Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

04/04/2010 (7:34 pm)

The Birch Tree Challenge

I’m issuing a challenge to progressives, to see which of them can answer cogently. I’m giving away the secret up front: this is about the semantic contortion that leads them to call long-term cohabiting between gays “marriage,” and insist on marital rights and appurtenances that apply thereto.

I want you to form an argument that (1) explains why you oppose what I’m about to propose, but (2) cannot immediately be offered back as an argument against gay “marriage” rights.

Any answer that contains an insult will be deleted out of hand, and I will not let the author know. I reserve the right to determine what constitutes an insult. This is my site.

Here’s the challenge:

birch-this one

I want to marry the birch tree in my front yard. I love it dearly, it has faithfully provided me shade for decades. I want to marry it legally, and I want all the financial and social advantages that appertain to marriage. The Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees equal protection under the laws; the law of my state does not permit me to marry the birch tree the way others marry their spouse of choice, so my Fourteenth Amendment rights have been violated.

Why should I not be granted the right under the law to marry my birch tree?

I’m going to answer two objections before they’re offered, the first because progressives love moral preening, and the second because progressives tend toward unthinking glibness when challenged intellectually, and I don’t want to waste my time on unserious answers.

So if your answer is:

You don’t know the difference between a birch tree and a human being!

or

You think gays are not human!

…or some version of that, my answer is “I readily acknowledge that the birch tree is not human, and that gays are. But that’s beside the point. Make your argument explicit: why should I not be permitted to marry the birch tree under the 14th Amendment? Why is ‘human’ a necessary qualification for marriage?”

And if your argument is:

Go ahead. I think you should have the right.

…or some form thereof, my reply is as follows:

When then-Senator Rick Santorum argued that the arguments supporting gay marriage would eventually be used to allow people to marry children, dogs, trees, cars, or whatever, progressives all around the country screeched like worn brake pads, declaring that Santorum was just a bigot expressing his hatred of gays by lying. They’ve said the same about anybody raising the same point ever since. If your answer to my birch tree proposal is “Go ahead,” you demostrate that it was the progressives that were lying, not Santorum. So it now falls to you to give me a reason why I, or any intelligent and well-meaning individual, should ever believe a progressive on any issue, ever again, since it is clear that you’ll engage in vicious character assassination when you know perfectly well that your opponent is arguing sensibly.

The challenge is on. Post your replies below. If you don’t see the “Comments” block, click on the word “Discuss” below.

Disclaimer: this is a hypothetical problem. The birch tree pictured above was selected more or less arbitrarily from a Bing! search on the terms “birch tree photo.” This is not really my front yard, sadly. Moreover, I’m already married to someone other than the birch tree. Clever arrow and text by Shelly. Ain’t she a beaut?

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269 Comments »

April 5, 2010 @ 1:56 am #

Phil,

I recall you asking me not to post on your blog. But I still read you – with growing alarm as of late – but nonetheless, I do read. And it is your open challenge – so here goes.

The right to enter a marital contract is not the right to marry ANYONE you love (such as your children) or EVERYONE you love (as is done in polygamy, polyandry, and open ended marriage), or ANYTHING you love (such as your tree).

Gays are not asking for the right to marry ANYONE they love. Nor are they asking for the right to marry EVERYONE they love, or ANYTHING they love. There are good reasons, which I’ll spare you for now, for denying such requests to anyone who would make them.

The right to marry, at least as it has been understood and practiced in modern western civilization, is the right to marry SOMEONE that you love – or at least SOMEONE that you want or are willing, for whatever reason, to marry

Gays are simply asking for the right all straight people currently enjoy – the right to marry SOMEONE they love. Gays cannot love members of the opposite sex (in the relevant sense). Their exclusion from legal marriage thus denies them the right to marry SOMEONE they love.

Your “tree” argument is essentially, “if we allow gays to marry SOMEONE that they love, there’s no reason to deny people the right to marry ANYTHING they might love. That is a non-sequitur.

Joe H.

April 5, 2010 @ 7:43 am #

Joe –

I asked you not to post because our discussions were eating all our time and energy and taking over the blog, which was distracting from my goals. In this instance, I asked for comment, and you’re welcome to comment.

“Gays are not asking for the right to marry ANYONE / EVERYONE they love… Gays are simply asking for the right … to marry SOMEONE they love.

I want to marry the birch tree. I don’t want to marry every birch tree, just this one. Why can’t I?

Nor are they asking for the right to marry EVERYONE they love, or ANYTHING they love. There are good reasons, which I’ll spare you for now, for denying such requests to anyone who would make them.

But that’s the very question I was asking: what are those reasons? And my expectation is that when you present them, they’ll apply with equal force toward explaining why we should not change the historical meaning of “marriage” to suit gays’ desires.

The right to marry, at least as it has been understood and practiced in modern western civilization, is the right to marry SOMEONE that you love

The right to marry, as it has been understood and practiced in modern western civilization, is the right to marry SOMEONE OF THE OPPOSITE GENDER that you love. If we are to rip the meaning out of the word “marriage” to suit those who feel non-traditional desires, why not me and my birch tree?

Your “tree” argument is essentially, “if we allow gays to marry SOMEONE that they love, there’s no reason to deny people the right to marry ANYTHING they might love. That is a non-sequitur.

I did not make an argument, I asked a question. The arguments come after the question gets answered.

If you feel the need to characterize my overall argument, it is a reductio ad absurdum, to wit: the arguments gays are using to justify changing the meaning of marriage from what it has meant in every society in the history of mankind to a definition that permits them to marry someone they desire that falls outside the historical definition, apply equally well to changing the meaning of marriage to anything at all that someone desires. The converse is also true — any argument offered to explain why I should not marry my birch tree will be equally forceful in arguing why a man cannot marry another man, or a woman, another woman.

If you think that doesn’t follow, then prove me wrong: give me a reason why I cannot marry my birch tree, that cannot immediately be turned around and used to explain why a man cannot marry another man, or a woman, another woman.

April 5, 2010 @ 1:18 pm #

Phil:

Your challenge – in which there is an implicit argument – was to explain how a supporter of gay marriage could oppose allowing you to marry a birch tree.

My basic point is that you can’t marry your birch tree because a birch tree is a THING. Marriage is, at minimum, a relationship, and you cannot form a relationship (or a contract) with a THING.

Members of one’s own sex are not mere things – they are persons, someones. You can form relationsps with persons – so the argument against being allowed to marry a birch tree doesn’t apply to members of the same sex.

This argument, I believe, satisfies your challenge to:

“[G]ive me a reason why I cannot marry my birch tree, that cannot immediately be turned around and used to explain why a man cannot marry another man, or a woman, another woman.”

As for the public policy reasons why individuals should not be allowed to marry ANYONE they wish, or EVERYONE they wish, I’ll refer you to “Gay Marriage,” by Jonathan Rauch. He’s a conservative writer who has made the case in favor of Gay marriage as well as anyone. If you really want to know whether there are important distinctions between incestual marriage, polyagamy, and gay marriage (there are), you can read him at your leisure.

Joe H.

April 5, 2010 @ 2:08 pm #

Phil,

One final thing – and I mean that – your point that the right to marry has always meant “the right to marry SOMEONE of the OPPOSITE GENDER” is a fair point – and one that clarifies the issue.

Proponents of Gay marriage want to delete the “of the opposite gender” element of the traditional definition of marriage. Your implicit argument is that nothing can be said in favor of this deletion that will not also support extending marriage rights to ANYONE, EVERYONE and ANYTHING.

The reason this is wrong is that extending marriage rights to ANYONE, EVERYONE and ANYTHING conflicts with our thinking that our right to marry ought to be limited to an APPROPRIATE SOMEONE. Proponents of Gay marriage are not challenging traditionalists on this point – they agree – for good, independent, reasons (see Jonathan Rauch)- that the right to marry ought to be limited to the right to marry SOMEONE.

Deleting the “OF THE OPPOSITE GENDER” element of the traditional definition of marriage only implicates the issue of who is an APPROPRIATE SOMEONE. Opponents of Gay Marriage believe that members of the same sex are not APPROPRIATE SOMEONES.

Now, if you asked me why siblings or one’s children are not APPROPRIATE SOMEONES, I’d merely ask you to imagine growing up in a family where the members saw each other as potential spouses and sexual partners. The problems with such an arrangement are pretty obvious.

But if I asked you why same sex partners are not APPROPRIATE SOMEONES, you’d say . . . well. . . here’s where I have yet to hear anything convincing.

Joe H.

April 5, 2010 @ 3:50 pm #

I’ve got a friend who calls himself an “Objectivist” who thinks neither the state nor the church has any business sanctioning marriage at all. If two people (or a man and a birch tree) want to live together and procreate (or not, if gay or arboreal), then let them.

This idea sounds enticing until one analyzes the premises and ramifications.

First, let’s take a moment to admit that human beings come in two varieties – Male and Female – which can and do produce offspring when they get together and do what comes naturally. Let’s also acknowledge that – unlike baby chickens – human offspring need someone to feed them and train them how to survive, and that feeding and training goes on for a minimum of five or six years (probably twice that long).

So there’s a *biological* basis for what we call “Marriage”, which is deeply embedded in our culture.

We also know that in civilized society, we have laws – both written and unwritten – designed to prevent chaos and violence. Consider, for example, if my Objectivist friend got his wish and the concept of “marriage” was legally abolished.

There would be no such thing as community property. When a couple broke up, there would be no law to determine who got what assets. (That would be settled – no doubt – by gunplay.)

When the “other” (formerly called a ‘spouse’) died, there would be no legal claim on the joint assets that both had worked for.

There would be no law governing succession, and no such thing as an “heir”. There would be no legal recognition of the biological fact that children need parents to feed and educate them.

Ideally, the intent and goal of the American system of law is to make “taking matters into your own hands” unnecessary. Abolishing the institution of male-female marriage would *necessitate* violence to settle things.

Personally, I would like to see American law recognize “civil union” for gays who want to live together – simply to provide a legal framework for the division of assets upon death or divorce. I object to calling a civil union Marriage, though, for the biological reason.

April 5, 2010 @ 3:56 pm #

There are several issues we could discuss here, but I’ll start with these and see what you have to say:

Marriage is, at minimum, a relationship,

Where did you get this from? What is your basis for declaring that marriage must include a relationship? This is vital, because unless this is true, there is no reason why I cannot marry my birch.

you cannot form a relationship (or a contract) with a THING.

Says who? Birches are life forms, no? I provide land, nourishment, pruning, and love; she responds by giving me shade, stability, and comfort. We do have a relationship, and for you to say otherwise is nothing but the bigotry of the ambient against the stationary. If I say I have a love relationship with my lovely birch (seriously, Joe, look at the picture, isn’t she a fetching THING?) on what basis can you say that I have not? What do you know of how we feel? And if I desire to marry my lovely birch, and I declare to you that I DO have a love relationship, what right do you or the state have telling me what I can love?

You must be a stationaphobe. Or perhaps a Betulaphobe, or a Magnoliophytaphobe. I haven’t decided. But it’s bad. Trust me.

The contract issue I’ll grant you. The state does not, at this time, permit contracts with what it considers inanimate objects, just as some states did not permit white people to marry black people in the 1st half of the 20th century. But surely if the 14th Amendment guarantees me equal protection under the law, and the Supreme Court agrees to grant me my rights, then this legal barrier will be removed in due course. We shall overcome, my birch and me, just as the blacks overcame the vicious racism of the south.

I’ll deal with Jonathan Rauch’s arguments when they’re presented here. The issue on which you have referenced them, I regard as unaddressed for the purpose of this discussion.

April 5, 2010 @ 9:19 pm #

Phil,

you’re making a big mistake. pick the tree in the middle (with the multiple trunks} Much bigger hugs

April 5, 2010 @ 10:41 pm #

Phil,

I said that was the last word but you invited me back.

However, I thought you were going to be serious. If you don’t acknowledge that marriage is a relationship (a contractual relationship at minumum) or that Birch trees are “Objects” as opposed to “subjects,” there is no point in talking with you.

I’ll assume you were amusing yourself at my expense and won’t hold you to those comments. If you meant them – just say so and I’ll go back to my life.

You said there were no arguments against including in the right marry the right to marry your birch tree, or “children, dogs, trees, cars, or whatever,” that would not equally cut against the right to marry members of the same sex. Your challenge to “liberals” (you failed to contemplate that numerous conservatives support gay marriage as well) was to demonstrate otherwise.

I’ve given you two such arguments. (1) The right to marry should not include the right to marry your birch tree, because marriage is a relationship and a birch tree is incapable of forming a relationship. (2)
The right to marry should not include the right to marry family members, because that would sexualize family relationships and cause tremdous psychological harm. Here’s a third argument. (3) The right to marry should not include the right to marry children, because children cannot give mature informed consent and are almost certain to be harmed by sexual activity.

None of these arguments cuts against allowing same sex (adult) marriage. You said “when then-Senator Rick Santorum argued that the arguments supporting gay marriage would eventually be used to allow people to marry children, dogs, trees, cars, or whatever, progressives all around the country screeched like worn brake pads, declaring that Santorum was just a bigot expressing his hatred of gays by lying.”

I’ve just given you three independent reasons for not allowing people “to marry children, dogs, trees, cars, or whatever,” that do not cut against allowing gay marriage. In doing so, I have not “screeched like a brake pad” – I have met your challenge. I’ve also explained that there is a big difference between having the right to marry an APPROPRIATE SOMEONE and the having the right to marry ANYONE, or EVERYONE, or ANYTHING.

What proponents and opponents of Gay Marriage disagree about is whether a same sex individual is an APPRORPRIATE SOMEONE. They don’t disagree about whether the right to marry should be limited to SOMEONES as opposed to ANYONES or EVERYONES EVERYTHINGS.

I hope my attempt to provide intellectual clarity on this issue won’t be summarily dismissed as “moral preening,” which we progressives do love, or as the “unthinking glibness” so characteristic of progresives when we are “challenged intellectually.”

Joe H.

April 6, 2010 @ 5:52 am #

[...] I’ve issued a challenge at Plumb Bob Blog, my political/social blog, to progressives and atheists to see which of them can answer cogently. I’m giving away the secret up front: this is about the semantic contortion that leads them to call long-term cohabiting between gays “marriage,” and insist on marital rights and appurtenances that apply thereto. I will describe the challenge here, but for the sake of keeping the discussion in one place ask you to comment over there. [...]

April 6, 2010 @ 9:10 am #

Joe –

I am completely serious, and the fact that you think I am not is entirely telling.

1) Marriage at a minimum is between people, not things.

I asked “Where did you get this?” and you did not answer. You and I both know where you got this; it’s the common definition of marriage. There are differences between cultural definitions, but all cultures agree to the basic criteria, one of which is “to a person.”

The point previously made is that the same definition, from the same source, posits “to a member of the opposite sex,” and like the “person” criterion, all cultures agree.

So, you agreed previously that gays want to change the definition. The reason offered so far is “they desire it.” Yet, you will not grant me the right to change the definition of marriage to fulfill my desire.

So now you are on the horns of a dilemma: either (1) the definition of marriage stands, in which case I cannot call my relationship to my birch “marriage” because that violates the definition of the word — and you cannot call the cohabiting of men with men or women with women “marriage,” because that likewise violates the definition of the word. Or, (2) you may arbitrarily change the definition of the word to mean what gays want it to mean — and you must also grant arborialists (or arbor-eroticists, or betulaphiles, “betula” being the genus of birches) the right to change the meaning of the word to mean what we want it to mean.

So far in this discussion, the only reason offered for insisting that gays can change the meanings of words but arborialists can’t, is “Jonathan Rauch explains it in his book.” I’ve already indicated that this is insufficient; you must argue the reasons. You also, albeit late, offered public policy reasons why we should not allow marriage to minors or close family members; it would be relevant to explain the public policy reasons for forbidding marriage to objects, but you don’t give us any.

This, by the way, answers an argument unstated so far, namely “Who does it hurt if we make this change?” You know as well as I do that logic rests entirely on agreement regarding the meanings of words. If the logician cannot count on the meanings of words remaining the same throughout the argument, logic is not possible. The acquisition of knowledge likewise depends on agreement regarding the meanings of words. And human liberty is protected best, as we have discovered here in America, by requiring men to be bound by universally applicable laws, and laws depend on the meanings of words remaining the same as when the legislature passed the laws. If laws can be changed, arguments can be changed, knowledge can be changed simply by the whim of a small group of people deciding that a word means something other than what it meant when the law, argument, or knowledge was formed, then logic, knowledge, and law become subject to the whims of politically powerful groups. This hurts everybody.

I imagine you will point out that word meanings change all the time. Yes, they do, by gradual changes in common usage — but the arguments and laws are adjusted to reflect the meanings originally intended, and do not drift with the normal migration of word usage. What you’re proposing here is a forced change in usage by political action, at the behest of a tiny minority, and making both knowledge and law subject to the new meaning. This does not just attack the foundation of civilization (that being knowledge, truth, and law,) it destroys it.

2) You can’t have a relationship with a thing.

Here, I think, is where you find me unserious. I don’t blame you — there isn’t a thing I say in that set of paragraphs that makes the least sense. But Joe, every word of that portion of the argument mirrors arguments that I’ve seen, not once, not dozens of times, but hundreds of times offered in defense of gay “marriage,” and offered seriously. You’re right, they’re laughable, and they always have been, which is why I call progressives intellectually challenged. The entire gay “marriage” movement would be an immensely funny thing in a sane society because the arguments are so completely ridiculous. But they’re actually succeeding in changing society by means of these rhetorical contortions, this disfigured excuse for reason, and they’re succeeding at destroying reputations, getting opponents jailed or shunned, and persuading courts to change laws in violation of both reason and constitutional limits. That makes it a lot less funny.

You added some things at the end of your last post, so I’ll add:

3) Various public policy reasons why marriages to minors and close family members should not be permitted.

I’m not sure how this relates to the Birch Tree Challenge, so I’ll simply observe that my birch is neither a sapling nor a close family member. My family is very white, but not that white.

There do exist cultural expressions that permit marriage to minors and still call it marriage, and in those cultures the consent of the bride is not required; so while I agree with your policy choice regarding minors, you’re not addressing a criterion that is central to the definition of the word “marriage” (or, more accurately, you’re disputing a practice that is in some sense peripheral to the core human practice.) I do believe that the “close family ties” objection exists in every culture, but even there, when it occurs between siblings, people do call it a marriage, even though they disapprove of it. Both of these practices — marrying minors and marrying siblings — are less central to the definition of marriage than is the requirement that a marriage be between members of the opposite sex.

April 6, 2010 @ 9:10 am #

pick the tree in the middle (with the multiple trunks} Much bigger hugs

I guess I’m just not a “trunk man.”

April 6, 2010 @ 9:57 am #

I love this thread! Nothing above argues against marrying an animal. In fact, there is a great groundswell in certain circles to convince humans they have no different status than “all the rest of the critters.” Using the “speciesism” argument guarantees that all of the arguments apply easily to animals. Any argument against this has to define convincingly how/why humans and animals are not equivalent. If you say because we have language, then a mute person would be disqualified as a partner. If you say it is abstract thinking, then anyone under a certain IQ or a concrete thinker would also be disqualified.

The age argument only works to a point. It was quite common for femals to be much younger than males in certain places and times. As long as the animal — let’s say a dog — is 3 years or older (year=7×3=21), why not. And don’t tell me a dog can’t consent, because it can by its actions. In fact dogs will kiss anyone whose willing.

You might be able to use the procreation argument with other species in terms of producing human offspring, but there’s that speciesism argument again.

But if the procreation argument stands, then this argues against same-sex marriage. In fact low birth rate is developing into a major problem in certain cultures. You get where this is going…

Who instituted marriage? The theistic argument is that God did. In which case its definition is immutable. If you don’t buy that, then social constructivism would lead back to what do most people think. And in this case, there is no possibility of a discrimination argument because we should align ourselves with the norm of society.

BTW, one big advantage to marrying outside of species is actually the “lack” of language (oh wait, biting might be an issue).

April 6, 2010 @ 11:48 am #

“Proponents of Gay marriage want to delete the ‘of the opposite gender’ element of the traditional definition of marriage.”
———-

Sheeesh. That’s like saying all they want to do is take the H2O out of the water. Or like someone wanting all the rights and privileges of a college graduation but they want to define “graduation” as to include the oxymoron of “same-level progression” for those who would otherwise be discriminated against.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the way we use the term “Progressives” today?

April 6, 2010 @ 12:11 pm #

That’s like saying all they want to do is take the H2O out of the water.

My point exactly.

Or, it’s like trying to change the definition of “leg” to include the tires on my car, so I can have my health insurance pay for my new tires under their prosthesis coverage. Or vice-versa: trying to change the definition of “tire” to force AAA to cover my leg amputation and prosthesis under their roadside tire repair coverage.

If you can play with definitions and have the changes enforceable under the law, no contract is worth the paper it’s written on.

April 6, 2010 @ 12:32 pm #

The states interest in marriage has nothing to do with God and everything to do with the preservation of the grater society by preserving and protecting the family unit. When the state no longer has an interest in preserving our society, and in fact wants to radically change it, attacking the family unit makes total sense. This has been going on for years. The first line of attack was against fathers as the head of the house. The next big step was redefining a family, and now it’s the meaning of marriage.

One other thing occurs to me; any two people can draw up a legally binding contract one does not need marriage for that purpose. Marriage is inherently for the promotion and protection of the family. So say I…

April 6, 2010 @ 1:16 pm #

Phil,

The claim that marriage is a “relationship” is far more fundamental to the concept than the idea that marriage “is a relationship between a man and a woman.”

When someone claims that a person can “marry” a birch tree, they are saying that “marriage” need not be a “relationship.” When they argue that marriage need not be limited to opposite sex couples, they are advocating a far less radical shift in the definition of the institution.

Most of what constitutes the institution of marriage (as we practice it) is preserved when it is extended to same sex couples. Myriad examples, from your own state’s experiment, prove this. It is pretty obvious that “marital relations” can exist between same sex couples when we observe gay marriage in practice. It is only when you abstractly limit the idea of “marital relations” to relations between opposite sex couples – and ignore everything else about the practice of marriage – that you can refuse to see this.

You seem to believe that “the meaning of words must remain constant” for us to be able to reason and think. That is clearly wrong, and proven wrong by the evolved definition of “marriage” itself. Do you think the modern concept of “marriage” is the same as the concept of marriage as it was understood two-hundred years ago? Of course not.
Or think of the words “healthy diet” and “skyscraper” and ask yourself, do these words or phrases have the same implications today as they did merely one-hundred years ago? The answer is obviously, “no.” They are the same in terms of their essential meaning, but not in terms of what they denote by way of example.

You are committed to the view that the definition of “marriage” must contain the notion of “partners of the opposite sex.” I don’t see why that part of the traditional definition is essential to the concept. It is, of course, central to the idea of marriage from a biological standpoint, and from the standpoint of how “marriage” has been traditionally practiced. But it is not essential to the concept of marriage in the same way that “marriage is a committed and [hopefully] life long relationship” is. It does no harm to the institution to include gays. The basic idea – a life long partnership of commited mutual support, commitment, and [promised] affection – is preserved in this extension.

I understand that you think the “opposite gender” aspect of the definition is critical. But I don’t see why? Particularly when we acknowledge that gay people cannot form romantic/sexual/marital type relations with members of their own sex, but still have the same needs for companionship, support, and affection as straight people do. Why would we want to deny them all the benefits of the institution? Why would we want to deny them the “civilizing” effects that the expectation of marriage creates?

At any rate, the main point I want to make is that “opposite sex” is not essential to the concept of marriage in the same way that “committed long-term relationship” is. Get rid of “committed long-term relationship,” and the very idea of marriage disintegrates. Extend the opportunity of legally recognized committed long-term relationships to same-sex couples, and, as your own state’s example illustrates, nothing much changes with regards to the institution.

That’s all.

Best wishes.

Joe H.

April 6, 2010 @ 2:36 pm #

The claim that marriage is a “relationship” is far more fundamental to the concept than the idea that marriage “is a relationship between a man and a woman.”

You need to provide a reasonable basis for this claim, which sounds like gibberish to me.

How do you go about deciding which parts of the core definition are more central than other parts? In my discussion, I pointed out that common usage continues to call a relationship “marriage” even though it involves a minor or a close family member (witness Muhammed’s marriage to his 9-year-old cousin, or Caligula’s marriage to his sister,) and conclude that those characteristics are less central than the ones that occur in all cultures at all times. The criterion I’m using is “ordinary human practice, as indicated by species-wide cultural agreement.” By that criterion, “person” and “opposite sex” are equally weighty, as both appear in all cultures. They are joined by “committed,” “conjugal rights,” and “joint property” so far as I’m aware. All of these are equally weighty, as all appear in all cultural practices of marriage. I would add “primarily for the purpose of reproduction,” as that appears to be the cultural common denominator, although the deliberately obtuse can point to the modern and somewhat aberrant innovation of deliberately childless couples and confuse the issue if I do.

What criterion are you using to declare that the gender qualification is less weighty than the person qualification?

Pardon my cynicism here, but I suspect that your primary criterion is “What needs to be true in order to carry the point.”

I don’t see why that part of the traditional definition is essential to the concept.

And I don’t see why the color of the sky is represented by the sound “bloo” in English-speaking nations. But it is… and as I explained, if we allow political movements arbitrarily to change these things at their whim, law, knowledge, and civilization come unglued.

Get rid of “committed long-term relationship,” and the very idea of marriage disintegrates.

I intend to remain married to my birch tree as long as we both shall live, and so far as I can tell, she feels the same. That seems to satisfy your criterion. And if you think that this relationship would have too little deliberate communication to be called a marriage, you didn’t know my paternal grandparents.

Get rid of “male and female” and the very idea of marriage disintegrates. A definition is a definition, and this one is not even culturally variable, it’s a permanent human characteristic.

April 6, 2010 @ 3:15 pm #

Simple: marriage is a contract. At any point in history where marriage has been acknowledged, one way or the other, it is *always* a contract. A contract, from a legal standpoint, requires two or more parties who are able and willing to give their informed consent of the agreement. A gay person can do this; a tree/stump cannot.

Although it’s false to say that marriage has not changed since its inception; used to be, you could marry a women without necessarily procuring her consent, such as in the Biblical days, when women could be promised away by their fathers or owners as marriage partners without their own consent. So I guess if we go by the traditional Biblical definition of marriage, then the consent of both married parties is not necessary, and yes, we could work it out so that you could marry that tree/stump.

But I don’t support the Biblical definition of marriage, so it doesn’t apply to the case I’m making.

April 6, 2010 @ 3:41 pm #

Welcome, Tim.

A contract, from a legal standpoint, requires two or more parties who are able and willing to give their informed consent of the agreement. A gay person can do this; a tree/stump cannot.

The practice of arranged marriage is far wider than just the Near East of bible times. Arranged marriages are still common today in rural parts of India, Pakistan, Japan, China, and Iran, just to name a few places. The consent of the partners is not a constant, as the marriage is arranged by the parents, often while the children are too young to give informed consent legally. Thus the ability to give informed consent is only a problem if the birch is an American birch.

As I pointed out when Joe H. mentioned contracts, if the Supreme Court grants me equal protection such that I am able to marry the mate of my choice (as this is understood by proponents of gay “marriage”) then the problem of contracts will surely work itself out. I think precedent could be found in 19th century slave ownership rights, such that the birch would be free to marry if it had the consent of the landowner, or something along those lines. In this case, fortunately for me and my betrothed, that’s me. O, happy day…

April 6, 2010 @ 4:15 pm #

“As I pointed out when Joe H. mentioned contracts, if the Supreme Court grants me equal protection such that I am able to marry the mate of my choice (as this is understood by proponents of gay “marriage”) then the problem of contracts will surely work itself out. I think precedent could be found in 19th century slave ownership rights, such that the birch would be free to marry if it had the consent of the landowner, or something along those lines. In this case, fortunately for me and my betrothed, that’s me. O, happy day…”

And so we’ve established that one must favor (a) legally-binding arranged marriages, and (b) slavery (for there must be slavery in order for you to have “ownership rights” such that you can give consent on behalf of the tree), in order for any definition of marriage to allow a person to marry a tree or stump. I favor neither. Therefore the point stands~

April 6, 2010 @ 4:17 pm #

P.S. If marriage doesn’t require consent, then why can I not marry you right now?

April 6, 2010 @ 7:35 pm #

The simplest answer is that a birch tree cannot enter into a contract of marriage because it doesn’t have hands to sign on the dotted line. I’m sure you could do what many polygamists do and simply put on some BS ritual that shows to your fellow BS polygamists that, “Hey, we’re married!” but they’re not legal marriages so there are no benefits. But sure enough you can run around and think and say that you’re married. So yeah, go ahead, “marry” your tree and produce many saplings. what kind of protection does one wear when shagging a tree? What out for dutch elm disease and the emerald ash borer.

April 6, 2010 @ 10:16 pm #

I said: The claim that marriage is a “relationship” is far more fundamental to the concept than the idea that marriage “is a relationship between a man and a woman.”

Phil Said: “You need to provide a reasonable basis for this claim, which sounds like gibberish to me.”

Fair enough, but let me suggest that it sounds like gibberish to you because you refuse to divorce the two concepts – relationship and opposite sex – in your conception of marriage. Your refusal, by the way, is an act of your will – not your intellect. It is certainly possible to divorce these concepts – almost half of the population has done so in coming to support “gay marriage.” But they could not support gay marriage if the two concepts were inexorably linked. The very idea of “gay marriage” would be utterly incoherent. No one could understand the idea or make any sense of it.

But almost all of us understand the idea very clearly, even if we oppose it. This demonstrates that we’re thinking about something other than “opposite sex” when we think about “marriage.”

Consider the phenomenon known as “common law marriage.” In some states, if a man and a woman integrate their lives and finances extensively and exclusively, over a prolonged period of time, Courts will deem them to be married irrespective of the existence of any marriage license. What the courts are recognizing is not the fact that they are of the opposite sex – although, historically, this was a necessary condition for such recognition. The courts are recognizing the fact that the parties have created an enduring relationship.

The central fact in this analysis is not that the parties are opposite sex. It is that they have created a certain kind of relationship. The fact that we have always restricted marriage to opposite sex couples is a function of what some thinkers have called “the natural teleology” of the male and female bodies. But that doesn’t mean that “opposite sex” is an essential, or even central, aspect of the concept of marriage. This point has been demonstrated thousands of times by homosexual couples in your state. They’ve tied the knot and integrated their lives as couples – some lovingly, others not so much. They adopted children and are raising them. They are as married as anyone else.

You claim that the “opposite sex” element of the traditional definition is essential to the idea of marriage. But clearly it is not – otherwise we could not understand the concept of “gay marriage.” Your refusal to separate the two concepts is just that – a refusal. It is not an argument.

Joe H.

April 7, 2010 @ 2:51 am #

“The practice of arranged marriage is far wider than just the Near East of bible times. Arranged marriages are still common today in rural parts of India, Pakistan, Japan, China, and Iran, just to name a few places.”

But you were talking specifically about America, so these other countries are irrelevant to your argument, unless you want to argue that forced marriages are legal according to the US constitution.

If you don’t want to argue that, Tim’s point stands – a tree cannot enter into a contract, your analogy fails.

April 7, 2010 @ 5:32 am #

“but (2) cannot immediately be offered back as an argument against gay “marriage” rights.”

It’s funny you say this, because I’ve yet to hear an argument against gay marriage than couldn’t immediately be offered back as an argument against either a) any kind of marriage (eg, civil partnerships offer the same rights, b) inter-racial marriage, or c) marriage between couples where one is no longer fertile.

To expand the latter, imagine you came across a state that based its marriage laws on the principle that it’s solely about reproduction.

Before a couple is allowed to marry, they must both pass a fertility test. Once the man passes the age of 50, or the woman 45, they have to take the test anew every couple of years. If either fail, the marriage is ‘downgraded’ to a civil partnership. Likewise for any woman who goes through the menopause.

Exemption for the downgrading is allowed if you have any children younger than 18, so that the family unit is preserved. The exemption expires once the children pass this age.

April 7, 2010 @ 10:58 am #

I have a question, what self interest does the state have in recognizing gay marriage? I can understand why in a healthy society would promote and protect traditional marriage, but I just don’t see any benefit to society, that comes from promoting gay marriage. And, as far as I can see promoting gay marriage requires that the state legally change the definition of marriage to something that it has never been before.

However, it seems to me that Tim D did make a good point when he asked why he could not marry Phil, without his consent if Phil can marry a tree. I have to admit I would never have thought of that argument. I mean just think of the possibilities.

April 7, 2010 @ 11:24 am #

Dale, the state comprises its citizens, including gays. If you benefit the citizens, you benefit the state. A healthy and free government should need a good reason to DENY a right, not to grant it.

You could take lots of rights and ask how it benefits ‘The State’. What self interest does the state have in allowing free speech? It’s the first step towards totalitarianism when the government says ‘what’s in it for us to allow such and such a minority such and such a right?”.

April 7, 2010 @ 12:46 pm #

Nathan, I would respond that it depends on what the interests of the state are. At the root of our government is the idea that we are a free people, and that the government exists by our consent. Without free speech freedom would be impossible, on the other hand our country has been relatively free since 1776 without gay marriage. It’s not reasonable to expect the government to cater to every whim of a minority group, nor does in enhance freedom in our country as a hole to do so. In fact trying to do so will create defacto minority rule, which is hardly freedom enhancing.

April 7, 2010 @ 12:58 pm #

Shel Silverstein, “The Giving Tree”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up7-xHm6jlA

Who says a tree can’t have a relationship!

April 7, 2010 @ 1:06 pm #

Joe H.’s last post appears to be a bit of a home run, at least on first appearance.

Phil, what about granting all benefits of marriage to gay people without wresting the term away from those who hold it sacred? The benefits to society to having more stable relationships among gays looks evident…if a government could somehow encourage stability. It does not appear to have done very well on that count with respect to heterosexual marriage.

April 7, 2010 @ 1:48 pm #

Gordon, I believe the solution you are proposing has been enacted in more they one state and it’s not what gays want; they want marriage.

“if a government could somehow encourage stability. It does not appear to have done very well on that count with respect to heterosexual marriage.”

Well if you take a slug hammer to it for 50 plus years it should surprise no one that it’s a little unstable now.

April 7, 2010 @ 2:11 pm #

Hi Dale,

Just be hypothetical with me…if most were asking for something short of using the word “marriage” – but granting all else, is that acceptable?

Phil’s argument does not appear to address this issue.

April 7, 2010 @ 2:21 pm #

PS Dale -

Who’s swinging the “slug” hammer?

April 7, 2010 @ 2:31 pm #

“On the other hand our country has been relatively free since 1776 without gay marriage.”

Apart from that slavery thing, right? Was setting the slaves free ‘in the state’s self interest’? Was that a case of ‘catering to every whim of a minority group’?

April 7, 2010 @ 3:29 pm #

Dale: “I believe the solution you are proposing has been enacted in more they one state and it’s not what gays want; they want marriage.”

I don’t believe there’s any state where a civil partnership gives all the same rights. There always remains issues, eg during illness, where a partner lacks rights that marriage would have given.

Out of interest, would you accept it if you were told that YOU would have to settle for a civil partnership rather than marriage? If you see them as so similar, surely this is something you wouldn’t have a problem with.

What if it was decided you or your partner was a member of some minority group such that the state couldn’t see the benefit of of granting that group marriage rights – left-handed, or infertile, or too old, whatever.

April 7, 2010 @ 3:57 pm #

Oh boy I’ve stepped in it now. Any sane person resists the urge to go walking in a minefield. Oh well here goes:

Gordon, I wouldn’t like it but yes I could accept it if they could accept that it was still not a real family. The reason is adoption. I don’t want to see the courts trying to pretend that gay people adopting children is a good thing for the children, and is a equal right of all married couples.

“Who’s swinging the slug hammer?”

Hollywood, the courts, leftist politicians, the “if it feels good do it people”; you know all the usual suspects.

Nathan, if you mean by state’s, our countries best interest the answer is YES. By doing so we established, or reaffirmed the rule of law. We established that no one could have their freedom taken from them except by due process, that all people in our country should have equal standing. Every one of us benefited from that.

April 7, 2010 @ 4:21 pm #

Nathan, you said:

“Out of interest, would you accept it if you were told that YOU would have to settle for a civil partnership rather than marriage? If you see them as so similar, surely this is something you wouldn’t have a problem with.
What if it was decided you or your partner was a member of some minority group such that the state couldn’t see the benefit of of granting that group marriage rights – left-handed, or infertile, or too old, whatever.”

We started this discussion about whether it was a good idea to redefine marriage other then between a man and a woman. Phil basically said that if you can arbitrarily redefine marriage, there’s no logical reason you can’t define it to mean anything. I think you’re sort of making his point, if you can redefine marriage then what you are saying has no logical problem. And yes society could redefine marriage to in some way exclude me. Only if the definition of marriage stays the same am I really protected.

April 7, 2010 @ 4:22 pm #

Dale -

I think I’d probably spread that blame right on through everyone who has treated marriage with contempt by their actions, whether they pay lip service to the purity of the institution or not. I see no reason to limit THAT aspect to one side of the political spectrum of the other.

April 7, 2010 @ 6:09 pm #

Our government doesn’t “GRANT” rights, it “RECOGNIZES” rights that pre-existed the government…

April 7, 2010 @ 6:58 pm #

Phil – You wicked, evil forest-wrecker. I saw her first. If you don’t keep away I’ll be forced to choak you to death!

April 7, 2010 @ 9:25 pm #

On the matter of same-sex couples being the same as infertile married couples:

Only some heterosexual couples are infertile. ALL homosexual couples are infertile. The comparison is between dull scissors and scissors put together with their blades reversed.

Both may be incapable of cutting paper (thought the dull ones may surprise you). But the similarity stops there. The former example well qualifies as scissors even when failing the primary function of design. The latter example is more of a mockery than the real thing. Not to mention dangerous.

April 8, 2010 @ 3:39 am #

“ALL homosexual couples are infertile.”

And all couples where the woman is over 60 are infertile. So the point stands – why not, by your logic, force older couples to downgrade their marriages to civil partnerships? If the only worth of a marriage is it’s ability to produce children, why not?

Answer: because very few people genuinely believe it’s just about producing kids. Or we’d have an age limit on women getting married. It’s just an excuse offered by people who can’t come up with a non-emotional reason to oppose gay marriage.

“Phil basically said that if you can arbitrarily redefine marriage, there’s no logical reason you can’t define it to mean anything.”

Only if you don’t recognise the importance of consent. And you DO recognise that importance, don’t you? I mean, you don’t think people should be able to marry against their will, do you? If you DO recognise the importance of consent, then there is a VERY logical reason why you can’t redefine marriage to include animals, kids… or trees.

Now Dale, imagine you’re in Virginia in 1967, and your sitting in court during the Loving v. Virginia case. A lawyer is explaining to you why he doesn’t think black and white people should be allowed to marry. Would you accept this as a good reason:
“If we redefine marriage in Virginia to let black and white people marry, there’s no logical reason why a man can’t marry a seven-year-old girl.”

A good argument? Really?

Dale: “We established that no one could have their freedom taken from them except by due process, that all people in our country should have equal standing”

Excellent, you’ve made my point perfectly.

April 8, 2010 @ 5:49 am #

“The latter example is more of a mockery than the real thing. Not to mention dangerous.”

So would you say the marriage of, say, your parents is a ‘dangerous mockery of the real thing’, just because your mother has reached the age when ‘all women are infertile’? (substitute any other couple of a certain age if you own parents are no longer together or alive).

Would you be a bit insulted by someone who used such a term to describe an elderly couple’s marriage, or judged its viability on the basis of an elderly woman’s fertility? Bit reductive, no? And a bit odd to describe their pairing as ‘a dangerous mockery’?

Frankly, I feel sorry for anyone who thinks there’s nothing more to marriage than that.

April 8, 2010 @ 6:35 am #

By the way, it was only in the last 20 years that the last state in America ruled that it was possible for rape to occur within marriage. Before the laws changed in North Carolina in 1993, it was literally seen as impossible for a man to rape his wife – if they were married then BY DEFINITION it wasn’t rape.

People could use quote marks when they referred to spousal “rape”, as if it wasn’t really rape. They could act like the term didn’t even make sense, it was a paradox, like they couldn’t even understand the CONCEPT of rape within marriage.

I see the same thing now with gay marriage.

When the laws changed on spousal rape, would you say that the definition of rape or marriage was changed? Would you say that spousal rape was a mere “semantic contortion”?

Would you have argued against the change using a slippery slope argument that if a woman could accuse her husband of forcing her to have sex, then logically a man could accuse a tree of rape? Or that rape could now be consensual? Or that rape could now involve someone who never came near you?

I’d take a wild guess that you’d say ‘no’ to all the above.

April 8, 2010 @ 9:40 am #

Nathan,

“And all couples where the woman is over 60 are infertile.” etc., etc.

You are comparing old apples with stones and continue to insist that they are alike because you wouldn’t eat either of them. Somehow I’m not surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised. Analogies aren’t so much for changing minds; they are more useful in showing the way a thought works– even if you don’t agree with it. You’re rebuttals demonstrate that you have failed to even understand how my thoughts work on this matter.

You ask whether I would say the marriage of my parents was a ‘dangerous mockery of the real thing’, just because my mother has reached the age when ‘all women are infertile’? The answer is already in my analogy. I should not have to explain it to you. My mother’s infertility would be the dull pair of scissors . . . due to a lot of previous cutting no doubt. It is unreasonable to insist that such scissors must cease to be called scissors just because they no longer can cut paper. However, if my mother decided to remarry another woman (reversing the dull blades against their design) she would indeed be making a mockery of that marriage, her previous marriage and of all marriages.

You have already forced your mind to embrace an equality between homosexuality and heterosexuality. That is your starting point. What Phil and I and others here would really like to get at is how you arrived at that starting point. The burden is really not on me to explain my position. It’s on you to explain yours. You are the one who not only wants to change the definition of marriage, but you elevate this change to the virtuous high ground of human rights and moral duty.

So please, try again. But this time explain your position and especially how you got there. I don’t want to deny anyone of their human rights or fail my moral duty. And I explained how my thinking works, despite your failure to comprehend it.

Explain to me exactly how and why same-sex relationships are equal to opposite-sex marriages.

April 8, 2010 @ 9:58 am #

“My mother’s infertility would be the dull pair of scissors . . . due to a lot of previous cutting no doubt.”

Nope, you said that ALL gay couple are infertile, therefore they are the ‘wrong scissors’. Similarly, ALL women over 60 are infertile, so they fall in the same bracket as the gay couples. This is your OWN analogy dullhammer, not mine.

“You have already forced your mind to embrace an equality between homosexuality and heterosexuality. That is your starting point.”

I could say the same for you in reverse. You have forced your mind to reject the equality. Your only justification for this appears to be by appealing to past definitions and past laws. As I have already shown, this argument could be used to reject inter-racial marriage, and to reject laws that allow for spousal rape to be ruled illegal, and to reject changing marriage laws that allowed 13-year-olds to marry.

Are you saying that the architects of these changes in marital law – which I’m assuming you approved of, had a massive burden of proof on them? I’d say that the burden instead lay with those attempting to perpetuate such laws as anti-miscegenation.

So yes, my point stands.

At any rate, regardless of any arguments you offer now, Tim already matched Phil’s challenge right from his first post. He “formed an argument that (1) explains why he opposed what Phil’s proposal, that (2) cannot immediately be offered back as an argument against gay “marriage” rights.”

April 8, 2010 @ 10:15 am #

Your scissors analogy is insulting to all either way – humans aren’t mono-function entities. Your analogy assumes that we have but one function, or at the very least that marriage has a single function. I’m sure most women treasure their role as mothers, but it’s absurd and reductionist to suggest this is the only function they have, that once old they are the equivalent of blunt scissors – useful once but now ready for the scrap head.

If anything, you would have to compare marriage to a swiss army penknife, with gay partners and the elderly perhaps having one blade that isn’t much use in the environment the owner is using it in, but which in total still has many other useful functions.

April 8, 2010 @ 11:20 am #

“However, if my mother decided to remarry another woman (reversing the dull blades against their design)”

Your analogy falls here too – the legal Lemon test states that every US law must have a secular justification – religious alone is not sufficient. Therefore, referring to a religious design is inadmissible. Furthermore, who are you to say that a woman marrying another woman is ‘going against her design’? You’re not her designer, so you’re not in a position to say.

I assume that you’re aware that some people are born hermaphrodites? They have both sets of sexual organs, or at least some of the sexual traits of both genders. For such people traditional notions of ‘design’ are meaningless. Who are you to say that the same doesn’t go for gays? Perhaps a gay man marrying a woman is the ‘reversed scissors’?

Are you a biologist, or psychologist, or God himself? If not, I don’t see how you can base an argument on your expert knowledge of any particular person’s ‘design’.

April 8, 2010 @ 1:19 pm #

Nathan,

So, you overlooked my little question to you. Here it is again:

Explain to me exactly how and why same-sex relationships are equal to opposite-sex marriages.

And back on my scissors analogy. My analogy is . . . an analogy!!! And it is sound. Your objections are ridiculous. On the level of “people can’t be like sheep because they don’t have wool or four legs!”

Truth is I have not forced my mind “to reject the equality”. But even if I did, it would not be relevant as my ‘forced’ position is not the real question. Yours is. And you refuse to give an account of it. If I were seeking to change all the clocks to have 13 numbers instead of 12 or 24, would you want to start out by explaining why it shouldn’t be done or by explaining why it should be done? (That was another analogy, btw, I hope it didn’t throw you off too badly.)

Explain to me exactly how and why same-sex relationships are equal to opposite-sex marriages.

Either that or stop complaining about my radical position that marriage is inherently between a husband and a wife.

April 8, 2010 @ 1:55 pm #

Last night I went home and did some real thinking about same sex marriage. In case you’re wondering I seem to be recovering nicely. In any case the following is the conclusions that I came to:

Marriage can indeed be redefined to include same sex couples, and there is at least the possibility that it could be done in such a way as to preclude other types of marriages, such as marrying your tree. The question is not whether we can redefine marriage, but if it’s a good idea.

Commonsense tells me that marriage is about procreation, and childrearing. If it was just about enjoyment there would be no need for marriage. If you don’t believe that marriage is about childrearing just contemplate for a few minutes the damage that has been done to our society by out of wedlock pregnancies; including abortions, single moms who can’t work and care for their children at the same time, out and out degrading poverty, juvenile crime, and the list goes on. On the other hand same sex relations can never be about procreation and can only be about enjoyment; they can never go beyond that. It’s a dead end.

Marriage is the bed rock foundation of the family. In resent years those who would be social engineers have tried to redefine family to mean any collection of people who care about each other; in my state of Washington, several years ago, our Legislator passed a law which said that any person who had formed a relationship with a child could legally demand visitation rights though the courts. The Supreme Court over turned it. Not our State Supreme Court but the US Supreme Court. People should carefully consider the implications of what my state tried to do. As for me I take the commonsense stand that a family is Mom, Dad, and the kids. Extended family would include the Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, and so on, but would not include any enforceable legal rights. You can see where this is going; marriage and family are tied together. If you are going to redefine marriage you also have to redefine family. And if you redefine family you will almost certainly weaken it. Remember what my state tried to do. Family is not just a collection of people, no matter how they feel about each other.

Please note that I did not once invoke God in this argument. Darwinian’s view of evolution would work just as well.

In the interests of full disclosure I not only believe in God, I also like God. However, I realize that I’m talking to a lot of people who may not share my love of God and God’s laws.

April 8, 2010 @ 4:51 pm #

I think someone has mentioned this before, but we have already agreed, as a nation, to change the definition of marriage at least once – to disallow polygamy (since marriage was originally open to this option before our nation existed).

I can think of absolutely no reason why polygamy (or polyandry, for that matter) by consent should be restricted by the State. Nevertheless, we have arbitrarily decided to redefine the “historical” meaning of marriage down to “one man, one woman”.

This was a change in the meaning of marriage…wasn’t it?

April 8, 2010 @ 6:10 pm #

Gordon wrote:

This was a change in the meaning of marriage…wasn’t it?

No. It was a change in policy regarding the allowable limits of subordinate characteristics of marriage. It’s in the same category as limiting the age at which marriage can be entered into, or limiting the closeness of the blood relationship between the bride and groom. The fact that you personally can see no particular reason for the policy choice does not make the characteristic of polygamy any more or less central to the definition of marriage.

April 8, 2010 @ 6:52 pm #

Alright… I’ve had to attend to other things for a couple of days, and some odd challenges have appeared in the interim. So let’s see if I can address some of this:

Joe H:

let me suggest that it sounds like gibberish to you because you refuse to divorce the two concepts – relationship and opposite sex – in your conception of marriage. Your refusal, by the way, is an act of your will – not your intellect.

Joe, it is not my conception of marriage, and it is most emphatically not an act of my will. It is a species-wide definition, and you agreed to it. And you are far too intelligent, and far too well-educated, to mistake how definitions apply. All portions of the core definition of a term are equally weighty. If there are four characteristics that lead us to determine “This is a duck,” then if any of those characteristics are not present, it is not a duck. Please tell me that this is what you teach your philosophy classes.

Joe H. again:

What the courts are recognizing is not the fact that they are of the opposite sex – although, historically, this was a necessary condition for such recognition. The courts are recognizing the fact that the parties have created an enduring relationship.

This is hilariously wrong, and I think you know it. You know as well as I do that until the modern confusion from gay activists, what the courts were recognizing was not just the fact of permanence, and not just the fact of opposite-sex conjugation, but also the fact of common destiny, common property, intent to reproduce — all the things that are included in the definition of marriage. And in the modern confusion, the courts have NEVER, EVER openly and frankly addressed the fact — and fact, it is — that what gays want to do is to change the definition of “marriage,” a word that has included the same, core set of characteristics in every culture throughout human history. All you’re doing here is trying again to assert something that makes it possible to ignore a central part of the definition of marriage, simply by asserting that it’s so. It won’t wash.

And if you can change the definition — so can I.

Tim D:

And so we’ve established that one must favor (a) legally-binding arranged marriages, and (b) slavery (for there must be slavery in order for you to have “ownership rights” such that you can give consent on behalf of the tree), in order for any definition of marriage to allow a person to marry a tree or stump. I favor neither. Therefore the point stands~

This is just silly, in two or three different ways. Nothing in my answer favors either arranged marriages or slavery — and the logical leap required to go from “they might find precedent in cases about” to “you obviously favor” is so wide that I could drown an army in it. And “I don’t like either” is certainly no reason not to do anything, unless you’ve somehow appointed yourself God of the Universe.

The challenge is to find a reason why I should not be permitted to marry my birch tree. What you offered is a current legal technicality. I concede that the technicality exists for the moment, just as gays concede that they cannot marry now because the law does not permit it (in most places.) However, using the argument advanced by gays regarding the application of the 14th amendment, I argue that my rights SHOULD be granted to me — and that when this happens, the state will be required to dismiss ancillary legal technicalities (as they were in Massachusetts when the Mass Court struck down their marriage law), and will find ways to do that. If you don’t like the suggestions I made for where they might go to find precedent for that, feel free to offer your preferred methods to the legislature.

My situation with my birch is thus not substantially different from gays’ situation with their same-sex partners, and your point has very little relevance to the discussion.

Oh, and by the way — Joe H’s instance of common law marriage offers yet another solution to the “contract” problem. British and American common law have recognized common law marriage since the middle ages, which creates an implied contract simply by virtue of the couple behaving as a married couple. In this way, my birch and I could enter into a contract without anybody having to sign anything, in a manner currently recognized by American law.

Nathan Barley wrote:

…various comments which amount to attempts to avoid the challenge and shift the burden of proof to others…

…which attempts I shall ignore. Address the challenge, or stop wasting space on my blog. If you want to offer a counter-challenge, feel free to start your own blog.

April 8, 2010 @ 7:04 pm #

Gordon wrote:

Phil, what about granting all benefits of marriage to gay people without wresting the term away from those who hold it sacred? The benefits to society to having more stable relationships among gays looks evident…if a government could somehow encourage stability.

Gordon, that’s not what they want. This is truly not about the appurtenances of marriage, it’s about cultural validation. What we call “homosexuality” is mostly a pathology, and its victims feel deep antipathy toward themselves for being so very abnormal. They hope to compensate for this by forcing the whole world (not an exaggeration) to scream in their ears, “WE THINK YOU ARE NORMAL!!!!” It won’t work, because the deep self-loathing comes from within themselves, not from the culture at large. So whatever we give them, it will not be enough, and soon they’ll be demanding yet another token of our high esteem for them, and another, and another.

In the final analysis, I oppose letting gays change the definition of marriage because I know what a disaster it is to let control freaks get their way — both for us, and for the control freaks.

But this has nothing to do with the Birch Tree Challenge. So, back to the reason we’re here.

April 8, 2010 @ 7:20 pm #

By the way, at 54 comments, this is by far the most successful post I’ve made on my blog in months. Thanks to all involved for making this worthwhile.

April 8, 2010 @ 7:43 pm #

I’ve decided that I ought to address this portion of Nathan Barley’s comments:

“Phil basically said that if you can arbitrarily redefine marriage, there’s no logical reason you can’t define it to mean anything.”

Only if you don’t recognise the importance of consent.

The point of my bringing up arranged marriages is to demonstrate that “consent” is not one of the species-wide characteristics that define marriage. Therefore, one does not need to change the core definition of marriage in order to allow marriage without consent.

I’ll also point out that you can’t demonstrate the absence of consent any more than I can demonstrate its presence.

And I’ll point out finally that consent can be implied by common law.

Now Dale, imagine you’re in Virginia in 1967, and your sitting in court during the Loving v. Virginia case. A lawyer is explaining to you why he doesn’t think black and white people should be allowed to marry. Would you accept this as a good reason:
“If we redefine marriage in Virginia to let black and white people marry, there’s no logical reason why a man can’t marry a seven-year-old girl.”

These are not comparable. The law struck down by Loving was not an attempt to alter or limit the definition of marriage, it was an attempt to limit who could enter into a marriage. Specific reasons were offered regarding why that particular limitation — race — was impermissible. Those reasons did not apply to other public policy limitations on marriage. The same cannot be said of the current attempt to alter arbitrarily the very definition of “marriage,” for no reason other than “gays want to alter it.”

This is the reason why gays’ invocation of historical civil rights issues are logically invalid; they’re not attempting to claim a right that’s theirs naturally, they’re attempting to change the definition of a word that’s been established by species-wide practice, so that what they’re doing can be called “marriage” even though it isn’t marriage.

April 8, 2010 @ 9:26 pm #

Phil,

Marriage is a complex concept. There are a variety related concepts that inform our understanding of the institution. These concepts include: love; contract (or license); intimate relationship; family; partnership; procreation; opposite sex paring; monogamy; legally binding union; male authority (at least until recently); and so forth. I’m sure there are others.

Philosophers spend most of their time distinguishing between the core or essential concepts informing a complex concept, and those concepts that, although they may have an enduring connection to the complex concept, and play an important role in the majority of concrete examples of a complex concept, are, nonetheless, nonessential.

One way they do this is by considering which of the informing concepts can be abandoned while still preserving the basic idea. Of the informing concepts I listed above, I’m confident you’ll agree that the existence of love, a license, procreation, male authority, and/or monogamy, although all intimately related to the concept of western marriage, are not essential to the concept. A marriage can exist without their presence.

The question is whether the limiting concept “opposite sex partners” can be abandoned without losing the basic idea of marriage. The answer to that question is, surprisingly, “yes.” Like it or not, same sex marriage is a perfectly coherent idea. The concept of marriage does not disappear, and is not seriously compromised, when you allow same sex couples to participate in the institution. This is proven by the fact that we can, and do, recognize that some same sex couples are married -while others are not. That was what I was driving at yesterday.

Contrast that analysis with whether we can abandon “legally binding” or “relationship” as informing concepts without losing, or at least dramatically altering, the idea of “marriage?” The fact is, you can’t. Claim that “marriage” is not a “legally binding union,” or not a “relationship between (at least) two people,” and you’ll be laughed at. No one will understand what you’re saying. That’s because these concepts are inextricable elements of the concept of marriage. They are far more central than the other (admittedly) related concepts.

For your part, you simply insist that “opposite sex” is essential to the concept of marriage. You can do that – but the test I’ve described clearly proves otherwise. We can coherently debate whether gays should be allowed to marry. We can’t coherently debate whether marriage is some sort of “Legally binding relationship.”

Note, this is not simply an exercise in arbitrarily changing the definition of a word, as you suggest. The analysis I’ve described is a method of determining whether our working understandings of the words we use to invoke concepts genuinely match those concepts. We thought “marriage” had to be a union between a man and a woman. Turns out that the man/women thing wasn’t as crucial to the idea of marriage as we thought.

Lucky for the gays.

Joe H.

April 8, 2010 @ 9:53 pm #

I just thought of a simple illustration for my argument above.

Imagine watching a gay couple that you know have been lovers for several years, participate in a marriage ceremony where an official vested with the legal authority to unite them in marriage, pronounces them “married.” Now imagine yourself arguing “they’re not married, because a marriage is by definition between a man and a woman.”

Now picture the same two people who whom you alternatively know have never met and never participated in a marriage ceremony (or signed a marriage license). Imagine arguing, “they’re not married because they never got married. Heck, they don’t even know each other.”

See the difference?

Joe H.

April 8, 2010 @ 11:42 pm #

What we call “homosexuality” is mostly a pathology, and its victims feel deep antipathy toward themselves for being so very abnormal. They hope to compensate for this by forcing the whole world (not an exaggeration) to scream in their ears, “WE THINK YOU ARE NORMAL!!!!” It won’t work, because the deep self-loathing comes from within themselves, not from the culture at large. So whatever we give them, it will not be enough, and soon they’ll be demanding yet another token of our high esteem for them, and another, and another.

I hope the next discussion here will be on the above with the question being: Given the reality that homosexuality is a pathology, should discriminating “against” homosexuals be unlawful the same way it is illegal to discriminate against ethnicity, race, religion, etc.? Personally, I take the libertarian stance that private entities do as they will and let the market sort things out. Not so w/ government though. FWIW, I was in the military before DADT and it was a nightmare for moral when a homosexual was in the ranks – and it still is. No two ways about it. side note:The US military was revolutionary in the area of integration and it worked so good it has served as a model for the rest of us.

re: this thread – As with the reality of any moral question it is impossible to construct a rational answer that justifies self destructive behavior, and the ongoing efforts to validate and encourage same sex relationships is a crime -against those being encouraged more than anyone. Once upon a time, that was common sense.

SLMSA (So Long, My Sweet America)

April 8, 2010 @ 11:48 pm #

Sorry – call that a “fail” on the blockquote HTML thingy. Consider it my contribution to the downfall of civilization…

April 9, 2010 @ 12:37 am #

Hey Mark 13:31 (nice reference),

It should be noted, that since a debate is occurring, Phil has simply stated the pathology factor unsupported, not really forwarding the argument a whit. That was disappointing.

However, for your sake, I feel the need to point out that you have mixed two ideas that don’t seem to support each other. I appreciate your passion, but whether or not, given the current cultural climate, it is a good idea to openly integrate homosexuals into the military, offers no argument whatsoever as to the “rightness” or “wrongness” of homosexuality. It only speaks to the transition our society is in in its attitude toward homosexuals (right or wrong).

So you have taken Phil’s out-of-place, unsupported assertion, combined it with a frustration you have with a military policy you don’t feel is working…but neither of these is conclusory to the argument at hand.

I have an idea – I’d like the honest (more or less) debate to continue. I think it has been instructive.

April 9, 2010 @ 3:16 am #

I think it has been instructive.

Gordon, please provide evidence of fruit from said instruction. I see two choirs singing for benefit of themselves and, since the “wrong ones” won’t “come clean”, that is more indicative of a stalemate than an “instructive” endeavor. Just asking -no offense intended.

To wit, as a formerly “free thinking individual”, let me posit this argument for same sex marriage: Personal happiness is the principal component, of import, to the PRO-side so I propose that all such choices be allowed to be made with this in mind. If smoking makes you happy – smoke, penalty free. I mean, dying of AIDS due to homosexual sex at 25 is no better than dying at 60 from lung cancer so you can’t use the “it’s for your own good” argument. They’re both personal choices so, tax neither or tax both but if not, laissez faire for both for consistency’s sake. Considering that homo-sex is one of the most dangerous things a person can engage in, all “sin taxes” will be “aborted” or applied proportionally to practitioners of this life risking activity.

Next, because the tax code (that great and wonderful tool of the left) is used to encourage certain behaviors that are “good for society”, we’ll levy a “No Child Left (my)Behind” tax to help defray the cost of the lacking future workforce due to childless couplings (not to mention all of the early deaths from AIDS).

Now, all we have to do is turn natural law downside up for sake of 2% of the population, expunge all record of “traditional” marriage from school books, close all churches who won’t marry same sex couples, make all public restrooms open to all sexes (what? you’re not a Trans-bigot, are you?), eliminate any and all sexual distinctions in society (i.e. it’s now Scouts -no more “boy”/”girl” designation), see to it that all professions are “equally represented” by all sexes and sexual preferences (a “tranny” can do day-care, OBGYN or heavy artillery as well as anyone else!) and make it a hate crime to refuse to let HIV positive kids/adults participate in sports like boxing, football, full-contact sack biting, etc.

When all those laws go into affect, it will not only be legal for Phil to marry his beautiful, budding, birch bride but, me thinks it will be federally mandated.

April 9, 2010 @ 3:48 am #

Phil: “The point of my bringing up arranged marriages is to demonstrate that “consent” is not one of the species-wide characteristics that define marriage.”

But it is a characteristic that you deem to be an intergral part of it, no? Tell me now: do you think that consent should be an essential part of marriage, or do you think there’s no reason I can’t marry, say, some woman I just saw on TV that I like the look of? You specifically said you were referring to US law, the US constitution. Under that, consent is essential.

If you want to bring in laws from other countries, then you might as well bring in that same sex marriage is legal in many countries.

Therefore, using your own argument, you would admit that “gender” is not one of the species-wide characteristics that define marriage, and your argument becomes self-defeating.

“I’ll also point out that you can’t demonstrate the absence of consent any more than I can demonstrate its presence.”

This is an odd assertion: if true than all rape law would be meaningless. Do you really believe this?

Phil: “The law struck down by Loving was not an attempt to alter or limit the definition of marriage, it was an attempt to limit who could enter into a marriage.”

Now who’s using semantic contortion?

Dale: “Commonsense tells me that marriage is about procreation, and childrearing.”

Commonsense told us that the earth was flat. If marriage is just about procreation, we’d make the ability to have kids a pre-condition of marriage.

Mark: “What we call “homosexuality” is mostly a pathology”

Is that opinion, or are you using pathology in its scientific sense? I’ll answer that for you: it’s the former, because it’s completely unsupported by science.

April 9, 2010 @ 3:49 am #

Hi Mark,

Putting aside your laundry list of things that MOST liberals don’t adhere to (as far as I understand), there is one interesting point that you leave out:

“Considering that homo-sex is one of the most dangerous things a person can engage in…”

Actually, you mean specifically MALE gay sex. Interestingly, you make a fairly strong argument FOR female homosexual relationships – they are safer than heterosexual ones for the very same reasons that male homosexual sex is unsafe, if you are right.

April 9, 2010 @ 4:03 am #

By the way, Mk. 13:31:

How else would you expect a debate of a topic to go, if not people arguing their own sides as best as they can?

And why enter into the discussion, if only to label “wrong ones”?

April 9, 2010 @ 4:20 am #

Dullhammer, your analogy involved comparing your parents’ marriage to a single-function tool that no longer fulfills that function. In other words, something worthless. One can pretty much leave your argument there. I’m sure your parents would be delighted by your words.

Furthermore, you are trying to make the point that 1) a pair of scissors that doesn’t work because its blades are dulled is practically different from 2) a pair of scissors that have the pieces the wrong way round.

This is either a semantic contortion or a logical one: in practical terms there’s no difference at all, in that neither fulfills the function that you claim is their only point for existence. Whether you can still call it a pair of scissors is a philosophical argument, similar to debating at what point a boomerang that doesn’t come back stops being a broken boomerang and just becomes a stick. Whether it’s a pair of scissors or a grotesque mockery of a pair of scissors, it doesn’t work, and so by your logic isn’t worth having.

In other words, your analogy actually proved my point: if you claim a marriage is purely about children (the cutting of the scissors), then any marriage that can not produce children any more is no longer functional.

As for the question you seem to think I’m not answering, you seem to be confusing not getting the answer you want with not getting an answer. If I have time, I’ll address it again, though I doubt you are making the request, or indeed reading my responses, in good faith.

April 9, 2010 @ 4:27 am #

Phil: “Nothing in my answer favors either arranged marriages or slavery”

Yes it does, because a tree cannot offer consent. Therefore the marriage would be an arranged one. And I see little difference between an arranged marriage and slavery – do you?

So your argument only works if one not only changes marriage law, but also changes the definition of ‘consent’.

By the way, can you explain also how the marriage laws regarding property ownership would apply to a vegetable? It seems then that for you to marry a birch, you would also have to change the laws to allow trees to own property. I’m sure if we looked at all the rights one gains from marriage, we’d see other difficulties too.

In other words, you are not arguing against changing the laws on marriage, you are in fact arguing against changing the laws on consent and the ability of flora to own property. For what it’s worth, I support your stand here, but what you are arguing AGAINST is not what anyone else is arguing FOR.

April 9, 2010 @ 4:54 am #

I’ll illustrate in a simpler form the problem with the Birch Challenge.

Forget marriage for a second, just consider civil partnerships. Do you accept their validity? Do they ‘make sense’ to you as a concept, even if you find them unpalatable? If your answer is still no, then simply consider any legal contract between two people – perhaps a simple one regarding exchange of labour in return for property. I’m guessing you accept the basis for such contracts.

Now, would you accept the legal basis for such a contract between a man and a dog, or a carrot. Or a tree?

Again, if your answer is “I wouldn’t accept a civil partnership between a man and a tree, but I wouldn’t accept it between a man and another man either”, then that’s fine – consider if you would accept ANY legal contract between a human and a vegetable.

If you address no other point I’ve made, answer this simple yes/no question: would you consider ANY such contract to be enforceable in US law?

If you answer is no, then you’ve got the answer to why your challenge doesn’t work.

April 9, 2010 @ 6:00 am #

Given that Phil felt it pertinent to his point to use the pathology label, I’ll assume that it is on-topic for me to respond. The medical profession is fairly unanimous in rejecting that label.

I’m guessing I can’t post links, so Google: “Facts About Homosexuality and Mental Health”, click on the first link (ucdavis). You need to read the whole thing, but I’ll post excerpts below.

1. “Today, a large body of published empirical research clearly refutes the notion that homosexuality per se is indicative of or correlated with psychopathology. One of the first and most famous published studies in this area was conducted by psychologist Evelyn Hooker.”
[explanation of Hooker's method and findings]
2. “Hooker’s findings have since been replicated by many other investigators using a variety of research methods. Freedman (1971), for example, used Hooker’s basic design to study lesbian and heterosexual women. Instead of projective tests, he administered objectively-scored personality tests to the women. His conclusions were similar to those of Hooker.”

4. “Conclusion: In a review of published studies comparing homosexual and heterosexual samples on psychological tests, Gonsiorek (1982) found that, although some differences have been observed in test results between homosexuals and heterosexuals, both groups consistently score within the normal range. Gonsiorek concluded that “Homosexuality in and of itself is unrelated to psychological disturbance or maladjustment. Homosexuals as a group are not more psychologically disturbed on account of their homosexuality” (Gonsiorek, 1982, p. 74; see also reviews by Gonsiorek, 1991; Hart, Roback, Tittler, Weitz, Walston & McKee, 1978; Riess, 1980).”

Feel free to reject all this, but to do so you are basically asserting an opinion, not backed up by science or evidence.

April 9, 2010 @ 6:30 am #

This is just silly, in two or three different ways. Nothing in my answer favors either arranged marriages or slavery — and the logical leap required to go from “they might find precedent in cases about” to “you obviously favor” is so wide that I could drown an army in it. And “I don’t like either” is certainly no reason not to do anything, unless you’ve somehow appointed yourself God of the Universe.

That is not true for a number of reasons:

1) For the purpose of this argument, you must admit that either a) a tree has no will of its own, or b) a tree has a will of its own. One or the other must apply….

2) ….since you are saying that you can marry the tree, that means that in the case of a) you’re saying that consent is irrelevant, and in the case of b) you’re saying that you have the tree’s consent. In the case of a) you’d have to show that consent truly is irrelevant (by finding precedent in US law wherein a person can be forcefully married to another without his/her consent); in the case of b) you’d have to show how the tree can give consent, which of course you cannot do.

So in the case of a), wherein the tree has free will, if you believe that you are free to marry the tree then you must support legally-binding marriages; because the tree cannot demonstrate its consent or lack thereof towards marrying you, then the only argument you have to fall back on is the case of b); that consent doesn’t matter, and that you are using your legal status as a human who “owns” the tree to force it into marriage — which means that you must support slavery (i.e. ownership of the tree in such a way that you can force it into marriage). Even a parent cannot legally force their child into marriage, so your legal authority over the tree has to be *absolute* in order for that to work.

The challenge is to find a reason why I should not be permitted to marry my birch tree. What you offered is a current legal technicality.

Yes. A legal technicality based on the definition of marriage, which, according to you, has not EVER been changed since the dawn of society until gays began to seek marriage. Since that definition has yet to be changed universally, that would seem to imply that this “legal technicality” has always been present in some form. Even in Biblical days consent was important for whichever party had absolute legal authority over the party being married off; not just anyone could promise away someone else into marriage. It had to be someone with legal authority over that person, like (at the time) their father or slaveowner.

The point of my bringing up arranged marriages is to demonstrate that “consent” is not one of the species-wide characteristics that define marriage. Therefore, one does not need to change the core definition of marriage in order to allow marriage without consent.

Rape cannot be considered a crime if that is true. Consent is a very important part of marriage and sexual law and always has been.

dying of AIDS due to homosexual sex at 25 is no better than dying at 60 from lung cancer

Not true, dying at 60 is way better than dying at 25 (especially from cancer as opposed to AIDS). Also, straight people can get AIDS as well, so the gay thing is kind of irrelevant there.

When all those laws go into affect, it will not only be legal for Phil to marry his beautiful, budding, birch bride but, me thinks it will be federally mandated.

….what?

April 9, 2010 @ 7:05 am #

True Tim, you know that someone’s argument is in trouble when it can only be supported by dismissing the concept of consent, upon which rape law is based, as a mere ‘legal technicality’.

When was the last time you saw a rapist sent to jail, and people said ‘they got him on a technicality’?

I didn’t expect Phil to acknowledge that Tim had met his challenge, but I would have hoped for a stronger excuse.

April 9, 2010 @ 10:27 am #

Gordon said, “And why enter into the discussion, if only to label “wrong ones”?”

Was merely pointing up the fact that neither side ever budges in these situations. That’s why the quote marks: You know who the “wrong ones” are just as do I. People don’t normally change intellectual direction until they first have a change of heart. That is why the “instruction” that comes from these forums, if any, is from one advocate to another of the same view. Not knocking it because Phil has given me a lot of ammo as has Dr. Turek over at Cross Examined so, I give, you are right after all.

@ Tim
Come on, man, all that time logged over at Crossexamined.org/blog and you still don’t get my humor? You don’t have to think it’s funny but at least acknowledge my attempt at it. *sheesh*

April 9, 2010 @ 11:12 am #

“Not knocking it because Phil has given me a lot of ammo as has Dr. Turek over at Cross Examined so, I give, you are right after all.”

I’ve learned most from Luke, and he’s a theist, so go figure.

April 9, 2010 @ 12:04 pm #

Nathan Barley wrote:

Given that Phil felt it pertinent to his point to use the pathology label, I’ll assume that it is on-topic for me to respond.

Even though the same comment observed specifically that it’s off-topic, so no further discussion is invited?

This is the sort of lawless anti-intellectualism that complete justifies my ignoring your “arguments,” Nathan. When you learn to read and think, you’ll get a response beyond this entirely justifiable dismissal.

April 9, 2010 @ 12:06 pm #

Nathan Barley said:

“Dale: “Commonsense tells me that marriage is about procreation, and childrearing.”

Commonsense told us that the earth was flat. If marriage is just about procreation, we’d make the ability to have kids a pre-condition of marriage.”

This is an attempt to say that commonsense is meaningless; that we cannot trust our own judgment. I reject that argument, commonsense is not meaningless and most of the time it’s spot on.

And no, procreation doesn’t have to be a pre-condition to marriage just a normal expectation.

“It seems then that for you to marry a birch, you would also have to change the laws to allow trees to own property.”

I’m not sure about this but are property rights an inherent part of marriage throughout the world?

“Now, would you accept the legal basis for such a contract between a man and a dog, or a carrot. Or a tree?”

As I understand the law an adult can make a legal contract with a child, the only problem is it can only be legally enforced buy the child. Entering into a legal contract with a carrot would probably be safer. So yes I would accept the legal basis of a contract between a man and a tree; I just don’t see any way for the tree to enforce it.

April 9, 2010 @ 12:22 pm #

Tim, this is all just so garbled that I have to let the big errors pass just to get to the ones of holocaust-denier size. Your ability to generate logical nonsense is truly astonishing.

For starters, you accused me of attempting to reinstate slavery. Your basis for this turns out to be a convoluted (and largely incorrect) logical argument. Its correctness or incorrectness is less important than the fact that you offered it, not me. Even if your logic were entirely correct, it would justify your saying “Allowing this would permit others, logically, eventually to justify slavery again.” But that’s not what you said; you said “You favor slavery.” At best, you’ve proved that somebody else might do that someday, not that I do.

Regarding my birch and me, I pointed out that consent is just a local, legal technicality, not a central facet of the definition of marriage. You replied:

Yes. A legal technicality based on the definition of marriage, which, according to you, has not EVER been changed since the dawn of society until gays began to seek marriage.

Exactly 180 degrees off the mark, and truly indicative of your genuine inability to read arguments accurately. The legal technicality is emphatically and specifically not based on the definition of marriage. Again, that was the point of my bringing up arranged marriages, and of reasserting Joe’s example of common law marriages.

It would be good for you to read the discussion between me and Joe H on this thread, in which we discuss at length the peripheral aspects of marriage, which do change from culture to culture, as opposed to those central aspects of the human institution, which do not. Understanding this discussion will help you avoid embarrassing yourself in the manner that this last comment does.

And I have to call you on this, which is really over the top even for you:

Rape cannot be considered a crime if that is true.

Perhaps you can explain to me how the concept that parents can arrange a marriage without the consent of their children, justifies rape. I can’t see the connection, myself. You seem to be saying something like “If consent is not a central part of the definition of marriage, it cannot properly be a component in the definition of anything.” This is like saying “If I can’t include vinegar in making mustard, then vinegar must not be useful for any recipe.” The incorrectness of this is plain.

Even in Biblical days consent was important for whichever party had absolute legal authority over the party being married off;

Yes. And I own the land on which my birch is located. What’s the problem?

April 9, 2010 @ 1:08 pm #

Gordon wrote:

It should be noted, that since a debate is occurring, Phil has simply stated the pathology factor unsupported, not really forwarding the argument a whit. That was disappointing.

Sorry to disappoint, but it really is off-topic. If you want to view some of my support for the claim that homosexuality is a pathology, start at http://www.plumbbobblog.com/?p=231, and then read http://www.plumbbobblog.com/?p=198. Both posts contain at least a paragraph or two reciting public health statistics related to homosexual conduct, with footnotes. Alternatively, you can read Dr. Jeffrey Satinover’s excellent book, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, or his even more excellent review of the corruption of scientific inquiry by gay activists and their defenders for the benefit of the APA and the Lawrence court, The Trojan Couch.

Suffice to say, Barley’s claim that the medical profession is virtually unanimous in saying otherwise is evidence that his reading is biased. Somewhat more than half of psychologists still say, when surveyed anonymously, that they regard homosexuality as a pathology.

The removal of homosexuality from the DSM was in response to a majority vote of the APA. The original APA vote was called at a time of significant social change and was taken with unconventional speed that circumvented normal channels for consideration of the issues because of explicit threats from gay rights groups to disrupt APA conventions and research.

However, it appears that in contrast to the results of the vote, the majority of the APA membership continued to view homosexuality as a pathology. A survey four years after the vote found that 69% of psychiatrists regarded homosexuality as a “pathological adaptation.” A much more recent survey suggests that the majority of psychiatrists around the world continue to view same-sex behavior as signaling mental illness.

That the anonymous results might differ from the bulk of public statements reflects the fascistic environment of fear created by gay activists. That psychologists are still saying this despite 40 years of propaganda generation demanding the contrary attests to the perceived strength of the diagnosis.

April 9, 2010 @ 4:32 pm #

…your laundry list of things that MOST liberals don’t adhere… to

Hello Gordon. Everyone communicates in their own way. I prefer illustrating my point as opposed to saying, “You’re wrong because I disagree with you.” Take my “laundry list”, for instance. In it is a (presumed) mix of activities that were, once upon a time, left to each individual to participate in -or not- freely. The point being illustrated is that the liberal mindset is agenda driven, not “right v. wrong”, moral v. immoral or even Constitutional v. un-Constitutional. They have certain things they like and others that they don’t. That is the starting point from which they fit/contort the law into, as opposed to viewing the law as static and determining what is allowed, or not, according to what has been established through the thousands of years of societal development that led to the crown jewel of civil society – The Constitution of the United States of America.

That is how there can exist the completely irrational belief system that validates (and many times exalts) obviously self destructive behaviors such as same sex relationships, teen sex, abortion, single motherhood, drug legalization, etc. as virtuous, while simultaneously frothing at the mouth w/ hate if anyone dares consume beyond their allowable ration of trans fat.

ILLUSTRATION ALERT -ILLUSTRATION ALERT! Someone much smarter than I once said (paraphrasing here), “If liberals viewed the 2nd amendment with the same translation skills used to find the “right” to kill babies in the womb, gun ownership would be mandatory.” Perhaps I should change my handle to “The Juxta-poser”.

Anyway, that is where I am coming from. Liberals practice social engineering according to their personal, idiosyncratic notions of right and wrong (i.e. What feels good v. what does NOT feel good). Conservatives adhere to original intent. If you are like most liberals, you probably think those are outrageous assertions. Here is my anticipatory query: The founders built the mechanism for slavery’s dismantling into the Constitution, if they REALLY intended for current liberal ideals be instituted by society, why no arguments -during the convention- to that end? Slavery threatened the union from the beginning. Why didn’t same sex marriage, gun control, the banning of all symbols of Christianity, welfare etc. gain a foothold in the conscience of America before the last 8 or 9 decades?

To paraphrase that guy talking to Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate” – (pc)Agendas are the future.

April 9, 2010 @ 5:03 pm #

Tim, this is all just so garbled that I have to let the big errors pass just to get to the ones of holocaust-denier size. Your ability to generate logical nonsense is truly astonishing.

….okay, so you could head off with several ad hominem attacks. May I mention, though, that you seem VERY aggressive for someone who is so careful to delete “insulting” posts on his blog?

For starters, you accused me of attempting to reinstate slavery.

Nice try, but false. I said that, in order to hold the belief that it is ‘okay’ to marry the tree, you would have to believe in a system of arranged marriage, which can only be possible if you were allowed by law to have absolute authority over another human being’s decision to marry; such a system, as I see it, constitutes a form of slavery. If your “birch tree challenge” isn’t claiming to believe that you have the right to marry the tree, then of course none of that matters, but the entirety of my response was based on the assumption that this was the position you were assuming in your challenge.

Again; the reasoning linking tree marriage to slavery….it’s because, in current times as in Biblical times, some party is presumed to speak on behalf of the tree; if you’re saying that the tree *itself* has the authority to consent itself to marriage, then the argument fails because there is no behavior the tree can demonstrate that would show its consent. Any behavior it exhibits will always be exactly the same. Following that, by definition it cannot give consent itself.

On the other hand, if you say that some other party — the owner or parent of the tree, or perhaps yourself acting as the “owner” — has the authority to consent to marriage on behalf of the tree, then that is a different story and you would be able to marry the tree. However, in order for your consent on behalf of the tree to be sufficient to guarantee a marriage, then that would necessarily mean that such consent is legally binding, which is to say that your consent overrides that of the tree (i.e. the tree has no “say” in its own marriage). Therefore, in order to believe that you can marry the tree, you *must* necessarily believe in forced arranged marriages; because the tree cannot show consent on its own, the only way it can consent is if you do so on its behalf. And the only way that is permissible is if your consent has a binding legal effect on the tree. The only other option is to believe that you can marry whomever you wish, without receiving their consent or the consent of their owner/parent/authority figure/etc., which is beyond the limits of even the liberalized definition of marriage. And since I don’t think you would support that position either, I do believe this is a non-issue.

So does that make a little more sense to you?

Understanding this discussion will help you avoid embarrassing yourself in the manner that this last comment does.

I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m not embarrassed 0.0

Perhaps you can explain to me how the concept that parents can arrange a marriage without the consent of their children, justifies rape.

If you can marry someone without their consent, then why wouldn’t you be able to have sex with them without their consent? I don’t understand how you could believe one but not the other.

“If consent is not a central part of the definition of marriage, it cannot properly be a component in the definition of anything.”

Nope. I’m saying that it is the Christian position that male-female sexual relations are an integral part of marriage itself. Given that, if you can marry someone without gaining their permission, then I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to have sex with them without gaining their permission. If you have time, perhaps you can explain to me how those two things are different. I’d genuinely like to know that.

Yes. And I own the land on which my birch is located. What’s the problem?

So are you then saying that you believe legally-binding arranged marriages should be allowed in the US?

Keep in mind, this would mean that parents are allowed to promise their children’s hands in marriage even if it was against their children’s wishes, and even if the child was of mature age, he or she would be unable to refuse the marriage.

If you do believe that, then the argument is over and I won’t press further, because that *is* consistent reasoning. If not, then I don’t see why you keep mentioning your ownership of the tree as if it is a factor — if you don’t believe in forced arranged marriages, then you would have no authority to give consent on behalf of the tree even if it was yours.

Hello Gordon. Everyone communicates in their own way. I prefer illustrating my point as opposed to saying, “You’re wrong because I disagree with you.”

Um….I’m not going to say it. I’ll let someone else say it. I’m trying to be polite….

April 9, 2010 @ 5:05 pm #

P.S.

Although perhaps I should recant my use of the word “slavery.” That was a bit of an opinion piece and is not necessary to make my point. If you care to, feel free to replace instances of “slavery” with “legally binding arranged marriage.”

April 9, 2010 @ 9:20 pm #

Nathan,

You again fail to represent my analogy faithfully. And until you do that you have no position from which to critique it . . . let alone say that it proves YOUR point! For example: You insert the word “practical” where it does not belong and then you attack it precisely at that word. (The word YOU inserted!!!) You also continue to complain about the “single-function” limitation as if that mattered to my point. It doesn’t. It’s the singular identity as ‘scissors’ that counts. You can add as many other functions as you wish. Doorstop, letter-opener. Get over it.

I have an idea: If you think my analogy proved your point, fine. Go for it. I challenge you to use that analogy as a follow up whenever you want to make your point that homosexual couples and married couples are virtually the same if they can’t have children. I promise I won’t sue for copyright infringement if you at least read the analogy without subtracting and/or inserting your own words into it. At least let the thing speak. Now I suppose you could explain it away all you want afterwards, but since it proves your point, as you say, it should really be a great way to end things for you– without any explaining needed on your part.

So, now. I’m glad at least one thing got settled here. ;)

April 9, 2010 @ 9:34 pm #

dullhammer,

You’ve obviously never visited where Nathan, Tim and Toby R. come from for, if you had, you would have dawned your protective head gear by now(it comes in handy whilst banging ones noggin against brick walls).

April 9, 2010 @ 9:45 pm #

Hi “Mark”, (like your reference),

You mean that figuratively, right? Can’t be too sure about how our words are taken here.

Actually I’m pretty much done. I’m away all day Saturday and busy on Sunday. Besides, if Nathan indeed uses my analogy to further his points I won’t have to say much of anything.

April 9, 2010 @ 10:45 pm #

OH NO! I’ve now been exposed for the anti-protective-headgear-wearers-who-bang-their-noggins-on-brick-walls bigot that I am!
Oh for shame. :(

April 10, 2010 @ 5:16 am #

Dale: “This is an attempt to say that commonsense is meaningless; that we cannot trust our own judgment.”

No, it means you can’t just say something is ‘commonsense’ in lieu of evidence, which is what you did.

April 10, 2010 @ 5:18 am #

“This is the sort of lawless anti-intellectualism that complete justifies my ignoring your “arguments”

What, you mean me quoting evidence and science?

Right ho then Phil. I’ll not post on this board any more if you find evidence and science objectionable – I’ll comment on your challenge further on crossexamined.

April 10, 2010 @ 12:29 pm #

Wow, you guys are….hostile….

April 10, 2010 @ 1:09 pm #

Wow, you guys are….hostile…

Thank you, educatee Tim, for illustrating (if not just a smidge subtly) that wondrous tack of liberalism, designed to engender guilt in the minds of its target/those observing the debate, known as “labeling the opposition as mean”. I congratulate you, really, for your execution of this worn out old technique. You might advise those on MSNBC, cnn, etc. as they are still using the old method of screaming “RACIST!” -or something on that order- which is leading viewers away by the millions. Perhaps you can spare one of your old instructional pamphlets from Heir Alinsky.

I commend you. Now, as for the substance and rationale of your arguments, you would be better served showing some deference in light of the severe beat down you are suffering.

April 10, 2010 @ 2:14 pm #

Speaking of tacks, let me pound this one onto your monitor and see if anything hangs on it:

If a naturalist worldview presumes that “virtue” is determined by what advances a particular species’ viability (to the extent that virtue exists at all in your minds -please, work w/ me, will ya?), would it not be destructive/”unvirtuous” for certain, shall we say, “adventurous types” to dabble in activities not conducive to the furtherance of said species? I ask this because it is so often stated that other (see: non-human) species exhibit same sex tendencies so, obviously, one cannot argue from the standpoint of naturalism. Which begs the question: Can anything in nature, other than man, act unnaturally? Certainly, if all zebras “went gay” all of a sudden it would send stock in zebra skinned coats rocketing but would that be “natural”? If not, how can you say it’s natural if just Chas zebra and Brucie zebra decide to bump uglies? Their genes may not be bred out entirely but they certainly aren’t being promoted by “their special, unsanctioned love” are they?

Anyway, this is taking much too long so, let me just cut through the chase and get down to brass tax – NAZI!!!…No wait, that’s not it, was watching reruns of “Olby” and his rant transposed onto this fine point I’m trying to make. Okay, so we all want what’s best for man, mother earth and the red crested cock-doodle – right? Given that, and given the naturalist view, how to reconcile the advocating of a behavior that, were it to hit fad status (you know us Americans and our fads), would effectively bring a halt to civilization as we know it (not to mention what it would to garage band fan numbers!)?

Put another way: If nature engineered a way for buffalo’s to fight back instead of being annihilated, wouldn’t that have been a good thing? If not, then what man (you know, the “injuns”) did to them was natural. And if homosexuals can’t muster enough support from the rest of us to validate them/their species destroying behavior, then what is the problem if we negate them?

Do other species make allowances in order to keep -no longer/never was useful- traits around for no functional reason? Just wondering, as the left clearly views the constitution as a hindrance to their goals, which leads me to think that a very secular perspective of natural law must be the “doctrine” that informs their opinions. (speaking of “nazi”, it may be that I’m gonna be called one right about….NOW)

April 10, 2010 @ 3:29 pm #

Mark:

“Thank you, educatee Tim, for illustrating (if not just a smidge subtly) that wondrous tack of liberalism, designed to engender guilt in the minds of its target/those observing the debate, known as “labeling the opposition as mean…Now, as for the substance and rationale of your arguments, you would be better served showing some deference in light of the severe beat down you are suffering.”

Gordon here: It all depends upon what you’re looking for. If you’d rather be in a place where people let the arguments speak for themselves, then you may not be used to WWF smack-down talk that you deliver at the end here.

As an aside, Tim does not appear to be suffering a “beat-down”…except in the area of empty trash-talk. Tim and Joe H. appear to be most apt for reasonable talk, while many (including our host) seem more apt to participate in name-calling.

That is not a commentary on whose argument is right here…but winning a war of nasty words only satisfies your flesh…not the demands of good argument.

April 10, 2010 @ 5:26 pm #

Gordon,

A cogent response, >i>please. You go back several posts to compose -what you apparently think is- proof that no argument is being put forth when one in fact is. Please address the point(s) presented as opposed to sniveling about your perceptions of my tone.

Here’s what was actually addressed to you so you need not go scrolling for it:

Take my “laundry list”, for instance. In it is a (presumed) mix of activities that were, once upon a time, left to each individual to participate in -or not- freely. The point being illustrated is that the liberal mindset is agenda driven, not “right v. wrong”, moral v. immoral or even Constitutional v. un-Constitutional. They (liberals) have certain things they like and others they don’t. That is the starting point from which they fit/contort the law into, as opposed to viewing the law as static and determining what is allowed, or not, according to what has been established through the thousands of years of societal development that led to the crown jewel of civil society – The Constitution of the United States of America.

That is how there can exist the completely irrational belief system that validates (and many times exalts) obviously self destructive behaviors such as same sex relationships, teen sex, abortion, single motherhood, drug legalization, etc. as virtuous, while simultaneously frothing at the mouth w/ hate if anyone dares consume beyond their allowable ration of trans fat.

ILLUSTRATION ALERT -ILLUSTRATION ALERT! Someone much smarter than I once said (paraphrasing here), “If liberals viewed the 2nd amendment with the same translation skills used to find the “right” to kill babies in the womb, gun ownership would be mandatory.” Perhaps I should change my handle to “The Juxta-poser”.

Anyway, that is where I am coming from. Liberals practice social engineering according to their personal, idiosyncratic notions of right v. wrong (i.e. What feels good v. what does NOT feel good). Conservatives adhere to original intent. If you are like most liberals, you probably think those are outrageous assertions. Here is my anticipatory query: The founders built the mechanism for slavery’s dismantling into the Constitution, if they REALLY intended for current liberal ideals be instituted by society, why no arguments -during the convention- to that end? Slavery threatened the union from the beginning. Why didn’t same sex marriage, gun control, the banning of all symbols of Christianity, welfare etc. gain a foothold in the conscience of America before the last 8 or 9 decades?

I await your retort – but please make it snappy as I may burst into an uncontrollable tirade of “name-calling” and “nasty words” at any moment – Lord help us!

April 10, 2010 @ 5:35 pm #

Oh, didn’t want to leave this out (Tim enjoyed it so much last time):

Hello Gordon. Everyone communicates in their own way. I prefer illustrating my point as opposed to saying, “You’re wrong because I disagree with you.”

It belongs at the start of my above “blockquote”. For some raisin, no one has said the impolite thing that Tim resisted blurting out (ah, what a gentleman!) when he earlier saw it above – if that makes any sense to anyone or, even if it doesn’t (include me in the second group). :)

April 10, 2010 @ 9:11 pm #

Hey Mark 13:31,

I wasn’t addressing your earlier point at all. It appears as if you find it convenient to create straw dolls and absolutely destroy them. I am not at all that interested in quasi-video games like this, so when they are presented to me, I ignore them. Sorry, only so many minutes in the day.

My suggestion is that you actually get to know a few liberals. They may be wrong in what they believe (and I believe many times they are), but that may help you deep from contorting them into horrid creatures so you can get satisfaction from destroying (?) those creatures.

It feels more like “DOOM” than honest debate. But hey, it was a great game for its time.

April 10, 2010 @ 9:37 pm #

Uh, o-kaaaaay. So hissy fits do qualify as a “response” in liberal-ville.

check

(odd, it is, how these guys will rip someone like Ann Coulter and act exactly as she describes them. yes, odd.)

April 10, 2010 @ 10:07 pm #

Mark,

Who are you speaking of (“these guys”)? If you want to call me a liberal, get over here so I can either kick your presumptuous ass or have a beer with you, whichever it takes to set you straight.

April 10, 2010 @ 11:38 pm #

…get over here so I can either kick your presumptuous ass or have a beer with you…

My misteak, Gordon, you clearly display a saneness that no other poster here possesses. So, anyway, how long have you been a Cubs fan? (go easy on him, folks, it’s tough living ones entire life w/ zero hope for a pennant)

April 11, 2010 @ 12:11 am #

What do you mean Mark 13:31? I’m eminently sane. Never a disparaging word leaves my lips (nor crosses my keyboard).

BTW, I noticed that no one bothered to criticize my explanation as to how philosophers test which “informing concepts” are central and/or essential to a complex concept, and which concepts are extricable and non-essential. Either you all must have found it incomprehensible or entirely convincing. And being as impressed with myself as liberals tend to be, I’m assuming the latter. :)

But if you found the explanation, and its application with regards to the relationship between “opposite sex” and “marriage” (extricable and non-essential) completely convincing, then the “marriage is by definition . . .” argument is down for the count.

What say you Phil et al?

Joe H.

April 11, 2010 @ 1:31 am #

Okay, Joe Huster, I hear-by decree you sane enough to post here…and root, root, root for the Cu-u-u-u-u-bies! Wait a minute, what’s unsane about “disparaging word(s)”? Sometimes an appropriately descriptive…uh, description, is in fact disparaging. For instance, if Gordon fell into an open sewer ditch, it would be appropriate to say (upon his self extraction from said chasm), “Hey, y’all, yon hither comes one malodorous liberal – I tell you what!” So you see? Disparaging words are NOT synonymous with inappropriate ones -necessarily.

re: Your argument. At the risk of sounding like someone who doesn’t believe that all developments of historical significance happened after my birth, how is it that you so easily wipe away thousands of years of human culture? You guys (sorry, Gordy, please put the brass knuckles down) will usually say something like, “Yeah well, man has had slavery for blah-blah-blah…” in response to that but, we always knew that was a raw deal -even the non-slaves knew it. Now, however, you are trying to say that we’ve been wrong all along and just figured it out NOW! The naivete -it’s astonishing. Yet, it does explain how you can enter into a discussion w/ well stated terms and (almost) immediately insist the host answer YOUR query. Don’t get me wrong, Joe (hope it’s alright to call you Joe), you’re a pearl as libs go but, you still have yet to give a satisfactory answer to HIS original question. Or have I missed it?

Thank you if you have read all of this. No doubt someone we know (HINT – HINT, Gordy!) gave up sentences ago and is already immersed in prayer over tommorows’ line-up card.(sheesh!) I do appreciate the input though, this stuff is immensely adequate in its stimulative properties re: my cerebral cortex. TTLY

April 11, 2010 @ 1:37 am #

Thank you, educatee Tim, for illustrating (if not just a smidge subtly) that wondrous tack of liberalism, designed to engender guilt in the minds of its target/those observing the debate, known as “labeling the opposition as mean”.

I’m just curious, Mark. Can I say *anything at all* to you without you reading some kind of superliberal subtext into it? Even hypothetically? Is there anything at all that I could say — short of just pretending that I agree with you — that would not result in you claiming that I am involved in some kind of “liberal conspiracy?”

Not that I would change my argument to satisfy that apparent confirmation bias. I’m just curious, is all; the only responses I’m truly concerned with at this point are Mr. Phil’s.

April 11, 2010 @ 3:20 am #

Never mind that, Tim, it’s much more baffling a thing to ponder why no one ever tangles w/ me over my more salient points. I mean, if the (pertinent to the thread) points are not even worthy of a response by you guys, how in the blazes do you and Gordon (ya know, “you guys”?) get your chonies in a bunch over the peripheral stuff that’s plainly thrown in for amusement, as a side note or, many times not even directed at “you guys” but to “my guys”.

I saw a very candid statement by you somewhere, wherein you stated that half the fun is reading others responses to what you post. Well, duh. And it works both ways, bro. I’m shovelin some major league, prime time quality intellectual property here, bub, and it’s not just a little deep – it’s also funny. Ya don’t have to laugh, you don’t even have to respond, but don’t expect much more from me than the incredulous, sideways kind of look you get from a dog when he doesn’t get something, when you don’t even acknowledge that something was even said beyond my first 2 lines.

You also once complained of your suspicion that I must NOT read your WHOLE posts – immediately following post after post that literally RE-posted yours w/ responses all the way down. I guess what I am trying to say is, that’s it, the engagement’s off. Already got a refund for my ticket to Vermont. You can do what you want w/ yours. Good by to you, fare Timma, and good luck. I will always treasure our moments together.

(don’t worry, folks, I never touched him and besides, we both agreed that I was going to “wear the pants” if ya know what I mean. in point of fact, those special dispensations from the Vatican aint flowing so freely these days. oh for failed attempts at sweet happiness!)

April 11, 2010 @ 3:59 am #

Mark 13:31,

It is not that we were wrong about “marriage” for thousands of years and suddenly discovered our error. The real story is that we never thought to consider the question of whether “marriage” could include same sex couples. But once we considered the question, it turned out that “opposite sex partnership” is not an essential or inextricable aspect of the idea of “marriage.”

The obvious question you (and surely Phil) will ask is “why are we considering the question now, when it never occurred to us to consider it for thousands of years?” The answer is, we think we have learned something about homosexuality. We have learned that homosexuality is not an immoral behavior engaged in by wicked heterosexuals. It is instead, at least in a significant number of individuals, an inalterable condition or circumstance that the individual finds him or herself in – the circumstance of inalterable same sex attraction.

I know, I know, “learned” is a question-begging term. Many many people deny that we have learned anything new about homosexuality that warrants extending the institution of marriage to gays. People commenting on this blog have called it a “pathology.” Many people believe that homosexuality can be “cured.” Other’s don’t care if it can be cured – they think we should encourage incorrigible homosexuals to remain celibate. Many people believe it is a sin.

I have no intention of debating these issues here. I am merely trying to illustrate why we’re asking and answering the marriage question with regards to gays now. The fact is, millions of Americans – a growing percentage of the population every year – have come to see homosexuality as a circumstance that individuals find themselves in. They have also come to believe – for better or worse – that same sex attraction is harmless. They believe that the pathologies associated with being gay arise from the hostility and rejection gays have traditionally faced. They also see no compelling moral objections to gay love and/or gay sex.

Gays have, by the way, helped themselves immeasurably by coming out and living among us. By their presence they forced us to face the issue and ask these questions. And millions of people have come to see it in the way I have described.

Once these become your beliefs, you become far more sympathetic to the plight of gay people. As these sympathies continued to widen and spread in the US over the last 40 years, someone sympathetic to that plight asked, “why shouldn’t same sex couples be allowed to marry” – it all began in a 1985 lawsuit here in my beautiful state. And once it became clear that there is no good answer to that question – multiple courts have come to the conclusion that States have no compelling reason to exclude gays from the institution of marriage – and once people got used to the idea that gays could marry, the ball game was over. It is just a matter of time.

I can see how someone who rejects the new set of beliefs about homosexuality opposes including gays within the institution of marriage. But I hope you (all) can see how someone who has adopted these new beliefs [they have been my beliefs from about 1990] can think it wrongheaded not to allow gays to participate in the most important social institution of civilization.

Joe H.

April 11, 2010 @ 4:34 am #

It is not that we were wrong about “marriage” for thousands of years and suddenly discovered our error. The real story is that we never thought to consider the question of whether “marriage” could include same sex couples.

I read every word but, every sentence contains a font of pseudo-intellectualism and silliness like this so you have me at a loss. The notion that “we never thought” of same sex marriage before the last few decades is as insane as Nancy Pelosi’s whopper that the Catholic church is not so clear on when life begins.

I take back my decreeing you sane. You may still worship the Cubs, but that is it. Seriously, Joe, that rant (unless somehow a parody) is scary irrational and really makes one wonder about your competence. Seriously, seriously now – it sounds, LITERALLY, like the rantings of a madman. But, I suppose, such a mind must view me the same. Problem is: there IS such a thing as ultimate truth and one of us is rocketing at light speed away from it. My question is, if many see themselves in a position similar to the way I would feel if my relationship was suddenly outlawed, what might such people do? No, I gotta think you’re a rare bird. All of the homosexuals I talk to KNOW this is a stretch. Some want it, some don’t, but ALL of them know this is radical.

Amazing! And you sound so reasonable, too. Wow. Simply, amazing.

April 11, 2010 @ 5:01 am #

it’s much more baffling a thing to ponder why no one ever tangles w/ me over my more salient points.

Part of the problem is that you engage in so very much ad hominem and ignoratio elenchi that it’s often very difficult to find out what, exactly, it is that you’re trying to say. And it doesn’t help that you go off on so many tangents (which you insist are “jokes”) that further obfuscate whatever point it was you were trying to make. If you have a point, it’s usually best (for clarity-of-argument purposes) to stick to that point and keep tangential points minimal (or at least separate).

I saw a very candid statement by you somewhere, wherein you stated that half the fun is reading others responses to what you post. Well, duh. And it works both ways, bro.

I was specifically referring to postings on my own blog at that point, actually….not this one….

You also once complained of your suspicion that I must NOT read your WHOLE posts – immediately following post after post that literally RE-posted yours w/ responses all the way down.

You may claim to see the words I write, but what I question is a) whether or not you understand them, or b) if you actually consider or entertain them, even briefly, if you do understand them. That is the most probable cause of the types of ad hominem attacks I see you using most frequently.

A good example is your most recent attack against Mr. Joe on this very forum:

I read every word but, every sentence contains a font of pseudo-intellectualism and silliness like this so you have me at a loss. The notion that “we never thought” of same sex marriage before the last few decades is as insane as Nancy Pelosi’s whopper that the Catholic church is not so clear on when life begins.

I take back my decreeing you sane. You may still worship the Cubs, but that is it. Seriously, Joe, that rant (unless somehow a parody) is scary irrational and really makes one wonder about your competence. Seriously, seriously now – it sounds, LITERALLY, like the rantings of a madman.

You called his response “pseudo-intellectual,” “silly,” “insane,” and a “madman” throughout the span of two paragraphs, without ever once stating why you think any of those things are true. And you continued that same line of attack throughout that entire post.

You may not have agreed with what he said, but I found that it was worded eloquently and non-confrontationally, and his points were clear (i.e. I feel that I understood what he was saying). So why do you feel the need to call names instead of present points? Honest question — no “joke.”

April 11, 2010 @ 10:54 am #

Tim, Joe,

It may be best to let him talk to himself. It appears, when the conversation has gone beyond him, he jumps in the middle and sets off a verbal car bomb. It is better everyone loses than just him.

He appears to be a bit of a terrorist. A happy terrorist, but a terrorist nonetheless.

April 11, 2010 @ 1:24 pm #

Tim, Joe,

It may be best to let him talk to himself. It appears, when the conversation has gone beyond him, he jumps in the middle and sets off a verbal car bomb. It is better everyone loses than just him.

He appears to be a bit of a terrorist. A happy terrorist, but a terrorist nonetheless.

Consider it an experiment, while I’m waiting to see what Mr. Phil’s response to me will be (if any).

April 12, 2010 @ 8:23 pm #

“Rantings of a mad man.” What did I say that was even remotely unhinged?

If you read what I said, you’ll notice that I did not make any claims about the nature or morality of homosexuality. I expressly conceeded that such claims are debatable and, thus, not proper premises for discussion.

What I said was, “for better or worse,” millions and millions of Americans have changed their minds about the nature of homosexuality. This changed perspective has made many people sympathetic to the plight of homosexuals. This growing sympathy led people to consider allowing gays to participate in the institution of marriage – which has resulted in lawsuits, rulings of “no compelling state interest in precluding gays,” to a wide spread acceptance of the idea.

Far from lunacy, I thought this was a summary of the factual history of how we got to where we are today.

That this can be considered lunacy is astonishing.

Oh well.

Joe H.

April 14, 2010 @ 12:03 pm #

Not getting into this discussion, but I think this may be relevant:

http://wolfhowling.blogspot.com/2010/04/progressives-newest-human-right.html

Of course, the one benefit of a relationship with a lovely birch tree is that you’re definitely safe from HIV/AIDS…

But maybe not from falling branches…!

April 15, 2010 @ 9:09 am #

Trees
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
– Joyce Kilmer

A tree not nagging, making strife,
A tree would make a perfect wife!

April 15, 2010 @ 10:49 pm #

Both your final post and Joe H.’s remained unanswered. I figure Phil must be busy, because they were both well-stated and made their case. Those usually don’t stand here.

April 15, 2010 @ 11:12 pm #

Phil: Sometimes I don’t think we can see the forest for the trees(ouch!)21ST century (schizoid?)man has far too easily confused right with legality, as many of the comments betray.

The focus on the “legality” of said marriage seems to me to miss the point.Not suprisingly,the current culture is obsessed with litigating right and wrong instead of knowing and doing what is right and wrong.And before some self proclaimed phiosophical genius asks for a definition of same, if you have to ask you obviously don’t know.

The difficulty with imbedding “rights” in law is that the law has a habit of becoming fluid over time. We can’t count on what is “popularly” viewed as “right” lasting even into the next generation.In my own lifetime I have seen the sanctity of life and the right to religious freedom “legally” destroyed,thanks to judicial activism. There was a time that slavery was legal.Now, thank God, it is unacceptable. What if a new law was enacted today making slevery legal again,would that make it right?

Marriage has never been legitimate because some human court declared it to be so. Rather, it is a divine gift and institution( between a man and a woman) that is legitimate because He said so!I guess the owner of a thing really does get to decide what becomes of it. Bottom line: Go ahead and marry your tree, your mailman or even the cardboard cutout of your friendly maytag repair man. Just don’t expect me to call it a marriage!

April 16, 2010 @ 7:43 am #

Gordon: “Those usually don’t stand here”

What, you mean they get deleted, or they generally get answered?

The challenge seems pretty easily answered to me, and in fact has been here. Clearly, Tim and others responded with several arguments against marrying a tree that could not also be used against marrying a man. This was what was asked for.

Rebuttals to the posts of Tim, me, Gordon etc have mostly been ad hominem attacks, or references to AIDS which have nothing to do with the challenge itself.

Another problem with the challenge that I see is that on the one hand Phil and others seem to be claiming that giving gays marriage is an astonishing break with current laws, equivalent to allowing a man to marry a tree. But at the same time, they complain that gays can ALREADY get all the same rights through non-marriage means.

These two claims seem to be in conflict. If all the same rights are already available to gays, such that calling ‘marriage’ would just be an umbrella term for laws that ALREADY exist, how can granting marriage be the massive overhaul that they claim? Surely it’s one or the other.

To put it simpler: If it’s true that marriage between two men or two women involves virtually no rights that can’t already be set up by existing laws, whereas NONE of the rights that would follow from allowing a human to marry a vegetable currently exist, then one can hardly claim that the first situation is remotely analogous to the second.

April 16, 2010 @ 10:16 am #

Hi Nathan,

Well, I was reviewing back through the history of the blog, and our host very rarely allows a string of comments to end on a note that doesn’t sound like “our side has won”.

I apologize, I should have included your responses in with Tim and Joe’s. Whether it’s right or wrong to grant the term “marriage” to homosexual relationships, I don’t think Phil’s approach here has been a successful way to argue against it.

April 16, 2010 @ 10:28 am #

The slippery slope is never convincing anyway. Arguments stand on their own merits. The argument for marrying a man is a separate one from the arguments for marrying a tree. Each should stand on its own. It displays a weakness in your argument if you can’t argue against the other side’s points, you have to come up with a third option to argue against instead, which you claim is the same as your opponents’.

April 16, 2010 @ 10:42 am #

By the way Gordon, further to what you said in your last post, you might be interested to go to the Crossexamined blog, where Phil posted a thread of the same title as this one, to invite us to this site to comment. Tim and I have both commented more extensively on the topic there, in case Phil just deleted out posts here.

April 16, 2010 @ 10:51 am #

How will this mandate be likely to affect the gay “marriage” issue, I wonder…

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/04/15/white-house-order-hospitals-allow-gay-couples-visitation-rights/

April 16, 2010 @ 11:08 am #

>>As these sympathies continued to widen and spread in the US over the last 40 years, someone sympathetic to that plight asked, “why shouldn’t same sex couples be allowed to marry”>>

I have a different perspective on it. (What a surprise!) I believe the primary purpose of marriage is reproduction – obviously not possible in a homosexual partnership.
In times past, humans had shorter life spans, and higher birth/early childhood death rates. Our economies were primarily agricultural, and children contributed to the labor force of the farm, and were necessary for well-being of the family. Medicine was a primitive science, relatively speaking. Today, that has all changed, and the problem is not that the continuation of the species, or at least of a family or tribe, might be endangered without practically annual childbirth, but instead, we’re constantly told that overpopulation is the danger. Any family with more then two children is considered to have “taken more than their share”. True or not is irrelevant – that has become the mindset. With procreation being taken off the table as the primary purpose of marriage, all other questions about the importance and relationship of marriage are _on_ the table. It’s a lot like the sex before marriage issue. Prior to birth control, illegitimate births were totally unacceptable, and having sex prior to marriage put a young woman at risk for getting pregnant. After birth controls became commonplace, the waiting until marriage for sex issue was reduced to primarily a moral issue. The question never raised previously was whether there was a _reason_ for the prohibition. The gay “marriage” issue is somewhat the same – the question is “is there a _reason_ for the prohibition. Personally, I think there is…but societally speaking…

Homosexuality is _the_ perfect form of birth control.

And – again, personally – I think _that_ is why people are willing to consider it favorably.

That and the fact that our society has become less morally centered. But that’s a separate issue.

April 16, 2010 @ 12:41 pm #

Suek,

I don’t meant to sound harsh, but I don’t think you’re speaking out of experience of actually knowing anybody who favors gay marriage. The position you describe, if it exists anywhere, must be just about the tiniest minority position possible.

I hope, since the representative sample of liberals that are posting here (of which I am not one) have told you other reasons, you can take them at face value.

Tata!

April 16, 2010 @ 3:26 pm #

It’s certainly not why I favour it – though the link Suek provided is another reason to favour it as far as I can see.

“I believe the primary purpose of marriage is reproduction – obviously not possible in a homosexual partnership.”

Suek, simple question – do you in principle favour the right of marriage between straight people who cannot conceive for whatever reason? eg, people past reproducing age?

April 16, 2010 @ 4:28 pm #

Yes. Please note that I said “primary”. Primary means that there are other reasons, but one has more importance or weight than the others.

April 16, 2010 @ 5:16 pm #

Nathan Barley,

You forgot to ask suek this follow up question– as it really drives home your point:

Do you believe dull scissors to be exactly the same as scissors which have been pulled apart and reconfigured so that there is no opposing blade at all, rendering it unable to cut paper? Is there a difference? And should that difference affect what you do, or do not, call ‘scissors’?

Oh, oh . . . and since we can imagine a pair of scissors being pulled apart and reconfigured in a way that is the antithesis of ‘scissors’ does that mean that the essence of scissors is something other than “two opposing blades on a hinge designed for cutting”? And what would that essence be exactly?

And one more thing. Suppose someone wanted to call a pencil a pair of scissors and you objected that a pencil isn’t a pair of anything. And the person, who we’ll call Phil, didn’t answer your objection for some unknown reason. Would you then consider your argument for the backward pair of blades to be called ‘scissors’ to be proven reasonable– because you take the word ‘pair’ so seriously?

April 16, 2010 @ 5:32 pm #

Gordon…

I agree with you about individual’s opinions. My statement was one about the attitudes of the societies in which we live – not individual attitudes. And to be honest, I’m not even sure that society as a whole is even particularly aware of the significant changes in attitudes towards marriage that have occurred just in _my_ lifetime. I think you’d agree, though, that even 50 years ago the idea of two gay persons getting married wouldn’t even have been considered anything other than absurd. So – attitudes have changed. Why?

April 16, 2010 @ 8:39 pm #

Do you believe dull scissors to be exactly the same as scissors which have been pulled apart and reconfigured so that there is no opposing blade at all, rendering it unable to cut paper? Is there a difference? And should that difference affect what you do, or do not, call ’scissors’?

This is what I meant when I spoke about moving goalposts. We obviously cannot agree on what the “purpose” of marriage is — I do not believe it requires reproductive capabilities to be validated somehow; sex is really a trivial aspect of marriage when you break it down into all of its components. It’s a smaller part of the relationship, which is itself a smaller part of the whole institution of marriage.

However, we commenters, with our differing perspectives of marriage, cannot seem to agree on a definition to argue about. Since the Christianfolk here seem to believe that marriage is about (A) reproduction, and (B) genitals, then those will be the focus of the argument for them. For people like myself, the focus of marriage is less on physical/sexual activity and more on spiritual relationships between people, cooperation, faith and honesty between partners, financial and legal equality, and many other things. And so the argument will focus on those things where I am involved. Because personally, I don’t see the alteration of the sexual/genital aspect of marriage to be some kind of “massive overhaul” of the institution of marriage.

When marriage is defined as something which does not concern itself with these types of issues, I will be more open to the claim that it’s being “revolutionized.” Until then, I accuse such comments of gross exaggeration.

Now of course, you’re all free to take this difference as personally and offensively as you please (and engage in ad hominem about how my intelligence does not reflect 1000 years of tradition, etc. etc., to your heart’s content). However, it was not my intent to instigate conflict with this comment; only to explain why I think this conversation is basically unresolvable and thus, over.

April 16, 2010 @ 10:04 pm #

Tim D,

No moving of goal posts on my part. Nathan raised the point and I objected to it specifically. And he keeps raising it without really dealing with it. I am well aware of the main topic here and I have for the most part stayed out of the discussion.

As for “our” failure to agree on the definition of marriage to argue about, I don’t see how you can simply dismiss a well established definition (involving the terms ‘husband and wife’ for example) just because it suits your cause. Simply starting with the definition you want to achieve agreement upon is the ultimate in begging the question.

I agree, btw, that there is more to marriage than sex and reproduction. But those other qualities all stem from the sex and reproduction qualities. It should be axiomatic that were there not a male and female sexual attraction with the expected result of reproduction there would simply be NO concept of marriage to debate in the first place. Marriage certainly comes from that source and from no other– male and male, and female and female attractions not withstanding.

Now if you want to talk about the transcendence of love, commitment, emotional intimacy, etc. without sex and reproduction by all means do. But last I checked friendship does not require a legal document of any sort.

There’s even a case to be made that it’s *greater* than the sexual expression of love in marriage. But you might have to look to the Bible for that.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

But I’m all for being done here. I was done some time ago.

April 16, 2010 @ 10:49 pm #

As for “our” failure to agree on the definition of marriage to argue about, I don’t see how you can simply dismiss a well established definition (involving the terms ‘husband and wife’ for example) just because it suits your cause. Simply starting with the definition you want to achieve agreement upon is the ultimate in begging the question.

For one, I don’t agree that it’s “well-established.” It seems that it is the religious party here that wants to start with the definition that suits their cause.

Secondly, I don’t believe that love and desire *must* stem from opposite sexual partners. There’s not much to suggest that this is the case, as many gay couples have at the very least *implied* through their desire for marriage and commitment to a single lifelong partner.

As for “begging the question;” I am not doing so because I am not simply stating that my definition is true and then drawing a conclusion from that. What you read above was my attempt at *making a case* for the definition which I accept. Feel free to take it or leave it at your leisure. In fact, I’d say that a large part of this debate is exactly that — an argument over what constitutes “marriage” and what that constitution is based upon. There is no “begging” of any question involved.

It should be axiomatic that were there not a male and female sexual attraction with the expected result of reproduction there would simply be NO concept of marriage to debate in the first place.

From a legal standpoint, no, there probably wouldn’t be. But then this issue would be moot, as gay couples would be able to live together and have all of the same rights as straight couples (because straight couples would not have special rights and thus would be equal).

Marriage certainly comes from that source and from no other– male and male, and female and female attractions not withstanding.

I don’t see why they are “notwithstanding.”

But last I checked friendship does not require a legal document of any sort.

Marriage doesn’t, either, if we go by the Christian definition. And yet…

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Interesting, that’s the same verse that the militant group Hutaree put up on their official website (hutaree.com).

April 16, 2010 @ 11:22 pm #

Tim D.

You lost me on the Hutaree connection. My point was at least relevant. Yours was self-servingly “interesting”. Makes the prospect of my answering your other points far less interesting to me.

April 17, 2010 @ 12:29 am #

dullhammer,

Can you notsee the “point” that he is making? I can’t believe you can notsee the point Tim D. is making. Very subtle, Timmy. “Educatee”, indeed. You could teach us all about your feminine wiles if we would just listen. And to think, I was just driving down Sophistry Way today. Uncanny. Amazing even.

April 17, 2010 @ 4:35 am #

“Simply starting with the definition you want to achieve agreement upon is the ultimate in begging the question.”

Your whole ‘scissors analogy’ is precisely what you describe there. You start by saying ‘a marriage between a man and a woman is like a pair of scissors, so if it’s anything BUT a man and a woman, it isn’t a pair of scissors and therefore isn’t a marriage.’

I don’t see how that isn’t begging the question by your definition – you’re starting with the definition you want to achieve agreement upon.

April 17, 2010 @ 10:58 am #

CLEAR! MARK13:31 IS COMIN’ IN WITH A CAR BOMB!

April 17, 2010 @ 1:21 pm #

Tim offers the definitive statement of the Pro-Gay Marriage side:

“For one, I don’t agree that it’s “well-established.””

How can you argue with one who cannot acknowledge millenia of history?

Tim, please submit your definition of “well-established”. (He asks futilely.)

Of course, “well-established” means “What I beleive, six thousand years of inconvenient history and civilization be damned.”

April 17, 2010 @ 2:16 pm #

Gary -

Congratulations, you just offered a bullet-proof argument for the suppression of women, for slavery, and for a host of other things that stood as “well established” until very recently in the West.

The power of Tim’s argument (and I think, the center of what he means) is that the “millenia of history” argument does not bear as much weight as those who need it to be true think it does.

April 17, 2010 @ 3:23 pm #

Plus Gordon, the ‘millennia of history’ includes polygomous marriage for a start, not to mention underage marriage, and ‘arranged’ marriages (read ‘forced marriages’).

If only ‘consenting man and wife’ marriages WAS the established norm of the past few thousands years.

Anyway, if ‘keeping to the status quo’ was the only way to go, the United States would never have been founded in the first place.

April 17, 2010 @ 3:32 pm #

OK Nathan…

So…what do you consider to be the purpose of the marital contract? do you consider it a contract?

Why should the government (presuming State in our nation, but _any_ government) have any interest in regulating it in any way?

April 17, 2010 @ 3:33 pm #

Phil has to be sooooo pleased. Hey man, you asked for it and, now the pigs are not only playing in filth, they managed to import their own filth in which to muck about in. What else could you have expected? A good faith invitation to a leftist mind is always answered with behavior like this. They’re like children who were never disciplined: they can’t halp themselves.

But, you did get your answer now – didn’t you?

April 17, 2010 @ 4:25 pm #

As we all have noticed, marriage is a complex institution. It does not have one central purpose or telos. It serves numerous human purposes – vitally important purposes. For that reason, it is probably the most important social institution/practice in the world.

Those who support allowing gays to participate in the institution are not trying to destroy marriage. We are trying to strengthen it. The biggest threat to marriage is not the inclusion of Gays – which, when allowed, proves to be a huge non-event in terms of the predicted social calamities. The biggest threat to marriage is all the competing alternatives. These alternatives generally have one thing in common – they extend the traditional benefits of marriage without requiring the partners to live up to the traditional responsibilities of a spouse. This “decoupling” of the benefits and responsibilities of marriage makes these alternatives attractive. But because these alternative arrangements fall outside the traditional notions of marital commitment, they are far less stable then marriage. They also fail to realize the many benefits (to the participants and society at large) of marriage.

This makes such arrangements highly undesirable from a public policy perspective.

A central cause, perhaps the main cause, of the proliferation of alternatives to marriage is the exclusion of gays from the institution. Sympathetic people and organizations, and these are becoming more numerous every year, have taken it upon themselves to provide some of the benefits of marriage (for example, most large Corporations allow gay partners to be covered under an employee’s health insurance plan). The quickest way to undermine and de-legitimize such alternative arrangements, and they need to be de-legitimized if the benefits and responsibilities of traditional marriage are to remain coupled, is to allow Gays to marry.

As Jonathan Rauch aptly put it – and the above is his argument, not mine – society has a keen interest in enforcing the following rule: “If you want the benefits of marriage, get married. No exceptions.”

Personally, I think defending the exclusion of gays based on the traditional definition of the term is pretty silly.

Joe H.

April 17, 2010 @ 5:00 pm #

“I don’t see how that isn’t begging the question by your definition – you’re starting with the definition you want to achieve agreement upon.”
——————–

Nathan,

Not at all. My analogy was not begging any question because the analogy is not about proving the definition of marriage. It is about illustrating that there is a difference between your two sets of infertile couples. When you brought the issue up in the first place you were challenging the fact that WITHIN the traditional definition of marriage infertile couples are still granted the status of marriage. Your contention was that such reasoning is inconsistent when it excludes same-sex couples. My analogy showed that such exclusion is perfectly consistent with marriage as traditionally defined and not a double standard. No more, no less.

April 17, 2010 @ 5:32 pm #

Mark13:31 -

“A good faith invitation to a leftist mind is always answered with behavior like this. They’re like children who were never disciplined: they can’t halp themselves.”

Absolutely fascinating. I see a lot of people here (on both sides) advancing good-faith, cogent arguments for their sides, and I see one person calling people pigs.

Then…get this for irony…he accuses THOSE PIGS of acting like undisciplined children. That’s very rich.

April 17, 2010 @ 6:22 pm #

Well said Gordon!

Joe

April 17, 2010 @ 6:36 pm #

Unless you think of yourselves that way, why do you two assume to be the subject(s) of that statement? Seriously, millions of peaceful protesters in the T.E.A. Party movement are slandered as violent racists everyday on NATIONAL TELEVISION and they whine less than you guys.

Leftist whiners, everyone, drawing attention to themselves by featuring their hurt from time immemorial.

April 17, 2010 @ 6:47 pm #

Mark13:31:

Even if I was a hard Leftist, I don’t think there would be a single word you could produce that would cause me any pain. I notice that those admitted liberals on here don’t pay much attention to you.

I said what I did to be constructive for YOUR sake. Ostensibly, you have fought against terrorists…yet when the world (of discussion) doesn’t go where you want it to, you strap on the explosives, hop in and pull the cord.

I think it should be a matter for concern for you. If not, say what you will, but the irony of it still shines like a supernova at night. I expect you to break into “I know you are, but what am I” at any second : )

April 17, 2010 @ 7:38 pm #

Mark 13:31,

The T.E.A party people were not slandered by us – the people you are interacting with currently. We are individuals making arguments about a particular topic. If we are wrong, explain why?

Calling us names, because people you feel some affinity to were slandered by others, is silly. It proves nothing, except that you are willing to dismiss/smear those who disagree with you because others who agree with us have said unjustified things. Why must you do this? Why not just explain why we – the people you are interacting with on this blog – are wrong.

Gordon is exactly right. It is foolish for you to interact with us in this manner. It is foolish for you to interact with anyone in this manner. Stick to the arguments.

Joe H.

April 17, 2010 @ 9:43 pm #

You lost me on the Hutaree connection. My point was at least relevant.

It was not a “point.” It was a random (and pointless) observation. A “joke,” as Mark would call it.

Makes the prospect of my answering your other points far less interesting to me.

I am so surprised.

Tim, please submit your definition of “well-established”. (He asks futilely.)

What I mean is, it’s only “well-established” if you accept the Christian definition of marriage. Judeo-Christians are the only ones that agree that it is “well-established.” And among Christians, I imagine it is well-established. But non-Christianfolk tend to have a hard time understanding why you think marriage must necessarily be between a man and a woman.

The point being: Even if we DO accept that it is a “well-established” definition, I am asking you why that even matters in the first place. We should be discussing why that definition is supposedly “well-established” — i.e. the reasons we instituted marriage in the first place — not whether or not it is so.

Why should the government (presuming State in our nation, but _any_ government) have any interest in regulating it in any way?

Good question. Why should we regulate people’s interpersonal relationships?

The only real reason that I can think of is for tax/financial purposes, considering the possibility that the marriage may end in divorce at some point — if the couple separates, there need to be fine lines as to what can be awarded to whom and who can claim ownership of what, to prevent legal and financial issues from arising from a divorce. It’s simply not necessary for social purposes — it’s entirely possible for an unmarried couple (straight OR gay) to survive in the current American social and financial climate without getting married.

So really, it’s only necessary at all if we assume it’s necessary in the first place….

Phil has to be sooooo pleased. Hey man, you asked for it and, now the pigs are not only playing in filth, they managed to import their own filth in which to muck about in. What else could you have expected? A good faith invitation to a leftist mind is always answered with behavior like this. They’re like children who were never disciplined: they can’t halp themselves.

…”halp?”

I have a feeling Mr. Phil doesn’t have a problem with this sort of “insulting post.”

These alternatives generally have one thing in common – they extend the traditional benefits of marriage without requiring the partners to live up to the traditional responsibilities of a spouse.

That’s a very interesting angle, actually.

Unless you think of yourselves that way, why do you two assume to be the subject(s) of that statement? Seriously, millions of peaceful protesters in the T.E.A. Party movement are slandered as violent racists everyday on NATIONAL TELEVISION and they whine less than you guys.

Well, since you brought it up….from an article titled “Several of the Hutaree Militia Members Entered Not Guilty Pleas” from abcnews:

“An Internet posting declaring war on a government agency was what provoked federal law enforcement to close in on the nine Christian extremist militia members who are now charged with plotting an attack on police.

The account was revealed today when eight of the nine members of the group, the Hutaree, entered not guilty pleas at an arraignment today at a U.S. District Court in Detroit. “

“On July, 25, 2009, according to the prosecution, David Stone encouraged members to train harder because war was approaching. Stone indicated that he wanted to “own his own country.” Stone referred to law enforcement as part of a New World Order “brotherhood” and he spoke about killing law enforcement officers.

The Hutaree were divided into two teams who were being trained to kill law enforcement, according to Waterstreet. The group built a “hit list” consisting of federal judges and educational leaders.

Kristopher Sickles, one of the nine defendants, allegedly wanted to explode a bomb at the police department in Huron, Ohio, and killed his cat so he could “see if he had it in him to kill something he cared about,” the prosecution claims.

Waterstreet also played the courtroom an audio recording of David Stone, during which he says, “People around the world are waiting for people like Hutaree to go to war.”

If you want a better example, go to youtube and search for “African American congressman called a G** **** worthless ******.”

Or look at this: http://houstontps.org/audio/4995.jpg

Or look up “tea party protestor sorry for mocking man with parkinson’s.” There’s a video of the actual offense taking place. That one is particularly depressing.

Or look up “Tea-party idea in Oklahoma: Form a militia” on the Seattle Times website. You’ll find this:

OKLAHOMA CITY — Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea-party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a volunteer militia to help defend against what they say are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.

Tea-party leaders say they’ve discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to introduce legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force.

As blogger Michael Tomasky says, “political parties in fully functional democracies don’t have their own armies, last I checked.”

Or, from Buffalo News:

Sometime early this morning, someone threw a brick through the front window of [Rep. Louise Slaughter's] Pine Avenue office.

The damage was discovered about 12:30 a.m., city police said.

The brick put a hole in the outer-most window at the office at 1910 Pine Ave., but did not damage a second interior window, police reported. A piece of broken brick believed to have caused the damage was found at the scene.

Damage was estimated at $350.

Yes. Very peaceful movement, indeed.

Why must you do this? Why not just explain why we – the people you are interacting with on this blog – are wrong.

He already did. “You’re wrong because you’re mean.”

April 17, 2010 @ 9:43 pm #

OH HOLY CRAP ignore that last post. Major HTML bluff.

0.0

You lost me on the Hutaree connection. My point was at least relevant.

It was not a “point.” It was a random (and pointless) observation. A “joke,” as Mark would call it.

Makes the prospect of my answering your other points far less interesting to me.

I am so surprised.

Tim, please submit your definition of “well-established”. (He asks futilely.)

What I mean is, it’s only “well-established” if you accept the Christian definition of marriage. Judeo-Christians are the only ones that agree that it is “well-established.” And among Christians, I imagine it is well-established. But non-Christianfolk tend to have a hard time understanding why you think marriage must necessarily be between a man and a woman.

The point being: Even if we DO accept that it is a “well-established” definition, I am asking you why that even matters in the first place. We should be discussing why that definition is supposedly “well-established” — i.e. the reasons we instituted marriage in the first place — not whether or not it is so.

Why should the government (presuming State in our nation, but _any_ government) have any interest in regulating it in any way?

Good question. Why should we regulate people’s interpersonal relationships?

The only real reason that I can think of is for tax/financial purposes, considering the possibility that the marriage may end in divorce at some point — if the couple separates, there need to be fine lines as to what can be awarded to whom and who can claim ownership of what, to prevent legal and financial issues from arising from a divorce. It’s simply not necessary for social purposes — it’s entirely possible for an unmarried couple (straight OR gay) to survive in the current American social and financial climate without getting married.

So really, it’s only necessary at all if we assume it’s necessary in the first place….

Phil has to be sooooo pleased. Hey man, you asked for it and, now the pigs are not only playing in filth, they managed to import their own filth in which to muck about in. What else could you have expected? A good faith invitation to a leftist mind is always answered with behavior like this. They’re like children who were never disciplined: they can’t halp themselves.

…”halp?”

I have a feeling Mr. Phil doesn’t have a problem with this sort of “insulting post.”

These alternatives generally have one thing in common – they extend the traditional benefits of marriage without requiring the partners to live up to the traditional responsibilities of a spouse.

That’s a very interesting angle, actually.

Unless you think of yourselves that way, why do you two assume to be the subject(s) of that statement? Seriously, millions of peaceful protesters in the T.E.A. Party movement are slandered as violent racists everyday on NATIONAL TELEVISION and they whine less than you guys.

Well, since you brought it up….from an article titled “Several of the Hutaree Militia Members Entered Not Guilty Pleas” from abcnews:

“An Internet posting declaring war on a government agency was what provoked federal law enforcement to close in on the nine Christian extremist militia members who are now charged with plotting an attack on police.

The account was revealed today when eight of the nine members of the group, the Hutaree, entered not guilty pleas at an arraignment today at a U.S. District Court in Detroit. “

“On July, 25, 2009, according to the prosecution, David Stone encouraged members to train harder because war was approaching. Stone indicated that he wanted to “own his own country.” Stone referred to law enforcement as part of a New World Order “brotherhood” and he spoke about killing law enforcement officers.

The Hutaree were divided into two teams who were being trained to kill law enforcement, according to Waterstreet. The group built a “hit list” consisting of federal judges and educational leaders.

Kristopher Sickles, one of the nine defendants, allegedly wanted to explode a bomb at the police department in Huron, Ohio, and killed his cat so he could “see if he had it in him to kill something he cared about,” the prosecution claims.

Waterstreet also played the courtroom an audio recording of David Stone, during which he says, “People around the world are waiting for people like Hutaree to go to war.”

If you want a better example, go to youtube and search for “African American congressman called a G** **** worthless ******.”

Or look at this: http://houstontps.org/audio/4995.jpg

Or look up “tea party protestor sorry for mocking man with parkinson’s.” There’s a video of the actual offense taking place. That one is particularly depressing.

Or look up “Tea-party idea in Oklahoma: Form a militia” on the Seattle Times website. You’ll find this:

OKLAHOMA CITY — Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea-party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a volunteer militia to help defend against what they say are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.

Tea-party leaders say they’ve discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to introduce legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force.

As blogger Michael Tomasky says, “political parties in fully functional democracies don’t have their own armies, last I checked.”

Or, from Buffalo News:

Sometime early this morning, someone threw a brick through the front window of [Rep. Louise Slaughter's] Pine Avenue office.

The damage was discovered about 12:30 a.m., city police said.

The brick put a hole in the outer-most window at the office at 1910 Pine Ave., but did not damage a second interior window, police reported. A piece of broken brick believed to have caused the damage was found at the scene.

Damage was estimated at $350.

Yes. Very peaceful movement, indeed.

Why must you do this? Why not just explain why we – the people you are interacting with on this blog – are wrong.

He already did. “You’re wrong because you’re mean.”

April 17, 2010 @ 9:44 pm #

GHAA….sorry, one more try:

You lost me on the Hutaree connection. My point was at least relevant.

It was not a “point.” It was a random (and pointless) observation. A “joke,” as Mark would call it.

Makes the prospect of my answering your other points far less interesting to me.

I am so surprised.

Tim, please submit your definition of “well-established”. (He asks futilely.)

What I mean is, it’s only “well-established” if you accept the Christian definition of marriage. Judeo-Christians are the only ones that agree that it is “well-established.” And among Christians, I imagine it is well-established. But non-Christianfolk tend to have a hard time understanding why you think marriage must necessarily be between a man and a woman.

The point being: Even if we DO accept that it is a “well-established” definition, I am asking you why that even matters in the first place. We should be discussing why that definition is supposedly “well-established” — i.e. the reasons we instituted marriage in the first place — not whether or not it is so.

Why should the government (presuming State in our nation, but _any_ government) have any interest in regulating it in any way?

Good question. Why should we regulate people’s interpersonal relationships?

The only real reason that I can think of is for tax/financial purposes, considering the possibility that the marriage may end in divorce at some point — if the couple separates, there need to be fine lines as to what can be awarded to whom and who can claim ownership of what, to prevent legal and financial issues from arising from a divorce. It’s simply not necessary for social purposes — it’s entirely possible for an unmarried couple (straight OR gay) to survive in the current American social and financial climate without getting married.

So really, it’s only necessary at all if we assume it’s necessary in the first place….

Phil has to be sooooo pleased. Hey man, you asked for it and, now the pigs are not only playing in filth, they managed to import their own filth in which to muck about in. What else could you have expected? A good faith invitation to a leftist mind is always answered with behavior like this. They’re like children who were never disciplined: they can’t halp themselves.

…”halp?”

I have a feeling Mr. Phil doesn’t have a problem with this sort of “insulting post.”

These alternatives generally have one thing in common – they extend the traditional benefits of marriage without requiring the partners to live up to the traditional responsibilities of a spouse.

That’s a very interesting angle, actually.

Unless you think of yourselves that way, why do you two assume to be the subject(s) of that statement? Seriously, millions of peaceful protesters in the T.E.A. Party movement are slandered as violent racists everyday on NATIONAL TELEVISION and they whine less than you guys.

Well, since you brought it up….from an article titled “Several of the Hutaree Militia Members Entered Not Guilty Pleas” from abcnews:

“An Internet posting declaring war on a government agency was what provoked federal law enforcement to close in on the nine Christian extremist militia members who are now charged with plotting an attack on police.

The account was revealed today when eight of the nine members of the group, the Hutaree, entered not guilty pleas at an arraignment today at a U.S. District Court in Detroit. “

“On July, 25, 2009, according to the prosecution, David Stone encouraged members to train harder because war was approaching. Stone indicated that he wanted to “own his own country.” Stone referred to law enforcement as part of a New World Order “brotherhood” and he spoke about killing law enforcement officers.

The Hutaree were divided into two teams who were being trained to kill law enforcement, according to Waterstreet. The group built a “hit list” consisting of federal judges and educational leaders.

Kristopher Sickles, one of the nine defendants, allegedly wanted to explode a bomb at the police department in Huron, Ohio, and killed his cat so he could “see if he had it in him to kill something he cared about,” the prosecution claims.

Waterstreet also played the courtroom an audio recording of David Stone, during which he says, “People around the world are waiting for people like Hutaree to go to war.”

If you want a better example, go to youtube and search for “African American congressman called a G** **** worthless ******.”

Or look at this: http://houstontps.org/audio/4995.jpg

Or look up “tea party protestor sorry for mocking man with parkinson’s.” There’s a video of the actual offense taking place. That one is particularly depressing.

Or look up “Tea-party idea in Oklahoma: Form a militia” on the Seattle Times website. You’ll find this:

OKLAHOMA CITY — Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea-party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a volunteer militia to help defend against what they say are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.

Tea-party leaders say they’ve discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to introduce legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force.

As blogger Michael Tomasky says, “political parties in fully functional democracies don’t have their own armies, last I checked.”

Or, from Buffalo News:

Sometime early this morning, someone threw a brick through the front window of [Rep. Louise Slaughter's] Pine Avenue office.

The damage was discovered about 12:30 a.m., city police said.

The brick put a hole in the outer-most window at the office at 1910 Pine Ave., but did not damage a second interior window, police reported. A piece of broken brick believed to have caused the damage was found at the scene.

Damage was estimated at $350.

Yes. Very peaceful movement, indeed.

Why must you do this? Why not just explain why we – the people you are interacting with on this blog – are wrong.

He already did. “You’re wrong because you’re mean.”

April 17, 2010 @ 9:45 pm #

Maybe god really does hate me :(

You lost me on the Hutaree connection. My point was at least relevant.

It was not a “point.” It was a random (and pointless) observation. A “joke,” as Mark would call it.

Makes the prospect of my answering your other points far less interesting to me.

I am so surprised.

Tim, please submit your definition of “well-established”. (He asks futilely.)

What I mean is, it’s only “well-established” if you accept the Christian definition of marriage. Judeo-Christians are the only ones that agree that it is “well-established.” And among Christians, I imagine it is well-established. But non-Christianfolk tend to have a hard time understanding why you think marriage must necessarily be between a man and a woman.

The point being: Even if we DO accept that it is a “well-established” definition, I am asking you why that even matters in the first place. We should be discussing why that definition is supposedly “well-established” — i.e. the reasons we instituted marriage in the first place — not whether or not it is so.

Why should the government (presuming State in our nation, but _any_ government) have any interest in regulating it in any way?

Good question. Why should we regulate people’s interpersonal relationships?

The only real reason that I can think of is for tax/financial purposes, considering the possibility that the marriage may end in divorce at some point — if the couple separates, there need to be fine lines as to what can be awarded to whom and who can claim ownership of what, to prevent legal and financial issues from arising from a divorce. It’s simply not necessary for social purposes — it’s entirely possible for an unmarried couple (straight OR gay) to survive in the current American social and financial climate without getting married.

So really, it’s only necessary at all if we assume it’s necessary in the first place….

Phil has to be sooooo pleased. Hey man, you asked for it and, now the pigs are not only playing in filth, they managed to import their own filth in which to muck about in. What else could you have expected? A good faith invitation to a leftist mind is always answered with behavior like this. They’re like children who were never disciplined: they can’t halp themselves.

…”halp?”

I have a feeling Mr. Phil doesn’t have a problem with this sort of “insulting post.”

These alternatives generally have one thing in common – they extend the traditional benefits of marriage without requiring the partners to live up to the traditional responsibilities of a spouse.

That’s a very interesting angle, actually.

Unless you think of yourselves that way, why do you two assume to be the subject(s) of that statement? Seriously, millions of peaceful protesters in the T.E.A. Party movement are slandered as violent racists everyday on NATIONAL TELEVISION and they whine less than you guys.

Well, since you brought it up….from an article titled “Several of the Hutaree Militia Members Entered Not Guilty Pleas” from abcnews:

“An Internet posting declaring war on a government agency was what provoked federal law enforcement to close in on the nine Christian extremist militia members who are now charged with plotting an attack on police.

The account was revealed today when eight of the nine members of the group, the Hutaree, entered not guilty pleas at an arraignment today at a U.S. District Court in Detroit. “

“On July, 25, 2009, according to the prosecution, David Stone encouraged members to train harder because war was approaching. Stone indicated that he wanted to “own his own country.” Stone referred to law enforcement as part of a New World Order “brotherhood” and he spoke about killing law enforcement officers.

The Hutaree were divided into two teams who were being trained to kill law enforcement, according to Waterstreet. The group built a “hit list” consisting of federal judges and educational leaders.

Kristopher Sickles, one of the nine defendants, allegedly wanted to explode a bomb at the police department in Huron, Ohio, and killed his cat so he could “see if he had it in him to kill something he cared about,” the prosecution claims.

Waterstreet also played the courtroom an audio recording of David Stone, during which he says, “People around the world are waiting for people like Hutaree to go to war.”

If you want a better example, go to youtube and search for “African American congressman called a G** **** worthless ******.”

Or look at this: http://houstontps.org/audio/4995.jpg

Or look up “tea party protestor sorry for mocking man with parkinson’s.” There’s a video of the actual offense taking place. That one is particularly depressing.

Or look up “Tea-party idea in Oklahoma: Form a militia” on the Seattle Times website. You’ll find this:

OKLAHOMA CITY — Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea-party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a volunteer militia to help defend against what they say are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.

Tea-party leaders say they’ve discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to introduce legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force.

As blogger Michael Tomasky says, “political parties in fully functional democracies don’t have their own armies, last I checked.”

Or, from Buffalo News:

Sometime early this morning, someone threw a brick through the front window of [Rep. Louise Slaughter's] Pine Avenue office.

The damage was discovered about 12:30 a.m., city police said.

The brick put a hole in the outer-most window at the office at 1910 Pine Ave., but did not damage a second interior window, police reported. A piece of broken brick believed to have caused the damage was found at the scene.

Damage was estimated at $350.

Yes. Very peaceful movement, indeed.

Why must you do this? Why not just explain why we – the people you are interacting with on this blog – are wrong.

He already did. “You’re wrong because you’re mean.”

April 17, 2010 @ 9:55 pm #

Maybe god really does hate me :(

Well, if the biblical sized plague of HTML fails fits…

April 17, 2010 @ 10:06 pm #

Tim,

Only Christians and Jews consider the definition of marriage as “well-established”?

What was the definition of marriage in Plato’s Greece? Caesar’s Rome? Confucious’ China? Are all these to be consider Judeo-Christian societies?

As far as the witty, off-topic trope by the libs, Christians put an end to slavery, poly-marriages were rare (usually by the rich, powerful and wealthy); you say suppression of women, some say protection of women. All in all, immaterial to this post, and my question to Tim. (Although, it is interesting that those positions are espoused and practiced today by our Muslim friends)

So, once again, we are left with, “It’s what I want, so it must be so!”

April 17, 2010 @ 10:12 pm #

Oh and Tim,

That whole “violent Tea Partiers” rant:

HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

April 17, 2010 @ 10:20 pm #

Well, if the biblical sized plague of HTML fails fits…

I NO RITE?!

HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

If you’re laughing at my HTML fail then that’s fair enough (because it IS rather amusing….). But if you are laughing at Tea Party Violence then….well, I guess that explains the situation our country is in now, doesn’t it?~

April 17, 2010 @ 10:20 pm #

Liberal “logic”:
Thousands murdered every year at the hands of Muslims = “Muslims? What Muslims? I don’t see no Muslims! I just see a powder keg of Christian extremists ready to go all jihad at any moment – Ms. Nepolitano! Halp, Ms. Nepolitano!”

Virtually every assassin (both successful and would be) of American Presidents have been leftists so naturally, let’s all look out for those working class guys yelling “Kill the bill!”.

EVERY riot in the last 50 years has been perpetrated by leftist agitators for or against peace, the environment, the CFR, etc. so naturally, the millions who have turned out to peacefully protest the flushing of the US Constitution must be stopped before they chant again!!!!!!!

For EIGHT years we heard (and saw signs/t-shirts/movies/etc.) about what a “nazi” G. Bush was and how he should be killed for “crimes against humanity” so naturally, Homeland Security must target folks w/ bumper stickers that offend the sensibilities of the ACLU and others who advocate for the liberation of rapists, child molesters, murderers, cop killers, terrorists, etc.

Leftism is evil. There is no two ways about it. How else to account for the fact that so many can act as if one man ramming himself into another amounts to a “family”? Call me a hater all you want, but not speaking truth to people who are destroying there lives and their souls is bad enough – encouraging them to do so would appear to be sealing your fate for eternity. (insert appropriate Bible verse here)

April 17, 2010 @ 10:35 pm #

Tim,

Could you pleeeeease apply just ONE HALF as much condemnation towards ACTUAL, KNOWN evil as you do when ASSUMING that certain acts are done by people you disapprove of? Read what you posted – surely even YOU can see how unfair your assumptions are. Oh wait, that’s right, you ALWAYS post that exact same stuff and arbitrarily assign guilt to the targets on your choosing. And we KNOW that leftists do this stuff to themselves all the time in order to blame their enemies unjustly. There is a whole web site on the net built for the purpose of recruiting folks to infiltrate the T.E.A. Party and portray them as racists, violent, etc. Don’t worry yourself about it though. No sense in letting the truth get in the way of your ideology.

The left, ladies and gents, illustrating the dangers of possessing an “open mind” once again by “thinking” after their brains have already fallen out that, oh so huge, opening in their noggins.

April 17, 2010 @ 10:37 pm #

Liberal “logic”:
Thousands murdered every year at the hands of Muslims = “Muslims? What Muslims? I don’t see no Muslims! I just see a powder keg of Christian extremists ready to go all jihad at any moment – Ms. Nepolitano! Halp, Ms. Nepolitano!”/blockquote>

Conservative logic:

“Facts! Accounts! Umm….(insert stream of ad hominem nonsense).”

Sorry, I know it’s not fair to conservatives to lump them in with Mr. Mark; I didn’t really mean that. I’m just playing off him….

EVERY riot in the last 50 years has been perpetrated by leftist agitators for or against peace, the environment, the CFR, etc.</blockquote

…wow. Just….wow.

For EIGHT years we heard (and saw signs/t-shirts/movies/etc.) about what a “nazi” G. Bush was and how he should be killed for “crimes against humanity”

The only people calling for the murder of G.W. Bush were insane and fanatical far-left conspiracy-theorists — the same types of people who believe that Obama is a secret communist Mulsim and that leftists are “evil.” Nobody took them seriously then, and nobody will take them seriously now, for precisely that reason.

None of those folks actually made any attempt to assassinate Mr. Bush. Let’s hope we get the same luck with Mr. Obama.

Leftism is evil. There is no two ways about it. How else to account for the fact that so many can act as if one man ramming himself into another amounts to a “family”? Call me a hater all you want, but not speaking truth to people who are destroying there lives and their souls is bad enough – encouraging them to do so would appear to be sealing your fate for eternity. (insert appropriate Bible verse here)

Nothing left to say, really. Just….wow.

April 17, 2010 @ 10:46 pm #

I will soon be trialed and sentenced for 4 counts of HTML fail, so I’ll try to be quick:

Could you pleeeeease apply just ONE HALF as much condemnation towards ACTUAL, KNOWN evil as you do when ASSUMING that certain acts are done by people you disapprove of?

Ah, the “Appeal To Bigger Problems” argument (AKA the “Children Are Starving In Africa” argument).

Your fallacy is as follows; it makes three false assumptions:

A) That it is not possible to care about big problems (i.e. your so-called “ACTUAL, KNOWN evil”) and small problems (the issues we are discussing here) simultaneously.
B) That complaining about a minor issue (i.e. the issues we are discussing here) is sufficient proof that the major issue is considered unimportant by the person raising the complaint.
C) That if the person irritated over the minor issue did help solve the major issues, then it would follow that he should not care about the minor issue at all.

Secondly, I assumed nothing. You can’t get much more undeniable than photographic evidence.

Read what you posted – surely even YOU can see how unfair your assumptions are.

With all due respect, Mr. Mark, I find it very odd that YOU are telling ME that my “assumptions” are “unfair” after I showed you photographic and video evidence supporting my claim. You have shown absolutely nothing to support anything you have said at any point during this discussion. So I will dismiss this criticism as groundless.

Oh wait, that’s right, you ALWAYS post that exact same stuff and arbitrarily assign guilt to the targets on your choosing

I wasn’t aware that I had posted those links and cases before. Perhaps you could show me where I have? Or maybe I did and Mr. Phil deleted them? But I wasn’t aware that he had deleted anything I’d written just yet….

And we KNOW that leftists do this stuff to themselves all the time in order to blame their enemies unjustly.

To quote someone I was talking to a minute ago, “Read what you posted – surely even YOU can see how unfair your assumptions are.”

There is a whole web site on the net built for the purpose of recruiting folks to infiltrate the T.E.A. Party and portray them as racists, violent, etc. Don’t worry yourself about it though. No sense in letting the truth get in the way of your ideology.

If that is true, then I would like nothing more than for you to post the link to (or at least the name of) that site so I can google it and find it for myself.

April 17, 2010 @ 10:54 pm #

If that is true, then I would like nothing more than for you to post the link to (or at least the name of) that site so I can google it and find it for myself.

The fact that you have not heard of this is as close to proof that you live in a leftist echo-chamber as I could come up with so, will let it stand (or float away) of its own weight.

April 17, 2010 @ 11:12 pm #

“Why should I not be granted the right under the law to marry my birch tree?…I love it dearly, it has faithfully provided me shade for decades.” The birch tree is slender with sparse branches and small leaves. The fact that you are under the impression that it is a shade tree leaves me to believe that you have misinterpreted ‘consent’ on the part of the tree. What you perceive as a Semaphore Flags signaling ‘yes’ to your marriage proposal was most likely the result of the wind blowing those silver leaves. I suggest you propose to another tree.

April 17, 2010 @ 11:22 pm #

The fact that you have not heard of this is as close to proof that you live in a leftist echo-chamber as I could come up with so, will let it stand (or float away) of its own weight.

I don’t think you understand the position you are in at all….

I could probably find a similar site myself (if, in fact, it exists, which I sincerely doubt), given enough time. But right now, you have the opportunity to provide evidence which would provide reasonable doubt against some of the evidence I presented (specifically, the photograph). And yet you will not provide it. Do you realize that this makes your argument appear even weaker?

I am frankly baffled that you would rather insult me in a generic fashion and walk away than provide solid evidence that anyone would be able to see.

April 18, 2010 @ 12:39 am #

The site, called “crash the tea party” has been modified because the free-speech-hating coward (you know? the leftist), jason levin, ran away when that good old disinfectant called truth shined in on him.

As far as you being a willing and happy lie spreader goes, have you not spread the ones about “15 people screaming the N-word” and spitting, etc.? If you haven’t, my mistake. If you have – you lie. Leftism IS a lie though, which makes this discussion pointless. Accept for amusement of course. Which has in fact run its course…

April 18, 2010 @ 2:36 am #

Suek: “Why should the government (presuming State in our nation, but _any_ government) have any interest in regulating it in any way?”

Suek, go to Cameroon if you want to see what a nation looks like when its contracts aren’t enforced.

When I married my wife it gave us rights that effectively STOP the government interfering in our lives. eg, stops hospitals being able to restrict me visiting my wife in hospital. So allowing SSM is not more government interference, it’s less. Libertarians should welcome it.

April 18, 2010 @ 9:39 am #

>>When I married my wife it gave us rights that effectively STOP the government interfering in our lives. eg, stops hospitals being able to restrict me visiting my wife in hospital.>>

Ok..this one is no longer relevant. Obama has mandated that any medical facility that accepts Medicare or Medicaid must allow gay partners the same rights as legally married partners. Which leaves the only ones without protection to be heterosexual couples who haven’t married.

However, your Camaroon example doesn’t work. You say that the government’s interest is one of enforcing contracts. Good – I agree with that…but homosexuals can make contracts that give them the same rights – it just wouldn’t be called “marriage”. In this country – and most others – “marriage” is specifically protected. Why? and why does any government care? You haven’t answered that.

And why is it called the “state of Matrimony”? “Matrimony” is a word derived from the latin word for “mother” – kind of goes back to that reproduction thing again…

April 18, 2010 @ 11:06 am #

The site, called “crash the tea party” has been modified because the free-speech-hating coward (you know? the leftist), jason levin, ran away when that good old disinfectant called truth shined in on him.

Well, from what I’ve read (there was even a FOX News article on this guy), he doesn’t hate free speech. He actually likes it. I would call what he did a clever manipulation of free speech, rather than a hatred of it.

The problem with what he did seems to stem more from the regulations of the school district where he teaches — the administration is looking into whether he used school property (i.e. computers and internet) to work on his website. That could be a problem because the school district rules state the following:

The district’s electronic communications system
shall be used for educational purposes consistent with the district’s mission, priorities and beliefs. Educational purposes do not include commercial use, use for personal financial gain or political advocacy.

If he did violate that policy, then of course he would have to be removed. If not, then he’s just a clever “leftist.” There’s nothing wrong with starting a counter-protest meant to emphasize the absurdity of the original protest — look up Westboro Baptist Church and you’ll see many examples of college campuses and rights groups staging nonviolent (and sometimes humorous) counter-protests that basically mock the original protest.

In his own words, Mr. Levin says this:

“Our goal is that whenever a Tea Partier says ‘Barack Obama was not born in America,’ we’re going be right there next to them saying, ‘Yeah, in fact he wasn’t born on Earth! He’s an alien!’”

He’s specifically targetting the most insane and conspiracy-theory-driven members of the group. I don’t see anything morally reprehensible out that; if people like that weren’t part of the movement in the first place, there would be no need to make such a move.

As far as you being a willing and happy lie spreader goes, have you not spread the ones about “15 people screaming the N-word” and spitting, etc.? If you haven’t, my mistake. If you have – you lie.

I have not. I’ve read a lot about that one, though (do you mean the one where Barney Frank claims he was called a “faggot” and the other representative [can't remember his name right off] claims he was spit on and/or called “the n-word?”). Frankly, there is not enough evidence to say if that one is true or false, so I’ve considered it hearsay at best. I don’t concern myself with hearsay. Although given how much it’s been played up lately, it seems odd because there are so many more obvious (and much better-documented) incidents of Tea Party reps acting like tools.

Leftism IS a lie though, which makes this discussion pointless. Accept for amusement of course. Which has in fact run its course…

Just out of curiosity, I’ve gotta ask….do you speak to people like this in real life?

Also, in closing, Mr. Mark, I do have one question. If there are *absolutely no* incidents of Tea Party violence or threats of violence, or otherwise hateful or threatening behavior, then why would a Rabbi and an attorney get together to write this article?

http://www.niot.org/blog/bridging-hate-gap-dc-rabbi-and-attorney-speak-out?page=1

Would you say that this man is part of some “liberal agenda” to promote “lies?” Or do you think he has honest, legitimate concerns about the actions of both sides of the health care debate?

And why is it called the “state of Matrimony”? “Matrimony” is a word derived from the latin word for “mother” – kind of goes back to that reproduction thing again…

Well then, lesbian marriages should be fine! They can get artificial insemination to have children if they like. Or they can adopt a child from one of these fine Christian marriages that have been unwilling or unable to care for the children they’ve birthed.

[/snark]

April 18, 2010 @ 11:16 am #

Tim,

Hundreds of Thousands attend Tea Parties on 4/15. No litter, no violence, no arrests.

50 SIEU thugs protest, 25 arrested.

Ever hear of Kenneth Gladney?

Or more recently, the GOP employee in NOLA attacked, along with her boyfriend?

The selected examples of violence you effectively hid in your HTML fail occurred after the socialist takeover of health care. The deconstruction of events, and assignation of blame for such violence has been done elsewhere(you’re smart, google, bing, Nexis search, please). Interesting that the only arrests were of Leftists threatening congressmen, no?

You cannot point to ONE Tea Party event that had Tea Party violence.

Epic. Liberal. Fail.

Oh, yeah. I enjoy the liberal dodge you are employing. When asked a direct question, find a minor point and focus attention there. i.e. HAHAHAHAHAH.

So, I ask again (futilely):

Only Christians and Jews consider the definition of marriage as “well-established”?

What was the definition of marriage in Plato’s Greece? Caesar’s Rome? Confucious’ China? Are all these to be consider Judeo-Christian societies?

April 18, 2010 @ 11:51 am #

The selected examples of violence you effectively hid in your HTML fail occurred after the socialist takeover of health care. The deconstruction of events, and assignation of blame for such violence has been done elsewhere

So you believe it is permissible that people resort to violence because of health care legislation being passed?

Interesting that the only arrests were of Leftists threatening congressmen, no?

Blatantly false. Six arrests were made in the Hutaree Christian Militia case; one man was arrested for leaving death threats on Patty Murray’s and Maria Cantwell’s answering machine (and in an interview with and FBI agent, whom he thought was a member of a Tea Party-associated group, he said, “I pack a .38, and if someone says, I will not blink”). Another Christian man was arrested in Texas for filing a court document with the following language, indicating that he intended to violently subvert the actions of a local abortion clinic, which he specifically named:

“I will try to stop an abortion using oral words, and if words are not enough, I will use physical force if necessary, and if anyone tries to physically stop me, I will overcome that force, and if I must use deadly force to defend the innocent life of another human being, I will.”

Although knowing this crowd, I wouldn’t be surprised if you considered him a “hero” instead of a terrorist, which is what I consider him. He was charged with “transmitting an interstate communication containing a threat,” and “using force to intimidate the employees of a reproductive health services provider.”

You cannot point to ONE Tea Party event that had Tea Party violence.

So which is it? Earlier, you said:

The selected examples of violence you effectively hid in your HTML fail occurred after the socialist takeover of health care.

Only Christians and Jews consider the definition of marriage as “well-established”?

What was the definition of marriage in Plato’s Greece? Caesar’s Rome? Confucious’ China? Are all these to be consider Judeo-Christian societies?

I have directly answered your question. You are using the Appeal To Tradition fallacy — I am not arguing whether or not the definition is “well-established” in general; I am arguing that this is irrelevant. We should be arguing about the reasons why it is supposedly “long-standing, not whether or not it is long-standing.

So my question back to you, then, would be, “for what reasons do you think it has been so ‘long-standing?’”

April 18, 2010 @ 12:29 pm #

“And why is it called the “state of Matrimony”? “Matrimony” is a word derived from the latin word for “mother” – kind of goes back to that reproduction thing again…”

This is called the ‘genetic fallacy’.

For example, references to the ‘sun rising’ doesn’t endorse a geocentric view of the universe. Describing something as sinister doesn’t mean you think left-handed people are evil.

Tim, it’s pointless arguing about ‘left violence’ vs ‘right violence’ with a guy who believes Hitler was a liberal, who thinks any example of violent tea party-ists is an MSM lie, and who thinks nothing anyway of using the ‘no true Scotsman fallacy’.

April 18, 2010 @ 12:34 pm #

At any rate, have the people on the right here completely given up on the original challenge?

A new challenge would be to provide arguments AGAINST marrying a tree that could also be used against two men marrying. I’m guessing you’ve got a) tradition and b) reproduction.

I want to see if these same arguments could also be used as an argument against things you DO agree with like traditional marriage, marriage between infertile couples, or anti-slavery.

April 18, 2010 @ 1:01 pm #

Tim,

Don’t dodge the question.

I asked for you to support the “Not well-established” statement- morphed into “only by Judeo-Christians” statement. I cited ancient civilizations that recognized marriage as man-woman only. Now you cite ancient civilizations that recognized SSM.

As for the Hutaree, the only person with known political leanings was a registered DEMOCRAT. Further, this tiny family, was rejected by the established militia as loons and wanna-bes. Convenient that they are moved on just after the healthcare package passes and just before the Tea Party rallies on 4/15. Kind of reminds one of the thug tactics this admn has taken with Toyota, and now Goldman Sachs.

As for violence, I deplore violence. But you are conflating two things: Tea Parties and the health care passage. The health care violence has been overwhelmingly shown to be carried out by Leftists against GOP and Democrat offices.

There has been no Tea partier violence. Even the Huffington Post couldn’t find any.

Besides, what the hay does any of this have to do with Phil’s challenge? Why do you want to change the definition of marriage?

April 18, 2010 @ 1:02 pm #

>>They can get artificial insemination to have children if they like.>>

And that option has been available for …how long? And even if we were to accept this as an option – which I don’t – what about males?

>>This is called the ‘genetic fallacy’. >>

Well that’s a first for me. _What_ is the “genetic fallacy”?

April 18, 2010 @ 6:59 pm #

At any rate, have the people on the right here completely given up on the original challenge?

As far as I know, the original challenge has been met and the participants have decided to move on to other issues.

Don’t dodge the question.

There’s no need to. I said: even if we were to accept the notion that it is “well-established”, that does not in itself justify why we should accept it. So yes, you are right in that I have abandoned contesting whether or not it is “well-established.” Because that is a tangent that has nothing to do with my point. Claim victory over that if you feel so inclined. My point still stands.

As for the Hutaree, the only person with known political leanings was a registered DEMOCRAT.

So you say. And yet the entire group openly stated their plan to assassinate government officials, Democratic senators, and police officers, which were described as being part of a “New World Order.” Odd, that.

Personally, though, I don’t see how it’s relevant whether he was Democrat or Republican or Independent or Libertarian. It stands that he was a right-wing Christian extremist (and yes, there ARE right-wing Democrats), motivated by Christianity, to pursue violent political reprisal against a nonviolent action taken by a Democratic government. That is a bad thing, to me.

Further, this tiny family, was rejected by the established militia as loons and wanna-bes.

Doesn’t matter. Nobody is saying that the religious community at large endorsed them in any way. They were what they were — militant Christians ready to wage violent war on the United States government. It’s on their website; can’t get much more undeniable than that.

Convenient that they are moved on just after the healthcare package passes and just before the Tea Party rallies on 4/15.

I *is* interesting to me, how that same government — which the extremist right claims is “too incompetent” to manage healthcare — suddenly becomes so *dangerously* competent when it comes to carrying out elaborate conspiracies against the right wing.

As for violence, I deplore violence. But you are conflating two things: Tea Parties and the health care passage. The health care violence has been overwhelmingly shown to be carried out by Leftists against GOP and Democrat offices.

It was the *right wing* which originally conflated the Tea Parties with the health care passage. Have you listened to the messages left on Senator Murray’s answering machine? One of them says, flat-out, “Now that you’ve passed your health care bill, let the violence begin.” The connection doesn’t get any more blatant.

There has been no Tea partier violence. Even the Huffington Post couldn’t find any.

Tea Party violence as in, “violence at a tea party rally?” Or Tea Party violence as in, “violence (or direct threats of violence) carried out by Tea Party members and affiliates against government officials?” I never argued in the case of the first. The case for the second is undeniable.

Besides, what the hay does any of this have to do with Phil’s challenge? Why do you want to change the definition of marriage?

Phil’s challenge has already been met. I’m still waiting on his response to my last question; if you want to read it, it’s several posts above. I don’t care to start the entire discussion over from square one again. Although I’d be glad to continue it if you have something to add to my earlier argument.

And that option has been available for …how long?

Not sure what you mean by that. How long it’s been available has nothing to do with the fact that it’s now a viable option.

And even if we were to accept this as an option – which I don’t – what about males?

1) So you don’t believe that women should be allowed to opt for artificial insemination to have children. Fair enough.

2) What *about* males? Do you support making the ability to reproduce a requirement for marriage? If so, let it be known that this would nullify a significant number of straight marriages that currently exist — pretty much anyone over a certain age would have their marriage nullified.

Well that’s a first for me. _What_ is the “genetic fallacy”?

Why am I not surprised….?

April 19, 2010 @ 3:29 am #

Suek: “Well that’s a first for me. _What_ is the “genetic fallacy”?”

Google is your friend Suek.
NB, not to be confused with the ‘generic fallacy’.

April 19, 2010 @ 7:38 am #

Suek if you’re short of time, you could try this:
http://tinyurl.com/y7swpgz

April 19, 2010 @ 8:21 am #

Speaking of Google and friendship . . .

BING!

Today: April, 19, 2010.
Even rocks have to be different to be married.

I must admit though, they do have a ‘spatial relationship’ going there. And even though there’s no record of consent given by either party, there were no objections either.

Phil, there might be hope for your ‘matreemony’ yet. Though I hope not. I don’t want to see you have to convert to the plant kingdom just to please her parents. ;)

April 19, 2010 @ 9:00 am #

At any rate, have the people on the right here completely given up on the original challenge?

I’m trying to find the time to construct a meaningful discussion about the socio-historical definition of marriage around the globe, to answer Joe H’s challenge. I have not found the time yet.

I do not consider your efforts here a serious objection to the challenge. You raised a minor legal squabble which I conceded, with the observation that once the Constitution has been used to alter the historical definition of marriage (which is the real subject of the challenge), the courts will find ways to work around the particular barriers in the smaller American laws. You continued to dance and whoop about your minor legal squabble as though it were a real issue and I had not conceded it… and now you’re wondering why nobody’s taking you seriously. I suggest you reread this paragraph a few times until you get it.

April 19, 2010 @ 12:32 pm #

Connection appreciated. Silly me…I thought a “genetic fallacy” had to do with genetics…

April 19, 2010 @ 3:37 pm #

I do not consider your efforts here a serious objection to the challenge. You raised a minor legal squabble which I conceded, with the observation that once the Constitution has been used to alter the historical definition of marriage (which is the real subject of the challenge), the courts will find ways to work around the particular barriers in the smaller American laws.

Even if that is true, it doesn’t refute Mr. Nathan’s point (or my own). It’s basically just deferring the argument back to the “slippery slope” fallacy (which, again, has very little to do with the original “challenge”).

You continued to dance and whoop about your minor legal squabble as though it were a real issue and I had not conceded it… and now you’re wondering why nobody’s taking you seriously. I suggest you reread this paragraph a few times until you get it.

You conceded it? Kewl! So we’re done with that, then.

April 19, 2010 @ 5:55 pm #

As I have read through these posts I have not once read anyone that has made the God argument, and yet I keep reading people referring to how Christians define marriage. It is understood by every Christian on this blog that we must make our arguments in a secular mode. As for the bible, especially the New Testament, everything that is asked of us makes good sense even if you take God out of it. That’s why, on so many different issues, we Christians don’t have to make the God argument, because what the bible teaches is sound social policy, including marriage. And there I’ve done it; I’ve made the God argument.

Gary Goulet,
I’ve been following the supposed Tea Party violence and the vast overwhelming majority of people showing up at these demonstrations are peaceful and well behaved. I will not say that you all ready know this, but I’m suspicious.

This is just a thought — the kinds of people that are turning out for these Tea Party events are not the kind of people that have been rioting for the last 50+ years.

Suek,
Marriage is specifically protected because it promotes the sanctity of the family. And, the sanctity of the family is essential to a free society.

Tim D, I pulled this out from your Rabbbi and and attorney article:

(
There is nothing that is stopping Republican Members of Congress from staunchly fighting to alter the Democratic Party’s version of health care reform while also throwing the most extreme Tea Party actors under the proverbial bus. And the onus is on Republicans, because they are the leaders and intended beneficiaries of the causes that the rogue individuals are putatively supporting with their assaults, vandalism, epithets, threats and spittle.
)

You would have the Republican Party continually defending themselves. I mean after all if you’re always having to defend yourself against these types of charges something must be wrong. This only works against Republicans as the Democrats, with the help of the main stream media simple ignores it. Nor does it matter if the charges are true or not. If it’s proved false, so what, it’s already done its damage and you just move on to the next true or false charge. As to why a Rabbi and an attorney would get together to write something like this; WHY NOT? It looked like a fluff piece to me. Now now children let’s play nicely.

In defense of the Tea Party:
When those clowns went walking through the Tea Party demonstration in DC they were looking for trouble, and had their cameras rolling. You know why you haven’t seen any video of this, because there were no incidents. So what did these congressmen do, they simple made it up. You know, there was a time I would have said that no congressmen would act like this, and you know what, I would have been right – then. All of us should seriously consider what this says about our society and the kind of people we are choosing to represent us. I mean consider the Congressmen, at a Senate hearing, in front of the whole world worrying about Guam tipping over and sliding into the sea if we station too many men on it. Tell me how many of you, if you had to guess, would guess he was a Republican.

Oh, about that spittle thing, I’ve done that to friends during a conversation. It’s a little embarrassing but hardly an attack.

April 19, 2010 @ 6:20 pm #

Dale,

Gary Goulet,
I’ve been following the supposed Tea Party violence and the vast overwhelming majority of people showing up at these demonstrations are peaceful and well behaved. I will not say that you all ready know this, but I’m suspicious.

Suspicious of what? I’ve clearly (I thought) defended the charge of Tea Party violence. Making the point that any violence came from SEIU thugs and other leftists.

Tim,

Again. Epic. Fail.

Your post contains so many factual errors it is impossible to attack them all.

I’ll go with the most egregious:

” One of them says, flat-out, “Now that you’ve passed your health care bill, let the violence begin.” ”

This is a slanderous charge, if true. Citation please?

But I can cite numerous calls to violence from Dems. BO “Get in your neighbors face” “Punch back harder” ad nauseum.

Why just this weekend, Ole Billy Bob Clinton used some of the most inflammatory rhetoric ever!

Main point:
So. To sum. You want to change the millenia old definition of marriage, just because you want to feel accepted in your perversion.

April 19, 2010 @ 6:44 pm #

Sorry Gary, I seem to have gotten confused as to whom I was responding to.

April 19, 2010 @ 7:51 pm #

You would have the Republican Party continually defending themselves. I mean after all if you’re always having to defend yourself against these types of charges something must be wrong. This only works against Republicans as the Democrats, with the help of the main stream media simple ignores it.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not even paying any mind whatsoever to this hullaballoo over the “n-word” and the “f-word.” I don’t think anyone seriously is, besides media and political figures. Those are not the cases I am concerned with.

As to why a Rabbi and an attorney would get together to write something like this; WHY NOT? It looked like a fluff piece to me. Now now children let’s play nicely.

So would you say that you believe it was a deliberate lie?

When those clowns went walking through the Tea Party demonstration in DC they were looking for trouble, and had their cameras rolling.

I’m not sure which demonstration you’re referring to. I’m referring specifically to the demonstrations of which there is demonstrable evidence — the demonstration in which a man with Parkinson’s was mocked by a Tea Partier; the demonstration in which a man held a sign proclaiming Obama to be a “niggar;” those sorts of things. I am not referring to the cases that are being portrayed in the media (namely, the “n***er” and “f****t” incidents). As I have said, I consider those events hearsay and thus irrelevant to my case.

If you’d prefer to argue that such things do not happen, I would prefer that you address the cases I have actually specifically raised — cases in which unruly activity most demonstrably has taken place.

On a side note….for what it’s worth, I *do* believe that people appear to be milking the n****er and f****t incidents. I haven’t actually seen any audio or video of the event (except of a congressman being spit upon, but that’s another story anyway). But again, I am not arguing in defense of those people and I never have. I think we need to establish that right off the bat.

I mean consider the Congressmen, at a Senate hearing, in front of the whole world worrying about Guam tipping over and sliding into the sea if we station too many men on it. Tell me how many of you, if you had to guess, would guess he was a Republican.

XD I actually saw that through my friend’s comedy channel on Youtube. In an approximation of his words, “The guy’s gotta be either drunk or just plain crazy.” I have no idea what that was about….

Oh, about that spittle thing, I’ve done that to friends during a conversation. It’s a little embarrassing but hardly an attack.

I’d say it’s a bit uncouth, but hardly worth a media fuss, I agree.

Again. Epic. Fail.

Your post contains so many factual errors it is impossible to attack them all.

I’ll go with the most egregious:

” One of them says, flat-out, “Now that you’ve passed your health care bill, let the violence begin.” ”

1) With regard to “epic fail,” to approximate the words of a certain fictional character: “Th[ose] word[s]….I do not think you know what [they] means.”

2) As for that quote, here is one instance of it, from the Miami Herald:

http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/06/1566436/man-accused-of-threatening-sen.html

According to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. attorney’s office, Wilson allegedly called Murray’s office numerous times over the past several months, and while he used vulgar and offensive language he didn’t make overt threats, the complaint said.

Almost immediately after the health care vote the calls turned threatening, according to the complaint.

“Now that you’ve passed your health care bill, let the violence begin,” Wilson is accused of saying in one call. In another, he allegedly said he wasn’t a member of the tea party or the Republican or Democratic parties, but that Murray was a “marked person” for the rest of her life.

Wilson told FBI agents that he regularly carries a gun with a concealed weapons permit and that he was “extremely angry” about the passage of the health care bill, the complaint said. A .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver is registered to him, agents said.

The complaint is currently being investigated by the FBI. You can argue with the source, but you can’t call it unfounded.

But I can cite numerous calls to violence from Dems. BO “Get in your neighbors face” “Punch back harder” ad nauseum.

Show me documented evidence of *just one* instance in which Barack Obama has ever endorsed any form of violence (not counting Troop addresses, you sly dogs!). Ever. Please. I’ll wait right here.

So. To sum. You want to change the millenia old definition of marriage, just because you want to feel accepted in your perversion.

Yep. Ya got me. That’s the conspiracy. Oh, and aliens are behind the whole thing — the libertarians that make up your Tea Party crowds? Aliens. Just so you know.

Although, for one, I am not gay myself….sorry, man~

But seriously. I don’t want to change the definition of anything. I don’t know what you are talking about.

Making the point that any violence came from SEIU thugs and other leftists.

Did you notice that my original examples of Tea Party misconduct were *not* violent? Why did we start referring to “Tea Party ‘violence’” all of a sudden?” I referred to THREATS of violence, yes, but not actual violence, except in one case as documented by Buffalo News. You seem to have diluted my entire case down to that one point….when it was actually a very small facet of my larger point.

April 19, 2010 @ 9:58 pm #

Tim,

In your own citation the loon in WA has no affiliation with the Tea Parties or any political party. Try again.

I can cite the leftist arrested for threatening Eric Cantor, or the leftists who through bricks from overpasses at RNC delegates in Minn at the RNC convention, or the leftists who beat up the GOP fundraiser in NOLA.

And, well, BHO did say to hit back harder. And within days, at the Russ Carnahan TownHall meeting SEIU thugs beat up Kenneth Gladney. So, did BHO call up Andy Stern and say kick some backside? I don’t have the tape, but Andy does stop by the Oval Office an awful lot.

Jusy correcting the meme of Tea Party and conservatives being the violent ones there Tim. Don’t make reference to it again.

And finally,

“But seriously. I don’t want to change the definition of anything. I don’t know what you are talking about.”

Yes. You. Do.

It’s marriage. Man-wife. Millenia.

April 19, 2010 @ 10:13 pm #

Oh. Tim.

Here is the “Punch back twice as hard” reference:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0809/25891.html

April 19, 2010 @ 10:27 pm #

Give it up, GG, your silly facts are futile against the determined mind of an ideologue.

April 20, 2010 @ 6:04 am #

Jusy correcting the meme of Tea Party and conservatives being the violent ones there Tim. Don’t make reference to it again.

The Tea Party conservatives constantly make threats of violence to elected officials.

In your own citation the loon in WA has no affiliation with the Tea Parties or any political party. Try again.

To which citation are you referring? The man who was arrested for threatening Senator Patty Murray was affiliated with the Tea Party, by his own admission.

And, well, BHO did say to hit back harder. And within days, at the Russ Carnahan TownHall meeting SEIU thugs beat up Kenneth Gladney. So, did BHO call up Andy Stern and say kick some backside? I don’t have the tape, but Andy does stop by the Oval Office an awful lot.

Barack said nothing about hitting back. That was Jim Messina that made that remark.

From your own article citation:

blockquote>Senior White House adviser David Axelrod and deputy chief of staff Jim Messina told senators to focus on the insured and how they would benefit from “consumer protections” in the overhaul, such as ending the practice of denying insurance based on preexisting conditions and ensuring the continuity of coverage between jobs.

“If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard,” Messina said, according to an official who attended the meeting.

Yes. You. Do.

Not really, no.

Although I can play that game if you’d like.

“Why do you hate gays so much?”

Give it up, GG, your silly facts are futile against the determined mind of an ideologue.

What? You’re still here?

April 20, 2010 @ 6:05 am #

“But I can cite numerous calls to violence from Dems”

So your evidence for a ‘call to violence’ is the following:

“They showed video clips of the confrontational town halls that have dominated the media coverage, and told senators to do more prep work than usual for their public meetings by making sure their own supporters turn out, senators and aides said.

And they screened TV ads and reviewed the various campaigns by critics of the Democratic plan.

“If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard,” Messina said, according to an official who attended the meeting.”

You don’t think perhaps the chief of staff is talking metaphorically there? Do you GENUINELY think that Messina is literally calling for people to punch people?

I’ll have to agree to disagree with you on that one.

Also, I doubt that most people’s objection to a man marrying a tree would be that it would mean ‘changing the definition of marriage’. And they wouldn’t say ‘but trees can’t give birth’ either. If they took your question seriously at all, I suspect many people’s objection would be something along the lines that a human and a tree can’t form equal relationships, that trees can’t consent to marriage, that there are no current circumstance where a man or tree are inconvenienced by not being able to marry.

If you argue that a man can marry a tree, then one could also argue that you should be able to marry someone who’s been braindead since birth.

None of these objections would apply to SSM.

April 20, 2010 @ 6:16 am #

The Tea Party conservatives constantly make threats of violence to elected officials.

Well, that’s partially true….the Tea Party seems to be made up mostly of libertarians, anyway — I mean, come on, they protested *tax day* on April 15th. They’re just protesting the concept of taxes. So what, we should just cut all spending on anything? Just shut down the entire government and have anarchy?

April 20, 2010 @ 6:56 am #

“Just shut down the entire government and have anarchy?”

I guess you’d have Black Water protecting you from anarchy. Well, protecting those with the means to pay for their services. After all, Tim, anything else would be socialism.

April 20, 2010 @ 7:47 am #

Tim,

You said:
“To which citation are you referring? The man who was arrested for threatening Senator Patty Murray was affiliated with the Tea Party, by his own admission”

From the linky-link thingy you put in your response:

“As for that quote, here is one instance of it, from the Miami Herald: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/06/1566436/man-accused-of-threatening-sen.html

“Now that you’ve passed your health care bill, let the violence begin,” Wilson is accused of saying in one call. In another, he allegedly said he wasn’t a member of the tea party or the Republican or Democratic parties, but that Murray was a “marked person” for the rest of her life.

Next: Do you really think the Asst Chief of Staff along with David Axelrod is speaking spontaneously and without BHO’s approval?

I showed causation: “Punch back twice as hard” days later Kenneth Gladney punched back and sent to the hospital. QED

And If you are not trying to change the definition of marriage then I am a Black Lesbian and if you disagree with me you are rascist, sexist and homophobic.

April 20, 2010 @ 7:48 am #

Mark,

Thanks. Sometimes it helps to sharpen the skills.

April 20, 2010 @ 7:49 am #

Oops,
That should have been “punched back at”

April 20, 2010 @ 11:35 am #

Gary,

“Sharpen (your) skills”, huh? Oh, you mean like how one needs a tool to sharpen ones’ knife? Um, in this case it would seem you are using something more on the order of the aforementioned backward scissors. e.g. Tim makes the insane claim of, “The Tea Party conservatives constantly make threats of violence to elected officials.” above and then he responds to himself IN HIS VERY NEXT POST!

Add to that all of the errant “facts” racked up, as if speaking the gospel itself, and it gets quite comical. Just keep this in mind: radio talk host michael dead-cred focuses EXCLUSIVELY on “the opposition” and he has now become so insane that he espouses liberal ideals like same sex adoption, Patrick Fitzgerald is a “great American”, John McCain is a (*gulp*) “Reagan conservative”, Glen Beck & Rush and anyone else who dares suggest that BHO might actually believe some of the things preached at him for 20 years in Rev. Wrights’ “church” are RACISTS! and THE whopper of all whoppers – BHO is a well meaning patriot who has NO intention of doing what he is in fact doing, i.e. destroying Americas’ economy for generations to come while tearing down our culture, proudly, for all the world to see. No, he is simply “misguided”.

Yeah, you betcha dead-cred/other fony-cons, and the NY Times’ walter duranty ignored the millions being starved to death by stalin (while getting awards for praising stalin) because he believed it was a diet pogrom. Leftism is a doctrine which demands the hatred of life. Of man. Of self. You ever ask yourself why they are so consistently, diametrically opposed to the interests of America/liberty/God/innocence/ANYTHING of decency? They’re all materialistic, moral relativists who will do ANYTHING to obscure reality. Problem is, it’s not enough to obscure it from themselves, they have to convert everyone else or at least shut us up. Why the post after post trying to deny the simple, undeniable reality that Phil put forth? That being: once you make the definition of marriage subjective -anything goes. They want “anything goes”, they just want the rest of us to think that they’re as morally upright as anyone else as they work, incrementally, towards the socially engineered insanity that always fails when “achieved” through revolution. It will still fail just, its fall will not be as dramatic as the USSR’s/saddams’ Iraq -with a snap of the neck. Rather, the “successful” conclusion to the efforts of your little “sharpeners” would be something more like that old Kurt Vonnegut short – “Harrison Bergeron”
Check it out, pretty funny:
http://centre.telemanage.ca/links.nsf/articles/481D5B5D819567AC85256A38000A150F

April 20, 2010 @ 2:24 pm #

Mark 13:31 said:

“Leftism is a doctrine which demands the hatred of life. Of man. Of self. You ever ask yourself why they are so consistently, diametrically opposed to the interests of America/liberty/God/innocence/ANYTHING of decency? They’re all materialistic, moral relativists who will do ANYTHING to obscure reality.”

I’m not familiar with the doctrine of “leftism,” but I’m quite certain that anyone who assigns these views and attitudes to “liberals” and/or “liberalism” is not someone who can be productively interacted with.

Enough said.

Joe H.

April 20, 2010 @ 4:10 pm #

Oh yeah, liberals are also famous (in an involuntarily hysterical way) for denying who they are while simultaneously blasting into an orbital tiff over the accurate description thereof.

I ask, is there anything so bitter-sweet as the tears of laughter brought on by irony?
BWA-HA-HA-HA-WAAAAAAA! Liberals – ya just gots ta luv ‘em! (thank you, J., I really needed the pick me up!)

April 20, 2010 @ 5:27 pm #

Mark, what is wrong with you? Joe has been most patient. And yet you don’t back off. I’m not saying you should be all sweetness and light. Things can get testy here (without your help thank-you-very-much). Myself included. But what’s the point of insulting for the sake of insult?

You’ve made some decent remarks here earlier. Please do more of that. Less of the other smelly stuff.

April 20, 2010 @ 7:05 pm #

dullhammer,

I think you’re missing me. People on this thread (and many others), including myself, often make general statements about the puerile nature of liberalism that are then responded to by liberals -often claiming not to be liberal(???)- who defend liberalism in some shrill, appropriately daffy fashion. If I’m so off base, then why the angry retorts?

I think you should be more concerned with the fact that these people take it as a personal affront that you want to “deny them their rights”. To say that I should take them seriously is tantamount to saying that I should take n.a.m.b.l.a. seriously. They are advocating for the utter perversion of my great, American culture. And for that, they can go to….well, they can just go.

They have ZERO basis in the Constitution for their arguments -and even less respect for that great document as they try to subvert and corrupt it. They pervert the Constitution and I resent the fact that they are given equal footing w/ people who love it in COURTS OF LAW. That is insane. The sooner we ALL get about the business of laughing these deviants out of the public square the sooner we can return to sanity. They have achieved EVERY ONE of their perversions of the law via gradualism and the courts. The American people are opposed to them every time and yet they get their way. And I’m s’posed to “back off” of them as though they have the same goals with only different means by which to achieve them?

I almost used the proverbial “both sides” cliche on this next point, and that illustrates how leftist lies have so perverted even our discussion of issues. My side hasn’t been trying to lose wars by backing the enemy/slandering our finest for decades and yet, we must NEVER call into question their motives. My side doesn’t destroy black families/the poor by the millions and call it compassion. And no, my side doesn’t fight tooth and nail to normalize perverted, self-destructive behavior. I don’t even care what their motives are anymore -I just want them to fail. But, they trudge on mercilessly even though their prescriptions for society have NEVER worked and never can. The left has been subverting liberty forever and somehow it is uncivil to acknowledge that simple fact.

Well, call me “uncivil” because I have no tolerance for them neither do I feel bad for lack of it. They intend harm toward my Constitution and they are going to hear about it from me.

bottom line: Phil marrying his tree is every bit as “normal” as homosexual marriage. I’d have some respect for them if they at least were honest enough to admit their motives: i.e., tearing down our culture by separating us from the ideals of our Constitution.

April 20, 2010 @ 7:15 pm #

Next: Do you really think the Asst Chief of Staff along with David Axelrod is speaking spontaneously and without BHO’s approval?

Doesn’t matter. Even if Barack Obama directly told him to say that, it is simply silly to interpret that as a literal call to violence. It’s another stereotypical “raise your fist high” metaphor at best. The president has never endorsed political violence.

Also, I don’t hear of anyone — tea party or no — who has committed violence based on that comment.

And If you are not trying to change the definition of marriage then I am a Black Lesbian and if you disagree with me you are rascist, sexist and homophobic.

I don’t know many black lesbians named Gary. But hey, stranger things have happened (seriously — one time, these two black lesbians came into the place where I used to work and ordered tea and fried chicken, which is a little humorous if you’re savvy on internet memes and racial/orientational stereotypes). In any case, nice to meet you, Ms. Gary.

Tim makes the insane claim of, “The Tea Party conservatives constantly make threats of violence to elected officials.” above and then he responds to himself IN HIS VERY NEXT POST!

Yep. That’s what happens when you have an additional thought but can’t edit your post to reflect it. Sometimes, believe it or not, people can “re-think” their current position on something, or decide that they left out something important because they were typing on a time limit.

In other news, my comment that “The Tea Party conservatives constantly make threats of violence to elected officials” was mostly meant to agitate Mr. Gary. He told me “don’t mention it again” (as if he could stop me XD), and I was curious as to how he would react when I did just that. Honestly, I don’t care to argue that point with him much further since I can’t even get him to acknowledge the cases that I specifically mentioned earlier — instead, I get ad hominem, and a vigorous abuse of the Tu Quoque fallacy.

My point with regard to Tea Party misconduct of ANY KIND — violent or otherwise — is that even if ‘liberals do it, too,’ that doesn’t make it okay for *anyone* to do it. You portray me as though I have no problem with it when ‘liberals’ do it, when the fact of the matter is that we are on a conservative forum. When I’m talking to liberals about liberal issues on a liberal forum, I’ll make sure to bring it up extra hard just for you bro’s. But nobody here can rightly be called ‘liberal’ in the sense to which you are referring….let’s get one thing out of the way right now.

Yes, I have a few liberal beliefs, such as my stance on gay marriage. However, that is because I believe it is a decision that I don’t believe the government has a rightful say in (this is based on a pro-small-government idea that the government should not have this much influence in our lives) — it’s not that I believe “gay marriage should be accepted” (I don’t care), or that anyone “has a right to get married” (that’s not a right guaranteed by our constitution); it’s a completely different angle on the issue, one you are not willing to acknowledge even exists. You’d rather just label me as a “liberal” and paint an agenda on my face.

I also have some libertarian beliefs in that I believe there are parts of the government which are unnecessary. However, I also largely disapprove of programs and beliefs which are blatantly opposed to taxes and governments in principle (a government cannot function without taxes, they are necessary to run a country, like it or not). In short, the fact that you and I disagree on one particular issue of government power does not automatically make me a “liberal.”

Leftism is a doctrine which demands the hatred of life. Of man. Of self. You ever ask yourself why they are so consistently, diametrically opposed to the interests of America/liberty/God/innocence/ANYTHING of decency? They’re all materialistic, moral relativists who will do ANYTHING to obscure reality.

Wow. I somehow missed that when I first read Mark’s post.

Mark, you really seem to hate liberals. What’s the deal with that?

Oh yeah, liberals are also famous (in an involuntarily hysterical way) for denying who they are while simultaneously blasting into an orbital tiff over the accurate description thereof.

The only one being hysterical here is you….and occasionally that guy Gary. But mostly you. Calling names and such. I find Mr. Joe H’s posts to be interesting and well-put, for instance — you don’t have to agree with him to see that.

April 20, 2010 @ 7:54 pm #

Mark, I have no wish to get into a critique of your convictions (or mine). You and I would probably agree on quite a few matters mentioned so far. But there’s more to representing the kingdom of God than merely being right. I have given you my reaction to your postings. And I gave it in consideration more for you than for anyone else. I have no expectation of you suddenly becoming Saint Francis of Assissi. But if nothing else, now you might be more aware of how you have come across at least to me. Right or wrong, I thought that might be important to you. That’s all I’ll say. And I hope you don’t feel any need to reply further.

April 20, 2010 @ 10:20 pm #

Tim,

Dude.

The black Lesbian crack is a metaphor, an example of how ludicrous it is to say thar two men or two women can marry. By definition it is an impossibility.

You gave one example of Tea party violence, and yet I showed you IN YOUR OWN CITATION, that the guy WAS NOT A TEA PARTIER.

Pathetic.

April 20, 2010 @ 10:32 pm #

The black Lesbian crack is a metaphor, an example of how ludicrous it is to say thar two men or two women can marry. By definition it is an impossibility.

1) The phrase “gay marriage” is obviously *not* nonsensical, as it is used even by conservatives to refer to two gay people getting married. If what you say here were true then it would be impossible to even refer to the concept of “gay marriage” comprehensibly. Therefore, it is very possible by definition.

(A simple test of this fact is to say, “What am I referring to when I say ‘gay marriage?’ If you can answer that question at all, then you have proven my point~)

2) Marriage refers to what they DO, not to who they are when they do it. Marriage is an act, and coincidentally, gays can perform the exact same act and ceremony. Ergo, there is such a thing as ‘gay marriage.’

You gave one example of Tea party violence, and yet I showed you IN YOUR OWN CITATION, that the guy WAS NOT A TEA PARTIER.

Pathetic.

1) I’m not talking about the caller dude, I’m talking about the vandalism incident….not that you seem to care….

2) What does Pat Thetic have to do with this? Yes, he’s an awesome drummer and a funny and nice guy, I don’t see why it’s relevant to the topic being discussed.

April 20, 2010 @ 11:02 pm #

Dullhammer, Mark13:31′s entire world is based on his belief that liberals absolutely must be Satan incarnate from the day they are born, ready to plunge everything in the universe into absolute chaos every second of every day of their entire lives.

When faced with liberals who just happen to NOT be Satan, but in fact are a good bit more reasonable than he is, he is required by his worldview to deny they exist.

“No, you KNOW you’re Satan. You know it’s true, stop denying it. Stop denying you want to cause everyone everywhere every bit of pain forever.”

Somehow, it’s hard to imagine Mark’s Lord treating anybody this way…except those who would stand and condemn.

April 20, 2010 @ 11:16 pm #

P.S. Some more Tea Party vandalism for you:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/24/tom-perriello-tea-party_n_511874.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/26/us/politics/26threat.html
http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/25/nation/la-na-health-backlash25-2010mar25

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Authorities are investigating the severing of a gas line at the home of U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother following the posting of his address online by Tea Party activists.

Perriello’s office confirmed that a line to a propane tank on a gas grill was cut at Bo Periello’s Charlottesville home on Monday.

Tea Party activists had posted the address online thinking it was the congressman’s home, telling opponents to drop by and “express their thanks” for his vote.

Tea party officials said they did not encourage or condone attacks on Perriello’s family or property.

“We wanted people to go by and talk to their congressman,” said Nigel Coleman, who heads the Danville Tea Party. Coleman posted the address on his Facebook page after a member of the nearby Lynchburg Tea Party had posted the address on a blog.

Mark Lloyd, who heads the Lynchburg Tea Party, said the group, “condemn[s] violence,” and that the posting never appeared on the group’s official site.

Interesting, since there apparently “has been no violence or threats of violence,” that these people — who are apologizing on behalf of the Tea Party website which posted the address — feel the need to point out that they don’t condone violence? Why would they say that if no such thing had occurred?

And really, what do you *think* is going to happen when you post someone’s private address on the internet for just any crazy person to see and go visit? It’d be just plain dishonest to say that these people were unaware of the possibility that something bad could happen. It’s not like they posted his workplace contact information — that was a *personal* attack against him and his family.

But I suppose it “didn’t happen” either, or maybe some liberals somewhere did something worse, so we should just sweep this under the rug, eh?

April 20, 2010 @ 11:18 pm #

Mark, I actually started to write a post along the same lines as “dullHammer” and then because I was reluctant to criticize you I deleted it. However, I would like to encourage you to give some real thought to what he is trying to say to you. Sincerely, Dale…

April 21, 2010 @ 2:58 am #

Dale: “and then because I was reluctant to criticize you I deleted it.”

I wondered just how rude an anti-gay marriage poster would have to get before the others actually started criticising him. Now we’ve found out.

Not also that the pro side have still managed to remain civil throughout.

Now I’d like to know how rude an anti-gay marriage poster would have to get before Phil puts the following threat into action:

“Any answer that contains an insult will be deleted out of hand, and I will not let the author know. I reserve the right to determine what constitutes an insult”

Considering the Mark posts that have gone un-deleted, I’m guessing that as long as you agree with Phil that ‘anything goes’. It’s only an insult if you disagree with him.

April 21, 2010 @ 7:36 am #

Tim,

Last post.

NO. You refereenced the caller. CHECK YOUR OWN STUPID LINK!

Just because for expedience sake the term Gay Marriage is used doesn’t make it a any more of a possibility that I am a black lesbian.

Get it?

April 21, 2010 @ 10:25 am #

Nathan Barley,

In all other posts I was dealing with subject matter and not the person. This particular post was different in kind, at least in my mind. As for Phil, something has obviously come up and he has not had the time to deal with this particular thread. Also, I think I know Phil well enough to say that he would be reluctant to delete anyone’s posts out of hand, even if he did make the threat.

April 21, 2010 @ 11:02 am #

“Also, I think I know Phil well enough to say that he would be reluctant to delete anyone’s posts out of hand, even if he did make the threat.”

He deleted one of mine Dale. It’s his cite, he’s welcome to do so. He obviously considered it more insulting than any of Mark’s. Having read Mark’s and my posts, do you consider this likely?

Mark’s posts have been characterised by sweeping generalisations and ad hominems about the ‘opposition’. We have all tried to argue our positions politely, backing up our points. Mark feels unable to extend the same courtesy.

April 21, 2010 @ 11:26 am #

By the way, I think it’s funny to caution posters against insults and rudeness, and then say:

“I’m going to answer two objections before they’re offered, the first because progressives love moral preening, and the second because progressives tend toward unthinking glibness when challenged intellectually”

This strikes me as goading from the start.

April 21, 2010 @ 12:35 pm #

Nathan,

“Considering the Mark posts that have gone un-deleted, I’m guessing that as long as you agree with Phil that ‘anything goes’. It’s only an insult if you disagree with him.”

This article explains why it is so difficult for many conservatives – though not all – to see what they are saying (not to mention how they are saying it) – as insults.

http://lvk104.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/losing-it-political-defeat-and-the-republican-mind/

Many on the right don’t see opponents – they see enemies. That is equally true for some on the left – but their numbers are far fewer and they are far less influential.

Joe H.

April 21, 2010 @ 1:26 pm #

Joe H and Nathan,

In reference to Joe’s “losing-it-political-defeat-and–the-republican-mind”

What a load of crap! How many times in just the resent past have I heard about conservatives being shouted down, and literally beaten up? When’s the last time you heard about a liberal being shouted down or beaten up by us conservatives?

And yes, elections have consequences, more so now then at anytime in the past because we no longer have a Constitution that we consider the absolute law of our land. We are now a nation ruled by men, not by law. The only way that the Federal Government should have been able to pass this Health Care bill is by first establishing the authority to do so through the amendment process. If they can do this without an amendment then the amendment process no longer serves any purpose whatsoever. Either you understand this and don’t care or you don’t understand this and never will. Have a good day. Dale…

Mark, I’m sorry that I said anything to you on this forum, I didn’t intend for these other people to pile on.

April 21, 2010 @ 1:50 pm #

I’m so glad we clarified the “genetic fallacy” (also known as a “fallacy of irrelevance”) just before this little feeding frenzy.

April 21, 2010 @ 2:43 pm #

Dale,

I won’t defend Chait’s observations and interpretation, except to say that I found them to be measured and insightful. They certainly have a lot of explanatory force.
Mark certainly seems to believe that conservatives have a monopoly on virtue. Our host has also written many things suggesting that very attitude. Both call their political opponents “evil” on a regular basis.

Also, I don’t see how conservatives getting beaten up or shouted down, assuming these events actually occured, have anything to do with Chait’s observations – and for the record, Chait acknowledged that the attitude he is describing is also found on the left – just not in the non-frige left.

Regarding our having abandoned our constitution, I have no idea what you are talking about. How have we abandoned our constitution? What provision or provisions of the constitution are we ignoring?

The Idea that the constitution does not give Congress the authority to regulate our system of health insurance is laughable. Congress has extremely broad powers to regulate interstate commerce – and intrastate commerce as well in so far as it affects interstate commerce – via the Commerce clause.

The question of whether the Healthcare Reform Act was wise is debatable. The question of whether it is constitutional is pretty clear – as the Courts will almost certainly declare when they rule on the state suits. The fact that attorney generals from conservative states have filed suit is better understood as political posturing than sound legal reasoning.

So where have we abandoned the constitution?

Joe H.

April 21, 2010 @ 3:28 pm #

After perusing this lengthy exchange, with a *wink* to Mark, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s impossible to win a policy debate with a religious conservative fundamentalist, because they develop a fortress mentality around their positions that cannot be challenged with any form of logic. By necessity it repels anything contradictory, because if you loosen one stone in that barricade of beliefs, the whole thing could crumble, along with their entire world view. Unquestioning faith is what’s important and demanded of all adherents. Defend the position you were born again into at all costs, even if you have to go to ludicrous ends to do so. And as always the best defense is and offense, so they attack with any means necessary to preserve their tentative grip on an archaic world view. Hence the state of political discourse with the far right wing. I can only take comfort in the fact that conservative positions almost always end up on the dust heap of history, and thank God they do, or we’d still be living in the dark ages.

lol

April 21, 2010 @ 3:39 pm #

Last post.

I don’t believe you.

NO. You refereenced the caller. CHECK YOUR OWN STUPID LINK!

Why don’t you calm down a little bit before we continue? You seem awfully flustered about this.

As for the reference to the caller; I read over the last few posts of mine and yes, you are correct, I did also reference that caller. That was my mistake (I misread the line in the article to say that he had said he WAS affiliated. Missed an apostraphe and a couple letters there. My bad~).

Just because for expedience sake the term Gay Marriage is used doesn’t make it a any more of a possibility that I am a black lesbian.

And yet you use it, and you understand what it refers to. Which means that it’s *possible* to refer to a gay person getting ‘married.’ Which means that the concepts of “marriage” and “gayness” are *not* inextricably linked so as to be completely nonsensical — if that were the case, then the term ‘gay marriage’ would have absolutely no connotation and mean nothing to anyone, in the way that “updown” is not a conceivable direction, or how ice can’t catch on fire.

He deleted one of mine Dale. It’s his cite, he’s welcome to do so. He obviously considered it more insulting than any of Mark’s. Having read Mark’s and my posts, do you consider this likely?

I wouldn’t take it personally. He probably just realizes Mark’s posts aren’t really *trying* to be peaceable, so to hold them to that standard would be unfair.

(And no, that’s not an attempted insult….I’ve been on plenty of other political boards where I was trolling and everyone knew it, so nobody bothered to react to me because they knew that’s exactly what I wanted. What I’m saying is, I think I know why some people just get ignored while others are actively “punished.”)

*=I just made that word up

The question of whether the Healthcare Reform Act was wise is debatable.

If you ask me, it’s a matter of governmental philosophy, which is subjective. I don’t see why people take it so personally and seriously — depending on how you think this country should be run, you’ll either think it’s good or bad or somewhere in between, and I don’t see any need to label opposing philosophies as “evil.” I certainly don’t think conservatives are “evil” for opposing it. That’s what our electoral system is for — the majority determines the direction the system will take. It’s understandable to be disappointed with the results of an election, but I’m very confused as to why people are equating this health care deal with Nazis and the Holocaust and the like.

I mean, if we get *this* bent out of shape over bloody healthcare, what do you think would happen if Obama really *did* do something blatantly Nazi-like (such as directly ordering the extermination of a race or subculture)? It boggles the mind.

April 21, 2010 @ 5:01 pm #

if we get *this* bent out of shape over bloody healthcare, what do you think would happen if Obama really *did* do something blatantly Nazi-like (such as directly ordering the extermination of a race or subculture)? It boggles the mind.

TIM, TIM, TIM – please, tell me even YOU can see the fault in that statement. Can’t you? Americans are vigilant, and that is a good thing. Other cultures have been much more docile (see: the Germanic culture of a certain time period in the last century that shall not be named for fear of being type cast as a raving lunatic) and look where it got them! Oh, I get it, you were just trolling for responses.

Well done.

Anyway, same sex marriage is an abomination. (just trying to stay on topic, do you mind?)

April 21, 2010 @ 6:33 pm #

TIM, TIM, TIM – please, tell me even YOU can see the fault in that statement. Can’t you?

You are having the most full-blown, intense written reaction that one can possibly have to a health care reform bill. We can argue about the semantic political implications of this bill forever and ever and ever, as they are largely a matter of opinion and speculation, but the bottom line is that it’s a healthcare bill. I find it both historically innacurate *and* tasteless for you to compare it to Nazi Germany; not because it’s offensive but because it *makes no sense.* It’s far more extreme than reasonable concern allows.

You speak as though Obama has just literally ordered millions of people to their deaths. I’ve said that to people before and they respond, as I suspect you will, with, “He might as well have!” or something to that effect. All I can say is that if you really believe that, there’s not much more for us to say to each other. That’s not an insult, either….I just don’t know how to talk to a person who equates health care legislation with genocide. I just don’t see how you can make that connection in your mind. And that’s why I said, I wonder what would happen if Obama (or any president) ever *actually committed* genocide. Would your brain just literally explode? If you act as angry as you are acting over this, then what effort will you have left to expend if something *actually genocidal* were to happen? It absolutely boggles the mind….

April 21, 2010 @ 6:47 pm #

P.S.

Although yes, this is somewhat off-topic. Strange how these things happen 0.0

I’d say that marriage (“abomination” or no) shouldn’t be government-regulated, and it should be up to people and their churches/communities to manage marriage ceremonies. If gays can find a church that will marry them, then let ‘em have at it. You don’t even have to acknowledge that as a valid marriage if you don’t want to; although you also don’t have the right to forbid their church from marrying them if they want to. Personally, I’m not comfortable giving the government such legal power over the detailed aspects of religious ceremonies; I see nothing wrong with allowing some churches to marry gays while others insist that gay marriage is an “abomination.” Freedom of religion, after all — some Christians interpret their religious guidelines differently, such that gay marriage is okay, while others do not, and many other religions have very different views on marriage; likewise, atheists and agnostics have their own beliefs. Our constitution allows for all of that to happen; it’s not an “abomination,” it’s “freedom.”

On a side note….people make it out like it would be impossible to survive in our society without the tax benefits of marriage, and thus they are necessary in order for society to function. Unmarried (and unmarried gay) couples do just fine all the time; financial benefits are just that, benefits. Just allow exemptions for dependents (i.e. children) and allow people to file jointly/as head of household, keep the current regulations for property ownership to prevent legal issues in the case of a separation, and leave the rest to the same standard that would apply to anyone who’s filing as single. “Marriage” is not necessary; just a basic, binding legal contract that the parties enter into that will affirm their adherence to the system (to make sure they uphold the responsibility that is expected of them when they reap the benefits of such a relationship — equivalent exchange and all that).

[/rant]

April 21, 2010 @ 6:55 pm #

Dale said:

“…we no longer have a Constitution that we consider the absolute law of our land.”

Let me explain what looks like has happened to the people who say this. They take the interpretation of the Constitution’s words that THEY LIKE THE BEST, and then they equate THAT with the word, “Constitution.”

This way, they can paint any disagreement with THEIR PREFERRED INTERPRETATION as abandoning the constitution, when it is nothing of the kind.

Dale also said: “The only way that the Federal Government should have been able to pass this Health Care bill is by first establishing the authority to do so through the amendment process. If they can do this without an amendment then the amendment process no longer serves any purpose whatsoever. Either you understand this and don’t care or you don’t understand this and never will. ”

Your pithy insult to constitutional scholars who disagree with you notwithstanding, I think we already discussed that the Democrats did NOT violate any clause of the Constitution in passing the health care bill. They used the rules they run by (and a method used by Republicans) to bypass the ability of Republicans to filibuster.

HAD they violated the Constitution somewhere in the process, where is the ARMY of “fair, impartial” Republican constitutional lawyers that would be challenging that violation in court? It is not there, because THEY understand the Constitution, and you apparently do not.

April 21, 2010 @ 7:03 pm #

P.P.S. I have one last question, then I’ll stop triple-posting and give someone else a chance to respond….

….why are you guys not railing against our current car insurance system, and why have you not been doing so? It bears a *striking* degree of similarity to the newly-passed health care reform, in principle and in practice.

[incoming lecture, feel free to skip]

For one, the idea is to require everyone to have insurance (just as we are required to have car insurance), but since that is not practical for people with low incomes (or for businesses which provide coverage for employees, and might not be able to afford a huge elaborate plan for everyone), there are also incentives and benefits provided to help people with the added financial burden.

I mean, generally, when the government imposes a required cost on the public, there is at least *some* attempt to help balance out our incomes as a result* — being required by law to have car insurance, for example, seems unfair at times, but if you’ve ever crashed into someone who has no insurance and no money (and therefore no ability to pay you for damages), you’ll understand why it’s necessary. You accept the use of the highways (which, again, are provided by federal- and state-funded highway projects), then you also have to accept certain responsibilities that come with the use of those facilities. The roads are safer (financially) for everybody, and there’s also money to fund the highway projects, as well as some leftover tax revenue to contribute to other areas (or cut from the budget altogether). So yes, it can be aggravating to those of us who are good drivers and rarely get into accidents….but even the best drivers are hard of luck and get into accidents from time to time, and if you ever do, you’ll be thanking the powers that be that the law required that other guy to have insurance.

*=you can argue that the government is evil and malicious by nature and just wants to steal our money and throw it in a big hole just to watch us suffer, but the fact is that if people are unable to supply the money demanded by the government (and thus either arrested for tax evasion or….taxed more, which they still can’t provide), then that money — which is necessary for the government to function — will disappear, and the government will not be able to afford to operate. So it’s in the best interest of the government to make affordable, accessible plans that reach as many people as possible and are as economically feasible.

The reason I mention this last point is because the criticism of the health care bill’s cost is valid; it’s a matter of political philosophy — conservative spending habits versus liberal spending habits, neither of which are inherently wrong — but it *is* valid, in that it’s not “wrong.” If you have a genuine concern about that, then that’s fine. But I have serious trouble believing that this bill is bad because “the government is just trying to take over the economy,” or “they just want to control our wealth.” Neither of those things are really in the interest of the government; for one, they’re very expensive endeavors, and two, the payoff simply isn’t worth it. The cost to operate such a program would not justify the alleged “payoff” that would supposedly result. So when I hear an argument like that, I tend to dismiss it out of hand.

April 21, 2010 @ 8:35 pm #

wow, aneurysm much?

April 21, 2010 @ 9:27 pm #

Tim,

Evenheaded and reasonable post (as even those who disagree should probably admit), thanks for it. You’ll probably have to save further posts on the topic for a time when they would be more…on topic, no?

I admire even those I vehemently disagree with when they can state it this succinctly. Nicely done.

April 22, 2010 @ 8:42 am #

Excellent post, Tim, well said. Thanks.

April 22, 2010 @ 9:45 am #

“Considering the Mark posts that have gone un-deleted, I’m guessing that as long as you agree with Phil that ‘anything goes’. It’s only an insult if you disagree with him.”

Please. If this were true, would ANY of this discussion have survived?

I’ve not been able to read carefully since the number of comments reached 50, and haven’t even looked at the last 125 or so. I probably won’t. Maybe I’ll skim them.

Whoever said this needs to have a little respect, lest I actually decide to behave like the author claims I do, and kick the lot of you the hell off my blog. I mean, heck, if I’m going to be accused anyhow…

I’m occasionally biased (and admit it), and I sometimes take rash actions when I’m pissed, but I do try to be fair.

April 23, 2010 @ 6:41 pm #

Poor, poor misguided Phil. If only you HAD been reading the above posts you might have become a more fully rounded citizen. Ah well, here are some gems culled from above that you may find enlightening:

We are “hostile”. (Timma)
You are a name caller. (Gordo)
I should “get over here” so Gordon can kick my “Presumptuous a**”. (you know who)
The “marriage is by definition (between a man and woman)” argument is “down for the count”. (Joe H.)
Then there’s this revelation: “(society) never thought to consider the question of whether “marriage” could include same sex couples.”(HOLD ON! Joe’s just getting started…)
And that homosexuality is, “the circumstance of inalterable same sex attraction”.
And is also, “a circumstance that individuals find themselves in”.
And, “(M)illions of Americans…have come to believe that same sex attraction is harmless”. Good enough for me – how about you?
Leading to this Orwellian statement: “Once these become your beliefs, you become far more sympathetic to the plight of gay people.”
Which led to someone slapping themself in the head and saying, “why shouldn’t same sex couples be allowed to marry”.
Of course, “there is no good answer to that question”.
So, “multiple courts have come to the conclusion that States have no compelling reason to exclude gays from the institution of marriage.” See? All of that silly legislating is just a road block to REAL justice. The justice that can only come by men and women in black robes – the people be damned!
Then, quite naturally, “people got used to the idea that gays could marry” so, “the ball game was over”. AND (???) “It IS just a matter of time.” So, it’s “over” and it’s “just a matter of time”? (Say, Joe, is your REAL name “Billy Pilgrim”?)
I’m so glad we now have these “new set of beliefs about homosexuality” – aren’t YOU, Phil? And to think that I called him “insane”! Oh for regret.
Not to worry, though, for Tim -quite rightly- corrected me thus: “(Joe’s argument) was worded eloquently and non-confrontationally and his points were clear (i.e. I feel that I understood what he was saying)”. (Almost) makes you understand how Obama got elected. “eloquent” “non-confrontational” and “clear”. Hey, who needs logic or rationality when you got those qualities working for ya?

Moving on…
I am a “terrorist” who explodes “car bombs” of the verbal kind.

Actually, it gets a little wacky after the above so, better not divulge anymore. Don’t want to get anyone in trouble. :)

April 23, 2010 @ 10:37 pm #

Poor, poor misguided Phil. If only you HAD been reading the above posts you might have become a more fully rounded citizen. Ah well, here are some gems culled from above that you may find enlightening:

You act as though you haven’t been actively antagonizing pretty much everybody….I don’t agree with namecalling either, Mr. Mark, but you’re pretty much asking for rough treatment if you go around accusing people of being “evil,” “ignorant,” or standing for “hatred” of America and religion. I don’t feel sorry for you if someone responds to your words in kind.

And on top of that, you’re *still* attacking people and calling names….isn’t it a bit hypocritical of you to continue complaining when you’re the only one still calling names?

I should “get over here” so Gordon can kick my “Presumptuous a**”. (you know who)

That’s a bit of a misrepresentation; it was my understanding that this was a tongue-in-cheek way of letting you know that he did not fit the description you were labeling him with.

The justice that can only come by men and women in black robes – the people be damned!

We are not a true democracy, Mr. Mark — we are what is known as a “constitutional republic.” The ultimate authority *is* the Constitution, and the role of the Supreme Court justices is to interpret that document. The people are expressly forbidden (by the Constitution) to pass unconstitutional laws. That is hardly totalitarian.

Not to worry, though, for Tim -quite rightly- corrected me thus: “(Joe’s argument) was worded eloquently and non-confrontationally and his points were clear (i.e. I feel that I understood what he was saying)”.

Way to misrepresent what was said, Mr. Mark! You didn’t actually quote the argument he made that I was referring to. Keep it up — with skills like that, you could land a gig working for the mainstream media!

April 23, 2010 @ 10:51 pm #

P.S.

In case anyone was wondering, I was referring specifically to this argument:

It is not that we were wrong about “marriage” for thousands of years and suddenly discovered our error. The real story is that we never thought to consider the question of whether “marriage” could include same sex couples. But once we considered the question, it turned out that “opposite sex partnership” is not an essential or inextricable aspect of the idea of “marriage.”

I know, I know, “learned” is a question-begging term. Many many people deny that we have learned anything new about homosexuality that warrants extending the institution of marriage to gays. People commenting on this blog have called it a “pathology.” Many people believe that homosexuality can be “cured.” Other’s don’t care if it can be cured – they think we should encourage incorrigible homosexuals to remain celibate. Many people believe it is a sin.

I have no intention of debating these issues here. I am merely trying to illustrate why we’re asking and answering the marriage question with regards to gays now. The fact is, millions of Americans – a growing percentage of the population every year – have come to see homosexuality as a circumstance that individuals find themselves in. They have also come to believe – for better or worse – that same sex attraction is harmless. They believe that the pathologies associated with being gay arise from the hostility and rejection gays have traditionally faced. They also see no compelling moral objections to gay love and/or gay sex.

My point was that this argument, regardless of whether you agree with it, was very straightforward and easy to understand. And you may notice that it was decidedly devoid of ad hominem name-calling and other verbal nonsense. Mark’s responses, on the other hand….the more recent exchange, to which Mr. Mark refers, is as follows. Mark said:

Oh yeah, liberals are also famous (in an involuntarily hysterical way) for denying who they are while simultaneously blasting into an orbital tiff over the accurate description thereof.

Joe said:

I’m not familiar with the doctrine of “leftism,” but I’m quite certain that anyone who assigns these views and attitudes to “liberals” and/or “liberalism” is not someone who can be productively interacted with.

Enough said.

Mark responded:

Oh yeah, liberals are also famous (in an involuntarily hysterical way) for denying who they are while simultaneously blasting into an orbital tiff over the accurate description thereof.

I said, in response:

The only one being hysterical here is you….and occasionally that guy Gary. But mostly you. Calling names and such. I find Mr. Joe H’s posts to be interesting and well-put, for instance — you don’t have to agree with him to see that.

The closest Mr. Joe came to being “insulting” was to imply that Mark was not someone who could be productively interacted with (by Mr. Joe) on this subject because of his apparent obsessive hatred of some ambiguously-labeled group of “liberals.”

April 23, 2010 @ 10:55 pm #

Mark / Tim,

Yes, Tim, you are right! I was engaging Mark in some humor in my “come over here so I can kick your a**” comment. I was hoping to help Mark realize that you didn’t have to have your back pressed against the Right-hand wall of American politics to be a real person.

Since I am something less than a Beckian conservative, though, and yet still a reasonable, moral person, I realize I am a threat to your universe, Mark. Perhaps I should invite you to dinner instead.

As to this: “See? All of that silly legislating is just a road block to REAL justice. The justice that can only come by men and women in black robes – the people be damned!”

Many of the cases on homosexual marriage now are courts overturning VERY THIN majorities – and this is happening in both directions (see California).

But Joe is technically right, : societal attitudes are changing very quickly toward homosexuals. And the greatest momentum behind the changes is this: people are actually getting to know homosexuals.

You see, it’s much easier to treat gays as real people if you aren’t dealing with them only on paper.

Yes, they are sinners – and Jesus would have spent time with them LONG before he would spend time with people casting judgment on them. Would you disagree?

April 23, 2010 @ 11:03 pm #

Not sure what I was thinking on the California comment, but I did want to say this:

As I read through your list of comments, many of which are just statements of fact about society (“It IS just a matter of time.”) None of them appear to be bald-face name calling.

April 24, 2010 @ 4:33 am #

Now, now, Timma-Timma! You left out entire chunks of what you responded to. As in:

The obvious question you (and surely Phil) will ask is “why are we considering the question now, when it never occurred to us to consider it for thousands of years?” The answer is, we think we have learned something about homosexuality. We have learned that homosexuality is not an immoral behavior engaged in by wicked heterosexuals. It is instead, at least in a significant number of individuals, an inalterable (sic) condition or circumstance that the individual finds him or herself in – the circumstance of inalterable (sic) same sex attraction.

and:

Gays have, by the way, helped themselves immeasurably by coming out and living among us. By their presence they forced us to face the issue and ask these questions. And millions of people have come to see it in the way I have described.

…not to mention:

Once these become your beliefs, you become far more sympathetic to the plight of gay people. As these sympathies continued to widen and spread in the US over the last 40 years, someone sympathetic to that plight asked, “why shouldn’t same sex couples be allowed to marry” – it all began in a 1985 lawsuit here in my beautiful state. And once it became clear that there is no good answer to that question – multiple courts have come to the conclusion that States have no compelling reason to exclude gays from the institution of marriage – and once people got used to the idea that gays could marry, the ball game was over. It is just a matter of time.

…but not to be outdone by:

I can see how someone who rejects the new set of beliefs about homosexuality opposes including gays within the institution of marriage. But I hope you (all) can see how someone who has adopted these new beliefs [they have been my beliefs from about 1990] can think it wrongheaded not to allow gays to participate in the most important social institution of civilization.

Joe H.

I understand that -in the mind of the, um, “sanity challenged”- the forgoing may make “sense” but, to me or anyone with a basic, non-phantasmagorical world view, that was a series of stylistically silly sentences slammed into assemblage so as to subvert sensible sentiments of sensibility.

side note: Don’t you just love how Joe’s state became “beautiful” only when it hosted the lawsuit that would bring about the “justice” he and dozens of others so desperately yearned for?

TIMMA!!!

April 24, 2010 @ 5:03 am #

If anyone might want to see proof, of Timma’s dishonesty, the comment in question was at 3:59 am on 4/11, year of our Lord, two thousand ten.

And no, I have no qualms about being accurately descriptive of our fair Timma for, I do not believe that anyone is that clueless to reality. It is almost surreal to watch such a pro dissemble, distort, feign, twist -and otherwise spin- reality until it is unrecognizable to a rationale mind. Quite impressive, in a sickening sort of way. But then, Marx never promised us a “truth garden” – now did he?…

Timma!

April 24, 2010 @ 9:35 am #

Does anybody know what in the world Mark is talking about? I’m not optimistic he will explain himself…anyone?

April 24, 2010 @ 11:06 am #

Now, now, Timma-Timma! You left out entire chunks of what you responded to. As in:

and:

Gays have, by the way, helped themselves immeasurably by coming out and living among us. By their presence they forced us to face the issue and ask these questions. And millions of people have come to see it in the way I have described.

1) Neither of those comments are insulting.
2) They are still concise points, whether or not you agree with them.

So I don’t see how it helps you to point those out at all….

I understand that -in the mind of the, um, “sanity challenged”- the forgoing may make “sense” but, to me or anyone with a basic, non-phantasmagorical world view, that was a series of stylistically silly sentences slammed into assemblage so as to subvert sensible sentiments of sensibility.

….case in point. It is very likely impossible for you actually argue against something being said. The best you can do is resort to ad hominem name-calling.

If anyone might want to see proof, of Timma’s dishonesty, the comment in question was at 3:59 am on 4/11, year of our Lord, two thousand ten.

That’s the exact post I quoted! What are you talking about?

Mr. Mark, I don’t mind if you insult me, I really don’t. But if you insist on doing so, perhaps you could be more specific….?

Does anybody know what in the world Mark is talking about? I’m not optimistic he will explain himself…anyone?

Honestly? He lost me at this part:

And no, I have no qualms about being accurately descriptive of our fair Timma for, I do not believe that anyone is that clueless to reality. It is almost surreal to watch such a pro dissemble, distort, feign, twist -and otherwise spin- reality until it is unrecognizable to a rationale mind. Quite impressive, in a sickening sort of way. But then, Marx never promised us a “truth garden” – now did he?…

Timma!

Apparently he’s trying to start some kind of internet meme, or something.

April 24, 2010 @ 12:34 pm #

Ah, the dissembler in chief doth protest excessively vocally. Tim, you and I know what you are up to but, for those who don’t recognize good old fashioned -wadda ya call it?- sophistry, this is what happened:

(typical method by which the confuser-class muddies up the intellectual waters) Tim claims that he was “misrepresented” and then “proves it” by quoting text minus much of the embarrassing parts while simultaneously creating the straw man that I was complaining about being treated “rough” in order to tear it apart. Then, when it is so easily proven how dishonest he was….WHOA! What am me doing? I knew this was a trap from the start. Seriously, self, arguing w/ a person/people it has already been established care not a wit about truth – HOW COULD ME?!?

April 24, 2010 @ 12:53 pm #

Mark,

Nice try, but not a mite clearer. I must be “sanity challenged”. Your rants are very fun, actually, even if you don’t appear to be trying to say anything except, “You’re dumb”, “Your a liar”, “You’re a Marxist”, or whatever.

But I’m with Tim; you’re not interested in proving anything with careful thought, as he, Nathan and Joe appear to be. Set off your smoke bombs, and maybe the truth will get away.

April 24, 2010 @ 1:13 pm #

Also, better ask again, Mark:

“You see, it’s much easier to treat gays as real people if you aren’t dealing with them only on paper.

Yes, they are sinners – and Jesus would have spent time with them LONG before he would spend time with people casting judgment on them. Would you disagree?”

April 24, 2010 @ 2:09 pm #

Perhaps he’s a liberal trying to give right-wingers a bad name. If so, mission accomplished.

“you’re not interested in proving anything with careful thought, as he, Nathan and Joe appear to be.”

I’ve lost interest even in doing that on this thread. It seems pointless when you get the same response as if you’d just typed in ‘U suck lol!’.

But when the level of debate starts at ‘Marrying a man is like marrying a tree (Unless you’re a woman, and then somehow it’s completely different)’, then it can only sink from there.

April 24, 2010 @ 2:19 pm #

“Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great.”
William F Buckley, Jr

April 24, 2010 @ 6:45 pm #

Tim claims that he was “misrepresented” and then “proves it” by quoting text minus much of the embarrassing parts while simultaneously creating the straw man that I was complaining about being treated “rough” in order to tear it apart.

Here is what I quoted:

It is not that we were wrong about “marriage” for thousands of years and suddenly discovered our error. The real story is that we never thought to consider the question of whether “marriage” could include same sex couples. But once we considered the question, it turned out that “opposite sex partnership” is not an essential or inextricable aspect of the idea of “marriage.”

I know, I know, “learned” is a question-begging term. Many many people deny that we have learned anything new about homosexuality that warrants extending the institution of marriage to gays. People commenting on this blog have called it a “pathology.” Many people believe that homosexuality can be “cured.” Other’s don’t care if it can be cured – they think we should encourage incorrigible homosexuals to remain celibate. Many people believe it is a sin.

I have no intention of debating these issues here. I am merely trying to illustrate why we’re asking and answering the marriage question with regards to gays now. The fact is, millions of Americans – a growing percentage of the population every year – have come to see homosexuality as a circumstance that individuals find themselves in. They have also come to believe – for better or worse – that same sex attraction is harmless. They believe that the pathologies associated with being gay arise from the hostility and rejection gays have traditionally faced. They also see no compelling moral objections to gay love and/or gay sex.

The “…” part signified that I had removed part of the post (mostly to keep mine short); the only part that I removed was this:

The obvious question you (and surely Phil) will ask is “why are we considering the question now, when it never occurred to us to consider it for thousands of years?” The answer is, we think we have learned something about homosexuality. We have learned that homosexuality is not an immoral behavior engaged in by wicked heterosexuals. It is instead, at least in a significant number of individuals, an inalterable condition or circumstance that the individual finds him or herself in – the circumstance of inalterable same sex attraction.

What about that is “embarassing” or “proves me dishonest?” Seriously. I want to know. I know you’ll probably just call me more names or say I’m dishonest again without referring to anything I’ve actually said, but I’m still curious.

April 24, 2010 @ 8:28 pm #

Thanks Tim D. and Gordon for your robust defenses of my sanity and civility.

Mark 13:31, your posts remind me of a challenge I used to issue to my students. Every so often, a student would raise his hand and say, “I would argue . . .” followed by an assertion regarding what was right or wrong, good or bad, true or false, etc.

I would immediately respond, “go ahead.” The student would then stare at me for several seconds, having no idea what I was saying.

The point I was making is that assertions are not arguments. You are not arguing in favor of a particular view when you say “I would argue that this view is true.”

You’re only arguing when you give reasons for thinking that a particular view is true.

When I survey all that you’ve said in this thread, I see that you’ve claimed that I am crazy/insane. But you don’t point to anything I’ve said and explain why it is crazy. It is like you’re saying, “I would argue that Joe is insane,” without giving any reasons for the rest of us to accept this conclusion. You may be right. But if you are right, it should be relatively easy for you to illustrate this.

So, my response to you is, “go ahead.”

Joe H.

Joe H.

April 25, 2010 @ 1:28 pm #

Tim wrote:

The obvious question you (and surely Phil) will ask is “why are we considering the question now, when it never occurred to us to consider it for thousands of years?” The answer is, we think we have learned something about homosexuality. We have learned that homosexuality is not an immoral behavior engaged in by wicked heterosexuals. It is instead, at least in a significant number of individuals, an inalterable condition or circumstance that the individual finds him or herself in – the circumstance of inalterable same sex attraction.

Actually, no, I wasn’t asking, because I’ve been observing the social and political scene for about 35 years and already know the answer. However, the answer is not as you’ve said, Tim. You might be misrepresenting it, or you might be a dupe; it’s more likely that you’ve come up with what seems to you a reasonable-sounding answer after realizing that you really were calling for a change in a basic human institution, and needed a response. Whichever, I’ll guarantee you it’s not because of anything you “realized” or “learned.”

The current, conventional wisdom regarding homosexuality is full of wrong ideas utterly bereft of scientific support. For instance, people make claims like “homosexuality is an inalterable condition” when in fact 75% of those who self-identify as “gay” while under age 25 will self-identify as “straight” after they’ve aged. Or the notion that a “gay” person is just like a straight person, only with a binary “preference” switch turned the other direction, when in fact only 3% of self-identified “gays” never engage in sexual relations with the opposite sex. Or the notion that gays are as psychologically healthy as straights, when in fact the behavioral and psycho-social characteristics of gays are virtually indistinguishable from characteristics of heterosexuals with raging sexual disorders.

Those ideas are present because of a deliberate disinformation campaign, led by gay activists but joined later by complicit reporters and biased researchers. The sexual revolution of the 60s, combined with a culture-wide rejection of cultural tradition, spawned a movement aimed at legitimizing homosexuality. Activists deliberately planned a public relations campaign to paint an image of homosexuals that was positive, healthy, and normal. The absurdly promiscuous gay bar scene dropped out of sight altogether, banished to a cultural black hole. In its place, we’ve had 40 years of Will and Grace. Social progressives, ever on the lookout for social issues about which they can claim superiority over social conservatives by going along with whatever pseudo-science is the current fashion, swallowed it whole (perhaps an unfortunate mental image considering the current topic). Hence Tim’s declaration regarding what he has learned.

Anybody who doubts this needs to read The Trojan Couch, and then come back and comment … although, to be candid, I’m about to shut down commentary on this thread and try to pick it up again with another.

I’ve decided I’m going to go ahead and write my cultural analysis of marriage around the world, and post it as a separate post. I don’t see that we have anything to gain by continuing here on The Birch Tree Challenge. I won’t be deleting any comments, but please keep an eye out for my post regarding the history of marriage (should be out sometime tomorrow) and continue this discussion over there, ok?

Joe H., I’m specifically going to be addressing your comment from long ago regarding what is the central idea in marriage. Needless to say, I disagree rather sharply with your analysis.

April 25, 2010 @ 3:38 pm #

Actually, no, I wasn’t asking, because I’ve been observing the social and political scene for about 35 years and already know the answer. However, the answer is not as you’ve said, Tim. You might be misrepresenting it, or you might be a dupe; it’s more likely that you’ve come up with what seems to you a reasonable-sounding answer after realizing that you really were calling for a change in a basic human institution, and needed a response. Whichever, I’ll guarantee you it’s not because of anything you “realized” or “learned.”

Sorry, bro, but that’s not my quote 0.0

The current, conventional wisdom regarding homosexuality is full of wrong ideas utterly bereft of scientific support. For instance, people make claims like “homosexuality is an inalterable condition” when in fact 75% of those who self-identify as “gay” while under age 25 will self-identify as “straight” after they’ve aged.

We could argue this one all day….all I’m gonna say is, if a hypochondriac thinks he has Bipolar disorder, but then a doctor examines him and says, “you don’t have bipolar disorder,” and the guy goes back to living a normal life without bipolar….does that mean that bipolar disorder doesn’t exist, or that it’s “a choice” that you make to have it?

Or the notion that a “gay” person is just like a straight person, only with a binary “preference” switch turned the other direction, when in fact only 3% of self-identified “gays” never engage in sexual relations with the opposite sex.

That statistic seems to run counter to the “statistics” I’ve heard indirectly referenced, which assert that gays have the highest degree of AIDS/HIV infection among most sexual demographics. Now how could that be, if (1) gays are a minority in the population, and (2) only a minute percentage of gays ever actually engage in sex (which is how AIDS/HIV is spread, through sexual intercourse)?

Or the notion that gays are as psychologically healthy as straights, when in fact the behavioral and psycho-social characteristics of gays are virtually indistinguishable from characteristics of heterosexuals with raging sexual disorders.

“Virtually?” What support do you have to say that?

Those ideas are present because of a deliberate disinformation campaign, led by gay activists but joined later by complicit reporters and biased researchers.

Yes, yes, there’s a conspiracy by teh gays and teh liberuls to pollute our society.

With all due respect, Mr. Phil, I’ve already heard how the conspiracy theory goes.

Social progressives, ever on the lookout for social issues about which they can claim superiority over social conservatives by going along with whatever pseudo-science is the current fashion

Who are these “social progressives?” Where is the meeting ground where they all get together and “plan” these conspiracies out? I’m curious. I’ve been looking for evidence of such a base of operations for years, but nobody seems to know exactly where it is or how I can find it.

April 25, 2010 @ 5:10 pm #

Phil said – “Or the notion that a “gay” person is just like a straight person, only with a binary “preference” switch turned the other direction, when in fact only 3% of self-identified “gays” never engage in sexual relations with the opposite sex.”

to which Tim D. said -”That statistic seems to run counter to the “statistics” I’ve heard indirectly referenced, which assert that gays have the highest degree of AIDS/HIV infection among most sexual demographics. Now how could that be, if (1) gays are a minority in the population, and (2) only a minute percentage of gays ever actually engage in sex (which is how AIDS/HIV is spread, through sexual intercourse)?”

Observing the above “response” by Tim it must be reconsidered whether to view Tim D. as dishonest or merely a poster child for the public “education” system. Up until now I was convinced that Tim has always been INTENTIONALLY confounding in his nonsensical responses but, seeing as he (apparently) does it to everyone, it’s worth considering that he suffers from learning impediments. That being: D.E.R.S. or, Debates Everyone Really Sillily syndrome. Judging by the anger in many posts, he is apparently sincere (apologies for previously suggesting the contrary) which first led me to think he might suffer from Overly-Serious-Hyperactive-Ideological-Tendency syndrome, but this is a family site so that was rejected.

Either way, short of him hitting the old English texts or, the opposition “dumbing ourselves down” to his level, it would seem an exercise in futility to carry on w/ this fiasco. Or, I could just play along…

…if a hypochondriac thinks he has Bipolar disorder, but then a doctor examines him and says, “you don’t have bipolar disorder,” and the guy goes back to living a normal life without bipolar….does that mean that bipolar disorder doesn’t exist, or that it’s “a choice” that you make to have it?

Well, Tim, I don’t know what you have against Doctors applying the art of modern science to the affect of curing folks of bipolar disorder, but I find it disturbing that it apparently offends you. What is it that you do have against the victims of this dread disease – tell us, won’t you?

If not for Phil’s rules of decorum I could say ANYTHING here as Tim quit reading paragraphs ago….not that he’d understand a syllable of it – anyways…

April 25, 2010 @ 5:33 pm #

Let me propose a deal, Mark:

If your opponent in an argument misreads something, point it out to him and let your opponent correct it. I am quite sure several here would have done so for you, if what you have been saying was clear enough to parse to see what needed correction.

I am trying to protect you from your self, Mark, because as Jesus said, calling people fools, as you just did, only puts you in danger of the fires of hell, according to your faith (Matthew 5:22).

April 25, 2010 @ 5:50 pm #

Observing the above “response” by Tim it must be reconsidered whether to view Tim D. as dishonest or merely a poster child for the public “education” system.

I dunno why you are so angry, Mr. Mark. Was an atheist mean to you one time?

In any case, those statistics (about how gays supposedly have the highest HIV/AIDS concentration of any sexual demographic) were not given to me by the “public education system,” they were suggested to me by a Christian guy on Crossexamined.org~

Up until now I was convinced that Tim has always been INTENTIONALLY confounding in his nonsensical responses but, seeing as he (apparently) does it to everyone, it’s worth considering that he suffers from learning impediments. That being: D.E.R.S. or, Debates Everyone Really Sillily syndrome. Judging by the anger in many posts, he is apparently sincere (apologies for previously suggesting the contrary) which first led me to think he might suffer from Overly-Serious-Hyperactive-Ideological-Tendency syndrome, but this is a family site so that was rejected.

Either way, short of him hitting the old English texts or, the opposition “dumbing ourselves down” to his level, it would seem an exercise in futility to carry on w/ this fiasco. Or, I could just play along…

Proverbs 12:16 — “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.”

(In some cases, many insults….)

Well, Tim, I don’t know what you have against Doctors applying the art of modern science to the affect of curing folks of bipolar disorder, but I find it disturbing that it apparently offends you.

I have no idea what you are talking about here; I’ve said nothing about doctors “curing” anything. I brought up the idea of a person who thinks they have bipolar (and thus “identifies as having bipolar”), but is then told by a professional that he or she does not have bipolar, and never has, and so at that point they begin to “identify as not having bipolar.”

The point I was making — since you have very obviously missed it — is that the fact that someone says, “I identify as gay,” during their formative teenage years (the years during which they are *least* likely to have a firm understanding of sexuality, and are *most* likely to be acting out on other tendencies that may have inadvertently lead them towards such an identification), and then decides years later (after familiarizing themselves with the lifestyle and deciding that it does not reflect them or their desires, after all) that they are not gay….this does not automatically mean that there can be no “genuinely gay” person.

*puts up flame shield, waits for Mr. Mark to respond*

April 25, 2010 @ 6:36 pm #

Yes, yes, there’s a conspiracy by teh gays and teh liberuls to pollute our society.

With all due respect, Mr. Phil, I’ve already heard how the conspiracy theory goes.

Ok, folks, let’s ask:

I provided instances of strategic intentions published by gay activists, explaining what they intended to do in order to change the public’s perception of them.

This document illustrated how they had executed the plan they articulated, resulting in major organizations changing their public stance regarding gays.

Tim a) refuses to read the document at the link, and b) sneers at anybody who has.

Does this say more about me, or about Tim? What does it say about him?

With no respect at all, Tim, I’ve been dealing with bullies all my life, and I know how empty they are.

April 25, 2010 @ 6:43 pm #

That statistic seems to run counter to the “statistics” I’ve heard indirectly referenced, which assert that gays have the highest degree of AIDS/HIV infection among most sexual demographics.

How so? Please explain.

How can the fact that most gays actually engage in hetero sex as well as homo sex, say anything at all about the rate at which they acquire HIV?

April 25, 2010 @ 7:29 pm #

Tim a) refuses to read the document at the link, and b) sneers at anybody who has.

Of course, you’re completely wrong. I don’t have .pdf-reading software~

With no respect at all, Tim, I’ve been dealing with bullies all my life, and I know how empty they are.

Well, at least you can *admit* that you’re intentionally disrespectful. It explains a lot about our interaction for you to so openly state that you have no interest in mutually respectful discussion.

I provided instances of strategic intentions published by gay activists, explaining what they intended to do in order to change the public’s perception of them.

You say that as though it’s proof of some devious conspiracy. Of course gays would want to improve society’s impression of them, just as atheists would like to improve society’s impression of them — thanks to the extreme right, both of these groups have been villainized and demonized to the point that there is debate over whether or not they should have the same legal priveleges and rights as everybody else. To me, it’s a matter of course that a discriminated minority should want to improve their public image — especially when you consider the fact that their “public image,” for the past few generations, has been based on hatred perpetuated by people who’d rather not give them the time of day.

How so? Please explain.

Simple:

Or the notion that a “gay” person is just like a straight person, only with a binary “preference” switch turned the other direction, when in fact only 3% of self-identified “gays” never engage in sexual relations with the opposite sex.

Points which you and Mr. Mark have made in the past:

1) “Gay sex makes you more likely to get AIDS/HIV than straight sex.”
2) The implication of #1 being that, if a gay person had *straight* sex instead of *gay* sex, then they would be less likely to get AIDS/HIV (why else would we even bother mentioning this as a reason why gay sex is “bad?”).
3) “Only 3% of gays have never engaged in straight sex.”

Assuming that these three points are true…

…if 97% of gays are somehow “not gay” but only “pretending” as part of some secret agenda, and they’re actually having straight sex instead, then how is it that surveys taken from that same percentile population, touted by the extreme right and the homophobic movement, supposedly show that this same group of people has the highest concentration of AIDS/HIV? If gay sex is the primary cause of HIV/AIDS in the gay population, then shouldn’t they have a significantly lower rate of infection — statistically speaking — than they do, given that their overwhelming majority (97%) is “actually” secretly straight?

And on the other hand, if they’re having straight sex *and* gay sex, then how does that make them “not gay?” In fact, I’d say that makes them “bisexual;” that doesn’t really help your case, either.

April 25, 2010 @ 7:58 pm #

Excellent points, Phil. The article is well worth reading (I haven’t finished gotten fully into it yet).

I sensed no sneer in Tim’s writing, and don’t know if he refused to read the article or not. I do sense a tone of disdain in the article, and wonder if it is aimed at political opposition, or at those who are compromising science for the sake of politics.

I also hope that, if someone here produces an equally scholarly piece that seems to support the opposing view, that it will get a hearing.

April 25, 2010 @ 9:14 pm #

To all:

I am confident that there are many individuals who become disoriented during puberty, come to believe they are Gay, and, then, eventually figure out they are straight.

I am also confident that, for many people, sexual attraction is ambiguous, confusing, and somewhat fluid.

Those concessions aside, millions and millions of people have testified that they are unalterably attracted to members of their own sex. We do not need a scientific analysis of this fact or phenomenon – we have testimonial evidence from millions and millions of people.

If there is some good reason for dismissing this abundant testimonial evidence, lets hear it. But as I’m confident that there is no good reason to reject their testimony, we need to accept as fact that for millions and millions of Americans, same sex attraction is the unalterable condition they find themselves in.

The reason social conservative resist this conclusion is that, once we come to think of homosexuality as a fundamental and inalterable aspect of these individuals’ identies, rather than some form of wickedness or perversion, we become sympathetic to their circumstance. We become concerned about their needs for love, companionship, and commitment. This has lead many people, myself included, to conclude that allowing Gays to partipate in the institution of marriage is the wisest course of action. Opening marriage to gays benefits everyone, and it particularly benefits the institution of marriage.

Now, can we at least agree on the premise that millions and millions of people have credibly testified, based on their personal experience, that they are inalterably gay?

And if we can’t. Why not?

Joe H.

April 25, 2010 @ 9:55 pm #

Joe,

not trying to be funny here, but serious. Are there not people who are unalterably attracted to animals, dead people and children? Sex is a very strong glue. I’m not surprised by testimony that there are many, many people who think they can not get out of the attraction. And for all practicality they can’t. Just like the alcohol thing (which I know they hate being compared to, but for this argument it’s appropriate. Another less pejorative image could be a diabetic craving sugar.)

Now the fact that you can match up two homosexuals in wedlock so they’d “only hurt each other” is one way of looking at it . . . but I don’t think that’s where you and so many others promoting the “gay lifestyle” are really coming from. And I don’t think even that practical approach would be “good for marriage”. IMHO.

April 25, 2010 @ 10:01 pm #

Those concessions aside, millions and millions of people have testified that they are unalterably attracted to members of their own sex. We do not need a scientific analysis of this fact or phenomenon – we have testimonial evidence from millions and millions of people.

Let me rephrase this for you:

“Science is controlling, and rules us all!!! Until science says something other than what Joe Huster believes, and then, suddenly and for no reason, science is irrelevant!!!”

Pardon me while I spit. Joe, you’re not usually so blatantly dishonest. Seriously, I’m shocked.

The reason for dismissing the “abundant testimonial evidence” is that denial is a signature part of the psycho-social profile.

For crying out loud, Joe, how can a person EVER say about ANYTHING “I can’t change?” They can only say what they’ve experienced so far, not what they can or can’t do in the future. About half the people who attempt to change their homosexuality succeed; that’s a higher recovery rate than for alcoholism or drug addiction. At least 3/4 of people who claim they’re “gay” and include themselves in those millions of testimonies, will not call themselves “gay” ten years later. So we have solid evidence that a huge proportion of the people who claim to have an “unalterable” condition are either lying or mistaken.

And I’ve got to tell you, I’m getting mighty tired of your repeated faux psychology explaining your opponents’ positions as the result of some neurosis or other. You know philosophy very well, and I’m sure you know the law pretty well, but honestly, pal, you don’t know dick about psychology. Knock it off.

April 25, 2010 @ 11:02 pm #

Phil,

Did I ever say science controls and rules all? No! There are a variety of forms of evidence – testimonial evidence is perfectly legitimate with regards to personal experience. That is fairly obvious.

Why you think anything I said is “blatantly dishonest” is a mystery. I merely stated a fact – millions of people claim to be inalterably gay. Is that statement wrong? To be dishonest, Phil, a person has to intentionally mislead others. In what way was I misleading anyone? And if I was misleading anyone, how do you know it was intentional? What evidence do you have that I was attempting to intentionally mislead you and/or your readers?

Note Phil, I have never accused you of dishonesty. I have accused you of error, but dishonesty is an accusation against a person’s character. If you ultimately conclude that those who disagree with you lack character, you cut youself from opposition voices. That would be a tragedy.

With regards to your statistics, I’ll suspend judgment – although I seriously doubt that 3/4 of the people who now claim to be gay will deny this 10 years from now. How are you so certain that these statisics are correct?

And even if you’re right, 25% of the “millions and millions” of people I mentioned are still staring you in the face. Does’t their testimony count? Are they all in denial? How do you know this?

Also, there is nothing complicated about my psychological analysis as to why conservatives resist the conclusion that many people are inalterably gay. It makes perfect sense that conservatives would resist this conclusion for the reasons I cited. Once you accept that conclusion, it becomes much harder to maintain the hardline stance against gays. You don’t need a Ph.D. in moral psychology to see this. If my analysis is wrong, explain why. Don’t merely point out that I’m not a psychologist – particularly when you’re diagnosing millions of people with “denial.” You’re no more of a psychologist than I am.

I suspect you think that conservatives resist this conclusion based on science. But how many of those who reject the testimony of gays are familiar with the “science” you cited? Virtually no one. So, if they’re not familiar with the science, what’s your explanation for their rejection of the testimony of gays?

Finally, you cite the phenomenon of “denial.” But such arguments equally apply to social conservatives – I could argue that they are in denial regarding the reason why they reject the testimony of millions of people when they have no good reason to reject this testimony. How could you respond to that?

The truth is, the “denial” argument is question begging – it assumes the truth of what each of us is supposed to be establishing by argument. We should leave the “denial” argument alone.

I’m eagerly awaiting your refutation of my analysis of the social history of marriage, by the way.

Joe H.

April 26, 2010 @ 1:11 am #

Dullhammer,

Yes, there are people who are attracted to animals, children, and dead people, although I’m not sure the extent to which the attractions to dead people and animals are inalterable. I really don’t know.

I’m pretty sure we agree that Children should be off limits for their protection, regardless of any adult’s desire.

Sexual desire for animals and dead people is distinguishable from gay love in that, with regards to the former, the attractions are decoupled from interpersonal [romantic] relationships, love, support, and companionship. Gay love is akin to straight love in these respects (or, at least, can be).

By focusing only on the object of sexual desire (something other than the opposite sex) in order to lump all these desires together, you miss the crucially important difference. You miss the difference between a fetish and an orientation.

Joe H.

April 26, 2010 @ 6:23 am #

“Sexual desire for animals and dead people is distinguishable from gay love in that, with regards to the former, the attractions are decoupled from interpersonal [romantic] relationships, love, support, and companionship.”

Very good point Joe, and a good rejoinder against the original challenge too.

But more importantly, comparing straight or gay love to having sex with an animal, child or indeed a tree, also – once again – misses out that very important issue of consent. I’m baffled by how people can keep downplaying the consent issue, as I’m presuming everyone here respects laws regarding rape?

The harm issue fails to convince me too, for a couple of reasons.

1/ I don’t see the same argument being applied to other activities that harm the consenting parties involved. People who eat red meat are far more likely to get certain forms of cancer than vegetarians, but no-one suggests THAT as a basis for branding carnivores as immoral.

2/ Although a convincing argument can be made that unsafe sex is immoral in that it spreads disease, this only strengthens the case for encouraging monogomy, and for encouraging safe sex – neither of which anti-SSM people are backing.

April 26, 2010 @ 9:36 am #

Joe: “Now, can we at least agree on the premise that millions and millions of people have credibly testified, based on their personal experience, that they are inalterably gay?”

You make an appeal for agreeing that same-sex attraction is inalterable. My reason for pointing out the rather unattractive examples listed is to simply remind you and the others that there are inalterable attractions which are clearly wrong. (There was a time when homosexuality itself would have been included in that clear listing, but not today.) So, if my view is that same-sex attraction is inalterable it would be in a way similar to looking at, for example, diabetes (or even one of the more objectionable examples) where one can not simply give the person what they want because “they’re going to want it anyway so why not give it to them and make them feel better about themselves.”

Your distinguishing between “orientation” and “fetish” is of little importance and is getting ahead of the point at hand. The reason I use objectionable examples is because we can agree that in those cases “inalterable” must be qualified. Yes, they are seemingly permanent in many people’s lives, but even so, they should also be permanently opposed by those individuals and by society. “Inalterable” in these cases is different from “inalterable” in positive or neutral cases, like one’s bone structure or handedness. (Actually, as I think about specifics I find precious little that is not changeable in some way or other. A fundamental of human nature seems to be a seemingly infinite capacity . . . to change one’s individual nature– for better or for worse. Though, admittedly, not endlessly back and forth.)

In light of these distinctions I see no point in agreeing or disagreeing with your appeal to the matter of same-sex attraction being inalterable. Seems we should be digging down to a more fundamental matter to make it worth our time. For example: Why should individuals be sexually attracted to an intrinsically, sexually sterile relationship? Why is that attractive in the first place? And why should society act to promote such relationships on an equal footing with heterosexual relationships and worthy of marriage? And why do people object to making sexual fertility an issue, when the very character of the relationship in question is same-sex attraction in the first place? Just a few questions which pro-homosexual advocates should be eager to answer.

And I welcome anyone here to feel free to do so. (Though probably not on this thread.)

April 26, 2010 @ 9:49 am #

Dull Hammer said:

“And why should society act to promote such relationships on an equal footing with heterosexual relationships and worthy of marriage?”

If disease/harm is one of the reasons to oppose homosexuality, it has to be far more on the basis of multi-partner homosexual relationships. This is true of heterosexual ones also. It seems reasonable to me that the spread of aids would be hugely stemmed if the entire homosexual community had been mostly monogamous from the beginning, instead of ignored and treated like they weren’t there.

This is parallel with the spread of many STD’s, which I, in my several decades of monogamous marriage, have not contracted.

April 26, 2010 @ 11:27 am #

Gordon said: “This is parallel with the spread of many STD’s, which I, in my several decades of monogamous marriage, have not contracted.”

A fair point. And, of course, a bit of an assumption regarding whether gays would actually marry and stay married. Even in my limited view I have heard gay voices object to the confines of marriage. (And please don’t say, “Same as with heterosexuals” for that would only weaken your point, wouldn’t it?)

And what would be the parallel with the fact that I too have not contracted any STDs in several decades of celibacy?

But why only the negative reasons for “gay marriage”? Is this how marriage originated between heterosexual couples, to stem the tide of STDs? Or was that a byproduct of a greater reason? What is the greater reason for same-sex attraction and for gay marriage in your opinion?

April 26, 2010 @ 12:17 pm #

“And, of course, a bit of an assumption regarding whether gays would actually marry and stay married. Even in my limited view I have heard gay voices object to the confines of marriage.”

Such people would be under no obligation to get married. I don’t see what point it undermines to state that many hetero men don’t like the confines of marriage either – is that an argument against straight marriage?

As for whether gays will actually marry, look to the countries where it is permitted. Certainly gays marry there. And sometimes they divorce too. But as you say, this is no different to straight marriage.

As for what causes homosexuality in the first place, much evidence points towards it being either genetic, or at least is caused by a process that occurs pre-birth (eg in the womb). There’s a complicated answer as to how something genetic can get passed on. Suffice it to say that you can pass on genes that you do not yourself express. Female siblings of gay men on average have more children than the average. This goes even when the siblings are brought up in separate families, so this cannot be explained through environmental reasons.

There is also significant evidence that the likelihood of having a gay son increases with each male birth. In other words, your fifth son is significantly more likely to be gay than the first. Again, this goes even when the siblings are put up for adoption and grow up in separate families, so it’s hard to explain this through environmental reasons (eg, having lots of older brothers pushing you around makes you gay).

April 26, 2010 @ 12:20 pm #

“And what would be the parallel with the fact that I too have not contracted any STDs in several decades of celibacy?”

That I’ve not had a gun accident in 35 years of not owning a gun? Or my wife has not crashed a car in 35 of not driving? But people do own guns and drive, and we try to encourage safe use of both.

April 26, 2010 @ 1:35 pm #

So after you dismiss me as never “owning a gun” or for “not driving” a car, I’m curious what you have left.

What, Nathan, would be “safe” for those men, women and others who never do marry?

April 26, 2010 @ 3:05 pm #

“So after you dismiss me as never “owning a gun” or for “not driving” a car, I’m curious what you have left. ”

I don’t understand the question. I’m not dismissing you at all. People are welcome not to drive, not to own a car, and not to have sex. No dismissal of such people from me.

“What, Nathan, would be “safe” for those men, women and others who never do marry?”

Safe from what perspective? You mean safe from STDs? Either don’t have sex, or do it safely, and with as few partners as possible.

Likewise, if you must drive, do it within speed limits and wear a seatbelt.

April 26, 2010 @ 3:18 pm #

You make an appeal for agreeing that same-sex attraction is inalterable. My reason for pointing out the rather unattractive examples listed is to simply remind you and the others that there are inalterable attractions which are clearly wrong.

The problem here, as I see it, is that you’re looking at what could possibly be two different examples of two completely different phenomena — it’s a very real possibility that people who “flip-flop” about their “gayness” are not “really gay” at all, but rather are just experimenting with their confused perception of sexuality. I’m not saying that’s always the case, but I do think it bears some examination.

where one can not simply give the person what they want because “they’re going to want it anyway so why not give it to them and make them feel better about themselves.”

I don’t really think that’s the argument being made in favor of gays, though….

Why should individuals be sexually attracted to an intrinsically, sexually sterile relationship?

I imagine, for the same (or similar) reason that humans who are born sterile still have sexual attraction to other humans, even though they can’t reproduce. It wouldn’t be far-out to say that reproduction is probably not the sole endeavor of sexual attraction.

And why do people object to making sexual fertility an issue, when the very character of the relationship in question is same-sex attraction in the first place?

Can’t speak for all, but personally I disagree with making fertility an issue simply because I have never spoken with anyone (Christian or no) who would consistently apply the same argument to a straight couple who were infertile. It only seems to be an issue when gays are infertile, not when straights are.

And, of course, a bit of an assumption regarding whether gays would actually marry and stay married.

I don’t think that’s really a point of interest, either; think about the rising divorce rates among straight, Christian couples today. Do you think it would be wise of the government to completely abolish the legal institution of marriage on that basis, because “they’re not gonna stay married, anyway”?

But why only the negative reasons for “gay marriage”? Is this how marriage originated between heterosexual couples, to stem the tide of STDs?

I’ve seen several positive examples (mutual love, relationships built on shared experience and intimacy, etc.) given, but people tend to dismiss those out of hand on the basis that the people who feel them are “abhorrent” or “deviant.” And it just so happens that some of the more practical (i.e. non-spiritual, non-metaphorical) reasons deal with potentially negative matters (such as the spread of disease).

April 26, 2010 @ 4:09 pm #

I’d say that the legal rights reasons are the most compelling, especially things like hospital visiting rights.

April 26, 2010 @ 5:01 pm #

Me, then Dullhammer:

_____-
Gordon said: “This is parallel with the spread of many STD’s, which I, in my several decades of monogamous marriage, have not contracted.”

A fair point. And, of course, a bit of an assumption regarding whether gays would actually marry and stay married. Even in my limited view I have heard gay voices object to the confines of marriage. (And please don’t say, “Same as with heterosexuals” for that would only weaken your point, wouldn’t it?)
__________

No, I was specifically addressing the somewhat unstated argument here against homosexuality that it’s wrong because it causes AIDS. The widespread occurence of AIDS is due almost entirely to promiscuity.

The question is, would it be good or bad for society to encourage gays (strongly) to be monogamous? Remember, your gay friends (I know, somewhat presumptous among conservatives) are part of society, also.

You asked:

“Is this how marriage originated between heterosexual couples, to stem the tide of STDs? Or was that a byproduct of a greater reason?”

I am sure there are quite a few reasons to encourage monogamy all around, Dullhammer. The stemming of the STD tide, with all the suffering that would relieve, HAS to be one of the motivations.

“What is the greater reason for same-sex attraction and for gay marriage in your opinion?”

Again, the reasons are multifold. But I can give you what I think is the most important: If a person turns out to be one of those 25% (probably more) who feels they are inalterably gay, what is the best societal norm for that person to pursue: Marginalization, and a complete lack of “understood” values about sexual behavior, or…

…we admit to ourselves that these people are there, and give them every reason we give to heterosexuals to remain monogamous? Who CARES if a whole host of gays or straights choose to follow those societal guidelines? The fact that many of both parties would could only lead to a garnering of the benefits thereof, and an avoidance of the perils of the alternative.

Or would you rather the signal we send to those who feel they are unalterably gay (whether you believe they are right or not) be this: “We’d rather you die than affirm you as a person in any way.”

April 26, 2010 @ 5:12 pm #

Phis said, without explanation:

“About half the people who attempt to change their homosexuality succeed; that’s a higher recovery rate than for alcoholism or drug addiction.”

Sorry Phil, if the answer to this appeared in the article you posted…haven’t gotten there yet.

But this story is very instructive to me:

James Dobson, who argues much the same as you do, Phil, about homosexuality, chose his “trophy couple” to be his representatives for the ‘cureability’ of homosexuality, and then helped them author a book, called “Love Won Out” (published by Focus on the Family).

Remember, Dobson had a VESTED INTEREST in choosing the most successful story he could in cured homosexuals – because he was making a point.

I had a minor problem with the book in that the wife of the formerly gay couple had only suffered some abuse from a female relative in her childhood, and had not really felt strongly gay and had not outrageously acted out on any gay feelings she had.

But the REAL problem with the book is this: the husband of the couple, who claimed never to have felt anything different before meeting the Christians who “cured” him of homosexuality, has REPEATEDLY gotten caught attending gay bars and acting out in other ways since the book was published.

This was the MOST successful story Dobson could find???

April 26, 2010 @ 6:35 pm #

I just did a quick read of the “trojan couch”, and a few things struck me right off the bat.

First of all, it’s published by NARTH, an organization that, in it’s last two letters, “…Therapy of Homosexuality” indicates a vested interest in reparative therapy, or the conversion of gays, a position that no reputable mainstream medical or scientific organization has endorsed.

Secondly, the paper begins with the FABLE of the emperors new clothes as an authoritative example of how “…in every generation, on certain matters, a whole society— its experts, its most admired, respected, and trusted leaders and counselors — will adopt as authoritative a complete illusion.” While I would tend to agree with this somewhat, it’s not exactly a professional way to establish a clinical hypothesis.

And thirdly, it’s written by the author of “Cracking the Bible Code”, a book that breathtakingly illustrates how random computer word searches have revealed hidden messages in the Holy texts… This illustrates his philosophical leanings, and brings up the point that reversion therapy is mostly considered a RELIGIOUS practice, not a psychologically based practice, and all of the organizations that endorse or practice this pseudo-scientific therapy are either religious in nature or largely funded by religious groups. In fact, most market themselves as religious ministries and are therefore not governed or overseen by professional associations, licensing boards, state departments of health or other bureaucracies, and thereby skirt the strict ethical guidelines of such organizations.

It’s no wonder why the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Education Association all have ethical guidelines that discourage or prohibit its practice.

Is that the best you’ve got, Phil?

April 26, 2010 @ 6:44 pm #

Gordon et al:

As I have said before, I am skeptical about these statistical claims. But what interests me even more – and please, Phil, bear with the budding psychologist in me – is why opponents of gay marriage remain so eager to accept these “cure” rates? Why are they so eager to accept these numbers, despite the fact that a 50% success rate, which is about as high as cure proponents are willing to publicly claim, implicitly concedes that 50% of the “millions and millions” of self proclaimed gay Americans experience same sex attraction as an inalterable condition?

Phil is correct – I’m no psychologist. But the answer seems fairly obvious. The belief that gays can be cured is critical to maintaining one’s opposition to normalizing gay love. Once that premise is abandoned, it becomes to difficult to remain unsympathetic.

I am pretty sure that some people who call themselves “gay” and experience same sex attraction, are disoriented. For others, sexual attraction is fluid. But millions and millions of my fellow citizens have testified that they are inalterably gay. Even if only 50% of them were right, I’d still be concerned about the other half.

Joe H.

April 27, 2010 @ 6:22 am #

The cites for homosexuality being a pathology were not convincing either. I cited Evelyn Hooker’s studies in this area, experiments that have been repeated many times by others, all pointing away from it being a pathology. Phil’s response was basically a claim that 20,000 psychologists were asked anonymously whether they think it’s a pathology, and the majority said yes.

This is not science, and does not refute Hooker’s studies. There doesn’t seem to be any way of checking these anonymous opinions, but even if accurate, as scientists they would know that what their opinions are meaningless unless backed up by evidence, research, experiment, peer-reviewed papers, and reproducable data.

The whole POINT of Hooker’s studies, and those of others such as Gonsiorek, was that they removed prejudice and what people THOUGHT they knew from the equation. That’s good science. The studies showed that although some people might assume that gays would rank differently on such issues as mental health, in double blind tests the gays couldn’t be differentiated from the straights. Data is what’s important, not unsupported opinion.

The studies’ inescapable conclusion was that:
“Homosexuality in and of itself is unrelated to psychological disturbance or maladjustment. Homosexuals as a group are not more psychologically disturbed on account of their homosexuality”.

In other words, not a pathology.

If any psychologists disagree with this conclusion, they need to come up with their own studies to support their alternative ideas. “I anonymously disagree”, is not enough.

April 27, 2010 @ 3:32 pm #

Phil’s response was basically a claim that 20,000 psychologists were asked anonymously whether they think it’s a pathology, and the majority said yes.

This is not science, and does not refute Hooker’s studies.

Have you heard of “Project Steve?” It exists to prove a point very similar to that one — that science is not a popularity contest….but even so, truly scientific opinions far outweigh the fringe statistical manipulations of extremist organizations with degrees in things like “Christian Truthology” and “Philosophy.”

If you *haven’t* heard of Project Steve, google it sometime for an interesting (and funny) read~

April 27, 2010 @ 5:33 pm #

[...] was almost a month ago that I launched the Birch Tree Challenge, and the discussion is still raging. It was a simple, tongue-in-cheek jibe at the main arguments [...]

April 27, 2010 @ 5:37 pm #

jackson wrote:

First of all, it’s published by NARTH, an organization that, in it’s last two letters, “…Therapy of Homosexuality” indicates a vested interest in reparative therapy, or the conversion of gays, a position that no reputable mainstream medical or scientific organization has endorsed.

No scientific or medical organization other than NARTH, that is. NARTH is a scientific organization defending the notion of treating homosexuality as a pathology — which, as I pointed out, is what the majority of psychologists consider it.

What you’re doing, jackson, is attempting to end a debate by simply dismissing the other side. Not that this is something new for the left, it’s their favorite tactic, but we’re on to you. Sorry, won’t wash. You actually have to debate the point, not simply assert that your side is right and dismiss anybody who disagrees with you as “having a vested interested.”

My God, the anti-intellectual SHIT that leftists do daily…

April 27, 2010 @ 5:40 pm #

Hello, all:

There’s no way using my current tools that I can close debate on a topic, so I can’t enforce this, but…

I’ve just posted a discussion of the definition of marriage in a post entitled “What is Marriage? The Birch Tree Challenge Redux.” I would like to ask that commentary cease on this thread, and move to that one. We’re over 260 comments here, and it’s getting unwieldy.

Thank you for your cooperation.

April 27, 2010 @ 7:43 pm #

My God, the anti-intellectual SHIT that leftists do daily…

You are such an angry person, Mr. Phil 0.0

April 28, 2010 @ 12:01 pm #

Phil wrote: “What you’re doing, jackson, is attempting to end a debate by simply dismissing the other side.”

I know we’re supposed to close it up here, but I just had to respond. That angry retort is just too amusing.

I had no intention of “ending the debate”, I was just pointing out where it’s coming from. Which is exactly what Jeffrey Satinover does in the “Trojan Couch”. He summarily dismisses, by association, everyone responsible for the educated opinions and policies of the vast majority of professional educators, physicians, and counselors, regarding sexual orientation.

For example, he dismisses Evelyn Hooker by immediately typecasting her as “A lifelong hard-left political activist” He then dismisses the opinion of the APA with the TOTALLY FALSE claim that Hookers 1957 study “…is the only paper referenced in detail on the main website of the American Psychological Association in its discussion of Gay and Lesbian issues…”- This is such a transparent attempt to show how the original seed of deception was planted by insidious, influential individuals who were “…active in anti-war, pro-abortion, and other “New Left” causes”, in allegiance with “agitators” who were bent on “radicalizing” the organization. He makes no mention of the scores of subsequent studies that back up her findings.

He then makes the claim that ALL, yes ALL the evidence shows that homosexual instability over the course of life was “…one-directional: declining, and very significantly so. Homosexuality tended spontaneously to “convert” into heterosexuality as a cohort of individuals aged…” Now that’s just intellectually dishonest and intentionally misleading, not to mention completely unsupported by unbiased observation. And if you’ve ever known anyone who was gay, who wasn’t devout and conflitcted about their sinful lifestyle, you’d know that was complete bs.

The American Psychological Association appointed a task force in 2007 to look into this issue. Here is a part of their summary, you should read the whole thing if you can stomach it: “The task force conducted a systematic review of the peer-reviewed journal literature on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) and concluded that efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm, contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates.”

The consensus is in, no matter how much you scream and shout about our methods or motivations. I know you dont WANT to believe it, but take a deep breath and watch your blood pressure. I have enormous respect for your intellect, Phil, and really admire your rhetorical skill, but this “Trojan Couch” study you hold up so highly is exactly what you angrily accuse the “left” of putting out. Honestly, it reads like a textbook parody of faith-based conservative paranoia.

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