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May 17, 2012

Comments

>> "So why does the government not sanction the relationship of two homosexual males? For the same reason it doesn’t sanction the relationship of male friends, siblings, or a father and daughter. Homosexual couples don’t as a group and by nature produce the next generation."

by this logic, if every homosexual went out and adopted 3 children, then the government should indeed sanction the relationship?

Very well presented. However, the claim that the government protects marriages for the purpose of producing the next generation is nullified by a statement made prior in the essay: "Making sexual activity a requirement for marriage is arbitrary." The government doesn't force couples to have sex, let alone procreate. If this were the purpose, and not validating a union of *romantic* love between two people, contraceptives would be illegal, and others who in principle cannot reproduce (elderly couples, etc.) would not be allowed to marry.

As for gay couples raising children, why should anyone feel required to know their biological parents, especially if they were improper caretakers?

ToNy

"by this logic, if every homosexual went out and adopted 3 children, then the government should indeed sanction the relationship?"

I don't know if this will make any sense to you, but I will try to give an example. Let's say you are a computer programmer for the X corporation. As a programmer you are tasked to write an inventory system program for which the company agrees to pay you Y amount of money. Instead of writing that specific program with particular specifications that the company demands, you get some other exceptionally gifted programmer to write that code for you but the details of what the company wants the code to do for, say their accounting department, is not there and they find out that it wasn't you who did the coding, but this other person whom you did not give any credit for doing so at all. In their investigation they find out that you are actually not a programmer at all, but you lied on your resume about that too. Do you think that the company is actually obligated to call you a programmer and pay the agreed upon fee for the inventory program that you did not write since you wouldn't know a hex from an octal or logical branching from looping?

Do you see the difference between having children (through adoption/surrogate/whatever) and producing(having) children (procreation)?
Why should someone be given credit for production of something they did not produce? If you support this kind of thinking, you should never complain about intellectual rights as legitimate rights since doing so is actually hypocritical.

As far as I can tell, Alan’s argument that same-sex marriage should not be legalized is the following:

(1) The state has an interest in the next generation being produced and raised in stable environments.
(2) Legalizing different-sex marriage supports an arrangement that can both naturally produce children and raise them in stable environments.
(3) Legalizing same-sex marriage supports an arrangement that cannot both naturally produce children and raise them in stable environments.
(4) So, the state ought to legalize different-sex marriage and ought not to legalize same-sex marriage.

The problem with this argument is that it is not valid. Step (4) does not follow from premises (1) through (3). The conjunction of (1) through (3), even if true, tell us only that one of the interests that the state has in recognizing marital arrangements is such that heterosexual couples are able to advance that interest and homosexual couples are not. But it is perfectly consistent with that that there be multitudes of other very important interests that the state has in recognizing marital arrangements that apply equally well to different-sex and same-sex couples. In that case, it could very well be that, all things considered, the state has a strong interest in recognizing both different-sex and same-sex marriage. So, as stated, the argument is not valid.

What sorts of interests might the state take in legalizing same-sex marriage? Well, the state may have an interest in continuing to let same-sex couples adopt. I know Alan opposes this, but the reasons he gave in his previous post were hardly good reasons, and the objections to his argument have gone entirely unanswered. If the state does have this interest, then that might bestow on the state another interest, namely in extending the rights and benefits of marriage (which are legion) to same-sex couples who are raising children in order to further stabilize those families. Supporting same-sex marriage may also lend support to encouraging monogamous, lifelong commitment between same-sex couples, and perhaps the state has an interest in same-sex couples living in this fashion as opposed to some alternative. Supporting same-sex marriage may also help advance tolerance and respect for homosexuals, a group that has historically in many ways been far from tolerated or respected. Surely the state has an interest in promoting institutions that encourage tolerance and respect for its citizens, other things held equal. Furthermore, the state might have an interest in same-sex couples enjoying the benefits of marriage concerning the transfer of property in the absence of a will, end-of-life decision making authority when one partner is dying, etc.

Finally, even if legalizing same-sex marriage advances no interest of the state, it doesn’t follow that legalizing same-sex marriage frustrates some interest of the state. Alan says that the state has an interest in the next generation being produced and raised in a stable environment. I agree. But how will same-sex couples marrying each other prevent the next generation from being produced? It very clearly will not prevent this. How will same-sex couples marrying each other prevent children from being raised in stable environments? By Alan’s own admission, most same-sex couples aren’t raising children anyway. So, by Alan’s own admission, most same-sex couples’ relationships are irrelevant to concerns about raising children. Moreover, a lot of the children that are being raised by same-sex couples are adopted, which in many cases means that those kids were, prior to their adoption, already in an unstable environment, and it may actually improve their circumstances to be raised by a same-sex couple that enjoys the rights and benefits of marriage. Alan seems to betray no sensitivity to the fact that instability comes in degrees, and that one can greatly improve the stability of a child’s environment even if one does not succeed in putting that child in the best environment possible. The question should never be, “Will same-sex marriage succeed in getting children in the most stable environments possible?” but rather, “Will same-sex marriage contribute additional stability to the environments of those children who stand to be affected most by same-sex relationships (e.g., children already being raised by same-sex couples)?” If the answer to the latter is “Yes,” then precisely because the state has an interest in promoting stability in the environments children are raised in, it has at least some interest in legalizing same-sex marriage.

Louis,

so then if lesbian couples were the only ones producing kids (e.g. via ivf perhaps), then the government should indeed sanction their marital relationship?

ToNy

"so then if lesbian couples were the only ones producing kids (e.g. via ivf perhaps), then the government should indeed sanction their marital relationship?"

Policy must be set on the basis of what a union of a certain kind is capable of producing since that policy is in support of that kind of union with certain expectation of a return on the investment. IVF considerations or surrogate consideration is actually outside of the scope of that union and is an admission that such a union is incapable of meeting the requirements of the definition of "marriage" as it must go outside of the scope of that union in order to produce a facade of "marriage" through adoption, surrogate, or IVF. Note that I am treating the union as a class and that class has different functions from the class we call "marriage". Thus to claim that two instances, one of each class, are the same because they have some of the same functions is not accurate as the differences are such that one is capable of producing a child instance while the other is not. To call both classes as being identical and trying to use the code that way is a sure way to break the code and introduce costly bugs into the broader program of culture and society. It's just bad coding.

>> "Policy must be set on the basis of what a union of a certain kind is capable of producing"

Right so lesbians unions who use IVF are a certain kind--that is capable of producing.

so the government should indeed sanction their marital relationship?

>> " IVF considerations or surrogate consideration is actually outside of the scope of that union and is an admission that such a union is incapable of meeting the requirements of the definition of "marriage" as it must go outside of the scope of that union in order to produce a facade of "marriage" through adoption, surrogate, or IVF."

can a sterile man get married then?

ToNy

">> "Policy must be set on the basis of what a union of a certain kind is capable of producing"

Right so lesbians unions who use IVF are a certain kind--that is capable of producing."

Lesbian unions are not capable of of producing as a class. IVF is not a function of that class. IVF is a function of a class..._SCIENCE.

"so the government should indeed sanction their marital relationship?"

The class does not qualify due to deficiency of a necessary intrinsic function. To classify a lesbian union as a class of science or science as a class lesbian union is nonsense.

ToNy

">> " IVF considerations or surrogate consideration is actually outside of the scope of that union and is an admission that such a union is incapable of meeting the requirements of the definition of "marriage" as it must go outside of the scope of that union in order to produce a facade of "marriage" through adoption, surrogate, or IVF."

can a sterile man get married then?"


That is a change of subject as we are discussing classes and not an defective instance. If a section of memory is corrupt and thus the function fails to allow the class from executing the necessary function, does not mean that we should junk the class as a whole. We must acknowledge the integrity of the coding and placing proper fault where it belongs. It would be foolish to discard and fail to credit the code that actually works simply because of a hardware failure. If such a decision was taken in a corporation by the management, the management should be fired for gross incompetence. We should not introduce that level of incompetence into the government policy decisions.

Malebranche,

Well, the state may have an interest in continuing to let same-sex couples adopt.

Even if this were true, it wouldn’t mean the state would have an interest in legalizing same-sex marriage. Single people can adopt. Two brothers could adopt a third (now deceased) brother's child, but marriage isn't in the cards. Would three people adopting a child be better than two? Again, the state’s interest in same-sex marriage as a consequence of their being able to adopt doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

If the state does have this interest, then that might bestow on the state another interest, namely in extending the rights and benefits of marriage (which are legion) to same-sex couples who are raising children in order to further stabilize those families.

You assume further stabilization with two people in a same-sex relationship. Why? Using that logic three people would further stabilize a family.

Louis,

>> "Lesbian unions are not capable of of producing as a class. IVF is not a function of that class. IVF is a function of a class..._SCIENCE."

Suppose that Louis's definition of a "class capable of producing" is composed of organism A + organism B.

Suppose that Tony's definition of a "class capable of producing" is composed of organism A + organism B + Widget C.

Devise an argument by which you could prove your own definition objectively true.

As Samuel Butler said:

“Surely if a machine is able to reproduce another machine systematically, we may say that it has a reproductive system. What is a reproductive system, if it be not a system for reproduction? And how few of the machines are there which have not been produced systematically by other machines? But it is man that makes them do so. Yes; but is it not insects that make many of the plants reproductive, and would not whole families of plants die out if their fertilization was not effected by a class of agents utterly foreign to themselves? Does any one say that the red clover has no reproductive system because the humble bee (and the humble bee only) must aid and abet it before it can reproduce? No one. The humble bee is a part of the reproductive system of the clover.”

ToNy

"Suppose that Louis's definition of a "class capable of producing" is composed of organism A + organism B.

Suppose that Tony's definition of a "class capable of producing" is composed of organism A + organism B + Widget C."

Widget C is a natural part of another class and is not a natural part of organism A1 + organism A2(This is actually the case in the same sex unions, not your mistaken model of organism A + organism B). Artificial introduction of Widget C from another class does not make it an (organism A + organism B) class. It makes it an ((organism A1 + organism A2)+ Widget C). The two are not the same thing and there is nothing you can do to change that fact. There is no escaping the fact that you are comparing apples to oranges.

Louis,

You're merely restating your definition of your class bounds.

Why should I use your class bounds and not my own?

Are you using the objectively true one?

Are you sure?

Can you tell me a scientific experiment that I can conduct in a lab that would reveal your taxonomy to be the objectively true one?

Great article except I think the title of this article should have been, "Should We Be Allowed to Marry Whomever We Love?" As you pointed out, the simple answer is no for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

In poli sci class once, a left-wing activist said, "Marriage has no definition. You should be able to marry whoever you love."

I was so tempted to ask him, "Then can I marry someone I hate? Why are you allowed to define marriage if it has no definition?"

My classmate's comment indicates how little people actually think about this issue - it really is all about emotion. That's why I think the one thing we can't forget as as discuss these issues - we have the truth on our side but we need to reach both the head and the heart.

This is a bit off topic, I admit, but for someone who subscribes to Darwinian Evolution by natural selection, what justification do they have to having a positive outlook towards or supporting homosexuality? It is, by definition, a disadvantageous adaptation or mutation since it cannot help ensure the survival of the species. Shouldn't such a person discard it entirely?

And, similarly, if sexual orientation is solely based on genetics, then doesn't that take away the claim of bigotry or hatred? That is, it's not that one "hates" the homosexual, but that as a heterosexual they are genetically required, as it were, to find it repulsive and that is why it is opposed?

Again, this is off topic, but I've always wondered how one who subscribes to each of the worldviews described in the preceding two paragraphs would respond.

Darth Dutch

Jojo,

Maybe when your classmate said "Marriage has no definition," he simply meant, "You should be able to marry whoever you love."

RonH

RonH,

Then he could have responded in the words of Tina Turner, "what's love got to do with it?"

Darth Dutch,

Evolution isn't about "survival of the species".

Studies of twins raised apart indicate that sexual orientation is partly (not solely) genetic.

There is a difference between being nauseated by boiled chicken and taking it out on someone who likes boiled chicken.

I support gays because they are oppressed and that bothers me. I don't connect that to evolution.

RonH

I support gays because they are oppressed and that bothers me.

What do you mean by oppressed, RonH?

If all that States that currently allow gay marriage allowed the people to vote on the issue do you think it would have passed?

Well written Alan. Thanks for the clarifying the argument. I'll be able to discuss it reasonably.

Malebranche,

What sorts of interests might the state take in legalizing same-sex marriage?

"The state" you keep referring to is the voters of "the state".

You say Alan's argument isn't solid because "the state" may want same-sex marriage for other reasons. But when "the state" doesn't want that you then ask for the argument behind "the state's" position. In doing that you've given up your original argument, Malebranche. You no longer care about what "the state" wants.

Hi Alan!

I have a related question that I have been wondering about ever since I worked with someone who was a lesbian and had helped raise her partner's daughter from infancy. When the 10-year relationship ended, up this woman had absolutely no rights to see the child she considered a daughter and no rights to the home she paid half the mortgage on. I was wondering on a larger scale how this would affect society to have a large number of parents and children who did not have the same legal protections as married families (I guess the same would hold for children of unmarried heterosexual couples). I did some very quick internet research to try to figure out how many children would be in this boat and got about 8 million children in this country who are being raised by homosexual parents (even if my calculations are off I bet it is still millions of families). So, is it advantageous for society to have so many children/families in that situation - without the legal protections that go along with marriage?

ToNy

"You're merely restating your definition of your class bounds."

I also pointed out that we are talking about two different classes and my claim to that is the differences I pointed out.

"Why should I use your class bounds and not my own?"

It is not only a class bound that we are talking about, but based on different characteristics they are two completely different objects. What you are calling the "use of your own class bounds" is a breaking of the rule that takes you out of the realm of single class discussion as your Widget is not a part of the class Marriage, but of a class Science as applied to our discussed model. This is not just extending bounds of a particular class, but stealing a characteristic from a different class Science and then plagiarizing it by claiming it is a natural part of Marriage.

"Are you using the objectively true one?"

I am reasonably sure that I am.

"Are you sure?"

Until someone shows me otherwise, I think so. Could I be wrong? Sure, but for now I don't think I am.



"Can you tell me a scientific experiment that I can conduct in a lab that would reveal your taxonomy to be the objectively true one?"

Taxonomy applies to individual organisms, not to marriage. Never mind the problem with assuming that one cannot know what is objectively true apart from laboratory experiments.

CindyB,

While those "rights" may not be inherent in a homosexual relationship that is not "marriage", a contract could have (and should have" been drawn up ahead of time to take care of that stuff. A large part of what the government rightfully does, is force people to uphold contracts.

Kind Regards,

Louis,

recall the quote:

"Suppose that Tony's definition of a "class capable of producing" is composed of organism A + organism B + Widget C."

you've offered nothing as to what law i violate by including C.

Is the beaver part of his Damn? The bird a part of her nest? May we call the dyads a "unified organism?" Can we call them a "reproductive class?"

Of course.

I violate no law by including the nest in the birds "reproductive class"

I violate no law by including the ivf lab in the lesbian's "reproductive class"

You can stamp your foot and say: "Tony, you're drawing your circles wrong. I've drawn my circles around the right objects and you've drawn your circles around objects that don't belong in them."

But make no mistake. You're merely arguing for your favorite flavor of ice cream. And NOT any sort of objective truth.

Foot stamping and ice cream, ToNy?
The win must be looking pretty tenuous.

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/05/5263

RonH,

"Evolution isn't about "survival of the species".

It isn't? It certainly is part of it. Those species that develop advantageous mutations are allowed to live by natural selection. Or, rather, natural selection will do away with traits that are not advantageous.

My terminology may be off, but you get the gist of what I'm saying. The point is that homosexuality is, by definition, a disadvantageous trait according to natural selection.

As to my other question, I fail to see how someone who is repulsed by homosexuality because they are a heterosexual (i.e., they have a visceral emotional reaction to it) is "taking it out" on a homosexual. I'm not saying that one needs to beat up or kill a homosexual. I'm saying that if genetics is what is the basis, or partially a basis of one's sexual preferences, then it takes away the loaded accusations of bigotry or the poorly named "homophobia".

And, I've read many, many articles where the pro-homosexual lobby or agenda explicitly states that sexual preference is genetically determined - not saying it's true because I'm not an expert, but that IS a claim that is made by others, but then in the same sentence they will claim homophobia or bigotry on the part of those who do not support homosexuality. They are trying to have their cake & eat it too. That's all I'm trying to say.

Darth Dutch

PS - I should point out that I readily admit that my point doesn't "do" anything to advance whether homosexuality is right or wrong, but is simply an observation of what I consider hypocrisy of those who want to both say that sexual orientation is genetically determined (and therefore not a "choice") but then also accuse others of bigotry & hatred by simply disagreeing with the lifestyle (but saying that this is a "choice").

Hope that makes sense,
Darth Dutch

Tony:
Why should anyone use your interpretations of the words on this page and not their own?

Are you using the objectively true interpretation?

Are you sure?

Can you tell me a scientific experiment that I can conduct in a lab that would reveal your interpretation to be the objectively true one?

SteveK,

I think some things in the cosmos indeed do seem have objectively true or false answers.

The laws of logic for example.

But when it comes to drawing circles around atoms, its all about where you point your camera

Tony,

I think some things in the cosmos indeed do seem have objectively true or false answers.

Your statement is a thing in the cosmos. Can you tell me a scientific experiment that I can conduct in a lab that would tell me if this statement is true or false?

If not, why should anyone use your above interpretation and not their own?

Don't answer. I'm only doing this for effect. The moral of the story is this: Don't let scientism rot your mind, Tony.

Indeed there are lots of things that lab work can't reveal.

In fact, my argument is about the limitations of biology itself. And, trying to bring to light these issues.

For Christians are under the vastly mistaken notion that biology (particularly the practice of Scientific Classification via Taxonomy) can reveal things that it has not the power to do.

For example, it cannot reveal the definition of a human.

Also, it cannot tell you which clusters of atoms are organisms. And which ones are pieces of organisms.

ToNy

"recall the quote:

"Suppose that Tony's definition of a "class capable of producing" is composed of organism A + organism B + Widget C."


Recall that we are actually talking about a class called MARRIAGE, which does not include Widget C. The reason for that is that we can call organism A + organism B...marriage since Widget C is not essential to its definition.

"you've offered nothing as to what law i violate by including C."

Firstly it is not essential to the definition of marriage class and secondly, it is inappropriate borrowing Widget C from another class and claiming that you didn't. You use the excuse that you are allowed to extend a class any way you want even if it means adding something that is not necessary and something that is not a part of that class without your meddling.


"Is the beaver part of his Damn?"

Two different classes.

"The bird a part of her nest?"

Same here. The nest is not essential to a bird being a bird. Just as is the case of beaver example. Take away the nest, the bird remains a bird. Take away the Damn, the beaver remains a beaver.

"May we call the dyads a "unified organism?""

Only illegitimately and without proper justification.

"Can we call them a "reproductive class?""

Of course."

Not if you are being honest.


"I violate no law by including the nest in the birds "reproductive class""

Is the nest essential to the hatching of an egg? Of course not. Incubators will do just as well.


"I violate no law by including the ivf lab in the lesbian's "reproductive class""

That was not my argument. I said that it is not part of the Marriage class, which is the topic under discussion. If you want to go off on your own side trip, that's up to you.

"You can stamp your foot and say: "Tony, you're drawing your circles wrong. I've drawn my circles around the right objects and you've drawn your circles around objects that don't belong in them."

That is simply a false characterization. You are bringing non-essentials into the class and claim them to be essentials and thus a natural part of that class. You are mistaken.


"But make no mistake."

I reasonably disagree.

"You're merely arguing for your favorite flavor of ice cream."

Nope. I am merely stating that it is ice cream and not chicken soup.

I agree with Jojo Ruba's comment:

"Great article except I think the title of this article should have been, "Should We Be Allowed to Marry Whomever We Love?" As you pointed out, the simple answer is no for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation."

This is an excellent point.

>> "The reason for that is that we can call organism A + organism B...marriage since Widget C is not essential to its definition."

sure it is

lesbians essentially need it to reproduce.

>> "Not if you are being honest."

yep. i am totally, utterly, and completely being honest here.

What you mean is "Not if you use my taxonomy."

>> "Is the nest essential to the hatching of an egg? Of course not. Incubators will do just as well."

is a man essential to producing a child? Of course not. The IVF lab will do just as well.

Recall your quote

"Policy must be set on the basis of what a union of a certain kind is capable of producing"

Lesbians with IVF machines are indeed a "union of a certain kind that is capable of producing" babies.

so are birds with nests.

I indeed violate ABSOLUTELY NO law by drawing my circle around that cluster, and calling it "the union."

And am indeed under no obligation to use your ruleset.

Just as these people are under no obligation to use the ruleset of the IAU.

"Homosexuals have the same rights and the same restrictions as heterosexuals"

I stopped reading here.

@Mo

"This is an excellent point."

No, it's not.

Oh Mo...

Anyway, I gotta get on a plane.

But for what its worth, as John Pepper (phd biology, U Michigan) wrote:

"Among biologists, there is no general agreement on exactly what entities qualify as 'organisms'."

but even if there was, I dont know what that would get you...

been fun see you on the next oneeeeeee

">> "The reason for that is that we can call organism A + organism B...marriage since Widget C is not essential to its definition."

sure it is

lesbians essentially need it to reproduce."

Which proves the point that I have been making all along and that is that A1 + A2 is not the same class as A + B, the later being complete without Widget C. Thus what is essential to marriage on the most primitive level is built into A + B while you are forced to introduce Widget C for a function intrinsic to A + B, which simply serves to show that A1 + A2 is a broken A + B with an essential part missing that you must replace. Why shouldn't I think that you have just admitted that since they are fundamentally different, they can't both be marriage?

>> "Not if you are being honest."

yep. i am totally, utterly, and completely being honest here.

What you mean is "Not if you use my taxonomy."

>> "Is the nest essential to the hatching of an egg? Of course not. Incubators will do just as well."

"is a man essential to producing a child?"

Where else will you be getting the material if there is no man in the world?

"Of course not. The IVF lab will do just as well."

Wrong. IVF requires material from a man. If all men everywhere were to vanish, leaving only women on the earth, they would go extinct. So, wrong!


"Recall your quote

"Policy must be set on the basis of what a union of a certain kind is capable of producing""

I have not changed that.


"Lesbians with IVF machines are indeed a "union of a certain kind that is capable of producing" babies."

Total disregard of the reality of biology. You know better than that ToNy.


"so are birds with nests.

I indeed violate ABSOLUTELY NO law by drawing my circle around that cluster, and calling it "the union.""

You can draw whatever circles you like. Reality does not change at your bidding.


"And am indeed under no obligation to use your ruleset."

Ignore reality and it will hurt you. That's something you can take to the bank.

Luscinia,

“I stopped reading here.”

There’s your problem. Simple fix – read it.

By the way, you obviously read Mo’s post : )

Well, I read the comments, just not the article. It just seems like yet another rehash of the same talking points.

Luscinia,

Based on reading the first few sentences of the article you assumed it was the same talking points? Why not read the entire article so you could know what he is or isn't saying rather than assume?

Darth Dutch

Luscinia,

Well, I read the comments, just not the article. It just seems like yet another rehash of the same talking points.

I can understand. However, much of the commentary is about the article. I would recommend the post despite your inexplicit view on this issue. You won’t know if it’s a rehash until you read it.

That said, just because something may be a rehash of something prior, it doesn’t mean it’s not valid. One could say, “it’s yet another rehash of civil rights talking points” or “it’s yet another rehash of anti-war talking points” pick your issue.

The question is: Do they make sense?

Because the article puts me to sleep.

Tony,

For example, it cannot reveal the definition of a human.

So? Are you saying that because science can't objectively define what a human is, that nobody can therefore objectively know humans from rocks? I hope you're not suggesting this.

What this ought to tell you is that science is not the pathway to all objective knowledge. But you knew that already, didn't you?

To put it in a prettier language:

menda = ava + ava

ToNy

"I indeed violate ABSOLUTELY NO law by drawing my circle around that cluster, and calling it "the union."""

I guess I should have challenged this statement earlier as it is a mistake. You are violating the law of identity. A thing is itself and not something else. You are calling a particular thing something other than it is by the way you draw your circle. Of course I am talking about marriage.

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