Thursday, December 02, 2004

Ladies, Keep Tips on Dragon Slaying to a Minimum

A review of the 13 most commonly used federal abstinence program curricula found that:

Many American youngsters participating in federally funded abstinence-only programs have been taught over the past three years that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, that half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus, and that touching a person's genitals "can result in pregnancy," a congressional staff analysis has found.

Those and other assertions are examples of the "false, misleading, or distorted information" in the programs' teaching materials, said the analysis, released yesterday, which reviewed the curricula of more than a dozen projects aimed at preventing teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.

Just because abstinence programs are aimed at teenagers, doesn't mean it is acceptable to lie to them, or to try to trick them. What would be so horrible about entrusting teenagers with accurate scientific information? Nothing, in my opinion. Not only would this [apparently revolutionary] strategy allow them to be educated, but it would also accommodate religious belief. You can teach them the facts about reproduction, and, if you're a religious person, you can also tell them that God does not want them to be sexually active. In other words, affirm faith rather than mislead.

On a lighter note, here's something all of us can learn from one of these programs:

Ladies, if you wish to retain any hope of being proposed to, ease off on the dragon slaying advice!

Some course materials cited in Waxman's report present as scientific fact notions about a man's need for "admiration" and "sexual fulfillment" compared with a woman's need for "financial support." One book in the "Choosing Best" series tells the story of a knight who married a village maiden instead of the princess because the princess offered so many tips on slaying the local dragon. "Moral of the story," notes the popular text: "Occasional suggestions and assistance may be alright, but too much of it will lessen a man's confidence or even turn him away from his princess."

Update: PZ Myers has more on this, including a link to Waxman's report.


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