‘Belaboring the Obvious’ Dept.

Police give warning that bombers may strike again: “A main concern is that they are dealing with “clean skins”, possibly British-born terrorists who have not crossed the intelligence radar before. Whoever the killers are, they have access to high explosives and bomb-making expertise.

A police source told The Times: “Our main fear is that this group is out there still sitting on a cache of high explosives knowing that their bomb designs worked.” (Times of London)


Mother Knows Worst

Abusive parenting spans generations in monkeys: “It’s bad enough that some rhesus monkey mothers regularly kick, hit, bite, and otherwise brutalize their babies. But to make things worse, females exposed to such abuse as infants often grow up to become abusive parents themselves, perpetuating a primate cycle of family violence, a new study finds.

Being abused as an infant outweighs any primarily genetic trait, such as an anxious temperament, in fostering abusive parenting by female monkeys, says primatologist Dario Maestripieri of the University of Chicago.” (Science News)

One of the most disturbing givens in human traumatology is the transgenerational transmission of abuse, the frequent observation that children who were abused have a tendency to become abusers as parents. One (conservative) figure cited is 30%. This study shows that, in rhesus monkeys, abuse is similarly transmitted transgenerationally and that it is childrearing rather than constitutional factors that account for it. In an analogue of human adoption studies which are used to distinguish the contributions of nurture from those of inherited biology, even rhesus babies born to nonabusive mothers but reared by abusive ones had a tendency to become abusive mothers themselves, while babies born to abusive mothers but adopted by nonabusive ones never did. I am surprised that there is child abuse among nonhuman species, and even more astounded by the author’s leap to asserting that this means that rhesus child abuse is a good model for human child abuse, especially after going the distance to demonstrate that it is not the genetic constitution (yeah, yeah, we all have heard by now that we share 98% of that with our primate cousins…) but the social environment (surely far less than 98% similar, to say the least!) that shapes this phenomenon. Other primatologists suggest — quite rightly, it seems to me — that ‘monkey models at best provide “food for thought” about how human child abuse occurs.’


Nearly Two-thirds of U.S. Adults Believe Human Beings Were Created by God

“…(A) new national survey shows that almost two-thirds of U.S. adults (64%) agree with the basic tenet of creationism, that ‘human beings were created directly by God.’

At the same time, approximately one-fifth (22%) of adults believe ‘human beings evolved from earlier species’ (evolution) and 10 percent subscribe to the theory that ‘human beings are so complex that they required a powerful force or intelligent being to help create them’ (intelligent design). Moreover, a majority (55%) believe that all three of these theories should be taught in public schools, while 23 percent support teaching creationism only, 12 percent evolution only, and four percent intelligent design only.

These are some of the results of a nationwide Harris Poll of 1,000 U.S. adults surveyed by telephone by Harris Interactive® between June 17 and 21, 2005.” (Yahoo! News)