wols0027: November 2011 Archives

Cottingley Fairies Hoax

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In our book, the end of chapter 9 talks about intelligent people being tricked. One of the biggest tricks of all times was the Cottingley Fairies Hoax. Although it happened almost a century ago, some people still believe it to be true. This hoax presents us on "what not to do" when evaluating pictures in terms of scientific thinking. In 1917, two cousins in England became very famous. Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths took Elsie's father's camera and took pictures of both of them playing with "fairies".
People all over saw these pictures and actually believed that there were real fairies prancing around the girls. Though most people figured it out in the end, many people were stumped including the brilliant author of the Sherlock Holmes books, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle even published a book in 1922, The Coming of Fairies, which was based on the Cottingley fairies. It was later found that the fairies looked exactly like illustrations found in a children's book, and therefore it was assumed that the girls cut the pictures out of the book. Both Frances and Elsie never admitted to this until much later in life. The Cottingley Fairies hoax is a prime example of people not using the six principles of scientific thinking, especially the principles of extraordinary claims, replicability, and Occam's razor.
When people evaluated the fairy photographs, they forgot to realize that they would need extraordinary evidence to back up this extraordinary claim of tiny fairies running around England. There was no evidence of fairies living. The girls could not prove that there were fairies either besides the photos they took. This leads into the next scientific principle of replicability. Elsie and Frances claimed that the fairies trusted them and would only come out for them and no one else. This means that no one other than the girls could have possibly seen the fairies and therefore could not confirm their existence. Finally, people should have automatically thought of a simpler explanation for these fairies (Occam's razor) however, most people didn't. They assumed that the fairies were real, not thinking that they could have been cut out from a book. I guess the book was right, "none of us is immune to making errors in thinking." I just can't believe people made the error of thinking that these fairies were real!

http://www.philipcoppens.com/cottingley.html

The "traditional" family is a dad, a mom, and the children. They believe that a child cannot develop properly without the presence of a mother and a father. However, contrary to popular belief, there are many more "non-traditional" families living in the world than people think. Single-parent families, second marriage families, childless couples, and same-sex parents all fall under the category of "non-traditional families." All of these family lifestyles, although some might not believe it, are capable of raising perfect children (minus the childless couples, for obvious reasons). Out of all these nontraditional families, same-sex families are undoubtedly the most discriminated on.

It is proven that a child raised by same-sex parents develops as any other child would. Although a mother and a father have distinctive roles in child's development, same-sex parents take on the same roles. These include the role of the "caregiver" and the "breadwinner". In "traditional" families, both parents can be either of the roles (although more often the mother is the caregiver and the father is the breadwinner) and the same goes for same-sex couples. A child that has one primary parental attachment figure and one secondary attachment figure that both play different roles, develops normally whether she has heterosexual or homosexual parents.

Though this fact is proven, people are still hindered by the fact that two people of the same sex are capable of raising a child. Why? I have no idea! I found a, quite frankly, disturbing case when I was reading an article titled, "America's Child Abuse Epidemic." The article discusses how the state of Texas' governor, Rick Perry, brags about how Texas has one of the highest rates of traditional families that stay together. However, he neglects to inform people about how Texas has one of the highest rates of children being incarcerated, dropping out of high school, and dying from abuse and neglect. The article continues to discuss that Texas' Child Protective Services has "lowest rate of removal for abused children from their homes. Not surprisingly, it also has the highest number of child abuse fatalities in the country". This is all due to the fact that Texas wants to boast about its "high traditional family values" which means children should be in a "traditional" family. This also means that Perry would rather have a child stay with an abusive traditional family than be in the hands of a homosexual couple. There is an extremely low rate of abuse in same-sex parent families. This is most likely because these parents have to jump through hoops to finally get their child with adoption costs. They would have to be completely insane to want to spend all that money on child only to abuse it. I think Perry needs to reevaluate his so-called values...just sayin'.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/oct/24/america-child-abuse-epidemic?fb=optOut

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