Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The joy of old bias, seemingly vindicated

The news radio on the way to work made note of the following story:
(Geneva-AP) March 28, 2007 - UN health agencies are recommending that heterosexual men undergo circumcision. They say there is "compelling" evidence that it can reduce their chances of contracting HIV by up to 60 percent.
Considering how simple the procedure is and how great the benefit, this would seem to be the classic case of 'low hanging fruit'. I had sometime in the past, just out of idle curiosity, researched the topic. My take-away opinion was that the procedure was at worst pretty much harmless and at best seemed to decrease the risk for some pretty vile urinary illnesses. I also came across today a study looking at bias in decision-making when the decision would have an effect on the decision-maker. From the latest Science News
People who suffer damage to a brain area that generates compassion, shame, and other social sentiments apply coldly rational thinking to hypothetical moral dilemmas, even those that involve terrible personal loss, a team of neuroscientists finds.
And of course, those of us who lack brain damage (who are you saying lacks brain damage?) do not apply coldly rational thinking when it involves themselves. Now, I am either circumcised or not, but one thing is clear. I didn't have anything to do with the decision and in fact it was so routine when I was born that there really wasn't any decision-making being done. dbp

Monday, March 26, 2007

Blogging out of order again, but still...

After visiting Disney, we traveled to the other coast of Florida to visit my parents. While we were there we had to go to the beach and it just happened to be a cold and blustery day, with rain. Still, one cannot keep a five year old from enjoying the surf. Or playing in the sand. dbp ps. Thanks to my mom for the photographs she sent--which I scanned.