By Christy Barritt
College Bans Intelligent Design
The president of Ball State University has forbidden faculty members from endorsing intelligent design after a complaint was issued against the school.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation, an atheist group, protested that the school had hired a science professor who wrote a book on intelligent design and that another professor was teaching creationism in his classes.
The president, Jo Ann Gora, sent a letter to faculty and staff saying that intelligent design—the belief that the universe is too complex to have evolved by chance—was not appropriate for any science courses and that the school was committed to academic freedom.
“Intelligent design is overwhelmingly deemed by the scientific community as a religious belief and not a scientific theory,” Gora said. “Therefore, intelligent design is not appropriate content for science courses.”
John West of the Discovery Institute, a public policy think tank, disagrees. “Memo to President Gora: Academic freedom was designed to protect dissenting and unpopular views among faculty,” said West.
Kids Drinking More
High school seniors are binge drinking more. That’s according to an annual report compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a collection of 22 federal agencies and private research partners.
Binge drinking is defined as drinking five or more alcoholic beverages in a row in the past two weeks. Among twelfth graders, the numbers rose from 22 percent in 2011 to 24 percent in 2012.
The good news is that, according to the same report, exposure to secondhand smoke for children ages 4-11 declined from 53 percent in 2007-08 to 42 percent in 2009-10.
This study pulls together key measures of children’s lives in seven areas, from healthcare to economic circumstances, education, and social environment. It also showed that children 17 and under account for almost 23.5 percent of the U.S. population.
Pediatricians Should End Heterosexism
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated a policy statement concerning homosexuality to its 60,000 members. The new guidelines encourage pediatricians to strive to “provide the context that being LGBTQ is normal, just different.”
The AAP acknowledges that LGBTQ teens, as a whole, engage in riskier behaviors and report higher rates of substance abuse, promiscuity, depression, self-harm, and even teen pregnancy. But they blame these issues on “the presence of stigma from homophobia and heterosexism,” saying that those things lead to “psychological distress and an increases in risk behaviors.”
The organization recommends that doctors display brochures and images featuring same-sex couples, as well as straight ones and affix rainbow decals throughout their offices to show they embrace homosexuality.
Women Churchgoers Have Largest Families
The U.S. Fertility Forecast has found that women who regularly attend religious services are more likely to have large families than those who do not.
Researchers with the Demographic Intelligence of Charlottesville, Virginia found that faithful attendance at religious services is associated with higher levels of actual fertility.
Women who attend religious services weekly or more often have an average of 1.42 children, while women who rarely or never attend church have 1.11 children, according to the National Survey of Family Growth.
According to one of the researchers for the report, this happens, “Partly because religious communities provide a family-friendly context to the women who attend them. Religious women are more likely to have children and to bear a comparatively high share of the nation’s children, compared to their less religious or secular peers.”
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.