But I thought people with degrees couldn’t be anti-science?!

Our old friend Roxeanne de Luca recently had this to say about her anti-science nature:

You tried to say I was anti-science, got smacked down because I have an engineering degree, and haven’t learned?

Got that? Someone who has an engineering degree can’t be anti-science. It just can’t happen. I mean, come on! It’s a science degree! Of course, we have to ignore the fact that she has argued that condom use is ineffective because not everyone uses them in South Africa. And we have to ignore the fact that she has claimed that HIV rates have fallen because of abstinence only education (when, in fact, condom education drives are the primary reason for the decline, not to mention the fact that abstinence only education has been shown to be largely ineffective). And ignore the fact that she has argued that the scientific concept of conception is the same as the philosophical (and subjective) concept of humanity. Ignore it all. She has a degree. It’s sort of like how President Obama has a law degree. I’m sure it will only be a matter of time until far-right, Obama-hating conservative Roxeanne starts arguing that the President can’t hold views that, in her opinion, are against the constitution since he has a J.D.

But, hey. I don’t want to put Roxeanne in a difficult position. I know moving beyond the partisan hackery is difficult for a lot people, so I’ll make this a little easier for her. Republican congressman Paul Broun has come out with a series of statements that I’m sure Roxeanne is most eager to defend:

“God’s word is true,” Broun said, according to a video posted on the church’s website. “I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

Broun also said that he believes the Earth is about 9,000 years old and that it was made in six days.

Now, one may argue, so what? How does this relate to the rest of this post? I’m glad you asked. As it turns out, Broun has a notable educational background:

The Republican lawmaker made those comments during a speech Sept. 27 at a sportsman’s banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell. Broun, a medical doctor, is running for re-election in November unopposed by Democrats.

He also has a B.S. in chemistry.

I think everything here is pretty clear. Anyone who has a degree in some science cannot possibly be anti-science. Hell, someone who claims otherwise ought to be prepared to get “smacked down” pretty quickly. At least that’s the world according to Roxeanne de Luca.

Datechguy does not grasp evolutionary theory

I mentioned a little while ago that the Internet became a better place when Roxeanne de Luca ceased her blogging activities. As it turns out, her old website is gone, but she is still blogging at some site called Datechguy. I don’t care to read anything she has to say given how uniformly uninformed she is on all issues (not to mention the fact that she is crazy), but I did poke around her new location. In doing so, I came across this atrocious piece by the owner of the blog, Datechguy himself:

I think people often confuse “natural selection” and survival and the fittest, which is certainly scientifically sound and full blown evolution the creation of one species from another.

The second has several problems the biggest of which for me is the math.

What makes this interesting is that Datechguy spent a good portion his post disowning creationist arguments, including young Earth creationism. In fact, he is a member of the Catholic Church, a group that claims to embrace the theory of evolution. (The reality is that the Church rejects what the theory actually says, but they still claim to embrace it, at least superficially.) So there is no reason one should expect him to go on about “the math” since that’s nothing more than code for common creationist canards. Yet here we are:

Here is what you need for evolution of that nature to work:

  • You need some kind of mutation.
  • Said mutation needs to be a beneficial mutation so it doesn’t increase the likely hood of the creature caught by a predator.
  • You need a mutation that doesn’t prevent breeding with a similar creature
  • The result of that breed must carry said mutation so it has to be dominant trait
  • Continual breeding has to take place so that dominant trait spreads until all members of the species without that dominant trait disappear.

I really should just point to The Blind Watchmaker and call it a day, but I’m a sucker for punching bags, so let’s get started. First Datechguy says mutations are necessary for speciation. This isn’t all that far off from the truth, but it isn’t exactly accurate. Mutations are going to happen – each one of us has about 150 in our DNA right now – but they are not entirely necessary. All that needs to happen for a speciation event is for enough time, space, and natural selection to take place. That is, natural selection is a honing process, so it is theoretically possible for it to promote some alleles while eliminating others in a way which prevents breeding between two populations that once were able to produce offspring.

The second point is myopic in nature. Datechguy appears to be implying that mutations are for the sake of prey. I never realized that predators and organisms without predators were not involved in evolution. But I digress. We see beneficial mutations all the time. For example, humans which began to utilize animal milk once we started to create civilizations had their lactase producing gene left on after childhood, thus enabling the break down of lactose. That legacy continues in many Europeans and those of European descent. Datechguy has not made a significant point here.

The third point is plainly weird. This guy is saying that for a speciation event to happen, a mutation cannot cause a breeding split within a population. That is false. As we see with human chromosome 2, one very plausible way that it spread throughout the population was that it separated our ancestors with 48 chromosomes from those with 46 chromosomes. That is, a small number of individuals had a mutation which prevented breeding with other members of their population. (It is worth noting, however, that many speciation events are merely a matter of time and the breeding is continuous. That is, a population may be considered one species at Point X, it continues to breed in a way which causes no distinct split (e.g., no division that is present in a single generation), then after, say, 100,000 years, it is considered a different species.)

The fourth point is another weird one. A mutation needs not be dominant to be carried throughout a population. If it did, Mendel never would have had green or wrinkly peas.

The final point – that “continual breeding has to take place so that dominant trait spreads until all members of the species without that dominant trait disappear” – is my favorite. Datechguy is arguing that fixation is necessary for speciation to occur. As we saw with the 2010 Burke paper, evolution still very much occurs with or without complete fixation. In fact, allelic fixation varies between sexually and asexually reproducing populations, so it is improper to speak of it in blanket terms.

The rest of Datechguy’s post is a mix of the Boeing 747 creationist canard and the creationist intelligent design irreducible complexity argument. For instance:

It doesn’t mean it can’t have happened. In theory I can roll snake eyes 50000 times straight

Or to put it another way, if you saw me roll snake eyes 10 times in a row, what would be the first logical thought? Luck or fixed dice? How about 100 times? How about 1000?

(That comes from the comment section on the post.)

It’s a common mistake to believe that any given trait or characteristic needs to evolve in either one giant leap or through a series of perfectly coordinated mutations. Fortunately, that isn’t how evolution works. Natural selection operates via incredibly tiny steps, one by one. When looked at over the course of hundreds of thousands of years or more, we have a huge number of mutations and allelic changes that appear impressive, but the reality is that virtually all of those changes were individually likely. And, just as importantly, each one of those changes is individually useful. (I’m ignoring historical contingency for the sake of brevity.) For instance, an eyespot won’t enable any creature to see danger or prey from miles away, but it is useful for detecting light and dark and, eventually, color, shape, and size.

I imagine Roxeanne and Datechguy will be very happy together at a site that, as with her last one, entirely lacks all scientific value.

The Internet just became a slightly better place

I don’t know if she is blogging elsewhere (I didn’t find anything), but it appears that Roxeanne de Luca has ceased her blogging. While I hope it isn’t for any reasons of personal tragedy or whathaveyou, I am glad she is no longer clogging up the Internet with crazy falsehoods and anti-science rhetoric.

Liars. Liars everywhere.

To my count, I have come across four major liars in my blogging career. First up is Jack Hudson. He has the be the worst, but he also may be the dumbest. I’m not sure which part of his personality I dislike more. The next is Christopher Maloney. His lies were in the details of his writings and, to his credit, I suspect some of them were just a result of his lack of understanding of how the Internet works. Then we have Michael Hartwell. He’s a recent addition and generally isn’t guilty of being dishonest, but that doesn’t mean he’s really any better. And finally, we have braggart Roxeanne. She has mostly confined herself to misunderstanding and misrepresenting science, (did you know that because condom usage needs to improve even more in order to better combat infection rates, that means condoms are ineffective and we should advocate abstinence-only programs? Crazy, I know), but now she has ventured into plainly liar territory:

There is a reason why children are nine times as likely to be abused by their mother’s boyfriends or new husbands than by their own fathers, and why biological fathers are an impediment to abuse of children. Predators seek out the vulnerable.

Yet California, land of moonbats, decided to make it easier for non-biological “fathers” to access children. The Golden State is considering letting more than two adults have “parent” rights to a child. Now, any normal person knows that this is going to result in a lot of litigation and some serious trauma for the kid (at best) and sexual abuse (at worst), but the Left is more concerned with eliminating traditional family structures than with advancing the well-being of children. What this state has just told paedophiles is that it’s open season on little kids, and if the mother gets creeped out, said paedophile can sue to have visitation with her child. After all, the former boyfriend/ex-stepdad had a “bond” with that lovely young teen, and such a “bond” should be respected by our legal system.

Well. Isn’t that interesting. It’s like she isn’t even trying to spin her lies in a way that is even remotely plausible. Here is the actual purpose of the law:

[Representative Mark] Leno told ABCNews.com that he recognized a “problem” in the legal system in 2011 when an appellate court placed a girl in foster care when her legally married parents — two lesbians — could not care for her.

The child was taken into state custody when one of her mothers was jailed and the nonbiological mother was hospitalized.

The court did not have the authority to appoint the girl’s biological father, with whom she had a relationship, as a legal parent. That third parent could have “benefitted the well-being of the child,” said Leno.

In other words, two people can have a child, marry separate people at some point, and all four individuals can be given custodial rights. And unlike Roxeanne suggests/lies, all the parents would have to agree before anything could move forward. There is no way some ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend couldn’t sue for custody as a result of this law.

This bill would obviously help in same-sex situations, but I think it would more commonly be applied in cases of heterosexual divorce. That’s just basic statistics. (And even if that wasn’t the case, who cares? Gay couples form families, too.) Furthermore, this would do nothing to benefit pedophiles. That argument is patently absurd and hardly deserves a response. Roxeanne isn’t the shiniest penny in the fountain, but I think she’s just barely smart enough to know she was lying.

This is a good law. Plenty of children are in situations where there are three or four parents involved. At certain times, this can cause undue problems as a result of legal restrictions. That is, a clear authority figure with the child’s interest at heart – a biological parent’s spouse, for example – may be denied from caring for the child, such as we see from the article. That isn’t fair to anyone involved and is more a snafu in the law than anything. The only reason to oppose this is stubborn denial of reality.

Thanks for being wrong

I am finishing up the final portion of a paper concerning HIV and circumcision. Normally this would be a pretty big endeavor since it involves reading a lot of papers, but I have an advantage. Commenters like Ichthyic and Roxeanne have forced me to correct so many stupid things they’ve said on the issue that I’m already fairly familiar with the material. So I would like to thank those two: I really appreciate the utter wrongness with which you have each approached science. Your ideological commitments have really made this project of mine a breeze. Thanks.

More rhetoric losses

I just wrote about the RNC losing the rhetoric battle on women. Now I have a personal example of someone losing the rhetoric battle to me.

Look around at some of my recent posts and Roxeanne de Luca will show up. She’s an angry little person who really wants me to know just how mad she is. For a little while, though, she only wanted me to know that (and, I suppose, FTSOS readers). She hid a few of my comments from her readers due to her pattern of cowardice, but once called out on it, I guess she re-thought things. (At least, she re-thought them a little bit; some of my posts are still missing.) She recently allowed this post of mine:

You probably won’t post this, but I’m sure you’ll see it: Your cowardice is astounding, Roxeanne. Not only have you run away from debates when you were trounced on my blog, but you have the gall to write about people you’re too afraid to let respond.

I know you like to take the “I’m older than you, therefore I’m a smart adult and you should listen to me by default” route, but methinks it’s fair to say you’ve fully lost the right to that (boring) strategy through your childish cowardice.

I didn’t think reverse psychology would work since her blog presumably isn’t a kid’s sitcom from the 90’s, but here we are. She responded:

Learn the difference between having a life/not feeding the trolls and cowardice. You aren’t brave; you’re bored and you’re boring.

This is when I know I’ve beat her. She’s the little kid who dropped her ice cream and everyone laughed at her. Now in order to make herself feel better, she wants to slap the cone out of my hand by reflecting my rhetoric and calling me boring.

It looks like, as usual, Roxeanne’s anger has gotten the best of her. At least she’s giving me a reason to fill up my “Humor” category a little bit more.

Roxeanne de Luca is also a coward

In addition to being an angry little person, science-ignorant Roxeanne de Luca is also a coward. When I made my recent post about her and her difficulty with thinking even moderately deeply, I mentioned this:

Anyway. I’ve run across plenty of angry people on the Internet. I’ve even become angry plenty of times. But what I’ve never seen is a person get this angry this quickly. It isn’t like she isn’t responding to me on her blog. Despite doing that ever-so-annoying bullshit where comments are kept in moderation (thereby forcing me to copy them for future reference in case she makes alterations), she is allowing my posts.

It’s a hallmark of so many conservative and/or Christian blogs to put comments in moderation. These people are petrified of being embarrassed, so they feel the need to monitor every little thing that gets said about them. Given just how many things Roxeanne has gotten wrong in my interactions with her, it’s no surprise that she would just start deleting my new comments on this post. Of course, as I said, it’s predictable cowardice like this that makes me copy my posts. Take a look at Roxeanne’s final comment and then come back here to see my response:

According to you,

1. This couple cannot love their child and favor her abortion under certain conditions.

2. You don’t call people liars, just me.

These are interesting if only due to how glaring they are. This couple is claiming that they love their daughter. That is a statement of fact from their point of view. You say that it is not true. How are you not calling them liars?

Couple: “We love our daughter.”

Roxeanne: “No, you don’t.”

Are you calling them liars? Are you contending that they don’t know what love is? You’ve been muddled on this.

I normally would have made a much longer post, going point-for-point, but in addition to getting that cowardly-feeling from this schmuck of a debater, I could tell Roxeanne isn’t the sort of person who is detail-oriented (hence why philosophical thinking is so foreign to her); anything that wasn’t short and direct would have garnered a slew of garbage rhetoric and evasiveness. Well. Assuming she had the guts to defend her inane beliefs.

Roxeanne de Luca is an angry little person

I have written about Roxeanne de Luca a few times. She’s an annoying little creature who has a tendency to abuse science and logic. For instance, she once read a CNN article which clearly pointed out that while condom use amongst certain groups was on the rise, it was not yet high enough to offset the rates of various infections. From that she concluded that condoms are ineffective and that the best solution is to encourage abstinence. It was clearly an embarrassing thing to say, but she held her ground. She commented on my post and said that efforts to discourage condom use and encourage abstinence had resulted in lower HIV rates in South Africa. I said that was not true, supplied her with a source, and even broke down the information for her. The fact is, higher rates of condom use have been amazing for much of Africa, including South Africa. She then babbled something about me not supplying any sources (which would have been risible had it not been so awesomely mind boggling). She also said, apparently oblivious to her own unsourced statements about South Africa, that I had made the positive claim and I still needed to support it. Maybe she doesn’t know what “support” means? I’m not sure. Then she called me a liar about my age and ran away.

Fast forward and we have two more encounters with the creature. First, I recently wrote about the need for basic philosophy courses at the high school level because Roxeanne hasn’t the skill set necessary to participate in ethical issues that involve people other than herself. For example, she recently said it would be good to allow employers to force women to disclose whether they need birth control for contraceptive purposes or some other medical purpose. This would be a solution to the current Republican-created issue about mandating that insurance companies cover contraceptive care for women. Since both sides of the aisle at least agree that there is no moral issue in forcing insurance providers to cover non-reproductive related care, this seems to superficially work. But that’s where the problem is. If Roxeanne had the critical thinking skills that come with philosophy, she would know to look deeper. Namely, she would have asked if it was ethical to force patients to disclose their medical information to a third party in this context. Unfortunately, it didn’t even cross her mind that she needs to examine the consequences of her ‘solution’ in order to make sure it can actually work. As I said in my original post, it’s as if she’s playing chess without looking beyond her immediate move.

Second, she recently left a comment on one of the Doonesbury cartoons I posted. She contended that since an abortion is generally an invasive procedure, women shouldn’t have a problem with first having other invasive things put inside them. That is, women should be okay with trans-vaginal ultrasounds if they’re going to have other medical tools placed in their vaginas anyway. This was another embarrassment for Roxeanne. She may as well have said that men who have prostate exams (something which is voluntary, just like most abortions) should be okay with any state-sponsored device going up their anuses since they’re going to have a doctor’s fingers up there anyway. This is yet another example of why basic philosophy needs to be offered as early as possible.

Now to shift away from FTSOS, let’s look at Roxeanne’s blog. In the process of making my recent post about her here, I decided to also leave a comment on her site (which is what prompted her to sneak over here). I’ll keep the details short: She is contending that a couple which would abort a child under certain conditions (such as when the child has Down’s Syndrome) cannot later love that child. She believes these two things are mutually exclusive. Of course, she’s assuming that the couple views abortion as murder. Moreover, she’s assuming that if a person has a preference in their future child that love cannot later overcome it. It would be as if she wanted a house-trained dog, ended up getting one that pees all over the floor, and then when she keeps it and loves it anyway, some angry Internet personality came by and tells her she doesn’t really love it. Why, if she loved it, she would have always preferred a non-house broken dog! Once again, Roxeanne has embarrassed herself.

But let’s get to the really angry part. I mean, just steaming mad. It came in the form of an email this past Friday:

You obviously have no idea what an arrogant and ignorant little shit you sound like. Please, get out of school (you aren’t learning anything), get into the real world, and get a job.

Take, for example, your “only in college” idiocy from your latest trolling of my blog. Here’s the situation: two parents would have killed their baby girl if they had known that she had Down’s Syndrome. They missed their window of opportunity to have her ripped limb from limb, so they sued the hospital. Legally, they have no case unless (a) she already existed and (b) they would have killed her within that legally-allowable baby-killing window. Missing this very obvious point, you tell me that I need to: “Is this couple saying they want to now kill their child? Where did they say that. Please provide some quotations.”

Then I’m the annoying little creature who abuses science and logic. Well, from your perspective, that might be true, but from my more educated, more rational, real-world and academic perspective, you’re dead wrong.

Yeah, I played that card. Stop belittling your betters. You’ll get along in life more easily.

I still don’t see where Roxeanne is able to produce a single quote where the couple says they love their daughter now yet would kill her today if it was legal. And, of course, that quote doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, Roxeanne has no idea that it is the only way she can actually make her case.

Anyway. I’ve run across plenty of angry people on the Internet. I’ve even become angry plenty of times. But what I’ve never seen is a person get this angry this quickly. It isn’t like she isn’t responding to me on her blog. Despite doing that ever-so-annoying bullshit where comments are kept in moderation (thereby forcing me to copy them for future reference in case she makes alterations), she is allowing my posts. And she is replying; that apparently isn’t enough to quench her anger, though. For Roxeanne de Luca, it takes comments on not one blog, not two blogs, but on two blogs and in an email. “LOOK AT ME, MICHAEL! LOOK AT ME! I’M MAD AT YOU! YOU MUST KNOW THIS!”

I’m not sure which is more pathetic, the fact that she is so incredibly quick to anger or the fact that she’s so constantly trying to play up that she’s smarter than I am. First of all, she isn’t smarter than I am. Not by a long shot. I realize that’s an egotistical statement, but it’s factual. Look at the evidence: She concluded something incredibly stupid about condom usage, she doesn’t understand what constitutes a source or citation, she is unsure of what a positive claim is, she is unable to consider ethical issues beyond a superficial level, she thinks people who get elective procedures can legally be subjected to similar procedures as a consequence, and she believes that every single couple that would abort a fetus cannot, by definition, ever love their child in the future. I mean. This has to be embarrassing.

Second, her rhetoric reeks of desperation. It has been successful in getting a response from me (which, considering how much she craves my attention, is probably all she wants), but a mosquito on my arm can also get me to take short notice. Annoying things do that from time to time, I suppose. However, that isn’t an excuse for such superficial, amateurish rhetoric. It may match the level to which she is able to extend her logic, but it’s very much below what I expect from someone so willing to claim the mantle of intelligence.

You know, I’ve gone after a lot of different people in my time. A lot. But I don’t think it has ever been this easy.

Why basic philosophy should be offered in high school

Whenever I consider any ethical issue dealing with health care, I always refer back to my days in various philosophy courses, especially Bioethics. It helps to clarify a lot of issues, including ones that happen to be topical. For instance, some conservatives have said Sandra Fluke would have us all pay for her to have sex. This is a mischaracterization of the issue. Requiring insurance companies to cover contraceptive care for women is good public policy. Countries with poor birth control tend to do poorly in neonatal, infant, child, and maternal health indicators. Just look at the trends.

I recently did a little research on Nicaragua, the second poorest nation in the Western hemisphere. Some of the stats I found were much better than expected. They were still awful, especially as compared to Sweden, but I figured I would see worse. For instance, whereas Haiti and Tanzania have a maternal mortality rate of 652 and 497 per 100,000 live births respectively, Nicaragua ‘only’ has 103. That’s incredible. (Sweden has 4.6 and the U.S. has 17.) There are a number of factors which contribute to this, including a relatively high number of births attended by medical professionals, but one major factor is certainly high contraceptive use. The nation finds itself in league with developed nations at around 72% use. This lowers the birth rate (2.6 per woman in Nicaragua, 1.9 in Sweden), and makes medical care much more available. It is clearly good policy to lower birth rates. (Again, watch the video I posted.) The more population growth is controlled, the better off most nation’s will be.

So, to go back to Fluke, we aren’t paying for her or anyone else to have sex. What we’re doing is making a smart investment in the future. Such an investment will pay off especially well for minorities and poorer people – which, in turn, pays off well for everyone else because once a nation raises up its poor, it improves everyone’s lot in life. (Don’t you think employers would like to fill the 2 million job openings in the U.S. that Americans aren’t educated well enough to perform?)

Another argument in favor of requiring insurance companies to cover contraceptive care is that there are other health issues which birth control address. For instance, a woman may be given the pill for the control of cysts. Few people seem to have a problem with this, thus making this a much more popular argument than my first one (though I believe my first one is far stronger). Seeing the popularity of this argument, however, one conservative lawmaker from Arizona has a monumentally stupid idea:

The current law states that birth control is covered under health insurance plans for women in Arizona for contraceptive purposes as well as health concerns. However, the new birth control bill, House Bill 2625, states that women who want their birth control pill to be covered by their insurance plans must verify its purpose to be solely for medical reasons and not to prevent pregnancy. The bill would grant employers to deny female employees the right to be covered based on religious beliefs.

Our old friend Roxeanne (who is currently getting embarrassed in the comments) has thrown in her 2 cents:

The return volley is from [lawmaker] Debbie Lesko: woman, office-holder, Majority Whip, survivor of domestic violence, and totally against forcing Catholic institutions and small businesses to pay for the sex lives of their employees, but understanding that woman with PCOS shouldn’t be penalised because her disease is often treated with a pharmaceutical that is used for recreation, not medicine. The solution? Enable religious institutions to not pay for contraception qua contraception, but allow them to require proof of use for non-contraceptive purposes.

From the freak-out, you would have thought that she asked women to join brothels. The freak-out is all they have left.

It’s stuff like this from conservatives like Lesko and Roxeanne that inspire titles like the one I have for this post. Let’s examine this all just a little bit more.

First, these people are mischaracterizing the argument. It’s just good public policy to require insurance companies cover contraceptive care. Second, even if we only consider the argument that birth control has other uses, this just boils down to an invasion of privacy. Telling women that they must disclose their health issues to employers runs directly counter to the idea that one’s medical history is between one’s self and one’s doctor. Saying, “If you want this pill, you must tell a third, non-medical party why” is hardly in line with modern Western thinking.

If people like Roxeanne, Lesko, and other conservatives had any sense about them, they would have dug deeper into the arguments. Instead they have all just stopped at addressing one concern without paying any attention to the consequences of their ‘solution’. That’s like playing chess and not looking ahead to the next move because the immediate move puts your opponent in check.

Being a person who frequently gets into debates, I see this sort of thinking all the time. Time and again, people who aren’t familiar with philosophical thinking will get in over their heads and make bad arguments. “We should do X!” might seem to fly at first, but chances are there’s something wrong with it when Y and Z haven’t even been considered. If more high schools required students to become familiar with how philosophy works, that would translate into a smarter populace that would be able to debate intelligently.

This stuff just isn’t that hard.

Even more abuse of science

Roxeanne de Luca is an annoying little creature. Without even being a creationist or a Christian she manages to engage in their style of argumentation: Make a positive claim, but pretend like the burden of proof is on the opposition. Even more annoying, she attempts to claim the mantle of science (in fields in which she has no significant experience), even though the specific topic will be a subjective one that cannot be defined scientifically. I’ve written about her antics in the past.

What I’ve also written about in the past is the abuse of science. People will commonly read a study which supports something they believe, but then they will inappropriately extrapolate the evidence. For instance, Christian and other far right bigots will find studies which show that it is categorically better for children to have two parents rather than just one parent. They will then extrapolate that gay parents aren’t good for children. That is wildly inappropriate and an obvious abuse of the far more limited evidence.

But this post is about another favorite topic of the far right: abstinence. They have this cockamamie idea that teenagers can be widely prevented from having sex with each other, therefore it’s okay to keep them ignorant about birth control. We’ve been seeing the deadly effects of this thinking in Africa and to a lesser extent South America thanks to the Catholic Church concerning condoms. Unfortunately, Roxeanne reflects this sort of backward thinking. Responding to a CNN article about the worth of casual sex, she says this:

Later in the CNN article, we are told – brace yourselves, conservatives, this is a shocker – that ‘protection’ is not all its is said to be: “[T]he rate of increased use of a condom does not seem great enough to offset the higher risks of infection.”

The above quote actually has nothing to do with the effectiveness of condoms. What it is saying, just after the article points out that increased sexual partners means increased STD risk, is that more people are using condoms, but they are not using them at a high enough rate in order to combat the frequency of infection. Roxeanne not only got this one dead wrong, but she did some very minor quote-mining. Here is the full excerpt:

“The more partners an individual has,” according to “Sex in America,” “the more likely he or she is to have sex with people who themselves have many partners, the more likely he or she is to have sex with virtual strangers, the more likely she or he is to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol during some sexual encounters, and while it is more likely that a condom was used, the rate of increased use of a condom does not seem great enough to offset the higher risks of infection.”

The obvious solution here is to encourage greater condom use while educating teens and others about their effectiveness. Abstinence is not the answer, nor has it ever been effective on a large social scale.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I work with troubled teens. It isn’t uncommon that some of them will have kids of their own – sometimes multiple kids – even though they may only be Freshmen or Sophomores in high school. One of the reasons for this is their ignorance about condom usage. During an educational group not too long ago they were being told about the need for such protection and their reactions were along the lines of, “Oh, I never knew that. I’ll start using condoms more often now.” I actually doubt many of them will unless forced by their partner, but the fact that they genuinely didn’t have this basic knowledge is indicative of the need for broad-based educational programs and protection promotion. No one can stop kids from having sex, but we can stop them from being ignorant.

But back to Roxeanne’s inappropriate and embarrassing extrapolation. The article clearly states that the increased rate of condom use is not high enough to combat the higher risks of infection. In other words, while condoms are effective when used properly, they are not being used frequently enough. More common usage can dramatically cut down on the rates of infection, but this will only be achieved through education and safe-sex promotion. At no point is it said that condom protection “is not all its (sic) is said to be”. No one doubts the effectiveness of condoms. The problem is with the effectiveness of educational campaigns and the spread of needed knowledge. People like Roxeanne who, in a willing abuse of science, put out misleading and false information are part of the problem; their promotion of ignorance contributes to increased rates of infection and even death.