They can’t release this fast enough (it’s supposed to come out some time this summer). The current Facebook app, which is heavily based on HTML5, is slower than crap, as I'm sure many of you have noticed.
Presented without comment.
From Reddit user “FluffyBunny72”:
I just found out, 2 hours ago, that my son, that is due in October, has downs syndrome. I have no idea what do do.
Should I push my wife to terminate, adopt, or should we have the baby? We have 3 kids now, two brilliant daughters--the son is autistic. I have seen friends caring for a downs syndrome kid that ended up tearing the families apart, so I have no idea what to do here. Please give me some advice..
He gets a lot of advice, and it’s some of the saddest, most selfish and callous stuff you’ll likely read all week. A few examples:
- “Terminate. I'm so sorry. It's not worth it. It will tear you guys apart, financially, and emotionally.” #
- “This is pretty much the blunt truth. Your entire family is going to be worse off if you have this child. Parents of children with Downs syndrome will tell you that it has ‘rewards you can't imagine’, but they are just trying to cover up their miserable lives.” #
- “I would terminate the pregnancy. Bringing this child into the world will be a lifelong sentence for you, your wife and children. Money, time, attention and all your other resources will be mainly funneled toward this child. Also having this child will test your marriage during a critical time in your other three children's childhood.” #
- “I say terminate. This baby would bring misery. These issues should be dealt with context in mind. Pro-life or the opposite is onlu viable when under certain contexts.” #
- “I hate to say it, but loving families headed by educated, well-meaning parents should not be squandered on severely-disabled (avoidable in this case) children that will burden these families and become a net-loss for society and the gene pool.” #
Thankfully, some saner and more compassionate voices eventually chime in and suggest that, among other things, the OP seek out DS support groups and services and get their input. And some Reddit users with children with DS in their families and social circles share their experiences, revealing that, while raising a child with DS isn’t without its challenges, it’s not the trainwreck that others make it out to be.
What is particularly sad/interesting/disturbing is that those who suggest that having a child with DS isn’t all gloom and doom are quickly dismissed as being emotional, illogical, selfish, arrogant, and blind to their own biases. As “NightOwl-1988” puts it:
No, no, and no. You suffer from selective bias. You likely only hear good things about the kids because honestly, who wants to bitch about their kid 24/7--something the OP will do if he has this baby. As a person with a degree in genetics and a mother who teaches special education, yeah, special kids only make you feel special about 2% of the time.
It’s always (sadly) fascinating when such callous disregard for human life, especially human life that is disabled in some way, is lauded as the logical and responsible course of action. Fascinating, but not surprising given the consumerist, utilitarian, and materialistic mindsets that pervade much of our culture and seek to assign value to human beings based primarily on how productive, successful, and autonomous they are. (Hmm… I wonder what Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva would suggest?)
Arguments for termination might be couched in terms of not wanting the child to suffer or experience a sub-standard life, or not wanting to impose burdens on their siblings. On the surface, such arguments might sound reasonable, perhaps even compassionate. After all, who wants a child to suffer? (Which, of course, raises the question of whether a child with a disability like DS actually suffers or not.) But strip away all of that and you’re left with one simple fact: those who give such advice are still advocating for the premeditated and deliberate killing of an unborn child primarily because he/she represents a threat to some perceived/desired level of comfort and security. It’s selfishness, pure and simple. And no amount of sophistry can change that.
John J. Thompson, writing for Christianity Today, reflects on the end of the Cornerstone Festival and the legacy of Jesus People USA.
I’ve been at every single Cornerstone Festival, starting with the 1984 debut when I was just 13. It shaped my concept of ministry and my understanding of important theological concepts. It also introduced me to a world of music that was way too “Christian” for the world of mainstream rock ‘n’ roll, and way too rock ‘n’ roll for the mainstream church. Through music, drama, speakers, poetry readings, comedy troupes, film screenings, dance, paintings, and photography, Cornerstone broke open the possibilities for redeeming the arts, both for the purposes of drawing unbelievers and challenging believers.
This annual experience sparked a dream in my heart, and I have been following it ever since. Every aspect of my life has been touched by this community, and after this week, it’s as if my hometown is being wiped from the map or my native language is being officially retired. I fully believe the church is witnessing the end of a very important era.
Cornerstone should not be dismissed as merely a contemporary Christian music festival; such events about from coast to coast, and even on cruise ships, attracting millions of CCM fans. But there has only ever been one Cornerstone, where much of what is heard and said would curl the hair of the average Christian radio fan. And I’m not even talking about the music yet!
There’s nothing wrong with Christian music festivals. But when one closes, like Spirit West Coast did this year, others will fill the void. Fans of those events have plenty to choose from. But when Cornerstone closes up shop, nothing will fill its shoes. Many of the surface level fruits of Cornerstone are being replicated elsewhere, but the heart and passion behind the festival are unlikely to be repeated unless done so by Jesus People USA (the Chicago folks who run the event), or a group of like-minded Christians.
Related: My tribute to Cornerstone Festival.
Christianity teaches that humanity has been created in “the image of God”, and because we possess the Imago Dei, we are somehow set apart from, and above, the rest of Creation. It’s one of the central tenets of the faith, but it’s also the subject of incredible debate as to what, exactly, it means to be created in God’s image. This excellent BioLogos essay examines several potential interpretations of the term, how we can better understand the concept in light of the writings of Church luminaries (Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin) and the advancements of modern biology and neuroscience, and how the theory of evolution interacts with this important Christian concept.
The “image of God” is a key concept in Christian theology, foundational to Christian thinking about human identity, human significance, bioethics, and other topics. Many Christians see evolution as incompatible with the image of God. How could God’s image bearers have evolved from simpler life forms? Doesn’t image-bearing require miraculous creation of humans rather than shared ancestry with chimpanzees? And when in the evolutionary process did humans attain this image? These questions are tied to many other issues concerning human origins, including the soul, the Fall, and the historicity of Adam and Eve (see sidebars), but in this article we will focus specifically on the image of God.
Andrew Finden — a world-renowned opera baritone — writes about the effects that performing and experiencing Haydn’s “Creation” oratorio have had on his interpretation and understanding of the Genesis creation account.
I’ve performed ‘Creation’ myself several times, as Adam and also as the angel Raphael who has a wonderful aria describing all the different animals, which Haydn shows off his word-painting and wit. Despite my familiarity with the piece, it wasn’t until I sat and experienced a performance as an audience member that it struck me just how right Haydn’s response to the creation story really is. I think he does something from which we moderns could learn.
The book of Genesis, and in particular, the creation account, is undoubtedly one of the most controversial issues in contemporary theology and Christianity. In many places, the lines have been drawn: faith vs science. For those who draw this distinction, they seem to be unable to read the opening of the Bible without wanting to turn it into a scientific question, asking things such as ‘How old is the earth?’, ‘Are the days literal?’, ‘Did God use evolution?’ and so forth. However, through reflecting on ‘Creation’, I get the feeling this is not exactly the right response.
We often approach the Bible — and especially difficult/controversial parts like the first couple chapters of Genesis — in a very practical manner. Because of their difficult/controversial nature, we want to figure them out. Such an approach is understandable, and not without merit. However, these passages are filled with soaring and poetic language, i.e., they adopt a more “artistic” approach. And if we attempt to decipher such passages in a more pragmatic way where we’re primarily concerned with solving them like a math problem, then it’s possible that we might miss something else entirely, i.e., their mystery and beauty, which can also illuminate, inform, and guide us.
We forget that art can communicate things that hermeneutics, interpretive frameworks, and other purely intellectual approaches — good and valuable though they be — can’t. That doesn’t make one better than the other, but rather, simply acknowledges that they’re different, and speak to different things.
Genesis is a book of theology, that is, it is primarily about God. While it includes narrative, some history, as well as a few other genres, I think it is also a book written to teach people about their place in the world as created beings. It is written as an introduction to the great biblical meta-narrative, the overarching story of God redeeming a people for himself. The creation account puts that all in perspective, showing us who God is as the creator.
In trying to determine what, exactly, those early chapters of Genesis really mean, it’s possible that we miss out on what they’re trying to tell us. Of course, deciphering that doesn’t fully resolve the tension that exists between the various interpretations of Genesis, not to mention the tension inherent to the whole “faith vs. science” debate/kerfuffle. But perhaps by being a bit more open to the artistry of Genesis, and what that communicates, we might be able to dial down some of the anxiety and vitriol that sadly typifies a lot of Genesis-related discussion, even amongst Christians.
And, as Finden concludes, reading Genesis’ creation account ought to provoke within us a sense of awe and a desire to praise and create — not just coolly rational comprehension and acceptance.
If you need evidence that people are really, really, really dumb, then this Twitter account collecting photos that people have tweeted of their credit and debit cards will provide you with more than enough. There are times when I think that the Internet will help usher in a new age of understanding and enlightenment, and there are times when I think that it’s nothing more than an enabler for dumbasses and witless fools.
Community was chock full of nerdy goodness, from the Dungeons and Dragons-themed episode to Abed’s love for The Cape. But one of the show’s nerdiest aspects was its constant references to Doctor Who, in the form of Inspector Spacetime. The actor who portrayed the good Inspector — Travis Richey — has turned the role into an actual webseries. Due to legal issues, though, it won’t be called Inspector Spacetime. Instead, it’s titled Untitled Web Series About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time. Here’s a synopsis:
In this six-episode web series, the Inspector and his faithful associate Piper Tate encounter the Inspector's arch-nemesis, Boyish the Extraordinary!!
And not merely Comic Sans, but even worse still, Comic Sans Italicised.
A recent paper by Daniel M. Oppenheimer entitled, pleasingly, “Fortune favours the Bold (and the italicised)” delivered a blow to lovely fonts everywhere by demonstrating that we absorb information better when it is a little hard to read. It seems our eyes just skim over Times New Roman and Helvetica, but stick when we reach a smudged, cramped line of type, finally ready to engage.
The researchers took classroom material and altered the fonts, switching from Helvetica and Arial to Monotype Corsiva, Comic Sans Italicised and Haettenschweiler. The teachers already taught each class in two sections. One section was taught using the “fluent” texts, the other, the “disfluent”. After several weeks, the researchers put the students through some tests. They found that those taught using dirtier fonts retained information significantly better.
To the experimenters this was a challenge to one of teaching’s basic assumptions — that when learning is easier, it’s better. Rather, adding a few superficial difficulties to the reading experience is more likely to make pupils engage with the text. This ties in with other studies in “disfluency” — which show that a slightly challenging delivery can make people process information more carefully.
Jake Meador has more (on challenging learning experiences, that is, not this upsetting typographic revelation).