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March 04, 2014

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If the argument for one position logically entails, point by point, conclusions that are beyond the immediate conclusion being argued for, then pointing out this fact is not a "slippery slope fallacy." It's only a fallacy if one just baldly asserts that the argument being criticized will lead to the undesired/unforeseen conclusions without demonstrating that this is so.

In the case of the argument for "gay marriage," the ban on plural marriage is subject to all the same criticisms as a ban on homosexual marriage. Find any argument made for homosexual marriage and try to find one way in which the argument for plural marriage doesn't apply in precisely the same ways.

A year ago, in a post on an unrelated matter, the issue of the "slippery slope fallacy" was raised. As this fallacy was not included in the listing of formal fallacies in my logic course book (Copi's Introduction to Logic), I asked as to the foundational rationale of considering this line of thought as fallacious. Unfortunately, my inquiry received no request. But in later conversations with friends, it was put forward as a failure to establish a line of causality. to assert that action A results in result D, you must have events B and C occur in expectation. A break in this line invalidates an appeal to a disastrous slippery slope.

However, there are two counters to this objection. We do have an ability to examine incidents in retrospection, and understand a degree of "lessons of history" which we are doomed to repeat if we fail to learn them. A concern for culture and its possible degeneration compels us. The link between SSM and pedophilia was naturally unconnected. But if the allowance of one leads to the eventual acceptance of the other ... this is the heart of the slippery slope notion. Causality from event A to event D need not be complete, if events B and C are horrible enough to lead to a re-examination of root causes.

The domino fallacy reminds me of the domino theory of the 1960's, that the fall of South Vietnam will lead to the communist take-over of the whole Malaysian Peninsula. Granted, Singapore remains free, but then there is Laos and Kampuchea. The "slippery slope" argument remains valid in the point that consequences beyond desired actions and decisions trigger possible undesirables.

Perhaps objections to SSM is not driven by homophobia and hatred. An honest assessment of what impels it should be fairly and impassionately (i.e. rationally and not emotionally) addressed.

Marriage has been described for millenia as a union between one man and one woman. So, if you then change that description, it then opens it up to whatever someone wants it to be. The question is, what is marriage?

Pardon me, maybe I'm just too new a Christian. This relates to selflessness, acceptance and love for my neighbor, how exactly?

San Clemente, by learning how to think clearly, we learn how to best love our neighbor. The challenges are here to help us learn how to think clearly about the truth about this world. This challenge, in particular, since it has to do with marriage (which is the foundation of every society) has to do with what it means to be human, understanding how God created us, the needs of children and society, and more.

If it is the case that same-sex marriage will be damaging to society by disconnecting it from the complementary biology of men and women and the resulting children--if there will be repercussions that will adversely affect everybody in our society--then to advocate it is to not love our neighbor.

And if retaining man/woman marriage is necessary for the long-term health of everyone in our society, then to argue for it is the loving thing to do.

We must learn to think clearly about this in order to love, because how can we know what the loving action is if we haven't yet thought carefully about this issue?

Gay Marriage Equality absolutely has a slippery slope. The slippery slope is the redefinition of gender, family structure, sexual morality, and marriage itself. Gay Marriage redefines all 4 of these values. Redefinition changes meaning and renders the differentiating attributes of the union of husband & wife and the family structure of mother & father as trivial to the defining of marriage. Gay Marriage is the celebration of homosexuality as a virtue. Sexuality is untethered, liberated from the 'oppression' of morality. Gay Marriage is the liberation of a sexual minority as if it is the same as ethnicity. Gay Marriage is the recognition that sexual desire defines your identity.

This is a radical reordering of the cornerstone of society. It renders those who openly oppose this reordering as socially pathological. Gay Marriage is fundamentally in direct conflict with 1st Amendment liberties. Gay Marriage is anti-Christian conscience. It is the suppression of thought, intuition, conscience, and objective empirical reality.

That, my friends, is the slippery slope. You can't get more slippier.

It’s not a slippery slope because they said so. Polygamy, as the piece notes, would be hard. Squabbles would occur. Who gets the final word? Is this a joke? Unfortunately, it’s not.

1. Consenting adults should be able to love whomever they choose

2. People should be able to marry whomever they love

3. People can love more than one person

4. Therefore, people should be able to marry more than one person

Now, where is the problem in the above? If there is one, someone should speak up and at least acknowledge that they’re prepared to ban forms of marriage and join the bigot club.

For anyone interested - look into contract/business law as it relates to business formations, activities, legal entities, etc. and you will wonder no more about how the government can enforce specific agreements made between parties.

“Who gets the final word?”

Haha! Who gets that anyway?!

KWM. Liked your 1st post. Not sure I understand your 2nd post.

The difference is the 'equality' argument. A corporation is separate, distinct, and unequal to a limited partnership. There are substantive differences in these contractual arrangements. Thus they are defined as different with different name/description with different attributes and qualities.

The government isn't coercing the fiction of that corporations = limited partnerships. They are separate legal contractual arrangements with substantive differences that make them unequal.

Gay Marriage Equality is the coercion of the fiction that the partnership of 2 identical genders equals the union of husband & wife. The state licensing that apples = oranges is possible. The state has the police power to coerce the fiction that odometers = speedometers. But nothing of substance changes with the license. Apples will never equal oranges. And odometers serve an entirely different purpose than a speedometer.

The final word would be objective empirical realities. Yes, the state has the police power to override these realities. But that's no different than the tale of the Emperor's New Clothes. Empirically, we see him naked.

Phyte On,

Thank you. My point on the second was that the objection (to polygamy) from the piece, that creating a marriage contract would difficult between multiple individuals – and the reason to avoid it is absurd.

The government could arbitrate a contract between multiple individuals. Saying that multiple spouses would fight over these things isn’t really their objection.

They know it. And we know it.

Pardon me, maybe I'm just too new a Christian. This relates to selflessness, acceptance and love for my neighbor, how exactly?

I think if you reduce Christianity down to only those things, then you only have the same basic qualities most people think are good.

The core of the faith is that we have sinned against a Holy God who, in His justice and mercy, sent His son to die in place of us and rise again to purchase a pardon for us. And only by admitting our sin and changing our minds and hearts about it and accepting His pardon can we be redeemed.

OK, I think I get it. In other words there is nothing preventing the government from arbitrating a contract between multiple individuals. From a secular statist stand point, this is just 'details'. Perhaps, more complicated but certainly very doable. The only objection is some kind of 'inner voice', subjective opinion that polygamy is a bridge too far - another form of irrational bigotry and discrimination (eg. toward a bisexual marriage between 3 people or Muslim man/multiple wives).

"Pardon me, maybe I'm just too new a Christian. This relates to selflessness, acceptance and love for my neighbor, how exactly?"

Wish it were that simple. Unfortunately, Gay Marriage Equality fundamentally reorders our civilization. The reordering of the cornerstone of civilization directly impacts everyone. See my post @ 12:43PM. And see others. It will do great harm to me, my family, my children, and grandchildren. Social entropy is the cause of much injustice in the world.

See my post @ 12:43PM.

You can obviously have polygamous marriage, it is just that society and laws do not grant any sort of special privileges such as tax exemptions and inheritance rights to your "third" and "fourth" "wives".

The problem is that homosexual people do not have access to these privileges, with the specific person they have decided to spend their days with, simply because they have the same stuff hanging between their legs. This is the fundamental problem.

The problem is that third and fourth wives do not have access to these privileges (such as tax exemptions and inheritance rights) with the specific person they have decided to spend their days with, simply because they came into that persons life later. This is the fundamental problem.

The government's interest in recognizing and supporting marriage goes way beyond the "stuff hanging between their legs."

The fundamental problem is that nobody wants to think about why the government has (or maybe it's 'had' at this point) any interest at all in marriage.

Oh, and pointing out a slippery slope is not a fallacy if the slope actually is slippery.

I would be more compelled by the 'polygamy is a different sort of thing' argument from the original objector if a parallel case didn't occur every time two (or more, given the prevalence of divorce and remarriage) parents disagreed over some issue relating to a child's (without loss of generality) medical care. it seems we could resolve legal issues between multiple spouses the same way we resolve them between multiple parents.

Besides, it seems odd to think that two women married to the same man cannot be considered (in some sense) as married to each other as well, and thus just as open to the 'our things, not mine or yours' argument. (two women are allowed to be married of course. this isn't some backwards locale that practices marital discrimination, is it?)

I don't think that there is necessarily a logical connection between accepting polygamous marriage and accepting same-sex marriage. SSM is at its core an equal rights problem: the core of the problem is that heterosexual people have access to rights that homosexuals do not without the unreasonable demand that they "correct" their own sexuality. There is no equal rights problem in polygamy: society does not legally recognize polygamy for heterosexuals AND homosexuals, and while it can be argued that it should, there is no acute problem of privilege.

The question of polygamy really depends on whether non-monogamous systems of marriage are a reasonable demand or should have some sort of special recognition. Personally, I don't think they should: monogamy is one cornerstone of stable families.

Oh yes, and while I am slightly sympathetic to the argument that marriage has been diluted to nearly not anything with no-fault divorce and sexual relationships outside marriage, (arguably true, but rather impossible to rectify) it is little more then hypocrisy to start demanding that homosexuals to be the thin red line between marriage anarchy and eternal holy sacrament, while heterosexual relationships are almost an equal mess. Its a bit like having legalized drugs, expect for homosexuals, because "we can't all be taking drugs". Simply but, this is not the battlefield.

The “slippery slope” argument works to a point in the same sex marriage debate…and then it doesn’t.

All laws introduce the possibility of slippery slopes; we presume enacted laws have a reason, and those reasons may modify over time, causing further limitation or allowances. For a simple example—a law increasing a speed limit to 60 mph on a highway. Such a law provides a slippery slope: in the future we coul increase the speed limit to 65 or 70 or 100 mph. Eventually we may have no speed limit whatsoever. And once we have no speed limit on one highway, we coul do it on main thoroughfares, and then side streets and then city streets.

If we increase the speed limit to 60 mph, by slippery slope, we will eventually have no traffic laws whatsoever!

As you can see, modifying one (1) speed limit on one (1) highway does not necessarily and automatically entail eventual elimination of all traffic laws. We recognize the difference in highways and city streets (even though both are roads with speed limits.) We recognize the difference between speed limits of 60 and 100 mph.

Marriage is the same; allowing two males or two females to marry does not necessarily and automatically mean cats and dogs will be living together in the future. Each modification to marriage carries its own hurdles and issues.

Perhaps philosophically, one can make the connection from same-sex marriage to polygamy; pragmatically the law is not designed to sustain such relationships. If a husband decided to divorce one wife, but keep another, how do we determine spousal support? Or what would inheritance rights be between multiple spouses? Or real estate obligations? Or tax benefits? Granted, we could introduce laws upon laws upon laws to account for these modifications (and all the lawyers salivate over such a prospect; we could print our own money), but this would be a Herculean task.

Frankly, the closer argument would be incestuous marriage between two people. The arguments are more closely aligned.

The slippery slope argument fails on the issue of consent. Just like we recognize the difference between highways and city streets for speed limits, we likewise recognize the difference between consent and non-consensual actions within marriage.

Consent is an integral part or our law. We use it when discussing recording conversations, entering contracts, sexual relationships, civil liability, criminal intent and yes…marriage. If one cannot consent (by determination of law or mental inability) they cannot be married. The reason the slippery slope stops here is that box turtles, donkeys, trees and minors cannot consent—they cannot perform a basic legal requirement of marriage.

While one could justifiably argue polygamous and incestuous relationships could consent (thus taking the slippery partway down the slope); there is legal recognizable difference when hitting the wall of nonconsensual. I hope Alan explains in his response, how allowing marriage between consenting individuals necessarily and automatically leads us down a slippery slope to allowing marriage between non-consenting individuals.

Erkki,

There is no equal rights problem in polygamy

What about someone who is bisexual? This person is in love with both a man and a woman. The consenting man and woman wish to enter into marriage with this person. Yet you would prohibit them from doing so because you think “monogamy is one cornerstone of stable families”.

You’ve come out against being able to marry whomever you love. So let’s get that out of the way. Now you’re making the case about what’s good for society. But 3 consenting adults shouldn’t care what you think about what's good for society, right? You’re restricting their right to happiness in marrying each other based on…what? Your gut feeling that monogamy is ideal?

Why strive for the ideal and restrict consenting adults (bisexuals) wishes to marry whomever they love?

DagoodS,

If we increase the speed limit to 60 mph, by slippery slope, we will eventually have no traffic laws whatsoever!

As you acknowledge, the reasoning to increase the speed limit to 60 isn’t the same for abolishing the speed limit. Unfortunately, the reasoning to allow same sex marriage is the same for marriage with other types of relationships.

You have a choice. You can join Erkki and prohibit certain relationships based on what you feel is good for society - OR - you can choose to be inconsistent in your views.

If you choose the former, you have to prove why that's the case, and show why 3 consenting adults wishing to marry should be restricted because of it.

If a husband decided to divorce one wife, but keep another, how do we determine spousal support? Or what would inheritance rights be between multiple spouses? Or real estate obligations? Or tax benefits?
I addressed this earlier. Contracts can lay it out. Contracts are enforceable by government. No problem when consenting adults enter into binding contracts. Again, go look at contract/business law and see the gamut of laws that parties can mutually agree to. The “Herculean task” is done each and every day.


    You’ve come out against being able to marry whomever you love.

This whole "you should be able to marry whoever you love" is not exactly the argument for SSM, even though one often hears it as a slogan. The whole point is more like "society should not arbitrarily impose obstacles for marriage privileges based on sexual orientation."


    You’re restricting their right to happiness in marrying each other based on…what? Your gut feeling that monogamy is ideal?

Well, there does exist in my opinion reasonable arguments against polygamy: if men could marry as many women they want, there would be undue amount of competition finding marriage-age women, which could destabilize society, as we have seen in societies where men can have multiple wives. Also it is too legally complex: there are no Western legal standards for inheritance rights and custody rights for polygamous relationships, so they would have to be invented out of cloth. Obviously, if someone does decide to live with multiple men or women as "spouses" there is no legal way to stop this, but this does not affect the laws of marriage.

MPM (Multi-Partner Marriage) is at its core an equal rights problem: the core of the problem is that polyamorous people have access to rights that monamorous do not without the unreasonable demand that they "correct" the number of people whom they love. There is no equal rights problem in same-sex-marriage: society need not legally recognize same-sex-marriage for the polyamourous AND the monamorous (the fact that a husband has two wives need not imply that the wives are married to each other...likewise for a wife with two husbands), and while it can be argued that it should, there is no acute problem of privilege.

(I can do this all day, Erkki)

By the way, anytime anyone mentions that the reason to prohibit other types of marriages is because they’d be hard or legally complex, know it’s just a ruse.

On top of that, the person saying it most likely doesn’t know how intricate and detailed contract law can be. On top of even that, even if they were told everything can work on the contract side, they would still believe certain types of marriages should be prohibited. This obviously means they knew it meant nothing in the first place.

The reasons they do this is usually two-fold:

1. They realize it opens the case for same-sex marriage up to just criticism

2. They believe other forms of marriage are harmful to society but they feel uncomfortable saying so due to personal conflicted emotions

KWM,

To clarify, I agree polygamy and incestuous marriage have similar arguments as same sex marriage. Not sure how this is inconsistent.

We already have contract law in place—prenuptial agreements. At this time, prenuptial agreements are not a requirement for marriage, the parties must (as in all contract law) consent to the terms. Indeed, one legal tool to set aside prenuptial agreements is to claim they were obtained fraudulently or by force—in other words, failure to consent will remain a problem even within contract law.

Are you suggesting prenuptial agreements become a necessary requirement for marriage? Won’t our slippery slope still grind to a halt, as the difference highlighted is consent? And one can’t enter into a contract with a box turtle, donkey or minor for the same reason—lack of consent—one can’t marry a box turtle, donkey or minor.

DagwoodS,

Are you suggesting prenuptial agreements become a necessary requirement for marriage?

The only thing I really need to say is that if voters (or judges) wanted legal polygamy, we would have it. No difficulty with contract law would stand in the way. That’s enough to render that point meaningless for the purposes of this discussion.

Now, you can move on to the real reason why we should prohibit polygamy. Once you identify that, then you can explain why 3 consenting adults wishing to marry, should conform to your viewpoint on whether or not their relationship should be unrecognized when other forms of relationships are recognized / endorsed.

Erikki S,

Marriage Equality (Gay Marriage) is fundamentally a fiction. Gay Marriage sees an EQUALITY between the partnership of 2 identical genders vs. union of husband & wife. This is ludicrous, illogical, and irrational. There is no equality.

The union of husband & wife is profoundly exceptional, separate, and unequal to the partnership of 2 identical genders...in form, function, purpose, design, value, meaning, and tradition. There is NO EQUALITY.

Gay Marriage has NOTHING to do with the union of husband & wife or establishing the family structure of mother & father. NOTHING. WORLDS APART. SEPARATE & UNEQUAL. INHERENTLY and SUBSTANTIVELY not unequal.

This is objective empirical reality.

The coercion of the fiction of EQUALITY is evil in and by itself. The coercion to suppress thought, intuition, conscience, and objective empirical reality is evil. Evil.

This sort of coercion of a lie is a slippery slope in and of itself. Where else do we defy objective empirical realities?

Erriki S,

A couple more things...3rd paragraph above (10:59AM post) should read, "Inherently and substantively unequal".

Secondly, Gay Marriage can only 'ape' the attributes of the union of husband & wife and the family structure of mother & father. This is an immutable law. Nothing can change this. Gay Marriage can only 'ape' the institution as defined as the union of husband & wife.

The only way you can invent EQUALITY is by trivializing and rendering irrelevant: Gender, Family Structure, Sexual Morality, and the union of husband & wife. The only way you can invent EQUALITY is by rendering the union of husband & wife as meaningless and then make up an entirely new definition.

Dagwood S..."I hope Alan explains in his response, how allowing marriage between consenting individuals necessarily and automatically leads us down a slippery slope to allowing marriage between non-consenting individuals."

The slippery slope is the:

1) State sanctioning of a lie of 'equality'. Empirically, we know that the union of husband & wife is profoundly exceptional, separate, and unequal to the partnership of 2 identical genders. (see story about Emperor's New Clothes).

2)Redefining gender, family structure, sexual morality. Modern inventions ex-nihilo. Making things up to rationalize whatever ends you want to achieve.

3) Sexuality must be liberated from the 'oppression' of morality. Sexuality is no different than ethnicity. Sexual desire determines one's identity.

Mix lie with invented meanings with sexual liberation and what do you get? All kinds of creative sexual arrangements.

If you lie here, and invent meanings here, and liberate sexuality from morality...what do you think that leads to?

Apply the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (social entropy) and the law of diminishing return...

Voila! Imagine the possibilities!

There have been 4 lines crossed (by Gay Marriage Equality) that a previous generation would have never thought imaginable:

1) Homosexual marriage = union of husband & wife = homosexual marriage. Marriage equality. In purpose, meaning, function, design, and value. Equal.

2) The modern construct of a separate transgender identity (Gay) of equal virtue/value to male or female. The Gay identity treated similarly to ethnicity/race/color. Gender is meaningless to the institution of marriage.

3)Sexuality must be divorced from morality, sexuality liberated from the 'oppression' of morality. Homosexuality is decreed virtuous.

4)Those who openly advocate that marriage is exclusively defined as the union of man & woman are deemed socially pathological, immoral, and bigoted.

All 4 of these lines have been crossed in "Gay Marriage". Unfathomable a generation ago.

If these 4 lines have been successfully crossed then why not another successive set of lines/boundaries and sexual arrangements? Arrangements that today's current generation would find unthinkable.

In fact, the entire basis for Gay Marriage is that tradition is not fixed, things evolve, things progress. We evolve on these issues. Evolution continues. Tradition is antiquated old-fashion thinking. Just a matter of time for new definitions, meanings, boundaries, and contractual arrangements. Why not?

Well said, Phyte On. Amazing how this generation has swallowed this whole thing hook, line and sinker! Who would have ever thought that parents would have to specifically point out that marriage is between a man and a woman? Yet here we are, in the midst of social destruction, with offspring who find that concept antiquated and repressive. Satan is having a field day...

Phyte On,

I am very offended by your Apephobic bigotry.

Why bring Apes into this? Bigot. What will it be next? Goats?

Goat Head 5

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