Archive for the ‘science’ Category


Sex. It’s kind of a big deal.

Without it (or other synonymous forms of reproduction), life would cease to exist. Just picture for a moment what it would be like if all life on earth simultaneously lost the ability to reproduce. There wouldn’t even be a slow decay into nothingness. Everything would be gone in a matter of weeks, maybe even days. Think about it.

Most insects and microorganisms have life spans lasting little more than 24 hours. So, in 24 hours, without reproduction, most of the organisms at the bottom of the food chain would be dead. Fish, birds, bats, lizards, and other animals relying on this food source would starve in a matter of days. If they even lived that long.

The lifespan of bacteria is a tricky subject, but if they’re like most microorganisms, they don’t live very long. And since approximately 80-90% of the cells in the human body are bacteria, all of which assist with important bodily functions, when they die, we won’t be far behind. Even many plants rely on relationships with bacteria. Without the help of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, for example, oaks, roses, cucumbers, and all plants in the family Fabaceae (the third largest plant family in the world) would not be able to absorb the nutrients needed for the process of photosynthesis.

Take away the mass die-off scenario and just imagine all of humanity becoming sterile… and our world dynamic would still alter drastically. In a matter of twenty years there would be no children. No more family “units”. No more toddlers. No more need for day cares or grade schools, babysitters or youth camps. Many former parents would be at a loss for what to do with their time. Businesses specializing in children’s products would be out of work. Young adults would have no future families of their own to look forward to. Meanwhile, the remaining population would continue aging and dying, eventually leaving nothing but a generation of elderly with no capable hands to care for them. And then we’d all be gone.

So, when you take the time to think about it, our lives really depend on our ability to have sex. It is biologically imperative that we are able to reproduce. What’s more, the swapping of genetic information that takes place when the gametes of two organisms are joined together is responsible for the superfluous biodiversity of our planet. Evolution, which many would sadly like to deny (that’s a topic for another discussion), quite literally makes the world go round, and there are three very important pieces that make evolution possible:

  1. Genetic variation
  2. Differential survival and/or reproduction dependent on that genetic variation, and
  3. Heritability of genetic traits from parent to offspring

And the key to controlling all these pieces is sex. We can manipulate the resultant traits of any given species by controlling who can and cannot have sex with whom. Humans have been participating in such manipulations since before the agricultural revolution. Did you know that broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, collard greens, kale, and cabbage are all different variations of the SAME species of plant?


And, of course, who hasn’t been fascinated by the wonderful variety of dog breeds all developed from the wild wolf?


If you control the sex… you control everything.

And whether it was pure power hungry instinct or a stroke of genius, the men who defined the will of their respective “gods” always included a form of godly decreed sexual control for the masses. According to a Pew Research study, approximately 75% of the world population is affiliated with either the Christian (37%), Muslim (23%), or Hindu (15%) religion, all of which have strict rules, commandments, expectations, and regulations regarding sexual practices. Such regulations can be found within their respective sacred texts – the Bible, the Koran, and the Vedas. While there is some variation between the texts and their respective beliefs, in general, all three religions paint the same picture concerning sex:

  • Sexual “sins” are generally considered on par with murder and can include (but are not limited to): masturbation, fornication, pre-marital relations, oral, anal, homosexual relations, adultery, rape, incest, orgies, and even refusing sex with a spouse.
  • Virginity (specifically in women) is prized as a virtue, and young women are brought up to cherish and protect their virginity, saving themselves for their future husband. Remaining modest is a key component in maintaining “purity”.
  • Sex is a sacred duty to be practiced by married couples for the purpose of raising up seed unto their Lord or God. Abortion and birth control are typically frowned upon and even sometimes forbidden.
  • The “proper” relationship for engaging in sexual intercourse is typically a marriage between a single man and woman, with some sects practicing polygamous marriages.
  • Marriages are often arranged and approved by family and religious leaders without regard for an individual’s preferences, attractions, or feelings. The goal is a “righteous” unity between two people that will adhere strictly to their religious commitments.

Religious leaders are “breeding” followers in the same way agricultural experts have bred crops. In the same way we’ve domesticated dogs, cats, and farm animals. Through religious indoctrination, 75% of the world population is essentially allowing their leaders to control their sexual practices, and thus, the genetic traits of the following generation. By keeping sex between married couples, with marriages arranged to ensure faithful devotion to their religion, the resultant offspring are continuously raised under circumstances crafted for increasing a population of followers. And that’s exactly what the “sheep” have come to want! They rarely have even an inkling that their views regarding sex are a massive form of control and repression.

When you get into the smaller, more cult-like religions, the blatant control tactics become obvious. In the Mormon church, for example, “The Family Proclamation” identifies the expected roles of men and women in a marriage. Gender is specifically identified as “an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose”. It further states that “children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony” and claims that “God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife”.

Members of this church are trained up from birth, with nursery and primary songs instilling in them these teachings about family. Priesthood and Young Women’s classes teaching the youth about their gender roles and their expectations upon reaching adulthood. They are prepared for baptism at eight. Begin attending the temple to do baptismal work for their dead ancestors at twelve. Are sent out on proselytizing missions at eighteen, and are expected to be married shortly after returning two years later.

Classes for the young girls focus heavily on their sexual purity, equating their worth and value to their ability to remain abstinent. They spend a whole unit on modesty, and they are expected to keep shoulders, knees, and midriff covered at all times, as wearing any “revealing” clothing could cause their fellow young men to have impure thoughts. The “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet they provide for all their children at age twelve, in the section on “Sexual Purity” states the following (emphasis added):

Physical intimacy between husband and wife is beautiful and sacred. It is ordained of God for the creation of children and for the expression of love between husband and wife. God has commanded that sexual intimacy be reserved for marriage.

When you are sexually pure, you prepare yourself to make and keep sacred covenants in the temple. You prepare yourself to build a strong marriage and to bring children into the world as part of an eternal and loving family. You protect yourself from the spiritual and emotional damage that come from sharing sexual intimacy outside of marriage. You also protect yourself from harmful diseases. Remaining sexually pure helps you to be confident and truly happy and improves your ability to make good decisions now and in the future.

The Lord’s standard regarding sexual purity is clear and unchanging. Do not have any sexual relations before marriage, and be completely faithful to your spouse after marriage. Do not allow the media, your peers, or others to persuade you that sexual intimacy before marriage is acceptable. It is not. In God’s sight, sexual sins are extremely serious. They defile the sacred power God has given us to create life. The prophet Alma taught that sexual sins are more serious than any other sins except murder or denying the Holy Ghost (see Alma 39:5).

Never do anything that could lead to sexual transgression. Treat others with respect, not as objects used to satisfy lustful and selfish desires. Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body. Pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit so that you can be clean and virtuous. The Spirit of the Lord will withdraw from one who is in sexual transgression.

Avoid situations that invite increased temptation, such as late-night or overnight activities away from home or activities where there is a lack of adult supervision. Do not participate in discussions or any media that arouse sexual feelings. Do not participate in any type of pornography. The Spirit can help you know when you are at risk and give you the strength to remove yourself from the situation. Have faith in and be obedient to the righteous counsel of your parents and leaders.

Homosexual and lesbian behavior is a serious sin. If you find yourself struggling with same-gender attraction or you are being persuaded to participate in inappropriate behavior, seek counsel from your parents and bishop. They will help you.

Victims of sexual abuse are not guilty of sin and do not need to repent. If you have been a victim of abuse, know that you are innocent and that God loves you. Talk to your parents or another trusted adult, and seek your bishop’s counsel immediately. They can support you spiritually and assist you in getting the protection and help you need. The process of healing may take time. Trust in the Savior. He will heal you and give you peace.

If you are tempted to commit any form of sexual transgression, seek help from your parents and bishop. Pray to your Father in Heaven, who will help you resist temptation and overcome inappropriate thoughts and feelings. If you have committed sexual transgression, talk to your bishop now and begin the process of repentance so that you can find peace and have the full companionship of the Spirit.

Make a personal commitment to be sexually pure. By your words and actions, encourage others to do the same.

Countless youths in the Mormon church struggle with “sexual transgressions”, because they are so forcibly repressed. Their parents, who often know very little about sex themselves, rely on church manuals and youth classes as a form of sex education. Sex is quite simply a very taboo topic, rarely discussed even among adults, and when it becomes apparent that someone is “struggling” with masturbation or a pornography “addiction”, the act is blown out of proportion and handled by a disciplinary counsel. Members are expected to ignore any and all sexual feelings, stave off the temptations, and keep all conversations on the topic of sex “sacred” so as not to offend the spirit.

Married couples often struggle to maintain a fulfilling sex life, because they are so concerned about what is and is not considered sinful, even after they’ve wed. Women, especially, struggle with feelings of shame due to the teachings pushed on them in their teen years. Those with a healthy libido often continue to repress themselves for fear of the accompanying guilt, and women who would like to sometimes tell their more sexually comfortable husbands “no” keep their hesitation to themselves and engage out of a sense of duty.

This is a horribly dysfunctional outlook to have on sex, and it all stems from the efforts to maintain control over the masses. These teachings cause far more harm than good. They are not founded on fact. They are not founded on evidence. There is NOTHING healthy about sexual repression. Masturbation is healthy – both physically and psychologically. Virginity does NOT determine a woman’s worth. Intercourse is NOT “dirty”, so long as those engaging in it maintain proper cleanliness and protection – topics which “abstinence only” teachings leave individuals sorely uneducated on.

The only reason religions espouse such strict teachings on sex is to maintain control, and it works! Because followers have such a strong desire to maintain their social standing within their respective churches – to be seen as pure, clean, holy, and righteous. Rather than educating themselves on the ins and outs of sex, rather than listening to their own biology and trusting the stories of those who’ve been emotionally and psychologically harmed by the religious institutions that have labeled them sexually deviant, members of these churches avoid talking about sex and rely on their scriptures to guide their own practices and answer the questions of their children, friends, and loved ones.

Individuals who’ve broken away from religious chains and shed their preconceived notions concerning sex are seen as a threat, because they provide an answer for all those struggling with sexual repression. And that answer is: You don’t HAVE to be controlled. Your sexual desires are natural, not sinful. Feeling attracted to someone and embracing that feeling does not make you dirty. Exploring your own anatomy and coming to understand the inner workings of your sexual organs is not deviant. Homosexuality is not an abomination. The only “sin” you are committing in allowing yourself the freedom to decide for yourself when, where, and with whom you will engage in sexual activity is the sin escaping your slave-driver.

This potential loss of control drives religious leaders into an absolute panic, not because they are trying to protect you from harm, but because they are trying to maintain their power-base. So long as they control the sex, they control the masses. They control their congregations. They control everything.

Sex. It’s kinda a big deal.



It’s hard to look upon a carefree child and not feel a sense of awe and inspiration. Every babe born into this world is a clean slate of trust, hope, and optimism. To look upon a baby’s smile, to hear a child laugh… it strikes a chord deep in the soul, and I don’t think there’s ever been a single person who did not wish they could somehow preserve such pure innocence. Perhaps the knowledge that it is only temporary is what makes it so beautiful, for that which is fleeting has value beyond measure.

As parents, while we certainly hope to prepare our offspring for the hardships of the world, I think we each hold tightly to a secret fantasy. A fantasy in which our children need no preparation, no protection, no preservation. A fantasy in which the pure joy of innocent laughter and untainted smiles lives on forever, never to be tainted or damaged by the toils and turmoil of struggle and suffering. In our subconscious efforts to make this fantasy a reality, we spin tales of wonder and excitement, and we revel in the sweet trust our children place in the hopeful stories of our youth.

Magical kingdoms of fairies. Hidden societies of gnomes, leprechauns, or “little people”. Mystical unicorns. Myths and fables which light up the imagination and bring a sparkle of joy to eyes so full of wonder and curiosity. Eventually though, the fairy tales always fall apart. Innocence is lost as children gain experience and come to face reality. Their brains develop with astounding intelligence, and with critical thinking skills honed for discovery, they begin to find the faults in the stories. Probably one of the most memorable and cherished stories to which nearly every child clings is that of Santa Claus, jolly ole Saint Nick, the loving, caring and affable man in the big red suit.

Our children start noticing inconsistencies and asking questions. Parents, often, cannot stand the thought of losing the joy and wonder that blessed previous Christmas celebrations, as their child lit up with excitement to discover the presents delivered magically under their tree on Christmas morning. Instead of encouraging this critical development and taking the opportunity to teach their children how to employ those thinking skills, parents lie and continue to fabricate the fairy tale, now spinning a web of deceit and even mistrust.

How does Santa get into the homes of children with no chimney? How does Santa reach all the children in the world in one night? How does Santa know who’s been naughty or nice? How does Santa know what toy every little girl and boy wants? How does Santa get into and out of the house unseen? How does Santa make all the toys? Why do all the Santa’s we see at parties or malls or supermarkets look different? Why does Santa’s handwriting on my present look like my mothers? Why were the presents from Santa hidden in my parent’s bedroom closet a week before Christmas? Why did I see my father putting presents under the tree, and not Santa? Has anyone ever seen the “real” Santa?

The questions build and build without end, as the puzzle becomes harder and harder for those amazingly intelligent children to piece together. Some children realize the problem quickly and give up the hope, give up the magic. Others have a much harder time letting go. They put their imaginations to use, thinking up more and more convoluted scenarios that explain away all the inconsistencies and allow them to cling to their belief. Some even go so far as to declare that while it may be impossible to understand, while there may be glaringly obvious evidences to the contrary, as long as they believed … Santa would still be real. There would still be hope. There would still be magic. There would still be that impossibly loving and mystical man who brought presents to all the good little girls and boys every year. As long as they believed…

It is my thought that all of us; man, woman, and child; cling to our beliefs in the unknown, the immeasurable, the fantastical, because we are in denial. We do not want to face the hardships of reality, because we do not feel ourselves capable of bearing the pain. Reality is often cruel and unkind. Reality contains stories of horror, sorrow, and incomprehensible suffering. Reality contains illness and disease, handicaps and imperfections, accidents and miscalculations, murders and war, loss and death. We cling to the magic, to the hope, to the belief, because the pain of life is so often unbearable.

But we do ourselves a disservice in thinking so. For while reality is often a struggle, it also brings with it great joys, and those joys often cannot be fully realized without letting go of the delusions of the heart. We waste effort and energy in clinging to fantasies that provide a sort of protective barrier from the physical and mental turmoils of life, because it is only when we embrace reality that we can begin to solve the very problems that plague our existence. When we allow ourselves to accept the logical conclusions, to trust our own minds, to follow the evidences provided by our senses, experiences, intuition, and critical intelligence, we prepare ourselves not only to face reality, but to CHANGE it.

When we waste time and energy believing in a higher power that will somehow solve all our problems for us, we fail to take that power into our own hands. Those brains so capable of spinning fantasies and fairy tales are capable of immense creativity and innovation, and it is because of that amazing capacity for critical thought, for problem solving, and for imagination that we as a species have been able to go from localized hunting and gathering communities struggling for each meal to living and breathing societies connected around the globe and improving the QUALITY of life for countless individuals.

When we see and accept the problems we face instead of hiding from them, we can begin creating solutions. While innocence may not last forever, ingenuity is a gift for the future. While the pure gaze from the untainted eyes of a newborn babe may be fleeting, his potential is ever lasting and even exponentially increasing into the infinite expanses of possibility. In a very short time, our species has evolved the ability to conquer lands, oceans, and stars. Our creativity knows no bounds, and we can be always believing in a brighter and more glorious tomorrow.