“Vast sums of federal monies continue to be directed toward these programs. And, in fact, there is evidence to suggest that some of these programs are even harmful and have negative consequences by not providing adequate information for those teens who do become sexually active,” Dr. Margaret Blythe of the American Academy of Pediatrics told [Congress].
When we’re faced wit ha ton of evidence against a position – say the position that abstinence-only sex education is beneficial – the rational course would be to abandon the position. As PZ Myers highlights, that’s just too difficult for some members of Congress. Take, for instance, John Duncan (R-Tenn):
it seems “rather elitist” that people with academic degrees in health think they know better than parents what type of sex education is appropriate. “I don’t think it’s something we should abandon,” he said of abstinence-only funding
Just stop and think about that assertion for a moment. It’s “elitist” to assume that people who have dedicated a significant amount of time researching and studying the outcomes of various types of sex education might actually know more about these outcomes that people who haven’t? The stupid! It burns! Representative Duncan, people who have actually researched and studied things generally know more about these things than those who haven’t. Since when did stating the obvious become elitist?
Sadly, this attitude is one I often have to battle as an educator. A big part of my job is to make people more knowledgeable. But I can’t do that if students think that someone’s gut feelings somehow trump reproducible observations and actual knowledge. That’s exactly what Representative Duncan is pushing; his gut feelings are supposed to somehow carry more weight than real data.