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Volume 8, Issue 4: Ex Libris

To Train Up a Child

Michael and Debi Pearl; Pleasantville, TN: Self-published, 1994
Reviewed by Douglas Wilson

The majority of this book is pure gold. The rest of the book is either atrocious or confused. Taken as a whole, despite the virtues, the book falls far short of a biblical standard.

The Pearls have obviously given a lot of thought to the novel idea that children should do what they are told. For all those who have silently watched in frustration while some two-foot high tyrant flipped out in a supermarket or restaurant, this book supplies a great deal of common sense reinforcement. Speaking of unwieldy children, he says, "Another hour with them, and I would have been searching the yellow-pages for discount vasectomies" (p. 1). On a subject characterized by so much evangelical fluff and angst, it is a pleasure to hear disobedient children described in a fitting and proper manner. "A seven-month-old boy had, upon failing to get his way, stiffened, clenched his fists, bared his toothless gums, and called down damnation on the whole place" (p. 79).
The wisdom exhibited in these pages is very practical. When they address the practice some parents have of warning numerous times before discipline, the Pearls come right to the point. "When the State Fish and Game Commission issues permits allowing you to catch five trout, but no more, they are not preventing trout fishing, they are advocating it" (p. 23). In the same way, parents advocate disobedience when they "issue a license" for the first five "discipline-free" offences.
Discipline in the home should be judicial--parents are not to discipline because they have flown off the handle. When the child is disciplined out of principle, peace governs the home. But if the parents wait until they are frustrated enough to "blow," the children are actually being trained to contribute to the periodic eruptions. "She had trained them not to obey until she got angry" (p. 22).
Pearl also warns against the common problem of sissification. "When I was yet young, I determined that I would rear no sissies" (p. 85). "Where a working father leaves his boy with a flock of girls to be homeschooled by his mother he often lacks masculinity" (p. 75).
These are just a few examples of parental wisdom which the readers are unlikely to come across anywhere else. Despite the book's excellencies, the negatives are considerable. The first part of the book reveals a sub-biblical theology on the nature of the child. The innate sinfulness of the child is denied, which leads the Pearls to sharply distinguish training from discipline. Training is what the innocent infants and toddlers get, and is identical to what puppies get when they don't go on the newspapers. Discipline supposedly comes later when sin enters the picture. While this is not a book of theology, a Finney-like Pelagianism runs near the surface. And while there are some similarities between animal training and child-discipline, the distinctions between the two are not adequately maintained in this book. The result of this confusion is not only heretical, but also offensive to any parents who value the dignity of their children.
Another con is the way homeschooling and "natural living" are addressed. Those issues on which God has spoken clearly (e.g. the necessity of disciplining one's children) are confounded with positions for which biblical support is, um, thin. "Never even consider sending your children to private Christian schools, much less the public automaton factory. . . . Classroom education for the young is a pit." (p. 95). While we are all grateful for those Christians who speak their minds, they should not be muddled when they do so. On "natural living" a similar confusion reigns; God's rules and house rules are not adequately distinguished--"Keep the sugar and junk food out of the house. If they never have it they will not want it" (p. 103). This is not a defense of Doritos, merely a suggestion that eating them is not in the same category as rebelling against Heaven.
I cannot recommend the book, but if a husband and wife read it together there is much to glean, provided they are careful to guard against the unfortunate distortions.


 

The Little Book of Christian Character and Manners

William and Colleen Dedrick; Port Angeles, WA: Christian Tutorial Books, 1992
Reviewed by Douglas Wilson

This book is part of a growing underground publishing response to the general worthlessness of "Christian bookstore books" on child-rearing. Our compromised Christian establishment is at war with biblical sense, and small publishers are starting to fill a great need. The Little Book is worth getting. Unlike the book reviewed above, this book for parents is doctrinally sound. "It is time for reformation. . . . We must again embrace the doctrines of historic Christianity which accepted the Bible's view of man made in the image of God, fallen in all his being, and in need of redemption and sanctification" (p. iv.).

One criticism of the book is that the distinction between character and manners is not adequately reflected in the book's structure. This could be addressed by rearranging the book, with Christian character addressed in one section, and manners and personal standards in another. The way the book is written, the two are addressed throughout. Character is a biblical constant (honesty, joy, gentleness, love, etc.), while manners are culturally assigned. The Bible does require that we have manners, but does not require, for example, that the salad fork go on the left. An undiscerning reader could be left with the impression that "God wants" more than He actually does. The writers have a number of good things to say, but the book would profit greatly from reorganization.


 

Inventing the AIDS Virus

Dr. Peter Duesberg; Regnery Publishing, Inc. 1996
Reviewed by Douglas Wilson

The AIDS enemy has landed in South Carolina and our medical establishment is fighting them off in the Yukon. But they are fighting the virus hard, bless `em.

Cutting to the cliche, Duesberg's thesis is that AIDS is not caused by the virus now called HIV, that the AIDS epidemic is the result of lifestyle patterns, particularly the use of recreational drugs, and that AZT, a chemotherapy widely used in AIDS treatment, can actually cause AIDS. This book demonstrates that AIDS is not infectious in any way, shape, or form, and that the AIDS research establishment has been poleaxed by all the federal billions being, ahem, invested in AIDS research. Furthermore, the media has behaved herself like a kept woman, allowing the story of the century to walk right on by. If reporters were to seriously research the unbelievable scientific holes in the current AIDS "orthodoxy," they would lose their access to all the important bunglers. And they don't want that.
As Duesberg demonstrates in meticulous detail, in order for either a bacterial or viral disease (or "syndrome") to be considered infectious, it must first meet three criteria known as Koch's postulates. In the first place, the germ must be growing abundantly in every patient and in every diseased tissue. Second, the germ must be isolated and grown in a lab. Third, the purified germ must be used to cause the same disease in another host. Judged by these criteria, HIV does not cause AIDS. According to the scientific method, HIV does not cause AIDS. The virus is a perfectly harmless passenger virus that does nothing more serious than to cause dementia in AIDS researchers. One is reminded of Ambrose Bierce's definition of rum as a substance that causes madness in total abstainers.
AIDS is basically the result of a gradual toxic buildup resulting from drug use. The drug explosion began in our culture in the sixties, and AIDS began appearing some years later. Duesberg shows that such drug use is rampant in the homosexual subculture. In the same way a cigarette smoker will not get lung cancer after his first month of smoking, so it is with hard drugs. For the systematic users of hard drugs, the effect over time includes the suppression of the immune system. The patient is then assaulted by opportunistic diseases.
But what about hemophiliacs? Everyone knows that they can catch AIDS through blood transfusions. Well, not exactly. Hemophiliacs are now living a lot longer than they were when AIDS first appeared. Part of the reason is a new blood clotting agent called Factor VIII. All things considered, this has been a blessing to those suffering from hemophilia, but one of the side effects of Factor VIII is that it is immuno-suppressive. If the hemophiliac has the bad luck to be infected with HIV, he then gets the "AIDS treatment" (AZT), which really can bring on AIDS.
About a million Americans are "infected" with the HIV virus. One of the worst things that can happen to such a person is for someone with the authority to write prescriptions to find out about it, and to start giving that person AZT--an FDA-approved, rush-job treatment of AIDS. The drug is highly toxic, and can worsen or bring on AIDS. When that happens, HIV is assumed to be the culprit. It is as though we have assumed that HIV causes bumps on the head, and have gotten the government to approve as a treatment the practice of hitting patients with a hammer. We then discover someone to be HIV positive, so we give them a preventative whack. Huh. A few minutes later, it appears that the pesky virus got by our treatment. Better give the patient another whack.
Although Duesberg demonstrates the central problem throughout this powerful book, he only mentions the problem by name once. The problem is that our medical intelligentsia can't think in a straight line. "But Koch's postulates consist of elementary logic. Whereas technology is continually being outdated, logic is permanent. Koch's rules, after all, simply restate the germ theory itself in experimental terms" (pp. 199-200, emphasis mine).
If AIDS is caused by HIV, then there shouldn't be thousands of AIDS patients who are HIV negative. But there are. We don't want to be unreasonable, but there it is. What would we think of a polio patient who didn't have the polio virus? Would we perhaps question our thesis? If AIDS is caused by HIV, there shouldn't be millions of HIV positive people in the world running around in perfect health. That particular embarrassment is removed by assuming HIV to be a lethargic and slow-moving virus. It takes its sweet time before it does the dirty work. The latency period is now around ten years and rising--whatever it takes to defend bad science.
In response to such data, the AIDS establishment has responded with redefinitions, known outside the medical profession as spin control. Thus an AIDS patient who has HIV is an AIDS patient. An AIDS patient who does not have HIV has only whatever disease he has happened to catch, or another condition known as ICL. Yay! An unfalsifiable thesis! Not only do they avoid questioning anything by their redefinitions, they can also make the epidemic grow in the same way. Who has AIDS is, "by definition," under the control of the Centers for Disease Control. And they have proven far more masterful in controlling these numbers than in controlling AIDS.
We should all think about our history with AIDS carefully. Does anyone remember all the harum-scarum back when the virus was first being chased across the countryside? Remember how many zillions of victims were going to glut our hospitals? Remember how almost none of the AIDS establishment's predictions have come true? Conservative Christians were involved in all this Henny Penny running around because conservative Christians are suckers for the doomsday stuff. It gives them goosebumps and makes them think the Second Coming is just around the corner. And that is why conservative Christians got taken for a ride--along with everyone else.

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