Eric Perlin vs. Stephen B.

An exchange of correspondence between Perlin and a man who defends spanking and admires Dobson.

Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997
From: Stephen B.
Subject: James Dobson

I read your letter about James Dobson vs violence prevention "professionals." Was this a parody or meant to be serious? If this were meant to be serious, you seem to be equating spanking with rape, battery, etc. Your premise is faulty and your conclusions are off base. Dr. Dobson appropriately condemns child battery. Why did you not include those quotes?

Steve B.

Eric replies:

Dear Mr. B.:

I am the compiler of the article, "James Dobson vs. Violence Prevention Professionals." Jordan Riak wrote the introduction.

Jordan forwarded me a copy of your critique of my article. I appreciate your input and I can respect your opinions, but there are some things that I think you misunderstood.

To answer your question, "Was this a parody or was it meant to be serious," be assured that the intent of the article is extremely serious. All quotes included are authentic.

I also believe you misunderstood the article when you say that it seems to equate spanking with rape. My purpose is NOT to say that spanking and rape are the same thing. I wanted to illustrate that much of the advice given by experienced experts in the field of child sexual abuse prevention is blatantly contradicted by the parenting advice of Dobson. As Jordan Riak puts it, "Spanking trains children to accept the idea that adults have absolute authority over their bodies. ...The child who submits to a spanking on Monday is unlikely to say no to a molester on Tuesday."

Parents who teach their children to blindly obey all adult authority figures set them up to be more vulnerable targets for molesters. That is NOT just my opinion; that view is expressed in every piece of literature on sexual abuse I've seen.

You asked a very good question as to why didn't I include a quote from Dobson expressing his opposition to child abuse. In fact, when Jordan first put the piece on his website, I gave him just such a quote. He intended to add it, but got distracted with other projects and never got around to it. I agree with you that a quote from Dobson condemning child abuse would be appropriate, but only because, in my opinion, it would serve to illustrate his hypocrisy. Abusive parents rarely consider themselves abusive. They think of child abuse as some awful thing that you hear about on the news; something that's done by people who you don't know. It's been my observation that when a parent says, "I'm not abusive, BUT..." it usually means that they ARE. Considering how rampant child abuse is, there is something VERY dangerous and irresponsible about telling millions of parents that "pain is a marvelous purifier." Saying "child abuse is bad" has no meaning to abusive parents, because when they hear it, they presume that it only applies to OTHER people.

As for equating spanking children and spousal battering, I feel that the two behaviors have several things in common. I am NOT saying that they're identical in every way, so please hear me out.

1) deliberately inflict pain on their victims;
2) do so in order to exert control over their victims;
3) claim that their victims are the cause of the violence; that they "asked for it";
4) claim that they're "different" from other individuals who engage in similar behavior because the violence they inflict is less extreme than that done by others.
5) continue to victimize as long as they think they can get away with it.

do all five of the above.

To reiterate, I am NOT saying that wife-beating and child-spanking are identical; only that they have some things in common. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I hope I've been able to clear things up. I hope you will e-mail me with any further comments you may have.


Mr. B. replies

Dear Mr. Perlin,

Thanks for responding to my e-mail. You invited me to write with any further comments. I appreciate your willingness to be open.

As I understand it, you're basically saying that I should accept your view on spanking because some authority ("experienced experts in the field") said it. "Authorities" can be wrong, and often are. Furthermore, there are conflicting authorities. Which one should I accept? The mere appeal to authority should never be substituted for evidence or a good argument.

You state, "the child who submits to a spanking on Monday is unlikely to say no to a molester on Tuesday." Really? Precisely how much more likely is a spanked child to agree to molestation than an unspanked child?

It appears you have stacked the deck against your opponent (Dr. Dobson) by drawing a false picture of the opposing argument. Its always easier to knock down a straw man than a real man. Have you ever heard Dr. Dobson (or anyone for that matter) teach children to BLINDLY OBEY ALL ADULT AUTHORITY? By the way, how should children view adult authority?

Is it possible to ammend the piece on your website to include the misplaced quote by Dobson?

Do parents spank their children merely to "exert control" for "as long as they can get away with it"? I don't know, but I think most people would condemn spousal battery. I think most people would not condemn spanking. Why do you think that is? Is there perhaps a moral difference between spanking and spousal battery that renders your analogy void?

Or, to look at your analogy from another view point, lets compare WIFE BATTERERS with NON-SPANKERS. Let's say that the nonspanking parents utilize "time out" and removal of privileges as their primary means of negative reinforcement. Would you argue that NON-SPANKERS:

1) deliberately inflict pain on their victims;
2) do so in order to exert control over their victims;
3) claim that their victims are the cause of the pain; that they "asked for it";
4) claim that they are "different" from other individuals who engage in similar behavior because the pain they inflict is less extreme than that done by others.
5) continue to victimize as long as they can get away with it.

No, I think you would propose that those five points do not accurately or fairly reflect how loving parents discipline their children. Let me know what you think.

Stephen B.

Eric replies
Dear Mr. B.:

Sorry for the delay in my reply. I haven't had a lot of time lately to go on the internet.

You and I have some common ground. I agree with you 100% that we should never blindly accept any idea just because it comes from someone who is designated as an "expert." When an expert makes a claim that is not backed up by any evidence, it should be questioned, and possibly dismissed. However, when an expert makes a statement and backs it up with statistical facts and actual case histories, I think that the statements are worth heeding. For example, if an "expert" said, "Cigarettes cause lung cancer because I said that they do," that means nothing. But what about when an expert is able to produce statistics that show that lung cancer is almost non-existent among people who don't smoke, and that 1/3 of all smokers in a study have been found to suffer from lung cancer? Then, the expert's claim should not be dismissed. Of course, the tobacco industry will dismiss it anyway, because they have an interest in doing so.

The child sexual abuse prevention experts whose books I have read gleaned their statements from the results of REAL CASE HISTORIES.

As for my Jordan Riak quote, "The child who submits to a spanking on Monday is unlikely to say no to a molester on Tuesday," I must confess that neither Jordan nor myself have any actual evidence or statistics to back that up. I am unable to answer your question as to how much more likely a "spanked" child is to submit to a molester than a "non-spanked" child. The statement makes perfect sense to me. It sounds so logical, I personally would find a study to be unnecessary. (Of course, it might BE necessary in order to persuade people who don't believe the presumption, but as for me, I am already persuaded by the logic alone.)

I have reason to believe that people who drive with their eyes closed are far more likely to get into a car accident than people who drive with their eyes open. There are no studies that I'm aware of that confirm this, and probably never will be, but I am convinced, nevertheless, that keeping one's eyes open while driving is an excellent safety measure which greatly reduces the risk of an accident. Precisely how much does it reduce the risk? I'm afraid I can't give you a concrete statistic.

I suspect that people who are locked in a cage with a lion who hasn't eaten in a week are more likely to be eaten than people who are locked in a cage with a lion who has been fed regularly. I don't think any studies exist to verify this, but, nevertheless, logic alone persuades me. Precisely how much more likely, I wouldn't know.

To move on to your next statement, you have accused me of falsely stacking the deck against Dobson, or of putting words in his mouth. Okay, Dobson does not actually use the word "blindly" when he writes about obedience, but it seems to be what he means. How else does one interpret:

"A spanking is to be reserved for use in response to willful defiance whenever it occurs. Period!"

Throughout Dobson's writings, there seems to be a consistent pattern of coercing kids to OBEY; not to think. If you were to ask Dobson, "Are there any circumstances under which you would encourage kids to disobey authority?" What do you think he would say?

Dobson also simplistically presumes that the only reason children ever have for disobeying is to challenge or test their parents authority. Dobson fails to acknowledge other possible reasons. (For example, a kid who refuses to eat food he doesn't like might be refusing to eat it because he/she just doesn't LIKE it!) But rather than solve the conflict constructively, such as offering the kid an alternate but equally nutricious food, Dobson tells parents that the kid is "asking for it" and that the kid should be "spanked" into submission. Okay, "into submission" are not his exact words. He says that when spanking fails to work to use a "repeated measure." And he urges parents to make sure that they "win" conflicts, as opposed to resolving them in ways that would be mutually acceptable to both the parents and the kids.

You said that most people would condemn spousal battery, but would not condemn hitting children. (Forgive me if I don't always use the word "spanking." I consider it a euphemism which disguises the fact that hitting is hitting.) You asked me if I think that there is a moral distinction between the two which shapes public opinion. That's a fair question, but my answer is no, I don't think that there is a moral difference between the two. In fact, while I would not condone either of those behaviors, I consider hitting a child WORSE than hitting one's spouse. Children are more defenseless, and are more prone to suffer both physical and psychological harm than adults.

Why, you ask, does our society today largely approve of hitting children while shunning spousal battery? I believe it's simply a matter of what we're accustomed to accepting.

In 1835, many people approved of slavery, yet there are far fewer people today who do. In the Philipines and China, it acceptable to eat dogs and cats. In America, where dogs and cats are pets, eating them is considered disgusting and reprehensible. However, the same people who are repulsed by the idea of eating a dog think nothing of eating a pig, a cow, a lamb, or a chicken. On the opposite end of the spectrum is India. Most people of India would be repulsed by the thought of eating ANY animal. Furthermore, right within the United States, chickens, turkeys, and ducks are regularly eaten by the same people who would find it disgusting for anyone to eat a canary or a parakeet. I don't know how it was decided which species of birds were designated to be pets, and which were to be food.

There have been some societies in which an organized duel to the death between two men was a legal and acceptable method of settling a conflict. This would be considered barbaric by most people today. You don't even hear anyone TALK about legalizing dueling! Now-commonplace clothing fashions such as hot pants and miniskirts would have been considered "indecent exposure" in 1890. In 1950, any man who wore an earing would be assumed to be a homosexual. Today, it's quite acceptable. And most people today who support the death penalty would probably not favor hanging someone for horse theft.

My conclusion, and please correct me if you think I'm wrong, is that societies become brainwashed by whatever behaviors they become accustomed to.

Come to think of it, that's one of the main problems with hitting kids: it causes THEM to be accustomed to the use of violence as a way of settling differences. This, by the way, is a heavily researched and well-documented fact. If you doubt that, take the time to go to a library, and read any books or articles about the lives of violent criminals. Try to find documentation of just ONE violent criminal who was never hit by his parents (or other adult guardians). I'll bet you won't be able to find one! 100% of all violent offenders in prison were raised by people who whipped the daylights out of them in order to teach them right from wrong. If an exception exists, I defy you to find it.

In the next part of your letter, you state that non-hitting parents use other methods to punish their kids which involve the same dynamics as hitting. I think that you are partially right. There certainly are some very controlling, demanding parents who coerce their kids with psychological pain instead of physical pain. However, as a group, I think that non-hitting parents tend to be less punitive overall. Conflicts between parents and kids CAN be resolved without punishing the kids, and without giving in to the kids either. If parents are open to understanding the REASON for a kid's behavior, instead of labeling the behavior as "bad," (as Dobson does) there can, more often than not, be ways of settling differences in ways that are acceptable to both the parents AND the kid. Many people mistakenly assume that the only alternative to punishment is letting kids do whatever they please. However, parent's choices are NOT limited to "either-or."

Thomas Gordon describes this better than I can in his books, which include P.E.T.: Parent Effectiveness Training, P.E.T. In Action, and Discipline that Works.

If you have any further comments or questions, please e-mail me again.


Mr. B. replies

I apologize for taking so long to respond to your letter. I've been quite busy lately.

We do have some common ground. We both agree that if an "expert" makes a statement that he's unable to support with actual evidence or statistics then his proposition should be questioned and possibly dismissed. I guess that's what makes your next statement all the more surprising. You admit your willingness to accept the statement by Jordan Riak with no evidence or statistics to back it up. You suggest that testing Mr. Riak's proposition would be about as silly as testing the proposition that "people who drive with their eyes closed are more likely to get into a car accident than people who drive with their eyes open." I disagree. Mr. Riak's proposition is in no way self-evident. Your statement that "it sounds logical" merely begs the question. I never questioned whether you thought it sounded logical. (I rather assumed you did think it logical.) I questioned whether it was true.

If I may be so bold as to offer an observation, I think your willingness to accept Mr. Riak's proposition is a manifestation of a more fundamental problem. You seem to be so entrenched in one mind set that you cannot objectively analyze the issues. This is even more clearly seen in your analysis of Dr. Dobson's writings.

For example, you continue to insist that Dr. Dobson overtly or covertly wants children to blindly follow all authority. I think you would do well to re-analyze your data. Consider this quote from page 11 of "The All New Dare To Discipline":

(Here Dr. Dobson points out that the "experts" have been in direct contradiction with one another regarding the methods and philosophies of discipline.) He writes, "Perhaps this is why the pendulum has swung back and forth regularly between HARSH, OPPRESIVE CONTROL and the unstructured permissiveness we saw in the mid-twentieth century. It is time we realized that BOTH EXTREMES LEAVE THEIR CHARACTERISTIC SCARS ON THE LIVES OF YOUNG VICTIMS, AND I WOULD BE HARD PRESSED TO SAY WHICH IS MORE DAMAGING. AT THE OPPRESIVE END OF THE CONTINUUM, A CHILD SUFFERS HUMILIATION OF TOTAL DOMINATION. THE ATMOSPHERE IS ICY AND RIGID, AND HE LIVES IN CONSTANT FEAR. HE IS UNABLE TO MAKE HIS OWN DECISIONS, AND HIS PERSONALITY IS SQUELCHED BENEATH THE HOBNAIL OF PARENTAL AUTHORITY."

I won't speculate as to the reason, but to read the above statement (and many others like it) and then conclude that Dr. Dobson teaches parents to "spank their children into submission" so that they will "blindly follow all authority" is inaccurate and unfair.

Likewise, you state that Dr. Dobson presumes the only reason that children disobey is to challenge parental authority. This, like your other propositions, is untrue. See "The All New Dare To Discipline" pages 65&66 (and many other places).

There are many other examples that could be given but the result is the same each time. You repeatedly misrepresent the position of Dr. Dobson. If I understand the term correctly, your building a "straw man argument". You're not debating Dr. Dobson's position. You're debating a position that Dr. Dobson himself would condemn.

As to the question of why most people don't view spanking as 'morally wrong' you offer an odd suggestion. You suggest that societies become brainwashed by whatever behaviors they become accustomed to. You offer as proofs, examples ranging from clothing to dietary customs. These really aren't good analogies for spanking. For example most Americans would find it disgusting to eat monkey brains. But, they wouldn't call it morally wrong. I think you are confusing matters of preference with matters of right and wrong. Are you saying that right and wrong are mere human inventions handed down from one generation to the next? Are you saying that morality is like choosing which side of the road on which to drive? That is to say that in the same way Americans drive on the right side of the road, societies evolve moral rules?

As to the question of spanking versus spousal battery versus "whipping the daylights" out of children you see no moral difference. You reason that hitting is hitting.

I submit that your logic and your conclusion are faulty. You are equating a deed with morality. With few exceptions, morality is more a matter of intentions of the heart rather than the deed itself. As C.S. Lewis pointed out, one is much more angered if a fellow tries to trip you and fails than if another fellow inadvertently causes you to trip. In the first instance you weren't actually injured at all. Likewise if your tackled to the ground, you're enraged if it is on the sidewalk but not if it is in a football game.

Perhaps a better analogy would be with stabbing someone with a knife. If a man takes a knife and cuts a woman's abdomen, is it wrong? I would answer "perhaps". If he is a stalker attempting to rob and rape, then yes, it is absolutely wrong. If he is a surgeon attempting to remove a cancerous organ, then no, it is not wrong at all. Surgery may be stabbing, but not all stabbing is wrong. Spanking may be hitting, but not all hitting is wrong. It all has to do with the motive of the heart. There are instances where a loving individual will inflict momentary pain with the intention of achieving the ultimate good of someone else.

Faulty logic leads to faulty conclusions. For example, one could say that since millions of people are injured and killed in stabbings, then surgeries should be outlawed. Until the premise that 'all stabbing is bad' is corrected, the conclusion will always come out the same.

Eric, maybe you can't see this distinction but billions of parents throughout the millenia do see it. If you can't see that distinction then any further discussions would be fruitless.

I would be interested in your response.

Stephen B.

Eric replies

Dear Stephen,

Thanks for your reply. In my previous letter, I asked you if you can cite just one true case history of a violent criminal, recent or historic, famous or obscure, who was never physically punished as a child. In James Dobson’s original 1970 edition of Dare to Discipline, Dobson claims that a child "is more likely to be a violent person if his parent fails to (spank him)." He doesn’t cite any case histories or studies to prove this claim; he just says it and expects us to believe it.

Since you seem to be bent on both defending James Dobson, and on defending the practice of hitting children, can you name just ONE violent person who was raised by parents who never hit? I will accept as documentation any published book excerpt, magazine or newspaper article, or videotaped documentary. Fictional characters don’t count. The violent person must be a real person, and you must supply me with documentation that he/she was never hit by an adult during his/her childhood. The violent person you find may be living or deceased; famous or obscure. "Violent person" is defined as someone who abused a spouse, or was convicted of a violent crime of ANY SORT.

FIFTY BUCKS says you cannot find one by Halloween of this year. Do we have a bet?

Another of Dobson's more questionable claims, which is in the original "Dare to Discipline" and also in "The Strong-Willed Child," that hitting teaches children the consequences of "acting selfishly" or "selfishness." He glosses over his own point, and understandably so; to go into detail would reveal the absurdity of his claim. Stephen, do you seriously believe that hitting a child for being selfish will cause that child to be altruistic?

Dobson does admit that his colleagues in the psychology profession can often be in conflict with one another, and that many of them give advice which he strongly opposes. At the same time, he NEVER has written that it’s okay for kids to defy authority. No; challenging authority figures is a privilege reserved for grown-ups only. When children defy authority, according to Dobson, it’s their way of asking for a spanking. He advises parents to ALWAYS hit a child who says, "I will not!" But children might have good reasons for saying "I will not!"

You say I'm being innacurate when I say that Dobson advises parents to "spank kids into submission." Well, how ELSE would you interpret "Win decisively when defiantly challenged"?

Furthermore, nearly everyone claims to agree that parents should strive to set a good example. Is a parent who uses threats of physical violence in order to obtain compliance setting a good example?

I am not putting words in Dobson’s mouth, although I freely admit that I attack his writings only for the aspects that disturb me the most. I have no reason to lie or to demonize an innocent person.

Although Dobson frequently claims to be upset by child abuse, I don’t believe he’s sincere. His recommendations on how to hit and when to hit are sufficiently vague enough to allow some very harsh and sadistic parents to continue to do what they’re doing, and to use Dobson as a rationale. Such vague advice as "don’t make unreasonable demands" means nothing. The sadistic parent who makes unreasonable demands never actually BELIEVES himself/herself to be making unreasonable demands.

And how about when he says, “Two or three stinging strokes with a switch are usually sufficient to convey the message...” The key word in that sentence is USUALLY. Dobson knows that if he were to explicitly write, NEVER use more than three strokes,” he would alienate all of his readers who prefer to use five, ten, or more strokes. To say that two or three stinging strokes are USUALLY sufficient implies that there are some children who won’t get the message unless they receive eleven stinging strokes.

ANYONE can say, "I'm against child abuse" or "I'm against drugs" or what have you. Talk is cheap. Campaigning politicians, as you've probably noticed, tend to solicit votes simply by saying that they're against bad things and in favor of good things.

I still stand by Jordan’s statement that "A child who submits to a spanking on Monday is unlikely to say no to a molester on Tuesday." I know of one true story which bears this out. A now-deceased little girl named Polly Klaas obeyed her abductor when he ordered the children to keep quiet. Her father remarked that her being so well-behaved and respectful toward adults may have contributed to her death. Had she resisted or shouted, the adult sleeping in the adjacent room would have been alerted and the rapist would most likely have run off.

If I remember correctly, many of the child sexual abuse prevention experts whom I cited in my article obtained their information by interviewing victims of child sexual abuse, their family members, and convicted offenders. The advice of the experts in this particular field is very consistant; the books and pamphlets on the subject do not contradict each other at all.

Children are safer when they feel that adults are expected to respect their wishes, and when they trust their parents enough to report anything suspicious to them. Children often feel that sexual abuse is somehow their fault, and the more afraid they are of their parents, the more likely they are to keep sexual abuse a secret. If I were a molester, I think that I would seek out a kid with strict parents, and say, "If you tell anyone what I did to you, I'll tell your parents you went into the park when you weren't supposed to." A child with "permissive" parents would not be intimidated by such a threat.

I stand by my previous statement that societies form moral beliefs based on what they're accustommed to. Most Americans would find it not only nauseating, but IMMORAL to breed dogs for food. Yet in many eastern countries, it's quite acceptable. Before the Watergate scandal, many people considered it tasteless, unpatriotic, and, in a sense, IMMORAL for anyone to make fun of the president. David Letterman has ridiculed every current U.S.A. president since 1982. But if Milton Berle or Sid Caeser had made fun of Eisenhower, there would have been an uproar; a collective MORAL indignation. At the risk of repeating what I wrote in my previous message, slavery and male-only voting rights would be considered IMMORAL by most people today, yet were widely accepted in their time.

Now, to address your stomach-cutting analogy. That’s a clever analogy, but it’s flawed. A person undergoing surgery CONSENTS to the procedure, whereas a stabbing victim does not. Furthermore, performing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor is clearly beneficial to the patient’s health. Whether it is beneficial for a person to be forcibly held down while being repeatedly whacked on the ass by someone twice their size is debatable.

I understand that you and Dobson believe that there is a big distinction between parents who hit in a fit of rage and parents who hit calmly and tell the kid that it’s for his/her own good. Yet the pain-infliction is still non-consensual to the recipient in either case.

Surely you'll agree that saying “this is for your own good” does not make it so. Unfortunately, children tend to believe everything their parents tell them, even into adulthood. (That's why so many adults believe in the same religion as whatever one they were raised into.) The reality is, CHILDREN DO NOT BENEFIT FROM THE DELIBERATE INFLICTION OF PAIN UPON THEIR PERSONS. Whether pain is inflicted angrily, or lovingly, it is potentially harmful either way. Even mild, infrequent, and "well-intentioned" physical punishment tells children that they are not quite safe in their own homes.

Of course, for you to acknowledge that, Stephen, would mean acknowledging that your parents were wrong about something. Are you ready to do that?

Everyone who approves of hitting children was raised with hitting. I've read and heard a lot of opinions on the subject, and I've never known of anyone who said, "My parents had never struck me at all. Had I gotten my butt whipped once in a while, I would be much better off today." Can you IMAGINE a book in the "Mommie Dearest" genre written by a child of non-hitters, about how horrible it was to be raised in an atmosphere of safety?

You may attempt to intellectualize your beliefs, but I believe it really boils down to your desire to defend your own parents. I think that deep down, you're afraid that if you acknowledge that hitting children is harmful, you would feel like you would be betraying your parents. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

There have been many studies done on corporal punishment, some of which are cited in various places on the “Project NoSpank” webpage. Children are damaged in various ways by being hit. There is absolutely NOTHING in any of the research to indicate that children actually BENEFIT from being hit. Children are NOT harmed by being raised without violence.

I know this letter is lengthy, but the length is necessary in order to respond thoroughly to all of your points. I hope you took the time to read this letter in its entirety.

What do you say to my wager proposed in paragraph 3?

Eric Perlin

More from Eric
Dear Stephen,

As long as my previous letter was, I just discovered that it wasn't quite long enough. I re-read your e-mail and found that there was one point you made which I neglected to answer. Lest you think me evasive, I will address it here.

You stated that billions of parents throughout millenia recognize a distinction between different types of hitting that I fail to see. Stephen, have you ever paid close attention to news reports about abusive parents who have badly injured or killed their kids? In every such instance in which the abusive parent is interviewed, the same ideas are expressed. "I was only trying to discipline him. I didn't mean to fracture his skull." Often, similar views are also expressed in such cases by the spouses of abusive parents. "Oh, she's really a good mother. She's not really a child abuser. She was only trying to discipline and got carried away. She never meant to break both his legs." Every child abuser believes himself/herself to be "different" from all the others, who they believe to be "real" child abusers.

Are you certain that it's me who fails to see a distintion? Or could it be possible that YOU fail to see a similarity?

Eric Perlin

Mr. B. replies


There is much that could be said in response to your letter. But, as I had indicated in my last letter, if you can't see the moral distinction (between spanking vs. child or spousal abuse) then discussion on other points would prove fruitless.

Have you ever pondered why you find certain things to be "right" and other things to be "wrong"? Eric, I think this is one of the most profound questions a man could ever ask. C.S. Lewis, a professor at Oxford and Cambridge university, is considered by many to be one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century. His intellectual wrestling with this question led to a profound shift in his whole paradigm on life. His book, "Mere Christianity" has never gone out of print since originally published in the 1940's. I think you might find it of interest. Thanks for your previous letters.

Warmest regards,

Stephen B.

Eric writes to Jordan
Dear Jordan,

There would be no point in my further communicating with Stephen B. He completely ignored all of my points, and basically told me that I'm too stupid to waste time with. How short-sighted of me not to recognize a distinction that billions of parents throughout millenia (including, perhaps, my own) have recognized. The Perlin vs. B. debate is now over.

I'm surprised that he actually IGNORED my $50.00 wager! Should I make an offer for even more money? Jordan, if you could make bets with various people like Stephen B., and get objective third parties to hold the money, PTAVE would have a much better cash flow.

It appears to me that the $50.00 is not nearly as important to Mr. B. as his inclination to cling to his parents' defense. He must be PETRIFIED of learning that his parents were wrong about something! Perhaps the fear of discovering his parents' falacies far outweighs any concern for a measly $50.00. If that's not "Family Values," I don't know what is!


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