Tag Archives: culture

An Update on My Surveys

Here is a quick update on my surveys. The list below gives the link to each survey and how close it is to being done. As you can see, I still have a long way to go. If you haven’t done any of the surveys yet, please help e out by doing so. And please share them if you can. I’m trying to get the largest possible sample size, and I want them to be diverse.
Feminist Surveys:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=i8d3kq6z73ems49471695 – 4%
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=4p48z0rwjwooxpf471689 – 4%
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=r4t8nurh0tyxvqt470762 – 9%
Religion Surveys:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=3zolzpi3k1lwc7s470898 – 5%
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=t2k9uo23mlnmklk470896 – 4%
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=85koff95iqwpme3470893 – 4%

What I think a robust sex education program would look like. Plus a rant!

I’d like to start by saying. Abstinence is not a substitute for sex education. It never will be it hasn’t been effective, and in wouldn’t be effective. Why? Because most people are going to have sex, so if all you do is tell them not to do then how are you surprised when they eventually have sex they make all kinds of mistakes and missteps. You can’t expect to leave the lights off and expect newcomers to navigate the space safely.

People talk about abstinence as though it is some holy grail of sex ed. If only we talked more about abstinence teens and young adults would stop having sex! Hate to tell you but your parents generation of teens had sex, your generation had sex mine does, and the next will. With puberty comes sexual desire, while this isn’t universal it is extremely common, and for many teens and young adults sex is a real and present possibility, and something many want.

Telling teens not to do something isn’t going to be effective, and just telling them the risks isn’t enough as many will go on to risk it anyway. Lying and misleading them into think the risks are greater then they are is a bad idea, because when they find out well good buy to any trust those teens may have had in the person(s) lying to them and those implicit in lying to them. Even if they don’t find out, they are still in the dark about the real risk, and how to protect themselves even if this “save themselves” for marriage they did don’t know the options available to them, including general sex tips like lube usage.

All that you end up doing by promoting abstinence is making those kids ignorant, not safer. Don’t believe me read through this it has some mighty good citations.

Now my rant against abstinence only education has run it’s course I know not many reading is agree with abstinence only and understand abstinence, while it is an option, is only a tiny portion of what our children need to be informed members of society in regards to sexual activity.

I’d like to see a whole (mandatory) course devoted on the subject who’s main point would be as follows.

  • Reproduction and anatomy (the biological side of things, also including intersex)
  • Sexuality, and a brief look into gender.
  • Consent education, and education about rape culture.
  • Safe sex, including contraception, knowledge about vaccine treatments, information about testing, types of sexual intercourse, including non-preventative sex. Resources resources resources, you can’t cover everything, but kids will find out if they want to know, so you might as well direct them reputable sources.
  • Healthy Relationships, how to communicate, how to determine what you want what your goals are and what your comfortable with, how to share that with your future or current partner(s) and how to respect and compromise with your partner.
  • Abuse identification and prevention.

By hitting this 6 major points I could see us giving children a robust foundation for them to build upon as they grow into adults.

Reproduction and anatomy so that they are getting to know what to expect, and it’s just good for health to know how our bodies worth.

Sexuality so we do not push a heteronormative agenda a leave all the LGBTQA children high, dry, lost and confused. As well has just make it clear to everyone that differences in sexual preferences exist and are both normal and natural.

Consent so people stop raping one another, and so our kids understand what rape actually is.

Safe sex because most of these kids are going to be having sex in the next several years best make sure they’re prepared.

Healthy Relationships are something wholly missed in most sex education programs, expect most people will be getting into relationships before having sex. It’s an excellent time to have kids start thinking about what they want and how to communicate those desires, and well as teaching them how to communicate in those future  relationships where disagreements or misunderstanding my form.

Domestic abuse is still a massive problem in our world and give the next generation the tools to better identify and deal with it will bring about what I suspect would be some massive positive changes.

This is my ever growing outline for what I plan to be teaching to my kids in the future. I hope to see what we teach in school expand to these important lessons which I feel many children never really learn except for the hard way.


PS. It has been brought to my attention that some folks are think that I want to do away with teaching abstinence altogether. That is not the case, I want to do away with abstinence only education(because it’s been shown highly ineffective, achieving the opposite of it goal), other wise abstaining from sex is a perfectly valid option if you choose it. However it is ill advised and ineffective to try to force abstinence, and does not teach those necessary skills. Also don’t sex shame it’s counter productive, but I’ll do a post on that later.

10 Reasons Why I Care What You Believe

*Keep in mind, I am not accusing anybody of actually holding these beliefs. These are if-then situations of reasons why I might care what you believe.*

1) Your beliefs affect me
If you believe that I’m immoral because I don’t share your religious convictions, then your behaviour towards me changes. It suddenly becomes okay to treat me as though you believe in ‘guilty until proven innocent.’ If you believe that my being female doesn’t affect how people treat me, then it becomes easier for you to ignore the incidences where I am treated as a second-class citizen simply because I am female. If you believe that my femaleness actually makes me a second-class citizen, then that makes it impossible for me to interact with you safely, especially if you are male, because suddenly my femaleness makes it okay to disregard my personhood. If you believe that my gender identity or sexuality are sicknesses, then that makes it easy for you to disregard my feelings as irrelevant. If your beliefs can have these effects on my life, then I have the right to care about what you believe.

2) Your beliefs affect the society I live in
If you believe that you have the right to pass laws based on your personal beliefs, then I care about what you believe. I care if you think you can destroy our planet because you personally don’t believe in climate change. I care if you want to waste millions of tax dollars because you believe the death penalty is a good thing, or we should send more soldiers into another conflict we can’t afford and don’t belong in, etc. I care if you want to destroy our education system or our healthcare. I care if you want to take away my right to choose because it’s not enough that you have the right to choose not too. This is my country too, so yes, I care what your beliefs are doing to it.

3) You have the power
If you’re Christian, then yours is the majority religion in my country. You have a degree of power as a Christian by holding a majority position, and due to the way people view you because yours is the majority position (ie. being a Christian makes you good). If you’re male you have a degree of power that I could never attain. You’re not part of a true majority, but males hold the majority of powerful positions in our society. Male have a privilege because our society views males as superior to females, even if everybody is not willing to accept that claim. If you’re heterosexual and cis, you get a power granted to you just by virtue of being ‘normal.’ In all these cases, I don’t have the power, and I have to fight just to gain some degree of equal status. I’m lucky enough to be white, so in that case I do have the power. I could choose to ignore the fact that anybody who is not white is at a disadvantage, but then I’d be doing them the same disservice that those who ignore their power over me do me. The power structure in our society makes it necessary for me to care what you believe when your beliefs make it possible for such power struggles to be ignored.

4) We are social beings
This goes back to number 2. Very few people live in a manner where they do not affect others. We are a social species. We rely heavily on each other. As such, it is important to care about the beliefs of others.

5) Your beliefs affect your words and actions
This goes back to 1 and 2. Again, we are a social species. It is impossible to not affect others with your words and actions. And it is your beliefs that inform your words and actions. If you believe that I’m a good person, then you’ll likely treat me kindly and trust me. But if you think I’m a bad person, the you’ll likely be distrustful of me and might even act aggressively towards me.

6) It makes it easier to empathize with you
I don’t only care about your beliefs if they can hurt me. I also care about them because I do not want to hurt you. If I don’t know what you believe, then I may hurt you unintentionally simply because I don’t know your motivations for doing something. If I know your beliefs, then I know your motivations, and if I know your motivations, I can understand you act the way you act.

7) I care about you
This isn’t to say I personally care about every individual on this planet. That’s not really possible, what with there being over 7 billion of us. Rather, I care about the human race in general, and I care about those in my society as a whole. But I also care about those I interact with. I care if they are good people who behave morally. Since their beliefs affect their morality, I must care what they believe. I care if their beliefs are harmful not only to me but also to others around me and to themself as well.

8) Your beliefs blatantly ignore reality
This also goes back to number 2. If your beliefs ignore reality, then you could try to implement social changes that also ignore reality, which is very harmful. For example, if you believe in creationism and want schools to teach creationism, then you lower the effectiveness of our science curriculum and cause our society as a whole to become less educated. The level of education of a society has been shown to have a major affect of the economic success of that society. We are all better off with a better educated society.

9) They genuinely interest me
Again, these aren’t all about negative affects. I actually care what others believe. I like talking religion with people so long as they are willing to be respectful.

10) And yes, I am angry because of your beliefs
Obviously not all beliefs make me angry. I don’t have enough time in the day for that. In fact, it is very specific beliefs that make me angry. Accusatory beliefs. If you tell me that I hate men because I’m a feminist, that makes me angry. Why? Because you are accusing me of a belief that I don’t hold simply because you aren’t willing to listen to what I actually have to say. The same goes for when you tell me my atheism makes me immoral, or when you say I killed my baby because I had an abortion. Your beliefs in those cases are causing you to accuse me of things that aren’t true, and they are very hurtful. So I care about your beliefs because I want to avoid that anger and pain.

Your beliefs are not held in a vacuum. If you hold a belief (and yes, we all in fact hold beliefs), then it affects those around you. This isn’t to say that beliefs are bad things, but we all need to keep in mind the power that our beliefs actually have.

Mere Christianity: Part 2

Book one of Mere Christianity is titled “Right and Wrong As a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe.” This time around, I will be discussing the first chapter in that book.

The first chapter deals with the so-called laws of human nature. Lewis argues that disagreements show that all people have the same view of what is right and what is wrong. I’d disagree with this. He claims that people in the wrong simply justify why an exception should be made for them. Clearly Lewis never heard an argument that went more like this: “You can’t hit your child: that’s child abuse.” “No it’s not. I was spanked by my parents, and I turned out fine. Children need to be disciplined when they do something wrong.” “Spanking isn’t an effective form of punishment. It just teaches the kid not to get caught.” Here we have to people arguing about right and wrong. These people clearly have two different standards of morality.

Lewis continues his defense of “everybody knows what is right and what is wrong, and it’s the same for everyone” by stating that WWII wouldn’t have happened if the Nazis didn’t know that they were wrong. Really? Because I’m pretty sure WWII happened precisely because both sides thought that they were in the right. Not just in the Second World War, but in the first one as well. Going back to WWI, France thought themselves entitled to German territory, and decided that they were in the right to take it. During WWII, the Germans thought that it was their right to take the land back. Antisemitism was socially acceptable at the time, so the British thought that they were in the right to give the Germans whatever they demanded and ignore the suffering of the Jewish people. And later, the United States thought that they were in the right to drop nuclear bombs on two Japanese cities. Here in Canada, we thought it was okay to round up Japanese citizens and place them in ghettos similar to those that the Jewish people were placed in. Of course, we won the war, so all of these terrible acts are ignored by history. Yes, the Nazis did try to eradicate all the Jewish people. Yes, this is commonly considered wrong. But it seems odd to argue that the Nazis knew it was wrong. If they did, why did they do it? All sides did things that we judge to be wrong today, and all sides defended their actions as right at the time.

Lewis goes on to say “If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teachings of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own.” This isn’t strictly true. When we study other cultures, we don’t study their similarities (usually), we study their differences. Yes, we are very similar to one another: we’re all the same species after all. But, as far as moral codes are concerned, there are striking differences. For example, throughout history, when one emperor lost his throne in China, the subsequent emperor would attempt to eradicate their predecessor from the history books. Many other cultures would have considered this horrendous behavior: the dead should be honored and remembered, not be removed from history. Especially those who had power. The ancient Egyptians mummified bodies. The Europeans of the Middle Ages would have seen the removal of the organs as immoral. The Romans entertained themselves by watching slaves kill each other. That is considered very much immoral today. So, if we are all subject to the same moral laws, and we all know right from wrong, who is right in all of these cases? Or are these simply cases of differing moral codes?

Lewis argues that “this year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people.” This is very true. We aren’t perfect, and we do tend to break our own moral coeds from time to time. This can’t be helped: we have emotions, and, sometimes, they take away our ability to react rationally. But this fact does not prove that the law of nature exists. It merely proves that we aren’t infallible.

As you can see, I have a lot of problems with C.S. Lewis’s belief in the laws of nature. I do believe that some level of our moral code comes from our biology, but I also believe that it comes from our society. We don’t all believe that the same things are right and wrong.

Are You Waiting For Armageddon?

I just finished watching Waiting For Armageddon on Netflix. I’ve seen it before, but it’s been a few years, so I thought I’d watch it again.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, it is a documentary about Evangelical Christians who are waiting for the end times. The documentary interviews these people about their beliefs, follows them to Israel where they are baptized and visit the Dome of the Rock, and even visits one of their church sermons. It is quite the disturbing documentary.

In the beginning, one man talks about his past beliefs as a non-believer, he said he had atheistic leanings, whatever that means. He said that it took a lot for him to become open-minded and prove through math, science, etc that the Bible is true. I’m pretty sure he’s got that backwards. You’re not supposed to start with assumptions and prove them right. That’s how you ensure that your beliefs are full of conformation bias. If he were as open-minded as he says he is, he’d have taken the beliefs that he actually held at the time and tried to prove them wrong. Instead he simply did his best to convince himself that his wife was right.

Another man, while they were at the Dome of the Rock, said “I kept hoping one of Saddam’s missiles would find itself hitting the dome.” Really? Wow, how…loving of you. Hoping for death and destruction, that’s great. I’ll never understand how anybody can be so full of hate as to wish death on anyone. And these people claim to be full of love!

The documentary didn’t just interview the Evangelicals who wanted to see Armageddon, it also interviewed people who had studied the culture surrounding this group. One of the women interviewed said that they are interested in war and violence, and want to see the death and suffering of others. Given the comment of the guy above, I’m inclined to agree. It’s scary how badly these people want others to die. They seem to care more about seeing a prophesy fulfilled than they do about the human lives affected by it.

If someone believed, as these people do, that Armageddon is coming, then I can understand the Evangelicals who push their beliefs on others. If you think someone is going to die a horrible death, and you think that you can save them from terrible suffering, isn’t it your duty as a human to help them? But most of the people in this documentary seem happy to live and let live. They don’t try to convert anyone. How can they sleep at night knowing that people will be tortured for eternity and they’re just going to let it happen?

This documentary leads to a lot of questions.

So, are you waiting for Armageddon?

Breast Ironing

I just learned about a practice in Cameroon called breast ironing. It is where the family of a young girl who is starting to develop breasts will take a grinding tool, heat it and “iron” the girls breasts. It is a painful practice meant to prevent her breasts from growing larger. And it is preformed by parents who are worried about their daughters being raped or assaulted. Apparently many men in the culture think that it is okay to have sex with a woman, or girl, simply because she has visible breasts.

This is a terrifying practice. It is painful and it can cause permanent damage to the girl. But it’s also terrifying that parents find it necessary to hurt their children in order to keep them safe. These girls are seen as sexual objects and not as people. That is not okay. These girls deserve to know that they will be able to go to school and get a good education, and that they will not be raped and forced to marry at a young age. They deserve to know that they can grow up and be who they want to be. Instead they grow up knowing that large breasts are bad and that men will violate them if they do something as provocative as walking the street while having breasts. Hopefully these girls will not always live in a culture where they are second class citizens.


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