May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
July 19, 2006
/ 23 Tamuz, 5766
Think your cousin's cute? Relax
I'd always thought marrying a blood relative as close as a
cousin was immoral, and certainly risky if you plan to have kids.
Conventional wisdom says only primitive people who live in isolated places
marry cousins. It leads to stupid children. But that's a myth.
It's the sort of myth that leads to stupid laws. Half the states
in America have banned cousin marriage, but there's no good reason for it.
You can marry your cousin and have perfectly intelligent kids.
Take Albert Einstein was he intelligent enough for you? His
parents were cousins, and he married his cousin. So did Charles Darwin and
Queen Victoria. Worldwide, 20 percent of all married couples are cousins.
A lot of "experts," politicians and clergymen, are dead set
against cousin marriage, and they've convinced a lot of people, including
many lawmakers, that marrying a cousin is a bad thing to do.
As with many of our laws, there is little reason for the ban.
The laws date back hundreds of years to a time when the Catholic Church
campaigned against cousin marriages, because in the Bible, in Leviticus, it
says, "None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin."
But a cousin isn't terribly "near." Just ask Brian and Caren
Wagner. Brian's dad and Caren's mom are brother and sister, so Brian and
Caren spent a lot of time together at family functions. Eventually, they
fell in love and decided to marry. This did not go over well with either of
"There was a phone call from my mother, to Brian's father, of,
'What are we gonna do about this?'" Caren told me.
But Brian's father, Dennis, knew their options were limited. "We
said, 'Well, we've got a couple of choices. Either we can say no, we don't
want this to happen' which, you know it wasn't our choice if this is what
they were going to do. They're both over 21. I said, hey, we're not gonna
The parents blessed the marriage. Then Caren and Brian decided
to have kids. They'd heard stories about birth defects and worried that
their kids would be stupid. But they had kids anyway two sons each of
whom went on to be at the top of his class in school.
That confounds the conventional wisdom. Novels like James
Dickey's "Deliverance" and movies like "Brighton Beach Memoirs" reinforce
the notion that cousin marriage will produce retarded children. ("You'll
have a baby with nine heads!") But a study funded by the National Society of
Genetic Counselors revealed that assumptions about cousin marriage are
unfounded. The risks of birth defects or mental retardation are 2 or 3
percent higher among married cousins, but other parental risk factors are
higher. Age, for example, increases the risk much more: There's a 6 to 8
percent chance that a woman over 40 will give birth to a child with birth
It would be ridiculous, however, to prohibit middle-aged women
from having children. It's equally wrong to prohibit cousins from marrying.
There are risks and challenges in any marriage, but it should not be for
politicians to decide such intimate matters as whether you get to marry the
person you love. Love, marriage and procreation are personal choices better
not left to "experts" who are often repeating myths.
There is one real risk, however, to cousin marriage. Pat
Bradfield, Caren Wagner's mother, had a warning about divorce: "You could
divorce your husband," she told Caren, "but you can't divorce the whole
family. Your father-in-law and your mother-in-law would still be your uncle
Now that's expert advice worth considering.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JUST OUT FROM STOSSEL
Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel --- Why Everything You Know Is Wrong
Stossel mines his 20/20 segments for often engaging challenges to conventional wisdom, presenting a series of "myths" and then deploying an investigative journalism shovel to unearth "truth." This results in snappy debunkings of alarmism, witch-hunts, satanic ritual abuse prosecutions and marketing hokum like the irradiated-foods panic, homeopathic medicine and the notion that bottled water beats tap. Stossel's libertarian convictions make him particularly fond of exposes of government waste and regulatory fiascoes. Sales help fund JWR.
JWR contributor John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20." To comment, please click here.
© 2006, by JFS Productions, Inc.
Distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
Ask Doctor K