Tag Archives: NIH

Avoiding the truth about Dianne Reidy

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The liberal media has been having a field day with Dianne Reidy, the woman that stepped up to the podium in the House Chamber and started talking about God. And why wouldn’t they? It’s yet another situation where they can poke fun at individuals that happen to believe in God. It doesn’t matter to them that those beliefs are shared by many people in this country, and that belief in a higher being arguably guided the founding of this nation. Remember? People made the treacherous journey to this continent not only for business affairs, but also to escape religious persecution. Well, the world has changed significantly since then, and in spite of the fact that this nation was founded on the principle of freedom of the people to observe their chosen faiths (whatever they may be), the current climate tends more toward the very persecution our forefathers sought to escape by coming here.

And that is precisely what is happening to Reidy. Honestly, I thought there would be a barrage of scholarly items pointing to the psychological aspect of what probably happened to this woman – scientific debunking of her beliefs. That, while generally annoying, is far less reprehensible than the overt ridicule that is being aimed at her. The award for sleaziest coverage so far has to go to Vanity Fair. Sure, it definitely isn’t a bastion of journalistic integrity, so one must lower one’s expectations in reading their drivel. But, their imaginary conversation with the Holy Spirit that they had the audacity to attribute to God himself is a new low for them. I’ve no doubt that they thought it would be amusing – it probably is to many of their readers. Of course, the next time they think it’s a good idea to start touting how tolerant they are of varying views, they should be attacked with both barrels. My advice to their editors? Stick to what you’re good at – putting controversial nudes of celebrities on your front cover, so you can annoy grocery store managers that get complaints from mothers about their young boys ogling skin in the check-out lanes.

The Daily Beast was only slightly less annoying. At least they didn’t overtly ridicule Reidy, or her husband Dan. They even bothered to place a little context to the story – they reported that Dan is a non-denominational minister, and took the time to get a long statement from him that included information about his wife’s history. The only thing they didn’t bother to say is that the most likely culprit in this situation is the House of Representatives itself.

Reidy had been working long hours, and had been a first-hand witness to the shenanigans being perpetrated by the members of the House. She saw more than the journalists that were covering the nonsense, and were lucky enough to be able to pick and choose source material from C-Span, as opposed to the ones that were camped out on the floor. Based on her husband’s statement, it’s likely that she took a great deal of the nonsense to heart, and ended up having trouble sleeping. As a religious woman, she read the Bible when she couldn’t sleep, and that undoubtedly affected her dreams at least a little. While Reidy and her husband contend that this was a religious experience, there is also a scientific explanation for it. Oddly enough, something about the biological portion of that science actually turned up in the headlines at the same time as these stories about Reidy.

Enjoy the irony folks! The National Institutes of Health funded a study on the effects of sleep on the brain. Low and behold, they figured out that when people sleep, the brain gets rid of waste that causes problems with concentration, among other things. It even clears away amyloid beta, a protein that is associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Otherwise, psychiatric professionals have either contended that dreams are meaningless dumping of information while we sleep, or meaningful indicators of issues that may be bothering us subconsciously. Either way, they are in agreement that dreams are generally a healthy way of ridding our minds of thoughts that can preoccupy us.

What was it that Reidy was suffering from for weeks before, and during the shutdown? Oh yes, she was suffering from lack of sleep. That means that her brain wasn’t being given the opportunity to clear toxins as well it should, and that her dreams may have been interrupted thus preventing her from moving on from whatever issues were bothering her. And as a daily witness to the posturing and viciousness on the House floor, what can one think would be bothering her? Being a woman of faith, no doubt all that toxic behavior she witnessed daily weighed down on her heavily. And what did she say? That the government is a godless creation. Doubt that? Just read what Todd Starnes reports about our government’s war on religion. Now, if anyone is surprised at that contention, after watching even a portion of the infantile, hateful, and petty behavior of our supposed leaders over the past several months, they’re the ones that need psychiatric help.

(Originally posted at The Conservative Feminist)

Obama’s “BRAIN” Initiative

human brain_lightbulb Just this week, President Obama announced a major scientific initiative that would lead us into the next great frontier: The “BRAIN” Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies). This initiative, the details of which are scarce and not yet fleshed out according to Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institute of Health, has a price tag of $100m. It’s being sold not just as an advancement in the fields of science and medicine, but one that will, you guessed it, stimulate the economy and create jobs.

One can only guess the true motivation behind the BRAIN initiative; in fact, heads of two leading neurological research organizations have called into question the goals and intentions underlying the President’s proposal.

Dr. Susan Fitzpatrick of the James S. McDonnell Foundation, a leading funding source for neuroscientific research, characterized her reaction to the announcement as one of “befuddlement,” largely because she’s “not quite sure what the initiative is.” Likewise, Dr. David Hovda of the Brain Injury Research Center at UCLA said, “This sounds more like a PR splash,” promising more than it will be able to deliver, than anything of real substance.

Perhaps the President has been somewhat inspired by the recent brain research coming out of The University of New Mexico, the findings of which were recently published by Dr. Kent Kiehl in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Some might see a loose connection between the UNM study and the fictional science in the major motion picture Minority Report.

While Dr. Kiehl’s findings don’t actually argue that we can accurately predict an individual’s predisposition to commit a specific crime (in a specific time and place, as the movie’s “pre-crime unit” suggests), his team of scientists has discovered a particular activity in the brain (impulsivity) that is directly correlated with recidivism rates. The findings indicate that criminals with low levels of impulsivity control are four times more likely to repeat offend and end up back in jail in as little as four months.

Dr. Kiehl suggests that this brain science could be used as part of a review or parole process when determining whether or not a convicted criminal is ready to re-enter society. There are clear ethical implications to this science, but it is possible that this administration is seeing some ways to connect the dots between some of its other, more nefarious initiatives (i.e., the drones program) and neuroscience.

Again, because the details of the proposal have not yet been released – and the current leaders in the neuroscience research fields haven’t been consulted on this initiative at all – one can only speculate on the objectives of the research. Left with no details on the proposal, and understanding that Congress will have to approve the funding before we can learn the details of the plan, skeptics of the President are likely to see this as yet another among many steps he’s taken to move us closer to the dystopian worlds of popular film and literature, where maybe the next “great” frontier will include Thought Police.