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Thursday, November 29, 2007

A group of ten prominent scientists has written a letter to Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, urging them to stop federal funding for abstinence-only programs
Recent reports in professional publications by the authors of this letter have highlighted multiple deficiencies in federal abstinence-only programs. As such, we are surprised and dismayed that the Congress is proposing to extend and even increase funding for these programs. In this letter we identify key problems with abstinence-only education. We also have attached recent scientific reports that are pertinent to the debate over these programs. We note that many of these studies have used nationally-representative data from surveys sponsored by the National Institutes of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The letter reviews some of the recent research that reveals the ineffectiveness of these programs. But, as they acknowledge, abstinence-only programs rest on an ideological, not a scientific, foundation.
The recent Congressional testimony of former Surgeon General Richard Carmona underscores these critiques from mainstream health organizations. Dr. Carmona's testimony confirms the political motivations behind abstinence funding and the failure to address issues of efficacy and scientific accuracy. He suggested that ideology and theology have taken priority over women's health in the current administration. Dr. Carmona reported that the Bush administration "did not want to hear the science but wanted to, if you will, ?preach abstinence,' which I felt was scientifically incorrect."
In a recent post about the scientists' letter Amanda Marcotte urges us to reframe the issues in terms of children's health and to stop using schools to "reinforc[e] ignorance."
The more liberal view of education is that it?s about getting educated, not indoctrinated. And comprehensive sex education really epitomizes this philosophy in a way that?s easy to understand. You teach the kids all the various ways to protect themselves, and encourage them to think critically about these methods, instead of giving them as ?Do as I say (and not as I do, since I and pretty much everyone will fuck before marriage)? message.
Well said. It's time to place science of over politics and education over indoctrination. The sad thing is, we allegedly have been teaching critical thinking in schools for years, and yet, like abstinence-only programs, it appears to be ineffective for a large part of the population. Another recommendation should be that we critically examine how we teach critical thinking.

Scientists Tell Pelosi: No More Ab-only Funding |

Abstinence-only and the push against critical thinking skills | Pendagon


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