Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Friday, October 12, 2012

News Bits - October 12, 2012

First up is news concerning abortions that I think we all can agree is a positive change! A study in Missouri seems to indicate that providing birth control to women with no copay will reduce abortion rates! This is encouraging news as women across the nation are starting to obtain birth control at no cost due to the Affordable Care Act. Clearly the way to reduce abortions is to reduce unwanted pregnancies and it appears that easier access to birth control will do that! A woman will no longer have to chose between paying for food or paying for birth control no matter how poor she is. (at least once we are all covered by insurance or other medical program)  I hope that we see the same sort of results nationwide and perhaps we can even improve upon them with proper education.  I know I'm being awfully Pollyanna-like about this but I can't see the downside to fewer abortions!

Speaking of promising studies, researchers in California have study results that seem to indicate that a substance found in marijuana may stop metastasis in certain cancers! One of the scientists was studying ID-1, which is a gene that causes cancer to spread.  Another researcher was studying the effects of CBD, a compound found in the cannabis plant.  When they combined the substances, it appeared that the CBD "turned off" the ID-1. The scientists first published a paper about positive results in 2007 but now have more extensive studies to back up those results.  They are ready to move on to human studies in the next stage and it's looking hopeful that we will have one more weapon against cancer to use down the road.  And yes. I'm turning into Pollyanna, again, but how can I not be optimistic about this news?

A new study from the Pew Research Center indicates that one in five adults in the US have no religious affiliation. 13 million of these are atheists and agnostic, the rest just don't identify with a particular religion.  I'm not sure if this means that they believe in something or nothing at all but don't identify themselves as atheists or agnostics. I guess it would include those who say they are "spiritual but not religious".  (I'm not sure I quite understand what is meant by that but if I run into one of these folks one day I'll ask!)  Still, it's an interesting study to say the least.

I was reminded of that study when I found myself asked the religion question during an automated political opinion poll yesterday I answered over the phone. I was given a choice of Protestant, Jewish, Catholic, other or none. (I think that was all.  They may have included Muslim and/or Hindu but I really don't think they did.)  I was disappointed that I could only choose "none" without being more specific but I guess that was enough information for the group conducting the poll.  I forget now who they said it was but I did Google it at the time and discovered that they identify as a conservative group. I don't think they will like my answers...

Did anyone catch the Vice Presidential debate last night?  I didn't but I've been listening to it this morning and reading some articles.  It appears that neither Ryan nor Biden made any major gaffes and that both sides came away looking positive - at least to their own people.  I have to say that I prefer this style of debate - both opponents at a table with the moderator - rather than the opponents up on a stage behind podiums as the Presidential debate was set up last week.  I think it is easier for the moderator to maintain control if he or she is sitting at table with the speakers rather than off the stage below them. I'm curious to see how the next Presidential debate is structured.

Finally, I came across this on CNN.  It is a series of photos of Joe Biden during the debate that they call "The many expressions of Joe Biden". It gave me a chuckle. He's certainly an expressive guy!


  1. "...the rest just don't identify with a particular religion."

    This probably means they have found something they object to in every church (temple/shul/wat/etc.) they've ever tried, but still have some faint hope that their beliefs march with some sect of some religion somewhere, if they could only find it — or that they've decided to believe assorted bits and pieces from many disparate religions.

    "Spiritual but not religious" in my experience usually means people believe in some sort of exterior power, but don't believe it confines itself to the narrow limits of most known religions, and don't feel a need to go in for that weekly group-think experience.

    I tend to waver back and forth in both of those sets plus agnosticism, on the Horatio principle ("There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy").

  2. Thanks for your insight, Alys! I appreciate it! :-)