Free speech vs… yo mamma! »« Free speech vs… the state

Free speech vs… the Internet

I’ve periodically waxed poetic about my love affair with the internet. I view it as a new version of the printing press, giving unprecedented access to both information and speech to millions of people who would otherwise never even glimpse the leaps and bounds made in the last 100 years. This level of access will ultimately have a stabilizing effect on the world, as ideas will spread, and issues will no longer be bound by physical or political borders.

However, this level of access has negative repercussions as well:

The sharp growth in extremist websites is making recruitment much easier for al-Qaeda, according to Interpol head Ronald Noble. “The threat is global, it is virtual and it is on our doorsteps,” he said. Mr Noble told a conference of police chiefs in Paris there were 12 sites in 1998 and 4,500 by 2006.

This is the ugly side of free speech. Allowing all people access to a tool like the internet means that everyone will, eventually, use it. Sadly, the reality is that ‘everyone’ includes a bunch of assholes who think that violence is a reasonable and justifiable way of spreading ideas.

So what are lawful societies supposed to do? Block the information? They may pursue that, but thanks to teh G00gle, they may not be able to do it with impunity any longer:

Earlier this year, Google released details about how often countries around the world ask it to hand over user data or to censor information. The new map and tools follows on from that and allows users to click an individual country to see how many removal requests were fully or partially complied with, as well as which Google services were affected.

Of course, this is only one server (albeit a major one), but it may point in the direction of what will happen to freedom of information in the future. There will be a struggle between civilian governments and large corporations over who has access to and control over the series of tubes that make up the internet. The tool is really not altogether that useful yet. I was able to learn that Canada has fewer than 10 requests to remove Google-based data (YouTube, Blogger, etc.) Somewhat encouraging, I suppose.

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Comments

  1. says

    I didn’t know that blogs and stuff had such an ugly side…
    *whimpers in fear*
    TBH, blogs aren’t really a platform for free speech, and they never were – for no reason whatsoever, Google disabled my old Blogger blog. It was a curiosities/humour blog, and it had nothing controversial on it. If they can do that to anyone for no reason, you can’t call it free speech.

  2. says

    Well if it didn’t have anything controversial on it, then shutting it down wasn’t censorship; it was incompetence. Nobody has a right to competence.

  3. says

    Agreed… well insofar as you hadn’t broken any rules. Nobody has a legally guaranteed ‘right’ (per se) to have a blog hosted. Also, corporations aren’t obligated to respect your right to free speech. But it’s ridiculous that they shut you down for no reason.

  4. says

    This is the ugly side of free speech. Allowing all people access to a tool like the internet means that everyone will, eventually, use it. Sadly, the reality is that ‘everyone’ includes a bunch of assholes who think that violence is a reasonable and justifiable way of spreading ideas.

    You are misrepresnting these “assholes.” They don’t think violence is a reasonable and justifiable way of spreading ideas. They think violence is a reasonable and justifiable way to attain salvation and do Allah’s work here on earth at the same time.

  5. says

    Fair enough. I’m opposed to anyone who will abuse the right of free speech to advocate violence, and I was trying to make a larger point but your point is well taken. These assholes don’t have an ideological position so much as a dogmatic one, and they’re not trying to convert people so much as they are trying to punish the unbelief of others in a tragically-misguided effort to gain some sort of favour with an absent deity.

  6. says

    I’ve never understood the use of that phrase “abuse the right of…” although I have heard it many times before.

    I’ll have to think about that one.

    You have to think like a Muslim in order to truly understand them. You have to understand what it is like to be a slave to someone…and a devoted slave at that.

    It goes so deep, Cromm.

  7. says

    I’m not even going to touch that one. It’s a policy of mine not to conflate my evaluation of the belief with my evaluation of the person. You clearly have no such scruples. Incidentally (okay, so I am going to touch this one), the slave mindset of the religious person is not in any way restricted to Islam – it’s common to followers of all dogmatic ideologies, particularly Christianity. I’d also caution you against invoking me to “think like a slave” – I’m likely not going to take that well.

  8. says

    Scruples? What are those? Am I supposed to have them?

    I am not “evaluating” individual Muslims.

    This is what I find so funny about multiculturalists and liberals and progressives and globalists and … well, you get the picture.

    The idea of REALLY stepping inside someone else’s shoes is way too uncomfortable. So, instead they stand on their pedestals and preach acceptance and tolerance and open-mindedness and diversity and the love of all cultures and the equality of all religions … you get the picture.

    And completely avoid what it really means to be submersed in such a culture and religion.

    We were talking about the mujahid, right? The fellow you believe “abuses the right to free speech”?

    Okay, he’s a MUSLIM, and a rather devout one at that. And he’ll tell you straight up that he’s a slave of Allah. He’ll be PROUD to tell you he’s a slave of Allah. What the heck do you think the popular Arabic name “Abdullah” means?

    Just because you find slavery abhorrent doesn’t mean the Muslim does, especially the Muslim who is deeply devoted to the “old way.” Get over your high-and-mighty self. Slavery was a part of human culture all over the world for many millennia.

    We face a different way of thinking from the folks in the Islamic world. The sooner you come to grips with that, the better equipped you’ll be in dealing with this “free speech problem.”

  9. says

    You’re not so much “evaluating” them as you are determining that they all think the same way. You’re also painting this picture of Islam being a religion that uniquely puts its adherents in a slave mindset. Slaves of Christ, Soldiers of Christ, sheep following a shepherd, surrendering yourself to God… it’s all religion that does this, not just Islam.

    My reaction to slavery is a bit more visceral than it is “high and mighty”, but you’ll figure that out eventually.

  10. says

    Belief systems shape the way we think as well as our behaviors.

    Every week I deal with domestic violence perps. It’s my job to facilitate discussion with these men to get them to identify and question their beliefs.

    Do you know why?

    Because underlying their behaviors are intentions. And underlying those intentions are beliefs that aren’t always immediately identified until one engages in deep and honest self-reflection.

    Islam, once upon a time, was perhaps less militant in its interpretation. Even know we see variances in interpretation throughout the world.

    And yet, (and that’s a big YET), we see this frightening pattern in the West of a decline in free speech and a rise of Islamic militancy and “soft jihad” as the populations of Muslim immigrants and their children grow.

    Perhaps man’s rational nature and inherent conscience can provide a way for Islam to be “moderately” interpreted. The problem with this interpretation, of course, is that it is not being true to Islam’s traditions and prophet. It’s also not “logically” interpreted. Putting aside the obvious illogical thinking required to believe in Islam in the first place, once someone accepts that Muhammad was the prophet of Allah, there is a logical way to interpret Islam.

    That’s what the Wahabbi movement was all about, you know. It was a revival of the fundamentals of Islam — following the religion as it was adhered to by Muhammad and his closest companions.

    Christians are to be servants of Christ, just as Christ was a servant to us. That’s the big difference between Christ and Allah. Christ is the physical manifestation of a humble God. Allah is the epitome of pride. He is the Fallen Angel in all his depravity.

    Your reaction to slavery is emotional. I can understand that. But people have visceral reactions to all kinds of things, like gay sex, for example. Is that their conscience or their phobia? :P (Sorry, I couldn’t help but drag that up again.)

    In Islam, slavery is not a “bad” thing. It is not “evil.” It is an institutionalized practice. Saudi Arabia, for example, still has slavery today…they just water it down and pretty it up so that the West won’t complain about it. And we don’t complain because we need oil.

    Slavery, indentured servitude, etc. are rampant in Islamic countries. It’s a norm there.

    You still want to be multicultural and “non-judgmental” about it?

  11. says

    See, now you’re the one assigning me a position I don’t hold. But yes, that whole “be tolerant of all ideas” thing is a horrible idea… good thing I have nothing to do with it.

    Islam is a horrible idea. It’s a shitty system that perverts human dignity and wipes its face in the dirt. It glorifies violence, punishes unbelief, makes completely ridiculous promises to its adherents and archaic and barbaric threats to dissenters. Even if there were some evidence for its truth, which there isn’t any, it would still be a shitty idea. I’ve said this in several posts on this blog.

    Christianity is no different. The idea of this “humble God” is a fabrication – an attempt to re-brand tyranny into parental love, the same way that Stalin or Mugabe or Idi Amin did. The only difference between Christ and Allah is semantics, 500 years of history, and better PR. It’s perfectly fine to believe in this watered-down version of Yahweh, or the son of Yahweh (who came not to bring peace, but the sword; who will strike the shepherd and scatter the flock; who curses barren any ‘branch’ that does not bear ‘fruit’), but please don’t try and pretend that it’s any different in fact from the Arab version of Yahweh. I’ve said that around here as well.

    That being said, just as believers in YahwAlladdha have no right to tell me what I can and cannot think and believe, or to threaten me with violence if I do not comply, in the same token do I have no right to enforce my disbelief on them, much as I might like to. That’s what I mean by “tolerance”, not bending over and taking a minaret up the asshole, but allowing people the right to believe what they want, so long as that doesn’t interfere with my ability to do the same. I think we probably agree on that.

    And when your ancestors are kidnapped from their homes, shipped across an ocean, raped, brutalized, and have their culture and language destroyed all in the name of legalized homosexuality, then you’re free to conflate your discomfiture with teh buttsecks with my outrage over slavery. Considering that nobody has ever been harmed by two members of the same gender being in love with each other, I hope you don’t mind if I don’t bother waiting for that to come about.

  12. says

    See, now you’re the one assigning me a position I don’t hold. But yes, that whole “be tolerant of all ideas” thing is a horrible idea… good thing I have nothing to do with it.

    Touche.

    Islam is a horrible idea. It’s a shitty system that perverts human dignity and wipes its face in the dirt. It glorifies violence, punishes unbelief, makes completely ridiculous promises to its adherents and archaic and barbaric threats to dissenters. Even if there were some evidence for its truth, which there isn’t any, it would still be a shitty idea. I’ve said this in several posts on this blog.

    And we were on the same page at this point until you wrote this:

    Christianity is no different. The idea of this “humble God” is a fabrication – an attempt to re-brand tyranny into parental love, the same way that Stalin or Mugabe or Idi Amin did. The only difference between Christ and Allah is semantics, 500 years of history, and better PR. It’s perfectly fine to believe in this watered-down version of Yahweh, or the son of Yahweh (who came not to bring peace, but the sword; who will strike the shepherd and scatter the flock; who curses barren any ‘branch’ that does not bear ‘fruit’), but please don’t try and pretend that it’s any different in fact from the Arab version of Yahweh. I’ve said that around here as well.

    There is no rebranding of anything. Being humble doesn’t mean you will be non-violent. These are two very separate things.

    Violence is a means to an end…and oftentimes it is a very efficient means, which is why so many men use it with their girlfriends and spouses.

    And it is the height of laziness to say that Allah and Christ are the same. In fact, I would say it is more than just factually and theologically wrong. It is an evil statement.

    Christ not only died for his followers, but he required that they be willing to do so for him. Allah, on the other hand, demands perfect obedience and the willingness to kill for him. Dying is secondary, and it is not necessary for a Muslim to die for his beliefs — in fact, he may lie in order to save his life. The Muslim just has to be willing to kill (that’s what makes him a “mujahid”), which tends to put his life at risk. But, like I said, that is secondary.

    That being said, just as believers in YahwAlladdha have no right to tell me what I can and cannot think and believe, or to threaten me with violence if I do not comply, in the same token do I have no right to enforce my disbelief on them, much as I might like to. That’s what I mean by “tolerance”, not bending over and taking a minaret up the asshole, but allowing people the right to believe what they want, so long as that doesn’t interfere with my ability to do the same. I think we probably agree on that.

    But you are being intolerant to those who believe in intolerance. Obviously “tolerance” and “intolerance” are neutral terms. It all depends on what it is that one tolerants and doesn’t tolerate. So, what is okay to not tolerate and what must be tolerated?

    And when your ancestors are kidnapped from their homes, shipped across an ocean, raped, brutalized, and have their culture and language destroyed all in the name of legalized homosexuality, then you’re free to conflate your discomfiture with teh buttsecks with my outrage over slavery. Considering that nobody has ever been harmed by two members of the same gender being in love with each other, I hope you don’t mind if I don’t bother waiting for that to come about.

    Okay, this was just silly. Sorry, but it was.

    First of all, how do you know that “nobody has ever been harmed by two members of the same gender being ‘in love with’ eachother (whatever the hell ‘in love with’ means)”???

    Anecdotal, true, but I personally know someone who was mentally and emotionally harmed by his father’s homosexual relationships.

    No one ever thinks about the children… But that’s no surprise. They’re not quite human anyway.

    I think you are perhaps equating tolerance with acceptance. I don’t think Americans are calling for the criminalization of homosexuality nor the legalization of the persecution of homosexuals.

    What Americans are not doing, however, is accepting the gay activist agenda demands.

    Nor should they have to.

  13. says

    Oooooo, one more thing…

    Have you studied the history of slavery? And I don’t just mean the American slave trade of Africans. I mean the whole of it?

    I wonder if you can figure out the underlying beliefs that helped to justify slave-taking and slave-trading as well as the beliefs that helped to make such things unjustifiable.

  14. says

    I would say it is more than just factually and theologically wrong. It is an evil statement.

    At least you’re willing to strike a distinction between theology and fact. I’ve known a great many Muslims that see nothing of their religion in your description. I’ve known a great many Christians that wouldn’t recognize their Jesus in your milquetoast example up there either. As I said, you’re welcome to hold your own beliefs, but don’t mistake them for anything that I have to agree with.

    But you are being intolerant to those who believe in intolerance. Obviously “tolerance” and “intolerance” are neutral terms. It all depends on what it is that one tolerants and doesn’t tolerate. So, what is okay to not tolerate and what must be tolerated?

    This whole paragraph is just word salad.

    I’ve known people who’ve been emotionally damaged by their dad sleeping around too, what’s your point? It weren’t “teh ghey” that were the problem, it’s infidelity. (Also, won’t someone PLEASE think of the CHILDREN? Thanks for that, Maude Flanders.)

    Some Americans are in fact calling for laws against “sodomy”. Some Americans are calling for a constitutional ban on certain types of marriage (much the same way as they were against interracial marriage – for many of the exact same reasons). Some Americans think that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to teach, or hold public office, or serve in the military… the list goes on. Yes, these horrible gay activists that want to have equal rights and equal treatment under the law – we’ve got to stand up to those outrageous demands :P

    Was there a second of all?

  15. says

    I know Christianity played a big part after it arrived on the scene. Probably an egg-chicken thing, because those books were written by people who lived in cultures where slavery was endemic. I’m sure one of the first mental steps is to forget that people are autonomous individuals and start calling them all barbarians.

    US slavery was a different brand from Egyptian, or Roman, or pre-Renaissance African. I can’t profess to be a historical scholar on the issue, but I’d consider myself more familiar than the average person, yes.

  16. says

    At least you’re willing to strike a distinction between theology and fact.

    Don’t read more into my statements than what I mean by them. By “factually,” I mean that Allah is literally NOT Christ, whereas you conflate the two and say the only difference is a name-change. By “theologically” I mean according to the interpretations of Christianity as well as Islam. I should perhaps have used the words “concretely” and “abstractly,” respectively.

    (Please don’t tell me I’ve come across someone more pedantic than myself.)

    My word salad was just trying to get to the bottom of your belief system. What is okay to not tolerate, and what must be tolerated? (You gonna answer that?)

    I’ve known people who’ve been emotionally damaged by their dad sleeping around too, what’s your point? It weren’t “teh ghey” that were the problem, it’s infidelity. (Also, won’t someone PLEASE think of the CHILDREN? Thanks for that, Maude Flanders.)

    Sexual deviancy, in all its forms, can prove to be detrimental not only to the individuals enaging in the behavior, but the other people who might be indirectly effected — such as the children.

    Unfortunately, there is a pattern observed in “tey ghey” community, especially among males…promiscuity.

    And don’t get mad at me for pointing out this simple statistical fact. (Emotional men are soooooooo annoying.)

    Some Americans are in fact calling for laws against “sodomy”.

    Are they being taken seriously? I mean, seriously?

    Some Americans are calling for a constitutional ban on certain types of marriage (much the same way as they were against interracial marriage – for many of the exact same reasons).

    Ah ah ah… don’t do that. Ban implies making something illegal. For example, once upon a time we had a ban on interracial marriages. It was illegal for a black man/woman to cohabitat with (and have sex with) a white woman/man. There was a penal code for that — an actually punishment under the law for doing so. It was a felony!

    However, what is happening today such as with Prop 8 is not the same thing. It’s not even close. What is happening today is society choosing to define marriage. Nothing is being made “illegal.” Nothing is being “banned.”

    It is just that society is refusing to recognize certain cohabitating relationships that are based solely on emotion. Since homosexual sex can NEVER result in offspring, there is no reason that the State should have a vested interest in regulating (and subsequently subsidizing) it. It is up to the gay activists to prove that the State has good reason to do so.

    So far I’ve only heard appeals to emotion and vague calls for “equality” despite the fact that a homosexual relationship can never be equal to a heterosexual relationship by the very difference in the natures of those relationships.

  17. says

    Was there a second of all?

    Hmmm…oh yes.

    Second of all, the HIV epidemic is being furthered (bad word, but my mental thesaurus is a little dusty) by the homosexual community.

    As the CDC puts it (June 2010):

    Men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) is the only risk group in the United States in which new HIV infections are increasing. While new infections have declined among both heterosexuals and injection drug users, the annual number of new HIV infections among MSM has been steadily increasing since the early 1990s.

    Houston, we’ve got a problem…

  18. says

    Ah, “forget” that people are autonomous individuals and start calling them all barbarians.

    You really think they “forgot”? The fact that humans have a nature — an essence that completely separates them from every other animal — just happened to slip their minds?

    Every dog is an autonomous individual. So what? It doesn’t keep us from locking them in crates, walking them on leashes, demanding their obedience, and euthanizing them when we believe it to be “for the best.”

  19. says

    So you’re cool then with lesbians getting married, since their HIV infection rate is virtually zero? What if they agree to have an IV fertilization and raise a child together, since longitudinal studies show that lesbian parents are just as good, on average, as heterosexual parents? Would that then be okay?

    Also, can we outlaw my parents’ marriage, since they got married after my stepmother experienced menopause? They can’t have children either. We should probably pass some kind of law restricting them from getting married. What if my dad had HIV when they got married? I guess anyone with an STI should be restricted, right? Or anyone who’s had a hysterectomy or the mumps? Fertility tests as a prerequisite for a marriage license?

    It’s funny to be lectured about appeals to emotion by someone’s whose argument inevitably boils down to “gay people are gross.”

  20. says

    I don’t know if they forgot, but a large swath of today’s society seems to be ignoring that.

    I’m not sure I’d agree that a dog is fully autonomous, but I’m happy to stand by my position that Muslims are. And as such, a Muslim person or a group of Muslim people are no more or less deserving of their human rights than you or I are.

  21. says

    So you’re cool then with lesbians getting married, since their HIV infection rate is virtually zero? What if they agree to have an IV fertilization and raise a child together, since longitudinal studies show that lesbian parents are just as good, on average, as heterosexual parents? Would that then be okay?

    Those “logitudinal studies” were anything but scientific, number one. And number two, studies have shown time and time again that FATHERS matter. What’s so sad is that COMMON SENSE tells us fathers matter, and yet there we go feeling the need to prove it through Science! as if common sense means nothing.

    You may want to relegate the importance of men in society to the backburner of days of yore, but men are vital to the well-being of children.

    Because lesbian sex CANNOT PRODUCE OFFSPRING, there is no justifiable reason for the State to have a vested interest in regulating and subsidizing the sexual relationship between two women or two men.

    Also, can we outlaw my parents’ marriage, since they got married after my stepmother experienced menopause? They can’t have children either. We should probably pass some kind of law restricting them from getting married. What if my dad had HIV when they got married? I guess anyone with an STI should be restricted, right? Or anyone who’s had a hysterectomy or the mumps? Fertility tests as a prerequisite for a marriage license?

    This is the most annoying argument. Because of the nature of a heterosexual relationship, there is a high probability of offspring being produced. You know that whole tadpole swimming up the canal thingie. Just because some heterosexual relationships may lack the capability to produce offspring (the female has a hysterectomy, for example), it doesn’t mean the State shouldn’t regulate heterosexual relationships in general. Besides, not only would it be a gross invasion of privacy to demand proof of fertility before issuing a marriage license, it would be impractical. Some heterosexual couples who had no reason to believe they would be infertile ended up being unable to have children. And some heterosexual couples who believed they were infertile ended up producing children.

    It is the very nature of a heterosexual relationship — the likelihood of biological offspring — that makes it an interest of the State because CHILDREN are an interest of the State.

    It’s funny to be lectured about appeals to emotion by someone’s whose argument inevitably boils down to “gay people are gross.”

    I never said gay people are gross. If I thought they were gross, I would not touch them. I think gay sex is gross, especially anal sex. And it is a pretty typical reaction.

  22. says

    By “factually,” I mean that Allah is literally NOT Christ, whereas you conflate the two and say the only difference is a name-change.

    Do you have some evidence for your conjecture? Clark Kent and Superman aren’t the same, but the only difference is a name change and a pair of glasses. They’re both equally fictitious characters. It’s only within the realm of the Superman comic books that the distinction is worthwhile making. For the purposes of the evidence, both deities are equally devoid of any kind of proof of their existence or characteristics. That’s how you can define Jesus as meek and mild and Allah as bloodthirsty – you can make up whatever stories you want about them without affecting their truth.

    Sexual deviancy, in all its forms, can prove to be detrimental not only to the individuals enaging in the behavior, but the other people who might be indirectly effected — such as the children.

    A buddy of mine tells me he likes sex standing up (an overshare, but a handy one at this point). That’s a “deviation” from the majority who are on a bed or couch or in some other reclined position. Another friend dated a girl once who was into anal sex – another “deviation”; in fact, the only difference between her and the evil abominations of gayitude is that she didn’t have a penis. I guess neither of them should be allowed to marry either – certainly not to each other. Their children would be HORRIBLY SCARRED (zomgthinkofthechildren).

    Unfortunately, there is a pattern observed in “tey ghey” community, especially among males…promiscuity.

    DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUN! Men… being… promiscuous? Perish the thought! Shut down the airports, blockade the highways – some people like sex! Report all halter tops and Speedo bathing suits to the nearest police officer immediately! Seriously, Mother Superior, you need to calm down. You don’t have to have sex with anyone you don’t want to, just don’t think that your discomfiture with vulvas means that other people can’t grab themselves a tasty one.

    What is happening today is society choosing to define marriage… It is up to the gay activists to prove that the State has good reason to do so.

    Well since the state already allows people who can’t have children to marry, your argument doesn’t really make sense. And the state doesn’t have to prove why you should be allowed to do something, it has to show why you shouldn’t – I can wear lettuce as underpants, I don’t have to get a judge’s permission first. It’s funny that you bring up Prop 8, because all of the arguments you’ve raised here were summarily smacked down (easily, I might add) in the appeals court.

    vague calls for “equality” despite the fact that a homosexual relationship can never be equal to a heterosexual relationship

    Equality under the law is not vague at all. It means that all members of society have access to programs and services provided by the various levels of government. A pretty simple concept, actually. Also, sodomy laws were enforced in the 15 of the United States up until 2003. So yes, people still take them seriously.

    My word salad was just trying to get to the bottom of your belief system. What is okay to not tolerate, and what must be tolerated? (You gonna answer that?)

    “You say hate is bad, but that means you hate it. So therefore you think it’s okay to hate.” No, I’m not going to answer a nonsense challenge that, once semantic games are removed, is entirely meaningless. I defined tolerance clearly in a previous comment, and it’s an internally consistent position. I’m sure you’re as unimpressed when I try and play word games as I am when you try the same thing.

  23. says

    A Muslim is a person who believes in something yucky.

    I think you missed what I was getting at…

    There are certain foundations of thought that promote the “de-humanization” of another person based on their accidental properties (color of skin, gender, etc.)

    And one of those is that man does not have an essential “nature.” Each homo sapiens is just the evolving product of a random process. Key word: random.

  24. says

    Ah yes, first the appeal to “I believe”, and now invocations of “common sense”. Yes, Common Sense is absolutely meaningless.

    “Men are vital to the well-being of children”, eh? So it’s better for a child to be raised with an alcoholic and sexually abusive father, or one that steals money or refuses to support the mother, than for that child to be raised alone? Or with two female parents? I was raised by a single father – I guess I’ll never become a productive member of society. Or is it only men that are important? In which case gay men absolutely should raise kids.

    Because lesbian sex CANNOT PRODUCE OFFSPRING, there is no justifiable reason for the State to have a vested interest in regulating and subsidizing the sexual relationship between two women or two men.

    So if they promised to have an IVF baby, you’d have no problem right? After all, they’re producing offspring. What if they adopt?

    Because of the nature of a heterosexual relationship, there is a high probability of offspring being produced.

    There is a zero percent probability of my parents conceiving a child, no matter how many tadpoles and canals we talk about. BY THEIR VERY NATURE they can’t have babies. Women with hysterectomies BY THEIR VERY NATURE can’t have kids either. You must be in favour of restricting the definition of marriage to only those people who are biologically capable of bearing children then. Also I don’t know when the last time you saw a marriage license was, but it doesn’t say anything about kids on it, or on the application form. This “argument from fertility” is a post-hoc justification tacked onto the debate after the anti-gay stance is taken a priori, which is why it’s so superficially easy to dismantle.

    I never said gay people are gross. If I thought they were gross, I would not touch them.

    I think Brussels sprouts are gross, but I’ll touch them all day long. You don’t have to say that gay people are gross, it’s obvious from the content of your objection.

    I’m going to let you have the last word on this, since we’ve gotten unbelievably side-tracked of the issue of Islam and free speech. Don’t worry, there’s lots of gay shit on this blog, you’ll have many opportunities to gay bash in the very near future.

  25. says

    Ah yes, dualism. Cute. There’s an “essential nature” that nobody can define, or observe, and that gets smaller and smaller the more we know about the brain… but it’s there.

    Each homo sapiens is just the evolving product of a random process. Key word: random.

    I think you mean “evolved” rather than “evolving”. Individuals don’t evolve; species do. And natural selection isn’t a “random” process anymore than learning by trial and error is, but I’m not an evolution guy. Talk to Jerry Coyne or PZ Myers if you want to learn about evolution.

    If Cartesian dualism and evolution-denial (as a back-handed critique of atheist secularism, perhaps?) were the “point” you were getting at, you needn’t bother. I already understand the conjecture quite well, having heard it a million times before. There’s no merit to it as an argument, although if it makes you a better person to think of human beings as uniquely special in some meaningful way, then by all means have at it.

  26. says

    Except that scientific studies have CONFIRMED our common sense notion that fathers matter. They make a difference — especially if they are not a part of the child’s life. Wow! That seems like such a no-brainer, but we needed Science! to prove it.

    Well, Science! did. And yet here we are … discussing the raising of IVF-produced children in a lesbian household as if it makes no difference to the well-being of a child that he has no knowledge of his biological father nor any contact with him.

    “Men are vital to the well-being of children”, eh? So it’s better for a child to be raised with an alcoholic and sexually abusive father, or one that steals money or refuses to support the mother, than for that child to be raised alone? Or with two female parents? I was raised by a single father – I guess I’ll never become a productive member of society. Or is it only men that are important? In which case gay men absolutely should raise kids.

    Way to go blasting those straw men out of the field again.

    No one said that a wicked father is better than no father or that only men are important. But we are talking about just okay vs. better vs. best here. And what is BEST (controlling for all other variables such as income, drug use, etc.) is that a child be raised by his biological *married* parents. This an accepted fact, Cromm, not only in the realm of common sense but that of Science!

    Fathers and mothers are EQUALLY important, they are just DIFFERENT. They fill different roles in a child’s life. Do you think my husband was not affected by the loss of his mother at the age of 5? Of course he was. It, along with other factors of course, affected the way he attached to me which could be arguably “deeper” (for lack of a better word) than the average man might attach to a woman…and the same goes for his younger brothers towards their female partners. It did not inhibit his ability to be a “functioning member of society” (whatever the hell that means), nor did it inhibit his productivity. But it AFFECTED HIM nonetheless.

    Parents affect their children, not just by the things they say and do, but also by WHO they are.

    So if they promised to have an IVF baby, you’d have no problem right? After all, they’re producing offspring. What if they adopt?

    IVF nor adoption is a natural product of lesbian sex. And this might seem really radical to you — I mean, so radical that you might actually call me a bigot *gasp* but seeing as how the State has the vested interest in the welfare and “best interest” of the child, I would be totally for the State prohibiting IVF altogether as well as adoption of children to unmarried people unless no suitable (heterosexual married) couple could be found (with some additional qualifiers, of course.)

    Ahhhh! Scream in terror and run from the hateful spew!

    There is a zero percent probability of my parents conceiving a child, no matter how many tadpoles and canals we talk about. BY THEIR VERY NATURE they can’t have babies. Women with hysterectomies BY THEIR VERY NATURE can’t have kids either. You must be in favour of restricting the definition of marriage to only those people who are biologically capable of bearing children then. Also I don’t know when the last time you saw a marriage license was, but it doesn’t say anything about kids on it, or on the application form. This “argument from fertility” is a post-hoc justification tacked onto the debate after the anti-gay stance is taken a priori, which is why it’s so superficially easy to dismantle.

    Has the nature of your parents’ relationship ALWAYS had a zero percent probability? And even if it did, could the State determine that without gross invasion of privacy and jumping through some very impractical hoops?

    We are not talking about individual men and women here and the fertility state of their reproductive organs. We are talking about a type of relationship (heterosexual) and the fact that by its very nature (the ability to mate) it has a typical outcome of PRODUCING CHILDREN.

    As a practical matter, the State regulates ALL heterosexual relationships that are between two unrelated adults who cohabitate and presumably have sex together. The state doesn’t actually know if they are going to have sex or not, but what marriage is is a regulation by the State on heterosexual sex because that very act can produce children.

    It’s not an argument from fertility. Fertility really has nothing to do with it. It’s the argument from how offspring naturally come about: through heterosexual sex.

    I think Brussels sprouts are gross, but I’ll touch them all day long. You don’t have to say that gay people are gross, it’s obvious from the content of your objection.

    I’m going to let you have the last word on this, since we’ve gotten unbelievably side-tracked of the issue of Islam and free speech. Don’t worry, there’s lots of gay shit on this blog, you’ll have many opportunities to gay bash in the very near future.

    Gawd, you’re being such a weenie. I didn’t bash gay people. I didn’t insult them or degrade them or dehumanize them.

    And since you think Brussel Sprouts are gross, you don’t eat them. And since I think gay sex is gross, I don’t participate in it. You are trying to impose your judgment on my feelings by saying that I believe gay people are gross when I certainly never implied, let alone said, any such thing. I’m sure that’s a specific kind of logical fallacy, but for now it suffices to say that you are being presumptious and judgmental.

  27. says

    The comments are all discombobulated. Sorry about that — it was my fault. Please feel free to re-arrange for clarity.

    And yes, we have gone off-topic, but that is typical of such conversations.

    Ah yes, dualism. Cute. There’s an “essential nature” that nobody can define, or observe, and that gets smaller and smaller the more we know about the brain… but it’s there.

    Don’t patronize me. I’m not even talking about dualism. I’m talking about what makes a human human. It’s like how we know the difference between a pear and an apple even though some apples can look similar to pears.

    Natural selection (a theory) is an ordered process that, if one believes Darwin, selects from RANDOM genetic mutations. We have no proof that it is random.

    I do not deny evolution. Evolution is a fact. What the argument is about HOW evolution happens.

  28. says

    It’s like how we know the difference between a pear and an apple even though some apples can look similar to pears.

    Yeah… I call bullshit. We don’t know it’s not an apple until we bite into it. We don’t know what makes a human a human except by coming up with a definition and looking at evidence. You are talking about dualism – you’re asserting (without evidence, in fact contrary to evidence) that there is a non-material, unobservable core of specialness that is there because we can intuit it. You’re asking me to believe that there is some kind of intuitive ability to accurately identify things in the universe without observation, and that’s simply not the case.

    Natural selection (a theory) is an ordered process that, if one believes Darwin, selects from RANDOM genetic mutations. We have no proof that it is random.

    I know you didn’t just try to throw that old chestnut “It’s only a theory” into a conversation. Nothing that you have said or done up until now have led me to believe that you’re stupid; don’t start now.

    When we can observe random genetic mutations, when we can observe the effects that environmental factors have on individuals with genetic mutations, and when we can observe speciation occurring as a result of environmental differences, we’re no longer just shooting out ideas in the dark. I don’t know who you think is having the argument, but natural selection is real, it happens. This is the last thing I will say about evolution, because this is really not that kind of blog.

  29. says

    Yeah… I call bullshit. . .

    *sigh*

    I’m no philosopher, so I’m gonna have to hit the books in order to explain it for you. In fact, I’ll just let the books speak for me (from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy):

    The nature of species is controversial in biology and philosophy. Biologists disagree on the definition of the term ‘species,’ and philosophers disagree over the ontological status of species. Yet a proper understanding of species is important for a number of reasons. Species are the fundamental taxonomic units of biological classification. Environmental laws are framed in terms of species. Even our conception of human nature is affected by our understanding of species. In this entry, three issues concerning species are discussed. The first is the ontological status of species. The second is whether biologists should be species pluralists or species monists. The third is whether the theoretical term ‘species’ refers to a real category in nature.

    Okay, got that, right?

    Now, remember you said this?

    We don’t know what makes a human a human except by coming up with a definition and looking at evidence.

    Imagine if someone relies on science alone (whatever this happens to be at the time — science in the 8th century, for example, was very different than science in the 18th) to determine who is a member of the “species” “homo sapiens.” Forget that there are over twenty different definitions for “species.” Imagine that he logically comes to the conclusion of “subspecies” or “races” and determines, through study of these various “races,” that not only are appearances very diverse, but some have higher IQ levels than others, some have certain diseases more prevalent than others, some have certain strengths or weaknesses than others, etc. If he doesn’t believe Man has a unique essence, for what reason would he assume that all “humans” are “equal,” especially if he logically categorizes some as “sub-human” or “quasi-human”? It wouldn’t be that much different than categorizing wolves and dogs differently despite the fact that they can successfully mate (and often do). Wolves, of course, are far more “wild” and not as easily trained as the dog. . . . Modern Homo sapiens likely mated with Cro-Magnon who likely mated with Neanderthals. One can’t help but think that perhaps the underlying belief of racism is that some people today are like the Neanderthals thousands of years ago would have been to Cro-Magnon, or what Cro-Magnon would have been to Modern Homo sapiens… a “lower” life form. We are still evolving as a species. It is likely this sort of thought process is what gave birth to 20th century eugenics.

    Rigid beliefs like Darwinism abolish any notion of “equality,” and that’s the whole point I’ve been trying to get at. (Sometimes I have a hard time getting my thoughts out clearly.)

    I know you didn’t just try to throw that old chestnut “It’s only a theory” into a conversation. Nothing that you have said or done up until now have led me to believe that you’re stupid; don’t start now.

    Well, it is a theory, isn’t it? So far it (along with genetic drift) are the best explanations we have for how evolution happens, at least through what we can observe WITHIN currently living species. However, what is DEFINITIVELY theoretical about it is the random part. There’s no evidence for that. Instead, people interject their own personal beliefs regarding the origins and purpose (or lack thereof) of the universe into the processes of evolution.

    When we can observe random genetic mutations, when we can observe the effects that environmental factors have on individuals with genetic mutations, and when we can observe speciation occurring as a result of environmental differences, we’re no longer just shooting out ideas in the dark. I don’t know who you think is having the argument, but natural selection is real, it happens. This is the last thing I will say about evolution, because this is really not that kind of blog.

    How do you know that it’s random?

    And really, I wasn’t trying to get all science-y here. My point has been that this notion of “equality” of individuals is ludicrious if one bases that solely on Science! because science shows that we are not equal in any way, shape, or form. What is going on is that certain people (namely atheists) assert (without evidence, in fact contrary to evidence) that humans all have “equal value.”

    I will quote someone I came across on a comment thread somewhere to illustrate my point. He is a tad caustic, but I think you can get the point he was making in his conversation about morality and ethics with an atheist. “Chomsky” wrote:

    Is there anything more amusing, in the sense of absurd, than an ‘atheist’ making moral pronouncements, either thinly-veiled or explicit? If you and others like you want to embrace an atheistic, naturalistic worldview wherein the entire human race undergoes a total dissolution into the one great flux of nature, you’re certainly “free” to do so, but it’s straightforwardly disingenuous to pretend that morality can be preserved in any substantive form.

    Let’s consider just one line of reasoning: If the spatiotemporal world of physical objects, properties, and processes, is all there is, was, and ever will be, then determinism must be embraced on the macroscopic level. The Big Bang is billiard ball number one, and all of nature, including the whole process of naturalistic evolution on Earth, is subsequently a colossal cascade of billiard balls, and hence the human race reduces to a big system of complex systems of billiard balls. Choice is meaningless. You have as much choice in what you do as a billiard ball on a pool table has a choice to stop moving once it gets smacked. Human history becomes a total joke. There is only action and reaction, and everything, including the thoughts you have and the actions you take, is bound by causal history. Without genuine choice, moral responsibility, and hence morality, goes straight out the window. The world will be world. Whatever will be will be.

    Do you have a grand humanistic dream that all races on earth would recognize a “common humanity” in each other and would begin to treat all strangers with gentleness and respect? Do you wish that you could fall in love with the woman or man of your dreams and start a happy family? Do you deeply yearn for humanity to cast of the “shackles of religion,” improve its medicine, improve its technology, and one day colonize the vast frontier of space? Or would you rather become a dictator and slaughter millions of people in the name of some secular ideal?

    Well, whatever your “decision,” let us “hope” that the initial conditions of the Big Bang have allowed for the realization of those wishes!

    You want to explain the reasoning behind this statement you made?

    You clearly have no such scruples.

    Oooooo….and where do “rights” come from especially when it comes to freedom of speech?

    P.S. Sexual deviancy, from an absolute moral standpoint (not a relativist, how-is-society-feeling-today standpoint), is sex that is not between a husband and his one wife. From a societal view (based on social norms), it would simply be sex that was not between a man and a woman (homosexuality, pederasty, pedophilia, polyamory, bestiality, necrophilia, etc. I do not list them in any way to equate them. I am simply pointing out how they are not a part of the “norm” although that could easily change with time.)

    Humans are often promiscuous. HOWEVER, it is disproportionately so within the gay (male) community. Monogamy (a closed relationship) between gay men is statistically rare. This is not the case with heterosexual men.

    The State doesn’t “allow” or “disallow” marriage. It limits what it recognizes as a “marriage.” It does not license polygamy, for example. It does not license consanguinous couples. It does not license underage couples (except under very restricted circumstances.) It does not license illegal alien couples. It does not license same-sex couples.

    By your argument, the state should be issuing licenses to ANY couple or group of people who “are in love and want to get married and be equal under the law as everyone else.” How about a mother-daughter “couple” who raise children together but don’t have sex? Why can’t they receive “equal protection under the law” as other couples?

    The State does not forbid anyone (except perhaps the underaged) from having a wedding ceremony, taking vows in a church, being blessed by an ordained minister, signing a pre-nup, putting a marriage announcement in the local newspaper, and cohabitating. It just might not issue a license based on the nature of the couple: if it is underage, if it is consanguinous, if it is same-sex, if it is illegally residing in the country, etc.

    What homosexuals are seeking out is not equality under the law. They are free to do what they want. They are seeking financial and legal recognition by society. They are pushing for an added societal burden for the sake of their emotions.

    (Was that appeals court the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by chance? If so, it hasn’t been smacked down in there yet since the appeal is scheduled for December.)

  30. says

    Well well well. I wake up in the morning and my comment cup doth overflow with religious canards. Fun!

    I’m sorry you went to so much trouble to type all that out, when you could have done this much faster:
    Science has been wrong before
    Science leads to eugenics
    If we rely on science (reality), then bad things might happen. Therefore, God
    I can’t think of how to make a society based on reality rather than just making shit up. Therefore, God

    That was all mixed in with some delicious straw men about what atheists think about equality, and something about Cro Magnon being the basis for racism, and a misunderstanding of the evolutionary ancestry of Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens (they existed contemporaneously and could not intermingle – they diverged from a common ancestor. Common mistake.) Oh, and “genetic drift” – awesome.

    Let’s take these one by one then:

    Science has been wrong before

    Yes, back in those wacky 8th century days we believed in ridiculous shit like human beings being uniquely created, and the existence of a soul, and the validity of revealed wisdom and intuition as mechanisms for understanding the world. Luckily, by the 18th century, we had developed a systematic tool for evaluating reality, and could leave all those primitive superstitions behind. Well… some of us, anyway. Instead of re-hashing a reasons why this is a canard, I’ll just point you to a post where I’ve already taken it down.

    Science leads to eugenics

    Once again, I call bullshit. Eugenics was based on a scientifically demonstrably false interpretation of how species came to be. It’s when people who don’t understand science get to control it that you get programs like eugenics. PZ Myers has done a decent job of smacking down this argument several times – here’s one example.

    If we rely on science, bad things happen. Therefore, God

    Hoo boy. I don’t think you need me to explain why this argument is utterly without merit, but in case you do, you can just read this.

    I can’t think of how to make a society based on reality rather than just making shit up. Therefore, God

    Ditto. I’m perfectly happy to rely on a view of reality based on evidence rather than simply inserting random magic “explanations” for the way the world is. One may assert until she is blue in the face that there is “absolute this” or “absolute that”, but as soon as the question comes “how do you know that?”, there is no explanation aside from “common sense” (ha!) or “it’s in this book”. The reality is that there is no objective moral standard, so we are left with the need to create a system that maximizes justice and happiness, and minimizes suffering. The “absolute morals” argument assumes that the morals of that particular tradition are good, and they’re really not. There are people who are working hard and who have worked hard throughout history to create a system that accomplishes these things, and that have real explanations when someone asks “how do you know that?” If you lack the imagination or motivation to contribute to that conversation then that’s fine, but that doesn’t mean the pursuit is invalid.

    How do you know that it’s random?

    You’re right, it’s instead done by tiny invisible gremlins that exist at the sub-atomic level and tinker with DNA. Those crafty gremlins though… they always do it in such a way as to appear completely random, but we don’t know if it’s random for sure. Therefore, gremlins. Come on Natassia, you’re not a 10 year-old – you’re an intelligent adult woman with not-inconsiderable mental faculties. Let’s speak as grown-ups, shall we?

    Oooooo….and where do “rights” come from especially when it comes to freedom of speech?

    Legal rights come from states. Human rights come from philosophy. Next question.

    Sexual deviancy, from an absolute moral standpoint (not a relativist, how-is-society-feeling-today standpoint), is sex that is not between a husband and his one wife.

    Now you’re just making stuff up. Your “absolute morals” are just whatever you think is right or wrong, and because you can’t justify them, you just assert that they’re “absolute” as though that means something. Besides, a second ago, you said deviancy was being different from the average. Now it’s extramarital sex of any kind (by the way, more sex happens between non-married people than married people, so technically you are the deviant).

    Humans are often promiscuous. HOWEVER, it is disproportionately so within the gay (male) community. Monogamy (a closed relationship) between gay men is statistically rare. This is not the case with heterosexual men.

    (Citation needed). Even if it were true, I don’t see your point. Should slutty girls not be allowed to get married because they fucked too many guys? Are lesbians still okay? What about a gay guy who’s been in a comparable number of relationships as a straight Hollywood actress? Again, your reasons are arbitrarily cobbled together as post hoc rationalizations for your anti-gay stance – “I don’t like gay people, therefore this and this and this are the reasons why homosexuality is wrong.” You don’t have to feel bad about it, just be honest with yourself.

    The State doesn’t “allow” or “disallow” marriage. It limits what it recognizes as a “marriage.”

    Exactly. And the lines around which that recognition is drawn is entirely arbitrary. The “having a baby” argument is bunk, since there’s ample evidence that gay couples can and do raise children. The “by their very nature” argument is bunk, since there are many legally marriageable couples who cannot reproduce “by their very nature”. There is no good argument for why gay people do not deserve to enjoy the state-sponsored privileges associated with marriage, aside from “because I said so.” The rest of the examples you provided are certainly worth discussing, and if they start agitating for marriage equality and there is no reasonable argument for why they shouldn’t be allowed to marry, then fuck it… that’s marriage too.

  31. says

    I should probably also say something about your problem with the definition of “species”. I share your concern at how arbitrarily it is defined, since the entire concept is based on a Linnaean understanding of life, rather than a Darwinian one. That’s why I said we have to come up with a definition, and then explore the evidence.

    Saying that human beings have a je ne sais quoi that makes them human is even more arbitrary than the “Darwinist” (which is a creationist catch-phrase, incidentally) grouping by species. It’s simply refusing to address the problem, and instead waving a magic wand and saying “this is what things are.” There is a great deal of debate over where the lines can be drawn, which is why I prefer a definition based on philosophical consequentialist reasoning rather than species.

    For example, we can extend rights to all individuals with a certain chromosome count, or whose parents have a certain chromosome count. We can do it based on reasoning ability. We can do it based on any number of observable, quantifiable variables. What we can’t do, or what we shouldn’t do, is just dig our heels in and say “this is what it is because I say so.” That’s childish, and a refusal to deal with reality.

  32. says

    I really don’t see how anything I said could come off as remotely “religious” since you’d probably have a hard time even figuring out which religion I belong to based solely on the words in my last comment.

    There is a difference between the honest atheism of the nihilist, who believes there really is no God and acknowledges the implications of such, and the self-delusionary humanism of the New Atheist, who does not really mean what he says when he says ‘there is no God’ but instead believes ‘there is a God and I am he.’  And by that I mean that he thinks he is the highest form of life there is — the noblest and most dignified Being there is (which gives him the ability — no, it’s more than that — the right, to determine that ‘all humans have equal value.’)

    But by that very same line of thinking, a man can easily come to the opposite conclusion: ‘all humans do not have equal value.’  This does not mean that someone who believes there is a God cannot come to the very same conclusion, especially if he adheres to a particular dogma that promotes such a belief, but denial of God’s existence certainly cannot solve what you call ‘the problem’ and could even serve to exacerbate it in certain individuals.  

    As history has shown, facts can obscure the truth.  Eugenics, for example, was built upon a foundation of scientific fact.  But is eugenics based on truth?  That’s the greater question, and that all really depends on whether or not you think there is more to truth than just material facts.

    You summarized my argument poorly.  For one thing, I am not trying to argue that we should not be using science to understand more about how things work.  How things work is a part of reality.  I am simply arguing that our truth should not be based solely on science.  Even you recognize the truth that ‘all humans are equal’ and yet you seem unwilling to explain your reasoning behind that assumption.  Then again, had you used reasoning, it wouldn’t be an assumption.  It would be a conclusion.  So which is it, Cromm?

    BTW, did you hear the latest about Neanderthals (who didn’t die out until about 30,000 years ago) and Cro-Magnons?  There are conflicting theories about whether or not Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon interbred (for want of a better term), from CBS News (Jan 7, 2010), but it is very likely they came in contact with one another.

    Yes, back in those wacky 8th century days we believed in ridiculous shit like human beings being uniquely created, and the existence of a soul, and the validity of revealed wisdom and intuition as mechanisms for understanding the world. Luckily, by the 18th century, we had developed a systematic tool for evaluating reality, and could leave all those primitive superstitions behind. Well… some of us, anyway.

    You seem to think that science and metaphysics are mutually exclusive.  Why?

    We believe in ridiculous shit now like somehow rational beings and complex structures evolved through what appears to be an orderly process and yet driven by highly improbable, random occurrences happening at exactly the right times which were set into motion by the random act of an enormous, random explosion.  Heck, some of us actually believe that what determines human life is a few inches of vagina — you’re not fully human until you’ve passed through a a short canal of flesh.  In fact, some believe that so long as a human is still attached somewhat to its mother, it’s not a human being.  Talk about mysticism.

    Perhaps we would all do well to take an example from Socrates:

    I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.

    We can’t, solely through science, really know when a human becomes a human being and yet we act regardless of our ignorance…and rather than act with caution, we act with impunity.

    You’re right, it’s instead done by tiny invisible gremlins that exist at the sub-atomic level and tinker with DNA. Those crafty gremlins though… they always do it in such a way as to appear completely random, but we don’t know if it’s random for sure. Therefore, gremlins. Come on Natassia, you’re not a 10 year-old – you’re an intelligent adult woman with not-inconsiderable mental faculties. Let’s speak as grown-ups, shall we?

    What is it with you and the use of logical fallacy?  Gremlins?

    What do you mean it “appears” random?  How much of that is personal bias leaking into the interpretation of scientific data, I wonder…

    Of course, with the advent of epigenetics, it appears that external environments put pressures on genes to mutate in certain ways.  What if evolution is not random at all?

    Legal rights come from states. Human rights come from philosophy. Next question.

    Whoa there, not so fast.  What do you mean they “come from” philosophy?  Philosophy is not science.  It can’t prove empirical facts, can it?  I mean, isn’t philosophy just people sitting around reasoning about things that are ultimately based on assumptions not proven by the scientific method?  Besides, which philosophy is the correct one?

    Now you’re just making stuff up. Your “absolute morals” are just whatever you think is right or wrong, and because you can’t justify them, you just assert that they’re “absolute” as though that means something. Besides, a second ago, you said deviancy was being different from the average. Now it’s extramarital sex of any kind (by the way, more sex happens between non-married people than married people, so technically you are the deviant).

    Absolute morality is a concept that stems from religion.  In all the major religions of the world, premarital and extramarital relations are considered to be wrong.

    Sexual deviancy can mean many things depending on the context.  Religiously, it is about what deviates from the particular standard of the religion for sexual behavior.  Secularly speaking, it is about what deviates from the norm.  Adultery would be considered morally deviant, religiously speaking, but it could possibly be considered normal depending upon the society and its norms.  Either way, in modern American society homosexuality is still “deviant.”

    (Citation needed). Even if it were true, I don’t see your point. Should slutty girls not be allowed to get married because they fucked too many guys? Are lesbians still okay? What about a gay guy who’s been in a comparable number of relationships as a straight Hollywood actress? Again, your reasons are arbitrarily cobbled together as post hoc rationalizations for your anti-gay stance – “I don’t like gay people, therefore this and this and this are the reasons why homosexuality is wrong.” You don’t have to feel bad about it, just be honest with yourself.

    Okay, if you remember the discussion, the topic of promiscuity was brought up in the context of childrearing and the fact that children are affected by their parents.  It had nothing to do with whether or not promiscuity was a reason for the State to deny a marriage license to a couple.

    Regarding monogamy between gay men: http://www.corporateresourcecouncil.org/white_papers/Health_Risks.pdf 

    Most gay couples, particularly males, have “open relationships”. And gay (and likely bisexual) men, on average, have more lifetime sexual partners than heterosexual men.

    Straight up facts.  Now, how you interpret them is up to you.

    Again, you are making personal judgments about me without knowing me or knowing what the thoughts in my head are.  I don’t think I deserve that.

    And the lines around which that recognition is drawn is entirely arbitrary.

    There is nothing arbitrary about the fact that offspring can only be produced naturally from heterosexual couples.  This gives the State a very good reason to encourage and regulate heterosexual marriages.

    There is no good reason for the State to regulate couples whose sexual behavior could in no way, shape, or form produce offspring.

    It would make more sense for the state to license incestuous heterosexual couples than same-sex couples.

    The “having a baby” argument is bunk, since there’s ample evidence that gay couples can and do raise children.

    They cannot have biological children together, number one.  And number two, just because they can raise children doesn’t mean children should be raised in such an environment, especially if they are deliberately denied access to one or both biological parents absence the likelihood of abuse or neglect.  And yet what does a lesbian couple do when they utilize a man’s sperm from their local sperm bank?  They deliberately deny a child his or her father.

  33. says

    Okay this argument is quickly becoming circular. None of the arguments you have put forth are unique to gay couples. Many straight couples are infertile, and know this before they marry – there is no societal prohibition of this. The argument that gay people make poor parents is similarly without merit – single parent families are not illegal, nor is it illegal for a single person to adopt or have IVF. While it may be desirable to have both parents in the picture, the idea that a child is better off with no dad than two dads is silly. The state similarly doesn’t care whose biological child a child is, so I’m not even sure why you brought that up. Finally, the issue of “deviancy” is equally bizarre, because (aside from the fact that you’re operating simultaneously from two contradictory definitions) you’re deputizing religious belief into the picture – if people don’t share your religious belief then until you can demonstrate that your particular religion is true for everyone, its sexual regulations don’t apply to anyone but yourself. Since a growing percentage of Americans support gay marriage, under your secular definition it’s becoming a less and less “deviant” idea. I’m going to leave this argument here, because we’re now into restating old arguments that have already been debunked.

    I have in fact explained the reasoning behind why I think all people deserve equal treatment under the law. That is emphatically not me making any kind of statement like “all people are equal”, only that a just society has rules that apply to all people, and are based on a combination of evidence and reason. I haven’t the slightest clue what you’re talking about when you say that “truth” is separate from “science” – eugenics was certainly “true” (insofar as it would lead to a particular desired outcome), but it was unethical because it used people as means to an end rather than respecting their autonomy. “Truth” when it is divorced from facts is simply belief.

    We believe in ridiculous shit now like somehow rational beings and complex structures evolved through what appears to be an orderly process and yet driven by highly improbable, random occurrences happening at exactly the right times which were set into motion by the random act of an enormous, random explosion.

    And the reason we believe that is because there is mountains of evidence supporting its veracity. Your incredulity is not evidence of the falsity of non-directed evolution, no matter how many times you say “what if it isn’t random?” The use of gremlins was not a logical fallacy, it was satire of anyone who takes the position that some supernatural force is tinkering with DNA. There’s no evidence for either God or gremlins – to reject one is to reject the other.

    I mean, isn’t philosophy just people sitting around reasoning about things that are ultimately based on assumptions not proven by the scientific method?

    Nope.

    There is a difference between the honest atheism of the nihilist, who believes there really is no God and acknowledges the implications of such, and the self-delusionary humanism of the New Atheist, who does not really mean what he says when he says ‘there is no God’ but instead believes ‘there is a God and I am he.’

    So my beliefs are dishonest because I’m not sad enough that there’s no imaginary friend in the sky? I don’t know whose beliefs that statement is supposed to describe, but it resembles exactly nothing about what I think, or the thoughts/beliefs of anyone I know. You’ve established a false dichotomy between there being an external deity and man assuming the mantle of that deity – there are far more things under heaven and earth than exist in your philosophy, Natassia.

    Frankly it doesn’t matter to me which particular flavour of religion you are – as far as I’m concerned there is no difference in principle between the various factions of theism; the only difference is in their actions. If you’re going to use arguments from religion, I’ll reject them as unfounded regardless of if you are an observant Jew, a fanatical Christian, or a liberal Muslim.

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