FYIGAQ*, Bigotry Edition

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Kazzy

One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

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  1. Avatar Jason Kuznicki
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    says:

    … for those of you who believe that homosexuals are no more or less moral as a result of their sexual orientation, how do you expect people who grow up in circumstances where they are taught that homosexual acts are a sin willingly entered into by morally weak or inferior people to come to the same conclusions that you do?

    Well, one thing that certainly won’t do it is to call them bigots and say they’re beyond all help.

    Our society is going through a pretty massive change on this question, just as it did with a lot of other issues in the past — slavery, women’s rights, even all the way back to religious toleration. The difference is that today the change is happening really really fast, and it’s happening in an environment of vastly more public discourse.

    That’s going to lead to some strange and awkward situations. Things like David Blankenhorn publicly changing his mind, or Obama’s perhaps just-a-bit-too-convenient “evolution” on the issue. Not that I’m complaining in either case. They’re signs that my side is winning, and complaint would be ungracious.

    What we on the pro-gay side need to do is recognize that many people form opinions simply by absorbing them from the ambient culture — these opinions are not thought through except after the fact, and then only with the express purpose of justifying what they already believed from the prior ambient absorption. For a long time, virtually everyone formed their opinions about non-straight people in exactly this way.

    People like this are not evil. They are at worst a bit lazy. And so am I, and so are you — to some extent, everyone does this on one issue or another. And calling people like these bigots isn’t going to persuade them.

    What will persuade them is to present a plausible-but-different account of gays and lesbians, including both reasoned arguments and simply habituation to the mere fact of our existence. In time, this method works, at least if the person is minimally motivated to re-examine their views.

    People who are not minimally motivated to re-examine their views are just about the dictionary definition of bigots. Still, for purposes of persuasive rhetoric, I find little good in using the term. It might shut someone down who would otherwise be reachable.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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      says:

      “People who are not minimally motivated to re-examine their views are just about the dictionary definition of bigots.”

      Are you minimally motivated to re-examine YOUR view on the morality of homosexuality?

      (For the record, I ask this not to say that I think you are a bigot, but that even THIS definition of bigot might be too loose. I’m not wiling to re-examine my view that 2 + 2 = 4. I hope that doesn’t make me bigoted against 5.)Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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      says:

      “What we on the pro-gay side need to do is recognize that many people form opinions simply by absorbing them from the ambient culture — these opinions are not thought through except after the fact, and then only with the express purpose of justifying what they already believed from the prior ambient absorption. For a long time, virtually everyone formed their opinions about non-straight people in exactly this way.”

      And this, in a nutshell, is what I’m hoping to explore here. Thank you for putting it so well.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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      says:

      I don’t believe that homosexuality is immoral, but I do believe that any misuse of sexuality is immoral. And that seemingly makes me a minority of one on this site. So I’ll try to answer the question.

      Religious instruction.
      Experience.
      Gut feeling.

      I can elaborate on those as necessary, but there are several threads going about roughly the same subject, so we’ll see.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        There are more of us. (It’s just not particularly a hill I wish to die upon.)Report

      • Avatar M.A. in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        I don’t believe that homosexuality is immoral, but I do believe that any misuse of sexuality is immoral.

        Can you define the phrase “misuse of sexuality”?

        Meanwhile, I’ll continue to believe that any misuse of religion is far more immoral than either homosexuals or heterosexuals being in committed, loving relationships (or for that matter uncommitted, mutually attracted, mutually consenting short-term partnerings for fun and/or pleasure).Report

      • Avatar Ryan Noonan in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        “Misuse of sexuality” is doing a lot of work for you there, pardner. To my mind, that’s a phrase that conjures up images of molesting children or rape or whatever, which certainly seem like classic cases of immorality.

        The problem is that I suspect you file a lot of things under that heading that I find totally and completely kosher, sexuality-wise.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        I’m coming from a traditional Catholic understanding of sexuality: chastity. The sexual act as unitive and procreative. In layman’s terms, sex within marriage and without any artificial frustration of conception. In laykid’s terms, when a man and a woman love each other very much and give each other a special hug and wish for a baby.

        Most people know intuitively that that works, and that departure from it tends to lead to problems. A lot of people learn it through religious education. And some people figure it out in their 40’s after they and their friends have made a lot of bad choices.

        As I said, I’m not arguing against homosexual behavior here, much less homosexual inclination. I’m saying that *any* misuse of sexuality screws us up on the natural and supernatural planes. Such a position isn’t bigoted, btw.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          Now you’ve done it.

          (Anyway, before we get into the “WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE WHO CAN’T HAVE CHILDREN BECAUSE GOD STRUCK THEM DOWN WITH MUMPS!” counterexamples start ringing out from folks, I’d suggest that sticking with arguing that sex is unitive might do a better job of avoiding such things as the coming avalanche in the future.)Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            Uh-oh, I’m worried that someone on the internet will disagree with me?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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              says:

              It’s one thing to be disagreed with. That’s fine. The mine I suspect you’ve stepped on is not a “we disagree” mine. Wait until you see what they say about those folks who think that homosexual sex not having a procreative option means that, by definition, homosexual sex cannot be both unitive and procreative and is, therefore, by definition… well. Perhaps I’m wrong.

              I reckon we’ll see what happens.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky
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              says:

              I doubt that 🙂

              But I’m past my 40s, am still pleased with the number of kids I’ve got (aided by artificial frustration of conception), and don’t expect to change my mind about that any time soon.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          I think you’re sinking your feet into natural law, here. Careful, that sets.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          Pinky,

          If the Lord God himself were to descend from the heavens tomorrow and declare that all sexual acts between any competent and willing participants are hereby to be considered good and righteous, would you change your opinion?

          I thank you in advance for indulging what might seem silly and also apologize in advance if this in anyway comes across as offensive. I intend the question as a wholly genuine one.Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to Kazzy
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            says:

            Kazzy – No offense taken. Not sure why I would, and anyway, if I wanted to avoid conversation, the whole message board angle would’ve been poor planning.

            My beliefs are based on my religious beliefs as well as my experience and my read on human nature. I guess you’d say faith and reason, although “faith” is a loaded word for some people. If God showed up and told me I was wrong, I wouldn’t argue with him over it. I don’t think many people would eyeball God (we do mumble about him when we think his back is turned though).Report

        • Avatar M.A. in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          Most people know intuitively that that works, and that departure from it tends to lead to problems.

          So you’re on the “any sex that isn’t necessarily designed to create a kid is sinful” approach. Well, there goes the possibility of my aunt and uncle having a meaningful marriage. There goes the possibility of my uncle and his soon-to-be-husband having a meaningful marriage. There go all the friends of mine who enjoy non-vaginal forms of mutual enjoyment with their spouses or significant others or occasional playmates of either gender. There go the many, many single people I know of varying ages who have fulfilling lives, have not met their lifetime person (or thought they had, but it didn’t last for whatever reason).

          And yet all of them are nevertheless good, caring, moral people.

          As I said, I’m not arguing against homosexual behavior here, much less homosexual inclination. I’m saying that *any* misuse of sexuality screws us up on the natural and supernatural planes. Such a position isn’t bigoted, btw.

          Wow. What a completely tortured position. “I’m not arguing against homosexual behavior or homosexual inclination, but I’m saying that any sex act that isn’t specifically designed for procreation is sinful. So I can’t be bigoted against gays because that would mean I’m also bigoted against men and women who enjoy oral or anal, or the occasional fingerplay or other kinks, with each other in a hetero setting.”

          If that’s your idea of claiming you’re not bigoted, you go right on believing it, but you’re wrong. Completely and without qualification, wrong.Report

        • Avatar James Vonder Haar in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          I’m confused. How can someone who believes that non-procreative sex is immoral possibly think that homosexuality is moral?Report

          • Avatar M.A. in reply to James Vonder Haar
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            says:

            He’s not saying homosexuality is moral.

            He’s saying that homosexuality is no more “immoral” than getting a blowjob from your wife.

            It’s a heck of a logical dodge.Report

            • Avatar Pinky in reply to M.A.
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              says:

              Wrong. I’m saying that homosexuality as an inclination isn’t immoral. Homosexual acts are. As for my supposed bigotry, I’m neither classifying people nor judging them on classifications.Report

            • Avatar James Vonder Haar in reply to M.A.
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              says:

              I don’t get that out of “I’m not arguing against homosexual behavior here, much less homosexual inclination. “Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to James Vonder Haar
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                says:

                I wasn’t arguing that point upthread, and I’m not arguing that point specifically. Sorry if that came out confusing. I think it made sense in the context of the original article.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                You were saying — I think — that you weren’t arguing against homosexual behavior in particular. Instead, it’s part of a sufficiently large class of behaviors, shared by people of all orientations, to remove any implication of bigotry from your view. You are as disapproving of masturbation as you are of anal sex.

                Correct?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                I just want to thank everyone for the very thoughtful and fruitful discussion thus far. I’m highlighting Jason’s comment here as the type that helps us avoid the flame wars Tod spoke about recently. Jason took a moment to clarify before responding… not always an easy thing to do.

                Thanks, everyone!Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                I second Kazzy’s endorsement of your level-headedness. Of course, I wouldn’t phrase it that I need to remove implications of bigotry, because I’m not starting from an anti-gay position. Believe me, I’m far more concerned about the sins that I want to commit than the ones I don’t. It doesn’t matter if it’s Robert Pattinson or Kristen Stewart who rocks your socks. Or seriously, Anna Kendrick. Amazing.

                The original question was, how would someone who believed homosexuality is sinful would expect others to arrive at his position. I answered from the perspective of someone who doesn’t believe that an orientation is sinful but takes probably the most common position that would be confused with it.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Pinky,

                You are the type of person I was trying to highlight/explore: someone who might object to homosexuality on some level but who was not motivated by hate or otherwise “bigoted” as we typically use that word.

                But I do think that Jason’s question is still relevant, because it gets at whether your objection to homosexuality or homosexual acts is specific or general. I’ve come across people who make the same claim you do here, but who then treat homosexuals differently than other “sinners”, which makes me think it is more about homosexuality than it is about sin. I believe that is what Jason’s questions was aimed towards and while I think you touched on it, I personally would like to see you address it more directly.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                I don’t know how to say it more clearly.

                I don’t judge anyone based on the sins they’re most inclined toward committing. I try not to judge anyone based on the sins they commit. Even judging particular acts can be risky, because there are different levels of understanding and consent.

                Beyond that, I’m not putting forward a list of don’ts. I’m putting forward a do, and it’s one I know that isn’t easy. Based on my experience, any departure from that do leads to selfishness, and a lot of departures from it lead to life problems. I also believe that there is a God who has told us the right way to act on these matters.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Hi Pinky,

                I apologize if it seemed like I was badgering you. I was just trying to get a more specific answer to an admittedly limited question. I understand that you are thinking of it in different terms.

                Based on your moral beliefs, where do you stand on legal matters like gay marriage?Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Well, I’m not duty-bound as a social conservative to support unenforceable laws, like anti-sodomy laws. A lot of things are sinful that shouldn’t be made illegal. Handjobs are sinful, but what kind of FISA court would monitor those?

                But I oppose gay marriage. Civil marriage is a state-created institution for the protection of the one relationship that produces nearly all children. That doesn’t mean I’m afraid of the gays; it just means that over the centuries we’ve developed a unique category for a unique relationship. And the philosophical conservative in me doesn’t see the need to change it.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                How do you feel when people advocate positions you agree with but for far uglier reasons than you have? E.g., people who oppose same sex marriage but because they believe “God hates fags”.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                You don’t hold any positions that are shared by stupid people?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Oh… absolutely! And it infuriates me to no end, sometimes to the point of reconsidering my own position. Not just to disassociate myself with folks whose opinions I find deplorable, but because seeing the perverse way they arrived at the same conclusion as me makes me wonder if perhaps my path is not as pristine as I imagine. But I do not derive my sense of right/wrong or morality from any higher power. So I’m curious how this phenomenon might impact someone like yourself.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                My first thought is, why would my reaction be any different from yours? So I’m going to guess that you’re asking me a different question, and I’m going to answer that: a question about the meaning of “faith”.

                Aquinas wrote that truth is true. It doesn’t matter how that truth is discovered. Back in 1200-something, when everyone knew that the earth is round, he wrote that a mathematician may be able to prove the roundness of the earth one way, and a scientist another way, but if something is true then any valid means of determining the truth of a particular question will point to the same thing.

                So there’s no tension between faith and reason. I don’t remember who it was who said, “faith guided by reason, reason guided by faith”. If someone uses, say, a bible and a telescope, and thinks he finds a contradiction, then he’s misreading the bible or the telescope. The fact that someone’s misread the bible doesn’t confound me any more than the fact that someone misreads a telescope. Faith, in that sense, is just a posture. When you encounter something that is currently or inherently unknowable, you can either approach it with a posture of acceptance or rejection. That posture is informed by your assessment of the communicated information as well as by your assessment of the communicator. It’s like the Monty Python skit where the racist candidate goes on a diatribe, and they flash on the screen “All Facts Verified by the Rhodesian Police”. You’ve got to consider the source.

                So, all that being said, over the last few decades I’ve looked at what the Bible and the Church say, compared it against reality (both my preconception of reality and the real thing), along with the writings of philosophers, other religions, and whatever else, and I’ve come to the reasoned position that in matters where I can’t know for certain, my default position is going to be my understanding of what the Church teaches.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                That doesn’t mean I’m afraid of the gays; it just means that over the centuries we’ve developed a unique category for a unique relationship.

                What, precisely, differentiates a heterosexual and homosexual relationship to make it “unique”?

                The only thing I can think of is the possibility of penile-vaginal penetration in the realm of available sexual acts. Which in the grand scheme of the number of things that go into a working, stable, healthy relationship, is pretty much de minimus.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                MA,

                I think Pinky made it clear that the ability to create life is unique to heterosexual couples. And while science is making headway into changing that, it still remains the case that heterosexual couples are the only ones that can produce children naturally. To Pinky, that is enough to classify them as unique.

                I don’t agree with this view. But I think Pinky appropriately articulates how one can hold the position he does without it being fueled by hate.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                I think Pinky made it clear that the ability to create life is unique to heterosexual couples.

                Which is what, exactly, in the grand scheme of establishing a stable relationship?

                De minimis and no more.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                The point, as I see it, is that there is reasonable room to disagree on the importance of bearing children in a relationship.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                it still remains the case that heterosexual couples are the only ones that can produce children naturally.

                “Natural” doesn’t take you very far. Rape is natural. Murder too. As is being attracted to members of the same sex. We all know those types of arguments.

                So it’s not the naturalness of the procreative sex that makes it moral, but that it’s procreative sex. Doesn’t that just beg the question?

                Not to mention that on this view other types of heterosexual sex which aren’t procreative in nature are left in a moral limbo, or even morally wrong.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                The point, as I see it, is that there is reasonable room to disagree on the importance of bearing children in a relationship.

                No there isn’t. And on behalf of my aunt and uncle who adopt because she isn’t able, and on behalf of any other heterosexual or homosexual couple who choose to adopt or for that matter not to adopt, I invite anyone who thinks otherwise to extract their heads from their rectal cavities and join us in the real world where there are plenty of needy children looking for homes as it stands.

                That is, IF your definition of a stable and worthwhile relationship requires the rearing of children (“naturally conceived” or otherwise) at all. And that’s a point I won’t grant either.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                So you think everyone who feels that the ability to conceive children without outside assistance grants such relationships special status has his head up his ass?Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Yeah, you know that flu going around? This is the first time I’ve been out of bed in a few days. I wanted to make a few comments.

                I’m not denying the value of relationships that don’t produce children. I’m saying that of all relationships, male-female sexual ones produce the most children, and long-lasting relationships are the best suited to raising children. Society sees an interest in providing a distinct set of legal protectins for the ones most likely to produce a stable society.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Sorry to hear you were/are ill, Pinky. Hopefully you are on the mend.

                And while I disagree with your position, I appreciate that you’ve been able to articulate some of the different motivations people might have towards privileging heterosexual marriage. That is what I hoped to explore here, ultimately, and I think you offered what I was seeking. In the proper forum, I’d likely argue with you to the end about your position, but wouldn’t imagine the words “bigotry” or “hate” entering into our discussion.

                Thanks for your participation here.Report

        • Avatar M.A. in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          In laykid’s terms, when a man and a woman love each other very much and give each other a special hug and wish for a baby.

          Also pointing out, Catholics are almost as sexually repressed as Baptists and have high divorce rates because of it. In fact, the more conservative a christian group is, the higher their divorce rate.Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to M.A.
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            says:

            So? That really doesn’t address my position.Report

            • Avatar James Vonder Haar in reply to Pinky
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              says:

              It does somewhat cut against your consequentialist arguments. You assert that sex is supposed to be unitive and procreative, and “Most people know intuitively that that works, and that departure from it tends to lead to problems.” But the religions and individuals that cling to that most desperately tend to find their relationships and micro-societies function worse than the ones that adopt a more liberal ethic. Why?Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to James Vonder Haar
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                says:

                A few things. First, I wouldn’t say that I’m making a consequentialist argument, if I understand the term properly. But I probably don’t, so let’s skip that.

                Secondly, I disagree with your statement that “the religions and individuals that cling to that most desperately tend to find their relationships and micro-societies function worse than the ones that adopt a more liberal ethic”. I’d say that the opposite is true. I’d be curious to see your support for your position.

                Thirdly, humans are really bad at following through with what they know to be right, and nowhere worse than in matters of sex. As Andrew Klavan put it, every guy is “a drink and a wink” away from doing something he knows he shouldn’t.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to Pinky
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              says:

              Nu. So you’ve got a few types of people. Ones g-d has made that have all sorts of nonuniting sex — and society is better for it. Ones that g-d has made that only have uniting sex– and society is better for it.

              I personally believe that lesbians are a valuable addition to the gene pool, and that without nonuniting sex, they would not have continued to propagate their genes to the present day. (this is not explicitly endorsing non-uniting sex as an end-goal in of itself).Report

          • Avatar trumwill mobile in reply to M.A.
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            says:

            Of course, tugging in the other direction from “sexual repression causes divorce” is the positive relationship between premarital sexual partners and likelihood of later divorce.Report

            • Avatar M.A. in reply to trumwill mobile
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              says:

              There’s also a positive relationship between no-fault divorce laws and likelihood of divorce.

              And that all seems to come within the territory of the Christian standard of reducing “marriage” to “something to hurry up and do so we can have sex” rather than saving marriage for a lifelong partnership.Report

              • Avatar trumwill mobile in reply to M.A.
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                says:

                I don’t see how you can look at lower divorce rates for people with fewer sexial partners and come to that conclusion. If sexual repression or “hurry up and get married so we can have sex” were a driving factor the correlation would run in the other direction. Instead, the socially/sexual lyrics conservative viewpoint is associated with lower divorce rates, complicating the picture you construct.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to trumwill mobile
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                says:

                I don’t see how you can look at lower divorce rates for people with fewer sexial partners and come to that conclusion.

                Divorce rates are a tilted statistic.

                There are people who never get married, but have plenty of sexual partners over a lifetime. They don’t even get rated in this.

                There are people who are in monogamous relationships but never get round to marriage. Also left out of the statistic.

                There are people who separate but never legally divorce.

                There are people who serially divorce and remarry once every few years. They have “plenty of sexual experience” and also plenty of divorces.

                Show me the study you’re quoting, and let’s have a look at what it actually says.Report

              • Avatar trumwill mobile in reply to M.A.
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                says:

                All of what you say is true, but the complicatedness doesn’t just apply to the ones about premarital sex. It applies to most comparisons of who is most likely to divorce.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to trumwill mobile
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                says:

                Do we know what the relationship is? I could see it having nothing to do with the sex itself but instead be the result of an entirely different view of marriage. It wouldn’t shock me if people who viewed sex as less sacred might also view marriage as less sacred.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to trumwill mobile
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                says:

                To elaborate, people who see premarital sex as sinful probably also see divorce as sinful, at least at a higher rate than people who don’t see premarital sex as sinful.

                For myself, there was a time in my life where I thought premarital sex was problematic… not necessarily sinful, but problematic. I eventually moved away from this position, concluding that sex was normal and healthy for people mature enough and responsible enough to practice it safely and accept the consequences. I see divorce as something that, on the whole, is a negative but is sometimes the right decision for people and which should not be stigmatized if the decision to do so arrived at responsibly. I don’t think these too views are unrelated.

                On the other side, someone who thinks sex is sin might feel similarly about divorce BUT ALSO feel that it is a sin. Therefore, those folks likely have an extra incentive to avoid divorce. Not only is it something we generally all want to avoid, but it is something that will uniquely weigh on their conscious and their relationship with their higher power. That is quite a burden.

                Ultimately, I think divorce rates are really hard to make high or low of. There are people who, like a friend of mine, marry young to the wrong man and divorce shortly thereafter, sans kids. At this point, she is a normal, well-adjusted 30-year-old single woman. Her divorce seems to have no more long term impact on her than an ugly end to a non-married long relationship. But, technically, she counts towards the divorce rate. Then you have folks who surely would get a divorce but don’t because of the children or because of a religious objection, who live in an unhappy or empty marriage. Those people don’t count towards the divorce rate.

                And because we tend to stigmatize divorce as we do, we draw all kinds of different conclusions about people who did divorce versus those who didn’t, which I think tend to be too general and too sweeping given the unique circumstances of each couple.

                So when I hear that increased rates of premarital sex are correlated with increased rates of divorce, I’m not necessarily convinced that premarital sex (or the attitude that might connect it with divorce) is something that should be argued against ON THAT FRONT. I think it is just all too complicated, ultimately.Report

        • Avatar Gorgias in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          The prostitutes your savior liked to hang out with weren’t such a fan of this attitude. “Not a fan” is an understatement, of course. Every jailed sex worker, queer looking down the barrel of his gun, and fired kinkster is ultimately victimized by some version of the ethics you’re putting forward. Ye shall know them by their fruits.

          Even if eugenics were scientifically and dispassionately defensible, it would still in practice lead to racism. This attitude, whatever its philosophical merits, leads to oppression.

          When the rubber hit the road, Jesus put love over disgust. Christ sided with the whores. You should, too.Report

        • Avatar James K in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          I’m saying that *any* misuse of sexuality screws us up on the natural and supernatural planes. Such a position isn’t bigoted, btw.

          Last I checked argumentum ad populum was still a logical fallacy, assuming your assertion is even true. And what problems are you talking about here? I can’t think of a single problem caused by e.g. Jason sleeping with his husband. What problem do “misuse of sexuality” cause? Be specific to the active controversy, don’t go into child abuse or rape, I don’t need to be convinced those are harmful and wrong.Report

      • Avatar RTod in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        FTR, this seems to me to be a highly defendable position that is not, in fact, bigoted.

        But I do have to rely on the honor system that you would support laws against nonproceational sex, rather than giving one side a pass and the other the back of your hand. But I’ve never seen anything from you to suggest that would not be the case, so as I said, I can accept this as a place to build from.Report

        • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to RTod
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          says:

          But let’s be honest–gay sex has been legally endangered in a way that blowjobs never have. Even if we give Pinky the benefit of the doubt, in reality his preferences would lead to discrimination against gays.Report

          • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Dan Miller
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            says:

            Quite so, in much the same way that a legal restriction based on height will have disparate effects on the genders, even if it’s written in gender-neutral language.

            Incidentally, I’d thought Pinky was a woman.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    The main thing I look for is whether people say that they know what is right or wrong based on what their invisible friend in the sky says.

    That shit is embarrassing.

    I come to my conclusions via my cultural norms and logic.Report

  3. Avatar NewDealer
    Ignored
    says:

    Good question.

    This came up in a legal case recently in California. A very sad one. A ten year old boy was arrested for murdering his father. The father was the head of a white supremacist organization in Riverside, California. The defense did not dispute that the boy killed his father. Rather, they argued that the boy grew up in such an abusive and corrupt atmosphere that he could not tell right from wrong.

    This is a philosophical question and there is no right answer probably. A strident activist on either side would probably say a person is just supposed to “know” these things. At least that is my experience with strident activists, their concept of right and wrong is so firmly rooted that any counter-morality system is just inconceivable.

    I think homosexuality is natural, acceptable, moral, and probably a creation of evolution/genetics/biology. If someone grew up in a deeply homophobic/homosexuality is immoral environment, I would expect them to learn otherwise through experience and interaction with the broader culture. Hopefully seeing gay couples would convince them that homosexuality is moral/normal.Report

  4. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto
    Ignored
    says:

    for those of you who believe that homosexuals are no more or less moral as a result of their sexual orientation, how do you expect people who grow up in circumstances where they are taught that homosexual acts are a sin willingly entered into by morally weak or inferior people to come to the same conclusions that you do?

    For the most part I don’t expect them to come to the same conclusions.

    There’s two possibilities on why they’ve reached the different conclusion:
    1. They have had no exposure to actual gay people and have therefore formed all of their opinions based on the theologically suspect rantings of some preacher….
    Or…
    2. They have encountered these people and yet continue to hold these views in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

    In the case of 1. I can’t force them to expand their social milieu and 2. I can’t give them empathy. In either case so long as their policy preferences aren’t enacted into law but remain in the realm of abstract ideas, I’m fine with that.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Nob Akimoto
      Ignored
      says:

      Nob,

      Let’s ignore for a second exactly where/how/why whom they were taught what they were taught. I realize for most folks who hold the view that homosexuality is immorality, it comes from some religious teaching in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic heritage, but that is not really germane to my question.

      I’m sure there are things that you were taught were wrong. And subsequently you believe them to be wrong. And most of your experiences in the world tell you they are wrong.

      Now imagine you enter a new social context where most people think one of those things is right. They agree with you on most other things save for that one thing. And they have real-world examples demonstrating how correct they are. Would you immediately change your perception of right and wrong on that matter?Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        I’ve had to do a fair amount of that over the course of my lifetime. I think on the whole I have been able to adapt when necessary. Though there were times when I was slower on the uptake than others. (The Iraq War and my views on it were one of them)Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Nob Akimoto
          Ignored
          says:

          So is it possible that some of the people whom you might reject offering empathy to are simply in the process, however slowly, of adapting?Report

          • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            When I said “I can’t give them empathy” I meant I can’t force them to be empathetic.

            My point was more I can’t force things, it’s best to let the social milieu do the teaching, than bludgeoning them over the head.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Nob Akimoto
              Ignored
              says:

              Got it… thanks for clarifying. I think your last point there is a great one and lines up with what Jason Kuznicki often advocates.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I think it’s a consequence of history, really.

                It was slave narratives and first hand understanding of the horrors of the slave trade that helped push abolition past the tipping point. Suffragettes got their big boost from Emily Wilding Davison. Civil Rights got up to speed as the white middle class were forced to confront the reality of life as a minority, &c.

                Humanizing the other is the main way to progress, and that can’t be forced, only patiently continued.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    Ideally, by observation.

    * Is homosexuality associated with cultures that are otherwise exceptionally good or evil? (No, it seems to be pretty much a constant.)
    * Are homosexuals noticeably better or worse in other ways? (Not that I can see.)
    * Does disapproving of or punishing homosexual behavior accomplish anything? (No, it just drives it underground.)

    etc.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Mike Schilling
      Ignored
      says:

      The most interesting thing to me about more societal acceptance of homosexuality is how angry it makes older generations who saw their homosexuality as a radical political act.

      How dare Bill be openly gay and a corporate lawyer! In my day being homosexual was a bayonet slash against the heterosexual, capitalist order!Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to NewDealer
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s like the older boomers to us younger ones: “You and your hedonistic sex and pot-smoking are disgusting. We got laid and smoked dope to end the war!”Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to NewDealer
        Ignored
        says:

        I think it’s more a rather understandable resentment. “I had to fight and suffer for what you get without hassle”.

        Admittedly it was that fighting and suffering that made the change happen, but that can be cold comfort.Report

        • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Morat20
          Ignored
          says:

          I think it is also part of generational identity.

          If we give Stonewall as the start of the modern Gay Rights movement (this ignores Harry Hay and the Machinette Society), it was part of a very different ethos and wrapped up in a larger counter-cultural identity.

          Today being gay is just one part of a person’s identity and not necessarily connected to radical/anti-Capitalist politics. Or as someone else once said on another part of the Internet: “acceptance is when they start seeing you as a marketing demographic”Report

          • Avatar Zach in reply to NewDealer
            Ignored
            says:

            “If we give Stonewall as the start of the modern Gay Rights movement (this ignores Harry Hay and the Machinette Society), it was part of a very different ethos and wrapped up in a larger counter-cultural identity.”

            I think this gets at some of the deep-seated ambivalence from some LGBTs in regards to the marriage fight.

            Many of the post-Stonewall generation came of age fighting to dismantle or at least deconstruct what they viewed as a damaging patriarchal order. Even those who weren’t politically active came to embrace the social cohesion and sense of place that gaybourhoods provided. Societal acceptance threatens that cohesiveness, and undermines the notion of a shared LGBT culture.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to NewDealer
        Ignored
        says:

        radical change = strident believers who are willing to suffer, fight, be highly ideological and have a strong in-group identity to hold together. High ideology and strong in group identity does not lead to easy acceptance of wearing away of in groups and strident identity.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to NewDealer
        Ignored
        says:

        I think saying it makes “older generations” angry is a vast overgeneralization. At least based on the old radical gay men I met at a reception for Dan Savage, some of whom were nearly in tears about how happy the increased social acceptance made them. And these are folks who marched, yelled, etc.

        (Granted, the ones who WERE angry wouldn’t have come to a Dan Savage thing!! But I’m not saying that feeling isn’t out there, I’m just saying it’s not as common as it is loud.)Report

  6. Avatar NewDealer
    Ignored
    says:

    There are two books which always seem relevant to American politics especially social/cultural politics:

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

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-intellectualism_in_American_Life

    Mainly I think of the Paranoid Style which any serious student of American politics should read. The conservative mind seems to perceive of a world that is constantly under siege from the forces of evil. They represent a pastoral, simple, and godly way of life and everything that they dislike is an intentional blitzkreig against the truth and the good. We saw this in the WaPo article with attacks like “slavishy devoted to the DuPont circle crowd”

    I simply don’t know how to respond to people with such resentments. Just like I don’t know how to respond to people who sincerely believe bike lanes are part of an Agenda 21/UN path to talk over the world and abolish private property.Report

  7. Avatar Stillwater
    Ignored
    says:

    How do we expect people to know what is right and wrong?

    From one pov I’m not sure it matters. If citizens of the US are denied certain rights for arbitrary reasons, that’s a wrong. The TradMarriage argument is that excluding gays from certain civil rights is not arbitrary. Are those arguments persuasive? Well, that’s the SSM marriage debate.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater
      Ignored
      says:

      Do we lower the quality/productivity of the debate when one side calls the other bigots?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m not sure how one side of the SSM can make their argument without including the concept of bigotry. It’s possible, I suppose, to never use the word “bigotry” in presenting the argument, but on most understandings of the word (it seems to me anyway) discriminating against a group of people because of negatively-viewed arbitrary properties satisfies the definition.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        Oh, maybe I misunderstood you question. Yes, I think it lowers the productivity of the debate to call your interlocutor a bigot. I think it’s productive (or atleast inclines towards productivity) to say that a person’s argument is based on or entails the concept of bigotry, but another thing to call that person a bigot (even if it’s entirely true).Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater
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          says:

          To me, a debate implies that there is merit to both sides, that reasonable people can be convinced of either position (I don’t know if this fits any formal definition of the term… just my own understanding). So if those of us who believe in promoting SSM want to call it a debate, than to some degree, mustn’t we cede the moral high ground we often stake out? Aren’t we then required to view our “opponents” as serious people arguing a position of merit, even if we find it disagreeable?

          And none of this means that the concept of bigotry need be ignored. Only that viewing those on the other side of the aisle as being bigots and nothing more and nothing less doesn’t do much.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            Aren’t we then required to view our “opponents” as serious people arguing a position of merit, even if we find it disagreeable?

            I don’t know. Here’s my first thought on what you’re saying here, subject to revision and potential backpedaling: I don’t think we need to view it as a position of merit as much as a position that’s sincerely held. I mean, from my pov treating their arguments as if they had merit would be disingenuous. Treating the people who espouse those beliefs with as much respect as can possible, on the other hand, does have merit since the view their expressing is closely aligned with or even constitutive of their self-concept and core beliefs.Report

      • Avatar Gorgias in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        Shame is a powerful motivator.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Gorgias
          Ignored
          says:

          Only if it’s actually felt. Someone can try to shame me all day long, but if I’m not convinced that I actually have anything to be ashamed of, it just lowers my opinion of him.Report

  8. Avatar M.A.
    Ignored
    says:

    … for those of you who believe that homosexuals are no more or less moral as a result of their sexual orientation, how do you expect people who grow up in circumstances where they are taught that homosexual acts are a sin willingly entered into by morally weak or inferior people to come to the same conclusions that you do?

    For a long while the method was: show them that they are wrong by action. That gays are not predatory. That gays live normal lives, healthy lives, lives with spouses and children and dreams and goals, lives that have zero difference from anyone else outside of whatever it is goes on in the bedroom that’s Nobody Else’s Damn Business Anyways.

    For a further while, after countries and states began legalizing civil unions and true marriage equality it was then: show them that despite passing this, despite all the outrage and screams of those who ought to know better, despite those whose worldview is stuck 200 years in the past, nothing bad has come of it. As I told Jason Kuznicki, “Not a single country that has passed gay-marriage legalization since 2001 has fallen to blood in the water, frogs, lice, flies, pestilence, boils, hail, eclipse or mass cloud blockade, or had all their firstborn slain by a vengeful spaghetti monster.” Applies to the states that passed such recognitions too.

    We’ve now reached a tipping point. Nothing bad has happened. The US military was not destroyed by the enactment of DADT. What happened was, a bunch of people came out of the closet, their units revealed that they knew anyways and didn’t give a damn, and a grand total of TWO amoral bigots who have no business representing the country in uniform got their discharges and good fishing riddance to them both.

    So it’s time to reach the third point, which is to stop play-acting. Stop pretending that those who still hold bigoted views, unjustifiable by any valid excuse in relation to law, have a valid point and stop giving them airtime, column inches, and public acknowledgement.Report

    • Avatar Roger in reply to M.A.
      Ignored
      says:

      Good comment, MA.Report

    • Avatar Gorgias in reply to M.A.
      Ignored
      says:

      I guess my biggest concern is that stressing the normality of gay people tends to undermine the acceptance of abnormal but still moral queers. They can even be viewed as a threat to gay liberation. I don’t want the gay professional couple with a white picket fence and 2.5 kids in the suburbs to be at odds with the kinky non-gender-conforming guy (he may in fact be one half of that couple!)Report

      • Avatar M.A. in reply to Gorgias
        Ignored
        says:

        I guess my biggest concern is that stressing the normality of gay people tends to undermine the acceptance of abnormal but still moral queers.

        There are plenty of abnormal but still moral straights, too.Report

  9. Avatar Ryan Noonan
    Ignored
    says:

    If only the suffragettes and the abolitionists had been nicer. Then the ball really would have gotten rolling.Report

  10. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    I know one thing: if you need a church or god or somebody outside yourself to tell you what’s right and wrong, it you haven’t learned to internalize it, and to push hard on yourself to question your assumptions, then you still haven’t learned to tell right from wrong.

    This doesn’t mean one shouldn’t look to tradition and to traditional institutions for guidance, but that nobody should think something ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ on that tradition or institution alone.

    If you want to understand the difference between right and wrong, you need to question authority, including your own.Report

    • Avatar Mopey Duns in reply to zic
      Ignored
      says:

      Internalize from what?Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mopey Duns
        Ignored
        says:

        I tried to answer this comment, but my answer was so loaded with assumptions that were unlikely to be universal that I don’t think my comment was helpful, so I deleted it.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Patrick Cahalan
          Ignored
          says:

          My answer was “the subjective experience of the external” but realized I already played that game in this thread so I did the same. Well, until now.Report

        • Avatar zic in reply to Patrick Cahalan
          Ignored
          says:

          A sense of right and wrong; of morality.

          Or to put it differently, one doesn’t need to hold a certain set of religious beliefs to find some pretty good guidelines to right and wrong. And one can also hold a set of religious beliefs but see that the voices of authority within their church are not always right.

          Admittedly, this is mostly an atheist whine, from encounters with highly religious people who presume I must not be a moral person due to lack of belief in god.Report

          • Avatar Mopey Duns in reply to zic
            Ignored
            says:

            I don’t believe this answers my question.

            I asked what you internalize your sense of right and wrong from. Saying you internalize your sense of right and wrong from a sense of right and wrong doesn’t make any sense.

            I assume you just misunderstood what I was asking. Also, perhaps you did not mean to use the language of internalization, which implies morality (at least initially) has an external source.Report

  11. Avatar Murali
    Ignored
    says:

    I want to try to take a different tack than others have done so far. People have listed various sources of morality.

    1. Religious instruction.
    2. Experience.
    3. Gut feeling.
    4. cultural norms
    5. logic

    I don’t want to write a long paper here, but I am extremely skeptical about how 1-4 cn get us access to anything like the truth whether with respect to social morality or personal ideals or something else.

    It’s possible that 5 can get us some truths about social morality. But in the end, do we have access to knowledge or are we just saying that certain things seem like reasonable bets? Also, since logic has been unsuccessful so far in providing sufficient justification, how is it that people feel that they are currently justified in making pronouncements about what is morally right or wrong?

    When it comes to personal ideals, I don’t know how logic can get us anywhere either. How can logic tell us what is or is not valuable or worthwhil? What kind of argument would actually convince a sceptic?

    And this last seems to be the real hard problem. scepticism is not unreasonable. Suppose we play Descartes’ game and provisionally suspend our judgment about everything we think we know. Then, when we try to look for how it is that we can be justified in believing what we do in fact believe, we find that these reasons are inadequate to even move us one jot away from scepticism.* So, its possible that we cannot expect to know anything apart from certain trivial and mathematical truths.

    *Not exactly, there is a way, but it is extremely weird. I doubt most people will accept the solution at face value and I do not want to discuss this here.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Murali
      Ignored
      says:

      But in the end, do we have access to knowledge or are we just saying that certain things seem like reasonable bets?

      We only have access to reasonable bets.

      But a whole bunch of them are reasonable enough to bet your life on with as little as, “high five!” as a return. They’re pretty sure reasonable bets, is what I’m sayin’.

      Certainty is for theoretical mathematicians. We don’t get any. Them’s the breaks.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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        says:

        I’m saying that in a lot of cases, we cannot even rationally move beyond a complete agnosticism.

        Take for example external world scepticism. We could be brains in vats or in the matrix or be deceived by an evil demon. Most people as a matter of course assign these scenarios very low probability. But they have no rational basis for doing so! That doesn’t mean I’m willing to take the bet and jump out the window, but other than an intuition which itself seems wholly suspicious to me, I can’t justify why I’m not willing to take that bet.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Murali
          Ignored
          says:

          But they have no rational basis for doing so!

          No, they have no empirical basis for doing so.

          You can still find something to be improbable without being able to design a probability equation based upon empiricism. You just can’t validate that with empirical observation 🙂Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Murali
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      says:

      In an ideal world, I suppose, a simple moral calculus would be possible and perhaps preferable, but we don’t live in an ideal world, and it’s not how any of us really make moral judgments. We have to work with the brains we have, not the ones we wish we had.

      One of the problems with the brains we have — and this gets at something Jason’s talked about, I think — is that our moral judgments are unconsciously influenced by our unconscious affective reactions to the stimuli that induce them. This wouldn’t be an impediment to our simple moral calculus, except that anytime we try to review the judgements we’ve arrived at through our affect-tainted decision process will also be unconsciously influenced by those same affects (and maybe others).

      You see this all of the time in the political sphere. Here in Texas a few years ago, our governor in perpetuity decided that the HPV vaccine should be added to the vaccine schedule for 12 year old girls, which means that unless their parents objected, all girls would get the vaccine in their first checkup after their 12th birthday. The reaction to this act was pretty swift, and much of the early rhetoric involved associating HPV, a sexually transmitted disease, with sex, and then sex with 12 year old girls. People were then not reacting to the vaccine, but to the idea of 12 year old girls having sex, and the outrage that produced influenced their judgments about the vaccines. In order to change their minds through reason, one would have to have somehow removed the affect-offending association, and as we all know, removing negative emotional associations with reason is really, really difficult, especially on a large scale. It didn’t help that the anti-mandate folks continued to elicit that association any chance they got, either.

      The reason this relates to what Jason’s been saying is that one sure way to get someone to have a negative association with a particular ethical position is for the proponents of that position to insult them, by calling them a bigot, say. Don’t get me wrong, I think bigots exist, and sometimes you have to call a spade a spade, but when you’ve made the decision to do so, you have given up on convincing the spade to be anything but a spade.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Chris
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        says:

        In an ideal world, I suppose, a simple moral calculus would be possible

        really? why would you believe (to whatever degree you do believe it) something like this?Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Murali
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          says:

          By a simple moral calculus, I mean of the only sort that would support the use of logic to make moral judgments, which I take it is what you’re implying. Hell, we can’t even use relatively complex criteria like “does it work?” because all of the terms are loaded.Report

          • Avatar Murali in reply to Chris
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            says:

            I’m trying to push a kind of scepticsm. This is not necessarily aimed at you, but at people like MA and Pinky who seem to think that there are actually certain kinds of arguments that would move ideally rational persons into changing their minds about whether non-procreative sex was intrinsically bad or permissible, whether it is a pathological ideal or an acceptable one etc etc. I do think that these things are in a certain robust* sense unknowable. The problem is that unless we can even spell out a way in which personal ideals could be objectively good or true in non-moral terms, we do not have a hope of applying logic to the question. Now, I do think that it is possible to explain if not reduce social morality to natural properties and entities. But that is a controversial position which many smart people disagree with so I’m not about to push too much on that front. Maybe I’m just sensitive to liberal types rubbishing socially conservative personal ideals. After all, some of my personal ideals trend socially conservative**. Maybe it just irks me when some people speak as if their views can withstand critical scrutiny when they obviously can’t

            *And not in the trivial sense in which we merely cannot be certain.

            **This doesn’t mean my social/political morality is.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to Murali
              Ignored
              says:

              Well, I’m not going to argue that “homosexuality” is better than “asexuality” but I do have PLENTY OF fucking arguments that non-procreative sex is Functional and not Dysfunctional, and in fact key to preserving Civilization.

              Now, if you don’t like civilization, dat’s fine. But dat’s not exactly conservative.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Now, if you don’t like civilization, dat’s fine. But dat’s not exactly conservative

                Is conservatism at the level of personal ideals about preserving civilisation? or is it about carrying on traditions simply because one was raised that way? Preserving civilisation seems more the province of social morality.

                but I do have PLENTY OF fucking arguments that non-procreative sex is Functional and not Dysfunctional, and in fact key to preserving Civilization.

                Are they good arguments though?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Murali
                Ignored
                says:

                Murali,
                Preserving civilization, -as a concept- is about social mores and a bit of actual -honest-to-god- breeding.

                Yup. They are.

                You can start with the idea that sex is just as much about forging bonds between people as it is about making babies. Humans aren’t designed to have sex once a month, after all. (Men tend to cycle weekly. Women are a bit more complicated…).

                Not pursuing procreative sex is a good thing for a “servant” class. You see, if everyone (or at least a lot of them) goes around pursuing procreative sex, fights happen. A lot of fights. People die. And in general there is a lot more hostility and less cooperation than if “most” people agree to just do the “heavy investment” strategy of settle down and have kids.

                Am I contradicting myself? I’m pretty sure you were just arguing for “settle down and have kids”… No, I’m actually not. The drive for procreative sex leads to men seeking out fertile women using a “low investment” strategy (let someone else take care of the child).

                Primogeniture was actually surprisingly better than it could have been, simply because a woman’s first child was more likely to have come from the more motivated (and select) subset that was actively pursuing procreative sex.

                Having everyone looking for “low investment” strategies means tons of fights. Having noone looking for “low investment” strategies means no progress (sex drive, whether sublimated or not, leading to most discoveries and inventions)Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Kim
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                says:

                Yeah, but personal ideals are not social mores. They are about what people should strive to be, not what they should do. but it is more than a mere preference. That you think that something is fit to be a personal ideal means you kind of teach people that it is a goal to strive for even though you don’t generally make moral demands on others who don’t share the goal to comply with the norm.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Murali
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      says:

      But Murali, all knowledgeable is just states of probability. I can’t even be sure that 2+2=4 with a probability of 1 because there’s some vanishingly small probability that some critical flaw in the human brain leads up to think 2+2=4 when its really something else entirely.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to James K
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        says:

        I don’t doubt that degrees of belief can translate into probabilities, or that we may lack complete certainty about mathematical truths. I’m asking how we can ever shift credences past 0.5 on any non-analytically-true set of propositions. The existence of some uncertainty is not an issue. I’m not even demanding infallibility. I’m saying that it is difficult to, without begging the question, move past strict agnosticismReport

  12. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    “How do we expect people to know what is right and wrong?”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFGBoSt1dOo

    Jesus said a word or two on the matter, as well.Report

  13. Avatar Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    …how do you expect people who grow up in circumstances where they are taught that homosexual acts are a sin willingly entered into by morally weak or inferior people to come to the same conclusions that you do?

    The thing that seems to work is getting them to interact socially with actual LGBTQ people.Report

  14. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    An exploration of an attitude:

    My first experience (if you want to call it that) of homosexuality was a Mel Brooks movie. To Be Or Not To Be.

    The character of Sasha was Anna Bronski’s dresser and he was soooo funny. One of the highlights of the film for me. He played the gay character as stereotypically as I’m sure you can imagine from a 1983 Mel Brooks movie… and one night, when I was watching the movie for the umpteenth time when a babysitter was over, the scene where Sasha had to show his pink triangle came on and Sasha gave the line “Now, don’t wait up for me. I’ve got a hot date with another triangle!” and he smiled a naughty smile.

    I laughed, because the delivery was really, really funny.

    The babysitter said something to the effect of “GROSS!”

    I remember thinking “why is that gross?”

    Now, was that my own personal inclination? Was it the fact that I had seen the movie enough times to like the character well enough to think that the fact that he was pleased to be going on a date was enough for me to be pleased for his character that his character was going on a date? I mean, I’m not gay. I’m not even particularly bisexual. (I mean, above and beyond being monogamous.)

    My response to Sasha was “oh, he’s a homosexual, whatever that is… oh, a homosexual is a pink triangle that dates other pink triangles.”

    Now, I was also raised pretty fundy (though, granted, not fundy enough to not get HBO in the house) and so it’s not like I was raised to be open-minded about the whole gay thing… but when I was 16, I found out that my dad’s little brother was (is) gay. (Mom let it slip while she was driving somewhere. I responded something to the effect of “HE IS???” and she said “oops” and I said “THAT EXPLAINS SO MUCH!!!” He lived with another guy and he didn’t have kids and his house was full of awesome art. I just figured that kids were expensive and he had a roommate to save money which allowed him to buy art.)

    I never received “Gay Is Evil” speeches like, presumably, my babysitter was… And I, presumably, never got “Gay Is Evil” speeches because my parents knew and loved someone who was gay.

    And so the happenstance is that my first encounter with the very concept of homosexuality was from a character in a movie. A character that I liked because he was funny.

    How much of my attitude towards gay people comes from that little piece of happenstance? How much of it comes from just my personality in the first place? What is my attitude toward homosexuality being little more than a matter of taste really based on, at the end of the day?

    I dunno.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      That’s interesting. I can’t even pinpoint what my first encounter with the concept where I understood what it was, was. I’m gonna have to think about that.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      That is gross. You know what happened to the people who had to wear pink triangles. No different from the yellow stars. I know that Mel Brooks thinks you triumph over this stuff by making fun of it, but it’s too unpleasant for me.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I know my first encounter with a gay person was in a variety of movies. For that matter almost all of my contact with non-white folks until i hit high school were on tv. The Jeffersons, What’s Happening, Chico and the Man, Good Times, Richard Pryor, etc opened up whole worlds to me. It was TV with all its faults but those shows still mattered in terms letting me see other lives and people.Report

      • Avatar trumwill mobile in reply to greginak
        Ignored
        says:

        My early exposure to gays was also largely on television. I actually think Hollywood is owed more success for the progress than any other entity in that regard. My in person acquaintances early on were actually generally… not people I cared for much. Among those who were openly gay at any rate. A friend of mine in high school came out some time later. But for the longest time, absent popular entertainment, it was mostly an article of faith for me that they did just kind of run the personality gamut like heteros, for the most part (and that those I knew early on were not exemplars). So thank heavens for exposure through popular entertainment.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to trumwill mobile
          Ignored
          says:

          I didn’t know anyone in my high school who would admit to being gay.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to trumwill mobile
          Ignored
          says:

          My school was very ahead of the curve on many of these issues. We had a gay straight alliance before I began (starting in 1997). It wasn’t without controversy, but my school was very much like the school from “PCU”… very diverse with every group having a niche and no one group large/powerful enough to really old a dominant sway.

          There was a student who was out… very out. Ironically, I knew him growing up when we both rode the bus to Catholic school together and then got to know him again when we ended up in public school together. Anyway, this young man was not only out but a real advocate… I remember seeing him on TV and such for stances he took. He courted a bit of controversy, was provocative (e.g., I think he tried to wear a skirt to a school dance), but was a smart and nice guy. One time, I was in line for lunch and he was behind me, unbeknownst to me. Something happen which I referred to as being, “So gay, yo,” meant in the way that so many young men say that phrase. He politely tapped me on the shoulder and said little more than, “Hey, not cool, man.” “My bad, Matt.” And by and large I stopped saying it right there. Small but powerful moment.

          In college, I had two gay roommates (one identified as bisexual at the time but I believe identifies as gay now). I actually knew more real-life gay people growing up than I saw on TV, because I didn’t watch “Will & Grace” or whatever other shows featured them. There were enough gay people around that such shows didn’t have that as an appeal.

          I guess I had an atypical upbringing.Report

  15. Avatar Russell Saunders
    Ignored
    says:

    Well, once again I’m coming to a discussion very late, and when what I have to say has probably already been said in comments. (I haven’t had a chance to read all the way through yet.) But here’s my two cents:

    … for those of you who believe that homosexuals are no more or less moral as a result of their sexual orientation, how do you expect people who grow up in circumstances where they are taught that homosexual acts are a sin willingly entered into by morally weak or inferior people to come to the same conclusions that you do?

    I live my life openly and without apology, I try as best I can to treat everyone as decently as possible, and I go about my business. Perhaps getting to know me and my family will change their minds (it has in the case of quite a few family members), perhaps it won’t. If it doesn’t, I don’t trouble myself with their personal beliefs, and simply focus my efforts on making sure public policy is fair and just.Report

  16. Avatar DRS
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m at work and can’t read the whole thread right now, but my attitude is that I could not care less whether they “come to the same conclusions” that I do. They are perfectly free to hold their own opinions on the matter, whether religiously inspired or not.

    What I do care about is whether they understand that their opinions are not everyone’s and that everyone else has a right to their opinions too and that that is not an infringement of their “religious liberties”. (I’m already tired of that phrase and argument, and it’s only a couple of years old.)Report

  17. Avatar milo
    Ignored
    says:

    It is always nice to read well articulated thought out posts and positions of others, especially when presented in such a civilised way around contentious issues.

    In response to the original non-specific question Kazzy posed “How do we expect others to know right from wrong?” …we hope they learn from what we do.

    May your civility allow them to learn that even if they hold the opposing position on the (specifics of the) question they can respond and and discuss it in the same way you have demonstrated. Right, not wrong.Report

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