There's a great column up at The American Prospect about the movement amongst some wealthier states to reject federal funding for abstinence-only education. Some have provided alternative funding for comprehensive sex ed, some have rejected it altogether, and Washington has required that such programs be scientifically accurate.
Of course anyone who had to read Inherit the Wind in high school knows that there's an uncomfortable relationship between religious fundamentalism and science. Apparently, that also extends to social science. From the Prospect:
Progressives' focus on scientific legitimacy in their critiques has put abstinence-only advocates, who have long enjoyed their favored status within the Bush administration, on the defensive. They've resorted to citing non-peer-reviewed studies by outfits like the Heritage Foundation to back up the claim that their science is sound and accusing peer-reviewed journals of conspiring to silence them. "What they are saying is that, in order to be medically and scientifically accurate, you must be verified and supported in your research by peer review," Focus on the Family's Linda Klepacki told the Christian Examiner. "Abstinence education cannot get into peer-review journals because the journals are controlled by far-left liberal organizations that do not allow us to publish. That automatically eliminates abstinence-only education, from their standpoint."Apparently they can't keep up with social science either, so they criticize it as being politically biased. The religious right, with all its money and all their political power (that they abused and recently lost), is the perpetual victim of science, hard or soft.
The article goes on to talk about a religious group that's against comprehensive sex ed:
The campaign claims that programs under the REAL Act are not truly comprehensive because they lack information about condom failure rates (which is false) and fail to mention non-peer-reviewed studies showing that teen sex is linked to teen suicide. In other words, they are not comprehensive because they don't contain junk science.This ends up being a constant free speech/fair and balanced debate meta-question: Should lies and the truth-as-best-we-know-it be given fair and equal hearings in school and the media? Don't we need to hear both sides of the issue, what's happening and what some people wish was happening?
That's one for the ages. What we do know is that telling our kids to wait until they get married when they aren't allowed to get married in forty-nine states is a cruel joke whose punchline is low self-image and sexually transmitted infections.
Thankfully, some states are wising up to this.