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March 18, 2012

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Thank you, Dr. Science, for a fascinating and illuminating post!

I always thought I was thoroughly educated about how the reproductive system works (including the complex dance of FSH and LH in creating gametes in the first place).

I knew that preventing ovulation isn't the same as preventing fertilization, and that fertilization doesn't implacably lead to implantation. So I've always known that the anti-choice bleats about various types of BC being "abortifacients" was drivel - whether motivated by pure ignorance or expedient dishonesty, plainly drivel either way.

But I did not know that there was a significant time lapse between intercourse and ovulation and fertilization.

I don't think it'll make any difference to the forced-birth quackery claques, though.

I didn't know that either, to my shame. It should be in every school sex ed class.

I've been thinking about this phenomenon of people who are opinionated on matters about which they are poorly or wrongly informed. (You discribe such a person during your post). The most annoying thing about such people is that so often they refuse to learn, too. WILLFULLY ignorant and opinionated.


I've been running into this locally as part of some committee work I got sucked into. I'm more than bascially literate on matters related to Western Washington forest ecology and birds, but I find that knowing what I am talking about doesn't make my thoughts worth hearing to those who don't. I was treated to a lecture from a former retail CEO the other day on how the timber companies have improved habitat in the National Forests because the hunters go where the deer are which is in the places where the trees have been thinned.

There are so many layers of ignorance in that statement that it is hard to know where to start, but, since I've had discussions with this guy before I started by sayig that I would be receptive to lectures on forest biology from him when he got receptive on lectures on how to manage a retail business from me.

I then lectured him on forest biology.

The thing is I have had discussion with this guy many times and when I was polite to him he didn't hear a word I said. In fact he got annoyed because he thinks the conversation is over once his opinion has been aired.

But being rude to him worked. He backed off. He even for the moment backed down.

I don't know what the moral of the story is unless it is that willful ignorance seems to be a form of bullying and that only way to deal with bully is is to stand up to them.

"Plan B is *only* effective because ovulation is always a day or more *after* the sex that gets you pregnant -- "

Are you looking at your own chart? It clearly shows that, while for the highest probability of fertilization you want to have sex the day before ovulation, the day OF ovulation is roughly as effective as two to three days prior. A little bit of research would show that you could actually have sex some time in the 24 hours after ovulation, and still have a non-zero chance of conception. (Though the fertilization rate drops off fast.)

IOW, if Plan B really worked only by interfering with ovulation, the failure rate would suck big time unless you had the foresight to take it somewhat before you had sex. If it worked by interfering with ovulation AND fertilization, the failure rate would still be significant for sex on the day of ovulation.

Only by interfering with implantation as well can plan B be as effective as it is.

Now, I personally am fine with that, I've only got a beef with post-viability abortion. But I do think we should have some medical accuracy here. You don't have to have sex at least 24 hours before ovulation to get pregnant. Not remotely true.

Mr. Bellmore:

What if the egg (or the waiting sperm) is interfered with during the journey of the egg to meet the sperm? Is that transit part of ovulation or fertilization? I'd instinctively say the former, but I'm also not a reproductive biologist.

This isn't me being snide but, rather, wondering if there's a degree of confusion here due to terminology conventions rather than a lack of "medical accuracy".

(On a more personal note, this question strikes me as exemplifying the sort of complication that always seems to arise when we humans chop up continuous natural processes and cycles into discrete stages in order to set moral standards. Over on my side of the natural sciences, nature is notoriously uncooperative about being neat when it would most help our decisions.)

Plan B is only 80% effective according to the package materials, Brett.

Dr Science,
The problem with making scientific and logical positions when engaged in debate with religious parties is that there is a fundamental discrepancy in how "truth" is reached. Religions require that fundamentals be accepted on faith. These fundamentals are then posited as proven theories. Any need to buttress the theories is sought from a premise that the theory is true. Any data not supporting the theory are ignored and/or thrown away as being inaccurate or simply wrong. Scientist, on the other hand posit theories based on their best assessment of current known data. They then develop experiments to provide data either supporting or disproving the theory. If the data disprove the theory, the theory is then modified and further experiments carried out. Eventually, the theory may become fully accepted but only as long as no new data disagree with it. As an example, in the 100 years since Einstein theorized on relativity, that theory has been extensively modified to meet needs of new data.
The religionists have faith that contraception is equivalent to abortion and any data not conforming with that are "wrong." This parallels the arguments regarding definition of "marriage." I have absolutely no question as to their interpretation of the increasing data that support the theory that humans originally lived in small to moderate sized groups (families) with multiple sexual partners very similar to the present day Bonobos rather than the monogamous model long held as "fact".

From webmd:

If you take it within 72 hours after you've had unprotected sex, Plan B One-Step can reduce your risk of pregnancy by up to 89%. If you take Plan B One-Step within 24 hours, it is about 95% effective.

One-Step is the full dosage in a single pill, rather than two half dosages taken 12 hours apart, making it more effective. But the webmd excerpt is consistent with what Brett wrote, which, ironically, means he doesn't make much of a point.

Us horesman have known the data in the chart for a long time. Thoroughbreds have to be "live cover" that is stallion and mare actually have to have a little date (no artificial insemenation) if you want the offspring to qualify for racing.

You have to know the signs the mare gives off. A few days before ovulation she is really horny and she will demonstrate this in certain ways. The day of ovulation and the day after she starts geting bitchy. So you have to have the stallion hit it ideally two days pre-ovulation. One day before if the stallion is older because his sperm is less motile and doesn't last as long. That's how we time things.

Incidentally, if the mare has already ovulated, but is still giving off some pheremones, she may not be interested in sex, but the stallion will still be interested enough that something that can only be called an equine rape occurs. We have to be careful to try to avoid this as the horses will fight hard enough, the stallion for sex and the mare against sex, that injuries can - and do - occur.

Yes, when the probability of "mission accomplished" drops by anywhere from 30-50% that is "roughly" the same. The likelihood of NASA sharing that opinion is "roughly" under 50%.

"Waiter, another Standard Deviation, please. Make it a double."

Oh, lest I forget. Great post, Doc.

Great post, but I think that more people know about this than you think - everyone interested in fertility treatments e.g. IVF, ICSI will be counseled about these things, and even RCC official proponents of the rythm method, unreliable (and stupid to use instead of true birth control) as it is, tell people to abstain for several days before ovulation.

MODERATION RULES FOR THIS POST
Starting now, I will delete EVERY comment with what I consider to be ANY level of ad hominem or personal attack. This includes just plain rudeness, especially to other commenters.

For comments already posted, I will edit them, striking through the parts that would have gotten the comment banned.

I found it very difficult to even follow the discussion on the previous post, after a while, because so many of the comments were rude, ad hominem, and/or inappropriate.

Don't make me turn this car around.

Brett:

In the scientific paper, they say that the reason there is a significant chance of pregnancy for intercourse on day of ovulation is because they only had data for each *calendar day*. Sex in the morning, ovulation at night = possible pregnancy; the other way around = no pregnancy.

avedis:

I didn't know that about horse-breeding, thanks. One of the differences between horses and humans is that we have concealed ovulation -- and a woman's ovulation is not just concealed from other people, it's concealed from *herself* (or difficult to spot without training).

IMActualEvolutionaryBiologistO, one of reasons for CO in Homo is because we've been trying to not get pregnant since before we were H. sap. Basically, I think CO evolved to make "natural family planning" more difficult.

The other difference, of course, is that horses are *expensive*. As Terry Pratchett says, "Horse doctors *have* to get results."

So saying someone doesn't make much of point is against the rules, even when it's backed with data? That's ad hom or a personal attack?

HSH:

Honestly, I found your comment sufficiently opaque that I interpreted it as: "But the webmd excerpt is consistent with what Brett wrote, which means that what he said was useless, what do you expect from him."

It may be that it was the word "ironically" that tripped my rudeness filter. Or it may be that I just couldn't figure out precisely what you were saying, so I looked at the comment as being more emotional than logical.

HSH:

Upon further thought:

So saying someone doesn't make much of point is against the rules

When it's phrased that way, yeah. The polite commenter says:

"It seems to me that [quote] doesn't say anything that isn't in [other quote]. The point webmd is making is [paraphrase], which is just what Brett was saying by [quote]."

It's a redirection from talking about Brett and what he said, to talking about the content of different statements.

What's with all the strikeouts?

"Plan B is *only* effective because ovulation is always a day or more *after* the sex that gets you pregnant -- "

I was merely pointing out that your own supporting materials contradicted this statement.

Brett:

You weren't "merely pointing out". To do so, you might have said:

"But I don't think that's what the chart there shows. It clearly shows..."

Are you looking at your own chart? is a comment about *me*, not about the chart or the data. It's ad hominem, though in a mild way I might usually let pass.

I'm doing this intrusive modding to get y'all (plural) out of the habit of making low-level ad hominem remarks all the time. I hope that y'all will get the hang of not doing it, and I can let conversations take their own course in the future.

plural is y'all all

CCDG:

Not according to my husband, Atlanta Boy. Or to my HS Latin teacher, who used y'all to teach us the difference between second person singular & plural.

What the chart actually shows is that the optimum time for intercourse to result in pregnancy is about a day before ovulation; it certainly does not show that it must *always* occur a day or more before. Unfortunately the data seem to be truncated at ovulation time, but there is no obvious reason to supposed that the probability does not tail off in the positive direction, as it does in the negative direction.

"One of the differences between horses and humans is that we have concealed ovulation -- and a woman's ovulation is not just concealed from other people, it's concealed from *herself* (or difficult to spot without training)."

yes, indeed. Humans are really weird that way and I can't understand why they are not evolved to be like the horse and other animals; though I think whales might be another species that are like humans. Otherwise, quite unique, I believe.

I also think it causes problems, particularly in male/female relationships and may even underlie rape. I mean a mare puts off pheremones and performs certain behaviors that make it unmistakeable to the stallion that she wants sex. Humans, on the other hand can and do mimick mating behaviors even when not 100% interested in having sex and when not preparing to ovulate.

Arrrrggghhh, frustrating.

@avedis:

I also think it causes problems, particularly in male/female relationships and may even underlie rape.

I think it can cause problems in some male/female relationships. Human interactions are much more complicated than that, after all, and the desire for sex between partners is dependent on more factors than the urge to make babies.

It may also underlie some rapes, but again, rape is a much more complex phenomenon, involving not just sexuality but power dynamics as well.

I'm generally reluctant to apply this sort of logic to human relationships. It elides so many other reasons people do things, and also fails to explain the enormous proportion of relationships (and relations) that are productive, consensual, and good.

Humans, on the other hand can and do mimick mating behaviors even when not 100% interested in having sex and when not preparing to ovulate.

Indeed. And many of the people who have done just that under just those circumstances have been male.

skeptonomist:

The reason the data are truncated at ovulation time is, the papers says, because "conception on the day after ovulation has never been documented." There is no rightward tail to the distribution.

Now that there's a lot of experience with IVF, scientists are pretty sure that the egg is only good for maybe 6 hours. It's a *really* small window.

"Humans, on the other hand can and do mimick mating behaviors even when not 100% interested in having sex and when not preparing to ovulate."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlAg_gInabw

Yes, guys do that, too, in other ways.

Thing is, the signals we, all of us, the boys and the girls, send much of the time read like Windows fatal error messages.

Nothing as eminently readable and understandable as "preparing to ovulate".

Quote For The Day from Andrew Sullivan

"I see that both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum now have Secret Service with them on the campaign trail. And in Santorum's case I think it's the first time he's actually ever used protection," - Senator Scott Brown, after Conan O'Brien.

I remember from my school days (I finished 20 years ago this fall) that the egg lasts about 6 hours and the sperm somewhere between 48 and 72 hours. I do not remember, whether we got any estimates about how long the sperm takes from the cervix to the ovaries. But even with this limited data it was clear that the critical period was before ovulation not after. The sperm has to wait for the egg, less the other way around for pure mathematical reasons.
With some other mammals (let alone insects who can get pretty bizarre) it is even more complicated because the female can store the fertilized eggs and iirc in some cases even the sperm for extended periods of time and induce actual pregnancy when convenient (season, food availability etc.). Some can even autoabort, i.e. end their own pregnancy at will up to a certain point in development should the original judgment turn out wrong.
I think I remember that there are animals (not mammals though) that can become pregnant before even being born (I assume that requires parthenogenesis since I know of no copulating fetuses).
Hares, at least according to tradition, can conceive while pregnant, i.e. start a new pregnancy before the previous has ended.
One can only wonder how the RCC doctrine would look, if we were badgers ;-)
[the last sentence is not intended as an insult]

Humans, on the other hand can and do mimick mating behaviors even when not 100% interested in having sex and when not preparing to ovulate.

Arrrrggghhh, frustrating.

This is a good point, further complicated by the cross wiring of signals for agony and ecstasy, as the metaphor petite mort suggests. Those two things, coupled with the societal notion that sex is not something that should be pursued by women, leaves signalling about what we want and don't want rather convoluted.

However, avedis, since you were the one to point this out, I wonder if you might consider it a bit more deeply. In the absence of clear signals, it becomes important to make sure to provide some larger context, as when people argue that 'no means no'. In the previous thread discussing rape, you (and others, to be sure) made comments that somehow lower the threshold of consent, so that a woman going to a bar to get drunk is, in effect, responsible for anything that happens to her.

You seem to get exercised by the invocation of a 'rape culture', but it seems that in the face of such problems in signalling, it is important to make clear and unambiguous the message to override those problematic crossed signals. If this runs afoul of the "A certain % of men are just going to do what they do.", that's too bad for them, but the idea is to prevent those who are not part of that percentage, but may consider that, in the heat of the moment, no somehow means yes.

avedis:

You have not yet unlocked the achievement, "talk about rape without embarrassing self and traumatizing others." Level up before you go there.

Did you (and the rest of the gang) understand what I am suggesting as a cause of concealed ovulation in humans? or was I too elliptical?

Bonobos are able to have sex at all kinds of non-reproductive times, without rape getting into it (much), so apes are clearly capable of parsing each other's sexual signals more subtly than horses are.

Doc, opaqueness I can admit to, particularly the unintentional kind.

But what was ironic was that Brett did a fairly good job of interpreting the graph. Where he went wrong was in deducing from it that Plan B must interfere with implantation, lest it have a significant rate of failure. The problem with that is that it does have a significant rate of failure, so there is no reason to conclude that it must interfere with implantation.

Within 72 hours, the more effective one-step is good up to only 89% in risk reduction. It gets better if taken with 24 hours. So, he's more or less right about how soon preganancy can occur after ovulation. But he's wrong about what that means regarding the mechanisms by which Plan B works.

That sounds like logic, as opposed to emotion, to me.

But I get your point. I'll try (harder) to avoid the snark.

within 24 hours

Dammit! Fertilization, not pregnancy. And after sex, not ovulation. (I give up.)

You have not yet unlocked the achievement, "talk about rape without embarrassing self and traumatizing others." Level up before you go there.

Isn't that a bit impolite?

I find the hall monitoring somewhat heavy-handed and silly.

This is why I often say that when people say "life" (meaning moral personhood) "begins at conception," what they mean by "conception" is not when the sperm goes into the egg but when the sperm goes into the woman. There's actually a significant time difference between those events. But it seems to be sufficiently generally unknown that perhaps I shouldn't infer malice.

(While I do know it, my language still slips from time to time.)

"I also think it causes problems, particularly in male/female relationships and may even underlie rape. I mean a mare puts off pheremones and performs certain behaviors that make it unmistakeable to the stallion that she wants sex. Humans, on the other hand can and do mimick mating behaviors even when not 100% interested in having sex and when not preparing to ovulate."

I agree that Dr. Science's phrasing was a little disrespectful, but I suspect her reaction was because what avedis substantively said was offensive and wrong (and offensive because of how wrong it was).

The proposition that what "underlies" rape is genuine male confusion about when women are ovulating is, I hope, clearly misogynistic and wrong. It suggests that rather than aggression, patriarchy, violence, entitlement, dehumanization, poor dumb men just can't tell when a lady's ready for baby-making! He says that humans can and do mimick [sic] mating behaviors even when not ovulating. And this is what "underlies rape?" Syntactically there isn't anything else he can mean. Rape in the context of war, of children, of male prisoners - forgotten and ignored, in favor of ev-psych bs that blames those darn confusing lady signals.

To the extent that is is within the realm of physical possibility that avedis is not wrong, I'd love to see some evidence cited, as opposed to just having it tossed off casually.

The fact that avedis closed with "Arrrrggghhh, frustrating," right after positing that this confusion was the basis for rape, belittles the seriousness of rape. Even granting that his absurdly simplistic, unsourced, unsupported, insulting theory is right, "frustrating" is not the word I'd use to respectfully discuss rape.

"you (and others, to be sure) made comments that somehow lower the threshold of consent, so that a woman going to a bar to get drunk is, in effect, responsible for anything that happens to her."

No LJ, you have misunderstood me. I think that other women and men should respect her and take care of her if too drunk to do so herself. The men especially should act like gentlemen.

All I am saying is that the above is an ideal, one that I would love to see play out in reality and one that I try to assist in making a reality whenever the occasion presents, but, fact is , it won't be a reality often enough.

Therefore, a woman who goes out, gets drunk and flirty is playing with fire and likely to get burnt and she should know better. I Think McTX used the analogy of jogging in the middle of the night, wearing all black, on the hiway and expecting cars to look out for you and then not accepting any responsibility when you are hit. I agree that there is some salience in that.

I did say that consent becomes confused when a woman is too drunk to remember the next day and she should not put herself in that position. Ideally, again, men should not have sex with wasted women. I think it's sick, twisted and stupid as well as predatory. But then we all know that there are sick, twisted, stupid, predatory people out in the world. Or, at least by the time we are old enough to legally drink, we should know that and we should also be mature enough to not put ourselves in compromised situations where such people can have their way with us.

"You seem to get exercised by the invocation of a 'rape culture'"

I do... errr...obviously. I just don't buy it; not as you mean it at least. Rather, I think we live in a sex culture, with the promotion of gratuitous sex increasing via various media venues. Returning to my mention of horses, stallions are always ready to have sex. that is their biology. Mares, not so. Only when "in season" i.e. preparing to ovulate, but then they are avidly seeking sex and will happily consent to have it with the first available stallion. Very simple.

Human males, if young and healthy and fit are akin to the stallion. Human females, though, have this problem where they can have sexual desire, or at least pretend to, even when not hormonely driven for procreation purposes. They have all these reasons for acting "sexy", some of the reasons mindless culture following and others quite self serving and calculated, others natural curiousity and exploration and, others still, actually actively seeking a partner to purely enjoy sex with.

A major problem is that I think women consistently underestimate the male sex drive and the effects of 'sexy" behavior on males. Or maybe they don't, but underestimate the lengths men will go to to obtain the sex they biologically crave. Then they end up getting raped - or agreeing to something they later regret.

This does not excuse the man, IMO. It does, however, point to a need to educate women better. I do think that some men who are fence sitting potential rapists could be detered by education as well. The impact would only be on the margins.

"You have not yet unlocked the achievement, "talk about rape without embarrassing self and traumatizing others." Level up before you go there."

Dr S, I have this sense that unless I start waving a banner that says all men are rapist pigs seeking to impose patriarchal rule over every cell in every woman's body, you are going to accuse me of being below the level. I disagree with your feminism. maybe it would be interesting for you to hear the opinion of someone who has tried his whole life to treat women with respect, yet has lived an unsheltered life and seen all sorts of things, including man/woman interaction things, that he often wishes he hadn't.

For every woman I know who has been raped or otherwise abused by a man (and yes, I've know more than a few), I know a man who has been sexually manipulated and used and abused by a woman. Saddly, there are too many victims of both gender.

As I've said before, the world needs more love. Good clean straight up love. Feminism, to me, is just another divisive element, another war amidst the many that surround us each day.

I digress. I am sorry. i tend to think holistically. I like tying things together. This current post brought thoughts, to me, that tie back to other recent posts. i did not mean to troll the post. that was not my intention.

Julian, i was more refering to the "date rape" type scenarios that we have been discussing here.

Obviously a soldier from an invading army that drags a woman out of her home and rapes is not confused by signals she sending.

Sorry I wasn't more clear.

That f'ing word, misogynist, I don't think it means what you think it does. Folks 'round here sure like to use it any how.

"Julian, i was more refering to the "date rape" type scenarios that we have been discussing here."

Nobody was talking about rape until you brought it up, so it's impossible that anyone was discussing rape scenarios, let alone date rape scenarios. Also, without going into too much detail, your explanation is not very good for date rape either. Are you imagining that the bulk of date rapes are perpetrated by honestly mistaken men? If so, where did you come up with that idea?

"That f'ing word, misogynist, I don't think it means what you think it does."

Of or relating to the hatred of women. Why, what do you think it means?

"Folks 'round here sure like to use it any how."

If the shoe fits.

Sorry, I was defining "misogynistic," not "misogynist."

Sapient @ 09:08 PM "I find the hall monitoring somewhat heavy-handed and silly."

I like it, myself. I'm just a lurker and sometime participant, so weight my opinion as you feel that warrants, but I think moderation can encourage pleasant norms, as well as stop hanging offences.

Moderators are not police, in that sense.

Ideally the 'hall-monitoring' will be brief and light, and we'll settle to a traditional ObWi level of friendly conversation. Which I think (all) y'all do great at, btw. But I saw a number of line ball challenges and appeals to the ref in recent comments threads, and I don't think we need to play the game that hard.

Julian, the more I think about it your comment is as insulting as it is ridiculous.

"The proposition that what "underlies" rape is genuine male confusion about when women are ovulating is, I hope, clearly misogynistic and wrong. It suggests that rather than aggression, patriarchy, violence, entitlement, dehumanization"

Sometimes I think we have more women commenting here than we know because the women use male names.

Look, let's just call it like it is. For about 30 years, from age 12 to around 42, as a fit healthy male, I was going around with a rocket in pocket. Enough to drive a man crazy sometimes. Last few years, private woody is still standing tall when called to attention, but a little less in need of command supervision.

Ok? That's reality. Mine and most of the men I know. Maybe someone around here can relate.

Some of us learn to manage that situation without being harmful to women.

Others don't. And once that rocket's self guidance system thinks it senses a willing target - even if this is due to bad intel - and kicks in, for some men, all the brass in NORAD can't bring it back under control. It's locked on target and going at mach2.

Some men, evil men IMO, like the rapist conquering soldiers, will even sociopathicaly express their biological urge through brute rape. Been that way since day one.

Yep, boys will be boys. Sorry. reality doesn't evaporate because you don't like it the way it is.

If we were horses it wouldn't be a problem because sex only happens when the female is biologically ready for it (though there can be some failed attempts and rape/fights on the margins). Life would be much simpler, at least for the 25 year old me. And it's weird - as in an interesting I wonder why kind of way - that human females can be interested in sex when not at that particular point in their ovulation cycle. That's all I was saying.

Again feminists tend to deny biology when discussing "rape culture". They seem to think all sexual expression is socially learned. It isn't.

So what underlies rape culture, to the extent that such a thing exists, is a male biological urge.

As for contraception, I am, as I have consistently stated, all for it. We don't take good enough care of the children we have. We are not ready for more.

Meanwhile, not having to raise children, feminist women can do useful things with their free time like become lawyers and chase ambulances or become fighter pilots and slaughter which ever wogs need slaughtering today, or the oil company executives that pay the woman by god US senator to order the woman fighter pilot to kill the wogs so the ground troops can move in and secure the oil and maybe drag some some female wogs out of their homes and rape them in the process.

I'm a man.

I happen to agree that male biological urges are the basis of rape. But that is not what you initially argued. You said it was confusion about when women are ovulating. That is one kind of biological explanation, but it is not the only kind of biological explanation. The one you first proposed is, for the reasons I've mentioned, absurd.

In case you've forgotten, this is what you wrote:

"Humans, on the other hand can and do mimick mating behaviors even when not 100% interested in having sex and when not preparing to ovulate."

You said that in the context of explaining what "underlies" rape. That is, you said that what underlies rape is humans (woman, implicitly) mimicking mating behaviors when they don't want to really have sex, and men mistaking them.

I think it's an important oversight on your part to fail to note that in every example I cited, and many more you casually elide and fold into "date-rape" as you've carefully circumscribed it, that there is no mimicking or miscommunication - it's men raping regardless of invitation or ovulation.

Someone else please take over explaining this to him.

Sorry, don't explain it to him, get the thread back on track.

Matt McIrvin:

what they mean by "conception" is not when the sperm goes into the egg but when the sperm goes into the woman.

Yes, exactly! That's part of what I was fumbling toward saying in this post, but you have said it much better. I shall use your wording shamelessly.

Guys, I have to do that thing where I sleep, now. Please don't make me regret leaving comments open and unsupervised until morning ...

date rape has been a recent topic of several threads. I guess you have not been reading posts and comments here for a while so you didn't know that.

The confusion over women ovulating is because with the horse as well as most mamals I know about, the male won't achieve an erection - or at least not to the point of penetration - unless the female is actually ovulating (or pre-ovulating) and releasing whatever pheremones she releases that cause the male to achieve a lasting erection and penetration.

Human males, on the other hand, are not limited to erection/penetration with only women who are experiencing the peak days on Dr S' chart. Nor is the human female limited to sexual behavior during those times. Nor is her sexuality limited to procreation purposes only.

What I was saying, Julian, is that *if* we were like horses there would be less confusion and less rape. Since we are *not* like horses, there is confusion and there is rape.

So yes, I did *partly* say, "..... what underlies rape is humans (woman, implicitly) mimicking mating behaviors when they don't want to really have sex, and men mistaking them."

*Partly*, because, as should be abundantly clear, I did not imply this is all on women as you seem to think I did. You made that up yourself in your hunt for misogyny. What I did say, once again, is that it is a mix of male biological urge and female behavior which is less connected to mating for procreation than it is for other mammals that is the source of much of the problem.

ok, I took the thread off track, I'll start it back. What I learned today and find somewhat interesting is that Plan B prevents ovulation. Until I read this, I too thought it caused an abortion - not that I cared, but I did think that. So we have caught the right wing in another lie.

So what underlies rape culture, to the extent that such a thing exists, is a male biological urge.
Wrong. Rape is an exercise of power. It's a very sadistic way to humiliate another human being.

"Wrong. Rape is an exercise of power. It's a very sadistic way to humiliate another human being."


I have no doubt that anyone who has been raped experiences it as a sadistic and humiliating exercise of power. Those are definitely aspects of the crime of rape.

However, I am sorry, but rape, on the part of the rapist, is usually sexual and biological at its base. It is sexual drive expressed in an antisocial mode.

If the goal was only to sadisticly dominate and humiliate there are other ways of doing that that don't involve a man using his penis.

It's a little off-putting to see a purely biological post getting derailed into a date-rape argument.

Have a little regard, please. If you want a thread where you want to argue about rape vs. date-rape, we might be able to cordon off an area where you guys can get pie all over each other without splattering innocent bystanders.

My kingdom for leaving we horses out of it.

Isn't it enough that we studs must go pantsless for all to see without also having our members discussed on the equinetubes?

Thank you, Slarti, for pointing out that the why-men-rape discussion is a derail.

This is what I meant, avedis, by saying you're not leveled up enough to introduce this topic.

For your homework, read The Search for Rapists' "Real" Motives (pdf), a recent paper from the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. I haven't read more than the first couple of pages, but it looks like it covers a lot of relevant ground.

Thanks for that link, Doc. Interesting read. Also thanks for this post; I think I've seen many of the things discussed, but not all condensed together like this.

What I learned today and find somewhat interesting is that Plan B prevents ovulation. Until I read this, I too thought it caused an abortion - not that I cared, but I did think that. So we have caught the right wing in another lie.

It's amazing how successful they've been at convincing people of this.

I think part of it is the simple biological confusion described in the OP, and part of it is that there is an abortion pill, RU-486 aka mifepristone, which was a subject of major political controversy before Plan B was. Many, many people have some memories of discussion of the introduction of RU-486 and seem to think Plan B is just a trademark for it, or don't fully understand the difference between the two.

RU-486 is administered at clinics that provide abortion services; nobody is proposing making it an OTC drug (it'd be dangerous to do so, since proper use of it requires some medical supervision). Now, personally, I certainly do think it should be widely available and covered by health insurance, but this is a different issue from Plan B or birth-control-pill coverage.

"So we have caught the right wing in another lie."

Really, you just learned this and so it is a right wing lie? In this blog post alone there have been several people who noted that they didn't understand the mechanics of these drugs, or basic conception for that matter.

Yet, those right wingers understood it all in detail and foisted a big lie.

The right wing are, as a group, omiscient prevaricators. Evil geniuses, all.

A very informative post. Thanks much. Good to know, now, 30 years after the fact(s) how we managed it. Kidding. Damn good post.

Your point, Plan B is a contraceptive and therefore should be on the birth control side of the debate makes sense. Because I'm a generalist, my line has always been: BC is fine, abortion as a means of BC is a matter to be decided by the states.

Of interest to me (surprise, surprise) is your use of goings on down here as illustrative:

For some Texas conservatives, directing any state funds to any Planned Parenthood-affiliated clinics is akin to endorsing abortion.

My take, all anecdotal, is that this is an issue for a relatively small minority on both sides of the issue. PP is one of the leading abortion providers in Texas. If put to a vote, Texans would limit abortion severely. So, it's not much of a reach to question funding for PP. Others may not like it, but that's democracy. There's no obligation for a state's citizens to fund a private entity that performs legal acts that nonetheless run counter to the state's prevailing mores.

The more interesting point, and the one on which I differ, is the extent to which BC is viewed as a moral or religious issue outside RCC clergy, some practicing Catholics and the odd protestant pundit.

Regardless of what one or three or thirty outliers say on any point, the discrete issue of BC in Texas will never--never, never, never--remotely reach the point of the legislature doing anything at all that will impair access to BC. The state may decline to pay for it, but Texans will be free to practice BC for as long as there is a Texas. If nothing else, too many legislators have daughters on the pill.

Here's the thing: if one is going to be an activist on the subject and promote legislation on the basis that some medicine is an abortifacient, it behooves one to do some basic homework on the issue and at least make sure that one has some basis for asserting this, instead of just trading on popular misconceptions.

Otherwise, the assertion is, by the most sympathetic reading, the type of thing Harry Frankfurt has a word for: a statement whose literal truth value is of no interest to the person making it.

Most of the people who spread this around just don't know any better. But I do blame the folks who set it all in motion.

For Plan B they at least do have a thin reed to hang it all on, which is that the manufacturer at some point claimed that the pill might prevent implantation of an already-fertilized egg. But it turns out there's not actually good evidence to support this.

CCDG: "Really, you just learned this and so it is a right wing lie? In this blog post alone there have been several people who noted that they didn't understand the mechanics of these drugs, or basic conception for that matter.

Yet, those right wingers understood it all in detail and foisted a big lie."

Slarti: "The right wing are, as a group, omiscient prevaricators. Evil geniuses, all."

Can you spot the difference between an organized political movement that actively spreads a falsehood to the detriment of women, and a person who hears it repeated and comes to accept it because that person is insufficiently skeptical?

Who bears more blame for the misconception? Who has a greater moral responsibility to not be totally incorrect?

For Plan B they at least do have a thin reed to hang it all on, which is that the manufacturer at some point claimed that the pill might prevent implantation of an already-fertilized egg. But it turns out there's not actually good evidence to support this.

Yes, if that is the claim and if someone is pro-life, they may well oppose Plan B, not because it prevents conception, but because it can/could/might-also be an abortifacient. Some who oppose abortion, as a part of their make up, oppose any therapy or procedure, not otherwise medically necessary, that can or will terminate a pregnancy. Calling them liars doesn't help, unless the confusion around Plan B is clearly and widely dispelled.

As the responses to Doc S' post indicate, this clear and widespread comprehension is missing, even among those who closely follow the topic.

Can you spot the difference between an organized political movement that actively spreads a falsehood to the detriment of women, and a person who hears it repeated and comes to accept it because that person is insufficiently skeptical?

Yes, of course: one is an organized political movement that actively spreads a falsehood to the detriment of women, while the other is a person that hears it repeated and comes to accept it because that person is insufficiently skeptical.

This is fairly basic, I'd guess. But maybe you had some nonhypothetical point you wanted to make. I'm all ears.

"Regardless of what one or three or thirty outliers say on any point, the discrete issue of BC in Texas will never--never, never, never--remotely reach the point of the legislature doing anything at all that will impair access to BC. The state may decline to pay for it, but Texans will be free to practice BC for as long as there is a Texas. If nothing else, too many legislators have daughters on the pill."

You conflate two different things - "impair access to BC" and "free to practice BC." For a person on welfare, they are not the same. A congressman's daughter at UT is free to practice BC and has (practically speaking) unimpaired access. A woman who got evicted from her home and lost her job is free to practice, access impaired.

So yes, people in the legislature will watch out for their own - that doesn't mean they won't screw the poor.

Can you spot the difference between an organized political movement that actively spreads a falsehood

I am trying to think of an organized political movement that doesn't routinely spread, if not outright falsehoods, "facts" so unsupported by objective truth as to be the same thing.

You conflate two different things - "impair access to BC" and "free to practice BC." For a person on welfare, they are not the same. A congressman's daughter at UT is free to practice BC and has (practically speaking) unimpaired access. A woman who got evicted from her home and lost her job is free to practice, access impaired.

So yes, people in the legislature will watch out for their own - that doesn't mean they won't screw the poor.

The poor, by definition, have reduced or limited access to pretty much anything that costs money. That's the definition of being "poor". The conflation is between charging pro-lifers with opposition to BC as opposed to charging pro-lifers with not wanting to pay for this or that service. And, as I made, clear, the antipathy toward abortion in Texas makes de-funding PP pretty much a foregone decision. Now, if there was a stand alone entity that did preventative health, pregnancy health service and BC without also offering abortions, that org might well be a candidate for state funds. It's the abortion piece that causes the issue.

Slarti, why did you quote everything I said except for the last part?

The last part of what I said was my point. Did you not understand it? I will retype it for you:

"Who bears more blame for the misconception? Who has a greater moral responsibility to not be totally incorrect?"

I thought it was clear from those last two questions that I felt the organized political movement was more to blame and also more morally responsible. Was that unclear? I think this is a case of you acting in bad faith.

I made my point because you mocked Matt, using hyperbole, for blaming the "right wing" for the lie. I was illustrating why the "right wing" is in fact much more to blame.

Why did you flatly ignore a significant portion of my brief comment, which part directly addresses your supposed confusion?

"I am trying to think of an organized political movement that doesn't routinely spread, if not outright falsehoods, "facts" so unsupported by objective truth as to be the same thing."

So what?

The topic of the moment was who is to blame for this specific outright falsehood. Neither Matt nor I said that the right wing is to blame for this falsehood and all others, or that the right wing is unique in spreading a falsehood.

The logical fallacy you're looking for is "tu quoque."

The last part of what I said was my point. Did you not understand it? I will retype it for you:

"Who bears more blame for the misconception? Who has a greater moral responsibility to not be totally incorrect?"

Where have I seen points made in the form of a question, before?

I thought it was clear from those last two questions that I felt the organized political movement was more to blame and also more morally responsible. Was that unclear?

Still seems relatively hypothetical to me. It'd be much more clear if you had spent all those characters arguiing that (just as an example; not presuming an argument on your part) the GOP really knew the truth but was throwing out a lot of counterfactual crap out there for the express purpose of making women even more downtrodden, then we could have been talking about your point.

In short: I think you're besting me in the area of being unclear.

I think this is a case of you acting in bad faith

The bad-faith accusation, again. Well, since you've made it at me, there's just no sense in either of us trying anymore. Because why discuss with me when I don't really mean what I'm saying?

Which is something that you, of course, have direct knowledge of. Just like your other point.

I don't think he's looking for it. I think he's found it.

I mean, Slarti, you can call me unclear, but I would be very surprised if a single other adult reader on this board did not know what I said. If you personally didn't understand (sincerely), then I do not apologize - you have a lot to learn about how to read.

"Which is something that you, of course, have direct knowledge of. Just like your other point."

Direct knowledge? What's the relevance of direct knowledge? I inferred that you're arguing in bad faith because you quoted me to mock and criticize me, and yet you left out the part of my post which nullified your criticism. Is there some law of civility that I need to see a videotape of you cackling madly while you post in bad faith? You quoted me so badly that I could not but assume that you'd done so on purpose.

"It'd be much more clear if you had spent all those characters arguiing that (just as an example; not presuming an argument on your part) the GOP really knew the truth"

I don't think this is bad faith on your part, I think it's just ignorance or laziness - there are more sins out their than knowingly telling falsehoods. I didn't say the GOP was knowingly lying. I didn't even suggest it - I suggested that the right wing is more morally responsible for spreading a falsehood (whether knowingly or not) because they are the ones spreading it.

McKinney: The poor, by definition, have reduced or limited access to pretty much anything that costs money. That's the definition of being "poor". The conflation is between charging pro-lifers with opposition to BC as opposed to charging pro-lifers with not wanting to pay for this or that service.

And the basis for the opposition to this or that service in this case is?

I inferred that you're arguing in bad faith because you quoted me to mock and criticize me

That is a conclusion, not a fact. I actually quoted you because you were being unclear, and I sought clarity.

Is there some law of civility that I need to see a videotape of you cackling madly while you post in bad faith?

Wow.

You quoted me so badly that I could not but assume that you'd done so on purpose.

I apologize for not including some things you said that were of unclear relevance. To me, it looked like more hypotheticals. I mean, if you had something to say, why not just say it outright?

Holy crap. Who has time for this?

And the basis for the opposition to this or that service in this case is?

Lack of funds, a belief that each is primarily responsible for their own choices and priorities, lack of funds, other and higher spending priorities, lack of funds.

Lack of funds is a big problem these days.

The logical fallacy you're looking for is "tu quoque."

There is no fallacy in noting selective high dudgeon. The double standard goes directly to the weight and merit of the charge.

McTx: Lack of funds, a belief that each is primarily responsible for their own choices and priorities, lack of funds, other and higher spending priorities, lack of funds.

I guess I meant BC specifically, though you noted that the PP opposition is abortion-based and that a non-abortion provider of the rest of the PP service menu "might well be a candidate for state funds." Though that didn't sound very promising.

Under the assumption that "we" all agree it's necessary to provide assistance to the poor, I'll just say I don't find the "lack of funds" rationale very convincing when it comes to denying assistance for family planning, up to and including abortion.

I'll just say I don't find the "lack of funds" rationale very convincing when it comes to denying assistance for family planning, up to and including abortion.

Sure, everyone has their priorities. At the end of the day, you run out of money--we have--and so you have to cut. I think BC is pennies on the dollar IF you can get people to use it. But, that's just me.

McTx: I think BC is pennies on the dollar IF you can get people to use it.

Well sure, and counseling on the efficient/effective use of BC adds to the cost, it's just that this is an area where ISTM that those concerned with the level/balance of funds are cutting off their nose to spite their face (kind of like cutting funding of the IRS to support deficit reduction, it's counterproductive).

That is, unless they're going to end all assistance to the poor (and the poor's children).

"There is no fallacy in noting selective high dudgeon. The double standard goes directly to the weight and merit of the charge."

You're wrong, read here for why.

"At the end of the day, you run out of money"

Well, OK. But it is my understanding the Texas legislature did not made this decision based on a rationale asserting scarcity of funds. This course not only deprived the citizens of Texas badly needed federal monies for healthcare, but will also cost the state more in the long run. Taxes will either have to be raised or services cut.

You could argue that other priorities must take greater precedence, but you are not making that argument.

The topic of the moment was who is to blame for this specific outright falsehood.

Your words: blame, outright falsehood, imputed to a particular 'organized political movement)'.

My words: don't they all do this?

Your words: tu quoque and thus invalid logic.

My words: not if the hypocrisy goes to authority and weight to be given to those making the charge.

Calling an individual or a group liars is (1) a statement of opinion, not fact, and (2) is, itself, ad hominem.

Indeed, the charge itself may be untrue and thus an outright falsehood. Partisans tend to see their opposition in the worst possible light and themselves as superior in all material respects. Partisan charges of lying often involve a double standard, and go the to validity of the charge itself.

Bobby--I wasn't making the point that lack of money was the reason why the funding to PP was cut. As I said earlier, it is abortion. My 'eventually you run out of money' goes to the larger issue of on what and how much is the gov't going to spend money? Everyone has their priorities, but there is only so much money.

Everyone has their priorities, but there is only so much money.

Well, yes and (at the state level) yes. But this is, as you say, not relevant to the question immediately at hand (i.e., it was about abortion politics). So why bring an admittedly otherwise execellent topic into the discussion at all?

You're away.

Calling an individual or a group liars is (1) a statement of opinion, not fact, and (2) is, itself, ad hominem.

Really? So, if I said, "US military spokesman lied repeatedly when briefing reporters during the Vietnam War", would you really argue that my statement was not a fact, but merely opinion?

I ask because I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of historians would say "that's a fact".

It also is not ad hominem to note when someone is, in fact, lying. At all.

"Calling an individual or a group liars is (1) a statement of opinion, not fact, and (2) is, itself, ad hominem."

This is also incorrect, as Turb points out.

Whether something is a fact or opinion depends on its verifiability. Calling someone a liar in relation to a specific statement is not an ad hominem. An ad hominem would mean:

Julian: two plus two is four
McKT: Julian, you're ugly, therefore you're wrong.

If I say it's five p.m., and you say I that I just told a lie, that's NOT an ad hominem. It is an assertion that what I said is not true. Admittedly, it is not backed up by any other evidence, but it's not a statement that lacks logical relation to my statement.

If I say it's five p.m. and you say that I am GENERALLY a liar, so that no one should believe me now, that's an ad hominem. The substance of what I say can be checked against an independent source (US Naval Observatory Atomic clock), but rather than testing my argument, you are presuming that my character is a proxy for the substance.

Obviously, some people are liars, and are not trustworthy - on topics where all you have is someone's credibility to go on, distrusting liars is not a bad strategy.

But from an argumentative and logical perspective it has no place, because you can and should just test the validity of the argument.

Secondly, as you note, I said "falsehood." That doesn't mean a lie. I didn't say the Right Wing (every last one) lied. I am confident some lied, some willfully blinded themselves, some were too lazy to learn the truth, etc etc.

Now, if there was a stand alone entity that did preventative health, pregnancy health service and BC without also offering abortions, that org might well be a candidate for state funds. It's the abortion piece that causes the issue. -- McTex

That well may be true. But are you aware of evidence to support it?

That is, I could as easily believe that it is not so much "the abortion piece causing the issue" as "the abortion piece is a handy feature to hang the general objection to PP on". Most likely, there are some people coming from both of those places. But is there any data on what portion of the total each is?

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. By the same token, when behavior follows a pattern, the best explanation of current behavior which follows the pattern is past behavior that follows the pattern.

So I do not think that hate/fear campaign launched by Republican politicians against PP is any different than any of their other hate/fear campaigns. It's a cynical dogwhistle to those voters who are manipulated by that sort of thing.

I have a real life acquaintance who is one of those hate/fear voters. She told me that 90% of PP's work is abortions and that all of their funding comes from the government.

Now who do you all think told her those lies?

Laura, you're absolutely right. That's "what's the matter with Kansas."

http://www.balloon-juice.com/

Ballooon Juice has a link to an article about an effort by those principled and well intentioned Republican politicians of Tennessee who wish to inform the public on all sorts of details about abortion in their state including details about the doctors and their patients. This is not, of course, intented to expose the doctors to rightwing terrorists. It would be rude to suggest that. They are just moral people-- pro-life, of course! --motivated solely by a desire to protect the right of the people to know which doctor to shoot.

In the case of the "more than 90% of what PP does is abortion" the term lie can and should be applied. Several prominent Republicans (among them high ranking Congressbeings) have repeated this false statement (and still do in front of certain audiences) despite being informed repeatedly and publically about its untruth and even acknowledging it as such. Remember the 'not intended as a factual statement' incident?
Suppressio Veri and Suggestio Falsi are standard tools in politics but the general impression of the last years is that mere suggestion has long been dropped as unnecessary subtlety by one side of the aisle (with the notable exceptions becoming targets themselves).

In the case of a certain media personality (OK, Bill O'Reilly of Fox) one can even find a court case where he has been judged to be a pathological liar in the clinical sense which for him serves as what we over here call a Jagdschein (lit. hunting permit) like you cannot sue someone with Tourette syndrome for using obscene language.

Ist der Ruf erst ruiniert, lebt's (und lügt's) sich völlig ungeniert.

I suspect that this hypothetical organisation may be chimerical. There does not exist a body that provides affordable, universal, non-judgmental health and reproductive care with comprehensive family planning advice, that is also unfailingly anti-abortion (which you'd have to be to avoid a by-association ban) because the mindset which compels you to devote yourself to that work also makes you at least nuanced on the other.

But then I'd be arguing against the human propensity for cognitive dissonance, and that's a losing bet.

Oh for pity's sake, kids. I go away to work, feed people, and connect with my family, and I come back to find you've been having a Sharpie fight. Drawing vindictive moustaches on each other's faces does not improve *either* of you.

Less metaphorically, I find that a whole bunch of you are replying to each other's comments with condescension (may be mixed with sarcasm). This is adhominem, and it is also extremely unhelpful because people naturally become very defensive about attacks on themselves, and don't pay enough attention to what's going on with the argument.

I am now going to go back through the conversation since I left to work. I'm going to be using the Modly Strikethrough on your comments to cut out the condescending, useless bits. I'll then make a round-up comment in which I list each edited comment, with an explanation of why I took out what I did.

In the meantime, think twice about any comment where you use the word "you". Are you really talking about the argument, or are you talking about the person?

I find that the expressions "it seems to me", "as I understand it", "in my experience", and their ilk are helpful markers of the fact that each of us is in fact talking from a personal point of view that ought to be respected, and none of us knows everything.

Not even me.

CCDG | March 19, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Something that could have been an observation -- "In this blog post alone etc" is phrased as a condescending insult.

Julian | March 19, 2012 at 12:27 PM

Condescending and snide. Better to say, "There's a difference etc" without directing it toward "you".

Slartibartfast | March 19, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Condescending and sarcastic toward the person, not the argument. Better to say: "I understand your distinction, but I don't think those are the only two choices." [or] "I understand, but I think [X where X is whatever you think]"

Julian | March 19, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Condescension, again.

3/19/12 12:46 PM

and again.

Slartibartfast | March 19, 2012 at 01:00 PM

by this point you're responding to condescension with more condescension, an arms race that never ends well.

and .. it doesn't:
Julian | March 19, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Slartibartfast | March 19, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Julian | March 19, 2012 at 08:06 PM

I just dumped all of these, because I can't figure out if either of you had anything substantial to contribute or were just pulling each other's hair.

Laura K:

What you describe is a *textbook* example of Mansplaining. He is not merely ignorant yet certain of himself, he doesn't even listen to you until you get rude, after he's tried to lecture you on a topic on which he knows little and you know much.

It's possible that he would do this to anyone who was polite, not just to women, but I'll bet he does it to women a *lot*.

It seems to me that you forgot to strike through:

avedis:

You have not yet unlocked the achievement, "talk about rape without embarrassing self and traumatizing others." Level up before you go there.

. . . which, in my experience, is at least as snide as anything that anyone else said.

And while I am all for fair, consistent policing and rules enforcement, I can't say I'm at all comfortable with mods editing and/or deleting non-spam comments. I don't believe that that's been ObWi policy in the past, and I think we should see the opinion of the other front pagers on whether this is kosher or not.

Thanks, Dr. S. I never heard of manspaining before. I did think there was some sexistpiggism in the behavior of the gentleman I described, but it's not like women are always openminded learners. We have a phrase around my neck of the woods: FIP, or Formally Important Person. FIPs are former experts in something or married to a former expert in something. It seems to be part of the mentality that they think their expertise in one subject makes them expert in everything plus endowed by their creator with the inherent right to be obeyed.

BTW on the subject of rules enforcement. I would not mind if each poster enforced as each one saw fit. Us commenters can adapt. Or not. Our choice. I just appreciate the work that goes inot the posts, so thank you, dear posters.

So why bring an admittedly otherwise execellent topic into the discussion at all?

Yes, I went off topic.

Your box.

"It seems to me that you forgot to strike through:

avedis:

You have not yet unlocked the achievement, "talk about rape without embarrassing self and traumatizing others." Level up before you go there."

Yeah, i was wondering about that myself, but then honestly, i have no idea what Dr S is saying or trying to say. Some people here thought it was bad or insulting. Maybe it is supposed to be. Dunno. What the f##k is "level up". Who makes Dr S the judge of whether an acheivement has been "unlocked"? Why is an achievement locked away? Where is locked away - somewhere that feminists keep their special codified goodies? I don't even want to know.

also mansplaining sounds pretty much like pomo verbiage to me

avedis, it's video gamer lingo.

("Achievement unlocked" and "level up," that is. The other . . . I'm not entirely sure you understand what postmodernism is. Heck, I'm not entirely sure you understand what modernism was.)

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