Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My triumphant return, and on double-checking

For the first time in 6 months, I feel like posting and am not immediately put off by reminders of my ferret from looking at this blog. Whee! Also, since I missed posting about it, happy birthday to me, and happy blogoversary to me.

And I have a topic for my post. Presumably, since I am small and unimportant and PZ is large and important, you have all seen this post from PZ. I'm here to take issue with it.

...before I get into that, has PZ's blog suddenly turned these odd shades of green and purple for anyone else? Apparently PZ did that on purpose. Damn him! Damn him to Atheist Hell, the worst hell there is!

Alright. So, PZ's post is, for the most part, all well and good; it's a humorous way of addressing some complete insanity on the part of certain doctors, who are attempting to enforce stereotypical female behavior by prescribing quite possibly dangerous experimental drugs to pregnant women that will supposedly reduce the tendency of their daughters to dislike pretty pink and sparkles and rainbows and unicorns and make them grow up to be a nice housewife or schoolteacher or secretary who pumps out as many babies as she can and whatnot. (Note that I'm not criticizing housewives and schoolteachers and secretaries; those are just stereotypically female jobs, and the idea is that they're enforcing the female stereotypes. Living up to stereotypes is fine, if you so choose; forcing people to live up to stereotypes is not.)

Yes, all that is great, and PZ is perfectly right to criticize it. The bit I take issue with is here:

Now the evidence that prenatal androgenization is the cause of your weird unladylike attitude is a little shaky, and the use of this drug is experimental and hasn't really been tested that well to see if it works as claimed, but never mind all that — its use has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society, the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology, the European Society of Endocrinology, the Society of Pediatric Urology, the Androgen Excess and PCOS Society, and the CARES Foundation. The rather tenuous chain of evidence for this claim, and the peculiarity of diagnosing as a problem something that most of the poor, afflicted, purblind women do not recognize as a problem, is being disregarded because it is so very important that we reduce the incidence of lesbianism by an entirely hypothetical and unmeasured percentage. Lesbianism is just that bad.

This is unbelievable! That many organizations support such obvious insanity? It can't possibly be true, right? Well, I guess PZ is awesome for calling them out on it!

Except for one problem. Your first instinct was right. It is too crazy to be true.

If you click the link, which was also in the section I quoted from PZ's post, you'll see the following:

We have learned that, this August, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism will publish an expert consensus again stating this use of prenatal dexamethasone should only happen via IRB-approved clinical trials through research centers large enough to obtain meaningful data. An announcement of the consensus came at the Endocrine Society’s meeting in San Diego last week (and an earlier version is available here).

This consensus has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society, the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology, the European Society of Endocrinology, the Society of Pediatric Urology, the Androgen Excess and PCOS Society, and the CARES Foundation. It was reached after review of the existing literature and consultation with researchers indicated significant cause for concern, including the fact that most of the children treated prenatally have been absent from follow-up studies.

So, they aren't supporting gender-role-enforcing insanity. The idea of using it to create pretty-princess-like baby girls isn't even discussed. While there would be some grounds for complaint if it was considering clinical trials of the anti-gay pro-superfemininity use of the pills (though PZ would still be wrong, since he's claiming that they're supporting it for women outside of clinical trials), they aren't doing even that. They are supporting proper clinical investigation into the cures of a serious medical condition.

The rest of the article PZ linked, however, is about the batshit insanity, which is likely how confusion crept in.

Anyway, on to the point that I want to prove here. Basically, when you're posting about people or organizations doing something completely and utterly ridiculous and insane, it pays to double-check and make sure you understood what you've read. Otherwise, you get egg on your face! And that's no fun at all.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

you're retaded

Theresa from Ferret Cage said...

I'm glad for your triumphant return, you didn't lose any of your wit! :)

Anonymous said...

Did your ferret go to heaven?

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner said...

I assume you're female? That first comment, by Anonymous, is never appropriate and is severely retarded. But, gleee! At least they spelled the noun+verb right with an apostrophe in the middle. Kick-ass. At least there's some sane people in this world. Like you. Please join moi, aussi in Heaven, girl, where can kiss your adorable feet. God bless.

mani said...

well ferret is a beautiful animal. i love it. infect i have 2 ferrets and keep them in ferret cages.