Friday, July 20, 2012

Public schools reject "abstinence-only" drinking-and-driving instruction

"Safe-DWI is Good DWI":
Planned Intoxication's new logo for Safe-DWI programs in schools.


(Dissociated Press) In a major shift from away "abstinence only" teaching in high schools, the organization Planned Intoxication has rolled out a new program for teaching schoolchildren to drink and drive more responsibly.

"We can't stop kids from drinking and we can't stop kids from driving." said Margaret Singer, spokesperson for Planned Intoxication. "So the only responsible thing to do is to teach them to drink and drive responsibly".

Citing recent data from the Corpsemaker Institute, the research arm of Planned Intoxication,  Singer pointed out that well-trained drunk drivers are 17.5% less likely to kill themselves or others in accidents.

Singer's new 'Safe-DWI" school curriculum includes instruction on opening pop-top beer cans while driving ("we supply soda cans and plastic steering wheels for the kids to practice"),  instruction on using I-Phones to search for liquor stores while on interstate highways, tips on how to mix drinks and still control the motorcycle, and an instructional video entitled "Double-vision and the quadruple-yellow line-- How to steer when you have two roads in front of you".

"We believe that teaching kids not to drink and drive is as futile as teaching them not to have sex before marriage." Singer said, smiling.  "Rutting and bingeing are what children do. It's no use saying no. They just have to learn to do it safely".

Planned Intoxication acknowledged inspiration for their rejection of abstinence-only drunk-driving education from Philip Morris' highly successful Safe Smoking program for middle school students, which has decreased the use of unfiltered cigarettes among 13 year-olds by 33.9%.

"The rejection of abstinence-only education on smoking has had an impact on smoking by children. They do it much more safely now", Singer noted.

Singer also notes that Planned Intoxication is rolling out new programs for safe piloting to be used by the major airlines.

The first installment will be an instructional video for commercial airline pilots entitled "Is That a Unicorn on my Rudder?-- Flying Commercial Airliners More Safely While on Hallucinogenic Drugs".

Singer added pointedly "We reject abstinence-only education in teaching children about sex. So why not reject abstinence-only education in other aspects of our lives as well?"

55 comments:

  1. Michael,

    I'll tell you what. Why don't you go into politics and legislate to make extramarital sex illegal? Punishable by stoning for a first offence?

    Then your analogy comparing sex education without advising abstinence with driver training without advising the avoidance of not driving under the influence of alcohol would be relevant.

    The last time I looked, extramarital sex wasn't illegal. Do you have any evidence that it is?

    To a conservative mind with an authoritarian streak, it might seem reasonable that teenagers will naturally obey authority figures when they forbid extramarital sex.

    Unfortunately, we live in the real world, and teenagers do like to rebel.

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    1. "Then your analogy comparing sex education without advising abstinence with driver training without advising the avoidance of not driving under the influence of alcohol would be relevant."

      Bachfiend, it's not the illegality that's the crux of Dr. Egnor's argument here. It's that people who don't think their kids will listen when they tell them not to have sex must not think their kids will listen when they tell them anything. Why should I tell my kids not to smoke? Besides the fact that it's good advice, I mean. If they're not going to listen then I suppose I'll just tell them to engage in less risky smoking habits. Make sure you smoke the filtered ones, m'kay? Still risky, but less risky. Because my kids don't listen to me.

      Smoking's not illegal either. So your objection is satisfied.

      By the way, people are not stoned to death for drunk driving either. You're hysterical. Dr. Egnor thinks that young people should abstain from sex and you think he wants to stone people. One doesn't logically lead to the other.

      Here's the problem with your thought process. You think conservatives want to make everything we don't like illegal, because that's what liberals want. I don't want that. I don't want extramarital sex to be illegal. I also don't want Dan Savage et al. to encourage my children to experiment till their little hearts are content, or the school guidance counselor to sling condoms at them.

      To borrow a phrase from Barry O: "Let me be clear." I don't want to make extramarital sex illegal. I don't think Dr. Egnor does either. That does not mean that it's advisable, moral, safe, or beneficial to those who practice it. Do you lack the nuanced understanding to grasp the position Dr. Egnor has staked out?

      "To a conservative mind with an authoritarian streak, it might seem reasonable that teenagers will naturally obey authority figures when they forbid extramarital sex."

      Not always. Kids have minds of their own. But if they don't listen when we tell them to keep it in their pants, why would they be any more disposed to listen when we tell them to wrap it in latex?

      We tell our kids not to smoke, but some do anyway. We tell them not to drink, but some do anyway. We tell them to study hard, graduate from high school, and apply for college, but some cut class and drop out in tenth grade. We tell them to brush their teeth, but some don't.

      What is "authoritarian" about raising your children the best way you know how?

      TRISH

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    2. hey Bachfiend--You know what's pretty authoritarian? Forcing Catholic institutions to pay for birth control, sterilization, and abortifaecents. Now THAT'S authoritarian.

      Bachfiend isn't authoritarian. He doesn't want the government to punish extramarital sex. He also doesn't want the government to PROMOTE extramarital sex.

      Is your mind that clouded that you can't see the difference?

      TRISH

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    3. Are you out of your mind, lady? How does the government promote extramarital sex?

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    4. Oleg:

      [How does the government promote extramarital sex?]


      By teaching kids in class how to do it "safely", and by forcing some people to pay for other people's birth control.

      Are you really that clueless?

      Delete
    5. @ Oleg

      By handing out condoms, perhaps?

      Or how about distributing pamphlets like this one, paid for with taxpayer dollars?

      http://www.massresistance.info/downloads/LittleBlackBook.pdf

      Here's a great one. "Fisting" being taught at a school assembly, sponsored by the state board of education.

      http://www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=587850

      And if you don't know what fisting is...Oh never mind, you probably know plenty.

      Contained within the government's recommendation to have sex safely is the recommendation to have sex.

      Hey kids--have some cigarettes! We're not telling them to smoke them. You can not smoke them if you want. But if you do smoke, make sure they're light cigarettes. They're better for you. But we're not telling you to smoke, and we're certainly not promoting it.

      The Torch

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    6. Oh. yeah. By the same "logic," a government that allows citizens to carry guns promotes mass killings like the one in Denver.

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    7. Yes, he really is that clueless, Mike Egnor.

      Well said, the Torch.

      I'm "out of my mind" because I think the government promotes extramarital sex. Not just the government but many of our institutions. The entertainment industry is particularly bad.

      I still can't get over the fact that Bachfiend thinks this has something to do with legality. That's a pattern I've found with "liberals." They simply don't understand this thing called basis of comparison.

      Here's Dr. Egnor's basis of comparison. He's comparing one risky behavior to another. He correctly points out that with most risky behavior we counsel abstinence. Our policy is 'don't do it.' But not with sex for some reason. With sex we really promote it as sexy and fun--just as long as you take a precautionary measure that mitigates but does not eliminate risk.

      Then Bachfiend pipes in with an asinine comment like, "The last time I looked, extramarital sex wasn't illegal," accuses Dr. Egnor of wanting to stone people, then relaxes smug in his chair as if he's really scored a zinger.

      That's not the basis of comparison. The legality is not what he's talking about. Your comment is therefore irrelevant.

      TRISH

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    8. oleg, you really are testing my patience here. No one here is talking about what the government is allowing anyone to do.

      Can you get it through your thick skull that no one is suggestion a legal prohibition of sex outside of marriage?

      On a rare occasion you have something beside unmitigated bullshit to say. This is not one of those rare occasions.

      TRISH

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    9. TRISH: I'm "out of my mind" because I think the government promotes extramarital sex.

      Yes, you are.

      Making contraceptives available does not serve the goal of promoting extramarital sex. This policy begins with an acknowledgment that teenagers engage in sex. It's better that they engage in sex with contraceptives than without them. That, in case you didn't know, prevents teenage pregnancies.

      Delete
    10. Also, Oleg: The government allows guns. The government doesn't hand out guns to children.

      Everyone here is in agreement that condoms should be allowed. It's a question of whether the government should be handing them out to kids.

      The Torch

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    11. Which explains why the teenage pregnancy rate in Washington, DC is so low.

      They aren't simply "making" contraceptive available. They're counseling experimentation. And yes, it does promote sex.

      TRISH

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    12. You want to cherry-pick the data, TRISH? I am not surprised. We can also look at the Southern states (which tend to promote abstinence) and the Northeast (whic does not).

      Delete
    13. Or we can look at European countries (such as the Netherlands) where teenage pregnancy rates are way down compared to any of the States. And not because of an abstinence-only approach.

      Delete
    14. Here in the Netherlands kids are shown videos, in school and on public TV, demonstrating how to properly put a condom on a penis, minimizing the risk of rupture. Lots of red faces and laughs in the classroom of course.

      Delete
    15. @troy:

      Are they shown videos about the sanctity of the human body and the importance of expressing sexual love only in a committed (married) loving relationship between a man and a woman?

      It wouldn't make the kids laugh and give them red faces, although it seems to have that effect on you.

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    16. I'm sure they do in the publicly funded catholic schools.

      I don't think there are any schools here where kids are encouraged to experiment with sex. On the contrary. From the top of my head, kids here lose their virginity somewhat later than in the US, perhaps because they are told to handle sex responsibly.

      Delete
    17. @troy:

      troy # 1 "Here in the Netherlands kids are shown videos, in school and on public TV, demonstrating how to properly put a condom on a penis, minimizing the risk of rupture."

      troy # 2:
      "I don't think there are any schools here where kids are encouraged to experiment with sex. On the contrary."

      Are you trying to be funny?

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    18. Showing how to do X safely is not the same as encouraging X.

      I wouldn't encourage my kids to ride on a motor cycle, but I'd tell them to wear a helmet in case they do.

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    19. "You want to cherry-pick the data, TRISH?"

      I picked the biggest, fattest cherry of them all. Washington DC has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the nation. It also has comprhensive Sex miseducation and free condoms for the kiddies.

      Here's a good table. Washington, DC leaves every other state in the dust.

      http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/national-data/pdf/STBYST05_Preg%20Only.pdf

      The behind DC in the rankings is New Mexico. But they're a distant second.

      "I am not surprised. We can also look at the Southern states (which tend to promote abstinence) and the Northeast (which does not)."

      That's a generalization. You can't say which communities have what. By the way, Utah has the sixth lowest.

      As far as Europe. They're having an illegitimacy crisis just like we are. Here's a tables showing the explosion of out-of-wedlock births. Not the same thing as teen births, I understand, but still a measure of something that condoms are supposed to prevent.

      http://demoblography.blogspot.com/2007/06/percentage-of-out-of-wedlock-births-in.html

      Check it out. The EU-15 has risen from 5.1% out of wedlock births in 1960, to 23% in 1995.

      France now has a majority of children being born out of wedlock, as do Sweden, Norway, Bulgaria and Estonia.

      http://www.nysun.com/foreign/in-a-first-out-of-wedlock-births-are-majority/69627/

      TRISH

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    20. Interesting table, TRISH

      Let me be the first to say the thing that no one's supposed to say.

      Teenage pregnancy rates have an inverse correlation with the "diversity" of a state. I use "diversity" in the same way that liberals use the term, to mean non-whiteness.

      That explains why Europe's teen birth rates are lower.

      It also explains why the states with the lowest teen birth rates are New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Minnesota, and North Dakota. It explains why the highest are DC, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas.

      The Torch

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    21. Trish:

      As far as Europe. They're having an illegitimacy crisis just like we are. Here's a tables showing the explosion of out-of-wedlock births. Not the same thing as teen births, I understand, but still a measure of something that condoms are supposed to prevent.

      Not at all. A lot of children (over here in Europe) are born out-of-wedlock but are still part of a traditional family structure with a mother and a father. It's just that many couples don't bother to get married anymore. That doesn't mean they don't provide for a good environment for their kids.

      My brother has been living together unmarried with his girlfriend for 15 years, but they are raising 3 wonderful daughters.

      The only reason I got married was to not upset my wife's parents, but it has no effect whatsoever on how we raise our kids.

      Delete
    22. Torch:

      Let me be the first to say the thing that no one's supposed to say.

      Teenage pregnancy rates have an inverse correlation with the "diversity" of a state. I use "diversity" in the same way that liberals use the term, to mean non-whiteness.


      You could be a little bit more precise. It's the blacks that have a higher prevalence of one-mother-many-fathers families. Same here in the Netherlands.

      That is what you mean, right?

      But it seems to be much worse among the Christian blacks than the Muslim blacks.

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    23. TRISH, I am not going to chase you on these rabbit trails. Out-of-wedlock births do not necessarily mean that a child is growing without a father. Europe in particular has a large percentage of stable families in which parents are not married. I am going to stick with teenage pregnancies. They are way down in Europe compared to the US.

      There is certainly a cultural factor involved. Black city-dwelling teenagers, who tend to be poor, have a high rate of pregnancies. White suburban teens, the opposite. But even when these factors are taken into account, Europe beats the US hands down. Have a look at the map.

      Delete
    24. Hey bach, how are those spontaneously-forming pocket universes coming along? Found any more lately? I want to find the one with rainbow unicorns. That would be cool.

      Delete
  2. Double-vision and the quadruple-yellow line-- How to steer when you have two roads in front of you".

    LMAO!

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    1. LMAO, really? Did you actually chuckle at that mean-spirited drivel, or are you kissing ass as usual. Your utter man-crush is jetting a little weird. I know you’re excited by having a big-time doctor tell you your opinions are valuable, but please try to dial it back a bit. He’ll like you back no matter what you say, that mush is obvious.

      -KW

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    2. Pépé,
      I also found that line highly amusing :P


      KW,
      "..man-crush is jetting a little weird.."
      Why is everything sexual to you, KW? Why this 'man-crush' theme in your posts? Are you drawing from some past experience?
      Sometimes a cigar is JUST a cigar.

      "... I know you’re excited by having a big-time doctor tell you your opinions are valuable.."
      Don't forget the high ranking Military veteran and Intelligence analyst too!
      I also find his opinions valuable.

      "He’ll like you back no matter what you say, that mush is obvious."
      What a strange suggestion. You seem to posit that Dr Egnor has some form of unconditional love for his fellow Christians.
      I wonder how you came to this conclusion; but, really that is besides the point. The real question I have for you is that if we assume your correct WHAT IS YOUR POINT?
      Is that love supposed to be a negative thing? A sexual thing (again)? Or are you just jealous of something you think you detect but cannot understand.
      A kind of metaphysical sour grapes, perhaps?

      Delete
  3. Anyone who thinks that their kids don't listen to them is a crappy parent.

    Parents are the biggest influence in a kid's life. If you think your kids couldn't care less about what you say, I can only think of two possibilities.

    1) You're wrong. Your kid does look to you for guidance of all forms. You're telling him to go out and hop in the sack for fun (*just use a condom). Your kid takes that to heart. It's okay. Mom or dad said so. If it feels good, do it.

    2) You're right. Your kid has very little respect for you as a role model. He thinks you're a clueless old dolt who doesn't have it together enough to tell them anything about anything. You might as well just give up on parenting because your kid isn't going to do a damned thing you tell him. Let him skip school and eat doritos for dinner. Let him smoke pot in his room and wear his pants around his ass. Kind of like half the kids I know.

    JQ

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  4. The whole idea of this post, satire or not, misses the point of prevention by a mile. The right analogy would be to tell kids not to drink alcohol and failing to mention that if they get drunk they shouldn't get behind the wheel.

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  5. Mike,
    Excellent post. Thanks from all the folks here who you made laugh. The young guys found it very funny, many having just come up through the public education system replete with 'safe sex' jingoism.
    I found the smoking comparison especially amusing and pertinent.

    Sex is never 'safe'. It always carries risks/consequences. Sex is not a child's game, it is the reproductive behaviour of our species and carries a very heavy emotional weight that most young people are just not prepared for, never mind school kids. I consider much of what is termed 'sex ed', especially for young kids, a form of abuse.
    Consider what would happen if a man where to hold talks in a park with children about erections, masturbation, condom use, and 'experimentation'. He would be arrested. But the government can send that man into your children's school and you can do nothing about it. If you pull your kid out of any such event, the focus is on YOU - as if you're the weirdo for not wanting your kids to be forced to listen to some strangers OPINIONS on sexual congress and morality as if it were writ or scientific fact.
    It boggles the mind to consider that educated adults can sell casual sex as an 'activity' that should be presented to kids in a 'safe' fashion akin to sports or game clubs. Truly sickening stuff.
    I remember when 'sex ed' was a lesson in your health class on the reproductive system with a heavy emphasis on abstinence until mental maturity. Now it's about hedonism and birth control measures. What 'progress', eh?

    Oleg,
    Your comment about guns is just too simplistic. The analogy just does not work. There are not 'clinics' and school officials handing out side arms to kids in school and recreational areas, and instructing them to 'always have the safety latch on when pointing the gun at other people.'

    Bach,
    Nobody had promoted the criminalization of extra marital sex. Suggesting stoning people as a consequence for such behaviour is horrible.... But then so is killing the unborn offspring of casual union, and the effect that killing has on the mother both physically and mentally.
    Free condoms and pills for children do not counter the root behaviour, they encourage it with the idea it can be done 'safely'.
    The sexualization of children is just plain wrong.

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  6. @bachfiend: Allow me to respond to part of what you said: "To a conservative mind with an authoritarian streak, it might seem reasonable that teenagers will naturally obey authority figures when they forbid extramarital sex. Unfortunately, we live in the real world, and teenagers do like to rebel."

    I spent thirteen years in San Francisco public schools, and had nothing but "sex-positive" messages from every authority figure in my life, from my parents and teachers to the syndicated advice columnist I read in our local weekly paper and the people who designed the advertisements on the inside of the bus I took home from school every day. Like all my friends, I had sex much earlier and more often than I was ready for - primarily because it was just how things were done. I assumed it was normal and healthy for kids to be having sex because that's what the adults in our lives were telling us. From the how-to-put-a-condom-on-a-cucumber demonstration in my third grade class to the kama sutra of positions that were diagrammed and displayed for us in my sophomore year mandatory "health ed" class, the message from the adults I had no choice but to trust was simple and clear: We *expect* you to be having sex - in fact, it is abnormal and unhealthy not to - and here's how to do it.

    I really, really wish that someone - anyone - had bothered to tell me and the rest of the kids I grew up with that not only is it expected that we wait for marriage, but that it's okay to do so. That it's possible to wait until marriage and remain faithful afterward, and that plenty of people do so and are perfectly happy. But not one single authority figure I relied on did so, all the adults I knew were sleeping around (at least the ones I knew anything about were) and I despaired of anything more restrained than sticking to one "partner" for more than a few months at a time - if that.

    The end result of the sex ed saturation I received was that I got the message that adults expected me to be having sex. I have no way of knowing, but I suspect that if I had not been given this message, I would not have started having sex as early and often as I did, and I suspect the same holds true for most of the kids I grew up with. Interestingly enough, I think the same is true of drug ed classes: depending on how they are structured, they either serve as an introduction to drug culture or they are so ridiculous in their attempt to scare kids away from drugs that kids laugh it off and ignore the "just say no" message. This is why I think schools should steer clear of the subject (except, perhaps, from a structural and functional standpoint during biology.) Let parents have The Talk with the kids, and leave it at that.

    -John Henry

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    1. John Henry, I’m curious, what harm was done to you from having sex early and often? If it where traumatic, distasteful, or causing you harm, I wonder why you did it often. Where you always scared, nervous, or embarrassed? Do tell.

      -KW

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    2. @KW: As you have so cleverly deduced, no, it didn't kill me. That doesn't mean it wasn't a bad idea; I've known plenty of people who drove drunk (I've done it a few times myself) who didn't die and didn't kill anyone. That doesn't mean it wasn't a bad idea.

      I wouldn't say it was always traumatic or distasteful (although it was sometimes.) But it was always harmful. Why did I keep doing it? Why does an alcoholic drink when he knows it's ruining his life and driving his friends away from him? Why does a gambler keep gambling even when he knows it's ruining his family financially? Why does a woman stay with a man who beats her? Why does the American public keep settling for slimeballs who want to give our national treasure away to wealthy bankers and spill our sons' and daughters' blood on foreign soil for nothing?

      In case you haven't noticed, people are frequently self-destructive. We keep hurting ourselves for millions of reasons: Maybe it's the only way we know how to be, and we don't really believe things can be any different. Maybe we hate ourselves deeply and want to extinguish the light within us. Maybe we are so deceived that we're convinced that evil is good and good is evil despite the evidence of experience. All of these were true of me, and so much more.

      And yes, I spent my life in a constant state of anxiety, and could only find a pale shadow of peace in the moments after an orgasm or deep in my cups. I kept chasing those shadows because they were the best I thought I was going to get. I was wrong, and I eventually found real peace in Christ, but until I did, I did a lot of things that hurt a lot of people, myself included.

      No, I didn't catch anything life-threatening. But I might have - plenty of people do. No, I didn't leave any fatherless children behind me (I don't think.) But I might have - plenty of men do. I broke hearts and pressured women into killing the babies we'd conceived and the pain I put some women through drove them to some really awful behavior. I won't go into details, but yes, my sleeping around hurt a lot of people considerably, and there is nothing I can do to make amends for it.

      I still wish there had been someone who would have told me that they expected better of me. But no one did. They just threw condoms at me.

      -John Henry

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    3. John Henry,

      You should be commended for your honesty.
      Your response to KW was profoundly open and sincere.
      I, for one, applaud you for your awakening.
      God bless you.

      There is only one issue I take with your comment. Actually it only a segment of a sentence.
      '... spill our sons' and daughters' blood on foreign soil for nothing?"
      While I agree with your comments on the pols and bankers, I must point out they did not die for nothing. This is something civilians have a hard time wrapping their minds about. The reasons for sending them may have been shady, but their sacrifice was not for those reasons. It was for the men and women at their side. It was for a noble ideal. That is why they joined the forces, that is what they died for. How they died/die and for what ends in a political sense are a separate question entirely - one that surely needs addressing.
      I hope that thought can bring you some further peace when considering that specific aspect of life.

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    4. @cREX: Sorry if I'm being unclear. To clarify, I don't think there's a single man or woman who risks their life on the front lines of war for nothing, and I don't mean to take anything away from their courage or self-sacrifice. What I have always deplored is the willingness of our leaders to put them in harm's way without it being absolutely necessary to do so. I have not served in the military, but I've known an awful lot of people who have. I've seen what happens to families who lose their children (and spouses and parents) and I've seen what happens to soldiers who return scarred from battle. I can't imagine it's a picnic for the survivors of war on the other side either. (On a semi-related note, the way the VA cares - or doesn't care - for them when they return is a crime in itself.)

      Sending people to kill and die is a big deal, and should only be done when absolutely necessary. As far as I can tell (and my set of information is limited, *so I could always be wrong* - nevertheless, I have to form an opinion based on what I know) none of the military actions my country has engaged in in my lifetime could reasonably be called just or necessary, and as far as I'm concerned, sending men and women to kill and die in those actions is a monstrous act of betrayal.

      ...not to mention being unconstitutional - the only entity with the authority to declare war is Congress, and all but one of the military actions (any of the various euphemized acts of war: "kinetic military actions" and so on) I've seen in my lifetime have been unilateral acts by the Executive branch. It should be simple: if the President orders something that *we* would regard as an act of war on the part of another nation without a Congressional declaration of war (except perhaps in a dire emergency in which minutes and hours matter) he should be immediately and unanimously impeached by Congress and removed from office for overstepping the bounds of his authority. The Presidents and members of Congress who have actively and passively allowed our soldiers to spill their blood overseas without due deliberation - and without treating it like the big flipping deal the authors of the Constitution knew it to be - have betrayed our trust and the trust of every man and woman in uniform. It's a monstrous evil, and we (the voting public) have a responsibility to put an end to it. But we don't. We let the Democrats and Republicans keep wasting our national blood and treasure by settling for whichever we deem is the lesser evil, instead of saying that neither evil is acceptable, and demanding something better (as the Abolitionists did when they formed the Republican party in 1854.)

      Part of the reason this upsets me as much as it does is that I *do* respect the sacrifice and courage of the men and women in uniform.

      -John Henry

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  7. @oleg: Teenage births and teenage pregnancies are two different things. If you are prepared to assert that the teenage *pregnancy* rate in a given area is a direct result of the type of sex ed promoted there, then I expect you to factor in the teenage abortion rate into the teenage birth rate before you start calling it the teenage pregnancy rate.

    Safe, legal, and rare my eye.

    -John Henry

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  8. Well,

    The conservatives have missed the point of my comment. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a crime with a real punishment. It's legal to drink (if you're old enough), but if you want to drive then you should abstain from drinking alcohol (my personal opinion; the law allows a maximum BAC before it becomes illegal).

    Parents and schools have remarkably very little influence on what teenagers do. Steven Pinker noted in 'the Blank Slate' that in all personality traits, 50% of the individual variation (approximately) is due to 'nature' (genetics) and about 50% to 'nurture' (environment). Of this later 50%, rather more than 40% is due to peer pressure and very much less than 10% is due to parental pressures.

    Any influence that parents have on their children is generally indirect, by choosing indirectly their children's peers; by living in gated communities or sending them to selective schools for example.

    If the children's peers are experimenting with sex, then the children are likely (but not certain, remember the 50% 'nature') to be experimenting too. Sex education, if it's going to be given, needs to be comprehensive, including the risks and the methods of avoiding the risks. Abstinence can be part of the course, but it can't be the entire focus.

    I was born in 1955. I can't remember ever having any sex education in schools in the '60s. But I was raised in a completely different age, when sexuality hadn't been commercialized to the extent now (and so easily available over the Internet, or so I'm told). So ignorance now, unfortunately, isn't an option.

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  9. @bachfiend: We're talking about behavior, not personality traits. Culture has a huge influence on behavior, especially pressure and messages form authority figures. We are a hypersexualized culture today, as you acknowledge in your final paragraph (thanks, essentially, to your generation's Sexual Revolution.) Part of how that is expressed is in the gee-kids-go-ahead-and-screw-around-we-know-you're-going-to-anyway-and-here-are-some-condoms-so-we-don't-have-to-help-you-raise-babies message inherent in the harm-reduction-model sex ed curriculum. This kind of attitude is self-perpetuating; the more it pervades the culture, the more everyone is busy living and promoting it. My kids' peers will be "experimenting" in part *because of* the messages they are getting from the adults in their lives, including their sex ed teachers.

    We haven't missed your point (that driving under the influence and having sex are not exactly the same.) You've missed the point of the original analogy. No one is comparing sex and drunk driving; the comparison is between *teenage* sex and drunk driving. Both involve activities that are basically good (drinking and sex) in contexts where they become dangerous (in a car and out of wedlock.)

    The assumptions behind the "safe drunk driving" course described above *assume* that you're going to be abusing alcohol, just like the "safe teen sex" courses I went through in high school *assumed* that we would be abusing sex.

    -John Henry

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    Replies
    1. John Henry,

      Personality determines behavior. Personality encompasses the OCEAN traits (openness to new ideas, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism).

      Someone who is open to new ideas and who is extraverted is likely to experiment, including sexually.

      See? Personality leads to behavior.

      Unfortunately, we don't live in an innocent age anymore. Commercialized sex is all around us, and with the Internet, there's no putting that genie back in the bottle.

      I managed to survive without sex education in the schools I attended. But that's no longer possible. Sex education is a necessity. Abstinence only sex education just doesn't work. You also need to have a method of reducing harm if the children experiment.

      And no, I was never a part of the sexual revolution. And I do remember the '60s.

      By the way. You still have an excessive faith in the idea that teenagers take much notice of authority figures. They take most notice of the peers and pop idols. School teachers, parents and religious leaders rank very low on the scale of influence. Depending, of course, on the teenager's personality.

      You still don't get the point. Drink driving is illegal. There's no way of doing drink driving 'responsibly'. Any school that attempted to teach responsible drink driving would be ethically irresponsible.

      Extramarital sex isn't illegal. Attempting to make extramarital sex harm free through sex education is ethical. And that should include a discussion of risks. And abstinence should be a part of it, but not the major part, because you're not going to stop teenagers experimenting by denying them information.

      Delete
    2. @bachfiend:

      "Personality determines behavior. Personality encompasses the OCEAN traits (openness to new ideas, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism).

      Someone who is open to new ideas and who is extraverted is likely to experiment, including sexually.

      See? Personality leads to behavior."

      What a sad way of thinking about human behavior. What about choice? I am as eager to embrace new ideas as I was at sixteen, but I'm no longer sleeping with a different woman every month. See? Human choice is the final determining factor in human behavior.

      Personality can incline people to certain behaviors, but cultural norms and expected behaviors are hugely influential. You know it as well as I do. It's why you wear a tie to a job interview but not to McDonald's. It's why you remain quiet during a play and applaud afterwards. Most of the time, in most situations, you (and everyone else) does what they are expected to do by those around them.

      The fact is that teenagers "rebel" in American culture *because* we tell them we expect them to. (http://drrobertepstein.com/pdf/Epstein-THE_MYTH_OF_THE_TEEN_BRAIN-Scientific_American_Mind-4-07.pdf)

      "You also need to have a method of reducing harm if the children experiment."

      I maintain that it is bad for the majority of the class for the teacher to teach to the lowest common denominator. Hold kids to a higher standard, and there will be fewer kids in need of harm reduction.

      "You still don't get the point. Drink driving is illegal. There's no way of doing drink driving 'responsibly'. Any school that attempted to teach responsible drink driving would be ethically irresponsible."

      The same is true of teenage sex.

      "Extramarital sex isn't illegal."

      Why do you harp on the legality? Just because it isn't illegal doesn't mean it isn't harmful. It's not illegal to cheat on your wife and father kids with a dozen different women. That doesn't mean it's safe or ethical to do so.

      "Attempting to make extramarital sex harm free through sex education is ethical. And that should include a discussion of risks. And abstinence should be a part of it, but not the major part, because you're not going to stop teenagers experimenting by denying them information."

      "Attempting to make drunk driving harm free through drunk driving education is ethical. And that should include a discussion of risks. And not driving drunk should be a part of it, but not the major part, because you're not going to stop teenagers experimenting by denying them information." The whole point of this post was to show how ridiculous this line of thinking is.

      -John Henry

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    3. John Henry,

      You still don't get the point. To put it another way, the last part of the human brain to develop is the frontal lobes, which are important in increasing self control. Women gain frontal lobe self control earlier than males, who might take till the mid 20s before gaining similar control (if ever).

      Teenagers, particularly males, are prone to engage in risky behaviors. They often engage in binge drinking. They also often engage in risky sexual experimentation, particularly since there's so much explicit sexual material available.

      Having an abstinence only sex education in schools isn't going to work in reducing harm because it won't stop experimentation. You also have to teach methods of reducing harm too.

      Drink driving is illegal. There's also no way of making drink driving safe. School driver education should teach that drivers should drink and not drive or drive and not drink. Not both. Similarly, teenagers should be taught to be abstinent or take precautions.

      And why do you change the subject from teenage extramarital sex to adultery? They're different topics. I agree adultery is not ethical, involving a breach in trust.

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    4. John Henry,

      OK, I've tracked down the article in Scientific American Mind from 2007.

      Epstein argues that teenagers rebel because they're treated as children, not becoming adults. Telling them to be sexually abstinent only is just treating them as children, expecting them to obey authority as children.


      If you'd taken the article seriously, you should be arguing for teenagers to be given the full facts, not just abstinence, and letting them make their own decisions. So why don't you? Because you think that they're immature and need to be treated as children?

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    5. Bach,
      "Because you think that they're immature and need to be treated as children?"
      I cannot speak for JH, but I will surely affirm they ARE immature and SHOULD be treated like the children they ARE.

      Delete
    6. @bachfiend: "You still don't get the point. To put it another way, the last part of the human brain to develop is the frontal lobes, which are important in increasing self control. Women gain frontal lobe self control earlier than males, who might take till the mid 20s before gaining similar control (if ever)."

      I really am missing the point here. How is this relevant and what is the point you're getting at? Are you telling me I shouldn't try to teach my son self-control, since he is physiologically incapable of it until he's 25?

      "Teenagers, particularly males, are prone to engage in risky behaviors. They often engage in binge drinking. They also often engage in risky sexual experimentation, particularly since there's so much explicit sexual material available."

      OK, let's look at binge drinking. Big problem among American teens - not an issue among Guatemalan teens. Why is that? The answer is not personality; it's culture. We owe it to our kids to let them know we expect better of them - and to remove porn (and other, less explicit, degrading messages) from the cultural environment.

      "Having an abstinence only sex education in schools isn't going to work in reducing harm because it won't stop experimentation. You also have to teach methods of reducing harm too."

      So you keep saying. I was raised with this argument, and I remain unconvinced. This is the ethical equivalent of lowering the bar in the classroom and tailoring the lessons to the worst performers. It's a crime to hold anyone - especially teenagers - to a low standard. Of course it won't stop experimentation. Even when you were growing up, I suspect there were some kids who "experimented." But they were the exception. They are the rule now.

      Did that happen because the mix of human personalities in our culture changed? Or did it happen because adults, by and large, condone teenage sex and make their approval plain in part through harm-reduction sex ed classes?

      "Drink driving is illegal."

      The legality or illegality is irrelevant - that's the point I was making about adultery: that something can be legal without being safe, moral, or advisable.

      "There's also no way of making drink driving safe. School driver education should teach that drivers should drink and not drive or drive and not drink. Not both. Similarly, teenagers should be taught to be abstinent or take precautions."

      I would say that there is no way of making extramarital sex safe. People should be married and have sex or be unmarried and abstain. Not be unmarried and have sex. The "precautions" being sold (and given away) by extramarital sex advocates like Planned Parenthood are lies. The culture you see around you now (rampant internet porn, unmarried pregnancy, STD incidence, and abortion rates) should serve to convince you.

      Promoting safe extramarital sex is an awful lot like promoting safe drunk driving. (cont'd)

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    7. (cont'd)
      "And why do you change the subject from teenage extramarital sex to adultery? They're different topics. I agree adultery is not ethical, involving a breach in trust."

      It's also legal. Remind me again why it matters that drunk driving is illegal.

      "If you'd taken the article seriously, you should be arguing for teenagers to be given the full facts, not just abstinence, and letting them make their own decisions. So why don't you? Because you think that they're immature and need to be treated as children?"

      That's not really an honest question, is it? I never said that teenagers shouldn't get full facts. What I'm objecting to is a lesson plan focused on ways to make teenage sex safe: its very premise is a lie.

      Let's look at it from another perspective: I don't think kids should be dropping acid, but when they do, they're better off if they do so in the safest possible way: get a babysitter who's equipped to handle a bad trip or a particularly dangerous hallucination, source your acid to make sure it's a clean batch, keep some OJ and Tums on hand to take the edge off, play some soothing music, and stay away from crowds.

      Am I going to go over these things in detail with my kids? No way. Doing so sends a message that there *is* such a thing as safe use of LSD, just like giving condoms to kids sends a message that there is such a thing as safe teenage sex.

      And that, I suspect, is where you and I really differ. I honestly don't think that it's ever safe for teenagers (or anyone who isn't married) to have sex. Safe extramarital sex is like safe drunk driving. My guess is that you think extramarital sex is OK sometimes, even when teenagers are involved.

      -John Henry

      Delete
  10. @bachfiend: Incidentally, if you think it's so ridiculous that teenagers might listen to adults who advise them not to have sex, why do you have so much faith in the fact that they will listen when adults tell them to use a condom?

    -John Henry

    ReplyDelete
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