STD Gravy:
The Debate Over Condom Labeling

General Bioethics — By on July 5, 2005 at 1:10 am

In February of 2004, Advocates for Youth, a non-profit group advocating for sex education, joined with the sexual health-oriented Alan Guttmacher Institute to release a report claiming that half of all young Americans will get a sexually transmitted disease by the age of 25. “Given the prevalence of STDs, young people need all the facts, ‘



  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick (Gryph)

    “and has threatened to block the appointment of acting Food and Drug Administration head Lester Crawford until the labels are changed. His efforts, though, are being met with resistance by several “safe sex” advocates

  • http://razorskiss.net/wp/ RazorsKiss

    What risk does abstinence from sexual activity create.
    What risk does engaging in sexual activity create.
    What risks are caused by engaging in an activity – as opposed to a lack of that same activity? The question is not whether unprotected sex is safer than “protected” sex – it is whether no sex is safer than sex.
    That is the question – not whether you can get an STD from sitting on the same bench at a gym.
    What condom protects you from that, praytell? There is no connection between condoms and that sort of STD transmission, either logically, or physically. The risks for either practice, in your chosen examples, are equal – they are irrelevant, because they are faced as an environmental hazard, not as result of a chosen practice (or the lack thereof), and not changed in either circumstance. There is just as much risk of getting an STD from sitting on the same gym bench if you engage in sexual activity as there is if you do not. It’s just logic, friend.
    Abstinence education does not have to mean that children are not taught about STDs, or their transmission. Tt means that they are taught that abstaining from sexual activity (you know, sexually transmitted diseases?) reduces their risk of infection to something approaching nil, comparatively. Sure, you can get an STD from sitting on the same gym bench, I suppose – but what that has to do with sexual activity is exactly nothing.
    What does all of that song and dance above have to do with whether sexual activity without a condom, sexual activity with a condom, or no sexual activity at all, is safer?
    The answer is: absolutely nothing. It is a smokescreen defense. Obfuscation for 500, Bob.
    Which is safest, in protecting from sexually transmitted disease? Sex w/no condom, sex w/a condom, or no sex?
    Other means of transmission will remain equal, in all three cases, as those are environmental transmission factors, and have nothing to do with condoms – which is the subject of the discussion.
    Which is safest? Hrmm?

  • Chris Lutz

    The article states that Coburn and other are asking the FDA to act according to a law passed in 2000 to change condom labels to give more information on their “effectiveness or lack of the effectiveness in preventing STDs.”
    So, basically Coburn is asking the FDA to finally do something that they have been required to do for the past 4-5 years. You seem to have left some facts out Gryph so you could paint Coburn as an evil politician.
    The problem is that the “safe-sex” crowd usually quickly glosses over the weaknesses of condoms and instead makes them look like some impenetrable barrier. Do I doubt that they help reduce the spread of some STDs? No, but as the article states, on many STDs they don’t know how effective.
    I remember in the 90’s when the claim was that condoms were virtually 100% effective when used properly. It seems that that myth is finally starting to die since the PP types are admitting that that isn’t the case.

  • http://jimgilbertatlarge.blogspot.com/ Jim Gilbert

    Coburn is so unbendingly honest that, as a Congressman in the 90s, he got under the skin of Speaker Gingrich as much as he did the opposition. Coburn, unlike his classmates of 94, did not begin compromising, caving in to Washington cocktail hosts’ promises and demands.
    He’s so honest that, when he decided to run for Don Nickles’ Senate seat, the Oklahoma Republican Party endorsed his more malleable opponent in their own primary election. Coburn won by a landslide anyway, and then did the same in the general election.
    One reporter, observing of Coburn’s character, remarked that everyone wants a man like Ronald Reagan, but nobody wants to have to deal with him.
    Gryph, you characterized the man as wrongly as you did the point of Joe’s post. Given your tone, however, one wonders if that will matter in the least.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick (Gryph)

    All right, once again:

    Currently, FDA requires condom boxes and packets to state: “If used properly, latex condoms will help to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV infection (AIDS) and many other sexually transmitted diseases.” Many brands also state condoms are highly effective in preventing pregnancy.

    Exactly what is false or misleading, or “medically inaccurate” about that? You have right there all the information you need to know in order to make an informed decision. It does not promise absolute protection against any STD, including AIDS. And nor does it guarantee prevention of pregnancy. It’s accurate information.
    The Senator’s legislation is unnecessary, unless he thinks we are a nation of idiots. Therefore, for what other possible reason would he want such labeling other than to create an added barrier to the idea of using condoms?
    Again, the real complaint is that someone reading the label might not be instantly so terrified of getting an STD that they will abstain from sex in the first place. Barring legislation that forces everyone to wear a chastity device, he is going for scare tactics instead. If we really must label condoms in such a manner, fine, but then you confirm his assertion that we are a nation of idiots.
    If you want self-restraint to be instilled in your children, you are going to have to do it the old-fashioned way, but showing such restraint yourselves and teaching them its value. You can’t pass it along by putting it on the outside of a box of condoms.
    For crying out loud, don’t you have any conservative values?!

  • http://jimgilbertatlarge.blogspot.com/ Jim Gilbert

    Patrick,
    Accuracte or not, the current warning is incomplete, which Coburn considers misleading. The point of the legislation is to explain the hazards more thoroughly.
    As for your last paragraph:
    If you want self-restraint to be instilled in your children, you are going to have to do it the old-fashioned way, but showing such restraint yourselves and teaching them its value. You can’t pass it along by putting it on the outside of a box of condoms.
    For crying out loud, don’t you have any conservative values?!

    Now you’re arguing, rhetorically I hope, against the label. Of course anyone with “conservative values” doesn’t need the warning. The label is for unrestrained fools who insist on dead-end sexual activity and need the extra set of flashing yellow lights.

  • http://razorskiss.net/wp RazorsKiss

    I notice you didn’t reply to me, Patrick.
    What is this supposed “risk”, again?

  • MarkR

    “Of course anyone with “conservative values” doesn’t need the warning. The label is for unrestrained fools who insist on dead-end sexual activity and need the extra set of flashing yellow lights.”
    So, are you saying that you must protect the rest of us dumb idiots who can’t read the label for ourselves and make our own decisions? Or, are you saying that your teachings need reinforcement for your own dumb idiot children who can’t read for themselves and make their own decisions?
    if it is an answer to my first question, maybe the rest of the people outside your own selective world don’t want or need your brand of parenting.
    If it is an answer to my second question, then maybe you should check your own “teaching” abilities.

  • AndyS

    Let’s not forget that as a Senate candidate Coburn warned us of “rampant” lesbianism in some schools in his state (here). Kind of like Reagan’s comment about trees being polluters.

  • Jim Rockford

    Patrick and andys – Why are you so afraid of the truth?

  • Ken

    Think of it like D&D, where you’re making a saving throw against STDs every time you screw.
    Condoms add pluses to your saving throw, but no matter how many pluses you have, you can still roll a one.

  • Ken

    >Patrick and andys – Why are you so afraid of the truth?
    Because truth stands in the way of Total Sexual Freedom (TM), the Cause So Righteous it justifies anything whatsoever (and any amount of collateral damage or casualties) to bring it about.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    Of course anyone with “conservative values” doesn’t need the warning. The label is for unrestrained fools who insist on dead-end sexual activity and need the extra set of flashing yellow lights.

    Thanks, you cleared up something for me. Apparently Conservative Christian Evangelical is now defined as Big Government Liberal Nannyism. Who gave you the right to think you can lead everyone around by the nose? It’s funny that Joe’s post was made on Independence Day, when what it advocates is the expansion of government to make us MORE dependant on it.

    Patrick and andys – Why are you so afraid of the truth?

    Please, enough with the rhetorical bait. You’ll have to get different sort of worm on the hook than just cheap tricks. Unless you want to see my Jack Nicholson impression.

    Other means of transmission will remain equal, in all three cases, as those are environmental transmission factors, and have nothing to do with condoms – which is the subject of the discussion.

    Uh, no, the subject at hand is whether additional labeling is required on condom packages. Not quite the same thing. Certainly no sex is less risky than having sex. And sex with a condom is certainly less risky than sex without one. If you wish to to publish a book with each condom that explains it’s risk factors and statistics for failure etc., feel free to do so. In fact, feel free to distribute a DVD with them that explains how to use them. But I don’t think the intention in this case is to inform, it’s to obfuscate, to make it sound as if condoms were not effective at all. Which is not true. As I can personally attest to.
    Which is an interesting point. The same people who are pushing for this labeling probably are also against any sex education that shows how to use them. Even though using them properly increases their safety. Isn’t that rather hypocritical?

  • MarkR

    “Patrick and andys – Why are you so afraid of the truth?”
    Which “truth” are you talking about? Let’s face facts. This is nothing more than another attempt to legislate morality. Haven’t we learned that you cannot legislate morality in a Democracy?
    I am always amazed at how certain people are in their “truth”. Everyone has truth. What makes your truth more correct than mine? Before you start using christian teaching as an example, remember if you follow what is commonly termed a Protestant faith, you follow a faith that many people consider heritical. After all, didn’t Protestantism begin because some differed with the Pope of the time? Didn’t the Catholic church label them heritics? So, what makes your truth right and everyone elses wrong?
    You don’t have to go to Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia to see that legislating morality, or banning it altogether doesn’t work. You only need look at our own history. Does the word Prohibition mean anything to you?
    Prohibition was intended to “save” the family. Afterall, fathers were supposedly neglecting their families by going to the taverns and particking in the evils of liquor. All it gave us was a very organized underground crime world. It was unsafe for mothers to walk their children down the street for fear of a “drive-by shooting”. Isn’t that still going on because of “banned” substances?
    No, people aren’t persecuting christians, no one is trying to deny your right to believe what you wish. All people are trying to do is make sure that you don’t legislate your morality on the rest of us. Democracy isn’t supposed to work that way. Freedom of Religion is supposed to give me the right to choose what religion, if any, I wish to follow. And, it is supposed to keep the government from telling me what religion I have to follow. By legislating your morality on me, you are violating my freedom of religion. Religion is not necessary the church you belong to. It is the belief system that people follow in their private lives.
    Please stay out of ours.

  • http://philosophicalmidwifery.blogspot.com/ Franklin Mason

    I tried to find the original source of Trussell’s comments to discover what light their context might shed on them. I couldn’t find anything. Any help?
    It seems to me that the sort of information about effectiveness of condoms that Joe wishes included with them is relevant not to the decision of whether to use a condom or not but rather to the decision of whether to have sex or not. If one knows that one will have sex but is unsure whether one’s partner is ‘clean’ or wishes to lessen the probability of pregnancy, one is prudent to use a condom even if one has detailed information which shows them at best only partly effective. But if one does not know whether one will have sex and compares the risk/rewards of sex with condom use to no sex, one’s deliberations should be influenced by information about condom effectiveness.
    Joe is likely right on this one. Inform the condom buyer. But some who are suspicious of Coburn and his cohorts are likely right too, to a degree. Coburn seems to wish to influence people’s decision to have, or or not have, sex. His motive is to lead us to make what he thinks are the morally right choices.

  • George

    Personally, I’m against all such labeling of products, ranging from “Do not attempt to iron clothing while wearing it” to “Cigarettes can cause lung cancer”. If you have unprotected or protected sex and get AIDS, the clap, herpes, or any of a number of leaking, dripping, slimy, disgusting diseases, deal with it yourself. No whining, please. I’ve heard about all I can take of “No Sir, I thought cigarettes were GOOD for me and it’s someone else’s fault. The ads made me do it. And yes Sir, I most certainly DO deserve about, oh, let’s call it an even billion for my miserable habit of hacking phlegm for the last 40 years.”
    Ralph Nader and his Nanny Police tactics are the disease, not the cure.

  • http://philosophicalmidwifery.blogspot.com/ Franklin Mason

    So, George, I take you to mean that no product should ever have any kind of warning label at all. This seems to be the thrust of what you wrote.
    Does this really seem right to you? I can hardly take you seriously.

  • Rob Smith

    Forgive my obtuseness, but I fail to see how wanting a more comprehensive warning on a consumer item is attempting to “legislate morality”. Perhaps Coburn’s intent is to cause people to think about how safe “safe sex” really is and by doing so to discourage some people from having sex, but he is not using the power of goverment to coerce anyone into not having sex; in some cases I might agree with him. Does anybody want to make the case that minors, especially 12-14 year olds, having sex is a good thing?

  • George

    Oh, I suppose there are some exceptions. If you’re planning to sell Drano in cereal boxes it might be a good idea to put a skull and crossbones on the front.
    But here’s an example, drawn from top-of-desk. I needed to sharpen the blades on my lawn tractor, so I have the manual in front of me. First warning, top of page 1: “DANGER: Rotating blades cut off arms and legs.”
    Look, if you’re so completely moronic that you need to be warned about this, you definitely shouldn’t be using the tractor and you probably can’t read the warning. So what’s the point? Some feel-good bureaucrat forced the printing of an extra page and that’s a feather in her cap? Or some “public-interest” lawyer who bought a Gulfstream from a MacDonald’s lawsuit where he got 50 million and 50 million families got a free Happy Meal is lurking and waiting….?
    Fortunately, my spouse and I use modern birth control methods and don’t use condoms. I’d be tempted to just say the hell with it if I had to use those things. But if I recall correctly, there really isn’t a lot of room on a condom package for detailed “warnings”. Not only that, I candidly don’t ever recall having READ a condom package. I mean, think about it, OK? Context, eh?
    But it appears that outcome-based educational practices have given us children that require videos to figure out how to put them on. Amusing, that. I mean, given the shape and all, if it were a question on an IQ test it would have to be the first, easiest one. We’re in Playskool territory. Surely, if you need to be told, you’re better off not breeding at all and should get a lifetime free supply.
    Maybe we could provide little user’s manuals with each one. I’ll be happy to take the printing contract.

  • Rob Smith

    The same people who are pushing for this labeling probably are also against any sex education that shows how to use them.
    Nice strawman, but my problem is specifically with sex education in the public school system and the fact that it is rarely (I won’t say never) taught within a moral context. The assumption when I was taught was that all teens will have sex, nothing we can do about it so here’s a condom and Planned Parenthood’s phone number in case the condom breaks. Imagine for a moment if the public schools conducted drug education the same way.

  • George

    The same people who are pushing for this labeling probably are also against any sex education that shows how to use them.
    You people slay me, I swear. Sex education. Why, it’s a mantra these days. I think we need Ingestion Education. “Today, kiddies, we are going to learn what that hole just above your chin is for. This [takes apple off desk] is FOOD. The FOOD goes in that hole. See? Like this.” Did it ever occur to anyone that the very fact we are here, today, in the 21st century, presupposes that during the many centuries before SexEd, human beings got along quite well? I can’t believe we pay teachers to teach this stuff. Did any of you who are old enough to have been in school pre-SexEd have a problem figuring out what to do? If you did, don’t admit it in public.
    Even though using them properly increases their safety.
    I must be a genius. Without anyone ever having shown me, or seen a video, or live demonstration, when I bought my first rubber (they’re rubbers, people, not khan-dahms) as a tender teen and carefully removed it from its foil pack, I immediately intuited precisely and exactly what to do with it. Somehow, from the little bulb on the end to the roll at what I knew must be the back, I had it figured out. And I could immediately see that such a delicate, thin, thin, thin object (and I could intuit the reason for that, as well – are you impressed?) would be, well, delicate. And that one must not use it to propel spitwads ‘less one wishes the little bulb to become merely decorative.
    Are kids really that brain dead these days?
    And as far as the “warnings” go, would warnings be necessary in the absence of universal braying about “safe sex”? If John Deere (see my post above) advertised “safe mowing” and some nincompoop came out with a bloody stump after trying to clear a stuck branch, they would be sued into oblivion. If you screw around with scuzzy people and end up with running pustules in your crotch or on antiviral drugs for the rest of your life, at least have the decency to suffer in silence.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    must be a genius. Without anyone ever having shown me, or seen a video, or live demonstration, when I bought my first rubber (they’re rubbers, people, not khan-dahms) as a tender teen and carefully removed it from its foil pack, I immediately intuited precisely and exactly what to do with it. Somehow, from the little bulb on the end to the roll at what I knew must be the back, I had it figured out. And I could immediately see that such a delicate, thin, thin, thin object (and I could intuit the reason for that, as well – are you impressed?) would be, well, delicate. And that one must not use it to propel spitwads ‘less one wishes the little bulb to become merely decorative.
    Are kids really that brain dead these days?

    Tsk, Tsk:
    Actually, if you had read the instructions, you might have found out that if you put a small amount of lubricant inside the condom, it increases the “sensation” for the guy and makes it much less noticeable that you are wearing a raincoat. Of course, that doesn’t directly enhance safety, other than if it feels better then someone might be more inclined to use them the next time, rather than going without a raincoat altogether. Of course, I know that Christians wouldn’t want to promote anything that increases pleasure during sex. What would people think? My goodness, they might get the impression that sex has a purpose other than procreation!
    Besides which, did you use a water-based or oil-based lubricant? Since oil-based can damage the physical integrity of some kinds of “rubbers” it’s important to know. Or did you use a lubricant at all? And did you know what kind of rubber to use in case you are allergic to latex? And did you use the addition of a spermicidal lubricant to decrease the odds of a pregnancy occurring if the condom breaks? Did you know that you should stay away from anything that has “non-oxynal 9″ in it, which is often advertised falsely as an aid to killing HIV? (It actually causes skin to peel off in little sheets, thereby increasing the avenues for STD transmission.)
    Gee, I guess you miss a lot when you don’t read the directions. Did you ever get your stereo put together either? Or does the left sound come out of the right speaker and the reverse?

  • http://philosophicalmidwifery.blogspot.com/ Franklin Mason

    I’m with Patrick on this one. It’s clear enough what a condom should be wrapped around. But can we assume that it’s obvious that a bit of room should be left in the tip? Can we assume that it’s obvious that it’s better to evacuate air from the tip when you put it on? Can we assume that it’s obvious that a condom should never be washed a used again? I think it perfectly possible for someone to be not unintelligent and yet not know these things; and why in the world wouldn’t we say these things (and those that Patrick mentions) if it might help someone?

  • Larry Lord

    “Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn agrees. He is pushing to make condom labels “medically accurate” and has threatened to block the appointment of acting Food and Drug Administration head Lester Crawford until the labels are changed.”
    Wow, an ideologically freaked up idiot Senator from the great terrorist-producing state of Oklahoma! What a surprise.
    Here’s my deal for Senator Codburn. He can put his “medically accurate” info on condoms if I get to put my “medically accurate” info on condoms (and in all the sex-ed books). Are you ready folks? Here’s my “medically accurate” indisputable universally agreed-upon info about condoms: sex with condoms is like taking a shower in a raincoat.
    What do you suppose Sen. Codburn will say about extending his concept re “medically accurate” info to include the fact that when you are wearing latex over your skin, it causes a drastic reduction in pleasant physical sensation to said skin?
    I’m guessing Sen. Codburn will not be interesting in “teaching this controversy.”

  • Larry Lord

    Franklin
    “If one knows that one will have sex but is unsure whether one’s partner is ‘clean'”
    That reminds me. Next on Sen. Colburn’s agenda: affidavits for husbands to give to their wives to sign prior to every act of intercourse.
    You can’t be too careful. They say there are people with loathsome sexual transmitted diseases even in Tulsa these days. Lord help us all!

  • Ellen

    “Look, if you’re so completely moronic that you need to be warned about this, you definitely shouldn’t be using the tractor and you probably can’t read the warning.”
    I suppose the argument could be made that if you have to be warned that a cup of McDonald’s coffee is hot, you shouldn’t be sold one at the drive-through window.
    And yet, that’s the world we live in…
    More words on a package = less liability for the manufacturer.
    Do I think more words on a package cuts down on unwanted behavior? Let’s just say it never worked for me…

  • Larry Lord

    “Condoms provide no protection against vagina dentata.”
    That’s what this is all about.

  • Larry Lord

    Ellen
    “I suppose the argument could be made that if you have to be warned that a cup of McDonald’s coffee is hot, you shouldn’t be sold one at the drive-through window.”
    I hear your point, but just in case you are laboring under an ancient illusion …
    http://www.citizen.org/congress/civjus/tort/myths/articles.cfm?ID=785
    By its own corporate standards, McDonald

  • Ellen

    Yes – the woman got burned. And yes – the coffee was too hot.
    On the other hand (like condoms) – if you use the item properly (don’t take the lid off when the cup is between your legs in a car), the coffee isn’t nearly as dangerous.
    In the same way, condoms have been touted as *the* way to prevent STD’s. No mention is made of the failure rate.
    Do you know how many ways that condoms fail? Do you know how many lubricants (that are commonly used) can cause condom failure?
    Proper use (of coffee and condoms) can prevent many problems

  • jen

    I have a condom failure. She turned 9 last month.
    Parents: married, multidegreed professionals. Condom: defective, broke. Hey, it happens.

  • Rob Smith

    Ahh, how delightful. I don’t know how people get through the day without a dose of Larry Lord’s insightful comments and witty repartee. Always a wonderful representative of the left’s views on any issue.

  • tommythecat

    meanwhile the vast majority of kids are still having sex…
    why not teach and preach about waht a quality relationship is instead of worrying about whether theya re hai=ving sex. it will only make them want to do it. it has been that way for centuries.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So, basically Coburn is asking the FDA to finally do something that they have been required to do for the past 4-5 years. You seem to have left some facts out Gryph so you could paint Coburn as an evil politician.
    condoms are a medical device and as such they are required to submit clinical studies to the FDA backing up all of their claims. Period. No special law is needed for condoms to be properly labeled, the law that currently exists covers condoms quite well (no pun intended ;O)
    The problem is that the “safe-sex” crowd usually quickly glosses over the weaknesses of condoms and instead makes them look like some impenetrable barrier. Do I doubt that they help reduce the spread of some STDs? No, but as the article states, on many STDs they don’t know how effective.
    I think the ‘safe-sex’ crowd worries, quite justly, that the message people will get is not to abstain but that condoms don’t work so you might as well not use them. Logically we can all agree if that is the message people take from this dispute then it would be a diaster. Here’s a little test, if you feel condoms are currently mislabeled go find a few victims of this mislabeling and hook them up with a trial lawyer. No doubt a person suffering with an STD or an unwanted pregnancy will make a compelling witness on the stand. If you honestly feel condoms are mislabeled it should be easy to hit the condom companies with dozens of such lawsuits. That would be a much better use of our trial lawyers than suing over viox.
    It is a shame that any political debate regarding sex or subjects indirectly related to sex (i.e. abortion) lead supposedly moral people to embrace an unlimited amount of nonsense or outright lies. Of all products a company can produce and market, medical products are the most highly regulated….second maybe to nuclear weapons. Even following all the rules the FDA sets down, medical companies are still subject to numerous lawsuits claiming they misinformed their patients or failed to inform them etc. Why should condoms fall under a unique law when compared with every other medical device on the market such as blood sugar monitors (which I suspect are a lot more unreliable than they claim)?
    Now you’re arguing, rhetorically I hope, against the label. Of course anyone with “conservative values” doesn’t need the warning. The label is for unrestrained fools who insist on dead-end sexual activity and need the extra set of flashing yellow lights.
    Is this information or paternalism? The current label gives me honest information about the device (condom). Why should the government be in the business of recommending products (if you want to consider chasity as a product) to me? Who is this target demographic you think will seriously be deterred from sexual activity if only the condom label was a bit more scary? This has all the aroma of a fake debate about something that will motivate right wing ideologues but does nothing for real life human beigns.
    Because truth stands in the way of Total Sexual Freedom (TM), the Cause So Righteous it justifies anything whatsoever (and any amount of collateral damage or casualties) to bring it about.
    Of course these casualities or collateral damage people exist only in your imagination. You can’t produce any reasonable person who was damaged by the current batch of condom labels so you will advocate a policy premised on unreasonable people reading a revised label and responding in a reasonable manner. The TSF people seem more on the ball to worry that unreasonable people might read the proposed scare label and simply decide they might as well have risky sex without condoms.
    Personally, I’m against all such labeling of products, ranging from “Do not attempt to iron clothing while wearing it” to “Cigarettes can cause lung cancer”. If you have unprotected or protected sex and get AIDS, the clap, herpes, or any of a number of leaking, dripping, slimy, disgusting diseases, deal with it yourself. No whining, please. I’ve heard about all I can take of “No Sir, I thought cigarettes were GOOD for me and it’s someone else’s fault. The ads made me do it. And yes Sir, I most certainly DO deserve about, oh, let’s call it an even billion for my miserable habit of hacking phlegm for the last 40 years.”
    A bit of trivia, long ago cigarettes were advertised as promoting health (“ohhh that coughing is clearing out your lungs so you can breath freely!”)
    Nice strawman, but my problem is specifically with sex education in the public school system and the fact that it is rarely (I won’t say never) taught within a moral context. The assumption when I was taught was that all teens will have sex, nothing we can do about it so here’s a condom and Planned Parenthood’s phone number in case the condom breaks. Imagine for a moment if the public schools conducted drug education the same way.
    I noticed you didn’t answer the question. The same studies that deal with the failure rates of condoms also show that their protection increases dramatically when people use them correctly. Logically, then, if you’re being honest and saying you just want to get the facts out about protection you should also agree with classes and other materials that increase people’s knowledge of how to use a condom correctly.
    You people slay me, I swear. Sex education. Why, it’s a mantra these days. I think we need Ingestion Education. “Today, kiddies, we are going to learn what that hole just above your chin is for. This [takes apple off desk] is FOOD. The FOOD goes in that hole. See? Like this.”…..
    You’re right. No one goes to school to learn about food! Why the very notion of, say, even reading a book or being taught how to cook is absurd! We are all born with the inate knowledge of how to cook, prepare and eat food!
    In the same way, condoms have been touted as *the* way to prevent STD’s. No mention is made of the failure rate.
    How ironic, an advocate of revised labels doesn’t even read the labels that currently exist. If she did (she didn’t, BTW, have to actually go to a drug store and look at one, she could have just read what was quoted here) she would have known that condoms are not promoted as *the* way to prevent STD’s…only that they offer protection against some STD’s. No doubt if she bothered to actually read the little boilerplate paper that comes either in the box or on the inside cover she would find that condoms do not offer perfect protection against pregnancy either!
    why not teach and preach about waht a quality relationship is instead of worrying about whether theya re hai=ving sex. it will only make them want to do it. it has been that way for centuries.
    Good call, excellent idea for parents. As the basis of a sex-ed class though? Absurd for obvious reasons.

  • Ellen

    “In the same way, condoms have been touted as *the* way to prevent STD’s. No mention is made of the failure rate.”
    Boonton, read what I said again (I quoted it again). Did I write that the *BOX* said that? No. So please address what I wrote, and not what you wish to read into it.
    But I stand by what I wrote. The point of this debate in congress is what *is* or *is not* on the box!
    I know what is on the box. I work in a public school, with high school kids with mental impairments and one of my jobs has been to ‘shadow’ kids to regular ed classes. One of the classes I went to was a health class during the sex ed segment.
    I know what is on the box, because the planned parenthood rep read it out loud. And said, “condoms are the only way to prevent STD’s”
    No mention of abstinance (yes, abstinance does happen – but it would really help if it were given credibility).
    No mention of the number of std’s that condoms *don’t* prevent (HPV is one)
    No mention even of being tested and both partners staying faithful.
    There is a “game” in our high schools. The goal is to see how many public restrooms a person can have sex in, and with how many partners (I hate finding used condoms in the staff restroom at school).
    A friend that I work with caught *three* students having sex in the teacher’s lounge after school (I’m never sitting on that couch again).
    I’m not sure what the answer is, but doing nothing is not it.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    so you’re problem is not what is on the box but what people are saying ‘off the box’…you don’t know what the answer is but you’re going to presumably support a special law to change the honest language on the box because you think it is better than ‘doing nothing’.
    And you work in a school!

  • Ellen

    Boonton, do you know the difference between “honest” and “complete?” there is a difference.
    I’m a woman. Is that everything you need to know to understand who I am?
    I’ve just said that the label on the box is read in classrooms. Kids *do* think that they’re safe because they’re using condoms. Ask them. They’ll tell you. And they “know” that, because the package was read in the classroom.
    If the label that were read included more complete information, at least the kids would be making a more informed choice.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    As for honest discussion, context remains king. A bullet proof vest is, of course, not 100% perfect. First it doesn’t protect the entire body, second some powerful bullets can pierce it, and finally even if all goes well the person wearing it can suffer broken bones or internal injuries. So if the option is between not getting shot or getting shot with the vest on the obvious answer is to choose the former.
    But it is logical to approach the bullet proof vests usefullness not in terms of whether it is sensible to choose it over not getting shot, but whether it is sensible to choose it against all the other options out there to protect you if you’re going to be shot at. The best choice depends on the circumstances. For cops vests are usually the best choice but special situations (such as near-combat conditions) might merit another choice such as body armour.
    Likewise it is sensible to evaluate condoms based on how they reduce the risk of having sex. Not based on the risk of not having sex (take the idea to its logical conclusion and you have to state that condoms have a 0% failure rate when used by people not having sex!).
    In these terms condoms are objectively the best defense against STD’s while they are slighly less against pregnancy (which is why married couples and others in long term relationships usually opt for the pill or other forms of birth control). If the sex-ed class you observed was anything like the one I had maybe ten years ago the material probably included a chart showing up to ten different types of birth control with pros and cons associated with each.
    Quite frankly condoms are the best choice for teens and young adults. Their sexual behavior is most likely to be spur of the moment, more risky, and in less committed relationships. Making matters even worse, teens are likely to misjudge many circumstances (imagining a fleeting relationship, for example, is the ‘love of a lifetime’). In such a situation you would want birth control that is:
    1. cheap
    2. easy to use
    3. effective against STD’s
    4. does not require a extensive pre-planning (such as a visit to the doctor beforehand and so on).
    ‘Pleasurable sensations’ and so on are of much less priority which is why most married couples do not opt for condoms.
    Interestingly you are presenting a false choice. You’re argument appears to rest on a choice between not having sex versus having sex with condoms. This is a bit like saying getting the police department bullet proof vests will get them into more shootouts!
    There is a concept from the insurance that might salvage this argument called ‘moral hazaard’. Basically it means if you are given some measure of protection you may end up offsetting that benefit by increasing your risky behavior. For example, the police officer may rush into a shoot out feeling invincible in his vest. The benefit of the vest is offset by the fact that he increased his risky behavior more than the protection offered by the vest.
    In theory, if a person felt invincible using condoms he might increase his risky sex by such a high degree he ends up putting himself more at risk. Measuring whether or not this happens, though, is very difficult & believe it or not Total Sexual Freedom doesn’t seem to produce Total Sex. Even though sex before marriage is considered almost standard in most of the US & Europe there seems to be a limit to how much people will engage in sex. Whatever you want to say about the ‘natural state’ of humans without religious sexual inhibitions it doesn’t seem to be accurately depicted by most porn movies! I would say that most people, even without intensive abstaince training (whatever that is) will engage in experimentation while young but settle down to a relatively conventional sexual life.

  • Ellen

    “Interestingly you are presenting a false choice. You’re argument appears to rest on a choice between not having sex versus having sex with condoms.”
    No, my choice is between giving students all of the information and giving them part of the information. You appear to be in favor of giving them only part of the information.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    If the label that were read included more complete information, at least the kids would be making a more informed choice.
    Hmmmm….
    I’m a woman. Is that everything you need to know to understand who I am?
    Well certainly not. Understanding who you are would also include the fact that you claim to be employed in a public school system with many special education kids. You think condom lables are honest but you have a problem with sex-ed teachers in your school so you think the solution is national legislation to change condom labels because you think this will let kids with learning disabilities make a more informed choice.
    Oddly your students with learning disabilities will be reading these ‘more complete’ labels of boilerplate which is ignored by most people who don’t lack disabilities. You support this policy because you can’t think of anything better between this and ‘doing nothing’.
    While you may think it bizaar that I have any doubts about your ability to improve the situation thru special legislation to alter condom labels I respectfully suggest doing nothing is a better option since I have yet to see any evidence that you have the ability to improve the situation thru change rather than just making it worst.

  • Ellen

    Is doing nothing always the better course?

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I love it when the KosKidz get snippy. Since the very idea of the loonyleft’s hallowed curriculum, SexEd, is a pointless course anyway, like Ingestion 101, tempers flare when the unmentionable gets mentioned. Naturally, the Perpetually Angry Left must make intelligent repartee….
    I’m sorry I think I’m missing George’s point here. George seems to be saying that sex ed would be as silly as a course on ingestion. Ingestion (after the swallowing phase) takes place involuntarily hence is not an activity that can be learned. Your body automatically digests what you eat and if it doesn’t it is because there’s some physical problem. Is he saying that sexual activity in humans is involuntary? some type of automatic reflex? This is certainly a novel argument, especially coming from someone I assume would describe himself as a conservative.
    No, my choice is between giving students all of the information and giving them part of the information. You appear to be in favor of giving them only part of the information.
    The information is already there on the label. Granted the information is in summary form but I expect you should be able to understand the concept of the summary. I haven’t forgotten, afterall, that not only are you a woman but you are employed by the public schools as a ‘shadow’.
    One last comment: Teaching SexEd in the “absence” of moral values is teaching moral values.
    Some might object that it is not proper to mix and match George’s statements and Ellen’s but I think we might benefit from comparing and contrasting the statements of two people who appear to be on the same side of the issue. Ellen says she just wants the kids to have ‘complete information’…George says we must teach them ‘moral values’ which is hardly the same thing. Certainly St. Augustine had less than complete information on human sexuality than we do today but that hardly means he had less moral values!
    As an educator (or someone loosly connected with education) like Ellen should know courses of study all suffer from a zero sum problem. There is a limited amount of material that can be taught to a given class in a given time. It is impossible, for example, to emphasize functions more in math class without de-emphasizing other topics such as the proofs of theorems in Ecludian geometry. If Ellen advocates ‘more complete’ information she must therefore accept fewer things beyond ‘just information’. That means more tables of birth control methods with various pros and cons, more memorizing the percentages from the latest clinical studies and less ‘moral values’ or whatever it is George wants taught. Yet if we try to make Ellen happy by keeping it to ‘just the facts’ George tells us that we are teaching ‘no morality’…..
    Interestingly no one feels the need to bring morality into any other subject of study. No one feels the need to add a morals part of math or chemistry class to let students know its wrong to use those subjects to, say, design terrorist bombs or help a government drop bombs on innocent civilians.
    The fact is morality should not be ‘taught’ in sex-ed classes because there is no clear consensus on sexual morality. Any attempt to do so will open up a pandoras box. The morality portion is best left to voluntary associations (which Churches would fall into) and to parents. The facts portion is best for the school to do because schools are optimized to teach facts. The morality taught should be only what is agreed upon by nearly every reasonable person in the community (such as sex should never be forced on someone). Beyond this public policy goods are also to be considered. To that end teen pregnancy and STD’s are a primary concern which means that condoms should be covered more than, say, the intricies of natural family planning techniques.

  • Ellen

    Boonton, your attitude of condescension and sarcasm just lost me.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    “Is doing nothing always the better course?”
    A good question. When would doing nothing never be the better course? Why if we lived in the worst of all possible worlds. In other words, if things couldn’t get any worse then doing nothing is almost certainly the wrong decision! When is doing nothing always right? When things are as good as they can ever get. Otherwise doing something just runs the risk of spoiling the best of all possible worlds.
    In between all policy proposals for change carry with it the risk that they may make the problem they are trying to solve worse OR they may make some other problems worse that are considered more important. For example, about ten years ago NJ changed its welfare law so that payments would not be increased if those on the rolls had additional children. The Catholic Church protested. Why? Certainly not because it thought it was ok for unmarried people to be getting pregnant and having kids. It feared that the policy change might decrease pregnancy among those on welfare (arguably a good thing) but would also increase abortions by those on welfare (which the Church considers to be much worse). In that situation the Church argued doing nothing was a better course.
    You have implied that if we emphasize condom failure rates more a good result may happen (teens will have less sex). A good argument has been presented, though, that a bad might may result (teens will have sex but without condoms). The truth is probably in between…some teens might be scared off of sex while others might shrug and say ‘condoms don’t work so why should I be bothered with the mess and hassle of putting this thing on!’. Since the premise here is that people are reading the labels unreasonably (as offering a guarantee against STD’s and pregnancies) it is odd to presume that the typical response to a revised label will be a reasonable one.
    A few other reasons for being skeptical for this policy change:
    1. It is an ad hoc policy for a single particular product as opposed to a general policy being applied to all medical devices.
    2. It is an ad hoc policy for an emotional issue with loud and vocal advocates rather than the result of reasoned debate and disucssion.
    3. It is a policy proposed by a politician (bad enough) with a history of being rich in sound bites(even worse) concerning an emotional issue that tends to grab attention and headlines.
    I’m not saying that a policy that fit 1-3 above would always be bad…I’m just saying it merits a high degree of skepticism that should be overcome by its advocates before it is accepted.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    “Boonton, your attitude of condescension and sarcasm just lost me.”
    You aren’t used to your students talking back to you are you? :)
    It’s ok, I went thru the public schools and they, like all schools, are a necessary evil. Educators have to be authoritarians to some degree…

  • Rob Smith

    Boonton–The Bulletproof vest analogy is faulty because you rarely have a choice about getting shot, but the converse is true WRT having sex. A bulletproof vest is worn to guard against a situation that the wearer is not in control of.
    The fact is morality should not be ‘taught’ in sex-ed classes because there is no clear consensus on sexual morality.
    While there may be no all encompassing consensus on sexual morality, we can certainly find “clear consensus” on many aspects. Among them are adult-child (especially parent-progeny) sex, sibling sex, and child-child sex. If there is a clear consensus (I believe there is) against children having sex, why would we want to teach them the mechanics of sex. We don’t send 10 year olds to Driver’s Ed courses.

  • AndyS

    Teaching morality in the sex ed is like teach ID in biology class — and just as wrong. Let’s not burden science and health teachers with being experts in yet another, very complex, subject. However, let’s stop ducking the real issue and insist that ethics, religion, non-religion, and spirituality be taught in public schools and do it responsibily.

    I am no more comfortable having the evangelical view of ethics taught as the accepted norm than evangelicals would be with my atheist/Buddhist views being presented at the “one right way.” What’s absurd is having no scantioned class in school where students can be challenged to think and reason about ethics, be exposed to a variety of viewpoints, and make up their own minds about how they want to approach the world. Imagine what a world might be like in which people with different belief systems could engage with each other passionately yet civily about what is right, wrong, better, and worse.

    My concern is evangelicals fear having their children exposed to a variety of viewpoints and do not wish their teenagers making up their own minds in an informed way.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    All analogies are imperfect but in this case it isn’t as imperfect as you depict. You are rarely given a choice about getting shot directly but you also rarely are given a choice about getting a STD from sex (as in “I have HIV, still want to sleep with me?”).
    True the person can choose 100% safety by not having sex but the cop can be 100% safe by never leaving the station (or deciding not to be a cop).
    The valid question about the product (whether condoms or vests) is does its use offer a reduction in risk sufficient to offset its costs? In that case condoms are a no brainer for most teenage sex. Note, though, that they are not so obvious for other types of sex. Those in serious long term relationships have a low risk of STD’s to begin with so the costs of the condom (awkward, getting in the way etc.) start to look more expensive. Hence the shift towards other types of birth control among older people.
    While there may be no all encompassing consensus on sexual morality, we can certainly find “clear consensus” on many aspects. Among them are adult-child (especially parent-progeny) sex, sibling sex, and child-child sex. If there is a clear consensus (I believe there is) against children having sex, why would we want to teach them the mechanics of sex. We don’t send 10 year olds to Driver’s Ed courses.
    I’m unaware of any standard sex-ed program that talks about adult-child, sibling sex, parent-child sex etc. unless it is in the context of abuse (as in “if you know of someone who is going thru this tell an adult”). I don’t think anyone has raised any serious objection to children being told they can report abouse or to children being advised to report adults who try to abuse them.
    You’re analogy with drivers ed is poor though. Many parents do teach their kids the mechanics of driving a car long before they actually permit their kids to start practicing on the family clunker.
    Child-child sex is a bit of a red herring here. Two 17 year olds may not quite be adults but it is silly to call them children (no doubt if they committed a horrible crime you wouldn’t get upset if they are tried as adults). If you think that they won’t have sex if they are kept ignorant of its mechanical knowledge I suggest you take a peek at George’s posts about how knowledge about sex is as natural as knowledge about digestion!
    As a practical matter knowledge is rarely dangerous, it is lack of knowledge that is. You may not want your 13 year old driving the car but wouldn’t you rather she know what pedal is the break if…say…you suffer a stroke while driving her about? Ignorance of the mechanics of sex will be filled so the question is by what and by whom? ‘Textbook’ knowledge has an advantage here because it can be objective, vetted ahead of time and carries some authority as academic knowledge….which is more than you can say for urban legends, wives tales and other sources of street knowledge.
    The problem with going beyond this into full blown sexual morality is that it is not objective and we cannot all agree on it. Yes yes we can all say that we think sex should be part of a ‘loving relationship’ but I have not seen any evidence that finding and maintaining a loving relationship can be taught in a classroom. In fact, it probably has to be taught partially by making mistakes and suffering thru some bad relationships (I don’t mean abusive by that, BTW).
    Anyway the problem with the ‘we can’t teach sex ed in school without morality ed’ folks is that they implicitly assume the entire world is the school. They are assuming parents can and should do nothing to teach morality. If you assume parents do and should teach morality then advocating teaching ‘sex morality’ in public schools is infringing on the parents and since all parents will not share the same moral beliefs and styles trying to do so would become nothing more than endless conflict. It would be like saying the public schools have to be open on Sunday to take the kids to Church ’cause we can’t trust the parents to do that themselves! In a community of parents who want their kids to Church such a policy by the public school would create an endless war as parents argue over which Church the school will be sending their kids too!

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I am no more comfortable having the evangelical view of ethics taught as the accepted norm than evangelicals would be with my atheist/Buddhist views being presented at the “one right way.” What’s absurd is having no scantioned class in school where students can be challenged to think and reason about ethics, be exposed to a variety of viewpoints, and make up their own minds about how they want to approach the world. Imagine what a world might be like in which people with different belief systems could engage with each other passionately yet civily about what is right, wrong, better, and worse.
    Not for nothing but nearly all schools will incorporate some type of ‘what’s your opinion’ exercise into various classes…especially English and Social Studies. Nearly all colleges and many HS’s offer a formal class in ethics which more or less does what you describe and one ups it introducing readings from ‘the best’ thinkers of different belief systems (what are the chances that a class will have even one Buddahist kid and if so that he will be able to really articulate the belief system?).
    I don’t see any compelling need to tie this to ‘the sex class’ anymore than any other class that is taught from a ‘just the facts’ point of view.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    While there may be no all encompassing consensus on sexual morality, we can certainly find “clear consensus” on many aspects. Among them are adult-child (especially parent-progeny) sex, sibling sex, and child-child sex. If there is a clear consensus (I believe there is) against children having sex, why would we want to teach them the mechanics of sex. We don’t send 10 year olds to Driver’s Ed courses.
    Not to harp on this point but let’s look objectively at what is taught about cars from kindergarten on up.
    In the lowest grades we generally teach just a few basics about cars….mostly from a safety standpoint. Don’t cross the street without looking. Be aware that a diver may not be able to see you or stop in time.
    Later on education takes a more comphrensive view. Students can take a classes on auto mechanics in HS where they work on cars from an inside out. Classes are given on the rules of the road coupled with mechanics on how to drive a car.
    Notice, however, that ‘morality’ is not a big part of it. There’s an underlying assumption that the kids will eventually be driving hence here is how it is done. No one seriously contends that first the kids must be educated about ‘driving for the wrong reasons’ such as driving the getaway car for a bank robbery… Warnings are given, though, about objective dangers (such as drunk driving, hydroplanning etc.). As for whether or not it’s ok for the kids to take the family car out at 11 PM, that’s left up to the family to teach.
    Of course the analogy isn’t perfect. All hell would break loose, for example, if we had kids doing ‘practice sex’ in school the way they practice driving on cars but what does hold is the general model. Information is provided by the school but the morality of its application is best provided elsewhere except for some really basic issues.
    I suspect what is happening here is that some evangelicals are trying to ‘science up’ their argument. STD’s are a reason to be careful about having sex. They are not, however, the reason evangelicals say unmarried people shouldn’t have sex. If you could reduce the risk of STD’s you reduce A reason to not have sex. That alone does not nullify all the other reasons including religion. However I sense that many here are not confident that their religious reasons for holding off on sex are sufficient to convince their kids hence they want to spin out other reasons….overblowing the danger of STD’s for example.
    I suspect a lack of confidence is what is really the issue here and evangelicals are not bad to feel a bit insecure. After all not only do most people have sex before marriage most marriages aren’t even able to last a lifetime! However is the answer to that issue to lie?

  • Rob Smith

    True the person can choose 100% safety by not having sex but the cop can be 100% safe by never leaving the station (or deciding not to be a cop).
    Another faulty analogy. A person is still a person even if he chooses not to have sex, but a cop who never leaves the station is not a cop, or won’t be one for long.
    Child-child sex is a bit of a red herring here. Two 17 year olds may not quite be adults but it is silly to call them children
    Actually the 17 year old example is more of a red herring because we don’t just teach the mechanics of sex to 17 year olds, but I will ask you, do you think 17 year olds having sex is a positive thing. How many 17 year olds do you know that are ready to deal with the consequences of sex? Not just the potential for STD’s and pregnancy (even with proper condom use), but with the emotional baggage.
    The assumption I am working with is that we are discussing teaching children the mechanics of how to have sex, as opposed to the biology of human reproduction. I don’t think there is a morally neutral way to teach the subject and I have serious questions about whether the public schools are the proper venue.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The bullet proof vest analogy is meant to illustrate the most sensible way to evalute a project. The vest should be evaluated by comparing getting shot wearing one versus getting shot not wearing one. Not getting shot with one versus not getting shot at all.
    Do I think two 17 year olds having sex is a positive thing? I would say most of the time no but I will also say that sex is a unique part of each person’s life. The mechanics are easy to to learn in an academic setting but applying them to one’s life is difficult and almost certainly will involve some degree of emotional pain. It would be absurdly arrogant to try to state one has designed a scientific cirrcium that has circumvented this while also providing for individual freedom.
    You’re false choice is that somehow teens will be spared the problems of sex if they are not taught its mechanics. That’s absurd, of course. The problems of sex are likely to be worse if you’re ignorant of the mechanics.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    “The assumption I am working with is that we are discussing teaching children the mechanics of how to have sex, as opposed to the biology of human reproduction. I don’t think there is a morally neutral way to teach the subject and I have serious questions about whether the public schools are the proper venue.”
    Errr, wait a second. What is the difference between ‘the mechanics of how to have sex’ and ‘the biology of human reproduction’? Let me be frank (and if you don’t like me being frank ask yourself why you are reading a thread devoted to condoms!). Human reproduction happens usually with sex. Sex is when an aroused man gets an erection that he inserts into a woman’s vagina, friction eventually produces ejaculation. {BTW, the previous two sentences also produced a ‘morally netural’ description for you. I’m sure a pornstar, a nun, a swinger and a typical married person would all agree those two sentences are factually accurate}
    Can you study the ‘biology of human reproduction’ and leave that part out? If you don’t leave that part out can you really be ignorant of ‘how to have sex’? By ‘how to have sex’ do you mean things like ‘100 fun sex positions’ that magazines like Cosmopolitian publish every other issue? Show me a sex-ed course designed around that for the public schools.

  • George

    George: Teaching SexEd in the “absence” of moral values is teaching moral values.
    Boonton: George says we must teach them ‘moral values’ […].
    You’re an idiot, Boon. Obviously you can’t read for comprehension. Did you get any questions right on the SAT before you flunked out of community college? You might be a nice enough guy, but I think they ought to think twice about selling you coffee at McDonald’s. The rule is really simple: if the coffee is too hot to drink, don’t pour it in your lap. Or does that have so many words I lose you before the comma?
    Folks, do you see why no one can debate with the left? Because they can’t debate. When you see loony stuff like this, what do you do?

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    George, I took it the meaning you were trying to convey was that by not teaching morality along with sex-ed you are implicitly teaching that morality does not apply to sex. If that’s what you were trying to communicate then there should be no problem understanding my response.
    I’m sorry if I did not depict your views accurately. They are pretty much incoherent to begin with so I’m doing the best I can with the material I have here.

  • Larry Lord

    Rob
    “How many 17 year olds do you know that are ready to deal with the consequences of sex? Not just the potential for STD’s and pregnancy (even with proper condom use), but with the emotional baggage.”
    As many 17 year olds are ready to deal with those particular “consequences of sex” as there are 50 year olds who are to deal with those particular “consequences of sex”.
    Perhaps the reason that many religious conservatives are so uptight about this issue is because this particular demographic is prone to marry and bear children earlier than other groups — and more likely to get divorced.
    I highly recommend sex for 17 year olds, taking all the necessary precautions to avoid pregnancy and disease. When I was 17, my girlfriend and I loved having sex: in my dad’s van, in my bedroom, in the backyard, in the park, in my parent’s bedroom (when they were away), in her bedroom, in her background, in the parking lot of the hospital (sorta close to where she lived), in the high school gym (where I worked), and wherever else we could find a bit of privacy.
    Really, folks, nothing unusual here. It’s not that big of a deal.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick (Gryph)

    George says:

    Wow, Patrick. You must be the go-to guy when it comes to “in the moment” sex. A real Romeo. Now that the wine editor for the NYT has retired, maybe you could replace his column with something a bit more contemporary. “Condom Talk” for “Wine Talk”. I can see it now… “This week’s featured condom is the banana-flavored Smoothie. Perfectly lubricated with a water-based lubricant based on a delicate combination of Perrier and Pellegrino, with a hint of organic oils from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma. The banana flavor is delicate and understated, derived from bananas grown on the western slopes of Costa Rica and picked by peons paid a living wage, but a perhaps a bit too sweet for today’s low-carb ladies…” Good on ya, mate! No stone left unturned by the Nuance Left, eh?

    Actually George, what I’ve described is the exact opposite of “in the moment” sex as you put it. It requires that you think a little about what you are doing, and making some preparation. In other words, it requires you to think a bit more with your big head rather than your little head.
    “Romance” does not preclude common sense. “Romantic” people without common sense end up either pregnant or dead from AIDS.
    I’m a 41 year old gay man who became sexually active in the late 70’s. I remain HIV free to this day. I know quite a few straight people my age who can’t say the same. At least those still among the living.
    My being HIV free is not an accident or luck, it’s the result of people looking out for me and making sure I had all the information I needed in front of me to make good decisions at the time. And that included how to use a condom properly. If thats too much lacking in “romance” for you too bad.
    And it’s not about just seeing to your own needs. If you actually care about the person you are having sex with, then you want to make it as enjoyable and as safe an experience for them as possible. If that involves learning a few things about the mechanics of sex, and thinking about a few things ahead of time, then so be it.
    So George, why don’t you think about a few things before the next time you have sex. I’m sure “Rosie” will appreciate it.

  • Rob Smith

    As many 17 year olds are ready to deal with those particular “consequences of sex” as there are 50 year olds who are to deal with those particular “consequences of sex”.
    Larry–It’s statements like this that convince me that you really are an idiot. It doesn’t surprise me that in your circles there are a lot of 50 year-olds that act 17, but in mine 50 year-olds act like, well 50 year-olds and have the experience to more effectively deal with complex situations. Perhaps that’s why we let 50 year-olds do a lot more things than 17 year-olds, you know like drink alcohol, purchase firearms, drive after midnight, go to X-rated movies, etc.
    Boonton–Here in Maryland, we just had a judge shut down a sex-ed course in Montgomery County that was closer to the Cosmo version than the “clinical” version.
    Boy, we’ve really gone a long way from discussing how comprehensive condom warning labels should be to talking about how detailed (or graphic) sex-ed in schools should be. Amazing how a thread can drift.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So it would appear the system is working as it is supposed to work. Why do we need a special law for condom labels again?

  • Rob Smith

    Boonton–What I get from the cited article is that the Congressman is trying to make the FDA label condoms according to existing law (passed in 2000), not trying to pass new legislation regarding the matter.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So the argument is that the FDA is in violation of the existing law? Make the case for an injunction then. I notice that no one has addressed the other obvious question I asked, why not simply sue the condom makers? If, as Joe said, this is about ‘preventing STDs’ then obviously there are people with STDs & unwanted pregnancies today because these super new labels are not in place. Why not have some trial lawyers find a few of these victims and sue condom manufacturers? You can do the same with abortion & the allagations of ‘post abortion syndrome’ or whatnot.
    Perhaps the reason this isn’t done is that there are no real victims here. This is simply grandstanding for the religious right and it should be called out as such.

  • Mike O

    Hey, I’m all for sex education. It worked in Uganda. They taught abstinence and are the only country in Africa where aids has declined significantly. I caught Ashley Judd on TV the other day telling her experiences in the field in the fight against aids. She started as one who wanted to distribute condoms(they are more effective against aids than say herpes or HPV) with little regard for abstinence education.
    As she visited villages and towns and attended abstinence classes her mind was changed. She still was in favor of condom distribution but now she is pro-abstinence education. She seemed struck at how many young people simply needed to hear that abstinence was OK or even good to decide to take that path. Most of our new STD’s are viral and have no cure. With herpes and HPV come reproductive problems and higher risk of cancer. Unlike Boonton, I see victims. Everyone who has had their life effected by an STD because they thought “safe sex” was safe.

  • Larry Lord

    Mike O
    “She still was in favor of condom distribution but now she is pro-abstinence education.”
    You mean abstinence-only indoctrination which omits facts about the availability and utility of condoms?
    I assume you do, otherwise your statement does not makes sense.

  • Larry Lord

    Rob
    “50 year-olds and have the experience to more effectively deal with complex situations. Perhaps that’s why we let 50 year-olds do a lot more things than 17 year-olds, you know like drink alcohol, purchase firearms, drive after midnight, go to X-rated movies, etc.”
    We let 18 year olds do those things too. What’s the big difference in ability to “effectively deal with complex situations” between an 18 year old and a 17 year old?
    Stop kidding yourself Rob. The fact is that many 17 year olds are more capable of dealing with many situations than their parents are.
    It wasn’t too long ago when people routinely married before they turned 18. Are you seriously suggesting that the reason “American society” frowns on that practice now is because we’ve suddenly realized that humans under 18 years old are not “emotionally ready” for sex and its consequences?
    That is absurd.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    “Boonton, I see victims. Everyone who has had their life effected by an STD because they thought “safe sex” was safe. ”
    You are unable to show me one victim of poorly labeled condoms, period.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    As far as public policy goes: On one side of the spectrum you have abstinence and on the other risky sex. Very few people remain for long in either extreme. Abstinence education may delay the onset of sexual activity but the fact remains that in the US very few of us marry as virgins (Jessica Simpson noted as an exception). On the flip side, very few people engage in non-stop risky sex all the time ala Jack from Three’s Company.
    I’ll grant that abstinence is obviously 100% safe and I’ll assume we all agree that risky sex is unsafe. To the degree that this policy increases abstinence it will be beneficial as far as disease is concerned. To the degree that it simply stops condom use without stopping sex it will be a diaster (by my calculations from the article it sounds like the chance of getting AIDS in a year of sex with someone who has it is 50% without a condom 1% with a condom…pregnancy is something like 80%).
    To be frank the potential gain here is very slim. The population that may move from condom use to abstinence are probably not very far on the ‘wild’ side of the spectrum to begin with so the benefit in terms of fewer dieases will be slim. On the downside even causing a few people to ditch condoms but continue sex is likely to dramatically increase diseases & unwanted pregnancies.
    From a truely conservative POV this sounds like a very bad policy.
    The ‘let’s have all the information’ argument is weak as well. We already have seen condom labels are honest and accurate. Anyone whose behavior will be changed by specific knowledge of how condoms do against lesser known STD’s or studies of failure rates is probably already motivated enough to seek out the specific information which is readily available. So it is not very convincing to argue that this is going to be providing people with a lot of useful information.
    Another problem with the information/education argument is that it ignores the fact that processing information is not cost free. Every time you add more information to something the more diluted the stuff that is relevant to you becomes. Before more boilerplate is added to a warning you have to ask yourself if you are doing nothing more than killing your signal to noise ratio.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Just to clarify that last bit, abstinence education may work to the degree that it delays the onset of sexual activity…in general older people tend to be more responsible than younger ones so on average if the onset of activity went from 17 to 20 people probably would behave a bit more responsibly.
    The question though is whether sex is safer with condom use or without condom use. It is undeniably safer. The objection here seems to be a mythical demographic that is bordering between sexual activity with condoms and abstinence for whom a false sense of protection from the pappolina virus is the tipping point!

  • Gordon Mullings

    H’mm
    Ran back across this on checking to see why the forum does not work and on seeing there is no link to the forum from the blog main page and continuation pages.
    Think a few facts may be of help:
    1] Probabilities
    Over the past 20 yrs or so, I have seen consistent estimates that IN USE condoms fail for one reason or other some 10% of the time. (THis includes user error by novices, but that is exactly relevant to the case in view. It is a truism that recruits shoot 90% on the firing range but after being seasick and shooting at those shooting back, that falls to about 10%! In hunting circles I think they talk about buck fever.)
    If condoms are used 10 times with a 10% failure rate, the average chance that the user has been protected all ten times falls to 90% of 90% . . . ten times over, or 35%. That is roughly the same as playing Russian Roulette with two empty chambers out of six, if the environment is sufficiently risky!
    I’ll bet that that calculation is not in the educational materials: exposure can overwhelm protective effects, so the real issue is to AVOID EXPOSURE, i.e. to walk away from trouble.
    2] The Case of Uganda
    In 1986, Museveni sent 60 of his top officers to CUba for training, and Castro broke some bad news: 18 of them had HIV/AIDS. He was about to lose his officer corps to AIDS!
    That was a wake-up call, and he and his wife spearheaded a campaign to counter the threat. Use-a-condom was not going to work in Uganda, and they came up — in concert with Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders — with the ABC campaign, symbolised by skulls and coffins.
    A: ABSTAIN if not in a stable, faithful relationship. THis is the best path for the young.
    B: Be faithful to one’s spouse — and here, the point is that most Ugandans marry at 17 – 19, maybe we need to rethink our own approach?
    C: Condoms — if you insist on risky behaviour, using condoms is better than nothing; but here is how you can find help to get out of high-risk occupations and behaviour patterns.
    The result, probably helped by the appalling and obvious death rate from AIDS, was that from the late 1980s to 2000+, HIV/AIDS rates plunged, from ~ 15% to ~ 5 – 6%. That is, we saw a social vaccine effect emerge, as the community consensus shifted decisively against destructive behaviour.
    This is the only major success case, but as Ted Green reports, it is now being overwhelmed by the PC thinking and funding of the international AIDS industry. Even studies appear to be suppressed!
    3] But also
    HPV is the missing issue: it is spread by shedding skin and condoms offer no protection. In the USA, more women have died from the cervical cancer this fosters than from HIV!
    But, on this, there is silence, because it does not fit with the use a condom theme. So, there is no international outcry on HPV!
    Over the past few months, when I and other co-hosts highlighted these facts and concerns locally on a weekly radio talk show, we saw just how hard an uphill battle the truth has on this!
    Okay
    $ 0.02
    Gordon

  • Rob Smith

    Larry–We don’t let 18 year olds drink alcohol or purchase handguns (at least in Maryland). We make people wait to 21 to do so and there is a significant difference in maturity between 17 (or even 18) and 21.
    The fact is that many 17 year olds are more capable of dealing with many situations than their parents are.
    Bit of a non-sequitor, eh Larry. In the last Karate tournament I competed in, I was in the 17-38 year old Black Belt division. I’m 38 and believe me the 18 year old I competed against ran me ragged, so I guess he was more capable of dealing with that situation, but that’s not what we’re talking about, is it? Do you really want to make the case that a typical 17 year-old is more mentally or emotionally mature than a typical 30 year-old (let alone a 50 year-old), and better able to handle the stress of marriage, parenthood, or serious illness, for example?

  • Rob Smith

    Gordon–I think that lower marriage ages work best in the type of tribal society you are likely to find in Africa; where you have parents, grandparents, etc. all in the same village to help young married couples deal with the stress of a new marriage. I am not sure it would work in our society where a couple would be lucky to have one set of parents in the same town/city, let alone the same neighborhood.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    If condoms are used 10 times with a 10% failure rate, the average chance that the user has been protected all ten times falls to 90% of 90% . . . ten times over, or 35%. That is roughly the same as playing Russian Roulette with two empty chambers out of six, if the environment is sufficiently risky!
    If condoms fail 10% of the time then having sex with a condom ten times would be equal to having sex without a condom one time. In other words, condoms make 10 sexual encounters equilivant to one in terms of risk. Still a dramatic drop.
    This also leads to the issue of what is causing that ‘real life’ failure rate. Some of it is no doubt due to people not using condoms correctly which can be corrected by proper instruction. some of it, though, is probably due to people purposefully misuing condoms. For example, some people choose to leave the condom off for a bit and then only put it on right before orgasm. These people probably know they are not using the condoms in an optimal manner but they choose to avail themselves of only a portion of its protection. Is that the condoms’ fault???
    But, on this, there is silence, because it does not fit with the use a condom theme. So, there is no international outcry on HPV!
    Hmmmm,
    http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=12595&hed=Glaxo+Plans+Five+Vaccines

    The most eagerly anticipated among the Rixensart, Belgium-based center

  • Rob Smith

    Boonton–I think a very strong case could be made for raising the age to 25, but I would hate to legislate it. I sure it won’t surprise to here that I would choose A over C, especially for teens.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    You’re correct regarding teens however if one had to be excluded I would exclude A. The risk of doing it without C is just too high (as I pointed out, using Gordon’s numbers the ‘slut’ that uses condoms has the same risk profile as the ‘girl next door’ who has unprotected sex on only a few rare occassions). Obviously for older adults the B becomes more important because you don’t want to have to spend a lot of time worrying about protecting yourself from your partner and most people will not choose A over their lifetime.

  • http:mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    I like how the “safe sex” types claim that all opposition to their sort of religious hedonism is “ideological.” You think that they do not want teens having sex for ideological reasons? If you think that they don’t actually want that, then you’ve never debated them. Their ideology is illustrated in European nations in which the age of consent is made as low as 14.
    “Safe sex” should really be called “safer sex” by religious hedonists or “Well, it’s sort of safer if it doesn’t create behavioral adaptations and if you make more careful decisions about how you have sex than your decision to engage in it. Wait, we’re back to the same issues brought up in abstinence of self-control and responsibility. We might have to make a discrimination about this soon. Judgment? Run, run for your lives!”
    Behavioral adaptations, etc.:

    There are three ways in which a large increase in condom use could fail to affect disease transmission. First, condom promotion appeals more strongly to risk-averse individuals who contribute little to epidemic transmission. Second, increased condom use will increase the number of transmissions that result from condom failure. Third, there is a risk-compensation mechanism: increased condom use could reflect decisions of individuals to switch from inherently safer strategies of partner selection or fewer partners to the riskier strategy of developing or maintaining higher rates of partner change plus reliance on condoms. A Canadian study cited by Wilden (Wilde GJS. Target Risk. PDE Publications, 1994.) showed that televised AIDS messages from the Ontario Ministry of Health made respondents more inclined to use condoms and less inclined to avoid casual sexual partners. A US study showed that women taught to negotiate condom use with their partners had no change in incidence of sexually transmitted disease compared with controls, with a trend to an increase in such diseases. (Cohen DA, Dent C, MacKinnon D, Hahn G. Condoms for men, not women: results of brief promotion programs. Sex Transm Dis 1991; 19: 245-51.)

    A vigorous condom-promotion policy could increase rather than decrease unprotected sexual exposure, if it has the unintended effect of encouraging greater sexual activity (figure 3). [….Edit for space, but there’s an interesting graph illustrating:] Point C shows that if, as a result of condom promotion and availability, the mean number of episodes of sexual intercourse per soldier increased from two to three, the benefit of increasing condom use from 50% to 70% would be lost. Point D shows that a doubling of acts of sexual intercourse (from two to four) would lead to a substantial (35%) increase in the amount of unprotected sex if condom use is increased to 70%. Point E shows that condom uptake would need to increase to at least 81% to bring the level of unprotected sex back to baseline. Points A to E relate to a baseline situation of 10% condom use. In this case, to reduce the total number of unprotected sexual acts, condom use must increase to at least 44% if the total number of acts increases by 50%, and to at least 61% if the total number of acts doubles. …. These findings can be generalised.

    (The Lancet; 355 (9201): 400-403
    January 29, 2000
    Condoms and seat belts: the parallels and the lessons
    Department of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Royal
    Free and University College Medical School,
    The Mortimer Market Centre, Mortimer Market,
    London WC1E 6AU, UK
    Richens, John; Imrie, John; Copas, Andrew)
    In other words, people may put on a seat belt and feeling more secure they drive faster…but the analogy does not hold very well because there is a stronger desire in most to have sex more and to engage in more risky behaviors there than there is for people to drive faster. Yet if you begin having sex with more people, with condoms, you are still engaging in risky behavior patterns, only now with an increasingly false sense of security.

  • http:mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    By the way, news from Asia (today?) has it that researchers have developed a vaccine for HIV.

  • http:mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    Yep. Here it is.
    Japan:

    A durable new drug that prevents HIV from entering human cells and causes almost no side effects has been developed by a team of researchers at Kumamoto University.
    The new drug, code named AK602, was reported by the research team’s leader, Hiroaki Mitsuya, at the International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific in Kobe on Tuesday.
    The drug’s main feature is that it shuts out the AIDS virus at the point when it tries to intrude into a human cell.

    (New drug blocks HIV from entering cells
    07/07/2005
    The Asahi Shimbun)
    (Continue Reading)

  • Gordon Mullings

    H’mm
    I am pleased to see the seriousness of the discussion overnight!
    Hopefuly there is good news on treating/preventing cervical cancer and on HIV.
    However, the fact that both are viral and the point that HPV already has several varieties suggests that we would face the problem of an ever-mutating virus, simiar to the common cold.
    In short, pointing out material facts is NOT a red herring. (In particular the silence on HPV is a telling issue.)
    On other points:
    1] Exposure and cumulative risk
    My calculation was for illustrative purposes, and its point is that cumulatively exposure overwhelms protection that is less than 100%. (One of the reasons for the rapid spread of HIV in the homosexual subculture has been the appallingly high rates of promiscuity, involving up to hundreds of often anonymous partners per year. The story of “Patient Zero” the one-man epidemic, is an all too telling case in point.)
    Since the failure rate is relatively high in praxis, this point comes faster than one thinks. In short, promiscuity and lack of control over behaviour are a key part of the problem, not something to simply find a workaround for.
    Thus, an emphasis on chastity and fidelity goes tot he root of the issue.
    2] Early Marriage
    I did not cite the point that Ted Green also made: the early marriage pattern in Uganda is actually not paralleled in Kenya an evidently similar society. That suggests that it is in part a response to the HIV threat.
    I take the point that supportive networks are important for survival of marriages, but there may be an underlying issue too. It seems 17 – 19 yos in Uganda may just plain be a lot more mature than in the W. Growing up on a farm with hardships and a strict disciplinary regime, anyone?
    It may well be that for survival, we will have to revert to older patterns of marriage and family life. (In part, the early Victorian attitude to promiscuity was driven by the prevalence of STDs, especially Syphillis. Chastity and fidelity were critical to SURVIVAL!)
    Okay
    Gordon

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton:
    I see:
    We’ve been down this road before with Gordon. Sadly Gordon is a evangelical relativist. He doesn’t believe in an absolute truth, he believes he can make up any ‘facts’ he desires that fit his ideology of the moment.
    This is an outright LIE, and you know it, STOP it!!!
    FYI, I do believe in absolute truth, e.g. that error exists: it is undeniably true. So, we strive for objective truth, that which has been tested and is at least provisionally established.
    It also is more accurate to say that you have not liked the implications of the objectively grounded facts and logic I have put forward, and have found it easier to, e.g. retreat into speculative metaphysics on cosmology rather than face the point that we observe, just one fine tuned cosmos of finite extent in time and matter: i.e. it opens the door to the question that the cosmos is created by an intelligent creator, and that life is a similar artifact.
    I did not make up those facts and their implications, Boonton. Nor did I make up the implications of the relevant statistical thermodynamics; and in case you have forgotten, I fully engaged the infinite array of sub-cosmi speculations you and others raised.
    Nor, have I made up the basic implications of exposure in a context where condoms are materially less than 100% effective in praxis. Nor, did I make up the implications of the viral nature of HIV and HPV: mutations to the code that may make vaccines in effect much less than a magic bullet.
    Ad hominems are the last resort of those who cannot engage the merits on facts and logic.
    Cho man do betta dan dat!
    GEM

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    First, condom promotion appeals more strongly to risk-averse individuals who contribute little to epidemic transmission. Second, increased condom use will increase the number of transmissions that result from condom failure.
    The sentence this quote started with was “there are three ways in which a large increase in condom use could fail to affect disease transmission.” The first point here is only makes sense if risk-averse individuals who were avoiding sex start to have sex because condoms make it less risky. Using Gordon’s numbers, it takes ten times as many condom protected sex acts to equal the risk profile for each unprotected sex act. Will condoms really make people have sex ten times as much as they currently do????
    The second is nonsense. Transmissions caused by condom failures are really caused by the sex. If every cop is given a bullet proof vest then the number of cops who die from gun wounds while wearing vests will increase. Likewise if everyone starts to wear seatbelts then the number of accidents with seat belt wearers will also increase. It hardly follows, though, that the vests or the seat belts were a bad policy.
    The third reason is a simple restatement of the risk of moral hazaard. The increased safety is wasted by an increase in risky behavior. For example, knowing you have fire insurance causes you to neglect keeping your business free of flamable items.
    Does it happen? I’m sure it does but the question is the increase in risky behavior sufficient to offset the decrease in risk from any single act? If condoms fail 10% of the time then that means in order to offset the protection of condoms a person must have 9 additional sex acts for every act they had before they started using condoms. While this might be true of some populations it seems odd to think that women & the mainstream population has increased their sexual activity by a factor of ten!

    It also is more accurate to say that you have not liked the implications of the objectively grounded facts and logic I have put forward, and have found it easier to, e.g. retreat into speculative metaphysics on cosmology….

    Ok, Gordon tells us that the HPV virus has been ignored because only abstainence offers serious protection & that conflicts with a pro-sex world view of activists. I, performing a simple Google search, indicate that HPV has received a lot of attention from activists & several companies are on the verge of launching a vaccine to protect against it…in fact the only enemies of stopping HPV are a small group of radical conservatives. I’m not going to reopen the whole ID/Creationism/Cosmology debate we had with Gordon here but I’ll simply note that Gordon’s baseless assertion was quickly laid bare.
    Nor, have I made up the basic implications of exposure in a context where condoms are materially less than 100% effective in praxis. Nor, did I make up the implications of the viral nature of HIV and HPV: mutations to the code that may make vaccines in effect much less than a magic bullet.
    Vaccines, like condoms, are not a magic bullet. Even vaccines that appear to be suitable for solving the problem (like the one for polio) often do not in the real world because it takes hard work and money to ensure a sufficient portion of the population at risk is given the vaccine. However your assertion was that HPV was being ignored because activists do not want to address a disease whose only solution is abstaince. The facts are that HPV has not been ignored. Now to address cumulative probability:

    My calculation was for illustrative purposes, and its point is that cumulatively exposure overwhelms protection that is less than 100%. (One of the reasons for the rapid spread of HIV in the homosexual subculture has been the appallingly high rates of promiscuity, involving up to hundreds of often anonymous partners per year. The story of “Patient Zero” the one-man epidemic, is an all too telling case in point.)

    Indeed however the population that is having sex with hundreds of anonymous partners per year is on the extreme end of the bell curve. A bullet proof vest, for example, would not have saved those at the Alamo who were getting shot at by many many enemies!
    However this analysis is deeply flawed. First of all the extreme population is very small so it is foolish to examine an attempt to control an epidemic solely on their risk profile. Widespread implication of a policy that cuts the transmission rate of HIV by 90% would dramatically reduce the number of people infected each year. That would reduce the risk to those with conventional sexual habits and it would even reduce the risk to those with extreme sexual habits. Do the math, say the chance of getting HIV from an infected person is 50% without a condom and 5% with a condom. If you have a 100 different partners per year (if you’re having hundreds of anonymous partners it is kind of odd to think you’re not going to have any repeats) then calculate the odds of getting HIV if 40% of those partners have it? Now calculate the odds if only 20% or 5% have it?
    Remember there are many diseases that spread by casual contact (such as smallpox). What is required to stop them is not some discovery of something that offers 100% protection but only something that makes the rate of new infections smaller than the rate of those who either recover or die. I don’t think there is any infectious disease you can name that we have discovered a 100% form of protection for (and as you point out viruses and bacteria evolve to find ways around vaccines, antibiotics, and treatments)…yet there’s been plenty of progress in the last hundred years in controling infectious disease.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton
    Interesting how you select what you wish to respond to. You have been caught in an outright lie, claiminf that I habitually make up false facts and reject the concept that the truth is not relative to persons; and duck that in order to play with yet another misrepresentation:
    I’m not going to reopen the whole ID/Creationism/Cosmology debate we had with Gordon here but I’ll simply note that Gordon’s baseless assertion was quickly laid bare.
    –> The point on the issue you do not wish to revisit is that you have deliberately misrepresented me as can easily be checked by going back tothe relevant threads.
    –> ON the new one: I think it is fair comment to note that HPV (and a lot of other STDs) have NOT received anywhere near the attention of HIV because they do not fit well with the use a condom scenario. Your note on the recent work on HPV vaccines and on the existence of some publicity on HPV simply fails to address the point. (Inddeed, I am old enough to recall that at the end of the 70’s it was going to be Hepatitis B that was going to get the full press treatment, but then HIV came along. It is indisputable that HIV has got far more attention and effort and funds than many other diseases that over the period to the 70s have killed a lot more people. That is a common complaint of public health officials. The reason is politics, and HPV is only one of many diseases that have received a lot less attention than they would otherwise have.)
    –> And, on the significance of that agenda, I invite lurkers to have a sober look at what leading researcher Ted Green has to say about the rise and now decline of Uganda’s highly successful and quite low cost ABC campaign [carried out with little or no international backing] — especially the hostility the facts — yes, facts — met with. Just go use a search engine and see for yourself.
    You then followed up with a further smear:
    Vaccines, like condoms, are not a magic bullet . . . However your assertion was that HPV was being ignored because activists do not want to address a disease whose only solution is abstaince
    –> Now, plainly a quick look at the above thread will show that I spoke to BOTH points: (1) that HPV is not the global issue HIV is, and in part that is because it does not fit a favoured profile, and (2) the response highlighted by you [they have found a vaccins] may be of only limited effect because viruses tend to mutate so vaccination campaigns may not work very well in the end. [Cf the problem with flu from year to year]
    But it is evidently of little use to try to get you to refrain from ad hominems, distortions and distractions.
    Back to the main point: people are NOT being informed adequately about the risks they are running with HIV/AIDS, and the most successful real world campaign that has dealt with it has precisely targetted an empahasis on ABSTINENCE and FIRELITY, not condoms. But, as can be seen from the reports by Ted Green that is not a PC solution and it has met with a withering hostility to the point where even in Uganda it has now taken a back seat.
    That is a shameful, agenda-driven record, and it underscores Joe’s point in the main post.
    $ 0.02
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    I see I should add a further point:
    Boonton: the population that is having sex with hundreds of anonymous partners per year is on the extreme end of the bell curve. .
    –> THe big problem with this is that those are exactly the vectors that may drive the epidemic process in the relevant population.
    –> In the case of Patient Zero, as a web search will reveal, he was an Air Canada Steward who played a critical role int he emergence of the HIV epidemic in the male homosexual community, which CDC statistics still show is very highly over-represented in the overall US HIV statistics.
    In short, even one individual at the extremeum of the bell curve may have a very disproportionate overall impact. (THis dynamic was first brought to my attention in the 80’s, by a medical doctor friend. Up to that time I had no idea there was such a thing as a population of people who had upwards of 300 sex partners per year. Also, the recent scare about rapid onset HIV/AIDS was driven by the crystal meth subculture which unfortunately exhibits similar patterns.)
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    ALL:
    I have no real desire to get into a long back-forth on HIV/AIDS, so I will make a couple of closing off notes for those interested in following up.
    1] Key Links
    –> A few months back, the local Let’s Talk radio show looked into the issues on HIV/AIDS, Uganda etc. THe key points are here: http://www.angelfire.com/pro/kairosfocus/resources/SafEST_Sex.htm
    –> AN excellent “food for thought” excerpt is this note from Jamaican columnist Martin Henry, in response to Marvin Gunter of the Red Cross’ attempt to blame the churches in the Caribbean for the spreading of HIV/AIDS:

    The cold truth which the AIDS industry, Marvin Gunter, and the rest of us must soberly confront is that, barring a scientific or divine miracle, this most dreadful pandemic is set to run its devastating epidemiological course, which has been already determined by past human choices. If not divine judgement, AIDS certainly is largely a consequence of anti-Christian sexual behaviour . . . . The surest protection for the uninfected individual is chastity and fidelity. Whatever else it may do by way of response to the crisis, the Church, in the teeth of antagonism sharpened by desperation, must preach this loudly and clearly without compromise but with the spirit of compassion and practical care for those already fallen

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS I could go on adding excerpts all day, but I think that would be counter-productive. I will however link to one source on the 10% failure rate statistic:
    http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/176/67
    Here is an excerpt, on the 10% figure:

    A draft report for the UN’s AIDS agency found that even when people use condoms consistently, the failure rate for protection against HIV is an estimated 10 percent (10%), making them a larger risk than portrayed by many advocate groups.
    The final study, published by the United Nations AIDS agency (UNAIDS) shows that condoms are ineffective in protecting against HIV an estimated 10% of the time. . . . The report examined two decades of scientific literature on condoms, and UNAIDS says that lead author Norman Hearst “makes a cogent argument that we should be talking about safer sex, not safe sex, with condoms.” [emphasis added] The Boston Globe quotes Edward Green, a senior research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, saying the one in 10 failure rate of condoms protection from AIDS is “not good enough for a fatal disease.” He said, “The way condoms are marketed in Africa and other develping parts of the world is as if they were 100 percent safe. Condoms have brand names like Shield and Protector that give the impression that they are 100 percent safe.” Aside from AIDS, condoms are also known to provide even less protection from a variety of other sexually transmitted diseases. [John Donnelly, Globe Staff 6/22/03; LifeSiteNews.com, 23Jun03; L. Benn]. . . .
    Scientific NIH Condom Report (released 20July01) [“Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention”, NIH, the FDA, the CDC, & USAID; http://www.niaid.nih.gov/dmid/stds/condomreport.pdf; The report was developed by a scientific panel of 28 experts who collaborated to examine over 138 peer-reviewed, published studies on condom effectiveness in the transmission of STDs] . . . The researchers found no proof available from these studies that could be interpreted as “proof of adequacy” that condoms are effective in preventing the spread of the primary STDs that represent 98% of all cases . . . Of the eight major STDs examined by the panel (HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, chancroid, trichomoniasis, herpes simplex II [HSV], & human papilloma virus [HPV]), condoms were not found to provide universal protection against any of them . . .
    The panel of researchers found just two areas of effectiveness, both of which were significantly limited:
    * The heterosexual transmission of HIV and

  • Gordon Mullings

    PPS: I had a further thought or two, which lead me to note below on an example of how the rhetoric has been applied in this thread and else where.
    1] Cases in point
    –> FIrst, I commented on HPV initially as follows:

    HPV is the missing issue: it is spread by shedding skin and condoms offer no protection. In the USA, more women have died from the cervical cancer this fosters than from HIV!
    But, on this, there is silence, because it does not fit with the use a condom theme. So, there is no international outcry on HPV!

    –> The first rebuttal was to do a GOogle search and cite links. THIS ACTUALLY MAKES MY CASE. FOr, my point obviously is not an absolute silence but a relative one [as happens when the noonday sun drowns out the light of the stars in the sky], as is shown by my comment on the lack of an international outcry. (If there had been an absolute silence, I could not have heard about HPV, obviously, so I think a little reasonableness about context would have been in order.)
    –> But, why is it that Boonton had to do a web search to pull up basic and important news on HPV? ANS: brecause there is hardly any major media attention to it, never mind the point that HPV arguably kills more women than HIV in the US, through Cervical Cancer.
    –> SImilarly, Joe’s post is about the question of more accurate condom labelling, and there is resistance to such despite a law that mandates same since 2000. WHy? Because the big focus is that condoms “protect” against HIV [cf above!] so the reservations on the fact are not to be headlined, lest people are “confused” with the facts.
    –> ALso, the case of Uganda and the success of a properly balanced ABC strategy is not fairly reported in the media. Indeed, at a recent AIDS conference [there are no annual international headline grabbing HPV conferences] a Ugandan student brought as an exemplar of the A component was subjected to a shameful public grilling by “experts.” Why? Again, because it does not fit the agenda.
    2] THe underlying strategy
    –> What then is happening rhetorically? Simple: We are looking at the relative credibility of sources, so the resort is being made to ad hominems, straw men and red herrings to distract attention from material points that do not support a desired agenda. But, lives are at stake, so the time for rhetorical games is long past.
    3] ANd on naturalism . . .
    –> On the related issue of the back-forth on fine-tuned cosmology, the informational molecules of life etc, similarly, a distraction is being made from the key points:
    (1)naturalistic advocates have had to retreat to an infinite array of unobserved sub-universes to avoid the implications of cosmic fine tuning and the statistical thermodynamics of the origin of life,
    (2) they have had no credible basis for why our minds should be trusted, given the implicit determinism of naturalism,
    (3) they have ducked the implication of the underlying point that naturalism is actually a philosophical worldview rather than scientifically established facts of origins: it should be assesed on comparative difficulties relative to live options such as theism, on factual adequacy, logical coherence and explanatory power vs ad hocness.
    (4) Naturalism does not at all stand up well, especially on 2 given its determinism and the implication that what we think is controlled by random and blind forces irrelevant to truth or validity.
    (5) NAturalism also undermines the value of the individual human being, so we move from a sanctity of life ethics to a quality of life ethics, thence the concept of life not worth living and the consequences Schaeffer long ago pointed out: abortion, infanticide, euthanasia. These predictions are now sadly all coming true with a vengeance.
    OKay
    GEM

  • Rob Smith

    Hard to believe this thread is still alive. It seems like the conventional wisdom is that condoms have a 10% failure rate. Would we tolerate that type of failure rate if we were taking about airbags, seatbelts, or bulletproof vests? I can’t imagine we would. Personally, I work on the F/A-18 program, if it were found that the ejection seat on an F/A-18 had a failure rate of even 1%, people would go to jail, there is no way it would be tolerated. So why are some willing to tolerate a 10% failure rate for condoms? Is it because it is more important that we encourage young people to have sex than it is to try to save their lives?

  • Gordon Mullings

    Hi Rob
    H’mm . . .
    You should see some of the threads going back to APril 7. One I think ran for six weeks! (Thus, my summary above.)
    You have asked an excellent question. I’d like to see a good, factually adequate, balanced, truthful and fair minded response — not more rhetorical games playing. IN particular, such a response should not only engage condom failure statistics for HIV and HPV etc, but also the Uganda case and how the AIDS industry has handled it, AND how the media have handled AIDS over the past 20 – 25 years.
    After all, LIVES are at stake.
    GEM

  • Rob Smith

    This is interesting and topical. The D.C. branch of NARAL is having a “Screw Abstinence” Party. Words fail me.
    http://www.wanaral.org/s01takeaction/200506101.shtml

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    It may well be that for survival, we will have to revert to older patterns of marriage and family life. (In part, the early Victorian attitude to promiscuity was driven by the prevalence of STDs, especially Syphilis. Chastity and fidelity were critical to SURVIVAL!)

    Of course, if you believe this, then I’m sure you must also be a vocal supporter of gay marriage since that is exactly the kind of behavior it would encourage. Correct?

  • Rob Smith

    Patrick–I am not sure that the countries that have approved “gay marriage” have seen a reversion. In fact, I think the opposite has been seen.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    “In fact, I think the opposite has been seen.”
    You are probably comparing apples to oranges in terms of culture. It makes a big difference. For one thing, in those countries you mention, there is little difference in status, prestige,or government benefits between married and un-married couples. So from the point of view of those cultures, there are no great incentives to get married in the first place. Whether you are straight or gay. This I suspect will be quite different in Spain and Canada.
    Incidentally, one example of where condom distribution/education actually did help was in the gay community. That vast differences in rates of infection between now and the 80’s, do represent a condom “success” story to some degree. They were not the single cause of the decline, as education and peer pressure, and simple fear had something to do with it, but there is no doubt that condoms have played a significant role. Any community that starts actually using condoms, where they did not before, will undeniably see a drop in rate of infections by STD’s and unexpected pregnancies.
    Perhaps the best approach would be to be more flexible in sex education toward particular groups within a culture rather than only using one approach for everyone. I suppose that teaching abstinence only to High-School students and younger could be justified that way. But College students and young single people will need a different approach that includes condoms. Yes, even at Bob Jones University. But certainly just telling the kinds of people that populate singles bars to “just say no” isn’t going to work. You should also address cultural differences in groups. The safer-sex education that worked so well in the gay community does not transfer over well into the black community or other groups.
    I think that if you truly want to reduce the transmission of STD’s, you really have to be flexible in the approaches you use. If you are unwilling to do this, then I think it more likely that you think its more important to enforce a code of moral conduct rather than to actually reduce the prevalence of STD’s.
    There is no reason you can’t do both for the most part, but you do have to be willing to compromise in some areas. So far, while the pro-condom people are apparently willing to do that, the abstinence-only people are not, which is to the detriment of the overall goals.

  • Gordon Mullings

    ALL:
    I did a bit of web searching on thre hpv vaccine, and COpernic as usual did a good job. I did find the sort of characterisation that those who were opposing the announced vaccine were backward types, as Boonton says of the politician who he cited above.
    But I also found that the vaccine development is in process, indeed, that there are some 50 strains, of which 16 and 18 are said to cause something like 50% and 20% of cases of cervical cancer. THe vaccine being discussed was for 16, and work was in process for 18; there was talk of a shotgun vaccine to cover the bases. That is, the issue of the mutation of the virus is a very live one.
    I also found a most interesting, food for thought letter from a doctor, to OB/GYN News:

    While I congratulate those who have developed a vaccine that is very effective in preventing the development of cervical dysplasia by human papillomavirus strain 16–purely because of the work and expertise involved–I can’t help but think that we are winning the battle but losing the war (“Vaccine Prevents HPV 16-Linked CIN 2 and 3,” Dec. 1, 2004, p. 1).
    If you think really seriously about this, we offer potential solutions for HPV, but we know that we cannot guarantee protection from all STDs.
    I predict that once an HPV vaccine is released, large numbers of women (and men) will come in for injections, especially if it is promoted through direct-to-consumer advertising. I also believe that unless we are very careful, these patients will consider themselves able to continue unhealthy sexual behavior (more than one lifetime partner), or will feel they can take more risks. This will potentially lend to increases in other STDs in the same patients we believe we are trying to protect!
    The science and ingenuity required to put these vaccines together is fantastic. But when will we all–physicians, researchers, and the public–realize that we need to prevent putting ourselves into harm’s way by not doing dangerous things? During a time when I don’t believe, any parents want to send their children to be potential casualties in the war in Iraq, how is it that we can send a message that potentially makes people feel impervious to STDs?
    Jerome A. Klobutcher, M.D.
    Des Plaines, Ill.

    He has asked a very good question.
    ++++++++
    Patrick
    I see yet another round of ad hominems and red herrings at work:
    I’m sure you must also be a vocal supporter of gay marriage since that is exactly the kind of behavior it would encourage. Correct?
    Of course, this drags a red herring across the issue in the thread, and then implies that I “must” be a hypocrite or worse if I think there are reasons to oppose so-called gay marriages.
    As Rob pointed out, there is a sharp divergence between so-called “Gay marriages” and heterosexual unions, both on the relative degree of fidelity, AND on the durability of the unions. As I recall, the former, on average last somethingf like 1 – 3 years, reflecting a basic instability. Even with high divorce rates [cf below on underlying issue here], marriages on average last a lot longer. That is, we are describing radically different situations and the attempt to usurp an attractive label is looking much like the underlying strategy of the counterfeiter as a weapon of war: cheapen the real thing by passing off what is not as if it were, then destroy the real thing through that cheapening. AND THAT IS THE DECLARED STRATEGY OF MANY GAY MARRIAGE ADVOCATES.
    DO you really want to destroy marriage and stable family life? I come from a country where that has happened. It is notorious for disintegration and violence.
    That pattern of unstable same sex unions does not only obtain in Europe, but also the trend shows up in even the high profile cases in the US. The basic point is, that the motivation is a key issue in the durability of marriage, and the shift to a more self-centered, hedonistic lifestyle is damaging to marriage and its principal object, raising the next generation in a sound environment. THat holds for no-fault divorce and its consequences over the past generation, and it holds fo so-called gay marriages.
    INdeed, the biology of maleness and femaleness is obvious, so obvious that it is highly unsurprising to see that attempts to identify a so-called gay gene to date have uniformly failed when subjected to serious peer review.
    That is there is no substantial foundation for the concept that our sexuality is out of our control, including not only homo/hetero, or chastity and fidelity vs promiscuity [including serial promiscuity by gooing from one parner tot he next across time] to subjecting the young to a public bombardment of messages that are demonstrably unhealthy.
    ON the question of whether condoms have had some effect, I have no doubt they have (though the failure rates especially for novice users with buck fever should give us pause); but that has nothing to do with the implications of the failure rate for the victims of such failures. Nor does it detract from the basic point: chastity and fidelity, as Uganda demonstrates, are feasible and obviously essentially 100% effective when tried — as the early Victorians discovered.
    Nor do I advocate “abstinence only” education, but rather point out that the Uganda approach works very well: stress A and B, point out that if you insist on high risk behaviour [and in countries with the HIV infection rates in question, a comparison to the US is chalk to cheese!) C is better than nothing, but the best solution is to switch to A and/or B. Ted Green documents how fast that cuts incidence rates and leads to a social vaccine against HIV, HPV and a lot of other STDs.
    C-heavy or C-only, the typical approaches I have seen on the ground here in the Caribbean, suppress the truth and even oppose it: cf how the Uganda case has been treated by the international AIDS industry and the major media.
    Again, kindly think again as lives are at stake, and moral hazard is not just a concept to be brushed aside with a quip or two, backed up by caricatures and an ad hominems.
    THink again: LIVES ARE AT STAKE
    GEM

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    –> And, on the significance of that agenda, I invite lurkers to have a sober look at what leading researcher Ted Green has to say about the rise and now decline of Uganda’s highly successful and quite low cost ABC campaign [carried out with little or no international backing] — especially the hostility the facts — yes, facts — met with. Just go use a search engine and see for yourself.
    Odd, when Gordon first mentioned Uganda that’s what he wrote. Now he writes:
    Back to the main point: people are NOT being informed adequately about the risks they are running with HIV/AIDS, and the most successful real world campaign that has dealt with it has precisely targetted an empahasis on ABSTINENCE and FIRELITY, not condoms. But, as can be seen from the reports by Ted Green that is not a PC solution and it has met with a withering hostility to the point where even in Uganda it has now taken a back seat.
    He bristles at my accusation of him being a relativist but notice how he silently dropped the C part of the Uganda campaign to pretend it was just an AB one?
    –> Now, plainly a quick look at the above thread will show that I spoke to BOTH points: (1) that HPV is not the global issue HIV is, and in part that is because it does not fit a favoured profile, and (2) the response highlighted by you [they have found a vaccins] may be of only limited effect because viruses tend to mutate so vaccination campaigns may not work very well in the end. [Cf the problem with flu from year to year]
    It is true that HPV is not given the attention that HIV is given but there are several very good reasons for this:
    HIV almost always leads to a fatal disease (AIDS) which at best can only be kept at bay by an expensive, complicated and difficult to administer medication program with numerous side effects (leave aside the very small number of lucky people who seem to have a gentic mutation that keeps them immune to developing AIDS). From http://health.yahoo.com/centers/mens/50.html, to begin with half the population with HPV *(men)* will experience no direct ill health effects from it except possibly genital warts. Most of the other half of the population (women) will not get cervical cancer. For those that do near all cases can be prevented by regular pap smears. A huge portion of the population can have HPV without society seeing any serious damage (estimates indicate that over 50% of sexually active people will have some form of HPV. Since most people in the US are eventually sexual active this is almost like saying half of the US will have HPV.) In contrast the huge portions of the population in Africa that have HIV are causing major social disruption as population growth rates are turned negative and overall lifespans drop due to the massive amount of deaths caused by AIDS.
    So no HPV is no picnic but it hardly merits being considered equal to HIV. Since HIV is clearly the issue that objectively deserves more attention. You’ll have to show that while HIV deserves more attention it doesn’t deserve as much extra attention as it has been getting and this extra attention is only because activists want to focus on diseases that can be brought in line with a ‘free sex’ policy. Yes some virsus like the flu do elude vaccines however there are others such as the chickenpox, smallpox, various measeles and so on that do not. No doubt if the vaccine Merck spent hundreds of millions developing is only as good as a flu vaccine you should be able to cite it.
    –> But, why is it that Boonton had to do a web search to pull up basic and important news on HPV? ANS: brecause there is hardly any major media attention to it, never mind the point that HPV arguably kills more women than HIV in the US, through Cervical Cancer.
    As you pointed out the difference in attention is relative however HIV merits more attention despite the sound bite you managed to contort by isolating demographics (women in just the US). If it helps matters I do recall reading several articles about HPV including the new vaccine & its contraversy among some conservatives. I do confess, though, that I had to do a google search to provide URL’s. If it helps matters I cannot offer any URL’s on AIDS or HIV without also doing a search. While HIV may have gotten a lot of media attention it has not been sufficient for me to have memorized URL’s of articles about AIDS.
    Interesting what you reveal about HIV:

    * HIV is not easily transmitted

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I predict that once an HPV vaccine is released, large numbers of women (and men) will come in for injections, especially if it is promoted through direct-to-consumer advertising. I also believe that unless we are very careful, these patients will consider themselves able to continue unhealthy sexual behavior (more than one lifetime partner), or will feel they can take more risks. This will potentially lend to increases in other STDs in the same patients we believe we are trying to protect!
    An interesting prediction. Let’s review Gordon’s claims (I assume he approves of the above claim from the doctor).
    1. the media has ignored HPV in favor of HIV.
    2. A vaccine has been developed that appears to do an excellent job of preventing all or nearly all of the forms of HPV that cause cervical cancer.
    3. Parents & patients, knowing their daughters are immune to HPV, will feel they are protected from all STD’s hence feel less of a need to control sexual behavior.
    In Gordon’s world everyone is unaware of HPV but as soon as they are vaccinated they will behave as if HPV was the only STD on the planet?
    Regarding Gay Marriage, Gordon should be careful when he talks about red herrings. If he had his way we’d open this thread up again to an extended debate on naturalism, cosmology and creationism.
    As Rob pointed out, there is a sharp divergence between so-called “Gay marriages” and heterosexual unions, both on the relative degree of fidelity, AND on the durability of the unions. As I recall, the former, on average last somethingf like 1 – 3 years, reflecting a basic instability. Even with high divorce rates [cf below on underlying issue here], marriages on average last a lot longer. That is, we are describing radically different situations and the attempt to usurp an attractive label is looking much like the underlying strategy of the counterfeiter as a weapon of war: cheapen the real thing by passing off what is not as if it were, then destroy the real thing through that cheapening. AND THAT IS THE DECLARED STRATEGY OF MANY GAY MARRIAGE ADVOCATES.
    Before we have talked about the poor wisdom it is in assuming that activists can be trusted to speak on all the implications of a proposed policy change. As a rule, policy changes tend to be first proposed by more radical groups with larger agendas. It remains, though, a fallacy to assert that adopting a policy change is the same thing as adopting the agenda of a particular group that may be advocating it.
    However the comparision here is poor for several reasons:
    1. The useful comparision would be between fidelity in gay marriage unions versus fidelity in non-gay unions. If gay marriages lasted 5 years on average and hetrosexual marriages lasted 15 years on average the result would still be an improvement in terms of reducing promiscuity in gay communities.
    2. This is an apples to oranges comparision. By definition hetrosexual couples that choose marriage are indicating that they are trying to at least give a half serious attempt at a life long commitment. Since no equilivant institution exists for homosexuals it is too soon to make such a comparision. Many hetrosexual couples, for example, do not marry because they are not in what they consider a serious relationship. Since they do not marry they exclude themselves from the average duration of hetrosexual marriage.
    3. What is not taken into account is that various legal institutions are set up to encourage durability among hetrosexuals (despite no fault divorce, a life long commitment to promiscuity can be quite expensive for males considering the potential costs of palimony, alimony, child support and so on) while the opposite exists for homosexual couples. Such institutions make durable hetrosexual unions more likely because partners can feel free to give something up. for example, the woman who gives up her career for a successful husband can be partially compensated if he chooses to cheat. I’m not saying that homosexual couples would be as durable as hetrosexual ones. I suspect on average male-male couples will always probably be less durable than male-female ones no matter what happens with gay marriage in the long run but I also suspect female-female unions would probably outrank even hetro ones in durability. The question isn’t would gay couples become equal to hetro ones but would they become better? Or at least be given the option to become better? Which leads to:
    4. “DO you really want to destroy marriage and stable family life? I come from a country where that has happened. It is notorious for disintegration and violence.”
    Which simply assumes a transmission system rather than illustrating one. Why on earth would hetrosexuals choose to divorce more often or sleep around more simply because gay couples could marry?

    –> THe big problem with this is that those are exactly the vectors that may drive the epidemic process in the relevant population.
    –> In the case of Patient Zero, as a web search will reveal, he was an Air Canada Steward who played a critical role int he emergence of the HIV epidemic in the male homosexual community, which CDC statistics still show is very highly over-represented in the overall US HIV statistics.

    Indeed but the ‘Patient Zero’ types are only really important at the beginning of the epidemic. Patient Zero was operating in the early 1980’s. At this point how many people who have been having 300 different sexual partners a year since the 1980’s are there that do not have HIV? In other words, the ‘Patient Zeros’….whether they are spreading HIV or a flu strain…are good at spreading the virus at the beginning of the epidemic. However, once most of the ‘300 persons a year’ population has been hit the typical encounter with this population ceases to be non-HIV person with HIV person but simply HIV person with HIV person. The rapid pace of new infections dramatically slows down as the virus picks off the ‘low hanging fruit’.
    The question then is would decreasing the transmission rate by 85% be effective? It certainly would for both the extreme ‘300 partners a year’ people as well as the more regular population. Remember when Gordon calculates cumulative risks he is implicitly assuming every sexual encounter is with an HIV positive person. Hence even a 10% risk is huge if it is being taken 300+ times a year. However this has to be modified in light of the fact that many encounters do take place with negative individuals. That reduces the risk even for a highly active person since when the condom breaks they still have a shot that it will be with a negative person.

  • Rob Smith

    Boonton–The F/A-18 ejection seat (actually all US military ejection seats) has a requirment to experience a failure rate of no more than 1 in 1 million. That means when you pull the handle the seat will perform as specified, it doesn’t always mean that the pilot will survive the experience. Ejecting out of an airplane is inherently dangerous, but if the pilot is able to eject within the ejection envelope (i.e. below 50k ft. and 600 knots and generally level) survival rate is above 90%. Can we agree that ejecting out of a high performance tactical aircraft is significantly more dangerous than having sex and that our tolerance for risk is greater for ejecting than ejaculating.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    Wow Gordon, so much misinformation on your part. Where do I start? Really. Your criticisms about the length and durability of gay and lesbian relationships are rather biased, don’t you think? For example, you forget to mention that Lesbian couples actually have a higher rate of monogamy and longevity than heterosexual couples. Rather a glaring omission on your part.

    Indeed, the biology of maleness and femaleness is obvious, so obvious that it is highly unsurprising to see that attempts to identify a so-called gay gene to date have uniformly failed when subjected to serious peer review.

    Yes it is obvious, unfortunately however its not obvious enough for those that have an understanding of biology more informed by stereotypes rather than science.
    Male and female characteristics are not absolute definitions, even for straight people. Both male and female kinds of bodies contain elements of the other within themselves. Physically, emotionally, etc. Why do you think you have breasts? I”m not going to give you the whole speech, I’ve repeated it often enough. You can find it at my website under “The Blood of Eden” The point is that yes, gays and lesbians are entirely capable of the Christian concept of the “one-flesh”.

    …cheapen the real thing by passing off what is not as if it were, then destroy the real thing through that cheapening. AND THAT IS THE DECLARED STRATEGY OF MANY GAY MARRIAGE ADVOCATES.

    Really? Says who exactly? And so what! Thats also the stated purpose of many heterosexuals as well, is it not? And again, so what?. Fred Phelps of “Godhatesfags.com” is a Christian, but should I take his views as representative of all Christians? Or even just of yours?

    DO you really want to destroy marriage and stable family life? I come from a country where that has happened. It is notorious for disintegration and violence.

    So why are you trying to destroy my family? Why should you be given the right to come into my life and rip my children from me? Or prevent me from taking care of my partner and my children? How would you feel if I came into your house and announced that your family and marriage was now VOID? That taking care of each other was now not only to not be given any recognition by any civil authority, but was actually illegal? You are worried about society degenerating into violence. So why do you wish to do such violence to me and my family?
    What would you do to protect your family? What lengths would you go to?
    Do not continue to make the mistake of thinking that I am any different from you.

    Again, kindly think again as lives are at stake, and moral hazard is not just a concept to be brushed aside with a quip or two, backed up by caricatures and an ad hominems.
    THink again: LIVES ARE AT STAKE

    A life without recognition of human dignity or freedom is often not worth living. That may not be in the Bible, or even a Christian idea, but it is an American one.

  • Rob Smith

    Boonton–Where does this presumption that the only thing keeping gays promiscuous is their lack of ability to get a piece of paper from the government sanctifying their relationship come from? Is there something magical about this piece of paper, like some sort of “Scroll of Monogamy”?
    Sometimes I wonder why I waste my time defending marriage (rant coming). What is marriage? Anymore it has devolved into a contractual relationship between 2 (for the moment) people to form a partnership for the purposes of purchasing healthcare and filing taxes. There is no expectation of fidelity or of an intent to procreate. Either of the parties can dissolve the partnership for any reason without the other party’s consent. Legally speaking, a credit card agreement is much more binding than a marriage. What the hell am I fighting for again?

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Ejecting out of an airplane is inherently dangerous, but if the pilot is able to eject within the ejection envelope (i.e. below 50k ft. and 600 knots and generally level) survival rate is above 90%. Can we agree that ejecting out of a high performance tactical aircraft is significantly more dangerous than having sex and that our tolerance for risk is greater for ejecting than ejaculating.
    Let’s say the survival rate is 95%. So ejecting out of an aircraft within the the ejection envelope has a roughly 5% chance of getting hurt or killed. There’s a one in a million chance the ejection system will fail before you even get to roll the dice at 5%.
    There’s roughly a 10% chance that a condom will fail leaving you with a 1 in 500 chance of contracting HIV through hetrosexual intercourse. So the chance of getting HIV through hetrosexual sex with an HIV+ person and using a condom is 0.02%. The chance of getting hurt in an F-18 crash that is able to utilize the ejection seat is 5%. Yes the soldier who screws the prostitute with HIV outside the base is taking less risk than the pilot who crashes in an F-18.
    I agree that since sex is usually optional it makes sense to have less tolerance for risk than in F-18 crashes. But the condom doesn’t make sex risky anymore than the ejection seat adds risk to flying the F-18. Both devices do an excellent job of decreasing and controlling underlying risk and that is how they should be measured. Not by comparing the survival rate of the ejection seat compared to taking up cooking rather than piloting!
    Boonton–Where does this presumption that the only thing keeping gays promiscuous is their lack of ability to get a piece of paper from the government sanctifying their relationship come from? Is there something magical about this piece of paper, like some sort of “Scroll of Monogamy”?
    That isn’t a presumption of mine at all. I noted that the legal institution of marriage *(as well as others)* have made monogamy among straights much easier. Marriage, for example, allows the couple to pool their property together and gives the member with the higher income a stake in preserving the marriage. Why? Because community property is split roughly 50-50 in divorce. In the extreme case the sole income earner enjoys the accumulated wealth of his income inside marriage but if his screwing around causes his wife to leave him he loses access to half of that income (that’s before we even mention alimony and child support). There’s an incentive structure in place for monogamy (or at least appearing like you’re practicing monogamy).
    Now look at the incentives set up for homosexual couples. Sharing property and income is almost impossible without setting up complicated contracts ahead of time. Many rights such as hospital visitation are difficult to set up beforehand & you cannot be sure a hospital or court will respect your directives over the wishes of biological family. In a homosexual couple where one person has less income what payback can be delievered on a cheating partner? Alimony? Palimony? No probably not even community property. So why shouldn’t the partner in the stronger position feel even more emboldened to cheat?
    If it was just a piece of paper then it wouldn’t matter to you Rob. I could just as easily ask what is so magical about a certificate of incorporation or formal partnership agreement at a law firm?

  • Rob Smith

    Boonton–So now we have to incentivize couples to get them to be faithful? How did people stay married before there was health insurance and joint tax filing? Truly a mystery.
    WRT the ejection seat/condom analogy, I think your understanding is faulty. A more accurate comparison would be to compare the odds of an F/A-18 pilot surviving any given flight (as opposed to crashing) with a person having protected sex. Just like every person the our hypothetical slut sleeps with doesn’t have HIV, most F/A-18 flights end with a safe landing (I imagine even fewer than 1 in 500 flights end in a crash). Looking at it from that perspective, we are left with the fact that an ejection seat functions properly 99.9999% of the time, while a condom only functions 90%. Again, I raise the question, why are we willing to accept (especially for children) such a high rate of failure for what is being presented as an essential piece of safety equipment?
    BTW–Proper nomenclature for the Hornet is F/A-18 for fighter/attack. The “F” designator is generally reserved for air superiority aircraft such as the F-15, though in reality that line is getting very blurry since most tactical aircraft have some level of ground attack capability.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    “Boonton–So now we have to incentivize couples to get them to be faithful? How did people stay married before there was health insurance and joint tax filing? Truly a mystery.”
    Ever hear of the shotgun wedding? Before ‘no-fault’ divorce what was there? While it’s romantic to think that everyone stayed together in the 1940’s and 50’s because they were all truely in love and had perfect marriages etc. the reality is that there have always been sticks along with carrorts. It’s interesting to note how often the marriage contract has been tied up with property and finances. Take the concerpt of a Dowery, for example. Not only was it a payment to a man for marrying a woman but it was also a purchase of some minimal level of his faithfulness. After all, the wife’s family was putting their hard earned money into the relationship. In return they expected him to share his wealth with their grandkids…not the grandchildren of mistresses and flings on the side.
    Again you stated that surviving an ejection was around 90%. There’s more to the functioning than it simply shooting off when the pilot pulls the handle (although perhaps not from an engineer’s perspective).
    The question about condom labels or ejection seats or bullet proof vests comes down to how to they improve the risk profile of the activity they are designed to be used in. Of all the things that could go wrong in an F-18, ejection seats improve the risk profile quite well in some areas (say taking on catastrophic damage in flight) and very little in others (catching fire on the runway right before/after takeoff). In some areas they might even be a negative (they do take up space and weight as well as consisting of explosives right by the pilot). Overall, though, the question is does the addition of the ejection seat improve the risk profile of an F-18 versus an F-18 that does not have one? It certainly does.
    Condoms are designed to reduce the risk of pregnancy and disease transmission during sex. They show a remarkable improvement compared to unprotected sex. If they didn’t they couldn’t be marketed as a medical device in the US legally. Even in the overblown case of HPV there logically has to be some reduction in risk considering that flesh on flesh contact is reduced to some degree.
    Adding to this discussion is a larger set of social issues. The right wingers don’t call it by name but the word they want to use is simply moral hazaard. The risk that a degree of protection will be wasted because the person being protected feels invincible and takes on more than enough additional risk to compensate. You can have the same issue with F-18’s. If pilots feel they can always eject with little risk they might end up flying the planes too hard…getting into crashes when they don’t have to. If the ‘protection’ ratio is 90% then you end up doing more harm than good if the addition of the ejection seats causes the pilots to crash ten times more often or more.
    Moral hazaard, though, is probably not much of a problem with either condoms or ejection seats. People probably don’t increase their sex habits by a factor of ten simply because condoms may give them a false sense of total protection.
    Also in the 85-90% failure rate it still isn’t clear that this is the rate observed in the field or the rate in ideal conditions. I suspect, just from personal experience, that condoms probably have more like a 99% rate if used as they should be. That, however, does take a little bit of skill, practice and willingness to tolerate less comfort. ‘In the field’ people often choose to lessen the effectiveness of condoms by doing such things as putting them on just before orgasm rather than for all of the act. In this situation is the condom failing or is it the choice of the person using it?

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Rob,
    Thank you for the tip on nomenclature. I will try to make it a point for now on to use F/A-18 rather than just F-18.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    “Boonton–So now we have to incentives couples to get them to be faithful? How did people stay married before there was health insurance and joint tax filing? Truly a mystery.”
    Not a mystery at all. There is an expectation that marriage is a monogamous institution. You have spent so much time arguing that marriage is defined as “between a man and a woman”, that you have overlooked its primary characteristic in the United States: Monogamy. You expect a straight man to be faithful if he gets married. If he breaks his promise, he is considered to be weak or to have done something wrong. You place no expectations on gay and lesbian people, except to be invisible. But it’s not just about giving gay people “rights”, its about placing expectations and responsibilities on them as well.
    As far as “tax incentives” go, you are really off-base. There have always been commercial incentives to get married, such as a dowry, or a business or political alliance between families, the splitting up of land for farming, etc. Marriage has always had a commercial aspect to it. You simply can’t claim otherwise. That’s why they were so often arranged, rather than being love matches. Thats why marriage even today a combination of a private and civil institution.
    I don’t care if you don’t think I’m married. Fine. But if I have made the same commitments you have, and have faithfully upheld all the responsibilities of marriage and family, then I should get the same civil, public benefits you do. There is nothing inherently different in this regard between my behavior and yours. Or even my worth to society in comparison to yours.
    If your Church doesn’t think I’m married, fine. But arguing against gay and lesbian people getting full access to the benefits of a civil marriage is the height of hypocrisy. The Catholic Church and most Christian Churches don’t recognize civil marriages in the first place. Your not married in the eyes of your church unless you are married IN your church.
    Yet now these same religions are objecting to the recognition of a gay or lesbian persons ability to take part in a “real marriage”, when those same churches don’t actually BELIEVE that those civil marriage contracts are “real marriages” in the first place! It’s not just hypocrisy, it’s downright loony.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    “You expect a straight man to be faithful if he gets married. If he breaks his promise, he is considered to be weak or to have done something wrong. You place no expectations on gay and lesbian people, except to be invisible. ”
    I agree but I think the stick is more important. Look, Tony Soprano’s friends think he is cool when he sleeps around but in the end his wife gets the last laugh when he discovers that even his stolen money is up for grabs by her. She is able to pull this off because she is his wife…even though she has no income at all, no job and would barely be above min. wage if she had to fend entirely for herself. Even in such an extreme case this power remains as an incentive for Tony to at least keep his affairs somewhat secret if he won’t end them.
    It would be idealistic to say such crass political calculations should never come into a marriage but the fact is that they do. Perhaps not directly in most happy marriages but the implicit threat is always there even if it isn’t necessary in some relationships.
    What happens without marriage in a relationship (straight or gay)? Since two people are rarely exactly equal (even a two income family will often have one who has at least slightly better income) assets do not accumulate 50-50. The more well off one person becomes the more of a temptation he will feel to ditch his partner and ‘upgrade’. With marriage that temptation (and face it, doesn’t everyone feel a temptation to leave their spouse at some point?) comes with a virtual 50% wealth tax to start! Is it any surprise that Donald Trump dumped one of his wives just a few months before their preneupital agreement would have granted her a normal share of his accumulated wealth during their marriage???
    Look at it another way, if all two gay men want to do is sleep around then why take advantage of gay marriage? It simply would give the person who has less income a chance to grab the assets of the other person down the line. If the person with less income is unemployed he might even end up with alimony! I don’t think it would be very logical for gays interested in being promiscious to run for the alter if gay marriage becomes law. Not at all.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton
    I just had a post clip off problem again.
    I will have to take time to respond to several points you and Patrick have made, but let’s get a few things straight right away.
    1] Basic English
    –> You seem to be incapable of understanding my point: Uganda’s campaigh had an EMPHASIS on A and B, with c — note my lower case — being a distinct lesser point for those who refuse to heed the main point. AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I SAID IN MY POSTS. Let lurkers judge your credibility from this pattern of strawmen and ad hominems!
    –> I cite Museveni at the 2004 AIDS conference:

    I look at the condom as an improvisation — not a solution — an improvisation” . . . . “[In the first instance, practice] abstinence, be faithful to each other…but if you can’t, use the condom,” . . . “[AIDS is mainly a] moral, social and economic problem.” . . . . “[It is ] Obviously a moral problem when one has sexual intercourse before marriage or outside marriage.” . . . . “[we must strive for] optimal relationships based on love and trust instead of institutionalized mistrust which is what the condom is all about.” [ http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/jul/04071201.html ]

    –> That may not be PC, but it is accurate, and plainly it is also effective:
    2] What actually works?
    –> Remember, these are the words of the man who has led the most successful response to AIDS in the world. As summarised by Loconte, citing sources 8 – 12:

    The results in Uganda are both startling and unambiguous: Uganda’s Demographic and Health Survey of 2000-2001 found that 93 percent of Ugandans changed their sexual behaviors to avoid AIDS.8 The U.S. Census Bureau/UNAIDS estimates that Ugandan HIV prevalence peaked at about 15 percent in 1991 and fell to 5 percent as of 2001.9 As a 2002 USAID report states, “This dramatic decline in prevalence is unique worldwide, and has been the subject of…intense scientific scrutiny.”10
    Considering its limited financial resources, Uganda’s success is even more impressive. America spends about 40 times more per capita on AIDS than Uganda spends on all its health care issues.11 Yet, in the United States, the incidence of HIV/AIDS is again rising, prompting health officials to warn of “a resurgent epidemic.”12 The U.S. increase in HIV infection rates comes despite aggressive marketing of condoms and expensive anti-retroviral drugs–the treatment paradigm mostly ignored by Uganda. [ http://www.heritage.org/Research/Africa/BG1692.cfm ]

    –> Now if something covers 93% of the population, isn’t that where the emphasis should go?
    –> Further to this, HPV would be automatically addressed by the same demonstrated effective ABc model, so there is no basis for the excuse you cite that HPV is different so it is justifiable to underemphasise this as HIV is the bigger fish to fry. That is called suppression of material truth.
    –> with 3 dozen or so major diseases out there, the fact that a single simple stress on chastity and fidelity, with condoms and advice/support for those who reject common sense is plainly the simplest message, and the most cost effective!
    –> Moreover, THE MUSEVENI CAMPAIGN WAS BASED ON VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE OF THE INFORMED AND CONCERNED, so it is obviously not a threat to civil liberty. (SInce sexual behaviour is a matter of individual choice in contexts not usually open to public enforcement, that is manifest. But then, the empirical data is flying in the face of the concept that we are the helpless playthings of our genes hormones and environmental programming!)
    –> Going still further, ever since I studied how most people failed to take Hitler’s Mein Kampf seriously, I have learned to pauy attention to radicals with enough power to carry out their agendas. The shift from marriage as a covenant with a focus on giving to a hedonistic selfishness has led to a situation where that hedonism is now being carried tot he next stage, which reasonably will destroy the institution and severely damage its primary social function: the raising of the next generation in a sound atmosphere.
    More to follow . . .
    +++++++
    SO I think you need to do some serious rethinking. In particular, you have not carefully attended to what I said before you launched into ad hominems, nor have you looked up fairly accessible evidence on the point.
    Remember, LIVES ARE AT STAKE.
    I will respond on points later.
    GEM

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Gordon, you are the one that first described Uganda’s campaign as ABC. Now you’re telling me it’s more like A B and lowercase c? ok…
    The report you cited said that 93% of the population “changed their sexual behaviors to avoid AIDS”. I’ll ask you how did their behaviors change? Just because the campaign was ABc it doesn’t follow that behavior changed in that proportion. It could have been abC or perhaps aBC and so on. It also could have been other behaviors that changed such as avoiding anal sex which has a higher transmission rate than oral or vaginal sex.
    –> Further to this, HPV would be automatically addressed by the same demonstrated effective ABc model, so there is no basis for the excuse you cite that HPV is different so it is justifiable to underemphasise this as HIV is the bigger fish to fry. That is called suppression of material truth.
    It’s fair to note that HPV is nowhere near as serious a problem as HIV. Yes if a policy to address HIV also has the effect of killing two birds with one stone by addressing HPV that’s a good thing. It doesn’t follow thought that HPV is being unfairly ignored because activists have an uncontrollable fetish for condoms.
    –> Moreover, THE MUSEVENI CAMPAIGN WAS BASED ON VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE OF THE INFORMED AND CONCERNED, so it is obviously not a threat to civil liberty.
    True but I’m not sure what this has to do with our discussion. I’m unaware that anyone has ever proposed a condom police to break down the doors of couples having unsafe sex and force condoms on them! C, ABC, and ABc all appear to be roughly equal on the civil liberty angle.
    –> Going still further, ever since I studied how most people failed to take Hitler’s Mein Kampf seriously, I have learned to pauy attention to radicals with enough power to carry out their agendas.
    There’s still a difference between adopting a policy supported by a radical and supporting the radical himself. If the Weimar gov’t had decided to build the autobahn & renounce the obligations of the WWI peace it wouldn’t make that gov’t equal to Hitler’s.

  • Gordon Mullings

    On July 12
    Okay,
    Following up on points. I see there was considerable back-forth, much of which is not material to the key issues. I will focus my further remarks:
    Boonton 1:
    1] In order to swamp the protection from HIV offered by condoms a hetrosexual would have to increase his sexual activity by a factor of ten. Not only would this not happen for just about everyone, for many people it may not even be physically possible!
    — > This seriously misrepresents the danger involved. As the UNAIDS review of 20 years of studies I cited earlier shows, condoms apparently fail in use about 1/10 of the time

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton
    I see yet another misrepresentation:
    Gordon, you are the one that first described Uganda’s campaign as ABC. Now you’re telling me it’s more like A B and lowercase c? ok…
    — > I pointed out in my very first post on the topic as follows:

    In 1986, Museveni sent 60 of his top officers to CUba for training, and Castro broke some bad news: 18 of them had HIV/AIDS. He was about to lose his officer corps to AIDS!
    That was a wake-up call, and he and his wife spearheaded a campaign to counter the threat. Use-a-condom was not going to work in Uganda, and they came up — in concert with Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders — with the ABC campaign, symbolised by skulls and coffins.
    A: ABSTAIN if not in a stable, faithful relationship. THis is the best path for the young.
    B: Be faithful to one’s spouse — and here, the point is that most Ugandans marry at 17 – 19, maybe we need to rethink our own approach?
    C: Condoms — if you insist on risky behaviour, using condoms is better than nothing; but here is how you can find help to get out of high-risk occupations and behaviour patterns.
    The result, probably helped by the appalling and obvious death rate from AIDS, was that from the late 1980s to 2000+, HIV/AIDS rates plunged, from ~ 15% to ~ 5 – 6%. That is, we saw a social vaccine effect emerge, as the community consensus shifted decisively against destructive behaviour.
    This is the only major success case, but as Ted Green reports, it is now being overwhelmed by the PC thinking and funding of the international AIDS industry. Even studies appear to be suppressed!

    — > A simple comparison of this with your chain of distractors and misrepresentations above will suffice to show the rhetorical games you have indulged.
    — > Since you evidently misunderstood or failed to read the above, I used a lower case c to make the point that the Uganda campaign stressed A and B rather than c, and so reached it seems like 93% of the SURVIVING population as at 2001. In short, heeding A and B saved a lot of lives. c of course helps with the 5 – 8 percent who refuse to heed A and B, so it has a legitimate place — but it is plainly not properly the main focus of a successful AIDS response strategy. But then, you found yet another rhetorical objection. Sad.
    — > You are plainly not open to serious discussion on this topic and I will move on. (Indeed, lurkers can see from this thread the sort of thinking I had to engage at length over the past 3 months on the naturalism related topics.)
    +++++++++
    Enough has been said for serious people to see what the facts and evident reason support: a cost effective strategy has been demonstrated but is being suppressed because it runs counter to PC views and agendas. That is shameful, as lives are at stake, but it is quite revealing.
    As the Greeks said, a word tot he wise is enough.
    May God open your eyes through his grace.
    Gordon Mullings

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    – > THAT MEANS THAT IF ONE ACT OF INTERCOURSE IN A HIGH RISK ENVIRONMENT WITHOUT CONDOMS IS AN UNACCEPTABLY RISKY EXPOSURE, THE USE OF CONDOMS TEN TIMES MEANS THAT THE ODDS OF BEING SO EXPOSED AT LEAST ONCE

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Enough has been said for serious people to see what the facts and evident reason support: a cost effective strategy has been demonstrated but is being suppressed because it runs counter to PC views and agendas. That is shameful, as lives are at stake, but it is quite revealing.
    the problem Gordon is not with me it is with you. I note that you originally introduced ABC as ABC but then switched to claiming it was more ABc. Yet to back this up you quote (again) passages that basically say nothing but ABC. You put forth a ‘success’ figure of 93%. However your source for this says 93% of people ‘changed’ their sexual behavior after the campaign. I point out that this doesn’t tell us if they changed their behavior to A&B, ABC, or abC. You’re response is to ignore this very valid point and just toss out 93% again as if you were typing in an echo chamber.
    The arguments with gay marriage are the same old same old with you. You put out bogus assertions then refuse to defend them except by simply repeating them in your excessively wordy fashion. I don’t mind debating with you but I do think the debate could be a bit more productive and interesting if you took other people’s arguments seriously.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton
    I came back after a couple of days to see how you had got on.
    Instead of a frank admission that you have misread drastically what I had said above and then facing the issue I see more of the same. That is sad, especially as LIVES ARE AT STAKE.
    A rhetorical strategy of creating and knocking over strawmen hardly helps your case.
    To illustrate, I will make just a few excerpts so that we can at least move beyond rhetoric:
    1] I believe you gave the risk of HIV transmission in a single act of hetrosexual sex as 1 in 500. Condoms would reduce that risk by a factor of ten to 1 in 5000. The effect of introducing condoms to a non-condom using population would be a dramatic slowdown in the spread of HIV, probably slow it down to the point where new infections would be smaller than deaths from old infections which means reversing the epidemic.
    –> I only wish that were so. In fact, in those countries in Africa where a C-heavy approach was/is used, Ted Green reports that the rates of HIV infection have continued their climb; up to approaching 40% of the population in some cases. The contrast with Uganda and now Senegal, & it seems Kenya, is telling.
    –> THe basic point is, again: ONE unprotected exposure to HIV is unacceptable. Using condoms that in use fail some 10% of the time, just ten times, makes the odds of such an unprotected exposure rise to ~ 2/3rds. And, since 10% is a global average based on 20 years of studies, it is wise to note that novice users with the sexual equivalent of buckfever are particularly at risk. (Teens: that’s yet another reason to be abstinent. )
    –> BTW: A psychologist friend of mine reminded me last night that for some people those ten exposures can come in as few as 2 – 3 days. [And, his context was decades of experience with counselling in the Caribbean, where penetrative heterosexual intercourse predominates. I think it is a macho thing to do it three times a day, often by going the rounds of wife and girlfriends; fortifying one’s “capacity” with folk remedies such as Front End Lifter — yes, there is an actual drink in Jamaica by that name. I do not know the ingredients, and I don’t even want to think about it . . . ]
    2] As far as I’ve read oral sex is relatively safe as far as HIV is concerned although advocates still advise using condoms or similar devices.
    –> The problem, again, is that the primary means of HIV transmission is BLOOD.
    –> In the context where micro-effsions of blood are common in the mouth, and lesions or small cuts or abrasions are also possible in/on the genitals, blood transfer through oral sex is a very possible mechanism. (But of course, this nowhere even approaches the risk of anal penetration acts; a point so serious that the 2nd edition of The Joy of Sex had to substitute a warning on the topic for the earlier edition’s discussion.)
    –> AS you rightly note, that is why dental dams exist. Unfortunately, again, we are back to the thin rubber barrier business.
    –> Here, the point is, that where HIV penetration into the population is low, risk is not at all the same as contexts where we are looking at 15 – 40% . . . and that may easily happen in concentrated environments such as armies and campuses. [I have cited Museveni’s wake up call, and note that some 3rd world college campuses may be more dangerous than an uninspected brothel in Thailand!)
    3] HPV.Again Gordon ignores all the points:1. Some viruses mutate quickly so vaccines are difficult to establish. Other’s do not. The polio vaccine, measels, smallpox and so on are essentially the same as they were twenty or thirty years ago. Mutation is only a concern if a virus is able to mutate around a vaccine but still remain infectious in humans . . . . Gordon cannot have it both ways. He cries that HPV is very important and lives are at stake yet when a cure (or something that is nearly a cure) is announced he worries about it.
    –> In fact, a look back at the above will show that I have cited relevant data: there are multiple strains of HPV, the vaccine developed for # 16 is by implication not effective against # 18 [for which a further vaccination is being developed], and they are hoping for what I called a “Shotgun” vaccine.
    –> There are something like 50 strains of HPV, and that implies that it is a virus subject to significant microevolution. SEveral of these strains have been implicated in cervical cancer, and of those strains, vaccines against one are evidently ineffective against others.
    –> That sets up a context for ineffectiveness of vaccine therapies, especially since the claim in the cite YOU made is that the vaccines must be administerd prior to onset of sexual activity.
    –> Further to this, vaccinations, as a rule are preventative measures, not cures: they have to be administered ahead of exposure to disease germs, so that antibodies can be developed by the body’s immune system. Thus, the above approach. SO, I am not at all worrying about a cure but rather pointing out that the vaccine approach is often of limited effectiveness in dealing with mutation-prone virus-borne diseases.
    4] I seriously wonder how Gordon would view the development of an HIV vaccine that was as effective as the chickenpox vaccine.
    –> The same worry about mutant strains has been discussed in the literature on HIV vaccination studies.
    –> What would be required for an actual cure, is a really effective — eliminative — antiviral, parallel to the rise of antibiotics (and hopefully getting around the problem of further mutation that resists the antibiotic: e.g the bacteria that turn off the inhibitor genetic switch on anti-penicillin enzymes, creating penecillin-resistant strains.) Unfortunately, that has obviously proved very hard to achieve, and in the case of HIV, the virus works BY SUPPRESSING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM. That is why it is so insidious.
    5] No such statistics are possible because up until recently gay marriage didn’t exist as a legal institution . . . . you dodge the question of whether lesbian relationships have longer fidelity than either gay men or hetrosexual couples.
    –> Unfortunately, such statistics do exist. DO a search for yourself.
    –> A quick glance at the above will show that in fact I accept the statistics that lesbians often have enduring relationships [so Boonton implies that such statistics do exist after all!], pointing out the real problem in that case: legal precedents and the underlying root issue: the erosion of marriage and family as institutions in the community.
    6] Again why would gay marriage effect straight men and their behavior? Why would straight men stand up and say ‘well the gays got marriage so now I’m free to pillage and burn!’? Your assertion seems to be premised on an assumption that gay men are currently married to straight women and have children and the second gay marriage is put into the lawbooks they will leave them for each other?
    –> I pointed out the basic issue clearly enough: MALES have to be taught how to be civilised, or they will destroy the community. That requires taming their physical and sexual power and energy through moral institutions, which the underlying secularisation trend is undermining. SO, easy divorce is as much atarget of my concern as anything, as is the environment in which work usurps home time.
    –> The “same sex marriage” agenda, in short, is one facet of a far wider problem, the nihilism of secularism and where it demonstrably leads.
    –> As cited, Jamaics — currently in the bullseye for a Cat 4 hurricane, prayers are requested — is sadly, and to my deep pain and shame, is a capital example of what happens when marriage and family structures break down. Just one breaking news case in point: we now have our first successful muslim suicide bomber — Richard Reid failed, and Lee Boyd Malvo was a sniper. (The muslims are precisely targetting the hunger for a father that happens when ~ 80 – 90% of boys are born out of wedlock and are raised by mothers or grannies, and educated in schools that are extremely female dominated. Boys gravitate tot he street, where they can find men, anfd the results are sadly predictable. I cannot but pause to observe that that is just what lesbian and male homosexual families would deliberately do: put boys in a context where the balanced nurture of males and females in stable relationships.)
    –> Further to this, the basic point of what marriage is is being ducked, as noted earlier. Rob’s complaint is all too apt.
    –> And in case you have not noticed, polygamists are ALREADY citing the precedents recently set, to advance their cause.
    7] I note that you originally introduced ABC as ABC but then switched to claiming it was more ABc. Yet to back this up you quote (again) passages that basically say nothing but ABC.
    –> THis now crosses the threashold into outright dishonesty. I simply cite again the passage in question that “says nothing” about ABC:

    In 1986, Museveni sent 60 of his top officers to CUba for training, and Castro broke some bad news: 18 of them had HIV/AIDS. He was about to lose his officer corps to AIDS!
    That was a wake-up call, and he and his wife spearheaded a campaign to counter the threat. Use-a-condom was not going to work in Uganda, and they came up — in concert with Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders — with the ABC campaign, symbolised by skulls and coffins.
    A: ABSTAIN if not in a stable, faithful relationship. THis is the best path for the young.
    B: Be faithful to one’s spouse — and here, the point is that most Ugandans marry at 17 – 19, maybe we need to rethink our own approach?
    C: Condoms — if you insist on risky behaviour, using condoms is better than nothing; but here is how you can find help to get out of high-risk occupations and behaviour patterns.
    The result, probably helped by the appalling and obvious death rate from AIDS, was that from the late 1980s to 2000+, HIV/AIDS rates plunged, from ~ 15% to ~ 5 – 6%. That is, we saw a social vaccine effect emerge, as the community consensus shifted decisively against destructive behaviour.
    This is the only major success case, but as Ted Green reports, it is now being overwhelmed by the PC thinking and funding of the international AIDS industry. Even studies appear to be suppressed!

    –> Kindly explain to the onlooking lurkers, now and future [you have volunteered yourself in the above for a poster-boy role!], just how the above — especially the highlighted section — fails to address the ABC campaign as pionerred by Museveni, and just how I have contradicted myself, as you imply?
    –> Notice, I explicitly used a lower case c to highlight the point that the Uganda campaign was precisely not C-heavy, but rather AB heavy. I think the bold section makes just this point, as did Museveni at the 2004 AIDS conference.
    –> REmember, Uganda demonstrated that the majority of people are reacheable by a campaign that targets predominantly A and B, and that those few who refuse to heed it can then access C through targetted outreach — which outreach in Uganda also stressed the need to shift from C to A and/or B. Notice the 2001 survey: 93% of people switched their sexual behaviour to avoid AIDS.
    –> But of course the underlying problem is that Museveni’s approach was based on morality, as the 2004 cite shows. AS earlier discussions with you show, you doubt that people can make real moral choices, given your reductive deterministic naturalism. SO, it seems your worldview blinkers are blinding you to yet another counter-example!
    –> I repeat my logic: Deterministic naturalism implies that agent-based moral/intellectual choice is an illusion. But in fact, people do make such choices, so deterministic, reductive naturalism is falsified.
    In short, this thread is now reaching the point of absurdity. I could not make up this stuff!
    (This thread, which I am of course saving offline) will be a very useful educational device on where closed minded evolutionary materialist thinking leads when one brings ideas to bear on the policy arena: ABSURDITY.
    Grace open your eyes
    GOrdon

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton
    I came back after a couple of days to see how you had got on.
    Instead of a frank admission that you have misread drastically what I had said above and then facing the issue I see more of the same. That is sad, especially as LIVES ARE AT STAKE.
    A rhetorical strategy of creating and knocking over strawmen hardly helps your case.
    To illustrate, I will make just a few excerpts so that we can at least move beyond rhetoric:
    1] I believe you gave the risk of HIV transmission in a single act of hetrosexual sex as 1 in 500. Condoms would reduce that risk by a factor of ten to 1 in 5000. The effect of introducing condoms to a non-condom using population would be a dramatic slowdown in the spread of HIV, probably slow it down to the point where new infections would be smaller than deaths from old infections which means reversing the epidemic.
    –> I only wish that were so. In fact, in those countries in Africa where a C-heavy approach was/is used, Ted Green reports that the rates of HIV infection have continued their climb; up to approaching 40% of the population in some cases. The contrast with Uganda and now Senegal, & it seems Kenya, is telling.
    –> THe basic point is, again: ONE unprotected exposure to HIV is unacceptable. Using condoms that in use fail some 10% of the time, just ten times, makes the odds of such an unprotected exposure rise to ~ 2/3rds. And, since 10% is a global average based on 20 years of studies, it is wise to note that novice users with the sexual equivalent of buckfever are particularly at risk. (Teens: that’s yet another reason to be abstinent. )
    –> BTW: A psychologist friend of mine reminded me last night that for some people those ten exposures can come in as few as 2 – 3 days. [And, his context was decades of experience with counselling in the Caribbean, where penetrative heterosexual intercourse predominates. I think it is a macho thing to do it three times a day, often by going the rounds of wife and girlfriends; fortifying one’s “capacity” with folk remedies such as Front End Lifter — yes, there is an actual drink in Jamaica by that name. I do not know the ingredients, and I don’t even want to think about it . . . ]
    2] As far as I’ve read oral sex is relatively safe as far as HIV is concerned although advocates still advise using condoms or similar devices.
    –> The problem, again, is that the primary means of HIV transmission is BLOOD.
    –> In the context where micro-effsions of blood are common in the mouth, and lesions or small cuts or abrasions are also possible in/on the genitals, blood transfer through oral sex is a very possible mechanism. (But of course, this nowhere even approaches the risk of anal penetration acts; a point so serious that the 2nd edition of The Joy of Sex had to substitute a warning on the topic for the earlier edition’s discussion.)
    –> AS you rightly note, that is why dental dams exist. Unfortunately, again, we are back to the thin rubber barrier business.
    –> Here, the point is, that where HIV penetration into the population is low, risk is not at all the same as contexts where we are looking at 15 – 40% . . . and that may easily happen in concentrated environments such as armies and campuses. [I have cited Museveni’s wake up call, and note that some 3rd world college campuses may be more dangerous than an uninspected brothel in Thailand!)
    3] HPV.Again Gordon ignores all the points:1. Some viruses mutate quickly so vaccines are difficult to establish. Other’s do not. The polio vaccine, measels, smallpox and so on are essentially the same as they were twenty or thirty years ago. Mutation is only a concern if a virus is able to mutate around a vaccine but still remain infectious in humans . . . . Gordon cannot have it both ways. He cries that HPV is very important and lives are at stake yet when a cure (or something that is nearly a cure) is announced he worries about it.
    –> In fact, a look back at the above will show that I have cited relevant data: there are multiple strains of HPV, the vaccine developed for # 16 is by implication not effective against # 18 [for which a further vaccination is being developed], and they are hoping for what I called a “Shotgun” vaccine.
    –> There are something like 50 strains of HPV, and that implies that it is a virus subject to significant microevolution. SEveral of these strains have been implicated in cervical cancer, and of those strains, vaccines against one are evidently ineffective against others.
    –> That sets up a context for ineffectiveness of vaccine therapies, especially since the claim in the cite YOU made is that the vaccines must be administerd prior to onset of sexual activity.
    –> Further to this, vaccinations, as a rule are preventative measures, not cures: they have to be administered ahead of exposure to disease germs, so that antibodies can be developed by the body’s immune system. Thus, the above approach. SO, I am not at all worrying about a cure but rather pointing out that the vaccine approach is often of limited effectiveness in dealing with mutation-prone virus-borne diseases.
    4] I seriously wonder how Gordon would view the development of an HIV vaccine that was as effective as the chickenpox vaccine.
    –> The same worry about mutant strains has been discussed in the literature on HIV vaccination studies.
    –> What would be required for an actual cure, is a really effective — eliminative — antiviral, parallel to the rise of antibiotics (and hopefully getting around the problem of further mutation that resists the antibiotic: e.g the bacteria that turn off the inhibitor genetic switch on anti-penicillin enzymes, creating penecillin-resistant strains.) Unfortunately, that has obviously proved very hard to achieve, and in the case of HIV, the virus works BY SUPPRESSING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM. That is why it is so insidious.
    5] No such statistics are possible because up until recently gay marriage didn’t exist as a legal institution . . . . you dodge the question of whether lesbian relationships have longer fidelity than either gay men or hetrosexual couples.
    –> Unfortunately, such statistics do exist. DO a search for yourself.
    –> A quick glance at the above will show that in fact I accept the statistics that lesbians often have enduring relationships [so Boonton implies that such statistics do exist after all!], pointing out the real problem in that case: legal precedents and the underlying root issue: the erosion of marriage and family as institutions in the community.
    6] Again why would gay marriage effect straight men and their behavior? Why would straight men stand up and say ‘well the gays got marriage so now I’m free to pillage and burn!’? Your assertion seems to be premised on an assumption that gay men are currently married to straight women and have children and the second gay marriage is put into the lawbooks they will leave them for each other?
    –> I pointed out the basic issue clearly enough: MALES have to be taught how to be civilised, or they will destroy the community. That requires taming their physical and sexual power and energy through moral institutions, which the underlying secularisation trend is undermining. SO, easy divorce is as much atarget of my concern as anything, as is the environment in which work usurps home time.
    –> The “same sex marriage” agenda, in short, is one facet of a far wider problem, the nihilism of secularism and where it demonstrably leads.
    –> As cited, Jamaics — currently in the bullseye for a Cat 4 hurricane, prayers are requested — is sadly, and to my deep pain and shame, is a capital example of what happens when marriage and family structures break down. Just one breaking news case in point: we now have our first successful muslim suicide bomber — Richard Reid failed, and Lee Boyd Malvo was a sniper. (The muslims are precisely targetting the hunger for a father that happens when ~ 80 – 90% of boys are born out of wedlock and are raised by mothers or grannies, and educated in schools that are extremely female dominated. Boys gravitate tot he street, where they can find men, anfd the results are sadly predictable. I cannot but pause to observe that that is just what lesbian and male homosexual families would deliberately do: put boys in a context where the balanced nurture of males and females in stable relationships is absent.)
    –> Further to this, the basic point of what marriage is is being ducked, as noted earlier. Rob’s complaint is all too apt.
    –> And in case you have not noticed, polygamists are ALREADY citing the precedents recently set, to advance their cause.
    7] I note that you originally introduced ABC as ABC but then switched to claiming it was more ABc. Yet to back this up you quote (again) passages that basically say nothing but ABC.
    –> THis now crosses the threashold into outright dishonesty. I simply cite again the passage in question that “says nothing” about ABC:

    In 1986, Museveni sent 60 of his top officers to CUba for training, and Castro broke some bad news: 18 of them had HIV/AIDS. He was about to lose his officer corps to AIDS!
    That was a wake-up call, and he and his wife spearheaded a campaign to counter the threat. Use-a-condom was not going to work in Uganda, and they came up — in concert with Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders — with the ABC campaign, symbolised by skulls and coffins.
    A: ABSTAIN if not in a stable, faithful relationship. THis is the best path for the young.
    B: Be faithful to one’s spouse — and here, the point is that most Ugandans marry at 17 – 19, maybe we need to rethink our own approach?
    C: Condoms — if you insist on risky behaviour, using condoms is better than nothing; but here is how you can find help to get out of high-risk occupations and behaviour patterns.
    The result, probably helped by the appalling and obvious death rate from AIDS, was that from the late 1980s to 2000+, HIV/AIDS rates plunged, from ~ 15% to ~ 5 – 6%. That is, we saw a social vaccine effect emerge, as the community consensus shifted decisively against destructive behaviour.
    This is the only major success case, but as Ted Green reports, it is now being overwhelmed by the PC thinking and funding of the international AIDS industry. Even studies appear to be suppressed!

    –> Kindly explain to the onlooking lurkers, now and future [you have volunteered yourself in the above for a poster-boy role!], just how the above — especially the highlighted section — fails to address the ABC campaign as pionerred by Museveni, and just how I have contradicted myself, as you imply?
    –> Notice, I later explicitly used a lower case c to highlight the point you overlooked: that the Uganda campaign was precisely not C-heavy, but rather AB heavy. I think the bold section just above adequately makes just this clear, as did Museveni at the 2004 AIDS conference. Why not just acknowledge the obvious point, and move on?
    –> REmember, Uganda demonstrated that the majority of people are reacheable by a campaign that targets predominantly A and B, and that those few who refuse to heed it can then access C through targetted outreach — which outreach in Uganda also stressed the need to shift from C to A and/or B. Notice the 2001 survey: 93% of people switched their sexual behaviour to avoid AIDS.
    –> But of course the underlying problem is that Museveni’s approach was based on morality, as the 2004 cite shows. AS earlier discussions with you show, you doubt that people can make real moral choices, given your reductive deterministic naturalism. SO, it seems your worldview blinkers are blinding you to yet another counter-example!
    –> I repeat my logic: Deterministic naturalism implies that agent-based moral/intellectual choice is an illusion. But in fact, people do make such choices, so deterministic, reductive naturalism is falsified.
    In short, this thread is now reaching the point of absurdity. I could not make up this stuff!
    (This thread, which I am of course saving offline) will be a very useful educational device on where closed minded evolutionary materialist thinking leads when one brings ideas to bear on the policy arena: ABSURDITY.
    Grace open your eyes
    GOrdon

  • GOrdon Mullings

    oops
    double posted. Note the clarifying point in the second version, under 7, LATER.
    Sorry Joe.
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    All
    It seems the issue of sexual morality and especially of homosexuality keeps intruding. I do not particularly like to get into discussions of this issue, as they are too often dominated by rage rather than good sense and wise concern, but some remarks are necessary. I trust they may prove helpful to lurkers.
    Of course, in the end, naturalistic thought has no foundation for morality beyond opinions and political forces. That is part of why it is so profoundly plainly disordered: the sense of oughtness does not go away as a basic datum of human life. Systems of thought that would reduce that to illusion or opinion and politics, in the end, thereby reveal their profound bankruptcy — intellectual and moral.
    ANd, morality is bound up in sexuality and family life, inescapably so.
    Indeed, part of why the Museveni solution raises hackles so much is that the solution is based on the morality of the creation order for sexuality. SO, those who deny that evident order, are forced to reject a cost effective solution with a proved track record.
    Sad. But also, let us turn to the issue of hope:
    FOr this, I think that a good place to start thinking seiously is John WHite’s Eros Defiled and Eros Redeemed, in which this psychiatrist shares his own struggles, starting with seduction by a CHristian Camp counsellor when he was in apparently his early teens.
    Having noted that, I also point to Jesus’ remarks already cited on the proper ordering of our sexuality and family life, which are closely linked in creation order:

    MT 19:4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator `made them male and female,’ 5 and said, `For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

    Here we see that there is a created, thus natural order, and that whatever distorts or breeaks it down is outside of the will of God: man is separating what God has put together, i.e. man and wife and families arising from acts of love as one generation succeds the next. Woe betide the one who opposes God.
    But, there is hope for us, sinners all that we are:

    1CO 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    That is, we have a hope, and over 2,000 years, many a sinner on Paul’s list has found hope and moral transformation through CHrist.
    Thus, there is hope.
    Through:
    Grace
    Gordon

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Gordon, I too have been away but happily this thread is still open for posting!
    –> I pointed out the basic issue clearly enough: MALES have to be taught how to be civilised, or they will destroy the community. That requires taming their physical and sexual power and energy through moral institutions, which the underlying secularisation trend is undermining. SO, easy divorce is as much atarget of my concern as anything, as is the environment in which work usurps home time.
    A tempting narrative but that is what it is. Not all men are inherently ‘uncivilized’ (there’s a bit of a chicken and the egg problem here…who built civilization? men and women…not women who then went out and civilized the men). Also many men are ‘tamed’ even without direct contact with women thru marriage. For example, society has a host of social norms against the ‘uncivilized man’ above and beyond simple marriage. But all this is besides the point:
    1. Gay men are not currently ‘civilized’ thru marriage because they do not marry women…for the most part.
    2. The status quo is, as you’ve pointed out, basically hedonism for gay men. Gay marriage would institute a less promiscious, less ‘uncivilized’ lifstyle. How much it would alter the gay population is unknowable but it would probably produce at least some taming of promiscuity.
    3. Again what does this have to do with straight men? Why would straight men suddenly throw off civilizations shackles if gay marriage was legalized? YOu seem unable to answer this question by sticking to the topic of gay marriage. Your argument is basically ‘throw in everything including the kitchen sink’. For example:

    –> As cited, Jamaics — currently in the bullseye for a Cat 4 hurricane, prayers are requested — is sadly, and to my deep pain and shame, is a capital example of what happens when marriage and family structures break down. Just one breaking news case in point: we now have our first successful muslim suicide bomber — Richard Reid failed, and Lee Boyd Malvo was a sniper. (The muslims are precisely targetting the hunger for a father that happens when ~ 80 – 90% of boys are born out of wedlock and are raised by mothers or grannies, and educated in schools that are extremely female dominated. Boys gravitate tot he street, where they can find men, anfd the results are sadly predictable. I cannot but pause to observe that that is just what lesbian and male homosexual families would deliberately do: put boys in a context where the balanced nurture of males and females in stable relationships is absent.)

    What does hurricanes hitting Jamaca have to do with gay marriage? What does the breakdown of family in Jamacia have to do with gay marriage (did they legalize gay marriage, I didn’t hear about that)? What do the DC snipers have to do with gay marriage? In fact what do boys raised by gay couples have to do with gay marriage? Such situations arise either when a) a gay man has a child in a hetrosexual relationship or b) a gay couple adopts a child.
    Considering how small gays are as a portion of the population the number of boys being raised by gay couples is tiny. It would remain tiny even if every gay person paired up and adopted a boy to raise. Anyway the above situations (a and b) arise with or without gay marriage. In the first case, one could make a valid argument that the availability of gay marriage would reduce the number of confused men who marry women in an attempt to appear ‘normal’. In such cases the number of boys without ‘balanced gendered adults’ would decrease. In the latter case a gay couple adopting a child presupposes something has gone wrong otherwise the adopted child would be being raised by his biological parents.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    –> BTW: A psychologist friend of mine reminded me last night that for some people those ten exposures can come in as few as 2 – 3 days. [And, his context was decades of experience with counselling in the Caribbean, where penetrative heterosexual intercourse predominates. I think it is a macho thing to do it three times a day, often by going the rounds of wife and girlfriends; fortifying one’s “capacity” with folk remedies such as Front End Lifter — yes, there is an actual drink in Jamaica by that name. I do not know the ingredients, and I don’t even want to think about it . . . ]
    The only thing that is relevant here form the HIV POV is whether the wife or gf has HIV. If they don’t then the only concern regarding condom failure would be if they were trying to prevent pregnancy. Nonetheless, just like the reckeless cop who manages to get shot at ten times instead of just one…the use of the bullet proof vest greatly reduces his risk.
    –> THe basic point is, again: ONE unprotected exposure to HIV is unacceptable. Using condoms that in use fail some 10% of the time, just ten times, makes the odds of such an unprotected exposure rise to ~ 2/3rds.
    Indeed but while zero percent risk is achievable for individuals it is unrealistic for large populations. Barring gross intrusions on individual privacy and liberty people will have sex and will have sex in sub-optimal conditions. Hence even the Uganda program you praise felt the need to include condoms…even if they were emphasized as a regretable last resort.
    I notice you dodged my question on Uganda. You claim success based on the dubious statistic that 90% or so ‘changed their behavior as a result of the campaign’. This says nothing about how they changed their behavior. The message may have been A, B, c but how do we know their change wasn’t a, b, C?

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton
    I see you are still at it.
    A few comments:
    1] The only thing that is relevant here form the HIV POV is whether the wife or gf has HIV.
    –> Not at all: the key concern is that this easily leads to netwerks of sexual relations that can rapidly propagate HIV, HPV and the other dozens of stds, in a context where condoms are not foolproof or may even offer little protection given the disease propagation mechanism and the cumulative impact of exposure on risk. A BEHAVIOUR PATTERN THAT HAS A 2/3RDS CHANCE OF EXPOSING YOU TO AN UNACCEPTABLE, DEATH-REALING RISK IS NOT LIKELY TO BE ACCEPTABLE. (And that level of risk is after only 10 exposures in a high-risk context. In some situations, the rates of HIV infection in the relevant population can rise up to 40%, so 2 out of 5 partners in such a highly promiscuous setting, at random, would be HIV positive.)
    –> Recall, the implications of the up to ~ 10 year latency period for HIV in particular: you are epidemiologically interacting with the intersecting circles of sexual contacts going back ten years in the first instance. [That is why Patient Zero had sucha devstating impact in the US homosexual community: hundreds of contacts per year]
    2] while zero percent risk is achievable for individuals it is unrealistic for large populations. Barring gross intrusions on individual privacy and liberty people will have sex and will have sex in sub-optimal conditions. Hence even the Uganda program you praise felt the need to include condoms…even if they were emphasized as a regretable last resort.
    –> First, I note your grudging concession: even the Uganda program you praise felt the need to include condoms…even if they were emphasized as a regretable last resort
    –> What the Uganda case shows, and BTW, the statistic cited is based on the 2001/2 census, is that a large population can sufficiently freely respond to a behaviour-change message that herd protection sets in: what is now being called a social HIV vaccine. (THuis is the process Ted Green — not exactly an evangelical or catholic, BTW — described in the excerpt above: once the messge got out, behaviour changed and incidence rates fell.)
    –> Kindly note as well that I hagve never advocated gross violations of liberty. (Indeed, in the case of sexual behaviour, I doubt that it is possible to so restrict behaviour, based on comments I have seen in Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag trilogy)
    3] I notice you dodged my question on Uganda. You claim success based on the dubious statistic that 90% or so ‘changed their behavior as a result of the campaign’. This says nothing about how they changed their behavior. The message may have been A, B, c but how do we know their change wasn’t a, b, C?
    –> On the contrary, I cannot but observe the wilful refusal to observe accurately; followed by an ad hominem abusive, again. Note the source on the statistic: the census data, not likely to be tendentious.
    –> If you had but read the original statement and the cite from Ted Green, you would also have seen that perhaps the most eminent epidemiologist to study the case highlighted the knee in the incidence curve: the late 80s to early 90s.
    –> THis change was long before the condom distribution efforts in Uganda had any significant scale — the local funds were not there, the culture was condom-rejecting, and international interventions had not yet had any significant injection of condoms or condom messages. [That is one reason why the studies Green rebuts tend to start their timeline in the mid 90’s: that’s apparently when the condoms and condom messages were put in on the ground in quantity through outside interventions; but that is 1/2 a decade after the knee in the incidence curve, which drives everything else.)
    –> I should note on condom rejection: even here in the Caribbean region, there is a feeling that the rubber interferes with pleasure and with how sex “should be”; even the girls often say they “want to feel the ‘water’.”
    –> Further to this, is the longstanding feeling that population control efforts are a genocidal plot against blacks. [My mom used to work in family planning as a health educator, and so I had a ring side seat on these attitudes and issues going back to the 1960s. Eg, she wrote a key educational comic book, “Put off Joe” on the consequences of putting off family planning. One common response from mothers going home after just having had a baby was: Ma’am we would love to put off Joe, but we can’t. ]
    –> I should add, there is now a similar common thinking that HIV is a further germ warfare effort by the US Govt to wipe out black Africa. The conspiracy theories on this are astonishingly badly based, but all too widely believed. (My usual response is to observe that: 1] there is a significant probability that HIV has been around a long time — cases have been identified to the 1950s, 2] a major factor in spreading the disease in poor regions was the reuse of hypodermic needles [E Europe, Africa], 3] there is some evidence that Hepatitis B vaccines in the 70s, which were tested in NYC and Uganda, may have been contaminated [cf 4 as such vaccines are incubated in simians], 4] the closeness to other viruses in simians suggests that the bush meat trade of C Africa may also be a factor. Thus, there is evidence to support an accidental rather than deliberate pattern.
    –> Yet further to this, there is a specific pattern, not paralleled in the similar culture of Kenya, as also pointed out above: early marriage — 17 – 19 years of age. That is, we may readily infer the basic shift — a lot of people who were straying [grazing was the term used in Uganda] stopped and a lot of young people got the message it is better to marry and be faithful to one’s spouse than to burn.
    –> Indeed, that is exactly what Ted Green says happened, and he is a leading researcher on the subject. [Remember, Uganda across the 90s had one of the highest death rates from AIDS in the world, and the symbols for the campaign were coffins and skulls, not “party hats” and red ribbons, as here in the Caribbean. Rather like the eventual decision to show the consequences of smoking and drunk driving explicitly.]
    –> Note, a major stress in the campaign was on the theme: NO GRAZING. (Kindly, read the Green interview and other sources as linked above. Indeed, that might have saved you a few misconcepts such as I had to remark on above.)
    –> From the 2001/2 census, a great many of those who stopped grazing or got married early and did not graze, survived. Those who did not, frankly, are simply not now in the population so the HIV/AIDS numbers shifted from 15% to 5%. ANd, young people coming up have got the message so the surveys show that the pattern of higher fidelity rates is holding as new cohorts reach the years in which people become sexually active.
    As noted previously, LIVES ARE AT STAKE.
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    H’mm
    Given the unfortunate tone and rhetorical tactics that are present in this thread, I think I need to be more explicit on the following point:

    I do not advocate so-called “Abstinence only” sex education, though I uerstand the motives behind it. Instead, I stand for a stress on cultivating moral fibre, in this case through the linked virtues chastity and fidelity, and through the virtue of compassion, a helping hand to those who falter and fail, especially if they suffer devastating consequences.

    Why?
    While it is important not to mix messages, there is a better way than silence: ABc.
    There is a place for pointing out to the 5 – 10 percent who are often resistant to the major message: AB, that the resort to condoms, c, may work some of the time, so that in dealing with those diseases there is some protection against, condoms are better than nothing: safER sex is better than UNSAFE sex.
    But equally, if condoms are a part of a pattern of risky behaviour, exposure overwhelms the protective effect, even against HIV, so the real issue is to change your behaviour towards safEST sex: chastity and fidelity: AB. THat provides protection to all, through the social vaccine/herd protection effect. (ANd, BTW, I notice how the BLOOD safety message is being drowned in all this talk about condoms. Properly handling blood and situations where blood is exposed is a big issue too. HIV is primarily a blood- and body- fluid borne disease. It so happens that sexual activity, especially some of the more unnatural acts, is a likely means of exposure to blood and other bodily fluid transfer.)
    My position’s rationale has been aptly captured in a cite already made above, from a — on substance, THE — leading Jamaican columnist, and I daresay a good friend and colleague, Martin Henry:

    The cold truth which the AIDS industry, Marvin Gunter, and the rest of us must soberly confront is that, barring a scientific or divine miracle, this most dreadful pandemic is set to run its devastating epidemiological course, which has been already determined by past human choices. If not divine judgement, AIDS certainly is largely a consequence of anti-Christian sexual behaviour . . . . The surest protection for the uninfected individual is chastity and fidelity. Whatever else it may do by way of response to the crisis, the Church, in the teeth of antagonism sharpened by desperation, must preach this loudly and clearly without compromise but with the spirit of compassion and practical care for those already fallen

  • Gordon Mullings

    H/mm
    A triple post morning.
    I observe: What does hurricanes hitting Jamaca have to do with gay marriage? What does the breakdown of family in Jamacia have to do with gay marriage (did they legalize gay marriage, I didn’t hear about that)?
    –> I simply noted a relevant and worrying current event, Hurricane EMily, thankfully one that has not gone all the way, though 6 are dead. I pray Yucatan is spared the worst.
    –> Secons, a simple accurate readinf of what I wrote will show that my concern is not primarily so-called homosexual marriages, but the isue defined by Jesus in Matt 19:3 – 6: the distortion ofd God’s creation order for man in family, leading to damaging consequences especially as boys/men lack the disciplined nurture they need to be civilised gentlemen rather than destructive savages.
    –> The cases I cited were in that explicit context. FOr instance, Malvo attached himself to Mohammed because this was the father figure he lacked. Teh consequences were disastrous.
    –> Teh homosexual agenda proposal is explicitly intended to undermine the traditional, creation order-based marriage and family, and that is why I have adverted to it as above. You may disagree, as is your privilege and responsibility before God, but I think the evidence is on my side, not yours.
    –> A look back at the above will be enough to show just why I have had the concerns I have stated.
    Grace open your eyes
    Gordon

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Gordon,
    Where can I get a copy of this homosexual agenda? Was it passed out at some meeting last week that I missed? Who decided on this agenda? Who voted for it? Were there dissenters among the ‘homosexual agenda’ or are they all ‘in on it’? You insist on respect for your position but you refuse to grant any credit to anyone else with a different opinion other than to assume they are dupes of some great monolithic conspiracy. It would be as bad if I said you were just a nicer face of the ‘Christian agenda’ as represented by the domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph (who takes the monolithic ‘us against them’ ‘agenda’ rhetoric to its logical conclusion)

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton
    Kindly re-read the indictment of King George in the US DOI, especially the part about a long chain of abuses and usurpations that pursue an unwavering design.
    Similarly, there is a clear secularist agenda/strategy: a planned/emergent pattern of goal-directed actions and resource deployments in support [citing my Strat Planning profs here]; and the radical homosexuals are a part of it.
    That can be inferred as a best explanation from the issues that come up in sequence across time, and from the resulting patterns in public policy, law, law enforcement and the media and public opinion.
    We are dealing with the real world here, not abstract demonstrations of academic points. This, I have repeatedly highlighted to you.
    When it comes to Rudolph, the Crusaders et al, there is a basic fact that they have to answer to: Jesus’ teachings and example, and that of his early followers. That immediately exposes the terroristic use of violence to allegedly promote Christ’s cause for what it is: Anti — i.e. counterfeit — Christian. (Rom 12:1 – 7 is about the legitimate use of force to uphold justice in the face of enemies foreign and domestic; the state, of course, is not the church, though godly men who acknowledge their duty to justice and show their qualification by their character and track record, are best suited for magistracies. Geo Washington and Abraham Lincoln are excelent cases in point, in your history.)
    Grace open your eyes
    Gordon
    PS Have you read the Green interview as yet? I think it sets a good context for a discussion on credible facts as put in the record by a leading researcher.

  • Gordon Mullings

    I think I should add a remark on:

    You insist on respect for your position but you refuse to grant any credit to anyone else with a different opinion other than to assume they are dupes of some great monolithic conspiracy.

    –> I have a duty to respect true facts representive of the truth, and good reasoning tied to those facts, whether as deduction or induction or abduction.
    –> But equally, I have no duty to accept or give credit to manipulative debate/rhetoric that:
    * ignores material facts or substitutes falsehood for true fact, or
    * twists reasoning, or seeks to exploit emotions and/or
    *play games with credibility: slandering credible sources, and promoting those who do not deserve to be trusted.
    –> A look back at this thread, sadly, will show just why I now have to comment like this. Kindly have a look at:
    1] http://www.angelfire.com/pro/kairosfocus/resources/Straight_Thinking.pps
    2] http://www.angelfire.com/pro/kairosfocus/resources/straight_or_spin.htm
    Grace open your eyes
    Gordon

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton,
    Thought a few more excerpts from that interview http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/110/12.0.html might help focus the back-forth on facts:

    CT: We know that the Bush administration has put big money into abstinence and fidelity programs throughout Africa. Do you suppose this kind of flawed news coverage is going weaken that resolve?
    TG: Yes, it may weaken the resolve. The spinmeisters make two claims about the study. One, since condoms went up and prevalence continued to go down, condoms made prevalence go down. We know that’s not true because condoms went up in every country in Africa and in several countries condom user levels went higher than Uganda and infection rates didn’t come down, they went up. We know the statement that condoms worked is not true.
    Then there’s another claim: When people die off, prevalence goes down because of death. That’s also not true because infection rates and levels of death, however you want to measure them, have gone up higher in other African countries and prevalence hasn’t come down.
    Within Uganda in some parts, prevalence went up to 30 percent. In other parts, it only went to 4 percent and then it went down. It went down uniformly throughout Uganda. Uganda is actually a constellation of different mini-epidemics, all of which had sort of different dynamics. Some went up to 30 percent; others went up to 4 percent, and they all came down.
    CT: Does that mean another factor caused the HIV decline? You point to abstinence and fidelity.
    TG: I said it in my 2003 book that the single most important behavioral change was fidelity, and most of that is marital fidelity. It wasn’t actually abstinence. Most Ugandans are between the ages of 15 and 49, and that’s where we measure disease and behavior; most Africans, including Ugandans 15 to 49, are not abstaining. Most of them are, in fact, married and sexually active. But the difference is they’ve become monogamous and faithful. That’s the big change. The second change is the proportion of youth engaging in sex, that went down in a big way between the latter 1980s and the mid-1990s.
    CT: Now, abstinence and fidelity are down nationwide in Uganda.
    TG: Oh yeah. We know it’s countrywide. We outside experts, we donors, we world health organizations, all the funding organizations from the West, we’ve tried to steer Uganda away from the original program and tried to force them to conform to what we think is the way to prevent AIDS, which is condoms, drugs, and testing. So Uganda’s national program has moved away from the focus on faithfulness and abstinence in recent years.
    . . . .
    CT:What about this idea that condoms have to be provided everywhere alcohol and sex are sold? Do you agree or disagree with that?
    TG: That means bars and brothels. I’d go along with that. I think at bars and brothels you do need condoms. That’s where there’s a legitimate role for condoms. But what Western experts have gone into the developing world promoting condoms as the only proven method of preventing AIDS. So we take that approach with primary school children and rural village people, married people. It hasn’t worked. People in the general population won’t use condoms. There’s a role for condoms in bars and brothels. Coming to primary schools with primarily a condom message or even high schools? No.
    CT: What’s your view regarding President Bush’s comment: “Abstinence is the only certain way to avoid contracting HIV; it works every time”?
    TG: That’s true. And if you and your wife are tested and you’re both HIV negative, then that’s also 100 percent safe. Having sex within marriage and both partners are tested. And I’m sure if you asked President Bush that, he’d say, “Oh yeah, that’s the other one.”
    CT: What’s the best role for abstinence advocacy in Africa as well as America?
    TG: In America, it’s the abstinence people on one side and the condom people on the other side. Frankly, if we get away from morality and religion and just speak, epidemiologically, the virus doesn’t know whether two partners are married or living in sin.
    In Uganda the average of marriage for females is like 17.5 and I think it’s around 19.5 or 20 for men. From a public health standpoint, that ‘B’ [be faithful] message is really, really important. It’s not even in the debate now. You have the abstinence people versus the condoms people. We need the ‘B’ message.
    CT: So you’re saying most everyone can rally behind that “Be Faithful” message?
    TG: You would think. But it is not true, even though we have an A-B-C policy; it’s not really being implemented, unfortunately. The rank and file of these organizations that implement these programs in developing countries don’t believe in the A and B components, they think it’s something that’s ideologically driven, or religiously driven. They don’t believe in it.
    So these organizations will give the abstinence money to condom social marketing companies and say, Add some abstinence language so we can justify. Wink, nod. There’s no congressional mandate saying a portion of prevention dollars must be spent on promoting fidelity or monogamy.
    CT: Are we winning the fight against HIV/AIDS globally?
    TG: It’s hard for things to get much worse than they have been for the first 20 or so years of responding to the pandemic. What we’ve done is we’ve taken the model that may be workable in San Francisco or New York or even Bangkok, and we’ve taken that all over the world and said this is the only model, regardless of culture, regardless of the type of epidemic. So, it’s really hard to do worse than that.
    What we have is a good A-B-C policy. There are times when I feel more optimistic, like a couple of weeks ago I saw the A-B-C guidance that came out of the office of the global AIDS coordinator: Here’s how you implement and measure the abstinence, the “Be Faithful” programs. It’s a great step forward. I hope that people will read that document and reconsider their biases against these interventions that many of them think are politically or religiously motivated.

    After this, kindly comment again on agendas/strategies and what they imply for those who live or die because of what is being pushed.
    Let the lurkers, now and future, judge for themselves, on who is attending to facts and logic, and who is playing rhetorical games in a context where LIVES ARE AT STAKE.
    GRace open your eyes
    Gordon

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

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  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Gordon,
    Sadly I had written two maybe three posts but for some reason they are gone? I thought maybe Joe banned me and neglected to tell me but maybe it was just a glitch or maybe I forgot thought I hit post when I just hit preview or something like that????
    Anyway, here’s the jist of what I wrote. Your attachment to ‘agendas’ rather than addressing arguments serves to dehumanize those you disagree with. There is no one voice among gays, secularists or just plain left wingers. Andrew Sullivan, for example, has argued for gay marriage from a pro-family anti-promiscuity POV. He has also argued against anti-discrimination laws applied to private groups (needless to say that includes ‘speech codes’ and various forms of political correctness). He has even incurred the wrath of some activists who feel marriage is a ‘straight’ invention as well as because he opposes the standard laws against employment discrimination that many gays advocate as an extension of the civil rights laws of the 60’s.
    On the other hand you can simply dismiss him as a front to seduce as many mushy conservatives as possible just as others are fronts to seduce environmentalists, libertarians, social democrats etc. all in service of THE AGENDA(tm).
    I understand why you cringe at the mention of Eric Rudolph but the logic of this ‘kitchen sink’ argument style leads directly to him. If it is all a front then it is only a short step to view non-violent acts such as advocating a policy you don’t like as violence. From there it is only another short step to view violence as self defense. In fact, I believe Eric justified his bombing of gay clubs on the grounds that this mysterious GAY AGENDA(tm) was destroying America. What does it matter that the people in the clubs thought they were just having a drink and socializing…
    Now I know you would never advocate violence and I’m sure if you ever meet an Eric Rudolph type character you would do everything possible to prevent him from harming people. However you’re the one who brought up Hitler and taking what people say seriously. Previously you’ve equated legalizing gay marriage to persecuting Christians. Taking this spurious argument seriously implies a justification for violence from the right of self-defense.
    So for now I’ll try to approach this discussion from a more meta level rather than going into King George, the Declaration of Independence and trying to analyze their relationship to gay marriage or condoms.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton
    I see your posting troubles
    On points:
    1] Your attachment to ‘agendas’ rather than addressing arguments serves to dehumanize those you disagree with. There is no one voice among gays, secularists or just plain left wingers.
    –> Again, kindly read the US DOI.
    –> Agendas are strategies that are pre-planned or emergent [most likely both], and which move the world situation of relevance towards an objective.
    –> That is easily discernible in the current situation, and is discussed in Joe’s post with facts not in dispute, on PC vs ABc: for five years, a law has been defied by those charged to implement it, because they value PC above truth and credible evidence. Many lives have doubtless been lost as a consequence. That is shameful.
    –> On the gay agenda, I will further remark below.
    –> First, strategies are implemented by people, and in groups/movements, the overall outcome emerges from the internal balance of forces.
    –> I agree that there is no one single voice for ANY group or movement, but that does not at all affect the point that there is an evident planned/emergent overall pattern of activities, issues and resource deployments that move towards a discernible goal. [And, towards unintended consequences — the history of Jamaica over the past 30 years is proof enough of how one can initiate what spirals out of control into a Frankenstein monster. But, still those who set out down the path of evil as a road to power are responsible for the consequences. I guess we will have to wait till Final Judgement for justice on this one.)
    –> If people wish to be dissociated from that goal, then they should come out clearly and distance themselves from the strategy being pursued; indeed, they may need to make a clear counter-strategy. Otherwise, silence is properly deemed consent.
    –> And, I note there are the non-gay homosexuals, who have done so; and the ex-homosexuals, who have also done so. The Gay movement does not speak for all homosexuals and certainly not for the former homosexuals.
    –> As to documenting the agenda in question, go back tothe exposure of the Kinsey fraud and to materials that one may read in much humanist literature and the SIECUS circle over the years. There is stuff that is reacheable on the net. But that is not the core of my point; I am seeing a pattern on the ground, not on paper.
    2] I understand why you cringe at the mention of Eric Rudolph but the logic of this ‘kitchen sink’ argument style leads directly to him.
    –> I am not at all cringing at the mention of Mr Rudolph’s name: I am pointing out that he manifests a case where a good name is being seized upon illegitimately, as can be easily shown from the history of the C1 church and its documents.
    –> In short, there simply is no foundation for the claim that Mr Rudolph’s behaviour is legitimately Christian, and the leading Christian spokesmen [and pro-life movement leaders as well] at the time of his actions publicly pointed this out, with reasons. A MATERIAL OBSERVATION HERE, IS THAT YOU HAVE SUPPRESSED/IGNORED THAT FACT.
    3] If it is all a front then it is only a short step to view non-violent acts such as advocating a policy you don’t like as violence. From there it is only another short step to view violence as self defense . . . I believe Eric justified his bombing of gay clubs on the grounds that this mysterious GAY AGENDA(tm) was destroying America. What does it matter that the people in the clubs thought they were just having a drink and socializing…
    –> Again, this is a red herring: Mr Rudolph has violated the core ethical framework of the Christian faith, from its inception:

    RO 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

    –> Further to this, I have repeatedly distinguished words from deeds, and have pointed to the US DOI as a case where inpolicy matters, those who are committed to liberty are duty bound to infer agendas from patterns of deeds and to act in accord with deeds not words. And deeds enough there are in the case of radical secularism and the gay agenda as a part of it.
    –> THus, I am in fact entitled to view your argument as an insistence on demonisation by distortion and denial of evident and manifest fact. It is true that people who claim to be or even are CHristians do wrong even grievous wrong, but that is not at all relevant to the core issues of this thread.
    –> Further to this, the inference that you go on to make [cf below], that there is a straight line connexion from identifying that there is an agenda that may legitimately be exposed — and non-violently opposed using such rights as are left — as socially and personally destructive to inferring that this leads to terrorism, is monstrous.
    –> And, notice the point: YOU ARE USING THE RUDOLPH CASE TO DISTRACT ATTENTION FROM THE ISSUE BEING DISCUSSED IN THIS THREAD: THAT THERE IS CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT A SUCCESSFUL, LIFE-SAVING HIV STRATEGY IS BEING SUBVERTED BECAUSE IT IS NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT. SO, who is it that is really concerned to save lives?
    4] However you’re the one who brought up Hitler and taking what people say seriously. Previously you’ve equated legalizing gay marriage to persecuting Christians. Taking this spurious argument seriously implies a justification for violence from the right of self-defense.
    –> THis is monstrous!
    –> I pointed out that extemists who announce their agendas should be taken seriously, especially when they access power and begin to implement, Hitler being the most plain case in point from recent history of an underestimated extremist. Similarly, bin Laden declared war on the USA and undertook several relatively minor terrorist incidents [including building bombings], but was evidently not taken seriously until the WTC towers came crashing down.
    –> SEcondly, I have adverted to cases ALREADY ON THE GROUND where those who question the gay agenda by simply reading and expounding the scriptures [Rom 1, which is the same letter cited just above, from ch 13, on how the law of love does no harm], have been subjected to tyrannical abuse of law and in at least one case [Sweden] gaoled with gay activists cheering on. (One of those activists openly said that the gay cause trumps freedom of conscience, association and expression. Worse, it seems the EU has shrugged its shoulders when the Czech Republic raised the case as a human rights case: that is, they are unwilling to enforce basic human rights when the homosexuals are the ones abusing state power and crushing major recognised rights. That, I take it, is not a position you would advocate! But, it is the sort of trend I have addressed on this subject.)
    –> Obviously, also, if in one and the same letter we read that: (1) loss of control and perversion of passions reflect rebellion against GOd [Ch 1], and (2) love, the core Christian ethical principle, does no harm [Ch 13], then it is plain that there is no straight line from moral protest to violencewithin any legitimate reading of Christian Theology.
    –> Indeed, as noted, the Christian history on the subject is plain: courageous martyrdom of thousands in peaceful witness to politically incorrect truth, a pattern that has continued across 21 centuries. Tertullian is direct: the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.
    –> All of this is openly known and wasily accessible history, already pointed out, so your irresponsible rhetoric is simply further evidence that you have again sacrificed truth and right in the interests of a rhetorical agenda that cannot stand up to the plain truth.
    SHAME ON YOU! CHO, MAN, DO BETTA DAN DAT!
    May Grace open your eyes
    A very saddened
    GOrdon

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    –> THis is monstrous!
    Indeed but let’s take a step back and imagine a gov’t which mandates persecution. Say occupied France in WWII. It wasn’t wrong for Christians and others to engage in armed resistance to the Nazi’s, even using violence against them. The doctrine of self-defense & the legitimate defense of others would absolve resistors from the charge of criminal activity. I’ll leave it to others to comment on the theological doctrine of just wars and whether or not Christians still accept that war can be just.
    Logically it only follows if you define some act as persecution then it is only a short step to justify violence. Radical groups on both sides of the spectrum have used this pursposeful blurring of true persecution to create a haze around judging the morality of their actions. In an earlier generation some on the left would label a corporation, bank, university administration etc. as an agent of persecution thereby justifying actions that are normally condemmed.
    Al Qaeda has basically followed this tactic as well, using this reasoning to attempt to argue that every civilian in a non-Muslim nation is responsible for their gov’t’s actions & their gov’ts are responsible for just about all suffering incurred on Muslims anywhere in the world. If you choose to define some policy as de facto persecution of Christians (as you did Gay Marriage) then you are implicitly laying out the groundwork for violence, albeit unintenionally.
    –> Again, kindly read the US DOI.
    Which nicely illustrates my point. Great effort was taken to achieve agreement on the DOI however for the most part its signers had differing agendas. If the post revolutionary US had taken a slightly different turn it would have sided with Jefferson and opposed the creation of the Federal gov’t. The signers bitterly broke into competiting parties after the Revolution.
    It would have been foolish to have read the DOI when it came out and conclude that supporting it also meant accepting an agenda of economic centralization (Hamilton) or a decentralized agrarian economy (Jefferson) or even a slave owning economy devoted to freedom for its elite class (the decision to strike criticizing King George for allowing slavery to develop in the Americas).

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So trying to steer this thread back on course, the problem with the slipperly slope argument is that it remains firmly a logical fallacy.
    Is it possible that some advocate gay marriage because they feel it would destroy the insistution of marriage entirely? Of course, but why accept their conclusions as infallible? Imagine gay marriage was legalized and now it is 15 years later. Hetrosexual divorce rates have remained largly unchanged and a minority of the gay community (but not a trivial number) had been in more or less solid relationships for some time now….some even 15 years old.
    What would happen to the activist who felt legalizing gay marriage would destroy the institution entirely? Now he not only must fight those supporting hetrosexual marriage but a section of the gay community as well which now has a financial and emotional stake in marriage. The advocate would still face the same questions he would face if he had skipped supporting gay marriage and went straight to attacking marriage itself. What would you replace it with? What are your criticisms of the status quo? How would you replacement address those criticisms? and so on.
    The bigamy, polygamy, incest line follows the same suit. Whether or not gay marriage is legalized today or not it won’t make it easier or harder for someone to advocate polygamy 10 years from now. Ironically, a polygamy advocate may find some support from those who oppose gay marriage. A few on this list expressed sympathy for polygamy, for example, because it has a long historical precedent as well as some Biblical precedent. Ditto for the other arguments.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton
    Yet more distractors:
    1] Indeed but let’s take a step back and imagine a gov’t which mandates persecution. Say occupied France in WWII. It wasn’t wrong for Christians and others to engage in armed resistance to the Nazi’s, even using violence against them.
    –> First, such governments existed, and exist: the Christian response is consitent — truthful principledly peaceful witness to the point of martyrdom. In the case where there is enough liberty to act as a covenantal polity, Christian peoples have over thre past 500 years, called out interposing magistrates and through them have argued for their liberty, and in the end if resisted then have resorted to just wars of self-defence. The Dutch DOI 1581, the Scottish Revolution, the 1688 glorious revolution and the US revolution are cases in point. Arguably the 1831 Baptist War in Jamaica is a failed attempt.
    –> Tehre is an underlying point: Cf. the classic distinction between force and violence. In reformation covenantal polity, the right of revolution as resistance to tyranny was developed in detail. The creation of a covenant of leadership and of principled resistance to tyranny, foreign and domestic, was elaborated in Vindiciae, Lex Rex and other works, leading up to Locke, the US DOI and the creation of the USA.
    –> Biblically, David provides a classic example, and highlights the difference between force and violence: twice, he could have assassinated his oppressor, Saul, by stealth, but chose not to do so on grounds that the office under God must be respected. Even Saul had to acknowledge this as a convincing demonstration of who was in the right: “I have played the fool . . .”
    –> Notice, I have long since adverted to this distinction. Mr Rudolph was not acting in this pattern, but indeed chose assassination by stealth [in a context where peaceful means of redress have not been reasonably shown futile, as opposed to say Europe 1938 and Iraq 1991 and arguably again in 2003] — and was publicly repudiated for this.
    –> The Crusades may have in some cases come out of a legitimate governmental grievance, e.g. the persistent islamic attempts to conquer the world and the 1065 massacre of 5 – 7,000 peaceful German religious pilgrims in the Holy Land, but their conduct fell far afoul of the principles of just war, e.g. the massacre of reportedly 40,000 inhabitants of Jerusalem. Similarly, there is no excuse for the crusade that ended up attacking Constantinople and fatally weakening the buffer state that blocked Islamic expansion into Europe!
    –> But all of this is distraction, from assessing a case where a PC agenda has blocked implementation of a reasonable law for 5 years, in a case where lives have been doubtless lost as a consequencs: that is indefensible.
    2] Logically it only follows if you define some act as persecution then it is only a short step to justify violence.
    –> Notice my explicit evidence of the response of the Christian faith in the teeth of persecution: peaceful witness even at the cost of one’s life. That was the fate of the very first Christian apologist, and not coincidentally, the first martyr: Stephen, a man full of the SPirit and wisdom.
    –> In short, after due allowance for the fact that sadly, some real and some pretended Christians across time havre not lived up to that standard, your srgument constitutes a slanderous red herring.
    3] Al Qaeda has basically followed this tactic as well
    –> Are you equating peaceful challenge to terrorism?!!!!!!
    –> That is the question you invite by drawinf such an invidious comparison.
    –> By contrast, I have shown that there is a pattern of extremism at work in the case of the radical secularist agenda. In that case it is thus legitimate to point out that when a movement acts consistently and at leading levels in reckless disregard for life, and even justifies the taking of innocent life under highly questionable circumstances [ranging from 44 million victims of the US abortion policy, to the starving to death of those deemed to have life unworthy of life, to the cover up of cases such as Jesse Dirkheising [sp?], etc] it is appropriate to point out that historically that has led to some serious consequences.
    3] Which nicely illustrates my point.
    –> On the contrast, the US DOI shows (a) that a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces a design to reduce its targets under despotism, i.e. a situation where one’s life is forfeit tot he whim of those who hold power, and (b) that an orderly process of principled resistance begins with protest and petition, resorting to forceful principled resistance only when means of peaceful redress are reasoably exhausted and futile.
    –> This I have just discussed above in its historic context of Reformation covenant polity, so-called Political Calvinism.
    –> TO infer from such to a parallel to Al Qaeda stryle terroism is a monstrous injustice and slanderous red herring. Shame on you for persisting in it!
    4] So trying to steer this thread back on course, the problem with the slipperly slope argument is that it remains firmly a logical fallacy.
    –> Again, I have shown from historical examples and evident reason, the issue that there is such a thing as an agenda thsat has in it an evil intent, which is best resisted in its early stages. Again, Machiavelli: political disorders are like wasting diseases. At first, they are hard to diagnose, easy to cure; but if at length for want of early diagnosis and prompt treatment the course of the disease becomes obvious to all, it is then far too late to cure.
    –> In that context, adverting to the fact that there is an informal fallacy “the slippery slope” becomes another such fallacy: the red herring, intended to distract attention from steadily advancing, and evident danger until it is too late to act.
    –> Thankfully, sunshine is still the best disinfectant, and the exposure of your inference that principled objection to a trend of mounting tyranny is tantamount to terrorism is telling, absolutely terlling!
    5] Is it possible that some advocate gay marriage because they feel it would destroy the insistution of marriage entirely? Of course, but why accept their conclusions as infallible?
    –> We have already seen what media and legfal power does in those hands. FOr instance, in the Matthew Sheppard case it turns out prosecutors suppressed confessions that theft was the motive. THe Dirkheising case has not received media attention because it highlights the dangers of homosexual pedophilia, and the Philly 5 case has in it homosexual Federal JD attorneys advising local police on how to abuse hate crimes legislation to tsarget peaceful protesters. Similarly, the bland assurances that overturning sodomy law has no implications turned out to be lies, within a matter of months. Polygamists and bestialists are ALREADY citing the Lawrence case. And more.
    –> But also, we have something like 10,000 studies on the importance of stable heterosexual unions as the foundation of family life. That simply does not gret headlined, because it does not fitr with an agenda.
    –> Moreover, the underlying point in the thread is actually the issue Joe exposed: the agency charged under law to change condom labelling to fit with the facts has refused to do so for five years, in a context where material evidence from Uganda etc. is being suppressed — precisely because of a PC agenda. AND LIVES ARE AT STAKE.
    ++++++++
    Overall, it seems to me that no amount of evidence short of a disastrous implementation of the secularist agenda will suffice to show its folly, including on condom policy and on so-called gay marriages. And, the evidence is, that given the informal fallacy of the closed mind at work, rationalisations will then be manufactured to explain away the disaster. (E.g. Believe it or not, thirty years after it was manifestly shown to be an economic disaster, many Jamaicans still want to explain away the disastrous socialist experiment of the Michael Manley government. Indeed, a large number of people would elevate him to the status of recognised national hero. I have seen this closed mindedness before, in short.)
    Sorry, these radical secularist PC ideas and agendas have long since passed their sell-by date.
    Remember the problem of visious endarkenment in the name of enlightenment, as is adverted to in Plato’s Parable of the Cave, and more familiarly, in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

    MT 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

    Grace open your eyes
    Gordon

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    Here is yet another case in point:

    For more than a decade, organizations such as True Love Waits have encouraged young people to abstain from sexual activity. As part of these programs, young people are encouraged to take a verbal or written pledge to abstain from sex until marriage.
    An article by professors Peter Bearman and Hanna Bruckner in the April 2005 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health strongly attacked virginity pledge programs and abstinence education in general. The article stated that youth who took virginity pledges had the same sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates as non-pledgers. It also strongly suggested that virginity pledgers were more likely to engage in unhealthy anal and oral sex. The report garnered widespread media attention across the nation. A reexamination of the data, however, reveals that Bearman and Bruckner

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    ANother interesting clip, on abstinence pledges in the US:

    In the present paper, we re-examine the linkage between adolescent virginity pledging
    and STD rates among young adults using the same data set employed by Bearman and Bruckner, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). The current analysis differs in two key respects from Bearman and Bruckner

  • Gordon Mullings

    H’mm
    Quiet weekend.
    I will add an excerpt from the second Rector and Johnson paper, Adolescent Virginity Pledges And Risky Sexual Behaviors, which was presented at The Eighth Annual National Welfare Research And Evaluation Conference Of the Administration for Children and Families U.S. Department of Health and Human Services June 14, 2005; pp. 3 – 4:

    The widespread attention to the Bearman-Bruckner article was unfortunate since the highly publicized suggestion that virginity pledgers are

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    –> We have already seen what media and legfal power does in those hands. FOr instance, in the Matthew Sheppard case it turns out prosecutors suppressed confessions that theft was the motive. THe Dirkheising case has not received media attention because it highlights the dangers of homosexual pedophilia, and the Philly 5 case has in it homosexual Federal JD attorneys advising local police on how to abuse hate crimes legislation to tsarget peaceful protesters. Similarly, the bland assurances that overturning sodomy law has no implications turned out to be lies, within a matter of months. Polygamists and bestialists are ALREADY citing the Lawrence case. And more.
    In whose hands has this power been exercised? No one person or group chooses which cases to highlight (such as the Sheppard case) or to not. Right now we have just gotton off nearly non-stop coverage of the missing teen in Aruba. Yet every year hundreds of teens go missing, what makes this case so exceptional as oppossed to the teen that went missing in…say…Detroit?
    So what the polygamists & bestialists are citing the Lawrence case? BTW, since you made the specific claim could you please cite exactly who has cited Lawrence in defense for bestialitiy?
    We’ve gone down this road before, you have to address actual arguments. Not arguments you think someone will make in the future if a certain argument wins today. By establishing a right to sexual privacy Lawrence probably can be cited by polygamists in defense against laws prohibiting group sex or sex outside of legal marriage (assuming such laws actually exist or are enforced anywhere in the US these days). It’s application to marriage though is much more limited.
    –> Moreover, the underlying point in the thread is actually the issue Joe exposed: the agency charged under law to change condom labelling to fit with the facts has refused to do so for five years, in a context where material evidence from Uganda etc. is being suppressed — precisely because of a PC agenda. AND LIVES ARE AT STAKE.
    1. What evidence from Uganda has been suppressed? Since when are condom labels supposed to include abstracts from assorted peer review articles.
    2. The labelling of condoms that has been cited is beyond doubt fully within all known facts, even as admitted by you.
    Bearman and Bruckner focus on this microscopic group while failing to inform their audience of the obvious and critical fact that pledgers as a whole are substantially less likely to engage in anal sex when compared to non-pledgers. [Source: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/wm762.cfm ]….
    I suggest you read Slate’s analysis of Reckman’s attack on the Bearman study. For example:

    Rector and Johnson claim their analysis is the more thorough one because “Bearman and Br

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton
    I came back to see how you got along. I find your focus on details while ignoring the major point rather interesting, and telling.
    I am reminded on last night’s press conference on the first day of the 10th anniversary international conference on the SH volcano eruption. There we suddenly heard from Mateoli of U Ark, what we had not been hearing all along, pulling others along with him; and the contrast between credible scientists speaking their mind and the regular managed releases of information with calculated gaps and spins was telling. It was amusing to hear the scramble to put in buts and reservations.
    FIrst, I think we have seen that the headlines/silence issue is a question of emphasis.
    1] In the Sheppard/Dirkheising comparison case, the relative silence is what is so telling; especially in a context where it has recently emerged that prosecutors suppressed confessional evidence regarding motive: robbery, not religiously motivated hate. I recall the headlines at the time all too well. SImilarly, on polygamists and bestialists citing the Lawrence ruling, I think you can go do your own looking up, but the lack of reference on the first suggests that you know that the material point — citation — is already going on.
    2] On the broader issue, I note that the central point is that the agency tasked to implement the law has refused to do so for five years, and it is not excerpts from peer reviewed data that are at stake.
    3] SImilarly, the pattern of HIV/AIDS in Uganda vs the rest of Africa vanishes from your response: that is material to assessing which of the two sets of researchers is probably more credible. The clear contrast between 15 to 5 percent in Uganda and rates that continue to climb elsewhere is the elephant in the middle of the room that is somehow not in the conversation. (And, I am not surprised to see critiques; I invite lurkers to examine the articles as linked to see which is more/less credible.)
    4] WHat is plain to me is that when something based on 20 odd out of 14,000 is headlined and used to characterise an issue when materially relvant data from Uganda etc is suppressed, there is a rat getting ripe there.
    5] A similar pattern holds for HPV, which, recall, is NOT significantly protected agains by condoms.
    6] In that context, I take your point that Heritage and other researchers may well massage data on points, and are subject to critical review. After all, I did cite just such a case in adverting to the Green issue [condoms did the work in Uganda when the reasearch timelines start half a decade after the knee in the curve] and also in citing the point that a small and non-representative sample has been used in headlines to make the overall claim that abstinence is perverse. I also note that the point is also made that the urine sample data has anomalous results in general as noted.
    7] I do note too that on average, self-reporting is routinely used in social science based research, and is probably as valid on balance as any other approach.
    8] Thus, overall, questions on specific points cannot get rid of the elephant in the middle of the room: Uganda and the refusal to adjust condom labels to reflect the unwelcome truth about say HPV and condoms. And, the case of using a 20 odd person sample out of 14,000 to make a point that is spread in the media is telling.
    THe evidence is, there is an agenda at work, and it is driven by a worldview pattern. No smoke filled rooms are necessary, just failure to use comparative difficulties in a context where certain ideologies and worldviews are dominant tot he exclusion of other possibly valid perspectives.
    OKay
    GEM

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    1] In the Sheppard/Dirkheising comparison case, the relative silence is what is so telling; especially in a context where it has recently emerged that prosecutors suppressed confessional evidence regarding motive: robbery, not religiously motivated hate. I recall the headlines at the time all too well. SImilarly, on polygamists and bestialists citing the Lawrence ruling, I think you can go do your own looking up, but the lack of reference on the first suggests that you know that the material point — citation — is already going on.
    A: You ignore my main point. No one group picked out the Sheppard case. Some cases get picked by the media for intense focus and others do not. I’ve yet to hear you explain how the fact that the Sheppard case may have gotten too much focus translates into a secret agenda by powerful forces etc.
    B: You’re the one who has claimed polygamists and bestialists are citing Lawrence. Why should I look up this claim? Certainly if you were being honest you must have heard it from somewhere. Why don’t you just say where when challenged? If you can’t remember the exact source you can just tell us as much as you remember. Specifically I asked you for examples of bestialists citing Lawrence. Did this happen in a court case? If so what type? Was it a criminal case against someone for bestiality or was it a lawsuit seeking to overturn such laws?
    2] On the broader issue, I note that the central point is that the agency tasked to implement the law has refused to do so for five years, and it is not excerpts from peer reviewed data that are at stake.
    There’s no indication that the labels are in violation of the law. There’s no indication that the law was even necessary to begin with as I pointed out at the beginning of this thread.
    7] I do note too that on average, self-reporting is routinely used in social science based research, and is probably as valid on balance as any other approach.
    I’m going to repeat myself here again. The Hertiage report you cited was not an example of an honest scientist correcting the record but an example of politically motivated science in service of the right. The proof is in:
    1. Lowering standards of statistical significance.
    2. Removing objective variables (testing positive for HPV) for no good reason other than to manufacture a desired result.
    3. Adding variables that are more likely to be biased in favor of the desired result.
    Yes self reporting is often used in social sciences. Self-reporting in and of itself is not wrong to use in social science but what is wrong is to ignore obvious problems with the variable. Especially when it comes to sex people have a strong incentive not to self report honestly. Honest research must confront that fact and do its best to correct for it. Did the Heritage researcher do his best in this case?

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton
    I have already addressed the point that wheninfluential leaders and institutions pursue an evident agenda, one is entitled and sometimes obligated, to act onthat inference.
    In the case of Sheppard/Dirkheising, the agenda comes out in how the one was dwelt upon at length, with contrary evidence being suppressed; while the other hardly received any coverage, excuses being advanced to the effect that it was not of sufficient national importance. (Here, I observe that you again omit the other half of the story!)
    Now on specifics:
    1] You’re the one who has claimed polygamists and bestialists are citing Lawrence. Why should I look up this claim? Certainly if you were being honest you must have heard it from somewhere. Why don’t you just say where when challenged?
    –> Oh, now the polygamists are back, after I pointed out that you dropped them.
    –> My observation on the wider import is, that you can look it up just as well as I can, and I have no real desire to track back through my files of web clips on this minor point that you can see for yourself by checking out Google, Yahoo or Copernic etc. (You were quick enough to look for a counter to the points made by Heritage Foundation [cf below], and so I can infer that e.g. your silence on Green is telling. What about Dirkheising?)
    –> My recall on the points is that Polygamists in Utah linked to splinters from the main Mormon religion are citing the precedent; and that there is a case of a man who claimed in court to be maried to his dog if memory serves.
    –> But, the free searches are there for you to use, if you are really concerned to find out the truth on these various points.
    2] There’s no indication that the labels are in violation of the law. There’s no indication that the law was even necessary to begin with as I pointed out at the beginning of this thread.
    –> Talk about begging the question! Lurkers, kindly examine Joe’s post and the thread, including the issue that condoms are generally regarded as working about 90% of the time in use on HIV, and that they provide little protection vs HPV.
    3] I’m going to repeat myself here again. The Hertiage report you cited was not an example of an honest scientist correcting the record but an example of politically motivated science in service of the right.
    –> First, i invitred lurkers to look at the reports for themselves. I cite the section on why they used a multivariate, ANOVA type approach, from their condom use study:

    Chart 1 shows the STD rates for pledgers and nonpledgers; the measure of STD infection is the same one employed by Bearman and
    Bruckner: evidence of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea or Trichomoniasis in urine samples. (We
    shall henceforth refer to this variable as the

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    –> My observation on the wider import is, that you can look it up just as well as I can, and I have no real desire to track back through my files of web clips on this minor point that you can see for yourself by checking out Google, Yahoo or Copernic etc. (You were quick enough to look for a counter to the points made by Heritage Foundation [cf below], and so I can infer that e.g. your silence on Green is telling. What about Dirkheising?)
    –> My recall on the points is that Polygamists in Utah linked to splinters from the main Mormon religion are citing the precedent; and that there is a case of a man who claimed in court to be maried to his dog if memory serves.

    Thank you for attempting to be specific. Let’s look at the issue here. On one hand we have the Lawrence decision and on the other hand we have the ‘bottom of the slipperly slope’. By that I mean the things you claim people will argue for based on Lawrence but Lawrence itself didn’t actually do.
    Lawrence establishes that sex is a private action and that the state does not have the right to intervene in that zone of privacy without a compelling interest. While a ‘right to privacy’ is derived from the Constitution instead of being specifically outlined and it has generated a lot of disputes it remains difficult to maintain that there is no right to privacy and the state has the ability to regulate an individual’s private life in the same manner it has the right to set more or less arbitrary hours for the local park or library!
    Is it possible to use this to make arguments for gay marriage, polygamy, child sex, and bestiality? Well in law you can make an argument for just about anything if you have enough chuetzpa (see the man who kills his parents and begs the court for mercy because he’s an orphan!). Whether these are viable arguments is another issue.
    In terms of marriage Lawrence said next to nothing. In fact, if anything it reinforces individual privacy as opposed to marital privacy (which is what Grizwald did when bans on married couples using birth control were struck down). There’s no direct line between Lawrence and altering marriage law except to the degree that lawyers could argue that Lawrence prevents states from banning sex that would be inherent in some types of marriage. Objecting to Lawrence on the grounds that a spurious argument might be mounted in the future using it is a bit like objecting to the First Amendment because someone could use it to argue for animal sacrifice or polygamy on religious freedom grounds (an argument, BTW, that is actually more potent).
    Which leads us back to gay marriage. Do the arguments in favor of gay marriage logically lead to polygamy? No they do not. I’ve been thru this list before but there’s a difference between the real arguments for gay marriage and the straw men arguments. No one seriously argues for gay marriage on the grounds that ‘people should do whatever they want’. Of course if you pretend that is the only argument for gay marriage then it does indeed logically lead to polygamy, bestiality, incest but probably not child sex (since even that argument implies consent is necessary which we agree is not possible for children).
    –> Talk about begging the question! Lurkers, kindly examine Joe’s post and the thread, including the issue that condoms are generally regarded as working about 90% of the time in use on HIV, and that they provide little protection vs HPV.
    The current label states:

    If used properly, latex condoms will help to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV infection (AIDS) and many other sexually transmitted diseases.” Many brands also state condoms are highly effective in preventing pregnancy.

    90% certainly is truthfully ‘reducing the risk’ and ‘may help’ clearly indicates that the wording is biased towards underplaying the true amount of prevention. Even in the case of HPV it is unclear that condoms provide no protection, they probably provide some since they do decrease the amount of tissue to tissue contact. Keep in mind with other drugs and medical devices achieving even a 10% reduction or increase in recovery is considered good enough to be marketed as ‘effective’.
    The study
    Again you dance around the study and what it said. Bearman and Bruckner never claimed that the sample showed a decrease in STD’s for pledgers. Their work was not politically biased as the Heritage researchers claimed. This is standard statistical techniques taught to anyone who has even taken a stats I course. A claim is made about something…it cuts costs, has a lower failure rate, reduces obesity etc. A hypothesis test is set up:
    Ho: The ‘new thing’ is no better than the old thing.
    Ha: The ‘new thing’ is better than the old thing.
    A sample of the ‘new thing’ is taken and compared to either the known average of the ‘old thing’ or a sample of the ‘old thing’. The chance that the sample of the new thing will exactly match the old thing is slim. The question is whether it is different enough to justify rejecting Ho. Bearman and Bruckner noted it wasn’t. Heritage researchers lowered what they in the past used as an acceptable standard to claim it is. They then rig the study by dropping objective variables that hurt their desired results (ironically the test for HPV….which you’ve been raging about for the last 100 posts) and add a variable that is likely to be biased in favor of their desired result (self-reporting, which carries the bias for pledgers to lie about their sexual activity). Ironically since HPV is very pervasive and since condoms do offer less protection against it, it is probably a very good way of testing the honestly of those who claim to be keeping their pledge.
    The dishonesty here is not that Bearman and Bruckner’s analysis is perfect or that it is impossible to have honest disagreements about what it means. It’s the claim that Bearman and Bruckner have presented politicized science because they are somehow either knowing agents of the SECRET AGENDA(tm) or dupes of it. In reality it is the right wing that is choosing ideology over science.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton
    I have but little time today.
    1] Links in brief
    First, a link you will find interesting: http://subscript.bna.com/SAMPLES/flr.nsf/0/9c396a6f5971719b85256fcc007e73f7?OpenDocument
    (Apology: I did not realise how many porn links would come up on the sort of search I pointed you to.)
    The CNN column, oh there’s not much to worry about, just trust the judges piece at http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/07/29/hamilton.polygamy/ is also revealing. Contrast the CT at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/126/11.0.html
    . In the time available I did not turn up a link on the bestiality case I recall hearing on shortwave.
    2] In terms of marriage Lawrence said next to nothing. I
    –> But, as the subsequent course of events demonstrated, it IMPLIED much. Cf Mass. decision and aftermath.
    3] 90% certainly is truthfully ‘reducing the risk’ and ‘may help’ clearly indicates that the wording is biased towards underplaying the true amount of prevention.
    –> Again, you know the implication of the moral hazard calculation above that exposure overwhelms such protection, so much so that 10 exposures leads to a 2/3rds chance of having an unacceptable risk. Half the truth is sometimes a very dangerous deception. No wonder Museveni was so forthright!
    –> “May help” also leaves out the point of the HPV example: there are significant, destructive and widespread diseases out there against which condoms offer little or no protection. HPV is I gather the single most common STD in the USA, or near that.
    –> In the further context where abstinence and fidelity offer proven protection — cf Uganda — this is telling.
    4] Again you dance around the study and what it said. Bearman and Bruckner never claimed that the sample showed a decrease in STD’s for pledgers. Their work was not politically biased as the Heritage researchers claimed. . . . . The question is whether it is different enough to justify rejecting Ho. Bearman and Bruckner noted it wasn’t. Heritage researchers lowered what they in the past used as an acceptable standard to claim it is.
    –> Your remarks are severely disappointing. FIrst, surveys are obviously based on the validity of self-reporting . . . including B & B, so there is a basic contradiction in tryig to do selective hyperskepticism in this case.
    –> SEcond, what is happening is that we see a case where something passes at 90% and fails at 95% and also gives anomalous results on other related tests. THIS IS HIGHLIGHTED IN A STUDY THAT FAILS TO GIVE THE WIDER CONTEXT. And now it is bias and dishonesty to point that out?
    –> Further to this, we are looking at a cumulative probability issue: goiven that surveys are a valid instrument in general, and this methodology is involved in the B & B study [how else are they classifying pledgers non pledgers other than survey responses, etc] then why is it suddenly invalidated to point out that there is a cluster of results subject to multiple analyses, that give a wider context that materially alters the force of the B & B result?
    –> Further to this, the fact that the B & B study was then trumpeted, because it sends the PC message is telling. The caveats and wider context, evidently were left out, and the press were all too willing to run with the report: WHY?
    –> It seems to me that you are resorting to desperate tactics, in a context where the cumulative evidence is plain.
    Okay have to go. More later.
    GEM

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Gordon,
    I too am being pressed by the world today so I must be even more brief:
    –> But, as the subsequent course of events demonstrated, it IMPLIED much. Cf Mass. decision and aftermath.
    The decision of the Mass S.C. was primarily based on the state’s constitution. Lawrence was a decision of the US S.C., if it served as a primary or even secondary basis of the Mass decision on gay marriage then it would have been appealable to the Federal Courts. It wasn’t because the decision was solely based on the state courts reading of state law and the state constitution. Maybe Lawrence was mentioned in the text of the decision but there’s nothing to indicate had the US SC decided Lawrence the other way that would have caused the Mass decision to be different.
    –> Again, you know the implication of the moral hazard calculation above that exposure overwhelms such protection, so much so that 10 exposures leads to a 2/3rds chance of having an unacceptable risk. Half the truth is sometimes a very dangerous deception. No wonder Museveni was so forthright!
    Nonesense again. The label should reflect what the product does. If it reduces the risk of HIV and other disease transmissions by 90% then it reduces the risk. If a person decides to drastically increase his sexual activity to overcome this protection that is not caused by the condom itself.
    –> “May help” also leaves out the point of the HPV example: there are significant, destructive and widespread diseases out there against which condoms offer little or no protection. HPV is I gather the single most common STD in the USA, or near that.
    While HPV is important it is nowhere near as important as AIDS. For one thing half of the population is more or less immune to HPV. Second many strands of HPV are more or less harmless except for several that cause warts and a few that cause cervical cancer. The cancer can almost always be addressed by regular pap smears which women should do anyway.
    This isn’t to trivilize HPV. it is real and it should be addressed but condoms do not claim to protect against HPV nor should they. However it is valid to note that there is no evidence which suggests condoms increase the risk of HPV transmission and there’s some reason to think they probably offer some limited reduction in its risk.
    –> SEcond, what is happening is that we see a case where something passes at 90% and fails at 95% and also gives anomalous results on other related tests. THIS IS HIGHLIGHTED IN A STUDY THAT FAILS TO GIVE THE WIDER CONTEXT. And now it is bias and dishonesty to point that out?
    Wait, they didn’t provide the p-score in their study? Obviously if they had said the p score was 94% that would tell anyone reading the study that it would meet a less stringent 90% test. Of course it is easy after the fact to re-adjust goalposts so you produce your desired results. The fact is that if you did not know the results of the sample you would almost certainly agree with me that a 5% significance level is pretty much standard for such studies.
    –> Your remarks are severely disappointing. FIrst, surveys are obviously based on the validity of self-reporting
    Surveys have to take deception into account with self-reporting. You have to especially be careful when you ask people to take admit to what they would probably perceive as a personal failing. Recall the famous survey in the 70’s where something like 60-70% of the population claimed they voted for Kennedy instead of Nixon. Since Kennedy won by a thin margin either a large portion of Nixon voters died a decade after the election or many people wanted to believe they voted for Kennedy.
    Again the problem here is that objective variables were dropped for no good reason other than they distorted the outcome to manufacture a more desirable result and less objective variables were added for the same reason. Considering how many people are uneducated in statistics it’s a lot to expect the media just to report the study’s findings. Most of the time they don’t even report anything beyond the sample group.

  • GOrdon Mullings

    Boonton
    Lost a major response thanks to a crash, aldo had ash fall to deal with and a resurgent scientific and policy controversy with lives potentially at stake. Shades of 1995!
    I have to be brief in this repost.
    –> First, your objections are basically a recycling of claims that have long since been adequately addressed. You are out of ammo so you are throwing spent cartridges at me.
    –> For instance, while it is true that deception is an issue in surveys, that is why there are cross checks.
    –> IN this case, it is BB who isolated one statistic and failed to explain the global pattern, which can be seen from excerpts above, and linking the actual peer-reviewed papers.
    –> As to the hoary one that 90% protection is good enough, you know most people are not able to work out the chances that they would be protected in a high risk environment ten times, just ten times: 35%. That is, odds are 2:3 that trhey would be exposed to an unacceptabnle risk at least once.
    –> ALso you continue to show gaps in basic knowledge: men are vulnerable to HPV, not immune to it — gues how women contract it as a rule: from men. ANd, cervical cancer is not a negligible risk — it evidently kils more women inthe USA than HIV.
    –> The elephant in the room remains that Uganda demonstrates that A and B work very well indeed, and especially whent here is social support. The problem with the USA is that there is an establishment of hedonists and amoralists who wish to duck the moral implications of a genuine ABC strategy, that targets C on those who need it, not making it the center piece of the campaign..
    GOta run for now
    GEM

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    –> ALso you continue to show gaps in basic knowledge: men are vulnerable to HPV, not immune to it — gues how women contract it as a rule: from men. ANd, cervical cancer is not a negligible risk — it evidently kils more women inthe USA than HIV.
    True however you ignored my caution that I was not trying to say HPV was not a problem. Relative to HIV it is a very slim problem and the fact that more women die from cervical cancer than HIV doesn’t change that fact. Also this brings back the point that condoms were never claimed to be effective against HPV and their labels do not imply such. You cannot even claim people are using condoms believing they will protect against HPV to any great extent since we’ve also seen that HPV has often been neglected by the general media and the public.
    –> As to the hoary one that 90% protection is good enough, you know most people are not able to work out the chances that they would be protected in a high risk environment ten times, just ten times: 35%. That is, odds are 2:3 that trhey would be exposed to an unacceptabnle risk at least once.
    Let’s return to the bullet proof vest analogy. Would you deny the right to label a bullet proof vest with a claim that it will ‘reduce the chance of injury from being shot’ if studies show that it worked 90% of the time? It’s a bit silly to observe that this there’s a high chance of getting hurt if 10 people shoot at you. The relevant fact is that the comparision should be made between 10 acts of sex without a condom versus 10 acts with a condom. Even there the reduction in risk remains significant. Given 100 people who have sex with an HIV infect partner 10 times with condoms versus 100 people without you’ll see a significant decrease in new infections.
    The 90% number remains somewhat suspect. There are examples of couples (married or not) who have sex lives where one partner has HIV and the other doesn’t. Someone else will have to look up the studies but I suspect you can find examples of such couples who have held off transmission thru careful use of condoms that should be statistically impossible if 90% is a firm number. I suspect it isn’t, it is probably more of a behaviorial number….90% is how many people use condoms today.
    I gave an example of this. A person who doesn’t use a condom for half of sex but puts one on right before orgasm. Certainly this behavior does offer some protection compared to simply not using a condom at all but it is much less than if he used the condom all the way through. Is this an example of the condom being defective or insufficient or an example of a person choosing how much risk to expose themselves to?

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton:
    I see:
    1} I was not trying to say HPV was not a problem. Relative to HIV it is a very slim problem and the fact that more women die from cervical cancer than HIV doesn’t change that fact.
    –> This, sadly, reveals the absurdity of your underlying claim. Cervical cancer is no joke, and is a part of the STDs picture. A and B work against both equally well, and at very low cost relative to the C-heavy strategy. This, Uganda demonstrated.
    2] Also this brings back the point that condoms were never claimed to be effective against HPV and their labels do not imply such. You cannot even claim people are using condoms believing they will protect against HPV to any great extent since we’ve also seen that HPV has often been neglected by the general media and the public.
    –> Sadly, the absurdity continues. The condom labels give a generic remark that communicates a general protection:

    BOONTON: The current label states: If used properly, latex condoms will help to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV infection (AIDS) and many other sexually transmitted diseases.” Many brands also state condoms are highly effective in preventing pregnancy.

    –> Omission of material information to the contrary on the disease that as noted evidently kills more women than HIV does, is a case of a deadly half-truth.
    3] Let’s return to the bullet proof vest analogy. Would you deny the right to label a bullet proof vest with a claim that it will ‘reduce the chance of injury from being shot’ if studies show that it worked 90% of the time?
    –> Police and soldiers carry out a necessary social function, protecting society from enemies foreign and domestic, whether criminal, terrorist, or military. By sharpest contrast, there is no social necessity for anyone to have sex outside of the AB context: chastity and fidelity, This is reflected in Museveni’s apt comment:

    “I look at the condom as an improvisation — not a solution — an improvisation” . . . . “[In the first instance, practice] abstinence, be faithful to each other…but if you can’t, use the condom,” . . . “[AIDS is mainly a] moral, social and economic problem.” . . . . “[It is ] Obviously a moral problem when one has sexual intercourse before marriage or outside marriage.” . . . . “[we must strive for] optimal relationships based on love and trust instead of institutionalized mistrust which is what the condom is all about.” [ http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/jul/04071201.html ]

    –> In short, you are comparing mangoes and concrete. In the context of a socially necessary function, partial protection is lifesaving and acceptable [though I note the earlier remarks about ejection seats, that if their failure reate were anything like those of the condom, people would go to gaol]. In the context of reckless behaviour that is evidently self-and socially destructive, giving license through “protection” is likely to be tantamount to throwing gasoline on a fire.
    –> REmember, all of this is in the context that Ugands ahows that AB-heavy strategies can work well, providing there is strong social support. WHat I think is the real underlying issue is that in the increasingly secularised US, morality and morality and prudence based restraints on behaviour are viewed as unlikely to work because to manypeople no linger believe in restraints. That looks like telling me that there are some people with some big explaining to do on why they promoted and still promote sexual chaos in the teeth of its demonstrated consequences.
    –> Far sounder is the approach which respects morality, teaches chastity and fidelity, backs that up with the counsels of prudence [Museveni’s coffins and skulls vs the Caribbean’s “party hat” condoms and red ribbons as the symbols of the HIV campaign are a telling contrast!], and then targets those who stubbornly insist on folly for what ewill help reduce the danger they foolishly insist on exposing themselves to sounds like basic common sense writ large. It works, too.
    4] It’s a bit silly to observe that this there’s a high chance of getting hurt if 10 people shoot at you. The relevant fact is that the comparision should be made between 10 acts of sex without a condom versus 10 acts with a condom.
    –> THat consideration is in fact factored into the tactics used: if you are going into a multiple shoot-back situation, you call for backup first, instead of playing Superman, the man of steel off whose chest bullets bounce. In the military, I notice that in additrion to flak jackets, armoured vehicles are used. SO, the issue of exposure reduction is a factor with bullet-proof vests.
    -> I disagree wholeheartedly that, for the general population, the apt comparison is 10 sex acts with vs without a condom in a high risk environment. Instead, the obvious alternative is: A B.
    –> It is the 10% or so who insist on risky behaviour in the teeth of the sort of social forces Museveni unleashed, who really are appropriate targets for a strong condom message. But the message as Ted Green points out, should not be one of “invulnerability” as the condom promotion hints at by using names such as shield and protector, but rather that they give a margin of relative protection: safER not SAFE sex. THen, the underlying message needs to be: (1) here is how to get out of this sort of risky behaviour, (2) Get yourself tested NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if you have had sex outside of the AB context in the past 10 – 20 years [or have been exposed to blood etc], (3) here is where we can help you if you are now waiting outside death’s door with HIV/AIDS.
    5] The 90% number remains somewhat suspect . . . I suspect you can find examples of such couples who have held off transmission thru careful use of condoms that should be statistically impossible if 90% is a firm number. I suspect it isn’t, it is probably more of a behaviorial number….90% is how many people use condoms today.
    –> Kindly check the UNAIDS reports [draft version!], the US reports, and Ted Green’s book. FOr some 20 years now, I have seen that that number is a reasonable ballpark estimate for how often condoms fail in general use. THis number, when I asked my med doctor friends, is usually regarded as acceptable as a general riskiness estimate.
    –> In the case of married couples with one partner known to have HIV, as you note, I suspect that the condom selection, storage and use are going to be a lot more careful than in the sort of situations that typically occur outside of the AB context. So, this reference would be more comparing thorns and guavas than white guavas [nice] or spanish guavas [creamy and delicious] with red guavas [tend to be small and too sour].
    6] A person who doesn’t use a condom for half of sex but puts one on right before orgasm. Certainly this behavior does offer some protection compared to simply not using a condom at all but it is much less than if he used the condom all the way through. Is this an example of the condom being defective or insufficient or an example of a person choosing how much risk to expose themselves to?
    –> THis is an obvious case of misuse of the condom, and in fact is likely to provide little or no effective protection: the exchange ofd blood would have likely already happened long before the condom was put on. (Indeed, those who do this tactic to “prevent” pregnancy while having “more pleasure” have a name: parents.)
    –> But also, this is part of the pilot error problem that obtains when one tries to get a population to use condoms consistently in a correct way. [Reminds me of DEming on statistical quality control. If you walk away from consinual enforcement of the message and accountability over correct execution, such approaches fall apart. The Japanese quality reputation grew up because they were sufficiently authority-driven to consistently apply Deming’s framework for a very long time . . . a technique that was poioneered in American industry but decayed because it was easier or apparently reasonable to drop the rigid restrictions imposed by the Deming methodology. BTW is he still with us or has he passed on?]
    –> IN a sociotechnical system, the socio part is inherently a part of the system. You cannot isolate it and say the system would work perfectly if only it did not depend on people to make it work. THat is absurd.
    –> In the case of condoms, the problem with the c heavy approach is precisely that it expects people who are playing around beyond the rules to now stick carefully to rules! THat is a self-contradictory message once human psychology is factored in.
    Grace
    GEM

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    3] Let’s return to the bullet proof vest analogy. Would you deny the right to label a bullet proof vest with a claim that it will ‘reduce the chance of injury from being shot’ if studies show that it worked 90% of the time?

    –> Police and soldiers carry out a necessary social function, protecting society from enemies foreign and domestic, whether criminal, terrorist, or military. By sharpest contrast, there is no social necessity for anyone to have sex outside of the AB context: chastity and fidelity, This is reflected in Museveni’s apt comment:

    This dodges the question. Whether or not police and soldiers are carrying out a necessary social function has nothing to do with the labeling of a bullet proof vest. Again if a certain type of vest was shown to protect against injury 90% of the time would it be honest to market the vest with the claim that it will ‘reduce the chance of injury from being shot’. Whether the person who thinks he might get shot is carryout a ‘necessary function’ is not material. The person purchasing the vest may very well be a gang member or terrorist.
    –> Omission of material information to the contrary on the disease that as noted evidently kills more women than HIV does, is a case of a deadly half-truth.
    By an objective measure? Yes more women die of cervical cancer than HIV each year but this is only because HPV is so common that it is almost ubiquious. Objectively HIV kills more per 100 infections than HPV does. Objectively the deaths from HPV can be easily prevented inexpensively by regular pap smears. Deaths from HIV can, at best, be delayed with the use of expensive medications that are difficult to administer and complicated to manage. Objectively maybe a fraction of the population may have some immunity fo HIV while right off the bat 50% of the population is immune to any fatal effects of HPV (that would be males) and probably a good chunck of the female population has some form of immunity to HPV so it does not cause them any serious harm.
    By any objective measure HIV remains the disease to be more concerned about.

    –> THat consideration is in fact factored into the tactics used: if you are going into a multiple shoot-back situation, you call for backup first, instead of playing Superman, the man of steel off whose chest bullets bounce. In the military, I notice that in additrion to flak jackets, armoured vehicles are used. SO, the issue of exposure reduction is a factor with bullet-proof vests.
    -> I disagree wholeheartedly that, for the general population, the apt comparison is 10 sex acts with vs without a condom in a high risk environment. Instead, the obvious alternative is: A B.

    The problem here is that you are trying to make an apples to apples comparison into an apples to oranges one. The question is not whether getting shot at 10 times with a bullet proof vest on is better than not getting shot at all. That is a trivial question. The question is does the vest reduce the danger to you yes or no? Yes clearly in real life situtations the manual will say if you expect to get shot at multiple times you should have back up, armoured cars, barriers etc. Also there is an element of moral hazzard here. A cop who foolishly thinks his vest makes him invincible may put himself in danger unnecessarily. The question remains what is a proper label to put on a bullet proof vest and the answer is it is correct to put that the vest will reduce you chance of injury.
    But the message as Ted Green points out, should not be one of “invulnerability” as the condom promotion hints at by using names such as shield and protector, but rather that they give a margin of relative protection: safER not SAFE sex.
    ‘Shield’ or ‘protector’ are marketing words which are usually permitted a wider bearth by US law provided the specific claims they make are scientifically sound. Ironically one of the largest makers is named Trojan. Considering that Troy was defeated by letting enemies slip through its walls I always found that an funny name for a condom.
    More importantly, though, these words are not the same as ‘invulnerable’. Many home security systems advertise themselves with words like shield or protector yet we know they are anything but invulnerable. Actually the specific claims of condoms labels are probably a bit too conservative. they should read something like :
    “offers a dramatic reduction in risk against the transmission of HIV and other STD’s as well as some measure of protection against other STDs and pregnancy”
    –> In the case of married couples with one partner known to have HIV, as you note, I suspect that the condom selection, storage and use are going to be a lot more careful than in the sort of situations that typically occur outside of the AB context. So, this reference would be more comparing thorns and guavas than white guavas [nice] or spanish guavas [creamy and delicious] with red guavas [tend to be small and too sour].
    So then the 90% one is based on behavior and not the mechanics of the condom itself. What is the risk reduction rate if you use such careful selection, storage and use? How do you know that someone who feels he must engage in numerous sex acts with different people cannot take similar care?
    –> In the case of condoms, the problem with the c heavy approach is precisely that it expects people who are playing around beyond the rules to now stick carefully to rules! THat is a self-contradictory message once human psychology is factored in.
    Indeed but you assume there is only one set of rules that people can either obey or disobey. I know from personal experience that there are few people who ‘don’t play by the rules’. Nearly everyone, including drug dealers and addicts play by rules…they just play by different sets of rules.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton
    You will doubtless see that i have already made two long posts this AM, responding to yourself and Matthew. Pardon my brevity:
    1] Whether or not police and soldiers are carrying out a necessary social function has nothing to do with the labeling of a bullet proof vest.
    –> Yes it does, and more to the point, it has to do with the moral context of the action. On very broad and reasonable grounds of fact, logic and morality, we need police and soldiers, airmen and sailors to risk their lives in defence of society, so anything that reduces their hazard is a benefit. Even fairly imperfect protection is justified, once it is reasonably affordable and effective in a way that does not block them from fulfilling their justified missions. [THat is why in C14 – 17, there was a gradual move away from body armour; which did not return to the battlefield till WW2 and following. The breakthrough of Kevlar and later of Ceramics made functional armour possoble again, and so it is justified.]
    –> BY SHARP CONTRAST, there is no logical or biological or psychological necessity to indulge onself in sexual behaviour outside of the AB context, and cultivating the discipline to so order one’s sexuality provides effectively 100% protection and evidently [Uganda spends 1/40th per capita on health as the US does on HIV/AIDS] at very low relative cost. Thus, that is the logical primary emphasis on STD-related education.
    –> Further to this, we have reason to believe condoms fail some 10% of the time on HIV, and are known to be ineffective against HPV, one of the commonest STDs, and which is the leading cause of something like 90% of cases of cervical cancer, which kills more women in the US than HIV. SO, on a principle of sound information, those who wish to go outside the AB context should be first informed of the real risks they are running, then counselled that they should seek to order their sexual behaviour as:

    1. SAFEST SEX first [AB],
    2. if not then safer sexual behaviour uses condoms [c], but condoms neither provide 100% protection vs AIDS and other diseases [though they are sufficiently effective to be better than
    3. UNSAFE sex — no condoms, outrside of AB] nor do they protect against some other key diseases.

    –> Of course, I note that chastity and fidelity in themselves say nothing to the specific patterns of sexual activcity indulged in, and the dangers of some unnatural acts are a further point for information and rasonable restriction on public health grounds even in jurisdictions that no longer think of the law as a teacher and so pay scant regard to public morality.
    2] if a certain type of vest was shown to protect against injury 90% of the time would it be honest to market the vest with the claim that it will ‘reduce the chance of injury from being shot’. Whether the person who thinks he might get shot is carryout a ‘necessary function’ is not material.
    –> THat would in fact be a highly material point: to know the limitations of using such a vest so that foolish risks would not be run!
    –> ANd, the abuse of such vests by criminals and terrorists shows rather how a good thing can be perverted to an evil end than anything else. It also means that police in tracking down suspects in the London underground, for fear of both bullet prooof vests and triggering off bomb vests, will shoot to the head. Sadly, an illegal immigrant has died as a result.
    –> THe abuse of explosive chemistry and precursor materials, plus nylon webbing and cloth involved in making and using such bomb vests is again illustrative of the issue of abuse of good to turn it into evil. Indeed, that is what makes sexual sin: taking GOd’s precious gift and abusing or perverting it to selfish, destructive ends. (Of course, on this, we are speaking to the logic of the case: I think not a man alive is not without some degree of guilt in the matter.)
    3] Shield’ or ‘protector’ are marketing words which are usually permitted a wider bearth by US law provided the specific claims they make are scientifically sound. Ironically one of the largest makers is named Trojan. Considering that Troy was defeated by letting enemies slip through its walls I always found that an funny name for a condom.
    –> Ted Green was speaking to the African context, where the issue is that the impression of 100% protection was being cultivated as a calculated part of the marketing strategy. The average African probably still has only a primary level education.
    –> Similarly, I noted with some ironic amusement the point in the late 80’s in the Caribbean when “SafER sex” began to be used, at least some of the time. DEception is deception.
    4] the 90% one is based on behavior and not the mechanics of the condom itself. What is the risk reduction rate if you use such careful selection, storage and use? How do you know that someone who feels he must engage in numerous sex acts with different people cannot take similar care?
    –> THe problem is that you are dealing with a sociotechnical system with a known propensity to fail in use in a population.
    –> The ones who do public education have an obligation of sound counsel that does not omit material facts on this.
    –> I am again living through a parallel case: it seems the scientists, GOvernment-dominated media, and authorities have been giving us a feel-good optimistic scenario for the mountain, in a context whhere they should give us the range of scenarios and implications [so that public support for actions will be based on wisdom not wishful thinking] BAck in 97, at least 19 people died because they got the message from the overal situationthat the mountain was not as dangerous as it was. A commission of inquiry found the local and UK GOvt to have contributory responsibility for the deaths of 14 individuals. Bit of course statute of limitations ran out and no redress was possible. Official line is to blame the victims and a lot ofd people are very willing to go along with that rhetoric.
    5]Indeed but you assume there is only one set of rules that people can either obey or disobey. I know from personal experience that there are few people who ‘don’t play by the rules’. Nearly everyone, including drug dealers and addicts play by rules…they just play by different sets of rules.
    –> THis boils down to a statement of r4elativistic morality. The rules drug lords play by are destructive to themselves and to society . . as Jamaica all too aptly illustrates.
    –> THe point is, that those who break rules relevant to good order and prudent behaviour have cultivated a habit of thrill seeking or gain by behaviours destructive to themselves and society. Consequently they are unlikely to have the discipline to effectively and consistently use condoms right every time. THus, they make a significant contribution tot he failure statistics.
    –> Remember, many teens can’t be counted on to take out the garbage consistently without repeated instruction and reminder. Using a condom is a lot more technical than taking out the garbage. Indeed, we note that because of immaturity, sociewty restricts access of youth to alcohol . . .
    –> THus, my point is highly material, but often neglected. DV, next Lets Talk, I will join with others to speak tothe underlying issues at work here!
    Grace
    Gordon

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    –> Yes it does, and more to the point, it has to do with the moral context of the action. On very broad and reasonable grounds of fact, logic and morality, we need police and soldiers, airmen and sailors to risk their lives in defence of society, so anything that reduces their hazard is a benefit….
    Which is why condom labels do not say something like “use of this product will reduce the immorality of your actions”. The morality of the action is a different consideration than simple honest labeling. The vest that offers 90% protection will work for terrorists shooting at innocent civilians as much as it will for the troops trying to defend them.
    –> Ted Green was speaking to the African context, where the issue is that the impression of 100% protection was being cultivated as a calculated part of the marketing strategy. The average African probably still has only a primary level education.
    This isn’t an issue of deception but one of education. Education is indeed valuable and it’s quite important to understand the difference between reducing risk and eliminating it. Don’t put down the average African so easily, though. People are smart and real life teaches many lessons. While a farmer may not be skilled in statistics he understands, for example, that some fertilizers increase the chance of a crop growing but do not guarantee it.
    BAck in 97, at least 19 people died because they got the message from the overal situationthat the mountain was not as dangerous as it was. A commission of inquiry found the local and UK GOvt to have contributory responsibility for the deaths of 14 individuals. Bit of course statute of limitations ran out and no redress was possible. Official line is to blame the victims and a lot ofd people are very willing to go along with that rhetoric.
    As a scientist I’m sure you understand the difference between a decision made for the right reasons versus one made for the wrong reasons. There might be a 0.001% chance of an earthquake. You build your house and an earthquake comes and your family is injured. You decision was probably correct despite the bad outcome because a low chance of something happening is simply not the same as a 0% chance. On the other hand, if the true probability was 40% then the decision was indeed wrong. I’m not sure what you are talking about in your case but the fact is that condoms are clearly marketed as ‘reducing the risk’ not eliminating it. Perhaps in nations besides the US they are permitted to be more loose with their language but in the US at least there is no deception on this point.

    –> THis boils down to a statement of r4elativistic morality. The rules drug lords play by are destructive to themselves and to society . . as Jamaica all too aptly illustrates.
    –> THe point is, that those who break rules relevant to good order and prudent behaviour have cultivated a habit of thrill seeking or gain by behaviours destructive to themselves and society. Consequently they are unlikely to have the discipline to effectively and consistently use condoms right every time. THus, they make a significant contribution tot he failure statistics.
    –> Remember, many teens can’t be counted on to take out the garbage consistently without repeated instruction and reminder. Using a condom is a lot more technical than taking out the garbage. Indeed, we note that because of immaturity, sociewty restricts access of youth to alcohol . . .

    1. I didn’t say that all sets of rules were equal, only that most people play by a set of rules of some sort. The expression ‘honor among thieves’ has a grain of truth to it.
    2. To be honest, my personal experience has been the opposite. When I was younger me and my peers were more paranoid about pregnancy and STDs and treated the condom the way a bomb squad tech would treat a bomb. As we got older we began to loosen up because we were in committed relationships that meant that STD was a lower risk (ironically we probably overestimated the risk of STD’s in youth and underestimated them when we were slightly more mature….17 year olds for the most part haven’t had that many partners to get STDs from while 25 year olds have) and a pregnancy could be more easily handled (or other methods like the pill were used)
    3. Ironicially while you depend on teens to disobey your simple request to take out the garabage you seem to expect them to always honor A&B. It’s pretty sensible for a parent to tell their kid to take the garabage out but it is also pretty sensible to wake up a few minutes before the garabage man comes to fix the situtation if they failed to do it.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Boonton
    I see your further remarks. I will comment:
    1] Which is why condom labels do not say something like “use of this product will reduce the immorality of your actions”. The morality of the action is a different consideration than simple honest labeling.
    –> Those last three words are ever so telling: honesty is, of course, a virtue, i.e. a moral consideration. And, honesty in the context of truth telling involves the issue of materiality.
    –> Material truth gives the information relevant to making appropriate decisions, in a way that the relevant audience can understand, either through direct communication or else through education that so equips that the audience can then make the decision.
    –> In our context of condom leabelling, the first material omission in the current labels is plain:

    [CItring Boonton]The current label states: If used properly, latex condoms will help to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV infection (AIDS) and many other sexually transmitted diseases.” Many brands also state condoms are highly effective in preventing pregnancy.

    –> Now, in the US, it just so happens that probably the most common single STD, which is evidently responsible for 90+% of cervical cancers, HPV, is essentially NOT protected against by condoms; as it is spread by shedding of skin flakes. All of this is in a context where more women are killed by this STD than by HIV, which grabs the headline in the label.
    –> That, sir, is a material, and potentially deadly, omission. Thus, the refusal of the responsible agency over 5 years to comply with a relevant law to fix this omission is a refusal to carry out a duty of care to the point of criminality.
    –> Further to this, the fix is simple. WHat if the label were amended thusly:

    SUGGESTION: If used properly, latex condoms will help to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV infection (AIDS) and many other, but not HPV and certain other, sexually transmitted diseases. HPV causes 90% of cervical cancers. Details in enclosed leaflet.”

    –> Of course the leaflet should include both instructions on proper use and notes on the limitations of condoms.
    –> I have already adequately commented on why the flak jacket and the condom are not in the same moral context.
    2] This isn’t an issue of deception but one of education. Education is indeed valuable and it’s quite important to understand the difference between reducing risk and eliminating it. Don’t put down the average African so easily, though.
    –> The context is that primary level education in much of the world does not focus on critical awareness and critical thinking skills. (Indeed, I think that may hold through tertiary education, in my more despairing moments. Cf. my “standard” briefing: http://www.angelfire.com/pro/kairosfocus/resources/Straight_Thinking.pps )
    –> SUch people trust authorities to be honest with them: ethos in the pathos, ethos, logos triad in classical rhetoric. SO, in that context, the abuse of the term “safe” as in “SAFE SEX” coupled to the use of misleading labels such as shield and protector is again a materially misleading approach. Here in the Caribbean, at the back end of the 80s, as the force of the critiques bit home, we began to hear a shift in terminology: SAFER sex, for c.
    –> Of course, the further problem is the need to shift emphasis to SAFEST sex: AB.
    3] On the other hand, if the true probability was 40% then the decision was indeed wrong. I’m not sure what you are talking about in your case but the fact is that condoms are clearly marketed as ‘reducing the risk’ not eliminating it. Perhaps in nations besides the US they are permitted to be more loose with their language but in the US at least there is no deception on this point.
    –> Unfortunately, the Montserrat situation is a long, sad tale of power groups and authorities being negligent over duties of care. Basically, the mountain showed a ~30y cycle of seismic and activity, with the period compressing across time: 1896/7, 1933-7, 1966/7, 1992 -.
    –> IN the 1980s a pioneering study on the hazards was done at GOvt request, submitted and round filed; even when a 89 hurricane gave a chance to implement wise contingencies — let the good times roll. In 92 quakes started up and scientific teams got here laying goundwork for studies. IN July 95, phreatic eruptions began [hot rock plus ground water]. THe public was told an optimistic scenario only, until a USGS VDAP team from Mt St Helens publicly warned, and in the resulting public debate, those who did not toe the PC line were threatened by authorities with prosecution or worse in some cases [“plans for subversives” “neurotics” “misleading the public in a state of emergency” etc. No prizes for guessing who was a leading “subversive, neurotic misleader” “obsessed with visions of disaster.” Unfortunately, the mountain did not care about who was optimistic/pessimistic and it ultimately destroyed the southern 1/2 of the island. Plymouth is GONE — a few weeks back, I looked out from a nearby height, and we were trying to make out if the little triangle sticking up out of the ash was the steeple of the Catholic church. VOlcano adventure tourism, anyone?]
    –> Eventually the S of M’rat had to be evacuated several times, permanently as of Mar 96; but shelter conditions were so deplorable and the allowance for the unemployed so low that people were induced to go back to get rest and comfort or to work fields [ploughed by GOvt tractors, produce bought by the same Emergency Operation Centre that ran the shelters . . .].
    –> And, when activity ramped up seriously in June 97, the airport [on an open side of the crater, built on a debris fan from the missing wall!] and corridor road were kept open. PLus, a major opposition political figure was publicly deriding the cautions being made.
    –> When the major pyroclastic flows came down on 25th, at least 19 died, and the governor who had just moments before returned on a charter plane nearly joined their number — he scrambled out of the airport tot he N, just getting away. The plane was still on the ground and ran for its life with 700 degree C ash and gases rushing at it at ~ 40 mph! SImilarly, a gasoline tanker ship in plymouth harbour heard the commotion, saw the ash flows and cut its lines, running for its life. AN airliner passing by was not warned of the ash cloud and ended up in Barbados with damage. A subsequent Comm of Inquiry found the lovcal and UK govts contributorily responsible for 14 deaths, but of course statute of limitations ran out for action vs Crown. And, last week, the then authorities were doing a whitewash game at a 10th anniversary conference.
    –> Tonight’s Let’s Talk [I think it is on the ZJB Montserrat web site, as a live web broadcast in parallel with FM radio, 8 pm local] promises to be hot!
    –> The point is that there is a persistent, fatal temptation, to pretend that the volcanoes in and around the Caribbean are not going to do what they can do: St Pierre Martinique, May 8 1902 — 28,000 dead [one survivor]; Aug 30, 1,000 more on the next village; St Wincent May 7, 1600 dead; Armero Columbia 1985, 20,000 dead: in each case, realistic warnings were ignored and people died.
    –> SO, persistently, risks are run that should not be run, by focussing on optimistic scenarios, instead of a realistic spread across “likely” and “pessimistic” ones as well, so that we can work out expectations for different approaches: business as usual, more conservative paths, etc.
    –> THis is of course a part of the backdrop for my remarks on how condom limitations are being handled.
    4] I didn’t say that all sets of rules were equal, only that most people play by a set of rules of some sort. The expression ‘honor among thieves’ has a grain of truth to it.
    –> COrrect, so far as it goes.
    5] Ironicially while you depend on teens to disobey your simple request to take out the garabage you seem to expect them to always honor A&B. It’s pretty sensible for a parent to tell their kid to take the garabage out but it is also pretty sensible to wake up a few minutes before the garabage man comes to fix the situtation if they failed to do it.
    –> Actually, the point is, that with repeated and proximate reminder, most teens do take out the garbage sufficiently often that it does not pile up. But by sharp contrast, there is probably no-one in the proximity of the likely use situation to insist, parent-like, on using correct stepe with the condom. FAiling to use a condom correctly in a higfh risk situation has far more serious consequences than failing to take out the garbage on time.
    –> But by sharp contrast, Museveni’s Uganda shows that a balanced ABC strategy does work in creating a social aids vaccine. (BTW, I see he is back in the headlines as John Garang died when a Uganda presidential flight aircraft crashed with him — or was it shot down or sabotaged? Hope this does not reignite the bloody Sudan civil war.)
    OKay
    Grace
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    CORRECTION: I should have stated a provisio on St Vincent 1902 — I do not know of a warning int his case. That mountain seems to have a capacity to run up to full plinian blast — ~ 60,000 ft hot ash column, which as it collapses sends out hot sh flows radially, as in Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD — eruption in a matter of hours, instead of building a lava dome that collapses over the course of weeks or months or even years.
    IN 1979, the scientists were caught napping there, and it was luck that a lot of people did not die in the Good Friday Eruption: the major pyroclastic flow went out to sea to the W, not E as in 1902. But, believe it or not, three villages on the flanks of the mountain have not been evacuated but have instead developed considerably since 1979. I think I need a headache pill!
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    ADDENDUM: Here is the excerpt from Physicians for Life, citing Ter Green, clipped from an earlier post:

    The Boston Globe quotes Edward Green, a senior research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, saying the one in 10 failure rate of condoms protection from AIDS is “not good enough for a fatal disease.” He said, “The way condoms are marketed in Africa and other develping parts of the world is as if they were 100 percent safe. Condoms have brand names like Shield and Protector that give the impression that they are 100 percent safe.” Aside from AIDS, condoms are also known to provide even less protection from a variety of other sexually transmitted diseases. [John Donnelly, Globe Staff 6/22/03; LifeSiteNews.com, 23Jun03; L. Benn]. . . .

    I think this gives a context we need to think about.