William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Making Gay Okay Reviewed. Part I, The Acts

reillyMaking Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything, by Robert R. Reilly (Ignatius Press: sample chapter).

It’s common in medicine to track men who have (or who simulate) sex with men, instead of asking patients whether they are “gay” or “homosexual”. This is abbreviated “MSM.” The letters for women aren’t as common, but let’s write WSW. In fact, let’s write PSP for people who simulate sex with those of the same sex.

Men can only have sexual intercourse with women, so that when two men or two women engage in certain acts, these can only be simulations and not the “real thing.” Also, the words “gay” and “homosexual” are variable, troublesome, and not universally accepted (are men in prison who engage in certain acts with other men “gay”?); thus, PSP is as neutral a word or term as we’re likely to get.

About these simulations: in particular, sodomy (this applies to both man-on-man and the much rarer man-on-woman). Is it moral or immoral? Normal or abnormal? Natural or unnatural? Disgusting or relative? Sinful or virtuous? Praiseworthy or disdainful? Nobody’s business or everybody’s business? If unhealthy, should it be banned? If immoral, should it be unlawful? Given the heated debate of all things PSP, it’s strange that these questions are scarcely ever asked. Reilly asks, and answers.

But first a distinction. Let us take an act, say, helping an old lady across the street. The act is praiseworthy per se, irrespective of the person carrying out the act, a person who may or may not have had good motives for committing the act and who may be at heart an evil or holy person (a person carrying out a per se praiseworthy act for an immoral reason is still acting immorally, just as a person who carries out an immoral act for the good reason is still acting immorally1). That is, we can and must discuss the merits and demerits of this or any act without bringing individuals into the question. It is the act we want to know about, and not the person.

The word natural is ambiguous. In one sense it means whatever is, but in another it means that which acts in accord with its purpose. The yearly murder rate in the USA is about 5 in 100,000, and, though variable, it is somewhat constant in that it was never 0, and nobody expects it ever will be. This rate is natural in the first sense. But we do not say therefore that because murder is natural in the first sense, it is therefore allowable or praiseworthy or moral. Murder is per se wrong because it is an act which is not in accord with the purpose of human beings. It is unknown at what rate old ladies are helped crossing streets, but whatever this “natural” rate is also does not determine the rightness of the act. The act is natural in the second sense, and obviously so.

Pointing to the number of people who engage in an act thus does not give us proof of its rightness or wrongness. We have to look at how the act relates to our purposes or ends. Reilly: “Deeds are considered good or bad, natural or unnatural, in relation to the effect they have on man’s progress toward his end in achieving the good.” The Good, according to Aristotle and many other profound thinkers, is the fulfillment of a thing or being’s essence or nature (a third meaning). Thus was born the Natural Law, which we will discuss later. For now, accept only that one of the ends of which the human body is directed is health, the idea that, in general, it is better to be healthy than ill (there are exceptions, like a man jumping on a grenade to save his comrades, etc.).

Sodomy is not healthy; it is not an act which is directed toward the health of either participant. Reilly reminds us of this quote from Aristotle, from his Ethics: “‘Those who love for the sake of pleasure do so for the sake of what is pleasant to themselves, and not in so far as the other person is loved’ (emphasis in original).” Reilly uses this example, which ties health to the natural end of an thing:

A person stuffing objects into his ears is endangering his hearing, because he could puncture his eardrums or precipitate an infection. Ears are made for hearing, not for the storage of objects. Using them for the latter endangers the former. Any responsible person would advise someone stuffing objects into his ears not to do this because of the harm it could bring.

The “made for” is derived from Natural Law, which again we do not discuss today, though in the case of ears being “made for” hearing, few would object. In the same sense, we say the southernmost end of the human alimentary tract is made for the evacuation of waste material. This appears indisputable; nevertheless, it is disputed. But, like sticking sharp pencils into ear canals, objects inserted into the human anus tend to (it is in their nature) to cause damage and bring disease.

Reilly lists many of these damages and diseases, removing most to an appendix because they are not pleasant to contemplate. He also includes damages and diseases occurring to WSW, as many acts in which these people participate differ from regular procreative practices and are thus also dangerous.

This material can be found in the medical literature, where it is a specialty, though it’s unlikely to be familiar to many (e.g. type “MSM” into PubMed). A good survey is provided by Dr John Diggs: “The list of diseases found with extraordinary frequency among male homosexual practitioners as a result of anal intercourse is alarming: Anal Cancer, Chlamydia trachomatis, Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, Herpes simplex virus, Human immunodeficiency virus, Human papilloma virus, Isospora belli, Microsporidia, Gonorrhea, Viral hepatitis types B & C, Syphilis” to name a few, including mechanical damages (tears, etc.), much lower life expectancy; there is also that which follows after the act due to uncleanliness and incaution (certain oral-alimentary-tract practices); the frequent appearance of certain drugs. Diggs also relates the departures from health due to other non-procreative activities. All of these maladies and misfortunes occur at rates far, far exceeding man-woman (true) sexual practices. Reilly shows, for example, that there is a 4,000 percent increase in anal cancer rates for those who practice sodomy.

HIV/AIDS is of course its own category, and though it is more known, it is curiouser than you might have imagined.

All rationalizations for sexual misbehavior, no matter of what sort, are allied to and reinforce one another. The rationalization being complete, anything goes, including “bug chasing”—the new craze in which homosexuals actively seek HIV infection because of the added sexual thrill. They call the men who infect them “gift givers”. One bug chaser said, “It’s all about freedom.”

This passage included a footnote to a 2003 Rolling Stone article “Bug Chasers: The Men Who Long to Be HIV+”. I have only been able to discover snippets of that article2. One source has the article beginning by discussing a man named Carlos, who is brought to consider HIV: “His eyes light up as he says that the actual moment of transmission, the instant he gets HIV, will be ‘the most erotic thing I can imagine.’ He seems like a typical thirty-two-year-old man, but, in fact, he has a secret life. Carlos is chasing the bug.”

There is a Wikipedia entry on Bug Chasing, and searching in the usual way brings up a wealth of literature. There is even a new book advocating the chase by W. C. Harris who (says Taki magazine’s Christopher Hart) is “a radical gay activist and Professor of Queer Studies and Early American Literature”. The book is Slouching Towards Gaytheism: Christianity and Queer Survival in America. There are many intriguing passages in Hart’s review, but this one stands out:

“Breeding the virus in another man’s body develops new kinships,” explains Harris (rather than, say, new burdens on health services), and they become one more couple in the “bug brotherhood.” The one who does the infecting is called the daddy, the recipient the son, and such incestuous overtones are also very exciting, argues Professor Harris, for they too are transgressive, subversive, and liberating.

What is indisputable is that sodomy in general, and “bug chasing” in particular, are damaging to one’s health, and are even life-threatening. It is also true that these are all avoidable risks, that the risks are based on willful acts. It is also true that people who were always celibate or always monogamous (in the literal interpretation of these words) face disease risks at or near zero (exposure to some diseases through, say, blood transfusions or through “dirty needles” are always possible).

Should physicians be barred from communicating these risks? Should ordinary individuals? Would it be right to call any who communicated these facts a “bigot”? (Facts themselves cannot be bigoted, but their presentation could be.) Is stating, “Sodomy is an enormous health risk” “homophobic”? How about stating, “Sodomy is disgusting”? Should prepubescent children be taught that sodomy is “natural” and “normal”? In the first sense of these words—that it exists—it surely is, but in the second—that it is good or oriented toward health–it surely is not. Or should we let kids come to adulthood before exposing them to their “choices”? Should sodomy be encouraged as an “alternate lifestyle”, even though we know of its harms?

Lastly, dear reader: bug hunting. Good or bad? (It will be interesting to see who avoids this question.)

The reader is cautioned to keep the discussion at a high level. Comments not in accord with gentlemanly or lady-like behavior will be edited or deleted. Let’s also stick to the topic at hand, the act. The history and other cultural consequences we will come to another day. For those tending to apoplexy or who are feeling undue stress over this topic, I recommend this.

Update Somewhat curiously, we seem not to be answering the series of question put to us at the end of this post.

————————————————–

1“It is never acceptable to confuse a ‘subjective’ error about moral good with the ‘objective’ truth rationally proposed to man in virtue of his end, or to make the moral value of an act performed with a true and correct conscience equivalent to the moral value of an act performed by following the judgment of an erroneous conscience. It is possible that the evil done as the result of invincible ignorance or a non-culpable error of judgment may not be imputable to the agent; but even in this case it does not cease to be an evil, a disorder in relation to the truth about the good.” From Veritatis Splendour.

2Reilly listed in a footnote this URL for a PDF copy of the Rolling Stone article, but I was unable to locate it there.

139 Comments

  1. No
    No
    No
    No
    NO
    The first option.
    No
    barf

  2. The highest estimate of percentage of the population that is gay seems to run between 5 and 10 percent. That would seem to indicate that this is not “natural”.

    As for the “bug chasing”, there was a statement the other day on the radio about Obamacare requiring people to list their sexual preference. While it seems like a simple question, it was mentioned that when costs become too high for Obamacare to cover, same-sex partners, especially men, have much higher health care costs. So is this just a survey question? Who knows? Maybe a way to cut out patients that cost too much?

    “Bug chasing” really isn’t much different that other very risky behaviours people engage in—we all know promiscous sex can make you sick and/or kill you. Besides, these individuals don’t pay for the treatment anyway. Why would they care? People continue to engage in unhealthy sexual practices anyway and always have. Humans are not very bright when it comes to self-preservation.

    Should we be allowed to say this? Not if one wants a sick population that needs their health care paid for and to be allowed to live in a fantasy that life is to be lived without any regard to the future. So, no, it should not be discussed in America today.

  3. Briggs

    July 29, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Sheri,

    According to the CDC, only about 1.6% of the population self-identify as “gay” or “homosexual”. PDF.

  4. Briggs: I found estimates in various places from around 1.5% up. Then if you throw in bisexual, it doubles the number. Which puts us at around 3%. Other sources went up to the 10%. Then there was Kensi, who had it much, much higher. All numbers definately point to “not natural”.

    (Scary how a tiny minority wrecked such havoc in society and managed to bully the majority into going along with their behaviour, isn’t it?)

    Now, courtesy of statistics and a new survey method, we can see that the numbers are too small as was always suspected:
    http://www.nber.org/papers/w19508
    The same survey seems to say that it’s common to believe that gay is not okay, which is interesting…….

  5. On a related topic, this was the excellent Kevin D. Williamson:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/379188/laverne-cox-not-woman-kevin-d-williamson

  6. Sander van der Wal

    July 29, 2014 at 9:25 am

    It is unnatural to go faster than the speed of light.

    And if you really care about the costs on society, there are lots of practices that cost society lots more money. Take soccer injuries.

    Regarding those people looking to get infected: they are of course quite mad. But they are the ones going to die earlier, making it as self-inflicted as getting your arse upon Mount Everest and freezing to death because the weather turned earlier than predicted.

  7. Flaw in your example, Sander—it’s like climbing Mount Everest, falling, costing a fortune to get you out and you’re now a quadapeligic. AIDS kills very, very slowly and is thus very costly. If said “bug catchers” just got sick and died right away, I don’t know that there would be any complaining.

    AIDS medications can cost thousands per month. Soccer injuries usually do not. Plus, kids don’t usually play soccer with the goal of getting a disabling, costly injury. It’s really nothing alike. You might be able to argue smoking falls under the same catagory, but look at how vilified smokers are. Should not the AIDS people be also so vilified and called out for bad behaviour then? Their behaviour harmed society at least as much as smoking.

  8. Briggs, how does the “I recommend this” video (something in German about a Todelschule) fit in…My German is limited to translation of scientific German articles.

  9. ” Let us take an act, say, helping an old lady across the street. The act is praiseworthy per se, irrespective of the person carrying out the act”

    Praiseworthy per se? Utter nonsense. What if the old lady didn’t want to cross the street? Still praiseworthy? I think not.

  10. Hogg, et. al. (1997) estimated the lifespan of gay men in Vancouver (a gay-friendly city by any measure). They found, and I quote:

    “Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban centre are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871. “

  11. MattS: If the little old lady did not want to cross the street, wouldn’t that be dragging a little old lady across the street, not helping her?

  12. MattS:

    The word “helping” does not mean “forcing against one’s will”.

    help: to do something that makes it easier for someone to do a job, to deal with a problem, etc. (Merriam Webster)

    Try ESL classes.

  13. Erm … Prof Briggs defends smokers in their right to increase their mortality, but has the opposite opinion when it comes to psp!

    Getting clarity from the data isn’t easy – I followed Prof Briggs’ advice and went to Pubmed and typed in MSM and mortaility.

    One of the results was this:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25033136

    “All-cause mortality did not appear to differ by sexual orientation among either women or men. ”

    I do not have the knowledge or the data to know how msm increases the odds of mortality and morbidity.

    If a survey of 853 psps cannot find any small p-values (other than suicide for wsw) I do not know what to make of claims concerning 4000% increases in cancer rates.

    But then again Prof Briggs has done many a good post warning that such claims can be manipulatively overblown.

    Erm … ironies abound.

  14. Sander van der Wal

    July 29, 2014 at 11:23 am

    @Sheri

    In Europe grown men play soccer. They kick a lot harder than children. And when they get older, they tend to injure themselves too by overdoing it. That’s all covered by medical insurance. In Holland, think 600.000 injuries a year. Total health costs, 195 million euro’s per year.

  15. Briggs

    July 29, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Chinahand,

    Did you just compare smoking to sodomy, and perhaps to bug hunting? And I wonder just where you have identified that I said PSP should be made illegal? And which political persuasion is it that wants to ban smoking? Since HIV is just as deadly or is even deadlier, are we to look forward to pushes banning sodomy, too?

    Ironies about indeed.

    Strange paper you found. The abstract also says, “HIV-related deaths were not elevated among MSM or breast cancer deaths among WSW.” Indeed? But, ah: she meant comparing MSM with and without HIV, not MSM to normal men. So no story there. She also said, “Conclusions. The elevated suicide mortality risk observed among WSW partially confirms public health concerns that sexual minorities experience greater burden from suicide-related mortality.”

    Cochran apparently has made a career of these questions.

    In “Physical Health Complaints Among Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexual and Homosexually Experienced Heterosexual Individuals: Results From the California Quality of Life Survey”, Cochran, Susan D, PhD, MS; Mays, Vickie M, PhD, MSPH. American Journal of Public Health97.11 (Nov 2007): 2048-55, she wrote “Prevalent HIV infection was reported by nearly 18% of gay, bisexual, and homosexually experienced heterosexual men. Gay men and bisexual and homosexually experienced heterosexual individuals had higher levels of psychological distress compared with exclusively heterosexual individuals.”

    In “Sexual Orientation and Mortality Among US Men Aged 17 to 59 Years: Results From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III”, Cochran, Susan D, PhD, MS; Mays, Vickie M, PhD, MSPH. American Journal of Public Health, 101.6 (Jun 2011): 1133-8, she wrote, “Compared with heterosexual men, MSM evidenced greater all-cause mortality. Approximately 13% of MSM died from HIV-related causes compared with 0.1% of men reporting only female partners. However, mortality risk from non-HIV-related causes, including suicide, was not elevated among MSM. In the United States, the HIV epidemic continues to be the major contributing factor for premature death rates among MSM.”

    And you’ll enjoy this one. In “Sexual Orientation-Related Differences in Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure Among US Adults Aged 20 to 59 Years: 2003-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys”, Cochran, Susan D, PhD, MS; Bandiera, Frank C, MPH, PhD; Mays, Vickie M, PhD, MSPH. American Journal of Public Health, 103.10 (Oct 2013): 1837-1844, she wrote “Lesbian and bisexual women evidenced higher rates of tobacco use than heterosexual women.”

    The 4,000% increase, which is in any case obvious (maybe not the exact number, but the elevation), is from “Correlates of Homosexual Behavior and the Incidence of Anal Cancer,” Daling et al., JAMA, 247, no. 14, 1988-90. Also see “Studies Point to Increased Risk of Anal Cancer”, Washington Blade, June 2, 2000.

    Erm.

    Sander,

    Few to no people die of soccer injuries, and nobody writes books advocating that one should purposely seek injury. Plus, soccer confers benefits on society. So does driving, which is also risky and potentially deadly. But to drive to and to play soccer are not equivalent to committing sodomy.

    Besides, the last thing we want to be is utilitarians.

  16. Briggs

    July 29, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Chinahand,

    For fun, here in order are the first six articles which came up for me when I plugged MSM into PubMed (I got bored after six):

    Understanding internet sex-seeking behaviour and sexual risk among young men who have sex with men: evidences from a cross-sectional study. Title says it all.

    Increasing HIV and Decreasing Syphilis Prevalence in a Context of Persistently High Unprotected Anal Intercourse, Six Consecutive Annual Surveys among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Guangzhou, China, 2008 to 2013. “The persistently high UAI may have played a major role in the increasing trend of HIV prevalence.” UAI = unprotected sodomy.

    Prevalence of suicidal ideation and associated factors among HIV-positive MSM in Anhui, China. “The results indicated that suicidal ideation was common among HIV-positive MSM in Anhui, China.”

    Stress and Coping with Racism and Their Role in Sexual Risk for HIV Among African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Latino Men Who Have Sex with Men. “Overall, 51 % of the sample reported having UAI in the prior 6 months.”

    Male sex workers: practices, contexts, and vulnerabilities for HIV acquisition and transmission. “Growing evidence indicates a sustained or increasing burden of HIV among some male sex workers within the context of the slowing global HIV pandemic.”

    [Trend on HIV prevalence and risk behaviors among men who have sex with men in China from 2010 to 2013]. “Between 2010 and 2013, the total number of MSM under survey was 149 848. As for sources of the studied population, 12.3% of them were from public bathrooms (Group A), 30.1% from internet (Group B), and 57.5% were others (Group C).”

  17. @Trigger Warnings,

    English is my native language.

    “The word “helping” does not mean “forcing against one’s will”.”

    Quite true, but that doesn’t stop people from trying to “help” when they are doing nothing of the sort. This delusion that you are helping when you are not is particularly prevalent among progressives.

    @Sheri,

    Very true, as far as it goes, but a lot of people do things under the delusion that they are helping when in fact they are doing the exact opposite.

  18. Those of us slightly left of centre, who find the far left to be rabid extremist socialists, sure hope the moderately right of centre people get over the gay issue some day.

    If conservatives ever switched on even one or two issues, they’d have a whole raft of slightly left of centre votes and would win the day. (Note: Recently they already have my vote because liberals have drifted just too far to the left.)

  19. Yodelschule: “Sie jodeln mit meiner Frau?”

    And I thought only British humor was deadpan.

  20. WB

    The word natural is ambiguous. In one sense it means whatever is, but in another it means that which acts in accord with its purpose

    Murder is per se wrong because it is an act which is not in accord with the purpose of human beings.

    I and probably all humans before and after me will not answer the latter, the purpose of human beings, but why not try anyway.

    Getting back to sex.

    The anus does have an anatomical purpose, no question. The mouth also has a purpose but is oral sex one them? It does produce pleasure only for one participant and can transmit all of the diseases mentioned. What about
    my hand and heavy petting or masturbation? There are probably hundreds of fetishes that I can mention and hundreds more I cannot that produce sexual satisfaction for one or both parties using parts of the body whose purpose was not sexual.

    We are very complicated creatures and human sexuality norms through the ages are, well… I really have no answer, but I know sex is a pleasure and natural.

  21. MattS writes: “Th[e] delusion that you are helping when you are not is particularly prevalent among progressives.”

    And I say: “Amen.”

    And I like the alliteration, too.

  22. Prof Briggs,

    You wrote:

    I wonder just where you have identified that I said PSP should be made illegal?

    Sorry – I think we are misunderstanding each other – I never intended to claim you said PSP should be made illegal – where in my post do you think I have said this?

    My point is, simply, that you regularly make posts where you defend people’s right to engage in dangerous behaviours – and yes, smoking is one such behaviour. Smoking kills far more people than have died of AIDS.

    In your schema, is inserting a rolled up tube of tobacco leaf into your mouth, setting fire to it and deliberately inhaling the smoke for the pyscho-active pleasure it gives you a “natural” purpose for the mouth or not?

    You’ve previously hinted about doing some posts on teleology. I’d be fascinated to read them. Your writings on “natural purposes” clearly show some inclination towards the idea.

    I basically agree with you your main point- in general homosexual sexual behaviours are more likely than not to increase morbidity and mortality compared with hetero sexual behaviours. But the number of homosexuals is tiny compared to the number of heterosexuals – societal harms are far more affected by heterosexual risky behaviours than homosexual ones.

    The statistical nicety of mortality and morbidity rates between homo- and heterosexual commuties hides a reality of the size of the two populations (Bayes theory anyone) and where some hetero-sexual behaviours are more dangerous and some homosexual behaviours are innocuous (is mutual masturbation natural in your schema – I presume you think not).

    How should harms be ranked (back to Stove hey) – societally homosexuality isn’t a significant cause of death and destruction – really – for all the noise about what will happen if society becomes more tolerant of homosexuality and lets a few more people out of the (self-enclosed) closet. There are many other behaviours which harm and hurt people far far more. Yes, smoking.

    You don’t like it that people engage in homosexual sex and wish to persuade and inform people from them. Fine your choice, whatever rocks your boat, but you have made postings about the right of people to do what they want to do, even if it is dangerous, even if it has costs to other people.

    Are you are in favour of safe-sex education, explaining risky behaviour and taking measures to reduce the chances of sexual diseases being spread – HPV vaccinations, condoms? Such measures aren’t homophobic or bigoted and have been a part of major public health campaigns around the world for years now.

    Ah … maybe I understand where a problem lies.

  23. Chinahand: Don’t you mean sort-of safe sex, if the condom doesn’t break or leak? How about teaching people the actual, not the theoretical, success rate with condom use? If a women ends up pregnant after sex using a condom, she was/is also vulnerable to STDs. If you want to teach this honestly, that would be different from what they teach now.

  24. Sheri – back to pub med:
    Efficacy of a combined contraceptive regimen consisting of condoms and emergency contraception pills.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24725355

    1%-2% effectiveness – it’s published on every pack of condoms I’ve ever bought.

    They are less effective at reducing HIV infection – people are more receptive to HIV than pregnancy so errors which wouldn’t result in pregnancy due to the woman’s fertility cycle can result in infection.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11869658

    Shows an 80% reduction in infection from using condoms. Would you really advocate they aren’t used?

    Abstinence as a realistic policy option anyone?

  25. Define realistic program? There’s a 95% probability you can drive drunk and fast and never hit anyone or cause an accident. People do it all the time. Yet for some reason we try to get people to stop. Same for cigarettes. Why tell people not to smoke? They do it anyway. People also commit homicide, rape and theft, even though realistically we can never stop this, ever. So, define realistic program.

  26. Sylvain Allard

    July 29, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Briggs,

    In a precedent conversation you admitted that some people are born left-handed. Yet we don’t know why some people are left-handed, though we know it is not genetic since identical twins pairs will have 1 lefty and 1 righty.

    We don’t know why people are gay or not. But we also know it is not genetic since identical pair of twins will have 1 gay and one not gay.

    So if people are born lefty, why shouldn’t people be born gay? Why would anyone choose to be marginalized by being gay?

    Over a century ago Irish and Catholics were unwelcomed in the US and the same language that was used against them are now used against gays. Were you born Irish or Catholic?

    Sheri,

    (Scary how a tiny minority wrecked such havoc in society and managed to bully the majority into going along with their behaviour, isn’t it?)

    You have a very ignorant train of thought. No one is bullied to do gay activities; these persons only fight to have the same right you have. You are not force to do anything other than you do with other people.

    By the way, I’m happy that you are not giving advice to poor people. Many advices you were giving were akin to tell them why they were not winning at the lotto.

    I’m not surprised that you never realized that for someone to get a better job most likely means that someone else saw a reduction of their income. Although there are always about the same amount of poor people very few of them live in that state in perpetuity.

    If the welfare life is so great why does most people get off of it?

  27. “” Let us take an act, say, helping an old lady across the street. The act is praiseworthy per se, irrespective of the person carrying out the act”

    Praiseworthy per se? Utter nonsense. What if the old lady didn’t want to cross the street? Still praiseworthy? I think not.”

    Helped an old lady across the road to the DIGNITAS clinic…..?

  28. Sylvain: Excuse me, Mr. Elightened, for posting my “ignorant train of thought”. Well, not really…..

    The reports that you are suffering from severe memory loss appears to be correct. Of course people are bullied to do gay activities–or more exactly, not allowed to refuse to participate nor allowed to say anything negative, thus giving gays the false look of legitimacy. One cannot say anything “antigay” without fear of job loss and bullying by those who are gay. Your memory loss is apparent since we discussed this ad nauseum on this blog repeatedly in the past.

    As I recall, the last time I went with you on this “poor people” line, it ended badly. Let’s just skip all the nasty middle part and say that I will probably never agree with any little fantasy your head has made up about the “poor” and that I will never argue that it is wrong to encourage people to excel by pushing them rather than teaching them to be dependent. You can go there if you want, but you go alone.

    Your statement “Why would anyone chose to be marginalized” applies to pedofiles, necrophilia, beastiality and polygamy just as much as it does to homosexuals. No one chooses to be marginalized, right? They were born that way and we have no right to discriminate against any of these sexual preferences.

  29. Mike: Actually, if we were helping a little old lady across the street to strip joint? A liberal party caucus? Gun rights rally? There could be examples not quite as extreme as yours but you do make a point there!

  30. ” “bug chasing”—the new craze in which homosexuals actively seek HIV infection because of the added sexual thrill. ”

    Klono’s gadolinium guts, say what?? Thats batsh.. I mean thats Fu.. that’s a very disturbing turn of events, proper Dagenham mad as we say in England. I don’t have a problem with people doing risky things for fun, we’ve all paid into the UK health system, and the highest risk items (Smoking Drinking and the automobile) are already taxed at multiples of the Health cost. But I do expect a Skydiver to check his ‘chute, The SCUBA diver to make sure he’s using medical air, and the drag racer to at least kick his tyres. Recklessly indulging in a behaviour in order to purposely incur the negative consequence, then expect society to save you from your suicide (well given the side effects of retrovirals delay it for a few more years…), not sure I know what to do with that..

    Otherwise, sodomy not a fan, but It’s not my place to interfere with what consenting adults do with each other.

    .

  31. Bug chasing is wrong, here is why: man has to live according to man’s nature, and to be good, according to Marcus Aurelius. And to be good is to live according to man’s nature. If you are not good, you are not living in accordance with man’s social nature. And if you harm other people you are not doing good. If you are “bug chasing”, then you are knowingly risking other person’s lives by potentially giving them HIV, since you might already be carrying the “bug” without you knowing it. Therefore “bug chasing” is not good, it is a sin, and therefore evil.
    That “bug chasing” is dangerous to the individual is certainly true, but so is skydiving, base jumping, soloing up the north face of the Eiger. But taking part in base jumping etc. does not harm other people (if it does, perhaps base jumping is wrong too). But “bug chasing” harms other people, and is therefore evil!

  32. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 29, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Two comments from elsewhere and when:
    1. We tend to speak and think of sexual activity that is reproductive and not reproductive as tough they were two species of one genus. Say we all agree that it is true to say that “sodomy is a kind of sexual activity”. Fine. But is this like saying “granny smith is a kind of apple” or like saying “a limp is a kind of walk”? The first is included in a genus, and shares a common nature with other species; the second is a defect of a nature, and so is properly opposed to the nature itself. Our answer to this question (which is usually tacit) will effect everything we think about the right and wrong in sexual matters.

    2. When we understand sex through statistics, we draw from a database about as old as one lifetime. This is something like trying to determine whether an acre of land is flat or hilly by examining the topography of one square foot of it.
    http://thomism.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/notes-on-sexual-ethics/

    When we say that smoking or skiing is also risky behavior “just like sodomy,” we overlook an important distinction. Smoking and skiing are risky for the smoker and the skiier, but sodomy is risky to the sodomized, not the sodomizer. Unlike the other activities, it involves a second person, sometimes called in gay slang “the catcher” or “the bottom.”

  33. This was a deeply disturbing and unpleasant post. Homosexuality is a common sexual variation seen in many species. It is as “natural” as being a redhead or a diabetic.

    Seeking to contact HIV is just loony.

    Believing in God is stupid.

    JMJ

  34. Whoa there Jersey, you just equated homosexuality to an illness. Sadly, the APA voted to remove said illness from their list in the early 80’s. Interesting that one can vote a disease out of the category of disease, even if it is a mental illness.

    Your last sentence explains why you equate humans and animals. So I repeat—killing, unsolicted sex, cannibalism, etc are all very, very common in many animal species so why do we humans try to suppress those behaviours? If we’re animals, why not act like them? Seems to me we pick and choose those we like and those we don’t. Every other species lets nature sort that out. We should do the same since we’re nothing but evolved animals. For most of history, that was the way things were—war, rape, savage behaviours. Killing was common—witness the Romans. So let’s embrace our animal nature there Jersey.

  35. Well said Sheri!

  36. Sheri and Francois, if you two can say that after reading this post, you both suffer serious moral deficiencies, or at best are barely literate.

    JMJ

  37. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 29, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Homosexuality is a common sexual variation seen in many species. It is as “natural” as being a redhead or a diabetic.

    Diabetes is generally considered a defectus or disease of the natural body. Being a redhead is supposed an evolutionary adaptation to the cold, wet, cloudy environment of NW Europe. To which are you comparing homosexuality?

    You are confusing “natural” in the sense of “happening by non-miraculous, material causes” with the sense of “natural” as “the common course of nature.” In this latter sense, a two-headed calf is considered “unnatural” because it deviates from the common course of the nature of bovine reproduction, even thought the physical train of events that led to the calf is entirely natural in the first sense. A baseball falling off a shelf exhibits “natural” motion, because it is in the nature of ponderable matter to fall toward the center of gravity; whereas a baseball thrown by a pitcher exhibits “unnatural” (a/k/a “violent”) motion, since it is not the nature of ponderable matter to fly off horizontally at 90 mph.

    An illustration: The end of an archer is to hit the mark. An archer is said to be “good” when he does so consistently and “bad” when he does not. But only the former perfects his nature as an archer while the latter is considered defectus boni, a deficiency in the good. So one might ask what is the nature of the reproductive system, and what sort of acts might be natural to those ends and what acts might be defects, frustrations, or impairments of those ends.

  38. Sylvain Allard

    July 29, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    “Of course people are bullied to do gay activities–or more exactly, not allowed to refuse to participate nor allowed to say anything negative, thus giving gays the false look of legitimacy.”

    A gay activity as nothing to do with cake or picture, it has to do with sex; and no gays are asking or suggesting that non-gay have sex with anyone they don’t want to.

    How can a cake maker cannot be-bullied in doing what he does for everyone else, but he is the one bullying others when he chooses to refuse to provide a good or service that he would render to anyone else.

    You have a problem when people march on your liberty but the liberty you defend is your right to march on other people liberty. Republican say they are in favor of liberty yet they have no problem in going in peoples bedroom and/or women vagina.

    In the previous conversation you provided a useful link in the end. Though all it proves is that there are still slave in the US. It is indecent that someone who works should not be paid a living wage and have the right to at least 2 weeks’ vacation per year. These are minimal conditions and it is very disturbing/disgusting that the USA don’t meet that minimum. This is conditions that you would expect from communist countries or dictatorship.

  39. I can’t believe an otherwise seemingly intelligent guy like you would ask me that question, YOS.

    The point is that you guys do not own the trademark on “natural,” all the more so because you base your ridiculous opinion on a ridiculous belief.

    I’m disappointed. Didn’t expect that level of discourse here.

    JMJ

  40. Nice way of avoiding an answer, JMJ; do you often clutch your pearls?

  41. Gee, Dover, you must be another intellectual giant. Tell me, what do you think about homosexuality? I’m sure it’s a stellar example of higher thought.

    JMJ

  42. No, you could just answer YOS’s question. That the word ‘natural’ has different senses is admitted in the post and comments. So far as my intellect is concerned, I’ve made no claims.

  43. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 29, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    I can’t believe an otherwise seemingly intelligent guy like you would ask me that question, YOS.

    Sure, and it was yourself who compared homosexuality to diabetes, not I.

    The point is that you guys do not own the trademark on “natural,”

    Sure, but we had it first.

    all the more so because you base your ridiculous opinion on a ridiculous belief.

    Which of Aristotle’s beliefs do you hold to be ridiculous?

    I’m disappointed. Didn’t expect that level of discourse here.

    But you are here. You are perfectly free to raise your level of discourse any time by making a reasoned argument instead of disparaging your interlocutors’ abilities, blindness, and stupidity.
    +++++
    @Sheri:
    The 10% figure for male homosexuals comes from the Kinsey Report by way of endless repetition. But Kinsey’s sample was not statistically representative. A big chunk, for example, consisted of men in prison; and many of them — surprise, surprise — had had “MSM” encounters. Kinsey counted male homosexuals — “gay” still meant happy and carefree at the time — as anyone who had had at least one such encounter.
    http://tigger.uic.edu/cuppa/pubinfo/ASA_StatProblemsoftheKinseyReport_1954complete_publicdomain.pdf

  44. Milton Hathaway

    July 29, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Professor Briggs wrote:

    “. . . in particular, sodomy (this applies to both man-on-man and the much rarer man-on-woman). ”

    I burst out laughing when I read this line . . . not good, because I was at work . . but then it slowly dawned on me that you probably meant the other kind.

    I once had verbal intercourse with a famous celebrity. It was brief but memorable.

  45. ” Being a redhead is supposed an evolutionary adaptation to the cold, wet, cloudy environment of NW Europe”

    Is it? Or is it more a result of mixing genes for dark hair with those for blonde hair? Some middle easterners and western Asians are also redheads.

    Diabetes is a “dysfunction” because it is detrimental to the diabetic. It’s not clear that homosexuality is detrimental per se. Nearsightedness is considered a detriment and so is farsightedness but are they really? Or are they more variations from the supposed “norm”? Are they “unnatural”?

  46. I might also point out that diabetes is determined by a variation from the norm and the amount of variation for its diagnosis seems to change from year to year. The same with cholesterol levels. When do either become detrimental to the point where they can be considered dysfunctions?

  47. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 29, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Diabetes is a “dysfunction” because it is detrimental to the diabetic. It’s not clear that homosexuality is detrimental per se. Nearsightedness is considered a detriment and so is farsightedness but are they really? Or are they more variations from the supposed “norm”? Are they “unnatural”?

    The nature of the pancreas is to produce enough insulin so that cells in the skeletal muscles, and fat tissue to absorb glucose from the blood. When it does so, it is a good pancreas. In Type-I diabetes, there is a deficiency in this good, i.e., in the common course of this nature. Therefore, Type-I diabetes is ipso facto dysfunctional — not because it is detrimental to the diabetic (that would be consequentialism, the flip side of the end-justifies-the-means) but because it means that the pancreas is not functioning normally. (Type-II diabetes has a different cause, but it is similarly due to a bodily system not following the common course of its nature.

    The nature of the eye is to gather photons of various wavelengths and focus them onto the retina, where the optic nerve gathers the impulses for assembly into an image in the brain. When it does so, it is a good eye. Nearsightedness is a deficiency in this good. And so on. The invention of eyeglasses during the Latin Middle Ages helped to ameliorate this deficiency, but that did not make it not-a-deficiency. That is, what matters is not whether one’s vision is “detrimental” given that corrective lenses are available, but that the eye is not following the common course of its nature.
    Putting Popperian scare quotes around “norm” does not make it not the norm.
    “Unnatural” simply means “not according to the nature of X” for whatever X is.

  48. Okay, I’m sorry, I thought you guys were post-adolescents with above average IQ’s. I stand corrected.

    Let’s try this one last time: When you make judgments about what is “natural” in the tangible universe around you, just remember, no matter how you approach the matter, no matter what it is, whether it’s detrimental or beneficial, whether it’s common or rare, whether it’s a choice or innate, it’s NATURAL. All your silly judgments, about the natural of Free Will, Good and Evil, Choice and Nature, are, to recall Pink Floyd, like a lunatic under an eclipse, imagining it’s all out of tune.

    JMJ

  49. For a man of words you seem to have trouble with some of them. Putting Popperian scare quotes around “norm” was needed because it is far from clear what the “norm” should be. Nearsightedness and farsightedness are determined from a “norm” which never seems to change with the population. The same with diagnoses of diabetes and high cholesterol levels. The “norm” never seems to change yet variations from “norm” do.

    what matters is not whether one’s vision is “detrimental” given that corrective lenses are available, but that the eye is not following the common course of its nature.

    The “correction” is to bring the range back to the “norm” and not necessarily because being farsighted or nearsighted is the eye not following its “nature”. On top of that the “norm” is 20-20 of some undocumented population but never, it seems, the current one.

    So homosexuality (an attraction to the same sex) is “unnatural” but then so is throwing a baseball yet one is somehow bad while the other is good — or at least not bad. Even if allowed that homosexuality is “unnatural” why would it be “bad”?

  50. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 30, 2014 at 12:05 am

    it’s NATURAL. All your silly judgments, about the natural of Free Will, Good and Evil, Choice and Nature,

    Most of those have nothing to do with the matter at hand. But I would suppose that “natural” would have something to do with “natures.”
    Start here: http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html
    unless you don’t think Aristotle got past adolescence. But instead of calling things “silly” or implying those you write to are still adolescent, you might try making a reasoned argument.
    ++++
    For a man of words you seem to have trouble with some of them.
    YOS is devastated by this stunning rebuttal.

    Putting Popperian scare quotes around “norm” was needed because it is far from clear what the “norm” should be.
    That’s science for you.

    Nearsightedness and farsightedness are determined from a “norm” which never seems to change with the population. … The “norm” never seems to change yet variations from “norm” do.
    It follows from the nature of the eye, not from the mean of a population. An entire population might have abnormal eyesight, in the sense that for the entire population the uncorrected eye fails to form a focused image. That science quibbles about the boundaries is an epistemic issue, not an ontological one.

    “[F]antasy consciousness would inevitably spill over into our view of reality generally. Thus, no age would find reality… as distasteful as we find it. For the same reason, no age would find speculative reasoning –which seeks to uncover the structure of reality simply to know it — as distasteful as we find it.”

    ++++
    The “correction” is to bring the range back to the “norm” and not necessarily because being farsighted or nearsighted is the eye not following its “nature”.
    Then why correct it if the eye has not departed from the common course of its nature?
    +++++
    So homosexuality (an attraction to the same sex) is “unnatural”
    The act of sodomy has been called unnatural, not the attraction. A man may perform unnatural acts on a woman just as easily.
    ++++
    Yet [sodomy] is somehow bad while [throwing a baseball] is good — or at least not bad.
    Throwing a baseball may be very bad. The pitcher is supposed to hit the strike zone, but he may throw unintentional balls, wild pitches, balks, etc. These are all bad throws under the common course of baseball. Similar norms apply to balls thrown by catchers and fielders.
    Morally, however, the baseball is an inanimate object, so there is nothing morally wrong with throwing it. Well, except for bean balls and the like.
    +++
    Even if allowed that homosexuality is “unnatural” why would it be “bad”?
    If the good is to accomplish that at which a thing is aimed, then it is bad to aim it poorly. To what end has evolution shaped the reproductive system. [Hint: it is called the reproductive system for a reason.] Compare to a pitcher who consistently throws his pitches to the shortstop rather than to the catcher, because he feels a compulsion to do so. That might do for playing catch, but not for playing baseball.

  51. For a man of words you seem to have trouble with some of them.
    YOS is devastated by this stunning rebuttal.

    As you should be.

    It follows from the nature of the eye, not from the mean of a population. An entire population might have abnormal eyesight, in the sense that for the entire population the uncorrected eye fails to form a focused image.

    Who says a nearsighted person can’t get focused images? I am “nearsighted” when compared to a “normal” population but I most certainly can get focused images without “correction”. Nearsightedness and farsightedness are indeed determined from a mean population — and an arbitrary one at that. Who determined that mean and why is it considered set in stone?

    The act of sodomy has been called unnatural, not the attraction.

    The title of this post starts with “Making Gay OK”. That implies that “Gay” is not OK — sodomy or not. Stick to the subject.

    Morally, however, the baseball is an inanimate object, so there is nothing morally wrong with throwing it.

    So, you are now saying that homosexuality is immoral? How is it immoral?

    If the good is to accomplish that at which a thing is aimed, then it is bad to aim it poorly. To what end has evolution shaped the reproductive system. [Hint: it is called the reproductive system for a reason.]

    Indeed, if the goal is reproduction but is it the goal in homosexuality?

  52. You are making an intellectually ancient, primitive, argument, YOS.

    JMJ

  53. Briggs

    July 30, 2014 at 5:28 am

    DAV,

    Diabetes is natural in the first sense: it exists. It is unnatural in the second: it is a departure or an absence of the good. Homosexuality if acted on, such as in sodomy, is natural in the first sense: it exists. It is also unnatural in the second sense: it is detrimental and an absence of the good, and, as YOS and Aristotle (good company!) agree, a willful putting at risk of another for the sake of pleasure.

    Your nearsightedness example is unfortunate. For the sufferer would seek to correct his malady (through, say, eyeglasses). He would not insist vehemently that everybody else should be forced to say his lack of eyesight is normal in the second sense (it obviously is normal in the first sense). He would not seek to have federal laws passed requiring none discriminate against him if he chooses to go about with uncorrected vision. Would you fly in a plane with a truculent half-blind pilot?

    What say you about bug hunting? Equivalent to basketball, is it? And about teaching children of sodomy as being natural in the second sense?

    JMJ,

    I thought yours the most interesting comment. Polar bears sometimes eat their young. Should we? Sharks eat each other. Should we? Black widow spiders eat their mates. Should we? Chimps sometimes hunt and kill their confreres—and sometimes eat them! Should we?

    Cancer is also present in other species. Does that make it a good? Humans murder each other. Naturally—in the first sense. That make it good? Or do you dare to judge and say it is bad?

    But I do like (I am sincere) that you see belief in God as a choice. So is sodomy. Now our question today is whether the second is a good or bad choice. I have presented evidence that shows it, in general, is bad. Have you any to counter it?

  54. Jersey, I’m enjoying your comments for all the wrong reasons: the self-anointed tone, the sophistry, the elitism, the ad hominem… You represent your side perfectly.

  55. And what of the Sickle cell?

    How does it fit into this “Natural” paradigm?

  56. JMJ: You are the proud recipient of the “i have no argument so I’ll call names like a toddler” award. A certificate is available if you want to frame it and put it on your wall.
    JMJ: Again, homicide, rape, envy are all natural and I’m sure since you are so enlightened, you are out demanding no one “correct” those behaviours, aren’t you?

    YOS: I’m not really saying that I agree with the 10% figure, just that it is what is often stated. Kinsey was reported in some places to have counted even those with “feelings” for the same sex, even if they never acted on them. The 1.5 to a maximum of 3% seems most likely for the number of PSP’s.

    DAV: Diabetes type 1 is always dysfunction as it results in death without treatment. Cut-off levels for fasting blood sugars in Type 2 are increasingly reduced as to “normal” and do result in more medicated persons. Perhaps we should wait with Type 2 until irreparable damage is done and then declare the disease? Or may just go with a fasting blood sugar twice normal or an A1C of 7 or 8 and not wait for the bad things? Cholesterol levels have no straight line statistics so that is a much harder call. At this point, there really is no scientific guideline.

    Briggs: Actually, there reportedly are deaf parents who refuse to have their children have cochlear implants because it would make them “normal” and the deaf do not consider themselves “abnormal”.

  57. Sylvain: You’re still using the cake example. How about a fresh one–like fired because you once gave to a proposition in California against gay marriage or smeared on social media for daring to say homosexuality is a sin? By your logic, pedophile websites have nothing to do with pedophilia–they’re just sharing an interest.

    I have no problem with people expressing opinions. I have a problem with bullies making everyone miserable and ruling by the minority. I have a problem with draconian, Soviet-style, McCarthyism that punishes anyone that does not tow the party line. I have a problem with denial of Constitutional rights.

    Really, name one Republican who ever went into a gay person’s bedroom other than for consensual sex. I want photos to document it. It is a blatant LIE and a straw man, etc, etc. So post that photo or stop using the line. Come up with something original, for once.

    You are out of bounds on the last line–I’m not going there. And you really should brush up on Marxism, because while you often espouse the theory, you seem to project the behaviour more than actually understand it. The US is a representative democracy with majority rule–or that was the way it was founded. Now, it’s rule by a minority punishing all those who do not agree. Try that history lesson again. Did you really pass your classes?????

  58. Chinahand: Probably it falls into “unnatural”. This whole discussion might be easier if we had not used “natural” as the criteria without actually defining it. I suppose if we said sex was naturally used for procreation (which it is), uses that preclude procreation, such as homosexuality, are not natural. If we believe that health and long life are the goals of any species and that is natural, anything that shortens that life such as disease, are not natural. Using that idea, the Sickle Cell falls into the “not natural” category.

    Sylvain: New question—people argued that the white minority ruling the black majority in South Africa was morally wrong. So how is it that the homosexual minority ruling the straight majority is right? (I use this because you so like to compare things to race.)

  59. Sheri – do you know about the interaction between sickle cells and sleeping sickness?

    Having the sickle cell gene is a positive advantage in areas with sleeping sickness.

    In that environment it increases life, not decreases it – that is the context I was trying to get people to think about.

    In certain contexts things can work to the good, in others to the bad. The only answer to the question of whether this is a natural good (in Prof Briggs’ context) is “depends”.

  60. Chinahand: I missed the connection you were trying to make. I’m not sure a genetic potentially debilitating chronic disease giving protection against a communicable parasitic disease is “better”, other than at least the person won’t get the sleeping sickness on top of the sickle cell problems. I don’t think I’d call it an advantage—only less of a disadvantage in some cases.

  61. Briggs,

    What I find bothersome here is the actual avoidance of the question “Is it OK to be Gay?” by changing the question to other things like “Is it OK to force your predilections on someone else?” and “what about the risks?” and “Is it normal?” The latter is interesting because most people are NOT normal in the sense that very few conform to the average. In any case, why should it matter?

    It doesn’t seem to follow that being gay also means being a missionary. Yes, some are and it’s annoying but that, too, seems to be avoiding the original question. Is being a Jehovah’s Witness OK? Those people never let up either.

    So Aristotle had a viewpoint. That certainly is a good argument. (NOT)

    He also seemed to think that the pleasure must be one-sided which is arguably false.

    Would you fly in a plane with a truculent half-blind pilot?

    No but that would be irrelevant to the question “Is it OK to be half-blind?”

    Sheri,

    The point about diabetes was that you are only considered to have it if your blood sugar levels have departed by a given amount from whatever normal is and the problem is that what is normal never gets revisited — or so it seems — but the defining threshold is constantly changing (narrowing actually). The same with cholesterol levels.

    But I see that as irrelevant to the question. Whether being gay is OK shouldn’t be gauged by whether or not most people are.

  62. Sheri,
    I am afraid you are still missing the point – if you live in an area with Sleeping Sickness your life expectancy will be INCREASED if you are a carrier of the Sickle Cell gene.

    People without it, people you’d call “Normal people”, suffer from the disease to a greater extent, have higher mortality, and are at a selective disadvantage.

    People with it are better off – so much better off that the selective disadvantage the gene produces when people have a double recessive is insufficient to remove it from the population.

    The natural world is full of similar examples – what prolongs life in certain environments can shorten it in others, and the environment which is optimum for some is sub-optimal for others.

    In such examples the idea of an essential “natural good” evaporates into context dependency.

  63. No, Chinahand, I am not missing the point. I’m just reading that half the people with sickle cell die before their first birthday and other such statistics. Assuming maleria does not kill them after they survive their first year, the sickle cell complications may. I just cannot call a chronic, progressive disease “good” because it may protect against severe maleria infections. At best, I would call it the lesser of two evils.

    DAV: The rewriting of the criteria for diabetes, Type 2 does not change the reality that it is a progressive, fatal illness.
    What should “Is gay okay” be based on? How about polygamy, necrophilia and beastiality? How do we decide if those are okay? Bottom line, it’s either society gives it’s blessing and/or religion does. What is your criteria for deciding “okay”? If it’s “harms another person” then you need to define “harms” because I consider feeding your kids nothing but junk food and letting him play video games all day to be harmful. I consider divorce harmful, recreational drugs harmful, etc. Please clearly define the term “harms”.

  64. What should “Is gay okay” be based on?

    Don’t have an answer to that but gauging the acceptability of an activity by the number of participants relative to the population shouldn’t be the basis. Seems if you do that then many activities, e.g. being a concert pianist, would be NOT okay.

  65. Sander van der Wal

    July 30, 2014 at 10:31 am

    @Briggs

    It does? Like it is a benefit to society that the taxpayer must foot the bill when a pro club goes broke and the “honor of the city” is at stake? Or when a bunch of hooligans demolish a train? Or when a referee is kicked to death during an amateur match because he was a little bit too much for the home club?

    Benefits to society indeed.

  66. Sylvain Allard

    July 30, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Sheri,

    You’re example of Brendan Eich is a good example of freedom of speech, but you forget that freedom of speech is not freedom of consequences. It is Mozilla that decided to fire Eich, not the gay activist, not the court, not the government. Mozilla took the decision by themselves for what they consider the good decision to take for the company.

    If you believe homosexuality is a sin than other people have the right to express their discontentment. In saying homosexuality is a sin, you are bullying the gays, and they should just take it as if nothing happened.

    Yes pedophile website is just sharing an interest, but their interest is hurtful toward the kids. Gay sex happens between two consenting adults, or minors. The same laws apply to gay if it was between an adult and a kid. There is no one hurt when 2 men or women are having sex. But at child or an animal cannot give consent.

    This is what real bullying looks like:

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/watch/anti-abortion-extremists-violate-church-313460291585

    Be mind of the genetic fallacy.

    Kent Cuccinelli is a republican example.

  67. As I understand them, the arguments against anal sex here come down to:

    1. The anus has a biological purpose, unrelated to simulating sexual intercourse.
    2. Anal sex increases the risk of various medical problems.

    Analagous arguments could be made for kissing, couldn’t they?
    1. The mouth has a biological purpose, unrelated to gestures of affection.
    2. Kissing increases the risk of various medical problems (certainly not to the same extent, but still.).

    Is kissing therefore immoral? Why or why not?

    Thanks,
    Dave

  68. l’m sure I must have missed it since the question seems so obvious, but I did read every comment. Is man and woman, married partner, penis vagina sex natural or good if the intent is not to reproduce, where reproduction is impossible? Can a married couple in there ’70s with no (using one of Dr. Briggs’ favorite narrative techniques) as in “no” chance of reproduction not ok?

    The couple, each of whom may be the only sexual partner that the other ever had, may say “Well, it’s just like what we did 50 years ago to bring our children into the world.” Dr. Briggs’ reply: “Sure, but you know that the act won’t anc can’t possibly produce children and is thus not congruent with the purpose of insertion of a penis into a vagina. Therefore, it’s wrong to do it.”

    Correct?

    If a woman must have a hysterectomy to save her life, and her life is in fact saved, is she then not to have sex with her loving husband because reproduction is impossible and hence the sex is not for the intended purpose of the organs involved?

  69. I apologize for the grievous misuse of “there” when “their” was appropriate. I’m so ashamed…

    I wish this blog platform allowed the editing of comments.

  70. Going further, is it wrong for a man to have a vasectomy so that he can have unprotected sex with his wife? The vasectomy is certainly natural in the first sense and not natural in the second.

    Going back to my old married couple, their very existence is, arguably, not natural in the second sense if we postulate that the purpose of humans is to procreate. Is it natural in the second sense for women to stay alive past menopause? After all, a subtext here is that a woman is a vehicle for the production of new humans, when she can no longer act as such, should medical attention be devoted to saving her life should she become ill?

    Many, many questions here.

  71. DAV: If you don’t have an answer for what is “okay”, then I would think you are required to accept all behaviours as “okay”. Don’t think one could justify such a position.
    The number of people participating was not the only criteria. However, most diagnosis of mental illness are based on the bell curve. If we can’t use that criteria, is there any way to define mental illness or do we stop using the archaic term and let people do as they please?

    Sylvain: I didn’t say there was not going to be a consequence to free speech. I stated that gays bully people and cost them their jobs. If it weren’t for gay activists, Eich might still have his job. Maybe not, but we will never know now since he was bullied out of employment.

    No, saying something is a sin is not bullying. Calling someone a flaming moron who can’t read English, should never have been born, and is nothing but a detriment to those on Earth is bullying. Calling something a sin is a religious belief and is supposed to be protected under the First Amendment to the constitution. Unfortunately, politicians do not seem inclined to enforce the amendment. One wonders why they are so hot on excluding religion, which is part of the same amendment, but not allowing practicing it. Oh, I remember, bullying and pummeling all those who disagree.

    The “children can’t consent” is a totally bogus argument, as I have stated before. Children do not consent to medical treatment, they don’t consent to eat the food their parents buy, they don’t consent to bedtimes. Yet most rational people do not argue that children should be allowed to buy their food, see a doctor if they choose and stay up all night. Children can sex with other children, which IS sex without consent, so obviously there is NO real problem with consent. It’s completely bogus. BOGUS.

    I do not agree with religious extremists on any side. I don’t agree with Fred Phelps saying war deaths are punishment for homosexuality. Bad behaviour is bad behaviour. And you should be mindful of stuffing that straw man like JMJ likes to do. Adding ridiculous arguments I never made is called “Stawman Fallacy” and I never made the outrageous claims.

    You are fully and totally arguing no one has a right to practice any religion in America. I would point out that Muslims and others can wear burkes, satanic cults can call themselves churches and scientologists can charge people to learn about the alien that put us here. ALL of this stops if you call labeling a behaviour sin and all religion becomes illegal. You really want to outlaw religion. Are you even going to bother to repeal the amendment or just do an Obama and start revoking any laws you personally don’t like?

    DAV: You might have a point if the tongue is involved. That would be a simulation.

    Rob Ryan: No, inability to reproduce does not mean no sex. It means you just cannot fulfill the purpose rather than you are subverting the purpose. If you are deaf, we don’t cut off your ears even though they don’t fulfill the purpose originally intended. If you store crayons in your ears, then you would be subverting the purpose.

  72. Rob: I see you expanded your question. I am not sure I can answer that one. I know the Catholic position, but I don’t agree with it. Since vasectomies can be reversed, I suppose you are not actually subverting the process, just putting it on hold. Now, if you had the equipment removed entirely, that might be called subverting……..I just don’t know.

  73. Sheri,

    If you don’t have an answer for what is “okay”, then I would think you are required to accept all behaviours as “okay”. Don’t think one could justify such a position.

    No I wouldn’t anymore than saying what I don’t want and leaving the what-is for future consideration for anything means I have to accept whatever comes along. How did you get there?

    Rob Ryan,

    I think the problem here is that the answer to “Is Gay OK” is a resounding NO but there’s no cogent reason other than “Think of the children!” If there were any then why the indirect arguments?

    Dave,

    Great name (or is it really Ben?). In all due respect, you might want to consider applying Photoshop to your next selfie. Better contrast and a darker background might enhance your complexion somewhat.

  74. Sheri, the ears cut off/deaf analogy doesn’t hold. By and large (possibly with an occasional exception) people don’t choose deafness. The analogy would be that we don’t stop deaf people from listening, whatever that would mean. Turning your analogy around would be “since we don’t cut off deaf people’s ears, we won’t cut off old men’s penises.”

    As to subverting, having sex with no possibility of reproduction is just as much subversion as anything you’ve named. Why would my old married couple have sex? It would be for pleasure (I confidently assert). But pleasure is not the purpose of the reproductive organs. So, just as storing crayons in my ears subverts the purpose of my ears (as does, I suppose, mounting my sunglasses on them, not to mention subverting the purpose of my nose), engaging in sex for pleasure subverts the purpose of the sexual organs.

    Really, trying to fashion an argument in logic against sodomy between consenting adults or against MSM/WSW is wrong headed. One should simply state “I believe that they’re wrong and sinful and I believe that things that are wrong and sinful should not be done and should be made illegal.” That’s a perfectly valid position to take. I don’t agree with it even though I DO, in fact, agree that MSM and WSW acts are not natural in the second sense.

    And I haven’t seen any even marginally adequate rebuttal of the early commenters who pointed out the contradiction between smoking being fine and sodomy being not fine. The real explanation of the contradiction is, as I see it, that “the Bible or the doctrine of my religion, as I understand them, indicate that the latter is a sin and is silent on the former.” OK, that’s a valid position as well, but it should be acknowledged rather than hidden behind ad hoc and fallacious logical argumentation.

    One might argue (and, if I recall correctly, Dr. Briggs has argued) that there’s no convincing evidence that second hand smoke is harmful, so the smoker only hurts him or herself. The sodomite “giver” on the other hand, harms or may harm the recipient and the act is only done for the pleasure of the giver. But the recipient, I would speculate, receives pleasure either from the sensation itself (I certainly couldn’t say) or from the satisfaction of providing pleasure to the giver. So I assert that that argument is without merit.

  75. Sheri,

    However, most diagnosis of mental illness are based on the bell curve. If we can’t use [percent of population], is there any way to define mental illness or do we stop using the archaic term and let people do as they please?

    The first question to be answered should be: “Is any determination or action required at all?” If someone wants to be, or just is, a homosexual why would you care?

  76. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 30, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    It follows from the nature of the eye, not from the mean of a population.

    Who says a nearsighted person can’t get focused images? I am “nearsighted” when compared to a “normal” population but I most certainly can get focused images without “correction”.

    Then why would you need correction? Or do you mean you can see fine at a distance, but reading books is more difficult? That is still a deficiency in the eye.

    The act of sodomy has been called unnatural, not the attraction.

    The title of this post starts with “Making Gay OK”. That implies that “Gay” is not OK — sodomy or not.

    The post title refers to making gay homosexual behavior socially acceptable, even praiseworthy (since it defies icky old bourgeois false consciousness). This is an issue separate from whether the behavior is objectively harmful. A man may find another man or a “chicken” attractive without actually sodomizing him, just as another man may find a woman or a “Lolita” attractive without actually performing coitus upon her.

    Morally, however, the baseball is an inanimate object, so there is nothing morally wrong with throwing it.

    So, you are now saying that homosexuality is immoral? How is it immoral?

    I did not say that: only that throwing a baseball per se is not a moral act. However, if you throw it with the intent of beaning the batter, it becomes so.

    If the good is to accomplish that at which a thing is aimed, then it is bad to aim it poorly. To what end has evolution shaped the reproductive system. [Hint: it is called the reproductive system for a reason.]

    Indeed, if the goal is reproduction but is it the goal in homosexuality?

    Homosexuality is not a thing, it is an doing. (See III and IV, here: https://bearspace.baylor.edu/Alexander_Pruss/www/papers/Forms.html) Don’t confuse “goal” in nature (a/k/a “term” or terminus) with a purpose or intention of the agent. It is the very fact that in sodomy not only is reproduction not intended, but is flat out impossible that lies at the heart of matters.

  77. On what is, in my opinion, a topic related to some of the branches of argumentation in this post and comments, I wonder where people here stand on laws requiring the buckling of seat belts (for the driver and adult passengers, I’ll stipulate the duty to protect children), motorcycle helmet laws, etc. These have certain things in common with the bug chaser concepts. Certainly, motorcycle riders don’t set out to crash and suffer traumatic brain injury, but should they have the right to risk it for the freedom of the wind blowing through their hair? It certainly is a drain on resources to provide lifelong medical care for a victim of traumatic brain injury, hardly likely to be paid for by said victim or his or her insurance. In states where helmetless riding is legal, if a rider suffers such an injury, should he or she only be treated to the limit of his or her ability to pay?

  78. YOS:

    It is the very fact that in sodomy not only is reproduction not intended, but is flat out impossible that lies at the heart of matters.

    This contradicts Sheri’s contention regarding the rightness or wrongness of my old married couple. Thus, can I assume that you posit that they cannot rightly engage in penis vagina sex? Or do you have a different argument? For that couple, reproduction is “flat out impossible.”

  79. Then why would you need correction?

    Still having trouble with those words I see. I used “no correction” as in “no glasses”.

    So, you are now saying that homosexuality is immoral? How is it immoral?
    I did not say that: only that throwing a baseball per se is not a moral act.

    It’s also not eating ice cream. Why mention the morality of ball throwing at all then? Being paid by the word?

    Indeed, if the goal is reproduction but is it the goal in homosexuality?
    Homosexuality is not a thing, it is an doing.

    So it’s a doing. So it throwing a ball. There is no goal in the doing of either? What’s the relevance of this thing/doing nonsense?

  80. The attacks on this book are unrelenting. The homosexual lobby cannot endure the light of the truth being shone on their lifestyle. It is a fantastic book that refutes the current errors about marriage and sexuality. Buy it before they ban it.

  81. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 30, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    You are making an intellectually ancient, primitive, argument, YOS.

    So was my geometry teacher when she taught us the Pythagorean theorem. Aristotle is indisputably an ancient; but he was by no means primitive.
    ++++++
    And what of the Sickle cell? How does it fit into this “Natural” paradigm?

    Sickle cell trait supposedly confers some protection against malaria, which is a good; however, when you double down, it kills the carrier, which is not so good. Those with sickle cell trait, if they marry each other, will produce on the average 25% offspring with the full-blown sickle cell disease. I suppose dying before your first birthday may prevent you from catching malaria also.

    On the whole, it is a deficiency of the cell: the shape is not the wonted shape of the blood cell. Whether the organism can adopt and use that deficiency does not make it not a deficiency. It’s like walking with a limp. It’s not a species of walking, as would be striding, running, skipping, etc. It a deficiency of walking — even if the limp provided some sort of advantage, such as primo parking spaces.
    ++++++
    gauging the acceptability of an activity by the number of participants relative to the population shouldn’t be the basis.

    Indeed not. Consider Germany in the 1930s and early 40s. Sodomy is not wrong because few people engage in it. It is wrong because it is a deviation from rightly-ordered use of one’s organs.

    Seems if you do that then many activities, e.g. being a concert pianist, would be NOT okay.

    Is there a willful effort to misconstrue the point? What about playing the piano can be construed as defectus boni? What good is deficient or lacking? [Granted, one can play the piano badly, which would be defectus boni, but you did specify “concert pianist.” Now, even a concert pianist may have a really bad day, but that would be evil per accidens, not evil per se.
    +++++

    Old folks, hysterectomies, etc.

    Do not confuse the intentions of the couple with the natural terms of the physical thing. Marriage is not for the purpose of reproduction. Abduction and rape can accomplish that. Marriage is an institution that is supposed to provide a commitment to and a stable environment for the raising of any children that may result from coitus. That does not mean that every exercise of the act will meet with success. It only means that the couple (specifically, the man) will accept responsibility for any consequences.

    if we postulate that the purpose of humans is to procreate.

    Who, other than Darwinists, has ever postulated that? But one does notice an upswing among progressive secularists for euthanasia and other means of culling the unfit.
    ++++++++++
    The real explanation of the contradiction is, as I see it, that “the Bible or the doctrine of my religion, as I understand them, indicate that the latter is a sin and is silent on the former.”

    Aristotle did not have a Bible. But the essential difference is that smoking may in the long term harm oneself while sodomy in the long term will harm another person.
    ++++++++
    buckling of seat belts…, motorcycle helmet laws, etc. These have certain things in common with the bug chaser concepts.

    Really? The driver wants the passenger to leave his seat belt off because he intends to give him bodily trauma?
    +++++++
    For that couple, reproduction is “flat out impossible.”

    Try this:
    http://thomism.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/sexula-union-and-democritus-pt-ii/
    http://thomism.wordpress.com/2008/05/17/rough-notes-on-the-foundation-of-marriage/
    But also:
    http://thomism.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/notes-on-marriage/
    ++++++++
    What’s the relevance of this thing/doing nonsense?

    See the Pruss article previously linked.
    ++++++++

  82. DAV: If you don’t know what’s okay, how can you say what is not okay? I can’t see how you can label anything okay or not okay without a definition of okay.

    If someone is or wants to believe there are giant silver spiders living in their house and they sleep in their back yard as a result, why should I care? Why should I care if someone is paranoid and thinks people are out to get them? Why should I care about any defined mental illness as long as the person is happy, even eating from dumpsters and living in a cardboard box. Which is exactly the attitude of the mental health system today. It’s just hard for me to say that living in a cardboard box and eating garbage is a cool lifestyle and people should be allowed to live it.
    I’ll try to be less caring and just ignore what people do that I might erroneously think is harmful.

    Rob: Okay, my examples weren’t all that great. I clearly stated I cannot go along with the Catholic interpretation of sex for reproduction. There are arguments outside of religion that say homosexuality is not okay, but by and large, people are only accepting of “It’s my religion”, so I’ll leave it there. My religion does say it’s wrong.

    The motorcyclist should be treated as far as they can pay and no more if they don’t wear a helmet. Same for seat belts, etc. You can kill or damage yourself all you want but you should pay for the privilege. (Also agree with YOS that people don’t generally deliberately leave off their seatbelts and then do Dead Man’s Curve at 100 mph to see if they survive or not.)

  83. YOS: It was your statement that ”It is the very fact that in sodomy not only is reproduction not intended, but is flat out impossible that lies at the heart of matters.” It applies equally to old folks and women who’ve undergone hysterectomies, men who are infertile for whatever reason, etc.

    I added marriage just so the the sex act doesn’t run afoul of other moral issues that may muddy the waters so that only the sex act with the flat out impossibility of reproduction itself is at issue, not issues of commitment, monogamy, etc. My question is equally relevant without that, I only sought to isolate the single issue at hand.

    “It is wrong because it is a deviation from rightly-ordered use of one’s organs.

    So may I then assume that you contend that the rightly-ordered use of one’s sex organs is to reproduce and also to experience pleasure regardless of the possibility of reproduction?

    I would be willing to bet that many who engage in sodomy enjoy being penetrated despite whatever increased likelihood of harm they might risk. They might enjoy it sensually, they might enjoy the act of giving pleasure to a partner, or both. So, for such as they, it is they who take the risk of harm to themselves. Is it ok then?

    I’m sorry, your arguments are increasingly self-contradictory.

  84. As someone who accepts the natural law and loves Briggs (and YOS — great to see you here!), I do think we owe it to your commenters, even the foolish ones to present the very best arguments. To that end I’d like to revisit Dave’s question above, because this is a question that has indeed bothered me — the question of the kiss (which is related to broader questions of appropriate sexual conduct).

    I think Dave has a valid point when he says the following:

    “1. The mouth has a biological purpose, unrelated to gestures of affection.”

    So what do we say when we see and praise married couples kissing to display affection or as part and parcel of their act of coitus? Now, as I said, I’m someone who accepts natural law teaching so I obviously reject non-vaginal intercourse (and intercourse using contraception). Which leads to other interesting questions about what is licit before or during such intercourse? This is a family blog so these questions might be difficult to answer, but it seems like there are certain possibilities before the act of coitus that might be open to a married couple that suggest some of our body parts (lips, hands, etc.) might have more than one proper function.

    Thoughts?

  85. Sylvain Allard

    July 30, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Yes the fact that the gay activist put pressure was the reason Eich lost his job. The point is that activist had no power over the company; they simply used their own freedom of speech. If he had work for other company like the Koch brother he would still have his job and would have received a raise.

    Your freedom starts where mine ends. That you go to a church that believes that being gay is a sin is one thing. The gays can always go to another church that believes it is not. The government is secular and does not favor one religion or the other.

    When the government legislate that a marriage is between a men and a women, it infringes on the first amendment. It favors one religious belief over another. Meanwhile, when the state defines marriage has a union between two consenting adult, it does in no way infringe on the first amendment. No one is force to enter a marriage he doesn’t wish to enter. It does not force a church to perform same sex marriage if it doesn’t want to. Prop 8 and Doma were example of government legislating religious belief.

    The practice of a religion is personal, it ends at the same point your personal freedom ends. You want the ability to affect other people life but you refuse that others affect your life.

    In my previous post I made a distinction between adult having sex with children and children between themselves. The first one requires consent, the second none. The first one can land the adult to jail. For children consent comes from their parents who are believed to take decision for the best interest of the child. So yes the children cannot give consent and if they parent fail protecting their child they can have consequences.

    The video was just to show religious people going out of their way to bully other people beliefs.

    “You are fully and totally arguing no one has a right to practice any religion in America.”

    You have to make the difference between calling something a sin, and calling someone a sinner. Calling and pointing your finger at Joe Smith is bullying; saying that a natural catastrophe like a hurricane or earthquake happened because of the gay is bullying and can have grave consequences. In such cases it is naming bait, just like the Jews were often use as bait in Europe when they were blame for everything. Baiting a minority can lead the majority to respond very violently.

  86. gauging the acceptability of an activity by the number of participants relative to the population shouldn’t be the basis. Seems if you do that then many activities, e.g. being a concert pianist, would be NOT okay.

    Is there a willful effort to misconstrue the point? What about playing the piano can be construed as defectus boni?

    Seems the willful effort to misconstrue is on your part.

    Sheri,

    If you don’t know what’s okay, how can you say what is not okay? I can’t see how you can label anything okay or not okay without a definition of okay.

    It’s one of those I’ll-know-it-when-I-see it things. If you don’t have any of those yourself, I don’t know how to explain it to you.

  87. Sylvain: The government does not encroach on the idea of marriage. It simply stole it from the churches and took over with legally binding contracts. However, gays were not content to have marriage reduced to legal contracts, they demanded that marriage “prove” their morality. They demanded their idea of marriage be included in the world and refused to accept turning all marriages into contracts and sending religious marriages back tot he churches. Which would completely negate your “secular government” statement. They are NOT secular or marriage would have been renamed to “secular couple pairing” or some such words. Using the term marriage is religious. It just is. Your argument fails.

    No, Sylvain, my freedom cannot start where yours ends. Unless we all live on islands and don’t interact. It’s just physically impossible. Plus, who is to say that my freedom to define marriage as between a man and a woman should be subverted to your same-sex marriage. You just ripped off my freedom for you own little greedy purposes. Very naughty.

    Excuse me, you have not explained how sex between two children is consensual and not between an adult and child is not. Either children can give consent or they cannot. Its either/or, black and white. Now, answer the question–can children consent to sex? If not, all children having sex with each other constitutes rape.

    Again, FAILURE to read what I wrote. Go back and read what I wrote and then try again. Baiting a minority may lead to violent responses. But ignoring the fact that the minority is wrong and trying to destroy one’s society cannot be overlooked. If violence is what it takes to stop a wrong, then violence it is. Why is it you don’t think the minority is wrong for responding with violence? You probably believe Isreal is a big meanie for firing rockets back at Gaza. Why those nasty Isreali’s should just shut up and take it—stop bullying those nasty terrorists, right???

  88. DAV: Probably should give up on the explanation because I don’t use the “I’ll know it when I see it” line.

  89. Probably should give up on the explanation because I don’t use the “I’ll know it when I see it” line.

    Must be nice to live in such a structured world. I’ll bet you have things that could be accurately described with it and don’t realize it.

    My general outlook on human activity is: unless it can be shown to be bad then it’s OK. And shown to be bad doesn’t include stuff akin to “I don’t like it” and “God told me it is” and “It’s bad for THEM”. The last one is nobody’s business at all. Meddling do-gooders are definitely NOT-OK.

    Just like in the Grateful Dead song with the line,

    Livin’ on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine,
    All a friend can say is “Ain’t it a shame?”

    action should be confined to that. People need to learn to keep their hands to themselves.

  90. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 30, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    the rightly-ordered use of one’s sex organs is to reproduce and also to experience pleasure regardless of the possibility of reproduction?

    The experience of pleasure may be a motive for an individual to shag girls, but it is not the natural term of the reproductive act. Motives are not purposes. The Darwinian phrase is that organisms naturally “strive to the utmost” to reproduce. (And from a materialist pov, that’s it.) A pleasure reaction is simply an enticement, and is purely subjective. The act is not objectively ordered to pleasure the participants — ask the male praying mantis. Notice that “to experience pleasure regardless” leads one to disregard the Other and reduces her (him) to a sexual object. This violates human dignity; but I understand Singer and others are busily deconstructing the concept of human dignity, so we’ll just wait and see what happens next.

    I would be willing to bet that many who engage in sodomy enjoy being penetrated despite whatever increased likelihood of harm they might risk.

    Perhaps. Some people enjoy being whipped or humiliated, too. They are called “bottoms,” “catchers,” or “submissives.” Also “masochists.” There are many convoluted rationalizations why this might be considered “pleasurable.” Tell it to the prostate. As we now know, vulcanized neural pleasure patterns interfere with the formation of neural patterns originating in the cortex: that is, rational thought. Since the natural end of man is to be a rational animal, anything that constrains or impairs our progress toward this end is to be avoided.
    ++++
    “The mouth has a biological purpose, unrelated to gestures of affection.”

    We notice a focus here on eating and copulating…..

    Are we talking about the “mouth” or about the “lips” and “tongue”? We certainly want to be careful about what we chew or swallow. But the lips are part of the Biggest Organ, viz., the Skin, whose function is to apprehend bodily qualities like pressure, temperature, etc., and whose proper object is the tangible. Tangibility implies contact of one body with another. Of all regions of the Skin, the lips are among the most sensitive, so if they are used to touch the lips of the Other, it’s no big deal. It is certainly not a deviation from its natural term, since it is being used to apprehend the bodily qualities of a tangible other.
    As for the Tongue, it is possibly even more sensitive as an organ of touch. In fact, the “gustatory sense” is really a specialized form of touch. (Food is a tangible.) The proper object of taste is flavor. It is certainly not without reason that we may want to taste the Other, though not, admittedly, as a prelude to consuming him or her (unless in a metaphorical sense). Although… There is a deep connection between knowing in a nutritive sense and knowing in a sensitive or intellective sense; or indeed between eating and reproduction, which brings us full circle.

    In the vegetative soul, which Aristotle also called the reproductive soul and the nutritive soul, we find the powers of:
    Nutrition→Growth/Development→Reproduction
    harmonized by the power of Homeostasis via the autonomic nervous system. Nutrition and Reproduction are transient, that is they originate or terminate outside the living body itself. The other two are immanent, entirely within the body. (There’s an interesting analogy to the inanimate powers of gravity/nutrition, EM/sex.) Thus, eating and copulating are the two most basic activities of living bodies, prior even to sensation. That an “epidemic of obesity” occurs in the same age as an “epidemic of single motherhood” is not likely a coincidence. When we strip down the higher powers, like rational thought, we reduce ourselves to a quasi-vegetative state, thus denying or impeding our essential humanity.

    Of course, for a materialist or a Darwinist, these matters are more troublesome, since if the material world/struggle for existence is all she wrote, then what else is there but eating and copulating? There are certainly no “qualia” like love.

  91. Not a structured world, just a very honest one. If I can’t define something, I can’t’. If I can’t say why something is okay, then I don’t say it’s okay. That simple.

    You’re still using “bad” without definition. You reject “I don’t like it” “God said not to do it” and “it’s bad for them”. I agree with the last one definitely. If it’s bad, it’s bad. I can not like something and it still not be bad. One can distinguish. However, with no definition of “shown to be bad”, you’re again just saying you know it when you see it. But if I know it when I see it, then it’s just a case of “I don’t like” cleverly discussed in a new phrase.

    You seem to be a true libertarian—people can feel free to kill themselves through drug use, sex, fast driving, etc so long as most of time they don’t hurt anyone. It does cut down on law enforcement and on mental health care, since all actions are okay (outside of murder and the usual no-nos that definately damage society. though a case could probably be made for survival of the fittest in all of this) and insanity is just a lifestyle choice. It has its practical side.

  92. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 30, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Is there a willful effort to misconstrue the point? What about playing the piano can be construed as defectus boni?

    Seems the willful effort to misconstrue is on your part.

    You made a deliberate reference to concert pianists as being somehow unnatural because they are a minority. That is absurd and has nothing to do with the thought of Aristotle, Aquinas, or any other moral philosopher until the Age of Reason and Democracy. But you did not specify the deficiency in the good that is a requirement for such a statement. I asked. You do not answer.

    That is, you either you are throwing out these absurdities in the sincere belief that they are actual examples of the principle, or you are doing so knowing that they are not at all similar.

  93. You made a deliberate reference to concert pianists as being somehow unnatural because they are a minority. That is absurd …

    Which was my point.

  94. Sylvain Allard

    July 30, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Sheri,

    Marriage exists because of the government. If there is no government there is no need for marriage. It is impossible to have a society without government. Anytime a group of people get together you have the creation of a regulatory institution that will regulate how people are to behave. Marriage gives legal advantage to the couple. For a long period in time the state and religion were one and the same. So it is the state that created marriage, not religion.

    That the word marriage is religious is a belief, not a fact. Words are under constant evolution and their meaning vary from period to period. The simple fact that people use the adjective gay before marriage shows that the word has a different understanding. If not the people would only use the word marriage.

    “No, Sylvain, my freedom cannot start where yours ends. Unless we all live on islands and don’t interact.”

    Freedom is all about how it affects the individual. I often have discussion with people around here (here you would be right to say that religion is under attack), That a woman wear a burka or niqab, a cross doesn’t affect you right to not wear it. It is that person choice to wear it. But if they wear it they must understand that there are conditions when they will have to remove it to be identified by either the police, or at election.

    How does same sex-marriage affect your individual belief that a marriage is between a man and a woman? You are not forced to marry a woman. How does two women getting married affect your right to choose whom you get married to? Your religion says gay marriage is a sin, another religion says it is not. Which religion should be considered first? In the end your church is not forced into marrying gays. But why should your church have the right to dictate other church what they can or cannot do?

    “Now, answer the question–can children consent to sex?”

    They can’t consent to having sex with an adult. Between child consent is not legally required in the same way than with an adult. It is not black and white since relation adult-child and child-child are legally different. A teenager that gets pregnant can go to the hospital without the consent of the adult. There are many gray areas.
    Are you saying that less than 10% of gay people are trying to destroy society!!!! That’s knew. When have they used violence? When have you seen gay people menacing to shoot people?

    On the hand, Israel has the right to defend itself. On the other hand, they also need to be careful in their action. The fact that they were killed by the millions in WW2 doesn’t give them the right, or justify the killing of Palestinian today. They should have a more reasoned reaction. They should stop and dismantle the colonies and give the chance to the creation of a Palestinian state.

    Meanwhile Palestinian should recognize Israel right to exist and stop firing rocket.

  95. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 30, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    You made a deliberate reference to concert pianists as being somehow unnatural because they are a minority. That is absurd …
    Which was my point.

    But how could it relate to the principles previously laid out, since they were not predicated on majority/minority distinctions? You seemed to be objecting to something that was not asserted.

  96. Sylvain: NO–Answer my question. Can children give consent to sex. It is not “can they consent to sex with an adult”. Either they can consent or not. No more discussion until you answer that question. It is not about legality. If you are arguing that legal is the definition, then we can make pedophilia history by allowing children legally to consent to sex with an adult. Problem solved. So, can children consent or not?

    Actually, there’s little point in trying to discuss anything rational with someone who seriously see any reason for a country being pummeled by rockets to “show restraint”. Texting and telling people to leave the building before bombing wasn’t enough?

  97. But how could it relate to the principles previously laid out, since they were not predicated on majority/minority distinctions? You seemed to be objecting to something that was not asserted.

    I guess it would be asking too much to question if you now see the problem with taking a few sentences out of context and running on about them. I’m not going to go back and pointlessly repeat it all. If you can’t find it then give it a rest.

  98. Briggs

    July 30, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Fake Herzog,

    YOS has handled it well. But from pp. 40-41:

    “The natural law that Leiser pretends to debunk is a straw man. The natural law argument has never been (nor is it any way suggested by Pius XI’s statement) that there is one and only one purpose or function of an organ, but that within the other ends an organ may be intended to serve by Nature, there is a hierarchy that subordinates to seeing. In fact, one can hardly flirt with one’s eyes while not seeing. Strange indeed would be the woman who flirted with her eyes so as to impair her sight. Moreover, this hierarchy is arranged according to the one final end that is expressive of the whole Nature of man: the Good of which Socrates spoke or the God of revealed religion.

    But the real crux of the natural law position is that however many ends an organ (or any other natural object) has, those ends originate in Nature and not in man’s desires…

    But at the same time, when we say that an act is objectively good or evil in itself, we mean that intention cannot change the goodness of evil of the act, which is intrinsic to it. A good intention—love—cannot change an evil act into a good one. It will harm the Nature of the person acting and the person acted upon, regardless of intent. Intention may affect the guilt or innocence if the actor, however, if, for example, the person is not fully aware of the evil of the act or does not person it will full consent.”

  99. Brandon Gates

    July 30, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Briggs, answers to your questions:

    Should physicians be barred from communicating these risks?

    Absolutely not.

    Should ordinary individuals?

    No.

    Would it be right to call any who communicated these facts a “bigot”?

    No, with the caveat just below ….

    (Facts themselves cannot be bigoted, but their presentation could be.)

    Ah yes, subjectivity rears its ugly head as always.

    Is stating, “Sodomy is an enormous health risk” “homophobic”?

    Potentially, but not necessarily. What’s the definition of “enormous”? HIV transmission among MSMs is the leading risk that springs to mind immediately. IIRC, at least an order of magnitude higher than any other demographic.

    “Sodomy” is also not limited to MSMs. The per contact risk is the same regardless whether who is receiving is male or female. If you want to make buggery solely a gay male issue, it smacks of homophobia. If you spread the word that all anal sex is high-risk and comprehensively cover the gender combinations of participants, then you’re on much more neutral territory.

    How about stating, “Sodomy is disgusting”?

    No.

    Should prepubescent children be taught that sodomy is “natural” and “normal”?

    Yes.

    In the first sense of these words—that it exists—it surely is, but in the second—that it is good or oriented toward health–it surely is not. Or should we let kids come to adulthood before exposing them to their “choices”?

    You presume from the assumption that sexual attraction is a choice. When did you decide to be attracted to women? (Ask a loaded question, get a loaded question. Seems fair to me.)

    Should sodomy be encouraged as an “alternate lifestyle”, even though we know of its harms?

    My view is that public schools should not be engaged in promoting any “lifestyle”. Ideally, public schools teach the existence of various “lifestyles” and that it is A-OK that there are a variety of them. In other words, tolerance and acceptance; harmonious living among people with a diverse set of beliefs, opinions, family structures and private bedroom practices. IOW, leaving others to decide for themselves how best to persue life, liberty and happiness.

    All sexual activity is risky, physically, emotionally, reproductively. Sex education does best to teach the risks of the range of all known human sexual behavior. “Normalcy” need not be “debated” here — the simple, irrefutable fact is that non-heterosexual copulations are an observed reality. If an adolescent or young adult finds that they are more inclined to have sexual contact with someone of their own sex, it behooves society via education to inform them of the specific risks of that activity.

    We can, and many have, gone around and around about sexual orientation being a choice. The argument is a moot non-starter even if it were true: this is supposed to be a nation of choice.

    Education is the best way to reduce risk whether sexual orientation is a “lifestyle choice” or not.

    Lastly, dear reader: bug hunting. Good or bad? (It will be interesting to see who avoids this question.)

    Bug hunting an abhorrent disgusting practice, about the most unethical self- and other-destructive behavior I can think of. I don’t know how bug hunting might be proved in a court of law, but if it were reasonable to do so, I would not shy from strict penalties for those convicted of engaging in such practices. Multi-year incarceration if necessary to deter and mitigate.

  100. So ironic……

    Sodomy is sex when it is a man and a woman in the oval office.

    Sodomy isn’t sex when it is two men.

  101. @Bob curland. It’s a yodel school.
    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodeldiplom
    If you have a qualification in english literature or media studies or perhaps nowadays in climate science, a german friend (or enemy) may say to you, you have a “Jodeldiplom”. As the wiki entry explains…it’s a piss take of those universitys and “Volkshochschulen” who offer courses that are useless in terms of gaining useful employment after graduation.
    “Auf eine falsche Antwort („Dö dudl dö“) von Frau Hoppenstedt (Evelyn Hamann) antwortet der Lehrer, dieses sei „zweites Futur bei Sonnenaufgang”…sums it up.
    There’s also the bit about the housewife who explains she is doing this because she believes it is important for her to pursue her own interests now the kids have left school and to be able to stand on her own two feet. When she leaves with the journalist however the husband turns up and repeats exactly what she has just told the journalist,indicating that what she has just told the journalist is a parrotting of what her husband has repeatedly told her. Finally he interrupts her rudely and reminds her that she shouldn’t interrupt him. Essentially his actions contradict everything he has just said about ..it is important for woman to be independent etc…So I guess it’s also taking the piss out of that generation of german middle class dudes who think allowing their wives to get out of the kitchen once a week and attend a pointless jodelschule course is meaningful. Now to answer the question…What does this have to do with Briggs article? I have no f******* idea!

  102. Sylvain Allard

    July 30, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    “Actually, there’s little point in trying to discuss anything rational with someone who seriously see any reason for a country being pummeled by rockets to “show restraint”. Texting and telling people to leave the building before bombing wasn’t enough?”

    1-They don’t always advertise between bombing.

    2-I agree there can be no rational discussion with someone that believe that the killing of children is justified.

    I often defended Israel but in this case they are wrong. By killing children needlessly they are undermining their cause and support. Only 3 or 4 israel civilian have been killed by the rockets pummeling while hundreds of children and innocent civilian were killed.

  103. Briggs and YOS,

    Thanks so much for the answers — I think they are both helpful and I especially appreciate the distinction between the mouth and the lips. Meanwhile, the amount of question begging and strange assumptions your commenters have thrown at you (e.g. “this is supposed to be a nation of choice.” — huh?! I don’t even know where to begin to unpack this craziness) is truly impressive. You can always count on the gays (and lately the transsexuals) to bring out the crazies 🙂

    Keep up the great work — both of you!

  104. Thanks much, Kevin King,
    I had sort of the drift of what was going on, but figured I may have lost quite a bit in trying to translate…evidently not…and my original question is still unanswered, but that’s ok… I’ll treat this thread as an Ionescu (sp?) play.

  105. Sylvain: The Palestinians are keeping the children in the buildings. Holding kids in a building to make it look like your enemy is killing them is so incredibly evil. Israeli children don’t die because their government builds bomb shelters and rocket interceptors instead of using the children as shields.

    I am finished interacting with you. It’s pointless and I have much better things to do.

  106. So, Sheri, explain the UN School and the shopping center during a supposed “humanitarian ceasefire.” Israel is “investigating.” And, if you and your family had to live as the Palestinians do under the blockade, you might react violently too. Not to dismiss Hamas’ and the Palestinians’ culpability but Israel is not pure as the driven snow.

  107. Brandon Gates

    July 30, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Herzog:

    Thanks so much for the answers — I think they are both helpful and I especially appreciate the distinction between the mouth and the lips.

    This is what happens when basic biology isn’t taught in school, much less sex eduction.

    Meanwhile, the amount of question begging and strange assumptions your commenters have thrown at you (e.g. “this is supposed to be a nation of choice.” — huh?! I don’t even know where to begin to unpack this craziness) is truly impressive.

    Most ruthlessly abused irony meters fragment into a shower of sparks. Occasionally they go all China Syndrome on me and melt through the desktop. That one vaporized completely. Not a trace. Not even acrid smoke. Just POOF and it was gone.

    But I’m curious. If not a nation of choice, what’s your vision? Don’t be shy now, show the world something other than handwaving if you dare.

    You can always count on the gays (and lately the transsexuals) to bring out the crazies

    On that we agree.

  108. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 30, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    This is what happens when basic biology isn’t taught in school…

    True dat. One gets all kinds of craziness, like assertions that the reproductive system is not for reproduction or that natural selection is somehow concerned with the pursuit of pleasure. What’s next: that a new life does not begin at conception?

    If not a nation of choice, what’s your vision?

    A republic, if you can keep it.

  109. YOS: Your circumlocution hides the fact that your arguments are empty, or at least attempts to do so. The reproductive system, as you’ve characterized it, is strictly for reproduction when talking of gays and of sodomy, but not necessarily when discussing those instances where those who otherwise fit into your preferred paradigm for sexual activity (monogamous heterosexuals) cannot use the system for that purpose. All the silliness around lips and tongues and touch and tangibility and Aristotle and Socrates doesn’t disguise the fact that your objection to sodomy and MSM and WSW has nothing to do with the consequences of logical reasoning from natural law, but rather is to do with your objecting to these activities because of the mores of your belief system. That’s fine, just state it and move on. “I believe it’s wrong” is perfectly acceptable, don’t try to dress it up in a logical argument.

  110. I am perhaps the 108th post and I admit I have not read all of the previous 107, but unless his was intended as “click bait”‘ this post has been a complete failure of rational thought. To paraphrase ,”Sodomy is unhealthful” ? I’ve got money to wager on the scientific validity of such a broad statement.

    P.S. Name callers, don’t waste your or my time- neither am I gay or a gay advocate, or anti- religion ( other than environmental/man made global warming)

  111. YOS,

    I’d be happy to discuss biology with you, but I’m not going to discuss biology disingenuously conflated with theology. If your views on this are related to your religous beliefs, simply say so. And then we can each go our separate ways and live our respective lives in liberty (which entails personal choice) as currently guaranteed by our constitutional republic.

    It’s really not terribly difficult to understand.

  112. GP: How much money and what are the rules? Dueling statistics? Logical deductions, statistics only from a specific source? How long do play dueling statistics before we give up and declare the idea a lost cause?

  113. GP,

    To paraphrase ,”Sodomy is unhealthful” ? I’ve got money to wager on the scientific validity of such a broad statement.

    Best to not make that wager. It is undeniably a riskier form of sex, particularly when condoms are not used. Especially when such an unsafe practice involves frequently changing multiple partners. There’s no getting around such observations. They are as bombproof as anything can be in epidemiology.

    Properly protected anal sex, discretion in number and types of partners, the risks drop dramatically. The majority of the risky behavior, just as in vaginal heterosexual coitus, is in irresponsible, unprotected promiscuity.

    Such nuance is indeed lost on the ideologcially motivated who would have the rest of the rational world believe that keeping young people in the dark about sexuality and blocking their access to effective contraception is a net health benefit.

    Of course, it would be a terrible idea to allow gay men to form legally recognized monogamous unions. No, that will never do. What awful public health idea. I must be insane.

  114. Sylvain Allard

    July 30, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Sheri,

    You don’t shoot artillery, which is very imprecise and lethal, where children might be held a human shield. Of course, with people like you the number of civilian killed doesn’t matter. Time is money and people are not worth it.

    You know that it is Christian, and not Jews that are the prime supporter of Israel. After all the only good muslim is a dead muslim no matter how old he is.

  115. Sheri,

    How long do play dueling statistics before we give up and declare the idea a lost cause?

    Probably about the point where you recognize, as you’ve already cited, that we’re talking about ~10% of the population. And then ask yourself, realistically, what your choices are in trying to control the sexual practices of that many people. Is the cost of control higher than the cost of being permissive?

  116. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 30, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    All the silliness around lips and tongues and touch and tangibility

    That was directly addressing the silliness where someone thought that kissing qualified as “unnatural” simply because they did not understand the terminology involved.

    All the silliness … doesn’t disguise the fact that your objection to sodomy and MSM and WSW has nothing to do with the consequences of logical reasoning from natural law, but rather is to do with your objecting to these activities because of the mores of your belief system.

    One of the consequences of vulcanizing neural patterns that originate in the more primitive parts of the brain is that they interfere with the formation of neural patterns originating in the cortex. (https://www.pni.princeton.edu/ncc/PDFs/Neural%20Economics/Cohen%20%28JEP%2005%29.pdf) That is, obsession with the pleasure center lessens the ability to reason logically. Thus, an entire train of thought can be dismissed on the basis that one has the Hegelian ability to immediately know what another’s really-truly motives are.

    don’t try to dress it up in a logical argument.

    Indeed. In a way, this has become the battle cry of the Late Modern Age. Down with logic!

    Professors in countless classrooms in many different disciplines report that students have already been well taught that, when they are faced with any moral proposition, the proper response is, “That’s just your opinion.” They are resistant, then, to resolving disagreements by reasoned arguments. They aver, “You choose your good, and I’ll choose mine.” Reasoned debate is replaced by naked will. I choose. Don’t ask me to give reasons—I just choose.
    – Michael Novak

    That’s what we get with the “triumph of the will”: the defeat of the intellect. Jacques Barzun noted already in the 1950s that the phrase “I think that…” was being replaced in common discourse by the phrase “I feel that…”

    The reproductive system, as you’ve characterized it, is strictly for reproduction … but not necessarily when discussing those instances [which] cannot use the system for that purpose.

    No. Biologically, the reproductive system is ordered toward reproduction regardless whether or not it is in working order. A car up on blocks in your front yard is still a car and is still ordered toward personal transportation. If I had a pair of darning needles, I would be unable to use them; but they would remain purposed toward darning. What matters is whether one takes steps to actively interfere with this ordering.

    your preferred paradigm for sexual activity (monogamous heterosexuals

    It’s actually more a Darwinian “paradigm.” (cf. “reproduction, to the utmost”) But it is not restricted to monogamous heterosexuals. Sultans with harems do not act against the nature of the reproductive system. Neither do casual philanderers or rapists. Polygamy, licentiousness, and rape may be disordered, but for entirely different reasons. Likewise, nothing prevents a homosexual from coupling with a woman other than misogyny. For example, some years back a friend of mine had been carrying on a long-term affair with a doctor he had met at the Y, and became extremely distraught when the guy decided to go back to his wife–with whom he had had two kids. The natural end of a thing is unrelated to anyone’s personal inclination or preference in the use of it. Otherwise, product labels would not contain warnings about misuse.
    ++++++++++++
    P.S. Name callers, don’t waste your or my time
    Interesting. Anyone know who has been calling whom name?
    ++++++++++++
    If your views on this are related to your religous beliefs, simply say so.
    Aristotle? What was his religion? It might make more sense to say that some religious beliefs are related to nature.
    ++++++++++++
    it would be a terrible idea to allow gay men to form legally recognized monogamous unions.
    According to Andrew Sullivan, the more “open” relationships among gay men will work to the benefit of heterosexuals by encouraging more open marriages, multiple partners, etc.
    Any two people can form a contractual union. You would think that a smart lawyer would have come up with some standard contracts by now.
    ++++++++++++
    we’re talking about ~10% of the population.
    The Kinsey Report (source of the 10% figure) was not based on a probability sample, which means you cannot legitimately extrapolate from it to the general population. http://tigger.uic.edu/cuppa/pubinfo/ASA_StatProblemsoftheKinseyReport_1954complete_publicdomain.pdf
    The actual percentage seems to be closer to 1-2% for men, and probably a like percentage for women.
    ++++++++++++

  117. YOS:

    According to Andrew Sullivan, the more “open” relationships among gay men will work to the benefit of heterosexuals by encouraging more open marriages, multiple partners, etc.

    One columnist’s opinion, which I don’t share. Nor do I understand the relevance.

    Any two people can form a contractual union. You would think that a smart lawyer would have come up with some standard contracts by now.

    It’s called marriage. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?

    Since you’ve failed to directly answer the question I posed: please explain how promoting legally advantageous, stable, mongamous relationships over unstable, hazardous, promiscuous ones makes for poor public health policy?

    The actual percentage seems to be closer to 1-2% for men, and probably a like percentage for women.

    5% is the number I normally cite, but I used Sheri’s 10% citation since she didn’t want to duel statistics. The additional 5% didn’t seem like something worth quibbling about in this context.

  118. @sylvain, rob and other apologists for Hamas and Islamist terrorists:
    Were you commenting when the terrorist killed three Israeli teenagers, or on earlier occasions when terrorists sneaked into a kibbutz and murdered a mother and 7 children?
    The death of one is as important as the death of a hundred, and motive is critical in determining moral culpability. Indeed some of the deaths in Gaza (refugee camp/hospital) have been caused by Hamas rockets gone astray, and this has been proven by satellite pictures.
    Hamas uses a policy of human shields and deliberately offers its own people to win the propaganda war. Hundreds of children have died, digging the tunnels which the Israelis are trying to destroy.
    Again, the question of motive is important here as a moral consideration. The Israelis are trying to avoid civilian casualties. Hamas is trying to increase them, not only for the Israelis but for their own people.
    Let’s transpose the situation and suppose Mexico had rockets and was shelling the Southwest to regain the territory usurped by the Anglos and there were 10’s of millions in bomb shelters in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Would you argue then against trying to remove those Mexican rockets?
    I’ll be persuaded of the moral cogency of your arguments when you protest (which I don’t think will happen) of the deaths of millions of Israelis (Jews and Arabs) when the Islamist terrorists have their way.

  119. and further, Sylvain and Rob, what relevance do your comments have about the Brigg’s post, other than to demonstrate that when one is morally confused about one issue one is likely to be confused about others?

  120. Brandon Gates

    July 31, 2014 at 1:32 am

    Bob, reply to you, but it’s really directed at all on this subthread:

    It’s a bold presumption to presume that in any such long-running large scale conflict such as this that any of us have enough objective information to make any good moral evaluation of the players. Further, the Palestinians and Israelis are not monolithic societies. There are good and bad actors in each, and each actor will have good and bad days. The conflict itself is morally reprehensible, as is all war in my mind. Which is not to say that were I in a fight for my very existence that I wouldn’t lie cheat and steal to win.

    Why the events in Israel/Palestine are topical in this blog post is also quite beyond me. A failed attempt to argue from analogy I suspect. Politicians have apparently taught us some mind-hobbling habits, much to our own detriment.

  121. Brandon: I’m not trying to control the actions. I want the right to voice my opinion without being fired, forced out of business, etc. Homosexuals existed before the current militant bunch and bothered no one. They were free to do whatever they wanted in the privacy of their bedrooms. But they were the ones that insisted on throwing open the bedroom door, filming the act and demanding we all watch. So who is controlling who? (The cost of jailing people for robbery is far higher than just letting them steal. Are you arguing we go with cost efficient?)

    JMJ: No irony whatsoever.

    Bob: I started the question on Hamas, basically to demonstrate with Sylvain that indeed when one thinks along a particular line, the thought patterns run out like spider webs to most of the moral decisions by the speaker. My bad for failing to realize it would turn into a subthread and the point be totally missed (yes, after all my attempts at communicating with Sylvain, I should know.) I’ll try to remember that in the future and choose more relevant analogies.

  122. We know that HIV and STDs can be transmitted by having unprotected sexual contact (anal, oral, or vaginal) from an infected person. So, if I understand correctly, sodomy (anal sex) is unhealthy because unprotected sodomy poses a high risk of contracting HIV. By the same reasoning, unprotected vaginal sex is also unhealthy. Or is there a cutoff risk rate that makes vaginal sex but not sodomy healthy?

    If sodomy or vaginal sex is wrong because of its potential physical health cost (monetary or not) of reckless behaviors, so is driving.

    In fact, to push a bit further, living is itself is wrong.

    When there are effective treatments and prevention strategies for HIV, would gays and sodomy become OK to you? I doubt it.

    HIV and sodomy are not gay exclusive. Why single out gas? I’d like to think that we all care about gays’ dignity and well-being… *sigh*.

  123. Correction: Why single out gays?

  124. JH: Why not?

  125. Fascinating—who know it took a detailed look at a baby’s genitalia to figure out what sex the child was?

    Maybe we just need to go with my biology professor’s “joke” on baby’s sex:
    How do you tell the sex of a baby?
    You check the color of the booties.

    It sounded very cras at the time but 35 years later, maybe not so much.

  126. Sheri, whatdoyathink? What are the possible answers based on what you have learned in a social psychology class?

  127. I don’t know what you mean, JH.

  128. Sylvain Allard

    July 31, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Bob Kurkland
    1- Blame Sheri for raising the subject of Israel.
    2- It is funny that saying that Israel be careful to what they shoot makes you automatically a Hamas apologist. The USA fought two without causing so much civilian casualties in such a short time.
    3- The killing of 3 Israeli living in occupied territory does not justify the killing of 1000 civilians on the other side, with about 1/3 of them children.
    4- By causing such humanitarian crisis Israel is losing support and are only insuring that in time they will be wiped out. They will not always be able to keep their advantage with the declining influence of the US worldwide. By the way, outside the USA Obama is respected while the republican are perceived as gun loving moron. Republican ate the butt of the jock worldwide.

  129. Sheri,

    I’m not trying to control the actions. I want the right to voice my opinion without being fired, forced out of business, etc.

    I’m with you 110%. Yes, ten percent more than one hundred. The Brendan Eich debacle was a failure of everything that I myself personally stand for, and damaging to the very cause his detractors advocate. In that particular instance, I advocate their cause, not their methods. Does that make sense?

    Homosexuals existed before the current militant bunch and bothered no one. They were free to do whatever they wanted in the privacy of their bedrooms.

    Very much not true:

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

    See also: marriage is much much more than about what goes on in the bedroom.

    But they were the ones that insisted on throwing open the bedroom door, filming the act and demanding we all watch.

    Are you speaking figuratively or literally?

    So who is controlling who?

    Historically, it’s pretty clear to me that on the order of 5% of the population has been legislated against by the other 95%. Over the past ten years I’ve seen that change in a direction I consider for the better.

    The cost of jailing people for robbery is far higher than just letting them steal.

    Are you saying that homosexuals should be considered criminals?

    Are you arguing we go with cost efficient?

    Yes. I don’t like inefficiency. Neither do I like inefficacy. As in; I don’t like either of them one whit.

  130. Brandon: Yes, your comment about Eich makes complete sense.

    Yes, there were sodomy laws. Again, as long as the behaviour stayed in the bedroom”. I can’t find many convictions for sodomy between two adults (except when the police break in and you have the misfortune to be “caught in the act ).
    The laws were not exclusively homosexual–heterosexuals could be prosecuted. There were a lot of “roommates” out there and “siblings”. I agree there were laws against the practice, but I really can’t find much evidence that police went window to window checking on this. Kind of like seatbelt laws were in my state–you were only ticketed if you were pulled over some other offense.

    Literally in some cases, figuratively in others.

    I’m saying that your argument that that the cost of control is not worth it, if applied to the behaviour called theft, probably means we can’t actually control theft due to expense and we should stop trying. I’m not arguing whether it’s right or wrong, consensual, etc. Going solely by cost, controlling theft is extremely expensive.
    Since you are going cost-effective, theft should not be controlled, or at bare minimum, not by the current system.

  131. Sheri,

    Re: seatbelt laws:

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

    In 18 of the 50 states, the seat belt law is considered a secondary offense, which means that a police officer cannot stop and ticket a driver for the sole offense of not wearing a seatbelt … If a driver commits a primary violation (e.g., for speeding) he may additionally be charged for not wearing a seatbelt. In most states the seat belt law was originally a secondary offense; in many it was later changed to a primary offense: California was the first state to do this, in 1993.

    The salient question is whether seatbelt laws, whether enforced on a primary or secondary basis, a) increase the rate of seatbelt usage and b) thereby reduce occupant injury and fatality rates. If (b) is true, I would argue that seatbelt laws are justifiable on the basis of improved public health.

    I can’t find many convictions for sodomy between two adults (except when the police break in and you have the misfortune to be “caught in the act”).

    Which is what happened to the petitioners in Lawrence v. Texas.

    I really can’t find much evidence that police went window to window checking on this.

    All I’m finding are anecdotes, no stats, which is frustrating. This story happened last year, and is worth a read:

    http://theadvocate.com/news/police/6580728-123/gays-in-baton-rouge-arrested

    The laws were not exclusively homosexual–heterosexuals could be prosecuted.

    In seven states — Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Texas — sodomy statues were/are exclusively homosexual.

    In four states — Alabama, Arizona, North Carolina, Rhode Island — sodomy statutes applied only to unmarried persons, which might otherwise be sensible if everyone were allowed to marry.

    Since you are going cost-effective, theft should not be controlled, or at bare minimum, not by the current system.

    The latter. My first priority is prevention of the theft to begin with. My second priority is making theft victims whole. My third priority is incarcerating convicted thieves.

  132. Brandon: Agreed mostly on seat belts.
    Yes, one example of a law actually being enforced. One supposes you could arrest people for spitting on the sidewalk, too, since there may be laws still on the books for that one. That does not show that the law actually was enforced with any regularity, and as we’ve seen with immigration and Obamacare, failure to enforce laws is pretty much equivalent to “no law”. You can argue from the legal side, but from the practical side, the law is pretty much moot.

    I did not say “all laws on sodomy everywhere were not exclusively homosexual”. I’ll try to remember type out that very long phrase to avoid having you post examples of places where it was. I know it was not everywhere–and as with seat belts and secondary law status, it’s obvious laws vary from state to state. I was pointing out that it was not necessarily “anti-gay”.

    It would be really interesting if you could formulate a way to keep people from stealing, since that’s something that has existed in virtually every culture from day one. The urge to steal appears to be hard-wired into human beings. You don’t teach people to steal, you teach them not to. I would love to see the second priority worked out. I see little evidence that can ever occur, short of complete DNA rewriting of humans, and maybe not then.

  133. Sheri,

    That does not show that the law actually was enforced with any regularity, and as we’ve seen with immigration and Obamacare, failure to enforce laws is pretty much equivalent to “no law”.

    Immigration and sodomy laws are seen as largely unenforceable, whereas Obamacare is seen as unworkable. All are seen as some mix of draconian, intrusive, and/or overly prescriptive. Regardless, such objections beg the question; if a law can’t be enforced or reasonably implemented, why keep them on the books? Or conversely, why bother to remove them?

    You can argue from the legal side, but from the practical side, the law is pretty much moot.

    To get the gist of where I’m coming from, imagine for a moment that a movement to nullify the establishment and free exercise clauses of the 1st Amendment gained serious political traction. Even more implausibly, imagine for a moment that I vigorously supported such a movement.

    Would you believe me for one picosecond if I told you that I had no intention of ultimately passing laws establishing a state religion? Or that I would only support subsequent laws restricting “dangerous” religions?

    Try this hypothetical assurance on for size, “I only care about the radical militant religions like Westboro Baptist Church who are disruptive to mainstream society, or fundamentalist Mormons who unlawfully practice polygamy and pose societal costs and healthcare risks due to their deviant lifestyles. We’re only talking a very small fraction of churchgoers here, not generally going church to church monitoring worship practices.”

    I did not say “all laws on sodomy everywhere were not exclusively homosexual” […] I know it was not everywhere–and as with seat belts and secondary law status, it’s obvious laws vary from state to state. I was pointing out that it was not necessarily “anti-gay”.

    Reading back to your first response to this post, I find:

    Briggs: Should sodomy be encouraged as an “alternate lifestyle”, even though we know of its harms?

    You: Should we be allowed to say this? Not if one wants a sick population that needs their health care paid for and to be allowed to live in a fantasy that life is to be lived without any regard to the future. So, no, it should not be discussed in America today.

    There’s no way I can read that and consider you “pro-gay” either. Of course the question is leading, loaded and closed-ended. (It’s not entirely clear which question you were responding to, so I guessed. I apologize if I am in error.)

    So here’s an open-ended question: how should sodomy and homosexuality be discussed in education and public health contexts, if at all?

    You don’t teach people to steal, you teach them not to.

    One irony of incarceration is that it is a good place to learn how to be a better criminal. And yes I agree: we should teach people to not steal.

    I would love to see the second priority worked out. I see little evidence that can ever occur, short of complete DNA rewriting of humans, and maybe not then.

    Making theft victims whole was #2, so I’m confused. Did you mean #1: preventing theft to begin with?

    Robbery and property theft are in decline, along murder, assault and other violent crimes. So something is working. One (inverse) correlation is with rising rates of incarceration due to mandatory sentencing laws and generally longer sentences being imposed. It’s not at all clear that stiffer sentencing is driving lower crime rates.

    As far as restitution goes, I do have one proposal: for non-violent theft, restoration of actual property plus fines and any damages is a get out of jail card. Violent theft warrants some jail time, but restitution reduces time on some pro-rata basis — say 100% restitution knocks off 75% off the minimum mandatory sentence.

  134. Next set, Brandon:
    My point was the law really was punitive–which considering the route gays took, it probably should have been enforced, just like immigration laws should have been enforced (wait for those “children” to start killing Americans in drive-by gang shootings…..)

    Misread your comment on making the victims whole—ignore comment!

    This sort of looks like the “slippery slope” argument. Outlaw one, outlaw all. But that also works the other way–make gay legal, make polygamy legal, make pedophilia legal, make incest legal.

    I was being sarcastic in the quote. I thought the use of the term “fantasy life” and tone would be enough, but I will use a /sarc tag in the future.

    Sex education should not be taught in schools. As for public health contexts, basically the same. Sex education should not be taught by the government at all.

    You miss my point on teaching people not to steal. Stealing is an innate behaviour. It’s what people do. Arguing that homosexuality is an impulse we are born with and should not have to be pushed down also argues that stealing is a behaviour we are born with and should not be pushed down. If we are going to argue that innate impulses are okay, then we have to go with all of them—including some things most people are not going to like at all, like sex with children and siblings (there was an interview about a show on MTV, I think, where the actress said “Incest is fun” MTV tried to quelch the idea that incest was going to approved of, but also only said the couple “might” be siblings and did know it. No word on whether the couple stops if it turns out they are siblings.)

    I am skeptical that crime is down.. Call me crazy (and you may 🙂 ) but when Obama was elected, the homeless suddenly became non-existent. Within a year or two, crime was down even though employment was down, people were losing their homes, etc. That is 100% against all historical behaviour of humans and it leads me to believe that all “facts” may not be “facts.”

    I do agree that many people are jailed for offenses that should not require jail, but my point was that incarcerating them is expensive. It does not seem cost effective. The same argument could apply to those breaking the sodomy laws–no jail time but some restitution and no more living together with a person of the same sex. Might be difficult to enforce, but that’s never stopped us before. (In all honesty, I don’t think homosexuality should be illegal–it’s sin, yes, and we should be able to say so and to refuse to interact with said sinners, but I don’t see how jailing them would help. It’s like lying—if we jailed all liars…..)

  135. Sheri,

    … children are now being taught Heather has two mommies and they seem to buy into it until someone tells them differently …

    If you have a citation for what you speak of, I’d like to read it.

    A bunch of symptoms with a name becomes a “disease” (my personal favorite is “chronic dry eye disease. The ads say it’s a “disease” and that’s serious)

    Two words: pharmaceutical industry.

    The actual criteria for “mental illness” has always been very shaky and now it’s called “illness”, not mental illness, except when the purpose is better served by adding the word “mental”. Now, depression, bipolar, etc–those are real diseases according to the medical community.

    So in essence, you see the terminology as arbitrary, agenda biased and not firmly enough rooted in a more consistent, objective, empirical evidence. Per above, I see for-profit industry motives as well. I understand where you’re coming from and partially agree, esp. with the highly subjective nature of the DSM’s various diagnoses.

    If homosexuality cannot be considered a disease or mental illness, that removes all other sexual preferences as diseases also.

    If the DSM is wrong about homosexuality not being a pathology, that should be the main focus of the discussion. Removing other sexual pathologies from the DSM would need to be justified by objectively demonstrating that they are NOT pathology.

    If we are going to argue that innate impulses are okay, then we have to go with all of them.

    Congrats, you’ve just outlawed:

    1) Breathing 2) Drinking 3) Eating 4) Eliminating 5) Yawning 6) Coughing 7) Sneezing 8) Blinking your eyes 9) Sleeping 10) Procreative sex 11) Raising offspring 12) Being happy

    🙂

    In all honesty, I don’t think homosexuality should be illegal–it’s sin, yes, and we should be able to say so and to refuse to interact with said sinners, but I don’t see how jailing them would help. It’s like lying—if we jailed all liars…..

    … we’d all be in jail. Here’s the point where I’m supposed to start ranting, but I’m not feeling it. What I mostly feel right now is empathy on your behalf; I really don’t like it that you’re troubled by this issue, and I wish that were not the case.

    Sex education should not be taught in schools. As for public health contexts, basically the same. Sex education should not be taught by the government at all.

    I’m glad I asked the open-ended question because now I understand your position exactly. I think you’re dead wrong of course — knowledge is power, yadda yadda yadda. My more general comment is that everyone wants everyone else out of their business, nobody believes the other side has anyone’s best interests at heart but their own. We’re just one great big unhappy family of busybody control freaks who are “just trying to help … honest!”.

    I am skeptical that crime is down. Call me crazy (and you may 🙂 )

    No more so than I am so far as I can tell. I’d say we’re both genuinely concerned and afraid of what we see going on all around us. Suspicious, frustrated, angry. All that stuff.

    Crime is down by most measures I’ve looked at, but I neglected to tell you that its down from its peak in the 1990s. Still higher than the post-war era. I can’t remember when my perception changed, I want to say 2007ish. I’m also aware that it’s a common perception that crime rates are rising. I blame sensationalistic media for much of that — carnage sells banner ads.

  136. Brandon: Are you implying that autonomic functions and urges are the same? I wasn’t. 🙂

    Don’t have a citation right off the top of my head for the “kids are what you teach them”. I was actually told this by psychologists. I’ll see if I can find any. However, if you look at other countries, their customs are very, very different and yet their kids believe what they were taught is correct. There is no innate sense of right and wrong as far as I can tell. For every example thereof, one can counter with a society or culture where the behaviour is considered right. We learn morality. And sexual preferences fall under that category (procreative sex does not—that’s an instinct that preserves the species. Monogamy and marriage are preferences, just to be clear.)

  137. “A good survey is provided by Dr John Diggs” stop: http://homoresponse.blogspot.com/2011/06/response-to-j-diggs-health-risks-of-gay.html
    I also don’t like how you throw around bug chasing: http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/homosexuality/ho0075.html

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