William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

The Gmarriage Dialogue

gmarriage

Jeremy David! How are you? You have to congratulate me!

David Jeremy, well I’ll be. I haven’t seen you in ages. Congratulations! What am I congratulating you for?

Jeremy I got married!

David That is worthy of celebration. Fantastic news! Who’s the lucky lady?

Jeremy La— No, oh no. Oh, I thought you knew! No, it’s not a lady. It’s my husband. Jim! He’s a designer.

David Ah. You’re right. I didn’t know.

Jeremy Yes! It was…but what’s wrong? Are you okay?

David No, I’m fine. I was worrying about you.

Jeremy Me? Whatever for?

David I can’t congratulate you, Jeremy.

Jeremy Why ever not? You’re not…oh. I remember. But I didn’t think you took religion that seriously. I’m worried about you, David. Surely you wouldn’t want to deny me my happiness?

David I’m not denying you anything. Except my assent. Be happy if you like, but I can’t agree with you.

Jeremy But it’s my right to be married! You have to agree with that.

David I don’t. Nobody has the right to go against human nature. You can rebel against that nature, all right—until the inevitable consequences stop you. But I can’t say what is wrong is right just to make you happy.

Jeremy But it’s the law!

David The law doesn’t say I have to assent to your behavior.

Jeremy It does. You have to! The government says I’m married, and you have to say it, too.

David Well, you’ll know more about the law than I, but if the law says that I have to say black is white, then, as the saying goes, the law is an ass. I refuse.

Jeremy David, we used to be friends. I can’t believe you’re taking this position. People will say you are a bigot.

David Mindless name calling? I can handle it; I don’t wound easily. Listen, Jeremy, I’m not withdrawing my friendship. I’m sorry to hear that you think you have to. Plus I don’t think you understand how deep the mistake you’re making is. Wait…just listen. I’m not talking about your love for another human being. I’m talking about pretending to be what you are not—but more about you’re asking me to pretend, too. It is against human nature for any but a man and a woman to be married.

Jeremy Come on. People used to say that it was against human nature for a black man to marry a white woman.

David So? Is your argument that because some people made a mistake about what human nature was that there is no human nature? Or if there is a human nature, how can you say you’re supposed marriage accords with that nature?

Jeremy That’s not the point. Jim and I are in love. It’s love between two people that makes a marriage.

David Why two people?

Jeremy It’s always been two people, David. You know that.

David It’s always been between a man and a woman, Jeremy. You know that. Besides, love is not what makes a marriage. If it were, then you could fall in love with a one-year old and marry him. Or could plight your troth to your dog, since I have heard you say many times that you love it.

Jeremy Now you’re being ridiculous. A child or a dog can’t give consent to a marriage. Marriage must have consent.

David How do you know?

Jeremy How do I know what?

David How do you know a child cannot give consent? I ask in earnestness.

Jeremy Everybody knows—

David —No, stop right there. No hiding in empty phrases like “Everybody knows.” Tell me how you know that a child cannot give consent.

Jeremy It’s obvious.

David You mean it’s obvious that it’s in the nature of human children that they cannot understand the consequences of their decisions? Or you agree that a child cannot itself produce children, and that the nature of marriage is reproduction? Either way, you agree with me that human nature exists.

Jeremy I suppose so. It does. But that doesn’t mean you’re right.

David Since you agree there is such a thing as human nature, we now have to figure out what that nature is. You have a brother, I remember. Robert, right? Okay, you love your brother, and I presume he loves you, and since he’s older than you, he can certainly give consent and understand that consent. So why should you not, by your definition, be able to marry your brother?

Jeremy Don’t be absurd!

David Is that your answer?

Jeremy Nobody wants to marry his brother, David. This conversation is stupid.

David No, it’s revealing. You don’t want to marry your brother. Fine. But what if two adult, consent-wielding, loving brothers somewhere else wanted to marry? What’s to stop them? After all, there is no incest involved. Two brothers won’t produce any children.

Jeremy I refuse to answer such a stupid question.

David A retreat into petulance is not an answer. What you refuse to say, and what is anyway obvious, is that it is completely contrary to human nature for two brothers to be married. Although by your definition of what a marriage is, it is just as valid as your marriage is. Consider also that a father can marry his adult son under your definition. And that is not the end of bizarre examples.

That you cannot discover a reason why a marriage of two brothers is no marriage at all is because you know the answer leads you down a path you’d rather not take. Any consideration of human nature must inevitably lead to the conclusion that only a man and woman does a marriage make, and that the nature of marriage is oriented towards procreation and the rearing of children.

Before you reply with the obvious, that not all couples produce or rear children, consider that it is in the nature of a car to drive people about. Now some cars are broken, but a malfunctioning car does not obviate the nature of cars, and neither does an infertile or familyless couple obviate the nature of marriage.

Jeremy All this talk of human nature is nonsense. The government says two adults—of whatever gender—can be married. That makes me married.

David The government decides what is right and wrong? And who can be married and who not?

Jeremy It has to.

David So because the government now says that two men may be married, that definition is true?

Jeremy Of course.

David Then that means it was also true that when the government said, as it did before two weeks ago, that only a man and woman made a marriage, that that definition was true, and therefore that two-man marriage was false. Isn’t that right?

Jeremy No, you’re twisting things around.

David I’m not. If government decides what is true, then whatever position the government takes is true. At one time the government held to man-woman marriage, and so man-man marriage must have been false. Now it holds to man-man marriage, and so it is true. What if next year the government says that father-adult-son marriage is the law? Would that make it true? Aren’t you concerned that ceding the authority to define truth to government must lead to madness?

Jeremy Frankly, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m married and you have to accept it.

David No, you’re not. And, no, I don’t.

Jeremy Your what’s wrong with this country, David. And to think we used to be friends! If I had any idea what a closet bigot you were, I never would have had anything to do with you. I’m going to make sure that people like you can’t spread your hateful lies. People like you shouldn’t be able to force your prejudiced opinions on the rest of us.

David If only you could hear yourself. I’ll pray for you, Jeremy.

75 Comments

  1. Excellent post.

    I haven’t previously had much patience with arguments based on religion or natural law; my opposition to extending to homosexual unions the government support traditionally given real marriages is based more on what effects doing so will have on society–and on the lack of logic in the “discrimination” arguments.

    But this post neatly sets forth how groundless the “love” rationale is. My compliments.

  2. The original Mr. X

    July 9, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Come on. People used to say that it was against human nature for a black man to marry a white woman.

    I’m not sure they did, actually, or at least not in the same way. People in the olden days might have said that interracial marriage was immoral, or inadvisable, or undesirable, but I can’t think of anybody who claimed that it was ontologically impossible in the same way that people now say that same-sex marriage is.

  3. There are many traditional marriages that were and are not feted by either side of the family. Mothers and mothers-in-law have always had the right to make their feelings known—and were not compelled by a state authority to “celebrate” such a union. That said, grandchildren have been known to contribute to a thaw in relations.

  4. Briggs, a weak spot in the dialog is “Nobody has the right to go against human nature.” It assumes both know and agree on what this means. David obviously means biology, but Jeremy might object with examples of abnormal (ie, uncommon) behavior. And what does “go against” actually mean? Refute? Ignore? Or maybe redefine? And the word “right” is another can of worms in the modern mind. A quick-witted Jeremy would exploit this sentence so you need to beef it up.

  5. Years ago I read the homosexual manifesto, a 15-20 page document and they were really anti marriage. They claimed it promoted the heterosexual patriarchy and enslaved women. What a change.

  6. Well said, Briggs.

    “People used to say that it was against human nature for a black man to marry a white woman.”

    Mr. X comments:
    People in the olden days might have said that interracial marriage was immoral, or inadvisable, or undesirable, but I can’t think of anybody who claimed that it was ontologically impossible in the same way that people now say that same-sex marriage is.

    Just so, Mr. X. And I’ll go further by saying that anti-miscegenation laws were, and are, both reasonable and moral. They are good for blacks as well as whites in that the children of same-race unions have an unambiguous and undivided heritage to which they may give their full loyalty while receiving strong bonds affection from both sides of their extended families. The same is true of religion in a marriage. Satanic leftists should be given zero moral credence on this issue. If they had the power they would eliminate all races and religions since loyalty to either undermines total loyalty to their evil State. God made the races and they are good things. Decent blacks and whites do well to respect and conserve them.

  7. It’s nice when you control the two sides of conversation. You can make the other side say whatever you want to fit your point.

    Gays do not care about assent or congratulation from others. They care that they can get married. They also do not need that anyone pray for them.

  8. Sylvain writes:

    “Gays do not care about assent or congratulation from others. They care that they can get married. They also do not need that anyone pray for them.”

    Your comment above is just the sort of weak and evasive mush the Jeremys are saying.

  9. Sylvain continues on the Liberal crusade. Nothing new here.

    Bravo, Briggs. You accurately capture precisely the Left’s unrighteous indignation in the face of any opposition to their filthy ‘equality’.

  10. Sylvain: “Gays do not care about assent or congratulation from others. They care that they can get married. They also do not need that anyone pray for them.”

    If that were true that they did not “care” about assent, then my experience would be dramatically in the minority. I’ve met precisely two types of homosexuals: those who have an (I would call) unhealthy obsession with obtaining others’ approval (in general, not w.r.t. their sexuality), tending to behave in an uncomfortably sycophantic manner; and those who indulge in the disapproval of others, who go out of their way to start inflammatory discussions, starting fights, and generally placing themselves in a “me vs. the world” mindset in every domain. (In each case I have such information on, these attributes were present even before they began actually living a homosexual lifestyle.) Indeed, the one commonality I’ve seen consistently present in every homosexual I’ve met has been an obsession with the concept of “societal acceptance.”

  11. Thursday, 9 July

    Scientists are becoming increasingly worse at identifying reasons why their cherished theories might be wrong.

    First they have to accept that their cherished theories MIGHT be wrong, before they can begin to think of a reason why.

    Even if they make the leap that their theory MIGHT be wrong, that they can’t come up with a reason is more proof that the theory is actually correct.

  12. No one is asking you to agree with anything. No one cares what you think about what they do with their lives. You can believe whatever uncouth, backwards, antisocial thing you want. If you want to tell your friend you are an uncouth, backwards, sociopath, that’s between you and your friend and whoever else you’d like to share it with. You will not go to jail to be raped by men in our shameful, Third World prison system. But you may find your self ostracized by some. And you may find that if you want to perform business transactions in the public sphere it may be wise to separate your uncouth, backwards, antisocial opinions from those transactions.

    JMJ

  13. Jersey McJones writes:

    “No one cares what you think about what they do with their lives. ”

    But you do care what we think.

    That’s why you keep coming back here.

  14. Here’s a quote that can be used by both sides of this argument (and of others):

    “The human will to believe is inexhaustible.”

    It’s the ending sentence of the philosopher Thomas Nagle’s new book, “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False.”

  15. Dean,

    Try to follow along here, because we’re talking about civil rights. This isn’t high school girls gossiping in the hall.

    JMJ

  16. Hit and run JMJ strikes again. Funny how when gays were ostracized and lost business and were discriminated against, that was horrible. I believe we have a real life example of “Jeremy” here.

    No one cares?
    http://thefederalist.com/2015/07/02/george-takei-should-stop-gaysplaining-black-history-to-clarence-thomas/

    To give you hope after that rant by Mr. Zulu (note that Star Trek was very discriminating and had no problem calling things wrong)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVFkhWHD6Ag

  17. Sorry for the separate comment—JMJ came up while I was typing:

    JMJ: If homosexuality is not a choice, and thus a “civil right”, then neither is any other sexual preference and you’re back in that ridiculous “no pedophiles” territory that shouts out “Hypocrit!” How can you be so bigoted as to discrimate against pedophiles? Yet you do. Virtually everyone does. While spouting nonsense out of the other side of their mouth. You so easily hold contradictory ideas as being both true. It’s mind boggling.

  18. Sheri:

    Not to defend George, but Clarence DID mention something about internment camps which George’s family experienced if not George himself (if he did, he was an infant or toddler). His rant included something about his parents or grandparents having property taken from them.

    What George said was indefensible, but we know how it can be when going to our “gut” for our words.

  19. Good Lord! – George was born in 37! He is almost 80!

    He did “experience” the internment on a level we may not understand.

    If George apologizes, I’ll cut him slack.

  20. Homosexuality is a type of behavior. When did behavior become a civil right? I found the SCOTUS decision contradictory. Previously when they struck down DOMA they said marriage was a state matter and now they are saying the Federal Government can tell the states who to marry.

  21. swordfishtrombone

    July 9, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    There is no clearly-defined “human nature”. Everyone is different (“I’m not!” – Life of Brian) and its our differences which give us value. As someone once said, if you’re exactly the same as everyone else, just exactly what is it that you’ve got to offer the world?

    Ironically, one of the few traits which virtually all of use share and which could therefore be included in a definition of “human nature” would be distrust and fear of those who are different to us in any way.

  22. That’s a made-up dialogue.

  23. Swordfishtrombone: “It’s our differences which give us value”. What differences give us value? Some people are murders, some pedophiles, some run charities, some are religious, some are not, etc. All these give value to life? Why then do we outlaw acting on these differences? If we can’t act on them, how can they give us value?
    If there is no clearly defined “human nature”, we really need to eliminate the entire fields of psychology and psychiatry, since these are based on the apparently ridiculous notion that human nature exists. After that, remove diplomacy, politics, and all forms of government, since these depend on there being some kind of “human nature” that can be used to reach a goal.

    Hans: Yes, it’s made up. From many comments here and in other places. Would you have been happier if one just found quotes and strung them together? Would you even have believed the quotes (like George Takei tearing apart Clarence Thomas for having the audacity to write a decanting opinion)? You could google gay marriage and opinions and find the real thing, if you prefer.

  24. “Nobody has the right to go against human nature”

    I’m a little confused on this one. If I go against human nature, or perhaps you mean, nature, by wearing glasses to compensate for what I’ve naturally been given, why don’t I have the ‘right’ to better eyesight? Nature would be upset? Since nature or human nature is not conscious, I doubt it very much cares if its rights are infringed or not.

    I think the statement makes sense if you exchange ‘human nature’ with ‘God’s Will’. So why not come out and say that? I assume because it’s difficult to know what ‘God’s Will’ is and it’s even debatable as to whether ‘God’s Will’ exists. On the other hand, ‘human nature’ sounds more like an actual objective thing. Which I suppose it is. I can’t jump 10 feet in the air to pass over a wall, because that is not part of the traits nature has bestowed on me. But the argument looks rather shaky once you argue that nature will not be pleased if I go grab a robe.

    There used to be an argument similar to this one, a few centuries ago, relating to medicine. Which apparently, among some in the religious community, was thought to be against human nature also.

  25. Andrew Kennett

    July 10, 2015 at 12:46 am

    Bill in the voice of David says “You can rebel against that nature” — but how can you rebel against nature, Webster’s defines rebel (v) as “To renounce, and resist by force, the authority of the ruler or government to which one owes obedience”. Is nature a government? Is nature a ruler? Has Bill become an follower of Gaia?

    Andrew

  26. Carelessly clicked on link to onepeterfive.com, then laughed hard and long until I forgot my original comment! This ad is gold:

    BUILT TOUGH! READY FOR BATTLE!

    CHURCH MILITANT COMBAT ROSARY

    “This Combat Rosary’s use of the Pardon Crucifix, Miraculous Medal and St. Benedict Medal makes it a powerful spiritual assault weapon against evil forces attempting to separate us from the love of God and His will for our lives”

    Combat Rosary – Gun Metal
    Regular Price: $54.99
    Sale Price: $39.99

  27. Sander van der Wal

    July 10, 2015 at 4:22 am

    @Will Nitschke

    There are plenty of people in the religious community against certain medical treatments right now. The angi-vaccination crowd, for instance. Or blood transfusions.

    Anyway, this whole human nature angle isn’t going to fly. Humans are evolved creatures, and the evolution bit does not make people “perfect” in any kind of sense. Lots of people procreate, some don’t, for all kinds of reasons. There is no difference between a man who cannot make any woman pregnant and a homosexual in evolutionary terms. They won’t have children.

    But who cares. They still die, just like everybody else.

  28. swordfishtrombone

    July 10, 2015 at 6:22 am

    @Sheri:

    “What differences give us value? Some people are murders […]”

    Yes, there are murderers so not every difference is positive but generally speaking (as in “human nature”), our differences are what we value. I’ve never heard of anyone praising Jesus for putting up shelves.

    “If there is no clearly defined “human nature”, we really need to eliminate the entire fields of psychology and psychiatry”

    Well I’m not sure we’d suffer too much if that actually happened 🙂 but it clearly isn’t true that psychology argues that everyone is the same.

  29. Also, a problem with any sort of ‘human nature’ style argument is that while it may appeal to a scholastic mindset, it is alien to the post modern mind set. In this world view, natural is whatever nature allows. And since nature does not disallow homosexual acts (as in, they are not physically impossible), it must therefor allow them. The concept of ‘unnatural’ is alien to this type of mind. Again though, invoking ‘human nature’ seems to me no more than a code word for ‘God’s Plan’.

  30. @Will Nitschke:

    “I’m a little confused on this one. If I go against human nature, or perhaps you mean, nature, by wearing glasses to compensate for what I’ve naturally been given, why don’t I have the ‘right’ to better eyesight?”

    It is natural that you are confused, since “human nature” is not what you’ve “naturally been given”. So the first point is that you are equivocating on the sense of “human nature”. The second point is that you do concede that there is “human nature”. For how are we to understand such an expression as “better eyesight”? To say “better eyesight” is to acknowledge that there is a normative functioning of the faculty of eyesight, that is, that there is malfunctioning and good-functioning. And if there is malfunctioning (by accident, by birth defect, by old age, etc.) we are justified, even morally compelled, to supply what is found wanting.

  31. Just in case our host has occasion to that post elsewhere, I’ll join those who suggest that he drop the “against human nature” part from the otherwise (as I said above) excellent post.

    The “against human nature” part is conclusory. From among those behaviors in which an organism engages, how does one distinguish those that are consistent with its nature from those that are not?

  32. Rubbish. I think that Fordham U.’s president set the standard the other day after the head of the theology department married his same-sex partner. The official statement was:

    While Catholic teachings do not support same-sex marriage, we wish Professor Hornbeck and his spouse a rich life filled with many blessings on the occasion of their wedding in the Episcopal Church. Professor Hornbeck is a member of the Fordham community, and like all University employees, students and alumni, is entitled to human dignity without regard to race, creed, gender, and sexual orientation.

    I can assure people that we neither seek nor require anyone’s approval. Having said that, this issue is done. Finished. Recognition of same-sex marriage is now the law of the land and that is not going to change.

  33. @Ray

    Homosexuality is a type of behavior.

    No it is not. It is a sexual orientation.

    When did behavior become a civil right? I found the SCOTUS decision contradictory.

    The Court did not require your approval and you are begging the question.

    Previously when they struck down DOMA they said marriage was a state matter and now they are saying the Federal Government can tell the states who to marry.

    Incorrect. The Court said in Windsor that states regulate marriage providing that they do not interfere with the civil rights of citizens, citing Loving as an example of impermissible regulation. Oberefell determined that discriminating against same-sex couples was impermissible.

  34. The Catholic position, as far as I can tell, is that “is it okay to be gay” but if one wants to live as a faithful Catholic, one needs to live a life of a consecrated celibate. For those who are not familiar, there is a ministry serving those who experience SSA: http://couragerc.org/ .

  35. Briggs

    July 10, 2015 at 8:44 am

    David Cary Hart,

    I wonder if you realize that your response is self-refuting.

    Hans,

    They said the same thing to Shakespeare.

    Greg,

    Yes, the ad is goofy and your money is better spent elsewhere.

  36. I see some confusion here with the concept that something could be against human nature. Human nature as defined by Briggs is based upon the teleological nature human sexuality. Going against that human nature then is going against the purpose of sex.

  37. Nick: The statement was “human nature”, not nature. Not going against human nature is a really impossible thing (note: I do disagree with Briggs in some cases). Since the beginning of humans, we have tried to go against our nature–killing to achieve power, murder to achieve status, rape, conquest, slavery. These are all clearly part of “humane nature”. Religion attempts to teach us to rise above human nature in many cases, but we never actually succeed on a large scale. Then there cases, such as homosexual marriage, where it looks like we are suddenly enlightened and doing the “right” thing and in the long run, we are not. However, removing religion from the argument and going simply with “human nature”, we would continue murdering, raping, and terrorizing using our slave labor to seal our power. Appealing to human nature is not a good idea.

    Andrew: Are you saying there are no “laws of nature”? That animals do not breed via a specific mechanism, that no parts of nature are predictable?

    Greg: It’s always sad when religion in dragged into commercialism. Note how well “Christian Mingle” has worked out. Selling and God really should never mix, except you can’t build huge temples and empires without selling. Not that that has anything to do with God, of course.

    swordfish rombone: Jesus’s skills as a carpenter did not merit centuries of praise and adoration. Some churches do point out he had an employable skill and worked like everyone else, so perhaps you missed those church services.
    No, psychology does not argue that everyone is the same and that is NOT what I said. Many fields (advertising comes to mind only because I’m constantly insulted by what the idiots think will entice me to buy–it don’t care if my dog thinks I need health insurance) rely on the overall similar traits of humans. We are far more predictable that people want to believe. It somehow insults people’s sense of independence and specialness if they are actually subject to some overall similarities. Insulted or no, we are very much alike. What differences make us better? Depends on which ones you want to be true. Or at least that’s the usual argument and one you seem to making in the case of gay marriage. You approve, so it’s an okay difference. You don’t approve of pedophilia, so it’s not. I think I read that somewhere above……

    Joe Born: Agreed, for reasons stated above.

    David Cary Hart: RUBBISH. It wasn’t the law of the land last year and that changed. It can change back. Idiotic argument. Very idiotic. And one the homosexuals thought was idiotic and ignored, I would add.
    Pedophilia is a sexual orientation. Please join your local ManBoyLove association today and help them gain their civil rights.

  38. This post reminds me of why I hate Socrates… but great job using the Socratic method to show how people refuse to follow logic or sense on this and related issues. The end is sad but true. The comments here bear out the way people will rationalize almost anything they would like to be true. Thanks for a great post!

  39. Sheri,

    You raise an excellent point. Until very recently, as we know from anthropological research, rape was normative for most of the existence of the human race and intra tribal warfare common. Are we going against human nature by outlawing rape and attempting to mitigate violence?

    Rodrigues makes the interesting assertion that my poor eyesight bestowed on me by nature is unnatural after all, because it falls short of a perfect standard of human nature. It’s curious to me that we can get nature upset by going against human nature, when nature itself so routinely goes against human nature.

  40. Yawrate,

    I think I see your confusion and why you think others are confused. Teleology is an obsolete concept no longer considered credible by modern minds. I can use teleology to explain what a chess computer is trying to achieve but this is a short hand. The chess computer does not have a goal it is reaching for. All its behaviours are deterministically described by its algorithms. You only imagine it has strategy because you are ignorant of its construction. As is nature by physics and chemistry. Teleology had its root in the primitive who believed every rock, tree or hill contained spirits or magic. If we grant the existence of God for the sake of the argument, there is no need to assume He required spirits or magic either, when design itself is sufficient. Why would he do more than required to achieve His goal? That would be inefficient and if we are granting the existence of God, it would be absurd to think He was inefficient.

  41. Will: Your comment to Yawrate assumes we know the goal God had when creating the earth. Do we?

  42. @Will Nitschke:

    “Rodrigues makes the interesting assertion that my poor eyesight bestowed on me by nature is unnatural after all, because it falls short of a perfect standard of human nature.”

    Actually, nowhere did I say what you misread me as saying, and nowhere will you read a natural lawyer saying, and nowhere natural law implies, that “poor eyesight bestowed on me by nature is unnatural after all”. “Unnatural”, as used by natural lawyers in Aquinas tradition as a morally relevant term, applies to acts or dispositions of rational creatures that frustrate or contradict the ends set by their natures qua rational creatures. Your “clueless objection” (Feser’s term) is dispelled here.

  43. Here is the dictionary definition of homosexuality and it includes behavior.
    1: the quality or state of being homosexual
    2: erotic activity with another of the same sex

  44. @ David Hart:

    Having said that, this issue is done. Finished. Recognition of same-sex marriage is now the law of the land and that is not going to change.

    Finished? You mean in the same way that abortion is “settled” and nobody talks about or disputes it anymore, despite a judicial ruling upholding it in all 50 states? Please.
    What, is gay marriage going to be the law of the land til doomsday?

  45. @ccmnxc

    Comparisons to Roe are ridiculous. Opposition to abortion has secular support while opposition to same-sex marriage is based almost entirely upon religion. Furthermore, the Church’s disapproval only goes so far. Aside from the fact that Catholics support marriage equality greater than the general population, there has been no effort to reverse it in Massachusetts, Iowa, New York etc. because it only affects those thus wed. Massachusetts after about 11 years still has the lowest divorce rate in the nation and its kids have the best math and science scores in the country. There are just too many positives including the benefits that inure to the children being raised by gay couples.

    And, yes, this is as settled as Loving. It’s not going to be reversed. There is no path to a constitutional amendment – there aren’t 38 states to ratify even if it got past Congress (which is virtually impossible).

  46. Sheri,

    No, not necessary to know the goal. The goal can be the same and we don’t need to know what it is, to gain insight into methods. If we had all concluded this was an impossible feat Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, etc., would not have been taken seriously.

    Sadly Rodrigues you appear as such a mental cripple that it is hard to tell what you are babbling on about now. If you have some clever insight express it. If you can only babble incoherently that doesn’t mean you are too smart to be understood, but rather your thoughts are too dumb to make sense. We have a phrase we use in Australia ‘dazzling with bullsh**t.’

  47. Ye Olde Statistician

    July 10, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    I’m a little confused on this one. If I go against human nature, or perhaps you mean, nature, by wearing glasses to compensate for what I’ve naturally been given, why don’t I have the ‘right’ to better eyesight?

    You’re right. You’re confused.
    Human nature is (among other things) to be a sighted organism. Poor eyesight is a defectus in the good of eyesight. There is no blame in perfecting a defect. (For that matter, there is no moral component in the faculty of eyesight.)

    Human nature, in the generic sense, is “to be a rational animal.” So whatever goes toward perfecting our animal or our rational parts is a good. Whatever impairs it is bad. Modern neuroscience tells us that repeated indulgence of what we call vegetative functions “vulcanizes” neural patterns originating in the hindbrain and these interfere with neural patterns originating in the neocortex. That is, it inhibits our ability to think clearly. That makes such behaviors sinful in the strict sense of being a defect in a good.

    Until very recently, as we know from anthropological research, rape was normative for most of the existence of the human race

    Until people like Aquinas spoke up against it? The doctrine in Christian Europe was that “consent makes the marriage.” German tribal law held that “the act makes the marriage.” The latter would seem to permit rape as a means of forming a marriage, but it was primarily to justify the German practice of elopement or “kidnapped brides.” But what has “normative” got to do with anything? Rape is not “human nature,” since it does nothing to perfect either animal health or rational thought. Quite the contrary. The rapist as we know him generally wills contrary to the intellect by surrendering to his emotions, which in turn impairs his intellect further.

    ‘human nature’ style argument is that while it may appeal to a scholastic mindset, it is alien to the post modern mind set.

    Is that supposed to be an argument against human nature? It was actually the modern mindset that rejected essentialism. (Which makes Bruce Jenner style arguments incoherent!)

    Teleology is an obsolete concept no longer considered credible by modern minds.

    So much the worse for modern minds. It is obvious in nature, which is why the concept is experiencing a revival in post-modern times, not only in physics, where we find equilibrium states, potential functions, and attractor basins, but in areas like evolutionary biology, concepts like adaptation and natural selection. Natural selection, for example, acts to perfect a species by making it progressively more fit for its niche; so that grey squirrels, for example, become better and better at grey squirreling.

    Recognition of same-sex marriage is now the law of the land and that is not going to change.

    Like Dred Scott.

  48. David Cary Heart: Your definition of loving is very, very scary. These are angry bullies who are demanding no one disagree. You would do well in a shelter dealing with physical abuse. A counselor there actually told me that throwing your kid down the stairs was an expression of love. Insanity runs rampant.

    Will: “If we grant the existence of God for the sake of the argument, there is no need to assume He required spirits or magic either, when design itself is sufficient. Why would he do more than required to achieve His goal?” You are talking about God and goals and assuming he had a goal. I don’t see how it doesn’t matter what the goal was. How is the design sufficient?

    YOS: Human nature is defined as doing something to perfect either animal health or rational thought? I thought human nature was motivations, wishes, desires, and actions of humans. Much of human nature does not perfect humans at all, as far as I can see. Maybe if we define human nature through theology, that works, but if you use science or social science, it doesn’t. I’m not even sure theology agrees. Humans are a mess. If we weren’t, we’d still be in the Garden of Eden instead of typing on internet blogs.

  49. YOS,

    The first part of what you wrote confirms the point I was communicating. So that can hardly be useful in clarifying my “confusion”. To assert that some parts of nature are defective and some are more perfectly formed, merely creates the problem of who decides what nature has done perfectly and imperfectly? You have to refer the matter to God’s Will as the arbitrator here. You cannot be ‘against’ nature if you define nature as that which is natural. Whatever nature does is by definition natural: 20/20 vision, poor eyesight, heterosexuality, homosexuality, etc. You could of course argue that one state is better than another, if one defines a desired goal. But nature is indifferent to goals. It just is. On the other hand, God is likely interested in goals. (Yes, Sheri, maybe God is indifferent to goals, as nobody can know God’s Mind, but I suspect both of us would agree this is a plausible insight into the likely mind of God.) Rodrigues attempted the same defense, before he spat his dummy and mumbled his way into his usual incoherence.

    Regarding: Teleology

    I can explain why a tree grows the way it does in terms of its desire and goal to express its treeness. Or I can explain it in terms of chemistry and biology. The chemical and biological explanation is sufficient. The teleological explanation deficient. (I.e., it tells us nothing useful in an explanatory sense.) The telelogical explanation requires the chemical and biological explanation, for the explanation to be useful. A rational mind uses Occam’s Razor to dispense with the telelogical explanation as it is not required. It is mythical baggage.

    Natural selection is a stimulus response system of adaptation. Environment changes, organism adapts. It is not striving towards a teleological “goal.” When I change channels on my TV the TV is not striving to provide me with perfection in entertainment. It is responding to a signal sent to it from my remote control. Your imagining that it is trying to make me happy, is merely a deficiency in your thought processes.

    There is nothing incompatible in any of this with the premise of God’s existence. In fact, it would make perfect sense that if God existed, he would create a perfectly deterministic design that self managed, that did not require extraneous ghosts, spirits, strivings, wills, etc., to make things happen as they do. It is only the primitive mind that clings to animist arguments. Their purpose is to bolster religious *feelings* as to the way things *ought* to be. It is irrationalism wrapped in a pretend rationalism.

  50. Ye Olde Statistician

    July 10, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    Human nature is defined as doing something to perfect either animal health or rational thought? I thought human nature was motivations, wishes, desires, and actions of humans.

    No, generically it’s simply “a rational animal.” What is good is what furthers that nature; what is bad is what impairs it. The “mess” to which you refer is precisely those imperfections in achieving our nature. That’s why we speak of attaining or building a “second nature” by deliberately habituating ourselves to the seven strengths. The three intellective virtues of understanding, knowledge, and wisdom; the three willful virtues of justice, courage, and temperance; and the linchpin virtue of prudence. These are called a second nature because they must be acquired and habituated.
    See Wallace, The Modeling of Nature pp. 162 et seq.
    http://tinyurl.com/ocvp35t

  51. Ye Olde Statistician

    July 11, 2015 at 12:19 am

    To assert that some parts of nature are defective and some are more perfectly formed, merely creates the problem of who decides what nature has done perfectly and imperfectly?

    A dog with only three legs is imperfect. A triangle whose sides are not connected is imperfect. An archer who misses the mark is imperfect. A human being who allows his emotions to overcome his reason, as many commboxers do, is imperfect wrt his nature as a rational animal. It’s really not all that hard.

    You have to refer the matter to God’s Will as the arbitrator here.

    Actually, Aristotle did not do so.

    You cannot be ‘against’ nature if you define nature as that which is natural.

    Good thing we don’t, then. You are using “nature” a la Rousseau in the 18th century sense of “material world.” As such, it is not a particularly useful meaning. But its original meaning is of a thing’s substantial form and is contrasted with “artifact.”

    I can explain why a tree grows the way it does in terms of its desire and goal to express its treeness.

    It would be useful to first grasp what telos is before undertaking a critique of it.

    The chemical and biological explanation is sufficient.

    But there can be no chemical and biological explanation without some end toward which they tend. When sodium and chlorine are combined they form a salt, not an oxide. When a Belusov reaction moves to completion it oscillates between two or more states. An acorn unfolds into an oak tree, not a mulberry bush or a xylophone. A puppy matures into a dog, not a dogwood. That is, these sorts of causes are incoherent unless there is an end toward which they move “always or for the most part.” Final states, equilibrium manifolds, and the like are well known in science.

    Natural selection is a stimulus response system of adaptation. Environment changes, organism adapts. It is not striving towards a teleological “goal.”

    Generic processes have generic ends. The goal of natural selection is exactly what you say: adaptation. Ad aptitudinem means “toward aptitude.” That is, the end of natural selection is greater aptitude in a niche. Naturally, if the niche changes, the direction of greater aptness changes with it.

    At the more particular level, telos is introduced by the “struggle” for existence, striving to reproduce to the utmost. This leads organisms saddled with circumstantial change to experiment with different modalities. The organism itself is a player in its own evolutionary motion. The story of the Mediterranean wall lizard is instructive in this regard.

  52. YOS,

    You ignored my arguments because you could not, of course, address them. You simply restated your (nonsense) position. This crankish world view was replaced over 450 years ago by the Cartesian world view. Your mind still exists in a forgotten dark age.

    “A dog with only three legs is imperfect.”

    No. A dog with three legs is a dog with three legs. The dog with three legs just *is* as nature made that dog to be. It is your mind, not nature, that decides that the dog is deficient in some way. Maybe a dog with 6 legs would be ‘better’ in some ways than a dog with 4. Or maybe the dog with 3 legs achieves everything it wants to achieve, only with 3.

    “A triangle whose sides are not connected is imperfect.”

    No, a triangle without connected sides is not a triangle, it is something else. Your mind imposes the expectation that this thing which is not a triangle would be better as a triangle. Nature is indifferent. Your mind has imposed this assumption on what you have seen.

    “An archer who misses the mark is imperfect.”

    Ah, now you get sneaky. The archer has a goal. You switch to a goal orientated human, rather than nature. Already you are in trouble after providing only two examples. What of a branch that falls from a tree and lands hither instead of thither? Was where it landed imperfect? The question is absurd, because where it landed is where it landed. There is nothing perfect or imperfect in where it struck the ground.

    Now, of course Aristotle believed many things but so what? He was wrong about nearly everything. His physics was wrong. His chemistry was wrong. His biology was wrong. Hardly a good argument to invoke Aristotle as an authority on anything in 2015, unless you are a little loony?

    As already explained, telos is animist rubbish. I explained why and you ignored my arguments because what else can you do? The arguments are beyond dispute, at least from the perspective of an Aristotelian primitive. Nature does not have goals. My television does not have a “goal” when I change a channel on my remote. My computer does not have a “goal” when it collects my email. My watch does not have a “goal” when I want to know the time. My car does not have a “goal” when I want to get to work. A flower does not have a “goal” when it opens its petals. A waterfall does not have a “goal” when water flows through it. These assumptions about “goals” are projections of a feeble mind. That is all.

    Let me repeat my analogy. I design a chess playing computer. You don’t understand how the chess computer works. You play chess against it and you win or it wins. Doesn’t matter. It is a handy mental shortcut when you later describe what happened, by asserting that the “goal” of the chess computer was to “win” at chess. Or to play a good game of chess. But it’s not striving for “perfection”. It doesn’t have an actual “goal”. The computer is a deterministic process driven by mathematics, electronics and a small amount of mechanical and chemical interaction. I understand this because I designed the chess computer. I understand how it works. You do not. You are ignorant of how it works. Hence you try to understand what it will do next in terms of “goals”. As the designer of the chess computer, I can speak of “goals” as well. But that is not what the chess computer is doing. It is only an analogy. I understand it is an analogy. A convenient short-hand. You think the analogy is literally true. And that is only because you lack understanding. You think in terms of natures goals because you do not understand what you see.

  53. @Will Nitschke:

    “Sadly Rodrigues you appear as such a mental cripple that it is hard to tell what you are babbling on about now.”

    I do not know what is hard to understand about what I said: you misread me. It is quite plain, elementary English.

    In this thread you promised me that “I will no longer be reading your posts. You and Sylvain now enjoy that honour.”, which I took it to mean, at the very least, that you would not *reply* to anything I said. Apparently I was wrong; you do in fact keep your promise, that is, you do not read, but do reply, and with such charming epithets as “you appear as such a mental cripple” as opening salvo. My bad, I guess.

  54. @Sheri

    Your definition of loving is very, very scary. These are angry bullies who are demanding no one disagree.

    Well, I am one of “those” and I am neither angry nor a bully. I never defined loving; I made a reference to Loving short for Loving v. Virginia. The let “no one disagree” theme is more is nonsense advanced by opponents to LGBT equality. We neither seek nor require your approval. We do expect to be served in public accommodations — which are not the place to express disapproval of people that you may not understand.

  55. Is being gay natural? Hmmm… statistically speaking, variation exists in all processes!

    Having just finish reading Letters to My father by W. Styron in which Styron, I cannot help but wonder what it would be like if this conversation took place between a father and a gay son.

  56. Is being gay natural? Hmmm… statistically speaking, variation exists in all processes!

    Having just finish reading Letters to My father by W. Styron, I cannot help but wonder what it would be like if this conversation took place between a father and a gay son.

  57. Ye Olde Statistician

    July 11, 2015 at 10:12 am

    You ignored my arguments because you could not, of course, address them.

    Nah. It was obvious straight off that you had a weird animist rubbish idea of telos, which is why you seem to overuse the term “goals.” Until that belief is schooled, there is little point in addressing “arguments” based on it.

    This crankish world view was replaced over 450 years ago by the Cartesian world view.

    Yes, it was replaced. It was never disproven. The 17th century folks (who had already forgotten what it was all about) decided that it did not further the New Goals for masculine science; viz., that science (knowledge) was to be all about building useful and profitable products to perfect man’s mastery of the universe. That is, science was to be the handmaiden of business and engineering, not the handmaiden of philosophy. You can tell this not only from their own writings — cf. Bacon, Descartes — but because their philosophy became incoherent and stuck Moderns with all the “traditional” problems of philosophy: the “problem” of the qualia, the mind-body “problem”, and so on. Descartes was operationally a gnostic, who believed a soul was a separate thing (ousia, substantia)!

    The dog with three legs just *is* as nature made that dog to be.

    Or as an automobile made it, as in the case of my childhood friend’s three-legged dog. So the idea of a birth defect or an injury has no traction in your mind?

    It is your mind, not nature, that decides that the dog is deficient in some way.

    No, it’s a real physical condition. If I close my eyes, the dog will still have three legs. A dog naturally has four legs. If by some injury or genetic defect it lacks a leg, it is by definition deficient in its legginess. Again, you are using “nature” in the woo-woo 18th century sense of the Romantics and not in the sense of what-makes-it-a-dog.

    Maybe a dog with 6 legs would be ‘better’ in some ways than a dog with 4.

    You have the advantage on me. I cannot use terms like “better” in the vague and undefined sense you do. There is no such thing as “better” in a generic sense. In this context, it would have to mean better at “being-a-dog,” but not in the sense of a value judgment. (All you have done is make an unconscious distinction between accidental form and essential form. A definite step toward improvement. A dog with three legs is still a dog but simply lacks an accident that dogs by their nature have.) After all, if you cannot make such a distinction between apt and deficient, you would undermine the whole basis for natural selection, which does distinguish between better fit (at being-a-dog) and lesser fit (likewise).

    As for a six-legged dog, evolutionarilly speaking, it would actually be an insect-derived species that superficially resembled a dog, since IIRC only the order of insects are naturally six-legged.

    [Aristotle’s] physics was wrong. His chemistry was wrong. His biology was wrong.

    Actually, his physics “is a correct and non-intuitive approximation of Newtonian physics in the suitable domain (motion in fluids).”
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.4057

    And his biology was good enough to impress the hell out of Darwin, who wrote to Ogle, “Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they are mere school-boys to old Aristotle.”
    http://www.academia.edu/2581152/Darwin_and_Aristotle_Not_as_Different_As_You_Think

    Off my head top, I can think of nothing Aristotle wrote regarding chemistry. Perhaps you are simply repeating received wisdom and are not actually acquainted with his writing.

    Keep in mind that just as folks can manage to do good science even when encumbered with bad philosophy, it is possible to be mistaken in one’s physics even though the philosophy is sound..

    Hardly a good argument to invoke Aristotle as an authority on anything in 2015

    He was cited in this case merely to rebut your contention that teloi rely upon God for their definition. I only pointed out that the Old Stagerite did not thus rely. It’s called a counterexample to refute a generalization. cf. all swans are white.

    As already explained, telos is animist rubbish.

    a) What is “animist” about telos?
    b) How can you have explained anything about telos when you evidently do not understand what it is.

    Nature does not have goals. My television does not have a “goal” when I change a channel on my remote.

    Not intrinsically. It’s an artifact, not a natural body. Duh? As such, it has whatever “goals” its artificer had in mind when building it.

    A waterfall does not have a “goal” when water flows through it.

    Of course it does: the point of lowest gravitational potential. Unless you are using “goal” in the animistically rubbish sense of something consciously conceived by the body of water. Ho ho. Waterfalls are not conscious. You display a mordant humor. I laugh.

    I might even wonder if a waterfall is a thing (ousia, substantia) or simply a mereological sum of things. If the latter, it is silly to apply the logic of things to it.

    It is a handy mental shortcut when you later describe what happened, by asserting that the “goal” of the chess computer was to “win” at chess.

    A computer is an artifact, hence, it is not conscious. It simply produces outputs to inputs according to a syntactical table; but has no symantics. Of course, like all artifacts, it does have an extrinsic goal of winning at chess, since that was the end that its designers had in mind in building it. One may as well claim that golf clubs do not have the goal of striking the ball, overlooking the evident fact that golf clubs are not conscious and the goal resides in the user, not the instrument.

    You think in terms of natures goals because you do not understand what you see.

    Explain how ther can be a scientific law of nature if there is no telos. You cannot say that “A causes B” without B getting into the picture somehow. Hume was so obsesses with chucking telos that he had to toss efficient causation with it. Everything is just a big fat coincidence of this-coming-after-that. Then along came Kant to claim the only thing we can really know are our own thoughts, not the external world! If you’re looking for philosophies that get in the way of natural science, look no further than Modern philosophy.

    Fortunately, with attractor basins, potential functions, emergent properties, adaptation, etc. we are getting back to a sensible metaphysic.

  58. David Cary Hart: REALLY? The public arena is not the place to voice disapproval. You really are joking aren’t you? Donald Trump has lost contracts for daring to speak the truth. George Takai called Clarence Thomas a clown in black face for not going along with the rest of the court on gay marriage. The flag of the confederate army is now absolutely taboo. It’s poison. Any Republican or Conservative who ever used the “n” word is vilified. Meanwhile, Richard Byrd has highways and places all over named after him and those are not challenged. It’s always from the “tolerant” left—what a joke of a term. Pray tell, how in the world do you not call this bullying? You personally many not bully, but the political activists who demanded their way and vowed to behead all who opposed them certainly do. Keep your head stuck in the sand. It creates a great target for when you have no value to the Left anymore and they crush you like a bug. So loyal, so clueless.

  59. Will: I agree with you after reading your comment to YOS. We really don’t need to know the goal if we understand the process. This doesn’t hurt religion–in fact, I have always maintained religious ideas should make sense with or without God.
    The chess computer has no goal, only the programmer did.

    YOS: Okay, call it second nature and it makes more sense.
    A dog with three legs is imperfect to humans. The dog does not care.

    G Rodriquez: I think the statement “I’m not reading your comments anymore” is a lot like when someone says “I should be leaving now” and continues to talk and stick around. Well intentioned, but sometimes not actually acted upon.

  60. Ye Olde Statistician

    July 11, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    We really don’t need to know the goal if we understand the process.
    So, we don’t need to know the melody if we know how the music box is put together? Does the melody happen because the pins are placed here and there; or are the pins placed here and there because the melody requires it?

    A dog with three legs is imperfect to humans. The dog does not care.
    It’s not a question of caring. It’s a question of whether the dog possesses all the powers and attributes that constitute dogginess. If the dog lacks nothing that it requires to-be-a-dog, then it has been perfected. Otherwise, it is defective.

  61. YOS: Both–The melody happen because the pins are placed here and there; and the pins placed here and there because the melody requires it.

    What qualities are found in dogginess? Four legs? A tail (does docked count?), fur (what about Mexican hairless?), certain size? It presumably has to be domesticated, which leaves out coyotes and wolves, which have all the other characteristics of dogginess. If I dump a dog and it becomes feral, is it imperfect at that point?

  62. Ye Olde Statistician

    July 11, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Sheri: Start with the question “How do you know a dog when you see it?” This is the simplest and most direct grasp of dog: when a child points and cries, “Doggy!” Now a breeder will know dog in a different and perhaps deeper way; likewise, a biologist, a dog-racer, a sheepherder, a poet, a pet store worker, and so on. All of them know dog when they see it, from different perspectives and different kinds of knowledge. (Sufferers from scientism assume that there is only One True Way of knowing dog.) How foolish to set a Rottweiler to guard the sheep, or breed a dog with a cat, or sell a tortoise to a child who asks for a puppy.

    Hairless breeds of dog are not actually hairless. If they were, they would not even be mammals. Closer inspection would reveal that the hair follicles are there. Ditto for cropped tail. Unless you are a Lamarckian, bobbing a dog’s tail doesn’t change what the dog is any more than giving it a haircut. In fact, given that dog is a domesticated kind (though interfertile with wolf) you can reasonably argue it also possesses an extrinsic telos imposed by human breeders: the form of a Rottweiler and a St. Bernard are very different, and the qualities we look for in the one would be contraindicated in the other. In our effort to abstract to the genus, we should not overlook the fact that in the end each organism possesses it own unique identity.

  63. YOS: Children point at wolves, coyotes, and foxes and say “Doggy”. Animal rights groups use pictures of puppies and baby coyotes to try an convince people coyotes are doggies.

    Let’s try something different than the “doggie”. I have what are called muscovy ducks. They perch in trees, do not quack (unless grabbed unceremoniously) and are quite large. Many people would look at them and say “goose”. They did not descend from mallards as did all other domestic ducks. So are they an imperfect duck, since they perch in trees and don’t quack? Are they an imperfect goose? Nature is not so black and white as you seem be saying.

    I’m also concerned that you may be saying that people with missing limbs or other birth defects are imperfect. Also, deaf and blind persons. The whole perfection idea is a bit scary looked at this way, as far as I can see.

  64. Ye Olde Statistician

    July 11, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    That the child may be imprecise is not surprising. Hence, the comment that the dog breeder may have a more precise grasp of dog. Yet, is the child very far wrong in recognizing interfertile species as being much the same sort of thing? Under other circumstances, interfertility is supposed to delimit the species. (And of course you are privileging the zoologist’s classifications judging others as “imperfect” if they fail to agree.)

    [O]f course, not every single individual animal will perfectly exercise the capacities that are natural to it, or even actually possess the organs that are its natural means of exercising them. A dog might injure or lose a leg, or even fail to develop legs in the first place because of some prenatal defect. But it is still of the nature of such a dog to have legs, and to walk and run with them. In the extreme case, we can even imagine a dog which (as a result of an accident, say) has lost not only its legs, but its sense organs and higher brain functions, and is kept alive through intravenous feeding — reduced, in effect, to a portion of its vegetative functions. All the same, the nature of such a dog, no less than that of a healthy dog, is to have sense organs, legs, and all the rest. That the dog has been prevented from realizing that nature doesn’t change the nature itself; and should the dog be somehow restored to health and functionality, it is precisely those doglike attributes that it had lost that would be restored to it, rather than some other attributes.

    I realize that in the era of special snowflakes it is considered rude to call an imperfection and imperfection, and it may well be that the language had been corrupted too badly by slovenly modern thought ever to recover the technical meanings.

  65. YOS,

    “…it was replaced. It was never disproven.”

    Metaphysics cannot be “disproven” so your statement is the usual meaningless nonsense. But a metaphysics can be shown to be useless or fruitless and that is what happened, which is why philosophers moved on, leaving you to turn this primitive type of metaphysics into a belief system for unthinking cranks to roll around in, like lazy pigs in mud.

    A foolish metaphysics cannot be “saved” by making ill educated criticisms of the metaphysics that came after it. Even if every metaphysical system that replaced your animist nonsense was in some way seriously deficient, that would not make your animist nonsense even slightly more clever. Again you only play rhetorical games because intellectually you have nothing.

    And as usual you fail to understand anything explained to you. Always you try to fit square pegs into round holes. A “genetic defect” is something inside your head. It is not a real thing in a nature. You seem mentally incapable of understanding that your thoughts are not the same things as objective things in the world. It is the mind set of aboriginal tribes. No two animals are identical. An animal may have excellent eye sight but poorer night vision. Another animal may not have good eye sight but superior night vision. Which animal has the “genetic defect” ? Which one represents perfection?

    You decide which is better or which is worse based on your feelings and random thoughts. What of a human who suffers from haemochromatosis? Clearly a genetic defect you declare! People who suffer from it might even die if not treated. But, wait. In the middle ages people who suffered from haemochromatosis were able to resist plague which killed off a huge number of human beings. Not so defective after all, then, is it? There is no absolute standard for what is a ‘genetic defect’. What you call a ‘defect’ today becomes a ‘benefit’ tomorrow. There are only adaptations. Some good. Some bad. Some are both good and bad.

    A computer chess program is an artifact. Of course. As is a flower, or a waterfall, or a virus. Humans created some of these artifacts, nature created others. Nature is not conscious either, hence your animist nonsense about telos does not apply to nature either. So this line of criticism misses the point, as usual.

    “Explain how ther can be a scientific law of nature if there is no telos.”

    Example: E = mc2.

    Not hard, is it?

    And once again you run off on an ignorant rant complaining that other metaphysical systems are wrong because they don’t “feel” right to you. Remember, this sort of uneducated criticism doesn’t save your own idiotic metaphysics from its very obvious failings.

    You are left making the ludicrous claim that where:

    p –> q

    That “q” is impossible unless “p” desires to become “q”. Can there be metaphysics more primitive than this? Why introduce telos? This idea of desires? Why not:

    p –> a or b or c or d or e ?

    How does your presumption that p –> q requires “desire” for “p” to become “q” tell us why it became “q” and not any other effect?

    Your telos is useless.

    What of:

    2 + 2 = 4 ?

    You would have to make the absurd claim that 2 desires to be 4 when combined with itself and this is only possible because 2 “desires” to be 4 in this case. This is moronic. 2 + 2 becomes 4 not because of desires, but because of the rules of maths. Work out the rules, and you’ll understand the causes. How was the mobile phone invented? The computer? The motor vehicle? How was crop production multiplied 10X in modern times? How was disease combated? Is it all just random luck that created all these things as you contend? Or maybe, just maybe, you don’t understand the modern way of understanding nature? How could you? You still live in a mental dark age.

  66. Sheri,

    Yes, these are entirely different questions. The first, which is what we are discussing now:

    (1) How does the universe work?

    And the other is:

    (2) What is the nature of the creator?

    A theist believes that the creator is sentient. An atheist that the creator is not. (In the case of the atheist, he or she may believe that “maths” is somehow involved in creating what we see in nature, for example. And so on.)

    But coming back to (1), I hold the view, irrespective of my position on (2), that the universe was or would be created in the most efficient way possible. I cannot prove this. I can provide evidence for why I think this is the case, but it is circumstantial. My position nonetheless is that the Creator will be efficient because the Creator will not do anything needless or wasteful.

    The Cartesian metaphysics is vastly more efficient than the Aristotelian. It dispenses with lots of useless philosophical baggage, such as telos. And much else that is arbitrary and subjective. Even if the Aristotelian and Cartesian systems predicted the same causes from effects, the Cartesian is much to be preferred because of its efficiency. (There is much not to be preferred in the Aristotelian which I will not comment on for reasons of brevity.)

    The only reason why people such as YOS prefer the more primitive world view is because they fear that Cartesian philosophy answers question (2) and not in a way they like. But again, this is merely a confusion of thought. The world is as it is, and not as YOS emotionally desires it to be.

  67. Will: I think I understand most of what you’re saying and I do agree. This is actually interesting to me since I can see things from both of the viewpoints. Chemistry and psychology, with philosophy, results in seeing things from several perspectives. On this one, I go with you and the Cartesian metaphysics. How the universe works is separate from the nature of the creator. That does not affect the second question, thought I’m sure some will think it does.

  68. In the 1970s, I would walk out of parties when they started passing around “funny cigarettes.” Some people objected. “How DARE You Express Disapproval! ”

    I have not heard of any recent attempt to outlaw leaving parties early but it might just be a matter of time…

  69. @Sheri:

    “I have what are called muscovy ducks. They perch in trees, do not quack (unless grabbed unceremoniously) and are quite large. Many people would look at them and say “goose”. They did not descend from mallards as did all other domestic ducks. So are they an imperfect duck, since they perch in trees and don’t quack? Are they an imperfect goose? Nature is not so black and white as you seem be saying.”

    What is the argument here? Is it that we cannot have perfect knowledge of natures or essences? That would be a problem if Essentialists maintained such; but they do not, so? Knowledge of natures or essences, is gained, just as with everything else in the universe around us, by a mixture of observation and reasoning. Neither it precludes being in error. It is all the more baffling because you use *common* nouns all the way through. If we take what seems to be implied by your questions, then how do you know what counts as “muscovy ducks” (assuming “muscovy” is not an alienans adjective) or “ducks” or “geese” to even pose the question whether “muscovy ducks” are “geese”? But you do use such common nouns, and you do pose the question, so it seems you have no problem in identifying “ducks” or “geese”. Or are you maintaining that the distinction between “ducks” and “geese” is a mere artifact of the mind? If not, what is supposed to be the problem? A vagueness problem? Once again, this would only be a problem if Essentialists maintained that we have perfect knowledge of natures. Biologists never had a problem with classification schemes. Chemists and particle physicists neither. Is the classification of elementary particles a pure artifact of the mind? Of course, *some* classifications are a product of convention (that is, a byproduct of history, culture, merely human preferences, etc.). Rather, the point is that not *all* of them are. And in fact, it is not very difficult to see that holding that all classifications are conventional is self-refuting.

  70. Joseph: Only a matter of time all right. To leave a party, you’ll have to have some kind of emergency or have your mom call. Disapproval will not be allowed.

    G. Rodrigues: It was NOT an argument, it was asking for clarification of a concept which you are apparently labeling “Essentialism”. Okay, use Cairina moschata in place of muscovy and that should clarify things. (Note: I use common names because most of the time people feel use of latin names makes one seem pretentious and haughty–I’ll try to remember to use both henceforth to satisfy both camps. We did that when writing a reptile journal.)

    “Is the classification of elementary particles a pure artifact of the mind?”
    Ah, yes.

    Obviously, not all classifications are conventional or the EPA would be out of work.

  71. Ye Olde Statistician

    July 12, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Is it really necessary to resort to personal insults?

    a metaphysics can be shown to be useless or fruitless and that is what happened, which is why philosophers moved on,

    Actually, we have their writings, so we know why they futzed around until they broke it.

    You are left making the ludicrous claim that where: p –> q, that “q” is impossible unless “p” desires to become “q”.

    You cannot refute a concept when you don’t know what the concept is. You seem to subscribe to some sort of primitive animist idea. “Desires”? Really?

    Why not: p –> a or b or c or d or e ?

    Why not indeed. I would say that there is something in “p” that “points toward” q (or to a suite of q’s) and not toward a, et al. For example, a tiger cub (p) matures into an adult tiger (q) and not into a tiger lily (a) because there is something in the cub — let’s call it a “genome” — that points toward tigerness.

    Your telos is useless.

    That depends on what uses you wish to make of it. The explicit goal of Bacon, Descartes, Hume, and the rest was to increase masculine dominion over feminine nature and extend our mastery over the universe. A rather grandiose usage, when you think of it, that eventually conjured a post-modern reaction from feminists and environmentalists. You are correct that telos is not useful in this regard, except insofar as it’s a necessary adjunct to efficient causation.

    What of: 2 + 2 = 4 ? You would have to make the absurd claim that 2 desires to be 4 when combined with itself and this is only possible because 2 “desires” to be 4 in this case.

    That would indeed be absurd, so it’s a good thing I made no such a claim. We are talking about metaphysics, not metamathematics. There might be an actual telos in 2+2=4 if, say, an accountant wished to know how much money he had after receiving two payments @ 2 Venetian ducats; but the telos there lies in the purpose of the accountant. Numerals in themselves are not things, only signs.

    How was the mobile phone invented? The computer? The motor vehicle? How was crop production multiplied 10X in modern times? How was disease combated? Is it all just random luck that created all these things as you contend?

    I have not contended that. Citation, please, as the wikid like to say. Besides, there is no “random.”

    I would say they were invented in the same manner as nerve gas, weaponized anthrax, strategic bombers, and other such things; viz., human beings had some purpose (telos) in mind and bent their efforts to the task of invention. For the most part, this was a matter of engineering and tinkering and in some instances serendipity. In the same manner, men invented the elliptical arch, the windmill, the clock escapement, pickled herring, And the medievals invented crop rotation.

    Most importantly, they were invented because, operationally, the engineers and inventors blithely ignored the modern metaphysics that otherwise would have undermined their efforts.

    A “genetic defect” is something inside your head. It is not a real thing in a nature.

    Really? So my cousin’s daughter’s Down’s Syndome is all in my head and not due to the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21? Woodie Guthrie’s Huntington’s disease is all in my head (or perhaps in Woody’s) and not in an expansion of a CAG triplet repeat stretch within the Huntingtin gene resulting in a different form of the protein? Who knew? And you accuse me of animism!

    No two animals are identical.

    That’s what Aristotle said. Someone should’ve told the 17th century dudes.

    An animal may have excellent eye sight but poorer night vision. Another animal may not have good eye sight but superior night vision. Which animal has the “genetic defect” ? Which one represents perfection?

    You neglected to specify whether there are of two different species or two individuals of the same species. Darwin tells us the one that is more likely to survive is the more perfected of the two, if they are of the same species. For example, poor night vision is contraindicated in a nocturnal species that hunts or forages by sight. Natural selection is supposed to work on the differential fitness of individuals. If you deny that there is such, you are undermining the science of evolution.

    Now, if you are talking about two organisms of different species, well…

    You decide which is better or which is worse based on your feelings and random thoughts.

    No, it is based on what the organism is trying to do. A gray squirrel must know how to find food, mates, avoid predators, build nests, etc. It’s no job for amateurs. A perfection is a trait which forwards this project; a defect is one that is deficient or is inimical to the job of gray squirreling. Folks sometimes call these “advantageous” and “disadvantageous” traits, but often neglect to consider that these terms are relative to the organism’s “job description” (telos).

    What of a human who suffers from haemochromatosis? Clearly a genetic defect you declare! People who suffer from it might even die if not treated. But, wait. In the middle ages people who suffered from haemochromatosis were able to resist plague which killed off a huge number of human beings. Not so defective after all, then, is it?

    That’s the problem with consequentialism. You wind up treating exceptions as rules. It’s like saying that because it sometimes allows people to be thrown free of a car about to burst into flame or fall off a cliff, a broken seat belt was “not so defective after all.” Or that a woman uses a shard of broken glass to fend off an attacker means that the window was “not so broken after all.”

    A computer chess program is an artifact. … As is a flower, or a waterfall, or a virus.

    Well, only if you consider God, which I don’t think you do. The distinction is between art and nature and while it is true that art imitates nature, it is not true that art is nature. The parts of an artifact have no natural tendency to come together and require intervention” to assemble them. The parts of an organism grow from themselves. That is why Behe’s mousetrap is utterly unlike a bacterium’s flagellum. Be careful in tredding on the edge of ID that you don’t fall off.

    “Explain how ther can be a scientific law of nature if there is no telos.”
    Example: E = mc2. Not hard, is it?

    Oops. I meant physical laws, not mathematical formalism. See 2+2=4, above.

    Nature is not conscious either

    No fooling. That was an essential premise in Aquinas’ “fifth way” in which he reasoned from the lawfulness of nature to God.

  72. Ye Olde Statistician

    July 12, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    Muscovy ducks. What do the cladists say? Just because we call them “ducks” doesn’t mean they are ducks. Look at horseshoe “crabs.”
    Besides, “ducks” are a second abstraction. If you want to know the essential form, you must ask specifically, not generically: What is the essential form of Muscovy ducks?
    There are fish in Australia’s Northern Territory that climb trees and croak like frogs. Now that’s weird.

  73. YOS: The cladists aren’t saying a thing.

  74. “A retreat into petulance is not an answer.”

    Funny–I was thinking that throughout my reading of this screed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

© 2016 William M. Briggs

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑