Anything worth talking about, is worth blogging about

There is an argument against comprehensive sex education that basically argues that since we do not teach young people how to use drugs safely, we should not teach them how to have sex safely/use contraceptives/etc and instead should focus on abstinence alone. This argument fails for several reasons.

Humans are animals, are biological organisms. Humans have a natural, evolutionary tendency desire to have sex; indeed, if we didn’t, we’d be extinct. Do humans have a natural, evolutionary tendency to do drugs? Certainly not tobacco and cocaine, as those are native to the Americas.  Similarly, cannabis is native to central Asia north of the Himalayas. Basically, do not have any biological need to use these drugs. (Medicine does not count; is is possible, although painful, to never use a painkiller, for example.) Alcohol may be a partial exception, as light consumption may have some beneficial effects, but otherwise biology does not make us have to do drugs. Basically, people normally have a sex drive, but do not normally have a “drug drive”.

Similarly, there are different things involved in using drugs versus having sex. How does one go about, say, obtaining marijuana?  One can grow it, or buy it from someone. For heroin, one has to buy it. The same applies for other drugs. This allows multiple means to go about and prevent drug use. Besides telling people not to use it, one can also go after suppliers, dealers, and the like. One cannot do that with sex. All one needs to have sex is someone else willing to do it with you. The only way to the same to sex as is done to drugs would be to prevent people from spending time with others. In short, there are generally more steps involved in doing drugs than in having sex.

Finally, most drugs (caffeine is a notable exception) are illegal, and alcohol and tobacco are age restricted. Although there is an age of consent for sex this is not the same thing. Once one reaches the legal age of consent it is legal for them to have sex with someone else willing to and who is also of the age of consent. Even if there is a blue law banning non-marital sex, such laws are unenforced (the government has better things to do than control people’s sex lives). Hence, even if they are de jure illegal, they are de facto legal. This is not the same as people getting away with drug possession. Even if most people who smoke marijuana are not caught, people are still charged if found to be in possession of it. The same happens for other illegal drugs.

Hence, for these reasons, the “we do not teach young people how to use drugs safely” argument against comprehensive sex education does not work.

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Comments on: "Debunking the “But we don’t show kids how to use drugs” argument" (17)

  1. I agree that kids need to be taught about all facets of sex, but is it the place of the government to determine what the kids need to be taught? Is it not the responsibility of parents to teach there kids about these things?

    We need to stop substituting our responsibilities as parents with government schools.

  2. 95% of Americans have premarital sex. With that in mind, perhaps it would be better to operate under the assumption that they are going to do it anyway, and hence enable them to do it safely, rather then promoting universal abstinence which, although perfect in preventing unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STD’s, is completely unattainable.

  3. So you believe, in a perfect world, the government school should be responsible for teaching children about sex and that parents do not need to worry about it?

  4. In a perfect world, there would be no need for the government to do this. But that perfect world does not exist. Hence, it breaks down to a choice between an ineffective means (abstinence-only) and an effective means (comprehensive).

  5. But why do you put the responsibility in the hands of a government school to do that teaching? Are not parents responsible to instruct their children in the story of the birds and the bees?

    I understand that a lot of parents pass on their responsibilities to raise their kids to a government babysitting program, but in that case the parents should be held responsible for their lack participation in the lives of their kids. Their lack of morals should not effect my children.

    Showing children how to have sex “safely” should not be part of the education system, that should be taught by parents.

  6. I’m pretty sure that in former times youbg people would learn about sex by doing “sex play” (to call it something). Back then, this worked because nutrition was so poor that a female’s menarche would occur around the ages of 16-18. Due to better food supplies today, this older method is no longer workable. Yet despite this, premarital sex is common.

    The problem with “holding parents responsible” for not talking to their children about sex is because they get the “benefits” (whatever they are) but not the costs of doing so. Let’s say that the child of a parent who never taught him/her about sex has sex anyway. Suppose he/she gets an STD. In this case, the child is bearing the cost of the parent’s inaction, not the parent.

  7. This one is going to keep going around and around, we are at a stalemate. I believe parents should raise their kids to have good morals and you believe the government school system is better to teach them morals. I guess that is why I choose to home school my kids and I am guessing you let the state run baby sitters do your job for you.

  8. Actually, I’m unmarried (but not forever) and if I was an American I’d be part of the 5%. But just because it’s right for me does not mean its right for everyone else.

    Also, children do not “choose” (to call it something) their parents. What public school sex ed does is ensure that everyone gets a minimum standard. Why should some children get something vastly inferior or superior to other children, only because of the accident of their birth?

  9. So you do not have children and you want to tell others how to raise theirs? That is typical.

  10. The difference, Mcoville, is that when schools teach comprehensive sex ed, they’re not taking away from parents the right to tell their kids whatever rubbish they want about sex being wrong. What they are doing is teaching them real, actual facts, such as how the reproductive system works and the effects of various forms of birth control, rather than spreading the lies that abstinence-only “education” does. Which, if I remember correctly, is the point of school.

    I think it’s wrong to tell children lies that will hurt them later in life, but for now I will content myself with making sure that parents who want to do that don’t get to have their way with the public schools.

  11. What lies are you talking about? That if you don’t have sex until you are married, and you spouse does the same, you probably won’t get a STD. If you do not have sex you will not get pregnant. Abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy, every other form of “birth control” has a chance of failure. Man, now that I think about your right, we are abusing our children (please note sarcasm in the last sentence).

  12. “Condoms don’t work.”
    “Birth control doesn’t work.”
    “Two-month old embryos can think.”
    “Abortion makes you commit suicide.”
    “Abortion makes you sterile.”
    “Half of gay male teens have HIV.”
    “HIV is spread through sweat and tears.”
    “Women should shut up and admire men.”
    “Touching someone else’s genitalia causes pregnancy.”

    http://www.now.org/issues/health/121704abstinence.html
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/17263.php
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26623-2004Dec1.html

  13. If your trying to point out there are nuts in the world, you win. This has nothing to do with what I commented.

  14. Not only are there nuts in the world, they’re trying to force their beliefs on others’ children, and until recently were getting federal money to do so.

  15. Mcoville, Rebecca’s comment has everything to do with what you commented; you asked about the lies and she gave you an answer.

  16. Rebecca: The problem is that the nuts are getting more and more support, just look at what Eugenie Scott did in Texas recently, there is one nut that is getter her way. I wish she would use her energy to further science education instead of her beliefs.

    RobF: Rebecca is showing comments from extreme nuts, not the normal teachings of rational parents. She can’t refute the information I posted because it is true. I can point to nuts on the other side but that does not refute the message of “you are going to be stupid anyways so please don’t procreate, use a condom” teaching method you favor.

    I think the bottom line is that parents should be responsible to teach their kids morals, not the school system. And anyone without kids should not tell others what the best way to raise them is. If people would take responsibility for their own actions this world would be a better place.

  17. Mcoville, I’m not sure what you’re talking about – Eugenie Scott is one of the pro-science people on the board. Maybe you meant Cynthia Dunbar?

    The information you posted is true, yes, but it has no bearing on your argument because comprehensive sex ed teaches that too. Comp. ed just doesn’t throw in the lies about sex as well, or the religious teachings that would violate the First Amendment and which parents are perfectly able to teach in their own homes. The school system is not teaching kids morals, it is teaching them facts.

    (I’m interested in your apparent belief that we favor comp. ed so that teenagers don’t procreate because we don’t want more stupid people in the world. Do you just not care about the teenagers themselves and the impact on them of having a child, or catching a disease?)

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