Santorum's Hypocrisy and Backwardness on Questions of Epistemic Authority

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My thoughts:

In this video, Santorum asks for evidence that same sex marriage and the marginalization of those who oppose gay equality as bigots are good things that should be happening. He is indignant that anyone could dare call a position held by the Roman Catholic Church and held for “2,000 years” could be called bigoted. Because, you know, bigoted ideas don’t live older than 30 years or something—everybody knows that.

When the student cites the famous 1973 judgment of the American Psychiatric Association, the United States’ main professional psychiatrists’ organization, favoring declassifying homosexuality as a disorder, she appeals to people with qualified (even if fallible) expertise on disorders, which obviously has at least more expertise than a religious organization committed to dogmatically enshrining ancient and medieval misunderstandings of the world in belief and law—Santorum dismisses the APA as just “a group of people who agree with each other”. They’re just a group of people who see things the same way, but that is proof of nothing about the rightness of their position. But the “2,000 years” of the Catholic Church consensus based on nothing resembling facts and on contestable interpretations of teleology is cited as though an unimpeachable authority.

It is absurd. In the posts below I actually have given the kinds of arguments in favor of the moral goodness of homosexual love and the rightness of promoting gays fully realizing sexual and loving relationships with each other. Like Catholics, I am even a teleologist of a sort when it comes to values and ethics—in that I think it is true and valuable to think in terms of natural functions but not in the sense of thinking these functions were given to things purposefully from an intelligent designer. And yet, I think a serious, nuanced, naturalistic, morally pluralistic teleological investigation vindicates the necessity of encouraging gay people to love and have sex as they are naturally inclined.

My main arguments to these effects can be found in the following posts:

An Argument For Gay Marriage And Against Traditionalism (my 6,000 word long, fullest single treatment of the subject)

Contortions Of Catholic Philosophy: Eve Tushnet Argues Gay Sex Is Not OK But Sex Changes Are

Why “Loving The Sinner But Hating The Sin” Is Not An Option When …

Happy National Coming Out Day 2009!

Bishop of Church of England Doesn’t “Share Same Faith” As Those Who Accept Homosexuality

And Santorum, wildly exaggerating, argues in the video that the normalization of homosexual relationships would destroy faith. If only it could! But while it is a blow against one faith-based (i.e., willfully prejudicial) belief, it is not going to destroy faith-based religions. Rather, it will allow the millions of faithful gay people to be recognized as the people of faith they are, weaken the public perception of the strength of the case against faith (since the faithful will less and less be abusively discriminatory against gays and so and so expose faith less as the blind, potentially destructive prejudice it really is), and it will free many people who presently are repulsed by faith because of its obviously prejudicial character to come back to it in the more “benign” matters.

But, nonetheless, Santorum wants to know if there is anyone willing to make the argument that faith should be undermined.  I for one am: See Disambiguating Faith: How Faith Poisons Religion, and the rest of my Disambiguating Faith series while you are at it.

Your Thoughts?

  • http://physicalism.wordpress.com/ Physicalist

    First thought: You’re right.

    Second thought: Welcome to FTB. Good to see you.

    Third thought: You have more post categories than any blog I’ve ever seen.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Camels With Hammers

      Great to see, you Physicalist! It was quite long ago we met. How has your blog treated you?

      And, yeah, I drive myself nuts trying to classify everything in my ridiculous number of categories. We also wound up with two of every category when we switched web hosts last summer. I think I have a plan now to fix that if I ever get the patience.

    • http://physicalism.wordpress.com/ Physicalist

      I don’t know whether you’ll find this here at this late date, but I don’t take that to be a reason for not responding:

      I also don’t know whether we’ve met before (perhaps there was someone else using the same handle), but I’m happy to make your acquaintance — again, if it is so.

      There’s a chance we’ve met IRL (as the kids say) — I do know some people at Fordham — but I don’t specifically recall doing so, and your recognition of such a meeting would require seeing through my impermeable veil of bloggy pseudonymity, which we all know it nigh unto impossible.

      The blog, such as it is, is just a location for procrastination at the moment. But I do find myself getting engaged in more conversations that are actually relevant to my work, so perhaps it will grow into something more at some point.

      Anyhow, you’re added to my RSS reader; thanks for your thoughts.

      (P.S. What’s the reference with Camels & Hammers? Is it some Nietzsche phrase or something?)

  • Tisha Irwin

    Not only is he a bigot, but he’s a terrible speaker. He interrupted every single person that said anything, and then had the nerve to say “time out” like a petulant child when the student tried to finish her point. That video made me want to bitch slap him even more than I already do.

    And to use his argument, christianity is not proof of anything except that a bunch of people agree with christianity.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Camels With Hammers

      All very well put. He asks for someone to provide an argument and then flips out when he gets one. A real meltdown towards a student who had spoken to him for, what a minute or two? Unbecoming a former United States Senator, let alone a presidential candidate.