Supreme Court and intellectual consistency

Of course, I’m not the only one who noticed the seeming intellectual inconsistency on judicial activism in this week’s decisions.  Ruth Marcus has a nice column on the matter:

Indeed, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburgnoted in her dissent [on the VRA case], the majority was triply activist. It abandoned “its usual restraint” by considering a broad-based challenge rather than determining whether the law was constitutional simply as applied to the particular Alabama county involved. Likewise, Ginsburg said, the majority “veers away from controlling precedent” about treating states equally “without even acknowledging that it is doing so.” And, “hardly showing the respect ordinarily paid when Congress acts to implement” the guarantee of voting rights, “the Court does not even deign to grapple with the legislative record.”

Very true, but I really like where she tries to find the liberal consistency (and largely succeeds, I think):

In this sense, the liberal position on both voting rights and DOMA are linked, and impelled, by the Constitution’s solicitude for minority rights and individual liberty. I believe this is correct, but I also concede that this conviction cannot be disentangled from my conception of the Constitution and the sweeping protections it provides.

I have a harder time finding intellectual consistency in the conservative position in the two cases. On voting rights, the conservative justices are enormously deferential to states, and dismissive of congressional power, despite the explicit constitutional grant of authority to Congress. Yet they are respectful of congressional action, and happy to intrude on traditional state prerogatives, when it comes to same-sex marriage.

If there is a way to reconcile these results, I’m eager to hear it.

Here’s the reconciliation… those are the policy outcomes the conservatives prefer.  Nothing more.  Anything else is Constitutional hand-waving.  And on that note, Richard Posner  (and for the record, Posner is generally considered a conservative judge) follows in his son’s footsteps to show just how intellectually dishonest the VRA ruling was:

Shelby County v. Holder, decided Tuesday, struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act (the part requiring certain states with a history of racial discrimination in voting to obtain federal permission in advance to change their voting procedures—called “preclearance”) as violating the “fundamental principle of equal sovereignty” of the states. This is a principle of constitutional law of which I had never heard—for the excellent reason that, as Eric points out and I will elaborate upon briefly, there is no such principle.

Maybe I’m a little obsessed with the Shelby County case, but that’s probably because it is honestly about as extreme a case of judicial activism– for either side– as you’ll ever find.  When liberals engage in judicial activism, it tends to be to extend principles in the Bill of Rights, i.e., making sure trials really are fair, that your right to remain silent is truly respected, etc.  I suppose it’s possible such rulings may go too far, but it’s too far in embodying clear Constitutional principles,.  Here the conservatives have simply over-turned a policy they don’t like and made up a heretofore non-existent Constitutional principle to do so (I’d argue there’s far more Constitutional basis for a right to privacy).

Advertisements

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

31 Responses to Supreme Court and intellectual consistency

  1. Carlos Flores says:

    What I found to be unsettling about the SC decision was that the SC simply assumed that marriage exists to, say, join/recognize individuals who are “lovingly committed” to one another when that is the matter that needs to be settled in the first place (that is, the SC is guilty of begging the question). Whether marriage laws are equal or not depends on what the telos of marriage is taken to be. To simply assert that marriage laws should be “equal” either:

    A.) Betrays an ignorance of the current marriage laws as they stand; that is, if marriage does indeed exist to, say, oversee the responsibilities that attend upon procreation and to provide a child with a mother and a father, then not only would it i.) make sense to restrict “marriage” to two individuals of the same sex, but ii.) the law would also be utterly equal insofar as every individual, be him/her homosexual or otherwise, would have the same amount of rights and restrictions as they pertain to marriage, namely, that an individual (be him/her homosexual or otherwise) can only marry some other individual of the opposite sex (among other restrictions).

    Or

    B.) Otherwise amounts to simply begging the question by assuming that marriage merely exists to, say, join/recognize individuals who are lovingly committed to one another.

    The question that is being glossed over by the SC (and by almost all individual who participate in the public discourse at it obtains on same-sex marriage) is what marriage is for.

    I think it is quite clear that the reason why the state has such a compelling interest in marriage is because it is literally tasked with the continuation of society and in stabilizing it. As such, there is not a more important societal function. One may, of course, think that marriage does not exist for this purpose. Indeed, one might be convinced that marriage really exists to, say, join/recognize individuals who are “lovingly committed” to one another. But then, what interest would the state have in subsidizing relationships simply because two or more people have fuzzy feelings for one another, or to recognize that two or more people sodomize? Not much, I submit. So the supporter of same-sex marriage must, as I see it, convince me of two things: (i) that their position is coherent; and (ii) that the purpose of marriage as they envision it is of compelling interest to the state and public good. I haven’t seen compelling reasons to think that either supposition is true, however.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Very much a compelling state interest. You are clearly not familiar with the writing of Jonathan Rauch. Here’s a nice summary piece of his. If this doesn’t convince you of point ii, then you’re not being honest. Point i doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me.
      http://www.jonathanrauch.com/jrauch_articles/gay-marriage-7-good-for-america/

    • itchy says:

      “So the supporter of same-sex marriage must, as I see it, convince me of two things”

      As would the supporter of opposite-sex marriage.

      • itchy says:

        I apologize. I replied before reading your explanation below, and I see that you did provide support for these things. I don’t agree with your point of view, and I could point out your own logical inconsistencies, but, alas, I don’t have the time right now.

  2. Carlos Flores says:

    I forgot to add that, after reading Alito’s dissent, it seems that he is aware that the debate is merely over competing views of what marriage is. He also rightly recognizes that the question is fundamentally a philosophical one; it is no more up to ‘the courts’ or ‘the people’ to ‘define’ marriage that it is up to them to ‘define’ whether the Pythagorean Theorem is true of right triangles; what is at issue is a matter of objective fact that it is the business of reason to discover rather than democratic procedure to stipulate.

  3. Mike from Canada says:

    “I think it is quite clear that the reason why the state has such a compelling interest in marriage is because it is literally tasked with the continuation of society and in stabilizing it.”

    Every citizen has a role in stabilizing society regardless of sexual orientation or gender. Homosexuals and lesbians can help continue it. Plenty of homosexuals and lesbians have procreated children before modern medicine and more so after. All they need to do is find willing help, just as many heterosexuals do. Adoption and modern medicine only give them more options, also just like heterosexual couples. Almost all of them have the ability to raise children and have been shown to do as well has heterosexual couples.

    And as many people besides me have pointed out, plenty of heterosexuals get married knowing that they have no possibility or intent of procreating.

    Ergo, homosexuals and lesbians, by the above argument should have the same rights as heterosexuals.

    • Carlos Flores says:

      “Every citizen has a role in stabilizing society regardless of sexual orientation or gender. Homosexuals and lesbians can help continue it. Plenty of homosexuals and lesbians have procreated children before modern medicine and more so after. All they need to do is find willing help, just as many heterosexuals do. Adoption and modern medicine only give them more options, also just like heterosexual couples. Almost all of them have the ability to raise children and have been shown to do as well has heterosexual couples.”

      There is one kind of couple that, throughout all of human history, is known to produce children: heterosexuals. Long-term, monogamous, heterosexual unions as a group and by nature produce the next generation. They create families that become the building blocks of civilization. These families are the most stable and advantageous environment for raising children. They not only stabilize society, they make society possible. That role can’t be underestimated. Notice that I said, “As a group and by nature.” As a group, heterosexual couples have kids. There may be exceptions, but the group’s tendency is to produce children. Laws are designed to generalize for the group. “By nature” is a reference to the fact that heterosexual unions produce children by the natural function of their sexual activity. Unlike male friends, siblings, and other relationship couples, it is biologically natural for heterosexuals to produce children. The government, that normally has a hands-off policy to most relationships, gets involved in sanctioning these long-term, heterosexual unions. It creates a group of privileges and protections for these male-female couplings because it recognizes their role in creating and stabilizing society. But the government doesn’t get involved in any other relationship pair. It doesn’t legally sanction two male friends, siblings, or father-daughter relationships. That’s because, though there are exceptions, they don’t as a group and by nature produce the next generation. They might love each other, deeply and for a long period of time, but that is irrelevant to the government. The state has a concern to perpetuate and protect our civilization and that explains its vested interested in heterosexual unions.

      Homosexual adoption, by design, will deny a child either a mother or father every time. By legalizing same-sex parenting, society declares by law that mothers and fathers are interchangeable. That means a mother offers no unique contribution to a child. A man could provide all the benefits of a woman. Besides being counterintuitive, this deprives a son or daughter the distinctive benefits of being raised by both sexes. A compassionate and moral society comes to the aid of motherless or fatherless children. We don’t intentionally design families to deny children a mother or father. But that’s the result of same-sex parenting. Furthermore, decades of published research in psychology, social science, and medicine demonstrate that children do best when raised by a mother and father (especially the biological parents) in a long-term marriage. That’s because a mother and a father each provide a unique and important contribution to their role as parents. Children who are raised, for example, in fatherless families suffer, on average, in every measure of well-being. They have higher levels of physical and mental illness, educational difficulties, poverty, substance abuse, criminal behavior, loneliness, and physical and sexual abuse. And what is, say, a lesbian couple, but an example of a fatherless family, or a gay couple but an example of a motherless family?

      I see same-sex marriage as pernicious for at least two reasons:

      Reason I.) The grounds upon which the support of same-sex marriage rests commit one to the accepting of all sorts of absurd configurations of “marriage”. Seeking, for the sake of consistency, to “extend” the benefits of marriage to these absurd configurations of marriage would entail the granting of adoption rights to these configurations and/or would otherwise the granting of a green light to confer benefits for the rearing of children in these absurd configurations. This leads to the absurdity that is the promoting of the raising or rearing of children in “families” that could be configured in such a way as to be, say, 13 men and 17 women, or two siblings, or 3 homosexual siblings, etc. In other words, this would entail the raising of children in a “family” with, say, 20 “fathers” and 18 “mothers” or in incestuous relationships, or in same-sex relationships. No one unwilling to associate with fringe kookdom would ever even pretend that such are ideal environments within which to raise a child. That is not to forget to mention, however, that countless empirical studies and our empirically verified common wisdom dictate that a child is best raised by both his or her biological parents. I defend this point with the following argument:

      Argument from Consistency Contra Same Sex Marriage:

      P1.) If you accept the proposal, as support of same-sex marriage entails, that marriage, instead of being an institution established to oversee the responsibilities attendant upon procreation, is actually a conventional institution that exists to join/recognize individuals who are “lovingly committed” to one another, regardless of that love’s fecundity, then logic demands that you also accept a “marriage” between 4 men and 4 women who have a “loving commitment” to each other, or a “marriage” between 1 man and 16 women who have a “loving commitment” to each other, or a “marriage” between a man and his sister who have a “loving commitment” to each other, or a “marriage” between a man and his father who have a “loving commitment” to each other, or indeed anything whatsoever that one may want to call “marriage,” for someone could always argue that even the “loving commitment” criterion is as arbitrary and open to challenge as the heterosexual criterion is.

      P2.) Supporters of same-sex marriage claim to be against these other configurations of “marriage”.

      C: Therefore, their position in incoherent.

      Reason II.) The accepting of same-sex marriage promotes the idea of making the the happiness of the parties to the marriage the purpose of marriage rather than the good of the children or the social order. When married persons care more about themselves than their responsibilities to their children and society, they become more willing to abandon these responsibilities, leading to broken homes, a plummeting birthrate, and countless other social pathologies that have become rampant over the last 40 years.

      “And as many people besides me have pointed out, plenty of heterosexuals get married knowing that they have no possibility or intent of procreating.”

      The reasons why individuals marry is irrelevant. A couple may choose to marry for a host of reasons (e.g. to raise a family; for financial benefit; to climb up a social ladder; to host a luxurious wedding reception in a dazzling Thai resort to gain the favor of easily inebriated socialites, etc.). What is relevant is what the purpose of marriage is. That’s what the fundamental question as it concerns the same-sex marriage debate is. Moreover, although it is true that not all couples who marry have children, every child has a mother and father and, I contend, a right to know them. These children have a vested interest in the union and stability of their parents. But that’s not something they can protect. Society needs to secure that right for kids so far as we are able. Second, even if some marriages don’t produce children, it doesn’t nullify the natural tie of marriage to procreation. The purpose of marriage remains regardless of whether married couples actualize it or not; consider: books are meant to be read even if they collect dust on a bookshelf. Being infertile isn’t a natural tendency of heterosexual couples; infertility is merely incidental.

  4. Carlos Flores says:

    My apologies for hijacking the comment section as well, Mr. Greene.

  5. mike from Canada says:

    Yet, there are plenty of people, ie, plural marriages, who ARE raising children. \What exactly are they? Monsters?
    And there is plenty of evidence showing that same sex partnerships raise children just as well as heterosexual. In fact, all sorts of people raise children, all sorts of parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles.

    Many children have no parents at all to raise them and they are going to be MUCH worse off then those who are raised by same sex couples who have been shown to be perfectly fine parents.

    All I see above is “if – maybe – what if- could be” and an argument based on the fallacy of slippery slope, which for some reason, has become standard weapon in the US, even though it’s still a fallacy.

    And guess what? Gays and lesbians are already having children, have been having children for time immemorial, adopting children, looking after children. The world has not fallen apart.

    I find it interesting that people say that the entire question resolves to “the purpose of marriage” But they never talk about anyone except homosexuals. Not old people who can’t have children, not people who can’t procreate. Nor the people who have children but are getting divorced. Nor all the children that already exist but don’t have parents of any stripe to take care of them, just group homes and indifference.

    By ANY measure gays and lesbians do better in raising healthy happy children then group homes and many straight couples..

    The purpose of marriage, some would say, is for those who are married to determine. It certainly seems this is the case for heterosexuals right now. No one is forcing them to have children. Nor is there a requirement that they be able to have children. Or is the government going to force all married people to have children, or enull their marriage if they cannot have children? And some would say living in a free society means making those decisions for themselves.Especially when no harm can be shown from gays or lesbians marrying or having and raising children.

    And I have to point out again that being homosexual doesn’t make them infertile. It only makes it a little more difficult to procreate.

    Nor does a child’s right to know their parents, where such laws exist, and they are certainly NOT universal, nor even physically possible in all circumstances, straight, gay, grandparents, orphans, etc, etc, etc.

    I have heard over and over and over how terrible it would be for children to be raised by homosexuals. But the science doesn’t bare this out. And by the way, science tells us that children need and deserve to have people in their lives that love them and care for them. Their caregivers sex or sexual orientation are not important.

    What, exactly, is natural about marriage? Marriage is a human invention, a construction, a symbol. There is nothing natural about it. Indeed, the natural state is not to marry but simply to shag and have kids. The church and state have allowed plural and gay marriages. What is ‘normail or natural’ has a tendency to change and evolve with society. Marriage is simply a human construct. And like all human constructions and social constructs, they can be changed when they don’t suite society, or when society recognizes that people are being denied basic human rights and then decide to change those constructs to bring people their rights. Children may (or may not) have the right to know their parents, but same gays and lesbians also have rights. Marriage is not natural by any definition, especially since less heterosexuals are getting married and simply deciding to live together and have children and more are getting divorced. Perhaps the government should force parents to marry and refuse them divorces?

    And just because straight people can procreate doesn’t mean they should. There are plenty of straight people who shouldn’t be parents. I don’t hear too much about them. Gays have to deliberatly decide the have a child. Straights often just pop them out at the most innaprorpiate time, ready or not, here it comes. Perhaps this is why gays, lesbians and their children tend to do well.

    • Carlos Flores says:

      “Yet, there are plenty of people, ie, plural marriages, who ARE raising children. \What exactly are they? Monsters?
      And there is plenty of evidence showing that same sex partnerships raise children just as well as heterosexual. In fact, all sorts of people raise children, all sorts of parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles.

      Many children have no parents at all to raise them and they are going to be MUCH worse off then those who are raised by same sex couples who have been shown to be perfectly fine parents.”

      Well, sure, I guess when you construct the options that way, who will argue with you? I guess the child would be better off with the same-sex couple. So what’s that prove? Nothing.

      I could construct two scenarios in a different way. What if the lesbians didn’t have a stable relationship, couldn’t keep steady jobs, experienced domestic violence in their home, and often used drugs. The other adoptive option was a married heterosexual couple (one a doctor and the other a teacher), who lived in the same home for 18 years, and who had already adopted a child.

      Given those two options, wouldn’t it be better for the child to be adopted by the heterosexual couple? Sure, but what’s that prove? That you can construct any combination of scenarios designed to prove that a certain set of people would be better parents. But you don’t determine public policy based on the exception or extreme case. For example, there might be some instances when it’s justified to run a red light – like rushing a dying person to the emergency room – but that doesn’t mean we should make running red lights legal. That’s bad public policy. Many single fathers have to raise children by themselves. They do the best they can given their circumstances. I’m sure some of these children will declare themselves to be just fine. But does that mean we should promote single male adoption?

      The real question is whether a child who needs to be adopted is best served by a heterosexual couple or a homosexual couple, all things being equal. The question focuses on the needs of the child, not the wants of homosexuals who are politically motivated to normalize same-sex marriage and parenting.

      The answer, again, is forthcoming: decades of published research in psychology, social science, and medicine demonstrate that children do best when raised by a mother and father (especially the biological parents) in a long-term marriage. That’s because a mother and a father each provide a unique and important contribution to their role as parents. Children who are raised, for example, in fatherless families suffer, on average, in every measure of well-being. They have higher levels of physical and mental illness, educational difficulties, poverty, substance abuse, criminal behavior, loneliness, and physical and sexual abuse.

      “All I see above is ‘if – maybe – what if- could be’ and an argument based on the fallacy of slippery slope, which for some reason, has become standard weapon in the US, even though it’s still a fallacy.

      Slippery slope arguments aren’t categorically fallacious. Slippery slope arguments are only fallacious if there is no reason to believe that x will lead to y, etc. Regardless, I didn’t provide a slippery slope argument. I provided an argument from consistency (more technically, it could be construed as a logical wedge argument). I am not making any sort of empirical, a posteriori prediction that x will lead to y. Rather, I am making a (largely) a priori case as to why the accepting of x on such and such grounds will commit one, on the pain of irrational, to the acceptance of a, b, c, etc. Moreover, if you think that the argument I provided is unsound, then I invite you to demonstrate as much by either showing one of the premises to be false or to demonstrate that the conclusion does not follow deductively from the premises provided. That is, after all, the standard procedure for the evaluation of deductive arguments ever since Kant.

      “By ANY measure gays and lesbians do better in raising healthy happy children then group homes and many straight couples..”

      Again, the real question is whether a child who needs to be adopted is best served by a heterosexual couple or a homosexual couple, all things being equal, not whether you can construct scenarios in which a child would be better left with a same-sex couple (anyone can do that).

      “The purpose of marriage, some would say, is for those who are married to determine. It certainly seems this is the case for heterosexuals right now. No one is forcing them to have children. Nor is there a requirement that they be able to have children. Or is the government going to force all married people to have children, or enull their marriage if they cannot have children? And some would say living in a free society means making those decisions for themselves.Especially when no harm can be shown from gays or lesbians marrying or having and raising children.”

      Again, it has been conceded that individuals may choose to marry for an unlimited amount of reasons. That is irrelevant, however. What is of pertinence is what marriage exists for in the first place. It is no part whatsoever of my defense of marriage as I envision it to force couples who marry to produce children. Also, I have given reasons as to why the accepting of same-sex marriage is pernicious in my previous response. For the interest of space, I’ll direct you to read that response again instead of copying them and pasting them here.

      “And I have to point out again that being homosexual doesn’t make them infertile. It only makes it a little more difficult to procreate.”

      Well, I think you perhaps misspoke; of course homosexuals are not infertile by nature. A homosexual may very well be fertile and may be perfectly capable of producing a child with a member of the opposite sex. Two members of the same-sex, however, as a group and by nature, however, do not produce children. See, same-sex couples aren’t infertile by mere incidence; they are infertile in principle. That same-sex couples could hypothetically adopt or seek some extravagant medical procedure to produce a child from their combined DNA does not in any way contest this point. Procreation is inherently heterosexual.

  6. mike from Canada says:

    I need to point out that if something is natural or unnatural has no bearing on it’s suitability of being part of human society.

    Vaccinations: not natural.
    Mercury: natural.
    Murder: natural.
    Arsenic in some water supplies: natural.
    Homosexuality: natural.
    Sanitary sewers: not natural.
    Modern medicine: not natural.
    Dead animals in water supply: natural.
    Contraception: not natural.
    In vitro fertilization: not natural.

    • Steve Greene says:

      I knew I could count on you for all this Mike!

    • Carlos Flores says:

      “I need to point out that if something is natural or unnatural has no bearing on it’s suitability of being part of human society.

      Vaccinations: not natural.
      Mercury: natural.
      Murder: natural.
      Arsenic in some water supplies: natural.
      Homosexuality: natural.
      Sanitary sewers: not natural.
      Modern medicine: not natural.
      Dead animals in water supply: natural.
      Contraception: not natural.
      In vitro fertilization: not natural.”

      This is simply to misunderstand how “unnatural” is being used by the opponent of same-sex marriage. That, however, requires a conceptually technical explanation. Here is a very brief explanation:

      An act, according to the Aristotelian-Thomistic Natural Law theorist, is unnatural (and so immoral) insofar as it is a perversion of the body part’s final cause. So, for example, the eyes are clearly aimed at seeing. It would so be bad and so immoral to cut out one’s eyes purposefully to, say, start a new fashion (or some other such absurdity). You’d be irrational to deny this. Likewise, sexual organs are aimed at something, namely, procreation. The ability to reproduce is vital to the flourishing of the human. Humans, and all life, is aimed at reproduction. One that can reproduce is counted as a good example of that species, while one that can’t is a bad example (note that I said can and not does). Physically, if a man were unable to get erect because he couldn’t get blood flow to his penis, we would clearly say that he has a disability. Similarly, if a man’s brain doesn’t work in such a way that he can’t get erect to have sex with a woman in order to reproduce, we should clearly say that he has a disability. And why “with a woman in order to reproduce?” Because, as I’ve noted, sexuality is aimed, by its very essence, at reproduction. If we consider the structure of the sexual organs (besides also serving as organs to eliminate waste), and the sexual act as a process beginning with arousal and ending in orgasm, it is clear that its final cause is to get semen into the vagina. That is why the penis and the vagina are shaped the way they are, why the vagina secretes lubrication during sexual arousal, and so forth. The point of the process is not just to get semen out of the male, but also into the female, and into one place in the female in particular. All of this exists only so that men and women will engage in the sexual act, so that in turn the offspring will be generated at least a certain percentage of the time the act is performed and so that the father and mother will be strengthened in their desire to stay together, which circumstance is nature’s way of sustaining that union which children depend for their material and spiritual well-being. Every link in the chain has procreation as its final cause, whatever the intentions of the actors. As such, it would count as immoral to use a penis in such as a way as to act contrary to its final cause; namely, it would be immoral to ejaculate into something that isn’t a vagina. To do so would be to willfully choose an end that is not a good (in the metaphysically objective sense) end. It would be to choose bad. Even Freud advanced such a perverted faculty argument:

      “(I)t is a characteristic common to all the perversions that in them reproduction as an aim is put aside. This is actually the criterion by which we judge whether a sexual activity is perverse – if it departs from reproduction in its aims and pursues the attainment of gratification independently.”

      • Steve Greene says:

        Ummm, okay. But why is it that Aristotelian-Thomistic Natural Law should be the most appropriate guide to public policy in 21st century America? Also, are you really prepared to declare illegal every act in which a penis ejaculates anywhere other than a fertile vagina?! That would have some rather interesting consequences (in addition to being Unconstitutional on its face).

      • Carlos Flores says:

        “Ummm, okay. But why is it that Aristotelian-Thomistic Natural Law should be the most appropriate guide to public policy in 21st century America?”

        I’m not sure if it is or not. I suppose that is a question that should be answered in its own right. However, we shouldn’t determine what ethical theory we use to guide public policy by whether it is convenient or not but rather whether it is right or not. Natural Law theory is one of many ethical theories that one may espouse (e.g. utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, divine command theory, etc.).

        “Also, are you really prepared to declare illegal every act in which a penis ejaculates anywhere other than a fertile vagina?! That would have some rather interesting consequences (in addition to being Unconstitutional on its face).”

        I agree. Natural Law simply contends that these acts are immoral. Whether they should be illegal or not is a separate question as it concerns the nature of law. I too would think it utterly absurd to, say, make ejaculation into anything that is not a vagina illegal. Ethical theories ought to be distinguished from legal theories. Legal theories often come after ethical theories.

      • Steve Greene says:

        So, what am I missing here? I thought we were having a discussion about public policy (which can be informed by ethical theories) not ethical theories.

      • Mike from Canada says:

        Actually, what your talking about, then, is sexual acts, not homosexuality per say. I point out that sodomy can be done to a male or female, in fact, it can be done by a male for female if we talk about more then just a penis. Fingers, or man made devices.

        So what is the real problem here, homosexuals, or so called “un-natural” sex acts?

        You’ll pardon me, but I don’t think we are privy to all homosexual sex acts or if they have sex at all. So we’ve gone from homosexuals are the problem, to un-natural sex acts are the problem. Are we going to put web cams in every bedroom? Are we going to ban heterosexuals from having children if they do “un-natural” sex acts?

        This is absurd. And as Steve points out, unconstitutional. Further, science says this definition of natural is absurd, ridiculous, hilarious and is in fact be an “unnatural” definition.

        Now, for your previous comment on slippery slopes, you can call it logical progression, but a rose by any other name is still a slippery slope argument. I call it a slippery slope argument, and I think your being intellectually dishonest to suggest it isn’t, that you didn’t, and oh by the way, it doesn’t matter, because not all slippery slope arguments are slippery slope arguments. Dressing up a pig still makes it a pig, and a slippery slope argument is still a fallacy.

        And for the record, I don’t have a problem with 32 women who are of the age of consent marrying 32 other women, or men, or one man, or any combination of the same as long as they are all of sound mind and consenting adults. And it seems that again the state and some churches have to a point agreed with me. As you say, so what? People might plural marry? As I pointed out, they already do. So what? I really don’t understand what the problem is and why so many people feel they should have a say over what other consenting adults do in their own bedrooms.

        At this point, I have to simply call you out and say your information is simply wrong, or biased. The science, the peer reviewed science, rather then the biased nonsense put out by right wing religious organizations, points towards children being better off with people who care about them and love them and they say that same sex couples do no worse then heterosexual couples.

        I did not “misspeak”, If a lesbian wants to get pregnant, they can simply find any guy, close their eyes, spread their legs and think of England. It might require some lubricant as well. It will be harder for a male homosexual to find someone to carry a child, but most can still father a child. Fertile means the ability to either give potent seed, or drop eggs that have the ability to conceive. In fact, woman can use a turkey baster and a used condom if they really want to. I’ve pointed this out many times. I’ve pointed out that homosexuals and lesbians already have children in this method AND by using other people. Just like some heterosexual couples do. I’ve said this several times. Didn’t I mentions this a few times? I did. Yes. I did.

        I’ve mentioned this several times, yet you attack my argument that straight people do poorly when raising children in many varying circumstances. Let me put it straight, even if you were correct that same sex couples did not do as well as ‘most” or average heterosexual couples, should that disqualify them from having children? Not unless you take away all those children from families that do the same or worse then them. Is that your plan?

        Or you can ban poor people from procreating. And those who smoke, or drink. Definitely those idiot fools of tools who leave loaded weapons around the house. But of course that isn’t happening. Heck, a lot of states won’t even charge the parents when they leave a loaded weapon around and their kid picks it up and kills another child. No, instead the religious right have glommed onto the homosexuals as the biggest problem since the communist plot of fluoridated water. Which leads me to believe it’s nothing to do with the well being of the children. Nothing at all. Just good old fashioned religious bigotry.

        You seem to be avoiding the problem that children have homes that are less then perfect. Yet we don’t remove them from every home in which things are not perfect. When we start taking children from every home that isn’t perfect, then we can talk about if they should be allowed in homes of single parents and divorced parents and parents who drink or smoke or take prescriptions that fuzzy up their thinking, or who are poor. THEN we can talk about same sex couples. Until then it’s simply hypocritical to deny them they same choices to raise children. In other words, some of us live in the real world. Not some airy fairy place where no one has sex where sperm doesn’t end up in a vagina, men don’t masturbate in the shower, women don’t pleasure themselves with sticky wet fingers and we aren’t all just doing the best we can. Fitness to raise a child isn’t a 99/100 and you pass test. In the real world, single women raise children in abject poverty and the people who are against same sex couples don’t seem to care. Again, it’s simply intellectually dishonest to ignore the fact that children live in a wide variety of home situations and standards of living with heterosexuals but expect perfection from a single group of whom you have a severe distaste for what you say are their sexual “perversions”. THAT’S what.

        You can call it political. Whatever. I suggest your being intellectually dishonest. And I think I’m being generous. As I said, they already have children. You seem to be avoiding the fact. You seem to be avoiding the fact that lesbians do actually have babies, married or not, and being unmarried causes them and their children problems. Homosexuals already have children, even though you say they are infertile. (and you suggest I misspeak). You seem to be avoiding a whole bunch of problems, but you do seem rather fixated on sex and unnatural sexual acts. Which seems unnatural to me.

        Your entire argument comes down to two points:
        1) You don’t like their so called unnatural sex acts. Sex acts, which, by the way, heterosexuals do as well. Almost every heterosexual male does an “un-natural” sex act almost daily when young and often continue to do so late in their life. I understand woman also masturbate. Sex without procreation. How horrifying. So this argument is simply absurd and hypocritical.

        2) You rely on right wing religious biased nonsense for information on the suitability of same sex partners to raise children. Your conclusions, and those of the sources to which you subscribe are simply wrong. Not only are you wrong, the the Supreme Court Of The United States Of America AND the American Academy of Pediatrics agree with me that you and your sources are wrong. Several of the studies criticizing gay marriage were of children that were from divorced parents skewing the results and leading to results that should have suggested banning divorce, rather then same sex marriage. But then, the churches have already lost that fight, haven’t they?

        “The scientific research that has directly compared outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterosexual parents has been generally consistent in showing that lesbian and gay parents are as fit and capable as heterosexual parents, and their children are as psychologically healthy and well-adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents,[3][4][5] despite the reality that considerable legal discrimination and inequity remain significant challenges for these families.”

        “Scientific research has been generally consistent in showing that gay and lesbian parents are as fit and capable as heterosexual parents, and their children are as psychologically healthy and well-adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents.[3][4][5] Major associations of mental health professionals in the U.S., Canada, and Australia have not identified credible empirical research that suggests otherwise.[5][6][7][8][9]”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_parenting

        Now those may be a quote from Wikipedia, which I’m sure many would criticize, but they do include sources which include some pretty large science based organizations.

        http://www.bu.edu/today/2013/gay-parents-as-good-as-straight-ones/
        http://www.cpa.ca/cpasite/userfiles/Documents/Marriage%20of%20Same-Sex%20Couples%20Position%20Statement%20-%20October%202006%20%281%29.pdf
        http://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/LGBT-Families-Lit-Review.pdf
        http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/general/2010/10/27/amicus29.pdf
        http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/medicine/same-sex-marriage-children-well-being-research-roundup#
        http://narth.com/docs/adoptions.html AMA endorses same sex adoptions.

        Now, you say the evidence, psychology and science is on your side, yet all the major players in the fields say otherwise. They disagree with you. And it only took me five minutes to find that out.
        And NONE of them believe in any ridiculous ancient theory on naturalism and sex. Science finds the idea to be absurd. It’s intellectually dishonest to cite science being on your side, then cite a guy from the 12th century who thinks that male masturbation is deviant sex. It’s laughable.

        The American Sociological Association said in their brief to SCOTUS:
        “The results of our review are clear. There is no evidence that children with parents in stable same-sex or opposite-sex relationships differ in terms of well-being. Indeed, the greater stability offered by marriage for same-sex as well as opposite-sex parents may be an asset for child well-being.”

        Heterosexuals have all the same problems as parents as homosexuals, yet because they have “unnatural” sex, they are deigned, by decree, to not be allowed to marry. Even though homosexuals are in fact already procreating, having children and raising them as if they are married to no ill effect other then those from not having legal marriages. But somehow that isn’t good enough to give them the benefit of marriage, which would benefit the children. No. For the sake of the children, the anti same sex people must stop those so called “sex deviants” from giving their children the benefit of a stable home and the benefit of marriage. They say they only want what’s best for the children but they can’t help the children by letting the same sex people actually marry. It boggles the mind the number of hurdles they have to jump to avoid all the hypocrisies.

        To quote Steve Greene quoting Paul Krugman: “They… won’t be dissuaded by rational argument; they know what they know, and no amount of evidence will change their views.”

        There is a reason why your referencing a 12th century man to back up your claims. It’s because modern science, the one credible method we have found to best get knowledge, isn’t on your side. So you and those you say claim his creed, have had to coddle up to a guy who spent his life unmarried and celibate (or so he would lead us to believe) to tell you what is normal sex in a marriage. I’ve used this word a lot, but it fits. It’s absurd. Simply and completely absurd.

        If you want to know what natural sex is talk to a primatologist, not a twelfth century unmarried celibate monk who said “Therefore no venereal act can be without sin.”, meaning even heterosexual sex between married people was sin. Nutty as a fruitcake.

      • Carlos Flores says:

        Well, I was just seeking to allay Mike’s misunderstanding as to how “unnatural” is used by the opponent of same-sex marriage. More fundamentally, however, public policy (and law generally) often (if not always) just is an expression or application of an ethical theory. Thus, the fundamental discourse that concerns the topic of same-sex marriage is perhaps ultimately completely reducible, at bottom, to moral disagreements, which are open to evaluation.

      • Carlos Flores says:

        I did not “misspeak”, If a lesbian wants to get pregnant, they can simply find any guy, close their eyes, spread their legs and think of England. It might require some lubricant as well. It will be harder for a male homosexual to find someone to carry a child, but most can still father a child. Fertile means the ability to either give potent seed, or drop eggs that have the ability to conceive. In fact, woman can use a turkey baster and a used condom if they really want to. I’ve pointed this out many times. I’ve pointed out that homosexuals and lesbians already have children in this method AND by using other people. Just like some heterosexual couples do. I’ve said this several times. Didn’t I mentions this a few times? I did. Yes. I did.

        This paragraph just serves to indicate that you have hopelessly missed the point (or that you are being deliberately obstinate). You might as well say that sticks are oriented toward flying, since we can, after all, throw them in the air. What a thing is “oriented toward” in the relevant sense is what it has a natural propensity to do (in the Aristotelian sense of what follows from its form or essence), not what we can make it do by turning it away from its inherent tendencies. Surely this is not news to anyone who’s actually bothered to understand the traditional Natural Law view before criticizing it. That a same-sex couple can adopt or have a child via a surrogate or by sleeping with a member of the opposite sex does not in any way contest the point that it is not within the natural tendencies of a same-sex couple to produce offspring (again, I’m using “natural” as it is understood in the Natural Law paradigm, not as it is used colloquially to mean “occurs in nature”).

        Your entire argument comes down to two points:
        1) You don’t like their so called unnatural sex acts. Sex acts, which, by the way, heterosexuals do as well. Almost every heterosexual male does an “un-natural” sex act almost daily when young and often continue to do so late in their life. I understand woman also masturbate. Sex without procreation. How horrifying. So this argument is simply absurd and hypocritical.

        This is getting silly now, Mike. You seem to not only produce forth red herring after red herring, but you also demonstrate that you have largely (if not completely) missed the point completely (never mind that you have also failed to engage the syllogism I put forward. On top of that, you also have either completely misunderstood the arguments I’m advancing (as evident by your belief that my “entire argument comes down” to the points you allege it does here) or are otherwise deliberately straw-manning me.

        It’s not that “I don’t like ‘unnatural’ acts”. Whether I “like” them or not is just utterly irrelevant. It’s that, according to Natural Law, actions which frustrate the final cause of a faculty are unnatural and thus immoral. That’s all. That means that, to the Natural Law theorist, actions like sodomy (be it between two men or a man and a woman, etc.) or to pluck one’s eye out in the name of “fashion” or some such nonsense are to frustrate the relevant faculty’s end and so would be unnatural and thus immoral. That’s all. I’m not suggesting nor am I committed to the making of masturbation illegal or some such nonsense as you allege. All the Natural Law theorist is committed to is that such actions are immoral and objectively so.

        Furthermore, as I already made it clear, I mentioned Natural Law to demonstrate that sodomy (between same or opposite sex couples) is immoral and demonstrably so, not as an argument against the accepting of same-sex marriage. (Though an argument contra same-sex marriage can readily be presented on Natural Law grounds. Doing so, however, requires careful conceptual dexterity, which you seem to be ill-equipped with).

        2) You rely on right wing religious biased nonsense for information on the suitability of same sex partners to raise children. Your conclusions, and those of the sources to which you subscribe are simply wrong. Not only are you wrong, the the Supreme Court Of The United States Of America AND the American Academy of Pediatrics agree with me that you and your sources are wrong. Several of the studies criticizing gay marriage were of children that were from divorced parents skewing the results and leading to results that should have suggested banning divorce, rather then same sex marriage. But then, the churches have already lost that fight, haven’t they?

        To begin with, as you write here, you have already dismissed research that has come to negative conclusions about same-sex parenting wholesale as being conducted improperly. That just to beg the question and to be guilty of, well, bigotry. Again, as I have mentioned ad nauseum, besides our common wisdom, we have a wealth of evidence that states that, all things being equal (I italicized this in the hope that you realize just how important this phrase is), a child is best raised by his biological mother and father and that raising children in the absence of a mother or a father proves detrimental in every measure of well-being. And, again, what is, say, a lesbian home but a home without a father, or a gay home but a home without a mother?

        Furthermore, you are again straw-manning me. The reasons why I am opposed to same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting are independent of one another. I have provided reasons as to why I am opposed to both and you have not engaged with either (by means of straw-manning me, obviously misunderstanding me, or otherwise ignoring my arguments wholesale).

        It’s intellectually dishonest to cite science being on your side, then cite a guy from the 12th century who thinks that male masturbation is deviant sex. It’s laughable. If you want to know what natural sex is talk to a primatologist, not a twelfth century unmarried celibate monk who said “Therefore no venereal act can be without sin.”, meaning even heterosexual sex between married people was sin. Nutty as a fruitcake.

        This is just embarrassing, Mike. You’re attempting to discredit Natural Law theory because it is old or because you don’t like the idea of it being created by a monk. FYI, you don’t dismiss ethical theories or arguments because they’re “old” or because you don’t like the guy that presents them. That’s not only fallacious, but also silly. And, again, you demonstrate that you have completely missed the point; Natural Law, I repeat, is not an empirical theory. It is a metaphysical one. As such, one could give a cahoot about what a primatologist has to say on the matter. And your insinuation that a primatologist has authority to speak on or dismiss a metaphysical theory is just to demonstrate that you have missed the point, but that you also are not well-equipped to engage in philosophical dialogue.

  7. Mike from Canada says:

    And just to be really annoying, I’d suggest that the real danger to children and our civilization is the indoctrination of children into fundamentalist, extremist religions and or those that believe in the literalism of their sacred texts such as the Bibles.

    Children and marriage should be denied to them.

    • Carlos Flores says:

      For the sake of chivalry, Mike, I hope you do not mean to suggest that I have been “indoctrinated” into “fundamentalist, extremist religion[s]” or anything of the sort.

      • Mike from Canada says:

        To allay your fear, no, not at all. Why would you think that?
        I don’t know enough about your beliefs to do that. Nothing I have written in these comments are meant as a slight to you or anyone else, even in the as yet moderated comment awaiting publishing by Steve. All is meant as even handed well intentioned criticism, even if it doesn’t actually read that way to you. If it appears so anyways, then I apologize and suggest you imagine me with a smile.

        Considering how you wrote that and how it reads, I do wonder how you would feel if I did.

        Well, never mind really. It doesn’t matter. After your last comment to Steven, it’s clear we are not going to get anywhere because you clearly don’t see the problem with your reasoning on your definition and it’s rather strange elasticity, or fluidity. The last comments on the definition of natural (and unnatural) shows this, I think.

        *You use the word (un)natural.
        *You get called on it.
        *You tell us the definition, and where it comes from and the group who uses it.
        *You get called on using a 12th century outlook or in the 21 century. “But why is it that Aristotelian-Thomistic Natural Law should be the most appropriate guide to public policy in 21st century America?”
        *you say: “I too would think it utterly absurd to, say, make ejaculation into anything that is not a vagina illegal.”
        *You say not a problem. “I was just seeking to allay Mike’s misunderstanding…”

        No, you were not. Your comments can ONLY be read that Aristotelian-Thomistic Natural Law should be used as a guide to public policy in 21st century America against homosexuals. There is no other way to read them, unless you are just having it on with us, playing games. But I don’t think that. I think your genuine, your honest and your wrong.
        So, we have two sets of rules, or morals, one for heterosexuals, and one for homosexuals. I think the last set of comments regarding the definition shows a high level of mental agility. Either you stand by the definition and it’s use against Homo Sapiens, or you do not, and you were just showing me a definition that is long out of date and all those other comments about unnatural were just a big put on. A big joke.

        You basically have a two part argument. Part 1 is homosexual sex is unnatural, according to the above. Part 2 is that it’s bad for children (being raised by same sex couples). Ignoring the second, because your flat out wrong and if you suggest otherwise a five minute Google search will show that all the major science, medical, psychological organizations bare that out. Perhaps you are suffering from incestuous amplification, and need to read the material offered at the actual sites of the American medical Association, Canada’s and Australia’s medical and mental health professional associations and groups. Because they have a very different viewpoint then the one you give.

        So that leaves part 1, morals based on the 12th century unmarried celibate (so he says) monk.
        If you don’t apply the morals to all, they are not really morals. They are simply a handy excuse for discrimination. Or are you going to pick and choose which “unnatural” sex acts you want to legislate against through secondary methods, such as the application of marriage licenses?

      • Carlos Flores says:

        Well, never mind really. It doesn’t matter. After your last comment to Steven, it’s clear we are not going to get anywhere because you clearly don’t see the problem with your reasoning on your definition and it’s rather strange elasticity, or fluidity. The last comments on the definition of natural (and unnatural) shows this, I think.

        *You use the word (un)natural.
        *You get called on it.
        *You tell us the definition, and where it comes from and the group who uses it.
        *You get called on using a 12th century outlook or in the 21 century. “But why is it that Aristotelian-Thomistic Natural Law should be the most appropriate guide to public policy in 21st century America?”
        *you say: “I too would think it utterly absurd to, say, make ejaculation into anything that is not a vagina illegal.”
        *You say not a problem. “I was just seeking to allay Mike’s misunderstanding…”

        No, you were not. Your comments can ONLY be read that Aristotelian-Thomistic Natural Law should be used as a guide to public policy in 21st century America against homosexuals. There is no other way to read them, unless you are just having it on with us, playing games. But I don’t think that. I think your genuine, your honest and your wrong.

        Words are merely placeholders for meanings. To the Aristotelian-Thomistic Natural Law theorist (and in the context of Natural Law), an act is “unnatural” insofar as it frustrates a faculty’s final cause. This just to be guilty of hand-waving and ignoring the context that “unnatural” is being used by the Natural Law theorist. And again, you advance the laughable supposition that because an ethical theory is really old, it ought to just be discarded. Socrates, Aristophanes, Aristotle, Kant, Maimonides, Descartes, et. al would like to have a word with you. Once again with the straw-manning as well, Mike.

        So, we have two sets of rules, or morals, one for heterosexuals, and one for homosexuals.

        False. I’ve said as much ad nauseum.

        You basically have a two part argument. Part 1 is homosexual sex is unnatural, according to the above. Part 2 is that it’s bad for children (being raised by same sex couples).

        Unsurprisingly, false one more. Mike, one of the arguments I presented was put in explicit syllogistic form. Need I make it more obvious than that?

        So that leaves part 1, morals based on the 12th century unmarried celibate (so he says) monk.

        Ad hominem

        If you don’t apply the morals to all, they are not really morals.

        False. I think cheating on your wife is a grave moral transgression. Am I or the state thus obligated to make cheating on your wife illegal? I don’t think so, but seeing as how you seem to think I somehow am, I invite you to explain what rules of inference commit me to its being illegal.

        They are simply a handy excuse for discrimination.

        No, not really. This is what you might call careful metaphysizing

  8. Carlos Flores says:

    Actually, what your talking about, then, is sexual acts, not homosexuality per say.

    • Carlos Flores says:

      Sorry. Wanted to see if I could italicize.

      Actually, what your talking about, then, is sexual acts, not homosexuality per say.

      That’s right. I made that post on Natural Law for two reasons: (i) to allay your misunderstanding of how “unnatural” is being used by the opponent of same-sex marriage; and (ii) to demonstrate that there exist perfectly coherent ethical theories that condemn homosexual acts (among other acts) as immoral.

      So what is the real problem here, homosexuals, or so called “un-natural” sex acts? You’ll pardon me, but I don’t think we are privy to all homosexual sex acts or if they have sex at all. So we’ve gone from homosexuals are the problem, to un-natural sex acts are the problem. Are we going to put web cams in every bedroom? Are we going to ban heterosexuals from having children if they do “un-natural” sex acts?

      Of course not. I already expressed by opposition to such legal steps and also pointed out that the determining of whether an act should be illegal or not does not follows from the immorality of an act and that such is an enterprise that concerns the nature of law.

      Further, science says this definition of natural is absurd, ridiculous, hilarious and is in fact be an “unnatural” definition.

      I’m not sure what you mean to say. Regardless, Natural Law theory is a metaphysical theory, not an empirical one. As such, it cannot be “debunked” by scientific (i.e. empirical) observation.

      Now, for your previous comment on slippery slopes, you can call it logical progression, but a rose by any other name is still a slippery slope argument. I call it a slippery slope argument, and I think your being intellectually dishonest to suggest it isn’t, that you didn’t, and oh by the way, it doesn’t matter, because not all slippery slope arguments are slippery slope arguments. Dressing up a pig still makes it a pig, and a slippery slope argument is still a fallacy.

      That’s unfortunate. I already explained a.) that “slippery slope” arguments are not categorically fallacious (indeed, it is characteristic of those who are uninitiated in philosophy and formal logic to assume that they are); and b.) that my argument is not, in fact, a slippery slope argument. That said, you have failed wholly to engage with the argument I provided. All you’ve done is merely erroneously waved it away as a “slippery slope”. Such lack of engagement, unfortunately, is indicative of, well, not only aversion to intellectual discourse, but also of cowardice. Again, as is standard procedure in philosophical discourse, to show that an argument is unsound, one must show that the argument in question either has a false premise or otherwise is logically invalid (that is to say, that the premises do not deductively guarantee the entailment of the conclusion). To fail to even attempt to do so is to submit to either rhetorical thuggery or is indicative, as I said, of ignorance or cowardice. At least, Mike, attempt to defend the claim that the argument I provided is guilty of being a slippery slope!

      And for the record, I don’t have a problem with 32 women who are of the age of consent marrying 32 other women, or men, or one man, or any combination of the same as long as they are all of sound mind and consenting adults.

      Right. That’s just to accept the reductio and render your position absurd, not to mention highly immoral on both deontological and consequentialist grounds.

      I really don’t understand what the problem is and why so many people feel they should have a say over what other consenting adults do in their own bedrooms.

      Neither I nor other opponents of same-sex marriage care if Fred wants to invite 100 men to a homosexual orgy in his house. I think it’s immoral, but I’m not prepared to stop you legally from doing so. Homosexuals are free in this country to do whatever they want with themselves. They can have a hundred partners a night. What they are aiming for now is both recognition and support by the state and the citizens of the state. This is not “leave me alone with my man!” This is “recognize me as a special group that deserves special benefits!” They are asking the state and its people to do something, not to not do something.

      I’ll respond to the rest hopefully tomorrow.

      • Mike from Canada says:

        That’s right. I made that post on Natural Law for two reasons: (i) to allay your misunderstanding of how “unnatural” is being used by the opponent of same-sex marriage; and (ii) to demonstrate that there exist perfectly coherent ethical theories that condemn homosexual acts (among other acts) as immoral.

        Sigh. So I guess then I was wrong. You are just having at us. A bit of a joke. Playing games. All that stuff about unnatural sex was just you having a lark. Good for you. Good old moral relativism.

        BTW, I don’t have any fear or anxiety about your definition. I don’t have any misunderstanding. I just think it’s twaddle.

        “I really don’t understand what the problem is and why so many people feel they should have a say over what other consenting adults do in their own bedrooms.”

        “Neither I nor other opponents of same-sex marriage care if Fred wants to invite 100 men to a homosexual orgy…”

        Always keeps coming back to homosexuality. But notice, I didn’t specify homosexuals. Because heterosexuals, as I’ve said, do everything you accuse homosexuals of. And as I’ve said, you don’t know if homosexuals are even having sex. Perhaps they are just cohabiting. Perhaps they are as celibate as good old Thomas the monk. Just as you have no idea what heterosexuals do, you have no idea what same sex partners do. So how do you know what they do is immoral? But then, as I said, your definition seems pretty slippery. Immoral for one group that has ‘icky’ same sex, but if the other group does a bit of derriere dunking, it doesn’t matter. No need to worry about them or their children. Gotcha. Wink wink.

        Or now it doesn’t matter. It’s all good they can have as much sex as they want (or as much sex as you imagine them having, more to the point), but they want special benefits. New argument. Only took how long?

        They are not asking to be a special group, with special benefits. They are asking for the same benefits that others already get. I am surprised you didn’t pop that one in at the start. Pretty standard fare. Practically formulaic. Now you’ve got a three part argument of which all parts are a frothing bubble of inconsistencies that are begging to have unnatural sex with each other and produce excessive verbiage. The states have prevented them from doing something that others already do. Just like multi-racial couples. You know, equality under the law. States have enacted legislation to deny same sex couples benefits. Gone out of their way to prevent them from doing something that courts have been ruling they have a legal right to do.

        Hmmm. Marrying two men will lead to a dozen women marrying… a man, a woman, what did you say? It doesn’t matter. One will lead to the other. Slippery slope logical fallacy. I know you don’t like that word. Fallacy.

        Yes, call me a coward if it makes you feel better.

        I get it. I hurt you. I’m sorry. If it makes you feel better, call me whatever you want. Go ahead. I won’t judge you. If it makes you feel better, we can pretend you have a sound argument(s). It’s OK. Your not really inconsistent in your desire to treat people differently based on their gender even though they do the same immoral acts, I was just saying that because that’s what you wrote. We’ll pretend otherwise. Go ahead. Call me something else. It doesn’t bother me.
        You can do it, Carlos.
        For the sake of chivalry. I want to allay you. And not in the homosexual way, either.

        Right. That’s just to accept the reductio and render your position absurd, not to mention highly immoral on both deontological and consequentialist grounds.

        My. What big words.
        And here you were talking down to me about me not showing my work. What did you say about that? I think you said “To fail to even attempt to do so is to submit to either rhetorical thuggery or is indicative, as I said, of ignorance or cowardice.” See what I meant in my previous comment about not getting anywhere and the possibility of you being, how did I put it, intellectually dishonest?

        I hope that tomorrow you will at some time get around to the huge amount of moral relativism that seems to infest your solid moral reasoning. I think I’ve referenced it once or twice. Or thrice. Then we can roll back round to why homosexuality is not a problem, unnatural sex acts are, but not for heterosexuals. Why the definition doesn’t matter, but does matter. Or did for the first ten comments but now it doesn’t matter because you were educating stupid old me.

        Or not. I do so enjoy self flagellation. Another delightful 12th century affectation the world so desperately needs more of. Just like the world needs more humans, and only sex that leads to procreation. Because anything else would be immoral. Or was it the Pope that said that, and Thomas said all sex is sin? So confusing. So relativistic. So changeable.
        This is so much fun. Jousting about nonsensical 12th century moralists, then saying your beliefs depend on them, then not. But are. But not. So much fun. Almost as much fun as “Better Off Ted”.

      • Carlos Flores says:

        Sigh. So I guess then I was wrong. You are just having at us. A bit of a joke. Playing games. All that stuff about unnatural sex was just you having a lark. Good for you. Good old moral relativism.

        In the interest of full disclosure, I tend to fluctuate between a divine command and natural law ethical theory. I find both very persuasive. However, both cannot be true. I thus don’t fully associate myself with either ethical theory as I do not know which one I find to be more convincing. I hope to settle on the matter after more investigation as to which one is more convincing than the other. Now, having said this, in what way am I a moral relativist? After all, both Natural Law and Divine Command theory posit the existence of objective moral values and duties. Moral relativism, however, denies that there exist objective moral values and duties. The moral relativist may have moral opinions and may act on them, but he realizes that on a meta-ethical level, he has no objective justification for the regarding of, say, rape, as objectively immoral. However, it being the case that I am either a confused Divine Command or Natural Law theorist, I reject the claim that there do not exist objective moral values and duties wholesale. Indeed, I view moral relativism with great loathe. Which makes me wonder: do you even know what moral relativism is, Mike?

        BTW, I don’t have any fear or anxiety about your definition. I don’t have any misunderstanding. I just think it’s twaddle.

        That’s strange. Definitions are only incoherent if they are logically inconsistent (that is, they exhibit an explicit contradiction, e.g., A and not-A). Being that “unnatural” as it is used in the Natural Law paradigm is not explicitly contradictory, I see good reason to believe that, again, you are overstepping your intellectual boundaries by speaking on matters you are ill-equipped to speak on. Or perhaps you have some heretofore unveiled knowledge as to how “unnatural” as used by the Natural Law theorist is explicitly contradictory? Or perhaps you still erroneously think that I am using “natural” in the contemporary colloquial sense of “occurring in nature”?

        Always keeps coming back to homosexuality. But notice, I didn’t specify homosexuals. Because heterosexuals, as I’ve said, do everything you accuse homosexuals of. And as I’ve said, you don’t know if homosexuals are even having sex. Perhaps they are just cohabiting. Perhaps they are as celibate as good old Thomas the monk. Just as you have no idea what heterosexuals do, you have no idea what same sex partners do. So how do you know what they do is immoral? But then, as I said, your definition seems pretty slippery. Immoral for one group that has ‘icky’ same sex, but if the other group does a bit of derriere dunking, it doesn’t matter. No need to worry about them or their children. Gotcha. Wink wink.

        Again, that is indicative of your misunderstanding of how unnatural is being used the Natural Law theorist (combined with quite a few red herrings). Natural law theory does not say that it is inherently bad, full stop, to use just anything whatsoever in a way that differs from its natural end. What it says is inherently bad is for a rational agent to use one of his own natural faculties in a way that is not only different from, but positively frustrates its natural end.

        No doubt you’ll be coming up with some other laughable objection now, confidently and cluelessly expressed. But here’s the thing: you seem to know the next-to-nothing that you know about natural law theory from scraps of caricatures you’ve heard here and there. For all I know, you don’t know anything that you didn’t read in this very comment discussion — and even that you obviously don’t understand. An intellectually honest person would try to find out about a philosophical view he disagrees with from some source other than a comment box. Try reading a book on Natural Law Theory. I can recommend a couple books that explicate the basic theory.

        Or you could say “I don’t have to read it, I already know it’s crap” etc. In which case you are just the sort of ignorant, closed-minded bigot — resting his views on prejudice and emotion rather than actual knowledge of a subject — that you claim to deplore. But we knew that already.

        They are not asking to be a special group, with special benefits. They are asking for the same benefits that others already get.

        Right. That’s to assume that it makes sense in the first place for them to be considered as a paradigm case of the “special group” they claim to be. Obviously, I’m convinced otherwise, as I have elaborated on extensively above. To assume that they are is, well, just a textbook case of begging the question.

        Now you’ve got a three part argument of which all parts are a frothing bubble of inconsistencies that are begging to have unnatural sex with each other and produce excessive verbiage.

        Another straw man.

        Just like multi-racial couples.

        The anti-miscegenation analogy rears its ugly head. Interracial couples can marry because they can fulfill an essential function of marriage. Marriages bind males and females for the long term and protect the rights children have to be with their parents. Male-female unions are the precise kind of pairing that produces children and provides the ideal environment to raise them. Having an African American marry a Caucasian doesn’t impact that function in any way. Homosexual couples, on the other hand, don’t include both sexes. Not only are they incapable, by nature, to produce children, but they are also ill-suited to raise kids who need a mother and a father. That’s why the state has never sanctioned the relationship of two men or two women, but they sanction interracial unions so long as they’re heterosexual.

        Gone out of their way to prevent them from doing something that courts have been ruling they have a legal right to do.

        You’re assuming that being able to marry someone of the same sex is a right that one ought to have. Again, I’ve given many reasons for the contrary. That point notwithstanding, however, homosexuals already have the exact same rights and restrictions that heterosexuals have. Namely, any individual, regardless of his/her sexual preference, can marry some other individual only if that individual of the opposite sex (along with other restrictions).

        Hmmm. Marrying two men will lead to a dozen women marrying… a man, a woman, what did you say? It doesn’t matter. One will lead to the other. Slippery slope logical fallacy. I know you don’t like that word. Fallacy.

        This is about as embarrassing as it is comical. You not only manage to straw man me and avoid engaging my syllogistic argument once more, but you also reveal your ignorance simultaneously, at the expense of your own legitimacy.

        Again, Mike, by claiming that my argument is guilty of being a slippery slope, you are, almost certainly unbeknownst to you, implicitly suggesting that Premise 1 is false, namely by claiming that logic will not commit you to the accepting of x, y, z, etc. I invited you thrice now to defend your claim rather than just assert it. However, you have consistently failed to do so repeatedly and so your retorts are revealed as nothing but childish bare-assertions. Which will be dismissed as such.

        I get it. I hurt you. I’m sorry. If it makes you feel better, call me whatever you want. Go ahead. I won’t judge you. If it makes you feel better, we can pretend you have a sound argument(s). It’s OK. Your not really inconsistent in your desire to treat people differently based on their gender even though they do the same immoral acts, I was just saying that because that’s what you wrote. We’ll pretend otherwise. Go ahead. Call me something else. It doesn’t bother me.
        You can do it, Carlos.
        For the sake of chivalry. I want to allay you. And not in the homosexual way, either.

        Mike, a wise man once said to me “with philosophy comes thick skin.” I assure you that you haven’t “hurt” me in any way and you need not apologize for such. Instead, the least you could do for both our sakes is to seek to become more educated on matters you deign to speak on with authority.

        My. What big words.
        And here you were talking down to me about me not showing my work. What did you say about that? I think you said “To fail to even attempt to do so is to submit to either rhetorical thuggery or is indicative, as I said, of ignorance or cowardice.” See what I meant in my previous comment about not getting anywhere and the possibility of you being, how did I put it, intellectually dishonest?

        Ah, but Mike, whereas I provided a syllogistic argument, all you did was simply concede the first premise of my argument (which you ironically had previously unknowingly rejected as false vis-a-vis your erroneous accusation that my argument was guilty of being a slippery slope) and then proceed to provide an unsolicited opinion as to what you found to be “ok with,” rather than advance a deductive argument. See how the instances are disanalogous now?

        I hope that tomorrow you will at some time get around to the huge amount of moral relativism that seems to infest your solid moral reasoning. I think I’ve referenced it once or twice. Or thrice. Then we can roll back round to why homosexuality is not a problem, unnatural sex acts are, but not for heterosexuals. Why the definition doesn’t matter, but does matter. Or did for the first ten comments but now it doesn’t matter because you were educating stupid old me.

        Uh, I’m not a moral relativist, Mike.

        Anyway, I’m done with you. Have fun with anyone else here who wants to waste his time.

  9. Mike from Canada says:

    Hey, the crazy train finally stops.

    Of course since you feel so, I’ll say your right. Your reasoning is so sound and not at all confused.
    Your saying that homosexual sex is unnatural and a reason for denying same sex marriages,
    then my pointing out all the things we use that are unnatural or that are harmful and natural,
    then you pointing out where the definition comes from for those in the group against same sex marriage
    then you saying you aren’t saying the definition or general Thomas Aquinus thought really matters in a legal means or needs to be taken one at a time and you were only providing a definition to me, not at all implying suddenly that it doesn’t mean much at all even though you were basing your argument at least in part on this, nor do I think it’s necessary to go into the incredible amount of intellectual flexibility to denote it as a definition to unnatural sex then pick and choose which parts you want to enforce. Whew. Breath.

    Oh, but that’s right, it’s wasn’t about enforcing on other people, you don’t care what people do in their bedroom. Well, in that comment anyways. You did in other comments, but not that comment. Oh, but that’s right, again I forgot, it was just an example for me. How silly of me. Silly silly me.

    So if you say so, your reasoning is perfectly valid. Sure. Your certainly not simply destroying any credibility you had. Oh no.
    Really.
    Honestly.

    I’m going to ignore you now. Not because I think you have destroyed any credibility you might have had, not because I think your intellectually dishonest, or called me a coward and completely immoral, perhaps lazy.

    No, you tell yourself you did a great job. I’m sure you will anyways.

    And unsolicited opinion? Am I not allowed to? Are you going to bang your little gavel? I wasn’t aware I wasn’t allowed to give unsolicited opinion. Sorry about that. Well, not really. In fact, I have another two words to tell you. Because I can give an unsolicited opinion whenever I want.

    Perhaps your right, perhaps I don’t understand the finer points of logic, and natural law, and yes, when I read the guy who basically made it up says that ALL SEX IS SIN, then I don’t have a lot of reason to trust anything the guy says. Oh look, those two dogs are sinning.
    I do know when your full of it.

    And I’ll leave you with this: For a guy who likes to talk about morality, and called me completely immoral, you sure do like to try to make people feel stupid, don’t you?

  10. Mike from Canada says:

    Oh, and I really need to point out: this Thomas monk, an unmarried celibate monk who came up with natural law said that all sex is sin, sin being defined as an act against the will of God.

    Just how crazy is that? Hmmm? God made us, requires us to have sex to procreate, makes it one of our highest primal urges, but makes it a sin? Crazy as a bedbug. And to think, people use this natural law stuff to dictate the way they behave. Or not. After all, good old florez said he was just using it as an example for a definition. But then he says he uses to base his morals on, along with another, ah, interesting belief. A higher power. I guess that would be the Bible, or one of the many ancient sacred texts. Unless a higher power regularly talks to him. I guess that’s not out of the range of possibilities, I’ve met more then a few people who regularly talk to God and regularly get answers back. Never anything of consequence mind you, they can never tell us where the closest intelligent life is on another planet, or how to cure the malaria that God created. But people have to have regular thoughts too, I suppose.
    I wonder if its the sacred text where God kills almost everyone and condones slavery, or the other one that condones slavery, or if its the other other one that got taken out of one of the versions, but not the part that got taken out of the other other other version. You know, the ones they found recently, a whole bunch of new old sacred texts that sort of got expunged from the records. Kinda like the people who believed those expunged texts also got expunged.

    I also wonder, does he pick and choose from the sacred texts from his favourite higher power like he picks and chooses his natural laws, and the people he wants to enforce it against? It’s natural, it’s a law, but no need to follow all them. You can pick and choose. You know, THOSE kind of laws. The optional ones. Uh huh. No, I’m not an authority on everything Mr. Flores. But I think I have your number down.

    And I’m still waiting for Mr. Flores to tell me where he got his x-ray specs, so he can tell which people are doing what, and which ones are committing the horrible natural laws, and which are committing the lesser of the natural laws. And perhaps sometime he would like to let us poor mortals in one which are which, since his guide Thomas seems to think touching yourself to wash is a sin. Oh, and who got to decide which are which? Was it Mr. Flores? The church? Which church? The church of Scientology? Mormons? Catholics? Baptists? Which sects of which? Of course, natural laws are natural, and never change. So sex is still a sin, no matter what according to Thomas the celibate monk.

    And people say celibacy makes you go weird.

    I just can’t get over that he said part of the problem he has with homosexuals because it’s against natural law then said he was just using it as an example of a definition to educate me, then said he doesn’t care what people do in the privacy of their own home then he says he bases a large part of his morality on it. Shaking my head. And here I thought we were talking about HIS morality. Not some vague nameless group that hates homosexuals I mean supports so called natural law. After all, didn’t be give his unsolicited opinion? Oh, no wait, it’s a blog with a comments section. Opinions are allowed.

    Relative morals? No. Must just be the things he says.
    Good talking to myself. Oh, there’s my stop.

    Remember, sex is an affront to God. That’s why he made it the only way to reproduce.

  11. mike from Canada says:

    Oh. Look what I found:
    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (1999)

    The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) approved the following statement in support of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals in June 1999:

    “There is no evidence to suggest or support that parents with a gay, lesbian, or bisexual orientation are per se different from or deficient in parenting skills, child-centered concerns and parent-child attachments, when compared to parents with a heterosexual orientation. It has long been established that a homosexual orientation is not related to psychopathology, and there is no basis on which to assume that a parental homosexual orientation will increase likelihood of or induce a homosexual orientation in the child.

    American Academy of Family Physicians (2002)

    On gay and lesbian parenting. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) adopted the following position statement at its October 2002 meeting:

    “RESOLVED, That the AAFP establish policy and be supportive of legislation which promotes a safe and nurturing environment, including psychological and legal security, for all children, including those of adoptive parents, regardless of the parents’ sexual orientation. ”

    American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (2004)

    On same-sex unions. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers adopted the following position statement at its November 2004 meeting:

    “BE IT RESOLVED That the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers supports the legalization of marriage between same-sex couples and the extension to same-sex couples who marry and their children of all of the legal rights and obligations of spouses and children of spouses.”

    American Academy of Pediatrics (2002)

    The American Academy of Pediatrics issued the following statement in support of gay and lesbian parenting and called for equal access to co-parenting and second-parent adoption rights for gay and lesbian parents in February 2002:

    “Children deserve to know that their relationships with both of their parents are stable and legally recognized. This applies to all children, whether their parents are of the same or opposite sex. The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes that a considerable body of professional literature provides evidence that children with parents who are homosexual can have the same advantages and the same expectations for health, adjustment, and development as can children whose parents are heterosexual. When two adults participate in parenting a child, they and the child deserve the serenity that comes with legal recognition.

    “Children born or adopted into families headed by partners who are of the same sex usually have only one biologic or adoptive legal parent. The other partner in a parental role is called the “coparent” or “second parent.” Because these families and children need the permanence and security that are provided by having two fully sanctioned and legally defined parents, the Academy supports the legal adoption of children by coparents or second parents. Denying legal parent status through adoption to coparents or second parents prevents these children from enjoying the psychologic and legal security that comes from having two willing, capable, and loving parents.

    American Anthropological Association (2004)

    On same-sex unions. The American Anthropological Association issued the following statement in February 2004:

    “The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.

    American Medical Association

    On gay and lesbian parenting. The American Medical Association adopted the following position statement at its June 2004 meeting:

    “WHEREAS, Having two fully sanctioned and legally defined parents promotes a safe and nurturing environment for children, including psychological and legal security; and

    “WHEREAS, Children born or adopted into families headed by partners who are of the same sex usually have only one biologic or adoptive legal parent; and

    “WHEREAS, The legislative protection afforded to children of parents in homosexual relationships varies from state to state, with some states enacting or considering legislation sanctioning co-parent or second parent adoption by partners of the same sex, several states declining to consider legislation, and at least one state altogether banning adoption by the second parent; and

    “WHEREAS, Co-parent or second parent adoption guarantees that the second parent’s custody rights and responsibilities are protected if the first parent dies or becomes incapacitated; and

    “WHEREAS, Co-parent or second parent adoption ensures the child’s eligibility for health benefits from both parents and establishes the requirement for child support from both parents in the event of the parents’ separation; and

    “WHEREAS, Co-parent or second parent adoption establishes legal grounds to provide consent for medical care and to make health care decisions on behalf of the child and guarantees visitation rights if the child becomes hospitalized; and

    “WHEREAS, The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association have each issued statements supporting initiatives which allow same-sex couples to adopt and co-parent children; therefore be it

    “RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association support legislative and other efforts to allow the adoption of a child by the same-sex partner, or opposite sex non-married partner, who functions as a second parent or co-parent to that child. (New HOD Policy)”

    American Psychiatric Association (2002, 1997, and 2000)

    On gay and lesbian parenting. The American Psychiatric Association adopted the following position statement at its November 2002 meeting:

    “The American Psychiatric Association supports initiatives that allow same-sex couples to adopt and co-parent children and supports all the associated legal rights, benefits, and responsibilities which arise from such initiatives. ”

    American Psychoanalytic Association (1997 and 2002)

    On gay and lesbian parenting. The American Psychoanalytic Association adopted this policy statement in support of gay and lesbian parenting in May 2002:

    “The American Psychoanalytic Association supports the position that the salient consideration in decisions about parenting, including conception, child rearing, adoption, visitation and custody is in the best interest of the child. Accumulated evidence suggests the best interest of the child requires attachment to committed, nurturing and competent parents. Evaluation of an individual or couple for these parental qualities should be determined without prejudice regarding sexual orientation. Gay and lesbian individuals and couples are capable of meeting the best interest of the child and should be afforded the same rights and should accept the same responsibilities as heterosexual parents. With the adoption of this position statement, we support research studies that further our understanding of the impact of both traditional and gay/lesbian parenting on a child’s development. ”

    American Psychological Association (1976, 1998, and 2004)

    For full text of APA policy statements on lesbian, gay, and bisexual concerns, see APA policy lgbc.

    On parenting. The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives adopted the following position statement in September 1976:

    “The sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation of natural or prospective adoptive or foster parents should not be the sole or primary variable considered in custody or placement cases. ”

    Reference: Conger, J. J. (1977). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the year 1976: Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council of Representatives. American Psychologist, 32, 408-438.

    Child Welfare League of America (1988)

    The Child Welfare League of America’s Standards of Excellence for Adoption Services states:

    “Applicants should be assessed on the basis of their abilities to successfully parent a child needing family membership and not on their race, ethnicity or culture, income, age, marital status, religion, appearance, differing lifestyles, or sexual orientation.” Further, applicants for adoption should be accepted “on the basis of an individual assessment of their capacity to understand and meet the needs of a particular available child at the point of adoption and in the future. ”

    National Association of Social Workers (2002)

    The National Association of Social Workers approved the following policy statement at in August 2002 at the NASW Delegate Assembly.

    “Legislation legitimizing second-parent adoptions in same-sex households should be supported. Legislation seeking to restrict foster care and adoption by gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people should be vigorously opposed. ”

    National Association of Social Workers (1994). Policy statement on lesbian and gay issues. In Social Work Speaks: NASW Policy Statements (pp. 162-165). Washington, DC: National Association of Social Workers.

    North American Council on Adoptable Children (1998)

    The North American Council on Adoptable Children issued a policy statement in 1998 (amended April 14, 2002) that states:

    “Children should not be denied a permanent family because of the sexual orientation of potential parents. Everyone with the potential to successfully parent a child in foster care or adoption is entitled to fair and equal consideration.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2013/04/11/a-new-fan-is-concerned/#comment-101927

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: