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Solving the Islamicist Problem Once and For All, Part 6: Relativism

You don’t know whether to laugh or cry when you read stories such as this one.  Do people really think that the divide between a culture based on the Koran and a culture based on secular humanism can be bridged by having the ‘refugees’ take sex education classes?  Yes, actually.

Such stories represent a microcosm of the West’s tragic inability to deal with the threat the Islam poses to it.  At the macro-level, the West thinks of all ‘socially inappropriate’ behaviors as properly dealt with in the same way you would train a dog:  conditioning, in the sense that Pavlov meant it.  This is why secularists are hellbent on making sure that their worldview is the only one reflected in educational materials, because, on their view, society can save itself a lot of trouble if you get to people early with ‘secular’ values.

I have been arguing in this series that these types of approaches essentially only ‘work’ in a (post-)Christian society, and that they are no match against an Islamic ideology.  In my most recent post, I gave one reason:  The question of ‘identity’ is answered powerfully in Islam (at least for men), while secular humanism tells people they are lately descended from pus.   The ‘conditioning’ is supposed to dampen the implications of this, but it doesn’t work with most people.

In this post, I want to focus on another reason:  relativism.

Before I proceed, I should probably explain a little bit about why I am going after the secular humanists so hard in this series.

To put it bluntly, its because the secular humanists are effectively in charge of everything.  They are the ones that run the show in Europe and America, both.  These are the people who have taken upon their shoulders the duty of protecting us from threats, foreign and domestic.  Pick a bureaucracy to inspect, and you will find that it is dominated by liberals.  (There is a reason for this, having very much to do with the question of identity, but that’s a different post.) As I happen to live in such a culture, and the well-being of me, my family, and my community, are in the hands of such people, I have a special interest in their intrinsic inability to do what it takes to protect us from a threat such as the one posed by Islamicists.

After all, while there is a widespread concern that the ‘refugees’ will transform the demographics of the West by assimilating us, absorbing us into their caliphate, rather than us assimilating them, there is no similar concern in places like, say, Russia or China.  To say that Putin would never put up with such a thing is to put it mildly; to say that Obama would wag his finger vigorously is to overstate his efforts.

Why is Islamicism a threat to the West but not the East?  Well, a lot of it has to do with the moral relativism that is a direct extension of the secular humanist worldview.  Secular humanists find it profoundly difficult to say something like, “This is wrong”, because, in most cases, they are atheists who believe that there is no objective thing such as ‘right or wrong.’  Subjectively, of course, there are all sorts of things that can prompt them to make moral statements, but if you try to get them to justify their statements (ie, explain why you should care about what they just said, and change one’s own position or behaviors accordingly), about the best you will get is an appeal to something akin to the ‘social contract.’

To illustrate, in the article I linked to initially, the Norwegian courses aimed to teach the immigrants to “at least know the difference between right and wrong.”  And what is the basis for these differences?  The article rules out a religious basis in Norway, since it is “not religion that sets the laws.”

Indeed, when reading the article, one never really gets the idea that anyone thinks its WRONG to rape women, only that this is not what the culture is like in Norway, eg.,

“To force someone into sex is not permitted in Norway, even when you are married to that person.”

They may have well been teaching them about traffic laws:  “In your country you drive on the left side of the road, but on ours, we drive on the right side.”  Not saying driving on the left side is ‘wrong’ or anything!

This relativism dovetails seamlessly into a cultural relativism.  The hesitancy to judge an individual’s actions or attitudes bleeds into a hesitancy to judge another culture’s actions or attitudes.

Secular humanists also tend to think that the ‘truths’ they believe about the nature of culture and cultural relativism hold true in other cultures, as well.   Ie, if someone has a particular viewpoint in another culture, its not because they have a reason for that viewpoint.  No, someone has that view because they were conditioned to have that view (and thus cannot be blamed for having that view).  The article illustrates this sentiment, too:

Many refugees “come from cultures that are not gender equal and where women are the property of men,” Mr. Isdal said. “We have to help them adapt to their new culture.”

“There are lots of men who haven’t learned that women have value,” said Ms. Rohde, who wants mandatory sexual conduct classes for all new male migrants. “This is the biggest problem, and it is a cultural problem.”

There is no hint in these comments that there are specific, ideological reasons for the view that women have no value or are the property of men.  There is no sense that this view is built on a conviction born of an objective source, which these folks believe is objectively true.

The same ideology that says that women have no value says that infidels have no value, too.  Think about that when you read this excerpt from the article:

Mr. Kelifa, the African asylum seeker, said he still had a hard time accepting that a wife could accuse her husband of sexual assault. But he added that he had learned how to read previously baffling signals from women who wear short skirts, smile or simply walk alone at night without an escort.

“Men have weaknesses and when they see someone smiling it is difficult to control,” Mr. Kelifa said, explaining that in his own country, Eritrea, “if someone wants a lady he can just take her and he will not be punished,” at least not by the police.

In Eritrea, you can also hunt down Christians.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, or anything… but in Norway, they don’t slaughter infidels.  Very confusing, right?  For now, Norway is a confusing place, but if enough asylum seekers arrive, they will, by virtue of nothing more than representing a critical mass, be able to bring some clarity to the situation!

It is bad enough that the people tasked with protecting us cannot bring themselves to categorically denounce certain things, but they also, for reasons outside the scope of this essay, think it is a fine idea to bring into our midst even more people who share beliefs and values that are incompatible with the very ‘pluralistic’ society they mean to foster.

So, it is probably the case that a well-organized Muslim army would be able to conquer Europe today, but its more likely that no army will be necessary.  The Muslims will just grow their numbers inside our own society, keeping their convictions, and using our own ‘cultural’ tolerances against us.  This, by the by, is probably an actual plan, implemented deliberately.

This series is about solving the problem ‘once and for all’ but this essay has basically been a sustained attack on secular humanism’s ability to prevent or resist the spread of Islamicism.  Where, then, is the ‘solution’?

Well, obviously it is found in the inverse.  If the liberal is paralyzed by nuance, then the solution is to figure out a way to be decisive.  If the problem is that we can find no safe harbor for making definitive moral statements on a secular humanistic viewpoint, then something has got to go–may I suggest, the secular humanistic viewpoint?  If the problem is that we view all cultures as valid and legitimate, may I propose that we come up with a way to legitimately judge and condemn other cultures?

I am not at all advocating for ‘cultural imperialism.’  I think there are things that are culturally ‘neutral’ and I think that humanity has done tremendous harm in the name of importing their ‘culture.’  Christian missionaries have learned hard lessons, on this point.  Indeed, I dare say you can chalk up a lot of the world’s problems to the fall out of several centuries of such efforts, better known as ‘colonialism.’

In fact, I would be willing to bet that a lot of the hemming and hawing one sees in the secular humanistic community, in particular in Europe (since Europeans were the worst offenders), stems from the hesitancy to commit similar crimes again.  I certainly welcome that!

And yet, if we cannot find sure footing we will never enjoy the ‘progress’ that is constantly promised and will probably be overwhelmed by people who are far more decisive than us.  We must find a non-arbitrary, non-capricious, robust basis for declaring some things good, and some things bad.

Consider this quote from a certain British general named Charles Napier.  As an administrator of England’s colony in India, he was confronted with the Indian practice of ‘sati,’ which was the burning alive of a woman with the body of her husband.   He banned the practice in no uncertain terms.  When the Hindu priests objected, he is to have said,

“Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

Is this all it comes down to?  The ‘custom’ of Britain over against the ‘custom’ of India?  Might makes right?  Is that all there is?  If ISIS was happy to behead people in Iraq and Syria, with no global aspirations, would our condemnations constitute nothing more than preferences, on the level of saying, “I would rather you didn’t behead those people, but then, I also prefer three cubes of sugar in my coffee, rather than two, so who is to judge?”

If we do not find a reasonable way out of this impasse, we will be paralyzed until overcome by those who themselves have found a way out of this impasse.

I regret to inform the reader that there are only a few reasonable ways out of this impasse, and it so happens that secular humanists have been busily undermining one of the most prominent options, and this, for decades.   In that, at least, the Norwegians and the Eritreans can find common cause!

But, there may be hope:

Even among the world’s most famous atheists, the crisis of faith among Christians in Europe has been met with concern.

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said: “There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.”

Says the man who has been instrumental in facilitating the decline of Christianity… irony, right?

Today we are considering whether or not the secular humanism that Dawkins has been trying to establish can stand in as a ‘bulwark against something worse.’  The growing evidence is… “No.”  Which begs obvious questions, right?

 

 

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    • Dannyboy on January 28, 2016 at 4:58 am

    There is only one ‘s’ in the word ‘pus’, in the sense of the exudate of infected wounds. I really hesitate to draw your attention to this, because the phrase “secular humanism tells people they are lately descended from puss” has a rather enjoyable alternative connotation to the one I suspect you intended. 🙂

    High praise for Dawkins too, which is a rarity in your writing! In general I thought this was an interesting blog which raises some important points, but I’ll just ask one question in return: these Eastern countries whose cultural confidence you admiringly declare would never tolerate any Islamist shenanigans – would you actually want to live in any of them? And if not, why not?

    • Anthony on January 28, 2016 at 8:55 am
      Author

    lol good catch on pus.

    I don’t agree with the characterization, “admiringly declare.” I think you confuse my open disdain for Obama with ‘admiration.’ I’m simply stating a truth, one that I think would be hard to dispute. China has an explicit policy in this regard, for example.

    My point in that particular section is to make the point that at present, any imminent threats related to Islamicism (Islam+fascism) are to be found in the West, not the East, and contemplating why this is the case is instrumental in rolling back that threat.

    I think your question is, “Would I rather live under the rule of secular humanists” than Putin or the Chinese. Assuming this to be the case, I would have a twofold answer:

    1. I would rather live under Putin’s rule than the Caliphate’s rule and the policies, attitudes, etc, of the secular humanists seem, to me, to be powerless against the rise of the Caliphate, France’s Hollande, notwithstanding. Secular humanism’s present rule in Europe seems slated for retirement in 2-3 generations, on the basis of demographics alone.

    2. I don’t actually see secular humanism as innocuous. For example, China had its horrific one child policy, replete with coerced abortion, etc. (Your buddy on FB hilariously denied that this was population control.) But I can produce plenty of sources that make it clear that secularists in the West did not have any substantive objections to such a policy. It was pragmatic more than anything (ie, if someone had tried to impose a one child policy in the U.S., we would have shot them; the Chinese would have done the same, if only they had been armed).

    This is illustrated nicely by Biden’s comment, “Your [China’s] policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.”

    He’s not second guessing it, because he is not intrinsically opposed to it, ideologically.

    I gave this quote in this blog post, which I see you did not comment on:
    http://sntjohnny.com/front/china-lifts-one-child-policy-few-know-it-was-instigated-and-applauded-by-western-liberals/2733.html

    On the same blog post, I linked to a Western journalist advocating for a globally enforced one child policy (to save the earth from climate change): http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=2314438

    So, I do not accept the premise of the question. I think secular humanism has within it the roots of tyrannies as great as any others you might mention, and have been ‘caught in the act’ in numerous instances already, held in check by a system of checks and balances that, not coincidentally, have been progressively undermined. I’m speaking specifically of the U.S.

    But perhaps I misunderstand your question.

    • Dannyboy on January 28, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    I don’t know what gave you the idea that I was suggesting you were speaking well of Obama. I would never dream of accusing you of any such thing! Let’s leave that aside.

    Russia has quite a big problem with Islamic fundamentalism, in point of fact. The independence movements of Chechnya & Dagestan have largely been taken over by Islamists, and Russia’s often brutal occupation of the Caucuses functions as the grievance narrative which has aided their recruitment. Now that Putin is bombing Syria their job will be easier still. Islamic terrorism is considered a major national threat by the Russian state, and they have had more tragic examples of it than many of the Western European countries which you cite as being the ones with the REAL problem of “imminent threats” related to “Islamicism”.

    “I would rather live under Putin’s rule than the Caliphate’s rule”

    Oh sure, me too! That’s not saying much though is it.

    What is it about (avowed Socialist) Hollande that you consider a praiseworthy exception to the European rule?

    And also, can you please make your mind up about China? I mean, either it is a bold counter-example to the wussy European secular humanism which tolerates the intolerant to the point of letting Islamists virtually take over, OR it is a classic secular humanist regime in which the totalitarian population control impulses of such people are allowed free reign. I don’t think it can coherently be both.

    “So, I do not accept the premise of the question.”

    Well I don’t accept the premise of your answer. Is China a secular humanist state or not? You seem to want to have it every which way.

    • Anthony on January 28, 2016 at 4:19 pm
      Author

    I don’t accept the premise of your not accepting my premise.

    I didn’t say that Russia didn’t have problems with Islamicists. I said that Putin wouldn’t stand for it, and that is quite right. Undeniably so, as your own examples serve to illustrate. You may view it as counterproductive, but then, that isn’t the point. China likewise has had its issues with Islamicists, but ‘the having issues with’ is perfectly compatible with ‘not putting up with.’

    Hollande put the screws to the Islamicists after the recent attack, did he not? Probably has something to do with the fact that he was in attendance at one of the bomb sites. Probably made it a wee bit more personal than even he, the avowed Socialist, could tolerate.

    • Dannyboy on January 28, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Putin doesn’t stand for it! What is it with this US conservative hard-on for Vladimir Putin? Is it because he persecutes homosexuals with impunity, or because of his elegant skirting around those silly checks and balances (like term limits) that you claim to be so fond of? I bet it’s his stellar human rights record that really does it for you. Or was it George W Bush waxing lyrical on the high quality of his soul?

    The way that Putin “doesn’t put up with” Islamic terrorists is quite instructive actually. Take the Moscow Theatre hostage crisis in 2002. Russian special forces killed 130 people in the process of ending that siege. I’m sure it was a bold, strong and (possibly shirtless) decisive decision, but I’m not sure if I’d feel any better about that if I was part of the civilian collateral damage. The campaigning Russian journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya was part of the hostage negotiation team prior to the special forces assault on that occasion. She was later assassinated, almost certainly on Putin’s orders, for her criticism of the Russian government. The Litvinenko report, which just came out, is also worth reading while deciding how much you want to praise a head of state who treats dissenters in such a casual and deadly way.

    Holllande definitely started bombing Syria after the Paris attacks. That’s certainly putting the screws on someone.

    Still no word on whether China is a secular humanist state or the antithesis of one.

    • End Bringer on January 28, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    The sum of DB’s argument- Squabbling with Churchill’s observation of how Communist Russia’s handling of Nazi Germany is more realistic over Chamberlain’s, and thinking this is giving a pass to Stalin’s evil.

    • Anthony on January 28, 2016 at 7:55 pm
      Author

    Thank you, EB.

    • Anthony on January 28, 2016 at 8:00 pm
      Author

    “If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

    — Winston Churchill.

    • Dannyboy on January 31, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    An interesting statement from an earlier post which I omitted to respond to at the time:

    “…if someone had tried to impose a one child policy in the U.S., we would have shot them”

    Unlikely. The continued lack of armed reaction to Roe vs Wade is an excellent reason to think that this, along with all other “We need guns to resist government tyranny” rhetoric is entirely empty. I would be very surprised if you could make a convincing or consistent case for why pro-life conservative Americans would rise up in armed revolt over a one-child policy since they demonstrably haven’t in response to the ongoing toll of government endorsed murder (according to you) which is represented by abortion.

    Let’s play the numbers here. In the approximately 40yrs since Roe vs Wade the annual number of live births in the US has increased from around 3million a year to around 4million a year. Split the difference, call it 3.5mil/yr on average.

    3.5 x 40 = approximately 140million babies born in that time period.

    The average fertility rate over the same period has been fairly static at roughly two live births per woman in the US. So a one-child policy would mean that half of those 140 million babies (i.e. 70 million) would not have been born. The number of abortions during that time is usually quoted as 60 million. Is that the murdered baby threshold for armed insurrection then? 60 million dead ain’t worth stirring up trouble for, but 70 million? Oh hell no!

    Of course the comparison is not helped by the fact that with a one-child policy, many of those babies would not have been aborted, because they would never have been conceived in the first place. Your hypothetically heroic resistance of eugenicist tyranny is looking less and less plausible Mr Churchill.

    • Anthony on January 31, 2016 at 6:36 pm
      Author

    Your comments have the air of desperation about them. This is the direction you feel inclined to take your comments?

    As for the merit of this last (re: if we won’t slay our countrymen over abortion, why would we on X?), I will only repeat what I said to you on FB when you made the same argument: “The day is young.”

    Intrinsic to the Christian, pro-life position is the reason you have not seen the armed resurrection you speak of. Similarly–and I’ve made this argument to you before–it took decades for the inhumanities of slavery to finally bubble out into an actual armed conflict. Remember, we are not atheists. We understand that we answer to God. Yes, this means we will have to answer for not rescuing the unborn, but if we take the life of others in defense of the unborn, we would be held account for that, too.

    As I’ve also explained to you, your argument is, as far as practicalities go, stupid. The number of things in this world warranting the taking up arms for are many. But if you throw yourself on the sword of one of them, just once, you are, by definition, unable to take further action on anything.

    It is just not practically possible for me to mount a coup attempt in China, Russia, Iraq, and the U.S., simultaneously. If your argument was reasonable, then I should be at all times engaged in open warfare not just against the U.S. government (you liberals, and your parochialism), but the world.

    Even if I wanted to do this, even if I believed I ought to do this, even if I actually set out to do this, I would get absolutely nowhere. You have to be intelligent about these things, DH.

    And, like I said, the day is young.

    Your comment, “would never have been conceived in the first place” is pure lunacy. You think that the one-child policy means the children aren’t even conceived in the first place?

    You have to be intelligent about these things, DH. Seriously.

    • Anthony on January 31, 2016 at 7:26 pm
      Author

    One more thing.

    I strongly advise libs against trying anything remotely close to implementing a one child policy in the U.S.

    The policy would not last long, but it would not end well.

    The day is young, but its not THAT young.

    • End Bringer on January 31, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Your observation also undermines a long standing complaint of yours of how Christians are a hairs breath away from the kind of mass-slaughter we see from Islamists, DB.

    Of course all one has to do is sum up how many in 40 years have died in Islam’s name compared to how many have died in the name of protesting Roe vs Wade, to see the distinction.

    Maybe it has something to do with the whole “My kingdom is not of this world.” issue, while Islam is a lot like atheism in that both give far more priority to this transient material world than Christianity does.

    • Anthony on January 31, 2016 at 10:43 pm
      Author

    One last thing.

    Something tells me you won’t get what I mean about being intelligent vis a vis the claim that a one child policy would mean that ‘many’ would not be aborted, because they wouldn’t be conceived in the first place, so I had better spell it out.

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/item/14845-china-reports-336-million-abortion-in-last-forty-years

    This plays into that link that I gave you to read:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430152/abortion-roe-v-wade-unborn-children-women-feminism-march-life

    Quote:

    We expected that abortion would be rare. What we didn’t realize was that, once abortion becomes available, it becomes the most attractive option for everyone around the pregnant woman.

    The idea that ‘family planning’ leads to fewer conceptions in the first place is pure fantasy, a self-delusion of liberals with a self-serving purpose of beating down the voice of conscience screaming up from the recess of your own being.

    It is one of those things you NEED to believe in order to sleep at night. With very narrow exceptions (ie, sterilization) it has no basis in reality.

    China’s experience shows us pretty clearly that any talk about a one child policy non-trivially reducing abortions, because they wouldn’t exist to be aborted, is pure poppycock.

    Writing this down generated a memory of a pro-choice woman making the argument that we need abortion specifically because of the failure of birth control to prevent conceptions. After I get done with this post, I’ll see if I can find it.

    But to bring it back around a bit, in the same time frame that the U.S. has seen 60 million abortions, China has done 300 million-plus. You tell me, DH, who should I take up arms against first? The U.S., or China, which dwarfs even the U.S.?

    • Anthony on January 31, 2016 at 11:03 pm
      Author

    When I gave testimony in Madison, a woman spoke and made an argument that made me smirk, since it essentially admitted something that pro-choicers routinely deny as they advance their ‘family planning’ cause. They insist that birth control reduces abortions because it reliably prevents conceptions… only, in the real world, birth control isn’t nearly as ‘reliable’ as it is presented… and that is why they still need abortion on demand. Sure, I’m sniping at it as I describe it, but it is essentially her argument:

    http://www.wiseye.org/Video-Archive/Event-Detail/evhdid/10066

    3:43:20

    Out of one side of their mouth they say that sex education will stop conceptions because birth control is effective, and thus reduce abortions and out of the other side they say they need to still have abortion legal, because birth control isn’t 100% effective (failed to mention this in their 5th grade sex ed class!)

    Listen to the person who immediately follows her, who was thankful that Planned Parenthood allowed her to have rampant sex during law school without worrying about having a child… sounds like she swallowed that whole thing about birth control being 100% effective, doesn’t it? Not a care in the world, that one!

    (info on my testimony was posted on this blog here: http://sntjohnny.com/front/anthony-horvath-public-testimony-principles-of-self-government-rather-than-pro-life-principles-are-controlling-regarding-planned-parenthood/2675.html )

    • Anthony on January 31, 2016 at 11:04 pm
      Author

    P.S., Churchill was a eugenicist.

    • Dannyboy on February 1, 2016 at 10:56 am

    “Your comments have the air of desperation about them.”

    🙂 Do they? It is possible for the same conversation to be experienced differently by the various participants, of course, especially when conducted without the social assistance of non-verbal cues. Perhaps there are strong principles involved on both sides which might give you that impression. However, as I recall I started this discussion with a relatively innocuous (I thought) question about whether you’d actually want to live in any of these countries whose cultural confidence in dealing with encroaching Islamification you seem to admire. You responded that you’d rather live in Putin’s Russia than in the Caliphate, which I consider to be a dodge. The comparison implied by my question was to the US/UK, not to a theocratic dictatorship. And I think we both know the answer.

    As for your response to the abortion insurrection question, well that’s a lot of nuance and qualification right there, absolutely NONE of which was present in the statement that I drew a comparison to. So what you really meant when you said “if they tried to implement a one-child policy in the US we’d have shot them”, was something along the lines of this:

    ‘If someone tried to implement a one-child policy in the US then at some point after decades of accumulated outrage at the continuing inhumanity, dependent upon our perception of the will of God and international moral priorities, we might have shot them’

    I guess it’s less of a punchy sound bite, but you should be careful of sacrificing accuracy for concision. People might begin to suspect you of having political ambitions. ?

    “Remember, we are not atheists.”

    Oh, that’s right! Thank you for reminding me.

    “Your comment, “would never have been conceived in the first place” is pure lunacy. You think that the one-child policy means the children aren’t even conceived in the first place?”

    Read what I wrote again. I said that “many” would not be conceived in the first place. I did not say “most” and I certainly did not say “all”. Of course a one child policy leads to a lot of abortions and a great deal of infanticide. But some people will also use contraception to avoid getting pregnant in the first place.

    “I strongly advise libs against trying anything remotely close to implementing a one child policy in the U.S.”

    This advice has a distinct “Have you stopped beating your wife?” smell about it. There may be a very small number of people for whom such a warning would be appropriate, but for liberals in general? No, that’s a strawman insinuation on a par with how absurd the fictional charge that EB apparently believes I have made in the past that US Christians are on the brink of mass religious violence would be. You both have quite the imagination when it is rhetorically useful to you.

    EB – “Islam is a lot like atheism…”

    [applause] Silliest statement of 2016 so far! But can the young champion go further and beat his own record? There’s not many people who doubt his abilities, even in this competitive field.

    “The idea that ‘family planning’ leads to fewer conceptions in the first place is pure fantasy, a self-delusion of liberals with a self-serving purpose of beating down the voice of conscience screaming up from the recess of your own being.”

    This is a totally bizarre statement, verging on a conspiracy theory. How many people would have to be lying about the efficacy of barrier contraception for this to be a supportable idea? Don’t get me wrong, contraception is very far from foolproof, and just using it anyhow by no means guarantees that a couple will not become pregnant. But using it correctly reduces the chances of conception to negligible levels. What is the evidence for your contention?

    “China’s experience shows us pretty clearly that any talk about a one child policy non-trivially reducing abortions, because they wouldn’t exist to be aborted, is pure poppycock.”

    I think you are having another bout of rage-induced comprehension failure here. Firstly, I did not suggest that one child policies reduce abortions – they very clearly cause a huge increase from the baseline (as well as having a number of other horrific consequences). I was comparing the “death toll” associated with voluntary abortion in the US with what could hypothetically have been expected if a one child policy had been implemented at the time of Roe vs Wade, and observing that not all of the “lost generation” in that case would be attributable to abortion. Some people would make preventative family planning decisions to avoid pregnancy, notwithstanding your expressed disbelief that this is possible.

    Judging from your remarks about the Madison testimony you appear to be making the mistake of assuming that “sometimes ineffective” means “always ineffective”. Your overall argument on this topic is as silly as suggesting that people trying to reduce road traffic accidents cannot consistently both teach safe driving techniques AND advocate mandatory seatbelts & airbags in cars. After all, surely if the former was at all effective there would be no need for the latter!

    Also, those immoral buggers, when they teach the road safety course they apparently spend almost none of the time emphasising how participants might still die in a car crash anyway! I’m telling you, it’s all a plot to enrich the airbag manufacturers and coffin manufacturers.

    Oh yes, but you were going to tell me about your evidence that the notion of proper driver instruction having any effect in reducing accidents has no basis in reality. I am all ears!

    “P.S., Churchill was a eugenicist.”

    Dude, you’re all over the map today! Why would you approvingly quote a known eugenicist? Don’t you know that you’re now tainted by association as an integral cog in the culture of death? Once suspicion has been raised no counter-evidence is admissible. I’ll forthwith have to assume that you’re tactically concealing your totalitarian population control ambitions as part of your master plan. Cf the Jaffe memo and about half of your own blog posts. Talk about shooting yourself in the balls! ?

    • Anthony on February 1, 2016 at 11:36 am
      Author

    “Read what I wrote again. I said that “many” would not be conceived in the first place. I did not say “most” and I certainly did not say “all”. Of course a one child policy leads to a lot of abortions and a great deal of infanticide. But some people will also use contraception to avoid getting pregnant in the first place.”

    I read exactly what you said and knew that you would get hung up on the word ‘many.’ That’s why I actually, you know, made sure to put quotes around it:

    vis a vis the claim that a one child policy would mean that ‘many’ would not be aborted

    And, knowing you as well as I do, especially when you get desperate ;), this is also why I added the phrase, ‘non-trivial’:

    China’s experience shows us pretty clearly that any talk about a one child policy non-trivially reducing abortions, because they wouldn’t exist to be aborted, is pure poppycock.

    Bold is added.

    In other words, I predicted that you would try to wriggle off this particular hook; here is what remains of it… leaving nothing substantive left of your original argument:

    “Of course a one child policy leads to a lot of abortions and a great deal of infanticide.”

    So, if it doesn’t reduce ‘most’ or certainly not ‘all’ why the hell are we talking about it? lol Because:

    “But some people will also use contraception to avoid getting pregnant in the first place.”

    Which is not at all intrinsic to a one child policy, but, more importantly, is exactly what I knew you’d fall back on, hence why I attacked this idea that ‘contraception to avoid getting pregnant in the first place’ really works out, in reality, the way it is promised. Any objective look at the effectiveness of ‘contraception’ reveals known truths about their ineffectiveness. Excepting measures such as sterilization (which still has a failure rate), they are only meaningfully ‘effective’ if taken in ‘low doses.’

    The reason for this is simple. Let’s say you’ve been told that condoms are effective, but the actual ‘success’ rate (for pregnancy, not necessarily STDs; see previous posts about the skyrocketing numbers of THOSE) is 95%, then you’re going to feel pretty safe if you have sex just once. But, since you’ve been assured of the effectiveness, why would you only have sex just one time?

    If instead you had sex 100 times… ?

    300 times?

    We would call this person a ‘parent.’ The real world has a way of intruding. Thus, it is not actually the case that necessarily, birth control leads to fewer conceptions, because the ‘benefit’ is offset by increased frequency of use of methods known to fail.

    I should wonder if you would play Russian roulette with bullets that only had a 5% chance of going off… the trial can be arranged…

    Remember, too, that what many people (liberals) consider ‘preventing conception’ is nothing of the sort; conception actually occurs, but through the use of abortifacients and the massaging of definitions so that ‘conception’ is arbitrarily defined as a later stage. Convenient.

    • Anthony on February 1, 2016 at 11:38 am
      Author

    “Why would you approvingly quote a known eugenicist?”

    answered with:

    “If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

    Same principle. Just different enemy. 🙂

    • Dannyboy on February 2, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    You spent a lot of time getting wedged in a rabbit hole of your own making there, pointlessly quibbling subjectivities. What exactly is a “non-trivial” number of abortions that would enable me to benchmark whether or not you quantitatively disagree with my previous statement? It’s hard to say for sure, but I’d guess that for someone of your viewpoint there is no such thing as a “trivial” number of abortions, making your statement virtually content-free. In the absence of anything meaningful to respond to, I’ll skip over that bit.

    “So, if it doesn’t reduce ‘most’ or certainly not ‘all’ why the hell are we talking about it?”

    Because you were waxing belligerent about the consequences for anyone who tried to implement a one child policy in the US, and I was sense-checking that assertion against the total lack of abortion-related insurrections in recent years. The aborted/killed vs not-conceived-in-the-first-place question is relevant for the respective death tolls in that comparison. Do you remember now?

    Your crude statistical analysis of contraceptive effectiveness is very incomplete. I’m on a train right now and don’t have access to all my data sources, so I’ll have to double check this when I get home, but from memory:

    – the chance of a couple getting pregnant from a single unprotected sexual encounter varies depending on the stage of the woman’s cycle, but at its highest is about 30%. That is the baseline.

    – a significant chunk of barrier contraception’s failure rate is attributable to incorrect use. That raises issues of education and awareness which are external to the method itself. Correct use, as far as I recall, yields a failure rate of 2% at the most.

    – it is entirely possible, and in fact advisable, for a couple to use more than one method of contraception. If a couple correctly utilise both condoms AND the oral contraceptive pill (my preferred approach) then their chances of getting pregnant in any single sexual encounter – given all of the above – go down to something like 1 in 10,000 (0.3 x 0.02 x 0.02 = 0.00012).

    Do you want to contrast that with some figures on the failure rate of abstinence-only education? Because I would absolutely love you to do that.

    “Thus, it is not actually the case that necessarily, birth control leads to fewer conceptions, because the ‘benefit’ is offset by increased frequency of use of methods known to fail.”

    Well buddy, all I can say to this is that knowing how many children you have and applying your own logic…. commiserations dude, commiserations! 🙂

    “I should wonder if you would play Russian roulette with bullets that only had a 5% chance of going off… the trial can be arranged…”

    Ironically I am on my way home from a suicide prevention conference in London. And do you know what – in the course of outlining a wide range of different individual and community-level interventions which can reduce the incidence of suicide attempts, not ONE of the speaker had the balls to just get up and shout “NONE OF THESE METHODS ARE 100% EFFECTIVE SO IT’S ALL POINTLESS!”. Perhaps in the service of preventing HIV transmission and non-medically-necessary abortions we could be similarly pragmatic in not letting the best become the enemy of the good.

    And I’m sorry, but when it comes to endorsing the views of eugenicists we have to hold a firm line. After all, if people who advocate universal access to contraception on human rights and personal choice grounds are tainted (according to you) by association for sharing a specific goal with eugenicists, then people who deliberately and approvingly quote known eugenicists most definitely are.

    ….

    That said, while not generally being a fan of the old monster on moral grounds, I have to admit that he could turn a phrase when he wanted to. The best line that currently comes to mind is from when Churchill was at a high society party, fairly inebriated. One particular noble lady, offended by his obnoxious behaviour, denounced him with the ringing opprobrium, “Sir, you are DRUNK!”. He calmly responded, “Madam, you are ugly. Tomorrow, however, I shall be sober!”. 🙂

    • Dannyboy on February 3, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Wow, checking up on the accuracy of my recollections of contraceptive effectiveness rates with the CDC I can see that I was WAY out, but in a direction that destroys your case even more. You seem to have missed the fact that the oft-quoted 95-98% efficacy rate for condoms is PER YEAR. In other words, during a YEAR of optimal condom use approximately 2 out of 100 sexually active women are likely to become pregnant.

    In other words, to revise your earlier challenge so that it accords with the actual facts, let’s say you’ve been told that condoms are effective, but the actual ‘success’ rate is 95% [PER YEAR]. Well, you’re going to feel pretty safe if you have protected sex for just ONE YEAR. But, since you’ve been assured of the effectiveness, why would you only have sex for just a single year of your life???

    What about if instead you had sex for 100 years… ?

    Or 300 years?!?!?!

    🙂

    That said, I still like the double protection approach. Best to be safe, eh?

    • Anthony on February 3, 2016 at 6:11 pm
      Author

    Like I said, air of desperation.

    If you really want to go down this rabbit hole, then you had better actually post a link to a particular study. There are a variety of failure rate estimates out there, and they don’t all use the same metrics.

    Anyway, do you find that per 100 per year is a standard metric? For example, is the birth rate calculated in the same way? per 100?

    • Dannyboy on February 4, 2016 at 10:27 am

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3638209/

    Do you have a link which supports your Russian Roulette “You get pregnant 5 times out of every 100 times you have sex” interpretation?

    • Anthony on February 4, 2016 at 11:26 am
      Author

    As I suspected.

    First of all, your chose a study that hinges the effectiveness based on ‘pregnancy rates’ and it appears that the study does not incorporate the fact that you liberals define ‘pregnancy’ as when the fertilized egg embeds itself. So, any conceptions that would have occurred before this, which would have been obliterated by the ‘morning after pill’ are not counted.

    It looks like I would have to pay money in order to verify that this is the case for sure, but that is already an intrinsic flaw in the ‘pregnancy rate’ approach.

    Secondly, the study itself draws a distinction between ‘perfect’ use and ‘typical use.’

    Table 1 indicates that 18% of the women in the ‘typical use’ category got pregnant. Ooops.

    Sucks to be them, I guess. Good thing they have abortion and the ‘morning after’ pill, right?

    There is a reason for why there is a need to distinguish between ‘typical’ and ‘perfect’ use; unless, you plan on telling me that most sexual encounters occur in a laboratory or the controlled conditions of a study?

    EIGHTEEN PERCENT.

    Plus the 2% for ‘perfect use’ and you can fairly say that, IN REALITY (which is what I am always chiefly interested in, and you are in open warfare against), 2 out of 10 women (20 out of 100 for those in Rio Linda) can expect to become pregnant IN THE FIRST YEAR.

    Interestingly, in the comparison chart of contraceptive effectiveness in the 5th grade anal sex curriculum, they don’t even bother to list the ‘perfect use’ numbers, indicating a 16% failure (‘typical use’ listed for all measure). At least they are honest about this part!

    http://sntjohnny.com/front/why-5th-graders-should-have-anal-sex-and-other-arguments-for-abstinence/2514.html

    Also, note the phrase “IN THE FIRST YEAR.” Table 1 plainly uses this language; since my point just as plainly pointed out the effects of continued use increasing the odds, the already bad 20% ‘chance’ presumably gets worse as the years go on. Even taking into account the fact that their definition of ‘typical’ was flimsy (eg, apparently counting condom use as use even when not sure its used), this is monumentally BAD.

    Judging the effectiveness based on pregnancy RATES is, in my opinion, a deeply flawed approach. Stupid, really.

    The better approach is to look at breakage and slippage. Here, for example, is a study specifically on that front:

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3007398.html

    (note the source. ENTIRELY RELIABLE!)

    •Breakage. Approximately 17% of couples experienced one or more breaks when using a polyurethane condom (58 of 348), compared with 3% (10 of 348) when using a latex condom (not shown). Among the 58 couples who broke at least one polyurethane condom, 78% broke only one, 17% broke two and 5% broke all three polyurethane condoms. In contrast, nine couples broke one latex condom and only one couple broke two.

    I would say that breakage, by definition, constitutes failure, no?

    Interestingly, the study states: “We based the study’s sample size on the assumption that the latex condom would have a clinical breakage rate of 2%.”

    So, they are ASSUMING that the latex condom will BREAK even in a clinical setting, at the tune of 2%. No silly qualifiers about ‘per 100 per year’ here. This is straight-up 2% of the time.

    But here is the real kicker:

    To minimize the possibility that couples prone to condom failure might contribute a disproportionate number of outcomes (breaks and slip-offs), we limited couples to three uses of each study condom.

    These breakage rates reflect only 3 uses of each kind of condom, over a two week period.

    Supposing, though, that people have sex more than 3 times a year, outside of a study environment, though?

    “At enrollment, couples reported high coital frequency (59% said they had intercourse at least three times a week),”

    No surprise, then, that they reported:

    “Few participants had experienced frequent condom breakage: Only 8% of men and 3% of women reported more than five instances of condoms breaking with previous partners. Only 3% of couples reported at least five instances of a condom breaking with their study partner before their participation in the study (not shown)”

    I’m not sure why Guttmacher said ‘few’ and ‘only.’ I would say that 8% of men and 3% of women reporting MORE THAN FIVE instances is pretty bad, and this doesn’t even include the number that reported fewer than 5… the imagination wanders.

    Here is an interesting contrast between your study methodology and mine:

    •All failures. The total clinical failure rate, which combines all incidents of breakage and slippage, was 10.8% for the polyurethane condom and 1.7% for the latex condom, which yields a risk ratio of 6.4. None of the clinical failures resulted in a pregnancy. The overall total failure rate, which covers both clinical and nonclinical failures, was 11.8% (122 of 1,036) for the polyurethane condom and 3.8% for the latex condom (39 of 1,023).

    While there was a failure rate of 11% for the one kind of condom and 2% for the other, these failures did not lead to a pregnancy (depending of course, on how that was defined). In other words, if we were to focus only on the pregnancy rate based on this study, it would have been 0%.

    But, being 0%, that would have been horribly misleading about the real situation–and this was ‘clinical’ rather than ‘typical’ use.

    It’s probably because of the completely compromised thinking about these matters that, notwithstanding the number of pregnancies that result, the incidences of STDs continues to skyrocket. People are lulled into a sense of false security, but then reality breaks in, nonetheless.

    P.S., there are many studies I’ve encountered over the years discussing ‘breakage.’ None of them are particularly encouraging. The one above was one I found quickly, looking for something on a pro-abortion website to evade any wriggling re: the source.

    • Anthony on February 4, 2016 at 11:44 am
      Author

    http://www.publish.csiro.au/view/journals/dsp_journal_fulltext.cfm?nid=164&f=SH11095

    See pages 7-10.

    I’m sure some of the studies I’ve seen in the past are reflected there.

    Like I said, not encouraging.

    • Dannyboy on February 4, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Nice to see that you approached this issue with an open mind. You’re an extremely intelligent man Tony. The downside of this intelligence is that you’re very good at generating critiques of evidence which doesn’t fit with your beliefs. Unfortunately, however superficially plausible these objections may be to you, they don’t all hold up to more objective scrutiny.

    “So, any conceptions that would have occurred before this, which would have been obliterated by the ‘morning after pill’ are not counted.”

    You are wrong. All of the studies included in the review state that they either adjusted for the use of the morning after pill or stipulated that participants use condoms as their ONLY form of contraception. Without good reason to suspect the authors and participants of all being liars, this is a false objection.

    “There is a reason for why there is a need to distinguish between ‘typical’ and ‘perfect’ use; unless, you plan on telling me that most sexual encounters occur in a laboratory or the controlled conditions of a study?”

    ‘Perfect use’ does not require the assistance of a team of scientists, strange to say. It means only that the method is used “consistently and correctly”. So, yes – shocker! – condoms do need to be used every time you have sex and according to the instructions printed on the packet in order to be effective at preventing pregnancy. What an odd criticism.

    “Plus the 2% for ‘perfect use’ and you can fairly say that, IN REALITY (which is what I am always chiefly interested in, and you are in open warfare against), 2 out of 10 women (20 out of 100 for those in Rio Linda) can expect to become pregnant IN THE FIRST YEAR.”

    You are wrong. You are confusing the rate of pregnancy WITHIN each group (‘perfect use’ or ’typical use’) with the overall percentages for the total study population. The cumulative percentage would depend significantly upon how many couples fell into each group, which is a) not clear from the text, and b) not necessarily representative of the general population in any case. And again, you are making judgements on the effectiveness of a method of contraception based upon data from couples who don’t use it properly. Incorrect use is a matter of serious concern, for sure, but hardly a problem intrinsic to the method itself. I also think that it’s a dangerous precedent for you to establish once we get around to talking about your preferred alternative solution.

    “Also, note the phrase “IN THE FIRST YEAR.” Table 1 plainly uses this language; since my point just as plainly pointed out the effects of continued use increasing the odds, the already bad 20% ‘chance’ presumably gets worse as the years go on.”

    That’s quite an assumption. Since most condom failure is the result of human error wouldn’t you expect failure rates to go down with increased experience?

    “I would say that breakage, by definition, constitutes failure, no?”

    Mechanical failure of that particular condom, yes, but not necessarily failure of the method. I’ve had condoms break mid-coitus (maybe twice that I can recall in about 18yrs of using them consistently). You feel it happen. You stop. You take off the broken condom. You put on a new condom….

    Movie night continues. 🙂

    It’s really not that difficult.

    You know that the effectiveness rates of “pulling out” for preventing pregnancy are quite similar to those for consistent condom use? Turns out Onan actually had the right idea. They are quite different for STD transmission, but perhaps we’ll get onto that later. From the point of view of not getting pregnant, the condom only needs to be intact at one particular stage of the process. I’m sure I don’t have to draw you a diagram.

    So, you are wrong (again). Breakage, in this context, does not by definition constitute failure.

    “”None of the clinical failures resulted in a pregnancy.””

    Exactly! Some of the study participants were combining condoms with another method (e.g. the oral contraceptive pill). That’s not illegal, you know. It’s actually quite a good idea, if I say so myself.

    “It’s probably because of the completely compromised thinking about these matters that, notwithstanding the number of pregnancies that result, the incidences of STDs continues to skyrocket.”

    STDs are a slightly different problem, although one which CONSISTENT and CORRECT condom use is very effective in ameliorating.

    Can I ask you again – how effective (by the standard that you have established here) is YOUR preferred method of not getting pregnant?

    “See pages 7-10.”

    I can’t see any page numbers. Can you be more specific?

    Of course errors in condom use are a serious problem. But it’s a point worth making that condom failure (in terms of preventing pregnancy) can be mainly attributed to human error, whereas abstinence-only failure can be mainly attributed to human nature. Now, which one of those do you think we have a better shot at improving?

    • Anthony on February 4, 2016 at 4:37 pm
      Author

    I’m sorry, where did it say they adjusted for the morning after pill?

    “You are wrong. You are confusing the rate of pregnancy WITHIN each group (‘perfect use’ or ’typical use’) with the overall percentages for the total study population.”

    No, I was just being flippant. I was clear enough that you should have been able to keep up. In the ‘typical’ group it was 18 out of 100, and I rounded it up to 20. You can get fixated on the extra ‘2’ if you want, but it only illustrates why you have the name DH… as if I didn’t already state 18. gimmeabreak. My point was that however you slice it, it isn’t nearly as optimistic as you insist.

    “Mechanical failure of that particular condom, yes, but not necessarily failure of the method.”

    The mechanical failure of the condom itself is the POINT, kemosabe. Are you telling me that a trained public health official like yourself nonetheless can report breakage (that you know of) on two different occasions? Can’t blame the method–you’re as perfect as they come–so its gotta be the device. Which is my point.

    Pretty much your entire reply hinges on an emphasis of user error. Eg:

    “Since most condom failure is the result of human error wouldn’t you expect failure rates to go down with increased experience?”

    But you do not take into account that failures will occur even in ‘perfect’ scenarios. Moreover, I would contend that you are being very selective in citing ONLY the ‘perfect’ numbers (scroll up; I was the one to bring up the ‘typical’ numbers, which you for some reason didn’t see fit to mention FROM YOUR OWN STUDY.)

    Remember, the study I gave you ASSUMED a 2% breakage in a PERFECT, clinical scenario. That was the baseline. It is all ‘up’ from there.

    But in response to my comment “…continued use increasing the odds, the already bad 20% ‘chance’ presumably gets worse as the years go on…” you said:

    “That’s quite an assumption.”

    Well, its true that I expected you to be able to hold several ideas in your head at once, first of all that the 20% contained the 18%, which I explicitly stated, and secondly, was NOT a presumed number–your linked study actually gave the figure of 18% for ‘typical’ use–and thirdly, the presumption that it gets worse is basic mathematics: the odds of flipping a penny and getting heads is 1 out of 2, and the odds of flipping it again and getting heads again is still just 1 out of 2, but if you don’t get a tail after 10 tries, its darn near a miracle.

    The same is true if condoms–in ‘perfect’ use (as assumed in the Guttmacher study) break 2% of the time. Each time there may only be a 1 in 50 chance that it will break, but each time rolls the dice again.

    So what I said wasn’t an assumption. It was directly derived from your own provided study, with a very small amount of probability analysis applied to it. EIGHTEEN PERCENT.

    ”None of the clinical failures resulted in a pregnancy.””
    “”Exactly!””

    You have no way of knowing if the pregnancies were prevented by other methods coming to play, or simple (good?) luck. As the same studies all show, even people without any protection at all sometimes do not conceive… You’re playing loosely with people’s lives, DH.

    And of course, if they break, that’s no protection at all against STDs.

    “page numbers” … 7-10.

    Download the PDF.

    The problem with your ‘open mind’ comment is that you fail to understand that I do not speak unless I have already well researched something. This is an argument you’re going to lose, DH, because I have the facts on my side.

    Like the lady said, candidly–birth control does fail. Hence the need for abortion.

    • Anthony on February 4, 2016 at 5:05 pm
      Author

    “The CDC estimates that nearly 20 million new STD infections happen each year in the U.S., with the majority affecting 15 to 24-year-olds.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/11/18/cdc-alarming-increase-stds/75978596/

    FOR YEARS, I have been documenting the fact that every year there are 20 million or so NEW STD infections in the U.S. That article is from just a couple of months ago. It’s a reality that is NOT going away, no matter how much money you spend on it.

    Your approach constitutes a colossal failure resulting in millions of lives permanently damaged. You can try to hide behind there being ‘only’ a 2% failure rate in a ‘perfect’ scenario, but in the meantime, in the real world, there is only suffering… and yes, even death.

    I understand that you don’t want to hear such things, and that it would mean a complete overhaul in your worldview, but you need to. You really need to. If you really care about people, you need to stop thumbing your nose at the real world, and come to grips with it.

    • Dannyboy on February 4, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    “I’m sorry, where did it say they adjusted for the morning after pill?”

    In one of the primary sources that review cited:

    “…typical-use and consistent-use pregnancy rates were calculated using life-table analysis, adjusted for use of emergency contraception.” – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10224546

    “No, I was just being flippant.”

    If you say so. The point remains that you cannot apply sub-group specific failure rates from a study to the general population if you have no data on what percentage of that population falls into each of those sub-groups. Sorry, but you’re still wrong.

    “The mechanical failure of the condom itself is the POINT, kemosabe.”

    The point of WHAT? That condoms occasionally break? I haven’t disputed that. You are the one nit-picking around the fact that condoms are a generally effective method of birth control. I haven’t claimed that they are 100% effective – that’s why I recommend combining them with another method. I also wear a seatbelt when I’m in a car, even though I always drive carefully. One time I was in a minor road traffic accident, and the seatbelt probably helped me to avoid injury. By your logic I guess we should all give up driving.

    Remember that the statement of yours that I initially objected to was, “The idea that ‘family planning’ leads to fewer conceptions in the first place is pure fantasy”.

    Right now you’re making the (arguably pessimistic) case that SINGLE-METHOD family planning effectiveness rates are in the region of 80%. At a minimum that invalidates your statement and justifies my objection to it. Case closed.

    “You have no way of knowing if the pregnancies were prevented by other methods coming to play, or simple (good?) luck.”

    So? I’m an advocate of double-method family planning. I’ve said this a number of times.

    “This is an argument you’re going to lose, DH, because I have the facts on my side.”

    I’m afraid not. Your statement, quoted above, is completely unsupportable (witness the fact that you aren’t even trying to defend it). You let your ideology get the better of your rationality, and now you’re trying to change the subject to degrees of effectiveness.

    Birth control does fail, sometimes. That is quite true. Prohibitions on pre-marital sex, on the other hand, appear to have almost zero effect in reducing unwanted pregnancies & STDs and may in some cases be actively harmful. Again, I’ll choose not to let the best become the enemy of the good and go with what works best.

    • Dannyboy on February 4, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    In what US states are the rates of STDs highest? In what US states are the rates of teen pregnancy highest? And what pattern would you expect to see if progressive permissiveness were the root cause of all this?

    • End Bringer on February 4, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    “I also wear a seatbelt when I’m in a car, even though I always drive carefully. One time I was in a minor road traffic accident, and the seatbelt probably helped me to avoid injury. By your logic I guess we should all give up driving.”

    That would indeed be recommended if we took the secular/atheistic approach to driving the same way it handles the issue of sex – go as fast as you want wherever you want, ignore signs and traffic lights if you feel like it or just really need to be someplace, and hey you can even go any direction you want on either side of the road. You can even drive for miles in reverse if you want! There’s nothing inherently ‘wrong’ with people choosing their driving-orientation the way they feel like.

    But no matter how secure the seat-belts are, or how the airbags will deploy 99% of the time, how solid the helmets everyone will be encouraged to wear, or how well the crash test dummies survive in controlled testings, the death count will always be substantially greater than it is now, if driving was treated with the same casual recklessness secularism treats sex and pregnancy.

    Remember DB, it’s Christianity that approaches sex with the same structural context as traffic laws, because it is fully aware and appreciative of the consequences that arrive from it. It’s only the liberal/secular quest for ‘sexual freedom’ that all this need to stave off all the consequences of reality comes from.

    • Dannyboy on February 5, 2016 at 3:41 am

    EB, If you only address yourself to an imaginary secular humanist, rather than to me, then I’m going to ignore you. I am not advocating a reckless or chaotic attitude to sex, which is an activity that carries some risks with it (not unlike driving). I am challenging the equivalent wrong-headedness of a person being SO concerned about the issue of road traffic accidents that they spread lies and misinformation about how none of the available precautions will save you from dying in a car accident. In other words, “the idea that ‘road safety’ and ‘seatbelts’ lead to fewer injuries and deaths on the roads is pure fantasy”. It is NOT pure fantasy, it is a demonstrable fact, as is the the case with the correct and consistent use of contraception in virtually eliminating STD transmission and unwanted pregnancy.

    I take it that neither of you is going to address the distribution of teen pregnancy and STDs in the US, which shows at a minimum that the situation is far more complex than you are pretending.

    • End Bringer on February 5, 2016 at 8:49 am

    “In other words, “the idea that ‘road safety’ and ‘seatbelts’ lead to fewer injuries and deaths on the roads is pure fantasy”. It is NOT pure fantasy, it is a demonstrable fact, as is the the case with the correct and consistent use of contraception in virtually eliminating STD transmission and unwanted pregnancy.”

    Funny, because it seemed to be clearly established even under ‘perfect’ conditions, there’s still a chance for such measures to fail. Assume such ‘perfect’ usages are used by 300 million people having sex just once, it still means there’s a nontrivial number of failure. And that number goes even higher when 300 million people have sex 10, 20, 100 times more.

    All you are doing is ignoring the greater context in which SJ is making that summation i.e. the actual results of reality under a culture that encourages people to ‘do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.’

    Yeah, you can say ‘fewer’ STDs and ‘unwanted pregnancy’ can be achieved with contraception and any other sort of preventative measures. But that has about as much impact as saying all the seatbelts, airbags, and everyone suiting up like NASCAR racers when they go to the grocery store prevents ‘fewer’ traffic deaths than there would be without them, while society simultaneously encourages everyone to drive like maniacs.

    It ignores the underling problem.

    There would be even ‘fewer’ deaths under the current establishment of a rigid and lawful structure of driving than there would be under anarchistic system even with all the protective measures available. I’d even go so far as to bet if the lawful structure had NO personal protective measures in the car itself, there would STILL be fewer deaths than the anarchistic structure with ALL the personal protective measures available.

    Likewise there would be even fewer STDs and ‘unwanted pregnancy’ if society stopped treating sex like a toy, and started treating it as something that belongs in a more rigid context like the Bible teaches.

    20 million new STD infections happen each year. That’s also a fact, DB. Yeah, you can say without all those ‘preventative and protective measures’ there would be even more (as if 20 million is encouraging by itself), but what SJ is observing, and what you’re doing everything possible to keep your denial intact, is that all such measures amount to is whistling in the wind when faced with the reality of a society hell bent on having sex any and every way it can possibly imagine without consequence, while simultaneously doing everything possible to stave off those same consequences.

    • Anthony on February 5, 2016 at 11:05 am
      Author

    “I’m sorry, where did it say they adjusted for the morning after pill?”

    In one of the primary sources that review cited:

    “…typical-use and consistent-use pregnancy rates were calculated using life-table analysis, adjusted for use of emergency contraception.” – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10224546

    So, let me get this straight.

    I clearly and explicitly state that YOUR posted study does not take into account ’emergency contraception’ and in retort, you post a link to a DIFFERENT study?

    You are off your rocker. There is nothing in YOUR study that says that the figures in Table 1 are themselves adjusted to reflect ’emergency contraception’ when generating the ‘pregnancy rates.’

    You accuse me of accusing them of lying, when in fact there is nothing in the ORIGINALLY posted study referencing EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION at all.

    I did a keyword search for ’emergency’ and ‘RU-‘ in the ORIGINAL study and could find no reference. Feel free to provide the reference if there is one. If there isn’t one, then you owe me an apology, and I expect one.

    In the STUDY YOU POSTED, the closest I see that it tried to take any of these considerations into account is listed in #3, which begins with “Our estimates of the probability of pregnancy during the first year” but it only takes into account the “underreporting of abortion.”

    But that’s where these hair-splitting definitions come into play– pro-choicers do not consider it a pregnancy, and therefore not an abortion, if the fertilized egg has not yet implanted. The STUDY YOU POSTED makes no mention of taking into account ’emergency contraception’ when evaluating contraceptive failure.

    The only sense that it can be said to have taken this into account is if the studies it references take it into account, but you have only listed one such instance. One of the three studies DID NOT (caveat below), which is itself worthy of mention: YOUR ORIGINAL STUDY says,

    “Our estimate of the proportion of women becoming pregnant during a year of perfect use of the male condom is based on results from the only three studies of the male condom meeting modern standards of design, execution, and analysis”

    Your entire argument rests on just THREE studies. Do you really think it wise to put your weight on such a flimsy foundation?

    Two mentioned ’emergency contraception’, although if you look at those studies, you will see that even if you think you can salvage your rebuttal by ignoring the fact that the ORIGINALLY posted study does NOT say it takes emergency contraception into account, the fact that the two that did indicated a NEED for emergency contraception in the first place supports MY overall point (that ‘pregnancy rates’ are a flawed measure of effectiveness). Not yours.

    But one of the three, as I said, did not: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12636960 You may be able to access the full study, where it is stated that it does, but I can’t.

    Since the ORIGINAL study does not indicate whether or not IT took note of this point, you cannot argue that it attempted to integrate this facet into its review.

    I mean, you will, because you are DH, but not in a rational universe can you do it.

    Now, if we are permitted to dig into all of the linked studies that were reviewed, and evaluate THEM, then I get to play, too. So, for example, there was this tidbit:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2811396/

    “In 2001, the U.S. government’s Healthy People 2010 initiative set a goal of reducing contraceptive failure during the first year of use from 13% in 1995 to 7% by 2010. [… we assess] changes in failure rates from 1995 to 2002.
    […]
    In 2002, 12.4% of all episodes of contraceptive use ended with a failure within 12 months after initiation of use. Injectable and oral contraceptives remain the most effective reversible methods used by women in the U.S., with probabilities of failure during the first 12 months of use of 7% and 9%, respectively. The probabilities of failure for withdrawal (18%) and the condom (17%) are similar. Reliance on fertility-awareness-based methods results in the highest probability of failure (25%).

    In other words, people who relied on ‘fertility-awareness’ methods actually had the highest chance of failure… interesting…

    What I thought was particular interesting about THIS study is that in calculating its failure rates, there IS no reference to ’emergency contraception.’ It does take into account ‘underreporting of abortion’ but again, pro-abortionists do not believe that ’emergency contraception’ constitutes pregnancies. Thus, her already bad conclusions can only be worse.

    • Anthony on February 5, 2016 at 11:17 am
      Author

    I really have to move on to other things, and EB is handling the issue perfectly, so I’ll just add a couple of quick points.

    1., the THREE condom studies are not encouraging at all when you look at it from the ‘breakage’ point of view. The fact that anyone felt a need to resort to emergency contraception AT ALL is not promising; also, 2 of them were 6 month studies, while Table 1 is for full year. I don’t know how they reconciled that, but it seems to fuel my objection that the real danger is the complete false sense of security that your approach engenders.

    Look at the studies and ask yourself, if it was not a condom, but bullets with a 98% rate of failure to fire, would you play ‘Russian roulette’ with these bullets, if, say, you stood to win a million dollars if you pull the trigger and it does not fire? If a gay man came to you and asked if it was ok to have sex with an HIV positive gay man, provided he used a condom, would you tell him, “Yes, sure! You’ll be fine!”

    If you would, then I would say you are doing him a grave disservice.

    2. One difference between your approach and mine is that in mine, a person only has sex at all–even with protection–if they are willing to face the reality of bringing a child into the world. So, married Christian pro-life couples of course ‘take a gamble’ if they use contraception, but they are not playing Russian Roulette in the same sense that those in your approach are. On your approach, people do die–if even only the unborn. On my approach, there is still life.

    3. You did not follow up on this, that I noticed:

    http://www.publish.csiro.au/view/journals/dsp_journal_fulltext.cfm?nid=164&f=SH11095

    See pages 7-10.

    The rates of condom failure in the real world are various… and in no ways justifies your optimism.

    4. One of our differences is that your concern is for the ‘public’ and mine is for the ‘individual.’ You want gay people to use condoms because from an epidemiological perspective, it will produce ‘rates’ of suffering that you as a public health official feel are ‘worth it’ and will cost the state less money in the long term. This is the same kind of dark reasoning behind justifications for community water fluoridation (which has a known rate of people significantly harmed by it), vaccination, and so on. You are aware of the risks but you don’t want to communicate them, because this will weaken the overall societal level of implementation. Eg, if people knew that 5% of people exposed to CWF become extremely ill, then they would be more likely to oppose CWF. You are concerned more about the 95% than you are the 5%. The same dynamic is present with vaccinations.

    I cannot bring myself to be this cavalier with people’s lives, especially when I know that INDIVIDUALS will be paying this cost, regardless of the savings the STATE can look to.

    Anyway, sorry, got to go. Too much time already trying to sort out your craziness.

    • Dannyboy on February 5, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    EB,

    “Yeah, you can say ‘fewer’ STDs and ‘unwanted pregnancy’ can be achieved with contraception and any other sort of preventative measures.”

    Yes, you can say that. That is, in fact, what I am saying. That is also the very statement that your Sensei has dismissed as “pure fantasy”. Maybe you should take it up with him.

    “It ignores the underling problem.”

    Yes, and I know that you think there’s a very simplistic answer to what that underlying problem is. But consider this – the five US states with the highest reported rates of chlamydia are Alaska, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama & South Carolina. The five states with the lowest reported rates are Massachusetts, Utah, New Hampshire, Maine & West Virginia.

    The five US states with the highest reported rates of gonorrhoea are Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, South Carolina & Oklahoma. The five states with the lowest reported cases are Idaho, Wyoming, Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont.

    http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats14/surv-2014-print.pdf

    The five US states with the highest teenage pregnancy rates are New Mexico, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas & Louisiana. The five states with the lowest rates are New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota, Massachusetts & Maine. [Please note that abortions are included as pregnancies in teenage pregnancy rates]

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/USTPtrends10.pdf

    If progressive attitudes are the underlying problem then wouldn’t you expect this pattern to be somewhat different? I’d like at least one of you to address this glaring inconsistency in your worldview.

    “Likewise there would be even fewer STDs and ‘unwanted pregnancy’ if society stopped treating sex like a toy, and started treating it as something that belongs in a more rigid context like the Bible teaches.”

    The five most religious states in the country are Mississippi, Utah, Alabama, Louisiana & Arkansas. The five least religious states are Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont & New Hampshire.

    http://www.livescience.com/19314-religious-states-list.html

    Like I said, it looks as if things are more complex than you are suggesting, because the MOST religious states disproportionately appear in the lists of the highest STD & teenage pregnancy rates. The least religious, progressive states generally do far better in each of those metrics. I await your response to this important point with great interest.

    Tony,

    This discussion seems to be getting under your skin. Do you need a hug?

    As already mentioned (and ignored, by you), the starting point of this contraception-related debate was a statement of yours – “The idea that ‘family planning’ leads to fewer conceptions in the first place is pure fantasy”. This is a demonstrably false statement, which you have implicitly conceded but nevertheless seem disinclined to retract. I’m not a huge fan of this kind of ideologically-motivated misinformation, so it appears that we continue to have a problem.

    Or rather, you do. I’m beginning to suspect that the air of desperation you claimed to detect earlier was a little closer to home than you thought….

    “I clearly and explicitly state that YOUR posted study does not take into account ’emergency contraception’ and in retort, you post a link to a DIFFERENT study?”

    Dude, it’s not a study, it’s an evidence review. The main clue is that there’s no Methodology section, but the first line of the write-up is actually “This review provides an update of previous estimates…”, which one would think might tip you off. I posted a link to one of the studies included in the male condom section, which – as I noted – adjusted for the use of emergency contraception. You’re usually much more careful than this.

    “You are off your rocker.”

    Sloppy AND punchy. Not attributes usually seen in people who are “winning the argument” because they “have the facts on [their] side”.

    “Feel free to provide the reference if there is one. If there isn’t one, then you owe me an apology, and I expect one.”

    I already provided a reference. In your unseemly haste to dismiss it and rubbish my arguments you failed to notice that it was a key citation in the relevant section of the evidence review. I do not require an apology, I’d just like you to take a chill pill and settle down.

    “Your entire argument rests on just THREE studies. Do you really think it wise to put your weight on such a flimsy foundation?”

    Oh, NOW you’ve noticed that it’s actually a review! Perhaps this information only became salient at the point at which it was useful in your misguided partisan attack on me, but for some reason didn’t cause you to reconsider your previous ranting. Ah well, you can’t have everything.

    And no, my primary argument is that you were entirely wrong to say that family planning has no effect on the number of conceptions. Everything else is secondary. I am quite happy to agree that studying sexual behaviour, conception and contraception-use is a problematic and challenging area in which certainty is difficult to achieve. I am also happy to say that the BEST form of contraception, in a “perfect use” scenario, is abstinence. However, since you have decided that “perfect use” is an improper standard to apply when judging contraceptive efficacy, perhaps we should talk about the “typical” effectiveness of your preferred method – abstinence.

    Or is there some reason that you would rather not do that?

    “If a gay man came to you and asked if it was ok to have sex with an HIV positive gay man, provided he used a condom, would you tell him, “Yes, sure! You’ll be fine!””

    That is a very reasonable question (well done!). The safest assumption for a sexually active person to make is that, until you know otherwise, your current sexual partner has HIV. I wouldn’t particularly make a distinction, therefore, between the advice I would give a gay (or straight) friend in such a situation whether their partner is known to be HIV positive or merely just not yet proven to the HIV negative. There are high risk sexual activities and low risk sexual activities, and I would advise anyone to bear in mind the risks and be as careful as they can possibly be.

    But to address your question directly, I don’t actually presume to tell people who they can and can’t have sex with. I somehow don’t feel that it’s up to me – must be the non-religious thing. 🙂

    “One of our differences is that your concern is for the ‘public’ and mine is for the ‘individual’….”

    One of our other differences is that I try to address what you have actually said rather than projecting onto you the sinister motives of shadowy figures whose agenda I perceive to have some commonalities with your own. Your whole subsequent bit about what I want and why I want it, what I am aware of and what I don’t care about is a highly discreditable (in my eyes) example of this kind of offensive and depersonalising strawman tactic. Skip!

    “I cannot bring myself to be this cavalier with people’s lives…”

    So what would you advise a married friend whose wife is HIV positive to do in order to protect himself?

    • Anthony on February 9, 2016 at 8:00 am
      Author

    https://naturalwomanhood.org/when-condoms-actually-increase-the-likelihood-of-pregnancy-wait-what/

    Citing this CDC brochure, which doesn’t waste time trying to convince people that the problem is their fault for not using methods properly, etc.

    http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/pdf/contraceptive_methods_508.pdf

    This is not a response to your last, which I did not read.

    • Anthony on February 9, 2016 at 9:34 am
      Author

    Yea ok so I just read it. You really are desperate.

    the starting point of this contraception-related debate was a statement of yours – “The idea that ‘family planning’ leads to fewer conceptions in the first place is pure fantasy”.

    Actually, that’s not how it started. But I can see that you are not prepared to deal honestly with this issue, so I’m glad that I have other things I need to do.

    “Oh, NOW you’ve noticed that it’s actually a review!”

    Right, because I asked for a study, and that’s what I expected you to send me. Notice that in contrast, I actually provided you with a study, and referenced actual studies. I was prepared to deal with the actual data, directly. You, apparently not.

    Moreover, I find it to be dishonest and disingenuous of you to support a contention by giving one link, and then give a quote from one of the 77 citations, and treat my comment–clearly directed at the former–as referencing ONE of the studies in the latter; of course, cherry picking, because as I said, if suddenly all 77 citations are fair game, it is not difficult to find some that do not correct for ’emergency contraception.’ I provided an example; you ignored it, although it has just the same weight as your own ‘rebuttal.’

    Then you have the audacity to have an attitude about it. As if in interpreting the originally provided REVIEW I was expected to also interact with every referenced study, without you first bringing it to my attention to consider.

    Bad form, DH. Very bad form.

    The problem is that if you dive into the studies, they do not not show what you say they show, but rather support my contentions. Even the review supported MY contention. The only way YOUR contention survives is if you only appeal to ‘perfect use.’

    This is the heart of the problem:

    “However, since you have decided that “perfect use” is an improper standard to apply when judging contraceptive efficacy,”

    As illustrated in the article and the CDC link I posted, even before reading your latest comment, in the real world–and its the real world I care about–the concept of ‘perfect use’ does not provide the ‘actionable’ information that people need for ‘family planning.’ It’s the TYPICAL use that people need to know about, because, typically, people are going to typically use the methods. AKA, the real world.

    As referenced in the STUDY that I gave you, they ASSUME a 2% breakage (latex). BREAKAGE. IN PERFECT USE. So, right from the get go, you have a 1 in 50 shot, that in a clinical scenario, your condom won’t merely fail to prevent a conception, but it will actually break–with conception potentially being the least of your problems.

    Now we have to add into the mix the real-world fact that we’re not talking about an activity that happens in white coats. It is intrinsically an activity with uh… some passion. It would be asinine to assure someone that condoms have a 2% ‘failure rate’ when the only scenario where that is true is in fairly controlled settings. The mere fact that people know that they are having sex in the midst of a study is going to increase their attentiveness in a way that I would bet even the participants forget once they leave the study.

    (Now, THAT would be an interesting study. How many ‘unintended pregnancies’ occur in the first year after these participants of the study, leave the study).

    It is a false sense of security that feeds your public health instinct to view the population in percentages: “and I would advise anyone to bear in mind the risks and be as careful as they can possibly be.”

    Rather than,

    “Dude. What are you THINKING?”

    I note that you STILL do not make mention of this:

    http://www.publish.csiro.au/view/journals/dsp_journal_fulltext.cfm?nid=164&f=SH11095

    See pages 7-10.

    Since you refuse to address it, and I’m not really writing for you anymore, anyway, I’ll explain it a little more.

    This is a REVIEW, and these pages represent Table 3, labeled “Prevalence of breakage, slippage and leakage.”

    Just eyeballing it, it appears to summarize about 75 different studies, addressing only this aspect of it. By contrast, DH’s only summarized 3 condom studies.

    The numbers are all over the map, for a number of reasons. As the REVIEW itself indicates, the numbers range from under 1% to 40%! but there is more than enough information here justifying giving one’s advice based on ‘typical’ use rather than ‘perfect’ use.

    Doing otherwise is like telling a person who wants to drive on the wrong side of the street that, they should “be as careful as they can possibly be” and wear their seat-belt.

    More to the point (from what you say got us started), you contend that ‘family planning’ leads to fewer conceptions; but that is only conceivably true in a ‘perfect use’ scenario. Ie, arguing about whether or not a particular method is ‘effective’ is a red herring. If the real issue is whether or not there are substantially fewer conceptions in a society saturated with ‘family planning’ counseling, the ‘typical use’ figures show that, regardless of whether or not they theoretically COULD lead to fewer conceptions, in practice, they AREN’T.

    My point.

    For those reading this over our shoulders, I would just put it directly to you. Do you think the appropriate measure of a condom’s effectiveness is whether or not it is associated with pregnancies, or its chance of breaking, slipping, and so on, in real-world situations. On which would you stake your life? On which would you build public policy on?

    Read the studies for yourself.

    • Anthony on February 9, 2016 at 10:14 am
      Author

    re-reading the abstract before I close the tab and I saw:

    According to global health organisations, ‘The male latex condom is the single, most efficient, available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.’1 However, condom effectiveness is compromised by user errors and lack of use.2 For example, the World Health Organisation reported that condoms have a 2% perfect use failure rate for pregnancy, but the typical failure rate is 15%.3,4 Magnified over the world population, this 4-fold difference has substantial implications for population growth and, in turn, public health. The gap between perfect and typical use has similar relevance for HIV and STI prevention, suggesting that millions of infections could be avoided by improved user effectiveness. The discrepancy between perfect and typical failure rates is attributable to the combination of both inconsistent and incorrect use, but the respective contribution of user errors to typical use failure rates has never been quantified.

    There are a couple of points.

    1. As is typical, they state that ‘failure rates’ are attributable to inconsistent and incorrect use, but pay less attention to the frequency of straight-up mechanical failures. For some reason, few of the studies I’ve seen even take this into account. (I cited one that did–it assumed a 2% breakage).
    2. When calculating ‘effectiveness’ public health officials fixate on pregnancy, or conception, eg, “2% perfect use failure rate for pregnancy.” But, as the woman’s article perfectly illustrates, many times a woman would not have gotten pregnant, anyway, just because she was not fertile. (In this sense, the better study would be the one that ensures the woman was fertile when testing the method). But, there are other things that count as ‘failure.’ Eg, how would we fill in this blank: “?% perfect use failure rate for STDs”?

    This is not a minor point.

    I give the reader with some final thoughts. These links are not safe for work, and children should not open them.

    1., ‘perfect use’ rates reflect sex like this, which is also how all trained public health officials themselves have sex:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVxSUz-Fk24

    So, take their guidance with a grain of salt. 😉

    2. Aware that there are limitations to this, they want more of this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNjcSF_OKFM&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DSNjcSF_OKFM&has_verified=1

    This is how public health officials want to decrease the gap between ‘perfect’ and ‘typical’ use ‘effectiveness’ rates.

    How is this working out for us? Fewer births, yes (the birth rate is down)–but lots of uses of the ‘morning after’ pills, hundreds of thousands of abortions each year, and 20 million… MILLION brand NEW cases of STDs each year.

    Try to be intelligent out there, folks. Put a little 2 and 2 together, whydoncha?

    • End Bringer on February 9, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    “Yes, you can say that. That is, in fact, what I am saying. That is also the very statement that your Sensei has dismissed as “pure fantasy”. Maybe you should take it up with him.”

    And again, the difference is you’re only making the comparison within a singular behavioral paradigm – If everyone drove with anarchistic laws there would be fewer deaths with seat belts than without them.

    We are comparing one behavioral paradigm to another – anarchistic driving vs lawful driving.

    “If progressive attitudes are the underlying problem then wouldn’t you expect this pattern to be somewhat different?”

    Pffft. Not even hardly. Mostly because your “pattern” seems to ignore the underlining fact that THE ENTIRE COUNTRY is steeped in progressive culture. It’s in our public schools, in our government, in our homes through tv, books, internet, and other media, and has even made it’s way into our churches with the many “reinterpretations” in order to appeal to modern society. Heck, the US’s progressive culture isn’t even limited to within it’s own country.

    We are saturated by progressivism 24/7. So comparing ‘more religious states’ is akin to wondering why an ocean doesn’t turn red when a few drops of dye is put in it.

    • Dannyboy on February 9, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    “I’m not really writing for you anymore”

    Ok then, I guess I should feel similarly unencumbered by the traditional conventions of debate. You may consider this my closing statement on the subject (to the audience, not to you):

    The best way to avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) is total life-long abstinence. Blood-borne diseases like HIV can also be acquired in a healthcare context (i.e. from a blood transfusion) if you’re really unlucky, or through IV drug use, but as a general rule if you never have any sexual contact with anyone ever then you’re almost completely safe on the STD & pregnancy front.

    Lifelong abstinence does not appeal to everyone, and that’s lucky because babies are both cute and important. However, anytime you have sex with anyone, as well as the possibility of becoming pregnant, you have to accept the possibility of contracting an STD. Some ways of having sex are associated with a higher risk than others, and some sexual partners will also be higher risk than others (and you can’t always tell which in advance). A couple who have both been completely abstinent prior to their relationship and who then remain faithful to each other are incredibly unlikely to acquire an STD, and if that works out for you then you can pretty much stop reading here. Bear in mind though, that you can only know with 100% certainty that YOU have been abstinent. Unless you are an extremely dedicated stalker, you must take your new partner’s prior abstinence (and subsequent faithfulness) on trust.

    And that’s where, in the REAL WORLD (which EB and Tony claim to be so committed to), things get a little bit more complicated. Trust is not always justified, and relationships which both people involved initially thought were going to be life-long partnerships sometimes turn out not to be. Sex is also, it turns out, quite a primal impulse, which can frequently cause us to behave in ways which are contrary to the rational choices that we might in other circumstances make, and that can place us at risk of STDs and pregnancy. Teenagers are especially prone to these risks, being both highly impulsive and hormonal, but they apply to all age groups.

    Knowledge of contraceptive methods is a necessary condition for using them successfully, should a person ever happen to need to. US states which focus on abstinence-only education in preference to providing such knowledge have the highest teen pregnancy rates and the highest STD rates in the country. The religious South lags significantly behind more progressive states on both these metrics, and Hawaii experienced a 30% reduction in its teenage pregnancy rates after moving over to a more comprehensive non-faith-based sex education programme. Abstinence-only teaching often insinuates (as Tony has done here) that barrier contraception is wholly ineffective in preventing pregnancy. This is false.

    No form of contraception is a perfect preventative against either pregnancy or STDs. This has been the entirety of Tony’s argument here, despite the fact that a) I don’t dispute it, and b) the REAL WORLD application of his preferred strategy has NEVER been shown to be anything other than a dismal failure. Correct and consistent use of barrier contraception, on the other hand, can significantly reduce the risks associated with sexual intercourse. If you are in a sexual relationship in which you don’t yet want to have children (and/or are worried about STDs) then I personally recommend a combination of the male condom and the (female) oral contraceptive pill, but that’s just what I’ve found works best for me. You might be different.

    Sex is not a consequence-free activity, regardless of contraceptive effectiveness, and it is irresponsible of anyone to suggest otherwise. Individual choices about if, when, how and with whom to have sex are best made without coercion and with the benefit of a good knowledge of the associated risks & risk-modifiers. Imposing rigid restrictions on personal choice in this matter, so as to confine sex only to the context of marriage, seems to me to be highly unrealistic (somewhat akin to advocating the confiscation of all US firearms in order to prevent gun-related deaths) and has a success rate in practice which makes ANY estimate of condom effectiveness look impressive.

    So, it’s your choice. Be smart, be safe etc.

    Addendum: I think Tony has been a bit of a jackass in his conduct of this discussion, but I forgive him because I enjoyed the Naked Gun and Monty Python clips.

    EB,

    “Mostly because your “pattern” seems to ignore the underlining fact that THE ENTIRE COUNTRY is steeped in progressive culture.”

    That is not an explanation of the pattern which I have demonstrated. If that was the case then you wouldn’t expect to see much difference in STD and teen pregnancy rates by state. It is the more religious, republican voting, abstinence-only, conservative states which generally have a bigger problem with STDs and teen pregnancy. That is a problem for your thesis, whether you recognise it or not.

    • End Bringer on February 9, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    “That is not an explanation of the pattern which I have demonstrated. If that was the case then you wouldn’t expect to see much difference in STD and teen pregnancy rates by state. It is the more religious, republican voting, abstinence-only, conservative states which generally have a bigger problem with STDs and teen pregnancy. That is a problem for your thesis, whether you recognise it or not.”

    Our thesis is – The liberal progressive culture of “sexual freedom” has caused more harm than not with an ever increasing spread of disease and abortion, and all those ‘preventative measures’ amount to bailing out water from a sinking ship with a tea cup.

    That you want to get bogged down with state by state statistics, and pretend “religious, republican voting, abstinence-only, conservative states” exist in a cultural vacuum, is your delusion to wrestle with. As is the highly contradiction (to the point of hypocrisy) of your advocacy of responsibility and discipline when it comes to sex and contraceptive usage on one side of your mouth, then deriding the idea of sex only being performed in a monogamous married relationship (which has worked for centuries and eliminates most of the need) on the other side.

    It really should come as no surprise to anyone that STD and abortion rates are as high as they are (and increasing) when we have people like you telling others to ‘be smart and informed’ while simultaneously saying ‘let your genitals do the thinking for you.’

    • Timaahy on February 10, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Come on, EB… stop copping out and answer the question.

    You can’t tell me that if the situation was reversed, you wouldn’t be shouting it from the rooftops.

    • Dannyboy on February 12, 2016 at 2:05 am

    Also, an “ever increasing spread of disease and abortion” EB? “STD and abortion rates are increasing” according to you? Maybe you ought to try letting your genitals do the thinking for you – it might be an improvement! 🙂 Rates of SOME STDs are on the rise – others have fallen dramatically – and the number of abortions carried out annually in the US has been in decline for the last twenty five years ever since it peaked under noted liberal progressive Ronald Reagan.

    Notice – I’m not talking about rates of abortion, these are raw numbers. Over a time period in which the US population has risen by around 25%, the number of abortions being performed has steadily decreased, which means that converting these figures into rates would make the drop even more obvious. Your thesis doesn’t withstand even a superficial acquaintance with the facts.

    It would be more consistent with the historical and geographical data to propose that progressivism is beneficial in reducing abortions, STDs and unwanted pregnancies. I’m not expecting you to propose that – you are, as always, fixated on finding evidence to support a faith-based conclusion – but you might at least recognise how shaky your case is.

    • End Bringer on February 12, 2016 at 9:44 am

    And I find it to be the same ‘pick-and-choose’ method of fact finding that we’ve seen you rely on in this entire discussion, that you dismiss “SOME STDs,” only focus on recent rate of abortion trends (as if liberal progressivism was only around for 25 years) as evidence, and still want to pretend states exist in cultural isolation.

    But seeing how that’s the only way one can force the facts to fit your self-imposed denial of reality, I can certainly understand why you would do so.

    • Dannyboy on February 14, 2016 at 11:31 am

    It’s hard to know what to say in response to that level of intellectual dishonesty, incoherence and ideologically-motivated delusion.

    YOU made the positive claim that STD and abortion rates are increasing. I pointed out that your statement was, in its specifics, incomplete and false respectively. STD rates are a complex picture, with some on the increase and some on the decrease. Annual abortion rates have fallen every year FOR A GENERATION. Your knee-jerk response to these unarguable facts is to accuse me of dismissing some STDs (I don’t, I was just drawing attention to one of your habitual over-simplifications) and of only focusing on “recent” abortion trends! Recent???

    Leaving aside the sheer inanity of dismissing an unvarying quarter century trend as a merely “recent” phenomenon, you claimed that abortion rates “are increasing” (present tense, no ambiguity, referring to a current and ongoing situation). That statement was unequivocally FALSE. Whether you will have the integrity to admit this or not is immaterial to me – personally, I suspect that you won’t – but anyone reading should be in no doubt that you were distorting the facts to suit your conclusion.

    I don’t need to reiterate the geographical and temporal trends discussed above, because they speak for themselves. It should be quite clear to any objective reader that the evidence advanced so far either fails to support your thesis or actively undermines it, irrespective of your apparent expectation that reality will conform to your dogma. Do you have any non-imaginary evidence that you wish to advance to actually support your argument?

    • End Bringer on February 16, 2016 at 10:06 am

    “Leaving aside the sheer inanity of dismissing an unvarying quarter century trend as a merely “recent” phenomenon, you claimed that abortion rates “are increasing” (present tense, no ambiguity, referring to a current and ongoing situation).”

    If that’s what your hung up about, it can be simply clarified to:

    The liberal progressive culture of “sexual freedom” has caused more harm than not with an ever increasing spread OF DISEASE and (millions of) abortion, and all those ‘preventative measures’ amount to bailing out water from a sinking ship with a tea cup.

    No skin off my nose, DB. Though yes, given how some contraception measures are basically abortion redefined I do believe statistics of abortion rates is likely less accurate of the number of abortions in reality.

    Like I said, you can get bogged down by ‘geographical and temporal trends,’ try to nitpick how SOME STDs are decreasing, and submit how clinically reported abortions aren’t as high RECENTLY all you like to cloud the issue. I’m certain there are a number of factors that contribute to each explanation, and I’m just as certain the liberal progressive trend of encouraging people to ‘do it with anything and everything’ isn’t one of them, and thus is ultimately irrelevant to the issue.

    Thus why in reality, no matter how much people such as yourself try to encourage people to be responsible by buckling up, have a car with airbags, and wear helmets and fire proof suits, you’re still telling people they can drive however the heck they please, then scratching your head on why such ‘responsible’ measures don’t get the results you think they should.

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