Intelligent Design

Gay marriage and the loss of civility

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In the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, Professor Jerry Coyne has authored a post in which he offers his thoughts on the ruling. In a telling passage which is remarkable for its myopia, he writes:

To those who oppose gay marriage, I say this: Is it really hurting you? What does an opponent have to lose if two homosexuals get married? I suppose they could say it could lead to the dissolution of society, but that’s clearly not the case.

Is it really hurting us? Yes, and for a very simple reason: from now on, those who oppose the Supreme Court’s decision will be branded as hateful bigots who are morally on a par with members of the Ku Klux Klan, despite the fact that most American blacks say gay rights are not the same as civil rights, and despite the fact that the Reverend Martin Luther King, America’s foremost civil rights activist, described the homosexual lifestyle as a “problem” in need of a “solution” – a “habit” stemming from a series of negative “experiences and circumstances.”

A Canadian commenter named Timocrates explains how bad things are going to get in America, in a response to philosopher Ed Feser’s brilliantly written blog article, Marriage and the Matrix (June 29, 2015):

Well, coming from Canada, let me warn my American friends about what you are soon going to be facing for anything remotely like denial of legitimacy or anything short of outright approval of homosexuality and all sexual deviance.

1. Social ostracism:
– In your workplace, where you are likely to be fired and not hired at all if you are known to have “controversial” views on homosexuality;
– You family. Friends stick out much longer than they will, but even they will become much, much more quiet and reserved and increasingly hesitant to help you.

2. Social madness and increased degeneracy:
– Polite social parties may well include the suggestion, nonchalantly, to consider throwing on some porn for entertainment;
– Men in women’s bathrooms in gyms, and they kick the people who try to intervene or complain about it out of the gym
– Endless sensitivity training in the workplace so everybody knows what they are and are not allowed to say or suggest to ensure a ‘safe and comfortable’ working environment ‘for everybody’

3. School torture
– Kids will begin learning about sex and how two moms and two dads are a normal kind of family as early as 6
– Sex-ed will begin as early as Grade 6, including descriptions of oral sex
– Any child who at any time identifies with any sex will be accommodated, whether bathroom or locker room

And the final stage that is now happening in Canada, the Trannies.

Transgender people will increasingly agitate that society, government, institutions and businesses facilitate their lies. They will agitate that dating sites and services simply portray them as their chosen sex without any warning to normal, unsuspecting users of services.

That last line is arguably the scariest for single people, especially single young men. We all know how a man is likely to respond after finding out she isn’t actually a she at all – and with gender change surgeries now, this may come later.

And here’s an excerpt from a poignant article on Patheos by Rebecca Hamilton, an 18-year member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, titled, Gay Marriage Sets Friend Against Friend, Brother Against Brother (July 3, 2015):

I’m going to share my own experiences in trying to deal with the question of saving relationships in the face of gay marriage and abortion. I don’t have a magic bullet to offer. What I bring instead is a hard reality.

Here’s what I’ve learned in my own life about the question of keeping your gay friends and following Christ: You can’t do it. They won’t let you. And that’s it.

The deepest personal wounds I’ve suffered since I became a Christian have to do with gay friends that I loved and trusted with all my heart. Two of my gay friends turned on me in a sudden, absolute and public way.

One of them, in particular, I loved with all my heart. He was — and is — as dear to me as my own blood. We shared so many good things through the years. I trusted him and cherished him.

I never once tried to change him or argued with him about these differences in our beliefs. In fact, I tried to avoid talking to him about it altogether. When he realized that I did not support gay marriage, he flew into a rage and … well … it was a horrible experience.

Among other things, he accused me of lying to him because I hadn’t been more up front on the issue.
Then, he went on the internet and publicly attacked me.

The other friend turned on me over abortion. I know, gay men and the abortion industry seem to be bizarre allies, but the gay men I’ve known are pro abortion fanatics. In fact, a good many gay men work for Planned Parenthood.

I do not have one encouraging word to share with those of you who want to keep your relationships with gay people and still follow the Church. My experience is that, no matter how you try, you cannot keep your relationships with your gay friends and follow your faith. They will not let you.

Even sadder, my experience is that they do not just end the friendship. They then go out and do everything they can to hurt you.

I can honestly say that I have not retaliated. I have never broken the confidences they shared with me. I have never attacked them. I have never tried to hurt them. And I never will.

Representative Hamilton adds:

I know one homosexual person who has been willing to accept me as an individual and at least be professional friends with me. When I told her I opposed gay marriage, she said, “I would never try to force you to violate your personal morality.”

I was so grateful to her I almost cried.

But she is unique in my experience. And, as I said, we have a professional friendship, not a deep personal friendship.

Finally, in a recent article on RealClearReligion titled, Beware of the Gaystapo (July 6, 2015), Catholic author Mark Judge equates the treatment of Christians by the gay rights movement to a form of emotional abuse:

Christian America is being emotionally abused by the gay rights movement.

Emotional abuse is a sinister human reality, arguably more iniquitous in its slow-drip subtlety than outright physical abuse or political aggression. In emotional abuse a partner … is lured in by love and affection, only to have their spouse or significant other exert more and more psychological and spiritual control, then curdling into abuse. The abuser might start as a loving person with a slight edge of sarcasm, but over time they methodically pick apart the self-esteem of their partner. The occasional cutting quip becomes a steady stream of put-downs. Nothing the abused person can do is enough.

Eventually there is an atmosphere of chaos and unpredictability. Victims often have emotional breakdowns…

In his article, Judge chronicles the events leading up to this abuse:

In the beginning, advocates for gay marriage assured us that they loved America. The country wasn’t perfect, but mostly what gay activists wanted was the ability to express love without violent reprisal. They didn’t want to control the rest of us, or dictate terms or tell us what to believe. No one would lose their job or business because of gay marriage…

For a few years things went well. Gay people got to live more openly. There were more homosexual characters on television and in politics. States were debating gay marriage.

But then something changed. Liberals didn’t just accept civil unions, they demanded gay marriage — or else.

Anyone who didn’t only accept gay marriage but celebrate it was isolated as a hateful bigot. Bullying and gas-lighting of resisters became common. Gay marriage advocates ignored or denied that they had ever argued that no one would lose their job if gay marriage was passed… Like an abuser who refuses to ever acknowledge wrong doing, preferring to turn the tables on the abused, gay marriage advocates now refuse to answer the most simple questions. To ask “What is marriage?” is to be emotionally blackmailed (shame!), isolated (go back to the 1950s!) and bullied (damn right, you’ll lose your business).

Judge’s last question, “What is marriage?” gets right to the heart of the matter. It is interesting to note that the Supreme Court majority, in their recent ruling (Obergefell vs. Hodges), nowhere attempted to provide a clear definition of the term “marriage.” Instead, we were told that the meaning of marriage has evolved over time, despite documents cited by dissenting Chief Justice John Roberts, showing that the term “marriage” has been understood for centuries to mean: the lifelong union of a man and a woman.

Much play has been made in the media of Elena Kagan’s facile argument that if marriage were really about procreation, as traditionalists supposedly hold, then there should be laws on the books prohibiting elderly couples from typing the knot, as there is no chance that they will procreate. But the argument overlooks two very important points.

First, what defines marriage is not procreation , but its essentially monogamous character: it is a union of one man and one woman, for life. (There have of course been societies which tolerated polygamy, but the practice invariably results in the exploitation of women. What’s more, even in societies where the practice is allowed, it is relatively uncommon: the vast majority of men have one wife.) Now, there are heterosexual couples who have what they call “open marriages,” these are relatively uncommon, and even today in America, 90% of people still regard adultery as morally wrong. However, the great majority of gay “marriages” are not sexually monogamous: they are open relationships. And even if there are some gay couples practicing monogamy, I know of no gay couple who are willing to declare that open relationships between gays (or straight people, for that matter) are not real marriages. For this reason alone, then, a strong case can be made on legal grounds for refusing to recognize gay marriage: doing so would inevitably force people to publicly sanction relationships in which sexual monogamy is no longer even recognized as an ideal. That would in turn mean that schoolchildren are no longer taught that married people should be faithful to one another until death do them part.

Second, even if it is not the case that every marriage is potentially procreative, it is certainly true that the institution of marriage would not exist, were it not for the fact that humans procreate sexually. In a hypothetical world where intelligent life-forms reproduced asexually, there would be no marriage, since there would be no need for it. Why, then, do we allow elderly couples to wed? Simple enough: because the bond between them is of the same sort as that existing between couples who wed when they were young, had children, and have now grown old. In both cases, the couples in question physically express their love in exactly the same way, and under the same conditions: they promise to be faithful to each other until death do them part. Gay marriage does not even get a foot in the door here: the physical expression of their love is quite different, and there is usually no intention to remain sexually monogamous.

In his recent post, Professor Coyne argues that people who oppose gay marriage must do so because they regard it as un-Biblical and/or unnatural. But the argument I put forward in the foregoing paragraphs made no mention of the Bible or of natural law. All it assumed was that marriage is essentially monogamous – a sentiment still upheld by the vast majority of Americans.

But I can safely bet that gay rights advocates in America will make no attempt to respond to arguments like the one I have put forward above, in civil terms. Ridicule, scorn and abuse are weapons which suit their cause better, and no attempt must be spared to make their opponents look absurd. If Professor Coyne wants to know how the legalization of gay marriage has hurt ordinary people who oppose it, I can sum it up in one sentence: thoughtful public discussions of the pros and cons of gay marriage will no longer be possible, because one side has been demonized.

What do readers think?

289 Replies to “Gay marriage and the loss of civility

  1. 1
    smordecai says:

    I have argued against gay marriage for years. I advocate a philosophy of “limited government”. Something the Founding Fathers of this country understood. Marriage laws were originally designed to primarily protect women and children from irresponsible husbands. In a “gay marriage” which one needs the protection? I see no compelling reason for government to get involved in such a private relationship unless it is to control disease that threatens society.

    Those who have advocated this intrusion of government will likely be sorry.

    What I know is that gay activists will not rest until we all bend the knee and kiss the ring.

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    But I can safely bet that gay rights advocates in America will make no attempt to respond to arguments like the one I have put forward above, in civil terms. Ridicule, scorn and abuse are weapons which suit their cause better, and no attempt must be spared to make their opponents look absurd.

    Bet on it.

  3. 3
    REC says:

    “However, the great majority of gay “marriages” are not sexually monogamous: they are open relationships.”

    Can you point me to a recent study that demonstrates this?

    Then, to make your point, we’d need to compare that to the percent of straight marriages that are sexually monogamous (open or discordant-with one partner in the dark)?

    If the goal of marriage is monogamy, should the state mandate divorce for adulterers, and restrict them from marrying in the future?

    And a hint-If you want rational discussion, and not to be demonized by the other side, skip gross slurs like “Tranny” and suggesting that “a ‘safe and comfortable’ working environment ‘for everybody’” is the end of civilization.

  4. 4
    Axel says:

    It is the deliberate and shameless mendacity and hatred of the truth of their lobbyists that seems to be completely unique. Breathtaking. Apparently the film of that Harvey Milk character and the story they peddle about Matthew Sheppard are travesties of the truth. And what a transparent lie to equate physical inheritance of black skin with the choice of sodomy by what would be the large majority of them. It’s not rocket science: the incidence in the vast US prison complex is said to be phenomenal.

    They play at ‘marriage’, homosexual style, like little children playing ‘mummies and daddies’. Yes, and even adopting children, to that end. Homosexuality, surely the ultimate commitment to homogeneity, yet they claim to be champions of diversity, heterogeneity and rainbows.

    With their constant brandishing of rainbows in our faces, they remind me of the joke of the older generations in the sixties, that the youngsters seemed to be labouring under the misapprehension that they had invented sex. Not to speak of ‘love’, though it doesn’t seem to be of the self-denying kind; rather some of them seem to prefer to dress up as nuns in mockery of them.

    We are just as familiar with rainbows as homosexuals, and the truth, rather, is that, if they had their way, they would paint all those beautiful rainbows just the one colour. And I doubt it would be white. Then again… it’s probably the one colour they would. Pure, virginal white.

    They scoff at the notion of ‘pink power’, but they know it is the degenerate, super-rich, ultra worldlings of the ‘deep state’ that has been empowering them, but it will all end in tears before bed-time for them. Not the quiet ones who just want to get on with their own lives, and not seek to tyrannize the public, but the sociopathic and psychopathic activists and lobbyists.

  5. 5
    REC says:

    “Homosexuality, surely the ultimate commitment to homogeneity”

    With cis-genders alone, there can now be male-male, male-female and female-female marriages? How is this a more homogeneous society than before?

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    VJT:

    I appreciate your concern. (Feser has spoken well, BTW: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.co.....atrix.html.)

    Now, given the sort of 4th generation lawfare ruthless radicals have already undertaken, leading to destructive fines in response to reasonable request to respect conscience, we here at UD have to be particularly concerned that things said even in comment threads can and will be twisted into Orwellian lawfare demands to say the politically correct: 2 + 2 = whatever The Party requires, Mr Smith.

    The root issues then are that any discussion needs to be very restrained and insistent on freedom of conscience, also that we are under moral government which entails that we are in a world where there is a world-foundational IS that properly grounds OUGHT.

    As repeatedly highlighted, there is just one serious candidate: the inherently good Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident and manifest nature.

    In that context, it is quite manifest that our creation order is naturally and clearly evident and that the only coherent and morally reasonable understanding of marriage is shaped by the biology of maleness and femaleness, linked to the requisites of sound child nurture. Nor is such open to revision.

    As Jesus of Nazareth so aptly summarised:

    Mark 10:6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,[a] 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

    Precisely because these sort of thoughts are now utterly politically incorrect, they will be derided, mocked, slandered and viciously targetted by out of control radical activists hell-bent on wrenching the foundations of our civilisation out of what is patently reasonable. All in the false name of rights and respect for equality — all the time, the foundations of OUGHT are being discarded and dismissed.

    I think things will have to crash so hard and destructively, that the damage cannot be spun (cf. here on Ac 27 as a lesson for democratic gov’t: http://kairosfocus.blogspot.co.....-year.html ), for there to be hope of recovery from the ongoing march of folly. If, the crash is not fatal.

    Finally, because of the lawfare hazard, I suggest to you that this thread will require very careful monitoring.

    This will be my only comment in this thread.

    KF

  7. 7
    vh says:

    putting the mental illness of homosexuality aside, the mere fact that our society is now purposefully denying children an actual mom and an actual dad just shows how immature and selfish we’ve become.

  8. 8
    Axel says:

    Yep. There is also an association apparently between satanists (whose attentions I sometimes feel) and the paedophile ring of top UK politicians and others, including Jimmy Saville, the now-deceased Enoch Powell, Cyril Smith and MI5; the latter, notably, re the Kincora Boys Home in Northern Ireland, hoping, unsuccessfully, as it transpired to be able to blackmail some Protestant politicians. The info I have is just from Googling.
    ———
    Yes, vh, just vile. Particularly, when you consider that unbalanced parental care will have given many of them a bad start.

  9. 9
    goodusername says:

    Is it really hurting us? Yes, and for a very simple reason: from now on, those who oppose the Supreme Court’s decision will be branded as hateful bigots who are morally on a par with members of the Ku Klux Klan

    Huh? I don’t know about you, but I don’t decide who’s being a bigot based on Supreme Court decisions.

    despite the fact that most American blacks say gay rights are not the same as civil rights, and despite the fact that the Reverend Martin Luther King, America’s foremost civil rights activist, described the homosexual lifestyle as a “problem” in need of a “solution” – a “habit” stemming from a series of negative “experiences and circumstances.”

    Yes, because those who are victims of one form of bigotry can’t themselves be guilty of other forms of bigotry.

    I personally don’t believe that it’s necessarily bigotry to believe that marriage should only be between a man and woman, but stuff like this certainly counts:

    Transgender people will increasingly agitate that society, government, institutions and businesses facilitate their lies.

  10. 10
    Starbuck says:

    , despite the fact that most American blacks say gay rights are not the same as civil rights,

    If if that were true so what? We dont determine a minority group’s freedom by asking another minority group. Bigots are dumb.

  11. 11
    daveS says:

    vjtorley,

    If Professor Coyne wants to know how the legalization of gay marriage has hurt ordinary people who oppose it, I can sum it up in one sentence: thoughtful public discussions of the pros and cons of gay marriage will no longer be possible, because one side has been demonized.

    What do readers think?

    I think there is some truth to this. On the other hand, I am willing to bet that within 25 years, most people will have a hard time understanding why gay marriage was not allowed in parts of the USA until 2015. And we will be fine; society will not have fallen apart. Gays and lesbians will simply have the same right to choose a life companion that I had.

  12. 12
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zero-fitness relationships fly in the face of the almighty natural selection. Why would any society support such a thing?

  13. 13
    daveS says:

    Virgil Cain,

    Zero-fitness relationships fly in the face of the almighty natural selection. Why would any society support such a thing?

    Our society does, fortunately for me. I got married knowing ahead of time that I wasn’t going to have any children.

  14. 14
    Axel says:

    Did I mention society? No. Read what’s in front of you. I referred specifically to homosexuality: the starting point.

    What you are pleased to call, ‘gayness’, another bizarre misnomer, with so many drunkards, drug addicts and suicides. People who are genuinely proud, don’t flaunt it in people’s faces all the time. They behave modestly or they lose respect. Homosexuals however know they are trying to ‘swim upstream’, hence the desperation in the guise of triumphalism.

  15. 15
    Virgil Cain says:

    daves- why get married if you weren’t going to have children?

  16. 16
    daveS says:

    Virgil Cain,

    daves- why get married if you weren’t going to have children?

    I met someone I wanted to spend my life with.

  17. 17
    Virgil Cain says:

    daves- You can spend you life with someone and you don’t have to marry that person. I know unmarried couples that have been living together longer than I have been married.

  18. 18
    daveS says:

    daves- You can spend you life with someone and you don’t have to marry that person.

    My wife is quite conservative and would never live with someone out of wedlock (neither would I, although I’m not so conservative).

    Also, being married has some important legal implications, I believe, that would not apply if we were unmarried partners living together.

  19. 19
    Virgil Cain says:

    daves:

    My wife is quite conservative and would never live with someone out of wedlock (neither would I, although I’m not so conservative).

    Sounds like a personal problem.

    Also, being married has some important legal implications, I believe, that would not apply if we were unmarried partners living together.

    Yeah,cuz legal implications are important to people who are in love and inseparable.

  20. 20
    MatSpirit says:

    Rebecca Hamilton:”I have never attacked them. I have never tried to hurt them. And I never will.”

    Really! How can being prevented from marrying the one person in the world that you love and who loves you possibly hurt?

    Vjtorley:”But I can safely bet that gay rights advocates in America will make no attempt to respond to arguments like the one I have put forward above, in civil terms. Ridicule, scorn and abuse are weapons which suit their cause better, and no attempt must be spared to make their opponents look absurd.”

    You’re making it hard.

  21. 21
    daveS says:

    Virgil Cain,

    Sounds like a personal problem.

    Not sure what you’re referring to. Bottom line: we each prefer marriage to cohabitation.

    Yeah,cuz legal implications are important to people who are in love and inseparable.

    Yes, legal implications such as making decisions regarding medical care, funeral arrangements, inheritance, and so forth are important.

  22. 22
    Mapou says:

    In the beginning, marriage was more than just boy meets girl and they have kids. It was also the mechanism by which women entered into their inheritance. In those days, the land was not divided for a price but for an inheritance. Gay marriage would not have worked. Marriage today is just a piece of paper in comparison. Gay marriage? Phht. I don’t care. Heck, I think even robots should get married and they do: 😀

    Meanwhile, robots are getting married in Japan

  23. 23
    computerist says:

    The way I see it is, since marriage is already well defined, don’t call it marriage, call it something else (ie: under a new label), and then fight for that right.

  24. 24
    StephenB says:

    This situation is fairly easy to analyze. It’s rampant subjectivism in action: Marriage means whatever I want it to mean, the constitution says whatever I want it to say, and reality is whatever I want it to be.

    Or, as Anthony Kennedy puts it, ”

    “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life…”

    That comment, my friends, is the product of a weak mind and an undisciplined will.

    What we will find, though, is what we have always known. All that phony open-mindedness goes out the window when a subjectivist gains power. That is when “his” truth becomes the only tolerable truth. The pervert can define marriage any way he likes, but the Christian may not express his opinion on the matter, unless he would prefer to remain unemployed.

    Interesting, isn’t it. The gay movement began as a plea for employment rights and a promise that economic parity would suffice. On the contrary, the gay lobby has always sought to destroy the Christian religion and persecute Christian believers. Unless the states do the right thing and refuse to comply with this lawless decision, that is exactly what is going to happen. Inside every subjectivist is a totalitarian screaming to get out.

  25. 25
    jw777 says:

    I’m not clear on why a secular society would promote gay marriage. From a secular point of view, sexual attraction and urges are explicable as a biological drive toward procreation. Someone whose entire concept of sexual fulfillment shares no resemblance of male-female interaction or even the illusion of reproductive-capable sex is delusional. Remember: sexual attraction, from a secular scientific biological perspective is all about driving reproduction. Any person who’s sexual attraction doesn’t even begin to resemble a remotely biologically possible reproductive equation is deranged. That is the honest secular position.

    Now, from a religious context, it makes some sense. First, we begin with the heavily religiosity-filled concepts of equality and rights. Science, biology, chemistry, physics, and honest secularism have no interest in these lofty metaphysical constructs. But dogmatic religiosity asserts these self-evident truths. From religion, sex and relationships are primarily about “expression” and various other abstractions which have no place in secular philosophy.

    A secular state may have some interest in promoting marriage between two non-delusional heterosexuals. This concept of marriage does at least align with biological expectation. Monogamy doesn’t necessarily. But there are some arguments for why children, and thus society, and thus the state, would better benefit from a promotion of monogamy in non-deluded individuals, even if not 100% compliant.

    Why is an allegedly secular state, whose founding documents reference natural-law guided rights, promoting gay marriage? Sadly, I believe the answer is that we have high jacked various philosophical constructs, entirely removed from their only relevant context, and misappropriated them for absolutely no benefit to society other than a Hallmark-channel feel-good moment which ultimately thumbs its nose at genuine secularism, pious people, our founding documents, rational thought and any version of consistent logic.

  26. 26
    anthropic says:

    I have relatives with a son who has gone into the homosexual lifestyle. It’s been rough for them, but they have made great efforts to show him love and to reassure him that he is still part of the family.

    That’s not enough, though. As he told them, “I don’t want you to love me despite me being gay, I want you to love me BECAUSE I’m gay!”

    This attitude, demanding not mere tolerance but publicly expressed approval, also lies behind Gay Pride parades and the like. It reflects how profoundly insecure gays are about themselves. Like the guy who constantly boasts about how smart he is because he doubts his IQ, gays must constantly be assured that what they do is right and natural.

  27. 27
    Robert Byers says:

    Its homosexuality that is morally wrong, Its repulsive and contemptible. Its unnatural and shows a health problem. It tends to be allied with other dysfunctions.
    Yet the gay person is not contempatable and should be our friend and countryman.
    gay marriage ruling is wrong because it takes from the people their ancient and exclusive right to make marriage laws. Marriage is only a creation of mans laws recognizing Gods idea of man/woman union.
    The court can not rule that liberty trumps the peoples right to make the laws on this. The people are only under consent, after Locke, of the contract between their government and the object for their government. Namely maintaining their rights.

    In short this decision is truly like the dred scott decision. Saying the people have a right that trumps the nations right to decide.
    its another one on the list of dictatorship from a selected liberal court.
    Its will be overthrown by new judges.

    Gay marriage is a profound rejection of every persons identity in their sexual normalcy.
    It truly destroys marriage. not add to it.
    Its a rejection of the only reason for marriage. The profound beautiful relationship, unique in creation, between two humans and so only of opposite sex as thats a profound identity difference.
    Its evil and the people must decide.

  28. 28
    Andre says:

    Why is it that almost every gay friend I have has a Facebook page of themselves filled with naked pictures of them and their mates? What is up with that?

  29. 29
    Andre says:

    If Christianity is true then homosexuality, like adultery and fornication just makes you a sinner, if materialism is true then being homosexual makes you an evolutionary defect that is less fit. fit.

    Anybody want to guess what happens to defects in nature?

    But lets get to the meat of the issue shall we? This court ruling that was given, is where the grand eugenics experiment manifests itself in all its materialistic glory, this is what Chesterton spoke about when he said;

    “Eugenics, as discussed, evidently means the control of some men over the marriage and unmarriage of others; and probably means the control of the few over the marriage and unmarriage of the many”

    G.K. Chesterton

  30. 30
    anthropic says:

    Andre, I am hearing things now that I’ve not heard before from previously complacent American Christians.

    Some call for a retreat from neo-pagan America, similar to the monasteries that preserved civilization after the fall of Rome.

    Some call for civil disobedience. That’s pretty hard to justify for Bible believers who read what Paul had to say about government in Romans, but we seem to have reached a tipping point. When the state commands what God forbids, such bowing down to Caesar as a god, or endorsing gay marriage, the state no longer is to be obeyed.

    Even on the radio today I heard calls for churches to place the Christian flag above the US flag as a sign of their ultimate allegiance.

  31. 31
    Andre says:

    Anthropic

    As I’ve commented before, tolerance has bred intolerance.

  32. 32
    Bob O'H says:

    When the state commands what God forbids, such bowing down to Caesar as a god, or endorsing gay marriage, the state no longer is to be obeyed.

    You might want to move to a country that doesn’t have a constitutional separation of state and religion before trying that argument.

  33. 33
    Axel says:

    On the other hand, Bob O’H, Andre might not want to move to a country that doesn’t have a constitutional separation of state and religion…. bearing in mind his hilariously brutal truth (…that doesn’t happen often, but it shouldn’t be considered an esoteric truth that Nature always has the last word):

    ‘Anybody want to guess what happens to defects in nature?’

    The separation of state and religion was a bad idea then and is a bad idea now. But it was nowhere near as bad an idea then as it is now. Why even the First Amendment is ignored by your government today. The US is a sink of sexual depravity across the board, you have a prison archipelago larger than Stalin’s, and dwarfing even China’s (also containing many on long sentences for a trivial offence, such as possessing Mary Jane).

    I could go on, but what’s the point? The effects of the misrule just keep getting worse and more extensive. Nor is it over yet. And it will drag the rest of the world down with it. And you have the nerve to tout separation of state and religion?

  34. 34
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O

    You might want to move to a country that doesn’t have a constitutional separation of state and religion before trying that argument.

    Somewhere we found gay marriage in the constitution.

  35. 35
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: Somewhere we found gay marriage in the constitution.

    Yes. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection and due process.

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    If government is to be in the business of marriage, then everyone is guaranteed equal access to the benefits and responsibilities of marriage. A simple solution would be to separate church and state; government offering civil unions only, and a marriage ceremony depending on the individual culture and beliefs of the couple.

  36. 36
    daveS says:

    Bob O’H,

    You might want to move to a country that doesn’t have a constitutional separation of state and religion before trying that argument.

    Somewhat related:

    Gay marriage ruling has Twitter users saying they’re ‘moving to Canada’ (where gay marriage was legalized 10 years ago).

  37. 37
    Virgil Cain says:

    daves:

    Not sure what you’re referring to. Bottom line: we each prefer marriage to cohabitation.

    Right, it’s a personal problem. Meaning you two are the only ones preventing you two from living together without being married.

    Yes, legal implications such as making decisions regarding medical care, funeral arrangements, inheritance, and so forth are important.

    All of that can be accomplished without being married.

    Getting married does not automatically grant anyone happiness.

  38. 38
    RodW says:

    The US and the West in general are in rapid decline and gay marriage will have no effect on that either way.
    It’s heterosexuals who have been eroding the institution of marriage. Whether its Britney Spears getting married for 3 days, or people like Liz Taylor who get married 7,8,9 times or the numerous wealthy 80,90 year old men who marry gorgeous 20 year olds – this is why we can no longer take marriage seriously. If anything, the huge effort that gays have been made to have the right to get married, and all the images of happy couples at the alter, are a slight upturn for marriage within the long inevitable downward spiral

  39. 39
    Virgil Cain says:

    The 14th amendment doesn’t say anything about marriage, Zachriel.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    anthropic says:

    Bob 33 When the state commands what God forbids, such bowing down to Caesar as a god, or endorsing gay marriage, the state no longer is to be obeyed.

    You might want to move to a country that doesn’t have a constitutional separation of state and religion before trying that argument.
    ————————————————————-
    So in the Dred Scott decision, when the Supreme Court ruled that runaway slaves were mere property that had to be returned to their owners, people with religious objections should have fallen in line?

    Let’s be clear: When five black-robed lawyers redefine marriage for the entire country at their whim, there is no separation of church and state. The state has swallowed the church and now claims ultimate allegiance. Just ask the Christian couple in Oregon who were fined $135,000 and placed under a gag order for not bowing down to Caesar.

  42. 42
    daveS says:

    Virgil Cain,

    Right, it’s a personal problem. Meaning you two are the only ones preventing you two from living together without being married.

    I’ve never heard anyone call it a “problem” before. If an opposite-sex, bible-believing Christian couple decline to live together out of wedlock, is that a personal problem also?

    All of that can be accomplished without being married.

    Maybe so, but if I were a gay person in a long-term relationship, I wouldn’t feel too secure. Remember a few years ago when the guy who almost won the last presidential election held this position:

    Governor Romney also believes, consistent with the 10th Amendment, that it should be left to states to decide whether to grant same-sex couples certain benefits, such as hospital visitation rights and the ability to adopt children.

    ***

    Getting married does not automatically grant anyone happiness.

    Thanks for the tip.

  43. 43
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: The 14th amendment doesn’t say anything about marriage

    The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection and due process to citizens.

    anthropic: Just ask the Christian couple in Oregon who were fined $135,000 and placed under a gag order for not bowing down to Caesar.

    If a business is open to the public, but the owner claims that his religion forbids whites and blacks from mixing, should they be legally allowed to refuse service?
    https://41.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_maxc1zdlBQ1rg5m9yo1_1280.jpg

  44. 44
    anthropic says:

    Z 43 If a business is open to the public, but the owner claims that his religion forbids whites and blacks from mixing, should they be legally allowed to refuse service?
    https://41.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_maxc1zdlBQ1rg5m9yo1_1280.jpg
    ————————————————————

    Nice try, Z. But redefining marriage isn’t at all like racism. All societies have had one man/one woman marriage for thousands of years; far fewer have had racism. And the Bible never commands white people to disassociate with black people. In fact, when Aaron disses Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman, he is struck with leprosy.

  45. 45
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection and due process to citizens.

    Right, nothing about marriage. The 14th amendment doesn’t define marriage nor does it redefine marriage.

  46. 46
    Virgil Cain says:

    daves:

    I’ve never heard anyone call it a “problem” before. If an opposite-sex, bible-believing Christian couple decline to live together out of wedlock, is that a personal problem also?

    Absolutely. Bible-believing Christians should be fruitful and multiply. That is the only reason to get married in the first place.

    Maybe so, but if I were a gay person in a long-term relationship, I wouldn’t feel too secure.

    Another personal problem. As if getting married will solve that issue.

    What planet do you live on?

  47. 47
    daveS says:

    Virgil Cain,

    Absolutely.

    Great. We’ve established that the Christian virtue of chastity is a “personal problem” in your view.

    Another personal problem. As if getting married will solve that issue.

    Yes, it does solve the problem of gays and lesbians being barred from visiting their same-sex partners while they are in the hospital.

  48. 48
    Virgil Cain says:

    daves:

    We’ve established that the Christian virtue of chastity is a “personal problem” in your view.

    People can live together without having sex. Your desperation is showing.

    Yes, it does solve the problem of gays and lesbians being barred from visiting their same-sex partners while they are in the hospital.

    What hospital does that?

  49. 49
    Virgil Cain says:

    To daves- Bible-believing Christians should be fruitful and multiply. That is the only reason to get married in the first place. You are going against God’s will and you sit there and try to preach to us.

    Pathetic.

  50. 50
    harry says:

    vjtorley,

    Thanks for the link to Feser’s article. It was very good.

    What I haven’t seen much of in commentary on same-sex marriage, or in commentary on the recent decree of our national rulers, the Supreme Court, on same-sex marriage, are answers to the question, “How did we get here?”

    A few thoughts on that:

    — Almost ubiquitously these days, heterosexual married couples use artificial contraception, thereby disconnecting the fulfillment of their natural sexual desires from their natural result: procreation. This practice is what separated the concept of procreation from the concept of marriage, not homosexual activism. It paved the way for advocates of same-sex marriage. After all, if those with heterosexual inclinations can satisfy their desires and do so in a manner that renders their sexual activity completely sterile, how is that any different from homosexuals who love each other having sterile sexual relations? Why not same-sex marriage? How can one call homosexual relations unnatural and the use of artificial contraception natural? They are both unnatural or they are both “natural.”

    — The loss of respect for the lives of innocent children (on an ongoing basis, a third of humanity’s children are wiped out by surgical abortion and abortifacient contraception, a shocking number of the victims being older and more viable than patients routinely cared for in newborn intensive care units) has made it acceptable to use children as laboratory rats in a grand, never before attempted in the history of humanity, social experiment: Let’s see how children, in general, turn out who are adopted and raised by two men or two women, without a mother or without a father. Nobody knows what will be the typical result. Will it be emotional confusion and dysfunction? Will they have normal social skills? Will they have any idea what a natural family should be like if they desire to have one? Will they desire to have one? Will they typically be happy, well adjusted human beings? But hey, what does it matter? They are just children — use them as lab rats.

    God created human sexuality with a plan for its use. Contemporary society has thrown that plan out and spit on it. I can’t help but think this will have the most terrible of consequences.

  51. 51
    daveS says:

    Virgil Cain,

    What hospital does that?

    Jackson Memorial Hospital for one.

    The hospital that Kate Fleming was admitted to as well (I can’t find the name of the hospital now).

    Hospital visitation regulations were updated by the President in 2011 to correct this problem, but as I posted above, some would like to send this back to the states.

    Bible-believing Christians should be fruitful and multiply. That is the only reason to get married in the first place.

    No. I knew a Christian gentleman who got married at the age of 90 and his bride was in her late 80s. Lots of Christians get married when there is no possibility of producing children.

  52. 52
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hospitals can deny visitation, daves. And that is regardless of sexual orientation.

    Heck our family couldn’t see our father until the hospital said it was OK and even then we were only allowed mere minutes and only one person at a time. And not everyone who was there got to see him.

    Lots of Christians get married when there is no possibility of producing children.

    They are going against God’s will. Not very christian of them.

  53. 53
    daveS says:

    Virgil Cain,

    Hospitals can deny visitation, daves. And that is regardless of sexual orientation.

    Well, now that the visitation rules have been updated and gay marriage is legal everywhere in the US, hopefully these heartbreaking incidents will occur much less often.

    They are going against God’s will. Not very christian of them.

    On that note, I’ll step back for a while and let others contribute to the thread.

  54. 54
    Virgil Cain says:

    daves:

    Well, now that the visitation rules have been updated and gay marriage is legal everywhere in the US, hopefully these heartbreaking incidents will occur much less often.

    It all depends on the scenario. Even heterosexual couples face the same thing.

  55. 55
    Virgil Cain says:

    daves:

    On that note, I’ll step back for a while and let others contribute to the thread.

    Yes, now we know that you cherry pick to suit your needs.

  56. 56
    StephenB says:

    Harry @50, you are right, of course. If the sexual faculty has no purpose, then how and with whom it is used becomes irrelevant. If, on the other hand, the Creator designed that faculty to propagate the species and create a loving bond between husband and wife, then any other use is unnatural and, therefore, wrong. All the organs in the human body, including the reproductive organs, have their proper role to play. If Justice Kennedy, the subjectivist, decides that liberty means the right to define the liver as an organ that pumps blood (and he is liable to do that at any time), the fact remains that its intended purpose is to filter out toxins. I wonder if Kennedy would go to a doctor who defines liberty the same way he does.

  57. 57
    REC says:

    UD tries a post on Obergefell, ends up at Griswold.

    Would you favor repealing it?

  58. 58
    Mung says:

    REC, It’s not a law. What’s to repeal?

  59. 59
    Zachriel says:

    anthropic: But redefining marriage isn’t at all like racism.

    Marriage in the American South used to be defined as one man, one woman, of the same race. In any case, you neglected to answer. If a business is open to the public, but the owner claims that his religion forbids whites and blacks from mixing, should they be legally allowed to refuse service?
    https://41.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_maxc1zdlBQ1rg5m9yo1_1280.jpg

    anthropic: All societies have had one man/one woman marriage for thousands of years

    Um, no.

    anthropic: And the Bible never commands white people to disassociate with black people.

    Many people have disagreed with that assessment. In any case, not everyone follows the Bible, and not everyone who follows the Bible is monogamous.

    Virgil Cain: nothing about marriage.

    It doesn’t mention race either.

  60. 60
    Virgil Cain says:

    It doesn’t mention race either.

    We are one species, Zachriel. Meaning one race.

  61. 61
    StephenB says:

    Zachriel

    Marriage in the American South used to be defined as one man, one woman, of the same race.

    Can you provide any evidence that the American South once defined marriage as one man, one woman, of the same race? That is not the same thing as passing laws against interracial marriage.

  62. 62
    Axel says:

    ‘This situation is fairly easy to analyze. It’s rampant subjectivism in action: Marriage means whatever I want it to mean, the constitution says whatever I want it to say, and reality is whatever I want it to be.’

    That is why, StephenB, the terms, ‘bigoted’ and ‘bigotry’ have ceased to constitute words of the English language for me. The moment I see either of those words, I see the word, ‘homosexual’, so that any other context in which the former appears, immediately ceases to be of interest.

    This is not at the conscious, rational level, it’s just the effect of the constant bombardment of the misuse of those words by homosexual lobby. A kind of shell-shock. The mere sight of the word immediately occludes its true meaning or the possibility that it might be figuring in terms of its correct meaning.

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Pardon an exception to my no comment here policy by way of informative footnote through a link on My Genes Made Me Do It (as, the unstated but apparently deeply rooted implication of the rather offensive racial/civil rights parallels being made is that we are dealing with genetically programmed in-stamped aspects of being rather than an ethical debate about morally governed and ethically questionable behaviour and linked habits/attitudes). KF

  64. 64
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: Can you provide any evidence that the American South once defined marriage as one man, one woman, of the same race? That is not the same thing as passing laws against interracial marriage.

    That would be a legal definition. Such marriages were considered “absolutely void” and “unnatural alliances”.

    Virginia Code 1873 §1: All marriages between a white person and a negro … shall be absolutely void without any decree of divorce or other legal process.

    Kinney v. Commonwealth: This unmistakable policy of the legislature founded, I think, on wisdom and the moral development of both races, has been shown by not only declaring marriages between whites and negroes absolutely void, but by prohibiting and punishing such unnatural alliances with severe penalties.

    The justification was that the races were created and separated by God, so should remain separate.

    Loving v. Virginia: Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

  65. 65
    sean samis says:

    I am on vacation, so I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments posted so far, so let me only comment on the OP.

    From the standpoint of gays and lesbians, civility vanished from this arena long ago.

    The social conservatives’ entire complaint can be summarized with two words: hypocrisy and chutzpah.

    There is nothing they worry that gays or lesbians might do to Christians that Christians haven’t done FOR YEARS to gays and lesbians. There is no consequence that Christians would suffer that Christians haven’t inflicted on gays and lesbians FOR YEARS.

    Christians have inflicted social ostracism; and legal and institutionalized denigration and punishments on gays and lesbians for years. Having sown evil, social conservatives now are bracing to reap their whirlwind.

    But let us be clear, not all Christians will suffer; some have already acknowledged their errors and proclaimed their support of those they once mistreated. They will fare well enough. It is those Christians who deny the past and persist in hateful behaviors who will take the greatest punishments. It is only fair.

    I don’t support hateful behavior against Christians, but to whine about it now is pure chutzpah.

    Judge’s last question, “What is marriage?” …

    The definitional strategy utterly failed because it was unrealistic. It treats word meanings as fixed and immutable while out in the real world the meaning of words has always been fluid.

    And who makes these changes? Scholars and dictionary officials? No, it’s young people; young adults who play with language to identify with their crowd and to take a dig at their elders. They twist and skew language, driving it forward.

    So social conservatives tell these young adults that an entire class of people they know, people they are friends with, people they admire are not entitled to marry BECAUSE THE DICTIONARY SAYS SO? This strategy was doomed from the start.

    Ridicule, scorn and abuse are weapons which suit their cause better, and no attempt must be spared to make their opponents look absurd.

    More hypocrisy.

    sean s.

  66. 66
    daveS says:

    KF,

    the unstated but apparently deeply rooted implication of the rather offensive racial/civil rights parallels being made is that we are dealing with genetically programmed in-stamped aspects of being rather than an ethical debate about morally governed and ethically questionable behaviour and linked habits/attitudes). KF

    Regardless of whether genetics or biology in general has any influence on homosexuality, you surely must accept that gays and lesbians have historically not enjoyed the same freedoms as heterosexual people, and have suffered a great deal of persecution. Various countries are now in the process of establishing protections for some of those freedoms. I don’t see why it’s offensive to compare this to other civil rights movements centered around race; clearly there are going to be parallels.

    For example, in the US, one’s right to marry and to serve in the military varied depending on race and sexual preference, and that’s no longer the case.

    Incidentally, for the USAians here especially, has anyone heard the phrase “gays in the military” recently? I remember a lot of handwringing about the decision to repeal Don’t ask, don’t tell less than four years ago, but it seems the issue has essentially disappeared.

  67. 67
    Virgil Cain says:

    Regardless of whether genetics or biology in general has any influence on homosexuality, you surely must accept that gays and lesbians have historically not enjoyed the same freedoms as heterosexual people, and have suffered a great deal of persecution.

    Regardless of whether genetics or biology in general has any influence on criminal behavior, you surely must accept that pedophiles, murderers and rapists have historically not enjoyed the same freedoms as non-criminal people, and have suffered a great deal of persecution.

  68. 68
    Virgil Cain says:

    As for homosexuals in the military, I am all for it. That is the best place for zero-fitness people.

  69. 69
    velikovskys says:

    KF:
    the unstated but apparently deeply rooted implication of the rather offensive racial/civil rights parallels being made is that we are dealing with genetically programmed in-stamped aspects of being rather than an ethical debate about morally governed and ethically questionable behaviour and linked habits/attitudes)

    Last I checked,religious choice is not genetically determined either.

  70. 70
    Zachriel says:

    On a discussion of gay marriage.

    Virgil Cain: pedophiles, murderers and rapists … zero-fitness people.

  71. 71
    Andre says:

    I wonder now that gay marriage is out of the way and the green hippies will be in full force to give animals personhood status I wonder how Zachriel, daves and Co will respond when this law is passed and two people who love each other want to get married. Hopefully they won’t be bigots about it. Where does this marriage thing stop gents?

  72. 72
    REC says:

    2 days ago, I addressed the argument in the original post. No reply:

    VJT posted “However, the great majority of gay “marriages” are not sexually monogamous: they are open relationships.”

    Can you point me to a recent study that demonstrates this?

    Then, to make your point, we’d need to compare that to the percent of straight marriages that are sexually monogamous (open or discordant-with one partner in the dark)?

    If the goal of marriage is monogamy, should the state mandate divorce for adulterers, and restrict them from marrying in the future?”

    I’ll add: If the goal of marriage is reproduction, should marriage after menopause be restricted?

  73. 73
    daveS says:

    Andre,

    I wonder now that gay marriage is out of the way and the green hippies will be in full force to give animals personhood status I wonder how Zachriel, daves and Co will respond when this law is passed and two people who love each other want to get married. Hopefully they won’t be bigots about it. Where does this marriage thing stop gents?

    I expect some difficult questions will arise from this decision, no doubt. Polygamy/polyandry looks like it will come up next.

    What I find interesting is that in arguing against gay marriage, i.e., a marriage between two consenting adult humans, the anti side often brings up hypothetical marriages involving other species, children, etc.

    As if two consenting adult humans should not be allowed to marry because you should not be allowed to marry your dog.

    Keep in mind this is what we’re talking about.

  74. 74
    daveS says:

    Oops: Polygamy -> polygyny above.

  75. 75
    Andre says:

    REC

    I assume you have some gay friends? Go onto their Facebook pages and have a look. Then in conversation with a group of them listen to what they have to say. The gay group of friends I have although married. Yes it’s legal here in SA are not in monogamous relationships….

  76. 76
    REC says:

    Andre,

    What if, what if, what if….

    What if a guy wants to marry his car!?! OMG society!!! Lets ban car ownership right now.

    Come back to us when 75% of people under 35 are asking for something, and we’ll worry about it then.

    http://www.pewforum.org/2015/0.....-marriage/

  77. 77
    REC says:

    Andre thinks we should base public policy on his gay “facebook friends.”

    Why does this sound suspiciously like, “I’m not racist, I have black friends.”

    Any of you have anything better?

  78. 78
    goodusername says:

    Andre

    I have gay friends on facebook and have never experienced what you’re describing. It probably says more about your taste in friends.
    (But, then again, I long ago stop believing anything you post.)

  79. 79
    StephenB says:

    Zachriel

    That would be a legal definition. Such marriages were considered “absolutely void” and “unnatural alliances”.

    Virginia Code 1873 §1: All marriages between a white person and a negro … shall be absolutely void without any decree of divorce or other legal process.

    Interesting. Thank you. This is more evidence that the Constitution means nothing to the Supreme Court when it decides to go its own way:

    If it has undue hostility against blacks, it deprives them of their basic rights by redefining marriage in excessively exclusive terms; if it has undue affection for gays, it grants them rights they don’t even have by redefining marriage in excessively inclusive terms.

    In the hands of tyrants, Judicial review becomes pure totalitarianism. Perhaps it should be abolished.

  80. 80
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: If it has undue hostility against blacks, it deprives them of their basic rights by redefining marriage in excessively exclusive terms

    In Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court overruled the trail judge cited above saying

    Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival… To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/388/1

    The Lovings were just ordinary people who were in love.
    http://lovingfilm.com/

    Notice the reference to the Fourteenth Amendment. It was judicial review that overturned Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws.

  81. 81
    REC says:

    StephenB @81
    “This is more evidence that the Constitution means nothing to the Supreme Court when it decides to go its own way:…In the hands of tyrants, Judicial review becomes pure totalitarianism.”

    Not to step in on Zachriel, but you’ve either got it backwards regarding this case (Loving vs. VA), or are arguing against marriage between races–I can’t tell which. Virginia, and 16 other southern states had laws on the books banning interracial marriage.

    The Supreme Court struck those laws down, as they violated the 14th Amendment.

  82. 82
    Zachriel says:

    REC: you’ve either got it backwards regarding this case (Loving vs. VA), or are arguing against marriage between races–I can’t tell which.

    The confusion may have been our fault. We quoted the trial judge, and StephenB may have thought that was the final determination of the courts.

  83. 83
    REC says:

    Ahh, thanks for clarifying Zachriel.

    As a final statement about the “tyranny” of judicial review, consider this.

    Alabama and South Carolina had symbolic votes to overturn their laws against interracial marriage around 2000. 40% of voters turned out in favor of those laws.

    A plurality of Mississippi Republicans (themselves a supermajority in the state) think interracial marriage should be illegal.

    http://www.publicpolicypolling.....407915.pdf

  84. 84
    Andre says:

    The materialist does not comprehend that some lines can never be crossed. Endorsing marriage between a man and another man is one such line.

    The kind of friends I keep… funny that a materialist is passing judgement on my moral values.

  85. 85
    goodusername says:

    REC,

    Interesting, I didn’t realize that Darwinism is so popular among Mississippi Republicans, since, you know, “modern racism is Darwinian”.

  86. 86
    REC says:

    @87

    Indeed, who knew? I suppose segregationists like Jerry Falwell, Bob Jones and the like must have been huge Darwin supporters.

    I suppose racism didn’t exist before Darwin,and the biblical “curse of Ham” was ignored by slavers and segregationists alike.

  87. 87
    sean samis says:

    I hope you all realize that discussing the “meaning” of marriage is a red-herring. The “meaning” of marriage is nothing more than a surrogate for a description of traditional practices. The “meaning” tells us what we have been doing, not what is possible. The “meaning” does not spell out the bounds of what could reasonably, morally, or fairly be.

    This is why the Supreme Court did not bother with “defining marriage”; that is not their job. Their job is to “say what the law is” and the law is that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”. And the law is (including Incorporation Doctrine) that “Congress [and the States] shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; …

    Obergefell v. Hodges did not “redefine marriage” nor create a “right to same-sex marriage”; it recognized that the Right to Marry is a fundamental right, and that same-sex couples have the same rights to marry as different-sex couples, inter-racial couples, and inter-faith couples.

    The rights to Equal Protection and Religious Liberty make the Obergefell v. Hodges holding necessary and correct.

    sean s.

  88. 88
    StephenB says:

    sean

    Not to step in on Zachriel, but you’ve either got it backwards regarding this case (Loving vs. VA), or are arguing against marriage between races–I can’t tell which. Virginia, and 16 other southern states had laws on the books banning interracial marriage.

    What I was discussing with Zachriel was the definition of marriage. Based on the evidence he presented to me, I now agree with him that Virginia did more than simply outlaw mixed marriage, it whimsically changed the definition of marriage to suit its own personal biases.

    He and I now both agree that Virgina not only “banned” interracial marriage, it went a giant step further by defining marriage as one man, one woman, one race. Obviously, I am not arguing against interracial marriage since I agree that Virginia (or any other such state) had no right to redefine marriage so as to exclude blacks from marrying whites.

    Hence, the Supreme Court has now, on two occasions, recklessly and egotistically, redefined marriage (in contradictory ways) to suit its own changing ideology, which is the very anti-thesis of constitutional law.

  89. 89
    velikovskys says:

    Stephen B:
    He and I now both agree that Virgina not only “banned” interracial marriage, it went a giant step further by defining marriage as one man, one woman, one race

    The legal definition of marriage is set by the state, as long as it does not conflict with the U.S. Constitution. The reason the law was overturned was not because it redefined marriage but that it excluded by reason of race.

    Obviously, I am not arguing against interracial marriage since I agree that Virginia (or any other such state) had no right to redefine marriage so as to exclude blacks from marrying whites.

    The state has the legal right to define marriage, that was not the issue, it how they defined it.

    Hence, the Supreme Court has now, on two occasions, recklessly and egotistically, redefined marriage (in contradictory ways) to suit its own changing ideology

    Could you clarify that argument, why was it reckless to overturn the ban on interracial marriage or am I misunderstanding you?

  90. 90
    REC says:

    “Supreme Court has now, on two occasions, recklessly and egotistically, redefined marriage”

    So you think the decision in Loving vs. VA was wrong?

    The Supreme court wasn’t the one legislating what marriage is or isn’t.

    In 1967, it ruled that the laws of 16 states that made interracial marriage illegal violate the 14th Amendment, and invalidated them.

    In 2015, it ruled that the laws of 23? states that made same sex marriage illegal violate the 14th Amendment, and invalidated them.

  91. 91
    StephenB says:

    velikovskys

    The legal definition of marriage is set by the state, as long as it does not conflict with the U.S. Constitution. The reason the law was overturned was not because it redefined marriage but that it excluded by reason of race.

    To claim that the institution of marriage cannot legitimately sanction a black/white union is to redefine the institution.

    The state has the legal right to define marriage, that was not the issue, it how they defined it.

    The state cannot define something that has already been defined? All it can do is reaffirm that definition or try to change it. (The West had already defined marriage as one man, one woman. The inclusion of race was a novelty that cannot be rationally justified.)

    The state has the legal right to define marriage, that was not the issue, it how they defined it.

    This contradicts your first statement. First, you said that “the law was overturned not because it redefined marriage”, now you are saying that the issue was “how they defined it.”

  92. 92
    jw777 says:

    Again, it seems people are very confused about this subject and keep turning it into a religious versus non-religious debate. The only arguments FOR gay marriage are religious. What interest has a secular state in promoting a legal bond or lifestyle which is biologically deluded? I’m not saying gays can’t otherwise be good people. I’m not a homophobe. I love people. But as a believer in secular government, I think promoting gay marriage is a serious breech of separation of church and state.

    People on this thread have made reference to “persecution.” Why would a secular state avoid the accusation of persecution? I’m not saying we should actively go out of our way to persecute any. Absolutely we should not. However, only a religious argument can be leveled to go out of our way to avoid SEEMING like we are persecuting a group. Even being a society that holds up the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (these are not secular rights, by the way), why are we trying our hand at the guarantee of happiness by letting any old feel good demand become codified law? Pursuit of happiness for every individual is already a bit lofty, certainly smacking of religiosity, but DOES NOT MEAN THE UNENDING KOW TOW TO GUARANTEE HAPPINESS. This tact is impossible and obviously fraught with danger.

  93. 93
    goodusername says:

    jw777,

    What interest has a secular state in promoting a legal bond or lifestyle which is biologically deluded?

    They’re not promoting it, they’re merely allowing it. If you want to live in a free society, than “legal” should be the default position unless there’s a very good reason for something to be illegal; not the other way around.

  94. 94
    StephenB says:

    REC

    So you think the decision in Loving vs. VA was wrong?

    No, I think that it is unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriage.

    The Supreme court wasn’t the one legislating what marriage is or isn’t.

    By ruling that race is irrelevant to the institution of marriage, the Supreme Court implicitly affirmed the traditional definition.

    In 1967, it ruled that the laws of 16 states that made interracial marriage illegal violate the 14th Amendment, and invalidated them.

    Of course. The traditional definition of marriage allows for unions of black/black, white/white, or black/white. Color has nothing to do with one man, one woman, “one flesh,” or one extended family that proceeds forth from two in one flesh.

    In 2015, it ruled that the laws of 23? states that made same sex marriage illegal violate the 14th Amendment, and invalidated them.

    This decision cannot be rationally justified. One man/one man or one woman/one woman cannot become “one flesh,” nor can such unions produce families.

    Rights to not apply to those things which are anthropologically or biologically impossible. There is no constitutional right to use bodily organs in unnatural ways.

    No one, for example, has the “right” to use his liver for pumping blood, or his heart for filtering out toxins, or his kidneys for breathing.

    In like fashion, no one has the right to use his lower digestive tract for a sex organ and call it marriage. Some people may do it, but it isn’t a legal right. Equal protection has nothing to do with characterizing an unnatural act as a marriage act.

  95. 95
    REC says:

    @StephenB- You seem to have finally read the history of Loving v VA 1967. You do now realize that you are arguing FOR judicial review and against the states?

    Your final argument amounts to personal distaste. Not really going to move mountains with that one.

    @jw777-You at UD are wonderfully one-track ponies. You can’t have your church in your state, so you start calling everything you don’t like a religion. Evolution? Religious. Universal Marriage? Religious. Try it in court. You’ll get laughed at.

    And what is this religion? The 14th amendment. That crazy aspiration to be treated equal in the eyes of the law.

    I know some of you think you are hitting hard when you say non-heterosexuality is “biologically invalid.” Again, this presumes we should build our society on YOUR heteronormative cherry-picked view of nature (which is hard to support, frankly). There are many interesting proposals on the fitness contributions of non-heterosexuality to populations.

  96. 96
    daveS says:

    StephenB,

    In like fashion, no one has the right to use his lower digestive tract for a sex organ and call it marriage.

    To be fair, I don’t think anyone, gay or straight, would call the mere use of a bodypart as a sex organ “marriage”.

  97. 97
    StephenB says:

    REC

    StephenB- You seem to have finally read the history of Loving v VA 1967. You do now realize that you are arguing FOR judicial review and against the states?

    Bad logic. To argue that judicial review sometimes gets it right is not to argue that judicial review is a good thing or that it should be retained.

    Your final argument amounts to personal distaste. Not really going to move mountains with that one.

    Bad logic. My final argument refers to what is unnatural and irrational, not what is distasteful.

  98. 98
    StephenB says:

    SB: In like fashion, no one has the right to use his lower digestive tract for a sex organ and call it a marriage act.

    daveS

    To be fair, I don’t think anyone, gay or straight, would call the mere use of a bodypart as a sex organ “marriage”.

    Insofar as they claim to be married, they are also claiming that their sexual act is a marriage act. That should be obvious.

  99. 99
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: To argue that judicial review sometimes gets it right is not to argue that judicial review is a good thing or that it should be retained.

    If a state passes a law that is in violation of the U.S. Constitution, then the courts are responsible for overturning the law. That’s how it works.

    StephenB: Insofar as they claim to be married, they are also claiming that their sexual act is a marriage act.

    {Psst. You do realize that straight couples dally with sodomy too?}

  100. 100
    sean samis says:

    StephenB @90:

    sean

    Not to step in on Zachriel, but …

    This was a comment by Rec, not I.

    What I was discussing with Zachriel was the definition of marriage.

    The definition of marriage is a red-herring; it merely captures whatever the definer wants marriage to be, not what marriage is nor what it fairly can be.

    BTW, in the holding of Loving v. Virginia, the word definition appears only once, on pp. 7-8:

    Instead, the State argues that the meaning of the Equal Protection Clause, as illuminated by the statements of the Framers, is only that state penal laws containing an interracial element as part of the definition of the offense must apply equally to whites and Negroes in the sense that members of each race are punished to the same degree.

    and the word ‘define’ once on p. 9-10:

    We have rejected the proposition that the debates in the Thirty-ninth Congress or in the state legislatures which ratified the Fourteenth Amendment supported the theory advanced by the State, that the requirement of equal protection of the laws is satisfied by penal laws defining offenses based on racial classifications so long as white and Negro participants in the offense were similarly punished.

    There are references to where Virginia law defined who are “white” or “colored” persons, and defined the penalties for miscegenation. There is NOTHING about “defining” or “redefining marriage”.

    Regarding:

    He and I now both agree that Virgina not only “banned” interracial marriage, it went a giant step further by defining marriage as one man, one woman, one race. Obviously, I am not arguing against interracial marriage since I agree that Virginia (or any other such state) had no right to redefine marriage so as to exclude blacks from marrying whites.

    Actually, I think what you’ll find if you look again is that the Virginia law only banned inter-racial marriage if one of the couple was white. Inter-racial marriage between a Black and another non-white race was not banned. I recall this from our discussion of the case in Con Law.

    Section 20-59 [of the Virginia statute], which defines the penalty for miscegenation, provides:

    “Punishment for marriage.—If any white person intermarry with a colored person, or any colored person intermarry with a white person, …

    This was on p. 4 of the holding.

    Regarding:

    Hence, the Supreme Court has now, on two occasions, recklessly and egotistically, redefined marriage (in contradictory ways) to suit its own changing ideology, which is the very anti-thesis of constitutional law.

    StephenB, this does appear to condemn the Loving holding and legalized inter-racial marriage. Perhaps you wish to clarify this? The Loving decision was a Constitutionally sound decision.

    sean s.

  101. 101
    sean samis says:

    To jw777 and StephenB

    jw777 @94:

    The only arguments FOR gay marriage are religious.

    This will come as news to many.

    What interest has a secular state in promoting a legal bond or lifestyle which is biologically deluded?

    What interest has a secular state in buying into a religious notion about biology? Or the religious notion that biology justifies restrictions in human rights?

    The question is what interest a secular State has in enforcing a religious ban on same-sex marriage. It has none, so it cannot legitimately do so.

    So you are almost correct: the principle of Religious Liberty DOES tell us that same-sex marriages cannot be banned, but that is a secular argument.

    goodusername’s reply @95 is spot-on.

    …why are we trying our hand at the guarantee of happiness by letting any old feel good demand become codified law?

    We aren’t. The State is simply protecting the Religious Liberty of same-sex couples, and their right to EP. “Pursuit of happiness” is irrelevant in this matter

    StephenB @96

    This decision cannot be rationally justified. One man/one man or one woman/one woman cannot become “one flesh,” nor can such unions produce families.

    It has been rationally justified many, many times. It’s the ban that cannot be rationally justified. As many have said already, marriage came uncoupled from procreation before the US was founded, so that rationalization does not hold. The “one flesh” thing is a religious idea; Religious Liberty bars it from application.

    Rights to not apply to those things which are anthropologically or biologically impossible. There is no constitutional right to use bodily organs in unnatural ways.

    There is no rational basis for proscribing the uses of bodily organs in the way a person chooses so long as they don’t harm others. The right needs no justification beyond the absence of a rational, legitimate state interest in prohibiting the behavior.

    No one, for example, has the “right” to use his liver for pumping blood, or his heart for filtering out toxins, or his kidneys for breathing.

    If they could, they would have the right.

    In like fashion, no one has the right to use his lower digestive tract for a sex organ and call it marriage. Some people may do it, but it isn’t a legal right. Equal protection has nothing to do with characterizing an unnatural act as a marriage act.

    Marriage is not created even by coitus; so the idea of people claiming that anal sex is “marriage” is ludicrous. You have refuted a claim no one makes. Congratulations! daveS’s comment @98 is correct.

    Since time in memorial, sexual intercourse was never a requirement of marriage, so no “marriage act” is required anyway. A celibate marriage is still a marriage.

    sean s.

  102. 102
    sean samis says:

    StephenB @99:

    My final argument refers to what is unnatural and irrational, not what is distasteful.

    As long as what consenting adults do in private causes you no harm, your opinion (and that’s all it is) on what is unnatural or irrational is completely irrelevant.

    @100:

    Insofar as they claim to be married, they are also claiming that their sexual act is a marriage act. That should be obvious.

    Since no “marriage act” is required, this is irrelevant. That should be obvious. And claiming anal sex as a marriage act is not the same as claiming it “is marriage”.

    sean s.

  103. 103
    daveS says:

    StephenB,

    Insofar as they claim to be married, they are also claiming that their sexual act is a marriage act. That should be obvious.

    Maybe so, but that’s different from what you said in #96.

  104. 104
    jw777 says:

    Gnm @ 95: Federal recognition of a status called “marriage” is an endorsement or promotion of the relationship acquiring the moniker. I already said, there’s no obligatory reason to let heterosexuals have the status. It makes some sense, given that they at least, in this particular respect, are not delusional. Delusional people simply need help, not wholesale endorsement that they aren’t confused when they are very confused. “Letting” them get married is a promotion of a delusion in the same way that a person who thinks suicide is the correct path forward should not be given support to end it. I can see the various emotional appeals, which to me seem quite religious, for why we should allow evolutionarily unfit individuals a way to kill themselves, or continue to delude themselves, etc. However, it does seem “letting” different evolutionarily unfit groups have their own set of facts will eventually be problematic for the rest of society. Thus, I don’t see the secular state’s interest in “letting” certain groups be considered equal when I don’t believe delusion is equal to non-delusion.

    REC @ 97: I don’t have a church or attend church. You seem to be extremely distracted by strawmen in your mind. Let us help clarify your thoughts for you, and remove the terms “religious” and “church” which seem to be preventing you from thinking about the subject and just fixate on categorizing me as something I’m not. I don’t want any non-empirical beliefs to trump empirical beliefs as law or policy. I think this is not only the only reasonable position but the very foundation of a truly secular society who seeks functionality in its pluralism. The empirical biological facts are that sexual desire is for reproduction. That’s not to say we can’t repurpose them beyond reproduction. We can do whatever we want. People should likely be allowed to do whatever they want which isn’t detrimental to others. However, someone whose entire psychological schema of sexual desire has NO connection to its biological purpose is deranged. And they are entitled to their derangement wherein it does not precipitate more dysfunction. Pretending the facts are not the facts is allowing emotionally-driven non-empirical beliefs to trump empirical ones. I take that as, in principle, the abrogation of separation of church and state. I have not encountered a single argument for gay marriage which does not appeal to “love,” “expression,” and the like. Fine, we can dispense with labeling these as religious or church arguments. But they are decidedly NOT empirical. So again, how are happy-feely abstractions a compelling case for a secular state’s policies? It is a slippery slope.

    I consider myself an ardent progressive; and I believe the path to continued progress is making policy that’s based on empiricism and devoid of lofty metaphysical dogma and magical thinking. I have argued many times on UD strongly in favor of shifting policy toward reduction of carbon emission and the improvement of clean energy technology even when it would lead to short-term financial loss needing public subsidy. I think that the state must vehemently oppose the endorsement of any creationism (Judaic, Hindu or otherwise). By the same principle, yes, I think we have to be careful in state funded classrooms about preaching the gospel of evolution rather than the science of science. Also, I think the state has no place pretending that defective organisms aren’t defective. I get it. An old couple is not equal to a young couple. But if they’re married, they are legally equal in most respects. A sterile couple is not equal to a fertile couple. But married they are legally equal in many respects. A gay couple is not equal to a straight couple. We can give them legal marriage status; but that’s not really what they’re looking for. They’re looking for it to be a symbol of sameness, an endorsement that they aren’t deranged. And it’s the wrong concession for the state to make. Because it isn’t equal. It isn’t the same. They are not equal. They are sexually confused. I love them. I really do. But this gift is not about upholding the secular state. It is about non-empirical beliefs trumping empirical ones. It’s the wrong move. It is not progressive. It is regressive.

  105. 105
    StephenB says:

    StephenB: To argue that judicial review sometimes gets it right is not to argue that judicial review is a good thing or that it should be retained.

    Zachriel

    If a state passes a law that is in violation of the U.S. Constitution, then the courts are responsible for overturning the law. That’s how it works.

    Irrelevant to the argument that I was refuting.

    {Psst. You do realize that straight couples dally with sodomy too?}

    Of course. By definition, a marital act is always open to the transmission of life. Sodomy is not.

  106. 106
    REC says:

    “The empirical biological facts are that sexual desire is for reproduction.”

    Bonobos, dolphins, dogs humping legs, gays, lesbians, old people, those using contraceptive and anyone who engages in self-gratification testifies against your “empirical biological fact.”

    “An old couple is not equal to a young couple. A sterile couple is not equal to a fertile couple.”

    As a sterile couple, I’m glad the 14th Amendment in my country disagrees with you.

    “Delusional people simply need help, not wholesale endorsement that they aren’t confused when they are very confused. “Letting” them get married is a promotion of a delusion”

    The loss of civility indeed…..

  107. 107
    StephenB says:

    sean

    The definition of marriage is a red-herring; it merely captures whatever the definer wants marriage to be, not what marriage is nor what it fairly can be.

    That is precisely what the debate is about. One side says [a] marriage means what those who who first defined it (and who explained why it benefits society) say it means, and the other side says, [b] no, it means whatever I want it to mean–except for the fact that I can’t define it. The second formulation is irrational.

  108. 108
    Virgil Cain says:

    If the SCOTUS majority over-stepped their authority and read something into the US Constitution that is clearly not there, it is our DUTY to let them know it.

    And it is evolutionary biology that defines fitness as reproductive success. Don’t blame the messenger.

  109. 109
    StephenB says:

    sean

    As long as what consenting adults do in private causes you no harm, your opinion (and that’s all it is) on what is unnatural or irrational is completely irrelevant.

    Any right granted to one group always takes away a right from another group. The latest Supreme Court decision, for example, gives primacy of the state over the family. That is very harmful to me or anyone else who values his freedom.

    SB: Insofar as they claim to be married, they are also claiming that their sexual act is a marriage act. That should be obvious.

    Since no “marriage act” is required, this is irrelevant. That should be obvious.

    I didn’t say that marriage act is “required” for anything. Please read my comment more carefully and respond to it in context.

    And claiming anal sex as a marriage act is not the same as claiming it “is marriage”.

    No one said that it is. Please read more carefully.

  110. 110
    StephenB says:

    Insofar as they claim to be married, they are also claiming that their sexual act is a marriage act. That should be obvious.

    daveS

    Maybe so, but that’s different from what you said in #96.

    What I said @96 is simply a more concrete expression of what I said @100. To use the lower digestive tract as a sex organ is to engage in a sexual act. The former is a subset of the latter.

  111. 111
    REC says:

    “The latest Supreme Court decision, for example, gives primacy of the state over the family.”

    How can eliminating laws restricting marriage give the state more power? How did it impact your freedom?

    Or is this fancy for–“I didn’t get my way.”

    How is it unique to this decision, and not, say Loving?

  112. 112
    daveS says:

    StephenB,

    I understand your point now that you’ve clarified, but #96 clearly has a different meaning than “To use the lower digestive tract as a sex organ is to engage in a sexual act”.

  113. 113
    daveS says:

    StephenB,

    Please disregard my post #114; since your point is now clear, there’s no need for me to belabor it.

  114. 114
    StephenB says:

    SB: “The latest Supreme Court decision, for example, gives primacy of the state over the family.”

    REC

    How can eliminating laws restricting marriage give the state more power? How did it impact your freedom?

    If the state can grant rights, then the state can take them away. That means that there are no longer any inalienable rights, including the right to free speech or the right to religious expression. To grant one group a right always means taking away a right from another group.

    If, on the other hand, God grants rights, then we get to keep them no matter what the state says. Both the government and the people are morally obliged to follow the natural moral law and to establish civil laws on that basis. It is the only basis upon which one can differentiate a just law from an unjust law.

  115. 115
    StephenB says:

    daveS

    Please disregard my post #114; since your point is now clear, there’s no need for me to belabor it.

    OK. Thanks for the discussion.

  116. 116
    jw777 says:

    REC @ 108:

    Don’t be offended. But the constituents, yourself included, of the state do not disagree with me. Let us complete a thought experiment wherein we strip away the many distracting confounders. I find the distractions of modernity and the technological age confuse people.

    I call it the deserted island test. I find that running a thought experiment of whether something would exist on a deserted island lends some clarity to evaluating various conditions. Does alcoholism exist on a deserted island? No. Does transgenderism exist on a deserted island? No. Does amputation still exist on a deserted island? Yes. Does gender exist on a deserted island? Yes.

    We can extend this to the bunker scenario test. It is peri-apocalyptic and we are making decisions about who goes into the bunker. We have all our artists, engineers, teachers and scientists. We have two spots left only to be given based primarily on fertility to sustain the human race. Do we give the spots to an infertile couple? No. Do we give the spots to an old couple? No. Do we give the spots to an interracial couple? Sure. Do YOU, with the weight of humanity’s survival on your shoulders, give the spot to a gay couple? No. Because in this respect, they are unequal, not the same, and demonstrably unnecessary, let alone sufficient/insufficient. You agree with me. We all agree. We can throw whatever feel good happy hippy kumbaya at this we want. But the cold, hard facts of this very real world stare us baldly in the face.

    Being secular and progressive does not require us to give up critical thought. We need to cling more aggressively to it than ever.

  117. 117
    REC says:

    “If the state can grant rights, then the state can take them away.”

    Well, the US can’t, without violating the constitution, and effectively destroying itself.

    “To grant one group a right always means taking away a right from another group.”

    Who lost their rights in Loving v VA? The Lovings had a right to marry. Jerry Falwell and Bob Jones got their feelings hurt, I’m sure, but bigotry isn’t a right. Your prejudices aren’t rights. Same with this case.

    “If, on the other hand, God grants rights,”

    Ahh. Theocracy? You know, I think there is a reason “God” doesn’t appear in the Constitution. Its authors looked out on history and saw the line of Priests and Sages and Kings ruling by Divine Right, who said that they and they alone could divine the will of God, and they said enough. Not this time. Not if there was to be democracy.

    Invoking God and the “natural law” gets you only to the point of fighting about the interpretation of those.

    Don’t make me quote the slavers and segregationists, and their bigoted screeds about God’s will.

  118. 118
    jw777 says:

    Also, derangement and delusion do not testify against biological fact. There are many people who hunger for non-nutrients, because they have conditioned their brains to be completely dysfunctional. This does not change the biological fact that hunger is for sustenance. Simply because someone becomes deranged and hungers for processed poison devoid of nutrition does not prove to us that hunger isn’t and should not be for real nutrients.

    People condition themselves to desire carcinogens which shorten their enjoyment, ability to thrive and lifespan. They yearn earnestly for a cigarette. This yearning does not validate smoking.

    In the same way, organisms who are deranged and delusional with respect to their sexual desires as a result of environmental defect or dysfunctional conditioning do not testify against the known evolutionary biological drive for reproduction that is healthy sexual desire. Biologically, we go through puberty so that we can become hornier lesbians? Bonobo males pass through adolescence in order to confusedly hump their brothers? No. That’s not the biological primary. It’s a sad defect.

  119. 119
    REC says:

    jw777 posits a apocalyptic post-US scenario, where survival of the species becomes of utmost importance. We might prioritize young, healthy individuals.

    Bizzare. Alternative realities simply aren’t a sound basis for determining rights. I also hate to break it to you buddy, but plenty of homosexual couples carry children. And monogamy is probably not the most efficient repopulation strategy….so I’d stick a lesbian couple in the last spot, along with some frozen sperm.

    Imagine aliens make us all play football to survive. Quick, lets in the here and now grant athletes all the rights, and restrict the freedoms of others.

    jw777: “Being secular and progressive”

    I’ve seen your posts here, and I’m not sure you get to use either to describe yourself.

  120. 120
    REC says:

    “drive for reproduction that is healthy sexual desire.”

    What is with you all and breeding? Jw777 takes it so far as to imagine apocalyptic scenarios of repopulating the earth. We as a species do and must reproduce, but let us not say the key essence of what it means to be human is reproduction.

    “organisms who are deranged and delusional with respect to their sexual desires”

    See…right there. That’s where you lose “progressive” as most people would use it. You survey nature with a biased look. That which you don’t like when you see it, well, that is deranged and sick.

    “Bonobo males pass through adolescence in order to confusedly hump their brothers?”

    It is actually considered a key part of their society, used for bonding and conflict resolution, for example. I don’t know why you think they are “confused”–perhaps this reveals your personal biases?

  121. 121
    Andre says:

    REC

    And you are not rendering your personal judgement?

    Seriously if there is one thing the average materialist is consistent in its his inconsistencies.

  122. 122
    jw777 says:

    Ss @ 103:

    I think it will come as no surprise to anyone that civil rights are a predominantly religious concept. The abolition of slavery owes thanks to no one except crazed religious zealots.

    A secular state can choose to be interested in whatever it wants, including wholly religious ideals like expression, love, equality, etc. All I’m saying is that for the secular state to be honest and consistent it must be very careful about lending too much credence to these abstract metaphysical meanderings in creating real policy.

    I can understand a theocracy interpreting God’s love as extending inclusiveness and various dignities to various groups of people. I cannot understand a secular state, whose long view interests should be somewhat eugenically influenced, giving ANY assent to deranged individuals, especially the nonsensical gay marriage. The secular state must have at its apex concern uncompromising perpetual survival and progress of the totality insomuch as it provides the least internal conflict. As such, it is important for those of us who honestly believe in preference toward secular state, to retain verbiage like “deviants,” “delusional,” “undesirables.”

    With respect to efficiency, infinite freedom of options creates a bottleneck. We are better off establishing and maintaining a certain quota of norms, rites of passage, and roles and expectations. To a certain extent, they are arbitrary, but it’s in the ultimate interest of the greater good. The individual’s whining cannot supersede the greater societal goals.

  123. 123
    REC says:

    Andre @123-

    Who said I was doing anything but? Though, I’m not on the side that claims to know divine will, or natural law.

    You’ve seriously lost a debate when you try to critique your adversary’s right to debate.

  124. 124
    REC says:

    jw777–

    Got it! The word you’re looking for is FASCIST.

    FASCIST state. Not secular.

  125. 125
    Andre says:

    REC

    By all means speak your mind, I encourage it but always keep in mind nonsense remains nonsense.

  126. 126
    jw777 says:

    REC @ 122:

    Why is conflict resolution preferable to conflict? You keep utilizing religiously influenced themes, like peace, here, for example. I don’t agree with you that lofty metaphysical ideals are necessarily good for broader societal goals. They are great for individual goal setting. You may want to live your dream of seeing the cultures of the world from your yacht you use to sail about. Great. There should not be a law or policy that in any way improves everyone’s chances of living out that dream.

    We’ve reached this very odd point in Americana history, where people can’t even help themselves quote nearly verbatim from sermons and Biblical versus in order to make any argument, including the very same ones you keep making. Why does the secular state have any interest in equality even? It doesn’t, unless that will somehow further its broader goals. Slavery itself is only morally reprehensible if we start with the sermon-on-the-mount-inspired axiom. If, instead, our goals are totally self-interested secular progress, free labor at the expense of outsiders is nor only preferable but internally consistent and morally justified.

    You keep using very Western Christian appeals to treatment of the individual. Those are not secular, friend. Stick to empirical data. Stick to biology. Your tune will change if you make an earnest effort toward consistency,

  127. 127
    Andre says:

    jw777

    Thank you for your posts regardless of how other materialists may feel about it you are 100 correct. Your thought experiment makes it clear when it comes to the point of survival for the species a gay married couple is not equal.

  128. 128
    REC says:

    “survival for the species a gay married couple is not equal.”

    Nope, they are better. Two women=two potential carriers of children.

    Joking about these last human alive scenarios aside (I mean there are a LOT of humans on this planet), you have no proof a population without homosexuality is more fit than a population with it. Just none.

  129. 129
    jw777 says:

    It’s not so much fascist state I’m interested in, as much as simply a sensible one. As a percentage, we have more people suffering from depression currently in the United States than ever before. We keep making the mistake that giving approval to increasing deviance and multiplying the panoply of choices will improve our psyche. It’s not working. We have the lowest enjoyment of life and shortest attention spans we’ve ever had. That isn’t progressive.

    Where it makes sense, we have to increase regulation, like on the giant growing monopolies and oligarchies. Where it makes sense, we have to reduce regulation, like with opening up Cannabinoid harvesting and research. That is progress. That is progressive. That is secular, as in giving no heed to one particular magical worldview, Gay marriage, on the other hand, is an overt distraction from how we should be grooming our citizenry. We need to be strengthening our concepts of societal roles, not disintegrating them. Look at Nat Geo Blue Zones. Without sense of purpose, we don’t live as long or as healthily. Disintegrating definitions is not the answer for progress.

  130. 130
    REC says:

    jw777

    I’m going to have to stop you there. I don’t appreciate being trolled in conversations, which started with us secular progressives gotta stick together and has ended with Jesus on the mount, having gone through Fascist and apocalyptic pipe dreams.

    I’m not clear on what you believe, but:
    “Gay marriage, on the other hand, is an overt distraction from how we should be grooming our citizenry” is a good indication. I don’t think it is the role of government to “groom” me. I don’t think many Americans want a government whose role is to streamline breeding or provide sense and purpose.

    If you want to discuss rights them in your fantasy fascist apocalypse world, fine, but I’m out. In that world, assume I’m already dead, trying to keep it from coming about.

  131. 131
    StephenB says:

    SB: “If the state can grant rights, then the state can take them away.”

    REC

    Well, the US can’t, without violating the constitution, and effectively destroying itself.

    Well, the US did just that. It arrogated unto itself the power to revise the definition of marriage, a power not granted to it by the Constitution. There is no rational justification for it.

    SB: “To grant one group a right always means taking away a right from another group.”

    Who lost their rights in Loving v VA? The Lovings had a right to marry. Jerry Falwell and Bob Jones got their feelings hurt, I’m sure, but bigotry isn’t a right. Your prejudices aren’t rights. Same with this case.

    No “right” was granted in Loving vs Va. An unconstitutional law was overturned.

    Name a specific right that was ever granted to one group or individual and I will show you which right was taken away from another group or individual. There is no such thing as a one way right. If you have the right of way at a stop sign, I automatically lose that same right. A right is always a zero sum gain.

    SB: “If, on the other hand, God grants rights,”

    Ahh. Theocracy? You know, I think there is a reason “God” doesn’t appear in the Constitution.

    Of course, there is a reason. The Constitution does not deal with the source of rights. That issue is settled in the Declaration of Independence, which states very clearly that God grants all inalienable rights. Do I really have to quote the passage?

    Its authors looked out on history and saw the line of Priests and Sages and Kings ruling by Divine Right, who said that they and they alone could divine the will of God, and they said enough. Not this time. Not if there was to be democracy.

    Irrelevant to the fact that God grants rights, even when those who are in power are elected by the “consent of the governed.”

    Invoking God and the “natural law” gets you only to the point of fighting about the interpretation of those.

    You will have to take that up with Jefferson and those who signed the Declaration of Independence. Obviously, they thought that the natural moral law is not that hard to interpret. They were right. What is it about the Natural Moral Law that you find so mysterious?

    Don’t make me quote the slavers and segregationists, and their bigoted screeds about God’s will.

    Everyone knows (and knew) that slavery (chattel slavery, not indentured servitude) violates the Natural Moral Law. Even those who claim(ed) otherwise know it and knew it. It is impossible not to know it because it violates the inherent dignity of the human person. Jefferson understood this and admitted it.

    Indeed, you also know that slavery violates the natural moral law. That is why you brought it up. You have confidence in the example because you know without any doubt that chattel slavery is wrong. So does everyone else. Bigoted screeds about God’s will are just that, bigoted screeds.

  132. 132
    Andre says:

    REC

    I wonder…. where will these two females get male sperm from if it’s only the two of them left? Where will two males get an egg from if there is only two males left? On the other hand a fertile male and female have everything needed to the exact tee to ensure the survival of the species.

  133. 133
    REC says:

    “No “right” was granted in Loving vs Va. An unconstitutional law was overturned.”

    The Lovings, an interracial couple were not allowed to marry, jailed, and exiled from the South. Following the Supreme Court ruling, they were married and could not be prosecuted for it. They were granted their rights.

    So, who lost their rights when the supreme court extended marriage rights to include interracial couples?

    Perhaps states who had legislated against it lost their ability to do so.

    Who lost their rights when the supreme court extended marriage rights to include same sex couples?

    Playing the semantic game, we could phrase it that a pre-existing right in the 14th amendment was extended to a couple deprived of it. But again, how is that different between the two cases?

    You chop up my post and reply to lines of it, but there is no coherent argument. The cases are too similar (so similar, you were opposed to Loving as “judicial tyranny” before you figured out what it was).

    “Everyone knows (and knew) that slavery (chattel slavery, not indentured servitude) violates the Natural Moral Law.”

    It must be convenient when the facts don’t fit your case, to just call centuries of people liars.

    A quote for you:
    “….to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of the equality of all men, irrespective of race or color–a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of the Divine Law.”

    Texas Articles of Succession.

    Do you think all these people–and lets throw in segregationists like Jerry Falwell and Bob Jones–were just big liars? Knew better–understood they were wrong, but said otherwise, and just kept going? Is that a believable thing to you? Really?

  134. 134
    REC says:

    @134—

    Andre, is that what your anti-universal marriage argument is now?

    That without preparation, post apocalypse, if it is the last two people on earth, a male-female couple is necessary? So is genetic diversity. Wouldn’t work anyway.

    My reply was mocking JW777’s use of this as an argument…note “joking” and “bizarre” in my replies. (though in his scenario, my answer works…you’ve actually added another restriction–no preparation).

    Remarkably, you seem some merit in this argument as it relates to the 14th amendment.

    So, ok my friend, run that one up to the Supreme Court….

  135. 135
    Andre says:

    REC

    For the love of God, stop using Christian ideals to make your argument, Liberty, equality, and freedom are exclusive to Christ. You can not use that which you do not believe to further your argument. No Christ no equality, no liberty and no freedom get it into that materialist grey matter of yours! jw777 has been the only secular here arguing correctly for your position, he even highlighted your error but you ignored it.

    I see you’re only objective when it suits you. With that in mind the saying is apt.

    Bigot!

  136. 136
    hrun0815 says:

    Granted, I did not read every single post of this thread. But I did read quite a number of them. Taking this thread as an example, Vincent, do you still think your OP gets it right?

  137. 137
    Andre says:

    “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.” John F. Kennedy

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Today most of us take for granted that each human being is born with civil rights, but when Thomas Jefferson put these words in the Declaration of Independence he was expressing a philosophy that was still quite controversial.

    Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers largely borrowed the concept of God-given human rights from seventeenth century philosopher John Locke, who got the idea from the Bible; but don’t expect to hear that in a typical university history class. The standard treatment in college history textbooks is that society had to move beyond a childish belief in the Bible before people could have widely recognized human rights.

    http://historyhalf.com/endowed-by-their-creator/

  138. 138
    goodusername says:

    Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers largely borrowed the concept of God-given human rights from seventeenth century philosopher John Locke, who got the idea from the Bible

    Why would they have got the concept from Locke if it’s right there in the Bible?
    It’s amazing how many Biblical teachings have taken almost 2 millenia for Christians to discover.

  139. 139
    velikovskys says:

    Stephen:
    This contradicts your first statement. First, you said that “the law was overturned not because it redefined marriage”, now you are saying that the issue was “how they defined it.”

    Two separate issues, the state government sets the parameters of legal marriage , the overturn of DOMA as a violation of the fifth amendment , established that legal principle with regard to SSM.

    Point 2 , states cannot pass any law which deprives citizens of those rights enumerated in the Constitution, the Supreme Court found lacking any compelling state interest banning SSM violated the 14th.

    No contradiction

    Well, the US did just that. It arrogated unto itself the power to revise the definition of marriage, a power not granted to it by the Constitution. There is no rational justification for it.

    The DOMA ruling established that the federal government did not have the power to define marriage, however it does have the power to guarantee states cannot abridge the Constitutional rights of citizens.

    Name a specific right that was ever granted to one group or individual and I will show you which right was taken away from another group or individual. There is no such thing as a one way right. If you have the right of way at a stop sign, I automatically lose that same right. A right is always a zero sum gain.

    Actually what you lose the ability to take away the right from others.

    You have the same exact right at the stop sign as the other driver but what you don’t have is the special right to always have the right of way. So it is with marriage

  140. 140
    Andre says:

    goodusername….

    That’s not difficult to answer here we are in 2015 and most people including you still deny the authenticity of Christ. You deny free will, you deny human consciousness, you deny reason and you still don’t have a grasp on the concept that there is nothing in the known universe engineered like you.

    Are you surprised? I’m not for 34 years I believed in what you do now…….

  141. 141
    Andre says:

    velikovskys

    Right it is clear that you don’t understand your own constitution…… Let me help you here……

    Rights of man in your own constitution is not given by any government only by God. (An objective Moral law)

    Marriage is not an invention of man. God instituted marriage. According to God’s plan, man and woman together form the unit of humanity. A man or a woman alone is only part of an entirety.

    This new law the government ignored their own limited power to play God thus an objective moral law has now become a subjective moral law…..

    And you know how this works when it is subjective and open for interpretation as it has now become anything goes….. Animal and human marriage, child marriage, polygamy….. you name it and it can now be abused as anyone sees fit.

    Why? Because we can! Was it not Obama’s election cry?

    Yes we can!

  142. 142
    goodusername says:

    Andre,

    That’s not difficult to answer here we are in 2015 and most people including you still deny the authenticity of Christ.

    What has my not being a Christian got to do with the American Forefathers not knowing what’s in the Bible?

    You deny free will, you deny human consciousness, you deny reason and you still don’t have a grasp on the concept that there is nothing in the known universe engineered like you.

    I don’t deny any of those things.

    Are you surprised? I’m not for 34 years I believed in what you do now…….

    Surprised by what? I would be surprised by your post if I hadn’t read previous ones.

  143. 143
    Andre says:

    goodusername

    1. Everything.
    2. You have no basis for them outside theism…..
    3. I don’t really care what you think……

  144. 144
    goodusername says:

    Andre,

    1. Everything.

    uh huh

    2. You have no basis for them outside theism…..

    How does theism give such things a basis?

  145. 145
    Andre says:

    goodusername…..

    Deny 1 all you like, self evident truth has everything to do with reality.

    How long have you been frequenting this site? How many time do we have to regurgitate the same things before you snap out of it and get it? When will you have your Eureka moment?

    Without God, rationality, reason, logic, consciousness, free will have absolutely no meaning whatsoever, you can’t even give a reason for reason without God.

  146. 146
    StephenB says:

    SB: “No “right” was granted in Loving vs Va. An unconstitutional law was overturned.”

    REC

    The Lovings, an interracial couple were not allowed to marry, jailed, and exiled from the South. Following the Supreme Court ruling, they were married and could not be prosecuted for it. They were granted their rights.

    No, they were not granted any rights by the Supreme Court. The right to marry is a “natural right: bestowed by God. Only God can grant an inalienable right. The Supreme Court simply restored something that the state presumed to withdraw.

    So, who lost their rights when the supreme court extended marriage rights to include interracial couples?

    The state did not grant any rights. Whenever the state presumes to grant a right to anyone, someone else will always lose a right. Again, I invite you to find an exception to that rule.

    Playing the semantic game, we could phrase it that a pre-existing right in the 14th amendment was extended to a couple deprived of it. But again, how is that different between the two cases?

    Natural rights are a product of natural law. If there is no natural law, then there can be no natural rights—only state sponsored rights, which as indicated, can also be taken away.

    You chop up my post and reply to lines of it, but there is no coherent argument. The cases are too similar (so similar, you were opposed to Loving as “judicial tyranny” before you figured out what it was).

    I have already explained that I oppose judicial tyranny and also that judicial tyranny does not always or necessarily decide wrongly. Try to grasp the point. Meanwhile, it was you who began the chopping. The point is, and always has been, very simple. The state cannot grant basic rights. The state is in the business of protecting basic rights, not granting them.

    The right marry is basic for heterosexuals because natural law governs it. Since natural law forbids homosexual marriage, there can be no natural right to homosexual marriage. Study the Supreme Court finding very carefully. Or read the dissenting opinions. You will find no rational justification for gay marriage. They just pulled it out of thin air. If you think you can provide some rational basis for gay marriage, please feel free to disclose it.

    SB: “Everyone knows (and knew) that slavery (chattel slavery, not indentured servitude) violates the Natural Moral Law.”

    A quote for you:
    “….to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of the equality of all men, irrespective of race or color–a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of the Divine Law.”

    Obviously, that passage violates the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence, such that “all men are created equal.”—according to the “Laws of Nature,” and “Nature’s God.” Yes, these people knew they were doing the wrong thing. It is impossible to not know that slavery is wrong. What is it about the Declaration of Independence that prompts you to avoid any discussion about it?

    The” natural law” is known by reason. That is why the Declaration of Independence characterize natural rights as “self evident” truths. Biblical references to “Divine Laws are something else. They are claims about supernatural revelation made by fundamentalists who interpret Scriptures to fit their own biases.

    Do you think all these people–and lets throw in segregationists like Jerry Falwell and Bob Jones–were just big liars?

    You are moving the target. I said that everyone knows that slavery is wrong. It obviously violates the natural moral law. I didn’t say that everyone always and immediately knows that interracial marriage is wrong, which requires a more consistent application of reason. The natural moral law is inseparable from reason, which means that if you refuse to use your reason, it will escape you. Still, anyone who really thinks about it, without allowing their biases and prejudices to interfere, can grasp even is more subtle aspects.

    Some people allow their Biblical fundamentalism to compromise their ability to think clearly. Later in his life, Falwell confessed that his “cultural context” (Fundamentalist upbringing) formed his formerly racist attitudes, which he repudiated. He made sure that Liberty University, which was his legacy, rose above such nonsense. He came to understand the natural moral law.

    Meanwhile, you are silent on my observation that you, yourself, know that chattel slavery is wrong. Do you deny it? Please address this topic.

  147. 147
    Andre says:

    goodusername

    “To make sense out of our world an atheist, implicitly, presupposes Christian theism. This is spot-on because Christianity supplies the required pre-essentials for the laws of thought. These laws are necessary for communication and for the intelligibility of human experience.”

    http://goddoesexistuknowit.blo.....istic.html

    Take off that which you presuppose and then try and make sense of this world…. Good luck.

  148. 148
    Andre says:

    I see the word love is used on this thread 25 times most of in support of gay marriage with the saying …. when two people love each other……..

    Can anyone give us a definition of love in a materialist framework?

    Love is nothing but a chemical reaction under materialism. Who can argue that this chemical reaction is not in actual fact a defect? Should we not encourage this chemical imbalance to be eradicated from society?

    Or

    God is love gives meaning to us on what love actually is, something immaterial and above, and not reducible to chemicals.

  149. 149
    StephenB says:

    velikovskys

    states cannot pass any law which deprives citizens of those rights enumerated in the Constitution, the Supreme Court found lacking any compelling state interest banning SSM violated the 14th.

    There is no right to gay marriage in the constitution, just as their is no right to marry your mother or to marry your daughter, or to marry your horse. The constitution does not guarantee the legitimization of every perverse desire. Of course, that does not stop judicial tyrants from saying so.

    SB: Name a specific right that was ever granted to one group or individual and I will show you which right was taken away from another group or individual. There is no such thing as a one way right. If you have the right of way at a stop sign, I automatically lose that same right. A right is always a zero sum gain.

    Actually what you lose the ability to take away the right from others.

    That’s not the way it works. Your right to a free college education takes away my right to keep some of my income. Your right to not be offended takes away my right to free speech. Every right takes away some other right. There are no exceptions. It is the nature of a right.

    You have the same exact right at the stop sign as the other driver but what you don’t have is the special right to always have the right of way.

    No, that is incorrect. You do not have the same exact right as the other driver, which is the right to go first.

  150. 150
    Andre says:

    REC

    Do you understand that the very fact that we have the ability to override natural moral law does not mean it does not exist. It is actually evidence of our free moral agency……

  151. 151
    groovamos says:

    velikovskys:
    Actually what you lose the ability to take away the right from others.

    And what you and your favorite teddy bear, the State, have appropriated to yourselves is a thousands of years old institution having to accommodate itself to the State and not the other way around as it has always been. Marriage is no longer wedlock to you because of the Supreme court decision. Marriage is no longer matrimony to you. Future schoolchildren will be indoctrinated accordingly. Matrimony as a ceremonial framework for sex, procreation and child-rearing has been heavily damaged and will be killed as such in the schools. Wedlock, sealed by vows for the sake of offspring, is done with in the schools. According to your logic, it is a normal and good thing children will be asking their parents what it means for a man to marry his daughter – or son. Because according to your logic, us neanderthals have no business interfering with your right to marry an offspring, or a dog for that matter.

  152. 152
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: Irrelevant to the argument that I was refuting.

    We directly addressed your comment.

    StephenB: To argue that judicial review sometimes gets it right is not to argue that judicial review is a good thing or that it should be retained.

    Judicial review is the check on a government entity passing laws in contradiction to the constitution. Without judicial review, then the constitution has no meaning, and the limits of laws are the limits set by legislatures.

    StephenB: By definition, a marital act is always open to the transmission of life. Sodomy is not.

    A lot of married couples would disagree that the only “marital acts” must be “open to the transmission of life”.

    StephenB: One side says [a] marriage means what those who who first defined it (and who explained why it benefits society) say it means

    You mean a wife is worth two sheep and a goat?

    StephenB: and the other side says, [b] no, it means whatever I want it to mean–except for the fact that I can’t define it.

    Under equal protection, if government is in the business of marriage, it has to be open to all couples, absent a compelling and valid public purpose.

    StephenB: Any right granted to one group always takes away a right from another group.

    Human rights are inherent.

    StephenB: The latest Supreme Court decision, for example, gives primacy of the state over the family. That is very harmful to me or anyone else who values his freedom.

    What? How does allowing gays to marry harm you? If you don’t want to call it marriage, then don’t. Catholics don’t recognize marriage after divorce.

    StephenB: To use the lower digestive tract as a sex organ is to engage in a sexual act.

    Or the upper digestive tract. Are you going to outlaw kissing?

    StephenB: If the state can grant rights, then the state can take them away.

    Rights are inherent. The ruling was based on the Fourteenth Amendment due process and equal protection clauses which embody this fundamental principle.

    StephenB: No, they were not granted any rights by the Supreme Court.

    The right is equality before the law.

    StephenB: Study the Supreme Court finding very carefully.

    It was based on the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution.

    StephenB: I said that everyone knows that slavery is wrong.

    Not historically.

    Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens: Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.

    StephenB: There is no right to gay marriage in the constitution

    There is no marriage under the U.S. Constitution. However, if the legislature decides to regulate marriage, then it is bound by equal protection and due process clauses.

  153. 153
    Zachriel says:

    groovamos: And what you and your favorite teddy bear, the State, have appropriated to yourselves is a thousands of years old institution having to accommodate itself to the State and not the other way around as it has always been.

    You mean the institution that a man can have as many wives as he can subjugate?

    jw777: We can extend this to the bunker scenario test. It is peri-apocalyptic and we are making decisions about who goes into the bunker.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaTR46iU1Do

  154. 154
    sean samis says:

    A busy night on this thread, here is a reply to several comments.

    StephenB @107:

    [The definition of marriage] is precisely what the debate is about. One side says [a] marriage means what those who who first defined it (and who explained why it benefits society) say it means, and the other side says, [b] no, it means whatever I want it to mean–except for the fact that I can’t define it. The second formulation is irrational.

    The debate is about human rights. This is why your side lost, you’re telling us that some people have fewer rights because the dictionary says so, we are talking about human rights.

    Your point [a] basically claims that marriage belongs to Christians to define. That is just plain wrong.

    Your mischaracterization in [b] shows just how little you’ve been paying attention to what your opponents have been SUCCESSFULLY arguing.

    StephenB @111:

    Any right granted to one group always takes away a right from another group. The latest Supreme Court decision, for example, gives primacy of the state over the family.

    A mischaracterization, the Obergefell holding just recognizes the human rights of same-sex couples; nothing more. No one lost any right.

    StephenB @116:

    If the state can grant rights, then the state can take them away. That means that there are no longer any inalienable rights, including the right to free speech or the right to religious expression. To grant one group a right always means taking away a right from another group.

    Pure hysterics. You’re having a panic-attack.

    If, on the other hand, God grants rights, then we get to keep them no matter what the state says. Both the government and the people are morally obliged to follow the natural moral law and to establish civil laws on that basis. It is the only basis upon which one can differentiate a just law from an unjust law.

    Religious Liberty makes this unconstitutional.

    jw777 @118:

    Does transgenderism exist on a deserted island? No.

    Yes, it would, if there was one transgender person on the island, even if they were the only person on that island.

    We can extend this to the bunker scenario test…

    Your hypo doesn’t matter because we don’t live in that hypo. It is intentionally extreme and so only might guide us in extreme circumstances, not in our ordinary times.

    jw777 @120

    Regarding your views on reproduction and biology, they are irrelevant because marriage decoupled from procreation centuries ago. When you find yourself talking about reproduction or biology, you have changed to some other topic; this thread is supposed to be about same-sex marriage and civility.

    jw777 @124:

    I think it will come as no surprise to anyone that civil rights are a predominantly religious concept. The abolition of slavery owes thanks to no one except crazed religious zealots.

    False history. Many Christians used their Bible to justify slavery.

    We are better off establishing and maintaining a certain quota of norms, …

    Equal Protection of the Law and Religious Liberty are part of the “norms” we have created, and these two forbid banning same-sex marriage.

    jw777 @128:

    Why is conflict resolution preferable to conflict? …

    Even a totally secular state has an interest in peaceful resolution of conflict. You don’t need a god for that.

    …people can’t even help themselves quote nearly verbatim from sermons and Biblical versus in order to make any argument, …

    Borrowing ideas and language from the Bible does not mean the Bible is the source of all truth. There’s a great deal of chaff, but still some valuable kernels. The same can be said about the Quran or the Vedas or Taoist texts or Lakota teachings.

    You keep using very Western Christian appeals to treatment of the individual. Those are not secular, friend. Stick to empirical data. Stick to biology. Your tune will change if you make an earnest effort toward consistency,

    When you demonstrate this behavior, then you can tell others to do so.

    StephenB @133:

    Well, the US did just that. It arrogated unto itself the power to revise the definition of marriage, a power not granted to it by the Constitution. There is no rational justification for it.

    We’ve been over this repeatedly. SCOTUS did not revise the meaning of marriage, it recognized marriage as a Right, and determined that it is a Right that same-sex couples are entitled to participate in just like different-sex couples, inter-racial couples, and inter-faith couples. Religious Liberty and Equal Protection require this outcome.

    No “right” was granted in Loving vs Va. An unconstitutional law was overturned.

    Exactly what happened in Obergefell. No new right was created or granted; an unconstitutional law was overturned.

    Name a specific right that was ever granted to one group or individual and I will show you which right was taken away from another group or individual. There is no such thing as a one way right. If you have the right of way at a stop sign, I automatically lose that same right. A right is always a zero sum gain.

    Religious Liberty
    Equal protection of the law
    Freedom of speech
    Freedom of the press
    Right to peaceably assemble
    Right to petition the government

    What is it about the Natural Moral Law that you find so mysterious?

    There is no distinction between “Natural Moral Law” and Religion. Religious Liberty makes secular application of “Natural Moral Law” unconstitutional.

    Everyone knows (and knew) that slavery (chattel slavery, not indentured servitude) violates the Natural Moral Law. …

    This is historical revisionism. Jefferson might have agreed with you, but the vast majority did not agree with him. Their own words prove this.

    Indeed, you also know that slavery violates the natural moral law.

    And we all know that there were those who though it was a morally justified institution. Their own words prove this.

    goodusername @140:

    It’s amazing how many Biblical teachings have taken almost 2 millenia for Christians to discover.

    Amen!

    StephenB @148:

    [The Lovings] were not granted any rights by the Supreme Court. The right to marry is a “natural right: bestowed by God. Only God can grant an inalienable right. The Supreme Court simply restored something that the state presumed to withdraw.

    That’s all fine, but again, that’s what the Court did in Obergefell; it restored rights that the State presumed to withdraw; the rights of Religious Liberty, Equality before the Law, and Marriage.

    Whenever the state presumes to grant a right to anyone, someone else will always lose a right. Again, I invite you to find an exception to that rule.

    Religious Liberty
    Equal protection of the law
    Freedom of speech
    Freedom of the press
    Right to peaceably assemble
    Right to petition the government

    Natural rights are a product of natural law. If there is no natural law, then there can be no natural rights—only state sponsored rights, which as indicated, can also be taken away.

    Natural Law is not the only source of natural rights. Reason can supply those without reference to any god. There’s nothing new here.

    I have already explained that I oppose judicial tyranny and also that judicial tyranny does not always or necessarily decide wrongly. … The point is, and always has been, very simple. The state cannot grant basic rights. The state is in the business of protecting basic rights, not granting them.

    Obergefell was a properly decided case; it protected basic rights. It is not an example of “judicial tyranny”.

    Since natural law forbids homosexual marriage, there can be no natural right to homosexual marriage.

    Natural law is a religious construct, so its prohibitions are merely religious prohibitions disguised as appeals to nature. This are forbidden to the States to enforce by the First Amendment.

    There is nothing in Nature that forbids same-sex marriage. Nothing.

    The” natural law” is known by reason.

    … but that reasoning is enslaved to religion. If Reason is allowed free reign, it rejects most of what passes for “Natural Law” as being unsupported by nature or reason.

    I didn’t say that everyone always and immediately knows that interracial marriage is wrong, which requires a more consistent application of reason. The natural moral law is inseparable from reason, which means that if you refuse to use your reason, it will escape you. Still, anyone who really thinks about it, without allowing their biases and prejudices to interfere, can grasp even is more subtle aspects.

    “Natural Law” requires religious biases and prejudices; without them it disintegrates. Apart from religious beliefs, nature and reason have no objection to same-sex marriage.

    Later in his life, Falwell confessed that his “cultural context” (Fundamentalist upbringing) formed his formerly racist attitudes, which he repudiated.

    Someday, religious conservatives will “regret” their opposition to same-sex marriage in a similar manner.

    StephenB @151:

    The constitution does not guarantee the legitimization of every perverse desire.

    Homosexuality is not a “perverse desire”, no more than heterosexuality is. You use the term “judicial tyranny” whenever you see a ruling you don’t like.

    That’s not the way it works. Your right to a free college education takes away my right to keep some of my income. Your right to not be offended takes away my right to free speech. Every right takes away some other right. There are no exceptions. It is the nature of a right.

    Your examples of zero-sum rights are not even rights. Here (again) are some actual rights; please tell us who’s lost when these rights are protected:

    Religious Liberty
    Equal protection of the law
    Freedom of speech
    Freedom of the press
    Right to peaceably assemble
    Right to petition the government

    Zachriel @154:

    There is no marriage under the U.S. Constitution. However, if the legislature decides to regulate marriage, then it is bound by equal protection and due process clauses.

    This says it pretty well, although you can add Religious Liberty to the mix; bans on same-sex marriage are almost universally predicated on religious beliefs (which include the so-called “natural law”). Same-sex couples obviously disagree religiously, and have the right to their free exercise too.

    States cannot make marriage available to some but not to others without a legitimate, rational purpose. There is no legitimate, rational purpose to banning same-sex marriage.

    sean s.

  155. 155
    velikovskys says:

    Stephen:
    There is no right to gay marriage in the constitution, just as their is no right to marry your mother or to marry your daughter, or to marry your horse.

    And no right to different sex marriage in the federal constitution either, the state controls the statutory marriage laws, of course the supremacy clause pertains.

    Now if a majority of Texans approved of legal horse marriage …

    The constitution does not guarantee the legitimization of every perverse desire. Of course, that does not stop judicial tyrants from saying so.

    Of course not. Not a fan of democracy?

    That’s not the way it works. Your right to a free college education takes away my right to keep some of my income.

    You have the same right to that education ,just as everyone has the same obligation to pay for the society they freely choose to live in.You can always go Galt if you find the arrangement too burdensome. You can’t lose a right that you don’t have to begin with.

    Your right to not be offended takes away my right to free speech

    There is no right not to be offended per se.

    Every right takes away some other right.

    The only way that is true is if you believe you have the right to deny others the rights you enjoy.You don’t.

    No, that is incorrect. You do not have the same exact right as the other driver, which is the right to go first.

    No that is incorrect, you want the right to go first no matter what, neither driver has that right . You are deprived of the abilty to take away the other driver’s rights per an objective law , that is not a right you ever possessed to lose.

  156. 156
    Virgil Cain says:

    The sad part is the bulk of the issue is that companies extend insurance coverage to an employee’s family- spouse and children- but refused to do so for same-sex couples. And same-sex couples needed that coverage as their partner(s) were most likely very ill and couldn’t get insurance nor medical attention.

    That is where the Supreme Court should have ruled and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    BTW driving is a privilege, not a right. And understanding who has a “right of way” is part of that privilege. Those who don’t get it lose that privilege.

  157. 157
    jw777 says:

    Vc @ 158:

    Agreed. All friends and family should have visitation rights, or decision making rights if previously consented to by the affected person.

    I once attended an insurance enrollment presentation during which a presenter gave us an illustration of “people who take advantage of the policies” by lying about being married or even lying about still being married after their divorce. In particular she was bringing up a specific example where the ex wife had a fairly serious medical condition. Her ex husband was trying to keep her alive by not alerting the provider of their divorce for quite a while. Out loud I said, “yeah, those terrible snakes in the grass who want to save the lives of someone they know.” My sarcasm was lost on these people. They genuinely thought it was “wrong” for someone to have access to life saving treatment because it pulled money out of the pool.

    We should’ve had universal health care 80 years ago, which would’ve also prevented part of this debacle. But the real snakes who’ve turned medicine into a business rather than a public service are unaffected no matter how this goes. Unfortunately, gay marriage is just another distraction and the reality is that we are all still getting railroaded. A secular state should be out of the business of marriage altogether. Adding gays to the roster does not fundamentally change the things that needed to change. We have some of the most expensive and least effective therapies in the world and no good science around chronic conditions.

    People think that gay marriage was some sort of win against these things. It’s just an oligarchic appeasement to public emotion so that we don’t pay attention to the actual needed change. Gay marriage is not equal to heterosexual marriage, but frankly, people are perhaps too dumb to understand this.

    Again, I’ll go back to my original question which has completely flown over most people’s heads. Why does the secular state have any interest in promoting marriage, let alone between delusional deviants? Everyone keeps changing the subject to morality and civil rights and the like. I never said anything about telling people who they live with, have sex with, etc. I have no issue with people living out their lives as they see fit as long as it doesn’t negatively impact anyone else. Promoting delusion is part of a deeper philosophical artifice. People much smarter than you hold disproportionate sums of wealth and power. They allowed this to happen, as they do any policy change, to carry out their broader goals of monopoly. Don’t think for a second this was not part of a bigger play to keep our eyes off the ball.

    As already pointed out by several contributors, oligarchs have misused Bible passages to perpetuate cheap labor. Why do you think they’re beyond using appeals to equality and civil rights to do the same? Why do you think you are beyond having your own ideals parroted by oligarchs so that they can manipulate you into cheapening your labor? Our only protection is clear thinking where we let empirical fact trump the non-empirical. Lofty metaphysical platitudes are great for individual motivation. They hold NO place in the policy discussion for a secular state.

    The secular state has no interest in gay marriage if we think of the state as a very broad collective. If, instead, the state is a small handful of people, then the answer is obvious: anything, including gay marriage, is in the interest of the state as long as it obscures roles and thinking. The greatest growth in economical leverage the American people ever enjoyed was during the defining of traditional marriage between 1950 and 1980. One person could work 35-45 hours per week and provide for an entire household. Over that thirty years real wages went up for nearly all workers. We are now slaves, with two people working over 60 hours each and making less real income versus the cost of living than 50 years ago. Are there no free thinkers on here? Who has the most to gain with gay marriage? It isn’t gays. It isn’t religious or anti religious. It is people who are successfully continuing to consolidate all of our work into their wealth.

  158. 158
    sean samis says:

    jw777 @159:

    Again, I’ll go back to my original question which has completely flown over most people’s heads. Why does the secular state have any interest in promoting marriage, let alone between delusional deviants?

    And again we’ll give you the answer that keeps flying over your head: legal recognition of same-sex marriage is not about promoting it; it’s about allowing same-sex couples to govern their own lives as they see fit just like different-sex couples, inter-faith couples, and inter-racial couples. Obergefell does not promote same-sex marriage, it merely removes barriers to it.

    The main delusion being promoted is the delusional thought that sexual orientation only comes in one natural form. Nature says otherwise.

    Another delusion being promoted is the delusion that marriage is all about procreation. It is not, it has not been so for many, many years. There is much more to marriage than procreation; procreation does not even make it to the top of the list.

    Everyone keeps changing the subject to morality and civil rights and the like.

    This is because it is a civil rights issue. Religious Liberty and Equality before the law are civil rights issues.

    Many people think it is also a moral issue. To the extent that protecting human rights is a moral issue they are right.

    The secular state has no interest in gay marriage …

    Likewise, the secular state has no interest in obstructing same-sex marriage.

    The rest of that paragraph (and most of the others) was a muddle of truths and falsehoods, I have no interest in straightening it all out.

    sean s.

  159. 159
    Axel says:

    #65 KF

    As regards ‘My Genes Made Me Do it’, KF, I’ve long been convinced there is a Nobel Prize awaiting the person who identifies the gene that has prompted some male dogs – I’m sure very kindly disposed towards me – to try to copulate with one of my legs.

  160. 160
    Axel says:

    anthropic #28

    ‘I have relatives with a son who has gone into the homosexual lifestyle. It’s been rough for them, but they have made great efforts to show him love and to reassure him that he is still part of the family.

    That’s not enough, though. As he told them, “I don’t want you to love me despite me being gay, I want you to love me BECAUSE I’m gay!”’

    It seems very reminiscent of the syndrome which I believe psychiatrists today call, ‘the Little Emperor syndrome’, i.e. that of the normal baby: infinitely imperious and demanding (who knows what?), but bellowing its heart out. ‘Whatever I want, I want now! I want it! I want it! I want it! And I want it this instant! A little monster of uncomprehending, declamatory esurience.

  161. 161
    StephenB says:

    sean samis

    The debate is about human rights. This is why your side lost, you’re telling us that some people have fewer rights because the dictionary says so, we are talking about human rights.

    It is easy to make claims of that sort, but it is not so easy to provide a rational justification for your position. That may be why you have been so evasive. Here are just a few of the questions that you have ignored, either directly or indirectly,: (I will keep it brief)

    [a] If gays have a constitutional right to marry, do other citizens have the constitutional right to marry their mothers, daughters, and horses? If not, why not?

    [b] If the state can grant rights, what is to prevent it from taking them away?

    [c] Why do you ignore the clear language in the Declaration of Independence, which explicitly states that God grants rights?

    [d] The natural moral law is totally distinct from religion. It is based solely on man’s capacity to reason and apprehend the morality of human nature. Why would you falsely claim that it is a “religious construct?”

    [e] You said that the natural moral law is “merely religious prohibitions disguised as appeals to nature.” Are you now claiming that the Declaration of Independence is a religious document disguised as an appeal to nature?

    [f] You appear to be totally confused about the substance of natural law arguments. Do you understand the difference between the epistemology of apprehending the natural moral law without appealing to religious faith and the ontological claim that the Natural Moral Law logically requires a lawgiver. If so, why do you continue to conflate them?

    [g] If natural rights do not come from God, what is their source? If there source is the state, how can they be inalienable?

  162. 162
    REC says:

    StephenB,

    You know the Declaration of Independence has no more influence on US law than, say, the Texas articles of succession which clearly state slavery and white superiority are both God-given and part of the natural order?

  163. 163
    sean samis says:

    StephenB @163:

    Here are just a few of the questions that you have ignored, either directly or indirectly,:

    [a] If gays have a constitutional right to marry, do other citizens have the constitutional right to marry their mothers, daughters, and horses? If not, why not?

    No right is absolute. Gays and lesbians have a right to marry because their marriages do no harm to others; because there is no rational, legitimate purpose to preventing their marriages.

    Likewise, we’d need to determine if the kinds of marriages you list are reasonably likely to give rise to harms. Marriage is a right, which means choosing not to marry is a valid exercise of that right, and circumstances that put the voluntariness of the marriage in doubt are suspicious. Children marrying parents is one of those cases; it is reasonable to suspect that such marriages might involve improper influence of one person (the parent) over the other (the child).

    Likewise, how can a horse demonstrate that it is aware of what being married means, aware of its rights within a marriage, and so forth? Does the horse really want to marry, or is it just a prop for the vexatious human? Given that horses cannot easily demonstrate such knowing, voluntary consent, their marriages are foreclosed. If you can produce a horse interested in marrying you and capable of testifying to that fact; you have a different situation. Until then, no.

    [b] If the state can grant rights, what is to prevent it from taking them away?

    States don’t grant rights, States recognize rights. What is to prevent a State from erroneously failing to recognize a right? Whatever that is, the risk is not mitigated by appeals to some other source of rights.

    [c] Why do you ignore the clear language in the Declaration of Independence, which explicitly states that God grants rights?

    I do not ignore the Declaration, but it has no legal standing as a Law. The writers of the Declaration stated what they believed at the time. If it turns out that there is no deity, or that there are better bases for rights, that does not diminish the stature of the Declaration.

    The Framers of the Constitution gave us the First Amendment which prohibits the State from any law respecting the establishment of religion, so the State cannot treat rights as coming from some religion’s concept of a god; Religious Liberty bars it.

    [d] The natural moral law is totally distinct from religion. It is based solely on man’s capacity to reason and apprehend the morality of human nature. Why would you falsely claim that it is a “religious construct?”

    This is a stupidly worded question. It is quite clear from its history and use that the so-called “natural moral law” is thoroughly religious, and has always been so. In ancient times this was understandable; when humans knew less about the natural world, the necessity of deities seemed reasonable. We know more now. We don’t need deities any more to understand how nature informs morality.

    [e] You said that the natural moral law is “merely religious prohibitions disguised as appeals to nature.” Are you now claiming that the Declaration of Independence is a religious document disguised as an appeal to nature?

    Since the Declaration is not a part of the “natural moral law”, the attributes of one do not hold for the other, and vice-versa. The Declaration borrows from “natural law” but it is not itself “natural law”.

    [f] You appear to be totally confused about the substance of natural law arguments. Do you understand the difference between the epistemology of apprehending the natural moral law without appealing to religious faith and the ontological claim that the Natural Moral Law logically requires a lawgiver. If so, why do you continue to conflate them?

    If I conflate them it is because appeals to the “natural moral law” tend to conflate them. If you and others distinguish them, so will I.

    [g] If natural rights do not come from God, what is their source? If there source is the state, how can they be inalienable?

    Natural rights properly come from nature, reason, history, and the facts of human sociology and psychology. The role of the State is to recognize and protect our rights. Given the text of your question, I can ignore the matter of being inalienable or not.

    sean s.

  164. 164
    StephenB says:

    REC @164,

    The DOI’s unchanging Natural Law, which is known by reason, is not synonymous with differing interpretations of Divine Law, which often depend on whimsical claims about Biblical revelation.

    Even Texas subscribed to the principles in the US Declaration of Independence, as reflected in the Constitution of the Republic of Texas (1836), which reads, “All men have equal rights.” That is the natural moral law.

    Later, when they decided to leave, they reversed course and said, “all white men are equal.” That is when they came up with the nonsense about a “Divine Law” to justify slavery. The take home lesson is that natural law is not synonymous with Divine Law.

    Meanwhile, my questions @163 for sean persist. Would you care to have a go at them?

  165. 165
    REC says:

    StephenB, Regarding TX: “That is when they came up with the nonsense about a “Divine Law” to justify slavery” is incorrect.

    Texas’s secessionists state: “the debasing doctrine of the equality of all men, irrespective of race or color–a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of the Divine Law.”

    Against nature and experience AND Divine Law.

    “In case after case, legislation prohibiting racial inter-marriage was justified as unbending tradition rooting in received natural law.”
    Lewis et al., v. Harris, et al. New Jersey Superior Court

    I could go on, but you have google.

    The weak part of natural law is that ALL you have to say is that someone-blacks, women, gays have an apparently different nature, and there you have it….

    What does invoking “natural law” in this case then mean other that you don’t like homosexuality and would prefer same sex marriage remain persecuted?

    So why do you even use the term natural law? It gives you a chance to elevate your prejudice to a metaphysical level where you think no one will will dare to criticize or even think about it. It gives it an noble air. But slavers and segregationists and the Nazis did the same.

    It does also reek of religion, where “Natural Law” has replaced “God’s Law” and indeed, they are often linked together.

  166. 166
    sean samis says:

    REC @167

    Well written.

    Isn’t it interesting how far we’ve wandered from the original topic?

    sean s.

  167. 167
    REC says:

    Scott v. State, (1869), 39 Ga. 321, 324:
    “The amalgamation of the races is not only unnatural, but is always productive of deplorable results. Our daily observation shows us, that the offspring of these unnatural connections are generally sickly and effeminate, and that they are inferior in physical development and strength, to the full blood of either race.

    Bradwell v. Illinois (denied an otherwise qualified woman the right to practice law)
    “nature herself, has always recognized a wide difference in the respective spheres and destinies of man and woman. Man is, or should be, woman’s protector and defender. The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life.”

  168. 168
    REC says:

    @168

    Thanks Sean.

    I am curious why the author of this thread hasn’t returned to defend his post. I’d like to see a response to my criticism at 3.

  169. 169
    StephenB says:

    SB: If gays have a constitutional right to marry, do other citizens have the constitutional right to marry their mothers, daughters, and horses? If not, why not?

    sean samis

    No right is absolute. Gays and lesbians have a right to marry because their marriages do no harm to others; because there is no rational, legitimate purpose to preventing their marriages.

    How do you know that they do no harm to others? Not everyone agrees with you. Some say that it does harm by requiring others to accept the homosexual lifestyle and by encouraging the state to punish those who believe differently. Why should your opinion about harm be given preference over their opinion? Clearly, the notion of “harm” cannot possibly serve as a standard for justice.

    Likewise, we’d need to determine if the kinds of marriages you list are reasonably likely to give rise to harms. Marriage is a right, which means choosing not to marry is a valid exercise of that right, and circumstances that put the voluntariness of the marriage in doubt are suspicious. Children marrying parents is one of those cases; it is reasonable to suspect that such marriages might involve improper influence of one person (the parent) over the other (the child)

    .

    Question not really answered. Do you have constitutional right to marry your mother, assuming she has free choice? If not, why not?

    [b] If the state can grant rights, what is to prevent it from taking them away?

    States don’t grant rights, States recognize rights. What is to prevent a State from erroneously failing to recognize a right? Whatever that is, the risk is not mitigated by appeals to some other source of rights.

    You are not really addressing the question. Who decides which claims of rights are really rights? What is to prevent those who make that determination from reversing themselves?

    [c] Why do you ignore the clear language in the Declaration of Independence, which explicitly states that God grants rights?

    I do not ignore the Declaration, but it has no legal standing as a Law.

    Not everyone agrees. For Justice Clarence Thomas, it does have legal standing, as it does for a number of legal scholars. Moreover, it does have a legal standard insofar as it provides the only possible standard for distinguishing a just law from an unjust law. So you claim of fact isn’t really a fact.

    The Framers of the Constitution gave us the First Amendment which prohibits the State from any law respecting the establishment of religion, so the State cannot treat rights as coming from some religion’s concept of a god; Religious Liberty bars it

    To say that God grants rights is not an establishment of religion. It is a statement about the source of rights. It’s really kind of important to know the difference. In effect, you are saying that the Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional, which is pure lunacy.

    [d] The natural moral law is totally distinct from religion. It is based solely on man’s capacity to reason and apprehend the morality of human nature. Why would you falsely claim that it is a “religious construct?”

    This is a stupidly worded question. It is quite clear from its history and use that the so-called “natural moral law” is thoroughly religious, and has always been so. In ancient times this was understandable; when humans knew less about the natural world, the necessity of deities seemed reasonable. We know more now. We don’t need deities any more to understand how nature informs morality.

    All you have to do is consult Wikipedia to learn that the natural law is not “thoroughly religious” Otherwise Aristotle would not have taught it as an objective fact independent of religion.

    [e] You said that the natural moral law is “merely religious prohibitions disguised as appeals to nature.” Are you now claiming that the Declaration of Independence is a religious document disguised as an appeal to nature?

    Since the Declaration is not a part of the “natural moral law”, the attributes of one do not hold for the other, and vice-versa. The Declaration borrows from “natural law” but it is not itself “natural law”

    Question unanswered again. The Declaration of Independence is a statement that expresses why men deserve to be free, namely because natural rights flow from the natural moral law. You may not like it, but those are the facts.

    [g] If natural rights do not come from God, what is their source? If there source is the state, how can they be inalienable?

    Natural rights properly come from nature, reason, history, and the facts of human sociology and psychology. The role of the State is to recognize and protect our rights. Given the text of your question, I can ignore the matter of being inalienable or not.

    Question unanswered, as usual. Clearly, you have no idea where rights come from and you have no idea how they could be inalienable.

    And, as we discovered, you have no standard for knowing the difference between a just law and an unjust law.

  170. 170
    Andre says:

    Sean

    Where exactly in your mind does liberty, freedom and human rights come from? Do you think its the state? What is the standard you are defending? I’m curious how you can advocate these rights but have no ultimate source for them?

  171. 171
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: Later, when they decided to leave, they reversed course

    No. Slavery was built into the original Republic of Texas constitution.

  172. 172
    sean samis says:

    To StephenB, Andre, and Zachriel;

    StephenB @171:

    How do you know that they [same-sex marriages] do no harm to others?

    How does anyone know that something does not exist? Those who claim it does can provide no evidence, much less proof. Many harms have been claimed but none survive even superficial scrutiny.

    Some say that it [legalized same-sex marriage] does harm by requiring others to accept the homosexual lifestyle …

    Obergefell does not require one to accept anything except that same-sex marriages are legal and that no one can impose their beliefs on others.

    [harm caused] by encouraging the state to punish those who believe differently.

    Hysteria. As long as those who believe differently do not obstruct the rights of others, there’s no reason to punish them.

    Also Chutzpah: before the idea of marriage equality, the State was punishing those who believed differently from you.

    Why should your opinion about harm be given preference over their opinion?

    Why should the opponent of same-sex marriage have their opinions given preference over that of same-sex couples? Anyone can claim a harm from anything, but if the claimant cannot reasonably show the harm, the State should regard their claims as unmerited. None of this is new or radical.

    Clearly, the notion of “harm” cannot possibly serve as a standard for justice.

    It can, but the harm must be actual and unjustified, not merely claimed.

    Question not really answered. Do you have constitutional right to marry your mother, assuming she has free choice? If not, why not?

    Question answered, you just don’t like my answer. In summary: it depends on facts that I don’t have and you haven’t supplied. And if you read my answer (I suspect not.) then you’d know my concern is not with the mother’s choice, but the child’s.

    You are not really addressing the question. Who decides which claims of rights are really rights? What is to prevent those who make that determination from reversing themselves?

    I addressed the question you asked. Now you ask two different questions: who decides? and what prevents errors?

    Who decides is a problem whether you believe rights come from some “natural moral law” or not. You have already said that slavery is obviously wrong, and yet Federal and State Courts founded on “natural moral law” still upheld it; it took a War to get rid of it.

    Who decides? The Courts do, who else? What prevents errors? Only the requirement that the Courts explain their decisions, that the Courts be insulated from corrupting influences to the extent that it can be.

    Both these problems exist whether you accept or reject the primacy of some “natural moral law”.

    Not everyone agrees. For Justice Clarence Thomas, it [The Declaration of Independence] does have legal standing, as it does for a number of legal scholars. Moreover, it does have a legal standard insofar as it provides the only possible standard for distinguishing a just law from an unjust law. So you claim of fact isn’t really a fact.

    There are many opinions about many things. Appellate courts can use anything they want as “persuasive authorities”; they can use Mark Twain’s stories, or Emerson’s poetry, or the Declaration.

    But neither Mark Twain’s stories, or Emerson’s poetry or the Declaration have standing as Law, which is the fact I stated.

    To say that God grants rights is not an establishment of religion. It is a statement about the source of rights. It’s really kind of important to know the difference.

    To say that God does anything is religious; the First Amendment does not just ban establishment of religion, it bans all laws “respecting an establishment of religion”. This means no law can even be a first, tentative step TOWARD establishment of religion.

    Further, there are differences of opinion regarding whether there even is a god, much less what that god’s role might be; these are RELIGIOUS differences, and the State cannot pass laws taking sides in those disputes.

    In effect, you are saying that the Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional, which is pure lunacy.

    The Declaration of Independence is a PRE-constitutional political statement. It is years older than the Constitution, and it is NOT a law. So the lunacy is yours. The First Amendment says “no law”; it does not say “no political statement”.

    All you have to do is consult Wikipedia to learn that the natural law is not “thoroughly religious” Otherwise Aristotle would not have taught it as an objective fact independent of religion.

    Here is your logic:
    [1] Acorns are nuts.
    [2] Oak trees grow from acorns. By your logic, that means that
    [3] Oak trees are nuts.

    Ah, no.

    What “natural moral law” IS now is different from WHERE IT CAME FROM. It is NOW, in practice if not in fact, thoroughly religious. If it assumes a deity is the source of moral law, that OF ITSELF, makes the “natural moral law” religious.

    Question unanswered again. The Declaration of Independence is a statement that expresses why men deserve to be free, namely because natural rights flow from the natural moral law. You may not like it, but those are the facts.

    Question answered, you just don’t agree. That the Declaration borrows ideas from a source does not make it part of that source.

    Question unanswered, as usual. Clearly, you have no idea where rights come from and you have no idea how they could be inalienable.

    Question answered, as usual you just don’t agree. You predicated the question about inalienable rights on my saying that rights come from the state:

    If there [sic] source is the state, how can they be inalienable?

    Since I don’t think rights come from the state (and I was clear about where I think they come from) then I don’t need to answer that question. If you want me to weigh in on that, ASK THE QUESTION!

    And, as we discovered, you have no standard for knowing the difference between a just law and an unjust law.

    I do, you just don’t like my answer.

    Andre @172:

    Where exactly in your mind does liberty, freedom and human rights come from?

    Natural rights properly come from nature, reason, history, and the facts of human sociology and psychology.

    Do you think its the state?

    No. The role of the State is to recognize and protect our rights.

    What is the standard you are defending?

    That natural rights properly come from nature, reason, history, and the facts of human sociology and psychology; and the role of the State is to recognize and protect our rights.

    I’m curious how you can advocate these rights but have no ultimate source for them?

    I have ultimate sources: Nature, reason, history, the facts of human sociology and psychology.

    If you’ve been reading this thread, you know that I’ve shown that using God as an “ultimate source” solves nothing and violates Religious Liberty.

    Zachriel @173:

    Slavery was built into the original Republic of Texas constitution.

    In deed. One of the “outrages” that lead to the rebellion against Mexico is that Mexico committed the tyrannical act of banning slavery.

    sean s.

  173. 173
    Axel says:

    To revert to my point about the shameless mendacity of seemingly a large majority of homosexual activists, here is just one example.

    Note the word, ‘simplistic’ in the post by mackdaddy (which ought to be ‘mendacious’ or ‘erroneous’ – the only poster who raised a red flag, albeit hesitantly.

    Mendacity or skipping blithely over falsehoods, is evidently par for the course for the others. The ‘red mist’ comes down and the Alice in Wonderland world takes over.

  174. 174
    REC says:

    Axel@175

    What post are you referring to? Mackdaddy?

    “Mendacity or skipping blithely over falsehoods, is evidently par for the course for the others.”

    Could you give us an example, or are you just shouting “LIARS!!!”

  175. 175
    Axel says:

    Sorry, REC. Here it is:

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141142220

    Wouldn’t want to disappoint you.

  176. 176
    StephenB says:

    sean

    Question answered, you just don’t like my answer.

    You didn’t answer. The ability to consent is not an issue in my examples. The mother or father can be 40 and the child can be 20.

    I ask again, is it a constitutionally protected right for a man to marry his mother, or his father, or his son (if of age) or his daughter (if of age)? If not, why not?

    Only the requirement that the Courts explain their decisions, that the Courts be insulated from corrupting influences to the extent that it can be.

    Courts have ruled that slavery is moral and courts have ruled that slavery is immoral; courts have ruled that anti-racial marriage is moral and courts have ruled that anti-racial marriage is immoral. Courts have ruled that discrimination against blacks is moral, and courts have ruled that discrimination against blacks is immoral. Obviously, courts cannot always be trusted to tell us which laws are just and which ones are not. Some other standard must be used. You have no other standard.

    To say that God does anything is religious; the First Amendment does not just ban establishment of religion, it bans all laws “respecting an establishment of religion”. This means no law can even be a first, tentative step TOWARD establishment of religion.

    You are assuming a meaning of “establishment of religion” that is far different from what was intended by the founders. Do you know what that meaning was? (Hint: It has to do with sectarian differences in religious beliefs.)

    The Declaration of Independence is a PRE-constitutional political statement. It is years older than the Constitution, and it is NOT a law.

    It IS a law and it identifies itself as a law. It is a law that governs all other laws. That is precisely why it was written. People deserve to be free BECAUSE the Creator conferred natural rights on them. That is the law of nature. It is the most important law of all, the standard by which all other laws are to be judged. The Declaration of Independence provides the “why” The Constitution provides the “how.” The two documents are inextricably tied together.

    Here is your logic:
    [1] Acorns are nuts.
    [2] Oak trees grow from acorns. By your logic, that means that
    [3] Oak trees are nuts.
    Ah, no.

    I didn’t give you logic, I gave you a fact. To state a fact is not to perform a syllogism. If you don’t understand the difference between Natural law, which is apprehended by reason, and Divine Law, which is said to be supernaturally revealed, I cannot help you.

    If it assumes a deity is the source of moral law, that OF ITSELF, makes the “natural moral law” religious.

    To apprehend the existence of the Natural law through reason is not to assume a deity. The deity can be inferred only after the law is apprehended, The point is that you can’t assume something and infer it at the same time. Please try to grasp that point.

    Meanwhile, it is clear that you have no idea where rights come from and you have no idea how they could be (or why they should be) inalienable.

  177. 177
    StephenB says:

    [above] “anti-racial” should be “interracial”

  178. 178
    REC says:

    “Courts have ruled that slavery is moral and courts have ruled that slavery is immoral; courts have ruled that anti-racial marriage is moral and courts have ruled that anti-racial marriage is immoral. Courts have ruled that discrimination against blacks is moral, and courts have ruled that discrimination against blacks is immoral. Obviously, courts cannot always be trusted……”

    But you’re certain these courts, which have cited the laws of nature, man, God, and the Declaration of Independence are wrong and that you are right, and that you have unquestionable access to a moral standard they do not, one that lets you say same sex marriage should be illegal???

  179. 179
    StephenB says:

    REC

    But you’re certain these courts, which have cited the laws of nature, man, God, and the Declaration of Independence are wrong and that you are right

    On the contrary, I know that chattel slavery is wrong, and that the Declaration of Independence is right, and that jurists who defy it are wrong. The question, though, is this: Do you know that chattel slavery is wrong? Do you know that it is wrong for a court to uphold it?

  180. 180
    REC says:

    Ok, you’re sure slavery is wrong, that anti-miscegenation laws are wrong, that women have the right to peruse careers….

    but that same sex marriage is wrong because:

    _____________________________________________________
    (fill in the blank here)

  181. 181
    StephenB says:

    REC @182

    Why do you respond to my questions with another question?:

    Do you know that chattel slavery is wrong? Do you know that it is wrong for a court to uphold it?

  182. 182
    REC says:

    “Why do you respond to my questions with another question?”

    Because they are an absurd attempt to steer this thread off topic. I have no idea where you are going with it.

    The problem you have is you can’t, with any consistency, demonstrate why Obergfell was decided wrongly and Loving, etc… were decided correctly.

    You’ve lost the natural law argument, so now what, you want to punt?

  183. 183
    StephenB says:

    SB: “Why do you respond to my questions with another question?”

    REC

    Because they are an absurd attempt to steer this thread off topic. I have no idea where you are going with it.

    Absurd? It was you who started this line of questioning. When you did, I immediately provided an honest answer. I can stretch out on it if you like. Because the natural moral law is self evidently true, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, I can know that same natural moral law through the application of my reason. All along, I have explained all my answers in terms of that same natural moral and the inherent dignity of the human person. A moral act is one that is consistent with human nature and human dignity; an immoral act is one that is not. Thus, I can, in principle, know right from wrong.

    You have given me nothing but sneers. So, I would like to know your position on the matter. Do you know that chattel slavery is wrong? Do you know that it is wrong for a court to uphold it?

    If you like, I can make it easier for you with a multiple choice menu:

    [a] Yes, I know that chattel slavery is wrong.

    [b] I don’t really know, but it just doesn’t feel right.

    [c] No, chattel slavery is not wrong.

    ——————————————-

    [a] Yes, any court finding that supported slavery was wrong.

    [b] I don’t really have an opinion, but it doesn’t feel right.

    [c] No, the courts were right to uphold slavery.

    You’ve lost the natural law argument, so now what, you want to punt?

    I don’t think our readers would agree with your assessment given your unwillingness to engage.

  184. 184
    REC says:

    StephenB

    We’ve done this bit. Go to 167 and 169. Think. Reply. Or don’t.

    What did those past applications of “natural law” get wrong?

    I’d say it is the “consistent with human nature and human dignity” part. What is human nature? Dangerously subject to interpretation.

  185. 185
    StephenB says:

    REC

    StephenB

    We’ve done this bit. Go to 167 and 169. Think. Reply. Or don’t.

    We haven’t done this bit at all. My questions are on the table.

  186. 186
    StephenB says:

    On 167 : 169,

    Working through the natural moral law requires a continuous application of reason and a willingness to build on what we have already learned. It took centuries for natural law thinkers to figure out the boundaries of human freedom. Progress is possible because the unchanging standard of human dignity and human nature allow the unchanging principles to remain firm even as their application is always changing. Their knowledge of objective morality becomes deeper.

    Accordingly, there are many kinds of slavery and many of them do not necessarily offend human dignity. Consider, for example, the difference between chattel slavery at one extreme, and indentured servitude at the other extreme. It was these same natural law thinkers that provided the categories.

    How do we know, for example, that sex slavery or child slavery is far worse than “bonded labor?” It is because reason and the natural moral law as understood in the context of human dignity tell us so. The latter evils are so great that no development or extended reason is necessary to apprehend it. Both are self-evidently wrong. No one ever has tried to justify them by appealing to Divine law or natural law.

    Because we know the difference between the best and the worst, we can know that debt labor, for example, can be morally justified. If we don’t have the natural moral law, we cannot make moral calculations. We cannot place the categories in rank order unless we have an unchanging standard with which to rank them.

    Yes, some natural law claimants have been wrong about chattel slavery at different times in history if they didn’t really understand natural law or they mistakenly conflated it Divine Law, or if they injected their own biases and prejudices into their biblical theology.

    It is also likely that some jurists or legislators were lying bigots who wanted to use the name of God to justify and vent their outrage, especially during pre-Civil War ear. That may be why some Court decisions and Constitutions strayed from the principles in the Declaration of Independence. It served their interests.

    Still, it is this ongoing application of reason that continues to make the moral image sharper and sharper. The more we think about it, the closer we get to the truth—that is, if we accept the objective principle of the natural moral law.

    So it is with homosexuality. We have experienced both extremes. At one end, uneducated bible thumpers design ugly placards that say, “God hates fags.” At the other end, trendy theologians claim that compassion is defined by kindly accepting the gay lifestyle, as if allowing the culture to be destroyed is an act of love. In the middle of that chaos, Natural law gets it right: Hate the sin; love the sinner.

    Meanwhile, my questions for sean and REC persist. Will they try to buy more time by looking for loopholes in what I just wrote, or will they engage me in dialogue?

  187. 187
    Mung says:

    SB: I ask again, is it a constitutionally protected right for a man to marry his mother, or his father, or his son (if of age) or his daughter (if of age)? If not, why not?

    People have always had this right and it has always been constitutionally recognized and protected under the 14th amendment.

  188. 188
    Mung says:

    [1] Acorns are nuts.

    Acorns are not nuts, acorns are oak trees.

    Where do these people go to school!?

  189. 189
    harry says:

    StephenB @188

    It is also likely that some jurists or legislators were lying bigots who wanted to use the name of God to justify and vent their outrage, especially during pre-Civil War ear. That may be why some Court decisions and Constitutions strayed from the principles in the Declaration of Independence. It served their interests.

    The Civil War ended slavery but not the legal positivism that corrupted American jurisprudence while slavery was being aggressively defended by its proponents.

    The American Founders were embarrassed by slavery and knew quite will it was irreconcilable with the principles proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. They saw slavery as an institution that was on its way out. Consider Horace Greeley’s remark from his book on the history of slavery in the United States. After listing all the clauses in the Constitution that were claimed to have a bearing on slavery:

    It will be noted that the word “slave,” or “slavery” does not appear therein. Mr. Madison, who was a leading and observant member of the Convention, and who took notes of its daily proceedings, affirms that this silence was designed — the Convention being unwilling that the Constitution of the United States should recognize property in human beings. In passages where slaves are presumed to be comtemplated, they are uniformly designated as “persons,” never as property. Contemporary history proves that it was the belief of at least a large portion of the delegates that slavery could not long survive the final stoppage of the slave trade, which was expected to (and did) occur in 1808.
    A history of the struggle for slavery extension or restriction in the United States: from the Declaration of independence to the present day, Horace Greeley, 1811-1872

    Most of the Founders thought that the ending of the slave trade would end slavery in the United States. Slavery was seen by these Founders as an evil to be temporarily tolerated for the sake of the Union.

    They were wrong. Slavery didn’t end. It had become very lucrative on large plantations where labor-intensive cash crops could be grown. Those making all that money financed apologists and politicians who began promoting the institution of slavery as a positive good. What had been seen as a necessary evil, only to be temporarily tolerated, was transformed into a positive good, defended from the Scriptures (with an asinine interpretation) by leading scholars, jurists and preachers. Money talks. The big plantation owners had plenty of that. As you said: It served their interests to deny the principles in the Declaration of Independence.

    The legal positivism introduced into American jurisprudence in defense of the indefensible — slavery — eventually led to the disastrous Dred Scott vs. Sanford, Roe vs. Wade, and Obergefell vs. Hodges decisions. Legal positivism will eventually destroy America. Unless, of course, by the miraculous grace of God, the original natural law jurisprudence of the Founders is once again established. One has to believe in miracles to entertain such a hope. But nothing is impossible for God.

  190. 190
    Axel says:

    Wow. How interesting, Stephen. Poetic justice in the pipeline, too, by the look of it.

  191. 191
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Most of the Founders thought that the ending of the slave trade would end slavery in the United States.

    Slave breeding became the next growth industry.

    harry: Those making all that money financed apologists and politicians who began promoting the institution of slavery as a positive good.

    Not merely a positive good, but justified by the natural moral order.

  192. 192
    harry says:

    Hi, Zachriel,

    Not merely a positive good, but justified by the natural moral order.

    Right. Some of their arguments remind one of “Christians” defending the “right” to take the life of the child in the womb.

    As it is put in the Desiderata, “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.” That applies to every human being.

    One doesn’t need to be Christian to see that killing innocent human beings, or buying, selling and breeding them like they are animals, is wrong. Even those who don’t believe every human being has been endowed with basic rights by their Creator, should be able to see that either every human being possesses certain intrinsic rights, or none of us do. “Human” is all any of us are.

    To “legally” trample on the rights of any segment of humanity destroys the rights of all humanity. One might not always remain among those who exercise such “legal” rights. One might end up among a segment of humanity whose rights may be “legally” trampled upon by others.

    To defend the intrinsic rights of any and every human being is to defend one’s self. Although it seems that those who aggressively do so tend to be serious Christians, as were the Abolitionists, and as are most serious Pro-Lifers. I think this is because serious Christians are led to look at the plight of others, to love their neighbor as themselves, to see in the alleviation of the injustice suffered by others an opportunity to respond to the love Christ showed them in accepting horrific suffering for their sake.

  193. 193
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Even those who don’t believe every human being has been endowed with basic rights by their Creator, should be able to see that either every human being possesses certain intrinsic rights, or none of us do.

    Devout conservative Southern Baptists in the 19th century did not hold that view. Indeed, many held segregationist views well into the 20th century, and they based their views on Biblical principles and what they saw as the natural moral order.

    “You must be firm with inferiors but you must be gentle with them, especially darkies.” — Gerald O’Hara, Gone with the Wind

  194. 194
    Eugen says:

    Great discussion StephenB!! Thanks.

  195. 195
    harry says:

    Zachriel @195

    Devout conservative Southern Baptists in the 19th century did not hold that view. Indeed, many held segregationist views well into the 20th century, and they based their views on Biblical principles and what they saw as the natural moral order.

    They didn’t correctly base their views on Biblical principles or the natural moral order. They have gotten past their error. All the Southern Baptists I know are staunch defenders of traditional morality and Biblical values, and would not even think of defending slavery with the Bible.

    Now it is the atheists’ turn to get past their errors, expressed in social engineering via eugenics. euthanasia, abortion and population control. Unlike Christians, though, atheists have nothing within to guide them out of their errors. Apparently they are not even willing to believe of each and every human being: “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.”

  196. 196
    Zachriel says:

    harry: They didn’t correctly base their views on Biblical principles or the natural moral order.

    They certainly thought they did, and pointed to the Bible and to the natural moral law to justify their views on slavery and segregation.

  197. 197
    Virgil Cain says:

    They certainly thought they did,

    Irrelevant.

  198. 198
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    They certainly thought they did, and pointed to the Bible and to the natural moral law to justify their views on slavery and segregation.

    StephenB explained this very well in his first paragraph @188.

    Natural Las thinkers have worked out the meaning and application of the natural moral law with new circumstances as they arise. This is work done by those who accept the natural law and who uncover its meaning over time.
    As it stands, homosexual marriage has not been viewed by any natural law thinkers as consistent with moral norms.

    To argue that those who reject or deny the existence of the natural moral law also accept that gay marriage is consistent with it is a non-sequitur.

    The framers of the American government accepted the natural law and used it as the foundation of moral arguments.

  199. 199
    StephenB says:

    Zachriel

    They certainly thought they did, and pointed to the Bible and to the natural moral law to justify their views on slavery and segregation.

    Their mistake was to ignore reason, read their cultural biases and prejudices into the Scriptures, and then dump the resultant theology into their natural law model. On the contrary, Natural Law is not written down, it is apprehended by reason. We grow in our knowledge of the natural moral law by shaping our morality to fit the facts about our human nature. Properly understood, it cannot be used to justify either racial discrimination or chattel slavery. Both violate the inherent dignity of the human person, which is inseparable from the natural moral law.

  200. 200
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: Properly understood, it cannot be used to justify either racial discrimination or chattel slavery.

    By “properly understood”, you mean the way you understand it. Of course, they would have vehemently disagreed with your interpretation of both Scripture and natural law.

  201. 201
    StephenB says:

    Zachriel

    By “properly understood”, you mean the way you understand it.

    I mean it the way everyone understands it who knows what it is.

    Of course, they would have vehemently disagreed with your interpretation of both Scripture and natural law.

    With respect to the latter, they would be wrong, demonstrably so. Natural Law is a fact of nature that is discovered, not simply a Biblical teaching to be believed.

  202. 202
    StephenB says:

    Eugen @196, thanks for the kinds words.

  203. 203
    Seversky says:

    You can find a long list of Biblical prescriptions and prohibitions which today’s Christians quite happily ignore because they now “know” better. I’m sure vjtorley could give us 10,000 words justifying that view. So why not homosexuality and gay marriage? How is that so offensive in God’s eyes? Surely He is far above such petty aversions.

  204. 204
    StephenB says:

    seversky

    You can find a long list of Biblical prescriptions and prohibitions which today’s Christians quite happily ignore because they now “know” better.

    Interesting strategy.

    We make specific statements about the natural moral law that are carefully defined, and you make general statements about the bible that are conveniently undefined.

    It seems like a plan that was calculated to steer the subject away from the natural moral law.

  205. 205
    jw777 says:

    People are still at this? Ok, I’ll throw in once more.

    There are tribes in Papua New Guinea for which it is “normal” to compel young boys to perform sex with the men of the tribe. We call it rape. They call it the norm. With our high and mighty eurocentrism we label it a culture of all around victimization.

    We have figured out a few things in the developed world. We really have. Let’s give ourselves some credit. We need not get so egotistical that we think we must keep every cultural characteristic. But we must also not get so puffed up that we think we at this very moment have so many of the answers that we have to toss out every cultural characteristic which might’ve made us the success we generally are.

    Redefining policy to accelerate the disintegration of social norms with respect to sexual roles has no stop point. Today we say it is two consenting adults. But who defines consent? Who defines adult? Why two? These pillars, too, will fall. I used to think this was some sort of scare tactic. But really think about the unwanted ripples from altering social trajectory in less than a half of a generation, rather than over hundreds or thousands of years as the traditional peoples have done – those same people who have longer lifespans, lower incidence of disease and greater enjoyment of life than the vast majority of us.

    When you go to a store, if you’re the type of person who gets sold by a label that says “new and improved,” then I realize you aren’t a thinker and I can’t appeal to you. You will sign on for any foolish revision. And if you’re the type of person who finds something that works really well, and you never notice new products, you aren’t much of a thinker either, and no argument is going to sway you.

    Isn’t there a middle ground which will prevent the slippery slopes AND not be interpreted as squashing the lives of the deviants?

  206. 206
    harry says:

    Hello, StephenB,

    Good thoughts. Some comments on these remarks of yours in particular:

    Natural Law is not written down, it is apprehended by reason. We grow in our knowledge of the natural moral law by shaping our morality to fit the facts about our human nature … Natural Law is a fact of nature that is discovered, not simply a Biblical teaching to be believed.

    True. Yet the natural law and the Scriptures have the same Author, so either one properly understood supports the other. It is better to understand the Scriptures, though, I am sure you will agree, since that will give one an understanding of the natural law, too, and much, much more.

    Those who through no fault of their own are ignorant of the Scriptures will be excused for that, but will not be excused for not heeding the natural law written in their hearts:

    When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
    –Romans 2:14-16

    The same point made more emphatically by Paul:

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.

    So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools …

    Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie … For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

    And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.
    –Romans 1:18-32

    That last citation was a little lengthy, but I included it in this post anyway because it shows how society’s rejection of God back then led to the very same things that we see happening today all around us. The truth about human nature hasn’t changed. God hasn’t changed. The results of rejecting God and the truth about human nature hasn’t changed, either.

  207. 207
    bornagain77 says:

    I Was an Apologist for Gay Theology | Joe Dallas – video lecture
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFr8Eh46-z8

  208. 208
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    So why not homosexuality and gay marriage? How is that so offensive in God’s eyes? Surely He is far above such petty aversions.

    God is both very far above and at the same time, very intimately united with his creation. God gives a moral law for our sake not because of ‘aversions’ you might imagine him to have.

    I find this debate very difficult because often the proponents of gay marriage don’t define their own moral standards on marriage. Is adultery ok?

    This topic, however, provides a good example of why we often point out that evolutionary materialism destroys any sense of moral standards.

    Theism, at least, has some standard — you cite it in your response “Surely he is far above such petty aversions”.
    So, you correctly look to God as the standard for moral behavior. I’d imagine you’d think there are other human activities that would not be ‘petty aversions’ for your understanding of who God is … so, in that case, you could defend your morals by stating, “God is concerned about this issue, it’s not a petty aversion”.

    And where one disagrees, it’s a disagreement about God — which gives us many sources of rational argument and theological evidence (scriptures, teachings, lived experiences, revelations) to analyze.

    Again, materialism gives us nothing. There is simply no standard at all to reference.

    Under dialectical materialism of communism, homosexuality was often condemned. Certainly, Castro made several arguments condemning homosexuality from a matertialist/atheistic basis.

    All that meant was, as I repeated, there’s no rational basis to accept or condemn homosexuality in materialism. There is no purpose or goal in materialism so no way to measure whether homosexuality (or adultery for that matter) is moving towards or away from a moral goal for any persons involved.

    It’s the nature of theism, with a personal God, that makes moral goodness and the effort for individuals to make moral improvements an essential purpose for humanity as based on the goodness and perfection of God.

  209. 209
    StephenB says:

    harry @208, thanks for thoughts. You write:

    Yet the natural law and the Scriptures have the same Author, so either one properly understood supports the other. It is better to understand the Scriptures, though, I am sure you will agree, since that will give one an understanding of the natural law, too, and much, much more.

    Yes, indeed. Faith and reason are eminently compatible in just the way you describe it. It’s all about the unity of truth. There cannot be one truth for the Bible and another truth for nature. Of course, Scripture presents higher and more important truths, but the lower truths of nature, which are accessible to reason, can prompt us to seek out and believe the higher truth that have been Divinely revealed. I placed a heavy emphasis on the distinction between divine revelation and natural revelation only to counter the fundamentalist error that reduces natural law to a mere product of Scriptural interpretation–as if God’s moral law could not be apprehended in the absence of religious faith.

    Those who through no fault of their own are ignorant of the Scriptures will be excused for that, but will not be excused for not heeding the natural law written in their hearts

    Precisely. This is a very timely point and it also dramatizes the importance of thinking about our destiny from the standpoint of a comparative world-view analysis. Unlike all the other world religions, Christianity satisfies our desire for a reasoned argument before it calls for intellectual assent. Faith must pass the test of reason before we can allow it to illuminate our reason.

    Accordingly, we cannot afford to submit our intellects and wills to life-changing falsehoods that pose as heavenly truths. Without reason and God’s natural revelation, there would be no way to identify the true religion. We could only cast our fate to the winds and follow the sorry example of Ghandi, who was once asked, “Why are you a Hindu?” He responded, “Because I was born in India, of course.”

  210. 210
    Axel says:

    ‘We could only cast our fate to the winds and follow the sorry example of Ghandi, who was once asked, “Why are you a Hindu?” He responded, “Because I was born in India, of course.”

    I believe Ghandi had a very unpleasant experience with a racist Englishman as a young man, when he entered a Christian church in South Africa, being told to leave in a viciously heathen way.

    But there seems to me to be an awful about him which suggests that he was perhaps even a secret Christian. I can’t get over the prophetic wisdom of his list of:
    Seven Dangers to Human virtue:

    1. Wealth without work
    2. Pleasure without conscience
    3. Knowledge without character
    4. Business without ethics
    5. Science without humanity
    6. Religion without sacrifice
    7. Politics without principle

    Nevertheless there are some that are of a more humanistic anodyne hue, in that they fail to reflect that we are, always have been, in the midst of a spiritual war of unimaginable ferocity and scale.

  211. 211
    Axel says:

    Good thoughts and quotes of yours, too, Harry in #208.

  212. 212
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: I mean it the way everyone understands it who knows what it is.

    Heh. How do we distinguish that from simply everyone who agrees with you?

    StephenB: With respect to the latter, they would be wrong, demonstrably so.

    And what is that demonstration?

    Silver Asiatic: Is adultery ok?

    No. Adultery represents a breach of contract, a broken promise.

  213. 213
    harry says:

    Zachriel @214

    How do we distinguish that from simply everyone who agrees with you?

    Do you believe there are, accessible to any open, rational mind, objective truths that remain true whether we decide to accept them or reject them?

  214. 214
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    Silver Asiatic: Is adultery ok?

    No. Adultery represents a breach of contract, a broken promise.

    It’s good to hear you say that, but for the sake of argument …
    An act of adultery is a sexual act with someone not one’s spouse. People generally understand this from the 10 commandments or other ancient moral codes (some would simply call it the natural moral law).
    What is it about the sexual act that forms the basis of the promise or contract?
    Why does the state establish a definition of marriage and adultery in those terms? Could adultery be redefined as having dinner with someone, or saying “I love you” to someone not one’s spouse?

  215. 215
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Do you believe there are, accessible to any open, rational mind, objective truths that remain true whether we decide to accept them or reject them?

    Sure. That’s why we asked for the demonstration, the objective evidence of the claim. So far, the only thing provided is that his position is the only correct position, and everyone else who doesn’t agree with him is wrong. That tends to imply that there is no such demonstration.

    That doesn’t mean there can’t be common ground, but that’s not the same as objective evidence. For instance, the Declaration of Independence doesn’t argue that there are natural rights. It merely asserts them as an axiom, and if you accept the axiom, then the rest of the argument follows by necessity. But if you think that duty to your sovereign is more important than individual liberty, then the argument will fall flat.

    Silver Asiatic: What is it about the sexual act that forms the basis of the promise or contract?

    The marriage contract is a public and ceremonial proclamation.

  216. 216
    StephenB says:

    zachriel

    Heh. How do we distinguish that from simply everyone who agrees with you?

    We are discussing the natural moral law as it was understood and defined by the founding fathers–not as defined and understood by me. The same natural law from which natural rights are derived. The same natural law that is apprehended by reason. The same natural law that was declared to be self evident. The same natural law that was expressed in the Declaration of Independence as “The Laws of Nature.” The same natural law that teachers “all men are created equal”–not the novel formulation that “all white men are equal.”

    SB: With respect to the latter, they would be wrong, demonstrably so.

    And what is that demonstration?

    I have already demonstrated that the Southern bigots perverted the meaning of the natural moral law.

  217. 217
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: I have already demonstrated that the Southern bigots perverted the meaning of the natural moral law.

    No. You conflated two different definitions. At most, you showed that some people perverted the meaning of the natural moral law as “understood and defined” by the the committee that ratified the Declaration of Independence. Furthermore, even among the signers of the Declaration, many supported slavery.

  218. 218
    StephenB says:

    Zachriel

    No. You conflated two different definitions.

    I can hardly “conflate” two definitions that I specifically set apart and differentiated. Do you know what “conflate” means.

    Founding Fathers

    Definition #1: Natural law is the product of reason–Corollary from Definition #1: “All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”

    Anti-Black Bigots

    Definition #2 Natural law is the product of private Scriptural interpretation–corollary from definition #2, “all [white] men are created equal.”

    I was not conflating those definitions; I was dramatizing the difference.

    At most, you showed that some people perverted the meaning of the natural moral law as “understood and defined” by the the committee that ratified the Declaration of Independence.

    The committee that ratified the Declaration of Independence understood the correct definition of natural law–that which is known by reason. It is also the dictionary definition:

    Natural Law

    “Natural law, or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis; ius naturale), is a philosophy of law that is supposedly determined by nature, and so is universal. Classically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature — both social and personal — and deduce binding rules of moral behavior from it.”

    It is not, therefore, as you characterized it, “my understanding” of natural law.” Quite the contrary. It is the only legitimate definition of natural law.

    Definition #2, therefore, could only be conceived by someone who either doesn’t understand natural law or who is lying. Natural Law, by definition, is not simply a product of Scriptural interpretation.

    Furthermore, even among the signers of the Declaration, many supported slavery.

    Irrelevant. They all agreed that it was against the natural moral law and that it needed to be abolished.

  219. 219
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: The committee that ratified the Declaration of Independence understood the correct definition of natural law–that which is known by reason.

    Of course you did.

    StephenB: The committee that ratified the Declaration of Independence understood the correct definition of natural law–that which is known by reason.

    You are merely assuming your conclusion. You haven’t shown that your version of natural law or the founders version of natural law is the one and only correct version, or even that natural law has any substance beyond human preference.

    StephenB: Natural law, or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis; ius naturale), is a philosophy of law that is supposedly determined by nature, and so is universal.

    Nowhere is that definition does it state the specifics of natural law. It merely defines how the philosophy is viewed.

    StephenB: They all agreed that it was against the natural moral law and that it needed to be abolished.

    That’s false.

  220. 220
    harry says:

    Zachriel @217

    Do you believe there are, accessible to any open, rational mind, objective truths that remain true whether we decide to accept them or reject them?
    –harry

    Sure.
    –Zachriel

    Do you believe that “one shouldn’t do to others what one would not want others to do to oneself” is one of those objective truths that remain true whether or not one accepts it?

  221. 221
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Do you believe that “one shouldn’t do to others what one would not want others to do to oneself” is one of those objective truths that remain true whether or not one accepts it?

    No, it’s not objective. Though it is a fundamental human value in many societies, it is certainly not universal.

  222. 222
    harry says:

    Zachriel @223,

    Do you believe there is a universally applicable ethical system that consists, at a minimum, of the principle of non-malevolence towards others, the meaning of “malevolence” being understood by everyone to be “that which I wouldn’t want done to me.”?

  223. 223
    StephenB says:

    SB: The committee that ratified the Declaration of Independence understood the correct definition of natural law–that which is known by reason.

    Zachriel

    Of course you did.

    ????? What I did is not synonymous with what the ratifiers did.

    SB: The committee that ratified the Declaration of Independence understood the correct definition of natural law–that which is known by reason.

    You are merely assuming your conclusion.

    ????? I didn’t draw any conclusions, nor did I make any logical arguments. Facts and definitions are not arguments.

    You haven’t shown that your version of natural law or the founders version of natural law is the one and only correct version, or even that natural law has any substance beyond human preference.

    ????? I didn’t use “my” definition. I used the dictionary definition.

    ????? Natural law, by definition, has substance beyond human preference.

    SB: Natural law, or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis; ius naturale), is a philosophy of law that is supposedly determined by nature, and so is universal.

    Nowhere is that definition does it state the specifics of natural law. It merely defines how the philosophy is viewed.

    ????? A definition does not give specifics: It makes distinctions and explains meanings. We are discussing the difference between two general meanings.

  224. 224
    Mung says:

    lol @ the contract view of marriage.

  225. 225
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Do you believe there is a universally applicable ethical system that consists, at a minimum, of the principle of non-malevolence towards others, the meaning of “malevolence” being understood by everyone to be “that which I wouldn’t want done to me.”?

    No. It may be a common view in many human societies, but it is hardly universal.

    StephenB: The committee that ratified the Declaration of Independence understood the correct definition of natural law–that which is known by reason.

    You are simply repeating your claim. You haven’t even attempted to justify it.

    StephenB: Natural law, by definition, has substance beyond human preference.

    A unicorn, by definition, is a magical creature.

  226. 226
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: lol @ the contract view of marriage.

    Legal Information Institute

    Marriage: The legal union of a couple as spouses. The basic elements of a marriage are: (1) the parties’ legal ability to marry each other, (2) mutual consent of the parties, and (3) a marriage contract as required by law.
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/marriage

  227. 227
    StephenB says:

    SB: Natural law, by definition, has substance beyond human preference.

    Zachriel

    A unicorn, by definition, is a magical creature.

    You are not capable of rational thought.

  228. 228
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    harry: Do you believe there is a universally applicable ethical system that consists, at a minimum, of the principle of non-malevolence towards others, the meaning of “malevolence” being understood by everyone to be “that which I wouldn’t want done to me.”?

    Zachriel: No.

    Do you believe there is such a thing as behavior that is intrinsically immoral?

  229. 229
    Mung says:

    SB: You are not capable of rational thought.

    Capable of irrational thought then?

  230. 230
    sean samis says:

    A reply to several comments. Sorry for the length.

    StephenB @178:

    You didn’t answer.

    Sure I did. Twice now.

    The ability to consent is not an issue in my examples.

    But it is an issue in the question.

    The mother or father can be 40 and the child can be 20.

    Undue influence can be exerted by someone of any age on someone of any age.

    I ask again, is it a constitutionally protected right for a man to marry his mother, or his father, or his son (if of age) or his daughter (if of age)? If not, why not?

    I’ve answered this. Not every question has a yes-no answer; in the law an “it depends” answer is quite expected, and I’ve told you on what I think it depends.

    Courts have ruled that slavery is moral and courts have ruled that slavery is immoral;…

    And most all these Courts believed they were implementing a moral system approved by their God. Clearly that offers no advantage.

    Obviously, courts cannot always be trusted to tell us which laws are just and which ones are not. … Some other standard must be used.

    If we don’t rely on the Courts, who do you propose we use?

    You have no other standard.

    But I do have one that can work. What alternative do you propose?

    You are assuming a meaning of “establishment of religion” that is far different from what was intended by the founders. Do you know what that meaning was? (Hint: It has to do with sectarian differences in religious beliefs.)

    Nope. You have it wrong.

    It IS a law and it identifies itself as a law.

    The Declaration of Independence is not a law any court can enforce, and never so identifies itself. It refers to laws, but is not a law.

    I didn’t give you logic, I gave you a fact. To state a fact is not to perform a syllogism.

    Every statement of fact is an implicit syllogism. Whenever you even imply that one fact implies another, that is an implicit syllogism. You wrote that “… natural law is not “thoroughly religious” Otherwise Aristotle would not have taught it as an objective fact independent of religion.” In otherwords: Aristotle taught it as objective fact, therefore even later versions of it are objective fact.” That is of course, false. Aristotle thought many things that later persons disagreed with.

    If you don’t understand the difference between Natural law, which is apprehended by reason, and Divine Law, which is said to be supernaturally revealed, I cannot help you.

    I do understand the difference. As soon as you invoke a deity though, you invoke a religiously embedded “natural law”.

    To apprehend the existence of the Natural law through reason is not to assume a deity. The deity can be inferred only after the law is apprehended,…

    Unfortunately, one cannot “apprehend the existence of a deity” through reason, not even through the “apprehension” of a so-called “natural law”. Such an “apprehension” of a deity is at best pure opinion; not a reasoned fact.

    The point is that you can’t assume something and infer it at the same time. Please try to grasp that point.

    I do. However you rationalize your belief in a deity (by assumption or inference), it is by definition a religious belief; an opinion, not a fact.

    …it is clear that you have no idea where rights come from and you have no idea how they could be (or why they should be) inalienable.

    Sure I do; I’ve stated it to you repeatedly. In the light of what I’ve stated, YOU HAVE NEVER ASKED ME IF RIGHTS ARE INALIENABLE! You have always couched that question on an assumption which I have denied. In spite of two answers, you STILL HAVE NOT ASKED THE QUESTION!

    But even though you cannot bring yourself to ask it, I’ll volunteer an answer.

    Are rights inalienable? Yes, unless there is a legitimate, rational purpose that requires it (no right is absolute). Why? Because if they can be given away, they can be taken away. If they can be taken away without justification, they cannot be protected; but rights are by definition something that MUST BE PROTECTED.

    StephenB @183 to REC:

    Why do you respond to my questions with another question?:

    Why do you object? There’s nothing wrong with answering with yet another question.

    StephenB @185:

    …the natural moral law is self evidently true, as stated in the Declaration of Independence,…

    The Declaration ASSERTS the self-evidence of certain things, but it is not evidence that the assertion is correct.

    BTW, the phrase “natural moral law” does not exist in the Declaration, neither does the phrase “natural law”. The closest you can get is the “Laws of Nature” which is ambiguous (the laws of thermodynamics are “laws of nature” but not part of the “natural law” much less part of any “natural moral laws”

    I can know that same natural moral law through the application of my reason.

    Many assert this, none can prove it.

    All along, I have explained all my answers in terms of that same natural moral and the inherent dignity of the human person. A moral act is one that is consistent with human nature and human dignity; an immoral act is one that is not. Thus, I can, in principle, know right from wrong.

    As REC followed up with, “…consistent with human nature and human dignity…” is too vague to be actionable.

    Better to say that an immoral act is one that causes an unjustified harm, and leave it at that.

    Do you know that chattel slavery is wrong? Do you know that it is wrong for a court to uphold it?

    [a] and [a].

    StephenB @188:

    It took centuries for natural law thinkers to figure out the boundaries of human freedom.

    And just who gave them the authority to decide where our rights end? Who died and left them King?

    Progress is possible because the unchanging standard of human dignity and human nature allow the unchanging principles to remain firm even as their application is always changing. Their knowledge of objective morality becomes deeper.

    And who gave them this “standard”? And on whose authority do they declare it “unchanging” (which means PERFECT and INFALLIBLE)?

    Consider, for example, the difference between chattel slavery at one extreme, and indentured servitude at the other extreme. It was these same natural law thinkers that provided the categories.

    If indentured servitude is moral, then moral rights are NOT inalienable. Indentured servitude is immoral and if these thinkers of yours did not understand that, they were quite wrong.

    How do we know, for example, that sex slavery or child slavery is far worse than “bonded labor?” It is because reason and the natural moral law as understood in the context of human dignity tell us so.

    Any contract in which one party cannot walk away from the agreement (with reasonable penalty) is necessarily immoral. This right has been recognized in contract law since before the Constitution. But an indentured servant did not have that right.

    …we can know that debt labor, for example, can be morally justified.

    Debt labor cannot be morally justified without stringently enforced protections for the debtor’s rights and safety. That was not the case.

    If we don’t have the natural moral law, we cannot make moral calculations.

    Sure we can.

    We cannot place the categories in rank order unless we have an unchanging standard with which to rank them.

    Sure we can. We need a standard, but it need not be “unchanging” because as we learn, we need to change with our new knowledge. Reason from nature, history, and facts of life perfectly capable of providing a standard for moral calculus.

    Yes, some natural law claimants have been wrong about chattel slavery at different times in history if they didn’t really understand natural law or they mistakenly conflated it Divine Law, or if they injected their own biases and prejudices into their biblical theology.

    You just gutted your own argument. If use of your “natural moral law” does not guarantee correct decisions, then it is not a reliable guide. We need to look at reason from nature, history, and truth, and jettison this normative “natural moral law” as unreliable.

    It is also likely that some jurists or legislators were lying bigots who wanted to use the name of God to justify and vent their outrage, …

    If so, then the “natural moral law” then it has no special status among moral standards and tools. And if misusing the “natural moral law” is the same as “using the name of God” to justify evil ends, then you have just drawn an equivalence between the “natural moral law” and a “religious law”.

    …it is this ongoing application of reason that continues to make the moral image sharper and sharper. The more we think about it, the closer we get to the truth…

    True enough, but that means this “unchanging” “natural moral law” is eventually obsolesced by facts from nature. Why use it at all, just reason from nature, history, truth.

    So it is with homosexuality. … Natural law gets it right: Hate the sin; love the sinner.

    Nature does not conclude that homosexuality is a sin, or even a defect. It is just part of the natural range of variation within nature. Even other species exhibit it.

    …my questions for sean and REC persist. Will they try to buy more time by looking for loopholes in what I just wrote, or will they engage me in dialogue?

    Above is my dialog. Engage away.

    harry @194:

    Even those who don’t believe every human being has been endowed with basic rights by their Creator, should be able to see that either every human being possesses certain intrinsic rights, or none of us do. “Human” is all any of us are.

    True. One does not need to believe in any deity to know these things.

    To “legally” trample on the rights of any segment of humanity destroys the rights of all humanity. One might not always remain among those who exercise such “legal” rights. One might end up among a segment of humanity whose rights may be “legally” trampled upon by others.

    True. This idea is a basis for any rational moral system and needs no deity to command it.

    To defend the intrinsic rights of any and every human being is to defend one’s self.

    Agreed.

    I think this is because serious Christians are led to look at the plight of others, to love their neighbor as themselves, to see in the alleviation of the injustice suffered by others an opportunity to respond to the love Christ showed them in accepting horrific suffering for their sake.

    I wish I could agree. I used to but not for some time now.

    harry @197:

    All the Southern Baptists I know are staunch defenders of traditional morality and Biblical values, and would not even think of defending slavery with the Bible.

    But now can they get past their errors and defend the rights of gays, lesbians, and transgendered persons?

    Unlike Christians, though, atheists have nothing within to guide them out of their errors.

    Sure they do (I am not an atheist). Reason from nature, history, and Truth.

    Apparently they are not even willing to believe of each and every human being: “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.”

    I have never met an atheist who’d disagree with that. I have met Christians who disagree that applies to everyone.

    Silver Asiatic @200:

    Natural Las thinkers have worked out the meaning and application of the natural moral law with new circumstances as they arise. This is work done by those who accept the natural law and who uncover its meaning over time. As it stands, homosexual marriage has not been viewed by any natural law thinkers as consistent with moral norms.

    But given that it takes time for the “thinkers” to catch up with the facts, their failure to appreciate homosexuality is without meaning.

    And just who gives these self-appointed “thinkers” the right to tell the rest of us what is good or bad? Who died and left them Kings?

    The framers of the American government accepted the natural law and used it as the foundation of moral arguments.

    Perhaps, but they did not make it an enforceable law.

    StephenB @201:

    Their mistake was to ignore reason, read their cultural biases and prejudices into the Scriptures, and then dump the resultant theology into their natural law model.

    Exactly the same error they are making today vis-à-vis same-sex marriage.

    …Natural Law is not written down, it is apprehended by reason.

    … and that renders it useless because anyone can claim anything is “part of Natural Law”.

    We grow in our knowledge of the natural moral law by shaping our morality to fit the facts about our human nature.

    Exactly true. And gays, lesbians, and transgendered persons are part of the normal facts of human nature.

    StephenB @203:

    I mean it the way everyone understands it who knows what it is.

    In other words: those who agree with you. Anyone who disagrees with you is simply dismissed as not understanding the “natural law”.

    StephenB @206:

    seversky

    You can find a long list of Biblical prescriptions and prohibitions which today’s Christians quite happily ignore because they now “know” better.

    Interesting strategy

    Interesting FACT.

    It seems like a plan that was calculated to steer the subject away from the natural moral law.

    It goes to the very heart of the problem. Being unwritten and predicated on the belief in a deity, the “natural moral law” is unusable by actually-rational persons.

    harry @208:

    Yet the natural law and the Scriptures have the same Author, so either one properly understood supports the other. It is better to understand the Scriptures, though, I am sure you will agree, since that will give one an understanding of the natural law, …

    I know that harry does not speak for StephenB, but this statement reinforces my claim that the “natural moral law” is emphatically religious. I see that @211 StephenB tries to narrow this, but one is left to wonder: Is StephenB correct? Or is harry? I’ve been around long enough to know that harry’s position is the typical one.

    Those who through no fault of their own are ignorant of the Scriptures will be excused for that, but will not be excused for not heeding the natural law written in their hearts: …

    Part of the reason I had not participated in this conversation for a few days is that I was engaged with kairosfocus on a related topic; and this thing about the truth being written on our hearts came up there. KairosFocus put the kibosh on my response, but it applies here.

    On that thread, someone commented that “…when God wants to make sure we get some message, He will write it on our hearts. He will intertwine it in our human nature.

    Let’s take that as a given for a moment.

    If true, that would mean that homosexuality or being transgendered would be gifts of God and unreproachable. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender persons all report that their natures are entwined into their very beings. Therefore, these must be gifts from God.

    One could reply that these persons have misunderstood what God wrote on their hearts or entwined in their natures, but that would be fatal your position.

    You would be saying that, “when God wants to make sure we get some message, He will write it on our hearts or He will intertwine it in our human nature,” but we cannot trust our own sense of those gifts.

    You’d be telling us we need to turn to other fallible humans to tell us what God wrote or entwined; these mere humans would be needed to interpret God’s intent for us.

    Again, we’d be left with no way to know what God intends except to trust the untrustworthy claims of other fallible humans.

    Silver Asiatic @210:

    Is adultery ok?

    No. It is a betrayal of trust, and demonstrates a broken trust; both leading to unjustified harms to the adulterer’s spouse.

    …materialism gives us nothing. There is simply no standard at all to reference.

    Sure there is: The Truth about Reason, Nature, History, and the Human Condition.

    All that meant was, as I repeated, there’s no rational basis to accept or condemn homosexuality in materialism.

    Because there’s no rational basis in reason, nature, history, or the human condition for condemning homosexuality.

    There is no purpose or goal in materialism so no way to measure whether homosexuality (or adultery for that matter) is moving towards or away from a moral goal for any persons involved.

    The problem with moral goals is that everyone has their own idea of what that is; so a rational morality merely keeps persons from harming others.

    It’s the nature of theism, with a personal God, that makes moral goodness and the effort for individuals to make moral improvements an essential purpose for humanity as based on the goodness and perfection of God.

    Problem is: how do I know what God wants? Unless God actually does tell me (which has never happened) I would have to let mere humans tell me; I’d have to trust people playing God. That I cannot do.

    StephenB @211:

    Faith must pass the test of reason before we can allow it to illuminate our reason.

    … so—Faith must be reasonable before it can be reasonable? Gibberish.

    harry @215:

    Do you believe there are, accessible to any open, rational mind, objective truths that remain true whether we decide to accept them or reject them?

    Truth is truth, whether we accept or reject it. Whether every rational, open mind has access is not known.

    Silver Asiatic @216:

    What is it about the sexual act that forms the basis of the promise or contract [violated by adultery]?

    The promise of fidelity.

    Why does the state establish a definition of marriage and adultery in those terms? Could adultery be redefined as having dinner with someone, or saying “I love you” to someone not one’s spouse?

    The State established those terms as a recognition of how human’s respond to these betrayals.

    Could the State redefine adultery? Sure; but to what end?

    StephenB @218:

    We are discussing the natural moral law as it was understood and defined by the founding fathers–not as defined and understood by me.

    Well this is new. I didn’t realize that was what you meant. And these founding fathers included slavery as a morally acceptable practice. Hmm. Now we have to reevaluate your past comments on slavery!

    If the last time the “natural moral law” was updated was about 1790, then it is way, way out of date.

    The same natural law from which natural rights are derived. The same natural law that is apprehended by reason.

    Reason tells us much has changed since 1790.

    I have already demonstrated that the Southern bigots perverted the meaning of the natural moral law.

    You have asserted it, not demonstrated it. Since (as you agree) the “natural moral law” is unwritten, you cannot cite an authoritative text that shows that Southern bigots were wrong; all you have is claims by some people who themselves might have been wrong.

    StephenB @220:

    I can hardly “conflate” two definitions that I specifically set apart and differentiated. Do you know what “conflate” means.

    Hardly matters, you still have not demonstrated what you claim you have.

    Definition #1: Natural law is the product of reason–Corollary from Definition #1: “All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”

    Who gave the Framers the authority to declare this true? If they had said that “all white men are created equal” who would have the authority to overrule them?

    I was not conflating those definitions; I was dramatizing the difference.

    What is missing is the grounding of the Framer’s authority. They made their declaration, yet many of the signatories (including Jefferson) continued to enslave persons; a practice that didn’t miss a beat for almost 90 years.

    The committee that ratified the Declaration of Independence understood the correct definition of natural law–that which is known by reason. It is also the dictionary definition: …

    The “committee” that you refer to was The Continental Congress, the forebears of the Federal Congress and the Congress that authorized ratification of the Constitution. They were a political organization, not an academy of philosophers.

    “Natural law, or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis; ius naturale), is a philosophy of law that is supposedly determined by nature, and so is universal.

    …but you limit this to the natural law as understood by the Framers, correct?

    The critical term in your own definition is “supposedly”. That is a very tentative term, and opposes your claims that the natural law definitely is universal. There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to a universal law, but the desire does not ensure the completion of the goal.

    It is not, therefore, as you characterized it, “my understanding” of natural law.” Quite the contrary. It is the only legitimate definition of natural law.

    Category error: what the natural law IS is a categorically different question from what is IN the natural law. I think Zachriel was referring to your understanding of the contents of the natural law, not its overall definition. On that point Zachriel’s criticism is valid.

    Natural Law, by definition, is not simply a product of Scriptural interpretation.

    …at least not by YOUR definition. But we’ve already seen others on this thread (who also revere the natural law) who disagree. There’s no reason to rely on your definition when other moralistic natural law advocates disagree.

    Zachriel:

    Furthermore, even among the signers of the Declaration, many supported slavery.

    Irrelevant.

    Very relevant. You assert that the framers knew slavery violated your “natural moral law” but among them were many who were quite happy with slavery and quite unlikely to label it immoral.

    They all agreed that it was against the natural moral law and that it needed to be abolished.

    Simply false. In the Constitution they agreed to end importation of slaves, but there was no agreement to abolish it. Far from…

    harry @222 and 224:

    Do you believe that “one shouldn’t do to others what one would not want others to do to oneself” is one of those objective truths that remain true whether or not one accepts it?

    There are no moral truths which we KNOW are objective; but this one is close. Yes, I believe in the Golden Rule.

    Do you believe there is a universally applicable ethical system that consists, at a minimum, of the principle of non-malevolence towards others, the meaning of “malevolence” being understood by everyone to be “that which I wouldn’t want done to me.”?

    Again, there are no moral truths which we KNOW are objective or universal. This one may well be universal, but I think the jury is still out.

    StephenB @225:

    I didn’t draw any conclusions, nor did I make any logical arguments. Facts and definitions are not arguments.

    What you did was assert a fact; a fact you assume to be correct. So you did assume that the Framers agreed with your position.

    A definition does not give specifics: It makes distinctions and explains meanings. We are discussing the difference between two general meanings.

    However, the definition you gave also does not support any claim that the natural law is objective or universal.

    harry @230:

    Do you believe there is such a thing as behavior that is intrinsically immoral?

    Yes. Pedophilia, sadism; anything that leads to a harm to others by intent or indifference.

    —————————————-

    Again, apologies for the length of this.

    sean s.

  231. 231
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: You are not capable of rational thought.

    Sure we are. You just haven’t made a coherent argument.

    harry: Do you believe there is such a thing as behavior that is intrinsically immoral?

    intrinsic, belonging to the essential nature of a thing.

    Humans certainly do have characteristics that, while perhaps not universal, are typical of the species, including a moral sense. However, humans vary considerably on the specifics of their morality.

  232. 232
    StephenB says:

    sean

    so—Faith must be reasonable before it can be reasonable?

    I didn’t say that. You should learn how to read.

    Meanwhile, I am still waiting for you to tell me if a marriage between a man and his 20 year old daughter is a constitutional right.

    You contend that gay marriage is a constitutional right on the grounds that no State may deprive any person equal protection of the laws.

    Your standard is clear. So, does that law apply to fathers and daughters marrying as well as gays marrying. If not, why not?

  233. 233
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    harry: Do you believe there is a universally applicable ethical system that consists, at a minimum, of the principle of non-malevolence towards others, the meaning of “malevolence” being understood by everyone to be “that which I wouldn’t want done to me.”?

    Zachriel: No. …

    harry: Do you believe there is such a thing as behavior that is intrinsically immoral?

    Zachriel: Humans certainly do have characteristics that, while perhaps not universal, are typical of the species, including a moral sense. However, humans vary considerably on the specifics of their morality.

    Do YOU, personally, believe there is such a thing as behavior that is intrinsically immoral? If so, why is that behavior immoral? It is immoral based on it being a violation of what principle? If you do not believe there is any such thing, well … that explains a lot about where you are coming from.

  234. 234
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Do YOU, personally, believe there is such a thing as behavior that is intrinsically immoral?

    The word “intrinsically” refers to the “essential nature of something”, so your phrase mixes objective and subjective elements. For instance, objectively, humans generally prefer freedom to being enslaved, while, subjectively, we’re rather fond of humans; hence we are against slavery.

    However, keep in mind, that not everyone has held our view. Some slave owners have considered slavery a necessary evil, better than the alternative of living a savage existence. Some didn’t consider it more negative than any other social status, such as patrician or merchant, just lower. Some considered it just punishment for resisting empire. And so on.

  235. 235
    harry says:

    sean samis @232

    Yet the natural law and the Scriptures have the same Author, so either one properly understood supports the other. It is better to understand the Scriptures, though, I am sure you will agree, since that will give one an understanding of the natural law …
    –harry

    … this statement reinforces my claim that the “natural moral law” is emphatically religious. I see that @211 StephenB tries to narrow this, but one is left to wonder: Is StephenB correct? Or is harry? I’ve been around long enough to know that harry’s position is the typical one.
    –sean samis

    If there is a good God Who created humanity and intended for us to behave in a manner that reflected His goodness, then He would build a conscience into us. He did. We all know we have one. We have all felt guilty at one time or another.

    Yes, there is such a thing as feeling guilty about that which there is really no reason to feel guilty. Many of us, upon realizing that, have experienced a happy moment of enlightenment. We have also experienced guilt when we were really guilty of doing what was wrong. Real, deserved experience of guilt can be a terrible thing.

    Our conscience is natural. It was built into our very nature by God. It continually becomes more informed as our parents raise us, so feeling guilty about that which there is no reason to feel guilty happens less often. Unless we are sociopaths who never feel guilty about anything, we eventually get to a point as adults where our natural conscience is a very reliable guide.

    For mankind’s consciences to work as God intended, they had to become correctly informed. And how did that come about in the first place? Well, after the Fall, when we lost the preternatural privileges of bodily immortality and perfect control of appetite, there was in us a weakness of will and disorderly inclinations. We fell hard into darkness. The gift of rationality remained, so something like this might have happened:

    A primitive man felt violated when his neighbor took his goat without asking. He concluded that it was wrong for his neighbor to take his goat. That is the easy part of learning about natural law morality. He also should have concluded — this is the difficult part — that it is wrong for him to take his neighbors’ animals. Natural law morality applies to humanity because we, unlike other creatures, possess rationality.

    Now our primitive man didn’t quite get it right. He snuck over to his neighbor’s place in the middle of the night, slit his neighbor’s throat, and took his goat back home — along with all of his dead neighbor’s possessions and his wife and kids.

    Well, his dead neighbor’s brother, who lived in another village, didn’t like that at all. He incited the men in his village to attack his late brother’s village and kill all the men in it, and take all their possessions, wives and children for their own. Only they didn’t kill all the men … one of them got away and incited everybody in his uncle’s village to retaliate … and on and on it went for years.

    Then one of the survivors of all of that, who knew how it all started, using the rationality God gave humanity, correctly suggested that it should be officially declared that it is wrong to take your neighbor’s goat or anything else of his, and that everybody must teach their children that. People were intrigued by such a notion, and, thinking of other actions that must have been “wrong” (what a concept!) due to their tragic consequences, suggested that killing other people without a good reason must be wrong, as was having relations with your neighbors wife — that one often ended tragically.

    The moral of this much too simplistic story is that there is natural law morality because humanity has rationality and is expected to use it. (It is sometimes difficult to explain the obvious.) We know when we feel victimized and should learn from that not to do those things to others. We have learned that certain things always have terrible consequences and we should know that to do those things is wrong.

    God, in His interactions with humanity recorded in the Old Testament, affirmed the natural law that mankind should have already figured out, a law which makes clear: Don’t kill your neighbor, or take his stuff, or have relations with his wife, or his animals, or him. In addition to that, God revealed to us that which we wouldn’t have figured out on our own: Don’t even think think about having relations with your neighbor’s wife. Don’t even let yourself wish for your neighbor’s goods. And eventually, through His Son, He called us to become a perfect reflection of His goodness (Mt 5:48): Love your enemies. Do good to those who do you harm. (We definitely would never have come up with those on our own.)

    As I said, the natural law and the Scriptures have the same Author, so either one properly understood supports the other. But that doesn’t make the natural moral law “emphatically religious.” The natural moral law is binding upon us because of our rationality, not our religiosity.

    As for the genuine, deserved guilt I mentioned at the beginning of these comments: It can be washed away completely, leaving us as innocent as a baby. That is the good news found in the Scriptures.

  236. 236
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    So, you don’t believe there is anything that is intrinsically immoral.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  237. 237
    Zachriel says:

    harry: So, you don’t believe there is anything that is intrinsically immoral.

    As we said, the problem is with your use of the term “intrinsically”. The person who thinks keeping slaves is better for them than allowing them to live a savage existence is moral in their own eyes. The person who thinks enslaving someone is a just punishment is moral in their own eyes. They have the same intrinsic traits of humans generally, as do their slaves.

  238. 238
    Silver Asiatic says:

    sean s 232

    And just who gives these self-appointed “thinkers” the right to tell the rest of us what is good or bad? Who died and left them Kings?

    In the case of the US government, those who accepted the natural law became the authorities that built the government. They had the right to establish a constitution based on the natural law itself – so their authority in establishing laws came from that. They cited natural law as the basis for human rights also.

    As for those who do not accept that there are any moral laws inherent in human nature, they have really forfeited their rights to debate this. As I said above, those who deny that the natural law exists, cannot at the same time argue for a certain interpretation of it.

    The framers of the American government accepted the natural law and used it as the foundation of moral arguments.

    Perhaps, but they did not make it an enforceable law.

    The natural moral law is a basis for understanding all specific laws that follow from it.

    Is adultery ok?

    No. It is a betrayal of trust, and demonstrates a broken trust; both leading to unjustified harms to the adulterer’s spouse.

    Gay marriage is a betrayal of trust – for those who understand marriage as one-man one-woman. So, it leads to unjustified harms to those who are betrayed by the state’s approval of it.

    What is it about the sexual act that forms the basis of the promise or contract [violated by adultery]?

    The promise of fidelity.

    Why is fidelity necessary, and why is fidelity measured by sexual conduct and not, instead, by other things?

    The State established those terms as a recognition of how human’s respond to these betrayals.

    Many humans respond to gay marriage as a betrayal of the meaning of marriage.

    Could the State redefine adultery? Sure; but to what end?

    This would mean that adultery only has meaning in terms of how the state defines it. The state could therefore proclaim that adultery does not exist. Since you equate adultery to to infidelity, by defining adultery as a non-existent act, we would also eliminate all infidelity.

  239. 239
    Silver Asiatic says:

    sean 232

    …materialism gives us nothing. There is simply no standard at all to reference.

    Sure there is: The Truth about Reason, Nature, History, and the Human Condition.

    Where in the material cosmos is “truth”? Where also is “the human condition”? How, biologically can we find a human condition and where, scientifically does this difference appear (between humans and chimps, for example)? Where, materially, can such distinctions be made?

    Because there’s no rational basis in reason, nature, history, or the human condition for condemning homosexuality.

    The condemnation of homosexuality exists. Therefore, material elements & evolution produced it (according to those points of view). There is no true or false, good or bad in matter. Nothing acts for a purpose. Water exists. Trees exist. Stones exist. Planets exist. Condemnation of homosexuality exists. There is no basis in materialism to claim any of those things as better than another.

    The problem with moral goals is that everyone has their own idea of what that is; so a rational morality merely keeps persons from harming others.

    This doesn’t answer the problem though. In materialism, there is no goal at all. In theism there are goals for moral improvement. It’s not enough just to do no harm. A person must grow, morally, to become more like God.
    To have morality without goals is irrational.

    Problem is: how do I know what God wants?

    Many people offer valuable and positive answers to your question. You can, indeed, find what God wants yourself. Seeking the truth is a good step. Recognizing God as the source of goodness is excellent also. When we seek what God wants, he will show us.

    Unless God actually does tell me (which has never happened) I would have to let mere humans tell me; I’d have to trust people playing God. That I cannot do.

    First – it hasn’t happened yet. With patience, you can indeed discover that God will guide you. But even still, it’s good to be open to what other people have to say about God. You’re right – it does take trust. But why should we trust ourselves alone? Do we know everything there is about God? We trust experts in other fields where we can’t evaluate results, even in science. Why not trust people who have been seeking God for a long time, and who show goodness in their spiritual life? These can be people alive today, or saints of the past.

  240. 240
    StephenB says:

    sean

    this statement reinforces my claim that the “natural moral law” is emphatically religious. I see that @211 StephenB tries to narrow this, but one is left to wonder: Is StephenB correct? Or is harry? I’ve been around long enough to know that harry’s position is the typical one.

    –sean samis

    I don’t think harry and I are disagreeing. His point is that the moral law as revealed in Scripture and the natural moral law as understood through reason are mutually reinforcing. I agree. However, the point I have been making is about the “natural” moral law.

    Ontologically, there is only one possible source for the Natural Moral Law and that would be the Lawgiver, which is God. That is what I understand harry to be saying. I have made the same point on this thread.

    However, the natural moral law, as a law, is no more religious than any other natural law. Would you say that the law of gravity or the law of conservation of energy are “emphatically religious” simply because they require a law-giver to exist? If so, then you are using the word “religious” in a rather novel way.

    Epistemologically, there are two ways one can learn about the Natural Moral Law, through Divine revelation, accessible by faith, and through Natural revelation, accessible by reason. My emphasis has been on the latter.

    So, the law itself, though it has a supernatural source, is not religious. That is why it is defined in non-religious terms:

    1. a body of unchanging moral principles regarded as a basis for all human conduct.

    2.an observable law relating to natural phenomena.
    “the natural laws of perspective”

    I don’t think harry would disagree, but if he does, I welcome his comments.

    Meanwhile, I am still waiting for your answer: If the fourteenth makes it constitutional to change the meaning of marriage as one man/one woman on the grounds that all persons have that right, why would it not also apply to fathers and daughters or, for that matter, fathers and sons?

  241. 241
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: Gay marriage is a betrayal of trust – for those who understand marriage as one-man one-woman.

    Miscegenation is a betrayal of trust for those who understand marriage is between one man and one woman of the same race.

    Silver Asiatic: So, it leads to unjustified harms to those who are betrayed by the state’s approval of it.

    Don’t get gay married, then.

  242. 242
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    Miscegenation is a betrayal of trust for those who understand marriage is between one man and one woman of the same race.

    Which explains why betrayal of trust alone is not a reliable standard one can use to condemn adultery.

    Silver Asiatic: So, it leads to unjustified harms to those who are betrayed by the state’s approval of it.

    Don’t get gay married, then.

    If I don’t get gay married, then unjustified harms to those who are betrayed by the state’s approval of it is ok with you.

    If I don’t own slaves, then unjustified harms to those betrayed by the state’s approval of slavery would be ok also.

    The topic was adultery. You don’t like it, then don’t do it. The state, on that basis, should be as tolerant of adultery as gay marriage.

  243. 243
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: Which explains why betrayal of trust alone is not a reliable standard one can use to condemn adultery.

    Marriage is a contract, a promise, between two people. Have no idea what this has to do with your claim that a trust has been violated when two people of different races or the same sex get married.

    Silver Asiatic: If I don’t get gay married, then unjustified harms to those who are betrayed by the state’s approval of it is ok with you.

    You haven’t pointed to any harm.

    Silver Asiatic: If I don’t own slaves, then unjustified harms to those betrayed by the state’s approval of slavery would be ok also.

    The harm is to the slave. You haven’t pointed to any harm due to gay or interracial marriage.

    Silver Asiatic: The state, on that basis, should be as tolerant of adultery as gay marriage.

    The state is largely tolerant of adultery. Legal claims are usually civil, having to do with breach of contract.

  244. 244
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    Marriage is a contract, a promise, between two people.

    In this view, breaking a promise is the same adultery. Should the state make it illegal for one spouse to tell any sort of lie to the other?

    The state is largely tolerant of adultery.

    Therefore adultery is not an integral component of the marriage contract.

    You haven’t pointed to any harm due to gay or interracial marriage.

    It’s the same harm as caused by pornography. It’s morally offensive to those who oppose it and believed by them to be harmful to society.

    trust has been violated when two people of different races or the same sex get married

    There is a trust that the state will uphold moral norms. When the state approved gay marriage, it was a betrayal of trust.

  245. 245
    Eugen says:

    When I lived In Communism executing political dissidents was legal.
    If I disagreed with it Zachriel would say don’t execute political dissident.
    This is a level of reason and logic we are facing. I applaud your patience Stephen, Silver Asiatic, Harry and others.

  246. 246
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Eugen – thanks and I’m grateful you’re here as a witness to life under Communism. To a large extent, younger generations in the US have little awareness of what it was like. That story has has generally been covered-up. People know Nazi’s and Hitler – but not the Soviets and Stalin.
    As you point out, whatever was for the good of the party was legal. The ends justified any means. Communist China redefined what a family is also, believing for a time that children belong to the state.
    If you don’t like it, don’t have children.

  247. 247
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: In this view, breaking a promise is the same adultery.

    No. Adultery is a lie that is at the core of the marriage contract. However, only the parties to the contract can take action, usually be ending the contract.

    StephenB: Should the state make it illegal for one spouse to tell any sort of lie to the other?

    Lying to your spouse is not a criminal offense in most societies. It’s a civil matter, and only a party to the contract can take action, usually by ending the contract.

    StephenB: It’s the same harm as caused by pornography. It’s morally offensive to those who oppose it and believed by them to be harmful to society.

    Lots of things offend people. That doesn’t mean you have a valid justification to enforce your views on others. In the U.S., the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection before the law, even if it offends you.

    StephenB: There is a trust that the state will uphold moral norms.

    No. In the U.S., the state is limited by a constitution, which includes a provision for the equal protection before the law, even if it offends you. Most other modern countries have similar provisions.

  248. 248
    Zachriel says:

    Eugen: If I disagreed with it Zachriel would say don’t execute political dissident.

    Freedom of expression, including political dissent, is a fundamental freedom.

    Under the Fourteenth Amendment, the U.S. government does not have to power to extend benefits to heterosexual couples that are not also available to homosexual couples. Meanwhile, you have every right to rail against gay marriage, just like you have every right to rail against interracial marriage, or marriage in general.

  249. 249
    StephenB says:

    Zachriel

    StephenB: In this view, breaking a promise is the same adultery.

    No. Adultery is a lie that is at the core of the marriage contract. However, only the parties to the contract can take action, usually be ending the contract.

    StephenB: Should the state make it illegal for one spouse to tell any sort of lie to the other?

    Lying to your spouse is not a criminal offense in most societies. It’s a civil matter, and only a party to the contract can take action, usually by ending the contract.

    StephenB: It’s the same harm as caused by pornography. It’s morally offensive to those who oppose it and believed by them to be harmful to society.

    Lots of things offend people. That doesn’t mean you have a valid justification to enforce your views on others. In the U.S., the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection before the law, even if it offends you.

    StephenB: There is a trust that the state will uphold moral norms.

    No. In the U.S., the state is limited by a constitution, which includes a provision for the equal protection before the law, even if it offends you. Most other modern countries have similar provisions.

    I am not the author of these statements. They may have come from Silver Asiatic.

  250. 250
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    As we said …

    How many of you are there?

    Would any of you agree that it is always wrong to take the life of an innocent human being who is in no way a threat to others?

  251. 251
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Would any of you agree that it is always wrong to take the life of an innocent human being who is in no way a threat to others?

    As we’ve said before, we’re rather fond of the hominid creatures. Call it a peccadillo if you like.

  252. 252
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    As we’ve said before, we’re rather fond of the hominid creatures.

    It’s wrong to kill them because you’re fond of them.

    With that, it’s ok to kill anything you don’t like.

  253. 253
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: With that, it’s ok to kill anything you don’t like.

    Have you ever tended a garden? Have you ever squashed a bug? Do you ever eat living organisms, such as fresh lettuce?

  254. 254
    asauber says:

    “we’re rather fond of”

    Problem is, “fond” isn’t scientific. It’s poetry.

    So much for Zachriel pretending to be scientific.

    Andrew

  255. 255
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    harry: Would any of you agree that it is always wrong to take the life of an innocent human being who is in no way a threat to others?

    Zach: Have you ever squashed a bug? Do you ever eat living organisms, such as fresh lettuce?

    I admire your openness and consistency. It’s wrong to kill if you’re fond of them, but otherwise, it’s like squashing a bug or killing any other organism.

    Humans are a particular arrangement of chemicals. So are bugs, so is lettuce.

  256. 256
    Zachriel says:

    asauber: Problem is, “fond” isn’t scientific. It’s poetry.

    Ah, you’re too kind.

    asauber: So much for Zachriel pretending to be scientific.

    There’s no scientific reason to prefer humans over beetles.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yzY-HUvavU

  257. 257
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: Humans are a particular arrangement of chemicals. So are bugs, so is lettuce.

    Was there an answer in there somewhere? Do you prefer humans over beetles?

  258. 258
    asauber says:

    “There’s no scientific reason to prefer humans over beetles.”

    Are you suggesting there is some other kind of reason to prefer humans over beetles?

    What is it?

    Andrew

  259. 259
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    Was there an answer in there somewhere? Do you prefer humans over beetles?

    I’m sorry, I don’t understand the questions. What is it that you would like me to explain to you?

  260. 260
    harry says:

    harry: Do you believe there are, accessible to any open, rational mind, objective truths that remain true whether we decide to accept them or reject them?

    Zachriel: Sure …

    harry: Do you believe there is a universally applicable ethical system that consists, at a minimum, of the principle of non-malevolence towards others, the meaning of “malevolence” being understood by everyone to be “that which I wouldn’t want done to me.”?

    Zachriel: No. …

    harry: Would any of you agree that it is always wrong to take the life of an innocent human being who is in no way a threat to others?

    Zachriel: As we’ve said before, we’re rather fond of the hominid creatures. Call it a peccadillo if you like.

    So, none of the objective truths that you agree are accessible to any open, rational mind lead you to conclude that some actions are objectively wrong. You can’t even bring yourselves to explicitly agree to the assertion that it is always wrong to take the life of an innocent human being who is in no way a threat to others.

    Imperet tibi Dominus.

  261. 261
    Zachriel says:

    asauber: Are you suggesting there is some other kind of reason to prefer humans over beetles?

    We already suggested one, a peccadillo.

    Zachriel: Do you prefer humans over beetles?

    asauber: What is it that you would like me to explain to you?

    We didn’t ask for an explanation, just your preference.

  262. 262
    asauber says:

    “We already suggested one, a peccadillo.”

    pec·ca·dil·lo
    /?pek??dil?/

    noun: peccadillo; plural noun: peccadilloes; plural noun: peccadillos

    a small, relatively unimportant offense or sin.

    Offense or sin against what, Zachriel?

    You are making less sense as you go.

    Andrew

  263. 263
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    We didn’t ask for an explanation, just your preference.

    Preference is a nebulous term. It’s also teleological and non-scientific. Preference is relative to purpose. A rational person prefers something ‘over’ another for a reason.

    I prefer coccinellidae to rid my garden of aphids. I prefer humans to ladybugs for other reasons.

    I hope that was a help to you.

  264. 264
    Zachriel says:

    asauber: a small, relatively unimportant offense or sin.

    Or foible, if you prefer.

    Silver Asiatic: Preference is a nebulous term.

    Some prefer oysters. Some prefer snails. Not sure why the term is such a challenge for you.

    Silver Asiatic: It’s also teleological and non-scientific.

    It’s certainly not scientific.

    Silver Asiatic: I prefer humans to ladybugs for other reasons.

    While we do enjoy a ladybug now and again, we share your preference for humans. Common ground!

  265. 265
    asauber says:

    “Or foible, if you prefer.”

    I prefer that you answer another simple question, which you are having difficulty doing, for some reason.

    “Offense or sin against what, Zachriel?”

    1. ______________

    Andrew

  266. 266
    Zachriel says:

    asauber: “Offense or sin against what, Zachriel?”

    It was a figure of speech. If it offends you that we have a fondness for the humans, then we ask your pardon.

    What of you? Do you have a fondness for humans?

  267. 267
    asauber says:

    “If it offends you that we have a fondness for the humans”

    It doesn’t.

    My preference is that you stick to science, if you can. Throwing out poetry and not answering questions isn’t very helpful.

    Andrew

  268. 268
    Zachriel says:

    harry: So, none of the objective truths that you agree are accessible to any open, rational mind lead you to conclude that some actions are objectively wrong.

    You can only determine right and wrong from a value system. The value you place on people or things is subjective.

    harry: You can’t even bring yourselves to explicitly agree to the assertion that it is always wrong to take the life of an innocent human being who is in no way a threat to others.

    Of course it’s wrong. That’s because we place a high value on humans.

    asauber: My preference is that you stick to science, if you can.

    You interjected after harry asked a personal question.

  269. 269
    harry says:

    Zachriel

    Of course it’s wrong.

    Is it always wrong because it is objectively wrong?

  270. 270
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    Some prefer oysters. Some prefer snails. Not sure why the term is such a challenge for you.

    I’m glad you feel comfortable describing reality with non-scientific, non-measurable and teleological concepts.

    It’s certainly not scientific.

    But you used it as an explanation and measure for moral behavior. Therefore, morality is not measurable scientifically – so, is not reducible to the physical.
    Thanks for some good support for the existence of immaterial qualities like the moral sense in humans.

    While we do enjoy a ladybug now and again, we share your preference for humans. Common ground

    Sorry, no. I already explained that I prefer ladybugs.

  271. 271
    Zachriel says:

    Zachriel: Some prefer oysters. Some prefer snails. Not sure why the term is such a challenge for you.

    Silver Asiatic: I’m glad you feel comfortable describing reality with non-scientific, non-measurable and teleological concepts.

    Actually, it was a descriptive statement. It is almost certainly an objective fact that some people prefer oysters, and some people prefer snails.

    Silver Asiatic: Therefore, morality is not measurable scientifically

    There is no scientifically measurable morality, however, we can objectively observe behavior, including behavior attributed to moral sensibilities.

    Silver Asiatic: I already explained that I prefer ladybugs.

    You had said, “I prefer humans to ladybugs” for non-specified reasons. Perhaps you changed your mind.

  272. 272
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    Silver Asiatic: I already explained that I prefer ladybugs

    I understand, some or all of you were confused – I said “I prefer coccinellidae”.

  273. 273
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: I said “I prefer coccinellidae”.

    You also said @265,

    Silver Asiatic: I prefer humans to ladybugs for other reasons.

  274. 274
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    Silver Asiatic: I prefer humans to ladybugs for other reasons.

    Since your reasons for preference were unspecified then claiming common ground would not be correct.

  275. 275
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: Since your reasons for preference were unspecified then claiming common ground would not be correct.

    Merely sharing a preference for humans is enough to establish some common ground. Unless you mean “To Serve Man”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIufLRpJYnI

  276. 276
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    Merely sharing a preference for humans is enough to establish some common ground.

    Yes, the Nazi’s preferred Jews for a certain reason, and Jewish families preferred them for a different reason. That’s apparently enough for common ground.

    Feel free to have the last word on gay marriage here.

  277. 277
    sean samis says:

    I’m sure glad I was too busy to get sucked into a silly debate about ladybugs!

    StephenB @234

    Meanwhile, I am still waiting for you to tell me if a marriage between a man and his 20 year old daughter is a constitutional right.

    And I’m waiting for you to realize that not all questions have “yes” or “no” answers. Many have “it depends” answers; these are quite common in matters of law. I’ve already listed the matters on which I think this one depends. Complaining about this won’t change my answer: It depends.

    harry @237

    If there is a good God Who created humanity and intended for us to behave in a manner that reflected His goodness, then He would build a conscience into us. He did. We all know we have one. We have all felt guilty at one time or another.

    This is compelling only if there’s no other conceivable source of a conscience. There are other explanations, so your argument holds no water.

    …there is such a thing as feeling guilty about that which there is really no reason to feel guilty. Many of us, upon realizing that, have experienced a happy moment of enlightenment.

    Agreed. But the fact that our consciences can fail us with false-positives or false negatives points to its natural origin. “If there is a good God Who created humanity and intended for us to behave in a manner that reflected His goodness, then He would build a conscience into usthat we could rely on. But your example shows we cannot.

    Our conscience is natural.

    Agreed.

    It was built into our very nature by God.

    No evidence of that; to the contrary.

    Unless we are sociopaths who never feel guilty about anything, we eventually get to a point as adults where our natural conscience is a very reliable guide.

    That sociopaths exist points to the entirely natural origin of our consciences, and away from any deity’s involvement. If our consciences are due to God, God did a crappy job.

    For mankind’s consciences to work as God intended, they had to become correctly informed.

    If this is what God “intended”, then God could have made sure Himself. That our consciences must be formed by experience indicates benevolent deities have nothing to do with them.

    Well, after the Fall, … something like this might have happened …

    Or something significantly different from your tale might have happened.

    The moral of this much too simplistic story is that …

    The moral of your much-too-simplistic story is that creative writing can fill in where reason is not wanted.

    Your story could be easily adapted to explain how a moral system arose WITHOUT ANY DEITY. Piece’o cake.

    God, in His interactions with humanity recorded in the Old Testament, affirmed the natural law that mankind should have already figured out, a law which makes clear: Don’t kill your neighbor, or take his stuff, or have relations with his wife, or his animals, or him.

    So, if we can find a moral law in nature, why do we need to add any deity to the mix? My point is entirely in accord with your statement: “…the natural law that mankind should have already figured out, a law which makes clear: Don’t kill your neighbor, or take his stuff, or have relations with his wife, or his animals, or him.” As your statement implies: No deity is required.

    Silver Asiatic @240

    In the case of the US government, those who accepted the natural law became the authorities that built the government. They had the right to establish a constitution based on the natural law itself – so their authority in establishing laws came from that. They cited natural law as the basis for human rights also.

    Who gave the US government the right to tell us what is good or bad? The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause specifically DENIES that power. Governments can tell us what’s legal or not, but not what’s good or bad. The concept of Religious Liberty denies that power to anyone but the individual deciding for themselves what is good or bad.

    As for those who do not accept that there are any moral laws inherent in human nature, they have really forfeited their rights to debate this.

    In other words, anyone who disagrees with you has lost their rights. That is arrogant nonsense.

    Never mind that I agree that there are moral laws inherent in human nature. That is my entire point!!

    …those who deny that the natural law exists, cannot at the same time argue for a certain interpretation of it.

    No one denies that the natural law exists; it obviously does. I deny it has any authority over anyone. I don’t argue for any interpretation of it, it’s extralegal and without legitimate power over anyone.

    The natural moral law is a basis for understanding all specific laws that follow from it.

    The so-called “natural moral law” is no more than one peculiar way of explaining laws. It’s not the only one, it’s not the best one, it’s not a necessary one. It’s just the subjective preference of some people, and not a very good or useful tool.

    Gay marriage is a betrayal of trust – for those who understand marriage as one-man one-woman. So, it leads to unjustified harms to those who are betrayed by the state’s approval of it.

    Nonsense. The State has never promised you to make your opinions the Law of the Land; the State has never promised you to enforce the norms of your choosing. The State can never betray a trust that it was never obligated to in the first place.

    The State has expressly and explicitly promised to protect the Religious Liberty and Equality before the Law of ALL PERSONS, a category that includes same-sex couples. Obergefell was the State’s recognition of its promise and its past betrayal of that promise

    Why is fidelity necessary, and why is fidelity measured by sexual conduct and not, instead, by other things?

    Some things are so obvious that they need no explanation to ordinary persons. This is one of those. In any event, what fidelity means in the course of marriage vows is a fact, and adultery is a betrayal of that promise. Why those promises are made or why they are necessary is different question. The fact is that they are what they are.

    Many humans respond to gay marriage as a betrayal of the meaning of marriage.

    … but not one of them can show an actual promise by anyone which has been betrayed. These people had an expectation, but it was an unreasoned expectation. These people need to reevaluate their expectations.

    This would mean that adultery only has meaning in terms of how the state defines it. The state could therefore proclaim that adultery does not exist. Since you equate adultery to to infidelity, by defining adultery as a non-existent act, we would also eliminate all infidelity.

    There is much about this I reject, but again, to what end would the State do such loopy things? In the age of no-fault divorce, the State’s definition of adultery is irrelevant. If the State made an unreasoned and pointless definition and then attached legal sanctions to it, the State’s changed definition becomes illegitimate.

    And all this is of course your way of complaining about the supposed “change in the definition of marriage” by Obergefell. SCOTUS did not change the meaning of marriage, they recognized the right of same-sex couples to marry; that’s a whole different thing.

    Silver Asiatic @241

    Where in the material cosmos is “truth”?

    Truth is not a thing to be found in a place. Truth is a term that refers to the things that just are or just happen.

    Where also is “the human condition”?

    Wherever we are, there it is.

    How, biologically can we find a human condition

    In our biology, in our behavior and needs, in our history.

    …and where, scientifically does this difference appear (between humans and chimps, for example)? Where, materially, can such distinctions be made?

    If you can distinguish between humans and chimps, you have already found the locus of the difference. Some of the human condition are biological and shared with all other living things, or with our nearest relatives (primates). Some are unique to us.

    The condemnation of homosexuality exists.

    True; but it is not justified by the truth of nature, history, nor the human condition. Many things exist which are not justified.

    <blockquote There is no true or false, good or bad in matter.

    Of course there’s true or false in matter; what is true exists or happens. What is false does not. Like anything, “good” and “bad” need to be defined in this context to be evaluated.

    Nothing acts for a purpose.

    Not true. Humans do things for a purpose all the time. We are also beginning to realize that many other species are similarly capable of planning and forethought. We don’t need a deity to give us purpose.

    Water exists. Trees exist. Stones exist. Planets exist. Condemnation of homosexuality exists. There is no basis in materialism to claim any of those things as better than another.

    There is, but only with a rational basis for deciding what is better or worse in the given situation.

    In materialism, there is no goal at all.

    You don’t know anything about materialism, so you have no standing to say whether materialism has a place for goals or not. Humans (and probably many other species) usually have goals. Materialists have no reason to deny this. And I’ve never met one who did.

    In theism there are goals for moral improvement. It’s not enough just to do no harm. A person must grow, morally, to become more like God.
    To have morality without goals is irrational.

    Take out the reference to God and materialists have no basis for objection. And I should not have to point out the ample evidence that theists are not morally superior to anyone or anything.

    When we seek what God wants, he will show us.

    From personal experience I know this to be false. “Sometimes” maybe, but certainly not always. Certainly not for me.

    First – it hasn’t happened yet. With patience, you can indeed discover that God will guide you.

    You presume much about me. Patience I have exercised. Maybe some deity will show up eventually, but until then, I still need to know how to live; as do the many others like me. That’s why we need to find moral guidance in nature. Luckily, that’s easy enough and more than sufficient morally.

    Any time God wants to join the conversation, He’s quite welcome.

    But even still, it’s good to be open to what other people have to say about God. You’re right – it does take trust.

    Trust whom? If I cannot trust humans to just reason from nature to what is right, then I cannot just trust humans who claim to have got their rules from God. If some deity shows up, I’ll deal with that then. Until then, I need to live my life.

    But why should we trust ourselves alone? Do we know everything there is about God? We trust experts in other fields where we can’t evaluate results, even in science.

    What makes a person an “expert” about God? Certainly not God without verified evidence of God’s saying-so.

    In science, the evidence and reasoning behind claims are available to all to see and examine. Even if I don’t have the expertise to evaluate the claims, I can watch the consensus build or erode, and base my conclusions on that.

    In religion, when I see inexplicable claims about God, my questions are thrown back at me. “God is mysterious”, “God is transcendental”, etc. I am told to trust the prophet. I have no way of knowing who is an “expert” and who is just a bloviator. Sorry, no.

    I can trust science, I cannot trust religion until God actually talks to me.

    Why not trust people who have been seeking God for a long time, and who show goodness in their spiritual life? These can be people alive today, or saints of the past.

    Why not? First, because you assume I can figure out what goodness is BEFORE having a spiritual awakening. If I can do that, I don’t need these “saints”!

    Second, because these “saints” have not arrived at anything remotely like a consensus about God it would be irrational to trust them. Religious disputes are endemic and pervasive. Even on this exact topic (same-sex marriage) they dispute. Their collective testimony amounts to nothing.

    StephenB @242

    Ontologically, there is only one possible source for the Natural Moral Law and that would be the Lawgiver, which is God. That is what I understand harry to be saying. I have made the same point on this thread.

    Rationally and logically, no lawgiver is needed for a moral system. The imperatives of nature suffice. If your “natural moral law” needs a god to account for it, then it’s religion. I know you keep saying your “natural moral law” is not religion, but then you keep reasserting God’s necessary involvement.

    Would you say that the law of gravity or the law of conservation of energy are “emphatically religious” simply because they require a law-giver to exist?

    Since neither gravity nor the conservation of energy require a lawgiver, the question is meaningless.

    Meanwhile, I am still waiting for your answer: If the fourteenth makes it constitutional to change the meaning of marriage as one man/one woman on the grounds that all persons have that right, why would it not also apply to fathers and daughters or, for that matter, fathers and sons?

    Answered more than once.

    Silver Asiatic @244

    The topic was adultery. You don’t like it, then don’t do it. The state, on that basis, should be as tolerant of adultery as gay marriage.

    The State is tolerant of adultery. There’s no criminal penalty. However, the difference between same-sex marriage and adultery is that the former causes no actual harm, the later does.

    Silver Asiatic @246

    Should the state make it illegal for one spouse to tell any sort of lie to the other?

    Without a legitimate purpose, no.

    “The state is largely tolerant of adultery.” Therefore adultery is not an integral component of the marriage contract.

    Interesting. The easy lack of fidelity in same-sex marriage was one of the common arguments against it.

    It’s the same harm as caused by pornography. It’s morally offensive to those who oppose it and believed by them to be harmful to society.

    This is not a harm. Racists oppose racial equality and believe it harmful to society. Same-o-same-o.

    There is a trust that the state will uphold moral norms. When the state approved gay marriage, it was a betrayal of trust.

    Unless the State explicitly and expressly made this promise, this betrayal is imaginary. The State DID EXPLICITLY AND EXPRESSLY promise to protect Religious Liberty and Equality before the Law for ALL PERSONS.

    harry @252

    Would any of you agree that it is always wrong to take the life of an innocent human being who is in no way a threat to others?

    Yes.

    harry @262

    Imperet tibi Dominus.

    I wish He would, because then He’d finally reveal himself to me. So far all I have is silence…

    harry @271

    Zachriel

    Of course it’s wrong.

    Is it always wrong because it is objectively wrong?

    There is no substantial difference between objective wrongs and subjective wrong; they only differ according to our confidence in our conclusion; a confidence that is never 100%. It’s always wrong because there’s no circumstance that makes it not wrong.

    sean s.

  278. 278
    sean samis says:

    I’m sure glad I was too busy to get sucked into a silly debate about ladybugs!

    StephenB @234

    Meanwhile, I am still waiting for you to tell me if a marriage between a man and his 20 year old daughter is a constitutional right.

    And I’m waiting for you to realize that not all questions have “yes” or “no” answers. Many have “it depends” answers; these are quite common in matters of law. I’ve already listed the matters on which I think this one depends. Complaining about this won’t change my answer: It depends.

    harry @237

    If there is a good God Who created humanity and intended for us to behave in a manner that reflected His goodness, then He would build a conscience into us. He did. We all know we have one. We have all felt guilty at one time or another.

    This is compelling only if there’s no other conceivable source of a conscience. There are other explanations, so your argument holds no water.

    …there is such a thing as feeling guilty about that which there is really no reason to feel guilty. Many of us, upon realizing that, have experienced a happy moment of enlightenment.

    Agreed. But the fact that our consciences can fail us with false-positives or false negatives points to its natural origin. “If there is a good God Who created humanity and intended for us to behave in a manner that reflected His goodness, then He would build a conscience into usthat we could rely on. But your example shows we cannot.

    Our conscience is natural.

    Agreed.

    It was built into our very nature by God.

    No evidence of that; to the contrary.

    Unless we are sociopaths who never feel guilty about anything, we eventually get to a point as adults where our natural conscience is a very reliable guide.

    That sociopaths exist points to the entirely natural origin of our consciences, and away from any deity’s involvement. If our consciences are due to God, God did a crappy job.

    For mankind’s consciences to work as God intended, they had to become correctly informed.

    If this is what God “intended”, then God could have made sure Himself. That our consciences must be formed by experience indicates benevolent deities have nothing to do with them.

    Well, after the Fall, … something like this might have happened …

    Or something significantly different from your tale might have happened.

    The moral of this much too simplistic story is that …

    The moral of your much-too-simplistic story is that creative writing can fill in where reason is not wanted.

    Your story could be easily adapted to explain how a moral system arose WITHOUT ANY DEITY. Piece’o cake.

    God, in His interactions with humanity recorded in the Old Testament, affirmed the natural law that mankind should have already figured out, a law which makes clear: Don’t kill your neighbor, or take his stuff, or have relations with his wife, or his animals, or him.

    So, if we can find a moral law in nature, why do we need to add any deity to the mix? My point is entirely in accord with your statement: “…the natural law that mankind should have already figured out, a law which makes clear: Don’t kill your neighbor, or take his stuff, or have relations with his wife, or his animals, or him.” As your statement implies: No deity is required.

    Silver Asiatic @240

    In the case of the US government, those who accepted the natural law became the authorities that built the government. They had the right to establish a constitution based on the natural law itself – so their authority in establishing laws came from that. They cited natural law as the basis for human rights also.

    Who gave the US government the right to tell us what is good or bad? The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause specifically DENIES that power. Governments can tell us what’s legal or not, but not what’s good or bad. The concept of Religious Liberty denies that power to anyone but the individual deciding for themselves what is good or bad.

    As for those who do not accept that there are any moral laws inherent in human nature, they have really forfeited their rights to debate this.

    In other words, anyone who disagrees with you has lost their rights. That is arrogant nonsense.

    Never mind that I agree that there are moral laws inherent in human nature. That is my entire point!!

    …those who deny that the natural law exists, cannot at the same time argue for a certain interpretation of it.

    No one denies that the natural law exists; it obviously does. I deny it has any authority over anyone. I don’t argue for any interpretation of it, it’s extralegal and without legitimate power over anyone.

    The natural moral law is a basis for understanding all specific laws that follow from it.

    The so-called “natural moral law” is no more than one peculiar way of explaining laws. It’s not the only one, it’s not the best one, it’s not a necessary one. It’s just the subjective preference of some people, and not a very good or useful tool.

    Gay marriage is a betrayal of trust – for those who understand marriage as one-man one-woman. So, it leads to unjustified harms to those who are betrayed by the state’s approval of it.

    Nonsense. The State has never promised you to make your opinions the Law of the Land; the State has never promised you to enforce the norms of your choosing. The State can never betray a trust that it was never obligated to in the first place.

    The State has expressly and explicitly promised to protect the Religious Liberty and Equality before the Law of ALL PERSONS, a category that includes same-sex couples. Obergefell was the State’s recognition of its promise and its past betrayal of that promise

    Why is fidelity necessary, and why is fidelity measured by sexual conduct and not, instead, by other things?

    Some things are so obvious that they need no explanation to ordinary persons. This is one of those. In any event, what fidelity means in the course of marriage vows is a fact, and adultery is a betrayal of that promise. Why those promises are made or why they are necessary is different question. The fact is that they are what they are.

    Many humans respond to gay marriage as a betrayal of the meaning of marriage.

    … but not one of them can show an actual promise by anyone which has been betrayed. These people had an expectation, but it was an unreasoned expectation. These people need to reevaluate their expectations.

    This would mean that adultery only has meaning in terms of how the state defines it. The state could therefore proclaim that adultery does not exist. Since you equate adultery to to infidelity, by defining adultery as a non-existent act, we would also eliminate all infidelity.

    There is much about this I reject, but again, to what end would the State do such loopy things? In the age of no-fault divorce, the State’s definition of adultery is irrelevant. If the State made an unreasoned and pointless definition and then attached legal sanctions to it, the State’s changed definition becomes illegitimate.

    And all this is of course your way of complaining about the supposed “change in the definition of marriage” by Obergefell. SCOTUS did not change the meaning of marriage, they recognized the right of same-sex couples to marry; that’s a whole different thing.

    Silver Asiatic @241

    Where in the material cosmos is “truth”?

    Truth is not a thing to be found in a place. Truth is a term that refers to the things that just are or just happen.

    Where also is “the human condition”?

    Wherever we are, there it is.

    How, biologically can we find a human condition

    In our biology, in our behavior and needs, in our history.

    …and where, scientifically does this difference appear (between humans and chimps, for example)? Where, materially, can such distinctions be made?

    If you can distinguish between humans and chimps, you have already found the locus of the difference. Some of the human condition are biological and shared with all other living things, or with our nearest relatives (primates). Some are unique to us.

    The condemnation of homosexuality exists.

    True; but it is not justified by the truth of nature, history, nor the human condition. Many things exist which are not justified.

    There is no true or false, good or bad in matter.

    Of course there’s true or false in matter; what is true exists or happens. What is false does not. Like anything, “good” and “bad” need to be defined in this context to be evaluated.

    Nothing acts for a purpose.

    Not true. Humans do things for a purpose all the time. We are also beginning to realize that many other species are similarly capable of planning and forethought. We don’t need a deity to give us purpose.

    Water exists. Trees exist. Stones exist. Planets exist. Condemnation of homosexuality exists. There is no basis in materialism to claim any of those things as better than another.

    There is, but only with a rational basis for deciding what is better or worse in the given situation.

    In materialism, there is no goal at all.

    You don’t know anything about materialism, so you have no standing to say whether materialism has a place for goals or not. Humans (and probably many other species) usually have goals. Materialists have no reason to deny this. And I’ve never met one who did.

    In theism there are goals for moral improvement. It’s not enough just to do no harm. A person must grow, morally, to become more like God.
    To have morality without goals is irrational.

    Take out the reference to God and materialists have no basis for objection. And I should not have to point out the ample evidence that theists are not morally superior to anyone or anything.

    When we seek what God wants, he will show us.

    From personal experience I know this to be false. “Sometimes” maybe, but certainly not always. Certainly not for me.

    First – it hasn’t happened yet. With patience, you can indeed discover that God will guide you.

    You presume much about me. Patience I have exercised. Maybe some deity will show up eventually, but until then, I still need to know how to live; as do the many others like me. That’s why we need to find moral guidance in nature. Luckily, that’s easy enough and more than sufficient morally.

    Any time God wants to join the conversation, He’s quite welcome.

    But even still, it’s good to be open to what other people have to say about God. You’re right – it does take trust.

    Trust whom? If I cannot trust humans to just reason from nature to what is right, then I cannot just trust humans who claim to have got their rules from God. If some deity shows up, I’ll deal with that then. Until then, I need to live my life.

    But why should we trust ourselves alone? Do we know everything there is about God? We trust experts in other fields where we can’t evaluate results, even in science.

    What makes a person an “expert” about God? Certainly not God without verified evidence of God’s saying-so.

    In science, the evidence and reasoning behind claims are available to all to see and examine. Even if I don’t have the expertise to evaluate the claims, I can watch the consensus build or erode, and base my conclusions on that.

    In religion, when I see inexplicable claims about God, my questions are thrown back at me. “God is mysterious”, “God is transcendental”, etc. I am told to trust the prophet. I have no way of knowing who is an “expert” and who is just a bloviator. Sorry, no.

    I can trust science, I cannot trust religion until God actually talks to me.

    Why not trust people who have been seeking God for a long time, and who show goodness in their spiritual life? These can be people alive today, or saints of the past.

    Why not? First, because you assume I can figure out what goodness is BEFORE having a spiritual awakening. If I can do that, I don’t need these “saints”!

    Second, because these “saints” have not arrived at anything remotely like a consensus about God it would be irrational to trust them. Religious disputes are endemic and pervasive. Even on this exact topic (same-sex marriage) they dispute. Their collective testimony amounts to nothing.

    StephenB @242

    Ontologically, there is only one possible source for the Natural Moral Law and that would be the Lawgiver, which is God. That is what I understand harry to be saying. I have made the same point on this thread.

    Rationally and logically, no lawgiver is needed for a moral system. The imperatives of nature suffice. If your “natural moral law” needs a god to account for it, then it’s religion. I know you keep saying your “natural moral law” is not religion, but then you keep reasserting God’s necessary involvement.

    Would you say that the law of gravity or the law of conservation of energy are “emphatically religious” simply because they require a law-giver to exist?

    Since neither gravity nor the conservation of energy require a lawgiver, the question is meaningless.

    Meanwhile, I am still waiting for your answer: If the fourteenth makes it constitutional to change the meaning of marriage as one man/one woman on the grounds that all persons have that right, why would it not also apply to fathers and daughters or, for that matter, fathers and sons?

    Answered more than once.

    Silver Asiatic @244

    The topic was adultery. You don’t like it, then don’t do it. The state, on that basis, should be as tolerant of adultery as gay marriage.

    The State is tolerant of adultery. There’s no criminal penalty. However, the difference between same-sex marriage and adultery is that the former causes no actual harm, the later does.

    Silver Asiatic @246

    Should the state make it illegal for one spouse to tell any sort of lie to the other?

    Without a legitimate purpose, no.

    “The state is largely tolerant of adultery.” Therefore adultery is not an integral component of the marriage contract.

    Interesting. The easy lack of fidelity in same-sex marriage was one of the common arguments against it.

    It’s the same harm as caused by pornography. It’s morally offensive to those who oppose it and believed by them to be harmful to society.

    This is not a harm. Racists oppose racial equality and believe it harmful to society. Same-o-same-o.

    There is a trust that the state will uphold moral norms. When the state approved gay marriage, it was a betrayal of trust.

    Unless the State explicitly and expressly made this promise, this betrayal is imaginary. The State DID EXPLICITLY AND EXPRESSLY promise to protect Religious Liberty and Equality before the Law for ALL PERSONS.

    harry @252

    Would any of you agree that it is always wrong to take the life of an innocent human being who is in no way a threat to others?

    Yes.

    harry @262

    Imperet tibi Dominus.

    I wish He would, because then He’d finally reveal himself to me. So far all I have is silence…

    harry @271

    Zachriel

    Of course it’s wrong.

    Is it always wrong because it is objectively wrong?

    There is no substantial difference between objective wrongs and subjective wrong; they only differ according to our confidence in our conclusion; a confidence that is never 100%. It’s always wrong because there’s no circumstance that makes it not wrong.

    sean s.

  279. 279
    StephenB says:

    sean samis

    And I’m waiting for you to realize that not all questions have “yes” or “no” answers.

    The simple truth is that you are afraid to answer. I knew that you would be. You know very well that the rationale for allowing gay marriage would also allow for any kind of marriage among consenting adults. A little intellectual honesty would be appreciated.

    If the fourteenth amendment “protects” gays against the traditional definition of marriage, then it protects everyone, including fathers and their daughters, or mothers with their sons.

    You can provide no rational argument that would allow gay marriage, while at the same time, disallowing marriage between one’s own family members. I know it and you know it.

    Many have “it depends” answers; these are quite common in matters of law. I’ve already listed the matters on which I think this one depends. Complaining about this won’t change my answer: It depends.

    Feel free to explain how “it depends” relates to the fourteenth amendment, equal protection, and gay marriage vs. intra-family marriage that are of age. Why would you stage such a bluff? Didn’t you know that I would call it?

  280. 280
    Silver Asiatic says:

    StephenB

    Feel free to explain how “it depends” relates to the fourteenth amendment, equal protection, and gay marriage vs. intra-family marriage that are of age.

    True – there’s no argument against that. A consistent interpretation of 14h amendment would allow for intra-family marriage, and even your modifier “that are of age” is an open question that could simply be re-defined (as some are working for already).

  281. 281
    StephenB says:

    Rationally and logically, no lawgiver is needed for a moral system.

    A lawgiver is required for a moral law. All effects require causes. Or do you deny logic as well. Meanwhile, why did you substitute the words moral system for the words moral law. Is that supposed to be some kind of linguistic trick?

    Since neither gravity nor the conservation of energy require a lawgiver, the question is meaningless.

    Of course, they require lawgivers for their existence. Where do you think laws come from if not from the lawgiver that causes theme to be? You think they just “poof” into existence from nothing? For you, it seems, effects do not require causes at all.

    The imperatives of nature suffice. If your “natural moral law” needs a god to account for it, then it’s religion.

    If the natural moral law is religious simply because it requires a lawgiver, then the laws of gravity and conservation are also religious for the same reason. That should be obvious.

    I know you keep saying your “natural moral law” is not religion, but then you keep reasserting God’s necessary involvement.

    The natural moral law is not religious in the sense that it requires no revelation or no faith to be apprehended. That is the epistemological fact. It can be known by reason. Reason is not a religious concept.

    The ontological fact that the natural moral law cannot come to exist without a lawgiver is another matter. If you want to call that phase of it, the ontological phase, religious, feel free.

    I have no idea what you mean by the word “religious.” I have to sort it out because you don’t define it.

  282. 282
    StephenB says:

    Silver Asiatic

    True – there’s no argument against that. A consistent interpretation of 14h amendment would allow for intra-family marriage, and even your modifier “that are of age” is an open question that could simply be re-defined (as some are working for already).

    SA, that’s about the size of it. Why would the ability to consent be a factor at all. As Justice Kennedy says “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life…”

  283. 283
    Mung says:

    ““At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life…””

    Well, according to my concept of existence justice Kennedy doesn’t exist.

  284. 284
    Mung says:

    SB,

    Can you explain why the natural moral law requires a lawgiver?

    ETA: I don’t believe in natural laws, I believe in natures/essences. So keep that in mind.

  285. 285
    Silver Asiatic says:

    sean s

    Some things are so obvious that they need no explanation to ordinary persons.

    I think you’d be surprised at how otherwise ordinary persons fail to accept some very obvious truths.

  286. 286
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Moral law is different from patterns or order built into nature (mathematics, logic) which are ‘laws’ but are not built on moral choice and consequences/rewards.

    In this case, a lawgiver is required because morality only has meaning if there is a final arbitration of moral goodness.

    Morality is a journey up a hierarchical scale of values. Moral law is goal-oriented, moving a person towards greater moral goodness. But progress and meaning or understanding of that process can only be judged by the law-giver.

  287. 287
    StephenB says:

    Mung

    SB,

    Can you explain why the natural moral law requires a lawgiver?

    ETA: I don’t believe in natural laws, I believe in natures/essences. So keep that in mind.

    Very interesting comment. Let me try to say something that might bring us together.

    I assume that we agree that a physical “law,” is really just a human paradigm that describes a “law-like” regularity that is observed in nature. So, ontologically, we are referring to an event that happens over and over again, trying to make sense of it and giving it a name. It is the “nature” of matter to be moved in this way. So, the question becomes, who created matter with such a nature?

    If you attribute that regularity or movement to a final cause or something that explains the ordered regularity from a philosophical perspective, all well and good. I am just as comfortable with first cause as lawgiver. The philosopher calls it one thing, the scientist, another. Since truth is unified, there can only be one truth. The philosopher studies one aspect from one perspective, the scientist, another. The former is nobler because it probes the why and not just the how.

    The point being that order, regularity, and the reasons for it, require an orderer, a regulator, and a reasoner in the same way that any effect requires a cause. I gather that you would agree. Order, regularity, and the nature of matter cannot be brought into existence or be sustained except through some outside power or cause. A nature requires a nature giver, so to speak.

    With respect to the moral law, we are really discussing the morality of human nature. What does it mean for a human to be good. Philosophy has already answered that question as well. Anything is good if it operates the way it was designed and intended to operate. (Aristotle, Aquinas).

    A good can opener is one that opens cans. A good pencil is one that writes. A good pencil cannot be a a good can opener and it will destroy itself if it tries. So it is with a human being. A good human being is one that operates the way he/she was designed to operate. Humans were designed to practice virtue and avoid vice so that they can be with God someday. It is their nature. Anything that is consistent with their nature is good for them; anything that is not, is bad for them.

    Some of us call it that natural moral law to emphasize its binding nature. Break it, and you (and others) will suffer. So, in that sense, I think the word “law” has some merit. If you prefer to dispense with the word “law,” we can call it the morality proper to human nature. Naturally, it applies only to humans, not animals. Like the pencil that destroys itself by assuming the nature of a can opener, a human will destroy himself by assuming the nature of (and acting like) an animal. He will never fulfill his destiny, which is to love and be with God. In the end, he will not be a good person, he will be a bad person. He acted against his nature and his reason for being. If, on the other hand, he has no final purpose of reason for being, then he cannot be good or bad since it is impossible for him to frustrate a purpose that doesn’t exist.

    These conditions did not simply appear from out of nowhere. A Creator had to set them up. So, too, in this sense the “law of human nature” or, if you like, the morality of human nature, requires a lawgiver or, if you like, a first cause, — or nature giver.

  288. 288
    sean samis says:

    StephenB @281

    A little intellectual honesty would be appreciated.

    I’ve given that to you and you’ve not appreciated it. So be it, you demand a “yes” or “no” answer where it is not appropriate. It depends for the reasons I gave.

    You know very well that the rationale for allowing gay marriage would also allow for any kind of marriage among consenting adults.

    I know very well that you are wrong. Homosexuality and transgenderism are inherent traits; incestuousness is not. Polygamy and polyandry are not. The logic of Obergefell does not support all kinds of marriage, only same-sex marriage, inter-racial marriage, inter-faith marriage, and different-sex marriage.

    If the fourteenth amendment “protects” gays against the traditional definition of marriage, then it protects everyone, including fathers and their daughters, or mothers with their sons.

    FACEPALM!

    The Fourteenth Amendment does not protect against “definitions”, it protects against illegitimate discrimination, which is what bans on same-sex marriage were.

    You can provide no rational argument that would allow gay marriage, while at the same time, disallowing marriage between one’s own family members. I know it and you know it.

    I’ve done it many times. You don’t LIKE it, but I’ve done it.

    Same-sex couples are citizens too, their homosexuality is an inherent trait, forbidding same-sex marriage effectively forbids all marriage because gays are not sexually compatible with women and lesbians are not sexually compatible with men. Their marriages cause no harm to other couples and in accord with the concepts of Religious Liberty and EP, there is no legitimate reason to ban their marriages.

    As for “marriage between one’s own family members” I have not disallowed them (nor allowed them). The question remains open.

    Feel free to explain how “it depends” …

    I’ve answered this already, and you ignored those answers. Why would I enable you to ignore them again? Do your homework for yourself.

    StephenB @283

    A lawgiver is required for a moral law. All effects require causes.

    … but not causes need not be persons. There’s no effect from any set of moral laws (i.e a moral system) which requires a lawgiver as the cause.

    Of course, they [gravity or the conservation of energy] require lawgivers for their existence. Where do you think laws come from if not from the lawgiver that causes theme to be?

    In regard to natural phenomena, the term “law” merely refers to a description of what happens. No lawgiver is needed to command matter to exert gravitational force, it just does as part of its nature.

    If the natural moral law is religious simply because it requires a lawgiver, then the laws of gravity and conservation are also religious for the same reason. That should be obvious.

    This is nonsense. You regularly attest to the role your God has in creating or understanding your “natural moral law”; this makes it religious. There are times in your subsequent comments where you do so again.

    The laws of nature do not need a deity to explain or understand them.

    The natural moral law is not religious in the sense that it requires no revelation or no faith to be apprehended. That is the epistemological fact. It can be known by reason. Reason is not a religious concept.

    Reason is not religious, and if we can discuss your “natural moral law” FULLY AND COMPLETELY without ever referencing ANY deity, then it would not be religious. Can your “natural moral law” be fully understood and appreciated by a confirmed atheist? Will there be anything the atheist will miss or misapprehend?

    I have no idea what you mean by the word “religious.” I have to sort it out because you don’t define it.

    I am not going to get sidetracked in a semantic dispute over the exact meaning of “religious”. But I will say that any concept or idea that depends on a deity to explain its origins or attributes or to understand its meaning or effect is thereby religious. If your “natural moral law” had to be created by a deity, it is religion.

    StephenB @284

    SA, … Why would the ability to consent be a factor at all. As Justice Kennedy says “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life…”

    Oh Stephen! This is so sad. Really.

    Without the requirement of consent, coercion is permitted.
    If coercion is permitted, liberty dies.

    You need to re-read J. Kennedy’s words (which you cite but do not understand). If coercion is permitted, how can one “define one’s own concept of existence, etc.? A coerced person is acting on someone else’s concepts. The coerced person’s liberty is lost.

    To preserve liberty, it is necessary to prevent coercion.
    To prevent coercion, it is necessary to require consent.

    That is why the ability to consent is crucial to liberty.

    Silver Asiatic @288

    Moral law is different from patterns or order built into nature (mathematics, logic) which are ‘laws’ but are not built on moral choice and consequences/rewards.

    Very true and includes the physical laws (gravity, etc.), This difference is why the term “law” confuses some (no names).

    …a lawgiver is required because morality only has meaning if there is a final arbitration of moral goodness.

    Why would this be necessary? Morality is a set of rules that guide our conduct; not merely a post-hoc evaluation of how well we did. As you said above, moral laws are built on consequences and rewards. These do not require a lawgiver; nature hands out consequences and rewards constantly.

    Morality is a journey up a hierarchical scale of values. Moral law is goal-oriented, moving a person towards greater moral goodness. But progress and meaning or understanding of that process can only be judged by the law-giver.

    This is one opinion, and not a persuasive one. It’s certainly not compelling.

    And if you are one of those folks who thinks that morality needs to be “objective” then the Big Problem remains: only persons who actually hear the sound of their deity’s voice can know “objectively” what the Final Arbitration decided. For the rest of us heathens, morality can only be subjective. The judgements of some lawgiver post-hoc are worthless.

    If there’s a moral dispute, only God can give an “objective” resolution, and then only if God gives His answer directly to the disputants. Any other resolution is subjective.

    StephenB @289

    I assume that we agree that a physical “law,” is really just a human paradigm that describes a “law-like” regularity that is observed in nature. So, ontologically, we are referring to an event that happens over and over again, trying to make sense of it and giving it a name. It is the “nature” of matter to be moved in this way.

    I can accept that.

    So, the question becomes, who created matter with such a nature?

    Wrong at the outset. Where matter comes from is a reasonable question; it’s an important question, and getting it right is Very Important.

    Asking “who” presumes the answer; that someone created it. That is an unwarranted assumption that gets in the way of truth-seeking.

    If you attribute that regularity or movement to a final cause or something that explains the ordered regularity from a philosophical perspective, all well and good.

    I can agree with most of this. It’s preferable to explain ordered regularity by some kind of empirically testable phenomena. Philosophical perspectives are too vague or ambiguous to be reliable.

    I am just as comfortable with first cause as lawgiver.

    I thought we were looking for the truth, not for “comfort” If we all just pick the answer we are comfortable with, then the small matter of TRUTH gets lost.

    Since truth is unified, there can only be one truth.

    Truth is not a thing, it is not a unified thing. Truth is just what is or what happens. There are many truths; one being that we only presume all truths are “compatible”; Gödel’s theorem makes that uncertain.

    The philosopher studies one aspect from one perspective, the scientist, another. The former is nobler because it probes the why and not just the how.

    The former is unreliable because it assumes what it sets out to prove. Before we can reasonably probe the why we need to prove the why even exists. That remains undone.

    The point being that order, regularity, and the reasons for it, require an orderer, a regulator, and a reasoner in the same way that any effect requires a cause. Order, regularity, and the nature of matter cannot be brought into existence or be sustained except through some outside power or cause. A nature requires a nature giver, so to speak.

    A claim for which there is no evidence except that it’s a comfortable idea. In fact, it appears to be the opposite: disorder and irregularity demand explanations were order and regularity appear to be just an attribute of existence.

    Certainly, if as you say above, that …truth is unified, there can only be one truth then order and regularity are built into truth.

    With respect to the moral law, we are really discussing the morality of human nature.

    Complete change of topic. Natural and moral laws are categorically different.

    Natural or “physical” laws (as you wrote above) are …really just a human paradigm that describes a “law-like” regularity that is observed in nature . Natural laws cannot be violated. One ignores them at their peril, but they CANNOT be violated. It is physically impossible to do so.

    Moral laws are rules of conduct which humans can obey or ignore at their discretion, and whose violations can totally escape consequence.

    What does it mean for a human to be good. Philosophy has already answered that question as well. Anything is good if it operates the way it was designed and intended to operate. (Aristotle, Aquinas).

    You must be aware that Philosophy has numerous, contradictory answers to every question. Aristotle and Aquinas are not Philosophy, they are just a couple of guys; one who died 23 centuries ago; the other who appears to have repudiated his life’s work.

    Philosophy does not speak with one voice except if you cherry-pick it.

    A good can opener is one that opens cans. A good pencil is one that writes.

    Here the word “good” is sloppy. A FUNCTIONAL can opener is one that opens cans; a FUNCTIONAL pencil one that can be used for writing. (Pencils don’t write; sometimes people use pencils to write).

    A good pencil cannot be a a good can opener and it will destroy itself if it tries.

    This is foolish. Pencils don’t attempt to do anything, much less to act as different objects. A foolish person will destroy a pencil using it as a can opener, but they might succeed if they try hard enough. But there’s no fault on the pencil. The pencil tried nothing.

    A good human being is one that operates the way he/she was designed to operate. Humans were designed to practice virtue and avoid vice so that they can be with God someday.

    Here is the crux of the matter: are humans even designed? Much less were they designed to do certain things? Says who? This is a perfectly fine religious theory, but like all religious theories, there is no rational or moral obligation to agree with it. If this is the import of your “natural moral law” then again you are making it religious.

    Anything that is consistent with their nature is good for them; anything that is not, is bad for them.

    Since we haven’t established what the nature of humans is, I have to again ask: says who? Some religious persons will agree, but they will disagree among themselves about what actual behaviors are good or bad.

    Some of us call it that natural moral law to emphasize its binding nature.

    Again you connect your “natural moral law” to religious concepts. Either way, It’s not binding on anyone who does not believe in it or agree with the details you propose for it. It is your “comfortable” opinion; nothing more.

    Break it, and you (and others) will suffer.

    Sometimes. Maybe. People DO get away with murder.

    If you prefer to dispense with the word “law,” we can call it the morality proper to human nature.

    Changing the name does not make it more rational or true or less religious. It remains only another religious opinion, one of many, none of which bind those who do not believe in them.

    .Naturally, it applies only to humans, not animals.

    Why? We know animal are in fact capable of generosity and cruelty; why are they not bound? They are capable of volition, why are they not bound?

    Like the pencil that destroys itself by assuming the nature of a can opener, …

    Pencils cannot do this. Pencils cannot act; they cannot choose; they cannot assume.

    If, on the other hand, he has no final purpose of reason for being, then he cannot be good or bad since it is impossible for him to frustrate a purpose that doesn’t exist.

    Unless, of course, there’s valid meaning to “good” and “bad” unconnected to any religious dogma about supposed “purposes”. I’ve proposed one on this site. It’s not even difficult.

    These conditions did not simply appear from out of nowhere. A Creator had to set them up.

    Something had to cause things, but a Creator-Person is not required. This is just another of your “comfortable” opinions.

    In spite of kairosfocus’s high praise, Silver Asiatic makes a better case (@288) than you do.

    sean s.

  289. 289
    JimFit says:

    As an outsider, i see the US transforming to a Neo-Marxist state, that’s why there is so much fury for homogeneity (and not equality), that means no race, no religion, no sex and so on… It smells like 1984!

    As for homosexuals, both homosexual women and men have sexual organs that fertilize each other so its not a matter of nature but nurture, there is no homosexuality, there is only psychological impotence. The reasons for homosexuality are psychological and the human mind can change them because the brain is plastic.

    Gay agenda will say that its about love and we much love each other but they don’t mean it, i love men but i am not attracted to them sexually, i love my brother and my father and my friends, homosexuals don’t want to decriminalize love, they want to decriminalize sodomy and sodomy leads to bacterial diseases that affect the rest of the population which is not homosexual.

    http://www.webmd.com/sex/anal-sex-health-concerns

    According to the God of the Atheists, chance, if an event happens more often it will result to a new event, if anal sex is protected by the government as something normal, bacterial diseases are more probable to happen.

    For the above reasons gay marriage should not be recognized as equal but as a parody.

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