the process...

Sorry.

WOMEN are the ones who have children and thus, WE drive the population increase or decline of a nation.

I know people hate hearing that, but it's a simple biological FACT.

God, evolution, nature, etc., did NOT create us all equal in this area as much as anyone might wish to believe...

WOMEN have been given the honor, the right, the obligation, the responsbility to bear the next generation...

That's it...

Furthermore, I don't consider Israelis racists who are concerned about the survival of Israel as a Jewish state...

Sorry...

Maybe Alon doesn't care about this...

AND guess what: ultimately neither do I...

I think the world might be a safer place for the rest of us when this finally happens...

But let's not lie to ourselves and pretend that it can't happen, if current birth trends in Israel continue...

Hopefully it will be a gradual and peaceful process, where the state of Israel goes out quietly with a whimper (through a vote of their citizens reflecting the new majority in a generation or two) and not a bang...

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 2, 2005 9:34:50 PM

"At any rate, civilizations don't rise or fall based on birth rates."

YOU obviously haven't read much history to make a statement like that. The fall of the Roman Empire was directly connected with the decline of Rome's population.

They were just overwhelmed by the Germanic tribes from the North with their huge expanding population base and with the Huns from the East also expanding and needing more pastures for their herds and space for their own peoples...

If you look at the history of Rome, itself, they were eventually reduced to using Germans and Huns as mercencaries in their armies, just to be able to have armies, due to low replacement rates of Roman citizens...

Then those armies turned against the senate and other representatives of the Roman people...That was the whole era of the "German Emperors" who the armies put in place...Why they almost winded up with an Emperor named Attila the Hun...

Rome's eventually total collapse lead to the dark ages in Europe and a general decline in life-span, reading and writing vanished as did art, music, architecture and many other advances that people had come to see as a given, no matter who was in power.

It was almost 2,000 years before Europe got back to where it was just before Rome collapsed...that's why the medieval church grew to be so powerful, as it replaced the power vacuum left by the collapse of the Roman Empire...

Clearly you haven't read much history to make a comment like that...

"Europeans complain about their low birth rates till they're blue in the mouth, but the fact is that their civilization is secure, in fact much more so than most high-fertility civilizations."

That's not true. Actually France showed us just how vulnerable they really are last month when various segments of the populations rioted for weeks and it was not able to be controlled.

So Europe is not so 'stable' anymore as people would like to believe.

Greater weapons and defense technology is the ONLY thing that has saved them up to this point...

Two thousand years ago a rich civilization with a small army and lots of older people would have been invaded and looted from every side...just human nature...


"Chinese civilization is just as secure despite dwindling birth rates and an expected population decline beginning about 2030."

Well even that is not wholly true...

Reading "Bare Branches" by Valerie Hudson shows us that the misuse of our technology led to a distortion in China (and most of the rest of Asia) populations that could have major ramificiations for the rest of the world over the next few decades.

We simply can NOT be certain of anything you say...as we do not know where any of these populations trends are leading us...

If the past is any guide, population shifts in any direction has not been a peaceful process...

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 2, 2005 10:17:44 PM

Let me try to reconstruct my comment, which went down the drain when Windows 98 up and froze:

1. Population growth has many negative consequences, most notably overpopulation. Saudi Arabia's quality of life crashed between the early 70s and the late 90s because of overpopulation. Europe and Japan have problems associated with too low population growth, but it's to be expected of systems that require population growth, a condition that clearly can't last indefinitely. Contrariwise, some historians contend that the black death catapulted Europe forward by killing off a third of its population and in particular that it was the trigger for the Renaissance.

2. The French riots have nothing to do with population growth. People who have studied the events carefully have identified three possible causes: discrimination against Muslims in France, the violence of Islamic culture, and the French economic system; my view is that the last of these is bunk, the second is very limited, and the first is the real cause of the riots.

3. The fall of the Roman Empire is quite irrelevant to modern societies. We're living at a time when the mass army is becoming increasingly irrelevant; the neocons overestimated the degree to which it was becoming irrelevant and underestimated the power of guerrilla warfare, but they were correct about the trend. The modern powerful state rises and falls with its GDP, not with the size of its army.

4. The idea that women should be full-time mothers has historical roots much shallower than you think. The modern theory of separate spheres dates back to the 19th century, when capitalism threatened to change gender norms; before then, the general Western conception was that women were property rather than caregivers. And even that doesn't date more than a few millennia back. I read somewhere that primitive hunter-gatherer societies were mostly egalitarian, with gender division being only into male hunters and female gatherers and with child rearing being the burden of the entire tribe; it's only upon the discovery of the link between sex and childbirth that a hunter-gatherer society would become patriarchal and foist childcare exclusively upon women.

5. In Israel, fertility is 2.44, not 2.9 - Wikipedia has precise data, whereas the HDR only has an estimate. Arabs have a far higher population growth rate than Jews - 3.3% vs. 1.6%; in the Occupied Territories, growth rates are even higher. For articles discussing the population bomb, see this article by an Arab nationalist advocating the use of the demographic bomb against Israel, this Electronic Intifada article, this Jewish World Review article about why the demographic bomb is a lie, and this general introduction on Newsmax. Mind you, all articles but the first discuss the population percentages in Israel + Palestine, which is why pro-Israeli sources are more dismissive (since that would be an argument for disengaging from Palestine).

However, some extremists in Israel talk of the demographic bomb inside Israel proper, though unfortunately I can't find any ultra-Zionist article about it; the sources I intended to use were the websites of the extreme rightist parties Herut and Moledet, but Herut's website is defunct and Moledet's talks about expelling Arabs from Israel and Palestine but not about the demographic bomb. This intra-Israeli demographic bomb is a myth, because as the Jewish World Review article shows, Arab birth rates are falling in both Israel and Palestine. Further, in general birth rates fall as economic affluence increases, so if the Israeli government started to aggressively combat inequality between Jews and Arabs, we'd see the fertility gap close.

6. Racists often invent demographic bombs in order to rally the population against an ethnic minority. In Israel, this minority is the Arabs, although in recent times, some Israeli liberals have coopted that tactic in order to advocate withdrawing from Palestine. In the USA, this minority is Hispanics; hence we have Samuel Huntingon's Who We Are. These demographic bombs rarely if ever have a basis in fact - for example, the American one assumes that Hispanics will form a distinct subculture, whereas in fact they assimilate just like previous waves of immigrants.

Posted by: Alon Levy at Dec 3, 2005 9:46:33 AM

2. The French riots have nothing to do with population growth. People who have studied the events carefully have identified three possible causes: discrimination against Muslims in France, the violence of Islamic culture, and the French economic system; my view is that the last of these is bunk, the second is very limited, and the first is the real cause of the riots.

The fact that so many immigrants were allowed into France initially was directly related to France's negative population growth. These immigrants were supposedly going to fill the jobs that France's aging population could not...

This is the case throughout western civilization...


"3. The fall of the Roman Empire is quite irrelevant to modern societies."

No it really isn't...Those who forget their history, unfortunately, are doomed to repeat it...

"4. The idea that women should be full-time mothers has historical roots much shallower than you think. The modern theory of separate spheres dates back to the 19th century, when capitalism threatened to change gender norms; before then, the general Western conception was that women were property rather than caregivers. And even that doesn't date more than a few millennia back."

These are lies and half-truths. Many invented by mens/fathers rights advocates and gender-neutralized feminists determined to push western civilization into an androgynous society...

Mothers in every species, as well as our own, have ALWAYS cared for and raised the young they bore...with the exception of the Disney clown fish of course.


"I read somewhere that primitive hunter-gatherer societies were mostly egalitarian, with gender division being only into male hunters and female gatherers and with child rearing being the burden of the entire tribe; it's only upon the discovery of the link between sex and childbirth that a hunter-gatherer society would become patriarchal and foist childcare exclusively upon women."

You read a bunch of gender neutralized nonsense...if you read Tacitus (which I am in the process of doing a post on my blog regarding his histories) Roman historian on the Germanic tribes (it seemed when they first started menancing Rome, they sent a historian to try and figure out who these people were, where they originally came from and what made them tick) he clearly stated that they were a primative people but goes into great detail about how the women in the tribe are responsible for the children...even discussing in great detail how they all breastfed their infants and tended to small animals...

There was nothing but division of labor there.

Initally there are a number of accounts from early exploration of the Americas from missionaries and others on Indian tribes and all clearly demonstrate WOMEN taking care of the children of the tribe...Male adolescents eventually go out with the men, but MOTHERS are clearly the caregivers for infants and young children...

Again division of labor...

This is nonsense that you have 'heard' total nonsense...


"This intra-Israeli demographic bomb is a myth, because as the Jewish World Review article shows, Arab birth rates are falling in both Israel and Palestine. Further, in general birth rates fall as economic affluence increases, so if the Israeli government started to aggressively combat inequality between Jews and Arabs, we'd see the fertility gap close."

I don't know which side is right and guess what: I bet nobody else does either.

I've just heard too many of these 'economic' theories of history where people LIKE to believe that economics explains everything...

It explains some, not all...

Some of the most radical peoples today are actually the most affluence...such as the Saudis in the middle east. Clearly much of their oil money finds it way to fund many terrorist groups. NOT to mention that a lot of terrorists are very well-educated and if they wish could easily have entered the middle-class.

Yasser Arafat was a Civil Engineer. Osama bin Ladin was educated at Oxford. A good number of the 19 September 11 hyjackers were well-educated...

We saw the same thing in Yugoslavia...Many of the leaders of all sides were the most educated men in their society, doctors and such...the ones who economic theory would say have the most to lose if their society goes to civil war. Yet that didn't stop them...

BTW, same thing with the Puerto Rico Independence Movement here...when we had the election a few years back most Puerto Ricans, who STILL lived in Puerto Rico, voted to remain a commonwealth of the US...MOST of the ones who LIVED HERE and were MUCH MORE AFFLUENCE voted far more radically as they wanted complete and total independence immediately for the island, even though the people who lived there felt otherwise...

So it's not true what you say about a raise in the standard of living for everyone will solve all the problems...

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 3, 2005 11:29:01 AM

The reason France let all the immigrants in was that it saw no reason to keep them out. The government thought that they would work in France for a few years and then return to Algeria. It's only recently that some Europeans have suggested letting more immigrants in to replace the region's aging workforce; back when the rioters' parents and grandparents crossed the Mediterranean Sea, France's population was still growing and the current population problem was a non-issue.


Now, the time period I'm talking about dates several millennia before Tacitus. I don't need Tacitus for anything, in fact, because it's possible to infer from Indo-European linguistics that Proto-Indo-European society was patriarchal, patrilocal, and patrilineal (for instance, the name of the pantheon leader in Proto-Indo-European is "God the Father" - Dyeus-pater). It goes back 5 millennia before Tacitus, then. But this is irrelevant to the anthropological observation that patriarchy only comes with the discovery that sex causes childbirth. I could cite you the appropriate references, if I remembered them; I don't even remember where I read this - I think on Majikthise, but I'm not sure.

At any rate, it doesn't really matter what is natural. Xenophobia is natural; one of the most basic pieces of knowledge produced by evolutionary psychology is that the human brain is hardwired for xenophobia because it conferred adaptive advantages several millennia ago. More recent and controversial research even shows that rape, abuse, and murder of wives by their husbands are natural because in the past they were useful in making wives faithful. Even if patriarchy is natural - and requiring women to be full-time caretakers is patriarchal - it is bad from both a consequential and a categorical point of view.


About affluence, you're right to say that the correlation between wealth and moderation isn't perfect. I never said it was perfect, only that it was strong. It's a verifiable fact that wealth reduces birth rates; at least in every Western and East Asian country, there is a strong negative correlation between the number of children one has and the level of one's wealth and education. There's an accepted and almost always correct model analyzing the birth and death rates of a country by its level of development: first there is a high birth rate and a high death rate; then, as the country starts developing, the death rates plummets and there's a population boom; and then, as the country develops more and women become more equal to men, birth rates plummet and population stagnates or falls.

Saudi Arabia is a known exception to this, because although it was affluent in the 1970s, women's rights were possibly the worst in the world. But Arab-Israelis are different from Saudis: for one their birth rates have evidently fallen in recent years, and for two they are substantially more liberal than the Saudis, with their social values being mainstream-conservative by American standards. In this situation, more wealth almost invariably means fewer children.

Posted by: Alon Levy at Dec 3, 2005 12:55:43 PM

"The reason France let all the immigrants in was that it saw no reason to keep them out. The government thought that they would work in France for a few years and then return to Algeria."

Well I find that hard to believe...as what would be the reason to let people in to 'work' whether or NOT you thought they were going to return home, IF you didn't have a shortage of workers to begin with...

AND all of western civilization has been experiencing a declince in birth rates since after a brief upsurge after WWII...

I think that just like the US with Mexico, Germany with Turkey and Japan with Korea, these workers were allowed to come because they were needed, due to declining populations.

Thus, population decline is directly responsible for the sorts of instability that comes when huge numbers of unassimilated immigrants are introduced into a country.

Whether they come in voluntarily (workers visas) or involuntarily (war), it's a source of instability...


"Now, the time period I'm talking about dates several millennia before Tacitus. I don't need Tacitus for anything, in fact, because it's possible to infer from Indo-European linguistics that Proto-Indo-European society was patriarchal, patrilocal, and patrilineal (for instance, the name of the pantheon leader in Proto-Indo-European is "God the Father" - Dyeus-pater). It goes back 5 millennia before Tacitus, then."

Okay but...so what????

I never said societies were NOT patriarchal...

I just saw MOTHERS always raised their own children.

I don't see any contradiction here in what I said versus what you said.


"About affluence, you're right to say that the correlation between wealth and moderation isn't perfect. I never said it was perfect, only that it was strong. It's a verifiable fact that wealth reduces birth rates; at least in every Western and East Asian country, there is a strong negative correlation between the number of children one has and the level of one's wealth and education. There's an accepted and almost always correct model analyzing the birth and death rates of a country by its level of development."

Okay I agree that wealth, affluence, education, etc., reduces birth rates.

What I don't agree with is that it also automatically makes the affluent population more moderate in their politics.

As what I think you are trying to say is that as nations in the mideast get more affluence that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict will slowly peter out.

I'm not sure if this is true, as the examples I gave you show it is frequently just the opposite and that it is usually an affluent elite responsible for more radical policies, then the poorer masses....

I actually hope you're right; however, as I like Israel (my last workstudy was Israeli, great kid I hated to see him go) however, sadly I don't think you are...

Sorry...

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 3, 2005 2:04:37 PM

Well I find that hard to believe...as what would be the reason to let people in to 'work' whether or NOT you thought they were going to return home, IF you didn't have a shortage of workers to begin with...

AND all of western civilization has been experiencing a declince in birth rates since after a brief upsurge after WWII...

I think that just like the US with Mexico, Germany with Turkey and Japan with Korea, these workers were allowed to come because they were needed, due to declining populations.

Thus, population decline is directly responsible for the sorts of instability that comes when huge numbers of unassimilated immigrants are introduced into a country.

Whether they come in voluntarily (workers visas) or involuntarily (war), it's a source of instability...

Western countries let people in by default, and only restrict immigration if they see a special reason to do so. Hence you get the massive wave of immigration to the US around the turn of the 19th century, even though it had nothing approaching a shortage of labor; the main reason the US started restricting immigration was union pressure caused by the fact that many of these immigrants were used as strikebreakers. Similarly, France freely let Algerians in right after it withdrew from Algeria even though its population was still increasing and its fertility rate was 2.7.

Okay but...so what????

I never said societies were NOT patriarchal...

I just saw MOTHERS always raised their own children.

I don't see any contradiction here in what I said versus what you said.

My argument goes like this:

- The idea that women are meant to take care of children is patriarchal.
- The patriarchy only arises in a society once it discovers the link between sex and childbirth; before then, men and women are more or less equal, and in particular the entire tribe raises children together.
- The fact that Tacitus describes a society where women take care of children is irrelevant, because we know that that society's predecessor five millennia back was already patriarchal and viewed women as caretakers.

Okay I agree that wealth, affluence, education, etc., reduces birth rates.

What I don't agree with is that it also automatically makes the affluent population more moderate in their politics.

You're right; I'm not arguing that Arab-Israelis will necessarily become more moderate, only that they will have fewer children. On the other hand, Palestinians are bound to become more moderate if they're less poor, because the type of violence they engage in is characteristic of desperate people. A Palestinian terrorist dons a bomb, goes to a street in Israel, and blows himself up. An Al-Qaida terrorist trains for several months to become a pilot in order to blow himself up. The difference is immense: the latter is a fanatic, whereas the former is a desperate person with nothing to lose.

Posted by: Alon Levy at Dec 4, 2005 2:34:13 AM

"Western countries let people in by default, and only restrict immigration if they see a special reason to do so."

I think you are confusing the US with Europe.

The US did this as we needed the population. We were a large country with a small population during most of our history...Europe's situation just the opposite.


- The idea that women are meant to take care of children is patriarchal.

I'll only accept this as true if by it you mean "the idea that women are meant to take care of children" comes from God or you consider evolution as a 'male entity'.

Otherwise I do NOT accept that women are 'meant to take care of children' as an idea coming from any man, past or present.

This is not a gift women get from men...

Okay.

It's not theirs to give.

In every species, as well as our own, female bear and raise the young...Thus, I do NOT accept this premise that men DECIDED women were to do this...as, quite simply, it's a natural development which men have NO control over, although I know men would LIKE to believe they have control over everything...

- The patriarchy only arises in a society once it discovers the link between sex and childbirth; before then, men and women are more or less equal, and in particular the entire tribe raises children together.

So in other words this whole theory is based upon events that happens so long ago, that it can never be proven...prehistoric...

Well I hate to tell you but my theory is pre your prehistoric as I only have to look at every other living being on this earth to know that in every species, females bear and raise the young of that species...every one of them, as well as our own...with the exception, of course, of a few stray Disney clownfish...

Frankly this appears to be more propaganda to continue this war against mothers that men have instigated in the western world....

Nothing else...

- The fact that Tacitus describes a society where women take care of children is irrelevant, because we know that that society's predecessor five millennia back was already patriarchal and viewed women as caretakers.

How convenient for your theory...that, of course, every historical source can be disregarded showing otherwise...


"A Palestinian terrorist dons a bomb, goes to a street in Israel, and blows himself up. An Al-Qaida terrorist trains for several months to become a pilot in order to blow himself up. The difference is immense: the latter is a fanatic, whereas the former is a desperate person with nothing to lose."

Really...

Well I guess only time will tell if you're right.

I see just the opposite happening, as the Saudis are a good example of this. Affluence has not made them more moderate, but more radical and they use the money they make from us buying oil to finance terrorism...

But in this instance, I hope you are right.

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 4, 2005 6:31:37 AM

Thanks for all the information, Alon. Now I have stuff to read today. ;)

Regarding this: "The French riots have nothing to do with population growth. People who have studied the events carefully have identified three possible causes: discrimination against Muslims in France, the violence of Islamic culture, and the French economic system; my view is that the last of these is bunk, the second is very limited, and the first is the real cause of the riots."

I read a little about the riots when they were occurring, and the main cause was identified as discrimination against Muslims in France. Weren't some of the Muslims coming from countries that were originally (or even now) French terroritories? I know there is a long history of discrimination against Muslims in France due in part to French colonization of other countries.

Posted by: The Countess at Dec 4, 2005 9:05:13 AM

You wouldn't want to make this comment in a place where people actually know about biology. There's a controversy in biology over evolutionary psychology, which claims among other things that patriarchy is natural, where natural means hardwired into the human brain (just because it existed before doesn't mean it's natural or desirable in any way; I know of no animal species that doesn't practice murder on a daily basis). But EP claims a lot of things are hardwired into the human brain, most notably xenophobia; the biologists who deal with it are in general smart enough to realize that it doesn't require them to advocate patriarchy and xenophobia (there's one person who does, Steven Pinker, but he's not a biologist, and if you believe PZ Myers, who's strongly against EP, he knows nothing about biology). The fact that something happened in the past doesn't make it desirable; it might make it unassailable, but as I said, it's a controversy within biology, where one side thinks what you're saying is total crap, and other thinks that what you're saying is true from a historical perspective but is not necessarily good policy in modern times.

Now, your claim that ignoring Tacitus is brushing off dissonant facts isn't true. I'm repeating an anthropological claim that only applies to hunter-gatherer societies; to my knowledge the discovery of the sex-birth link always predates the advent of agriculture. If you could cite research about hunter-gatherer tribes that shows that they invariably view women as caregivers then it would be one thing; but so far you're only citing an observation about one civilized society, which we know had been agricultural for at least 5,000 years when the observation was made.

Another claim you keep making that is false is that it's men who have tried to sever the mother-child bond in recent times. In fact the traditional Western view of childcare has been the same as what you're advocating for about 150 years. The people who challenged this view were the feminists - in particular, the sameness feminists, mostly but not only liberal second-wave feminists. Men's rights advocates have only seized this notion very recently, as it allows them to clothe a movement that is basically against child support payment in the language of liberalism. Feminists had been encouraging men to nurture their children more and women to extend their world beyond their families for decades when the modern men's rights movement arose.

Posted by: Alon Levy at Dec 4, 2005 9:22:53 AM

Alon, I'm reading the articles now. They are very interesting. I'll have to read them a few times to take in all the information.

What is the "Green Line"? One of the articles mentioned it. I've heard of it, but I don't know what it is.

I'm familiar with Jewish World Review. HHS director Wade Horn has had articles published there about family and fatherhood issues that were full of inaccuracies. I noticed that the Jewish World Review article you linked to cited research presented to the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. Both are conservative organizations that have a history of twisting statistics. How accurate is that article? I don't have much to compare it to, other than the other articles you cited, so I can't judge it on its merits. It sounds to me as if Israel believes that Arab population will soon outstrip it, despite what was written in that article.

Also, do you know why the Arab population is growing at such a rate? What is it in the Arab culture that encourages women to bear on average four or five children, as stated in that article?

Posted by: The Countess at Dec 4, 2005 9:34:12 AM

Alon: "- The idea that women are meant to take care of children is patriarchal."

NYMOM: "I'll only accept this as true if by it you mean "the idea that women are meant to take care of children" comes from God or you consider evolution as a 'male entity'. Otherwise I do NOT accept that women are 'meant to take care of children' as an idea coming from any man, past or present. This is not a gift women get from men..."

I have to agree with Alon. NYMOM, I don't think he's talking about women being biologically preordained to bear and raise children. I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, that it was a patriarchal idea that women are preordained in that way, and they were shuffled off into childrearing because it was a societal view that they were "made" for that reason. The idea that women "must" take care of children is patriarchal. That's where the separate spheres come from. Women were discouraged from rising to their full potential because they were viewed as primarily mothers who are biologically predetermined to care for children. Childrearing and seeking an education or going after a career were seen as mutually exclusive.

However, it is a fact that women do take on the bulk of raising children, regardless of their eduational and career achievements. That fact alone is why mothers most often get custody of their children upon divorce, regardless of their level of education and whether or not they work outside the home. There is a big difference between recognizing that mothers do the bulk of the childrearing work whether or not they work outside the home, and believing that women are "predetermined" via biology to raise children. Mothers don't get custody today because they are mothers. They get it because they had acted in the capacity of primary caregiver from the beginning. Custody is about who had done the hand's on work, not whether a mother should get custody because of a neo-conservative view that they should get custody because they are biologically predetermined to raise children. Keep in mind that in most divorces - 90% - the parents settle out of court, and determine on their own that mom should have custody. These are not contested custody cases.

Posted by: The Countess at Dec 4, 2005 9:45:57 AM

Alon, to NYMOM: "You wouldn't want to make this comment in a place where people actually know about biology. There's a controversy in biology over evolutionary psychology, which claims among other things that patriarchy is natural, where natural means hardwired into the human brain (just because it existed before doesn't mean it's natural or desirable in any way; I know of no animal species that doesn't practice murder on a daily basis). But EP claims a lot of things are hardwired into the human brain, most notably xenophobia; the biologists who deal with it are in general smart enough to realize that it doesn't require them to advocate patriarchy and xenophobia (there's one person who does, Steven Pinker, but he's not a biologist, and if you believe PZ Myers, who's strongly against EP, he knows nothing about biology). The fact that something happened in the past doesn't make it desirable; it might make it unassailable, but as I said, it's a controversy within biology, where one side thinks what you're saying is total crap, and other thinks that what you're saying is true from a historical perspective but is not necessarily good policy in modern times."

I think NYMOM is an essentialist. Her posts often state her belief that mothers are biologically preordained to care for children. A lot of neo-conservative family ideologues believe this. David Popenoe, for example. I don't agree with the essentialist point of view. I don't think women are biologically preordained towards motherhood. You're right that PZ Myers would take issue with her about the essentialist point of view.

Posted by: The Countess at Dec 4, 2005 9:49:51 AM

First, Trish, you're absolutely right about the French riots (in fact I wrote a post about why discrimination was the primary cause of the riots). The French state didn't so much discriminate against Muslims as it completely ignored the fact that employers and landlords were discriminating against Muslims. And yes, most of these immigrants come from ex-French colonies, mostly Algeria and Morocco. Here is a good introduction to the issue of immigration in France - it seems that indeed French immigration policy was driven by France's below-par population growth, although I still contend that blaming the riots on France's relatively low birth rates is misguided because the low birth rates may have brought the immigrants in but did not make them riot.

Second, the Green Line is the border between Israel proper and the occupied Palestinian territories; I believe that when they demarcated the borders, they drew the line on the map in green.

Third, Arab and South Asian Muslims tend to have high birth rates because their cultures are extremely misogynistic, which precludes women from having access to birth control. In addition, traditional culture in these areas is one of subsistence agriculture organized in extended families, in which situation chilren are working hands and therefore economic assets rather than economic liabilities as they are in developed countries. As far as I know, the state of women's rights and the level of economic development are in general the two most important factors influencing birth rates; in Arab countries, both have traditionally caused high birth rates, although the situation is changing.

Fourth, about the Jewish World Review article, I can't find any studies about the Arab-Israeli birth rate other than the AEI's. One UN article claims that Arab-Israelis have had a level fertility rate of 4.6-4.8 in the last 25 years, but that article also claims that Israel's total fertility rate is 2.9 whereas in fact it has been less than that for about 10 years and is trending down. But in other Arab countries the fertility rates have plummeted in the last 30 years, so it stands to reason that the fertility rate of Arab-Israelis has dropped as well, absent any reliable research showing that this is not the case.

Fifth, I too think NYMom is an essentialist; my previous comment disagrees with her position.

Sixth, there's obviously a difference between being biologically preordained to bear children and being biologically preordained to raise them. Women were clearly biologically preordained to bear children; this is a physiological fact, though the abolition of pregnancy wasn't what I didn't like about the society portrayed in Brave New World. But to say that women were biologically meant to raise children, or to bear many children to the exclusion of other activities, is an evolutionary-psychological argument, which as far as I can tell the evidence doesn't support.

Posted by: Alon Levy at Dec 4, 2005 10:37:58 AM

"If you could cite research about hunter-gatherer tribes that shows that they invariably view women as caregivers then it would be one thing; but so far you're only citing an observation about one civilized society, which we know had been agricultural for at least 5,000 years when the observation was made."

The Germanic tribes at the time they showed up in Roman territory had NOT become agriculturists yet. They were somewhere between hunter-gathers and agriculturists, just as the Huns were...they relied on herding ..probably they were similar to those people in Lapland who raised reindeer...and lived off products from them...

Which is also why they probably constantly needed more land since as their populations grew, they needed larger herds, then these herds invariably needed new pastures and sources of water...that's what they were looking for when they headed South to Roman territory...new land for their herds...

Bill Moyers actually had a very good special on this aspect of western civilization and why we have such a unique relationship with dogs. He felt that we turned to agriculture much later then some other civilization like China, for instance,...thus, we had a working relationship with our dogs far longer then some other parts of the world. He showed that dogs exist in other parts of the world, but mostly as food...whereas in the west, they helped with herding and now are frequently treated like friends or even members of the family...


"Feminists had been encouraging men to nurture their children more and women to extend their world beyond their families for decades when the modern men's rights movement arose."

As long as this view is voluntary I have no problem with it. When however, people wish to force this on women, however, through the use of court orders and whatnot, then I'm against it...

But whatever voluntary arrangements people wish to come to in order to raise their children mother stays home, father stay home, both parent work and hire a care-giving dog to take care of their kid, I could care less...but court orders to remove kids from fit mothers (even infants) I would never agree this is legitimate...under any circumstances...

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 4, 2005 10:59:47 AM

"Mothers don't get custody today because they are mothers. They get it because they had acted in the capacity of primary caregiver from the beginning. Custody is about who had done the hand's on work, not whether a mother should get custody because of a neo-conservative view that they should get custody because they are biologically predetermined to raise children. Keep in mind that in most divorces - 90% - the parents settle out of court, and determine on their own that mom should have custody. These are not contested custody cases."

Yes...but the problem with this view is that more and more men are deciding to contest custody. AND even so-called 'mediation' agreements are now requiring evaluations (just like litigated cases) if women don't immediately agree to whatever outrageous terms are offered. AND many of these Evaluators are biased against mothers...It is now seen as progressive to give a child, especially an infant to a father...

PLUS some mens' groups are now beginning to pushing for EVERY AGREEMENT to be approved by a Judge...thus potentially turning EVERY custody agreement into a litigated case...as Judges have the right to NOT sign any agreement, if they think it is against public policy, either in terms of custody or division of financial assets...

Thus undercutting the main negotiating tool, mothers now have...

At one time I too felt that it was probably okay to rely on the fact that mothers generally would be seen as primary caretakers and the courts would recognize that and not wish to interfere with it. Even though it was a patchwork measure avoiding the real issue here which is why should the parent who contributes the most investment in having children have to prove themselves fit to have custody of that child after the fact...

So saying mothers will get custody because they are generally the primary care parent before the divorce, is just not cutting it anymore, as I hear of many mothers now who were the primary caretaker of their children and lost custody anyway...

Just two weeks ago I heard from another woman, primary caretaker and working as a p/t pediatric nurse...Just lost custody of her kids to a banker who is never even home...She was actually forbidden to even go to her son's daycare during naptime to help him get to sleep now...as she's restricted to EOW and one weeknight to see her children...

So as more and more men start litigating and/or more groups interested in the outcome of these cases continue pushing for everyone to get court approval for custody arrangemnts, more and more women are going to keep losing their kids.

AND I'm sorry but I don't accept this statement that the Patriarchy had deemed mothers to raise their children in out past and now has withdrawn that permission...

Women do not have the right to raise their children as a gift from men...

Sorry...

But that is a totally inaccurate view of our history...

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 4, 2005 11:21:30 AM

"Custody is about who had done the hand's on work, not whether a mother should get custody because of a neo-conservative view that they should get custody because they are biologically predetermined to raise children."

If this is the case that neo-conservatives are the ones supporting mothers having custody (due to some biological predetermination that mothers are more fit to raise children) how do you explain the 2000 census numbers that show us that MOST non-custodial mothers come from regions in the South and West which are all neoconservative red states???

Are they talking the talk, but not walking the walk????

Following your logic, blue states should have the highest numbers of non-custodial mothers being liberals and red states the least, being neo-conservative...

In fact, the census shows us just the opposite is happening...and, in fact, neoconservatives are using custody of children as a club against mothers in their states...not handing custody over to them because they think they are biologically predetermined to be the better parent...

This is NOT a liberal vs. conservative issue, but goes far deeper then that...and women need to understand this; otherwise it is an issue which will continue confusing us...

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 4, 2005 11:33:23 AM

"I think NYMOM is an essentialist. Her posts often state her belief that mothers are biologically preordained to care for children. A lot of neo-conservative family ideologues believe this. David Popenoe, for example."

AND what is David Popenoe's view on father custody????

Tell me that first before I believe he and I think alike on anything...

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 4, 2005 11:36:45 AM

"Sixth, there's obviously a difference between being biologically preordained to bear children and being biologically preordained to raise them. Women were clearly biologically preordained to bear children; this is a physiological fact, though the abolition of pregnancy wasn't what I didn't like about the society portrayed in Brave New World. But to say that women were biologically meant to raise children, or to bear many children to the exclusion of other activities, is an evolutionary-psychological argument, which as far as I can tell the evidence doesn't support."

Well you know what Alon, if you're right and there is nothing either instinctual or sacred about the whole business...

There is no maternal instinct. No mother child bond...the whole pregnancy and delivery thingy has no more significance then a particularly messy bowel-movement, then we're in real trouble here.

As why in the heck do you believe women are going to continue going through an inconvenient, disfiguring process culminating in a bloody and painful delivery at the end of it...

What would motivate women to continue doing this, now that we have the reproductive tools to NOT do it anymore????

So hopefully for humanity, you're wrong....

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 4, 2005 11:48:53 AM

NYMOM, Popenoe believes that the gender parenting roles are biologically based. He believes, as you do, that women are biologically pre-ordained to care for children. He differs from you regarding fathers. He believes in creating social programs to encourage fathers to become more active in their children's lives. Neo-conservative essentialists like him see marriage as a buffer to corral male wanderlust to focus men on expending their energies towards one woman and the children he has with her. I know you don't agree with that.

I can't find it online at the moment, but you should read Silverstein and Auerbach's "Deconstructing the Essential Father". Silverstein and Auerbach critique essentialist views of neo-conservative family ideologues like Popenoe and David Blankenhorn. I critiqued "Deconstructing The Essential Father" for XYOnline.

http://www.xyonline.net/deconfatherhood.shtml

Posted by: The Countess at Dec 4, 2005 11:53:51 AM

The "Father's Rights" movement is, I find, generally infuriating, especially to those men who have a child that is being abused by the mother or female carer. Their knee-jerk blaming and such only serves to cast them in a bad light and to make people wary of a custody-seeking father reporting that his child is being abused. I've seen this first hand; a good friend of mine's child was a victim of abuse from the mother, and it took him a year an a half of dealing with social services and the courts to gain custody, all the while his child continuing to be abused. The reason it took so long is that the mother continually claimed that the father was one of those father's rights types who was abusive himself and convincing the child to make up stories, and social services believed her entirely - despite written reports from doctors and child abuse experts that the child was being abused by the mother in various ways. (Which is really, really screwed up.)

It's almost unbelievable and certainly very shocking that this happened. The father is deeply upset that he couldn't do anything legal to stop the abuse, and angry that he was deemed to be untrustworthy because he was a male beecause he had been linked to "father's rights" with no basis whatsoever. He is a feminist, too, and despite what happened to him and his child, is still against the misguided attempts of FR groups.

I've seen more moderate groups that are about promoting joint custody where appropriate and aren't anti-feminist or knee-jerkers - and have rather more general and female support as a result - I wish the FR groups could follow their example and stop making things worse for everyone.

Posted by: Cantrix at Dec 10, 2005 1:54:44 AM

"NYMOM, Popenoe believes that the gender parenting roles are biologically based. He believes, as you do, that women are biologically pre-ordained to care for children. He differs from you regarding fathers. He believes in creating social programs to encourage fathers to become more active in their children's lives. Neo-conservative essentialists like him see marriage as a buffer to corral male wanderlust to focus men on expending their energies towards one woman and the children he has with her. I know you don't agree with that."

No...

Actually I do agree with that...

The problem is these so called neo-conservative essentialists talk the talk but obviously don't walk the walk...since in their red state homelands not only is the divorce rate higher, BUT MORE MOTHERS have lost custody of their children...in the South and West...according to the census data. Which the South and West are supposedly the regions where these so-called neo-conservative essentialists get all their support from...

So somewhere there is a disconnect between the talk and the walk here...

Unfortunately as nutty as many of these gender neutralized feminists are, I see no inconsistencies in their position regarding these issues.

Whereas in the mens' movement, there are many.


"I can't find it online at the moment, but you should read Silverstein and Auerbach's "Deconstructing the Essential Father". Silverstein and Auerbach critique essentialist views of neo-conservative family ideologues like Popenoe and David Blankenhorn. I critiqued "Deconstructing The Essential Father" for XYOnline."

I read it already...

It actually should have been called deconstructing the essential father and mother; as really it just made a case for one good person to raise a child and it didn't necesarily HAVE to even be related to the kid...according to that thinking the nice neighbor down the street is just as good to raise your kid as you are...

Probably after mothers have children, they should just hand them over at the hospital so they can be assigned to a proper parent according to a pre-approved list...

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 10, 2005 9:41:01 AM

Countess: I'll read your critique of them...

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 10, 2005 9:42:52 AM

"It's almost unbelievable and certainly very shocking that this happened. The father is deeply upset that he couldn't do anything legal to stop the abuse, and angry that he was deemed to be untrustworthy because he was a male beecause he had been linked to "father's rights" with no basis whatsoever. He is a feminist, too, and despite what happened to him and his child, is still against the misguided attempts of FR groups."

But ultimately he was able to get custody, thus proving the system works for fathers...even though it took a year which I'll admit is a very long time...

I wonder how it would have worked out if the situation was reversed; however, would that mother have eventually been able to get custody? Or would she have been accused of trying to alienate the child from its father by FALSELY accusing him of abuse?

See that's the problem...that courts are not fair to mothers today and litigated cases, although a small amount of the total (so far, but growing) frequently wind up being settled in a fathers' favor...

Thus giving more men an incentive to either litigate or theaten to litigate. See that's what's overlooked the threat...or emotional blackmail...which is used to force women into giving in to unfair settlements or parenting plans even at mediation, so as to avoid the litigation.

So anyway you look at it the system is becoming more nad more unfair to mothers...

As many Judges and other court personnel today support fathers...so even the threat of litigation is enough to give an unfair advantage to men...

That's the problem...not fathers' rights groups, they HELPED your friend...helped him by causing courts to be afraid of them or believe their propaganda that fathers are discriminated against in court...which isn't true.

Your friend's story verifies this as he ultimately won his case...

Posted by: NYMOM at Dec 10, 2005 9:55:36 AM