The Natural Law Argument Against Procreation

“Nobody has the right to harm others. Yet, homosexuality is a harmful behavior. It is obviously harmful to its practitioners — the clinical evidence for all manner of psychological and physical problems created by acting on homosexual impulses is well established. Homosexuality is destructive to self because it uses the human body in ways that it simple [sic] was not intended to be used by nature and nature’s God.”

In the above quote, religious-right columnist Tim Dunkin argues that we know homosexuality is immoral because of the physical and psychological harm that it causes. The lasting damage that gay people do to their bodies, he says, is proof that they’re misusing them in ways that God never intended.

Well, I think he’s onto something. The only thing is, I think he’s aiming at the wrong target. There’s a practice that indisputably causes far more harm, wreaks far more destruction on human bodies and minds, than homosexuality. That practice is heterosexual procreation, and I hope that sensible, right-thinking Christians across the land will join with me in urging Congress to pass a law banning this wicked and sinful act.

Do you doubt that procreation is against natural law? Well, just consider this evidence.

First of all, there’s the hymen. This membrane, which is a completely natural part of women’s bodies, covers and protects the vaginal opening – clear evidence of God’s benevolent design and his intention not to permit anything to pass through. When the hymen is torn, often during a woman’s first act of intercourse, the usual result is pain and blood, which is tangible proof of the harm done by disobeying God’s will. Why, some women have to have surgery just to make it possible for them to have sex! What clearer proof could there be that we’re misusing our bodies and going against natural law when we do it?

But if a woman disregards God’s will and goes on to have sex and become pregnant, worse harm often follows. For one thing, the narrow pelvis of human beings makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for an entire baby to fit through. In developing countries, this causes obstructed labor, which is still a leading cause of maternal death. In advanced countries, godless doctors “solve” this problem with episiotomy or even Caesarean section – major surgery that involves cutting through the abdominal wall! Don’t you think that, if giving birth was in accord with God’s plan, he would have designed the human body to do it easily and without pain or harm? The fact that women are trying to push babies through a channel which something that size would never normally fit through is clear proof that they’re blatantly defying natural law.

Even when the act of giving birth succeeds, severe complications often follow that are destructive to the woman’s health. One of the most common is obstetric fistula, a terrible injury that results in incontinence, infections and paralysis. Psychological consequences sometimes follow as well, such as postpartum depression and even postpartum psychosis. And, please note, none of these are occasional add-ons like STDs – they follow directly and intrinsically from childbirth itself! How can the many harmful consequences of procreation not convince you that it’s an unnatural and objectively disordered act in plain violation of natural law?

The only solution is to pass a just and sensible law, or better yet a constitutional amendment, banning this immoral practice. Since people can’t be trusted to use their bodies responsibly as God intended, we true Christians have no choice but to force them to do the right thing. The Bible itself says clearly that lifelong celibacy is always the better choice, so we know that this law would be correct in God’s eyes. What better argument do we need to make it a part of the secular law that’s binding on everyone?

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Ritchie

    You correctly point out that the Bible itself praises celibacy over sex. For several hundred years the church’s attitude to sex was ‘None under any circumstances. Sex is always wrong’.

    How peculiar that today so many consider the Bible to have an approving, encouraging attitude to sex (albeit between married, heterosexual couples), when in fact it is just barely permissive, and very reluctantly too. It’s as though it doesn’t really want Christians reproducing at all.

    An attitude with which I find myself hard-pressed to disagree.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    In Genesis, part of Yaw-haw’s curse when he kicked humanity out of the Garden of Eden was that women would suffer in childbirth (Genesis 3:16). I’m not sure whether that means abstinence is dodging divine discipline, or simply remaining… [shudder] “pure.”

    Goddammit, virginity is the worst fake virtue ever. “Not stickin’ it in the naughty place makes you a better person in God’s eyes.” WTF.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    It is obviously harmful to its practitioners — the clinical evidence for all manner of psychological and physical problems created by acting on homosexual impulses is well established.

    From what I’ve seen it’s only well established in the minds of right-wingers relying on faulty studies on bad data. There are quite a few organizations out there that fund studies that set out to make gays look bad and/or misinterpret other studies to make gays look bad and then publish these far and wide through the right-wing sphere until it simply becomes “common knowledge.” When you actually start looking at the studies they simply don’t support the idea that these harms are “well established.” (It’s much like the tobacco companies that supported their own “sound science” in an attempt to make cigarettes seem non-harmful or even healthy.)

  • Charles Black

    The best way to chip away at the unwanted privilege religion lords over society is to use humour to chip away that barrier to criticism.
    Any other ideas?

  • David Hart

    And even if it were established, even if there was a mountain of solid science showing that gay sex caused all sorts of risks of physical injury that straight sex doesn’t, that still doesn’t establish that it is therefore just to seek to restrict the legal rights of gays. It’s like those supporters of the War on Drug Users who purport to justify their position by pointing to studies showing that X drug causes Y health risk – they seem to think that people won’t notice that this is a completely different question from whether people who enjoy X and voluntarily run the risk of Y deserve to be legally discriminated against or indeed subject to criminal penalties. Sadly, it’s a distinction that a lot of people apparently fail to notice, whether we’re talking about minority drug users or minority sexual orientations…

  • valhar2000

    Good to see you back in mid-season form, Ebon! Greta Christina tried something like this once, talking about wearing glasses, I think, but it lacked the punch, the oophm if you will, of arguing that this bodily function most highly praised by fundies is in fact sinful.

    Very good.

  • valhar2000

    And even if it were established, even if there was a mountain of solid science showing that gay sex caused all sorts of risks of physical injury that straight sex doesn’t, that still doesn’t establish that it is therefore just to seek to restrict the legal rights of gays.

    This was the view I took when there first began to be talk about gay marriage, back in my “gays are icky” phase. I figured that the only people a gay couple seeking to get married could harm would be themselves, but if they were both into it government had no business meddling.

    That still left me worried about adoption of children by gay couples, but now research shows that that works just fine, so I’m on board with the whole thing.

  • 2-D Man

    Nobody has the right to harm others. Yet, hockey is a harmful behavior. It is obviously harmful to its practitioners — the clinical evidence for all manner of psychological and physical problems created by playing hockey is well established. Hockey is destructive to self because it uses the human body in ways that it simple [sic] was not intended to be used by nature and nature’s God.

    If Gawd wanted us to play hockey, he would have attached blades to our feet.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com Steve Bowen

    I would speculate that most of the psychological harm that homosexuals suffer is a result of their demonisation rather than the fact of their gender.

  • Nathaniel

    Right ho Ebon! Its high time we bring back this country back to its biblical roots.

    While your people work on this part of the Lord’s work, I’ll see what I can do about the eradication of nylon and those other Satanic mixed fibers.

  • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

    Oh, how I love natural law arguments. I see you too have found the joyous kernels of wisdom that are on offer from renewamerica.com. David Hume famously decimated such arguments over two centuries ago, but the godless empiricists are obviously ignored by those who argue natural law teleology. An old argument I heard recently again was that as the sexual organs are intended for certain orifices, that makes it “unnatural” to use them differently (as to their original purpose, not that such uses are non-existent in nature, the arguer was at pains to point out) thus wrong. Of course the is-ought argument Hume made would reject this on its face as proving that “unnatural”=”wrong” by itself, but even if we accepted this it will lead to conclusions such as using your legs for pushing pedals in a car (or riding a horse, for that matter) rather than walking is unnatural and wrong too. Ah, logic. The keen blade that cuts absurdity to ribbons.

  • Ashami

    I became born again myself after God punished my wife for getting pregnant by giving her preeclampsia, the cure for which is the removal of the placenta. Clearly we had offended Him greatly!

  • http://darkenedstumbling.blogspot.com/ Leum

    Woah, woah! I’m supposed to be getting fifty-three partners per year? Man, have I been cheated! Where do I acquire these partners?

  • http://killedbyfish.blogspot.com feralboy12

    I sat on a jury a few years ago, in a civil suit that involved injury to a child during childbirth. I learned more about the mechanics of childbirth than I really wanted to know.
    I came away convinced that childbirth was impossible.

  • Shaun

    Somewhere there is a religious group that agrees with this post wholeheartedly.

  • David W.

    On a side – and more serious note.

    What about the morality of procreation? I personally believe that procreation is a selfish act, not to mention a gross violation of an individuals most fundamental right, the right to choose ones own existence.

  • kennypo65

    Procreating in a world where resources are running out and there are nearly 7 billion people already is nothing short of insane.

  • TommyP

    Ebon, you just owned. Freaking awesome take on it!

  • Christoph

    The foolish thing is that not only are there similar physical risks with all sexual relationships (both straight and gay), but that the “psychological” issues that Dunkin references are more often than not caused by the intense hatred of the religious community in their efforts to stigmatize and ostacize members of the gay community and shame them back into the closet rather than anything done by the gay person themselves. As the LGBT community has trod slowly onwards to equality, the fundamentalists have managed to become more unhinged and shrill in their nonsensical denunciations. It is a feather in their cap when the religious wrong can bring their forces to bear on their targets and crack their psyches enough to send them back into the closet. As acceptance has spread, this result has become less common and this sends them into more extreme hissy fits. They have gotten so childish that I am awaiting the announcement that unless every member of the LGBT community enlists in conversion therapy with the Bachmanns, the fundamentalists are going to hold their breath until they turn blue.

  • jack

    Somewhere there is a religious group that agrees with this post wholeheartedly.

    This one comes close. From a peak membership of about 6000 in the mid-nineteenth century, they are now down to exactly 3 members.

  • Gary

    Good argument! Perhaps this is a question for another post but, how does such a creature as humans, so poorly fit for procreation, evolve so successfully?

  • Ally

    Oh man, this post made me laugh a lot. XD Great work, Ebon!

  • valhar2000

    Perhaps this is a question for another post but, how does such a creature as humans, so poorly fit for procreation, evolve so successfully?

    I’d say that the answer lies in how much we invest in our children compared to other animals. This means that in order to have reproductive success, which I defined as producing enough new humans to replace the ones that die, we have to give birth to fewer children than other animals do, so our comparative inability to actually give birth is less of a hindrance to us that it would be to other animals.

  • Scotlyn

    Childbirth IS fairly preposterous! I have gone through it twice, both successfully, and delighted with the results, which are now two atheist arrows ready to be launched on the world (not that I raised them to be atheists, you understand – I raised them as I would wish to have been raised – to use their own brains and judge the world for themselves).

    I have access to one fairly large database of ancestors going back (and a good bit sideways) through from one of my parents to the original ancestor who arrived in New England in 1640. All very long lived people – for the most part. As you go through the entries, what jumps out is that pretty much all the men lived past 70 or so. Around half to two thirds of the women did, as well. But the ones who didn’t pretty much always died within a month or so of giving birth. And give birth they did – families of eight, ten, twelve, fourteen were common – as was a twice or three times married man – each wife having several children, only the last one surviving the experience to live on to old age.

    Thank goodness for menopause – in terms of ancestral survival, it must have been key. Once women were safely past the danger of childbirth, they could go on to be teachers, cultural knowledge transmitters, carers of orphans, etc. But getting that far could be perilous.

  • Sarah Jane Braasch-Joy

    Scotlyn,

    My Norman English ancestry is near identical to yours, and my ancestors were, for the times, secularists and largely irreligious. In my ancestry it was common, for some reason, for the women to die in childbirth and for the surviving child to be raised by her sister and her sister’s husband or her brother and her brother’s wife. Or, sometimes, one of the father’s siblings. But, it was usually the mother’s siblings who would take custody of the child. But, the father wouldn’t usually raise the child himself. Not even if he remarried. I guess this was a common occurrence. I guess if a new wife was producing a litter of her own, she wouldn’t be expected to shower much affection on the previous wife’s child.

    I am very pleased to be in a position to never have to experience childbirth.

    As much as I rail against the plight of woman (and humanity, for that matter), there is some progress.

  • Valhar2000

    Sarah wrote:

    I guess if a new wife was producing a litter of her own, she wouldn’t be expected to shower much affection on the previous wife’s child.

    True. If you read old novels (Jane Austen’s come to mind) you will find that attitude discussed as something common and well known. Some people took it even further than that, however: in “The Count of Monte-Cristo” favoring your own children over your step-children was expected.

    Even now, I’m told, rates of abuse among step-children are higher than they are among other children.

  • http://www.politicalflavors.com MissCherryPi

    Thank goodness for menopause – in terms of ancestral survival, it must have been key. Once women were safely past the danger of childbirth, they could go on to be teachers, cultural knowledge transmitters, carers of orphans, etc. But getting that far could be perilous.

    Natalie Angier writes about “The Grandmother Hypothesis” in her book “Woman: An Intimate Geography.” There is a theory that the adaptation of menopause is successful because after having a few children of her own, a woman makes a better contribution to her genetic legacy by helping care for her grand children rather than risk childbirth again and again.

  • http://kagerato.net kagerato

    [David W.]: I personally believe that procreation is a selfish act, not to mention a gross violation of an individuals most fundamental right, the right to choose ones own existence.

    There’s no significant doubt to me that choosing to have children is, in and of itself, largely a self-interested act. That does not imply that having children has a net selfish effect. There are many events after birth, you see.

    The second part about rights is a paradox. A non-entity can’t have rights. For one thing, a non-entity has no will and therefore couldn’t make a decision about its imputed rights to begin with. Even before that, non-entities do not and cannot have knowledge and so would never be able to take the first step towards that kind of awareness.

    Naturally, assuming that potential living things have the right to choose not to exist — and would actually exercise this choice in some magical way — leads to an inevitable consequence of either mass immorality or the extinction of most to all life.

    Once you start going down the path of talking about the potentialities of nothing, you’ve lost all grounding in reality and are well on the way to religion.

  • Scotlyn

    Miss Cherry Pi:

    There is a theory that the adaptation of menopause is successful because after having a few children of her own, a woman makes a better contribution to her genetic legacy by helping care for her grand children rather than risk childbirth again and again.

    Thanks for a good source for reading up on this theory, which is one of my favourites – especially now that I am on the cusp of my own transformation into fierce gladiatorial granny – I fully intend to endow my genetic legacy with the means and will for a good fight with all our modern monsters!

    Sarah:

    But, it was usually the mother’s siblings who would take custody of the child. But, the father wouldn’t usually raise the child himself. Not even if he remarried. I guess this was a common occurrence.

    The source of step-mother anxiety in fairy tales? This was probably common enough, though. Also in Ireland still happening until modern times – my own husband, in fact – living father, but raised by aunts and uncles after maternal death.

    My ancestor information sources probably don’t always list where children end up living, only who their parents were, birth and death dates, etc. I had forgotten to say, though, that they were all pretty long lived if they got through early childhood (danger for both males and females), and then through childbirth (females only).

    There is an interesting survival – the will of the original ancestor who had two wives – the first produced 12 children, and the second 8. 17 children survived long enough to be mentioned in this will, and the joint execs are the second wife together with the eldest son of the first wife (but all her property bequests were in trust and to be returned to the eldest son should she remarry). He left a largish (for the time) library, providing that the eldest son should take his pick of two books, and then the surviving wife take one, and then all the surviving children in age order take one each, going around all again until all should be distributed (minimum 20 or so books!).

    But, I digress…better stop there.

  • Scotlyn

    my ancestors were, for the times, secularists and largely irreligious.

    Mine run greatly to clergymen and church elders (hence my propensity to sermonise is honestly gained). But for some reason, two female ancestors late 17th, early 18th century or so, were christened “Freelove.” I would just love to know how such a name resonated at that time! Whoops, digressing again, stopping now.

  • Vin720

    I love the saying of the great but late comedian George Carlin…If you’re in a dark room and someone is rubbing you down there and your getting excited. Then the light comes on and you find it’s the person of the same sex. You feel like going ‘yuck’, but it felt good. So maybe it can be normal and natural!

  • Jeff

    The obvious answer is that childbirth is supposed to be messy, painful and frequently lethal; it’s the penalty we pay for having disobeyed God.

    Homoerotic activity involves pleasure without as much risk, which is how we know it’s against God’s will; it’s the reason he had to invent AIDS.

  • Cheryl

    Jeff — AIDS must be god’s way of showing us that lesbians are his chosen ones, right?

  • Scotlyn

    Cheryl – surely you meant “Her” chosen ones?

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    Actually, that was not a “natural law” argument but a “consequentialist” argument. Consequentialism argues that a thing is good or bad depending on its consequences. It was appealed to not only by your Mr. Dunkin but also by Vin720 at #31. This, of course, presupposes that the consequences can be known ahead of time, and ignores the self-evident fact that there are likely to be “good” consequences and “bad” consequences of almost any action. It’s basically incoherent and thus primarily a product of the Late Modern Ages.

    A natural law argument would be very much different, and would appeal to, well, natures and the laws of nature. This does not sit well with the post-modern “triumph of the will,” which holds with Nietzsche that if it feels good, do it. Nor can it easily be compressed into a sound-bite or a comm box. But…

    The good is the perfection of the nature, and human nature is to be a rational animal. Thus the good for humans is whatever perfects our bodily health and whatever perfects our rationality. That’s why we say eating too much chocolate is bad for you. It is also why unrestrained indulgence of the appetites is bad for you; since we know from modern neuroscience that repetition of neural patterns “vulcanize” the brain along certain pathways and that the vulcanization of neural patterns originating in the brain stem (i.e., those associated with pleasuring the appetites) interfere with neural patterns originating in the neocortex (i.e., those associated with rational thought). The obligatory sound-bite: “Sin makes you stupid.”

    Now, of course, one need not buy into natural law. Some do so by claiming there is no such thing as human “nature,” though this opens one up to the claim that this person or that person are not “really” human. Others may do so by claiming natures are not lawful; and so on.
    + + +

    As an aside: If as Ritchie (#1) says, “For several hundred years the church’s attitude to sex was ‘None under any circumstances. Sex is always wrong’,” then the church would have died out well before the several hundred years were up, so it does not pass the giggle test. A decent respect for the empirical evidence would require some familiarity with the actual teachings of the orthodox church during that time.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    @Ye Olde Statistician:

    Actually, that was not a “natural law” argument but a “consequentialist” argument. Consequentialism argues that a thing is good or bad depending on its consequences.

    The good is the perfection of the nature, and human nature is to be a rational animal. Thus the good for humans is whatever perfects our bodily health and whatever perfects our rationality.

    Are we done here?

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    Are we done here?

    Of course. I said that a comm box sound bite was insufficient to explain matters fully. You would have to start with Plato’s Timaeus and Aristotle’s Nichomachian Ethics then take on Paul’s Letter to the Romans and so forth. That is likely more work than someone would be willing to undertake when they believe ahead of time they will reject the conclusions.

    The main point being that when scientists yap outside their specialty, they often yap nonsense. This religious-right columnist Tim Dunkin may be a very fine pharmaceutical chemist, but I doubt he knows diddly-squat about moral philosophy or the natural law. His bio claims he is “a born-again Christian, and a member of a local, New Testament Baptist church in North Carolina.” Natural law philosophy was primarily a Catholic and Orthodox thing, which is likely why he got it all mixed up with consequentialism.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    That is likely more work than someone would be willing to undertake when they believe ahead of time they will reject the conclusions.

    Wow. Swing and a miss.

    …which is likely why he got it all mixed up with consequentialism.

    What’s your excuse?

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    That is likely more work than someone would be willing to undertake when they believe ahead of time they will reject the conclusions.

    Wow. Swing and a miss.

    ?? Do you spend a lot of time reading creationist literature?

    …which is likely why he got it all mixed up with consequentialism.

    What’s your excuse?

    For what?

    Please don’t tell me you’re defending a right-wing fundamentalists pharmaceutical chemist pronouncing on moral philosophy. The original essay was sufficient to demolish his notions. All I cautioned was that folks should not suppose that it demolished actual natural law arguments. I don’t pretend to any great expertise on this, either, since my one college course in moral philosophy was alas rather long ago. I’m just a poor simple-minded statistician, so I may not be explaining things right. Hence my reference to the pros from Dover as the go-to guys, if you’d like the true quill.

    Of course, if you actually have read the Timaeus, the Nichomachian Ethics, Romans, or the relevant works in moral philosophy by Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and others you would already know much of this. There is also this, speaking to the foundations: http://www.reading.ac.uk/AcaDepts/ld/Philos/dso/papers/The%20Metaphysical%20Foundations%20of%20Natural%20Law.pdf

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Do you spend a lot of time reading creationist literature?

    1. Yes.
    2. That has nothing to do with the openness of whether one will accept evidence.

    For what?

    For doing exactly what you complained about.

    I don’t pretend to any great expertise on this, either…

    Obviously, because you’re making contradictory statements and not even noticing. Either way, the natural law argument is worthless.

  • Nate

    Natural law doesn’t describe how life works, but only how life ought to work. An eye ought to let one see, but many are born blind. The occurrence of blindness is no argument against the eye’s natural purpose of vision. Rather, the injury of blindness only reinforces our understanding of the eye’s design — the eye’s purpose is vision.

    Thought experiment: what I’d you could replace one eye with an artificial eye that could see in greater detail? Would it be ethical to destroy your perfectly sound eye with an artificial one?

    The modern world has said, “yes”. We have indeed replaced feet with pedals. We are replacing the natural world for a mechanized world. The natural law says that the world has a purpose, but this purpose needs fulfillment. Blindness needs healing. So does childbirth. So do human minds and hearts.

    Humanity faces the option of healing a imperfect world, or creating a new world according to a new design.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    because you’re making contradictory statements and not even noticing.

    Either that or you have not grasped the distinction in two statements. Taking an inanimate example, there is a difference between the statements:
    1. Gravity is explained by the consequences of a falling rock.
    2. Gravity is the innate tendency of rocks to fall.

    Either way, the natural law argument is worthless.

    If you could actually state the argument for natural law, it would be helpful to your argument.

    Could you clarify this much: Do you deny that physical bodies have natures, or that they behave lawfully?

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Could you clarify this much: Do you deny that physical bodies have natures, or that they behave lawfully?

    No, I don’t deny that, but it doesn’t help your argument at all. In the sense you’ve defined it here, “natural law” is a descriptive notion, not a prescriptive one. If you see someone doing something that doesn’t fit with your understanding of natural law, that doesn’t mean they’re doing something wrong; it means your definition of human nature is wrong and needs to be expanded to include things that humans do, in fact, do.

    Of course, you could say that it’s a violation of natural law to do something that harms yourself, or others, except that you’ve explicitly denied that natural-law arguments are consequentialist.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    Well, Eb, if I may call you that, my understanding (by no means deep) is that terms like “natural” and “unnatural” have shifted meaning so much in the past few centuries that a big part of the problem is that postmoderns and Late Moderns don’t even understand what the Medievals and Early Moderns even meant. It is a hallmark of the postmodern era to focus on the words that are used rather than the meaning that was intended. (This is part and parcel of the shift from matter to form: from written words – logos – to visual images – ikon. Logic gives way to posing.) IOW, late moderns and postmoderns say “natural” when they actually mean “physical” (or even “material”). But the meaning was originally “according to one’s nature.”

    Consider an inanimate example: A rock in free fall is moving with a natural motion. A rock flying upward is in unnatural motion. It is unnatural because a rock, by its own nature, would never do such a thing. This was sometimes called “violent” motion because an outside agent – an earthquake, a volcano, a protester – would need to impress an impetus (violentia) to the rock; or as we would say today, the rock must be “acted upon by an outside force.” Thus, if you see a rock doing something that rocks do not naturally do, that doesn’t mean I need to change the natural laws of physics. I just need to find out who threw the rock.

    “Natural” then does not mean simply “things that beings do, in fact, do.” That really would be purely descriptive. It means “things that perfect its nature.” Here, the verb perfect means “to perform completely,” from per+facere. So an act is natural insofar as it accomplishes or completes the nature of the actor. Perhaps “fulfill” is a good translation, too.

    The rest follows from human nature as “a rational animal,” that the intellect is prior to the will, and that man can create a “second nature” by exercise of the seven strengths. (The middle item is oft a stumbling block because even the postmodern Left has fallen for the Nietzschean triumph of the will. If it feels good, do it.)

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    I fail to see how your gravity vs. rocks example helps you out in the least. The argument is generally along the lines that homosexuality is wrong because it goes against the natural order of things, and we know that’s the case because of all these harmful effects. It’s an argument from consequences no matter how you slice it and no rhetorical flourishes from you will save it.

    Secondly, it’s bad because it’s an exercise where basically someone decides a priori what is and isn’t natural, then makes proclamations on others based on their own preconceptions. If natural law arguments strictly kept to actual physical and empirical observances and only those (like deciding that some force must be affecting a rock that is not moving towards the ground) then that would be different. That is not the case. We have apologists telling us that homosexuality is bad because penises and vaginas are naturally supposed to go together to make babies. Well, if that is the case, they got lots of ‘splainin’ to do as Ebon shows us in the OP.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    So an act is natural insofar as it accomplishes or completes the nature of the actor. Perhaps “fulfill” is a good translation, too.

    The rest follows from human nature as “a rational animal,” that the intellect is prior to the will, and that man can create a “second nature” by exercise of the seven strengths.

    ?!

    “The rest”? The rest of what? Did you perhaps accidentally leave out a paragraph here? Or is this the Underpants Gnomes version of the natural law argument?

    1. Human nature is a rational animal and the intellect is prior to the will.
    2. ???
    3. Gay people are icky!

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    The argument is generally along the lines that homosexuality is wrong because it goes against the natural order of things, and we know that’s the case because of all these harmful effects.

    But “the harmful effects” argument is not the natural law argument. It is, in fact, the modern “public health=greatest good” argument, the same as gives us so many minute regulations controlling our behavior. This was my sole point.

    (Aside: Do not suppose that the moral actor takes no account whatsoever of foreseeable consequences. But the act is not “bad” because of the consequences.)

    The natural law argument concerns far more than homosexual behavior. However, it is more aligned with Darwin’s contention that nothing should interfere with the effort of the better fit to reproduce.

    1. Human nature is a rational animal and the intellect is prior to the will.
    2. ???
    3. Gay people are icky!

    The conclusion does not follow. In fact, the conclusion is not even doctrine, and “icky” is not well-defined.


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