Dumbest Anti-Gay Argument Ever?


We’re used to some supremely stupid arguments from bigots about homosexuality, but I may have found the single dumbest argument ever on this subject. Sue Bohlin of Probe Ministries says that people can’t be born gay because babies aren’t sexually attracted to the same gender.

First, how do we know that people are born gay? This idea is a newcomer on the scene of human history, arising only within the past hundred years-maybe only fifty. We “know” it because people keep saying so, and people say so because, looking into the rear view mirror of their lives, many of those who eventually identify as gay recall always feeling different, “other than.” According to the spirit of the age, that means they were always gay. Which means sexually and romantically attracted to people of the same sex.

But think about a newborn baby. Is he or she sexually and romantically attracted to people of the same sex? No, of course not. That is an emotional development issue that will arise years down the road. Consider a toddler: how does one find the gay kids in a church or daycare nursery? You don’t.

Uh, babies aren’t sexually or romantically attracted to people of any sex or gender, for crying out loud. Seriously, if you have to resort to arguments this moronic, you really should just give up and admit that you’re full of shit.

Comments

  1. sathyalacey says

    Nope, sorry, disagree.

    While very dumb, the very dumbest argument will always be “gay people don’t breed, so if we let them get married the human race will underpopulate and die out!”

  2. matty1 says

    Once more. Whether being gay is genetic, developmental or a free choice says nothing at all about whether gay people should have certain rights. Most people would agree that how you vote is a choice but would Bohlin be happy banning Republicans from getting married on the grounds that “They chose to be that way”?

  3. John Hinkle says

    Sue Bohlin of Probe Ministries…

    Ah, I see what’s happening here. She wants to take her Probe Ministries and ram it down our throats.

  4. Larry says

    I think babies are pretty much focused on sleeping, eating, and pooping. Not much time left over for sexual hijinx.

  5. says

    Well, it’s not the dumbest argument. If she’s saying that babies have no expressed sexual orientation because attraction generally doesn’t occur until later in their development; therefore, there’s no way to be sure that the feeling different or parents suspecting at a young age that they were gay isn’t just confirmation bias, then she at least has an understandable question, here. Of course, in the same way, you won’t see babies expressing handedness until further in their development, either. Her argument here is simply a problem of misunderstanding the semantics, thinking we propose that the baby is coming out of the womb winking at the nearest member of their preferred gender. Just like handedness, a trait can be shaped in the womb but not expressed until later in development. And, of course, whether it’s a choice or not is irrelevant.

  6. cswella says

    You don’t find straight kids in daycare either.

    A stupid counterargument might be: Why do kids make gender exclusive clubs and generally stay with same-sex friends? Because all kids are gay until the culture convinces them they are straight. I remember being grossed out sleeping on the couch at a cootie-infected girl’s house, but being just fine sharing a bed with a guy.

  7. tuibguy says

    The choice aspect is irrelevant when it comes to civil rights; wherever one falls on the spectrum. What I would like to know, from those who believe it is a “willful aberration,” is simply this. Why would a straight person want to be gay in this society if they aren’t? Why would they willingly take to a sexual orientation for which they will be bullied, beat up, denied rights, treated like second-class citizens by people who “love the sinner but hate the sin?” Why would they choose to become gay knowing that they could be rejected by their families, their friends, their classmates, their trusted adults?

    Further, and I have used this to illustrate my point to people who who insist that it is just a “lifestyle choice,” is that what these bigots would choose for themselves if there were no social or religious or legal ramifcations? Would they go out and have these wild weekends with their buddies? When they answer “no,” for obvious reasons I tell them they have just made my point.

  8. Michael Heath says

    Michael Brew writes:

    . . . a trait can be shaped in the womb but not expressed until later in development.

    Genetic traits may:
    a) not be fully developed and expressed until years after birth due to physiological interactions with the environment or,
    b) see a change in expression through social interactions.

    I presume this crowd is cognizant of the former since studying evolutionary development puts one in touch with the relevant findings. However I only recently came across findings on the latter though the idea has been around awhile; so here’s a cite for the latter: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081106153538.htm.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    Larry @ # 6: … babies are pretty much focused on sleeping, eating, and pooping.

    Those of my acquaintance also make time for gurgling and screaming, with a little waving around.

  10. Jackie wishes she could hibernate says

    With so many stupid excuses to hate, it’s hard to pick one that stands out as the absolute stupidest.

  11. dingojack says

    “This idea is a newcomer on the scene of human history, arising only within the past hundred years-maybe only fifty”

    Umm… Not a big reader of history, I’m guessing.

    Dingo
    ——–
    * Jonathon and David ring a bell?

  12. John Horstman says

    She’s technically correct – sexuality is at least partly the result of social construction (my studies have led me to conclude it’s almost entirely socialized – biological factors certainly influence our sexualities, but they’re only made manifest and given meaning through social processes). However, whether people are ‘born gay’ or not is entirely irrelevent to whether we should marginalize or persecute gay people (we shouldn’t, obvs). Gay people are (not) born gay to the exact same extent that straight people are (not) born straight. This is just the naturalistic fallacy plus baseless assertions about what is ‘natural’ re: sexuality.

    Infants and juveniles do not have adult sexualities of any kind, gay or straight or otherwise. People LOVE to project onto the other, including, perhaps especially, when that other is one’s past self.

  13. says

    I remember in first grade realizing that some boys looked better than others. The sexual component of this did not materialize until I started puberty when I was 11.
    I worked with a woman who was always telling stories about her “fussy” five-year-old son. He loved the Wizard of Oz but he pointed out that her shoes didn’t match her dress. He hated when his father dressed him because, according to him, “his father didn’t know how to coordinate and accessorize.” Eighteen years later, guess who I ran into at a gay bar?

  14. Albert Bakker says

    I have trouble comprehending how people can be this retarded in a first world country. There is a commenter, one Irma Herrera who has gotten it into her head to believe in the tenets of “corrective rape” on top of all the other bullshit and then applied it to her own brother, who according to her believes in the same shit too. That stuff isn’t funny.

  15. says

    Marcus Ranum,

    Actually I’d have far more respect for her if she shared Freud’s views of sexual orientation. Freud believed that we’re born with a bisexual disposition. He thought there were biological and psychosocial roots to the development of sexual orienation. He did not believe that sexual orientation could be changed or that clinicians should attempt to change it. He was unsure about whether homosexuality should be regarded as pathological having at various times taken both positions. To appreciate that, you you would have to understand that he was assessing within the context of drive-conflict model that emphasized what he called neurosis. He did not consider homosexuality a neurosis (i.e., a symptom that served as a compromise adaptation to guilty desires). Most importantly, we have documented proof that Freud advocated kindness and acceptance of homosexuality.

    Even with all his theoretical shortcomings, Id be pleased if wingnut theocrats become Freudians with regard to sexual orientation. It would be a vast improvement.

  16. says

    Marcus,

    I’ll cut an paste Freud’s famous letter to an American mother (of a homsexual) below. Whatever shortcomings you may detect in Freud’s view, consider that this was written in 1935.

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Letter_from_Freud_(to_a_mother_of_a_homosexual)

    April 9th 1935
    PROF. DR Freud
    WIEN IX., BERGGASSE 19

    Dear Mrs. [Erased]

    I gather from your letter that your son is a homosexual. I am most impressed by the fact, that you do not mention this term yourself in your information about him. May I question you why you avoid it? Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation, it cannot be classified as an illness; we consider it to be a variation of the sexual function produced by a certain arrest of sexual development. Many highly respectable individuals of ancient and modern times have been homosexuals, several of the greatest men among them (Plato, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, etc.) It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime and cruelty too. If you do not believe me, read the books of Havelock Ellis.

    By asking me if I can help, you mean, I suppose, if I can abolish homosexuality and make normal heterosexuality take its place. The answer is, in a general way, we cannot promise to achieve this. In a certain number of cases we succeed in developing the blighted germs of heterosexual tendencies, which are present in every homosexual; in the majority of cases it is no longer possible. It is a question of the quality and the age of the individual. The result of treatment cannot be predicted.

    What analysis can do for your son runs in a different line. If he is unhappy, neurotic, torn by conflicts, inhibited in his social life, analysis may bring him harmony, peace of mind, full efficiency, whether he remains a homosexual or gets changed. If you make up your mind he should have analysis with me — I don’t expect you will —, he has to come over to Vienna. I have no intention of leaving here. However, don’t neglect to give me your answer.

    Sincerely yours with best wishes,
    Freud

    P.S.
    I did not find it difficult to read your handwriting. Hope you will not find my writing and my English a harder task.

  17. stripeycat says

    @12 Some (not all) kids who grow up to be gay or bi show non-typical gendered social interactions many years before puberty. Some do seem to grow out of it, suggesting part of the normal childhood boundary testing (the kids I’ve known since I was old enough to notice that kind of thing are probably still young enough that they may still not have shaken down fully into their sexualities, so I can’t say for sure), but not a majority; I think it could be statistically significant as an indicator, especially if it’s seen over a period of years.

  18. Four Sided says

    Careful, cswella. I have heard some of these guys use the argument that homosexuality is a kind of arrested development, that homosexuals are simply immature individuals who failed to grow past the “opposite secks haz cooteze!” phase of development.

    The real truth, of course, is that homosexuality is morally superior to heterosexuality. We should try to make kids asexual, but if they’re too weak to handle that, homosexuality is a somewhat acceptable second choice.

  19. Enkidum says

    Ichthyic:

    Yeah, about those twin studies… the largest one that I’m aware of estimated that among men, roughly 35% of the variance in sexual orientation is explained by genetic factors, and less than 20% in women (Langstrom et al 2010). In general, all of them showed a non-negligible contribution of genetics to sexual orientation, but one that was dwarfed by non-genetic factors. (Look up the wikipedia article on biology and sexual orientation, it seems to have a pretty comprehensive bibliography, although I’m far from an expert in the field. so perhaps there are important things missing.)

    “There is a genetic contribution to X, however it is polygenic, heterogenic, and dwarfed by the non-genetic contributions to X.” You can replace X with homosexuality, breast cancer, IQ, musical ability… virtually any human behaviour or trait of real importance.

    It’s a real pity that Dan Savage and a bunch of people who should fucking well know better have made biological determination of sexual orientation such a rallying cry, because (a) as several people in this thread have pointed out, the genetic or non-genetic determination of homosexuality has nothing to do with the ethical issues, and (b) it ain’t genetically determined. We’ve done the research, the debate should be over, but for some reason these otherwise sensible people have got themselves convinced that they were born gay, which JUST. ISN’T. TRUE.

  20. cptdoom says

    @12 uzza – it goes to what stripeycat noted at #25, homosexuality is also associated with gender variant behavior in children well before they reach puberty. It’s not totally predictive but it does add to the weight of evidence that both our gender identity and our sexual orientation are biological in origin. There is also scientific evidence that specific physical traits – hand structure, blink rates and hearing to name a few – in gay people are more similar to those of the opposite gender than of the same gender and those traits are determined in the womb.

    To my thinking, the real mistake Bohlin makes is limiting homosexuality to only physical attraction. As Enkidum notes, it’s clear homosexuality is not solely genetic, but neither is handedness. That does not mean they aren’t biological in nature, as the fetal environment can have dramatic impact on the resulting child. Thalidomide for example interfered with normal development of arms and legs in the children affected – they still had the genes for those limbs. Intersex people also have “normal” genes but for various reasons develop in utero organs that are not clearly one gender or the other.

  21. Shatterface says

    The real truth, of course, is that homosexuality is morally superior to heterosexuality. We should try to make kids asexual, but if they’re too weak to handle that, homosexuality is a somewhat acceptable second choice.

    I’m having trouble quantifying the amount of stupid in that paragraph.

  22. Four Sided says

    That’s because the amount present is x modulo x (i.e. 0 for those of you weak in math skills). Everything I said is completely self-consistent and can be derived from a basic set of axioms. I certainly take morality and social justice more seriously than any of you people ever do. You’re inly interested in social justice insofar as it allows you to keep a comfortabke self-identity. When you take it to its logical conclusion and derive the incontrovertible fact that the basic axioms imply human males should be phased out and made redundant, you feel your own sense of identity theatened and you recoil in viseral disgust. You funfems are worthless.

  23. Four Sided says

    Sarcasm is a form of mockery. Mockery is a form of marginalization. Marginalzation is oppressive.

  24. opposablethumbs says

    Shatterface, RickR – no, Four Sided is a creepy little troll who arrived in the neighbourhood recently and is pulling the same schitck on other threads too. They seem to think they’re being clever by attempting to send up straw “arguments” much as they have done here.

  25. says

    Four Sided is apparently interested in the position of new FtB chew toy.

    The problem with the “We’re born this way” concept as a counter to homophobia is obvious. Racism is commonly based on a “born this way” argument, that the targets of bigotry are “racially inferior” to whichever ethnic grouping the bigot identifies with.

  26. Four Sided says

    Seriously,I am Four-Sided Triangles, a former NSG poster. I’m exactly the same now as I was then.

  27. RickR says

    Four Sided is apparently interested in the position of new FtB chew toy.

    Wow, it’s been a while since we’ve had a new troll! With the exception of the occasional Pilty sighting and Lancifer’s nonsense on climate change, it’s been pretty quiet around here.

  28. says

    the argument that homosexuality is a kind of arrested development

    That argument has always been a serious puzzler to me. Okay, I get the point that gay men supposedly never outgrew the yuck-girls-have-cooties phase, but did they also fail to outgrow the that-shirt-with-those-slacks!? phase and the let’s-sing-show-tunes phase? As bogus arguments go, it’s pretty unpersuasive.

  29. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I think babies are pretty much focused on sleeping, eating, and pooping. Not much time left over for sexual hijinx.

    …babies sleep? Since when? >.>

  30. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    The real truth, of course, is that homosexuality is morally superior to heterosexuality. We should try to make kids asexual, but if they’re too weak to handle that, homosexuality is a somewhat acceptable second choice.

    I’m having trouble quantifying the amount of stupid in that paragraph.

    Take your time.

    Shatterface- I’m thinking it’s sarcasm.

    Shatterface, RickR – no, Four Sided is a creepy little troll who arrived in the neighbourhood recently and is pulling the same schitck on other threads too. They seem to think they’re being clever by attempting to send up straw “arguments” much as they have done here.

    I’m pretty sure it’s serious.

  31. Shatterface says

    I’m pretty sure it’s serious

    He/she has been advocating genocide as a cure for sexism over on Butterflies & Wheels.

    So a troll, yes, but a Nazi troll.

  32. Shatterface says

    The problem with the “We’re born this way” concept as a counter to homophobia is obvious. Racism is commonly based on a “born this way” argument, that the targets of bigotry are “racially inferior” to whichever ethnic grouping the bigot identifies with.

    The problem with either the ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’ arguments is that homosexuality is a social construct.

    Both the ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ arguments take it for granted that there’s an objective state called homosexuality that one is pushed into by genes, the environment or both – rather than accepting there’s a broad spectrum of human sexuality and society more or less arbitrarily marks out part of that spectrum as ‘homosexual’.

  33. martinc says

    dingojack @ 16:

    “This idea is a newcomer on the scene of human history, arising only within the past hundred years-maybe only fifty”

    Umm… Not a big reader of history, I’m guessing.

    Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Mind you, she hid it cleverly by following up with an argument so all-encompassingly gobsmackingly stupid that most readers almost completely forgot her history fail in the first paragraph, so fair props to her for that.

  34. iangould says

    “Consider a toddler: how does one find the gay kids in a church or daycare nursery?”

    Catholic clergy seem to be pretty good at it – the filthy little degenerates keep seducing them.

  35. says

    @46:

    I was witness to a nice bit of denial at breakfast this morning.

    When I mentioned that a certain Phoenix RCC Bishop had escaped jail time for a hit and run (I believe Ed blogged about it at the time) BECAUSE he offered the DA the names of fifty or so paedophile priests that he had moved around the Phoenix diocese to shield them from prosecution–one of the people at the table said, “So you don’t like Catholic priests. A few bad apples don’t spoil the whole barrel.”. I found the total lack of any condemnation of the Bishop or those fifty paedophilic priests to be more than a bit reavealing.

  36. cry4turtles says

    This person must not have spent much time with toddlers. I work with this population and I’ve personally witnessed many a toddler boy kiss another toddler boy and girls kiss girls. Unihibited. Totally.

  37. steve oberski says

    @democommie

    I’ve had similar conversations, one response that seems to jolt them out of their stupor is “So you don’t like children or the rule of law ?”.

    At the very least it moves the discussion over the “why do you hate god/his earthly representatives” rhetorical road bump.

  38. steve oberski says

    What I find revealing about her comments is her insistence on attributing sexual motives to the behaviour of young children.

    No one would deny that there are gender based differences in behaviour, as I recently observed at the 1 year birthday party of our neighbours child, but to claim that these behaviours are sexual is indeed sick and twisted.

    It takes a special sort religiously inspired pathology to project the results of her abusive upbringing on the blank slates of young children and in fact is no doubt in large part responsible for yet another generation of emotionally crippled religious victims.

  39. Michael Heath says

    Shatterface writes:

    Both the ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ arguments take it for granted that there’s an objective state called homosexuality that one is pushed into by genes, the environment or both – rather than accepting there’s a broad spectrum of human sexuality and society more or less arbitrarily marks out part of that spectrum as ‘homosexual’.

    This is a false restriction of alternatives, where you ignore the most prevalent position of all.

    Sexual identification exists on a continuum. But most people’s self-identity remains fixed from puberty through their adult life. So the terms homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, and asexual all provide utility when categorizing most people. And even for those few people whose identity emerges later in life or changes, there’s nothing stopping them from noting their identities have either changed or are in a state of flux.

  40. cptdoom says

    Thank you Michael Heath @51. The idea that there is no such thing as heterosexuality or homosexuality can play into the “ex-gay” concept that all us homos have “heterosexual potential” and therefore don’t need rights. As a full Kinsey 6 (totally homosexual) I have never felt an iota of attraction to a woman and, as I’m approaching my 6th decade cannot imagine ever feeling that way. I also think we need to distinguish between physical and romantic sexuality. Situational homosexuality, for instance in prisons, demonstrates that many straight people can have a satisfying physical sexual interaction with someone of the same gender, but could likely never fall in love with that person.

  41. stripeycat says

    @52 cptdoom: sex and relationships are messy. Try explaining to people that you’re a) bi, and b) have only ever had one sexual partner. Head esplody! In my own experience, it is quite possible to have a strong attraction to someone you’d gladly testify against in court, for instance. Lust is really, really not a 1:1 map onto romantic love.

  42. bmiller says

    Of course…sexual behavior is also used to express things like dominance. Control. Power. rape is not always even about “sex” per se.

  43. jonathangray says

    The real truth, of course, is that homosexuality is morally superior to heterosexuality. We should try to make kids asexual, but if they’re too weak to handle that, homosexuality is a somewhat acceptable second choice.

    http://i.imgur.com/p5aBX.jpg

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