22 July, 2009

By this time, most of you (at the very least, the six regular readers I have) should know that I am a naturalist.  Which means, of course, that I do not by into the Genesis version of the creation of the world, the universe, life, or the myriad species inhabiting our earth.  And I view evolution as an established fact (it is only called a theory because we do not yet (and probably will never) know all of the exact details regarding every event). 

One of the reasons that I found evolution rather boring in the science classes I took was a neglect of sex.  Oh, the instructors (those who bothered to teach evolution) were big into adaptive and non-adaptive mutations, the small benefit that a mutation can create.  What they never mentioned, though, was that the mutation, in order to propagate through a population, must be passed on.  And the only way to do that within sexual beings (the so-called higher animals (including mammals (including primates (including humans)))) is to breed.  If you don’t create offspring, whatever mutation, good or bad, within your genes is lost.  What good is a slightly better animal if the ladies ain’t interested? 

Many of the adaptations within animals do not improve survivability.  What they do, though, is make mating more likely.  Those bizarre head pieces on some species of hadrosaurs?  Sex.  The bigger neck frill of a ceratopsian?  Sex.  The feathers and dances of the birds-of-paradise?  Sex.  The big rack on a Wapiti?  Sex.  The soft eyes, the big tits, the soft round ass of a female human?  Sex.  The broad shoulders, muscular chest and taught buttocks of a male human?  Sex.  It’s all about sex.

Sex is a biological drive.  This drive is not dependent upon psychological or intellectual maturity.  The only thing needed is physical maturity (which, with better nutrition, better medical care, and (possibly) the hormones in our food, is getting younger every generation since about 1900).  Which is unfortunate.  It means that boys and girls are ready to do their biological duty to the species, sexual reproduction, long before they are ready psychologically or intellectually.  The body wants it before the brain is ready.

One sure fire way to reduce (not eliminate — remember we are fighting millions of years of evolution (and we are the descendents of the ones who fucked successfully)) teen pregnancy is through comprehensive sex education.  My memory of sex ed was, basically, “The best way to avoid unintended consequences is to not do it.  If you do, here are ways to reduce the chances of unintended consequences.  And here are the possible unintended consequences.”

Of course, over the last decade, a horrible lie called abstinence-only-sex-education (AOSE from here on out) has been rammed down the throats of the children in many states.  Despite study after study showing not just the ineffectiveness of AOSE, but the dangerof AOSE.  Here is yet one more study showing that ‘just say no to millions of years of successful fucking’ does not work (and this is from the Guardian in the UK (odd that the ‘liberal’ American media isn’t making hay with this report))  (with my emphasis):

Teenage pregnancies and syphilis have risen sharply among a generation of American school girls who were urged to avoid sex before marriage under George Bush’s evangelically-driven education policy, according to a new report by the US’s major public health body.

In a report that will surprise few of Bush’s critics on the issue, the Centres for Disease Control says years of falling rates of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease infections under previous administrations were reversed or stalled in the Bush years. According to the CDC, birth rates among teenagers aged 15 or older had been in decline since 1991 but are up sharply in more than half of American states since 2005. The study also revealed that the number of teenage females with syphilis has risen by nearly half after a significant decrease while a two-decade fall in the gonorrhea infection rate is being reversed. The number of Aids cases in adolescent boys has nearly doubled.

The CDC says that southern states, where there is often the greatest emphasis on abstinence and religion, tend to have the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and STDs.

. . . .

Although the CDC does not attribute a cause,  groups that support comprehensive sex education have seized on the report as evidence of the failure of religiously-driven policies that shy away from teaching about contraception in favour of emphasising avoiding sexual contact.

Planned Parenthood said the CDC report is “alarming” and confirms that teenagers need “medically accurate, age-appropriate, comprehensive sex education”.

This report is, to say the least, damning.  Two generations of progress reducing unwanted pregnancies and disease has  been severely damaged, possibly reversed, by a faith-based approach to sex.  I refer to it as faith-based because the evidence that it does not work, time and again, has been ignored by (as Philly puts it) the FoF (Foes of Fucking).

Of course, the proponents of religious faith-based wishful thinking disagree.  They claim that “. . . the new report shows that there is too little not too much emphasis on discouraging sex before marriage.”  That’s right, folks.  It doesn’t work, so we need more of it.

This doesn’t surprise me at all.  This is a natural linear progression.  If you abandon education, facts, and reality, and embrace the myths, wishful thinking, ideology and fantasy of god(s) and the GOP, bad things happen.  In this case, more sexually transmitted disease and more unwanted pregnancies and more abortions. 

But, then again, if you believe that the earth is 6,000 years old, that Genesis is a factual and scientific account of the history of the earth, that  a woman created sin in the world and corrupted everything, and that a mythical bronze-age psychopath takes a personal interest in your life, then I suppose believing that ‘just say no’ will trump millions of years of successful sex is understandable.


  1. Good post. I had to comment on this though:

    “The broad shoulders, muscular chest and taught buttocks of a male human?”

    Ha! At least I have the broad shoulders 😉

  2. James: Thanks for stopping by. Of course, were I speaking of myself, it would be bifocals, slender shoulders, shrunken chest, protruberant belly and flabby buttocks. But then, I’ve already done my part for the species and inflicted my children on the world.

  3. I didn’t read your whole spiel but some of your info on mutations is not correct. An organism can benefit from a mutation to survive better in certain envioronments but at the same time other genetic info is ALWAYS lost. Genetic info is NEVER added when a mutation occurs. A molecule can’t evolve into a man……. Mutations always harm the overall health. The benefit you mention is things like bacteria adapting to medicines… but still the baceria becomes less able to survive in other situations.(For example that baceria thrives in the lab but would most likely die in the soil)

  4. My wife was born in 1946. Her mother was born in 1901 and her father in 1892. When she was old enough to think of such things she wondered if she was voted into existence.

  5. Genetic info is NEVER added when a mutation occurs


    Btw, I don’t remember coining “FoF”, but I’ll accept that I did because it does sound pretty clever. 😉

  6. Mutations always harm the overall health.

    You don’t say?

    Anyone would think Mr Longload hadn’t actually done any reading on mutation at all, and in fact got all his facts from his pastor and AiG. But, given the authoritative tone of his comment, I can only assume that he is absolutely right, because, y’know, he SAID it.

  7. Woven.
    Christianity is woven throughout our entire nation, being the very fabric that makes up these islands. It keeps the judgement of God from falling on us that is why we have been preserved from the many wars that have buffeted our shores.

    We need never feel that the darkness that comes upon us is permanent, for the light of Christ will always prevail by dispersing it with his glory. We need not be troubled by wicked people, for our God is surely dealing with them. I am amazed when I see Christianity in all our great institutions, I cannot begin to speak of all our workforce, builders, lawyers, nurses, miners, factory workers, who make our nation so great and confess Christ Jesus as Lord, Well, the list is never ending, where God’s people can be found, Christianity is literally everywhere. It cannot and will not ever be removed from these islands.

    Do not listen to doom prophets, when you hear them say things for example, like the abortion issue, they say, “surely this will bring God’s wrath upon us all, for that wicked thing that people do to our unborn children.” Well, God’s judgement will fall on them that commit such horrific killings, but I assure you, the righteous will not be included in God’s judgement.
    We remember how God’s mercy is shown to us in Genesis 18:24-26, I quote,
    “Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked that be far from thee: Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? And the Lord said, if I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.”

    You can see from this scripture that God will surely spare our nation, because there are more than fifty righteous Christians living here. Now Jesus has told us that this world is inhabited by the children of the kingdom and the children of the wicked, and that He will not bring final judgement on the wicked until the end of the world, because He will not destroy the wicked while the righteous are here.

    At the end of the world Jesus said in St Matthew 13: 41, – 43, “The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”And so, that is how we can be confident that God will not let us be overwhelmed by these recent troubles that we face in our nation. Praise God, for every born-again believer that God has placed in our lands.



  8. Good post, (((Billy))). The AOSE is a pet peeve of mine. As the father of an 8-year-old daughter, it hits pretty close to home… but not as close as it will in a few years. I’m determined to make sure she gets a great education, including all she needs to make informed choices about relationships and sex. I’m not sure what the educational policy is at our school district, but as an involved parent, she’ll get the info she needs from her mom and me, anyway.

    I’m not one to let ancient dogma screw up my kid. 😉

  9. You can see from this scripture that God will surely spare our nation, because there are more than fifty righteous Christians living here.

    So all we need is to make sure there’s at least 51 Christians, huh? Well I suppose we can keep them in a vault somewhere then we’d be safe. If, however, we individually have to be surrounded by more than 50 Christians, then destruction ain’t sounding that bad.



    • No idea why that one got flagged. Sorry.

      Ah, if there were only 51 Christians, do you realize how much easier life would be?

  10. Longload: You didn’t read my whole post. No surprise. I would guess that anything more than one or two paragraphs would be beyond your ken. I expect you think that AIG is a scholarly publication. Just once I would love to see an evolution denialist show up with a ‘proof’ that has not already been debunked multiple times; a ‘proof’ that I, even as an historian, recognize instantly.

    And the links (which would require a little bit of reading on your part) which Philly and Yunshui provided show, quite clearly, and with citations, your bullshit.

    Sarge: She just could not imagine her parents naked in bed together?

    Philly: Thanks for the link.

    And now I’m wondering just who did come up with “Foes of Fucking”: FoF. Maybe the Peeved Pussy?

    Yunshui: Sometimes I think that evolution deniers automatically disregard anything with citations. Or, at the very least, anything that has citations from something other than the Bible. Their version of the Bible.


    Christianity is woven throughout our entire nation, being the very fabric that makes up these islands.

    So is sex. So is aristocracy. So is paganism. So is genocide. What the in the name of pluperfect hell are you talking about?

    Dan: With (((Kids))), I long figured that the best I could do was to give them an appreciation of cause-and-effect relationships. Ultimately, the decision belongs to the child or teenager. I can provide the tools, but it is up to them to decide what the correct decision is.

    Just go out in your car and run over their dogma.

  11. I’m a regular reader! I just don’t comment very often. Sorry.

    Of course the press here can’t report this. They wouldn’t want to upset the religious nutcases, would they?

    I made sure my son knew all about birth control (he asked me about sex when he was eight, but that’s another story), and when he and his girlfriend finally “did it” when they were 17, not only did he tell me (I told him TMI, thankyouverymuch), but they were using THREE different forms of birth control. At the same time.

  12. Laurie: No need to apologize. I know you read me regularly. You’re one of the six.

    Three forms of birth control? Not a bad idea. And it does show that they were being careful. Not just careful, but CAREFUL!

  13. ChimaeraLaurie – kudos to them for realizing they were not ready for parenthood. Extra caution is better than too little, for sure.

  14. My folks planned and raised 7 of us. (They said this was their one luxury.) When they explained procreation to me, they said basically, if you choose to do this, it’s up to you not to get pregnant. Get on the pill, or a diaphragm, etc. etc. etc. Don’t trust the boy to have a condom. And rhythm doesn’t work unless you’re trying to optimize your chances of pregnancy. so IT’S UP TO YOU, THE GIRL, NOT TO GET PREGNANT.

    Then I asked what they told my brothers, and they said, the same thing, except we told them not to trust the girl to be on the pill or have a diaphragm, etc., etc. Use a condom every time. IT’S UP TO THE BOY NOT TO GET ANYBODY PREGNANT.

    For old-time Catholics, they were pretty good at this. No unplanned grandkids.

  15. Mutzali: Sounds like your parents valued reality over dogma, fact over faith. If only all theists were like your parents in that regard.

  16. My sex education consisted of years of my parents pulling me out of sex-ed classes in school from the age of 10 – 16, and one very awkward talking at the day I turned 12 about nocturnal emissions.

    The “education” I got of my church consisted of

    Which is a great way to pathologise sex and turn kids totally suicidal because they think they’re evil and disgusting and sex addicts for not being able to go more than a few weeks without masturbating.

    That’s it.

    Of course, being gay, I wouldn’t have ever gotten the kind of sex education I needed anyhow even from most progressive areas of the country – especially not when I was a teenager in the mid 90s.

    I of course knew condoms prevented pregnancy, but I’m certain that while in HS I had little to no concept of STDs or that condoms were also needed to prevent their spread. If I had been sexually active as a teenager (which I obviously wasn’t), I think I probably would have had some very risky, unsafe sex.

  17. LOL. Sometimes weeks, if I was extra-super-special righteous and had just been shamed by my father (also my bishop/pastor). Normally not. Normally a day if I was lucky.

  18. Billy:

    Please forgive me for nit-picking.

    “And I view evolution as an established fact (it is only called a theory because we do not yet (and probably will never) know all of the exact details regarding every event).”

    Though it is true that we won’t know all the details, I do not think that is why evolution is called a theory. My understanding of the scientific nomenclature is as follows.

    “Evolution facts” are verified data (observations) from the field.

    “Evolution hypotheses” are tentative conclusions and/or predictions based upon multiple facts.

    “Law of evolution” is a description of HOW evolution works and is usually determined after an hypothesis has been tested and reviewed.

    “Theory of evolution” is a description of WHY evolution works and is a large circle which contains facts, hypotheses, and laws.

    “Theory” is the highest designation that the scientific method can bestow.

    This is why, when I hear someone say, “evolution is only a theory,” I know I am talking to an IDiot.

    There are exceptions to this scientific description, of course, but I like this one because it is not that hard to remember.

    Thanks, Billy, for giving me an opportunity to get up on a soap box.

  19. The broad shoulders, muscular chest and taught buttocks of a male human

    Ahh, the beautiful imagery was not enough to stop my inner language pedant… taut buttocks… of course, now I’m distracted by wondering what those lovely buttocks were taught, indeed!

    I believe it was the Discovery/Science channel that had a good episode on the evolutionary basis for beauty; symmetry can be an indicator of good health (disease distorts); strength in males indicates the ability to assist in raising young; the nice waist-to-hip ratio in females, the fresh, dewy skin and luxurious hair are all indicators of optimal birthing abilities.

    In related news, my one nit-pick with the Darwin awards is that many of the finalists have already bred, so their presumably faulty genes have already been passed on.

  20. Craig: I admire your restraint, though that may be just a touch of too much information.

    Voss: Thanks for stopping by. Keeping in mind that I am an historian, I must respectfully disagree. There are no ‘evolution facts,’ there are facts. Evolution is a theory which explains those facts. In the future, I will try to be a little more clear.

    Ildi: Odd. That throw-away line seems to be the most noticed part of the whole post.

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