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Ich bin ein Berliner.
There. I’ve saved the rest of you from the sin of committing this joke. You’re welcome.
Well done, Ursa Minor, well done.
Thank you for stealing this joke from me, Ursa. Because I really am a Berliner :-)
Seems to me that many people hold certain ethics as universal and are quite prepared to hold other people against that standard. For example, don’t lie or don’t steal.
You can argue that some religious people are wrong to hold a certain ethic as universal but it’s a bit of a weak argument to complain that they are guilty of trying to assert personal preference in such a case.
Why? Ethics is about how we treat others, and there is no ethical dilemma in homosexuality, but there is an obvious ethical flaw in denying a certain group rights on the basis of a status they did not choose and cannot change, solely because some other people don’t like it.
You might say that ethics or morality is limited to how we treat others but I would say that is is more broadly defined as what one ought to do. I think, for example, that ethics that encourage good self discipline are worthy regardless of their impact on others.
Also, this particular quote is not about granting or denying rights on the basis of moral or immoral behaviour. It’s about if it is reasonable to think that somebody else’s behaviour is moral based on some universal moral.
I will go so far as to agree that ethics can include how one treats oneself. I would disagree that that is what the sign is about, given that I disagree that homophobia is a universal moral. It’s not. It never has been.
In this context it’s not relevant if you or I think homosexuality is a universal ethic or not. We should still agree that somebody else might hold such a universal ethic If they do it would be mistaken to characterize them as acting out of what they consider to be a personal preference.
It would in fact be pointing out that their perception that homophobia is a universal ethic is wrong – which is exactly what the sign is doing.
Drinking alcohol is not good for your body but still nobody will deny somebody else the right to drink it. Just because someone does not like something does not give him the right to prevent others from doing it.
Lots of people consider their own personal preferences as universal ethics. No one here has characterized homophobes as “acting out of what they consider to be a personal preference” (you added that part). That some people can’t tell the difference between their own personal preferences and universal ethics, is exactly the f*cking problem.
I forgot to include that lying is universal in humans, although we pretty well universally have an ethic that says not to. Stealing falls under the same ethical category as lying, in that they are both examples of obtaining an advantage via cheating others. Evolutionarily speaking, there are excellent explainations both for cheating and for why groups of social animals will punish cheats. Humans are social animals, and we are exactly the same – a very low level of lying may be social grease to the wheel (of course you look great in that dress, darling!), but blatant or habitual cheats, liars and theives are punished because those behaviours break down group trust and cohesiveness, which is something we as a social species rely on to survive. Our universal ethics on lying and stealing come from our biology, but homosexuality is also part of our biology. Biologically, historically and ethically it is part of humanity, and almost certainly confers survival advantages on the species.
So then we agree that there can be some univeral, or seemingly universal, ethics. In which case it is reasonable to be able to assert that ethic as universal in the face of somebody else’s behaviour. That is, I can call you a liar, and tell you that is not moral, without being reasonably accused of merely asserting a personal preference that is similar to a preference for donuts.
Of course, reasonable people can debate what is an acceptable ethic. That’s to be expected. But it seems taking a step too far to accuse people of asserting a personal preference just because you don’t agree with their list of supposed universal ethics.
The problem is that homophobia isn’t an ethical position, it’s a dogmatic one. There is no moral argument against homosexuality beyond “I don’t like it” or more often “my god doesn’t like it”. I can say it is unethical to drink alcohol because it puts one in a position where they might do something uncharacteristic that has negative consequences for them. That person can then counter that drinking alcohol is not immoral, only the actions that may or may not result would have a moral value. We would disagree, quite honestly, and that is the scenario you seem to be trying to describe. But restraining oneself from drinking alcohol can have a moral value attached because it actually achieves something, while restraining oneself from their own sexuality does what, exactly? Makes other people less uncomfortable? Makes the person themself feel less guilty? Having the personal discipline to not put your penis in the backside of the person you love doesn’t make you moral by any ethical standard beyond “god says so”.
I agree there are some things that are seemingly universal ethics. Here’s the important bit, though – all of them are based on punishing behaviours which are damaging to group survival. Homosexuality does not fall into that category, in that it is not damaging to individuals or groups and has a history as long as human history of being acceptable and even encouraged in some cultures. It has never been universally unacceptable, so somebody’s perception that it is a universal ethic should be challenged on the basis of it being flat-out wrong. The same cannot be said of lying, stealing or killing, all of which potentially or actually hurt someone and all of which are pretty well condemned in most societies in some form or other.
My wifes pareants ant their partners,her aunt and uncle are all atheist or agnostic and all find homosexuality appaling not to mention a lot of other abjectives.So for them religion is irrelivent,and 2 of them have gay and lesbian children.
I find most seafood appalling (note spelling), not to mention a lot of other adjectives (note spelling). Should I therefore ban you from the right to eat it?
On what basis do your parents-in-law and other relatives find homosexuality appalling? Have they ever given a coherent reason or is it just because they are a product of a homophobic society? I feel sorry for your homosexual relatives, if their parents are so bigoted that they cannot accept them as they are. I hope they have managed to find a way to live a happy life despite their parents’ attitudes.
Well Mogg they don’t understand why a man or a woman want to be inter mate with the same sex,not so hard to understand .They come from a generation that homosexuality was against the law,Their children are loved but that doesn’t mean they agree with their lifestyle choices
Sexuality. Is. Not. A. Choice. Try to grasp this, it’s not difficult: If you think that you chose to not be sexually attracted to people of the same sex, then you are sexually attracted to people of the same sex. Once again, with feeling: Sexuality is not something you choose, it’s something you are.
And as for tolerating old bigots because they’re old: I give leeway to them up to a point. But you’d be amazed at how many patients I’ve had to tell off for racially abusing their doctors, and that sort of thing wears your patience out quite quickly.
Well Mogg they don’t understand why a man or a woman want to be inter mate with the same sex,not so hard to understand .
So ? I don’t understand why people would want to eat avocado and you don’t see me making a scene every time avocados are served in my family. I just don’t eat them and let others take my part if they wish.
And finding something appalling is no reason to bar others from doing it: I am appalled by my fellows French habit of eating snails, but having no reason beyond my personal disgust of being so appalled I don’t advocate for banning that or making people feel uncomfortable doing it. I just don’t partake in snails eating.
And to add to Mogg’s point…well “appalling” is a quite strong expression of disgust and/or horror in English. So it’s not shocking that people doubt that your homosexuals relatives will see much love from their parents: remember, if the recipient of your love see none, it’s perhaps time to reflect on how do you express it and do you really love him/her or an ideal version of him/her.
P.S. : For the record appalling was used as an expression of disgust regarding snails.
Ahh, so they are unthinking bigots, then. The phrases “I don’t get it”, “I think that’s weird/icky” and “but that’s how we’ve always done it” should have no part in the way we work out how to treat others. Particularly the people we profess to love.
No, it’s like saying someone shouldn’t be nearsighted because you’re on a diet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prenatal_hormones_and_sexual_orientation
Unless you can point out how a behavior is likely to be harmful to someone other than the person doing it, you have a pretty weak case for putting restrictions on that behavior.
I can drink booze all I want at home, and nobody will stop me. However, someone is justified in telling me not to drive a car, operate machinery, or even go to work if I am drunk as a skunk because of the potential my behavior has to harm others.
However, this takes place on a continuum. If I have one beer, I can probably do all of the above and nobody will say anything. This is kind of how I see the lying and cheating deal – most of us think it’s bad, but it’s also weighed against the situation and the level of harm it does. If I tell a total stranger who is hitting on me that “I have a boyfriend” I am lying, but many people would consider that acceptable given the situation. However, if I publish that my neighbor was arrested for murder and buried bodies in the back lawn in a newspaper, that lie is actually something that can be punished. If I cheat at playing Go Fish with some friends, they might be mad at me, but if I cheat on my taxes I might be going to jail. We only really seem to start getting the law involved when some reasonable level of harm to others can be demonstrated. However, denying gay people the right to marry does cause them harm.
I don’t think homosexuality or gay marriage can be shown to be harmful to anyone in particular. It’s like someone telling me that I should not consume alcohol or caffeine; I’ll let them make a case, but I don’t see my behavior as something that causes enough trouble for the other person to regulate.
Talk about strawmen ,we have a whole haystack here.Avocados,coffee,beer,snails,LOL
Learn the difference between a strawman and an analogy.
I have,i learn t it from this very site,a strawman is when someone gives a wrong analogy and then argues against it,thus avocado,beer,coffee.LOL
No, a strawman is when someone mis-characterises their opponent’s position and then proceeds to invalidate that mis-characterisation to give the illusion that they have invalidated their opponent’s argument. What you’ve described is a False Analogy.
If you think that this is a false analogy, you are welcome to explain how the analogy fails to mimic the situation being discussed.
Yeah, you can say all that if you like, but you can’t actually show how it’s wrong. Can you? Also, no one here will take you seriously until you learn to express yourself above a third-grade level.
I’m not holding my breath.
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