6 years ago: No effect

April 14, 2007, on this blog: No effect

Look at those graphs above and imagine you’re an executive with Coke or Pepsi or some other peddler of fizzy sugar water. Imagine that over the past 10 years you’d spent roughly $1 billion on an advertising campaign only to receive a report like this one, showing your ads have had precisely no effect on their intended audience. You would, of course, stop wasting your time and money on this expensive and useless project and find some other strategy. You’d be a fool if you didn’t.

… [But] abstinence proponents aren’t operating on the same rational basis as our hypothetical soda company. And, unlike a corporation investing in advertising, they’re not spending their own money, so they’re not terribly concerned if it’s wasted.

"I'd be interested, if we can find a timeslot that works :)"

LBCF, No. 181: ‘Meet the Steeles’
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LBCF, No. 181: ‘Meet the Steeles’
"According to my dad, who's from Austria, when he was a kid it used to ..."

LBCF, No. 181: ‘Meet the Steeles’

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  • Jeff Bryant

    but, but, but …. Kermit Gosnell!

  • Carstonio

    The opponents may not seem rational if one assumes that the goal of abstinence programs is actually persuading teens to abstain, or reducing pregnancies and STDs. They just have a different goal for these programs that makes sense under their misguided view that government is a moral authority. Their goal is for government to endorse abstinence as a moral position. If the teens get pregnant or get an STD, that’s their just desserts and they should have done what they were told.

  • Victor Savard

    (((on this blog: No effect)))

    Fred! This reminds me of the early 70’s when we alien gods, I mean gods! We’re really not alien to ‘you’ humans! Are we NOW? Long story short, we’re in every dimentia, I mean dimention of every moment of ‘you’ time but when ‘you’ get right down to “IT” none of ‘you’ really want anything to do with U>S (usual sinners) and this Victor is just as bad and/or just as good as this so called “Jesus” that the majority per sent age in time don’t believe and a small per sent age just keep tryin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfO5_5oCAe4 evry 7 days to walk this very thin line while making believe that our dimentional worlds don’t even exist NOW!

    Listen Fred! We gods could write a book on http://www.nationalreview.com/human-exceptionalism/345509/kurzweils-baby-boomer-narcissism#comments but what good would “IT” do when these “ONE” per sent age keep fighting U>S in the name of Heaven on earth and without even knowing “IT” these Johnny boys continually choose to walk this invisible like in the name of their “Religion”


    Got to go Fred cause here comes Victor that little retardo so if http://www.youtube.com/user/roger51w4?v=TOhGYWrDKNg never comes in your age, please don’t say that “I” didn’t try to sing and dance during your “ONE” per sent age if YA get my drift NOW and…..

    Too late Fred! End YA say sinner vic!

    Victor! “I’M” getting FED UP with this so called “Jesus” of ‘you’ and so “ME”, “ME” and “ME” want to know what HE’s got that ‘you’ don’t NOW? ON this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RLiuPRMJy8 We gods know that 5+2=7 and that Victor’ peter is not a king and don’t know how to luv http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEEC-yhr_Ks ‘you’ “Jesus” NOW and…….


    What’s that YA say Victor?


    Go Figure NOW! :)



  • stardreamer42

    I think that’s a secondary goal. The primary goal, as always, is to keep the money coming in. An ideologically-correct position which is GUARANTEED not to work is the gift that just keeps on giving… literally.

  • From what I have read, abstinence only education is not a complete wash, it does tend to push the average age of losing virginity back by about sixteen months or so. Unfortunately, all the other stuff that we do not want to go up does go up, because the people educated with abstinence only education do not have the other information needed when they do start having sex.

    Yes, the vast majority of religious right voters think abstinence only education is still awesome and should be furthered. There are exceptions to every rule though, and there are in fact some social conservatives who, seeing for themselves what the effects are, adopt the slogan “abstinence works, abstinence-only doesn’t” and support more of an abstinence-plus curriculum (which I would tend to think is more like just plain sex-ed.) Shelby Knox (the subject of a 2005 documentary film) is one example of someone who advocates this.

  • I’ve actually heard people say that a moral stance is more important than the results, because you can’t stop people from being immoral, but you should always condemn it. Those are in the minority, though. Nowadays, they just use scare rhetoric instead: “If we teach kids about sex, that just makes them want to go out and have it and that leads to !ABORTIONS!, therefore we have to keep them ignorant for their own good! Think of the !BABIES!”

  • Why do the pearl-clutching moral warriors out there seem to think that if you teach teenagers that sex exists that they’ll go out and do it right away?

    It’s akin to a guy having a powerful band saw in his Man Cave (TM) and just telling his curious kid not to touch it instead of explaining WHY the kid shouldn’t touch it.

  • TheBrett

    It’s definitely rare for them to admit it, but I agree. I remember there being an article on the abstinence-only program in Louisiana, and there was one quote where they had a legislator say that it was a “stance for morality” or something like that.

    In a way, it’s a lot like the perverse religious beliefs of the Left Behind books. The actual actions and results don’t matter, it’s the stance, the “magic words”.

  • Ablist language isn’t cute, Victor.

  • Social conservatives tend to believe that things we think of as either behavioral choices or as innate tendencies are actually something more akin to a compulsion — like alcoholism or pedophilia, where the person involved just plain can’t control themselves indefinately under normal circumstances, and the only way to resist the compulsion is with vigilant and total avoidance of ever coming into a situation where acting on the compulsion is possible.

    They believe that teenagers are semi-sentient hormone-sacks who will literally have no choice but to have sex unless there is an extremely vigilent campaign to ensure that they are never in a situation where sex is an option.

    But just to make it creepier, this isn’t because they think teenagers are unlike adults in this capacity — they believe it just as much about adults: hence a guy like Billy Graham who wouldn’t allow women into any position in his organization where he might find himself alone with one of them, because he himself thought it was just obvious that he couldn’t be expected to control himself.

  • I’ve been reading a number of ex-Quiverful blogs recently, and I’ve noticed a trend with their sex-ed. There are an awful lot of them who were told “sex is bad! unless you’re married” – but weren’t ever told what sex was. Which meant that a number of them knew that masturbation was “bad”, but didn’t realise that they were, in fact, masturbating. And at least one of them swears that she managed to have sex with a guy before either of them realised that that’s what they were doing. Because they seriously didn’t know how sex actually worked or what the word really meant.

    There seems to be a trend in Quiverful circles of telling their kids
    a) sex is bad
    b) married sex is good
    c) sex is “a special kind of loving” for married people
    d) I’ll tell you when you’re engaged
    …and nothing else. Basically, abstinence-ed taken to the extreme. And, strangely enough, it doesn’t work very well. Their kids still have sex – they just do it with almost no idea what they’re getting into.

    It’s not like people’s sex drives stop existing if they don’t get sex ed…

  • Argh, Quiverful parenting is on the verge of becoming rage-triggering for me. The more stories I hear, the harder it is not to automatically equate it with child abuse (which is all the more awful considering, yeah, lots of children… it’s easy to imagine them taking on cult status after just a few generations raised in relative isolation).

  • Victor Savard

    ((Ablist language isn’t cute, Victor.)))

    “I” agree with YA Nicole, this Victor isn’t cute, well at least spiritually speaking his “ONE” per sent age of his so called “Jesus and his soul” is not cute at all and if “I” was truthful, “I” would need to say that Victor is as ugly as http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hUxECgPxyEw and between ‘you’, “ME”, “ME” and “ME” Victor is down “RIGHT” ANNOYING THAT WE 98 % bodily godly cells living here are thinking of leaving this castle, temple orhouse, what ever ‘you’ gods call “IT” nowadays but don’t forget that the end will justify our means NOW.

    Long story short, we gods were sent to investigate some come plains, I mean sum plaining but this little retardo wants to take care of “IT” by himself in his own WAY and in reality because The Board Administration Team of hapax, Kit Whitfied and others still luv him. Hang in there cause our godly cells can’t do anything about “IT” at this “Time” cause some think that this “Jesus” really has a “Trinity” NOW!

    LOOK he here! His cells are getting UP to get her, “I” mean together and because we gods http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOmZ66lIzJA and don’t want him going hulk on U>S (usual sinners) by talking about is scappy family so we better quit butt don’t forget, until next “Time” this is all TOP SECRET NOW and……

    End YA say High sinner vic!

    You’re the “ONE” who is High Victor cause you won’t give any of U>S “ONE” of your birth control pills NOW!

    Hey sinner vic! “IT” will be my wife’s 60th Birthday on May 1st NOW!

    Who care’s Victor cause “I” for “ONE” won’t http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rs38lKxmtI4 so just tell her soul, I mean her angel that “IT” was http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RST9mrC5sbc NOW.

    Don’t be like that! Be nice sinner vic cause “IT” is 5 O’clock somewhere NOW!


    Go finger NOW! :)


  • smrnda

    Abstinence based sex ed is only a failure if you think it’s supposed to reduce teen pregnancy. I talked with a guy I know who is a Christian, and he was pretty honest. He said abstinence based sex education was the only right way to do it, since kids MUST get the message that all sex outside of Biblical marriage is shameful and wrong, and that to even suggest otherwise was wrong, and that consequences in the real world don’t count, since it’s better to have rampant teen pregnancy than to suggest that ‘safe sex’ might be acceptable.

    It’s rare to meet someone with that level of honesty, but yeah, a lot of people just view ‘works’ differently. Every pregnancy that could have been averted with knowledge IS a success to them, since their goal is that sex has *negative* consequences for anyone who breaks their rules.

  • Is it really still insulting when its all word salad anyway?

    Maybe. I did know this one lady with Tourette’s who had to yell the ‘N’ word whenever she saw an African-American person, and it was still offensive. (I live in HI, so that isn’t so completely debilitating as it might be in, say, Georgia.)

  • Ross Thompson

    It’s things like this that make me wonder if people really have as much free will they think.

  • I stopped wondering about this so much when I became convinced that no, we don’t, but many of our social institutions will fail if we accept that fact widely.

  • storiteller

    When I was visiting my grandmother in Florida, I attended her mega-church with her to make her happy. I figured, “I may want to rant about the theology, but I can stand it for an hour, right?” That was until the pastor stated that of course a man would never drive home a woman he wasn’t married to because it would be such a temptation. Then, without trying to, I stated (not exactly loudly, but not the most under my breath either), “Well, that’s stupid.” My grandmother glared at me, but that was my reflex reaction. The whole attitude is just hideous and harmful to both genders and perpetuates rape culture more than they can imagine.

  • It is funny then that some of them hole this view while banging on that homosexuality is a choice.

    Does their world view allow any detail to generalize beyond very narrow boundaries?

  • Actually, my father offering my mother a ride home because she did not have one (she was a concert cellist and he a stagehand at the venue, both unmarried) was how they met. They got together for a date after that, and the rest is the history of their relationship.

    Not a bad way to get to know someone, I suppose.

  • I am already past that “verge”… ヽ(`Д´)ノ

  • In the interest of complete honesty myself… that sounds like a pretty douchey position for someone to take.

    Jesus said, “Don’t be a dick.” Not in those exact words, obviously, but still…

  • Irritated snark aside, do any of them consider that maybe they are mistaking the cause with the effect? They want to enforce “non-Biblical” sex having negative consequences because the Biblical-rules say so. But did they think that maybe those Biblical-rules were created because of the negative consequences, not to enforce them? Take away the consequences, and the rule designed to avoid them becomes irrelevant.

  • smrnda

    Agreed. The guy’s position was that non-Biblical sex was supposed to have bad consequences. Doing anything or promoting anything that would enable someone to break the rule while reducing the threat of consequences/harm is, to some people, a bad thing. So if premarital sex was made totally safe, it would be a moral disaster to some.

    There are people who believe that doing things the “Biblical (TM)” way is the right way, even if the outcomes are negative, and that doing things the ‘worldly’ way is wrong, even if it has good outcomes. They must be envisioning some kind of tally of spiritual harm or benefits that outweigh any harm of benefit in the present world.

    All said, it was about the last policy discussion I bothered to have with the guy. I didn’t think of it so much as douchey as just blatantly irrational. I wonder if his whole position was just taken to shore up his anti-premarital sex credentials.

  • Tapetum

    My grandmother would tell the tale of a neighbor of hers as a girl who went to her doctor for “infertility” after she and her husband had been married for a year, and she hadn’t gotten pregnant. Turned out they both thought that sex meant “sleeping together”, which was the euphemism they always heard. So they’d been sleeping in the same bed with no idea there was something else they were supposed to be doing together!

  • Starbeam

    I’m sorry, this is a complete aside, but in Dwarf Fortress, the names of things that are currently on fire are flanked with exclamation points. I thus read your post as a message about abortions that are on fire and was briefly confused.

  • Well, apparently antifungal medicine is flammable, so all those poor spores…

  • AnonaMiss

    That would be !!abortions!!, not !abortions!.

  • Jenny Islander

    I have told this story before at Slacktivist, recently in fact, so just the summary: I personally know someone who can attest that two children who are raised completely “innocent” by their respective families can nevertheless end up having sex. All it takes is two sets of parents so convinced that their kids are completely “innocent” that they don’t even warn their son and daughter that you shouldn’t play doctor with your best friend in junior high. Instinct will do the rest.