Abstinence education is effective after all

A heavy-duty study published in the peer-reviewed Archive of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine has determined that, contrary to the latest conventional wisdom, abstinence education IS effective in reducing sexual activity in adolescents, more so than other approaches to sex education. HT to Webmonk for pointing me to the original study, which some news reports are not quite understanding. Here is the study, which gives this overview:

Objective To evaluate the efficacy of an abstinence-only intervention in preventing sexual involvement in young adolescents.

Design Randomized controlled trial.

Setting Urban public schools.

Participants A total of 662 African American students in grades 6 and 7.

Interventions An 8-hour abstinence-only intervention targeted reduced sexual intercourse; an 8-hour safer sex–only intervention targeted increased condom use; 8-hour and 12-hour comprehensive interventions targeted sexual intercourse and condom use; and an 8-hour health-promotion control intervention targeted health issues unrelated to sexual behavior. Participants also were randomized to receive or not receive an intervention maintenance program to extend intervention efficacy.

Outcome Measures The primary outcome was self-report of ever having sexual intercourse by the 24-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes were other sexual behaviors.

Results The participants’ mean age was 12.2 years; 53.5% were girls; and 84.4% were still enrolled at 24 months. Abstinence-only intervention reduced sexual initiation (risk ratio [RR], 0.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48-0.96). The model-estimated probability of ever having sexual intercourse by the 24-month follow-up was 33.5% in the abstinence-only intervention and 48.5% in the control group. Fewer abstinence-only intervention participants (20.6%) than control participants (29.0%) reported having coitus in the previous 3 months during the follow-up period (RR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.90-0.99). Abstinence-only intervention did not affect condom use. The 8-hour (RR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.92-1.00) and 12-hour comprehensive (RR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.91-0.99) interventions reduced reports of having multiple partners compared with the control group. No other differences between interventions and controls were significant.

Conclusion Theory-based abstinence-only interventions may have an important role in preventing adolescent sexual involvement.

President Obama has said that he will base policies on science. So I suppose that means his administration will start championing abstinence-only education.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    As much as I dislike comprehensive sex ed, I find these results underwhelming. It’s only looking 2 years after the fact at a very young age, and even then has minimal results.

    The problem with abstinence-only is that abstinence is not the point of sex. Such programs (as I understand them) typically encourage abstinence for the sake of self-preservation and ultimately more pleasure in the long-run. However, they don’t touch the widespread but erroneous idea that sex is all about pleasure in the first place. Besides which, life necessarily involves taking calculated risks; you can’t just abstain b/c something bad might happen. Eventually kids will learn that. At best, these program teach timidity rather than chastity.

    Don’t get me wrong, condoms & comprehensive ed are worse, but I don’t think abstinence-only is the answer.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    As much as I dislike comprehensive sex ed, I find these results underwhelming. It’s only looking 2 years after the fact at a very young age, and even then has minimal results.

    The problem with abstinence-only is that abstinence is not the point of sex. Such programs (as I understand them) typically encourage abstinence for the sake of self-preservation and ultimately more pleasure in the long-run. However, they don’t touch the widespread but erroneous idea that sex is all about pleasure in the first place. Besides which, life necessarily involves taking calculated risks; you can’t just abstain b/c something bad might happen. Eventually kids will learn that. At best, these program teach timidity rather than chastity.

    Don’t get me wrong, condoms & comprehensive ed are worse, but I don’t think abstinence-only is the answer.

  • Booklover

    I’m all for abstinence, but from what I read of this program, it involved a pragmatic basis in which the children wrote down on a piece of paper the pros and cons of engaging in sex at their age, finally deciding it was to their benefit to abstain for awhile. This does fit in with today’s worldview in which it is all about me and leaves out the real One Who sits on the throne.

    If more daily worship were involved in our lives, we would focus on that One instead of material values, but I know that our public schools can’t go there. Maybe it’s up to parents after all.

    But the method of this program beats the condom/abortion/free sex answer.

  • Booklover

    I’m all for abstinence, but from what I read of this program, it involved a pragmatic basis in which the children wrote down on a piece of paper the pros and cons of engaging in sex at their age, finally deciding it was to their benefit to abstain for awhile. This does fit in with today’s worldview in which it is all about me and leaves out the real One Who sits on the throne.

    If more daily worship were involved in our lives, we would focus on that One instead of material values, but I know that our public schools can’t go there. Maybe it’s up to parents after all.

    But the method of this program beats the condom/abortion/free sex answer.

  • Jonathan

    I think Booklover has it right. Why leave it up to the public school to teach morals and sexual ethics to kids? That has to be done at home. Sadly, I think much of the reason kids stray from abstinence is that parents simply aren’t teaching it. Kids aren’t in families where the sacred-sex-marriage example exists, or else in broken or single-parent homes their parent(s) have not made it a priority to teach (i.e., train up their child in the way s/he should go) them right from wrong about their naughty parts. In the end, much of the blame for teen pregnancy & abortion, etc., is that parents themselves have bought in (or acquiesced) to the sexual revolution.

  • Jonathan

    I think Booklover has it right. Why leave it up to the public school to teach morals and sexual ethics to kids? That has to be done at home. Sadly, I think much of the reason kids stray from abstinence is that parents simply aren’t teaching it. Kids aren’t in families where the sacred-sex-marriage example exists, or else in broken or single-parent homes their parent(s) have not made it a priority to teach (i.e., train up their child in the way s/he should go) them right from wrong about their naughty parts. In the end, much of the blame for teen pregnancy & abortion, etc., is that parents themselves have bought in (or acquiesced) to the sexual revolution.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    A few years back, Focus on The Family was noting that when parents clearly communicate sexual mores to their children, the fornication rate goes down by about a factor of ten. I would have to assume (where are the methodology guys who had so much fun with the Canadian homeschooling study now?) that this would also include a certain level of parents keeping their children from the sexual free for all that is the modern high school as well.

    Put differently, I think real sex ed is helpful (the kind that admits that condoms do nothing to stop 27 of 28 STDs, NIH 1999), but nine weeks of one hour per day probably isn’t enough with the pervasive sensuality of our culture.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    A few years back, Focus on The Family was noting that when parents clearly communicate sexual mores to their children, the fornication rate goes down by about a factor of ten. I would have to assume (where are the methodology guys who had so much fun with the Canadian homeschooling study now?) that this would also include a certain level of parents keeping their children from the sexual free for all that is the modern high school as well.

    Put differently, I think real sex ed is helpful (the kind that admits that condoms do nothing to stop 27 of 28 STDs, NIH 1999), but nine weeks of one hour per day probably isn’t enough with the pervasive sensuality of our culture.

  • fws

    The obvious solution, and the only one that St Paul recommends under inspiration is the one never mentioned:

    Get kids married off early if they can´t control their libidos.

    St paul states that the sex drive is absolutely irresistable for everyone who has not been give the gift of celebacy by God.

    He recommend marriage rather than buring with lust for that exact reason. He states that the libido is SO powerful that married couples are never to abstain from having sex except only by mutual consent and even then only for very very short periods.

    Why is this option never discussed? In a word: materialism (kids need to get financially established, go to college, etc etc.). Materialism and coveteousness have thoroughly infected christians. Covetousness is presented as a virtue “hard work” “responsibility” etc

  • fws

    The obvious solution, and the only one that St Paul recommends under inspiration is the one never mentioned:

    Get kids married off early if they can´t control their libidos.

    St paul states that the sex drive is absolutely irresistable for everyone who has not been give the gift of celebacy by God.

    He recommend marriage rather than buring with lust for that exact reason. He states that the libido is SO powerful that married couples are never to abstain from having sex except only by mutual consent and even then only for very very short periods.

    Why is this option never discussed? In a word: materialism (kids need to get financially established, go to college, etc etc.). Materialism and coveteousness have thoroughly infected christians. Covetousness is presented as a virtue “hard work” “responsibility” etc

  • fws

    bubba @4

    bike can you give us the link to the nih study?

    “….the kind that admits that condoms do nothing to stop 27 of 28 STDs, NIH 1999……

    I don´t believe what you stated as being true.

  • fws

    bubba @4

    bike can you give us the link to the nih study?

    “….the kind that admits that condoms do nothing to stop 27 of 28 STDs, NIH 1999……

    I don´t believe what you stated as being true.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    fws asked,

    “Why is this option never discussed?”

    On top of materialism, there’s also a very strong element of traditionalism. Grade school->High School->College->Job->Marriage is what you’re *supposed* to do in America. It’s the path that good middle class people are supposed to follow in order to be a successful citizen (not just monetarily). Skipping or postponing college or attending while married is almost unthinkable for a lot of people. Practically speaking, bucking this system really requires treading a new path, and very few Americans have the courage to figure things out for themselves anymore.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    fws asked,

    “Why is this option never discussed?”

    On top of materialism, there’s also a very strong element of traditionalism. Grade school->High School->College->Job->Marriage is what you’re *supposed* to do in America. It’s the path that good middle class people are supposed to follow in order to be a successful citizen (not just monetarily). Skipping or postponing college or attending while married is almost unthinkable for a lot of people. Practically speaking, bucking this system really requires treading a new path, and very few Americans have the courage to figure things out for themselves anymore.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    here ya go, fws: it was 2001, actually.

    http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/204/37/

    Unfortunately, most public health groups, including the CDC, are not acting on their own data.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    here ya go, fws: it was 2001, actually.

    http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/204/37/

    Unfortunately, most public health groups, including the CDC, are not acting on their own data.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bike (@8), I’m pretty certain you’re greatly misrepresenting the findings of that study, and I have to ask if you even read the study itself. Because, well, you link to a site that has the wrong URL for the actual study (the URL seems to have changed at some point in the past 10 years). Anyhow, the actual findings can be found here.

    You talk of “27 of 28 STDs”, but the study itself only mentions eight STDs. And while the executive summary mentions that there is strong(er) evidence for the prevention of HIV transmission when using a condom …

    The strongest evidence for potential effectiveness of condoms on other STDs transmitted by genital secretions (i.e. gonorrhea in women, chlamydial infection and trichomoniasis) was the laboratory-based studies on the properties of the male latex condom and the strength of the evidence for condom use reducing the risk of HIV transmission in men and women and gonorrhea in men. The Panel concluded, however, that because of limitations in study designs there was insufficient evidence from the epidemiological studies on these diseases to draw definite conclusions about the effectiveness of the latex male condom in reducing the transmission of these diseases.

    Your statement (@4) that “real sex ed is helpful (the kind that admits that condoms do nothing to stop 27 of 28 STDs, NIH 1999)” is, in short, wrong. While you praise “real sex ed”, all you offer, instead, is factually inaccurate scare tactics. That is certainly not the solution to the problem, however you define the problem.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bike (@8), I’m pretty certain you’re greatly misrepresenting the findings of that study, and I have to ask if you even read the study itself. Because, well, you link to a site that has the wrong URL for the actual study (the URL seems to have changed at some point in the past 10 years). Anyhow, the actual findings can be found here.

    You talk of “27 of 28 STDs”, but the study itself only mentions eight STDs. And while the executive summary mentions that there is strong(er) evidence for the prevention of HIV transmission when using a condom …

    The strongest evidence for potential effectiveness of condoms on other STDs transmitted by genital secretions (i.e. gonorrhea in women, chlamydial infection and trichomoniasis) was the laboratory-based studies on the properties of the male latex condom and the strength of the evidence for condom use reducing the risk of HIV transmission in men and women and gonorrhea in men. The Panel concluded, however, that because of limitations in study designs there was insufficient evidence from the epidemiological studies on these diseases to draw definite conclusions about the effectiveness of the latex male condom in reducing the transmission of these diseases.

    Your statement (@4) that “real sex ed is helpful (the kind that admits that condoms do nothing to stop 27 of 28 STDs, NIH 1999)” is, in short, wrong. While you praise “real sex ed”, all you offer, instead, is factually inaccurate scare tactics. That is certainly not the solution to the problem, however you define the problem.

  • fws

    bubba @ 8

    the actual pdf of the study was an inactive link.

    http://www.niaid.nih.gov/dmid/stds/condomreport.pdf do you have a working link for the actual study or only the “physiciansforlife” link that merely comments on the study?

    the site you sent me to is very contradictory. in one place it said condoms to prevent stds was ineffective because of condom misuse. another place said there was a 10% failure rate. another place said that condom use was useless against the transmission of hiv. one contradiction after another.

  • fws

    bubba @ 8

    the actual pdf of the study was an inactive link.

    http://www.niaid.nih.gov/dmid/stds/condomreport.pdf do you have a working link for the actual study or only the “physiciansforlife” link that merely comments on the study?

    the site you sent me to is very contradictory. in one place it said condoms to prevent stds was ineffective because of condom misuse. another place said there was a 10% failure rate. another place said that condom use was useless against the transmission of hiv. one contradiction after another.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    tODD, not a misrepresentation at all, as most people involved concede that nearly 20 diseases can’t be impeded by a condom whatsoever. That’s why the NIH study only tested the eight that showed promise.

    The results are pretty straightforward. 65 million live with an incurable STD, 15 million new infections each year, 2/3 of them among teens and adults below 25 years of age.

    And the CDC and others are still telling kids that wearing a condom makes sex safe, while the average teen can look forward (4-5 million kids born each year) to being infected at least three times, one of them permanently. Keep in mind that earlier generations–those who married younger and stayed faithful–are bound to be underrepresented in STDs. 1/3 of adults, probably twice that proportion of young, sexually active adults.

    Personally, I think it’s time to start telling kids that trusting a condom to protect against STDs is like playing russian roulette with four rounds in the cylinder. It’s a shame that the CDC doesn’t follow its own data and do the same.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    tODD, not a misrepresentation at all, as most people involved concede that nearly 20 diseases can’t be impeded by a condom whatsoever. That’s why the NIH study only tested the eight that showed promise.

    The results are pretty straightforward. 65 million live with an incurable STD, 15 million new infections each year, 2/3 of them among teens and adults below 25 years of age.

    And the CDC and others are still telling kids that wearing a condom makes sex safe, while the average teen can look forward (4-5 million kids born each year) to being infected at least three times, one of them permanently. Keep in mind that earlier generations–those who married younger and stayed faithful–are bound to be underrepresented in STDs. 1/3 of adults, probably twice that proportion of young, sexually active adults.

    Personally, I think it’s time to start telling kids that trusting a condom to protect against STDs is like playing russian roulette with four rounds in the cylinder. It’s a shame that the CDC doesn’t follow its own data and do the same.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Nothing factually inaccurate at all, tODD. It’s more or less conceded that the 20 diseases not monitored are spread through areas not covered by a condom. The one exception is AIDS, and while that’s a biggie, we’re still getting about 30-40000 infections each year and about half that many deaths.

    In other areas, 15.3 million new infections, 65 million permanently infected, 2/3 of new infections are between ages 15 and 25. I think it’s time to tell kids the truth; fornication, with or without a condom, is like playing roulette with four rounds in the cylinder.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Nothing factually inaccurate at all, tODD. It’s more or less conceded that the 20 diseases not monitored are spread through areas not covered by a condom. The one exception is AIDS, and while that’s a biggie, we’re still getting about 30-40000 infections each year and about half that many deaths.

    In other areas, 15.3 million new infections, 65 million permanently infected, 2/3 of new infections are between ages 15 and 25. I think it’s time to tell kids the truth; fornication, with or without a condom, is like playing roulette with four rounds in the cylinder.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Gentlemen, the other 20 generally go around the area covered by a condom, to put it delicately. 27 of 28 not helped by condoms, period.

    Which explains why about a third of adults (I’d guess 2/3 of the promiscuous) have a “gift that keeps on giving” (generally herpes), and there are 15 million new cases each year–2/3 of which occur between the ages of 15 and 25, and 1/4 of which are among teens.

    I think it’s time to tell kids that trusting latex to prevent STDs is like playing roulette with a fully loaded revolver.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Gentlemen, the other 20 generally go around the area covered by a condom, to put it delicately. 27 of 28 not helped by condoms, period.

    Which explains why about a third of adults (I’d guess 2/3 of the promiscuous) have a “gift that keeps on giving” (generally herpes), and there are 15 million new cases each year–2/3 of which occur between the ages of 15 and 25, and 1/4 of which are among teens.

    I think it’s time to tell kids that trusting latex to prevent STDs is like playing roulette with a fully loaded revolver.

  • WebMonk

    Bike, I was the one who mentioned the research article to Veith as a possible topic. Before I did so, I tried to check it out as much as I could. I can’t get to the full text of the study like I could to the Canadian homeschooling study, but I did look up as many references and solid articles on it as I could, trying to get an idea of how it was carried out.

    Summary: as far as I can tell, this was a properly carried out study with random selection within one particular demographic and age group. The biggest problem is that approximately 15% of the students did not stay in school long enough to continue in the study, but that’s probably not going to affect things much, and was probably taken into account in their margins of error, though I can’t verify that.

    I don’t know how much this applies to white, upper-class kids in private schools, but I don’t really care as far as the study’s validity goes because the study doesn’t suggest that it is authoritative across the entire spectrum of situations.

    There is probably a large group of kids outside the study’s precise demographic for which it is very accurately descriptive: I would GUESS it is pretty accurate for urban/suburban public school students across the country, regardless of race. I think economic status would change the raw numbers of how many kids are having sex how soon, but the percentages of how they are affected by the abstinence/non-abstinence instruction would be pretty much unchanged.

    There, that’s my dissection of the study, as much as I could do anyway. The difference between this one and the Canadian home school study (and thus why I harped on the CA home school study) – quality and care of research. This study has it. The other doesn’t.

  • WebMonk

    Bike, I was the one who mentioned the research article to Veith as a possible topic. Before I did so, I tried to check it out as much as I could. I can’t get to the full text of the study like I could to the Canadian homeschooling study, but I did look up as many references and solid articles on it as I could, trying to get an idea of how it was carried out.

    Summary: as far as I can tell, this was a properly carried out study with random selection within one particular demographic and age group. The biggest problem is that approximately 15% of the students did not stay in school long enough to continue in the study, but that’s probably not going to affect things much, and was probably taken into account in their margins of error, though I can’t verify that.

    I don’t know how much this applies to white, upper-class kids in private schools, but I don’t really care as far as the study’s validity goes because the study doesn’t suggest that it is authoritative across the entire spectrum of situations.

    There is probably a large group of kids outside the study’s precise demographic for which it is very accurately descriptive: I would GUESS it is pretty accurate for urban/suburban public school students across the country, regardless of race. I think economic status would change the raw numbers of how many kids are having sex how soon, but the percentages of how they are affected by the abstinence/non-abstinence instruction would be pretty much unchanged.

    There, that’s my dissection of the study, as much as I could do anyway. The difference between this one and the Canadian home school study (and thus why I harped on the CA home school study) – quality and care of research. This study has it. The other doesn’t.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba, again, you don’t seem very interested in actually discussing the effectiveness of condoms, apparently because you’re more interested in spreading fear about them. That’s your choice, of course, but I think it’s disingenuous to do so while claiming to value “real sex education”.

    Once again, I will point out that you originally claimed (@4), “condoms do nothing to stop 27 of 28 STDs, NIH 1999″.
    As you noted, the study wasn’t done in 1999. That’s false, though it’s the least of the facts you got wrong.

    Nor did the study look at 28 STDs. It looked at 8. You threw in 20 other STDs (which ones, I have no idea; you seem more interested in creating fear-inducing ratios than you do an actual discussion of condom efficacy) on your own.

    Finally, the reviewed deemed the data it looked at for 7 of those 8 STDs to be “inadequate”. It did not say that “condoms do nothing to stop” those 7 STDs, and to claim as much is a blatant misrepresentation of the data.

    If playing fast and loose with facts is your idea of “real sex education” (or real education of any sort, for that matter), have at it. But I think that’s sad.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba, again, you don’t seem very interested in actually discussing the effectiveness of condoms, apparently because you’re more interested in spreading fear about them. That’s your choice, of course, but I think it’s disingenuous to do so while claiming to value “real sex education”.

    Once again, I will point out that you originally claimed (@4), “condoms do nothing to stop 27 of 28 STDs, NIH 1999″.
    As you noted, the study wasn’t done in 1999. That’s false, though it’s the least of the facts you got wrong.

    Nor did the study look at 28 STDs. It looked at 8. You threw in 20 other STDs (which ones, I have no idea; you seem more interested in creating fear-inducing ratios than you do an actual discussion of condom efficacy) on your own.

    Finally, the reviewed deemed the data it looked at for 7 of those 8 STDs to be “inadequate”. It did not say that “condoms do nothing to stop” those 7 STDs, and to claim as much is a blatant misrepresentation of the data.

    If playing fast and loose with facts is your idea of “real sex education” (or real education of any sort, for that matter), have at it. But I think that’s sad.

  • fws

    todd @ 15

    what todd says.

    Christians hold truth to be a sacred thing, and would be loath to spread unsubstantiated falsehoods merely to make a point.

    A christian , or any other truly moral person for that matter, would rather yield the point than deal in falsehood to win a debate.

  • fws

    todd @ 15

    what todd says.

    Christians hold truth to be a sacred thing, and would be loath to spread unsubstantiated falsehoods merely to make a point.

    A christian , or any other truly moral person for that matter, would rather yield the point than deal in falsehood to win a debate.

  • Dustin Turner

    Our collective responses to this data reveals that we all know the authentic answer to this problem isn’t an either/or approach to sex education, however, we don’t have the luxury of choosing a mixed message. Not all students in public schools have the benefit of parents who instill godly principles of sexuality, do we refrain from truth because the familial conditions of truth telling are less than ideal? A message of abstinence should be the primary communication regarding sex education that we prefer these students to have.

    One message will be chosen, for one preferred message is being chosen. A recent poll in my own class room of high school seniors revealed a telling microcosm of US opinion on the matter.

    23 out of 25 Respondants answered NO to the following class discussion/opinion poll questions:

    1) Do schools have responsibility of sex education rather than parents?
    2) Should schools discontinue sex education despite parents having primary responsibility over sex education?

    Most teens tend to believe sex education should be taught in schools. Sex education is an important subject to most teens. Therefore, sex education will be taught, its just a matter of which message will gain ascendency because this is the message that will receive funding.

    Is the message measured by its effectiveness or its truth?

    I would hope we choose the latter message, regardless of the appeal of the former.

  • Dustin Turner

    Our collective responses to this data reveals that we all know the authentic answer to this problem isn’t an either/or approach to sex education, however, we don’t have the luxury of choosing a mixed message. Not all students in public schools have the benefit of parents who instill godly principles of sexuality, do we refrain from truth because the familial conditions of truth telling are less than ideal? A message of abstinence should be the primary communication regarding sex education that we prefer these students to have.

    One message will be chosen, for one preferred message is being chosen. A recent poll in my own class room of high school seniors revealed a telling microcosm of US opinion on the matter.

    23 out of 25 Respondants answered NO to the following class discussion/opinion poll questions:

    1) Do schools have responsibility of sex education rather than parents?
    2) Should schools discontinue sex education despite parents having primary responsibility over sex education?

    Most teens tend to believe sex education should be taught in schools. Sex education is an important subject to most teens. Therefore, sex education will be taught, its just a matter of which message will gain ascendency because this is the message that will receive funding.

    Is the message measured by its effectiveness or its truth?

    I would hope we choose the latter message, regardless of the appeal of the former.


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