Thursday, October 6, 2011

Psychology, Government, and Homosexuality - yes this will get ugly

So I have to write a discussion post for my online psychology class. On the most recent occasion of this "critical thinking" writing assignment, we were asked to write about the psychological and biological evidence of homosexuality and how it might affect the decision-making of the government.

So I know you're excited so I'll get right to it.

Here is the Prompt:


For your discussion topic 2, post at least one main posting (using "New Post") and at least two replies to posts from other students (using "Reply") to the following topic:

Your text, in Chapter 4, presented scientific information on gender and sexuality, including sexual orientation. However, sexuality and especially issues of sexual orientation remain very controversial topics in our culture.

Using critical thinking skills as outlined in Chapter 1 of your textbook, discuss the following: How would political decisions and laws related to sexual orientation, such as gay marriage or gays in the military, be made differently if they were guided more by current scientific evidence rather than by past traditional assumptions and beliefs?

Keep in mind that critical thinking requires that we carefully examine our underlying assumptions and beliefs, exposing hidden values and agendas, weighing evidence, and assessing conclusions, rather than just blindly accepting past arguments and conclusions. Discussion of this topic needs to reflect critical thinking and not just unexamined expression of personal opinions without supporting evidence.

And here is my response to the promt:

Within the contents of the book Psychology in Everyday Life, by David G. Myers, lies great scientific evidence supporting the fact that those with homosexual tendencies are indeed born gay. Simon LeVay for example studied donated cell samples from people with homosexual and heterosexual tendencies. These tests showed that cells in heterosexuals were larger than those found in homosexuals. Therefore these cells would have an important affect on the brain pathway and therefore show a difference between homosexuality and heterosexuality. The book provides more detail about the subject on page 115.

If leaders in the government and military allowed their law making decisions to be guided by these findings and beliefs then obviously things would be different. This research could show a lot of people that those with homosexual tendencies cannot control their emotions towards the same sex. If it were proved beyond a doubt that homosexuals cannot control feelings towards the same sex, then making laws restricting their marriage and admittance into the military would indeed be just as judgmental and prejudice as placing laws and restrictions on the blacks because of their color. Therefore, anyone with a sense of history and emotional understanding in the government would vote to relieve such restrictions on homosexuality.

There are, however, divisions over this issue in the science world as well. LeVay has simply shown evidence that support a theory that gays may be born with a tendency to be attracted to the same sex. He has not proven that it is uncontrollable. Many psychologists are doing tests and research on people with other tendencies, such as the fact that psychopaths have the tendency to be violent. A book called the Mask of Sanity is one of the many publications about psychopathy and the fact that psychopaths have tendencies to be violent. These people can be born with the disorder, or they can learn it and cultivate a characteristic of violent behavior. Jessica H. Lee has also written an article about treating psychopathy and anti social disorders. It is a hard disorder to treat, but it is treatable according to her article.

With that evidence, and the use of critical thinking, is it not sensible to ask “Can gay tendencies also be ‘treated’ ?” If people, with seemingly uncontrollable attractions to the same sex, demand that restrict their tendencies and emotions be repealed and further more that society should continue to embrace their tendencies and actions, then couldn’t these psychopaths, with seemingly uncontrollable tendencies to violence, demand the same?

Leaders in the government are also guided with this evidence, research, and critical thinking. The fact that scientists are still divided on this issue, and there is no proof that homosexuality is completely out of human control, will yield divisions in the government and therefore divisions in law making. Therefore, perhaps for now, since science is not certain about the issue, government leaders must continue to lean on their religious and moral beliefs to make the best choices about the issue. Hopefully with the discoveries that show how difficult homosexuality is to overcome, leaders in every facet will refrain from being judgmental or critical of those who have homosexual tendencies. But science could guide our leaders either way.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Petty" Claims Court

I work at a law firm in Las Vegas. I love my job. I hope to go into law someday, and at least have some practice as an attorney. You know, law is really interesting. There's an entire network going on everyday that governs even the smallest ordeals of the citizens from the federal, to state, city, and I'll even add, Small claims. If you're looking for entertainment and a self-esteem boost, this is the place for your after dinner show.
My boss asked me if I'd like to go to court with him today. Of course, I jumped at the c

hance. He explained how it was small claims court and probably wouldn't be extremely exciting, but you know, you have to start somewhere. Anyway, let me explain of how this system works for those of y

ou who haven't seen it. It's basically a parental facility where people cant go if one side or both cannot solve a problem themselves and need a parental figure to tell them what to do.
I'll sum up what I heard today.

Plantiff side: Plantiff's son was leaving his girlfriend's driveway. Stopped halfw
ay out of

the driveway to listen to music. (Short attention span, right?) Claimed he waited with his car partially on the drive way and the road, for about 10 minutes. Next thing he knew he was hit on the left corner of his car. Claims his girlfriend witnessed it. Girlfriend says she was standing in the doorway of her house and witnessed the entire thing. Judge didn't buy that she stood in the doorway watching the plantiff's son listen to music, stationed awkwardly in the driveway/street, so girlfriend changes her story to say that she watched for a minute, came outside, got into the car and listened to music for a co
uple minutes (in the awkwardly stationed car) and then went in to watch awkwardly from her doorway. (beats me too.)

Defendant's side: Defendant wanted to clear his driveway to make way for his mom coming home from the hospital. Defendant saw the plantiff's son's car and saw the back up lights on, but since he knew he had the right of way, continued anyway, and ran into the awkwardly stationed car. Judge rightfully believed that with or without right of way, one should not run into parked cars. I agree.

Other happenings: Plantiff's side had a signed statement from the defendant that he'd agree to pay some value of money for the incident. Defendant claims
he did not sign the paper, and that the signature on the paper, in fact does not belong to him. Court marshall asks to see a driver's license to see his signature, defendant yeilds that he has no driver's license, nor did he at the time of the accident. (P.S. Plantiff's son also had/has no driver's license.)

Verdict: judge sees flaws on both sides, cuts requested pay in half to a small $800. Defendant side is happy.

Afterwards: My boss talks to defendant's family, they are grateful for his service and time (since lawyers usually do not show up to small claims courts. (That is the reason for small claims courts.)) Defendants family talks with my boss at how dissapointed
they were that it went all the way to court and that they were willing to settle since the beginning to pay $2,500. But for some reason plantiff's took them to court.

Boss then speaks with Plantiff's family in the elevator on the way down. Offers to pay them the check in full. Family declines. Mother claims, basically, that if she cant have the money she wants, she just won't have the money. We get annoyed, since the defendant's family already offered all of that money in the first place.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Snake Rapids

Ok, so, I know a lot of family members and friends may want to know the full story of the event that went down on the Snake River in Idaho about three days ago.

To start off here's the personnel in my raft.

Donovan (Cousin) / Me
Rich (Donovan's dad) / Aunt Tammi
Left Side Right Side
My dad / Ryan (Brother-in-law)
Uncle Ron (Rutterman/guide)

Ok, thats a pretty excellent crew. All of us had had a taste of rapids, were in good or excellent physical shape, and most were eagle scouts or had raised eagle scouts and so they knew everything about that anyway. Not to mention, our family went down the same exact river last year.

We start our way down the river, Uncle Ron is in back doing a fantastic job of calling commands "Left side row!" "Right Side Row!" "Both Sides, Forward!" We are able to catch all the waves served to us with success. Its like any other raft trip, the water is cold, in the low 40's or 30's and you get a little wet from some rapids here and there.

As we continue, we look ahead to see a wave section with waves higher that I remembered last time on the Snake River. However, even if we'd wanted to, we couldn't paddle back up stream with such a heavy raft. So we try to increase our speed to go over the waves. We approach the first wave, which afterwards we estimated to be about 10 ft. high., instead of sailing over it, we crash through it, and it engulfs us. By this time, water is shooting through all directions so fast you only have a couple of half-second moments to open your eyes and get a snapshot of the order of events.

The first thing I remember is the big wave engulfing us, causing me to brace for it and turn my head to my left just in time to see Donovan disappear into the raining water. That same wave also shoves me into the row behind me in between the seats. When I open my eyes again, I see that the raft is full of water, and thats when my fear kicks in, but not for too long because the next wave strikes. I see my aunts legs out of the corner of my eye leave the boat, and then the wave is carrying me off the boat too. I obviously can't give an accurate account of how long I was underwater. But I felt the time was significant. The rapids spun me in a circular motion, disorienting me to where I didn't know if I was facing up or down. At first, I simply relaxed my body, depending on my life vest to bring me to the surface. But when it took longer than expected to break the surface, I began to panic and swim as hard as I could in whatever direction I was facing. When I began to realize that wasn't working, I began to think I was going to die. I accepted death, and began to relax my body again. But in that split second of thinking, my life preserver did its job and my head broke the surface, feeling nauseated from ingesting the water.

After I surface, and get a hold of my surroundings, I see my aunt Tammi swimming next to me. She offers her hand, but its too far out of reach and the river is carrying her faster than me. Donovan swims up beside me. We make sure each other is alright. After a couple of minutes in the water, Donovan mentions he's feeling pins and needles, and for me my body gets so numb, the water begins to get warm. We both realize we need to get out of the water, and begin breast stroking to the next raft. I guess the Lovell survival mode is pretty laid back. On the way to the next raft, Donovan and I made some comments about the more precious parts of our body being frozen and some other things that were kinda funny.

There were some other rather fearful moments on the ride. But thats the fun of rafting! Along with the more positive side of our trip, it was definitely an event that made you reevaluate your reason for living, if you were getting the most out of your life, and if you were being the person your Heavenly Father wants you to be. I woke up the next day to a penetrating sun shining right in my eye, and I have to admit I was grateful that I got to see another sunrise, even if it incinerated my retinas! I am also more grateful for the family I have, and the friends I have come close to. Truly, everything we have is a blessing from God. Surely, it shouldn't take a near-death experience to show us that.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Disney Land Trip

Oh man! Sometimes you just have so many memories you just don't know what to do with them! So I figured I'd better blog about it now before I procrastinate writing in my journal later.

The Foothill Jazz Band went to Disney Land recently not just to ride rides, but to get some back stage introduction and opportunities as well. I have to admit I was a little cynical about the trip at first because a lot of my friends weren't going, but my mind was definitely changed with all of the great times I had.

First off, Rileigh Sorenson was just the greatest bus buddy! She is so fun to carry on a conversation with. We could talk about anything, and she is very funny when she gets delirious and tired. I found out she can sleep in mid air basically and also whooped me at hangman just by using the word "sky" Yeah, beware of that word in hang man! Just putting that out there in case it happens to you, don't say I didn't warn you!

My room mates Justin Price, Matthew Oehler, and Kameron Campbell really changed my
attitude into a good one by making the trip even more fun right when we got into California. We had pillow fights everyday, and Im sorry justin, but you probably need to take some pepsid or heartburn controller before you do to bed, because you can really express your emotions in gassy ways. Matt Oehler can certainly a pillow at a speed of at least 100 mph, Im sure of it. And the icing on the cake was the funny videos we watching in the room last night before going to bed. I'll post some of them on here:

Also, the first day spent in the Disney and California Adventures Park was amazing as well.
A group composed of me, Kaleb Perez, Kody Ketten, and Haden Larcom for the most part had some great laughs. We went on the California Screamin' 7-100 times, and space mountain. I still laugh about the two times we went on the river rafting ride and I pretty much stayed dry and everyone else got completely wet. Just walking through the park was a hoot. Kaleb Perez is pretty much a mini version of myself, we even caught ourselves doing the same snap-walk dance
together to a hokie ragtime toon. And holy cow, Kody Ketten can make some of the weirdest/scary faces and do a mad wave with his eyebrows. Haden Larcom, was always there to put some funny, witty two cents in. It was all in all one of the funnest days of high school.

The recording workshops are probably one of the best musical memories I will take with me from high school. What kind of band gets to play behind a disney cartoon and see what it sounds like after with the cartoon? I bet not many do! The Jazz band recodings were esspecially fun. Nick Mahe and I really got into those! My favorite was the Humphrey Hop where a bunch of bears were cleaning up trash in a park while swingin' their butts with the "BAPS" of trombones! Playing behind a drunk Dumbo was also quite a kick, and also setting the scene of an elligant business trip for Mr. Incredible was extremely legit.

While this next video is a recoding of our jazz band, its the music we played and watched behind this clip. This was definitely my favorite!

The next day we arrived at the Back Lot in California Adventures in our tux and dress formal. Both the concert and jazz bands put on a fun concert with an interesting set up. I can't say it was the highlight but it was a good experience. I did see my favorite character: PLUTO! and I ran up to him back stage and nearly tackled him and in turn nearly got tackled by security! The rest of the day after that was spent having memorable laughs and returning to the fun rides we missed out on yesterday, including the old classic Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. In the late of night we rode the Thunder Mountain ride one more time and then did a little shopping. I remember Kaleb buying a baseball for his dad and getting it stuck in his back pocket, and I tried to help him get it out while walking to the trams. I'm sure it looked pretty interesting to passersby... But heck we were more normal than most people there thats for dang sure!

Well I know I definitely left out a ton of great memories. But all-in-all it was a great summary of a great fours years in the Foothill Band. There have never been greater teachers or friends anywhere else in the world. Thanks to everyone for that, including my friends that weren't able to go. You guys have changed my life for the better! Thanks for the great times!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Simple Things...

We live in an amazingly negative society. Im not saying that Im not one of the biggest contributors to that. I tend to focus on the things that are bad or full of flaws and failure as well. Sometimes the negative things are pretty funny and engender rather funny, or witty comments. But at the end of the day, is that really what we remember? Looking back over my life I can tell you that my negative memories aren't funny. They weren't fun, although they usually had a joyful ending where I learned something. The memories I have that I still laugh at and cherish are those with positive language, with people getting along. They're the types of memories I'll keep for the rest of my life. I find these types of memories to be extremely simple. They didn't take place at huge parties or fancy buildings. They are just events that came as powerful bonding experiences with the people that matter most.

Im an extremely witty guy, but when I look back over the times I've had with my friends, I think of a personal walk I had with a best friend who confided much in me and entrusted me with his problems and personal life. I think of playing sports when our friends encouraged each other to get better and had a lot of fun. I remember shooting squirt guns inside my house late at night when the parents were asleep. (Sorry mom.)

At home with my family, I can certainly be the first to make a funny joke about how terrible the government is, or talk about a funny anecdote about something embarrassing happening to a kid at school. But when I look back on the time I had with my family, I remember a caring mother listening to all my problems and helping me turn to my scriptures. I think of my dad who always dropped what he was doing to listen to me and enjoy hearing about my life and watching his son grow into a man. I think my oldest sister, Rachel, driving me to go parties with her even though I might embarrass her, or my oldest brother Jeremy running with me on his back as a little kid, my sister Elizabeth calling me just to brighten up my day with her silly jokes and being so happy and loving, I think of my brother Erik, encouraging me to be my best self, and giving me advice, and even now and then getting into wrestling matches now and then. I think of times when we would laugh and play a game at family home evening, each of us contributing our wonderful personalities to make the night so memorable.

When I come home it is easy to think about the hardships of the day and the undesirable people I sometimes meet, but I will never forget those times when I get down on my knees and pray to a Loving Heavenly Father, and am reminded about the sacrifices of His Son Jesus Christ, and feel the spirit so strong. I will never forget those nearly sleepless fearful nights when I have felt divine arms engulf me and calm my heart. I will never forget a loving divine Father letting me know He loves me.

Thats what I'll remember. Simple, yet powerful.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Music, a Miracle...

While coming into this world, I had a seizure that caused a bleed on my brain. My survival at birth was a miracle in itself. However, many problems remained latent during my childhood. I overachieved during my first years of elementary school. I have always had a love of learning to do new things, meeting new people, and acquiring new talents and skills. In short, I loved, and still love progression. However, my last two years of elementary school brought progression to a damming halt. I found it extremely difficult to write, carry out basic algebra, and even read. My 4th and 5th graders immediately gave up hope, they wanted to move me to a special education class, and they told my mother to not push me to work hard because I was physically and mentally incapable and it would just wear me out.

Even in middle school, I found myself still struggling with science, math, English, and reading. My first accelerated math teacher saw my difficulty and seemed simply appalled at me. I quote you words she said in a parent-teacher conference meeting: "I will do everything in my power to keep William out of accelerated math." I was crushed. I wanted to learn everything, and I just wanted a teacher to believe I could!

I also took up middle school band, I played clarinet and bass clarinet. Since music required me reading and doing math to subdivide notes at the same time, music was especially difficult for me. There was a major difference though. I had a teacher who did not take failure for an option. He worked with me and my fellow students and gave us a basic understanding of music. I progressed to the highest classical band in the school under his direction, it was the first achievement I had made in years. I also received 3rd place in the entire woodwind division of the solo Olympics.

In High School band I took up the saxophone, and luckily I had a band director who played saxophone, and was determined to see me succeed. He stayed after school drilling me on important scales and concepts to make me a competent saxophonist. He promised me he'd help me make honor band. And I did! That same year, I made Allstate, and the following year I was the top Allstate tenor saxophonist. All because he believed in me.

While progressing through this band program, I not only gained confidence, but I learned how spread myself extremely thin in working for what I want. I learned better methods on how to study, and my sophomore year, I was achieving straight A's progressing my way up to a 4.0 GPA. I even won the County Science fair, and received $1000. My school counselor seemed astonished as my class rank rose by the 100's every quarter. The way I did it was simple - I simply took the skills of practice and confidence I learned from band, and applied it to every subject in my life. I testify with every fiber of my being that band is what gave me the skills to succeed.

Unfortunately, my school district has already begun to take away various arts programs from schools around the states. I know I am not the only one who has been blessed by the miracle of music. These programs help kids find themselves every year and develop them into responsible, teachable students. Had it not been for band, I know I would not be writing this to you today. I know I would not have the confidence to enter into any college of my choice. I know I would not feel of any worth to society, nor have the great friendships that I enjoy this day.

If I music had been taken away from my school before I developed into the person I am now, who knows where I would be. Who knows where countless others are going with these new cuts. My heart wrenches for those poor students who wonder why they can't continue what they love. You cut music, you cut people like me down.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


We all know what we want right? We think good, long, and hard about what we want. By way of friends, we want someone we can tell everything to. We want somebody who can cheer us up on our down days and make our up days even better. When we have something horrible we want to say, perhaps we want to be able to explain it to that friend, and when we have something great we want to share, we want our friend to rejoice with us. We want our friend to love us, and enjoy being around us. We want that friend to laugh at our jokes, and to understand us. That is what we want in a friend, isn't it? Well what about OUR end in the deal.... or let me rephrase that, what does YOUR FRIEND want?

So if we all want it those qualities in a friend, then your friend wants them too. I tire of hearing people who look for leadership or responsibility in a friend and give none in return. So if you're falling off a cliff, you want your friend to help you - but, say they were to fall, you couldn't imagine how they could ever fall, and since they helped you up, they can obviously get themselves up right? - WRONG. Stop putting so much responsibility on those you care about, and take some responsibility yourself. Your friend can only hold you up for so long until he/she too must take a stumble too. As Batman's butler so eloquently put:

"Why do we fall Master Wayne? - So we can pick ourselves up again"
- butler Alfred

Everyone's going to fall. We will all have our fallacies. We will ALL have our moments when we need someone to love us and make us FEEL loved. And perhaps if your friend does not feel that reciprocated from you, he/she may decide to take a break from you. Thats fine. Do not try and bring the relationship back to its original state simply to start throwing your cares back on your friend. Give them their space as needed.

Perhaps you feel if this friend of yours steps out of your life for a moment, you will have no one to confide in. No one to take your troubles to. No one to listen and love you in an understanding way. No one who will feel quite the same way you do... Its a good thing that those thoughts are only a deception. Because there is one who knows how you feel. There is one that will never fall. There is one who knows you so personally, He knows you better than you know yourself. And if you feel alone, perhaps this is a blessing for you to turn Him, embrace yourself in His love that He so willingly gives. Rest your cares on Him, all your cares. For that is the way it is intended.

"He lives, to wipe away your tears... He lives, to silence all your fears.... Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives, I know that my Redeemer lives."