Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Blogging for a common 'good'

I consider TR Gregory a teammate-in-blogging for a common good: scientific literacy. Now he wants some help with something a little different. I think I (and you all) can help him out there too!

Gregory doesnt know this, but I have personal reasons for wanting to help his parents out: My patients are from Zambia.

IRB/HIPPA/etc prevents me from 'tracking down' any of the children I am studying, but Ive personified one patient in particular: Hes about 9-10 years old, infected with HIV in the womb, and hes still doing okay. At least, he was the last time I got to hear anything about it. He is very unusual, as most children infected in the womb die shortly after birth. His plasma samples might help cure millions of children not as lucky, and he'll never know it, and Ill never know him.

This has always bothered me. But theres nothing I can really do.

BUT maybe hes one of the kids that will benefit from Gregorys parents program. Ill see what I can do with campus (we always have surplus equipment strewn about the hallways) and with my classmates (Im going to try to start a student science education group this fall).

I, as usual, also have a pro-atheist reason for trying to help his parents project:

The Livingstone Performing Arts Foundation (LiPAF) mission is to create and perform traditional and original works of music, song and dance which reflect the history, culture, languages and ethnic background of Zambia.
I. Hate. Missionaries.

Hate. Them.

Its not just the evil lies they tell regarding condoms and such-- theyre committing cultural genocide. They dont even know the names of the gods they are killing.

"WAIT, ERV!" you readers might exclaim. "I thought you hated allllll gods! Youre just against Christianity! I KNEW IT!"
Well, most of you readers are smarter than that, but some readers might think this. I am not against cultural mythology, against honoring your heritage. I like my Jewish heritage. I like my British heritage. I like my Russian heritage. I cant imagine what it would feel like to have your heritage killed off-- to never know your ancestors myths. And, as Im sure some of you noticed in my Blogger profile, I list Ancient Greek Mythology as my favorite literature-- I dont have to believe in the gods to love the stories.

How many of you can name a Zambian deity? How many of you can tell me a Zambian myth?

If the missionaries win there, you will never hear their stories either. His parents might help save the best story you havent heard yet.

I cant promise Ill help personally tomorrow-- but thank you, Gregory, for putting this project on my radar :)


TR Gregory said...

Thank you very much for helping to promote their program. :-)

ERV said...

Promoting and helping them is the easy part-- THEYRE the ones doing the hard part, thus THEY deserve the thank you :)

Dr. Duke said...

TR Gregory's parents do indeed seem to be doing good deeds. But I think your hatred of missionaries is a bit misplaced. There are thousands of ways to extinguish cultural heritage, and missionary work is not among the worst of them.

Nobody ever builds themself up by tearing others down. You should focus on your own good work; HIV research; point out the good works of others such as TR's parents, and not get caught up in bashing missionaries and creationists so much.

If you really must bash someone, find some truly evil people, and not just ignorant people who really mean well and do much less harm than the truly evil people.