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October 23, 2008

Comments

What evidence is there that suggests homosexuality isn't natural and therefore normal? If homosexuality is natural and normal how is this list of objections any different than say a similar list objecting to teaching children of inter-racial relationships?

The necessarily barren nature of a homosexual relationship is solid evidence that homosexuality is not natural, much less normal.

There's nothing materially different between the races. There is, however, an enormous difference between the sexes. To draw meaningful parallels between interracial marriage and homosexual marriage is intellectually irresponsible.

Race is not relevant to the family-producing capability of a marriage. The sex of the partners certainly is.

Whether or not homosexuality is "natural" or "normal" is irrelevant. The fallen state of Man is also natural and normal. But we still have laws against lying, cheating and stealing.

Both repsonses so far object to my comparison because homosexual couples are unable, by themselves, to create offspring. In alignment with that reasoning should I assume both commenters object to an infertile man marrying a fertile woman or vice versa?

Aaron, I think it depends on what you mean by natural. Can you explain more what you mean by that? If you're going strictly by nature, men's bodies are designed to be with women, not with men--both in terms of the physical way they fit together and in terms of purpose (procreation). Would you agree with that?

Part of the reason for the quick spread of diseases through the homosexual community is that, physically, they are going against nature and using their bodies in a way those bodies aren't designed to handle. I won't go into detail here, but very sadly, the physical danger they put themselves in by going against nature results in more easily spread diseases.

I think you could make other arguments, but I'm not sure how you would argue that it's natural and normal. What are your thoughts?

What evidence?

I know people that are ex-gay. I don't know anyone that is ex-black.

An infertile man is pitied if it is natural infertility. If he has had "the big-V" then it is un-natural infertility.

Either way, the fertility is regarding design and not the actual ability.

A man and a man will _never_ be able to conceive. Yet the infertile couple, Abramham and Sarah, even in their old age, conceived.

"In alignment with that reasoning should I assume both commenters object to an infertile man marrying a fertile woman or vice versa?"

Fair enough question, though I think it overlooks the fact that we make laws based on rules, not exceptions. For example, why have a legal voting age of 18? Is it impossible that a 14-year-old can possess enough maturity and civic awareness to vote responsibly? Certainly. Is it possible that some folks in their twenties (or even thirties or forties) still lack the requisite knowledge to cast a responsible vote (I know... don't laugh)?

The law exists because *as a rule* the 18+ crowd displays a higher capacity for wise decision-making. I could multiply examples of similar laws (drinking age, using cell phones while driving, etc.), but I think you get the point.

Aaron, your objection is actually one which has been quite thoroughly addressed on this site (www.str.org). See the articles under the "resources on ethics". For example, "what is normal" or "searching for the sin gene"

Essentially, there are good reasons to say that homosexuality is unnatural even from a secular and physiological standpoint. However, were there evidence that homosexuality is indeed natural, it would not follow that it is moral. People may feel naturally drawn to some behavior but it does not follow that this behavior is benign.

If it's natural then it's normal is to hold true and we are to tolerate and celebrate that which is natural, then what about natural intolerance? This too must be affirmed and celebrated. We will then need to have a cirricula of intolerance. I will say this that next are the children in the professinal literature (Psychiatric) they are now re-thinking whether sex with children is really that bad or abnormal. Here it comes.
So not only isn't this neutral, it is going somewhere.
Remember: What is born in the ivory tower eventually ends up roaming the streets.

How is homosexuality the same as race?

It seems to me that, in the relevant sense, chewing gum is unnatural. But so what?

There has been observations of homosexual behavior in many species of animals and there are arguments that support the idea that homosexual behavior evolved so that the nonreproducing members of a species would be available to help care for the offspring of others which benefited the genes which they share. I'm interested in what evidence there is to suggest homosexuality is not natural.

But we all agree, don't we, that even if homosexual behavior were "unnatural," this wouldn't by itself make it in any important sense wrong?

But AaronSTL: the observations you refer to are very interesting. Might you have at hand the reference? It seems to me that for too long people have been excusing their own bigotry by appeals to what is natural.

(Though again, even if anti-gay or racist bigotry is in some sense an evolved trait, leftover perhaps from our ruthless years on the savannah, this wouldn't make bigotry permissible.)

steve,

Here's a start:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_animals

"There has been observations of homosexual behavior in many species of animals and there are arguments that support the idea that homosexual behavior evolved so that the nonreproducing members of a species would be available to help care for the offspring of others which benefited the genes which they share. I'm interested in what evidence there is to suggest homosexuality is not natural."

Homosexuality is more than just behavior, it is an unnatural attraction to the same sex that is found nowhere in nature. The examples that you could cite in the animal world are not the same thing as they only address sexual gratification and do not demonstrate that there is the unnatural homosexual attraction of the kind existing in the human population. There are examples that have been and can be cited of clear evidence that behavior in animals that has an appearance of attraction, is nothing of the kind. Therefore, we are justified in concluding that there is no example in nature that shows this to be a natural response to the same sex partner. I.E. it is not natural.

I think that it is necessary to define clearly what is meant by natural and normal.

You could say that simply because homosexual behavior occurs in human populations that it is normal, in the sense that it occurs. If it were possible that it occurs biologically without any external influences it could be considered natural.

There are other ways to define the terms that would exclude homosexual behavior from being defined as normal or natural. Amy begins to address this.

In my opinion, until Aaron STL defines his terms it will be difficult to address his argument in a convincing way.

Who claims that there is some sense of “natural” in which homosexual behavior turns out to be unnatural, and that it is this fact about the behavior that makes it wrong? I suppose that the burden of providing a definition of the relevant concept of “natural” ought also to be shared by those who claim this.

If it were possible that it occurs biologically without any external influences it could be considered natural.

William,

There is evidence that suggests biological factors that contribute to the causation of homosexual behavior in humans. Data shows the more older brothers a male has the higher his chance of being homosexual. A current hypothesis is that there may be causal relationship between a mother's exposure to the testosterone in fetal males and homosexuality in subsequent males.

Whether homosexuality is "natural" (by whatever definition) is wholly irrelevant to the issue of whether state-sanctioned same-sex "marriage" leads to state-sanctioned intolerance of those who don't recognize it as legitimate.

Mike, suppose I grant what you say. Still, do judgments about the "naturalness" of homosexual behavior have anything to do with why you (I presume) and others don't recognize same-sex marriage as legitimate?

Nature is descriptive. Meaning that other animal species may have behaviors that are construed as homosexual but if looked closer might be dominance behavior or simply sexual gratification. Homosexuality (sexual attraction only toward the same sex) in humans is a phenomenon that occurs within the human specie and has not been conclusively shown in other species, which is then part of nature. The problem is not "is homosexuality a part of human nature" but does marriage apply to this phenomenon called homosexuality. Procreation is the most important result of human marriage and supported by the similar mating partnership within other animals, which is primarily for procreation. Procreation in other animals are only between male and female unions....mating partners. Same sex acts in other animals does not fit into their own model of procreation mting partnership-- justified through courting behavior vs dominance behavior or sexual gratification. Thus from nature one cannot say that same sex acts, human and other animal species, are for the purpose of marriage/mating resuling in reproduction. Simply because other species do not use same sex acts in place of procreation, because the same individuals will procreate if given the opportunity (new alpha male or successful mate selection etc..), similarly in humans this similar phenomen can be seen in altered populations such as sexual gratification in prisoners. However reproduction is not biologically possible for the same sex practice within any specie. Back to the real issue of marriage (mating partners in other animals)....which correctly in nature belongs btwn only different sex. Legal, cultural and moral aspect of marriage (primarily human) has nothing to do with other animal specie's sexual behaviors.

Hi Steve, you asked:

"Still, do judgments about the "naturalness" of homosexual behavior have anything to do with why you (I presume) and others don't recognize same-sex marriage as legitimate?"

I think to answer your question it would make sense to compare this behavior with any other behavior that the state discourages by making it illegal. The civil magistrate has the authority to promote good behavior by rewarding it and punishsing the behaviors that are not beneficial. If it could be proven that homosexual behavior is indeed a proper and good expression of humanness it might be argued a different way. Facts being what they are, this will never be the case. So, it does matter whether that presupposition is faithful to truth when we decide if the state is correct in approving it or discouraging it.

I believe that the Christian position is that this practice offends God as does every other assault on the "imago dei" which every sin is. The state doesnt have to legislate on that ground, but there is ample evidence to support the case that the "gay" lifestyle is unhealty and destructive and not worthy of state approval since society will suffer if the state rewards this behavior.

Brad B

"The civil magistrate has the authority to...punish[] the behaviors that are not beneficial."

Brad B, I think your claim needs to be qualified. It would be rather distasteful (to say the least) for the government to punish people for such non-beneficial behaviors as eating junk food or watching prime time television. In general, coercive legislation seems to require a much stronger justification than that which you suggest. Why? Because coercive legislation is coercive. That is, it limits a person's freedom, which is something most of us highly value. Some even say that we have a right to our freedom--a right that isn't trumped by simple considerations of what is more beneficial (either to oneself or even to society as a whole).

"Brad B, I think your claim needs to be qualified. It would be rather distasteful (to say the least) for the government to punish people for such non-beneficial behaviors as eating junk food or watching prime time television."

First of all, I think I see your point here, but I don't think I can agree with it entirely only partly. I don't think that eating junk food is non-beneficial. Even if it is only empty calories, we need calories to function. So, there is some benefit from that. Although it is a good point that one should not eat junk food in excess or exclusively. I don't know that watching prime time television is entirely non-beneficial either. There are times when you can see special reports during that time that can be quite beneficial under certain circumstances. But this is really not the main point here.

"In general, coercive legislation seems to require a much stronger justification than that which you suggest. Why? "

Prohibition against murder can be called coercive legislation too. Have things changed so much that they have outlawed same sex unions? Last time I checked, such unions are not illegal and certainly anyone who so wishes can indeed join in such a union without restrictions. The only bone of contention is this issue of it being given the moniker of being a marriage, which is meant to describe the basic building block of society..i.e family.

Now, to illustrate the importance of traditional marriage:
If we outlawed(extreme case) same sex unions, what would happen to society? Nothing...it would remain the same as it has always been.

If we outlaw traditional marriage, society becomes extinct. This is the reason that it is in the best interest of governments to recognize traditional marriage as a critical component of any society. Without it a society dies.

Nice job Louis.

steve, it isn't just a matter of making it illegal, but lets use cigarettes as an example. When it is not in the interest of society in general, they didn't outlaw them, but taxed them so heavily as to make them less of a temptation, thus less smoke. Then there is seatbelts as another example...I could go on. Now, I'm not for government intervention on every aspect of life, but when necessary I am in favor. As an example, in 1969 when I was in elementary school in So.Cal, there were many days when you could barely see a mile due to smog. Clean air laws forced people to modify behavior in how they labored for profit. It was a good tact--as I look back in hindsight [although in my high school years as a hot rodder, I despised the regulations].

I guess a key phrase I would requote is according to founding fathers, our form of government will only work with a moral people--in other words, freedom isn't the liberty to do what you want to do, it is the liberty to do what you *ought* to do.

A moral society will obey oughtness before law is necessary. If the sensability of the general public lack so as to have goverment step in, so be it. Civil rights laws in particular modified the morality of the people--justly. Homosexualness is not a civil right though, government is not above law either, so it needs check and balance also--the right of the people to rebel.

Brad B

What new information not available, say 10 or 15 years ago, compels us to accept homosexual marriage?

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