Monday, May 19, 2014

How many sexual orientations are there?

On interesting question in this area is what counts as an "orientation." Are there two orientations, straight and gay, are there three, straight, day and bi, does a preference for group sex count, or a preference for multiple partners or one partner? Does bestiality and pedophilia count?

The reason I bring this us is that defense of gay relationships typically goes something like this.

1. A sexual orientation is, in many cases an unchangeable fact about a person that can't be altered by the use of free will.

2. If a person has an orientation, then a person has a moral right to an intimate life in accordance with that orientation. Celibacy should not be morally enforced on someone.

3. If one's orientation is homosexual, and this can't be changed then one should have the right to express that orientation in an intimate relationship, and society (and the institution of marriage) should recognize this fact.

But I think few of us, apart from members of NAMBLA, would use that argument in defense of, let's say, pedophilia. It seems that if you are a pedophile, and you can't change that "orientation," given the degree of harm that that does, you are morally obligated to be celibate.

67 comments:

Heuristics said...

From reading half of Plato's collected works I have some large doubts of this unchangability aspect to it. In nearly every story by Plato we find Socrates trying to get into the pants of some handsome young aristocrat, or trying to arranging for some other man to do the same. When not doing that he partakes in large groups where they all talk about how they all do this kind of thing in their spare time. So, was the entire field of philosophers back then (married) gay people or is sexuality more bendable then we normally think given the right social conditions? In the present day we find similar things happening in prison.

My current opinion on the matter is that it makes more sense to see human desire in this regard as much more flexible then typically thought, but there is a very large social pressure to adopt one and only one identity for yourself, which locks people in.

Bob said...

"The reason I bring this us is that defense of gay relationships typically goes something like this."

That presupposes that gays have some special obligation to justify or defend their relationships.

I think we have moved on. The only reasons a gay couple needs to defend their relationship are the same ones that a straight couple would need.

Crude said...

Bob,

That presupposes that gays have some special obligation to justify or defend their relationships.

No, it doesn't. It's just a response to a question being raised, and Victor's highlighting a pretty typical response.

You honestly think reasonable questions about a topic go away so long as something is popular?

Bob said...

Crude,

Which question are you referring to?

Crude said...

Bob,

Which question are you referring to?

The implied question of 'What makes a sexual relationship moral or acceptable?'

Bob said...

Crude,

Thanks for clarifying that.

So it seems the typical defense that Victor proposed should also be applied to straight people.

As you pointed out, popularity is not adequate. Simply because heterosexuality is more popular than homosexuality does not make it more moral. Nor does it imply anything immoral about homosexuality.



Crude said...

Bob,

As you pointed out, popularity is not adequate. Simply because heterosexuality is more popular than homosexuality does not make it more moral. Nor does it imply anything immoral about homosexuality.

Sure, but who's saying 'homosexuality is wrong because it's not popular'?

Bob said...

Crude,

"Sure, but who's saying 'homosexuality is wrong because it's not popular'?"

I've argued with people who said that because homosexuality is prevalent in such a small percentage of the population that shows it is some sort of deviant or immoral practice.

I think the argument against gay marriage because it goes against traditional practices amounts to the same thing.

Crude said...

Bob,

I've argued with people who said that because homosexuality is prevalent in such a small percentage of the population that shows it is some sort of deviant or immoral practice.

Yeah? Got any links to that? I'd like to see these arguments.

I mean, it's 'deviant' by dictionary definitions.

I think the argument against gay marriage because it goes against traditional practices amounts to the same thing.

What is that argument, in your own words?

Bob said...

Crude,
No links. As I said, they took place in conversations with others.

Some people argue that traditionally marriage has always been between a man and a woman so we shouldn't allow a gay couple to marry. To argue from tradition is to argue from what has been popular in the past.

You seem dead set against gay marriage. I've yet to see you provide any cogent arguments in support of your position.

Crude said...

Bob,

Some people argue that traditionally marriage has always been between a man and a woman so we shouldn't allow a gay couple to marry. To argue from tradition is to argue from what has been popular in the past.

That's great. Can you provide any link at all to someone making this argument? Doesn't have to be a conversation - I'll settle for a columnist.

You seem dead set against gay marriage.

Not necessarily. In fact I'm sympathetic to the idea that government should be out of marriage altogether, or better yet, that absolutely every fathomable marriage arrangement under the sun should be legal, from polygamy to a man marrying his computer.

I've yet to see you provide any cogent arguments in support of your position.

See above. I'm quite undecided on the secular ends.

Why, I'm just trying to figure out why proponents think the way they do. What are their arguments, what position they come from. A good thing, yes? Understanding others' points of view.

Aragorn said...

Victor already the knows the answer to his question but insists on playing coy. The argument he proposes lack a crucial condition - that such orientation harms/ endangers no one on principle. Adding this, I don't see what the problem is in defending homosexual practice while deploring pedophilia.

If you take away bias and prejudice, this is really a no-brainer.

Crude said...

The argument he proposes lack a crucial condition - that such orientation harms/ endangers no one on principle.

That's great. How do we determine harm again?

Here's one to consider: is raising a child to regard sodomy as immoral, harmful? What about raising a child to regard sodomy as moral?

Bob said...

Crude,
"Why, I'm just trying to figure out why proponents think the way they do. What are their arguments, what position they come from. A good thing, yes? Understanding others' points of view."

Then this might not be a bad place for you to start:

http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/32246-debating-same-sex-marriage/

And that is about all the time I am going to spend looking up links for you.:-)

Crude said...

Bob,

Then this might not be a bad place for you to start:

It doesn't help that you linked me to a book review, and the word "Tradition" didn't come up once.

Let me ask you something serious, Bob. You're clearly very, very big on gay marriage. But do you even have arguments for it? Or is this down to 'it feels right', and you just kind of hope someone else out there has made the arguments?

Bob said...

Crude,

It is pretty simple:

I see no good reason for prohibiting a loving gay couple from enjoying the same benefits from marriage that a loving straight couple receives.
Helping to support those gay relationships is good for our society and for the children gay couples are raising.

If you are really getting serious here why don't you produce those numerous reasons you claim to have for opposing gay marriage?

Crude said...

Bob,

I see no good reason for prohibiting a loving gay couple from enjoying the same benefits from marriage that a loving straight couple receives.

So it's about the benefits then? Civil unions would do just as good?

By the way - in your own view, what WOULD constitute 'a good reason'? Hypothetically.

Helping to support those gay relationships is good for our society and for the children gay couples are raising.

So the ones that don't have children don't need/deserve our support?

If you are really getting serious here why don't you produce those numerous reasons you claim to have for opposing gay marriage?

"Not necessarily. In fact I'm sympathetic to the idea that government should be out of marriage altogether, or better yet, that absolutely every fathomable marriage arrangement under the sun should be legal, from polygamy to a man marrying his computer."

Bob said...

Crude,
"By the way - in your own view, what WOULD constitute 'a good reason'? Hypothetically."

Sorry, it is not my responsibility to provide arguments opposing my position.:-)
To be honest, I can't think of any given the facts that I know.


Earlier you wrote:
"Actually, I've got a lot of reasons to oppose it. Wholly secular and practical reasons."

I've yet to see you present any of those reasons.

Crude said...

Bob,

Sorry, it is not my responsibility to provide arguments opposing my position.:-)

See, that's the funny thing. I thought we were discussing a topic about reasonable people, with ups and downs, and possibly misconceptions on both sides.

Am I just 'BOB'S ENEMY!!!!' to you, so you don't want to think about anything or discuss any topic that may - horror of horrors - indicate a problem with your view, or a benefit of mine?

To be honest, I can't think of any given the facts that I know.

That's fine - they don't have to be actual flaws. As I said, hypothetical.

Say... 'Support and acceptance of gay marriage is reasonably shown to encourage a societal ill'. Would that constitute a good reason, at least potentially?

I've yet to see you present any of those reasons.

Sure, but why should I until I know what you're interested in on that front anyway? If your attitude is 'Gay marriage and same-sex sexual acts are GREAT, end of story, this is a priori, nothing can change my mind' then really - what's the point?

Bob said...

Crude,
"Am I just 'BOB'S ENEMY!!!"

Not sure why you would think that.
I've read tons of arguments from people opposing gay marriage over the last 30 or so years. I'm afraid I have found none persuasive.
But for some reason you think I can come up with new arguments against gay marriage?

As I indicated in my response above, perhaps if some new facts came to light I might be able to draw up some kind of argument that would be persuasive.



Crude said...

Bob,

As I indicated in my response above, perhaps if some new facts came to light I might be able to draw up some kind of argument that would be persuasive.

Not really. I mean your response was basically 'I can't even hypothetically think of a state of affairs that would change my mind about this'. That's kind of the opposite of 'if some new facts come to light'.

I didn't ask you for an argument. I asked what could persuade you, and even gave a broad outline: "Say... 'Support and acceptance of gay marriage is reasonably shown to encourage a societal ill'. Would that constitute a good reason, at least potentially?"

Hugo said...

Crude, if I may share my opinion, it is quite simple: no laws should ever specify the gender of the person/people involved. In the eye of the law (not morality necessarily; different topic), there is no reason to discriminate by gender on any issue. A person is a person, that's it. Therefore, a 'wedding' is a union between 2 'person'. Specifying gender is superfluous.

2bKbarA0pt_F.PDDrJcWKCV4rFOGRQ-- said...

Crude,
"I didn't ask you for an argument. I asked what could persuade you, and even gave a broad outline: "Say... 'Support and acceptance of gay marriage is reasonably shown to encourage a societal ill'. Would that constitute a good reason, at least potentially?""

Seems to me that would be covered by my statement that if new facts came to light I could possibly see a new argument being formulated.

Gay marriage has been legal in a number of states for some time. Is there evidence that those marriages have damaged society?

So far every court decision since Windsor has decided that the anti-gay marriage laws passed by some states are unconstitutional. It should be obvious to all that regardless of whether or not gay marriage is moral that it will soon be legal throughout the country.

Practically speaking, do you think that is not going to happen?

Back in the 60's I thought homosexuality was wrong. During that time I was also attending several non-denominational churches. For a number of reasons I became very disenchanted with that branch of Christianity. In the late 70's, while attending an Episcopal Church I was surprised to learn that Christians did not think homosexuality was wrong. I think that started my pilgrimage on the road to believing it was just as much a moral duty to support gay marriage as to support the fight against racism.
I'm not telling you this to convince you that my position is the correct one, but to help you understand that I feel very strongly about this issue and it would take a very, very good reason to lead me to change my mind.
I'm sorry, but it is difficult for me to come up with a hypothetical scenario that would cause me to oppose gay marriage.

Crude said...

Hugo,

Opinion noted. Not sure what you want me to do with it.

Bob, or so it seems,

Seems to me that would be covered by my statement that if new facts came to light I could possibly see a new argument being formulated.

But you can't even name what the broad form of those facts could possibly be. I gave you an outline, and you've largely blown past it without so much as saying 'okay, that's possible.'

Practically speaking, do you think that is not going to happen?

Pardon my being blunt, but if tomorrow lynch mobs became legal - and you knew they would remain legal for quite a while - would your response be to shrug your shoulders and attend one for the hell of it now and then?

It is an alien thought to me, this attitude of 'there's no point in voicing objection to this thing that is legal.' It evinces worship of a god I do not recognize.

I'm sorry, but it is difficult for me to come up with a hypothetical scenario that would cause me to oppose gay marriage.

Well, then there we go. Conversation over.

When you can't even agree to the outline of what could change your mind - when I get 'I feel very, very strongly about this, and that's just the way it is' as pretty much the whole summary - at the very least we can stop pretending this is about reason, or the strength of arguments, or conclusions predicated on assumptions that are open to discussion, etc. No need for me to waste my time.

So hey, thanks for being direct at least. Normally it takes a full week to get someone to admit this much - it saves time.

Bob said...

Crude,

That is kinda weird that my name didn't display properly. Anyways, you are correct, it was me, Bob.

"Pardon my being blunt, but if tomorrow lynch mobs became legal - and you knew they would remain legal for quite a while - would your response be to shrug your shoulders and attend one for the hell of it now and then?"

Of course not. Didn't you notice that right before the remark you responded to I asked you for evidence that harm had been done where gay marriage is legal?

Of course you never provided any evidence. I think that is one factor in the rapid progress of the gay marriage movement this past year: all the silly claims of the irreparable harm that would be caused by legalizing gay marriage have been shown to be false.

If you think gay marriage is morally equivalent to lynch mobs then I would think you'd be doing all you could to fight it.


"Well, then there we go. Conversation over."

Actually I think it ended when you refused to provide some of the numerous reasons you have against gay marriage.



Crude said...

Bob,

Of course not. Didn't you notice that right before the remark you responded to I asked you for evidence that harm had been done where gay marriage is legal?

I'd go right back to asking you what qualifies as 'harm' in your view.

But again, this is going to require a possibility of changing one's mind.

Of course you never provided any evidence.

I have asked you, repeatedly, what would even hypothetically change your mind. Your response was, well, pretty much nothing.

Which pretty well obviates the need for evidence or argument here. It's like saying 'I'm not going to accept anything you offer. Now, offer your arguments, knowing I will categorically reject everything you could offer.' What, exactly, is the point? It can't be 'maybe you'll change your mind' - remember, you just ruled that out.

If you think gay marriage is morally equivalent to lynch mobs

No - where in the world did you get that idea? It was an analogy meant to show that even if something is legal, that doesn't remove the value of opposing it if you think it's wrong.

Look, Bob. When you can even come up with the outline of an example of what could change your mind on this topic, maybe we can talk. Otherwise, I think what this conversation has shown is that some people will reject any and all evidence against a view they favor from the outset, and that is sometimes why change happens. I am sure your interpretation will differ, because you want to at once straddle 'I won't change my mind on this' and 'But I'm open to having my mind changed' as positions.

Hugo said...

Crude, you said...
"I'm just trying to figure out why proponents think the way they do. What are their arguments, what position they come from. A good thing, yes? Understanding others' points of view."
[...]
"do you even have arguments for it? Or is this down to 'it feels right', and you just kind of hope someone else out there has made the arguments?"

Then, when I offered some explanation, you reply with...
"Opinion noted. Not sure what you want me to do with it."

So what's your point/goal/opinion exactly?

B. Prokop said...

I don't know who this "Bob" guy is, but he's giving me a Bad Name!

Crude said...

Hugo,

Then, when I offered some explanation,

You didn't give me an explanation. No argument either. Certainly no outline of why you decide what you do, what would change your mind.

Great, I see where you're coming from now. But what should I do with this? Should I turn around and argue with you? I'm not doing that with Bob - we reached the end of the line there, for reasons I already stated.

oozzielionel said...

Does this article imply that there is no proven physiological link to sexual orientation?

http://www.advocate.com/health/2012/08/06/new-theory-says-sexual-orientation-determined-brain-hemisphere-dominance

I am suddenly confused.

Hugo said...

ozzielionel said...
"Does this article imply that there is no proven physiological link to sexual orientation?
[...]
I am suddenly confused.
"
If the findings are correct, it 'proves' a physiological link between the brain and sexual orientation...

Crude said...
" You didn't give me an explanation. No argument either. Certainly no outline of why you decide what you do, what would change your mind. "

It certainly was an explanation, though not particularly explicit I admit. But there is not much more to explain either. I value equality between men and women; gender is irrelevant for my opinion on pretty much anything I can think of, and certainly everything which relates to legal issues. Individuals are not to be labeled using their race/height/gender/etc, but rather by their age, minor or adult, and status such as 'citizen' of a country, or on a 'visa', or as resident of a state/city, etc... basically the legality of an action should not depend on the gender of the individual(s) performing the action. This in turn implies that marriage should be between 2 people, regardless of gender.

Crude said...

Hugo,

It certainly was an explanation, though not particularly explicit I admit. But there is not much more to explain either.

I think the only thing you explained was what your positions, in fact, are.

This in turn implies that marriage should be between 2 people, regardless of gender.

Ignoring the many, many ways that 'equality' needs to be qualified here...

Why "2"?

Hugo said...

Crude said...
"I think the only thing you explained was what your positions, in fact, are."

It's not just a position, or positions; I started with one of my core values, which is that men and women are equal by default. There is usually no point in arguing core values unless we disagree; do you?

"Ignoring the many, many ways that 'equality' needs to be qualified here..."

Many ways? I can't think of anything besides women and men are people, hence they are equal in the eye of the law.

"Why "2"?"

Because that's the current definition of marriage: a legal union between 2 people. The problem is that the 'full' current definition also adds the caveat that it needs to be 1 man and 1 women, a superfluous element.

Crude said...

Hugo,

There is usually no point in arguing core values unless we disagree; do you?

Sure do, because I believe in equality before the law. What you believe in seems to be something other than equality as I understand and accept it.

Many ways? I can't think of anything besides women and men are people, hence they are equal in the eye of the law.

So you object to the existence of men and women's bathrooms? You think male coaches should be able to spend time in women's high school locker rooms? You oppose affirmative action initiatives?

Because that's the current definition of marriage: a legal union between 2 people. The problem is that the 'full' current definition also adds the caveat that it needs to be 1 man and 1 women, a superfluous element.

And it's determined to be superfluous how?

It can't be because it's not included in the definition - you concede that it is.

It's likewise not a 'current' definition - it's very long-standing, to the point of nearly being universal historically.

Is "2" superfluous?

Hugo said...

Crude said...
"There is usually no point in arguing core values unless we disagree; do you?

Sure do, because I believe in equality before the law.
"

I say 'unless we disagree, do you' and you answer 'sure do'. So you disagree with my core value of equality among men and women. At the same time, you say that you believe in equality before the law. Which one is it?

I am pretty sure we do agree on the core value... hence we don't need to question that and can build arguments based on that value.

" What you believe in seems to be something other than equality as I understand and accept it."

I don't know; can you please explain?

"So you object to the existence of men and women's bathrooms?"

That's not a legal issue. It's a social convention put in place for the comfort of the users. Unisex bathrooms are better; better privacy and, sometimes, optimization of the space.

"You think male coaches should be able to spend time in women's high school locker rooms?"

Similar, but since it involves minors, it can turn into a legal issue.

Moreover, for both the bathroom and lock room issue, you are seeing/portraying the issue the wrong way. Every individual has a right to privacy and we, collectively, define to sacrifice that right to privacy by allowing others to use the same bathroom/changing room as us. However, most people feel comfortable doing so only with people of the same sex, hence we created these divisions. There is no law forcing anyone to expose themselves in front of others, regardless of gender.

"You oppose affirmative action initiatives?"

If racism or sexism had never existed, there would be no need for affirmative action initiatives so that's a moot point. Ever heard of discrimination against blue eyed people? Left-handed? What a coincidence that we also don't have any affirmative action initiatives for these people, isn't it?

"And it's determined to be superfluous how? It can't be because it's not included in the definition - you concede that it is."

Back to the top... Because of the core value that women and men are equal. No need to specify the gender

" It's likewise not a 'current' definition "

I am talking about 'today', here, in the USA where I assume you live. If I was back home in Canada, we would not be having this discussion because it was settled some 10+ years ago...

" Is "2" superfluous?"

No because that's all it is; an association between 2 people. An association of 'X' people is something completely different that has nothing to do with marriage.

Crude said...

Hugo,

I say 'unless we disagree, do you' and you answer 'sure do'. So you disagree with my core value of equality among men and women.

I was pretty clear, Hugo: I believe in equality before the law. But your implementation of it seems to be anything but that, so obviously there's some disagreement.

That's not a legal issue.

Sure it is. Have you tried spending time in a woman's bathroom before? You'll find out, quickly, where the law resides on that question.

Moreover, for both the bathroom and lock room issue, you are seeing/portraying the issue the wrong way. Every individual has a right to privacy and we, collectively, define to sacrifice that right to privacy by allowing others to use the same bathroom/changing room as us. However, most people feel comfortable doing so only with people of the same sex, hence we created these divisions.

And this division is enforced by law.

Like I said - go spend some time in a women's restroom. Do it on state property, no less. You will find that this division is enforced by law. Are you saying that it's okay to legally enforce inequality, so long as it's in the name of making people feel comfortable?

Now, conceivably, what you can say here is that you think this is a travesty of justice. Men should be able to linger in women's bathrooms as much as they like. And if you believe that, all I will ask is that you link me a conversation arguing against this injustice. It's widespread, after all, so if it's a concern, it would have reasonably come up for you in the past.

If racism or sexism had never existed, there would be no need for affirmative action initiatives so that's a moot point.

Oh, okay. You believe in the form of 'equality before the law' which allows for the preferential treatment of people based on their race and sex.

Like I said - your definition of equality before the law seems to be anything but.

Back to the top... Because of the core value that women and men are equal.

But what I asked you wasn't related to gender, but number. Put another way: why is it okay to discriminate against a man and two women who love each other?

Or, for that matter, three men.

I am talking about 'today', here, in the USA where I assume you live.

My context was clear - it's not 'current', as if it was thought up a decade ago, or a hundred years ago.

No because that's all it is; an association between 2 people. An association of 'X' people is something completely different that has nothing to do with marriage.

Neither was an association of two men or two women.

Why on earth are you limiting marriage to two people? It's entirely superfluous to the concept.

Hugo said...

Crude said...

"I was pretty clear, Hugo: I believe in equality before the law. But your implementation of it seems to be anything but that"

I am commenting here about existing laws regarding marriage. I am telling you that I think those laws should be changed because they violate equality. This is precisely a case of 'equality before law'.

"Have you tried spending time in a woman's bathroom before? You'll find out, quickly, where the law resides on that question."

Show me the law.

If it exists, I'll explain why a genderless version would also work. My guess is that you won't find any such law but there are so many funny laws out there that I wouldn’t be shocked either.

I repeat, for the bathroom issue, you are seeing/portraying the issue the wrong way. Every individual has a right to privacy and we, collectively, define to sacrifice that right to privacy by allowing others to use the same bathroom/changing room as us. However, most people feel comfortable doing so only with people of the same sex, hence we created these divisions. There is no law forcing anyone to expose themselves in front of others, regardless of gender.

Sure, there would be consequences of spending time in the wrong bathroom. First, if it's simply by mistake, embarrassment would follow. Next, if the bathroom is empty, a janitor could simply be there to clean. Some time back, I spent several minutes helping my wife who was sick. However, if some perverted person purposely disturbs the right of privacy of someone else, that's a different story, a story of harassment.

Gender is the issue only because the individual whose privacy has been violated does not feel comfortable with the action of the perpetrator.

"You believe in the form of 'equality before the law' which allows for the preferential treatment of people based on their race and sex."

No. Not at all. We should not have to implement these measures; that's the point.

Ever heard of discrimination against blue eyed people? No, because blue-eyed people were never discriminated against on the basis of their eye color, unlike blacks and women. Some people have their rights taken simply because of the color of their skin. Hence, we had to put in place measures to encourage a fairer distribution. I am not convinced it's the best thing to do, but it certainly does not constitute an example against 'equality before the law'.

If racism or sexism had never existed, there would be no need for affirmative action initiatives

I was trying to find the Jane Elliott's Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise on kids, but ran into the adult version:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nqv9k3jbtYU
Did not have time to watch more than a few minutes, worth watching I am sure...

"But what I asked you wasn't related to gender, but number. Put another way: why is it okay to discriminate against a man and two women who love each other?

Or, for that matter, three men.
"

But the question is not about number, you have no reason to make it about numbers. There are laws that exist, right now, that give advantages and rights to unions of 2 people: a marriage! The problem is that it specifies the gender, for no reason, thus violating equality for all individuals, regardless of gender.

"Why on earth are you limiting marriage to two people? It's entirely superfluous to the concept"

No because that's all it is; an association between 2 people. An association of 'X' people is something completely different that has nothing to do with marriage. There are no laws regarding 3-way marriage so why would I care about it? The only time I hear about it is when I have the occasional online debate with American conservatives.

B. Prokop said...

"Ever heard of discrimination against blue eyed people? Left-handed? What a coincidence that we also don't have any affirmative action initiatives for these people, isn't it?" (my emphasis)

Boy, did you ever blow it there, Hugo! As a 62 year old left-handed person, I can assure you that I have endured a lifetime of discrimination. I'm not joking here - I'm deadly serious. Your comment makes me believe you are just another thoughtless right-hander who hasn't a clue as to how much more difficult it is to grow up with the opposite "orientation". Discrimination against lefties is far more widespread that discrimination against homosexuals, yet we hear nothing about it.

I'm not sure what sort of "coincidence" you're referring to. I call it bigotry, pure and simple. And the worst bigotry of all is to not even acknowledge its existence.

grodrigues said...

"No because that's all it is; an association between 2 people. An association of 'X' people is something completely different that has nothing to do with marriage. There are no laws regarding 3-way marriage so why would I care about it? The only time I hear about it is when I have the occasional online debate with American conservatives."

Oy vey, we got a sophist joker in our midst.

Bob said...

Crude,

Earlier you said:

"Why, I'm just trying to figure out why proponents think the way they do. What are their arguments, what position they come from. A good thing, yes? Understanding others' points of view."

And now:
" When you can even come up with the outline of an example of what could change your mind on this topic, maybe we can talk."

Not sure how you got from trying to understand my pov to trying to change my mind. Were you not speaking truly earlier? Was that just a rhetorical trick to try and change my mind?

I never had any expectations of changing your mind when we started this conversation.

And for one who claims an interest in understanding another person's reasons, you seem strangely reluctant to share your reasons for opposing gay marriage.

You claimed:
"Actually, I've got a lot of reasons to oppose it. Wholly secular and practical reasons."

This is a public forum we are posting in, not a private conversation. I would think you'd be glad to share with others some of those reasons.

Bob said...

Crude,
"I'd go right back to asking you what qualifies as 'harm' in your view."

I'd be happy to after you share what qualifies as 'harm'.

Bob said...

Bob,
"Discrimination against lefties is far more widespread that discrimination against homosexuals, yet we hear nothing about it."

Wonder how you would feel if they made a law prohibiting left-handed people from marrying?

Bob said...

Hugo,
The question of gay marriage is not simply a question of equality. Those opposing it have to show that there is something bad or evil in gay unions. Since they have failed to do so, then it becomes clear that gays should enjoy equal protection under the law.

grodrigues said...

@Bob:

"Those opposing it have to show that there is something bad or evil in gay unions. Since they have failed to do so, then it becomes clear that gays should enjoy equal protection under the law."

Another sophist joker.

(1) Without a robust conception of what "bad" or "evil" is, it is meaningless to say that the opposing party has to demonstrate this or that. And what is "bad" or "evil" is what is in dispute you are just begging the question.

(2) And even if it were so, it does not follow that something (e.g. a state of affairs), is not per se bad or evil, by whatever measure you care to invent, that thereby it must have "equal protection under the law".

grodrigues said...

@Bob:

And for the heck of it:

(3) And for the "equal" to apply, *you* must prove that gay unions are equal to heterossexual unions in the relevant sense, which of course, is what opponents deny.

Bob said...

grodriques,
"Another sophist joker."

Huh?

Like everyone else, the opponents of gay marriage have to put their claims up against the morals and ethics embraced by the culture we live in.

I'm not claiming that our culture is perfectly moral or ethical. Obviously it is not when one considers how accepted it once was to discriminate against blacks and homosexuals.

The proponents of gay marriage have had to put up their claims against the cultural norms and argue against the discriminatory practices in place.
The anti gay marriage folks don't get a free pass on this. They too are obliged to put forth their views in the public arena if they wished their moral and ethical views to be followed.

Bob said...

grodrigues,
"And for the "equal" to apply, *you* must prove that gay unions are equal to heterossexual unions in the relevant sense, which of course, is what opponents deny."

What do you mean by "equal" here? Are all heterosexual unions equal in your view? In what way are they all equal?

grodrigues said...

@Bob:

"The proponents of gay marriage have had to put up their claims against the cultural norms and argue against the discriminatory practices in place."

In order to classify ruling out gay "marriage" as a discriminatory practice, you have to first demonstrate that gay unions are the same, in the relevant sense, to heterossexual ones, which is precisely what the opponents deny.

Oh wait, I am just repeating myself.

"The anti gay marriage folks don't get a free pass on this. They too are obliged to put forth their views in the public arena if they wished their moral and ethical views to be followed."

They are doing just that, so I fail to see what exactly is your point.

Crude said...

Hugo,

Pardon me if I skip out on the typical boring 'quote and reply to every line ad nauseum' tit for tat. Either way, we've resolved a few things.

I say I'm for equality for all before the law. You say likewise. I said your 'equality' is no equality I recognize. Only one of us believes some people should be legally able to be given preferential treatment in hiring, etc, based on their race or gender. That's not myself. Saying 'but I have a good reason for it' doesn't matter - what that means is you think you have good reasons not to true people equally before the law. Good for you.

I've pointed out that if you, as a man, linger in a woman's bathroom (save for if you're dressed as a woman and say you're a woman, in some areas), even on state property, you can count on being evicted by police. You say 'show me the law', but I say 'go in the women's restroom' - keep doing it, see if the cops show up when you refuse when you're inevitably told it's for women only. Restrictions of facilities on a sex basis are de facto enforced by law. I'm not interested in whether you could imagine a world where this isn't the case.

Finally, you have zero problem discriminating against men and women who want multiple partners in a marriage. Now, I can far more easily find historical arrangements of multiple partners in a marriage than same-sex partners. You keep saying it doesn't matter and it has nothing to do with marriage, but everyone from muslims to mormons to others would disagree.

So, you're boned on multiple fronts here. On the one hand, you don't believe in equal protection before the law. You can stipulate, 'I'm for putting that aside, so long as it's for a good cause'. Well, great.

You can't so much as give a principled argument about why you deny marriage rights to people who want to marry more than one partner. Saying 'But it has nothing to do with marriage' when it demonstrably historically does for many isn't much of a reply. Saying 'conservatives say this!' doesn't exactly shoot it down either.

So, there we are.

Crude said...

Bob,

I'd be happy to after you share what qualifies as 'harm'.

You've been saying that there's been no harm caused by gay marriage. I ask you for what your definition of harm is, and your reply is to demand I define harm first? What?

You made the claim. I made a reasonable request in turn. Why is it that you present yourself as a defender of gay "marriage", but over and over when I ask you to give your reasoning about this or that, you show that you don't want to do that and prefer me to go on the attack, or give information myself?

See Bob, you do that, and I start thinking that you don't even have much in the way of reasons. You have feelings. I do not want to believe that, so please - prove me wrong.

Or don't, I guess. But you can't say I'm not giving you the opportunity.

Hugo said...

Crude said...
"Pardon me if I skip out on the typical boring 'quote and reply to every line"
Sure, but I will continue doing so because you lie... hopefully not on purpose.

" Only one of us believes some people should be legally able to be given preferential treatment in hiring, etc, based on their race or gender. That's not myself."

That's not what I said. I actually wrote "No. Not at all." after you wrote something similar. I am not convinced that preferential treatment is the best way to help resolve racism/sexism related issues. It happened because of the existence of sexism and racism so the people who decided to put these measures in place started from that reality. If individuals always had equal rights and privileges regardless of race and gender, like I believe it should be, there would be no need to even consider affirmative action initiatives. Therefore:

"Saying 'but I have a good reason for it' doesn't matter - what that means is you think you have good reasons not to true people equally before the law. "

....this is not relevant. I am open to be convinced that we should make exceptions to the equality principles, but I am not the one putting forward these ideas nor standing up for them. They happened for good reasons and with good intentions, regardless of whether we approve the chosen method or not.

"You say 'show me the law', but I say 'go in the women's restroom'"

You completely ignored my point, and refuse to support yours. Not sure how to repeat it again besides copy/pasting:

Sure, there would be consequences of spending time in the wrong bathroom. First, if it's simply by mistake, embarrassment would follow. Next, if the bathroom is empty, a janitor could simply be there to clean. Some time back, I spent several minutes helping my wife who was sick. However, if some perverted person purposely disturbs the right of privacy of someone else, that's a different story, a story of harassment.

Gender is the issue only because the individual whose privacy has been violated does not feel comfortable with the action of the perpetrator.

"you have zero problem discriminating against men and women who want multiple partners in a marriage"

Another misunderstanding on your part. I am not in favor of that kind of discrimination. Again, I have to copy/paste: the question is not about number, you have no reason to make it about numbers. There are laws that exist, right now, that give advantages and rights to unions of 2 people: a marriage! The problem is that it specifies the gender, for no reason, thus violating equality for all individuals, regardless of gender.

Again, if you want to discuss the creation of rules allowing 3-people unions, fine, but I don't have much to say about it besides the fact that I would not specify the gender of the 3 people. Why would you be for/against such arrangement? What kind of rights would 3-people union get? Would divorce allow 2 of the 3 to become married? Would they be allowed to adopt and all be legal guardians?

"So, you're boned on multiple fronts here.
[...]So, there we are.
"

There we are; you are confused on 3 different fronts:
1) I am not arguing 'for' affirmative action initiatives. They are a reality that happened and exemplifying the racism/sexism that happened severely in the past, and still happen today.
2) You don't understand the bathroom issue and refuse to provide laws we could discuss; and you don't grasp how the law does not need to specify gender to be efficient in these cases.
3) You don't understand that I am not arguing 'against' 3-people union. I am only arguing 'for' adapting existing legal marriage laws which discriminate against homosexual couples by arbitrarily specifying gender in their definition.

Hugo said...

B. Prokop said...
"As a 62 year old left-handed person, I can assure you that I have endured a lifetime of discrimination. "
On the one hand, I am sorry you feel hurt and had a rough time, and I do understand there is some "inconvenience" of being left-handed. My sister always struggle with her pencils in elementary school and I recall my aunt, whose about your age, telling me about how the nuns forced her to write with her right hand.

However...

"Discrimination against lefties is far more widespread that discrimination against homosexuals"

That is just dead wrong. Bob mentioned one example already: "how you would feel if they made a law prohibiting left-handed people from marrying?" Or what about being forced to use different buses, not get access to the same jobs, be ridiculed, mocked, harassed, driven to depression and suicide, etc...

In any case, all of that is irrelevant to the point I was discussing here. It's a giant red herring that Crude keeps showing off in order to avoid supporting his views, whatever it is...

Bob said...

Crude,
"You've been saying that there's been no harm caused by gay marriage. I ask you for what your definition of harm is, and your reply is to demand I define harm first? What?

You made the claim. I made a reasonable request in turn. Why is it that you present yourself as a defender of gay "marriage", but over and over when I ask you to give your reasoning about this or that, you show that you don't want to do that and prefer me to go on the attack, or give information myself?"

Because at this point it appears you don't wish to contribute anything positive to this discussion. You claimed to have numerous reasons for opposing gay marriage. Yet you've never provided those reasons.

I gave my reasons for supporting gay marriage above and then I asked you to provide your reasons for opposing it. You know, the numerous reasons you have claimed to have.

I can't link to that exhchange, so am pasting a copy of it:

You asked:
Let me ask you something serious, Bob. You're clearly very, very big on gay marriage. But do you even have arguments for it? Or is this down to 'it feels right', and you just kind of hope someone else out there has made the arguments?

I replied:

It is pretty simple:

I see no good reason for prohibiting a loving gay couple from enjoying the same benefits from marriage that a loving straight couple receives.
Helping to support those gay relationships is good for our society and for the children gay couples are raising.

If you are really getting serious here why don't you produce those numerous reasons you claim to have for opposing gay marriage?


Bob said...

grodriques,
"In order to classify ruling out gay "marriage" as a discriminatory practice, you have to first demonstrate that gay unions are the same, in the relevant sense, to heterossexual ones, which is precisely what the opponents deny."

Apparently the proponents have been quite effective at doing that in court. Looks like all the anti-gay marriage are going to bite the dust because they violate the Constitution.

grodrigues said...

@Bob:

"Apparently the proponents have been quite effective at doing that in court."

It is always very instructive to see how quickly SSM proponents flee from arguing their case and reduce the truth to court effectiveness, or more bluntly, whoever screams the loudest gets the sympathies of the powers that be.

Bob said...

Hugo,
"It's a giant red herring that Crude keeps showing off in order to avoid supporting his views, whatever it is..."

To be honest I'm rather befuddled by his refusal to provide a case against gay marriage since it is quite clear that he finds it immoral. Acts of homosexuality, or 'sodomy' as he puts it, are intrinsically immoral in his view. And to support the morality of gay marriage is to at least implicitly support the morality of gay sex. So it would seem reasonable for him to oppose it based on his moral views.

But he also claims he has secular and practical reasons for opposing it, yet refuses to give them.

I take it you are not Christian like myself, but I take it that we do agree it is not immoral to engage in homosexual acts.


Crude said...

Bob,

Because at this point it appears you don't wish to contribute anything positive to this discussion.

Asking you to explain your reasoning, to justify your claims, is not 'positive'?

If you want one of my many secular and non-religious reasons for not being on board with the gay "marriage" push, here's one: when I ask their supporters for their reasoning or to explain themselves, such as how they define 'harm' when they say gay marriage 'does no harm', they seem unwilling or unable to explain themselves.

grod,

It is always very instructive to see how quickly SSM proponents flee from arguing their case and reduce the truth to court effectiveness, or more bluntly, whoever screams the loudest gets the sympathies of the powers that be.

Pretty much that. I suppose we could say, for those decades - even centuries - where gay marriage was illegal (indeed, where sodomy was flat out punishable by the state), that at that point the argument was settled, and those were all good things.

Really, I'm not asking for much out of Bob: "What is harm? How are you defining it when you say gay marriage causes no harm?" is a pretty benign claim.

But he's completely uncomfortable justifying his claims, offering arguments. And that's not encouraging.

Bob said...

grodrigues,
"It is always very instructive to see how quickly SSM proponents flee from arguing their case and reduce the truth to court effectiveness, or more bluntly, whoever screams the loudest gets the sympathies of the powers that be."

Discrimination is a legal question. Courts are where such issues are decided when there is a dispute over it.

The proponents haven't been winning all these recent court decisions because they are "screaming the loudest." :-)

Crude said...

Hugo,

Nothing you've said lays a glove on any of the points I've made, so I won't bother with the line-by-line response - not necessary. Your definition of 'equality' fails the smell test on multiple fronts. You're not really in favor of equality - or at least, if you are, it's equality that you're entirely willing to sacrifice "in the eyes of the law" in the pursuit of a social good you desire. Which... isn't equality.

Now maybe you'll argue that, even though lingering in a women's locker room at a state university will damn well land you in jail many times, that's not REALLY a violation of equality. Sure, there are gender-restricted areas, but this is a sacrifice we make for, etc, etc. Great. But that just means that you don't, in fact, agree in total 'equality before the law'.

Likewise, you say that the gender specifications in marriage are 'arbitrary'. But '2' is arbitrary as well - in fact, historically, it's far more arbitrary than a male-female specified pairing, in just about any historical region you care to look at. So, out that goes too - or out it should go, if the goal is fairness.

Also, I suppose, in the name of equality we should allow men to spend as much time as they like in women's restrooms and locker rooms. Female prisoners should be mixed in with male prisoners in the general prison population. Etc, etc.

Or wait. Are we sacrificing some 'equality before the law' in the name of a given "good", just as you decided to sacrifice it in terms of affirmative action and so on?

Okay. But that just means that "equality" won't even work as an axiom here to justify a given view on gay marriage, in and of itself. We need more. We need, at least in principle, to discuss "greater goods" and what they are.

I mean intellectually. We can just go "I LIKE GAY MARRIAGE, NOTHING WILL CHANGE MY MIND, LA LA LA" if so desired. But at that point we also have to acknowledge we're not thinking with our heads. Or, at all. It's all emotion.

Crude said...

Bob,

The proponents haven't been winning all these recent court decisions because they are

Actually, yes, that is a large part of it. Are you really going to tell me 'Oh, no, courts only make the decisions they do because of sincere and honest reflection on the merits of the case before them'? They at times go with the culture and the mood of the moment as much as any other political figure.

But please, feel free to say that court decisions are based entirely on merits, justice, and each decision is right if it's authoritative and binding. I'll start bringing up some cases with Scalia (EEK!) writing the majority opinion, and we'll see how quickly you bow your head and say, "The court hath spoken, and I am wrong."

Bob said...

Crude,
"If you want one of my many secular and non-religious reasons for not being on board with the gay "marriage" push, here's one: when I ask their supporters for their reasoning or to explain themselves, such as how they define 'harm' when they say gay marriage 'does no harm', they seem unwilling or unable to explain themselves."

Ok. You gave one reason.
One way that gay marriage could be shown harmful is if it caused the divorce rate among straight people to increase at a statistically significant rate in every state where it is legal.

grodrigues said...

@Bob:

"Discrimination is a legal question. Courts are where such issues are decided when there is a dispute over it."

More question-begging. And in fact, it is very easy to see that no discrimination is involved.

Hugo said...

"grodrigues has left a new comment on the post "How many sexual orientations are there?":

@Bob:

"Discrimination is a legal question. Courts are where such issues are decided when there is a dispute over it."

More question-begging. And in fact, it is very easy to see that no discrimination is involved.

A sophist joker indeed.
"

Why do you keep using this 'sophist joker' comment?

Hugo said...

@ Bob

I agree with you Bob...

Crude claims he has secular and practical reasons for opposing it, yet refuses to give them.

Correct, I am not Christian like you, but I take it that we do agree it is not immoral to engage in homosexual acts.

I also agree with your previous comment on how it's not 'just' about equality as gay marriage can become a very broad complex issue. I am trying to focus on equality of gender as a base core value to show a rational path from that value to acceptance of homosexual behaviors.

Hugo said...

Crude said...

"Nothing you've said lays a glove on any of the points I've made, so I won't bother with the line-by-line response - not necessary."

Sure, continue lying by writing things that have nothing to do with my position and in no way support yours. It's much easier to do so when you don't quote since your words are not next to those you pretend to address!

"maybe you'll argue that, even though lingering in a women's locker room at a state university will damn well land you in jail many times, that's not REALLY a violation of equality"

It's NOT a violation of equality. It's a violation of PRIVACY and individual liberties. I repeat for at least the 3rd time: every person, regardless of gender, has a right to privacy. Individual volunteer to sacrifice that right when they decide to use public restrooms and locker room, with the caveat that they are 'ok' to do so only with members of their gender.

"gender specifications in marriage are 'arbitrary'. But '2' is arbitrary as well "

The EXISTING laws are about TWO people. What part of that don't you get? I am only arguing about for EXISTNG laws, regarding 2 people, to be changed. If there is/were a law for 3 people, we can discuss it separately.

" Are we sacrificing some 'equality before the law' in the name of a given "good""

First, there could be cases where we should sacrifice that value yes, just like any other value. Life is preferable to death in my opinion, hopefully you agree, yet there are cases where we would also agree that death is a better option, be it in the execution of a mass murdered or unfortunate war casualties.
Second, I am not even talking about any case of such sacrifice here, regarding weddings, you Crude, is the one making these claims about such exceptions.

I don't understand why you do that and I especially don't get how you are missing the irony here: you are the one against gay marriage which is an obvious case of non-equality between individuals, some people being denied the right to choose the person of their choice in a 2-people union because other people think that their preference of picking based on gender should prevail.

" We need more. We need, at least in principle, to discuss "greater goods" and what they are."

As I told Bob, I agree that there is more to gay marriage than just equality, as this is a long-lasting complex issue that has polarized a lot of individuals and groups of people. I could discuss a bunch of other reasons about why I support gay marriage without ever referring to the gender issue I am pressing here. However, this is the most direct and clear way to express why, based on gender equality, I conclude that picking your life partner should not be constrained by gender.

" I mean intellectually. We can just go "I LIKE GAY MARRIAGE, NOTHING WILL CHANGE MY MIND, LA LA LA" if so desired. But at that point we also have to acknowledge we're not thinking with our heads. Or, at all. It's all emotion."

That is all I have been seeing from you so far, yes. No intellectual point made whatsoever. It's all 'LALALALA I don't care what you write I am just going to repeat the same lies'. No support of your position; I am not even sure what it is exactly. No discussion on these mysterious laws that supposedly specify gender, and have to specify gender to be valid and useful. Nothing but lies Crude, mostly regarding my position when you address me directly; that's all I see here.

Crude said...

Bob,

Ok. You gave one reason.

And down goes another of Hugo's claims, irrelevant as this one was. Thank you.

One way that gay marriage could be shown harmful is if it caused the divorce rate among straight people to increase at a statistically significant rate in every state where it is legal.

Wonderful. But you didn't answer my question: What is 'harm'? You cite divorce as an instance of harm. Okay - why is it harmful?

Do you believe divorce should, in general, be discouraged?

Hugo,

Sure, continue lying by writing things that have nothing to do with my position and in no way support yours.

A clear case of projection, Hugo. I haven't written such things - I have, however, shown why we have a disagreement. Your version of 'equality' doesn't pass muster in my eyes, and I think in the eyes of most rational people.

You believe in a form of 'equality' that supports people being treated differently in the eyes of the law so long as there's what you believe to be a good reason for doing exactly that. So much for said equality.

And hey, I'm entirely onboard with you saying that you believe you nevertheless in large part support equality, with those exceptions in mind. But that's an important qualification, and it underlines an equally important point: it's not as simple as saying 'this is the principle I operate with, and from this principle, this result automatically follows'. It turns out we have to do a bit more work, intellectually, as these principles class, as we deal with particular cases.

No lies here, Hugo. Just clear, simple, concise commentary on pretty obvious problems with your positions. They are available for the world to see, whether or not you like them. And I'm not even demanding intellectual purity from you; merely recognition of the exceptions and problems with your position. Simple honesty, and little else.

By the way - 'picking your life partner' was never outlawed. That's like saying 'it shouldn't be against the law to love someone'. Love who you like, but love is a distinct question from the cultural and legality of marriage. However, if marriage is merely some contract between consenting adults, then it makes little sense to restrict said contract to '2'. The numerical limitation, it turns out, is just as irrelevant as the gender limitation.

Anyway, if you can relax a bit, maybe we can continue this conversation. There's no sense losing your cool just because I've pointed out some weaknesses in your position. It's a favor, right? How we learn and so on.

Hugo said...

Crude said...

"Bob,
Ok. You gave one reason.
And down goes another of Hugo's claims, irrelevant as this one was. Thank you.
"

...and that "reason" was:

"If you want one of my many secular and non-religious reasons for not being on board with the gay "marriage" push, here's one: when I ask their supporters for their reasoning or to explain themselves, such as how they define 'harm' when they say gay marriage 'does no harm', they seem unwilling or unable to explain themselves."

This is not even a reason to support 'your' position; this is a response to someone else's position. You could agree with them and still claim that they are unwilling or unable to explain themselves. This is bad reasoning and not in any way a support of 'your' position, whatever it is.

Let me make a parallel with Atheism, and I raise that example here on this blog a few weeks back. I have a friend who claims that she's an Atheist because of the Big Bang. This is not, imo, a good reason to be an Atheist, at least not as a lone argument. Therefore, since she stops at that, I consider that she is unwilling or unable to explain herself. Should that convince me that her position is wrong? Of course not, I agree with her!

Next, I said:
"Sure, continue lying by writing things that have nothing to do with my position and in no way support yours."
Which is exactly what you keep doing, even when you 'pretend' to have support your point. You keep lying, probably not on purpose, by misrepresenting my position.

" A clear case of projection, Hugo. I haven't written such things "

Projection? Please, you can keep the psychoanalysis to yourself. It's fun to think about things like that, I do it too, but it just makes you look foolish when you express them out loud. When I am telling you: 'my' position is 'not' what you make it look to be. You cannot be right on this; even if you had good reasons to claim that my position is faulty. The point is that if I say 'no, I don't think like that' then I don't! You can claim all day long that I am wrong to think in a certain way, to believe certain things, but you cannot tell me 'you believe X' and then claim that you are not lying if I repeatedly tell you that 'no, I don't believe X'. Note also that I express several points, so you're interpretation is right on some, but just dead wrong on others, and you refused to fix your errors.

" if you can relax a bit, maybe we can continue this conversation. There's no sense losing your cool just because I've pointed out some weaknesses in your position. It's a favor, right? How we learn and so on."

That is the funniest part of your comment; the evidence I did not need but confirms that you are horrible at 'mind reading' or 'psychoanalyzing' or whatever we may call this botched interpretation. I am not losing my cool in any way, and I am actually super relax when writing all of this. Commenting online is something fun and entertaining, a distraction from the non-calm crazy days I have had recently. If you were in front of me, I would have a large smile on my face, I would be laughing at a lot of the non-sense you say. Was it the tone of the language, or the EMPHASIS USING CAPS, or the fact that you don't like being called out on your lies? I don't know but that is all wrong. I am telling you, this is just fun stuff, cool stuff, and yes, interesting discussions do lead to learning sometimes and that's why I love it. However, this certainly did not happen here with you. Looks, I will even end with a smiley face just to make sure you get this right: thank you for your time Crude, see you on a future thread! :-)

p.s. I am going on vacation and will impose a few blog-free days on myself ;-)