Getting 'Em to God Faster

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The Guardian reports that the Vatican is discouraging condom use in Africa with the claim that they don't prevent the transmission of HIV. This despite what seems to be a pretty unanimous scientific consensus that, in fact, they do. Vile, vile, vile. (Via Jakeneck.)

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  1. Maybe the Pope’s been reading Peter Duesberg’s book. This is the Vatican, and they’d be anti-condom regardless of the circumstances. When I was in Catholic high school, they told us condoms had a 20 percent failure rate.

  2. When I was in Catholic school, they told us about the difference between a sheepskin condom, which has holes through which a virus can pass, and latex condoms.

    Well, one herioc Catholic school teacher who kept her voice down.

  3. “despite what seems to be a pretty unanimous scientific consensus that, in fact, they do.”

    Except when they break.

  4. Actually, if you do a little google research, you’ll find that this issue is not as open and shut as it may first appear.

    Today’s Lesson: Never trust anything you read in the Guardian without outside verification.

  5. So instead, let’s abandon reason and trust the Vatican and an ancient text written by nomadic wanderers presenting make-believe stories about talking animals, virgins giving birth to God’s son, etc. as historical facts without verification?

    That’s a good one, PLC.

  6. So instead, let’s abandon reason and trust the Vatican and an ancient text written by nomadic wanderers presenting make-believe stories about talking animals, virgins giving birth to God’s son, etc. as historical facts without verification?

    That’s a good one, PLC.

  7. So instead, let’s abandon reason and trust the Vatican and an ancient text written by nomadic wanderers presenting make-believe stories about talking animals, virgins giving birth to God’s son, etc. as historical facts without verification?

    That’s a good one, PLC.

  8. “Except when they break.”
    Well, obviously, but that wasn’t what was at issue in the article.

  9. JJB – where did I imply that you ought to abandon reason and trust the vatican? A reasonable person would acknowledge that the Guardian is not an unbiased source, and when an article confirms their bias, one ought to verify the contents.

    Spend five minutes on google and you will find that the case is not nearly so one sided as the Guardian has presented.

  10. I just did some digging. I found nothing to make me take the “holes” idea remotely seriously; I’m more convinced than I was before that the issue is precisely as one sided as the Guardian presented. Every legit study I saw cited concluded that HIV doesn’t pass through intact latex condoms (even under conditions that simulated a fair amount of rough thrusting). Want to link one of the sites that provides serious reason to think this is an open question?

  11. PLC – the Guardian? Biased? I just don’t know what this world is coming to…

  12. “So instead, let’s abandon reason and trust the Vatican and an ancient text written by nomadic wanderers presenting make-believe stories about talking animals, virgins giving birth to God’s son, etc. as historical facts without verification?”

    For those of you keeping score at home, that’s an ad homenim. The assertion isn’t false because the Vatican said so, or because the Church is Christian, or for any other reason – except that it is not factually corrent. Judging a statement to be false because the Vatican says so is no more rational than judging a statement to be true for the same reason.

  13. The Guardian article is summed up thusly: “[T]he Vatican is discouraging condom use in Africa with the claim that they don’t prevent the transmission of HIV. This despite what seems to be a pretty unanimous scientific consensus that, in fact, they do.”

    But, according to the article, “The WHO . . . says ‘consistent and correct’ condom use reduces the risk of HIV infection by 90%. There may be breakage or slippage of condoms – but not, the WHO says, holes through which the virus can pass.”

    That’s not the same as saying that condoms “prevent the transmission of HIV.”

  14. joe – wouldn’t that be the fallacy of poisoning the well, ad hominem’s cousin? That is, the attack seems to be based on the fact that the Vatican says other things of questionable merit, ergo what it says here must also be of questionable merit.

  15. I would be more impressed with the Vatican if they were simply telling people not to use condoms because condom use is out of line with the orthodoxy of Catholicism. Whether condoms were 100% effective or 0% effective that would still be the case. The use of “scientific evidence” to the contrary merely weakens their case and politicizes an issue that (at least with reference to the church) should not be politicized. The Vatican is a guardian of moral codes not a scientific research group or a policy institute. They should say what they want, in line with the religion they support, and leave the scientific claims, supporting their arguments or detracting from them, to the scientists. Their excuses outside of religious orthodoxy are the problem, not the orthodoxy itself. After all, if you are not Catholic you implicitly express a belief that the orthodoxy is wrong and you have no obligation to follow it. On the other hand, misleading information (if it is misleading, which, again, is a question for the scientific community and not the church) is dangerous from any source.

  16. I thought reason published something in the last year or so that basically says WHO is using the most inflationary numbers of HIV that it can find.

    So while the Vatican is probably incorrect is saying condoms don’t help prevent HIV, there really isn’t as much HIV to prevent as the WHO claims there is.

  17. not my real name: how many angels can squeeze thru that pinhole in the condom? You have truly proved the Guardian’s biases with your brilliant dissection of their misleading language. I suggest you and PLC commence mounting one another immediately, bareback of course.

  18. “So while the Vatican is probably incorrect is saying condoms don’t help prevent HIV, there really isn’t as much HIV to prevent as the WHO claims there is.”

    There is an infinite amount of HIV to prevent. HIV expands through human populations. It doesn’t matter how big the epidemic is right now; it’s still raging through Africa.

  19. The FDA released a study in 1992 saying that 1/3rd of the latex condoms they tested allowed HIV sized particles to pass through. Are they made differently now?

    Is the vatican’s position that all condoms have holes? Or that some of them do? It’s hard to say that they are being much more misleading than the popular mythology that you can’t contract AIDS if you’re wearing a condom. Since the “correct use” of one is only 90% effective, what’s the real world rate?

  20. Would you have sex with someone you knew had HIV/AIDS, if they promised to wear a condom?

  21. Here’s a couple links:

    http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a940506.html

    http://www.nccc-online.org/news_0103.htm

    I would wager to guess that the official Vatican position stems from research performed by C. Michael Roland, editor of ?Rubber Chemistry and Technology? who has stated that the HIV virus is certainly small enough to penetrate the microscopic tears evidenced in some (small) percentage of all commercially available condoms. As stated in the first link: ?Roland thinks condoms reduce AIDS risk by a factor of 3. A study cited by the government says they reduce it by a factor of 5. Avoiding high-risk sex partners, it’s believed, reduces it by a factor of 5,000.?

    And this, I believe, is the nuance that the Guardian missed. Condoms are not 100% effective; instead, they are about 98% effective, which is a good thing, unless you happen to live in a country were people have dozens of different partners and the rate of infection is 20% or higher. In those circumstances, over the course of a couple years, your odds of contracting HIV are still quite high, even if you use an condom every single time.

    I believe that the Vatican?s position is defensible if the promotion of condom use leads to an increase in high-risk sex and/or provides the HIV positive with the false impression that they cannot pass on the disease if they use condoms every time. I don?t know enough about the issue to say whether or not the promotion of condom use would be effective at slowing the rate of transmission in Africa or not; certainly it is beneficial if you believe that the sexual culture of Africa cannot change.

    ?Simply put, condoms fail. And condoms fail at a rate unacceptable for me as a physician to endorse them as a strategy to be promoted as meaningful AIDS protection.?
    ? Dr. Robert Renfield, chief of retro-viral research, Walter Reed Army Institute

  22. PLC and all you others who do not understand the concepts of risk or harm reduction – condoms cause AIDS, gay marriage, and high taxes.

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/od/latex.htm

    Come to think of it, I know for a fact that there are people on this planet who got HIV from needle-sticks, I hope the vatican is going to come out against needles, after all, they cause AIDS and probably autism. Needles are not 100% safe, let’s save the porr Africans from the scourge.

  23. When somebody says condoms have an X% failure rate, my first question is “Does that mean that X% of all condoms fail, or that a person using condoms during some designated time interval has an X% chance that one of those condoms will break?”

    Say a condom only has a 0.1% chance of breaking during a typical sexual encounter (I have no idea if this is the precise number, but it seems plausible, and of course we’re assuming proper use, etc.). The probability that a person having N sexual encounters will never experience a broken condom (assume fresh condom each time, obviously) is 0.999^N.

    How could we get a 20% error rate? Well, that would mean an 80% success rate.

    0.8 = 0.999^N

    N = log(0.8)/log(0.999) = 223 sexual encounters.

    A couple averaging, say, 2 sexual encounters per week (the cynics will say I’m being generous, others will pity the hypothetical couple) will reach 223 sexual encounters in a little more than 2 years.

    Of course, any of these numbers can be adjusted to give very different estimates. The whole point is that “20% error rate” means nothing without the context of “error rate per N trials”.

  24. Jesus fucking christ! It’s like the renaissance never even happened. I can’t believe this is being debated here. You ‘condoms arn’t effective against aids’ people sound just like the creationist idiots. I can’t believe how many of you aren’t homeless. It’s so fucking depressing. I need a drink… and a hooker. I’ll use a condom to keep the HIV ridden santorum off my dick.

  25. thoreau: the estimates I’ve seen run from 0.1% to 4% of all condoms fail to prevent a semen-sized partical from passing. The lower rate is in a controlled setting and the higher rate is an estimate of real-world application. Note that HIV is much smaller than semen.

    The failure rate, in the real world, of condoms preventing pregnancy in sexually active couples is about 20% per year. So, if you have sex with your wife, using a condom every time, there is a 20% chance that she will get pregnant sometime over the course of a year. Keep in mind that women can only get pregnant on 3-5 days out of the whole month.

  26. I think 90% effective means that if, over a given stretch, you would have contracted AIDS 10 times without them, you will only contract it once with them. They stop 90% of the infection events that would have occured otherwise.

  27. PLC: Semen-sized particles can make you pregant? Which chapter of genesis is that from?

  28. PLC, the 3-5 day range is archaic. Things linger. You must be working from an old textbook.

  29. Joe – actually, no. My wife just had a baby six months ago. I’m pretty familiar with all this stuff…

    While it is theoretically possible for a woman to get pregnant from sperm that “lingers”, it is not at all probable. Especially if she bathes.

  30. PLC: Congratulations. So did the condom break or did the little buggers just wriggle thru one of those holes? I assume your wife bathes.

  31. Actually, yes. Success is highest during the 3-5 day period you mention, and declines from there. Mine’s a year old.

  32. OK. The point is, pregnancy has to contend with a woman’s cycle, where-as you can contract HIV at any time.

  33. Wow…I never thought I’d say this, but I think PLC is mostly right on this one.

    As someone who was conceived post-sexual revolution but pre-AIDS, I have a handful of friends my age who are here because of broken and/or slipped condoms. (Yes, their parents told them that…mostly as a cautionary tale, I think.)

    Between that knowledge and more recent anecdotal evidence, there is absolutely no way I would count on condoms exclusively to avoid pregnancy, much less a life-threatening disease (which no one has to be ovulating to contract or pass on).

    That said, it is pretty irresponsible to say that condoms aren’t 100% effective in preventing disease, therefore, you shouldn’t use them at all. Is it so hard to draw a distinction between harm reduction and harm prevention? Or are most people just too stupid to get the difference?

    As has been pointed out already, harm reduction/prevention isn’t really the Vatican’s agenda here.

  34. They could consider less fucking. That seems like a good option to dying a terrible horrible lonely painful slow death

  35. OK, here’s a question.

    If you son or daughter was going to spend five years in a sub-Saharan African country were 25% of adults have HIV, before they left would you advise them to:

    a.) screw around as much as you like with the locals, but always wear a condom

    or

    b.) whatever you do, don’t have sex with the locals

    If you think “a” is a reasonable answer, then you agree with the Guardian. If you think “b” is a reasonable answer, then you agree with the Vatican.

  36. JDM,

    With perfect use, condoms are close to 99 percent effective. The 90 percent figure is their reliability rate *in practice*, which includes improper use. Though I really don’t see how difficult it is to use a condom …

  37. H.L. Mencken was always furious that stupid opinions get a pass from a lot of people if they’re religious opinions. This is a perfect example. #1, it’s stupid, because HIV doesn’t “seep through” a condom, and #2, it’s cruel, because the obvious, forseeable result is many people will die. The fact that there’s some “theological” reason for the Pope to oppose birth control doesn’t excuse it one little bit.

  38. anon 5:37PM,

    #1 – condoms are not universally impenetrable to HIV, read the discussion above.
    #2 – your predicted result is neither obvious, nor forseeable. There are reasonable arguments to be made either way. For example, it might appear “obvious and foreseeable” that seat belt laws would save lives, but it is not true that they do so. When you make a behavior less risky, you get more of it, in some cases so much more that the risk over time has increased.

    Finally, who the fuck cares what H.L. Mencken has to say about anything?

  39. PLC, here’s a question.

    If you live in sub-Saharan Africa and are sexually active should you:

    a.) use a condom when have sex,

    or

    b.) not use a condom when you have sex.

    If you think “a” is a reasonable answer, then you agree with the Guardian. If you think “b” is a reasonable answer, then you agree with the Vatican.

  40. Russ: if I lived in sub-Saharan Africa I would not be sexually active. By the very nature of your either/or proposal, you’ve implied that Africans are somehow insatiably sexual and that the sexual culture of Africa can not change. You’ve also failed to note that high probability incidence based risk reduction can actually increase risk in the long run, especially in high incident behaviors.

    Look up the research on overall impacts of helmet laws, seat belt laws, etc. – and then apply those ideas to the condom debate.

  41. The risk of exposure to HIV for the following activities increases in the order listed below.

    1. Not having sex.
    2. Having protected sex.
    3. Having unprotected sex.

    Any disagreement? I thought not.

    Naturally, the Vatican would like to promote option 1, since they consider chastity to be virtuous.

    For those of us who live in the real world, and don’t enjoy the option of not getting any, we can assess the relative risks and rewards of options 2 & 3 and make a reasoned, informed decision.

    For the Vatican to misrepresent the risks of option 2, as a means of promoting option 1, while knowing that it will cause many people to choose option 3, is morally reprehensible.

  42. What’s humorous is that all the ideas we have about women’s cycles is almost completely wrong. Which has sigifnicantly undermined the effectiveness of what the Vatican prescibes for birth control – basing sexual activity on a woman’s cycle. Apparently a significant portion of women have roughly the same chances of pregnancy during several disparate periods of their and this conflicts with what has been known in the past.

    PLC,

    BTW, that was an unwarranted cheap shot against Russ. Russ clearly stated that his group under consideration were the “sexually active.” Implying racist stereotypes to Russ is neither warranted or otherwise logical, so I can only assume that you know that you are losing the argument and switched to playground name-calling.

  43. Russ – you shouldn’t excuse your simple-minded ignorance by claiming you live in “the real world”. Apparently, in your “real” world, people’s behavior is immutable to change. Also, the people who have dedicated their entire lives to reducing the sufferring of the poor would apparently like people to die. I can also only assume that in your “real” world, people do not over-react to short-term risk and under-react to long-term risk.

    Again, since the promotion of seat belt usage does not reduce vehicular fatalities, it can be reasonbly argued that promoting condom use will not reduce HIV transmission.

  44. Jean-Bart:

    Are you trying to say that once someone is sexually active that they cannot then choose to abstain or to remain monogomous? I don’t get your point.

  45. PLC wrote,

    “Again, since the promotion of seat belt usage does not reduce vehicular fatalities, it can be reasonbly argued that promoting condom use will not reduce HIV transmission.”

    Can anyone explain this ?

  46. PLC,

    The three options again:

    1. Not having sex
    2. Having protected sex
    3. Having unprotected sex

    OK, to play your game, I won’t dismiss option 1.
    Every informed individual can weigh the relative risks and reward of all 3 options and make rational choices.

    Considering each choice at the margin, where decisions are made. Between option 1 and option 2, there is an increase in expected pleasure and an increase in perceived risk. If the increased risk perception outweighs the increased pleasure expectation, then the rational individual will choose option 1, otherwise he or she will choose option 2. By overstating the risk of option 2, more people will choose option 1, and I suspect that this is the Vatican’s intent.

    However, when weighing options 2 and 3, if the perceived risk of option 2 is increased then the marginal risk differential between the two choices is decreased while the marginal pleasure differential remains the same. Therefore a larger number of people will choose option 3 over option 2.

    Or is all this just “simple-minded ignorance”?

  47. I don’t get it PLC. If you were, say, a poor person living in Africa, with little access to medical care and nearly no chance of leaving your AIDS-infested homeland, you would NEVER have sex? In most humans, the desire for sex ranks right up there with the desire to avoid death. Do you want a long sexless life, or a short sexful life? I think that’s a tough choice, but I tend to prefer the latter.

  48. Russ:

    If people only made that choice between 1, 2, and 3 once, then your argument would be completely valid. The difference is that this decision is made many times during any given time period. If condoms are readily available, the theory goes, people will opt for choice 2 more often and choices 1 and 3 less often. Since choice 2 is less safe than choice 1 and more safe than choice 3, you can not state emphatically whether or not, over time, the “readily available condom world” will be safer or less safe than the “scarcity condom world”.

    In other words, each sexual encounter will be more safe, but if you have more sexual encounters as a result, you may end up less safe over time.

    Again, I’m not pretending to know the answer, I’m just saying the the debate is not as open and shut as would first appear.

    Certainly it appears that the Catholic church is overselling thier case, but it also appears that the pro-condom people are overselling their case as well. It is not clear which position is more dangerous.

  49. PLC,

    ALL people are “sexually insatiable,” if by that you mean not very good at complete abstinence. If you’re happy with it, more power to you, I guess. But as long as there are people, there’ll be people fucking. That’s why we’re here.

    I guess I care what Mencken had to say because he was a pretty sharp social critic who had no mercy for the bluenoses and hypocrits of his day. He didn’t have a foolproof moral compass, but he was a helluva lot smarter than I am, so when I agree with him on something, he usually said it better than I would.

  50. Andy asks: “Do you want a long sexless life, or a short sexful life? I think that’s a tough choice, but I tend to prefer the latter.”

    I honestly can’t see how you could even consider that a tough choice. I love life WAY too much to risk foreshortening it for a couple hours of physical pleasure. You must have a pretty sad life.

  51. PLC,
    I’m curious about your statement that encouraging people to wear seat belts didn’t save lives. Got any sources for that? It seems to be slightly different than the condom issue. Did encouraging people to wear seat belts encourage people to drive less catiously? Or did it just encourage people to drive more since driving became safer?

    I’m opposed to seat belt laws, but I see no reason to encourage seatt belt usage.

  52. Make that: I see no reason not to encourage seat belt usage.

  53. Andy,

    Just because Russ says there are 3 choices doesn’t mean there are. How about 1a. monogamy, 1b. fewer partners, etc. Given the numbers above on the effect of condoms vs. better partner selection, it’s not easy to say whether getting a smaller number of people to select 1a or 1b is a better idea or not.

    Does anyone have any actual data that show how much slower HIV spreads through a “condomized” population? It may be that after say 20% infection rate, a 80-90% effective risk reduction still results in unnacceptably high rates of infection.

  54. Mo:

    A professor of economics and statistics from England actually wrote a book on the impacts of seat belt laws, helmet laws, child safety seat laws, etc. He looked at tons of data from around the world and found that almost none of these types of laws could be shown to have saved lives over time.

    What he found for seat belt laws was that these laws did lead to fewer deaths for those wearing the seat belts, but more deaths for occupants of other vehicles or pedestrians, etc. His conclusion was that seat belts make driving seem safer so people will drive in more marginal conditions, they will drive more often when they are drunk or tired, and they will drive more recklessly. All these effects essentially cancel each other out and like areas with and without seat belt laws have essentially the same rate of vehicular fatalities.

    I wish I could remember the guys name. I heard him speak, and he was pretty convincing….

  55. What is most disturbing to me here are the busybodies who believe they need to make people’s choices for them, or that people aren’t smart enought to decide for themselves and live their lives as they see fit.

    Be honest and upfront about the risks and let people make their own choices.

    People deserve information, not propaganda.

  56. The first paragraph above should say
    …it’s not easy to say whether getting a smaller number of people to select 1a or 1b relative to 2 vs. a larger number of people selecting 2 relative to 3 is a better idea or not.

    (Not that that’s easy to read. But the reasoning is sound, I swear.)

  57. The professor’s name is John Adams, and the book is called “Risk”.

  58. So you are suggesting that the population of Africa should voluntarily wipe itself out? (no sex = no children) This is what it amounts to although I know it isn’t the purpose of the suggestion that they should avoid sex.

    Sure they could stick to monogamous sex within matrimony But suppose even though a person had done everything right they end up getting AIDS because of a cheating spouse?

  59. The issue is whether the church has a right to teach it’s doctrine to the faithful. Of course it does. They have a vested interest in the Third World because that is where their support is growing the fastest. There science in this argument may be dubious, at best, but there teaching of abstinence until marriage, and monogamy afterwards, is a sure fire way of avoiding the HIV virus. If people do not follow the teachings of the church, the church cannot be blamed for the results.

  60. Is the enormous rate of infection in Africa due to lack of news coverage of the problem in the late 80s/early 90s? Is it due to the denial of sexual transmission? Is it due to real differences in sex practices of US culture and SubSaharan culture? Is it fair to group all sub saharan cultures together vis a vis sex practices?

    I don?t have any hard data on this but what I have heard is that one reason for the disparity of AIDS in Africa versus more developed nations is the difference in the quality of health care. We?ve pretty much screened HIV out of blood transfusions, discourage the practice of reusing needles, and have all sort of sanitation protocols (sterilization, use of latex gloves, etc.) to minimize the risk of exposure that they do not have as widespread in a lot of developing nations. In which case, if the goal were to reduce the incidences of AIDS as well as other life-threatening illnesses, modernizing their health care protocols might go a long way towards doing that from a prevention standpoint.

    One side note, I have not read the Reason article (it would be great if one of our editors would post a link hint-hint 😉 ) about the WHO exaggerating the incidences of AIDS in Africa but it would not surprise me for a couple of reasons.

    First as I understand it when the WHO gathers health data they tend to rely on local reporting using a variety of methods as opposed to a set of standardized reporting methods which would give more consistent results among nations. This was cited in a Cato report critiquing the 1996 WHO report which made the (laughably absurd) claim that the United States was ranked something like 149th world wide in health care (a claim that is often repeated by many proponents of socialized medicine as ?proof? that the free market does not work). In which case it seems entirely plausible that WHO may be basing their numbers on incorrect data as a result of errors in diagnosis at the local level.

    The other reason is that IMNHO medicine and science are just as political as religion especially when government is involved. It would not surprise me in the least that some diseases are over reported because they are more likely to get funding that way. If a hospital can get X dollars in funding to treat patients who die from infections in a hospital but XX dollars from patients who die of AIDS and the solution to preventing both is to get funding to improve sanitation at the hospital, why wouldn?t a doctor fib the cause of death to get more funding if s/he thought it would save more lives?

    Note: I?m not denying that lots of people are suffering from AIDS in Africa, I?m just rather suspicious of some of the numbers given WHO?s previous inaccuracies and the politicization of AIDS and the likelihood that the solution to preventing deaths is probably improvements in sanitation and health care protocols (AIDS and non-AIDS alike) as opposed to changes in sexual mores.

    Just my $0.02.

  61. “The issue is what one thinks of lying to people in order to get them to behave in accordance with one’s doctrines.”

    Well, at least I guess I’ve convinced Julian about the merits of the Guardian article.

  62. Andy: It’s called taxation.

  63. PLC: “I honestly can’t see how you could even consider that a tough choice. I love life WAY too much to risk foreshortening it for a couple hours of physical pleasure. You must have a pretty sad life.”

    You know what I like about you? Your style is completely nonabrasive and kind and open and you don’t use any ad hominim arguments at all. Very refreshing!

    And yes, I’d choose even a high risk of dying of AIDS with sex over a very low chance of getting AIDS and dying a virgin. This isn’t about having a sad life outside of sex; it’s about needing sex more than needing a long life. It’s along the lines of choosing between living to be 100 as a slave vs. living to be 30 as a free man. And I thought this place would attract exclusively “give me liberty or give me death” types:)

  64. JDM: “it’s not easy to say whether getting a smaller number of people to select 1a or 1b is a better idea or not”

    While I agree with your statistical analysis of the relative risks, I don’t like the tone of the above quote. It should be up to the individual who is there to make the decision, outsiders should offer knowledge, not manipulative strategies for controlling the people so they make the “proper” choices. It’s hard, but I’m in favor of giving accurate information even to ignorant peasants who are making all the wrong decisions.

    I don’t want to tell those Africans how much sex they should have, but I’d like them to be given full disclosure. Anything else runs right into my “ignorance is strength” detector. The church is definitely promoting ignorance in reality, if not in intention.

    BTW, an important distinction between the condom issue and the seat belts issue is that nobody (so far as I know) wants to make condom use mandatory.

  65. It’s along the lines of choosing between living to be 100 as a slave vs. living to be 30 as a free man.

    I’m currently choosing between living to be 100 as a part-time slave (a few decades of that 100 or so) and living as a free man until I’m 22, which is probably when the state would get around to shooting me. I’m pretty well settled on the former.

    And really, some of the hypotheticals in this discussion have made me giggle. On that subject, if you were going to play russian roulette, would you rather load one chamber or five?

  66. Wait a minute. Are you saying the Swedish penis enlarger DOESN’T work?

  67. “They could consider less fucking. That seems like a good option to dying a terrible horrible lonely painful slow death.”

    What’s more, the best way to avoid the health effects of air pollution is to stop breathing.

  68. Robert: “living to be 100 as a part-time slave (a few decades of that 100 or so) and living as a free man until I’m 22”

    What the hell are you talking about?

    And for RR, you want five chambers loaded. That way, you have a better chance of taking out your captors (think the Deer Hunter).

  69. Actually, I’m confused.

    The US had AIDS infections in ther erly 80s, but this was mostly among gay men, and it never passed into the hetero population in a big way until recently.

    Is the enormous rate of infection in Africa due to lack of news coverage of the problem in the late 80s/early 90s? Is it due to the denial of sexual transmission? Is it due to real differences in sex practices of US culture and SubSaharan culture? Is it fair to group all sub saharan cultures together vis a vis sex practices?

    In the populations of the middle east and east asian AIDS is becoming more prevalent in the last 5 years, but I haven’t heard of infection rates like those of Africa.

    Does anyone have any data on why there is such a huge difference among gepgraphic regions?

  70. Actually, the issue is not whether the church has a right to teach its doctrines, or even the relative merits of condoms vs. abstinence. The issue is what one thinks of lying to people in order to get them to behave in accordance with one’s doctrines.

  71. Wierd. I will have to look over all the comments again, but it seems that no one took issue with the fact that the Vatican is simply, irrationally, opposed to contraception in all forms due to an article of faith and due to this they are willing to kill people (which is what telling people infected with AIDS not to use condoms will do). I am being intentionally provocative here with my choice of verbs.

    The thrust of the Vatican’s position (pardon the pun) is that “The church opposes any kind of contraception because it claims it breaks the link between sex and procreation”. Blind adherence to this position has led them to exaggerate the risks that condoms dont work. I agree with the description in the post: VILE.

  72. This was a topic on the local talk radio outlet today. There seems to be a (small) body of research that bears out the church’s stance. How reputable it is I do not know, and would personally doubt. But, like most things these days, can the church be blamed for going with the “facts” that suit their cause any more than a corporation or government. Ironic to play Devil’s advocate in support of a church that I have serious misgivings about. The abstinence teachings remain valid though

  73. Oh, and as for lying to get people to act in accordance with ones doctrines, that never happens elsewhere does it? Why do people expect that the people stumping for a particular religion are going be any better than the shysters trying to sell you the Swedish penis enlarger?

  74. $.02, I’ve heard of some terribly strange theories about sex and AIDS that are prevalent in Africa. There’s some mythology that a man having sex with a virgin woman can cure him of AIDS (which leads to pedophilia). Can’t remember the details, but isn’t there a prominent African leader who denies the fact that HIV leads to AIDS?

    Very ignorant people are being lied to and it’s killing them. Garth’s sentiment is right on; the Vatican is part of the problem.

  75. EMAIL: krokodilgena1@yahoo.com
    IP: 62.213.67.122
    URL: http://www.PILLS-PENIS-ENLARGEMENT.NET

    DATE: 12/11/2003 01:35:18
    Even a philosopher gets upset with a toothache.

  76. EMAIL: krokodilgena1@yahoo.com
    IP: 62.213.67.122
    URL: http://enlarge-your-penis.nonstopsex.org
    DATE: 12/21/2003 03:06:44
    The fear of death is the beginning of slavery.

  77. EMAIL: pamela_woodlake@yahoo.com
    IP: 68.173.7.113
    URL: http://weight-loss.weight-loss-central.org
    DATE: 01/10/2004 06:31:57
    If you would be unloved and forgotten, be reasonable.

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