Tony Woodlief | Author

Month: January 2010

Bad faith makes bad medicine, and so does bad math

The doctor who claimed a link between child vaccinations and autism has been rebuked by British medical authorities for irresponsible and unethical conduct. The folk theory will continue for generations, unfortunately, because autism tends to emerge around the time children receive vaccinations. For a time my family was in the anti-vaccination camp, until I looked …

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Because names are not snowflakes

The Texas Board of Education strikes a blow against communist tracts cleverly disguised as children’s books. In other news, the author of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is discovered to be a former manager of the New York Yankees.

Genuine reform?

President Obama, The Washington Post tells us, will propose a major increase in education spending tonight. At first glance, one might be tempted to roll the eyes. It’s not like we haven’t been trundling along on this up-escalator long enough, after all. In the past twenty years alone we’ve doubled education spending. Yes, you read …

Genuine reform? Read More »


If this really is “…the best example of violation of the separation of church and state in this country,” then I think we’re all going to be just fine. And I have trouble seeing how a coded Christian verse on a rifle sight, while odd, is “literally pushing fundamentalist Christianity at the point of a gun.” …

Short-sighted Read More »

To rest

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital does a small but important and dignified thing in burying the organs its employees stole from dead babies. It is small because babies are small, and the parts of them even smaller, and because crimes against the weakest bodies in the name of science have a sickening commonality in human history, …

To rest Read More »

Previously, on . . .

The start of a new season of 24 got me thinking about that standard practice television series have of explaining what happened in the previous episode: “Previously, on ____”. Sometimes it’s a little funny because, while of course the particulars are usually quite different, in another sense what happened last week is pretty much what’s …

Previously, on . . . Read More »

The deceptive average

A new study suggests parenting reduces blood pressure. Keep in mind that they’re only looking at averages, which means that when you spike after watching your two-year old do a back flip off the bed, and then collapse into a coma at nap time, you come out right about normal on average.

Be doers

Okay people, I don’t ask you for much, but I’m asking all of you to do two things. You’ve seen on your televisions the horror in Haiti. I have a friend who has been working for a long time to adopt a little boy from the BRESMA orphanage in Port-au-Prince, home to about 150 orphans. …

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Relative risk

I’m wondering if these researchers would have been fine with The Goonies if only all the kids had worn bicycle helmets while pedaling to the treacherous caverns.


We are in the minivan, and Wife notices trees outside a store, trees with leaves made of lights, lights that slowly change color from emerald to scarlet to the richest purple. We’ve all been a bit glum, now that the trees and lights and wreaths have all but disappeared from the city. These trees of …

Dance Read More »

Marionette parenting

Judith Woods reminds us that there’s a difference between good parental involvement and hovering overkill (i.e., “helicopter parenting“). We ought to dispense with calling it helicopter parenting, in fact, and call it marionette parenting. Parents should be in the helicopter, hovering about their children’s lives. That’s their bloody job, after all — to supervise, counsel, protect. …

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On miracles

“A miracle is not the breaking of the laws of the fallen world, it is the re-establishment of the laws of the kingdom of God…”  (Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, Living Prayer, p. 71-2)