Crude’s concern: progressive Christians and firing political opponents

GayMarriage

As a progressive Christian, I have repeatedly argued that homosexuality is NOT a sinful lifestyle and that committed gay couples should be welcomed into the Church. This has clearly infuriated many of my Conservative readers who feel that they are being bullied into accepting gay marriage.

Crude wrote:

“I have seen the “progressives” defend laws that force Christians to take part in gay weddings – knowing full well that these Christians will be targeted by activists and forced to compromise their principles. They do it with glee, smiling happily and feeling all warm at the thought that somewhere out there a person who disapproves of gay marriage is going to have their feet put to the fire, and that if they don’t do as they’re fucking told, the government will step in and punish them severely. I see these “progressives” cheering when someone is fired from their job when they’re outed as having supported Proposition 8 in California, or if they disapprove of gay marriage. I do not consider these minor issues. These are situations where government – the men with guns and the power to take your property, your children, your livelihood – are being used as the tool of choice to advance a political agenda that ultimately comes down to requiring people to give their active blessing to any and all sexual acts deemed ‘good’ by the morality police. The “progressive” Christians know this. They embrace it. They say “Civil Rights!” and that’s all that needs to be said, as far as they’re concerned, no matter how goddamn inane it is to try and extend civil rights to a sexual act….”

 

Common ground between Conservative and progressive Christians

 

He further wrote

“But I will say one thing. Lothar has written critically about France’s historical attempts to purge the German language from their country, in the interests of having a nice, unified french-speaking nation. He has called this cultural genocide. But the fact is, cultural genocide is exactly what he ultimately endorses with regards to conservative Christians, more or less across the board. I say it with a heavy heart – it is hard to criticize someone who has been consistently considerate with me like this. But the idea of having common ground with “progressives” now truly appears to me as little more than the grounds for a work of fiction, one that is particularly fantastical – and it was that hope for common ground that drove a lot of my silence and hesitancy previously. The hope is gone.”

 

But Conservative and progressive Christians do have a strong common ground. We all believe that every good law should serve the well being and flourishing of mankind, an aspect which stands at the very center of Jesus ethical teaching, as I once argued.

GoldenRule

We might disagree about how this plays out (and whether some dogmas widely regarded as sacred are conductive to the blooming of our kind) but we certainly hold fast to the same principle.

Furthermore, we also believe that the main goal of our existence is to become increasingly better persons, to grow in our capacity to give and receive love and to fulfill the Golden Rule. Given this, it is extremely depressing to see people in BOTH camps resorting to a hateful rhetoric rather than trying to understand each others and having a constructive dialog.

It is never right to be  aggressive towards nice and respectful opponents.

 

With this all in mind, I’m going explain why progressive Christians ought to actively oppose firing people on the only ground of their being against Gay marriage.

 

The lovelessness of political liberalism

First of all, it is an extraordinarily unloving and disproportionate punishment for this alleged “offense”. Most people don’t do this because they are mean but because they are sincerely convinced it is wrong.

Even as I was a secular Frenchman, I was against a gay lifestyle because I had many prejudices, projected my own heterosexual disgust onto the objective reality and (more importantly) hadn’t read the story and suffering of committed and decent homosexuals. But I never had any evil intention.

 

Now let us suppose that John is a middle-class American worker who is sincerely convinced that practiced homosexuality is wrong yet also oppose violence and oppression against homosexuals. Let us now suppose it became known he refused to participating in a gay wedding in his enterprise and was consequently fired.
He did not manage to find a new job and livelihood and one year later he live in a poor apartment and his family has no longer access to any good healthcare.

Could you really look him and his children in the eyes and say: “You got what you deserve!” ?

 

Promotion of homophobia

In a previous post, I argued that by systematically refusing to recognize the reality of anti-white racism (and confusing criticism of multi-culturalism with incitement to racial hatred), the French political establishment fosters the racism of white people by making them resentful.

I think that bullying people (or even worse firing them) because they oppose homosexual marriage has pretty much the same effect: it increases homophobia instead of promoting tolerance towards gay people. This can also be observed in France where governmental pressure for defending gay marriage has led to an increased homophobia which is all too visible in many French forums, chats and social medias.

To reuse my example above, how would John now struggling with poverty react if he received a petition asking him to step in on behalf of persecuted Gay people in Uganda?

It is not implausible at all he would react by screaming “I don’t give a fuck about them!” whereas he would have been touched and supported them before getting fired.

 

Striving for a just and moral society

File:Brendan Eich Mozilla Foundation official photo.jpg

(Brendan Eich: former president of Mozilla fired for his past opposition to gay marriage)

 

Consequently, I exhort all my progressive Christian readers to speak out against the firing of opponents to Gay marriage and any other political persecution.

It is worth noting I am far from being the only progressive Christian with such an opinion.

Sheila, one of my regular commentators, wrote:

“I understand Crude’s frustration, however. I think it is wrong to go after someone’s livelihood because that person disagrees with your point of view. What’s not being reported enough about the Mozilla kerfuffle is the fact that the IRS leaked his tax return. That’s a clear violation of the law, but no one will be held accountable. (IMHO)

I am in favor of gay marriage. But I visited Chik-Fil-A on “CFA Day” because it is wrong to try to destroy a man’s business over his personal political views. If someone on the Right tried to destroy Starbucks, I’d waste my money on its overpriced coffee to show my support for its right to support gay marriage.

No one on either the Right or the Left ought to be targeted for total destruction because of a personal opinion.

This nation is about freedom. It gets messy when diametrically opposed civil liberties clash. But no one should seek the destruction of, or the power of the government against, another person based on political views. It’s abhorrent.

I am sure others will come out too.

 

Distinguishing between mere criticism and bullying

 

That said, I want all my conservative readers to know that I will keep arguing in favor of gay marriage in the months (and probably years, if not centuries) to follow. But I will try to do this in a respectful way, trying to guess how I would react if my ideas were criticized in a similar way.

Falling infinitely short of perfection, it is inevitable I will make mistakes and write things I will regret shortly thereafter (a problem which is gravely compounded by my own impulsive nature).

 

Therefore I’d be glad if one could then send me an email at: lotharson57@gmail.com_ (the final _ stands here for avoiding my email to get massively spammed as this recently occurred).

179 thoughts on “Crude’s concern: progressive Christians and firing political opponents

  1. Lothar,

    Thanks for the post. Some replies, a bit quicker today – I’ve got work today.

    But Conservative and progressive Christians do have a strong common ground. We all believe that every good law should serve the well being and flourishing of mankind, an aspect which stands at the very center of Jesus ethical teaching, as I once argued.

    Well… no. That’s actually part of the problem. Quite a number of us think that that which is good is not necessarily that which should be enforced by law, and that government’s role is not ‘to promote the flourishing of mankind’ but to, at least in large part, leave us alone. If only so *WE* can ‘serve the well-being and flourishing of mankind’ as we think best.

    That is a major disconnect.

    Sheila, one of my regular commentators, wrote:

    Sheila also went on to say she is against people so much as showing their displeasure with Mozilla’s actions by uninstalling Firefox. Because, I don’t know – what Mozilla and progressives did was wrong, but it would be wrong to withhold support for their company? The logic didn’t come through.

    That said, I thank you for this post and I find it encouraging, Lothar. To be dead frank, I don’t find it particularly encouraging with regards to ‘progressives’ – I saw shockingly few of them respond with ire to Eich’s firing, and plenty who supported it or defended it ultimately. But, it’s encouraging with regards to yourself.

    • government’s role is not ‘to promote the flourishing of mankind’ but to, at least in large part, leave us alone.

      Well said! Have you perchance read Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue? Here’s an excerpt:

      To move towards the good is to move in time and that movement may itself involve new understandings of what it is to move towards the good. (176)

      One way to interpret this is that no matter how good our conception of God is—I agree with AW Tozer that one’s concept of God is the most important thing about oneself—there is always a better conception, a higher conception. Thus, the second Word says to make no “likeness”, with that word explained by note 2 of the NET’s Ex 20:4:

      The word תְּמוּנָה (tÿmunah) refers to the mental pattern from which the פֶּסֶל (pesel) is constructed; it is a real or imagined resemblance. If this is to stand as a second object to the verb, then the verb itself takes a slightly different nuance here. It would convey “you shall not make an image, neither shall you conceive a form” for worship (B. Jacob, Exodus, 547). Some simply make the second word qualify the first: “you shall not make an idol in the form of…” (NIV).

      In other words, we must forever remember: Ceci n’est pas une pipe. The picture of the thing—and that’s all our mind can have, pictures—is not the thing. At least this side of heaven (1 Cor 13:12).

      Anyhow, if the government starts doing anything other than maintaining basic order, the government starts becoming God. At least, that’s my thinking right now; this is the most solidly I’ve thought about this concept. So that “move towards the good” which MacIntyre discusses is made impossible/very hard if some finite conception of ‘the good’ is encoded in law. The New Covenant has the Christian being motivated to follow God’s [infinite] Law (likely = Jesus; see 1 Cor 10:4 and How is Christ the “End of hte Law”?), or Logos, from the heart: Jer 31:31-34, Ezek 36:22-32. The civil law exists to punish those who do not follow it; this drives people by fear: perfect love drives out fear.

      Thoughts?🙂

      • Well said! Have you perchance read Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue?

        Bits and pieces, though given what I understand MacIntyre’s approach to morality is, I think I probably am on the same wavelength with him in part due to reading Feser and my thoughts on such.

        Anyhow, if the government starts doing anything other than maintaining basic order, the government starts becoming God. At least, that’s my thinking right now; this is the most solidly I’ve thought about this concept.

        I agree broadly. I’m not so sure it’s a case of ‘the government becomes God if it moves beyond basic services’, but I think the government becomes God in a lot of ways. In fact, more than God. I cringe when I see people (and this happens on the left and right, even if by nature it happens more often on the left) respond to every perceived problem in the world as ‘the government should really do something about that’. They’ve neutered themselves, and now see government as the only agent of change worth talking about. And if the government isn’t doing what it should, then the only solution is… another government.

        It’s creepy.

        • @Crude, this Feser? I went to college in Pasadena, and travel there once in a while. I wonder if I could schedule a meet-up with him.

          re: Trust in government, it’s a recapitulation of Israel wanting a priestly caste in Deut 5, and a king in 1 Sam 8. Many people want to be enslaved, to be told what to do, and to have someone to blame other than themselves when something goes wrong. Of course they don’t want to call it “slavery”, but cognitive dissonance is powerful. We want those pots of meat! I love the OT. Without it, one’s ability to understand human nature and the consequences thereof is neutered. When people bitch and moan about it, I love referencing the Milgram experiment, Stanford prison experiment, and The Third Wave. These are very understandable if you know your Bible. But for liberals, who have faith in science and the innate goodness of man, they are inexplicable. Except, you know, for society being a corrupting force via religion or some such. What’s the solution? More society, I mean, government! Cognitive dissonance for the win!

    • Thanks for your reply, Crude.

      We should always be impartial and not hesitate to expose egregious errors within our own camp.

      This is undoubtedly easier done than said.

      I really want to strive for polite and respectful dialogs, but this presupposes a willingness to forgive each other and not shooting from the hip.
      Alas in a climate of culture war this seems almost impossible.

      I see that in France and Germany too, but the battles there aren’t between religion and anti-theism but between diverse entirely secular movements.

      Not stunningly, the combats are much more violent on the Internet than in the real world where you face people in blood and flesh.

      Friendly greetings from Lorraine, my belove homeland, founded by king Lothar the Great (you probably don’t care about this as an American, but I cannot overcome my own Chauvinism🙂 My region has also quite an interesting Catholic heritage).

      • Lothar,

        Friendly greetings from Lorraine, my belove homeland, founded by king Lothar the Great (you probably don’t care about this as an American,

        Hey now, I love reading about other cultures. I had no idea there were any german speakers in France, really.

        But yes, I’m only familiar with a completely different Lothar.

        Thanks for the pleasant discussion.

  2. Sorry I don’t buy the faux outrage. There are laws against racial discrimination, is crude against those too? Jesus was against divorce, does crude agree that some christian restaurant owner should refuse to serve a divorced person on the basis that divorce is against his religious beliefs? Where does it stop? Discrimination based on race or sexual orientation is not to be tolerated. If you think that is intolerant, so be it.

    • Sorry I don’t buy the faux outrage.

      Why do you believe it’s faux?

      There are laws against racial discrimination, is crude against those too?

      There is a fundamental difference between ‘I don’t want to take part in this ceremony’ and ‘I don’t serve people of your race’.

      does crude agree that some christian restaurant owner should refuse to serve a divorced person on the basis that divorce is against his religious beliefs

      I believe it should be entirely within the right of a person, Christian or not, to refuse to serve a wedding for a remarrying divorcee if they so chose. Which, if I’m right, is quite legal to do.

      Do you?

      Discrimination based on race or sexual orientation is not to be tolerated. If you think that is intolerant, so be it.

      We’re not talking about sexual orientation. We’re talking about a ceremony.

      Do you think these people would serve a wedding between two heterosexual males?

      But I suppose the next time I hear about atheists facing persecution or one in another country I can just go ‘Oh well, if they had power they’d do it to everyone else, so this is where we’re at.’

      • Crude said: “I believe it should be entirely within the right of a person, Christian or not, to refuse to serve a wedding for a remarrying divorcee if they so chose. ”

        There are 20,000 + christian denominations, each one could be refusing people on some basis that is different from one denomination to another. If we would allow what you are proposing, society would quickly turn into chaos. You can discriminate in your private life, but when it comes to a public situation, be it serving someone in a restaurant or provide a service at a gay wedding, there has to be one law for everyone instead of allowing 20,000+ exceptions just to pander to the whims of each and everyone.

        • @joseph palazzo

          If we would allow what you are proposing, society would quickly turn into chaos.

          This is fear mongering. You have zero evidence that this is true, or you’d present it.

      • labreuer,

        This is fear mongering. You have zero evidence that this is true, or you’d present it.

        He not only has zero evidence, the but the evidence swings against him wildly.

        But let me say something else: free speech can lead to a whole lot of chaos. If you let people speak out with all kinds of different ideas, if you let them try to influence people with minimal restraint, you can end up with a chaotic situation. A country where a lot of people fundamentally degree about the direction the country is going in, where they have sharp disagreements with other communities (even, if you believe free speech should protect it as Lothar himself does, speaking completely different languages), and more. To say nothing of freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and more.

        So telling me ‘But if you allow people to refuse to take part in services and acts they find reprehensible, society will get chaotic!’, that’s not only a claim with hardly much evidence to it, but honest to God it’s not even a compelling criticism on its own. Our country may well be vastly more orderly if we had a single-party government, a culture where everyone was required to adhere to the same religion, where everyone received the same information. Would it matter if it was? Would that justify the state enforcement of that situation?

        • @Crude, well said. Have you done an analysis of free speech vs. hate speech? Basically, I’m thinking that weak-willed people or just screwed-up-in-the-mind people will too easily move from “I disagree with them” to “I hate them”, and that it is the premise that humans necessarily or must statistically work this way that undergirds certain liberal arguments.

      • labreuer,

        @Crude, well said. Have you done an analysis of free speech vs. hate speech? Basically, I’m thinking that weak-willed people or just screwed-up-in-the-mind people will too easily move from “I disagree with them” to “I hate them”, and that it is the premise that humans necessarily or must statistically work this way that undergirds certain liberal arguments.

        It depends on what you mean by analysis. I think the only way that it becomes possible to even reasonably justify calling this or that ‘hate speech’ would be, say… the intentional attempt to manipulate people almost entirely on an emotional level to regard a given discernible group of people with anger, hate and fury. The actual standard that seems to be in play is ‘We can get someone to testify that they saw the speech and felt scared!’, which is subject to ridiculous amounts of abuse – not to mention, emotional manipulation as well.

        • @Crude, it seems like the only sane tactic is to advocate social, not legal pressure against speech that is not liked. This lets like-minded people associate with like-minded people, and lets them create societies where various ideas about what is true and good and beautiful can actually be tested, against reality. But many here do not wish to allow this. Perhaps this is because their claims about what constitutes “human thriving” would be shown to be the foolishness that they are?

      • Labreuer,

        This lets like-minded people associate with like-minded people, and lets them create societies where various ideas about what is true and good and beautiful can actually be tested, against reality. But many here do not wish to allow this. Perhaps this is because their claims about what constitutes “human thriving” would be shown to be the foolishness that they are?

        I think for some people that’s part of it. Other times it’s not even a case of being so self-reflective – it’s pack-animal behavior. All people know right now is that Their Culture approves of this kind of law and says ‘it’s hate!’ about opposition, and so they move in lockstep. Or maybe they just want their whims imposed by any means possible.

        I do think this is a subject that a lot of people want to keep at the level of really shallow rhetoric and caricatures out of all kinds of fears, conscious and subconscious. The very fact that the central issue is about sexual acts more than anything else is enough to send a lot of people running for the hills, or at least for the vaguest possible wording to the point of confusion.

        • @Crude, you might like positive disintegration. I don’t know much about it, but intuitively certain parts of it seemed to have a bead on the truth. Also, I’d highly suggest familiarizing yourself with Peter L. Berger’s The Social Construction of Reality. To whet your taste for Berger, I’ll quote from another book, A Far Glory:

          There turned out to be enormous ethical implications to this proto-individuation. It is very clearly expressed in the dramatic confrontation between King David and the prophet Nathan recounted in the twelfth chapter of the Second Book of Samuel. David had caused the murder of Bathsheba’s husband in order to incorporate her in his harem—a perfectly acceptable expression of royal prerogative in terms of oriental conceptions of kingship. After Nathan cleverly leads David to condemn a man who shows no pity in destroying what another man loves, the prophet tells David that he is just such a man—”You are the man.” This sentence sovereignly ignores all the communal legitimations of kingship in the ancient Near East. Indeed, it ignores all the social constructions of the self as understood at that time. It passes normative judgment on David the man—a naked man, a man divested of all the trappings of a community, a man alone. I believe that this view of the relation between God and man, and therefore among men, continues to be normative for a Christian understanding of the human condition. (99-100)

          I would describe A Far Glory as a sociologist’s analysis of Christianity. Peter Berger describes himself as a liberal Lutheran, but it’s hard to see his being “liberal” given his insightful analyses. I’m definitely not liberal. Although, he might believe Jesus was actually God, actually came to earth, actually died, and was actually raised. I’m not sure what he means by “liberal”.

    • Where does it stop?

      When will the number of “protected classes” stop being added to? When will more and more government intervention into how businesses operate stop? When will the government stop telling people to either violate their conscience or close their business?

      Discrimination based on race or sexual orientation is not to be tolerated.

      And forcing people to violate their consciences should be tolerated?

      • In some countries, female genital mutilation is regularly practiced. So if these people were to immigrate here and claim that what they are doing is according to their conscience, we should let them do it??? You can practice whatever morality in regard to yourself. But you live in a society and therefore interacting with others is inevitable. Your conscience is not the final moral authority. It never was and will never be.

        • @joseph palazzo

          You can practice whatever morality in regard to yourself. But you live in a society and therefore interacting with others is inevitable. Your conscience is not the final moral authority. It never was and will never be.

          What or who is the final moral authority? You? The State? Out with it!

      • In some countries, female genital mutilation is regularly practiced. So if these people were to immigrate here and claim that what they are doing is according to their conscience, we should let them do it???

        We do have it here: you can get it done at many tattoo parlors, where someone shall happily pierce or even alter a clitoris, penis, anus (I mean holy shit, but yep, this is apparently done), nipples and more. You don’t even need to talk about your conscience in that case – the only requirement is that the act is voluntary on the part of the recipient, and that there’s an adherence to health laws, etc. That voluntary aspect is a critical difference, but the fact remains you can slice and pierce up your body in this country quite fine.

        Shall we outlaw that too?

        I too would also like to know what the ‘final authority’ is, as labreuer asked.

  3. It is never right to be aggressive towards nice and respectful opponents.

    Lotharson, it is simply too easy to give the appearance of “nice and respectful”, while having a Pharisaical heart:

    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. (Mt 23:27)

    Note very carefully: they appear beautiful. Now, if by ‘aggressive’ you mean physically aggressive, I might agree with you. But aggressive in the realm of ideas? Well, let’s just say I believe Paul was right:

    I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!—I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. (2 Cor 10:1-6)

    Lotharson, how would you describe Paul’s attitude above? Aggressive? Assertive? Something else?

    • labreuer,

      Lotharson, it is simply too easy to give the appearance of “nice and respectful”, while having a Pharisaical heart:

      I can actually give a first-hand testimony of this one, backed with evidence.

      On another site I comment at, there was a longstanding atheist member. A lot of people remarked at how kind and polite and civil he was. He was literally around for years.

      Later on, a Christian shows up. And this was a really angry Christian who regularly attacked other Christians giving apologetics arguments or criticizing atheist arguments, talking about how stupid they were or dishonest, etc, and they ‘made him ashamed to be a Christian’. I did not get on good with this person to put it mildly.

      So one day, I make a comment, and I get attacked in a very similar style to the Christian’s writings… except it’s on the polite atheist’s account. (Polite atheist having long since stopped regularly commenting on this site because ‘The site owner spends too much time criticizing the New Atheists, instead of dealing with serious atheist arguments.’) I reply to him before he has a chance to delete it.

      Finally I approached him, and guess what?

      They were one and the same. Specifically, the atheist – the kind, civil, thoughtful atheist – had a fake ‘Christian’ account he was using as a sockpuppet to attack Christians, defend atheists, etc.

      • It’s actually even worse than this. I have a Christian friend of mine who regularly gets treated terribly by “kind and gentle” Christians. There are many techniques for doing this: passive aggressiveness is but one. One of their favorite techniques is to treat this friend so terribly that he finally gets angry and shows his anger. At this moment, they point to the anger, demonize it (sometimes literally: this anger is from Satan), and sometimes go as far as to dismiss him as “not a Christian”. All while coming off as “nice and respectful” to those who cannot judge past appearances. God judges by the heart, and we are to learn to do the same, ever more accurately.

      • It’s actually even worse than this. I have a Christian friend of mine who regularly gets treated terribly by “kind and gentle” Christians. There are many techniques for doing this: passive aggressiveness is but one.

        Oh, I get what you’re talking about. I’ve also seen people play the game of ‘I’ll pray for you’, said in so sarcastic a tone that it’s just “Fuck you” by another route.

  4. Most Progressives will defend a person’s right to disagree.
    But they will not support laws that discriminate.
    All we ask is that our opponents extend the same respect to us.

    • Is it “discrimination” to refuse to play any part in a religious ceremony of which you do not approve? The crux of the matter is whether religion is a 100% private affair, or whether it is allowed to inform choices in the public sphere.

      • The crux of the matter is whether religion is a 100% private affair, or whether it is allowed to inform choices in the public sphere.

        Actually, I disagree here. There is absolutely a religious aspect to same-sex marriage – pro and anti – but there’s no lack of non-religious perspectives that land someone on the ‘anti’ side as well.

      • labreuer,

        Sure: Natural law arguments, secular arguments about what the model of marriage should be based on either cultural preference or desires of the state, secular arguments about influencing culture, etc. They aren’t often brought up, but they exist. In fact, having a ‘secular reason’ for this or that view is a trivial bar to jump, because the ultimate grounding of secular desires is on its own tremendously permissive if it’s defined (as it commonly is) simply as ‘not religious’.

        And if you never saw it you may like this article about the existence of secular reasons.

    • Most Progressives will defend a person’s right to disagree.

      Oh really? Where do I see evidence of this? Where was that great progressive backlash when Eich was fired? Or during the Chik-fil-a incident?

      Or is this the kind of “defense” that’s personal, whispered, and mostly said in private, but it doesn’t manifest in public?

      But they will not support laws that discriminate.

      Sure they do. Don’t want to take part in a same-sex wedding with your business? Even if you’ll happily provide products or services to gay individuals, and wouldn’t take part in a same-sex wedding between two heterosexual people? Grounds for discrimination. Fines and punishment, in fact.

      You don’t want your opponents to treat you the way you treat them, because that would mean keeping your mouth shut for fear of being fired and purged for your beliefs, even if your beliefs have nothing to do with your job.

      • If crude says: “I believe that gay marriage is wrong, and I will not marry someone of my own gender,” that is fine. But if crude says, “”I believe that gay marriage is wrong, and it is wrong for others to marry someone of their own gender,” that is not fine. You can apply your moral principles to yourself. You have no right to impose your moral principles on others. And if you provide a public service, be it that you are a photographer or are in the catering business, you can’t just apply that service on the whims that others should follow your own moral principles.

        • @joseph palazzo

          You can apply your moral principles to yourself. You have no right to impose your moral principles on others.

          And this isn’t an instance of you imposing your moral principles on Crude, how exactly?

      • You have no right to impose your moral principles on others.

        As Labreuer is pointing out, apparently this is a limitation on me, but not you.

        Yes, Palazzo, people really should have the right to disagree with you, to refuse to take part in same-sex weddings with their businesses, and more. Even if you want to argue that there should be some limitation to the voluntary acts of private businesses, ‘same sex wedding ceremonies’ are so far out beyond the fringes of what could reasonably be considered where the line should be drawn that to provide arguments and evidence in favor of it is tremendously difficult.

        Which is why you’re having difficulty and keep trying to fall back to pronunciations of supposed moral authority alone – which, when we ask the source of that moral authority, isn’t going to work out terribly well for your position.

  5. @lotharson

    But by refusing to participate in a gay marriage ceremony, crude is saying by implication that gay marriage is wrong for others. As an atheist, I have gone to christian weddings, jewish weddings, muslim weddings, and once to a hindu wedding. I did not find them offensive just because the religious beliefs in each of these occasions clash with my atheist position. Crude is offering a world of exclusion rather than inclusion. It’s a world that inevitably leads to hate and violence.

    • @joseph palazzo

      It’s a world that inevitably leads to hate and violence.

      And so you want to stir up hate and violence against @Crude and exclude him. I mean, how will you accomplish your goal without doing this? Literature is rife with the ‘good guys’ ending up using the same methodology as the evil guys in order to wipe them out. You’re doing this. Or would you care to show how you aren’t? How, exactly, do you propose to get to the world you want, without the State forcing your ideas down @Crude’s throat?

      • Why is it that my pointing out how crude’s thinking is wrong leads to hate and violence??? Unless you think that discussing this over the internet using words is a form of violence?!!?

        • Why is it that my pointing out how crude’s thinking is wrong leads to hate and violence??? Unless you think that discussing this over the internet using words is a form of violence?!!?

          How about you answer my question?

          I mean, how will you accomplish your goal without doing this?

          By “your goal”, I mean to refer to your statement,

          But by refusing to participate in a gay marriage ceremony, crude is saying by implication that gay marriage is wrong for others. As an atheist, I have gone to christian weddings, jewish weddings, muslim weddings, and once to a hindu wedding. I did not find them offensive just because the religious beliefs in each of these occasions clash with my atheist position. Crude is offering a world of exclusion rather than inclusion. It’s a world that inevitably leads to hate and violence.

          I was guessing that you want to not have a world of hate and violence. So I want to know how you intend to get there. Surely you don’t want to get there via the route of the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution. So what route do you have of getting there? You believe that @Crude’s world will lead to bad places. So how will you stop @Crude from shaping the world he wants to? Surely it’ll be via (a) social pressure; (b) government and men with guns?

      • Why is it that my pointing out how crude’s thinking is wrong leads to hate and violence??? Unless you think that discussing this over the internet using words is a form of violence?!!?

        You’re not ‘pointing out’. You’re asserting, with zero evidence.

        Better yet, there’s something so adorable about how ‘discussing over the internet’ can’t lead to hate and violence, but oh, ‘thinking’ sure can.😉

    • But by refusing to participate in a gay marriage ceremony, crude is saying by implication that gay marriage is wrong for others.

      Yep, I believe it is wrong. Heck, I don’t even believe it’s really ‘marriage’.

      As an atheist, I have gone to christian weddings, jewish weddings, muslim weddings, and once to a hindu wedding. I did not find them offensive just because the religious beliefs in each of these occasions clash with my atheist position.

      Atheist position? Oh good, you’re not one of those atheists who insists that atheism is the mere lack of belief. After all, if you were, that would mean you had no beliefs to violate and therefore your examples didn’t work even to make the meager, largely unrelated point you’re trying to make.

      Crude is offering a world of exclusion rather than inclusion.

      Oh my. So we’re getting to that point now? Simply refusing to take part in an act is exclusion, and exclusion leads to hate, so you can’t even refuse to participate in any acts of your own free will on pain of promoting hatred?

      Do feel free to tell the atheists this the next time they complain about a country that has prayer in school. “Just pray, atheists! Stop the hate!”

      It’s a world that inevitably leads to hate and violence.

      According to what evidence? Your feeling strongly? The fact that you’re actually pretty much evidence-free in this thread so you’re reduced to spouting platitudes that disintegrate the moment anyone inquires about them?

      If we’re just going off our hunches and feelings, I can play the game too: hate and violence is promoted by petty people who see fit to have others fired from their jobs for daring to support ideas they personally reject and that alone. Threatening someone with fines and imprisonment for not wanting to take part in a same-sex wedding, even if they were demonstrably entirely fine with providing service to gay individuals and would not take part in a same-sex wedding between heterosexuals, not only will lead to hate and violence – it IS hate and violence.

      • @Crude

        Oh my. So we’re getting to that point now? Simply refusing to take part in an act is exclusion, and exclusion leads to hate, so you can’t even refuse to participate in any acts of your own free will on pain of promoting hatred?

        Do feel free to tell the atheists this the next time they complain about a country that has prayer in school. “Just pray, atheists! Stop the hate!”

        Ahahaha, I just asked (same minute):

        @Crude, well said. Have you done an analysis of free speech vs. hate speech? Basically, I’m thinking that weak-willed people or just screwed-up-in-the-mind people will too easily move from “I disagree with them” to “I hate them”, and that it is the premise that humans necessarily or must statistically work this way that undergirds certain liberal arguments.

        According to what evidence? Your feeling strongly? The fact that you’re actually pretty much evidence-free in this thread so you’re reduced to spouting platitudes that disintegrate the moment anyone inquires about them?

        You know, for a while I actually believed that atheists and skeptics handled the evidence better than Christians. I operated from this position for quite a few years in discussions on the internet. I still stayed a pretty strong Christian, probably largely because most of my interlocutors were giant dicks and I didn’t want to become like them. But now, I see more and more how the log & speck of which Jesus spoke is truer than true.

        hate and violence is promoted by petty people

        It’s a matter of unity and diversity: can you have diversity without it shattering unity? Can you have unity without it eating up diversity? [Some of] the atheists here are treating humans as incredibly weak-willed—hardly even people at all—more like sheep. And, surprise surprise, the Bible talks about “sheeple” comprehensively, in that dark and horrible and barbaric Old Testament. The hope is, of course, that at some point in the future, the childish necessity of “must stay physical distant from all impurity” can be done away with, so that people can be in the world but not of the world. The atheists and skeptics here are advocating a return to the “cultural contamination” model of the OT. No wonder they hate the OT so much—it describes where their line of thought goes!

      • I hate to repeat myself, crude: you can believe whatever you want, and exercise those beliefs in your private life. But when it comes to interacting with others as we are social beings and live within a society, then society has a right to decide the rules and regulations by which we must all abide. If you think those are wrong, you can protest, become an activist and try to change those rules and regulations. That’s what gays did, as they were once vilified or ostracized from society. The winds have changed as we know better: you are born gay, it’s not a choice, and therefore, more and more people agree that gays should have the same rights as heterosexuals. I’s too bad that you can’t keep up with the times.

        • @joseph palazzo

          But when it comes to interacting with others as we are social beings and live within a society, then society has a right to decide the rules and regulations by which we must all abide.

          But religious beliefs must stay out of shaping this society? Because… why, again? Oh, and please include empirical evidence if you’re going to assert empirical things. And if you’re going to refer to the First Amendment, please get it right. Finally, please indicate whether you believe Secular Humanism is a ‘religion’ or not.

      • I hate to repeat myself, crude: you can believe whatever you want, and exercise those beliefs in your private life. But when it comes to interacting with others as we are social beings and live within a society, then society has a right to decide the rules and regulations by which we must all abide.

        Oh, thank you. So I can believe what I want and exercise my beliefs in my private life… as long as the society allows me to. And “society” determines, rather whimsically, what I can do in my private and public life.

        You say society “has a right”, but you won’t say what the source of this right is. Because, little man, we all know the source – the men with guns, and the public clamoring.

        See, here’s the funny thing. Previously I was under the impression that, say… Russian society was wrong to try and outlaw LGBT groups promoting their views of sexuality. I damn well believed it was wrong for places like Uganda to criminalize homosexuality. But, you’re arguing for a different view. Society has a right to make decisions about how we live and what choices we can make – Russia, Uganda, and other states have chosen theirs.

        So, in the world of Joseph Palazzo, those states are doing nothing wrong. Indeed, the proper response to LGBT people complaining in Russia is to laugh and say, ‘Previously fortune favors you, but now it swings against you. It’s not our fault you haven’t kept up with the times.’

        Behold, the secular values on display.

        The winds have changed as we know better: you are born gay, it’s not a choice, and therefore, more and more people agree that gays should have the same rights as heterosexuals.

        Really? Science has established that? Better yet – science establishing a genetic component to an act therefore means the act is justified? Fascinating reasoning.

  6. My take: I’m more extreme even then Crude, if I understand what he’s saying correctly. Here are my thoughts on it: http://malcolmthecynic.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/apply-your-rules-consistently/

    Yes, I believe you SHOULD be allowed to fire somebody for doing something contrary to your company’s stated beliefs [even if they’re irrelevant to the company’s business interests], as long as it cuts both ways. I’ll grant this as long as you agree that firing a Catholic teacher after learning she was in a lesbian relationship for her entire career at the school should be absolutely legal.

    • My take: I’m more extreme even then Crude,

      Well, I’m not extreme. I’m normal. It’s the people wanting blood (or at least money) for not wanting to take part in same sex marriage ceremonies that are extreme.

      Still, what are you going to say when someone asks about the racial issue? Are you making the libertarian move of saying ‘Have an all-white office if you want, so long as someone can have an all-black office’?

      • Yes, I am absolutely willing to make that move. I’m not quite a libertarian, but I’m close. You can see a lot of Dr. Feser’s influence in me (I’m not sure if he’d agree with me on this issue, but my pseudo-libertarianism was influenced very strongly by him, along with some of the other WWWtW guys).

        I did NOT feel this way as early as six months or so ago, but as time has gone on I think that this is the only way to be truly objective, legally.

        • I shall once report about all my political views.

          In some respects, I am Conservative, in others liberal and in others libertarian.

          But all this might stem from the simple fact I’m utterly crazy🙂

  7. The winds have changed as we know better: you are born gay, it’s not a choice, and therefore, more and more people agree that gays should have the same rights as heterosexuals. I’s too bad that you can’t keep up with the times.

    The implication is that a society determines what is right and wrong, thus prior to the 70’s, it was indeed wrong to be homosexual because that’s what society had determined at that point. And as others have pointed out, using this standard completely undercuts your ability to criticize Nazi Germany, extreme Muslim societies like Iran, or any other society whose values or customs you find deplorable.

    The other implication would be that you equate natural with normal and morally acceptable. There are countless natural states of mankind that we in fact do not accept at all as a society, such as pedophilia, extreme narcissism, sociopathy/psychopathy, and what have you. We don’t consider pedophiles to be a normal variation on human sexuality, and with good cause. We don’t consider narcissists to be a normal variation on self-esteem, and with good cause. We don’t consider sociopaths to be a normal variation on human empathy, and with good cause. We consider all these states to be a defect of some sort, even if their causes are not yet known (sound familiar?). Even though they are natural, we still do not celebrate them.

    Yet homosexuality, for some reason, is considered a normal variation on sexuality, worthy of celebration and punitive measure against those who disagree. Why is this? Is it simply because it presumably harms no one? Dwarfism harms no one else, yet we don’t consider it a normal variation on human height, do we? We don’t consider color blindness to be a normal variation on vision. Why do we consider homosexuality a normal variation, and not a defect? Even if it doesn’t fit the rather narrow scope of “mental illness”, there is still every reason to consider a person attracted to the same sex to have a defect of some sort, just like the medical community acknowledges that a man/woman who feels like the wrong gender in their body also has something wrong with them, to the point they encourage surgical mutilation to become more similar to the other sex. And this logic alone is enough to oppose gay marriage, no religion required. Why redefine an entire institution to incorporate something that went wrong?

    I have Asperger’s, I guess I should start forming activist groups and attempt to redefine social relationships and methods of communication in order to accommodate my perfectly normal variation of human interaction.

    • Before addressing your post, let me make a point. The word ‘equality” doesn’t mean we are all “equal in every aspect of what the word means”. We are certainly not “equal” in terms of intelligence, talent, aesthetic beauty, for instance. When we talk about “equality”, it generally means “equal before the law”, and in this respect, we try to make sure that we all have “equal” rights.

      Now, you raise the point, why not treat “equally” those who are pedophiles, or sociopaths? It has little to do with the question of normality or natural states, but rather that they are a public danger. We let cats roaming in our cities, but not the tiger, because the latter is a public danger. On the other hand, should the number of cats rise such that they become a public danger, you can readily believe that the municipality affected by this will pass laws to face that threat.

      My question to you is, in what ways is a member of the LGBT community a threat to you? Is there anything in their “abnormality or unnatural states”, – your words – that represent a public danger? Not to my knowledge. If they break a law, they should be treated like any other criminal. But being an LGBT isn’t a threat in itself, hence they should be given the same rights as any other member of the community. And marriage, though it can have a religious component to it, is also a secular institution: in give you certain rights, under income tax laws, hospital visitation rights, custody rights and so on, and a member of the LGBT should enjoy them as much as anyone else.

      • I think I may have been slightly misunderstood, so I shall endeavor to clarify. Under no circumstances do I think pedophiles should be accepted. Just…no. The comparison was actually supposed to cut the other way, and over a different aspect. We agree that pedophilia is a defect of sexual attraction, but I wonder if we agree on why it is a defect? Is it only a defect because it is dangerous/not approved by society, or is it a defect because grown adults should not be attracted to children? Same with sociopaths, is it only a defect because it can lead to problems for others, or is it a defect because lack of empathy is not how the human mind is expected to work? What about a man being sexually attracted to a man instead of a woman?

        A rule of thumb for me on this would be, if the entirety of the human race had a trait, would it survive? Blond hair, left-handedness, we could all get by with that, so these aren’t defective. Everyone blind or deaf, we’d have been in trouble, so these are defects and not variations on sight and hearing. If we were all homosexual? Bye bye humanity. Same with Asperger’s, I’m not sure I’d want to see a society populated entirely with people on the autism spectrum. If we could even form one haha.

        Regarding marriage, I’m not likely to ever considered two men to be “married” in a cultural/spiritual sense. Far as legality goes, I’m very libertarian on that. I don’t think the government should be able to tell me who I can’t and can’t have benefits with, so to that extent I don’t believe two men – gay or straight – should be prevented from having legal rights with each other.

        The only “threat” I perceive from homosexuals is their demands that I think of it as perfectly normal and no different than straight people, lest I be considered a “bigot”. If I have to throw logic out the window in order to be PC, then screw the PC crowd.

    • “I have Asperger’s, I guess I should start forming activist groups and attempt to redefine social relationships and methods of communication in order to accommodate my perfectly normal variation of human interaction.”

      Interesting. Having ADHD I could perhaps try the same thing.

      But the world would then become a hopelessly chaotic mess🙂

      I’ll write a future post explaining that while the liberal lobby spends a great deal of its time defending gay rights, they all too often ignore the concerns of people suffering psychological deceases in their surroundings.

      This has to change, and I personally defend BOTH gay rights and the duty to help those of us being psychologically or mentally ill.

  8. @ crude,

    You left out an important part of my post: you have the right to protest and become an activist if you think that the rules and regulations of a society is wrong. There are people in Russia doing just that. Secondly, bringing up Russia to bolster your argument is not going to help as Russia’s record on human rights is abysmal. I certainly wouldn’t want any democracy to emulate Russia.

    Also, you’ve wrongly concluded that being gay is genetic. It isn’t. Current research points to the development of the fetus. What we know so far is that the fetus will receive two signals (jolts of electricity): one that tells the fetus to develop either male or female genitals, the other is to instruct the brain to identify as a male or female. We do know that sometimes these two signals don’t happen at the right time or one signal fails or is too small. Or it gives contrary signals: develop male genitals but identify as a female. We don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle but we have done great strides in that area. Nevertheless this research points in the direction that an individual is one of LGBT might be due to some process that did or didn’t happen while the pregnancy took place. Should we fault the individual for something over which he or she had no control?

    • You left out an important part of my post: you have the right to protest and become an activist if you think that the rules and regulations of a society is wrong. There are people in Russia doing just that.

      No, a very tiny segment of the Russian population is doing just that. And hey, that’s great, but really – it’s not as if the Russians are doing anything wrong here, according to you. As you said, gays were previously in a better position, but the tide has moved against them there, and in Uganda, and elsewhere. Now they’ve got the losing end of the stick. They may feel bad, but hey, society gets to make the rules.

      That’s your position, Palazzo. Not mine. I just am connecting the dots.

      Nevertheless this research points in the direction that an individual is one of LGBT might be due to some process that did or didn’t happen while the pregnancy took place. Should we fault the individual for something over which he or she had no control?

      Who is? This is the perpetual bait and switch among LGBT activists: there is same-sex attraction (which may well be outside an individual’s control), and then there are same-sex sexual acts (which is not, unless you want to bite the bullet and deny free will or say people can’t control their sexual behavior, in which case the rapists of the world thank you.)

      Humanity has been civilized for a relatively short time. Urges to kill others show up with people at times – they are quite (your version of) “natural”. Guess what? We still fault murderers. As we should.

      What we know so far is that the fetus will receive two signals (jolts of electricity): one that tells the fetus to develop either male or female genitals, the other is to instruct the brain to identify as a male or female.

      Even this is a ridiculous oversimplification of a process we are only beginning to study. ‘Instructing the brain to identify as a male or a female’ is cartoonish. ‘It gets zapped twice with information’, moreso.

      • Oh, and one more thing.

        Should we fault the individual for something over which he or she had no control?

        How do we determine if that’s right or not? I notice, Palazzo, you won’t tell us where these ‘rights’ come from that you speak of, despite repeatedly being asked. Because if it all ultimately boils down to ‘society’s mood at the time’, then apparently we damn well can fault individuals for something over which they have no control. We can do what we like if we’re loud enough and control enough of the men with guns.

      • To believe that ” Now they’ve got the losing end of the stick” is a gross misunderstanding of history. You’ve got your history upside down. For the major part of 10,000 years of recorded history, gays have been persecuted, ostracized and cursed by those who were in power. It is only in the last 10 years that gays have been given certain rights. And they had to fight for those rights. and those meager victories are only in a very small number of countries.So no, they’re not getting the losing end of the stick, they were on the losing end for thousands of years, and now they are barely coming out of the dark age.

        As for the scientific research as to what can go wrong during a pregnancy, and how this can affect sexual orientation and sexual identity, it’s out there, just do your homework.

        • @joseph palazzo

          As for the scientific research as to what can go wrong during a pregnancy, and how this can affect sexual orientation and sexual identity, it’s out there, just do your homework.

          As for the scientific research as to evidence that God exists, it’s out there, just do your homework.

      • Now they’ve got the losing end of the stick” is a gross misunderstanding of history.

        Not at all. Homosexual acts were decriminalized in Russia in the early 1990s. There was movement towards LGBT promotion in Russia – it just changed course. Hence, now they have the losing end of the stick.

        But the important thing here is that – especially in light of how you even justify ‘rights’ talk – according to you, Uganda and Russia are doing nothing wrong. In fact, they really CAN’T do anything wrong, so long as they’re in an apparent democracy and they make choices. If, by some twist, over the next 50 years Uganda’s laws about homosexuality spread throughout Africa, then Asia, then the rest of the world, that would be just peachy to you. Because ‘rights’ are just the whims of the moment, and whims change.

        As for the scientific research as to what can go wrong during a pregnancy, and how this can affect sexual orientation and sexual identity, it’s out there, just do your homework.

        First, I just love that you define a woman giving birth to a homosexual as ‘something going wrong during pregnancy’. How very progressive of you!

        Second, I am well aware of the research on environmental factors of the womb and the current studies finding correlations between said factors and sexuality. I said that your understandings and explanations were cartoonish – they are primitive oversimplifications. Here’s one way to start: ‘a shock determines if you’re gay or not gay’ rather leaves out bisexuals, now doesn’t it? And that’s ignoring the issues with ‘a shock does it’ example.

        Finally, I pointed this out:

        Who is? This is the perpetual bait and switch among LGBT activists: there is same-sex attraction (which may well be outside an individual’s control), and then there are same-sex sexual acts (which is not, unless you want to bite the bullet and deny free will or say people can’t control their sexual behavior, in which case the rapists of the world thank you.)

        Humanity has been civilized for a relatively short time. Urges to kill others show up with people at times – they are quite (your version of) “natural”. Guess what? We still fault murderers. As we should.

        Does it bother you at all, Palazzo, that you are fervently in favor of ‘rights’ you cannot adequately conceive of, much less defend? That you criticize people for positions you can’t even adequately describe or, apparently, understand?

        No, of course not. You’re “progressive” – you’ve been taught that yelling loudly and feeling strongly about something is all you’ll ever need to be right.😉

  9. crude said: “I notice, Palazzo, you won’t tell us where these ‘rights’ come from that you speak of, despite repeatedly being asked.”

    I don’t recall you making that point in an earlier post, but I’ll grant that you did, and perhaps I missed it. So let me answer you: first of all, they are “human” rights, and it is implicit in the name that they are “human”, defined by “humans” for “humans”. The concept goes along with democracy, a type of government of the people, by the people, for the people ( people being synonymous to human). Notice that in non-democratic countries, the concept of human rights has very little meaning. For a long time, blacks were not given equal rights to whites, and we know how destructive that has been for certain countries. We also had women not given equal rights to men. We are trying to correct that, as it is still a work in progress – I know your loathing attitude towards progressives, but that’s your problem, not mine. And now, the LGBT community is slowly being welcomed into the tent of those who have enjoyed those rights for quite a while.

    • they are “human” rights, and it is implicit in the name that they are “human”, defined by “humans” for “humans”.

      Ahh, so there are no right or wrong rights, just rights that some people like better than others. I see. Might doesn’t make right, it just makes what is. And there’s nothing wrong with that, only things disliked about it.

      • joseph, the fact that Uganda is democratic seriously destroys your whole argument. Athens didn’t allow women to vote, hold public office, or generally have any say in affairs. They were a democracy. The women generally didn’t protest. So you, of course, believe that human rights were being protected, right?

        And again: Uganda is a democracy. This surely means you have zero problems with their homosexuality laws, right?

    • So let me answer you: first of all, they are “human” rights, and it is implicit in the name that they are “human”, defined by “humans” for “humans”.

      So, human rights are just whatever humans define them to be at any given time? Not exactly encouraging for your argument here.

      Notice that in non-democratic countries, the concept of human rights has very little meaning.

      According to what standard? ‘Non-democratic countries’ afforded all kinds of ‘rights’ to humans historically.

      But it doesn’t really matter. Really, this is comedy – I ask you about these ‘human rights’ you keep screeching about the violation of. It turns out ‘human rights’ just means ‘whatever an apparent democracy gives or takes away at any point in time, according to the whims of people’.

      So Russia and Uganda are as ‘cutting edge’ as Denmark and Switzerland in terms of human rights, since the only thing that matters is the whims of their respective populations. Both of them are bringers of light, and both of them are in the dark ages, simultaneously.

      Wonderful standard, Palazzo. Gosh, it’s a wonder why it doesn’t inspire me so!

        • What Crude was hinting at is that gay rights need to be grounded and cannot be merely asserted.

          Now I am sure this is a challenge that both and you could accept😉

      • They’re not encouraging for someone who ignores the lessons of history. The human rights as they were proclaimed by the UN in 1948 came about after many wars, many atrocities. Just read up on history.

        In the context of this discussion, Palazzo – who cares?

        Seriously – are you under the impression that ‘but we REALLY don’t like it!’ is some kind of grounding? And Nazi Germany, Fascist states, and even State Atheism came hot on the heels of many wars, and many atrocities.

        As Lothar is getting at – you’re not grounding anything. At most, you’re emoting at me. And it seems to be because your “rights” ultimately come down to “well that’s what we want, end of story.”

  10. @labreuer

    “jolts of electricity” stands for jolts of shock, as learning that sexual orientation is dependent on what’s happening during pregnancy would be a shock to readers of this blog. Interesting that you were looking for “jolts of electricity” instead of trying to learn more about what makes people what they are in terms of their sexual orientation. (hint: if you are heterosexual, it wasn’t your choice).

    • @joseph palazzo

      “jolts of electricity” stands for jolts of shock, as learning that sexual orientation is dependent on what’s happening during pregnancy would be a shock to readers of this blog. Interesting that you were looking for “jolts of electricity” instead of trying to learn more about what makes people what they are in terms of their sexual orientation. (hint: if you are heterosexual, it wasn’t your choice).

      You are clearly not interested in actually doing any research, looking at any actual science, etc. If you were, you would just provide it when asked, you wouldn’t bitch and whine that the other person has to do the work. Read up on “burden of proof”. But instead of providing it, you blame me for not being intellectually honest or something. No, no, no: the burden of proof lies on the person making the positive assertion. If you can’t handle that, then admit it like a man.

      I have actually looked at some of the research, and it isn’t at all clear that sexual orientation is 100% chosen by genetics, by genetics + prenatal environment, or genetics + prenatal environment + postnatal environment. You see, I don’t believe people are 100% determined by things outside of their spirit. I think people are actually people, and not sophisticated fleshy robots which receive all their programming from somewhere else. But where does sexual orientation lie in this domain? I don’t know. But I don’t trust the word of people like you, who balk at providing actual research when asked. People like you aren’t to be trusted, unless you choose to repent and actually give specific answers to specific questions, instead of just pointing to an entire Wikipedia page with quite a few references.

      P.S. Hormones aren’t “jolts of electricity”. Dunno what “jolts of shock” means. Maybe you should actually understand what you’re talking about, before talking about it? Or at least admit that you’re guessing, instead of sounding like you’re all confident? That would be fine, too.

      • Which part of “We don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle but we have done great strides in that area. Nevertheless this research points in the direction that an individual is one of LGBT might be due to some process that did or didn’t happen while the pregnancy took place,” don’t you understand? I’ve never claimed that the research was completed. It’s sad to see that you are anti-science, yet you don’t hesitate to use the products that came out of science.

        • @joseph palazzo

          jp: It’s sad to see that you are anti-science, yet you don’t hesitate to use the products that came out of science.

          You are apparently talking to a mirror. The following is anti-science and anti-rationality:

          jp: As for the scientific research as to what can go wrong during a pregnancy, and how this can affect sexual orientation and sexual identity, it’s out there, just do your homework.

          You see, you (a) asserted a positive claim; (b) initially refused to back up that claim with the burden of proof which was rightly yours. I had to goad you into producing something, and that ‘something’ ended up being a Wikipedia page—a pretty low bar. For posterity, here’s the chain of statements:

          jp: As for the scientific research as to what can go wrong during a pregnancy, and how this can affect sexual orientation and sexual identity, it’s out there, just do your homework.

          lab: As for the scientific research as to evidence that God exists, it’s out there, just do your homework.

          jp: There is no scientific evidence for the existence of god. Nice try.

          lab: There is no scientific evidence for the electricity pregnancy physical/mental sexuality thing. Nice try.

          Do you see what I did there? Now tell everyone, @joseph palazzo, who here is anti-science, anti-rationality? You.

      • I’ve never claimed that the research was completed.

        You’ve been throwing about cartoon-level explanations of sexuality that are roughly on the level of ‘Fred Flintstone got hit on the head with a bowling bowl and now he’s gay, but at the fetal stage’ and talking as if these things are not only certain, but in and of themselves justify acts people take so long as they have a desire to do them owing at least in part to biological factors beyond their control.

        And stop talking as if disagreeing with you makes one ‘anti-science’. I think ‘anti-science’ is rightly inferred when a person abuses science and understandings of it for social or political purposes, particularly when they parrot information they’ve heard and it’s clear they aren’t particularly adept even with that information.

  11. @Lothar, “What Crude was hinting at is that gay rights need to be grounded and cannot be merely asserted.”
    @crude, “As Lothar is getting at – you’re not grounding anything.”

    I suppose that if humans want human rights for …. reasons (fill in the blank), that’s not grounded. But if God wants that, then that is grounded.

    LOL

    • I suppose that if humans want human rights for …. reasons (fill in the blank), that’s not grounded. But if God wants that, then that is grounded.

      Who brought up God? Sure as heck wasn’t me. And that’s yet another topic you’re ignorant on.

      But here’s the important bit – go ahead and assume for the sake of argument that ‘God’ grounds nothing. (And in case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t argued against same-sex marriage here on religious grounds at all.) That doesn’t magically make -your- whims grounded, or even better.

      LOL.😉

      • I gave you a reference as to why people wanted human rights to be adopted by the UN in the 1940’s. If that’s not enough for you then tough luck. AFAIC, that’s ground enough for me.

        • why people human rights to be adopted by the UN in the 1940′s.

          Which people? FYI, Charles Malik was chairman of the committee which drafted the 1984 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Malik also wrote The Two Tasks. Pretty Christian, I’d say! For more on rights and Christianity, check out Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Justice: Rights and Wrongs. You might be shocked at how much Christianity went into this stuff. And if you think that individual human rights is a natural evolution, see Peter Berger’s A Far Glory:

          There turned out to be enormous ethical implications to this proto-individuation. It is very clearly expressed in the dramatic confrontation between King David and the prophet Nathan recounted in the twelfth chapter of the Second Book of Samuel. David had caused the murder of Bathsheba’s husband in order to incorporate her in his harem—a perfectly acceptable expression of royal prerogative in terms of oriental conceptions of kingship. After Nathan cleverly leads David to condemn a man who shows no pity in destroying what another man loves, the prophet tells David that he is just such a man—”You are the man.” This sentence sovereignly ignores all the communal legitimations of kingship in the ancient Near East. Indeed, it ignores all the social constructions of the self as understood at that time. It passes normative judgment on David the man—a naked man, a man divested of all the trappings of a community, a man alone. I believe that this view of the relation between God and man, and therefore among men, continues to be normative for a Christian understanding of the human condition. (99-100)

          The Dutch historian Jan Romein coined the phrase “the common human pattern” to denote some features of society and culture that can be found throughout history. The modern West deviates sharply from this common pattern, not least in the character and degree of individuation. This is the sound empirical foundation for the claim that Western individualism is an aberration; the common pattern has the individual tightly bonded within his community. (101)

          Food for thought, I’d say!

  12. Crude said: “You’ve been throwing about cartoon-level explanations of sexuality that are roughly on the level of ‘Fred Flintstone got hit on the head with a bowling bowl and now he’s gay, but at the fetal stage’ and talking as if these things are not only certain, but in and of themselves justify acts people take so long as they have a desire to do them owing at least in part to biological factors beyond their control.

    And stop talking as if disagreeing with you makes one ‘anti-science’. I think ‘anti-science’ is rightly inferred when a person abuses science and understandings of it for social or political purposes, particularly when they parrot information they’ve heard and it’s clear they aren’t particularly adept even with that information.”

    No, you’ve made it a cartoon-level by invoking Fred Flinstone.

    If you go back to my post, I used the words, “you can start”, that means a beginning, not a final action. Secondly, it was a suggestion. Thirdly, what was given was a reference to a wikipedia page, where it is understood that the info will be watered down. Experts publish papers in peer-review journal: 1) these are often not available on the net and are costly to acquire; 2) they are written by experts FOR experts. So reference to a wikipedia is common sense given the circumstances, and it provided an occasion for you and the readers of this blog to get a glimpse of the kind of research going on in that area. Your negative tone to a suggestion to get acquainted with the scientific research in regard to sexual orientation, an area of research taken seriously by a number of dedicated science researchers, speaks loudly of your attitude towards science.

    • @joseph palazzo

      Experts publish papers in peer-review journal: 1) these are often not available on the net and are costly to acquire; 2) they are written by experts FOR experts.

      1) this is changing; 2) they can still be somewhat understood by some of us. Perhaps Crude is one of that group. I am, but I’m also a very sciency-engineer. What about you? Do you ever look at the research papers and try to understand them, or do you expose yourself to more popular stuff? There’s nothing wrong with this—nobody has infinite time—but it’d be good for you to admit precisely what sorts of things you actually know, and when you’re just parroting the [scientific?] opinions of others.

    • No, you’ve made it a cartoon-level by invoking Fred Flinstone.

      Oh, I’m sorry, is the comparison too apt for your liking?

      If you go back to my post, I used the words, “you can start”, that means a beginning, not a final action. Secondly, it was a suggestion. Thirdly, what was given was a reference to a wikipedia page, where it is understood that the info will be watered down.

      If I go back to your post: The winds have changed as we know better: you are born gay, it’s not a choice, and therefore, more and more people agree that gays should have the same rights as heterosexuals.

      You’re the one who tried to play the game of speaking in definites and throwing out non-seqs – all that’s been happening in response is having it pointed out. I can grant that sexual attraction is determined *entirely* by genetics, and it would change nothing. As it stands, you’re the one who belted out stuff about shocks and if you get the right shock BZZT you’re gay and if get the other BZZT you’re straight. You’re walking it back now that, oops, it looks like other people actually have read up on this as much as or more than you have, and have a better idea of the current state of knowledge on that front.

      Experts publish papers in peer-review journal: 1) these are often not available on the net and are costly to acquire; 2) they are written by experts FOR experts.

      First, given both apparent points, all that would mean is that you should really, really choose you words carefully. ‘It’s too expensive and I don’t understand it’ doesn’t act as a free pass to just confidently declare things and come up with cartoonish generalizations. Or at least, if you do, I reserve the right to have some fun with the demonstrable overconfidence and lack of knowledge.

      Second, ‘by experts for experts’? They aren’t nearly so bad, and if you do find yourself reading them and not being able to at least start approaching an understanding of what’s being discussed, that rather implies you shouldn’t confidently believe summaries – especially if those summaries come from biased sources – without a whole lot of qualification.

      Your negative tone to a suggestion to get acquainted with the scientific research in regard to sexual orientation,

      My negative tone was towards your cartoon-babble about a subject you’re finally admitting you barely grasp at all. Chances are I track down and read more research papers (and, for that matter, survey documents and even judicial documents) than you’d ever dream of.

      But wait, -I- am anti-science because I laughed at your summaries, and I actually try to hunt down and read the scary ‘by experts for experts’ papers that are the product of peer review science. You, meanwhile, are some kind of warrior on behalf of science because.. well, you’re an atheist, you’re an outspoken “progressive”, and hey, maybe you watched a little Cosmos!

      Pardon me if I’m unimpressed.

      • Let me be a little clearer, Joseph, while we’re talking.

        I am not talking this way purely to be a bastard to you. Don’t get me wrong – that’s fun, and I have very little respect for Cult of Gnu atheists, very animated “progressives”, much less the combination of the two.

        But in spite of it all, the questions I’m asking you? They’re valid. They’re important. So are the criticisms. You won’t hear challenge like this from either the Gnus (who are clannish to an extreme) or many progressives (for whom all that matters is keeping morale up and keeping people very, very animated and emotionally invested in their cause.) Yes, you may snarl a bit at what a prick I’m being. But you know what? If you actually back off and think through things – like the connection of ‘moral’ and ‘born with that inclination’, what all these ‘rights’ you yell about ultimately come down to, and more – you may realize that you’ve gotten a few things wrong.

        As a matter of fact, you may realize that you are being played by groups of people, one with a major cultural presence, another with a ferocious online ideology edge.

      • I’m not impressed either by your arguments, which consist so far in comparing what happens in pregnancy to Fred Flinstone getting hit on the head. I doubt very much you’ve understood anything on that wikipedia page, let alone peer-reviewed papers. The only person you’re fooling here is yourself.

      • Hold on though: Why do you even care if homosexuality isn’t a “choice”. I thought there was nothing wrong with it? Surely it’s a-okay for people to choose to be homosexuals, right? Why is this any sort of sticking point at all?

        Anyway, I’d like you to go up to a gay person and say that their being gay is essentially the result of a single event occurring during pregnancy that can be scientifically manipulated at any time. They should be outraged, right? After all, the idea of a “gay gene” is very offensive to them.

        I wonder why? After all, they love to claim that they didn’t “choose” to be homosexual. Wouldn’t a gay gene be a welcome discovery? Unless, of course, they realize being gay is something wrong, an unfortunate problem that they wish never occurred.

        The thinking is extraordinarily muddled.

  13. malcolmthecynic said: “Uganda is a democracy. This surely means you have zero problems with their homosexuality laws, right?”

    You’re talking about the country that was ruled by Idi Amin for nearly 15 years. Are you sure you want your country to emulate Uganda? It may be a democracy but its constitution is in tathers. The vast majority of democratic countries have condemned Uganda’s anti-gay law.

    “Disapproval of homosexuality by some can never justify violating the fundamental human rights of others,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, a former judge from South Africa, said in a statement on Feb. 24 when Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the law.

    • Okay, but the country of Uganda VOTED on it. The majority of Ugandans are against homosexuality. Why should I listen to the U.N.? It’s not their country.

      More than that, I’d suspect that most of the world probably believes homosexuality to be disordered. If this were proven to be true, would you change your position, or would the almighty U.N. win out for you?

      • malcolmthecynic said: “More than that, I’d suspect that most of the world probably believes homosexuality to be disordered. If this were proven to be true, would you change your position, or would the almighty U.N. win out for you?”

        Even if it was found out that homosexuality is a disorder, why would you want to deny certain rights to gays? Cerebral palsy is also a disorder, does that mean we should deny a baby born with it his or her rights?

        • But you STILL have not established what human rights are. If the majority of the world believed homosexual marriage was not a human right, then according to you it isn’t. You really don’t see how incredibly delf-defeating your position is? The majority of Nazi Germany supported Hitler’s actions against the Jews. Were they right? The majority of the country in 1776 supported slavery. In fact, for many centuries most of the world did. Were they right?

          But no, the U.N. disagrees. And the U.N. is always right.

      • By the way…

        Deny a person with cerebral palsy the rights to what? I certainly don’t think people with cerebral palsy should be able to enter the mile race in the Olympics with an electric wheelchair. There’s a “right” they don’t have, off the top of my head.

        Sometimes we need to take people’s differences into account when handing out “rights”.

  14. malcolmthecynic says :April 16, 2014 at 4:47 pm
    “Hold on though: Why do you even care if homosexuality isn’t a “choice”. I thought there was nothing wrong with it? Surely it’s a-okay for people to choose to be homosexuals, right? Why is this any sort of sticking point at all?”

    If you had followed the discussion so far, you would have known that I said that sexual orientation is NOT a choice for LGBT as well as for heretosexuals. So why would one want to deny certain rights to LGBT? On what basis?

    “Anyway, I’d like you to go up to a gay person and say that their being gay is essentially the result of a single event occurring during pregnancy that can be scientifically manipulated at any time. They should be outraged, right? After all, the idea of a “gay gene” is very offensive to them.’

    Perhaps it would be offensive as what you are asserting has not been proved by science. No one knows that whatever happened that made them gay can be “scientifically manipulated at any time.”

    “I wonder why? After all, they love to claim that they didn’t “choose” to be homosexual. Wouldn’t a gay gene be a welcome discovery? Unless, of course, they realize being gay is something wrong, an unfortunate problem that they wish never occurred.”

    Maybe they resent people who are hostile to them for being gay. You certainly don’t hide your colors.

    “The thinking is extraordinarily muddled.”

    You should stop projecting.

    • Do you even know what projecting means? Projecting would be me saying “you’re an idiot”, when actually I’m the idiot. Saying “The thinking is extraordinarily muddled” literally CAN’T be projecting.

      You didn’t even address what I said. If homosexuality is okay, who cares if it isn’t a choice? Why does that matter?

      If you had followed the discussion so far, you would have known that I said that sexual orientation is NOT a choice for LGBT as well as for heretosexuals.

      You didn’t actually try and understand what I wrote, did you?

      I never insulted you dude, so stop acting like a child. Oh gosh, I must be projecting now, huh?

      • malcolmthecynic said: “You didn’t even address what I said. If homosexuality is okay, who cares if it isn’t a choice? Why does that matter?”

        Which part of “So why would one want to deny certain rights to LGBT? On what basis?” didn’t you understand? People who object to give equal rights to gays do it on the basis that gays chose their lifestyle and therefore are not entitled to certain rights. Get it. It matters that being gay isn’t a choice. And on that basis, I’ll repeat: why would one want to deny certain rights to LGBT?

        • WHAT rights? The rights the U.N. says are rights? I disagree with them, Russia disagrees, uganda disagrees. But they’re wrong and the U.N. is right, because you say so.

          By the way:

          So why would one want to deny certain rights to LGBT? On what basis?

          …Is still not an answer to my question. Homosexuality is a-okay. Why would it not being a choice matter in the slightest? It should have absolutely no relevance.

      • Also, the LIFESTYLE of gays and lesbians really IS a choice. Many Priests are straight and celibate. Heck, my Aunt is straight and, as far as I know at least, celibate. Oddly enough, people really CAN control their sexual urges.

        • @malcolmthecynic: Restraint is only possible when there is a good enough reason. When Christianity starts looking too much like The Emperor’s New Clothes, the reason disintegrates. Unless fear and control is used, instead. Back to OT times? I hope not!😐

  15. malcolmthecynic says :April 16, 2014 at 5:41 pm
    “WHAT rights? The rights the U.N. says are rights? I disagree with them, Russia disagrees, uganda disagrees. But they’re wrong and the U.N. is right, because you say so.”

    I wish I had that kind of power, LOL.

    On a more serious note: ten years ago, gays had fewer rights than heterosexuals. It had been like that for THOUSANDS of years. However, more and more people have started to realize – and science research no doubt has had a lot to do with changing people’s opinions in this case – that gays should no longer be ostracized as they were once by the vast majority. More and more countries are now adopting the view that gays should have equal rights, one of which is getting married. So this is not me, making the decision that the U.N is right, but a concensus that is ever increasing among the countries of this planet.

    malcolmthecynic says :April 16, 2014 at 5:48 pm
    “Also, the LIFESTYLE of gays and lesbians really IS a choice. Many Priests are straight and celibate. Heck, my Aunt is straight and, as far as I know at least, celibate. Oddly enough, people really CAN control their sexual urges.”

    Sure, but why deny gays certain rights?? If gays want to control their sexual urge and be celibate, why not? And if they want to get marry, why not?

    • @joseph palazzo

      I wish I had that kind of power, LOL.

      I am extremely grateful that you don’t. Why? You don’t seem to have much of a clue of what you’re talking about when it comes to human rights, and how they are grounded. Do you really want them grounded in human preferences? You realize where this leads, right? Evolution promises no progress, only adaptation. So if a return to serfdom maximally promoted the survival of the human race, it would happen unless we could find some way to fight natural selection. And yet, you don’t seem to want to fight it! Or if you do, you don’t seem to have a clue as to how to fight it.

      gays should no longer be ostracized

      From whence comes this ‘should’? You use the word as if everyone agrees. Or as if the most advanced people in the world agree. This not so, unless you twist and contort the term “most advanced people” such that they agree by definition.

      So this is not me, making the decision that the U.N is right, but a concensus that is ever increasing among the countries of this planet.

      Ahhh, so the majority of humanity defines what is right? So slavery in the US was just dandy?

        • @malcomthecynic

          Also, since when was this consensus “ever increasing”? Europe is not the world, and in places like Russia and Uganda it certainly seems like the opposite is occurring.

          Well, @joseph palazzo’s version of evolution doesn’t do progress, it just does adaptation. So should we really be surprised? I mean, what’s more powerful than evolution? Certainly not @joseph palazzo, nor his ideas. He is the story he tells. And that story doesn’t have progress, despite any claims of his to the contrary. If and when he uses the word, he destroys language—the very ability to communicate.

      • labreuer says:”Ahhh, so the majority of humanity defines what is right?”

        Sometimes but not always. In regard to homosexuality, ten years ago there were no country that had legalized gay marriage. Today, there are 16, hardly a majority, but it is slowly progressing. On gay rights, there has been more progress: of 196 countries, there are 82 countries in which homosexuality is still illegal.

        • @joseph palazzo

          labreuer says:”Ahhh, so the majority of humanity defines what is right?”

          Sometimes but not always.

          How do I know if it’s a “Sometimes” case, vs. a “not always” case?

      • Sometimes but not always.

        I see now. Morality is what YOU think is moral, not most of the population.

        Really joseph, your position gets more and more absurd with each post. First it was what democracies defined as rights. Then it was what the U.N. defined as rights. And now it’s what you define as human rights.

        You really need to give us something here besides “Well it’s obvious, DUH!!!!”.

      • Do you really agree with putting homosexuals to death as it is occurring in Uganda?

        Me? I find it barbaric. Hell, you’re talking to a man who thinks it’s morally wrong to fire people for same-sex attraction.

        But when Palazzo is telling me that there is a ‘right’ to this or that, and ‘society has deemed X to be a right’ is apparently operative, then I’m going to point out that apparently these rights do not exist in Russia, Uganda, etc. The right is not being denied – it simply does not exist, by his standards.

      • Heh, I wonder if I should feel insulted?

        Nah, I won’t bother.

        In any case, my answer is an emphatic NO, I do not support the Uganda law. You’ll find, by the by, that I agree with Crude on most things (though naturally not everything).

  16. labreuer says :”How do I know if it’s a “Sometimes” case, vs. a “not always” case?”

    The answer I gave was not in regard of whether you know or not, but to your question: “Ahhh, so the majority of humanity defines what is right?” You should read the rest of that post. You’lI find a clue (Hint: I gave two examples)

    malcolmthecynic says: “I see now. Morality is what YOU think is moral, not most of the population.”

    I’ve said before, and will repeat: you can apply your morals to yourself as an individual, in your private life. But when it comes to interactions between individuals, society makes that decision. Does that mean you always agree with what society decides? Most likely not all the times. Where you disagree with society’s rules and regulations, you can work as an activist to bring about a change in those laws you think are wrong.

      • @joseph palazzo

        Are there moral rules which TRANSCEND what society dictates to be right?

        This. I want to know your answer to this. The more comprehensive and well-thought out, the better.

      • lotharson says :
        Are there moral rules which TRANSCEND what society dictates to be right?

        I’m not sure what is it you have in mind but let me make some points, and then we can exchange what you have in mind and the points I’ll be making.

        Usually it’s people with a vision and great insight who are able to see beyond what society narrowly sees. Take Martin Luther King. He saw that the US wasn’t applying its own constitution on the Black minority. His fight brought down segregation that had been going on for more than 100 years in the South. Now, you can ask where do people like MLK, Ghandi or Mandela get their source so they feel so strong that they must fight for what they think is fundamentally wrong in their society? Often it’s a sense of justice, that some people, or a minority, is being mistreated or exploited unfairly. It could also be a sense of compassion, empathy, and so on that makes people reach out to others who are total strangers. Was that planted in our genes? Perhaps. Humans are complex: we both want to be treated as individuals, yet we yearn to live within a society. We can love and hate, be pleasant and disagreeable, etc. I’ll leave you with these thoughts… it’s getting late here in America, so pleasant dreams.

        • @joseph palazzo

          mistreated or exploited unfairly

          What does this phrase mean, to you? Surely you are aware that the concept of ‘fairness’ has changed drastically, over time? And yet, you very much seem to have the idea of progress, of heading somewhere better. And yet you don’t really seem to be able to define ‘better’, other than what feels good. And yet, horrific things have done in the name of “what feels good”. So we want to figure out which feelings are ok to act on, and which ones aren’t. But can ‘reason’ really help, here? See Hume’s thoughts on reason, for example.

          If I were to say that it’s unfair of you to do X to me, on what basis could you agree? Would it just be your feelings? They might not match up with mine. Would it just be your reason? You might not accept the same premises as I. So there seems to be no guaranteed agreement, here. If you cannot find such a source of agreement (like a shared telos; see Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue), then isn’t the result either limited interaction or pointy sticks?

      • This is not an answer to the question being posed. You just namedropped some famous (and hilariously enough, religious) people, sort of gestured in the direction of ‘What were they thinking? Who knows! But man, they had some popular ideas’ and left it at that.

      • labreuer,

        I think at this point what I’ve wanted to illustrate with Palazzo, and possibly what you wanted to illustrate, has been accomplished. He really has no answer for these questions. All that frenzied, passionate talk about ‘Human rights!’ and ‘Injustice!’ and ‘Wrong’ and ‘Progress’ and more is just the expression of a feeling, an emotion, that hasn’t been subject to examination, much less sprung from a coherent philosophy or worldview.

        It’s just the Brawndo scene from Idiocracy redux. The idea that there’s supposed to be more to reasoning about rights and laws and justice beyond momentary passion and feeling is kind of strange an alien, so we just get repackagings of ‘But this is something people like and think is great!’ over and over.

        • @Crude: You’re probably right, but I’m willing to see where @joseph palazzo goes for a bit longer. You might like this anecdote. I had the privilege of taking Os Guinness out to dinner with my then-girlfriend, now-wife, the night before a Veritas Forum. I wish I remembered more from the dinner conversation—Guinness is a fascinating guy—but what I did remember was him describing America as a “cut-flower society”. I think he was talking about people like @joseph palazzo, who know some of the vocabulary words, but have no idea where the growth comes from. Indeed, he’s probably attacked the sources of growth, if not in this page then somewhere else. It’s like an autoimmune disease, actually.

  17. labreuer says : “So there seems to be no guaranteed agreement,…”

    That is absolutely right. If you look at our 10,000 + years of recorded history, it’s been a long journey to get to where we are today in our attitude towards each other. What people thought was right 2000 years ago, some of that is considered wrong today. I have no doubt that what we think is right today, might turn out to be considered as wrong by future generations. Morality is a human construct, and as humans we are largely ignorant. As we move along and learn, and understand and face a changing world, we also adjust our behavior, and here I mean by “adjust our behavior”, it is through several generations – point in case: many of those who were brought up under the concept that segregation was right back in the 1950’s still haven’t overcome their racial prejudice. They will eventually die off, and hopefully the succeeding generations who were not raised to acquire such racist attitude will prevail. Back in the 1970’s there were a few voices talking about gay rights, but hardly anyone paid attention. Mocking, ridiculing, even bullying gays were de rigueur a test of showing your manhood. I’m sure many of those people today resent this movement of gay rights that is sweeping the planet. But they will eventually die off, and hopefully the succeeding generations who were not raised to acquire such anti-gay attitude will prevail.

    • “…hopefully the succeeding generations who were not raised to acquire such racist attitude will prevail.

      Hopefully why? If morality is a human construct then if succeeding generations decide it’s moral then there’s no reason for us to judge them. For them racism might end up being the right thing, and according to your (lack of) standards we have no reason to assume we’re “better” in any way at all.

      Progress is nonsensical if morality is a human construct. There can be no such thing, because what we consider “progress” now might well be considered barbaric by successive generations, and there’s no objective way we can call those generations “wrong” if there are no objective moral standards.

      • @ malcolmthecynic,

        I think you’ve skipped over the part where I wrote, “As we move along and learn, and understand and face a changing world…” Knowledge makes a difference. As we understand today that sexual orientation is not a choice but determined at birth, then there is no longer a rationality to deny gays the same rights as given to heretosexuals.

        In the past, people believed that if you were acting in a weird strange way, you were possessed by the devil, and you were burned at stakes. Today we understand that these “weird” people were afflicted with mental disease. We no longer burn them at stakes, instead we provide them with the necessary medical treatment.

        You’ve pointed out that in successive generations, we may be considered barbaric, and yes, that is a possibility. Should that throw us in a state of paralysis? I don’t think so – we should go with what we best know today.

        • “Know best”? How on Earth does knowing any of that afect morality? Why should knowing homosexuality is not a choice mean anything more to me than knowing that the sky is blue?

          And why is it so important homosexuality is not a choice if it’s okay anyway? Having that “knowledge” really shouldn’t change anything.

          But more importantly you still have given absolutely no reason to accept your moral intuitions except “Get with the times, man!”.

          You need to do better. If morality is defined by society you can’t just dismiss it every time you disagree.

    • That is absolutely right. If you look at our 10,000 + years of recorded history, it’s been a long journey to get to where we are today in our attitude towards each other.

      Is the journey headed anywhere, or is it more like evolution, which is, fundamentally, unguided?

  18. malcolmthecynic says :April 17, 2014 at 3:17 pm
    “By the way…

    Deny a person with cerebral palsy the rights to what? I certainly don’t think people with cerebral palsy should be able to enter the mile race in the Olympics with an electric wheelchair. There’s a “right” they don’t have, off the top of my head.

    Sometimes we need to take people’s differences into account when handing out “rights”.”

    There is no such thing as a right to participate in the mile race at the Olympics. You have to compete and earn a place to participate. When I use the word “rights”, i mean such thing as the right to freedom of expression, the right to equality before the law, the right to freedom of religion, the right to preserve one’s culture and language.

    • @joseph palazzo

      There is no such thing as a right to participate in the mile race at the Olympics. You have to compete and earn a place to participate. When I use the word “rights”, i mean such thing as the right to freedom of expression, the right to equality before the law, the right to freedom of religion, the right to preserve one’s culture and language.

      There also isn’t such a thing as a “right to be born”. You don’t seem to understand, @joseph palazzo, that there’s no iron distinction between a ‘right’ and a ‘privilege’ [to compete], according to your way of thinking. At least, so far you have been unable to say why I should use ‘right’ in one place and ‘privilege’ in the other.

  19. malcolmthecynic says :April 17, 2014 at 7:33 pm
    “I don’t think those are rights.

    Okay, why am I wrong? Because you say so?”

    labreuer says :April 17, 2014 at 7:51 pm
    @joseph palazzo

    “There also isn’t such a thing as a “right to be born”. You don’t seem to understand, @joseph palazzo, that there’s no iron distinction between a ‘right’ and a ‘privilege’ [to compete], according to your way of thinking. At least, so far you have been unable to say why I should use ‘right’ in one place and ‘privilege’ in the other.”

    We are basically repeating ourselves.

        • Who says I can’t? I merely pointed out that my conception of it is logically consistent, whereas yours is nonsense.

          Given that fact my view, Crude’s view, Marc’s view, and labreuer’s view on morality is superior to yours by default – at least using my view, whatever I base it on, I can use the words “better” and “worse” and have that make sense.

        • @joseph palazzo

          Coming from you who can’t even elaborate the basis of your own morality, that is rich!

          It’s as if you’re talking to yourself. I’m serious. Solipsism for the win.

  20. malcolmthecynic says :April 17, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    “Know best”? How on Earth does knowing any of that afect morality? Why should knowing homosexuality is not a choice mean anything more to me than knowing that the sky is blue?”

    So why are you denying gays the same rights as given to heretosexuals? On what basis are you making that decision?

      • You clearly indicated that “knowing homosexuality is not choice” shouldn’t affect morality, so what his your morality, and on what is it based?

        Or are you just trolling?

        • Wait then, are you saying you’ll bite the bullet here and agree that homosexual acts, if they WERE a choice, would be immoral?

          Anyway: You asked me a question, to answer a question. That’s not a real answer.

    • Quickly though: We (Crude, me, labreuer, even Marc, who is IN FAVOR of homosexual marriage) believe that their are human morals that remain moral no matter what anybody else says.

      You believe that morality is dictated by society, then try and claim there’s such a thing as “progress” and “rights”, which in your view is (if you want to be consistent) nonsense.

      So the simple answer is that whether or not our specific reasoning for WHY we believe there is a transcendent morality is exactly correct, we are at least consistent when we say “I think that slavery is wrong whatever society says about it”.

      Your position is even worse than most new atheists I’ve seen. From my experience most at the very least try to claim there’s a transcendent morality, then run into problems when they try and justify it without God.

      Your take on morality doesn’t even get off the ground.

      • malcolmthecynic says: we are at least consistent when we say “I think that slavery is wrong whatever society says about it”.

        So if someone says: “I think that homosexuality is wrong whatever society says about it”, you would be ok with that?!?

      • @malcomthecynic

        You believe that morality is dictated by society, then try and claim there’s such a thing as “progress” and “rights”, which in your view is (if you want to be consistent) nonsense.

        My best guess is that @joseph palazzo is experiencing cognitive dissonance, between wanting to see true moral progress in history (despite bumps and setbacks), and wanting to believe that evolution is necessarily unguided. Articles like Jared Diamond’s The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race might rock his world.

        @joseph palazzo, is there anything intrinsically wrong with serial rapists? I get that you can ‘dislike’ what they do and gather enough people with out to make a police force and try and catch serial rapists. But is there actually anything intrinsically wrong with what they do, what serial killers do, etc.? What was wrong with the purges Stalin and Mao commanded? And suppose that we return to a modernized feudalism, driven by the increasing income gap disparities which are often bandied about by leftists? Would that be wrong?

  21. malcolmthecynic says :April 17, 2014 at 8:51 pm
    Wait then, are you saying you’ll bite the bullet here and agree that homosexual acts, if they WERE a choice, would be immoral?

    Never said that, are you projecting again?

    • I’m just following the logical conclusions of your statements.

      You think that the right for gays to marriage is deeply connected to the fact that being homosexual is not a choice.

      So, of course, you must agree that if people DO choose to be homosexual they’re doing something wrong, right? Otherwise, that shouldn’t matter.

      You don’t seem to understand this.

      Boy, you love the word projecting, huh?

      • malcolmthecynic says :April 17, 2014 at 9:02 pm
        ”I’m just following the logical conclusions of your statements”

        Has it ever occurred to you that your logic might be faulty?

        ”You think that the right for gays to marriage is deeply connected to the fact that being homosexual is not a choice.”

        Again, never said that. It’s your warped logic that has led you astray. The point I was making is that the more we know and understand, the better we can make choices in regard to our morality. What you don’t like is that knowledge is not to be trusted. I will guess that you believe that the bible is your authority, and you see knowledge, particularly science, has the enemy.

    • You’re right – Hitler was literally being more logical than you are right now.

      Name dropping bad people won’t help you here. Your views on morality are nonsensical, and so far you still haven’t established otherwise.

      • malcolmthecynic says :April 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm
        You’re right – Hitler was literally being more logical than you are right now.

        Oh now we know. You are a great admirer of Hitler. I guess murdering 6,000,000 Jews, causing the death of another 50,000,000 millions throughout Europe must make you proud!

        ”Name dropping bad people won’t help you here. Your views on morality are nonsensical, and so far you still haven’t established otherwise.”

        Well, it got you out of the closet, Hitler admirer.

  22. labreuer says :April 17, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    @joseph palazzo, is there anything intrinsically wrong with serial rapists?

    Again we are repeating ourselves. Had you followed the discussion this is what I wrote earlier:

    “joseph palazzo says :April 14, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Now, you raise the point, why not treat “equally” those who are pedophiles, or sociopaths? It has little to do with the question of normality or natural states, but rather that they are a public danger.”

    Pay attention instead going on with questions that have been already answered. The rest of your post isn’t worth the trouble of an answer since it is an extention to “is there anything intrinsically wrong with serial rapists? “

  23. @ malcolmthecynic

    That’s the problem when you rely solely on logic – you inevitably get to the wrong answers. Had logic prevail, the philosophers since Ancient Greece would have solved all the problems. You are a perfect specimen. You applied your logic rigorously and consistently and came to the wrong conclusions simply because you operate on a worldview that is different than mine. So every reply I posted, you went and interpreted it from your worldview, which isn’t mine. The lesson of the scientific method is that logic is unreliable by itself. You need empirical evidence to keep your logic in check, otherwise you will completely miss the boat, as you have. What I tried to point out to you is morality must be enlightened with empirical knowledge, something you stubbornly refused to acknowledge. Without understanding, we are like a boat adrift with no direction.

    • I think it is kind of confusing. Logic is certainly ALWAYS valid.

      You should rather say that you don’t agree with Malcom’s postulates on which he applies it.

      I’m extremely skeptical about your claim that science is a neutral plate-form.
      For it is never possible to deduce a categorical “ought” from an “is”.

      • lotharson says :April 17, 2014 at 11:09 pm
        “I think it is kind of confusing. Logic is certainly ALWAYS valid.”

        Validity makes it consistent but not necessarily true.

        “You should rather say that you don’t agree with Malcom’s postulates on which he applies it. ”

        That wasn’t the case with malcolm. I argued that sexual orientation is not a choice based on the empirical evidence that has been gathered by scientific research. But all that went over his head. He concluded that if homosexuality is not wrong because it is not a choice (my argument) then if it is a choice it must be wrong, with a self-congratulation that he had shown that the base of my morality was all muddled up. In reality it is his logic that is muddled up, as I clearly indicated in the case of a serial rapist, we do not condemn him because it is not a choice/non-choice case but because a serial rapist is a danger to others. Different cases require different perspective.

        “I’m extremely skeptical about your claim that science is a neutral plate-form.
        For it is never possible to deduce a categorical “ought” from an “is”.”

        Science IS neutral, unless you forget that it is a tool, a tool invented by humans. We can use it to benefit humanity like we can use it to do harm. The choice is ours, the responsibility is ours. In regard to morality, we can certainly use science to enlighten us so that we can have a morality based on the best knowledge we can get, and not on ignorance or falsehoods.

  24. @lotharson:

    should read, “in the case of a serial rapist, we do condemn him not because it is a choice/non-choice case but because a serial rapist is a danger to others.”

    Sorry for the typo.

  25. joseph wrote:

    >>He concluded that if homosexuality is not wrong because it is not a choice (my argument) then if it is a choice it must be wrong, with a self-congratulation that he had shown that the base of my morality was all muddled up. In reality it is his logic that is muddled up, as I clearly indicated in the case of a serial rapist, we do not condemn him because it is not a choice/non-choice case but because a serial rapist is a danger to others. Different cases require different perspective.<<

    Is his logic muddled up? You say we condemn the rapist because he is a danger to others. Correct? Yet, homosexual intercourse in the case of two men [for example] is dangerous. The digestive system is not made for reproduction. I'm sure you can easily find the "evidence" of the damage caused by anal sex. So, are you taking such variables into account before you claim victory?

    • Ronin says :”Is his logic muddled up? You say we condemn the rapist because he is a danger to others. Correct? Yet, homosexual intercourse in the case of two men [for example] is dangerous. The digestive system is not made for reproduction. I’m sure you can easily find the “evidence” of the damage caused by anal sex. So, are you taking such variables into account before you claim victory?”

      Research have shown that anal sex puts the individual at risk with the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is known to elevate the risk of anal cancer. But we also know that HPV types have been linked with cancers of the cervix and vulva in women. Shall we deny heretosexuals certain rights because of that? Hardly so. Yes, it is true that any sexual activity brings about the risk of spreading STM, and other virus that may link to other diseases like cancer. But we don’t use that to deny rights to those who have sex and can spread those diseases. Instead, we teach people to be aware of those factors and take precaution.

      • >>Research have shown that anal sex puts the individual at risk with the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is known to elevate the risk of anal cancer. But we also know that HPV types have been linked with cancers of the cervix and vulva in women. Shall we deny heretosexuals certain rights because of that? Hardly so. Yes, it is true that any sexual activity brings about the risk of spreading STM, and other virus that may link to other diseases like cancer. But we don’t use that to deny rights to those who have sex and can spread those diseases. Instead, we teach people to be aware of those factors and take precaution.<<

        Of course, education on STMs could help prevent them. The vagina is made for reproduction as far as I know. I'm pretty sure education on ways to prevent cancer in the reproductive area could benefit people. You can have as much education you want regarding anal sex, but the damage done to the area is not good. Again, the digestive system is not made for intercourse, no matter how much education you give the system is just not made for that. You are comparing an apple to an orange.

  26. Ronin says: Of course, education on STMs could help prevent them. The vagina is made for reproduction as far as I know. I’m pretty sure education on ways to prevent cancer in the reproductive area could benefit people. You can have as much education you want regarding anal sex, but the damage done to the area is not good. Again, the digestive system is not made for intercourse, no matter how much education you give the system is just not made for that. You are comparing an apple to an orange.

    Yet, homosexuality is also found among animals. I’m not suggesting here that we should emulate animals, but to bring out the fact that intercourse is not solely for the purpose of reproduction. Individuals have sex because they are responding to their sexual urges, not necessarily to reproduce, though that is definitely a very important outcome of that activity. But coming back to the main theme of this OP, so far, I haven’t seen any justification to deny the LGBT community the same rights that are given to heterosexuals.

  27. >>Yet, homosexuality is also found among animals. I’m not suggesting here that we should emulate animals, but to bring out the fact that intercourse is not solely for the purpose of reproduction. Individuals have sex because they are responding to their sexual urges, not necessarily to reproduce, though that is definitely a very important outcome of that activity. But coming back to the main theme of this OP, so far, I haven’t seen any justification to deny the LGBT community the same rights that are given to heterosexuals.<<

    You are missing the point. Here is what you wrote previously:

    “..in the case of a serial rapist, we do condemn him not because it is a choice/non-choice case but because a serial rapist is a danger to others."

    I am saying homosexual intercourse [in my example (two males)] is a another case of putting someone in danger is the point. I'm using your own reasoning, but you just don't want to be consistent. Why are you cherry picking?

    • Ronin says: I am saying homosexual intercourse [in my example (two males)] is a another case of putting someone in danger is the point. I’m using your own reasoning, but you just don’t want to be consistent. Why are you cherry picking?

      Just because something being practiced by someone is dangerous we don’t declare automatically that this person should be denied certain rights. For instance, overeating is dangerous. Do we deny obese people certain rights? Are we cherry-picking?

      Yes, there is a danger in sexual activities, as I pointed out, but that is not justifiable to deny gays the same rights that are given to heterosexuals, as these can also practice sex in dangerous ways. Now unless you can justify why gays should be denied certain rights that are given to heterosexuals, we have very little to converse.

      • Indeed, it’s dangerous to overeat, why shouldn’t we deny overeaters the right to overeat according to your logic?

        We have little to converse, because quite frankly you are makings things up as you go along…

  28. @Ronin, “Indeed, it’s dangerous to overeat, why shouldn’t we deny overeaters the right to overeat according to your logic”

    The problem here is that you are incorrectly applying the rules of logic. Logic is only valid when it come to statements about facts. When it comes to statements about opinions, either personal or a concensus, feelings, philosophical musings, or beliefs, logic is inadequate, and most likely will lead you astray.

    • The problem is that you are arbitrarily and whimsically talking about someone’s “right” to satisfy X. For example, in our discussion thus far you seem okay with certain homosexual and overeating behavior(s) that are dangerous. At the same time, you are also saying certain people cannot satisfy Y. For example, you wrote “…in the case of a serial rapist, we do condemn him not because it is a choice/non-choice case but because a serial rapist is a danger to others.” In other words, you have no clue as to why you are co signing X and denying Y.

      Now, you have the audacity to tell me I shouldn’t apply logic to your opinion. How should I sort out your claims then? I guess, I should just take your word for it…

      • If I say that serial rapists should be locked up because they are a danger, it doesn’t followed logically that I mean “everyone and anyone who is a danger should be locked up”. That is applying logic incorrectly. For instance: (1) There are different ways one can be dangerous; (2) not all dangers are equal; (3) different dangers may require different solutions.

        You still haven’t answered my question: why should you deny gays certain rights that are given to heterosexuals?

  29. >>If I say that serial rapists should be locked up because they are a danger, it doesn’t followed logically that I mean “everyone and anyone who is a danger should be locked up”. That is applying logic incorrectly. For instance: (1) There are different ways one can be dangerous; (2) not all dangers are equal; (3) different dangers may require different solutions.<>You still haven’t answered my question: why should you deny gays certain rights that are given to heterosexuals?<<

    What "rights" would those be? Be specific, because you are basically saying people have "rights" and the heard (the majority) decides those rights. Of course, what you should realize is: if the heard decides to condemn homosexual behaviors the majority has spoken. Now, you can oppose the majority, but what is the problem here?

    • With regards to your first three sentences:

      You are the one saying let’s deny Y but not X. I’m asking you why are you okay with X but not Y? Do you have any ideas as to why are you okay with X but not with Y in your moral schema?

    • Ronin says :What “rights” would those be?

      The same rights as heretosexuals have: namely to marry the one they love, which means man can marry man, woman can marry woman, which is at the roots of the controversy of this thread as many christians are opposed to what is often described as being “a liberal and progressive” thingy.

      • //The same rights as heretosexuals have: namely to marry the one they love, which means man can marry man, woman can marry woman, which is at the roots of the controversy of this thread as many christians are opposed to what is often described as being “a liberal and progressive” thingy.//

        Several things:

        1.) The way the Christian would categorize love and the atheist would categorize love are different, since the Christian would ground the essence of love in God and the atheist would “ground” love somewhere else; so, with that in mind, to me, the OP is an in house issue. Further, the Christian would see “rights” as God given and the atheist would see “rights” as man given.

        2.) I don’t support gay marriage because it is a distortion [in my mind] of love as God intended according to what I have analyzed thus far. Nevertheless, even if you don’t agree with my “opinion” and given the moral structure you outlined thus far we are down to majority rules.

        3.) Could the author of the OP have a point when he wrote, “But Conservative and progressive Christians do have a strong common ground. We all believe that every good law should serve the well being and flourishing of mankind, an aspect which stands at the very center of Jesus ethical teaching…”? I suppose, but there is a lot to iron out when one asserts something about the “flourishing of mankind.”

  30. @ Ronin,

    Thanks for a clear and honest answer. From your reply, I guess that atheists and christians cannot reconcile on this issue.

    Ronin said: “the OP is an in house issue.”

    I hope I did not overstep by posting here. I came across Lothar on Debunking Christianity and Randal Rauser blog, where he has often given invitations to his blog. So there.
    🙂

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