Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Adultery, voles, and allele 334

I warned you just a couple of months back, in an article entitled “Addicts waiting to happen,” that scientists would one day find genetic explanations for a range of deviant behaviors. Unfortunately, about as soon as I said that, tongue firmly planted in cheek, my comments were vindicated. A recent study published by the Karolinska Institute of Stockholm, Sweden, suggested that gene allele 334 “regulates the activity of a hormone in the brain that can affect a man’s attitudes toward fidelity and monogamy." http://www.wnbc.com/news/17378987/detail.html

Apparently, men with two copies of the allele were twice as likely to cheat as a man without the allele, on account of the fact that it seems to have something to do with the regulation of hormones in the brain that affect attitudes about sex and feelings toward one’s spouse. Another interesting detail from this study is that the presence of this particular gene in a mouse-like varmint called a "vole" was an indicator of whether the vole was a "cheatin kind." In other words, animal behavior is triumphantly appealed to in order to confirm this study on marital fidelity among humans.

Okay, lots to digest here obviously. First, doesn't anyone think that a double dose of allele 334 in men is an incredibly insufficient explanation of why men cheat? There are so many factors which contribute to the decision to "cheat," not the least of which, is a desensitized conscience, that it seems incredibly unscientific to assign its cause to the presence of a mutated gene. This is a too facile explanation. Second, comparing the mating activities of varmints to the sexual immorality of human beings is a total stretch. It is very hard to conceive of how the mating patterns of voles, which as far as I know don't have a conscience, don't have a signed marriage contract, and don't have a complex sociological element to their existence which puts negative pressure on them for cheating, bears any reasonable similarity to infidelity perpetrated against a marriage partner. Third, I was completely amazed by the double standard that some so-called marriage and family experts maintained in view of this study. Dr. Phil is a case in point. In the midst of his interview with the Today show, on this very topic he said, "genetics are not a free pass for inappropriate behavior."http://www.wnbc.com/news/17381424/detail.html Now, don't get me wrong, I fully agree with his point, but it is a double standard. When people get drunk once, they call them wreckless, but when they get drunk every day, they are called alcoholics, and then they are defended and coddled because they are victims with a "disease" owing to a genetic deficiency. When homosexual's commit sexually immoral acts, that is not called deviant behavior, that is simply defended as acting according the genetic hand they have been dealt. But, when it comes to sexual immorality among married couples, well, genes are no excuse. I agree, genes are no excuse! However, this is also an inexcusable double standard. It is glaringly inconsistent on one hand to use genes as an excuse for behavior if the activity in question is politically correct, and then, on the other hand to argue that genes are no excuse for adultery.

I have a better explanation for why some men and women just can't keep it in their pants, and it is not about what is in their genes, it is about what is in their heart. Jesus said, "out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries....." (Mark 7:24). What the Pharisees of Jesus' day explained away according to external factors in the name of their religion, the modern secular Pharisees explain away according to genetic factors in the name of their religion, science. The problem with both is that they miss the mark because they both willfully refuse the real explanation for sin, a dark heart. Interesting, isn't it, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Death Magnetic

Ok, so Friday morning I rushed out to my local Borders a 8:58 a.m. so as to be there right when the doors opened so I could rush in and buy my copy of Metallica's long-awaited new release. I got to be honest with you, I ripped that plastic off the cd cover and slammed it into my stereo with just a pid of trepedation. After all, St. Anger was hardly a great effort, so it was only natural to wonder if age would show it had stifled Metallica's creativity and stolen their love of shredding heavy guitar riffs and robust vocals.

Thankfully, I have to say, I was absolutely thrilled with what I heard. I played that album 3 times through in a row, it was awesome. I felt as if I had been transported back in time to 1984. Somehow they recaptured the magic of that heavy speed metal-n-thrash sound of the Ride the Lightning era. This album in its sound and overall tone is a throwback. I can't say its better than old Metallica, but it certainly has that old school feel to it, and I love it! The only criticism I have of Death Magnetic is that it can, at times, lapse for mere moments back into a St. Anger sound, but it doesn't detract too badly from the overall impact.

All I can say is, GO BUY IT! For just 14.99 this classic is a steal.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rape on the rise among female soldiers

Imagine this --- who could have ever seen this coming: put a 1,000 horny guys wearing BDU’s in a desert, isolate them from wives and girlfriends, and then throw 5-10 women in their midst; what could possibly go wrong in that situation?http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=5760295&page=1

Now, to be clear, I don’t condone rape, sexual assault, or sexual harassment under any circumstances. I categorically denounce these things, finding them perverse and evil. But, I want to point out that this is exactly what you are going to get when you put men and women together in combat, in very close quarters, in isolation from wives and girlfriends for months at a time. A situation like that is going to explode just as surely as throwing gasoline on a fire will stoke flames. As evil as this is, you are not going to change it through sensitivity training or bureaucratic red tape; this kind of behavior is just the nature of the beast in a fallen world. I hope that these findings force the feminists, egalitarians, and pc policy wonks to stop using the US military as a laboratory for their social experiments. Our military is the best in the world at what it does: developing a battle plan and executing it with precision, and that is exactly what you want out of an armed force. Since that is what a military is for, and not for creating an egalitarian social utopia staffed with social workers, bureaucrats, and nannies running around putting soldiers on “time outs” and taking their snack time from them if they act up, this is a wake-up call to mission discipline and to move the women out of the combat areas entirely. Keep them in the hospitals, rear units, and support roles far away from the men. If the military doesn’t wake up and segregate the troops its going to continue to have this mess on its hands, and end up spending its precious time on investigations and prosecutions, and its going to spend its critical resources on shrinks to help these poor women deal with the violence perpetrated on them. It doesn’t matter how well-intentioned these equal opportunity folks are, because in spite of their well-meant intentions, they are creating a context for violence to be perpetrated on the very people they are supposedly helping; and for that, they are culpable. Even the apparent "mercies" of a fool are cruel.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

1 out of 3 aint bad

All I have to say is, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuuuuuuuck. How could he let this happen? On the brink of getting a title shot, he gets cold-cocked, and probably just closed the door on a title shot. The "Ice Man" now has 3 losses in the last year-and-a-half, and it just looks like his opponents have his number. In between the 1st and 2nd round, Greg Jackson, Rashad Evans' coach asked Rashad if he had Chuck's timing and he said, "yes." What that meant is exactly what you saw when Chuck hit the canvas. Rashad watched that looping punch come around and timed his punch right to Chuck's jaw at exactly the right moment and it was lights out for Chuck. In other words, Chuck's movements have become so predictable that all his opponents are watching his old fights, finding the holes in his game, and are exploiting them in the Octagon. At this point, Chuck has a few options: one, move up to heavyweight where he can face a whole new group of fighters, two, change his fight strategy, or three, retire. I think the latter probably wont happen just yet, but either of the first are most likely.

As for the other fights, Matt Hamill drove me nuts. He is not a striker, he is a world class wrestler; so what did he do against Rich Franklin? He boxed, and he lost. Look, when you are better than your opponent at one phase of your game, you do everything you can to get your opponent to fight your strength. Hamill totally neglected to do that until the 3rd round when his leg had been so battered from kicks by Franklin that he couldn't push off his leg and shoot with any speed, and Franklin easily blocked his takedowns. So, memo to all you guys who think you are Ali, when you are actually closer to Dan Gable: fight to your strengths, and if I guy ends up beating you when you fight to your strengths, hats off to your opponent, but at least you can walk away with the satisfaction of knowing you fought your best fight.

Finally, props to Hendo, he fought a great fight. Palhares, is an outstanding submission specialist, and once the rest of his game catches up, and it looks like it has the potentional to, he is going to be a dangerous middleweight fighter. But Hendo did exactly what he had to do, outclass the guy on his feet, stop the takedown, and get up fast when he was taken to the ground. Hendo played the gameplan to a "T" and won. It was a great example of game-planning and Octagon discipline. Sure, it was an ugly fight, but he posted a "W" and his victory made a strong argument for a rematch with Sylva.

After going 1 out of 3, I think I just might hold off on predictions next time, or maybe not, maybe 1 out of 3 aint that bad after all.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

UFC 88: the “Ice Man” v “Sugar Rashad”

I am posting this before fight time in order to go on record to predict Chuck will win by knockout no later than the 2nd round. I know this is an obvious pick, but after watching all the hype coming out of Rashad Evans on the UFC 88 countdown show, I just wanted to go on record with my pick. Yes, Evans has grown as a fighter over the last couple of years. He is a good grappler and has decent hands, but the guy barely handled Michael Bisping who dropped down to 185 because he was too small to make any real headway in the light-heavyweight division. Now, if Evans barely beat Bisping, that either means, Chuck would have a real battle on his hands to take out Bisping, or Evans really isn’t as good as he seems to think he is. Obviously, the truth lies closer to the latter. Maybe in time Evans will find himself among the top tier of the light-heavyweight division, that remains to be seen and wont happen until he has a solid win over a top 5 fighter, which he has not even stepped into the Octagon with to this date. For now though, I would say to Evans, save the hollow sounding hype and stop telling everyone how you are going to have your way with Chuck, and learn from the experience of fighting a top-tier fighter in a high pressure bout, and just keep honing your skills.

As for the rest of the matches, at least the ones I am interested in, I think Matt Hamill will upset Rich Franklin. He has too much ground and pound for Rich who is moving up to 2005 after a few years at middleweight. I pick Dan Henderson over Rousimar Palhares, in what will be the ugliest, grind it out fight of the night. It will be close, but I think Henderson knows he needs a victory over a solid opponent to get back into title contention. Other than that the rest of the fights don’t interest me that much one way or the other.

For now, throw some burgers on the grill, make sure the fridge has plenty of cold brew, and enjoy those fights tonight!