Here's the page from the biology textbook that Arizona conservatives tore out


Remember, folks, when you keep kids from learning about sex, they won’t have sex! That’s totally how it works!

…says every conservative that has completely forgotten what it means to be a teenager, ever.


Will they glue in a page which lists all the ridiculous stories that kids make up when they don’t understand how actual birth control works? “You won’t get pregnant if you stand up right afterwards, all the sperm will fall out” is a fun one.


If we pretend something is not there it goes away, right?


“Get back in the campaign bus, Bristol!”


That’s not the point. The point is that sex is supposed to have consequences. If you can have free sex, why would you ever get married, have kids, and keep society functioning? That’s the thought process here. Accidental pregnancies aren’t a mistake, they’re a messages that it’s time to grow up and get a job you slacker. They’re a feature.


There I was expecting it to be something about evolution. They somehow managed to be even dumber than I expected. As a scientist, I am hereby revising my expectations downward accordingly in the face of empirical evidence, no matter how unhappy it makes me.


Yeah, I like how organized religion acts like they OWN sex and you need their permission to have any. Who benefits from that? Organized religion.


Oh, this’ll go over well…

“I think a page has been torn out…”

“Oh, yes, the legislature decided they didn’t want you reading that.”


Removing the page was the right move. You can’t say: “________ is to males as tubal ligation is to _________”. The answer is undefined. It could be: vasectomy is to males as tubal ligation is to females, but it could also be: boys is to males as tubal ligation is to sterilization procedures, or fish wrangler is to males as tubal ligation is to things to do on a Tuesday afternoon. Rip it out.


I think it’s interesting that while the page mentions that complete abstinence is the only totally affective method, it’s not listed in table 28.7 where they compare “used perfectly” versus “typical”…

My guess is that while used perfectly, abstinence produces zero pregnancies per 100 women per year; typically, it’s much higher than that.


I’ve heard that proposed, in all seriousness, as a more or less fundamental distinction between the ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ normative models:

The one holds that it is children that make adults (and so having the sex without the kids is the greatest possible act of irresponsibility); while the other holds that adults make children (and so failure to defer the kids until you’ve achieved other markers of maturity and stability is the greatest possible act of irresponsibility).

The nasty little punch line, of course, is that both of these philosophies are on a bit of a collision course with contemporary economic reality: The length of time, and amount of money, necessary to hit ‘entry level adulthood’ has been climbing at a decent clip for quite some time now.

If your approach to family planning tacks ‘conservative’, this involves learning the hard way just how realistic it isn’t to support a family with a high school education (much less an incomplete one, and don’t even think about making it a single income household…)

If your approach tacks ‘liberal’ you have better odds of keeping children from interfering with human capital accumulation; but your odds of being established enough to start before your case starts attracting fertility specialists aren’t getting any better.


All this says to me is that conservatives continue to live in fear of the world as it is. I’m halfway amazed that they let the kids have any book that’s not the bible. Because, you know, ideas and shit.


This is a terrible one page on contraception, which bends over backwards to accommodate stupid views on the subject, and they’re still throwing a fit over it.

It hits almost every sex-negative trope in the book. Just look:

“safe sex” in scare quotes- not to introduce the actual term “safer sex”, just to bash the concept.
Listing abstinence as a birth control method. You know, like “not playing football” as a form of sport.
Calling Vasectomies and tubal ligations “permanent” then going on to contradict itself with data
Manipulating the figures in that table to make barrier methods look as reliable as withdrawal
Lack of data or citations for those figures, especially the inflated “typical use” column (which conveniently ignores the typical use effectiveness of abstinence)
Falsely stating that emergency contraception causes abortion. It does not.

If anything, tearing that page out and making the kids find out real info on the web is an improvement.


Examinations, sir, are pure humbug from beginning to end. If a man is a gentleman, he knows quite enough, and if he is not a gentleman, whatever he knows is bad for him.


Can we include “female bodies have a way of shutting that down” too?


That little bait-and-switch is outrageously dishonest; but impressively well crafted as a propaganda talking point:

Just distract the audience’s attention for an instant, slip an implied tautology past them (abstinence is a wholly effective method of birth control because all deviations from ‘used perfectly’ are by definition non-abstinence and thus don’t count as failures), and suddenly the fact that the methods actually studied by team medicine have numbers and statistical expected failure rates and whatnot looks like a scary weakness. Elegant.

Even better, it draws attention right away from the…potentially messy questions…that would arise if people started sniffing around at the numbers regarding people who intended, but did not succeed at, abstinence(which are harder to measure rigorously than failure rates for IUDs or the like; but a large enough effect that even a social scientist could probably beat some statistical significance out of it.


Sorry buddy - nobody’s going to pay you to go to high school!

Rachel Maddow put up this site as a response:


Teachers weren’t allowed to give us medicine, so whenever a student would complain to my history teacher about having a headache she’d say, “Well, you could take some of the aspirin that’s in the unlocked right-hand corner drawer of my desk. Right there on top. I’m going to step out for a minute.”

A similar approach could be used with information.

1 Like