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Ovid (2709)

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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Friday March 18, 2005
10:46 PM

Abstinence for Dummies

[ #23731 ]

And we have yet a fascinating study showing the harmful effects of abstinence pledges. Seems that those who pledge abstinence are more likely to engage in risky activity such as anal sex and sex without condoms than other teens. Amusingly, folks from the Abstinence Clearinghouse -- surely a neutral group with no agenda -- accused the the Yale and Columbia University researchers of twisting the study's results to fit their ideological agenda.

Admittedly, since I don't have the study in front of me, I'm hard-pressed to evaluate whether or not the data supports the facts, but I also confess that statistics is not my strong suit, so I quite possibly wouldn't be the best judge, either. On the other hand, I must confess a slight bias -- I am much more likely to trust some university researchers than a group which clearly has an agenda to push.

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  • When a group (the Clearinghouse) says things like:

    "Individuals who abstain from sexual activity are less likely to become pregnant or contract a sexually transmitted disease than individuals who do not."

    as if it somehow proves their point, it is hard to believe they're doing serious research.
    • Yeah, I noticed that. I also noticed that many of the rebuttal points they brought up started with "Individuals who abstain from sexual activity are ...", even though the study they attacked was talking about individuals who took an abstinence pledge. That's not the same thing, but I think the Abstinence Clearinghouse folks have no problem with sophistry.

  • About the agenda-to-push angle. The researchers probably do have their own idea about what the appropriate policy is. One hopes that they do not let that completely color their view of reality. But that is why good research publications include lots of the raw statistics, as well as interpretation, right?

    I think the distinction here is between scientists who at least pretend to be open to new ideas, on the one hand, and on the other hand people who have declared their own nonrational certainty about the