Your Questions About An Impaired Use Of Language Is Known As

November 26, 2012

Sandy asks…

Has Discovery ever done a show about people with blindness/visual disabilities?

I watch Discovery! Health and TLC (The Learning Channel) a lot, and they often have good shows that show people the reality of people with different disorders and diseases (Exampls, “Little People, Big WWorld” about a family with parents and one child who have dwarfism). Have they ever done a show or series about people who are blind/visually impaired? People always seem so ignorant about the reality of blindness, and Hollywood often portrays blind people as being unable to take care of themselves, unable to do much of anything for themselves, etc)…I am often asked how I can even use a computer or cook my food…it is rather sad that people don’t even begin to understand the basics of life as a blind person. Lots of people know about the Deaf culture, sign language, TTYs, hearing aids, cochlear implants, etc…but there are so many people who don’t even know what a white cane is, the most basic of tools for a blind person, let alone knowing what the White Cane Law is.

I would like to see if they are willing to do a show or series about someone with blindness or a family where one or both parents are blind, or where the children are blind, or a combination of different families and single epersons…a show/series about the reality of blindness and the challenges that blind people face on any given day. I think it’s important that people stop being so ignorant and learn what it’s like…there’s no reason for people to be so blind to the reality (yes, that was an intentional pun).

Has Discovery ever done a show/series like this, and if so, what was it called? If not, who should I present my idea to, and how should I present it? I think it would be a great thing to do, but I don’t know where to start with presenting the idea.

]Note: This question written using JAWS screenwriter, a program for the blind and visually impaired. This note brought to you by all the ignorants who keep asking how I write/read questions and answers.]

admin answers:

I don’t know what channel, but there was a show about a boy who used tongue clicks to see things. It was called echo location.

A show other than the oversized families would be a good idea.

Mary asks…

Why can’t we just be allowed to live our lives without being scared about being wrong with our religion?

Bear with me, this is a rather long rant.

This is mainly an argument against Abrahamic religions. Other religions could apply here as well but I am mainly talking about Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Life is short and we as human beings with inherent rights and worth should be entitled to live our lives as we see fit, as long as we do not cause harm to others. We should be able to enjoy our lives and take part in activities that we enjoy as long as they are of no detriment to other people.

We should not be asked or expected to “know” what the correct religion is nor follow its practices/superstitions. For example, the taking of bread and wine like the last supper or a mandatory pilgrimage to Mecca (if your conditions allow it) or praying 5 times daily facing the Kaaba or not being able to have relationships with people that are not of such-and-such faith, not ever allowed to drink alcohol (even in moderation), or believing in witchcraft and magic, that demons make people sick, thinking that women on their period are “unclean” and should be avoided (or at least avoid having intercourse with), etc.

If God really wanted us to know that a specific religion was the truth wouldn’t he be a little more straightforward about it? Why would he allow there to be so many aberrations of the truth? Even if he would allow for so many aberrations why wouldn’t the truth stand out clearly if someone really looked (which some countries don’t even allow)? You can know that something is true and refuse to follow it. The Christian New Testament says that even demons know there is a God and fear him yet they don’t obey him. Why aren’t we as humans given the same knowledge and the same choice? Why would a believer in a certain faith (for example Islam or Christianity)have to have an PhD in history, philosophy, religion, psychology, sociology, and law to make sense of their scriptures by explaining seemingly problematic verses of superstition, unjustified/questionable violence and so on (this is an exaggeration but you get the point)? Even more so, why couldn’t God talk to people directly instead of talking to only a select few and then have their encounters written down? Couldn’t the God of the universe use a better medium than stone, pots, parchment, papyrus, paper?

Why would he have a slew of verses referring to war, slavery (or “indentured servitude” as some would say it is), treatment of women, inhumane punishments for “wrongdoers”, etc. and then want us not to look at it literally but as “well in that specific historical context, at that specific time, I let that happen/told them to do such-and-such”? You know it wasn’t until recently that a significant amount of people could even do that. Take into account the fact that many people were illiterate in ancient times and it makes this even more of a problem. Yeah, the ancients took a whole lot of time memorizing scriptures and were rather good at having things committed to memory, but still, how reliable can oral tradition be? People can forget things, people that have the verses memorized could have died or their memory could have been impaired, people could insert variations of it (and if there is no written text there is nothing to compare it to) and even if other people rebuked that individual and said they were making things up it could place doubts in someone’s mind and possibly alter their memory of the specific verse. I have read many apologetic arguments from Christians, Muslims, etc. and they go back to the historical context, literary context, reference philosophy, and use many other techniques to explain questionable parts of their scriptures.

Apologists for various religions might say “well, the word in its original language was “such-and-such” and looked at in its historical and literary context it means “this-and-that.” One might say “well, stoning didn’t REALLY mean stoning, it was a metaphor, or the stones were pebbles and the “death” didn’t mean physical death but the feeling of spiritual death. After they were stoned for their crime they were given food and drink and accepted gleefully back into society.” Or, the person rationalizing the verse or event could simply say “God/the gods intelligence is much greater than your own and there is a divine reason for that that makes perfect sense if you had infinite knowledge.”

First of all, history is subjective. History is generally written by the winners; there are almost always two (or more) viewpoints to a situation and many of those viewpoints are likely to be lost. For many events there are only a handful of artifacts that talk of the event and the farther you go back into history the fewer and fewer artifacts there are. Any oral tradition that was not written down is forever lost. The winners of military conquests could come and burn entire cities to the ground, destroy literature/pottery/whatever, tear down temples of worship, etc. Documents can also be altered by forces other th
Arguments to rationalize problems can’t be entirely trusted because so much of history is lost. History is also ALWAYS biased. Apologists that rationalize problems like slavery may cite numerous sources but how do we know what their bias is? How do we know these sources are completely accurate? Are we going to read every source, discern the level of bias, and evaluate how factual the information is?

Take this explanation of slavery for instance:
Look at the sources:
Some of them seem to be biased as they include the phrases “Bible history.” Again, even if we look and evaluate that all these sources are fairly accurate and that his explanation of slavery could be reasonable why did it require so much research? Wouldn’t an omniscient being that wanted us to follow him make it a bit clearer? Or is it that society made laws that it saw as helpful to their society?
The problem is once you start redefining terms such as “slavery,” “stoning,” “flogging,” “sex,” etc. you are struggling for an answer.

Ex: “Flogging really isn’t “flogging,” it is actually hitting with a wet noodle; the person can only lift their arm so high and the recipient has to be in such and such position so really it is ok.”

Or, “well slavery isn’t really slavery. The “slaves were actually workers and the slave owners were their bosses. It wasn’t much different than the work we have today.”

These arguments are just evasive maneuvers to try to rationalize something that doesn’t make sense. Also, if someone brings up free will then you say “well, what about [such and such god] being omniscient?”
What about in the Torah when Moses has a personal encounter with Yahweh? Yahweh appeared to Moses, why can’t he appear to more people? Jesus appeared to the 500. Allah appeared to Mohammed. Buddha found enlightenment. Seriously, why are only a handful of people given good evidence?
t1great, even though some religious groups use the “charity tax” poorly the idea of setting aside some of your money (10%, 2.5%, whatever) to help others isn’t a bad practice. There is a good side to that at least.

admin answers:

Actually they want you to be scared of doing wrong to support the church. They say to tithe, actually what they should say is give me your money or you will go to hell. And it scares the weak minded people into giving. They in turn control them

Robert asks…

Deaf Alaskan applying to Rice, chances?

Hello! So I applied early decision to Rice University and I’m having trouble dealing with the anxiety of waiting!! If anyone can give me a clue about my chances I would really appreciate it, I’m kind of a different type of applicant.

-Hearing impaired
-From Alaska
-Spanish Immersion program since kindergarten

Freshmen year- Freshmen year I didn’t do very well, I got mostly B’s, a few C’s and a couple of A’s. I still didn’t know I was hearing impaired at that point and was hating my new school where the teachers didn’t wear microphones. High school was also just a shock.
I was taking all honors/highly gifted courses though

Sophomore year- I got hearing aids and life improved drastically. Both semesters I got all A’s except for two B’s. Still all honors level

Junior year- I got straight A’s first semester including IB English and AP Spanish. Second semester I got all A’s (including the AP/IB) and two B’s.

Senior year- I didn’t have a senior year because I decided to graduate from high school in three years. So right now, I’m living in Brazil and fluent in Portuguese, and in 2 weeks I move to Ecuador to be a volunteer English teacher high in the Ecuadorian Andes for 6 months.

Tests: SAT: 2120 M700/W730/R690
SAT IIs: Spanish 770, Literature 730
AP tests: English Lang and Comp: 4, English Lit and Comp: 4, Spanish Language: 5
IB test: Spanish Higher Level 6 out of 7

Extracurriculars: Varsity Tennis and JV Soccer
Spanish tutor to 4 middle school Autistic boys 3 hours a week all three years of high school
Sophomore and Junior year volunteered as a math tutor to hearing impaired kids for 4 hours a week
Spanish club officer
Model UN
I also have taught myself Portuguese using Rosetta Stone and am currently learning German, French and Arabic with Rosetta Stone (+2000 hours over 4 years)
Sophomore Class President
Student Intern at my Otoneurologist’s office 60 hours Junior year

Essays: I wrote my commonapp essay about how my hearing impairment has taught me to view challenges rather than obstacles because I learned Spanish as a little kid when no one knew i was hearing impaired but if I had known I was hearing impaired I would have been told not to try

Supplement: What will you bring to the Rice community? And I wrote about how I’ve spent my life integrating myself into new communities, the Alaskan community, the spanish speaking community, Deaf and hard of hearing community, global community, etc. and how I have learned from my past experiences that to appreciate a community you have to immerse yourself in its culture and truly experience it (meaning I will give my all at college and be an extremely active member of the Rice community)

Future plans: I’m going to school to study Cognitive Science (psych, neuroscience, linguistics and philosophy) and then I will go on for my masters and PhD because i want to be a college professor conducting research in language acquisition particularly studying primates, deaf children, and bilingual children

admin answers:

Good Luck.

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