Monday, October 27, 2008

The homosexual automaton

This Anonymous poster has an apparently very low view of:
-The civil rights movement for equality for minority ethnicities, of the 1960s and ongoing
-The ability of homosexuals to make real lifestyle choices.

He has shown little comprehension so far that the idea of "lifestyle choices" is a gate that swings both ways. Let's take a look at his latest offering.



I also note that a large part of your argument depends on your belief that homosexuality is merely a lifestyle choice

Wow, speaking of avoidance!
It's no "belief" - one either does homosexual acts or one does not perform them. One can choose to do them or not to do them.
As opposed to one's ethnicity - one does not choose it. One IS one's ethnicity. Thus you do a great disservice to the memory of the civil rights mvmt of the 60s and ongoing.


On this we clearly disagree

So one cannot choose to engage in homosexual acts or not?
Now you're a determinist, and you apparently believe homosexuals are less human than other people - they are, apparently according to you, automata and utter slaves to their sexual drive and orientation. When they see a nice piece of, well, beefcake, they're GOING TO TAKE IT.
Unlike apparently you do, I believe that homosexuals are real people with more to them than just the way their genitalia drive them.
It's sad the way you start off with the desire to help, but end up talking down the very people you're trying to raise up. Unrealistic worldviews can bite in more ways than one.


we're *not* changing the institution of marriage, we're changing the coverage of the institution.

Then I simply insist that we extend the coverage of the institution to include grapefruits, trees, 3-yr-olds, and multiple people of different genders at the same time.
Two can change the language, you know. The point is transparent; I'm in awe of your willful blindness at this point.
You either want to be open to change, or you don't. Either concede the point or go ahead and grant me my desired extensions (and thereby lose all credibility for your position). The choice is yours.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's no "belief" - one either does homosexual acts or one does not perform them.

One might be sexually attracted to people of the same sex, yet never perform a homosexual act in one's life. Likewise one might not be sexually attracted to people of the same sex, but still perform a homosexual act. Your account of homosexuality lacks explanatory power for either of these, as well as conflicting with the actual reports by homosexuals that they do not "choose" to be homosexual any more than you "choose" to be heterosexual. So until you can demonstrate otherwise, the explanation that homosexuality is an orientation in the same way as heterosexuality wins, and denying people rights on the basis of something which they cannot change seems doomed to fail.

Now you're a determinist, and you apparently believe homosexuals are less human than other people - they are, apparently according to you, automata and utter slaves to their sexual drive and orientation.

No more than you or I.

Then I simply insist that we extend the coverage of the institution to include grapefruits, trees, 3-yr-olds, and multiple people of different genders at the same time.

As I said before, you are certainly free to lobby for this. Go ahead and make your case - I presume you have a selection of grapefruits and trees all asking to marry you? I also presume that you also have solid arguments for why you should be allowed to have sex with a 3-yr-old (presumably a girl, since you seem to be fixated on the rape of young girls in previous posts), and so forth. At the moment, the only argument you seem to have for these is "because gays want to get married", and the only argument you have against gays getting married is that you object to the performance of anal sex.

Certainly a strong case to put before the courts.

Rhology said...

But I've been talking about homosexual ACTS this whole time. ACTS as a basis of granting this super-right.
As opposed to the civil rights mvmt, which wanted EQUAL rights on the basis of ONTOLOGY. Not super-rights on the basis of preferred behavior. Huge difference.

And you may deny that you believe in the homosexual automaton, but it follows from the points you made in your previous comment, absent a substantive rebuttal from you.

I use the example of raping little girls in my posts b/c it is pretty much the most horrible thing that I can imagine. It is sthg about which I wouldn't expect anyone to say "No, that's perfectly acceptable." I'm hoping to make as obvious as I can the existential dilemma that is provoked when a naturalist discusses moral questions.
No, the grapefruits and trees are not "asking" to marry me. What are you, nuts? You live in a Disney movie? Trees and grapefruits don't talk. 3-yr-olds don't wnat to get married, they want to play. But none of that matters, since we can apparently modify the institution of marriage to suit people's preferences.

Also, you continue to mistake my position. The gov't may indeed soon grant that gay marriage be legal, but that doesn't make it right nor wise for it to do so, for the numerous reasons I've laid out. What is more, the gov't would then have no good reason not to continue to modify marriage in the ways I have proposed. Which would mean that, though your side may win the legal battle, your position would be rationally unjustifiable.


And I leave it to the reader to decide whether my "only argument (I) have against gays getting married is that (I) object to the performance of anal sex."
Said reader might have actually read what *I* have said, rather than your selective misreadings.

Christoph said...

As I said before, you are certainly free to lobby for this. Go ahead and make your case - I presume you have a selection of grapefruits and trees all asking to marry you? I also presume that you also have solid arguments for why you should be allowed to have sex with a 3-yr-old (presumably a girl, since you seem to be fixated on the rape of young girls in previous posts), and so forth.
How's that different logically to what you're asking for? And whether or not it can be successfully lobbied is irrelevant, the question is "does it make sense?"

axisoflogos said...

Instead of...

One might be sexually attracted to people of the same sex, yet never perform a homosexual act in one's life. Likewise one might not be sexually attracted to people of the same sex, but still perform a homosexual act.

How about...

One might be sexually attracted to [other people's spouses], yet never perform [an adulterous] act in one's life. Likewise one might not be sexually attracted to [other people's spouses], but still perform [an adulterous] act.

Does this help clarify the issue of behavior? If the consent thing still confuses the issue for you, make it about cannibalism - dead people are typically consent neutral. Our proclivities do not confer rights in the rational world.

Rhoblogy is trying your argument in the court of logic and you are not taking advantage of your right to avoid self-contradiction.

Why not a polygamous marriage with a "group" insurance policy? After all, a big love deserves a big right. Why not marry your sister, your brother, your parents, or your horse? Whoa, Nelly - this rights language can sure get out of control!

Anonymous said...

But I've been talking about homosexual ACTS this whole time. ACTS as a basis of granting this super-right.

As I pointed out:

a. When you say "homosexual acts", you mean anal sex.
b. Not all homosexuals (and clearly very few lesbians) engage in anal sex.
c. Therefore your objection lacks force as an argument against same sex marriage in principle.

And of course nobody is campaigning for same-sex marriage on the basis of their acts, but on the basis of their status. You may personally believe that homosexuality is an act rather than a status, but making your case on the basis of the former while ignoring the latter seems quixotic to say the least.

And you may deny that you believe in the homosexual automaton, but it follows from the points you made in your previous comment, absent a substantive rebuttal from you.

As I said quite clearly: homosexuals are no more or less automata than heterosexuals, and thus owed exactly the same rights.

No, the grapefruits and trees are not "asking" to marry me. What are you, nuts? You live in a Disney movie? Trees and grapefruits don't talk. 3-yr-olds don't wnat to get married, they want to play. But none of that matters, since we can apparently modify the institution of marriage to suit people's preferences.

Well, modify it to suit the preferences of those who wish to enter into the institution of marriage. Since, as you correctly identified, neither grapefruit, trees or 3-yr-olds can express a wish to enter the institution of marriage, how exactly does your argument compare to two people who do wish to enter the institution of marriage?

Polygamy is more interesting. I can't think of a serious objection to polygamy in principle, although in practice it doesn't seem to work particularly well in our society (although I suspect that's because of the types of community that practice it, rather than the practice itself). So I can definitely concede that my position allows for polygamy if consent between the parties is clear.

The gov't may indeed soon grant that gay marriage be legal, but that doesn't make it right nor wise for it to do so, for the numerous reasons I've laid out.

Perhaps I missed the "numerous reasons" that you laid out. Could you recap them for us?

What is more, the gov't would then have no good reason not to continue to modify marriage in the ways I have proposed.

A truly bizarre argument. Did grapefruits, trees and 3-yr-olds get the right to vote shortly after women? Perhaps I missed that as well.

Said reader might have actually read what *I* have said, rather than your selective misreadings.

You are free to clarify your arguments, of course. Instead all you seem to do is change them as they fail, one by one.

Anonymous said...

One might be sexually attracted to [other people's spouses], yet never perform [an adulterous] act in one's life. Likewise one might not be sexually attracted to [other people's spouses], but still perform [an adulterous] act.

Your point is obscure. Perhaps you could clarify it.

If the consent thing still confuses the issue for you, make it about cannibalism - dead people are typically consent neutral.

If somebody had previously consented to being eaten, I can't mount a strong rational objection to it; however I would put a case that it's socially undesirable. It's an interesting but almost unrelated point; the social taboo around interfering with corpses is one that I share, but I'm aware that it's not rationally supported.

Why not a polygamous marriage with a "group" insurance policy? After all, a big love deserves a big right. Why not marry your sister, your brother, your parents, or your horse?

As I've said, I don't have a serious objection to polygamy. Marrying direct relatives conflicts with social prohibitions against incest; marrying a horse conflicts with the social principle of consent which we place in the modern institution of marriage (but which is not necessarily a priority in other cultures).

Whoa, Nelly - this rights language can sure get out of control!

Not really, but I agree that it is complex. I fully understand that a large part of your concern is due to your fear of uncertainty, but I can't really say that I share that fear.

Rhology said...

a. When you say "homosexual acts", you mean anal sex.

1) Not only, but that's included, yes.
What I mean is, any homosexual sexual act. I'd tell you to use your imagination, but... maybe not.
2) You are still misunderstanding my point.
This is a group of people who want a super-right based on preferred behavior. Why should anyone want to grant such?


but on the basis of their status.

They don't have a "status" besides "we prefer homosexual acts to hetero ones". But why should we grant them a super-right based on this?
As I've explained no less than 3 times now, this is significantly disanalogous to past civil rights issues. What you're doing devalues the efforts that have gone before. Shame on you.


You may personally believe that homosexuality is an act rather than a status,

You have trouble following arguments.
Where have I said that?
I've repeatedly made a distinction between desires and actions, but why should we grant a super-right based on DESIRE? It's the same question as the one you're assiduously avoiding.


homosexuals are no more or less automata than heterosexuals

Not based on what you said.
So we have the direct consequences of your previous statement, and now you're backing away from it without telling anyone why. That's worthy of approximately zero respect.


Since, as you correctly identified, neither grapefruit, trees or 3-yr-olds can express a wish to enter the institution of marriage, how exactly does your argument compare to two people who do wish to enter the institution of marriage?


I'm trying to be patient with you, but you're not making it easy.
You want to change one part of the institution of marriage. Fair enough - I want to change a different part. Tell me why that's unreasonable.


So I can definitely concede that my position allows for polygamy if consent between the parties is clear.

Now we're making progress.
Hopefully you'll apply the same thinking to my other examples and concede those too. Then the argument ad absurdum will be complete.


Perhaps I missed the "numerous reasons" that you laid out. Could you recap them for us?

Given that I've had to repeat my main points at least 3 times to you, no, I'm not inclined to do so.


Did grapefruits, trees and 3-yr-olds get the right to vote shortly after women? Perhaps I missed that as well.

Where did "right to vote" enter into the equation?
Are you moving the goalposts yet again?

Anonymous said...

It seems clear by now that we differ in three key areas:

a. You believe that homosexuality can be reduced to actions, while I believe that homosexuality is equivalent to heterosexuality as something inherent to somebody's being.
b. You believe that marriage is by definition between a man and a woman, while I believe that marriage is an agreement between individuals. (Interestingly we both believe that consent is critical to marriage, even though that has not been the case historically.)
c. You believe that marriage is an eternal religious institution ordained by God, while I believe that marriage is a social, legal and economic institution that continues to change in response to external pressures.

It is unlikely that we'll ever be able to reconcile these two perspectives, which is the source of mutual incomprehension. When we use the words "marriage" or "homosexuality", we're not even talking about the same things. The question we need to ask is, how can we achieve a state in which both sides of the argument can live their lives as they wish?

(p.s. Reading your blog, I realise that you want to demonstrate some sort of philosophical superiority in these arguments, but please trust me when I say that you're not up to it.)

Seth said...

heterosexuality as something inherent to somebody's being

I think I'd feel comfortable arguing that heterosexuality is also not 'inherent' but rather behavioral, or the result of desire fulfilled in action.

axisoflogos said...

anonymous, thanks for interacting.

rhology, feel free to cut me off if this thread goes too many directions.

Your point [about adultery] is obscure. Perhaps you could clarify it.

By providing a parallel example where (assumed) heterosexual orientation is used, it can be seen that: (1) the issue is the behavior rather than the orientation (2) there is common recognition that genetic or other predispositions do not confer unlimited rights to the individual, even for heterosexuals. Acting out all possible impulses (theft, murder, sexuality, etc.) is not beneficial to the health of the overall society and is normally restricted.

There are also interesting discussions around consent in these illustrations:

In the broader case relating to homosexuality, society implies relationship. The smaller society (marriage) is connected to the intermediate society (state) and then to the universal society (world). Is consent needed from the rest of society before any homosexual behavior is tolerated? If consent is by vote, what percent consent is required? If 51% approval is the threshold, and this is gained from the society for the recognition of gay marriage along with all the associated privileges, must the 49% confer the right in perpetuity? Rights are difficult to take back once granted!

If 51% decide later that it was not such a good idea, can the new majority create legislation that makes homosexual behavior illegal in perpetuity? If the 49% are better armed and cull the population of the 51%, then vote on legislation making such re-balancing a primary social principle, where does the argument go?

In the second case using adultery, let the spouse be either opposite or same sex, two couples are involved, two people are in an adulterous (non-exclusive) situation. Consent has not been sought from the non-participating spouses. Do the NP spouses have any grounds to complain if relationships are solely defined by consent (i.e., is there a moral issue here)? What if one NP spouse provides consent, but the other does not? Simple majority rule?

If somebody had previously consented to being eaten, I can't mount a strong rational objection to it; however I would put a case that it's socially undesirable...Marrying direct relatives conflicts with social prohibitions against incest; marrying a horse conflicts with the social principle of consent which we place in the modern institution of marriage (but which is not necessarily a priority in other cultures).

Consent is a tricky basis for rights. I think changing the meaning of consent would be easier than changing the meaning of marriage. Perhaps being dead could imply consent - the dead typically do not vote (present election excluded). Some men see women dressed provocatively as obvious consent for rape. Four-year old girls are (still) legally protected from assumption of consent. You may know your horse better than any court could, and who knows what a grapefruit thinks?

Why do we include or exclude other cultures? Consent between parents on behalf of their children makes marriage legal in some cultures. Would it be morally OK for some cultures to self-determine that consent is not a legislative principle, and that homosexual behavior was socially undesirable and a capital offense? What if cultures are physically co-located? What if one culture in a common physical location wants secular laws and the other wants Sharia law?

As I've said, I don't have a serious objection to polygamy...

Let's add another twist - what if the group is all men? What if all the men but one live a rather Bohemian lifestyle and are non-producers? The one gets to go to work and gather spousal benefits; the others have a liberal view of consent and create other partner relationships and, well...disease runs rampant. How do all these rights get paid for?

[I disagree that rights language can get out of control], but I agree that it is complex. I fully understand that a large part of your concern is due to your fear of uncertainty, but I can't really say that I share that fear.

Actually, I have a healthy fear of Certainty :)

So, anonymous, I have tried to provide more clarity but this has gotten rather long - forgive me that.

You are writing clearly and avoiding ad hominem - I hope you persist with the discussion.

Rhology said...

axisoflogos,

No, I thought your comments were helpful. Thanks for that.
But I wouldn't go so far as to say that Anonymous is avoiding ad hominem. He's not as bad as some, but you see it trickling thru once in a while.


Anonymous,

I am a little bemused by your confident assertion that I'm not "up to it". Such is certainly possible, but wouldn't you have to prove you can actually follow an argument before that kind of statement might be credible?

homosexuality can be reduced to actions

Nowhere have I said that.
Rather, my argument has always been that I see no reason to change the present institution, to grant a right beyond what rights already exist, based on someone's preferred behavior. I don't deny that many homosexuals THINK they are born with it, or THINK they could never feel any other sort of attraction. In many or even most cases they are wrong, but that is beside the point.


You believe that marriage is by definition between a man and a woman

I do believe that, yes, but that hasn't been my argument either.
My argument has been that marriage is like that, by law, right now and has been for 100s or 1000s of yrs. You want to change that, just b/c some people want to take the label "marriage" and apply it to give some sort of justification to their preferred form of sex.
I'm not necessarily arguing, as I've said before, that sodomy should be against the law, but I don't see why anyone should entertain this modification in the legal institution.

And yes, I see marriage is a divine institution, since that's how the Bible presents it. But that has been immaterial for my argument. You haven't even really provided a decent positive argument for why we SHOULD change marriage. Ever heard the saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? Why is marriage broken? Why "fix" it?
And I comprehend your position just fine. I've been around the block a few times. You, however, are having serious problems following my argument, possibly b/c you appear to want to label me a fundy and pretend that all my arguments are based on my religious beliefs. For the open thinker, such bias and prejudice are not impressive.


The question we need to ask is, how can we achieve a state in which both sides of the argument can live their lives as they wish?

1) Why is that the question we need to ask?
2) Let's apply that same question to the topic of "should rape and murder be legally sanctioned?" How can we achieve a state in which both sides of the argument can live their lives as they wish?
3) And you have resisted my attempted application of the same question to the question of marrying grapefruits. You don't really believe this argument; it's just a foil for you to get what you really want. What you really want remains shrouded in mystery, but it's clear you don't have a good reason for wanting it or wanting to impose it on the rest of us and shove your morals down our throats.

Anonymous said...

Axis: By providing a parallel example where (assumed) heterosexual orientation is used, it can be seen that: (1) the issue is the behavior rather than the orientation (2) there is common recognition that genetic or other predispositions do not confer unlimited rights to the individual, even for heterosexuals. Acting out all possible impulses (theft, murder, sexuality, etc.) is not beneficial to the health of the overall society and is normally restricted.

Thanks for the clarification, I think I understand where you believe the analogy lies. Of course we do not legislate against orientation, only against behaviour. On those grounds, you might wish to argue that we should legislate against sodomy, but that seems likely to fail against the general belief that legislation should not peer inside people's sex lives unless there is lack of consent involved. However you are arguing against recognising same-sex marriages, not same-sex... er, sex.

Marriage of course does not equal sodomy, and there are no "behaviours" which are exclusively homosexual in nature (despite Rhology's protestations otherwise). If a heterosexual married couple intended to engage exclusively in anal sex, you would presumably not see this as being grounds for preventing their marriage from being recognised. In fact I presume you would share my position that what they do in the bedroom is their personal business, not yours, mine or the law's - unless it involves lack of consent.

I am interested in the other questions that you raise, but they are not strictly speaking germane to the main question, which is whether the law should recognise same-sex marriages.
I might post some responses to your other thought experiments, but at the moment I don't have a whole lot of time to spare on the wider discussion.

Anonymous said...

Rather, my argument has always been that I see no reason to change the present institution, to grant a right beyond what rights already exist, based on someone's preferred behavior.

Perhaps this is not really a question of rights at all, merely a question of recognition. A same-sex marriage ceremony could be carried out, a legal agreement made, witnessed and so forth - the question is only whether the state recognises that marriage as being on a similar footing to a "standard" marriage. Does that make it easier for you to accept, or does it make no difference?

My argument has been that marriage is like that, by law, right now and has been for 100s or 1000s of yrs.

Except it clearly hasn't. For example, until the 1960s (as I've pointed out) marriage between races was illegal in many places. This is *not* to compare civil rights and gay rights - merely to point out that in legal terms marriage has changed, and in relatively recent history. We can also clearly see - Axis more than you, apparently - that in many cultures marriage means something different - it may include more than two people, or it may include people that we consider children, and so on. My point being - marriage is not the unchanging institution that you seem to think it is.

I'm not necessarily arguing, as I've said before, that sodomy should be against the law, but I don't see why anyone should entertain this modification in the legal institution.

Because legal institutions are supposed to be modified in response to social requirements. Legal institutions are simply tools to help society run more smoothly, and should be applied sparingly if at all.

You, however, are having serious problems following my argument, possibly b/c you appear to want to label me a fundy and pretend that all my arguments are based on my religious beliefs.

One of the things that made me write that you are not up to this - which was not something I wrote lightly, since I'm aware that it is close to a personal insult - is that you don't appear to be able to present an argument clearly. (Contrast this with Axisoflogos, who has patiently and clearly explained his arguments in less space than you have taken.) That has nothing to do with your religious beliefs, and as far as I know I haven't accused you of being a "fundy". However you cannot exclude your religious beliefs from the discussion, particularly since your definition of marriage is based on those beliefs.

2) Let's apply that same question to the topic of "should rape and murder be legally sanctioned?" How can we achieve a state in which both sides of the argument can live their lives as they wish?

The question is inapplicable to rape and murder, precisely because those two actions are (at least partly) defined by lack of consent. The rapist and the murderer by definition prevent their victims from living their lives as they wish.

What you really want remains shrouded in mystery, but it's clear you don't have a good reason for wanting it or wanting to impose it on the rest of us and shove your morals down our throats.

I must have missed the point where "recognising same-sex marriages" became "forcing Rhology to marry a man". I really don't see how recognising same-sex marriages imposes anything on the rest of us.

axisoflogos said...

...[On the basis of behavior-based prohibitions], you might wish to argue that we should legislate against sodomy...

No, that would not be my argument.

...legislation should not peer inside people's sex lives unless there is lack of consent involved. However you are arguing against recognising same-sex marriages, not same-sex... er, sex.

I didn't really make an argument yet. I was just looking for consistency in yours by exploring the implications of consent and social law.

...there are no "behaviours" which are exclusively homosexual in nature.

What about homosexual behavior? I really don't see much difficulty in creating a definition for that.

In fact I presume you would share my position that what they do in the bedroom is their personal business, not yours, mine or the law's...

I would not be in agreement with your position.

...unless it involves lack of consent.

But you were talking about changing the institution of marriage (extending coverage = same diff). Your behavior will get very personal and uncomfortable for me as you reach into my back pocket to fund the consequences of this. Therefore, I do not give my consent.

I might post some responses to your other thought experiments, but at the moment I don't have a whole lot of time to spare on the wider discussion.

Thought experiments! *sniff* OK, I will watch from the sidelines.

Anonymous said...

What about homosexual behavior? I really don't see much difficulty in creating a definition for that.

Then please create a definition, because I have difficulty understanding what might constitute "homosexual behaviour" in the sense that we're talking about, i.e. specific actions that might be subject to legislation.

I would not be in agreement with your position.

So you believe that it's your business what goes on in the bedroom between two people, or the law's, or both? It certainly is none of mine.

But you were talking about changing the institution of marriage (extending coverage = same diff). Your behavior will get very personal and uncomfortable for me as you reach into my back pocket to fund the consequences of this. Therefore, I do not give my consent.

Unfortunately that's not the way that the system of government works. I am fairly certain that you disapprove of a whole host of things that receive some funding (including a number of heterosexual marriages that don't meet your standards), but you simply don't get to personally determine where and how your taxes are spent. Now you may disagree with this, but that's a different argument and not the same as specifically disagreeing with the institution of same-sex marriage.

p.s. I'm not sure what the "consequences" of same-sex marriage are that will cost you money - perhaps you could expand on that?

Rhology said...

there are no "behaviours" which are exclusively homosexual in nature

What about: "Sexual acts that homosexuals engage in with other homosexuals"?
That is what I mean. And there are certain things that a homosexual just can't do - vaginal intercourse, for example.

That reminds me - you still haven't rebutted the point of this post, that your position reduces the homosexual to an automaton. All you've said is "I don't think that", but you haven't argued for why the statement to which I alluded doesn't lead you to that very conclusion.


I presume you would share my position that what they do in the bedroom is their personal business, not yours, mine or the law's - unless it involves lack of consent

1) You've never argued for WHY we should care about consent or lack thereof; you just assert it. I'd like to see that argument sometime, seriously.
2) I'd LOVE to keep their bedroom bizness in their bedroom, and that's exactly what I'm talking about. But they keep throwing it in my face, what with Gay Pride Parades and incessant lobbying for gov't approval for marriage.
You're inconsistent on this point. Is it your position that homosexuals should keep their bedroom bizness in their bedroom or not? You have to choose.



A same-sex marriage ceremony could be carried out, a legal agreement made, witnessed and so forth - the question is only whether the state recognises that marriage as being on a similar footing to a "standard" marriage. Does that make it easier for you to accept, or does it make no difference?

If some "church" wants to carry out such a sham ceremony, fine - it's a free country.
So yes, this is the narrow question on which I've been focusing my discussion.


For example, until the 1960s (as I've pointed out) marriage between races was illegal in many places.

And of course, I was referring to "man-woman" marriage, not between ethnicities.


that in many cultures marriage means something different - it may include more than two people, or it may include people that we consider children, and so on

Fine, fine. And if you're successful in pushing your agenda thru, I don't see why I can't marry a grapefruit or my own 2-yr-old daughter. Or both.


marriage is not the unchanging institution that you seem to think it is.

It is on the point of man-woman. And there's a good reason for that.


Because legal institutions are supposed to be modified in response to social requirements

Says who? Perhaps here we have one of the underpinings of your warped worldview.
Why, then, shouldn't we change the laws on murder in response to social requirements? What about murdering gay rights supporters? Why not? I mean, if the society requires it...
And of course you have to define "requirement" and you have to define "society". What % is it? 50.000001%? 60%?


Legal institutions are simply tools to help society run more smoothly, and should be applied sparingly if at all.

Well and good - let's not apply a further institution, that of homosexual marriage. Agreed?


The question is inapplicable to rape and murder, precisely because those two actions are (at least partly) defined by lack of consent.

Argue for that, don't merely assert it.
Talk about inability to state an argument clearly...


I must have missed the point where "recognising same-sex marriages" became "forcing Rhology to marry a man".

Which is of course a complete misunderstanding of what I was saying.
Maybe the reason my arguments are unclear to you is b/c you keep imposing your own meaning onto them. That can impair comprehension, to be sure.
You would force me to RECOGNISE a homosexual marriage. That is shoving your morals down my throat.
(In the interest of clarity, I don't have a problem with "shoving one's morals down someone else's throat", whatever that means. Any law is an application of a moral stance over and against a conflicting stance, and thus shoving it down the dissenter's throat. But that's a common liberal battle-cry, and it gives me a wicked pleasure to turn it back on the liberal.)


I'm not sure what the "consequences" of same-sex marriage are that will cost you money - perhaps you could expand on that?

For one thing, if I'm a business owner who offers an insurance package to an employee, you would force me to provide coverage that extends to the homosexual man's stay-at-home wife/husband. That costs me extra, and it is directly against my moral convictions. Thus your morality costs me money.
If the gay rights agenda gets their way, they will remove the tax-exempt status from any church that dares to preach what the Bible teaches about homosexuality from the pulpit. I give money to my church and the church in turn provides me with certain services. Once again, same thing.
The list could go on.

You know, you still haven't made an argument for why we SHOULD accept homosexual marriage. I don't know what you're waiting for. Maybe inspiration from on high b/c you don't have any idea right now?

Dr Funkenstein said...

For one thing, if I'm a business owner who offers an insurance package to an employee, you would force ... I give money to my church and the church in turn provides me with certain services. Once again, same thing.The list could go on.

Thing is though, some of that argument could as easily be used against you or against other things you may not disagree with - for example, I am an employee in the US, but not a citizen. I therefore have to pay taxes towards services I cannot legally ever use (such as Medicare, Medicaid, Soc. Security) unless I eventually become a citizen. Would you agree I'd be within my rights to be demanding that money back (although argument aside, I don't actually mind it too much as at least someone may benefit from healthcare that they might not otherwise get)?

As another example, by being tax exempt, churches essentially take money from the taxpayer indirectly, by not paying money that they otherwise would. Now, I personally don't object to this (generally speaking), as despite being an atheist I can see that the church is something that a lot of people in a community make use of and enjoy, and most of them arent raking in vast amounts of cash anyway - additionally despite the fact I disagree with their adherents beliefs, I can at least see that those beliefs are genuine rather than dishonest.

However, there are other organisations such as the Discovery Institute and megachurches that I resent benefiting from tax-exempt status (at least one of which you endorse), since they are simply scams taking advantage of people as well as taking in more money than I'd imagine a fairly sizable percentage of small businesses do.

So what would your argument be against people like me if we were to demand removal of benefits to organisations we disagree with that you favour (I realise that other than the DI, you may also not agree with some of the enterprises listed above)?

axisoflogos said...

Then please create a definition, because I have difficulty understanding what might constitute "homosexual behaviour" in the sense that we're talking about, i.e. specific actions that might be subject to legislation.

How about "any sexual activity between people of the same sex." The action is "sexual activity" and the specificity is "between two people of the same sex." Now, I have provided this definition without refinement or without the context of a broader argument. If I was making a more formal argument, I would rather make a positive statement about what marriage is than deal with "what is lawful sexual activity" so I don't have to proscribe the many, many strange ideas that people come up with.

So you believe that it's your business what goes on in the bedroom between two people, or the law's, or both? It certainly is none of mine.

I would not agree with this statement either. There are many things about both statements that have not been well-defined.

1) The comment "in the bedroom" does not represent the outworkings of the actual practice or the situation under discussion. The activity has gone from bedroom, to out-of-the-closet, to bath house, to protest, to parade, to movies, to TV, to schools, to marriage. So when you say "in the bedroom" I understand you to mean "not in the bedroom."

2) Because you are rather indifferent about group marriage, you say "two people" but I have to consider that you actually mean "any number of people."

3) When you say "law" I don't yet understand how you are justifying its basis. There is some vague idea about society involved.

So, I am trying to see if you can present a consistent, non-contradictory argument to evaluate. I have not seen how you would handle some of my thought experiments yet, so I continue to seek clarification.

Unfortunately [consent as a basis for ignoring laws is] not the way that the system of government works. I am fairly certain that you disapprove of a whole host of things that receive some funding (including a number of heterosexual marriages that don't meet your standards), but you simply don't get to personally determine where and how your taxes are spent.

What! I am shocked! Whether or not I consent to established laws has no standing before the government? What if both my spouse and I give consent to each other to not pay taxes? Is the government obligated to recognize our consent? Just to make everybody comfortable, I will keep my extra set of accounting books in my bedroom and it will be nobody's concern.

Now you may disagree with this, but that's a different argument and not the same as specifically disagreeing with the institution of same-sex marriage.

I'm not sure I understood your argument here. Let me know if I get it:

+ consent provides no basis for the individual to ignore the established laws of the government
+ some undefined consensus by an undefined society makes new laws that are morally just by reason that they are laws
+ but because one characteristic of heterosexual marriages is consent, and homosexual unions have an element of consent, consent becomes an uber-principle
+ Therefore, privileges granted to heterosexuals via the institution of marriage should be extended to include homosexual marriage

I'm not sure what the "consequences" of same-sex marriage are that will cost you money - perhaps you could expand on that?

Possible Economic Consequences:

1) increased cost of care for supporting the Bohemian Big Love group

2) increased cost of care for supporting treatment of viral infections such as HIV, herpes, hepatitus and condylomata

3) increased cost of care for supporting treatment of non-viral infections such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, amebiasis, giardiasis, shigellosis and ectoparasites

4) increased cost of treatment for alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and depression

5) increased cost of care for early mortality

Dr Funkenstein said...

Possible Economic Consequences:

But almost none of those economic costs that you have listed are actually caused by two people of the same sex getting married or by someone's sexual orientation per se, and as discussed before most/(maybe all) of the STDs are lower or non existent in terms of transmission and contraction rates in lesbian couples whereas that is not true for heterosexual couples. Therefore you should actually be pro-lesbian if reducing the costs of treating disease is a concern. I'd imagine drug & alcohol abuse amongst gay people may possibly be be lowered if the social pressures and stigma were removed also - this is ironically something that many religious organisations (although not all) facilitate, thus perhaps contributing to the very thing they are complaining about. Additionally, as I mentioned before there are plenty of organisations who benefit (indirectly) from my tax dollars via exemptions that I disagree with, and others may go further than I do and include all churches/religious organisations in their list.

To be consistent with your complaint about the cost of others' harmful lifestyle choices to you personally, you'd have to extend your demands for government/legal intervention to groups such as smokers, the obese, people who engage in dangerous sports, people who decide to join the military and fight in illegal wars (such as the current one - I see no reason why my tax dollars should be used to fund this, for example, although you may well disagree). I reckon it would be quite easy to eventually get to the conclusion that everyone is in some way unnecessarily draining tax dollars via their lifestyle choices.

axisoflogos said...

Hello Dr, thanks for asking!

But almost none of those economic costs that you have listed are actually caused by two people of the same sex getting married or by someone's sexual orientation per se...

What was the title of the post? I haven't seen where anonymous has decided this issue consistently for himself.

...and as discussed before most/(maybe all) of the STDs are lower or non existent in terms of transmission and contraction rates in lesbian couples whereas that is not true for heterosexual couples.

It depends on the behavior of the heterosexual couples. If they are having casual sex outside of marriage, then it would be expected that STDs would increase in that heterosexual population. I do not believe the research supports widespread lesbian fidelity, so lesbian infection rates may be worse than your assumption.

Difference in behavior is one reason why lesbians tried earlier in the movement to separate themselves from being lumped in with the others in the rights discussion (although they were politically chastened for it).

Therefore you should actually be pro-lesbian if reducing the costs of treating disease is a concern.

Big jump there. I could say I was "less vehemently opposed" rather than "pro" based only on the economic issues discussed so far. I consider this off-topic, but understand your point.

I'd imagine drug & alcohol abuse amongst gay people may possibly be be lowered if the social pressures and stigma were removed also...

You should include depression in your argument here. The problems might decrease some, but I think there are other inherent, over-riding issues that drive the outcome.

...this is ironically something that many religious organisations (although not all) facilitate, thus perhaps contributing to the very thing they are complaining about.

By supporting, I assume you mean accepting without qualification or expectation of behavioral change. Consider, if homosexuality has a psychological make-up closer to that of the alcoholic (only about sex), "supporting" churches would really be enablers.

Additionally, as I mentioned before there are plenty of organisations who benefit (indirectly) from my tax dollars via exemptions that I disagree with, and others may go further than I do and include all churches/religious organisations in their list.

I would like to reduce the size of government quite a bit. Stopping any increase would be part of that objective. I have some views about government, it is a very important topic, but I am not passionate about discussing it.

To be consistent with your complaint about the cost of others' harmful lifestyle choices to you personally, you'd have to extend your demands for government/legal intervention to groups such as smokers, the obese, people who engage in dangerous sports, people who decide to join the military...it would be quite easy to eventually get to the conclusion that everyone is in some way unnecessarily draining tax dollars via their lifestyle choices.

On my health coverage, I have to certify whether or not each person covered is a smoker. If they are, there is an additional cost. Some health plans charge additional if the person is overweight. On life insurance policies, smoking, weight, activities, health, occupation - all these lifestyle choices create additional charges because they impact mortality.

In the real world, how do you think proposing additional policy charges for the gay lifestyle choice would be received?

I am trying to understand the shape of the original argument. I enjoy the discussion very much, but anonymous said he didn't have time to respond to everything. I hope to leave some space for him to answer, and of course for rhology to rejoin.

Anonymous said...

That reminds me - you still haven't rebutted the point of this post, that your position reduces the homosexual to an automaton. All you've said is "I don't think that", but you haven't argued for why the statement to which I alluded doesn't lead you to that very conclusion.

What I originally said was:

I also note that a large part of your argument depends on your belief that homosexuality is merely a lifestyle choice rather than a state of being. On this we clearly disagree

What we disagree on is your belief that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice rather than a state of being. In practice what this means that I believe that homosexuals have no more choice about being homosexual than you have about being heterosexual. How you make the quite colossal leap of logic from this simple statement to accusing me of believing that homosexuals are "less human than other people" - well, that's a mystery for the ages, my friend.

So no, I haven't rebutted the point of this post, but that's because it's not a point that I ever made.

Anonymous said...

How about "any sexual activity between people of the same sex." The action is "sexual activity" and the specificity is "between two people of the same sex."

Rhology's original objection, remember, is predicated on his assertion that

Performing a homosexual act is a behavior. And it is a destructive one.

What I am seeking to establish is what constitutes a specifically "homosexual act" that could act as an insurmountable obstacle to recognising same-sex marriage. The main problem that I see is that every type of sexual act that can be carried out between people of the same sex can also be carried out between people of different sexes. So if such an act is an obstacle to recognising same-sex marriages, then presumably it's also an obstacle to recognising any marriage.

Rhology also said this:

Homosexual behavior is dangerous as well. And it hurts people - the average life expectancy of a homosexual is vastly shorter than a heterosexual. It's just the way it is, and it's b/c homosexual sex is harmful. It involves activity using a part of the body that is designed for something completely different, and that part of the body just happens to be the canal for eliminating poisonous waste, which is easily introduced into the body if it is damaged by, say, sexual contact.

Now let's change the wording slightly:

Smokers' behavior is dangerous as well. And it hurts people - the average life expectancy of a smoker is vastly shorter than a non-smoker. It's just the way it is, and it's b/c smoking is harmful. It involves activity using a part of the body that is designed for something completely different, and that part of the body just happens to be the canal for taking in oxygen, which is easily damaged by, say, carcinogenic toxins.

I think we all recognise that this argument would not be offered up as a critique of smokers getting married - yet for some reason Rhology believes that it's a strong argument against people of the same sex getting married.

Rhology said...

Dr Funk

I therefore have to pay taxes towards services I cannot legally ever use

Actually, yeah, I would argue that you shouldn't have to pay taxes on that.
Less taxes, in general, I'm in favor of.


churches essentially take money from the taxpayer indirectly, by not paying money that they otherwise would.

How does that work?
The church doesn't take money from anyone except from their income from any bizness they do and their offerings.
Don't pull a fast one with your language - not paying does not mean taking from.


most of them arent raking in vast amounts of cash anyway

Most of them?
Sorry, my friend, that's way wrong. Probably most of the high-profile ones may well be, but what infinitessimally small % of all churches are high-profile?


there are other organisations such as the Discovery Institute and megachurches that I resent benefiting from tax-exempt status (at least one of which you endorse)

Fine, but I haven't been talking about tax-exempt, really.


since they are simply scams taking advantage of people

Some megachurches and other churches are, yes. Many more are not.
The DI doesn't get much money, though. I don't begrudge them what they get for what they do. So we'll just have to disagree on the subject of the DI.


what would your argument be against people like me if we were to demand removal of benefits to organisations we disagree with that you favour (

Dunno, I haven't thought that much about that topic. It's not germane to the topic at hand, so I'd have to come back to it.


Anonymous said:
In practice what this means that I believe that homosexuals have no more choice about being homosexual than you have about being heterosexual.

I know that is your faith position, for which there is abundant counter-evidence and little evidence in favor of, but I don't see why I should support a super-right that would screw up a fundamental societal institution based on a quasi-religious conviction such as that. Especially since you won't be honest enough to admit it's a faith-based position (or will you? You could always surprise me).


How you make the quite colossal leap of logic from this simple statement to accusing me of believing that homosexuals are "less human than other people" - well, that's a mystery for the ages, my friend.

You had said:
I also note that a large part of your argument depends on your belief that homosexuality is merely a lifestyle choice rather than a state of being. On this we clearly disagree

To participate in a homosexual act is either a choice or it's not. You said you disagreed that it is a choice.
What else am I to conclude? Even if I were to grant that one does not participate in any way in the choice of being homosexual, that does not mean that someone has to act on that predilection.
Plenty of people are born with predilections towards a violent temper, alcoholism, laziness, etc. Maybe we should give them super-rights as well. They were born that way, after all.

No, I believe that people are more than the sum of their inborn predilections. You don't seem to, and that's a shame and another example your position leading to the humbling of a group you start off meaning to lift up.


What I am seeking to establish is what constitutes a specifically "homosexual act" that could act as an insurmountable obstacle to recognising same-sex marriage.

I said it: A sexual act performed by a homosexual with another person.


The main problem that I see is that every type of sexual act that can be carried out between people of the same sex can also be carried out between people of different sexes

Not heterosexual intercourse.
I'm shaking my head here - that's pretty obvious.


I think we all recognise that this argument would not be offered up as a critique of smokers getting married

But 2 smokers already have the same rights wrt marriage that anyone else has - the right to marry another smoker of the opposite sex.

I note the utter absence of any reason TO ALLOW homosexual marriage. Again.
One can only make a request so many times before losing hope. 4 times seems about reasonable - Anon has not brought any forth, so I'll stop hoping.

Anonymous said...

I know that is your faith position, for which there is abundant counter-evidence and little evidence in favor of

Lookign forward to seeing the abundant counter-evidence. My evidence in favour of is my own personal experience - at no point did I choose to be heterosexual.

but I don't see why I should support a super-right that would screw up a fundamental societal institution based on a quasi-religious conviction such as that.

I don't believe it's a super-right, I don't think it will screw up any such institution and I have no idea what a "quasi-religious conviction" is.

To participate in a homosexual act is either a choice or it's not. You said you disagreed that it is a choice.

No. I said that I disagreed that homosexuality is a choice. You still haven't defined a "homosexual act" sufficiently yet for me to comment on it. Your current definition of a homosexual act is:

A sexual act performed by a homosexual with another person.

So by your definitions, presumably a sexual act performed by an alcoholic with another alcoholic is an alcoholic act.

Plenty of people are born with predilections towards a violent temper, alcoholism, laziness, etc. Maybe we should give them super-rights as well. They were born that way, after all.

No - we should give them the same rights as everybody else. One of those rights is - of course - the recognition of their marriages as legally valid.

I note the utter absence of any reason TO ALLOW homosexual marriage. Again.

We're not making an argument for same-sex marriage, merely pointing out that your arguments against it don't hold any water. If you want to have a discussion about the reasons for same-sex marriage, I suggest you ask somebody else.

Rhology said...

howdy Anon,

My evidence in favour of is my own personal experience - at no point did I choose to be heterosexual.

And did you ever choose to engage in a heterosexual sex act? Or were you born in a state of heterosexual sex acts, so that you never do anything but?


I have no idea what a "quasi-religious conviction" is.

I refer to your faith-based position.


I said that I disagreed that homosexuality is a choice.

Anyone can refer back and see exactly what you said. Backtracking when called out is not typically well-respected.


So by your definitions, presumably a sexual act performed by an alcoholic with another alcoholic is an alcoholic act.

Last time I checked, sexual acts are performed with more than one person. It's not analogous to alcoholic acts; an alcoholic can get drunk with or w/o another alcoholic.
A homosexual engages in a sexual encounter with ANOTHER PERSON.
It's pretty simple - if a man has a sexual encounter with another man, it's a homosexual act.
It's kind of amazing that I have to explain this to you.


we should give them the same rights as everybody else.

So we agree. What's the argument for, then?


One of those rights is - of course - the recognition of their marriages as legally valid.

No problem. As long as they marry someone of the proper type (ie, of the opposite sex, not currently married, of marriageable age, who gives consent), no problem. We agree.

Anonymous said...

And did you ever choose to engage in a heterosexual sex act? Or were you born in a state of heterosexual sex acts, so that you never do anything but?

You refer to a "heterosexual sex act" on the one hand, but only to a "homosexual act" on the other. It's clear that you have a reductionist view of homosexuality, seeing it as a series of choices rather than a sexual orientation on a par with heterosexuality. Personally I choose to engage in "heterosexual sex acts". If I chose to engage in a "homosexual sex act", would that magically make me a homosexual? If that sex act was (for example) kissing, what would the difference be between the homosexual and heterosexual versions? After all, you're arguing that homosexual acts are inherently more dangerous and harmful.

I refer to your faith-based position.

I notice that you haven't provided any evidence at all for your position, despite claiming that such evidence is "abundant". Quelle surprise!

Rhology said...

You refer to a "heterosexual sex act" on the one hand, but only to a "homosexual act" on the other. It's clear that you have a reductionist view of homosexuality

??? No no, I'm perfectly fine calling it a "homosexual sex act".
The focus I'm getting at is that you CHOOSE to engage in either one.
You have lost track of the argument.


Personally I choose to engage in "heterosexual sex acts". If I chose to engage in a "homosexual sex act", would that magically make me a homosexual?

Not necessarily, and nothing I've said should lead a reasonable person to that conclusion.
But you would have CHOSEN to engage in that act. And yet you want the country to recognise a legal marriage based solely on the gender with whom one chooses to have sex.

Anonymous said...

And yet you want the country to recognise a legal marriage based solely on the gender with whom one chooses to have sex.

No, that's what you want. You want the country to recognise marriages only if the people involved choose to have heterosexual sex. I want the country to recognise peoples' marriages irrelevant of what sort of sex they have.

Rhology said...

You're way off. Way off. One wonders why I would even keep discussing this with you.

Legally speaking, that's beside the point. The point is - I don't want it to be legal that two men marry one another, or that two women marry one another. Remember?

Anonymous said...

You're the one who is telling the world that marriage is defined primarily on the basis of who you have sex with. Don't blame me if you end up tying yourself up in knots defending a point that has already collapsed.