Pharyngula

…Republican Representative John Duncan of Tennessee. Confronted with a vast amount of evidence provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, the US Institute of Medicine , the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Psychological Association that abstinence-only education does not work, does not reduce the incidence of either teen pregnancies or sexually transmitted disease, and that it is a waste of money, the honorable Mr Duncan declared his complete disinterest in data and expertise.

Rep. John Duncan, a Tennessee Republican, said that it seems “rather elitist” that people with academic degrees in health think they know better than parents what type of sex education is appropriate. “I don’t think it’s something we should abandon,” he said of abstinence-only funding.

Nobody is advocating an abandonment of the idea of encouraging abstinence; they’re saying that abstinence-only is a failure, and we should be encouraging dissemination of more information. I know, that’s terribly elitist — how dare we oppose some parents’ desire to keep their children ignorant and stupid.

I should also hand out an anti-Mummert to Henry Waxman, who deserves a lifetime award.

Panel chairman Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, said, “We are showering funds on abstinence-only programs that don’t appear to work, while ignoring proven comprehensive sex education programs that can delay sex, protect teens from disease, and result in fewer teen pregnancies.”

Scorpio: The black lights in your bedroom will pay off in a big way — expect a fluorescent romantic entanglement in your near future. Male Scorpios should definitely invest in life insurance.

Comments

  1. #1 Pablo
    April 24, 2008

    Yeah, real sex education might do those things that Waxman mentions, but it doesn’t do the most important things for republicans: demonize sex and control lives.

    Who cares if they delay starting to have sex, the message must be sex is bad, m’kay, and you can’t do it!

  2. #2 Christianjb
    April 24, 2008

    Seems like this guy’s promoting ‘ignorance-only’ education.

  3. #3 Glen Davidson
    April 24, 2008

    Um, yeah, why would we send kids to school to learn anything their parents don’t know?

    What’s teacher training for, except to tell the children nothing more than their parents know?

    They made a movie about, called Expelled.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  4. #4 Matt
    April 24, 2008

    Christian fundies and Republicans seem to go hand in hand…

    mind you, that woman who told an atheist to get out of a state senate a few weeks ago, was a Democrat…

  5. #5 Glen Davidson
    April 24, 2008

    OT, but a follow-up to a previous story:

    Rescue workers today began scaling down the search for a priest who was carried off the coast of Brazil four days ago by hundreds of balloons.

    The Rev Adelir Antonio di Carli was last heard from on Sunday night, eight hours after he took off from the port city of Paranaguá harnessed to hundreds of brightly coloured helium-filled balloons. Strong winds had blown him off his planned route and out to sea.

    The Brazilian air force today suspended its search as hopes of finding him alive faded. The navy continued to patrol waters off the coast of Santa Catarina state, but it was considering halting operations, according to the Reuters news agency.

    “The chances [of survival] are increasingly slim and we are considering when to end the search effort,” Lieutenant Francisco Jose Cavalcante, of the navy’s southern search unit in Rio Grande do Sul state, told Reuters.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/24/brazil

    Dumb, I know, but still sad.

    Glen Davidson

  6. #6 Hap
    April 24, 2008

    In general, if a policy doesn’t achieve its stated purpose (and in lots of cases, works actively against said purpose), than it seems reasonable to conclude that the purpose is not the motivation for the policy. If you’re claiming to desire fewer teen pregnancies, and yet continue with something that does not appear to work, then it seems obvious that you’re not really interested in reducing teen pregnancies. It seems more likely that Mr. Duncan is more interested in forcing people to do as he wishes them to, though it would be a little easier (though perhaps more obvious) to ask his target audience (high school students) to get lobotomies. He might assure himself a permanent voting bloc as well if he did so.

  7. #7 Monsignor Henry Clay
    April 24, 2008

    Gotta love his H-iness the WaxMan. Poor guy’s so nerd-tastic he had no hope but to be as intelligent and thoughtful as possible. Glad it’s working out for him.

  8. #8 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    April 24, 2008

    Life insurance salesman: And who shall we put down for the beneficiary, your wife?

    Scorpio: Yeah, sure. Why not?

  9. #9 Brownian, OM
    April 24, 2008

    Rep. John Duncan, a Tennessee Republican, said that it seems “rather elitist” that people with academic degrees in health think they know better than parents what type of sex education is appropriate. “I don’t think it’s something we should abandon,” he said of abstinence-only funding.

    Would it be ‘rather elitist’ of me to brain this troglodyte with a wooden bible?

  10. #10 Gregory Kusnick
    April 24, 2008

    Pablo (#1) and Hap (#6) have nailed it. Abstinence-only sex ed isn’t about preventing pregnancy; quite the opposite. Unwanted pregnancies serve to identify the “bad” girls so that right-thinking Christian boys will know which ones not to marry.

  11. #11 Genuinely Doug
    April 24, 2008

    I wish I were a Scorpio! That horoscope reminds me of the latest xkcd comic.

  12. #12 BoxerShorts
    April 24, 2008

    So let me get this straight. He’s saying it’s “rather elitist” for people who know better than ignorant dumbasses to claim that they know better than ignorant dumbasses?

  13. #13 Rayzilla
    April 24, 2008

    Henry Waxman! CA-30, stand up!

  14. #14 Sam Cole
    April 24, 2008

    Rep. Duncan’s choice of words are interesting. Given recent coverage demonstrating that “elitist” is a bad thing it’s not surprising to hear this tidbit used as a dig on someone else. Of course, when it comes to political leaders and the education and health of our children, don’t we want elite individuals and standards to rely on? Is the notion of progress a bad thing too?

  15. #15 Schmeer
    April 24, 2008

    Personally, I never found a problem with a touch of elitism. Don’t we want the best people doing important jobs? If you complain about elitism, does that mean you want an incompetent moron in charge? Oh, right…

  16. #16 genesgalorei
    April 24, 2008

    imagine that, adolescent young men being unable to control their libido.

  17. #17 ema
    April 24, 2008

    Stan Weed, director of the Institute for Research and Evaluation, a Utah-based group that researches abstinence programs, disagreed with the other health experts, saying research cast doubt on the effectiveness of broader, comprehensive sex education programs.

    I guess there are elitist experts (American Academy of Pediatrics; American Public Health Association; US Institute of Medicine; ACOG; American Psychological Association) and then there’s Stan E. Weed, PhD, the, what, people’s “expert”?

  18. #18 Andrew
    April 24, 2008

    Wait a sec–it’s ok to dismiss astrology, but I am expected to believe in _life insurance_?!

    What next–”buy the extended protection plan”? “no, really, it’s not you, it’s me”? “but that flagellum _looks_ so designed”?

    It’s a slippery slope, people.

  19. #19 allkom
    April 24, 2008

    Ref. “Glen Davidson O/T flying priest”

    According to the priest’s former balloon flight instructor, he was “expelled” from the school after failing to complain with
    safety standards. According to him, the priest was “a show-off who did not attend the required theoretical hours and would not complain to safety instructions”. He ads: “I became less catholic after knowing him”.
    At least something good came out of it !

  20. #20 bbcaddict
    April 24, 2008

    I agree Schmeer.
    I’m sick of this revolt against people who work hard to study, learn all they can, have informed opinions and actually have an IQ above 60.
    I can’t wait to read Jocoby’s The Age of Unreason…

    I suppose the more intelligence/ I.Q. points one gains the less likely they are to believe in magic sky-fairies. *shock*

  21. #21 Glen Davidson
    April 24, 2008

    According to him, the priest was “a show-off who did not attend the required theoretical hours and would not complain to safety instructions”. He ads: “I became less catholic after knowing him”.
    At least something good came out of it !

    I see, he sacrificed himself that others may be wiser!

    A mensch, a hero for these times when forcing pseudoscience into the schools is a blow for freedom.

    Glen Davidson
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  22. #22 Doug
    April 24, 2008

    So “elitist” is considered bad now? How dare educated people think they are more knowledgable in the subjects they studied. Yet Duncan will still go to a medical doctor with a Ph.D. when it suits him.

  23. #23 Deepsix
    April 24, 2008

    At least you (y’all) don’t have to live here.

  24. #24 Michael
    April 24, 2008

    A study authorized by congress back in 1997 to follow 2,000 kids through the program from rural and urban.

    Neither does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom.

    By the end of the study, almost half remained abstinent while the other kids did not. The study also lacks detail, such as parents. Now I know there are some who think the school should be the parents…But in reality, there is more success when the parents hold to conservative values.

    Another problem is public schools in general, it’s a horrible educational system overall with some exceptions…Another study concludes…

    …abstinence education programmes don’t work. They had the same failure rate as contraceptive programmes. Doesn’t that show neither of them works?

  25. #25 Alex
    April 24, 2008

    Law makers must be compelled to base their reasoning on sound logic that exists outside of any religious dogma. That should be a mandate while serving office in this secular nation. Sure, if they want to lean on their religion while in discussion or while campaigning to suck up to a certain segment, fine. But when proposing or endorsing a course of action that is to become law, their reasons for doing so should have to be articulated and witnessed and rely on logic, reason, and the scientific method. Not a voice from a deity, not on a mandate from their superstition.

  26. #26 John Phillips, FCD
    April 24, 2008

    Ironically, the oh so evil secular nations such as the The Netherlands and Sweden, where religious BS doesn’t rule the roost, have the lowest rates of unwanted teen pregnancies in the West. Their secret, they listened to their ‘academic elites’ and instituted proper sex education. This proves, as others here have noted, that it isn’t about preventing unwanted teen pregnancies, but purely about implementing societal control over teens through fear.

  27. #27 BlueIndependent
    April 24, 2008

    “I don’t think it’s something we should abandon,” he said of abstinence-only funding.

    Notice how artfully that dodges the central question away from wasted money onto the typical “BUT THINK OF THE CHILDREN!” emotional masturbation. He doesn’t want the A-O program to go away because it means public support for him will disappear, and he’ll be out of a government job. But then, being a republican, he should be only so happy to oblige, since they hate government so much…

  28. #28 Marcus Ranum
    April 24, 2008

    If you really want to make your head explode, follow the links from the white house’s web page (www.whitehouse.gov) to the faith-based and community services program, then search around there until you eventually find the PDF of where taxpayers’ money is being funnelled to faith-based programs — like $400 million to teach abstinence

    You’ll puke.

  29. #29 wisnij
    April 24, 2008

    To quote Get Your War On, if “elitist” just means “not the dumbest motherfucker in the room”, I’ll be an elitist!

  30. #30 Michael X
    April 24, 2008

    Representative Duncan then added, “And if parents want to sacrifice their children as Abraham was going to do to Isaac to publicly prove their faith, I don’t think people with their academic degrees in law should be able to keep parents from doing that.”

  31. #31 beagledad
    April 24, 2008

    Presumably the Honorable Rep. Duncan approves of the folks that prompted this headline on NPR’s Morning Edition today:
    “CHURCH GROUP URGES PRAYER FOR LOWER GAS PRICES.” I surmise there’s not an elitist in THAT group. I predict that their likelihood of success is approximately the same as that of abstinence-only education in preventing unwanted pregnancy and STDs.

  32. #32 Tosser
    April 24, 2008

    This continued use of “elitist” as a slur must stop. It’s promoting ignorance as a virtue. Senator Duncan’s use of it is on par with calling the smart kids “nerds” in school.

  33. #33 Duncan (not that one)
    April 24, 2008

    Why is everyone missing the point? The only way to get more christians is to breed ‘em, and anything that stands in the way is evil & elitist. Who cares if mommy is only 14 – there’s room in the Lord’s heart for everyone (including kids with IQs from 6 to 60!)

  34. #34 Alex
    April 24, 2008

    Funny thing beagledad, when (if?) prices do go down, they’ll see it as unequivocal proof that prayer works.

    Dealing with stupid people can be such a challenge.

  35. #35 Rob
    April 24, 2008

    It is an undeniable fact that abstinence is the most effective form of birth control. No sex, no baby. It has been proven, with one undocumented exception 2008 years ago, to be 100% effective.

  36. #36 Alex
    April 24, 2008

    Rob, no one is arguing against that. Now move on to the subject at hand.

  37. #37 Dan
    April 24, 2008

    I think you have stumbled onto something, PZ.

    While reading about the stone-headed moron mentioned in this post, I was all but ready to find the man and throttle whatever life he has out of him. But, then I stumbled upon the horoscope, and all was made a little better.

    Now, I just want to slap the moron.

  38. #38 Stephen Wells
    April 24, 2008

    I would bet my house that when this guy gets heart trouble he’ll be demanding the best surgeon he can find. How elitist of him- to expect difficult, complex tasks to be carried out by people with the aptitude, training and experience required to do them.

  39. #39 Alex
    April 24, 2008

    Rob, in other words, teaching abstinence only is not mandating abstinence only. Teaching people about the virtues and benefits of abstinence will not necessarily keep them from engaging in sex. That is a demonstrable fact. Of course it’s taught how babies are made and STDs are transmitted. Come on. So how is more information a bad thing?

  40. #40 MAJeff, OM
    April 24, 2008

    It is an undeniable fact that abstinence is the most effective form of birth control. No sex, no baby. It has been proven, with one undocumented exception 2008 years ago, to be 100% effective.

    Gay sex works pretty damned well, too.

  41. #41 Monsignor Henry Clay
    April 24, 2008

    Rob,

    Look up.

    It’s the thrust of the argument sailing over your head.

    Nobody said we shouldn’t teach abstinence. I remained abstinent (being a dorky nerd help) and I agree it worked out for me. I also knew what a condom was, and I knew how to use it. Because of that, I don’t have a kid.

  42. #42 C Shrew
    April 24, 2008

    You know, it has been 20 years since I was in high school but I still remember I would have screwed pretty much any of the young women in our school who would have let me. I don’t think I was much different than any other boy my age and if anything I think society is more sexual now. Abstinence was only practiced because of terminal shyness and geekiness. Someone telling me I should be abstinent would have stopped me about as much as a mosquito stops my car at 70 mph. Let the kids know the consequences and how to avoid them.

  43. #43 Duncan
    April 24, 2008

    Alex, I think Rob was being facetious.

  44. #44 ThirdMonkey
    April 24, 2008

    Kids are going to have sex. You sure as hell aren’t going to stop them by just saying “Sex is bad. m’kay? You shouldn’t have sex.”.

    The best way to prevent teen sex is through Baby Aversion Education?.
    Basically the program works by putting the fear of Baby into the kids. Show the kids just how horrible a baby can be and they will not be willing to risk pregnancy.
    The program begins with a series of films showing the horrors that pregnancy inflicts on the woman’s body, followed by uncensored video of child births gone wrong, including scenes of vaginal tearing and C-sections. The series would continue with examples of babies throwing up, having diaper changes, and would end with a full half-hour long inconsolable screaming baby session. The series would conclude with an analysis of the expenses of a baby (in dollar analogies that teens can comprehend) and first person accounts by people whose lives were ruined by teen pregnancy.
    Order now! My Baby Aversion Education? series is absolutely guaranteed to reduce teen pregnancy. It worked for me!

  45. #45 beagledad
    April 24, 2008

    Stephen @ #38:
    I’d be happy to provide cardiac care for Rep. Duncan. Since my knowledge of anatomy and physiology is based primarily on an undergrad anatomy class I took in 1978 and on my 4th grade “human body” science unit, I can certify to him that I am non-elite in the practice of medicine. He should approve, really.

  46. #46 DavidONE
    April 24, 2008

    “Confronted with … evidence that abstinence-only education does not work…”

    I momentarily forgot this refers to sexual education, and thought that a Republican had come completely out of the closet to declare that *education* does not work. Y’ know, it’s a sad state of affairs when I wouldn’t be too surprised if that did happen….

  47. #47 tsg
    April 24, 2008

    I can’t hear someone complain about “academic elitism” without hearing “I never had no use for that there fancy book learnin’”.

  48. #48 Alex
    April 24, 2008

    Thanks Duncan. I’m relieved by my gullibility. Whew.

  49. #49 laserboy
    April 24, 2008

    Yes Rob, you are entirely correct. Now when abstinence fails (as it eventually will for most), I want my son or daughter to realise that a condom would be a good idea. I would also prefer that, when abstinence fails, and the condom splits, my daughter is on the pill. I would also love my son and daughter to know that if all else goes wrong, there is a morning after pill. Finally, I want my daughter to know that even if she does get pregnant, it is still her choice to become a mother and that she can still abort.

    Mostly, what I want them both to know is that I am not a judgemental asshole and that they can talk to me about what has happened and what options are available to them.

  50. #50 ThirdMonkey
    April 24, 2008

    Rob! You forgot to use the [Sarcasm] tags!

  51. #51 Rey Fox
    April 24, 2008

    Kids of today, don’t exclude anyone from your treehouse. Not even the creepy loser kids. If you do, then they will grow up to either be your boss in a high-tech company, gun you down in a high school or college or shopping mall, or become a Republican politician.

  52. #52 Janine ID
    April 24, 2008

    Reminds me of a silly argument I got into at a clinic defense I was a part of when Operation Rescue was in town. I tried to have a rational talk with some of the anti-choosers.

    With one person, I said that I thought there were too many abortions being done. And the way to reduce the number was to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. Therefore, the option of contraceptives must be open. I was accused of advocating people having sex in the streets. This person I argued with showed the same lack of respect for reality that Rep. John Duncan shows. It is that willful stupidity that screws all of us up.

  53. #53 Alex
    April 24, 2008

    Janine @ #52

    “It is that willful stupidity that screws all of us up.”

    Well put.

    It’s probably one of the biggest problems created by dogmatic thinking. Absolute certainty where none exists and a fervent desire to not recognize reality. Just plain willful stupidity.

  54. #54 Tim Carroll
    April 24, 2008

    I would bet that parent’s and politicians would change their minds if newspapers started publishing lists of minors who turned up at their doctor’s offices with STDs. Then, they couldn’t pretend to themselves or their neighbors that that sort of thing doesn’t happen in “our” neighborhoods.
    Of course this would never happen, and it would (probably) be a horrible thing if papers did that, but really, nothing opens minds like exposure to reality.

  55. #55 Carlie
    April 24, 2008

    And I would like to place an ad for my patented Baby Aversion Re-education Series(TM), guaranteed to reverse all effects of the Baby Aversion Education Series once your child is properly married and is required to start producing babies for the glory of God as soon as possible. A discount is available if you bundle the education/re-education packets together.

    Remember, sex is dirty, demeaning, and immoral, so you’ve got to save it for the love of your life your spouse!

  56. #56 Ruth
    April 24, 2008

    Here in St. Louis, Expelled is showing in several theaters, and 25% of teenage girls have had STD’s. Therefore Ben Stein causes venereal disease.

  57. #57 Alex
    April 24, 2008

    Perhaps the rate would be higher if Ben Stein wasn’t in the theaters, hmmm? I mean come on, do you want a kid like him? Eeewww.

  58. #58 ThirdMonkey
    April 24, 2008

    #56 Ruth –
    Of course! Kids are sneaking into showings of Expelled to make out because those theaters are empty!

  59. #59 Katrina
    April 24, 2008

    RE: Baby Aversion TechniqueTM

    Back in my day, we just called it “Babysitting.”

  60. #60 Duncan
    April 24, 2008

    3rdMonkey, your Baby Aversion Education? was on full display a while back at a local ‘notions’ store. I was walking by and the front door was open, and three of the most colicky babies I have ever heard were wailing away inside, each one topping the other as they took turns to inhale. Man, I was ready to get a vasectomy on the spot!

    Incidentally,

    http://www.theonion.com/content/opinion/i_cant_imagine_why_anybody

  61. #61 Muffin
    April 24, 2008

    “Nobody is advocating an abandonment of the idea of encouraging abstinence;”

    Speak for yourself, PZ – *I* at least am definitely in favour of abandonding that rubbish. Sex is a great thing, and teenagers should be encouraged to experiment and learn when they want to, not told that sex is a Bad Thing(tm) until you’re 18.

    But then, I’m not from the good ol’ erotophobic US of A. ;)

  62. #62 Penny
    April 24, 2008

    I offer this as part of the Baby Aversion Education Series:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qflcf4h1_pU

  63. #63 negentropyeater
    April 24, 2008

    Sexual abstinence programs ?

    “We try to give a fuller education on sex and sexuality – a more holistic picture of sex,” McNeill said.

    Abstinence education can be brought to public and religious schools, but South Side Pregnancy Center abstinence director Kathy Yanke says the program is funded by a state grant, so there are no religious themes.

    But where does the idea that abstinence is good come from, if not from religion ?

  64. #64 ThirdMonkey
    April 24, 2008

    #60 and #62 – Damnit! I’m at work! I can’t be laughing like that at work! A little warning next time, please?

  65. #65 Faithful Reader
    April 24, 2008

    “But where does the idea that abstinence is good come from, if not from religion ?”

    Well- abstinence is good if you don’t have a caring (as opposed to a selfish or pushy) partner, or if you don’t feel ready for sex for whatever reason, or if you can’t or won’t use birth control.

  66. #66 zer0
    April 24, 2008
  67. #67 beagledad
    April 24, 2008

    Baby aversion doesn’t have to involve babies. My 17-year-old niece once endured 45 minutes of nonstop fart jokes while driving her brother (age 9) and several of his friends to a birthday party. Upon arriving, she turned to her mom and said solemnly, “I cannot understand why anyone would want to have kids, ever.”

  68. #68 speedwell
    April 24, 2008

    Baby Aversion Training? It exists, my friends.

    RealCare® Baby is a computerized “Baby.” Programmed to cry at random intervals day and night with schedules based on those of real infants, it must be cared for by the teen “parent.” It was designed as a more realistic substitute for the “egg babies” and “flour sack babies” that teachers use. Baby, like a real infant, deprives teenagers of sleep, disrupts their social lives, and attracts disapproving looks in public. RealCare® Baby II requires feeding using a bottle or breastfeeding device, changing diapers, rocking, and burping. Students and teachers receive detailed electronic feedback on the student’s care of “Baby,” including head support failure, rough handling, wrong position and Shaken Baby Syndrome.

    Google “RealityWorks RealCare” and get the whole story. They use them in middle (!) schools here in Houston, and I’m told it is very effective.

  69. #69 JimC
    April 24, 2008

    It is an undeniable fact that abstinence is the most effective form of birth control. No sex, no baby. It has been proven, with one undocumented exception 2008 years ago, to be 100% effective

    Maybe the dumbest comment ever on this blog.

    Now I know there are some who think the school should be the parents…But in reality, there is more success when the parents hold to conservative values.

    Second most stupid comment ever. Apparently you missed the fact that teen pregnancy is greatest in THE MOST RED states.

  70. #70 Penny
    April 24, 2008

    I’ve heard of Baby Aversion actually being done, and I think it’s an extremely stupid thing to do to future parents.

    My only concern about teenagers and sex is preventing pregnancy and STD’s. Implant contraceptives might be a good choice for teenagers, but I worry that it would discourage them from using condoms which they really need to do as well.

  71. #71 AlanWCan
    April 24, 2008

    That ‘elitist’ Republican (yes, Hillary I’m including you) talking point is rich…and very patronising. Can you please fix the language and remove all this Karl Rove doublespeak. That’s such an obvious pander to the wallmart vote, it should be insulting and it is…except the target demographic for the whole thing doesn’t get it. Can someone call these people on this, and ask how they would know, being inthe elite themselves. How much does this guy make? I’d wager he’s not short of a few $$$. I wonder if he’ll volunteer to pay more taxes too like the stupid bill he’s trying to introduce to get Barbara Streisand to pay more taxes.
    Your whole political system is ridiculous theatre.

    Oh, and can you please stop allowing TV companies to run your political debates? They should be invited in to report, not running the bloody show. What is wrong with you?

  72. #72 Scooty Puff, Jr.
    April 24, 2008

    On the other side of this coin, I’m always disappointed to find that non-abstinence-only (what a contorted phrase!) sex education programs don’t work better. Instead of pissing away money on programs that are provably ineffective, let’s spend it on improving the ones that have a shot of working.

  73. #73 Master Mahan
    April 24, 2008

    To be fair, his own party has demonstrated that just because someone has devoted years of their life to the medical sciences doesn’t mean that they’re any better informed than anyone else. Just like at Dr. Bill “Tears Transmit AIDS” Frist. Rep. Duncan is a lawyer, and I doubt anyone expects him to understand the law.

  74. #74 Duncan
    April 24, 2008

    And of course, let’s not forget Jerri Blank’s experience with raising a baby:

    http://www.jerriblank.com/swcep102.html#mytop

    “Jerri states that it’s much easier to be a single mother when you’re neither single nor the mother. Coach Wolf points out, “That’s the lesson, Jerri. Nobody’s ever learned it by day three. You must be exceptionally unfit for motherhood.”

  75. #75 Vagrant
    April 24, 2008

    #70:

    I’ve heard of Baby Aversion actually being done, and I think it’s an extremely stupid thing to do to future parents.

    Why?

    The experience provides teens with information they can use to better decide if they ever want to become parents. Anything that increases the ability of people to make informed choices is a good thing.

  76. #76 Mikey M
    April 24, 2008

    Let’s see, here: elitists=”pointy-heads,” priest carried aloft by helium balloons is missing.

    It all ties together.

  77. #77 Blaidd Drwg
    April 24, 2008

    @ Alex (#34)

    You are exactly right. Here in Atlanta we are currently experiencing a drought. Last November (October?) the Governor called for a public prayer service on the steps of the State Capitol, to pray for rain. When it did rain a fraction of an inch (2 days later), of course the ‘prayers’ felt justified – ignoring, of course, that the rain had been predicted BEFORE Perdue called for the service, and that the predicted amount of rain was ~ 2-3X what was actually measured.

  78. #78 Rob
    April 24, 2008

    JimC

    You might qualify for the most obtuse person posting on this blog.

    Rob

  79. #79 Valor
    April 24, 2008

    @#68
    We had those in my high school. The problem was that they didn’t have the sensors in their heads, so there was a lot of electronic child-abuse. We also, thank IPU, had comprehensive sex ed. I still remember my best friend researching nuclear irradiation as a contraceptive method. As the cost, he put the price of a plane ticket to Chernobyl. Ah, to be a geek in high school once more.

  80. #80 DaveL
    April 24, 2008

    Abstinence: Best “perfect use” effectiveness, absolutely terrible “typical use” effectiveness.

  81. #81 C. M. Baxter
    April 24, 2008

    Being a Scorpio, I read PZ’s prediction to my wife who is planning to leave town for a week and now she’s vacillating. I told her that, as a true believer, I feel I must subconsciously strive to fulfill the prophecy. Her answer? “Well, do what you want. Just make sure your life insurance is up to date.”

  82. #82 Not Sure
    April 24, 2008

    Know what else prevents teenage pregnancies?

    Douching with Brawndo.

    It’s got electrolytes.

  83. #83 Rey Fox
    April 24, 2008

    “Parents always know best” is another meme we need to eradicate from society.

  84. #84 Donut
    April 24, 2008

    I have to say, I hate the whole “elitist as insult” meme almost as much as “teach the controversy” and other garbage.

    It pains me to notice how brilliant the propaganda machine has become here in America. First, we got people like Rush telling people to disbelieve information (Universities and the media are all liberally biased! Don’t trust them or the people who do trust them!!), then they replace the information with propaganda which is “Fair and Balanced,” wait a few years, and Presto! We’re where we are today.

    Granted, anti-intellectualism has existed for a long time here, but I feel like it has gotten worse to the point where it drives me crazy. It really has.

    I swear I am going to start going to churches and insist that they allow me to “teach the controversy” and that their god is only one of many possible options (I refuse to abuse the word ‘theory’ the way they do, however). When they throw me out, I will write a movie called “Excommunicated! No Brains Necessary!” or something.

    ok, rant over. :)

  85. #85 Tophe
    April 24, 2008

    @#14

    Is the notion of progress a bad thing too?

    Pro is to con as progress is to _________

  86. #86 chancelikely
    April 24, 2008

    I’ve always felt that “abstinence-only” sex ed was kind of like “don’t get hurt” health care.

  87. #87 Sharon
    April 24, 2008

    When I read that article this morning, I felt like banging my head against a wall. Unfortunately, it’s the very kids that Rep. are trying to “protect” that are hurt by this sort of thinking. It’s a sad day when being an expert is some how elitist.

  88. #88 MandyDax
    April 24, 2008

    Thanks for the horoscope, PZed; I’ve been looking for a reason to buy a blacklight, and finding where the cats have been inappropriately peeing just wasn’t good enough. NOW I HAVE A GOOD REASON! :D

  89. #89 AlanWCan
    April 24, 2008

    …and continuing the discussion of Rovian doublespeak re. the whole elitist thing, I know Bill Mayer gets a mixed reception around here (I feel that way about him too), but watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ya6e6y0hbM

    Who’s bitter? I am.

  90. #90 Hap
    April 24, 2008

    #86: It’s kind of interesting that the same people seem to advocate both of those…well, for other people.

    I wonder why.

  91. #91 gramomster
    April 24, 2008

    Oh, the Bill Maher clip is fantastic! If I wasn’t in such a conservative area, or if I had tenure, I’d show that one to my Soc classes. Guess I’m an elitist. Definitely bitter.

    The whole sex-ed thing comes up in every single class I teach… students with the purity rings often don’t like hearing the empirical evidence of the efficacy of those programs… oh well. They’re in college. They need to effing think!!!

    And speaking of the little darlings, it’s finals week in Western Michigan, and I have roughly 200 papers. What the hell was I thinking?

    Oh. Right. That thinking thing rears its ugly head again… *sigh*
    Objective exams just don’t do it for me in these classes.

    Is it May yet? I get to sleep in May…

  92. #92 David Ratnasabapathy
    April 24, 2008

    Rob #35:

    It is an undeniable fact that abstinence is the most effective form of birth control. No sex, no baby.

    It’s not the theoretical effectiveness of the method that matters. It’s how effective it is in practice. If teenagers decide to use abstinence to prevent pregnancy; and then become pregnant because they used the method wrong, then abstinence as a birth control method doesn’t work.

    The Well-Timed Period:

    …Since we don’t know what this method’s typical use failure rate is, any pronouncements about its effectiveness are so much rhetoric. And, when it comes to making decisions about your health [among other things], vacuous statements are a poor substitute for actual information.

  93. #93 Krubozumo Nyankoye
    April 24, 2008

    There is really only one issue. Population.

    We are already living on ‘credit’ far past the carrying capacity of the planet in terms of several commodities and criteria.

    We are the first species to arise with the ability to shape our own fate. Will we have the courage to do it?

    Ciao,

  94. #94 S. Fisher
    April 25, 2008
  95. #95 S.Dean
    April 25, 2008

    This has made me think back to my school experience in the early 70s. I learned about oral sex, a&&l sex, positions, times, birth control, all those things. Of course, I realize that not every school had a janitor as talkative as ours was, but…

  96. #96 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 25, 2008

    #95: LOL! Awesome.

  97. #97 bbcaddict
    April 25, 2008

    Thrid Monkey-
    you are an elitist GENIUS.
    Where do I send the money???

  98. #98 fritz
    April 29, 2008

    Hey PZ, I desperately — desperately — want you to read George Lakoff. This will take you about two hours, and is well worth it: http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Think-Elephant-Debate-Progressives/dp/1931498717

    Then move on to his scholarly treatments if you are so inclined.