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Thread: Prayer and Medicine Research

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Susie*Bee
    (snip)I will stress again that we are ALL (even you) products of inculcation—evolutionists/atheists included. I think you have been misled, but you think I am delusional—we are at an impasse, but still it has been a stimulating discussion and I’m glad we had it.
    My knowledge of evolution as being a fact is based on evidence.

    Your doubting the scientific FACT of evolution is just your religious dogma talking. You bring NO evidence undermining evolution or a few billion year old earth. It is ILLEGAL to teach creationism in public school science class because it isn't science but is rather RELIGION. Religious dogma. As such, it violates the separation of church and State.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susie*Bee
    Answers in Genesis is a wonderful (in my opinion) organization and resource for information on creation science.(snip)
    There is no "science" in "creation science." It is religious dogma from stem to stern and has been ruled out by scientific inquiry for several decades. Whether or not you understand why creation science is religion and not science doesn't change the fact. Similarly, if you can't explain how the Space Shuttle flies and achieves orbit doesn't negate the fact that it does so. If you haven't studied the evidence for evolution, a few billion year old earth, etc. (and you obviously haven't because you doubt it), I find it unseemly that you can dismiss it so easily. That's your religious dogma talking, not any sense of scientific evidence or inquiry. Again, it is ILLEGAL to teach creation science in public school science classrooms because it is religion, NOT science. Do you deny that?

    AIG is a tendentious religious organization that is clearly ignorant or lying about the scientific FACT of evolution and an old earth. Conflict between scientific facts and religious dogma is entirely their creation out of their own tendentiousness and ignorance. Plenty of devout Christians, most in fact as far as I know, accept the FACT of evolution and a few billion year of earth. Who are the "true Christians" (TM), them or you, AIG, and their ilk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Susie*Bee
    I also wonder if you could be open minded enough to see the Ben Stein movie that was recently released called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed… It is an exposé on the loss of academic freedom in Western nations… because of the secular scientific community’s intolerance toward anyone who suggests the possibility of intelligent design. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s supposed to be excellent.
    The Expelled movie has been exposed for the nonsense it is. Intelligent design is not science and the adherents admit there is STILL no theory of ID (after all this time). I heard an interview with one of the associate producers where he is caught lying MULTIPLE times. That guy couldn't get out of there fast enough. He's a lying liar. The people behind that movie up to and including Ben Stein are dishonest. There is a long list of lies in the movie that you can google.

    Not to put too fine a point on this but I don't think you have the background to judge whether or not that movie is being honest or dishonest. The people who do have the background have BLASTED the people who made this movie for being liars. Don't believe me, google it.

    In re the efficacy of prayer apart from placebo, there is EVIDENCE in the form of gold-standard double-blind studies and there FLUFF consisting of everything else. What you have proffered is entirely in the second category.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 06-14-2008 at 08:02 PM.

  2. #17
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    Sharon-- I am not going to argue with you on the forum about creation science and evolution. I already said that. You may believe what you believe-- let us leave it at that. I have tried to be civil and fair in all that I said to you. I prefer to leave our relationship on a friendly/antagonist level. Let's stick to the topic of scoliosis-- whether it is looking at research on prayer and medicine, which you choose not to consider (but some of us do), or some other aspect of the scoliosis journey/battle. You take care!
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52° w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
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  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Susie*Bee
    Sharon-- I am not going to argue with you on the forum about creation science and evolution. I already said that. You may believe what you believe-- let us leave it at that. I have tried to be civil and fair in all that I said to you. I prefer to leave our relationship on a friendly/antagonist level. Let's stick to the topic of scoliosis-- whether it is looking at research on prayer and medicine, which you choose not to consider (but some of us do), or some other aspect of the scoliosis journey/battle. You take care!
    I fibbed a little by saying I would only watch from the sidelines, but I just want to add a little something.

    Hi Susie*Bee,

    I think you have stated it very eloquently; this is a topic that for some people it is best to agree to disagree.

    And just for the record, I consider myself an agnostic not an atheist because I am very open to the possibility that there is a God. Now what form that God/higher power takes is something that I haven't quite connected with yet but obviously for you it is a very strong relationship which is wonderful. However, I also respect Sharon's viewpoint.

    Truth be told, I admire people who find comfort in prayer and a connection to a higher power/God because I do think it helps by lowering stress. Let's face it, any method that brings that level of well being into dealing with scoliosis can only be a plus. When people said they would pray for my daughter during her surgery and recovery, I appreciated their kindness because I knew that for *them* it was a very giving gesture and I readily accepted their spiritual generosity.

    Peace out...
    ca-native (daughter had surgery)

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ca-native
    (snip)
    And just for the record, I consider myself an agnostic not an atheist because I am very open to the possibility that there is a God. (snip)
    You can be an atheist and be totally open to the possibility of gods. I am. I don't know a single atheist who isn't open to evidence for a god. We are not dogmatic except on the point of requiring evidence but rather open-minded. If there is a god, I want to know about it. Unfortunately, there is no evidence and I can't make myself believe just based on faith because for me, that is intellectually dishonest.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 06-15-2008 at 01:50 PM.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter950
    Nurses are taught about the value of prayer in their baccalaureate nursing program- it's usually listed as spirituality to encompass all forms of religious beliefs. Nurses are taught to help the patient identify their strengths and use these strengths to help them cope with their illness. Prayer, support from their church and minister, are listed in college nursing textbooks as ways the nurse can help the patient deal with the stress of having a serious or chronic illness. The point being - that religion IS recognized as having the ability to make a positive impact on the patient's recovery. SusieBee lists research that validates the concrete, physical effects of prayer. I repeat SusieBee's comment: use that intellectual honesty and read the research articles. Prayer IS another tool we can offer one another and newbies in their battle with scoliosis. Not instead of treatment- but with treatment, with decision making, with the day-to-day suffering we all experience. Very interesting reading, SusieBee and thank you for drawing attention to prayer as another resource for all of us.

    may I add- God bless you!
    Jamie, nobody doubts the power of the placebo effect.

    Did anyone with a degree at any school you attended claim the power of prayer was separate and apart from the power of the placebo effect?

    I believe it is well established by peer-reviewed studies that not only do folks tend to do better if they know others are praying for them but religious folks, on average, live slightly longer and appear to be somewhat happier than heathens. Wishful thinking clearly has some real benefits and I don't know any scientists who would doubt that.

    That this is an observed fact is not on the table.

    What I thought was on the table was whether or not prayer APART from the placebo is efficacious.

    To my knowledge, prayer has never been shown to be efficacious apart from placebo. If you know of peer-reviewed studies to the contrary, I'd love to hear about them.

    Thanks.

  6. #21
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    Red face me, once again... and this is it, I hope!

    Pooka/Sharon – and to others who have been following this thread:
    I’ve been thinking for a little bit about what else to write, decided just to go ahead with what has come to mind… so here goes, once again. And I am now “probably” done…

    What I set out to do in this thread has been accomplished, in my mind. (An aside: when people are trying to prove a point, I always think back to a wildlife biometrics class I had in college—and one of the books we looked at in it was called How To Lie With Statistics. I may not remember much from the class (after 35+ years) but do remember that people can twist and manipulate all kinds of data to show what they want to show… So I am a bit of a skeptic with data at times.)

    Anyway, there are interesting links in this thread to show that grown people have indeed conducted scientific research on the efficacy of prayer and medicine. You had claimed that to be a ludicrous thought. If you read the links, then you know, all combined, from what we can read, they are inconclusive and leave a lot of questions—both ways. Some claimed to be double-blind studies. I am not going to argue their validity. I don’t think it matters that much. Why? I don’t think we can measure God in that way-- does he, or doesn’t he??? Good question! I firmly believe that He DOES hear the prayers of believers—and DOES answer them, in HIS time and in HIS way. I also believe that we cannot “test” God— by asking him to perform for us in some measurable way. That, too, is ludicrous beyond belief. It reminds me of the book by J.I. Packer—Your God is Too Small. We cannot even pretend to understand him, his ways, his mind… Can we say we know all about him, and put him in a little box to be used when we desire his help? Pretty absurd. Isaiah 55 is a wonderful chapter in the Bible. It shows how very much he cares for us and desires us to find him,; yet it also addresses how very much beyond our comprehension are his ways. Verses 6-9 say: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

    Measure God through studies? Put him to the test? I think not! I am not sure if you read my statement of faith in this thread, especially in regard to answered/not-answered-how-we’d-like-it prayer (post #2), or my statement on prayer in post #15, or have pursued any theological discussions or writings on understanding prayer and all the questions that surround it. I will be the first to admit that we cannot petition God through prayer and expect a “presto” magical answer that can be measured by us. God is not a puppet or a robot! God does not work that way. No amount of research will prove anything, because God is not measurable or comprehendible by man. But I know he is a caring God who loves us beyond comprehension and sometimes intervenes to change “what might have been” when petitioned.

    I was intrigued by your statement to ca-native about atheists being open to God’s existence… An agnostic doesn’t know whether or not to believe in God. The dictionary definition of an atheist pretty much says that it is a person who denies the existence of God-- there is no God. Since you say not all atheists believe that, but are open to evidence, then there must be a wide range of atheistic belief. If so, then you can understand that it is the same with Christian belief, since you asked who the “true Christians” are... That is why you can find such variance in Christendom—we have different understanding that covers a pretty broad range of belief. I am not going to judge other Christians for what they do and don’t believe. Life is a journey—and when we walk it with the Lord, many truths come our way. Some have a closer walk than others, which is dependent on what we choose. BTW, the Lord is always the same—we are the ones that distance ourselves from him, through our choices. And just as science is a huge realm, with countless fields under its main, huge, umbrella, so is what man is capable of knowing about God and his ways, only in an eternally humongous sense. It is too vast—and some just know little drops’ worth of his character, and cannot possibly learn very much of the immense scope of what is known to man about the creator of the universe. It’s like the old story of the three blind men and the elephant. We look at different aspects and think we have the true picture. What we really need to know is in the Bible; what he is in actuality is way beyond all comprehension.

    Regarding evidence of God’s existence. It’s all around us. From the nature and workings of a single atom, to the detail and manifold wonders of the double helix, the fascinating depth of a single cell; the wonderment of the workings of an eye; the vivid colors, intricate workings, even the reproduction-- of all the creatures; the majestic grandeur of all of nature and the elements… I could go on and on, but there is no point. All of it is so spectacular and incredulous to ponder... It is above our thoughts. I am dumbfounded when I consider that there are people who think all of this came about by random chance from nothing, from non-life to life. (That has been tried through scientific experiment for hundreds of years without success—how to bring something non-living to life.) All of creation is so obviously awesomely creative and vast in its greatness-- to me, and to so many others who believe. Romans 1:19-20 says: "…since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

    Sharon—you can tear into what I’ve said, I am not able to express all I'd like to—you are so adept at tearing apart and you do it so well; and I do admire your skill—but it still doesn’t change what is. And you are right, no one can just will themselves to believe-- but a genuine interest in knowing the truth about God-- whether he exists or not, is a really good place to start. I admit I chuckled over your citing about certain brain pathologies coming into play with believers-- and am delighted to have a screw or two loose, if that is what brings me into a relationship with God. Here's a "mission:impossible" challenge for you to consider, if you dare-- search for the TRUTH—not for religion or scientific facts; don’t depend on others to tell you what to believe. Question your own beliefs from time to time, if only to make sure you still believe them, and to see if they really have substance. That is what I call being intellectually honest—to search for the truth at all costs, and not be content with the status quo. Best wishes to you—and your family. Susie
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52° w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15°
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Susie*Bee
    What I set out to do in this thread has been accomplished, in my mind. (An aside: when people are trying to prove a point, I always think back to a wildlife biometrics class I had in college—and one of the books we looked at in it was called How To Lie With Statistics. I may not remember much from the class (after 35+ years) but do remember that people can twist and manipulate all kinds of data to show what they want to show… So I am a bit of a skeptic with data at times.)
    Indeed. That's EXACTLY what Answers in Genesis and all those other young-earth creationism sites are doing. Why aren't you skeptical of them? They present obviously counterfactual stuff that has been disproven decades and even hundreds of years ago solely to support the rants of some ignorant Bronze Age nomads in the middle east of a few millenia ago. This is a dishonest pursuit.

    AIG and their ilk are advocating teaching religion (creationism) in public schools which has consistently, through several court cases, been ruled ILLEGAL. Do you deny that? Intelligent design creationism has also been adjudicated to be religion and so is ILLEGAL to teach, at least in public school science classrooms in that jurisdiction. Furthermore, the DA in that Dover, PA case said he will pursue perjury charges against the two lying liars from the school board (Bonsell and Buckingham) who lied about their religious intentions and actions. I hope they get massive fines and wish they would do jail time.

    I don't mean to be blunt but I think you said you were a school librarian. It concerns me that a school librarian would advocate the teaching of something (creationism) that has consistently been ruled ILLEGAL to teach, at least in public school science classrooms.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susie*Bee
    (snip)I also believe that we cannot “test” God— by asking him to perform for us in some measurable way. (snip)
    Pretty convenient!

    Quote Originally Posted by Susie*Bee
    That, too, is ludicrous beyond belief. It reminds me of the book by J.I. Packer—Your God is Too Small. We cannot even pretend to understand him, his ways, his mind… Can we say we know all about him, and put him in a little box to be used when we desire his help? Pretty absurd.
    And yet most religionists think they know what God wants you to eat, who you can and canNOT sleep with, what you should do on particular days of the week, etc. etc. Isn't THAT absurd also?

    Quote Originally Posted by Susie*Bee
    I was intrigued by your statement to ca-native about atheists being open to God’s existence… An agnostic doesn’t know whether or not to believe in God. The dictionary definition of an atheist pretty much says that it is a person who denies the existence of God-- there is no God.
    Atheists deny gods because there is no evidence. They, or at least I, don't deny gods on any principle. There could be gods. We can never disprove all gods though we can rule out incoherently defined gods like the god of the bible. I'm open to evidence and want to know whether or not there is a god.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susie*Bee
    I am not going to judge other Christians for what they do and don’t believe.
    Yes but in this case, it's the Christians who have some training in science who tend to say evolution and an old earth are facts (e.g., Francis Collins, Kenneth Miller, etc.). And it's the ignorant ones who don't have any meaningful training who are the young earth creationists. That's more than a coincidence. How do you explain it?

    It almost seems like the more knowledge and education a person attains, the less likely they are to believe in creationism. And in fact the polls bear that out, culminating in 93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences, the cream of the cream of the scientific community, rejecting the idea of a personal god.

    So we CAN judge the creationists who choose to be ignorant and lie because there are plenty of honest, educated Christians who know evolution and an old earth are FACTS.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susie*Bee
    Life is a journey—and when we walk it with the Lord, many truths come our way. Some have a closer walk than others, which is dependent on what we choose.
    And some get more knowledge and education than others apparently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susie*Bee
    I am dumbfounded when I consider that there are people who think all of this came about by random chance from nothing, from non-life to life.
    So am I. No scientist claims this. It is a common creationist strawman. Read Victor Stenger's book, "God: The Failed Hypothesis" for why this is a strawman. You have to start reading objective, factual material, not just the tendentious religious stuff if you want to learn about this stuff and have an intelligent conversation.

    Folks are entitled to their own opinions. They are not entitled to their own facts. Religious folks historically have had trouble with this simple concept because they have an agenda.

    Scientists have no such agenda. If I came across proof of a young earth or the existence of Jesus or the historicity of Exodus, I would RUSH to publish it because then I'd be famous. Any scientist, including all the atheists, would rush to publish that. I don't care which way this goes... god or no god. I am looking for evidence like all religionists do in EVERY OTHER ASPECT OF THEIR LIFE BESIDES RELIGION. And one can be forgiven for thinking that hypocritical of religionists.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 06-20-2008 at 02:47 PM.

  8. #23
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    Someday (I hope) all of us will find out what the truth of existence really is. Until then, I don't see how anyone can claim to be right. We can believe, and have faith in our beliefs, but we can't KNOW.

    I have found that faith and belief make life better and more palatable. I don't really care if it's a placebo effect or not. Perhaps our brains ARE simply biologically hard-wired to achieve a "high" from spiritual pursuits. If so, that's good enough for me.

    I think Pooka and Susie both make excellent points, and I suspect that the REAL truth may be something that nobody on earth has ever imagined....or may even be capable of imagining. It's difficult for me to accept that Christianity is absolutely the only pathway to enlightenment, and yes, I consider myself a Christian.
    Chris
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
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  9. #24
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    Singer/Chris,

    You are an example of an honest Christian who is open-minded and doesn't deny scientific facts.

    There are plenty of Christians who see no conflict between their faith and science.

    As far as we can tell, spiritual feelings evolved in humans because it conferred some competitive advantage. The temporal lobes are the site of at least some of this neurochemical activity. As I mentioned before, we know from brain pathology that certain disorders are accompanied by hyper-religious feelings which can be extinguished when the pathology is corrected. As sick as these people are, and as tormented as they are by seizures, they often don't want to be cured because they are so addicted to the hyper-religious feelings.

    Moreover, there have been some attempts by psychologists and psychiatrists to classify belief in certain ideas like the Virgin Mary and such as being objectively delusional. I suspect within a few hundred years, these beliefs will be classified as delusions and be a symptom of a named psychosis.

    Although I, and many others, apparently don't have the brain chemistry to accept gods (though I do greatly appreciate the numinous), I can certainly understand how others have brains that are so wired. There are plenty of atheists who truly want to believe there is a benevolent god, life after death, etc. but just can't sacrifice their intellectual honesty on that altar.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 06-21-2008 at 08:20 AM.

  10. #25
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    Thanks, Chris, for adding your valuable insights too. Yes, we will all find out sometime... and that is an exciting thought, in and of itself.

    Sharon-- you've done it again and immediately countered with what I will call your "evolution agenda." I have very nicely requested (several times, I do believe) that we not get into creation vs. evolution on the forum, as it has NOTHING to do with scoliosis. You may PM me if you want to, although I see no point to discuss it further with you. I agree to disagree.

    Prayer, on the other hand, along with a basic understanding of what it is (the theology of prayer, if you will) can have much to do with scoliosis-- and other health issues. Because of that, it is an appropriate topic for the forum.

    As far as evidence for the God of the Bible, I rest my case, permanently, on his creation... He is an awesome God. Amen.

    As for my job as media coordinator of an elementary school library... I think you are either being silly or an alarmist. I have no agenda for shaping minds, other than to think and grow... I do believe you are correct in stating that the legalities of teaching anything other than evolution are confined to the science curriculum/science classroom. Regardless, I would never push my own agenda through some sort of censorship or "stacking the deck in my favor" or something... Do you not read children's books? I love them-- or at least all of them that are well written, regardless of their ideologies and religious or non-religious foundations. I want kids to develop their minds in many ways-- through all the different genres that come with a good library. I admire free thinkers over robots any day. I was not afraid for my own children to read books that did not agree with Christianity. Growing up includes being exposed to all kinds of ideas, from fantasy through non-fiction through science fiction and beyond... You made me chuckle to even think of censoring out any of the books that are in our library... But that made me wonder-- what would you do if you were the librarian??? Rid it of all that doesn't agree with you? I would hope you would be above that. Now let's let our differences rest and get on with scoliosis, its challenges, and the different avenues that are available for dealing with it. That's what we need to tackle with our brains at the moment, not each other. OK?
    Last edited by Susie*Bee; 06-20-2008 at 04:44 PM. Reason: add a sentence...
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52° w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15°
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Susie*Bee
    Thanks, Chris, for adding your valuable insights too. Yes, we will all find out sometime... and that is an exciting thought, in and of itself.

    Sharon-- you've done it again and immediately countered with what I will call your "evolution agenda."
    If I started pointing out that astrology was bullcrap and astronomy was a science would you say I have an "astronomy agenda?"

    Similarly, if I pointed out that alchemy was nonsense and chemistry was a science would you say I have a "chemistry agenda?"

    The fact that you may not understand why these are EXACT analogies to the creationism/evolution question doesn't negate the fact that they are in fact exact analogies.

    Don't you find it disconcerting that most Christians with doctorates in sciences DISAGREE with you on creationism? So we have a bunch of people who studied this subject FOR YEARS saying creationism is bullcrap and we have you and the yokel ignoranti at AIG et al. who claim the earth is a few thousand years old based ONLY on the rants of Bronze Age nomads.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susie*Bee
    (...)what would you do if you were the librarian??? Rid it of all that doesn't agree with you? I would hope you would be above that. (snip)
    To be educated requires a thoroughgoing knowledge of comparative religions. English literature is not completely intelligible without a knowledge of the Bible.

    I would require coursework in comparative religion starting in high school so that all kids can see the range of religious thought out there. I would stay on the correct side of the law and keep all religion (creationism, ID, turtles all the way down, etc.) out of science class. Furthermore, kids MUST be exposed to the evolution science and creationism mythology debate so they understand the difference between science and religion. I would teach the Dover case in high School also so they understand why Intelligent Design is merely creationism in a cheap tuxedo.

  12. #27
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    Sharon-- The definition of "agenda" does not connote either its correctness or its fallacies. I am finished with this "discussion" with you on the forum, not because I think either of us has won, but because it doesn't belong here. Enough is enough. And the library (hence the books) are for K-5th grade... that is what is generally understood as being an elementary school.
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52° w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15°
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  13. #28
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    In elementary school, I would just keep the science books (mainstream biology, geology, etc.) and the religious books (creationism, Intelligent design creationism, other creation myth stories, etc.) separated. Like on opposite sides of the room.

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