Thursday, December 10, 2009

Darwin hates gays

I am often told by naturalistic atheists that the survival of the human race is a strong basis, if not the basis, for moral prescriptions. Things we ought to do.
Here's a recent example from a YouTube comment:
Majorbakstor: And that utility is based on the resistance of death and suffering, increasing the chance of survival and well-being. Anything that goes against these standards is immoral because it goes against the moral standards that prehistoric human beings required in order to survive at ALL. I recommend you studying anthropology and philosophy before you go spouting off about morality.
Operating from that presupposition, I briefly examine homosexuality. Homosexual relations lead to non-procreative relationships between humans. The species' chances of survival are reduced to the lifespan of that generation, and only that generation, as there will be no offspring. The human race ceases to exist, or at least suffers damage to its evolutionary competitive fitness, as there are fewer humans to be selected from and thus it requires fewer disasters, fewer diseases, less predation, etc, to bring about the end of humanity.

Thus homosexuality is morally wrong, given this naturalistic evolutionary framework.

26 comments:

Joel said...

Although I agree with the conclusion, naturally enough, for different reasons, I don't think it flows very well from your premises. After all, for a complex society, one could very well argue for the usefulness of extremely powerful, sexual bonds between, let us say for example, soldiers. One thinks of Plato in this connection - in his view, an army of lovers and beloved would be so valorous as to be practically invincible.

Of course this is distinct from the modern figure of "the homosexual" ontologically conceived, as opposed to the earlier, much more limited "sodomite"; so I suppose if you were only speaking in the strictly modern sense it would work better. Plato, and Greeks in general, saw no particular contradiction between homo- and hetero- sexuality.

Rhology said...

So part-time homosexual activity, you mean?

Joel said...

Sure. Plato is cool with it, as long as they swing both ways.

Rhology said...

Guess you have a point there. However, we still have the question of # of opportunities, and opportunities for producing offspring. Besides, to take your military example, I should think one could make the converse case quite well, that powerful protective impulses for one's wife and children back home would equal that out...

Joel said...

And, of course, without modern romantic trappings. I'm going off The Republic, which is not exactly Darwinian; although the Just State (Man) would doubtless age well.

Joel said...

Eh, how many nights a week does it take to have kids? Anyhow, in Plato's ideal, wife and kids are communal. He was kinda crazy.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Atheists and metaphysical naturalists ought to stop trying to make objective moral prescriptions and accept the fact that morality is a matter of mere opinion.

Why can't people be satisfied merely to hold, and to articulate, moral opinions?

Rhology said...

Probably for the same reason that you find it necessary to share your moral opinions, which have no basis that anyone else should find interesting or compelling, about the reprehensibility of this or that action by the God of the Bible.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Is it your contention that if somebody makes a statement, but, at the outset, acknowledges the statement is one of opinion rather than fact, the speaker, in essence, has evacuated all importance and interest from it?

Rhology said...

We've been over that I don't know how many times. The seeker of truth might just want to get to the bottom of the issue, you know?
You opine: I don't like X.
I opine: I very much like X.

Let X be vanilla ice cream, child molestation, genocide, birdwatching.

With no way to evaluate such likes and dislikes, yeah, I'd say such a statement barely deserves to be made.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

The seeker of truth might want to get to the bottom of the issue, but it seems to me that that is recognition that there are no facts to find.

There is no fact about the best ice cream flavor.

There is no fact about the best film.

There is no fact about which acts are righteous or evil.

Anonymous said...

Jolly sees nothing when he looks in the mirror. He cannot even make an argument that child molestation is bad? Remind me to not buy a car from him.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

*Sigh*

Recognizing that moral facts (that is, facts about which acts are moral and which are immoral) do not exist does not mean I hold no moral opinions. I hold very strong moral opinions, about issues ranging from the death penalty to child molestation to prosecution of war.

I just do not mistake my opinions for facts.

The universe seems to be bereft of moral facts. Comforting or not, it is what it is.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't it bother you that your position is so illogical? You go through all this trouble to comment and debate with nothing to stand on. Why do you even get out of bed in the morning? How do you decide when you will be nice to somebody and when you won't? It does not matter either way, so why bother? If fact, how do you know what it means to be "nice"? That word has no meaning in your universe.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Again, whether I happen to find it desirable or not, reality is as it is. I might (or might not) consider the world a better place if moral facts existed; the presumed desirability of a state of affairs does not make it so.

I behave in accordance with my nature, since I am constituted as I am. For me to rape and murder would be so utterly contrary to my constitution that it would be tormenting; since I do not like feeling tormented, I do not rape or murder.

I do not require god, or objective moral facts, to act in accordance with my nature.

Rhology said...

For me to rape and murder would be so utterly contrary to my constitution that it would be tormenting

That's a relief. Or not.


I do not require god, or objective moral facts, to act in accordance with my nature.

That quote would be entirely expected from the mouth of Charles Manson.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

This entire line of discussion, to me, smacks of the argumentum ad consequentiam fallacy. Might it be nice to interrogate the natural order and find a moral fact by which, for instance, one could objectively condemn the Holocaust? Yeah, I suppose it might be nice. But that does not mean moral facts are woven into the cosmic fabric.

As for Charles Manson, he, too, might act completely in accordance with his nature, but, given our widely divergent trajectories and stated positions, our respective natures seem to be dramatically different.

Rhology said...

Not at all, I haven't concluded you're wrong b/c Charles Manson could say the same thing. I'm just sayin', that's all. I conclude you're wrong, among other reasons, b/c you clearly can't live by your own precepts.


our respective natures seem to be dramatically different.

Today, they do, sure. Tomorrow? No one knows.
And really, what's the dramatic diff between killing someone today and leaving them alone to be killed the next day or in a few yrs? What's the big deal? EVERYone ends up dead, you know.

Anonymous said...

Your current trajectory is a very respectable one, it seems to me (whatever respectable means). But as you describe it, you sound as if you think it is not only driven by your nature, but that it is also somehow preferrable. And you use little trigger words that give the same impression. Words like "best" and "righteous".

Yet nature does not seem to know about such words, according to what little I know about your philosophy.

So how can you use such words if the concepts on which they are based cannot exist in your cosmos? I would accept it if you said you prefer not to murder, that it would upset you to murder, that it is part of your nature not to murder. But I cannot buy the idea that you think not murdering is better than murdering. You have no basis for making that statement.

What will be your preference tomorrow?

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Actually, I think I have been abundantly clear, but I do not mind restating my stance. I see no evidence for the existence of moral facts; given that I think evidence is the best, most reliable way for humans to approximate truth as we interrogate the world of experience, I conclude moral facts do not exist.

That conclusion, however, does not preclude me from having moral opinions. Just like I have opinions about the year's best films, or the best-tasting foods, or the best-sounding music, I have opinions about which acts are righteous and which are evil. They are opinions, not facts. In my opinion, murder is immoral. The act of murdering would also be utterly contrary to my personal constitution.

As for your comment, Rhology, your assertion that I clearly cannot live by my own precepts assumes that, on recognition that there are no moral facts, one is somehow obliged to be morally indifferent. I do not see how this follows.

Let us use an analogy to drill into this: Just as I see no evidence for moral facts, I see no evidence that any foods are objectively "good tasting" or objectively "bad tasting." Whether any food tastes good or bad seems to be a matter of opinion. But it is not inconsistent to have (and to dine in accordance with) food preferences of one's own--foods one likes and dislikes--even while recognizing the "taste quality" of foods is not a matter of fact but, rather, of opinion.

Anonymous said...

On the contrary, you have been very clear. You only go by preference because you believe you have exhausted all other avenues. You believe that there is nothing that exists if you cannot prove it exists. So you are basically responding to life as if you are, yourself, some kind of god.

Dangerous ground you walk on. Do you honestly believe that your intellect could be that big?

The Jolly Nihilist said...

It has little or nothing to do with my intellect and everything to do with my first principle.

My first principle: Evidence is the best, most reliable way for humans to approximate truth as we interrogate the world of experience.

Operating from this foundational principle, I am obliged to follow the evidence. There is no good evidence that moral facts exist. Hence, at least provisionally, I deny them.

Anonymous said...

OK, I would like to delve a bit more into your nature. You said you do not rape or murder because it is not in accordance with your nature. Also you said that rape and murder are utterly contrary to your constitution, and that if you were to commit rape or murder that you would be tormented.

What other actions would cause such torment? Do you have to carry around a list of them so that you can remember what they are, or is there a word that describes the general category of acts that would torment you if you committed them?

For instance, it is part of my general constitution that I am not very good at jumping, running, throwing, or catching. The general category is "athletics". My constitution is such that I am not very good at those things which make up the general category called "athletics".

What word or phrase would describe the category of actions which, because of your constitution, would torment you if you committed them?

Damion said...

JN - "There is no good evidence that moral facts exist."

Doesn't that depend on how you define "moral fact" in the first place. If you've defined the term in such a way that they are fictional, then they are useless and pointless to discuss. Why not switch to a different moral theory and define them in such a way that they refer to something real, such as suffering or happiness?

Damion said...

Speaking of logical fallacies:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_nature

Now can the OP get off the ground without going through this particular fallacy of relevance?

Rhology said...

You misunderstand. This post is taking the fallacious reasoning of the homosexual who uses this kind of argument and turning it back on his position. I'm glad you agree that this is a fallacious argument; so do I. That's why I wrote a post demonstrating its absurdity.