Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why We're Doomed

We are doomed because myths persist, and the critical thinking skills necessary to see through myths are becoming more and more rare. Some myths – in fact, many of them, are harmless. Some can change your life; some can cause you great harm; some can kill you.

Myths about human reproduction are rampant, despite decades of assiduous effort to educate young people, both at home and in school.

When I was a boy, there was a prevalent myth that you couldn’t get a girl pregnant if you had sex standing up. The “logic” behind the myth (and there’s often some twisted “logic” behind myths) was that the magical fluid couldn’t get “up far enough” to impregnate the girl.

And it was widely believed that you could get venereal disease by using public toilets.

When my daughter was growing up in the early 90’s, there was a myth that sleeping with a bra on would give you breast cancer. I’m not sure what, if any, flawed logic was behind that one.

Yesterday, I read results of a survey of a thousand young people (aged 12-19) from across the nation, done by an outfit called “With One Voice 2010”, which I believe is part of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Although 78% of the teens surveyed say they have all the info they need to avoid an unplanned pregnancy, a third of them (34%) believe that “it doesn’t matter whether you use birth control or not, when it is your time to get pregnant, it will happen.” And half (49%) admit they know little or nothing about condoms and how to use them.

We are doomed.


  1. Doomed. Nonetheless, Wisconsin schools will continue to have Sex Ed classes, despite the fact that they really, really, don't do any good at all.

    So, if we're doomed, at least we can cut that expense and go doomed on the cheap.

  2. Colonel,

    If you mean "doomed" in the sense of dwindling population -- which, judging by the U. S. birth rate, is about to happen -- then I'd say the heck with sex ed. Get those youngsters to procreate on a third world scale, pronto!

    Something else that might reduce the risk of doom: more male elementary school teachers. I had a very interesting chat with my daughter's 5th grade teacher last year. He's the only male teacher in the entire school. His contention was that female teachers are less equipped to enforce discipline in the classroom and simultaneously more likely to back the prescription of ADD drugs.

    At her middle school I had a chat with all of my daughter's "core" teachers at the same time (Eleanor had been slacking). They danced around the topic of her socialization skills. Inwardly I groaned, "Not again!" One teacher related how when Eleanor gets to laughing uproariously, the teacher didn't say anything and just let the raucous laughter continue. The only male teacher Eleanor has recognized her tendency to be a self-panicker...but he said that he just tells her to knock it off. A little thing, perhaps, but a recurring theme in the public schools.

    The teachers all say that they want to encourage creativity and individuality. What they really mean is that they want all the kids to act alike. No surprises...for THEM.

    Sorry I wandered off-topic there, Colonel. Public education is a hot-button issue for me.

    The Town Crank

  3. Sex education - human growth - classes are designed to inform and also to save lives. The information about these classes is accessible to anyone. I have not seen anything that in the least confirms that they are not in some way effective. Information is valuable, and understanding it is an ongoing process. We get verifiable truths from reliable sources with proven credibility. Bragging about ignorance assures society's march backward, and that is the way to doom.