How to warn your child about this Irrational World Sep02

How to warn your child about this Irrational World

To my dearest daughter, Now that you are ten, I want to write to you about something that is important to me. Have you ever wondered how we know the things that we know? How do we know, for instance, that the stars, which look like tiny pinpricks in the sky, are really huge balls of fire like the Sun and very far away? And how do we know that the Earth is a smaller ball whirling round one of those stars, the Sun? The answer to these questions is ‘evidence’. Sometimes evidence means actually seeing (or hearing, feeling, smelling….) that something is true. Astronauts have traveled far enough from the Earth to see with their own eyes that it is round. Sometimes our eyes need help. The ‘evening star’ looks like a bright twinkle in the sky but with a telescope you can see that it is a beautiful ball – the planet we call Venus. Something that you learn by direct seeing (or hearing or feeling…) is called an observation. Often evidence isn’t just observation on its own, but observation always lies at the back of it. If there’s been a murder, often nobody (except the murderer and the dead person!) actually observed it. But detectives can gather together lots of other observations which may all point towards a particular suspect. If a person’s fingerprints match those found on a dagger, this is evidence that he touched it. It doesn’t prove that he did the murder, but it can help when it’s joined up with lots of other evidence. Sometimes a detective can think about a whole lot of observations and suddenly realize that they all fall into place and make sense if so-and-so did the murder. Scientists – the specialists in discovering what is true about the world and the universe – often work like detectives. They make a guess (called a hypothesis) about what might be true. They then say to themselves: if that were really true, we ought to see so-and-so. This is called a prediction. For example, if the world is really round, we can predict that a traveler, going on and on in the same direction, should eventually find himself back where he started. When a doctor says that you have measles he doesn’t take one look at you and see measles. His first look gives him a hypothesis that you may have measles. Then he says to himself: if she really has measles, I ought to see… Then he runs through his list of predictions and tests them with his eyes (have you got spots?), his hands (is your forehead hot?), and his ears (does your chest wheeze in a measly way?). Only then does he make his decision and say, ‘I diagnose that the child has measles.’ Sometimes doctors need to do other tests like blood tests or X-rays, which help their eyes, hands and ears to make observations. The way scientists use evidence to learn about the world is much cleverer and more complicated than I can say in a short letter. But now I want to move on from evidence, which is a good reason for believing something, and warn you against three bad reasons for believing anything. They are called ‘tradition’, ‘authority’, and ‘revelation’. First, tradition. A few months ago, I went on television to have a discussion with about 50 children. These children were invited because they’d been brought up in lots of different religions. Some had been brought up as Christians, others as Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs. The man with the microphone went from child to child, asking them what they believed. What they said shows up exactly what I mean by ‘tradition’. Their beliefs turned out to have no connection with evidence. They just trotted out the beliefs of their parents and grandparents, which, in turn, were not based upon evidence either. They said...

SUPPORT MESSAGES

When we organised the first Pride Ride, the biggest support came from the internet. People made a stance, to stand up and take notice and tell people that we stand for equality against all form of...

Superiorly Stupid Question Feb02

Superiorly Stupid Question

Superiorly stupid questions I come across as a LGBT rights supporter with answers and explanations. Ever since I started supporting rights of LGBTs, I have been confronted with quite a few exceedingly hilarious questions. 1. What???!! There are people ‘like this’ in Kerala also? You mean people with a different sexual orientation or gender identity than the traditionally defined ones? Yes. The fact that they are not visible in our society shows how non-progressive and non-inclusive we happen to be. Nothing to be proud of. 2. Oh God!! You have gay friends?? I have never seen one in my life. Too bad. Chances are you never will. They’re too awesome to be friends with you. Homosexuals are human. You haven’t seen humans? Oh right! You only see heterosexuals. Please tell me how you have this sexual orientation-filter? 3. I saw your photograph where you hold the “I am gay” sign. Will you be arrested by the police? We enjoy the freedom of speech and expression under article 19 of the constitution. (I think you should be stripped of your citizenship rights for asking this question. But ya. Freedom of speech & expression= freedom to ask stupid questions too.) 4. If a person is openly homosexual and found in sharing a private space with a person of the same gender, can’t he/she be arrested? Here’s the explanation. (Read in Malayalam film star Suresh Gopi’s voice) IPC section 377. Unnatural offences: Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and also be liable to fine Interpretation: Though devised to criminalize and prevent homosexual sex, the ambit of section 377 extends to any sexual union involving penile insertion. Thus, even consensual heterosexual acts such as oral sex and anal penetration may be punishable under this law. Anyone could be arrested. Not just homosexuals. This is why you should join us in the effort to rid our nation of this outdated law that is incompatible with fundamental rights and lacks logic in any shape, size or form. (Just remember that) 5. Homosexuals and transgenders are different? I thought they were all the same. Every person is unique and has a unique gender identity and sexuality. Sexuality and gender roles are not monolithic. You and your best friend won’t have identical sexual interests and preferences (even if both of you are heterosexual and of the same gender). Just broaden this spectrum a little more and you will be able to see lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders- everyone. So yes. We are all the same. We are all...

Never Too Much Love Jun10

Never Too Much Love

If we are honest with our selves, with  the deepest parts of our soul, we instinctually know that sexuality is not a neat concept with a stamp and seal of FOREVER on it.  It isn’t simply being attracted to one person, one gender, one expression of love or passion or about sex.  It is many things to each person as well as changeable in both definition and expression.  Humans  try and make sense of love and matters of the heart by making everyone follow the same rules whether imposed by society, a culture, or worse – a religion.   Supposedly life won’t be nearly as messy/chaotic/real/shocking when we all follow the same rules of attraction. In reality, though, it is messier.   Yes less messy on the outside – the mask we wear to make others happy or to follow the rules and all act the same – but how very messy it is on the inside of each person forced into a role they can’t authentically  play.   Our hearts ache for the true path of love and  we are bruised so deeply when teased, ignored and humiliated by others for our true selves.    We deeply hurt when people malign that which they don’t understand.  We grow up afraid to  show who we really want and how chaotic our own thoughts about acceptance become when we can’t openly and freely follow love where it takes us and who it takes us to.  Living in Fear is a messy, joy-killing and heart damaging life that leaves NO survivors!!! Of my 9 children more than one of my sweet babies identifies with LGBT. And yet, they don’t. They don’t because they refuse to label themselves ONE thing when they have the capacity to be...

Lost Childhood

She was just 5 years old when he slid his hands between her legs for the first time. He? He was her own cousin. It was just another lazy night for me when my friend told me about her childhood. It took me some time to realize the fact that she was sexually assaulted when she was just a child, just five years old. I always felt that “rape”, “molestation” and other crimes against women were simply disgusting, but I only realized the intensity of such a crime when someone so close to me had to go through it. One man’s pleasure left a permanent scar on her entire life, His lust took away her childhood, His desperation gifted her with sleepless nights and endless days, some of which even I shared after she told me about it. She is eighteen now. Strong, independent, cheerful and gregarious. It was only recently that I figured out that it was all just a fake cloak that she would use to cover up her deep scars. How do I comfort her? How do I tell her that everything happened for a reason? How do I convince myself that the same won’t happen to all the other women I care about? I have no hopes of ever finding an answer to all my questions. I had the best childhood anyone could ask for, perks of being the first-born in the family you may say. I was always surrounded by people, people who cared about me. I always got what I wanted. It is only fair to say that I did take all that for granted. For me, my childhood memories are the most beautiful moments that I can dig out of the very limited vaults of my mind....