Religion: Sex Before Marriage

In the continuing war between science and religion, the issue last week was sex. From Science's corner, Anthropologist George Peter Murdock of Yale threw out the challenge. Said he: "There is . . . nothing in man's social experience to indicate that the ideal of premarital chastity has any scientific value."

Out of 250 human societies he had studied, 70% permit "sexual experimentation" before marriage, Professor Murdock told the 37th annual meeting of the American Social Hygiene Association, in Manhattan. Anthropologist Murdock wished more power to "socially controlled premarital experimentation." Said he: "The sexual laxity current among our own youth is admittedly...

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