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October 28, 2010

Comments

Great point! It always amazes me how many people claim tolerance as the highest aim and then go to show how intolerant they are of viewpoints that are not consistent with their own. I gladly say I am intolerant of certain things, but at least I am upfront.

Also, doesn't the term "tolerance" by definition mean that you will disagree with the person but will put up with them? What passes for "tolerance" these days seems to be more of a "you are wrong and should go away" type of mentality.

Todd

That's actually quite true, no one can escape using their brain as some sort of filter, to judge.

It depends what the idea is.

Is it possible to respect the idea of racism, or the idea of torturing people for fun?

I don't think I could respect those ideas.

-

Also, ideas don't need respect. They are intangible, they have no feelings. people need respect, not ideas.

It is possible, and challenging to respect a person with abhorrent ideas/beliefs.

"It is possible, and challenging to respect a person with abhorrent ideas/beliefs."

So, if someone holds the view that traditional marriage is the best model for society, does that make it hard for you to respect that person, Boz?

You know, you have this annoying penchant of taking extremes, when clearly the post speaks to moral issues of which we can disagree without calling people bigots.

What normal, morally-sensitive, rational-thinking person would take the position of condoning murder or slavery?

It's a non-sequitur.

Boz
Who then decides what "idea" should be tolerated. You, me, God?

Great point and advice!

You might flummox some using this tack of shifting the burden. But you won't have given a reason for your view and you might have cost yourself the consideration of some interesting questions, like:

Do you have a good reason for your view?

If that reason rests somehow on the truth of Christianity, what are the implications of your doubts (about Christianity)?

RonH

Specifically for the issue at hand (homosexuality), the second question means: If Christianity is not true what does that say about your treatment of gays?

Likewise, if Christianity is not true, then it is not true that non-believers suppress the truth in unrighteousness. What, in that case, do you make of saying that they do?

RonH

Ron,

So what?

If Christianity is not true; or more general, there is no moral Law Giver, what does that say about our treatment of any immoral person?

Boz

"It is possible, and challenging to respect a person with abhorrent ideas/beliefs."

There are many instances where someone demanding or expecting respect where it is a marker of a violent and brutal culture. Mafia is one example. Islam is another where respect is enshrined as an ideal. The same is true of the Krips and other gangs. I think that to enshrine respect and promote its enshrinement, is a dangerous practice that leads a culture to dark and evil places.

KWM,

Since not all possible moral law givers would consider homosexuality immoral, you haven't made my question more general. Actually, you've just dismissed it without cause.

To address it you have to accept the premise that Christianity is not true (if only for the sake of discussion).

Nobody wants to be raped, robbed, or murdered. These are objective truths. So we have good reason to condemn these things - Christianity or no Christianity.

But in the absence of Christianity, why would anybody condemn somebody else's homosexuality? It's like condemning their eating broccoli.

*Note the subjective nature of this view of morality - depends on the law giver (subject) and not the deed (object).

RonH


Ron,

Perhaps a particular law giver would find rape acceptable. What then? I didn’t dismiss your question at all. Your question was a reasonable one, but it didn’t go far enough.

If there is no Law Giver, then raping is like eating broccoli too. If some person is wired to rape, what’s our gripe? What about their needs? Just because no one wants to be raped, it doesn’t follow that it’s immoral. It just means no one wants to be raped. No one wants to be stuck in traffic either.

We may have good reason to condemn these things, I agree with you. We can make laws, etc. – but we can’t call them immoral.

Here’s an example: How can we call the act of a homeless person stealing food from the rich street vendor to fill his empty belly immoral? How in the world can we? The animal instinct says survive – but we say, “whoa, wait a minute.” We put people in jail for such action. Doesn’t jive.

A particular law giver might find rape acceptable*. But the victim, by the very definition of the act, does not. The victim also knows that many will refrain from rape because it is condemned (called immoral). This makes the condemnation not only reasonable but effective.

But it won't work to make the list of condemned things is arbitrary. The list has to stem from something real. Like the universal desire not to be raped.

Back to the original challenge: In the case of homosexuality, there is nothing real to base the condemnation on.


*Illustrating (again) the subjective nature of the law giver theory of morality.

Forgive me if I do a hit and run job here, I'm not a usual on this website, but I couldn't resist giving my 2 cents.

"Specifically for the issue at hand (homosexuality), the second question means: If Christianity is not true what does that say about your treatment of gays?"

KVM touches on this, but I think you guys can and should push this question to it's ultimate end. The answer to this question, is that if Christianity is not true, then in fact what that means is that we (who hold to an absolute moral standard) are totally justifiable in our treatment of gays, just as RonH is also totally justifiable in their treatment of gays. So in fact, if Christianity is not true, then you have no basis to condemn one perspective or another.

Now, RonH might come back and say "no thats wrong, we can structure some set of morals according to some 'social contract' theory, or whatever". But again we've never argued that; we've argued that any such structure is totally artificial and arbitrary.

And that leads to this comment:

"Back to the original challenge: In the case of homosexuality, there is nothing real to base the condemnation on."

And this is where you shoot yourself in a foot. If there is no absolute moral standard, then if I can make any argument at all against homosexuality, then that would be a valid reason to condemn it.

You do not have to reach very far back into history to find a wealth of reasons that have been given against the homosexual lifestyle. Health reasons are one. The Romans often condemned this sort of lifestyle within themselves as effeminate and emasculating. You can even take a social/'Darwinist'/functionalist view on sex to argue against it, that this kind of lifestyle does not produce offspring and therefore is not a good behavior to endorse.

In fact, from my cursory reflection on this issue, the main argument for the homosexual lifestyle, is caught up in some notion of individual rights. But as someone smarter than me said, where do those rights come from? "if the state (or the majority) gives you your rights, the state (or the majority) can just as easily take it away".

All of that is to say, that any such moral argument must first begin with the clarification of whether those morals exist, and on what basis, and furthermore if that basis is 'absolute'. If you have no basis for morality, then any further argument about it is just erecting straw men to tear down, since there cannot even be agreement on the fundamentals.

As Ravi Zacharias once said, the roman and greek philosophers came very close to the truth, but they had nothing to hang it on, and so it fell down all around them.

PS: I most likely won't be reading this post again, so if I've brought up anything interesting you'll have to address your points to another person on this board.

Jon,

Welcome back. (If you are reading this you came back.)

I never shot myself in the foot. I never referred to, implied, or depended on what you call an absolute* standard.

I said only that I have good reason to condemn murder, robbery, and rape. I don't condemn them on account of what you call an absolute standard. I condemn them because 1)I don't want those things happening to me and those I care about and 2) condemnation works.

RonH

*Indeed I pointed out twice that your 'absolute' standard is subjective.

Ron

"Like the universal desire not to be raped."

Doesn't it strike you as odd that such a desire would resonate with our sense of justice? Does it not seem to you odd that our sense of justice and this desire are a perfect fit as if they were made to do so? The fact that all agree that someone committing such a crime should be punished seems to point to both a universal law that demands universal justice and a universal law maker. However, he has to be so much more than just a law maker, he must be capable of having those laws fit our natures and the nature around us.

Louis,

First, one can only say there is a universal desire not to be raped because it's true by the definition of rape. Likewise for robbery, assault, murder... As soon as there is consent the situation changes to the extent that we really need a new word.

Punishment is only secondary*. Praise and condemnation are much more important. We would not be where we are if they didn't work the vast majority of the time. Our M.O. as a species is voluntary cooperation at a very high level.

Perfect fit? Our choices seem perfect to us? And you are surprised?

*Punishment is useful for deterrence (of others and repeat offences) rehab, and protection. Revenge/retribution by 'justice' is mainly about discouraging vigilantism (which tends to get out of control).

RonH

Ron


"First, one can only say there is a universal desire not to be raped because it's true by the definition of rape."

Definitions must have a proper justification that is grounded in objective truth for them to be accurate and valid. Otherwise they are invalid and false.

"Likewise for robbery, assault, murder... As soon as there is consent the situation changes to the extent that we really need a new word."

In the examples you cite, consent is not relevant to the definition. If someone who is severely mentally impaired consents to being murdered, for example, it remains murder and consent does not effect the definition. Having given an example that disproves the necessity of consent to the definition,I feel justified in dismissing your democratic idea of defining words.

"Punishment is only secondary*. Praise and condemnation are much more important. We would not be where we are if they didn't work the vast majority of the time. Our M.O. as a species is voluntary cooperation at a very high level."

There is the issue of outright rebellion that is not dealt with when it comes to punishment and praise. Those things have no effect for those in outright rebellion. Furthermore, the two work together energetically to form coercion. Coercion serves to destroy "voluntary cooperation".

"Perfect fit? Our choices seem perfect to us? And you are surprised?"

Our choices seem far from perfect when you consider how many wrong ones we make. However, to discern that there are right ones that we could have made in their place, is a fascinating study of that perfect fit I was pointing out.


"*Punishment is useful for deterrence (of others and repeat offences) rehab, and protection."

Useful is a perfect choice of words in this case. I agree.

"Revenge/retribution by 'justice' is mainly about discouraging vigilantism (which tends to get out of control)."

Such things can only get out of control when proper checks and balances have been removed or never implemented to start with. I of course am referring to a body of laws and a legal system to implement and enforce them. We both know that revenge has no place in justice as it throws out of balance the concept of a carefully measured level of punishment for the crime committed. That is what the old eye for an eye concept was meant to do. Point out that a life for an eye is revenge and an eye for an eye is justice.

Definitions must have a proper justification that is grounded in objective truth for them to be accurate and valid. Otherwise they are invalid and false.

A definition is a statement of how a word is used. A definition is true if it describes how a word is used and false if it doesn't. There is no authority producing definitions. (Nor is there an authority telling the Washington Post they can't edit one of their online stories after they post it.)

The word 'consent' implies an appropriate competence. What's 'appropriate' varies as appropriate but if you don't understand what you are consenting to you are not really giving consent. Are you?

RonH

RonH

"A definition is a statement of how a word is used. A definition is true if it describes how a word is used and false if it doesn't. "

A definition is like an article of clothing. It either fits the subject or it does not. If it has extra arm holes or not enough of them, then it is not an accurate definition because it does not fit the subject it was intended to clothe. For it to be a perfect fit, it must take into account the specific characteristics the subject actually possesses.

"There is no authority producing definitions."

As pointed out above, the nature of the subject is authoritative and dictates the kind of garment(definition) that must be made in order to fit it perfectly. Of course if one doesn't care about a proper fitting, then you can throw any kind of definition on it. But then, it will not conform to the form of the subject and in so failing to do, it will not describe it, which is the job of an accurate definition.

"What's 'appropriate' varies as appropriate but if you don't understand what you are consenting to you are not really giving consent. "

If the only thing taken into the account is the issue of consent and not competence, then it is consenting. Since the issue of competence did not arise prior to your latest post, I felt justified in not including it in my argumentation. I am aware of the issues surrounding the question of one's competence to give consent, but that was in fact not the question we were addressing.

As I recall, ignorance of the law does not exempt you from the penalty of breaking it. When it comes to accessory to a crime, even when one is unaware of the fact it is breaking the law, the individual can be held accountable as an accessory and can be criminally charged. That the individual is incompetent in the matter knowing the legality of their acts is insufficient to get them off the hook. Therefore, incompetence is not necessarily an adequate excuse in terms of consent to commission of a crime. That simply points out the fact that the legal system does view incompetent people as legitimately giving consent and views that consent as legally binding.

good grief

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

Ron
I my rush to properly define definitions, I neglected to explain why I don't subscribe to the notion that a definition is based on how the word is used. The reason for this is that words can often be misused while the misuser pretends that he is merely using them. The distinction thus being blurred, language can quickly deteriorate into gibberish that results in a breakdown of communications which are critical in every area of life.

Definitions can be either lexical (descriptive) or stipulative. In principle, the difference is simple. A lexical definition reports actual linguistic usage. Therefore, it can be correct or incorrect (i.e., true or false, although that terminology is seldom used). A stipulative definition reports how the definer is going to use a term, or how she recommends others to use it. A stipulative definition cannot be correct or incorrect, but it can be enlightening or confusing, fruitful or barren, adequate or inadequate.

- Sven Ove Hansson

Ron

"good grief

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definition
"

There is a point where you must take a step back from viewing things purely from the perspective of academia, this is not to dismiss it, in order to see how it relates to the real world that is not constructed by the machinations of academic elite. Creating a virtual world, through academic endeavor, that might superficially resemble the real one might seem to you a worthwhile intellectual pursuit, but unless it is firmly anchored in the real world it is no more than building castles in the sky.

By all means let's stick to the real world. Would you please explain consensual robbery, consensual rape, and consensual murder? You said that consent is not relevant to the definitions of these things. Maybe you could illustrate this irrelevance with some real world examples. I will make it easy. Just do one. And to make it easier, I will accept a plausible scenario - no need for an actual case.

Just make sure that there is real robbery (assuming you choose robbery) and real consent. We don't want things to deteriorate into gibberish.

RonH

Ron,

It should go without saying that just because one does not want to be raped, robbed, or murdered - it doesn't follow that those things are immoral .

In other words, just because you have the ability to express empathy - that ability doesn't magically reveal a moral code. No way.

KWM,

Actually, I'm not looking for a magically revealed moral code. ;)

The point was though that rape, robbery, murder are examples of things that are universally not desired.

In contrast, you have something like homosexuality. Some may desire to have a world without it. But that desire is far from universal.

Furthermore, even among those who have such a desire, that desire is not on a par with their desire not to be raped, robbed, murdered, kidnapped, tortured, betrayed, lied to, etc. There can be homosexuality in the world without it having any impact on them. Why would they care? Do they really care?

Does your system distinguish *at all* between these two kinds of acts - one kind that thwarts the desires of others and another kind that doesn't?

As I asked to begin with: If Christianity is not true, what do we make of your treatment of gays? And, what do you make of the OP's suggestion: when confronted with questions about the morality of your treatment of homosexuals you should try to shift the burden? Suppose we all proceed along those lines? Shall we just have a rhetoric tournament?

What characteristic is more important to a theory of morality: that it accurately describe part of the real world or that it assert: Moral facts are real? If you have to give one up which is it and why?

RonH

Ron,

Okay – let’s leave aside the objective moral aspect. You wrote:

>>”In contrast, you have something like homosexuality. Some may desire to have a world without it. But that desire is far from universal."

Stopping or reducing abortion is far from universal too. Some people think having an abortion is just like pulling a tooth. Barbara Boxer thinks a baby should be protected once it safely reaches its new home.

>>”Why would they care? Do they really care?”

If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.

>>”If Christianity is not true, what do we make of your treatment of gays?”

If Christianity is not true, what do we make of our desire to protect the unborn? As for my "treatment" of gays, I treat them with the respect all people deserve.

>>”What characteristic is more important to a theory of morality: that it accurately describe part of the real world or that it assert: Moral facts are real? If you have to give one up which is it and why?

But the case can be made that moral facts are real and that they describe the real world.

View frequently expressed on this blog:
A: "Rape is wrong only if a Lawgiver says it is wrong."

Latent assumption: B: "Rape is wrong if a Lawgiver says it is wrong."

Here's what I want to know: Why think B is true if A is false? Or, if you think B is trivially true, explain what it takes to be a "Lawgiver" in the needed sense. Lots of power? Or is something else required?

SORRY, that should say "why think B is true if A is true." (That is, if anything goes without a "Lawgiver" why think that a "Lawgiver" can add enough so that anything does not go).

Mocking argument:

Joe: "Hi Bert, what do you think about people with mental dissabilities"

Bert: "Well, that's a sesitive topic. Before I answer that question, I want to know if you're tolerant. Are you tolerant?"

Joe: "Sure am!"

Bert: "I don't much care for them. In fact, I think we should pull a Peter Singer and kill 'em all off at birth. Be a lot easier for the rest of us."

Joe: "That's deeply offensive. You're a moral monster. I don't think I want to be friends with someone who has those attitudes toward the mentally disabled."

Bert: "I thought you were tolerant? How can you judge me for my views?"

Joe: "But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.'"

Ron
"A stipulative definition cannot be correct or incorrect, but it can be enlightening or confusing, fruitful or barren, adequate or inadequate."

It is not the intended function of language to confuse, be unfruitful and inadequate. Since it seems that stipulative definitions facilitate the twisting of language into an incoherent useless mess, we are better off discarding the mess and sticking to definitions that makes some kind of sense.

Louis,

A stimulative definition is an agreement among a small number of people or maybe between an author and her readers. They can be helpful. If you rent an apartment, you might be known in the lease as "The Lessee". That's a stimulative definition. Better to judge them on a case by case basis. Don't you think?

KWM,
Sorry. Would love to respond but my dinner is ready. Isn't food nice?

RonH

Ron,

Nothing is more important :)

Anon,

I get where you're coming from. While I agree with Greg in principle, I don't think I buy his tactic here. I could be wrong - but I just don't see it.

I think, I think - you have to leave the option of your opponent thinking you are a bigot, intolerant, etc. open. I don’t see any way around this. This proactive disarming doesn’t hold up in my opinion. While I agree that people who hold up tolerance as the ultimate goal and the ultimate good are often times totally judgemental and intolerant – trying to stifle this feeling before any ideas are given doesn’t make much sense to me. In other words, one should make no promises of tolerance before they hear your piece.

I say, put your thoughts out there and battle it out.

KWM, this has actually really helped me in the past. It just seems to disarm the anger of the other person. Of course they'll continue to argue, but the argument takes on a whole different tone. I don't think this is a purely logical thing (i.e., that they logically assent, and therefore they no longer think you're a bigot), but it does make things much more collegial because they're agreeing to hear you out. That has been my experience, anyway.

Hmm, I could see how it could help with tone, at least if the initial "are you tolerant?" isn't used as a sort of trump card to be referenced later when the person gets angry about hearing views with which they deeply disagree and consider offensive. For that matter, though, it seems like one shouldn't begin by asking whether the other person is tolerant, though, (because that sounds like one is trying to get the other person to sign off on something that will be used against them later, if necessary). Instead, one should just begin with a request for personal respect and tolerance.

Hi Amy,

I can definitely see that. My thought process was more abstract I guess. If the roles were reversed, and someone asked me my leanings on tolerance, I would instantly become skeptical. I would almost want to say, “Well, I’m very intolerant of certain types of things, but I’d like to think I give ideas a fair hearing – and evaluate them on the merits.”

I can see how getting this question out there first could steer the conversation to a better place – it’s much more comforting to know someone thinks you’re ‘wrong’ instead of a ‘bigot’

I just wouldn’t want that question used on me : )

I can see a person becoming skeptical if it's presented without explanation. It could come across as a trap. I think it helps to define tolerance when you first bring it up as being tolerant towards you as a person, while still giving them permission to go after your ideas.

This keeps it from getting personal. You're both looking at the idea together, but it moves the focus from criticism of you to criticism of the idea. I've found they're much more likely to listen to your actual argument this way.

I want to know if you consider yourself a tolerant person or an intolerant person.

Both - as appropriate.

Is it safe to give my opinion, or are you going to judge me for my point of view?

Yes, absolutely safe and Yes, as appropriate.

Do you respect diverse ideas, or do you condemn others for convictions that differ from yours?

Both - as appropriate.

Movie recommendations: The Importance of Being Ernest and Wilde.

RonH

RonH

Would you agree that the inclusion of "as appropriate" introduces a universally flexible option that has subjective governance? Are you in fact recommending that others apply this principle in their model of tolerance? If so, are you then willing to accept any arbitrary decision on what is "appropriate" that a person would make? What I am trying to determine is if you are willing to be tolerant of definitions of appropriate in any given situation that are not carbon copies of yours. If you are not, then how do you defend the challenge that your model of judicious application of tolerance/intolerance is not itself intolerant by definition?

Hi Louis,

Hey, you were just going to give your view of homosexuality. Remember?

Now I've promised you it is safe to give your view. I'm certainly not going to say I tolerate any view, so I can't promise to tolerate yours.

So, how 'bout it? What is your view?

As for possible problems with my response, let's cross whatever bridge that may turn out to be when (and if) we come to it.

Sound reasonable?

RonH

RonH

"Hey, you were just going to give your view of homosexuality. Remember?

Now I've promised you it is safe to give your view."

I am honestly not convinced that it is ever safe when you are using the model of tolerance that you seem to be using.

"I'm certainly not going to say I tolerate any view, so I can't promise to tolerate yours."

I am almost sure that there will be an element of intolerance in your method. Using the model you have adopted, makes it utterly impossible to offer a pure and unadulterated sample of tolerance. It is tainted by the method employed in adjudicating its application. How can a mechanism that is at its core intolerant, produce pure tolerance? I can't see a way.

As to my views on homosexuality, I echo that of men who do not wish to be saddled with desires that they claim are the result of early childhood deprivation of close relationships with men and were in fact inappropriately compensating for that lack through homosexuality. That methods employing this as the problem to be dealt with have yielded positive results in therapy seems to indicate that there is some truth in this. This is evidence provided by the very people who have admitted having homosexual desires and who have actually developed effective means to rid themselves of those.

Just as an addendum so that you know what I am talking about. Here is a link to a video about this.

http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/gay-straight-12093903

Louis,

Ok, you think those guys are right about what causes gayness and you think their method works to get rid if it.*

But that is not the question. The question is: Is it immoral.

If so, why?

And if so, wow bad is it? You might try filling in these blanks with some immoral things:

A single act of homosexuality is as bad as ____ and should be dealt with similarly.

A long term pattern of homosexuality is as bad as ____ and should be dealt with similarly.

In other words, compare it to rape, robbery, and murder.

Ron


*This is not the topic but... They guy who ran the camp, when asked how he knew he was right, cited his own experience - "I lived it" or something like that. This is called anecdotal evidence. An anecdote is as good a justification for a hypothesis as any (you can pull a hypothesis out of anywhere), but an anecdote can't justify a conclusion by itself.

To see this, ask yourself: What do you conclude when you have two opposing anecdotes? What if you had encounterd the contrary anecdote first?

One solution is: collect a lot of anecdotes (taking care to avoid bias) and see where they pile up. Here is some evidence that homosexuality has a biological cause. Notice I say a biological cause; nurture could play a role as well (as nature).

"What normal, morally-sensitive, rational-thinking person would take the position of condoning murder or slavery" - Richard (from above)

Might I add, this statement is equally applicable if you apply it to the judment and antagonism faced by gay individuals today (Not in the extreme sense, but in a logical and qualitative sense. ie, this will be what people say about homosexuality 50 years from now).

The "sin" of a gay man or woman, if you want to call it that, is being born with a sexual orientation that is different than the mainstream. That is it. And although you cannot blindly characterize an entire group a certain way (stating the obvious), gay people are just as kind, caring, supportive, moral, and are productive members of society just as straight people are. I think "being gay" gets an unfair moral characterization because it is associated with promiscuity. I believe promiscuity is a "bad" or "sinful" thing -- call it what you want -- but that says nothing about the moral character of being gay. And, if you thought it was about promiscuity, then you must be entirely blind to the rampant promiscuity of straight people, if that is your reason. And if your reason is due to "what I think the Bible says" -- discussion over. Jesus said nothing of the sort, and I'm not letting a narrow interpretation of the Bible TRUMP the overwhelming and forceful weight of evidence that says being born gay is not a sin.

Heck, you cannot morally judge the deck of cards someone was given. I know gay people who who do anything to have been born/made straight -- life would be so much easier, they wouldn't have to have the frightening "coming out" talk with the parents (and all the dreadful sequelae that follow), and society by and large would sing straight love songs that echoed their romances, and in general, starting a familty and getting married would be so easy!

But it doesn't work that way.

The entire medical and scientific commmunity (with minority Christian apologetic groups aside) recognizes that being gay is not a choice, it is like being born black or white. I don't see how this is a point of argument.

Just as we as Chrisitans had to update our cosmology when Galileo and Copernicus came around, in the 21st century it is impossible to hold onto an outmoded and ancient anthropology. That science too needs to change. This does nothing to the great Christian truths of reconciliation to God and what Christ accomplished on the cross. It just requires looking more closely at certain passages in scripture, with humility, TRUTH, and love.

I apologize for the being off topic, but I feel as Christians we nit pick over the wrong things.

RonH

"A single act of homosexuality is as bad as ____ and should be dealt with similarly.

A long term pattern of homosexuality is as bad as ____ and should be dealt with similarly.

In other words, compare it to rape, robbery, and murder."

This type of comparison is like comparing a massive stroke that kills the person instantly to a massive heart attack that does the same. Since both results are the same, what would be the point of the comparison? All the things you list fall in this same category...all of them are spiritually deadly to an equal degree. The end result is the same in each case. They kill.

Pseudo-Dionysius

"And although you cannot blindly characterize an entire group a certain way (stating the obvious), gay people are just as kind, caring, supportive, moral, and are productive members of society just as straight people are"

I agree with you on this, that is why they are in as much trouble as straight people are.

"The entire medical and scientific commmunity (with minority Christian apologetic groups aside) recognizes that being gay is not a choice, it is like being born black or white."

Color does not dictate behavior and is therefore not morally equivalent. Color is morally neutral, behavior is not. I am sorry to report that I believe you have made a category error.

RonH

"but an anecdote can't justify a conclusion by itself. "

Results can. Since results are being claimed, then it seems reasonable to provisionally claim justification.

"What do you conclude when you have two opposing anecdotes? What if you had encounterd the contrary anecdote first? "

If you have a medication for cancer that works for some and not others, that does not mean that it is research gone completely in the wrong direction...especially if the patient refused to take it during trials and reported doing so.

I have taken a look at the evidence that you provided and I don't find it compelling for the reason that it does not show that the similarity in monozygotic twins is not responsible for a closer match in response to identical upbringing than dizygotic twins. Their temperaments may be a closer match and therefore responsible for a similar response. But that does not mean that homosexuality itself has a cause apart from upbringing. Put simply, if the monozygotic twins were brought up in an environment that would predispose them toward heterosexuality, it is likely that both would be heterosexual. Does that mean that we can on that basis conclude that this was caused by a monozygotic factor? I don't think so and the same can be said about the cause of homosexuality. I am not convinced that there is enough evidence there to pin it on biology.

However, even if there were definitive evidence, it provides as much to get the individual off the hook as it would a sociopath who was born that way.

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