The Sexual Excesses of Modern Civilization

Ngandu men

Okay, so that title is total click-bait, but there’s a real story behind it. If you want some good inadvertent comedy (and tragedy as well), check out this article in Atlantic Magazine, and marvel at the Stan Laurel-style head-scratching of a liberal academic elite trying to make sense of facts that demolish their carefully manufactured view of human sexuality.

A couple of anthropologists–Barry and Bonnie Hewlett–studied the Aka and Ngandu people of central Africa for years before getting a sense that they approached sex differently than … well, differently than married anthropologists, I guess. They had campfire discussions in which men spoke of having sexual intercourse several times in a single evening. Being western anthropologists, they immediately assumed this was an African version of Jersey Shore in which men naturally exaggerated their monogamous sexual practices for no apparent reason.

But when they talked to the women, it turned out that, yes, couples did copulate several times in a single evening, and that this was done in order to have children.

I know! Crazy-talk, right? As enlightened Westerners, we know sex has nothing to do with children at all. Babies are just a punishment meted out by a capricious biological processes.

Of course the Aka and Ngandu also had sex for pleasure, but in a place with such extremely high infant mortality, children were not seen as an unfortunate byproduct. They were seen as essential.

And then the Hewletts learned the ugly truth at the heart of these primitive peoples:

[they] found that homosexuality and masturbation appeared to be foreign to both groups

Is the strong cultural focus on sex as a reproductive tool the reason masturbation and homosexual practices seem to be virtually unknown among the Aka and Ngandu? That isn’t clear. But the Hewletts did find that their informants — whom they knew well from years of field work – “were not aware of these practices, did not have terms for them,” and, in the case of the Aka, had a hard time even understanding about what the researchers were asking when they asked about homosexual behaviors.

The Ngandu “were familiar with the concept” of homosexual behavior, “but no word existed for it and they said they did not know of any such relationships in or around the village. Men who had traveled to the capital, Bangui, said it existed in the city and was called ‘PD’ (French for par derriere or from behind).”

Given all this, the Hewletts conclude, “Homosexuality and masturbation are rare or nonexistent [in these two cultures], not because they are frowned upon or punished, but because they are not part of the cultural models of sexuality in either ethnic group.”

Quelle horreur! You mean homosexuality and masturbation are culturally conditioned? That’s unpossible!

Except, it’s not all that unheard of. Other anthropologists have come across cultures without any real understanding of disordered sexual practices, which are largely rooted in psychological and sociological, not physiological, causes. The article attempts to wave the magic wand of genetics at the problem, reassuring their panicking readership that, indeed, genetics can explain this, because SCIENCE! Their genetic mutterings are fairly vague, but from what I can tell, they’re suggesting that if there is a genetic component to homosexuality (“and there is increasing evidence that [there is], in many cases,” they say soothingly), it makes perfect sense that isolated tribes would not have this genetic component.

Because homosexuality has never been found in genetically separated cultures? Try again.

Are they suggesting that there’s a Mitochondrial Gay Eve to match Mitochondrial Eve, and all gay people trace their lineage back to her? How, where, when, and why did this genetic gay component enter the human family tree? Aren’t evolutionists always telling us that we’re nothing but chains of reproduction stretching back to single cells, with all behavior oriented towards passing on the best possible genes? If that’s the case, how does the “gay gene” fit in? It serves no purpose. In fact, it’s functionally sterile, and thus if it existed, wouldn’t it have vanished long ago as an evolutionary dead end? Am I missing something here?

The Hewletts correctly observe the three components of human sexuality: desire, behavior, and identity. They appear to believe that the desire element is universal and hard-wired, but that culture affects behavior and identity. There’s something to be said for this in developed civilizations. Certainly, the whole idea of someone being homosexual (behavior) is barely more than a hundred years old and the idea of claiming membership in a gay sub-culture (identity) is even more recent, while the idea of homosexual activity (desire) is quite ancient.

Where they–and much of modern social science–goes awry is in seating desire purely in biology. It may in fact originate there in some cases. Certainly, we find young children with gender identity disorders that cannot have come from cultural conditioning. At some point we’ll identify exactly what goes wrong in fetal development to produce GID, and maybe then we’ll find a more humane solution than the chemical and surgical butchery we’re practicing now to turn men and and women into non-men and non-women.

But insisting on a biological element in all (or even most) instances of same sex attraction is just junk science. Desire is a mysterious thing, and we can’t rule out some real biological component to sexual disorders, but moving from that to the “born gay” routine is just politically motivated nonsense looking to reaffirm people in their okayness.

The Hewletts believe it’s possible that same-sex desire exists in Aka and Ngandu men, but the lack of any social acceptance or understanding keeps it repressed. To their credit, they are cautious about this claim, and admit there is no proof for it.

The lack of masturbation actually shocked them more than the lack of homosexuality. Homosexual activity requires not only having the desire, but identifying and communicating that desire to someone who shares it, a proposition that is somewhat fraught in certain cultures, to say the least.

Masturbation, however, is a party of one. They find it unfathomable that any people who enjoy the pleasures of sex can fail to treat their genitals as a self-contained recreational unit.

Mired in their Western, modernist, post-moral biases, they fail to see a people who have a frank and practical understanding of sex as rooted, quite simply, in babies and bonding between people of the opposite gender. That’s what sex is. Everything else is simply a misuse of sex. It may be a vastly entertaining misuse of sex, but people trying to eek out a simple existence can be forgiven for not reducing all of life’s experiences to self-amusement and self-gratification.

My favorite part of the whole story, however, comes at the end:

Studies of small-scale, rural, non-Western cultures like the Aka and Ngandu paint a more complicated picture of human variation. The Hewletts remark that, “the Western cultural emphasis on recreational sex has … led some researchers to suggest that human sexuality is similar to bonobo apes because they have frequent non-reproductive sex, engage in sex throughout the female cycle, and use sex to reduce social tensions.” But, the Hewletts suggest, “The bonobo view may apply to Euro-Americans (plural), but from an Aka or Ngandu viewpoint, sex is linked to reproduction and building a family.” Where sex is work, sex may just work differently.

Us

I can’t think of a more perfect summary of the Enlightenment and all the modernist movements that evolved in its wake. The efforts of the intellectual elite for the past 200+ years has been to reduce us all to bonobo apes. In fact, the Western view of recreational sex has been imposed on people who were once very traditionally moral.

And when our civilization falls, and we’re all reduced to subsistence living, the Aka and Ngandu–along with any traditionally religious people who haven’t been hunted to their deaths–can teach the survivors the true purpose of life and sexuality.

h/t: Kathy Schiffer

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • http://viralcatholic.com Brian Killian

    I read this article about a week ago. It’s remarkable that not only are these things not present or practiced in their culture, but it doesn’t even exist in their language! It’s so literally unthought of, that there exist no concepts for it. Out of mind – out of sight.

    And I thought their description of the ‘work’ of sex during the night was very poetic…’searching for children’. Imagine that, they *desire* children, they actually think that children are good to have. Such a contrast to our artificial and perverse perceptions of children as something to be protected from.

  • victor

    I think you correctly identify midway through the article that the bafflement of the liberal academic elite is better represented by Ralph Wiggum than it is by Stan Laurel (who was in fact brilliant). Another excellent article!

  • Kim Whelan

    I too read this last week and Brian echos my thoughts exactly! Love Tom’s last paragraph.

  • http://lukearredondo.blogspot.com Luke

    Fantastic article! Homerun! Also it is intriguing that such a culture exists, and I wonder to what degree their separation from the major influences of celebrity and media plays in this. Of course I know Americans can hardly retreat from the culture which encourages their misuse of sexuality, but it’s tempting to think about the possibilities of unplugging and how much it could impact our views in this most important area of our lives. Imagine a culture reverencing children and sexuality. Much better than what John Lennon imagined.

  • Therese

    Yes, gender identity disorder DOES come from cultural conditioning. I observed a child be conditioned up through adulthood by radical liberal parents into rejecting all the “trappings of gender”. They started when the child was a toddler with dressing the child exclusively in clothes of the opposite sex and only providing toys the opposite sex normally play with, along with a steady dose of gender studies indoctrination. No surprise that the now-adult who was brainwashed by this abusive social experiment thinks they’re really the opposite sex trapped in the wrong body – as if God made a mistake.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    Thanks! (Me fail English?)

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    I should have been more clear: GID doesn’t come from cultural conditioning. Certainly, it can occur in exactly the way you say. I’ve also read about it occurring in families where there was no conditioning whatsoever: traditional families with no abuse. That’s fairly mysterious, and may point to a developmental disorder that we just don’t understand. In any case, you address the disorder. You don’t mutilate the person in order for them to conform to their disorder.

  • http://NewAdvent New Catholic08

    Now you’ve stepped in it Thomas. Just wait until the GLBTQ advocates find this article. They will teach you a thing or two about your logical approach to this subject.

  • victor

    “I eated the purple pills!” “How are they, Ralph? Good?” “Owwww. They taste like… sterility!”

  • Skip

    Superb, Tom. Thanks.

  • JoFro

    The LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ are not going to be happy with this story!

  • jose

    This part was interesting:

    The Aka are foragers and, according to the Hewletts, “gender egalitarianism among the Aka is about as pronounced as human societies get.” Women may hunt, even on their own, and often control distribution of resources. The Ngandu, by contrast, are slash-and-burn farmers with stable locations and significant gender inequality, with men typically dominating over women.

    I guess the Aka must have been brainwashed by liberal western elite communist feminazis who dominate the mainstream media?

  • Thomas R

    ” In fact, it’s functionally sterile, and thus if it existed, wouldn’t it have vanished long ago as an evolutionary dead end?”

    I’ve wondered this at times, but I think there are recessive conditions that cause sterility. Evolution, for a solid secularist, is seen as basically mindless and not necessarily improving anything. So a recessive condition that can cause sterility or even death is not really contradicting anything.

    I did think the commenters for the article were interesting because they were just certain this tribe is lying or that the anthropologists were gullible. That a culture could have these traits, or rather not have certain traits, was just something they wouldn’t by at all. (I have to admit the part about “no concept of masturbation”, not simply moral condemnation of it, was a tad odd to me too. I’m not doubting it, but frankly I do think marrying/sexually-activity must occur fairly early in their teens for this to make sense even to me)

  • Noe

    I highly recommend the insights of a recognized scholar of bible as well as ancient civilization;
    http://blog.beliefnet.com/kingdomofpriests/2009/06/how-women-will-be-hurt-by-gay-marriage.html

    Before anyone could condemn him for being Orthodox [Jewish], he also signed a public repudiation of homophobia and affirmation of tolerance and acceptance of individuals with SSM in the Jewish community;
    http://statementofprinciplesnya.blogspot.com/

  • Adiutricem

    If they were to find a genetic link to homosexual tendencies, and were able to test for the presence of that condition, does anyone think that those potentially homosexual children would ever be born?

  • midwestlady

    Not so many years ago this was true of our culture too. After doing my family tree and finding generation after generation of 8 and 10 and 12 offspring to man the farm and bring joy to the house, I realize this. Our culture is deadly.

  • midwestlady

    The modern view of life: Birth control is to women as flea collars are to dogs.

  • midwestlady

    Yup, there’s a basic practical problem with the whole inheritability thesis.

  • whdolan

    “There’s something to be said for this in developed civilizations. Certainly, the whole idea of someone being homosexual (behavior) is barely more than a hundred years old and the idea of claiming membership in a gay sub-culture (identity) is even more recent, while the idea of homosexual activity (desire) is quite ancient.”

    Interesting post. I am curious though about the sentence above. I think a lot of people would equate homosexual desire as “being homosexual” and that the activity is the behavior. No?

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    A lot of people would. I wouldn’t. You may have desire and even action without claiming any unique aspect of “being” (with an implied exclusivity) that can be called homosexual. Certainly this was the case with the Greeks, who considered their unique form of homosexuality to be merely something they did, not something they were. The idea that it precluded heterosexual relations would have merely been bizarre to them, and indeed to most people throughout all history, who well understood the reality of same-sex sex.

    The categories–desire, behavior, identity–don’t precisely match up with social categories,, and I don’t want to try to jam them in. You may have desire without any action whatsoever, and desire and action without any notion of “being” gay.

  • whdolan

    Agreed – the distinctions (behavior, desire, identity) are valuable to differentiate and consider but once the concept of the identity is present, it skews the other categories. Suddenly there exists the pressure to identify as homosexual because of the presence of behavior or desire.

  • John Evans

    If I’m reading the literature correctly, Thomas, the reason gender reassignment is typically recommended is that – if the end goal is to have a happy, productive citizen – it has a much higher success rate than any other therapy.

  • John Evans

    Hello Thomas,
    There are a number of recessive genetic, and epigenetic, conditions that result in sterility or reduced fertility. Androgen resistance, for example. They keep cropping up in the gene pool because they may not be complete stoppers to reproduction, or may result from non-inherited factors (such as triploid XXY genes) which just happen from time to time due to the vagaries of the reproductive process. As well, sexuality doesn’t seem to be a binary hetero- / homosexual dichotomy. Some people do seem to have sexual interest in partners of both genders, and coupling with a heterogendered partner can still result in reproduction.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    The epigenetic research has been in the news this week, and I understand where they’re going with it. I honestly don’t believe it’s going to play out at the genetic/epigenetic level, though. Recent research into children on the autism spectrum (as my son is) is pointing towards variations in hormone levels of pregnant women. There’s some thinking that elevated androgens during fetal development may play a role in ASD. It seems even more likely they’d play a role in sexual development, no?

    We get obsessed with genetics (and rightly so, most of the time) because they suggest “hard-wiring” of various human traits, but the argument is no less complex if we understand those human traits as being affected during development. At that point, perhaps we’re looking less at a behavioral mandate and more at a behavioral tendency, which is activated or not based on experience and development.

    There is this desperation to remove homosexuality from psychology. It makes no sense. Human behavior has certain basic standards (pyromania is bad, empathy is good, etc). Why the most complex thing of all–sexuality–needs to be made wholly deterministic and relativistic is a mystery to me.

  • David

    Thomas, I truly hope you never have a gay son or daughter, because, quite frankly, you’re attitude sucks, they’d probably feel you wouldn’t love them as much if they didn’t give you any grandchildren (which is probably true, if you were honest with yourself).

    I’m not an Anthropologist, and neither are you, but, I’ll let further research be done by actual people who know what they’re talking about (not conservatives bloggers with a political agenda).

    I will say this, though, just because this group (by the way, love how you term them “primitive”, Thomas, I guess, if they’re not white and don’t wear the same sort of clothes you wear, they’re automatically “primitive” and “backwards”, or maybe they just haven’t converted to a nice form of Western Catholicism) don’t have words for homosexuality, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist in their culture, I mean, for all you know, those who are attracted to the same-sex may feel they have to leave their tribe to go elsewhere (sounds like many LGBT youth with homophobic parents), I mean, by your logic, there was no homosexuality in the Victorian period or in the 1950s, because homosexuals had to do their thing in private.

    So, sorry, as a young gay guy, I won’t suddenly run to my room in tears, saying “it’s true, it’s true, I’m just a perversion” and then head on down to a local Exorcist and attend Mass every day, as you and your fans would love me to do. Again, I’ll take my knowledge from scientists (you know ones who actually study biology, not those who want to convert people to their religion) and actual Anthropologists, not bloggers.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    Is there some level of conversation about the possible psychological and biological causes of same-sex attraction that you would find acceptable, or is anything less than “You’re great just as you are!” verboten?

  • PatrickG

    No, there is really no problem at all. Any genetic basis would likely involve multiple loci, and would not be inherited in a Mendelian manner (to the best of my knowledge). But even if it were, that’s still not a problem. The traits may confer advantage to *raising* young or something of the like, and in a social animal that can be important enough to hang around. Or perhaps, since it would involve multiple loci, some of the traits separately are reproductively advantageous, but together are not.

  • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

    Most sinners want to hear they’re just fine the way they are, unless they have faced the truth and realize they are living in rebellion and want to change! Then, they want to hear the Truth which is Jesus, for He is THE solution to all their ills.

  • http://www.patheos.com Deacon Tom

    I would suspect there is no rational conversation with LGBT champions that can take place regarding the psychological and biological factors that may be involved with SSA. When anyone raises any argument that SSA may not always be such a good thing, you tend to get the caustic, vicious attacks like you received here. Think of the young man who was raised by SS parents and spoke out against it–he was immediately attacked. Think of the professor/researcher who merely presented the research of others that suggested SS parents were not as good as hetero parents–the LGBT crowd attacked him, and a complaint was filed against him at his university (unfounded later of course). You are probably aware that the move to celebrate SSA rather than treat it as a disorder really picked up steam after a few LGBT psychology professionals decided it was not a disorder and changed the DSM–that change led the way. There wass no credible science that i am aware of that led to the DSM change. Rebecca Hamilton has a piece on her site about an elementary school that is indoctrinating young children into the mantra that gender identity is what you feel–little to do with your biology. Scary stuff!

  • Jake

    I know! Crazy-talk, right? As enlightened Westerners, we know sex has nothing to do with children at all. Babies are just a punishment meted out by a capricious biological processes.

    Nobody actually thinks this. Snarkily dismissing a strawman of your opponent does you and your readers no favors. To be clear, in the secular view, babies aren’t “punishment” for anything. Reproduction is the biological point and purpose of sexuality. Secularists (well, the liberal ones you’re referencing) simply make the claim that since we have the technology to separate the (evolutionary derived) pleasure of sex from the biological end of reproduction, it is not immoral to do so.

    Quelle horreur! You mean homosexuality and masturbation are culturally conditioned? That’s unpossible!

    Not impossible. It just does not appear to be the case based on a large amount of evidence collected so far.

    If it is the case in these two tribes that homosexuality and masturbation truly do not exist (a point that I will concede for the sake of argument, though I would prefer a methodologically thorough study be done to verify it before drawing any serious conclusions), then this doesn’t actually prove your point. Nobody thinks there is some “homosexuality gene” that rises or falls on its own merit in the human gene pool. Rather, homosexuality appears to be a member of a “gene cartel” (to use Dawkin’s terminology), a set of genes that are mutually beneficial, but are beneficial only in the presences of other genes in the same cartel (he makes the same arguments for memetic cartels in Ch. 5 of the God delusion). Suffice it to say, there is a great deal of literature around this topic which is available if you would like to find out what scientists actually think- Dawkins is an excellent source.

    Other anthropologists have come across cultures without any real understanding of disordered sexual practices, which are largely rooted in psychological and sociological, not physiological, causes.

    The first sentence makes it pretty clear that you’re using this as an ad-hoc argument to justify your pre-determined position, rather than following the evidence where it leads (disordered? Really? Cause that’s exactly the subject under debate here.)

    The second half demonstrates a lack of understanding of the secular position. Psychological and sociological causes are physiological ones. They’re just highly abstracted. This is the whole point of the field of Evolutionary Psychology.

    The article attempts to wave the magic wand of genetics at the problem, reassuring their panicking readership that, indeed, genetics can explain this, because SCIENCE!

    You mean presenting evidence and relying on past findings instead of dogma? Yeah, how dare they.

    The irony of religion accusing science of waving a magic wand is almost painful.

    Contrary to the position you seem to hold, scientists do not panic at evidence (well, maybe the whole neutrinos-faster-than-light thing, but only because that would have overturned all of physics.) If there is good evidence for something, science will embrace it. That’s, uh… sort of the point of science. The only people terrified of evidence are those who hold positions that they are incapable of abdicating- say, if they were written down in a holy book, or declared by an infallible religious institution (yes, yes, limited Papal infallibility and all that. But there’s lots of things- CONTRACEPTION BAD!- that as far as I know you technically have to believe to be a Catholic.)

    They’re suggesting that if there is a genetic component to homosexuality (“and there is increasing evidence that [there is], in many cases,” they say soothingly), it makes perfect sense that isolated tribes would not have this genetic component.
    Because homosexuality has never been found in genetically separated cultures? Try again.

    By “soothingly”, you mean “accurately”?

    Their point is not that homosexuality cannot evolve- or rather, succeed- in multiple parallel branches, but rather that as part of a genetic cartel, homosexuality could very well not succeed in every single branch. There might be stable solutions in which the rate of homosexuality is very, very low (essentially 0, outside of a new genetic mutation). Again, Dawkin’s discussion might be helpful for a better understanding of their claims.

    Are they suggesting that there’s a Mitochondrial Gay Eve to match Mitochondrial Eve, and all gay people trace their lineage back to her?

    No.

    How, where, when, and why did this genetic gay component enter the human family tree? Aren’t evolutionists always telling us that we’re nothing but chains of reproduction stretching back to single cells, with all behavior oriented towards passing on the best possible genes?

    “best” doesn’t mean “globally beneficial in all cases.” It means “best suited to reproduce in its current environment.” And part of the environment that exists for particular genes is the other genes present- hence the gene cartels.

    If that’s the case, how does the “gay gene” fit in? It serves no purpose. In fact, it’s functionally sterile, and thus if it existed, wouldn’t it have vanished long ago as an evolutionary dead end?

    As other commenters have said, there are other stable genetic solutions that involve passing down sterile genes. For example, a group may be conferred some advantage if a small percentage of its population is homosexual (less competition for mates, a male who can be trusted to stay and protect the females while the other males go hunting, etc.) If the genetics for a small chance of homosexuality are beneficial, then they will be selected for in the overall population- but its a mistake to view the individual as the only unit which is being selected on. Both individual genes and larger groups will undergo natural selection as well.

    Am I missing something here?

    Yes.

    Where they–and much of modern social science–goes awry is in seating desire purely in biology.

    This only makes sense if you presuppose Catholicism. In fact, it’s not even coherent in secular worldviews, because in secular worldviews there is literally no alternative to “pure biology” for anything. Even complicated social interactions are biologically driven and motivated. Unless you presuppose the existence of a soul (which is itself a logical contradiction, if you’re using the typical non-causal conception of “soul”), this statement is nonsensical. You would need to demonstrate a viable alternative other than “biology”, not just assume one.

    The Hewletts believe it’s possible that same-sex desire exists in Aka and Ngandu men, but the lack of any social acceptance or understanding keeps it repressed. To their credit, they are cautious about this claim, and admit there is no proof for it.

    Good. This isn’t intellectual cowardice, nor is it running from the evidence- it’s maintaining a healthy skepticism. This should be done for all forms of evidence at all times.

    Mired in their Western, modernist, post-moral biases, they fail to see a people who have a frank and practical understanding of sex as rooted, quite simply, in babies and bonding between people of the opposite gender

    Their skepticism has nothing whatsoever to do with the native people’s “frank and practical understanding of sex”. Masturbation happens because it is pleasurable to the organism doing it- brain chemistry and dopamine and all that. It is surprising (if it is true) that a group of people would be leaving an unused source of pleasure “on the table”, as it were. This is not an ideological statement, but a biological one- as evidenced by the fact that we see other, non-human animals engage in masturbation as well.

    Everything else is simply a misuse of sex. It may be a vastly entertaining misuse of sex, but people trying to eek out a simple existence can be forgiven for not reducing all of life’s experiences to self-amusement and self-gratification.

    This appears to be an ideological statement, rather than a logical, empirical, or biological one. It’s not worth engaging with, other than to say that every argument you’ve made has presupposed Catholicism to be true. And you’re surprised that scientists- people who’s job it is to follow the evidence wherever it leads, regardless of ideology- are arriving at different conclusions?

    You might be surprised that reality does not bear out the presuppositions of Catholicism. Scientists are not.

    The efforts of the intellectual elite for the past 200+ years has been to reduce us all to bonobo apes.

    No, the efforts of the intellectual elite for the past 200+ years have been to gain a better understanding of reality, including but not limited to a a better understanding of human psychology. Do you honestly think science is the worlds biggest troll? You think there’s an evil mastermind of the intellectual Illuminati sitting somewhere, cackling that he’s managed to convince all the western world that they’re no more than apes?

    If the evidence leads us to a certain conclusion, we will accept that conclusion. Welcome to science.

  • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

    Jake, hmmm, interesting words from our president …. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jszkPtsFH-k

  • felix

    Jake: Quite the exclamation point. Some Marvelous arguments (food for thought) thrown out here. Thanks for trying to elevate the conversation.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    [Jake pushes back from his desk with a satisfied smirk, thinking, "I've just banished another God-botherer with the pure power of REASON! (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Atheism Inc.)]

    Thanks for emitting a giant cloud of text asserting points not in evidence (“there is literally no alternative to ‘pure biology’ for anything!”), disputing points not in contention (go ahead and assume I have a practical–if not professional-understanding of genetics and epigenetics), striking a mechanistic pose (something “appears to be an ideological statement, rather than a logical, empirical, or biological one”), assuming modern scientism is the sole heir of logic and reason (let me introduce you to my old friends, Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas), spouting nonsense about subjects you clearly don’t comprehend (“Unless you presuppose the existence of a soul (which is itself a logical contradiction, if you’re using the typical non-causal conception of ‘soul’” is a priceless statement. One for the scrapbook of “stupid crap said by people who think they’re smart.”), and generally cultivating that sneering, self-satisfied tone that makes you people so damn appealing.

    Let’s boil this down to two key points:

    1. You believe in a deterministic model of sexual preference. People are born gay because it’s hard-wired into their genes. Of course, this is not proven, and the recent research about epi-marks is pointing in other directions, but it makes us feel better because psychology is all complicated ‘n stuff, and not “real SCIENCE!” anyway. But more important for highlighting the uselessness of this discussion is point 2:

    2. You believe brain = mind. You don’t believe in the concept of “mind” (consciousness that is closely bound to the brain, but also transcends it), but only in “brain” (a preprogrammed meat-computer). Your faith in this meat-computer is kind of childishly touching, since if in fact it exists, I’m not really sure how you know its processes tally with reality at all. Judging by what you’ve written, I’d assume you would also deny free will.

    There is no bypassing point 2, which is why I don’t bother with these debates. The existence of the human soul is the starting point for any understanding of the human condition. The fumbling attempts of evolutionary biologists to wave away the true nature of consciousness, to the point of stripping humanity of freewill (the most self-evident reality humans are capable of grasping), would be comical if it wasn’t so damn disturbing.

    Look, I don’t debate militant atheists, materialists, or members of the Church of Scientism (read the comment policy). I find you kind of creepy, actually, and as a theologian and catechist, you’re not my audience. Your thoughts mean zilch to me, because there is a fundamental gap between the way the reality is and the way you pretend it is. That gap is unbridgeable, and therefore dialog is futile. Thanks for playing, though: we have some lovely parting prizes for you. Please, if you do reply, keep it brief. These back-and-forths bore me silly.

  • Rapunzel

    Shorter Thomas L. McDonald:

    “LALALALALALALALALA, I CAN’T HEAR YOU, I’M NOT LISTENIIIIIING!”


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