Religious Liberty & Proposition 8 Once Again





Legacy Comments

  1. Spencer says on Feb 13, 2012 @ 01:05 AM:

    Craig claims that under prop 8, there isn't any discrimination against gays and lesbians because they have exactly the same right to marry as heterosexuals - namely, the right to marry a person of the opposite sex. I wonder whether Craig would think the following discriminates against racial minorities:

    "Only marriage between a man and a woman of the same race is valid or recognized in California."

    Under this proposition (call it P8), there isn't any discrimination against racial minorities because they have exactly same right to marry as whites - namely, the right to marry a person of the opposite sex who is of the same race. Never mind the fact that proponents of P8 are motivated by animus against minorities and wish to preserve "white purity," because P8 doesn't say anything about racial minorities, it doesn't discriminate against them. I suppose, then, that Craig wouldn't find P8 unconstitutional. *groan*

  2. Daniel says on Feb 13, 2012 @ 03:00 AM:

    I was not really against same-sex marriage, but this past week has forced me to reassess a lot of things. The true hypocrisy is from people who would appeal to constitutional rights when opposing Proposition 8, and then zealously attempt to violate the first amendment rights of people with whom they do not share values. So if I must choose between being forced to someday fund abortions through Obamacare, and on the other hand making it more difficult for same-sex marriages, then I have to go with the latter. The latter does not cost me my soul. Nor does it represent state coercion against my own conscience.

    Also, I do not get the impression from what I have read and heard from progressives in recent days that they recognize any limits to this coercion. If we pass laws that extend marriage to same-sex couples, what happens if same-sex members of a faith decide they are discriminated against by their church? Does Obama step in and mandate that? What if some group emerges calling themselves gay Catholics. Does that mean the president is allowed to contravene that Church doctrine as well?

    I don't think progressives accurately judged the implications of recent events. If they make religious people on the left choose between God and progressivism, those people are very likely to choose God. I also think if they choose to carry out threats of violence against churches that refuse to comply with their mandates (through fines and any other state punishment), they quickly head for civil strife they simply cannot win. There exist more Christians than not. Worse, they kind of threaten anybody who has any faith at all.

  3. jmischley says on Feb 13, 2012 @ 11:38 AM:

    Pro-gay marriage advocates can try to make it a legally recognized marriage by the government, but they'll never make it a marriage recognized by God, and for that matter me. To me it'll just be a marraige-as-defined-by-the-government. It's not the same thing as what Christians mean by marriage as defined by the Bible. And no matter what they get the law to say, they can't make me acknowledge it as such.

  4. hamlet says on Feb 13, 2012 @ 12:42 PM:

    using race as an analogy for sex is just foolishness once you take a critical look at it. Marriage has always been viewed, down through English common law to the present, as a union of a man and a woman; that's the nature of marriage; it has that male/female complimentarity as a property in the way that "being a son" or "sonship" includes the property "being male." The racists of old tried to amend the nature of marriage so as to include the property "being of the same race." This is clearly violating the right of any man to marry any woman (although, actually, not just any old man can marry any old woman--a man cannot marry a woman who is his mother, for example). But what the activists for homosexual marriage are arguing for is very different; they're asking for a brand new right: the right of a man to marry a man. Whether we as a society decide to change the nature of marriage (which is a funny concept from a Christian perspective) is up to the citizens and the legislatures who are our representatives, not judges.

    It's really interesting the way things have gone in the appeals process; the strategy is clearly to try and avoid this case making it to SCOTUS. I think they are right to tremble at such a possibility; they've overplayed their hand by going for marriage rather than domestic partnerships; the rights argument probably works for the latter but not the former.

  5. robaylesbury says on Feb 13, 2012 @ 12:47 PM:

    I've always been perplexed as to why Christians expend so much time on this issue?

  6. robaylesbury says on Feb 13, 2012 @ 01:09 PM:

    Just out of interest, let's hypothetically assume that every Christian objection to prop 8 has veracity. What is the ultimate concern for Christians and how do they perceive these concerns will manifest?

  7. Scott says on Feb 13, 2012 @ 01:16 PM:

    Frankly, Rob, I wish many Christians would spend more time on it. It's important to me because I see society having depended on and having benefitted greatly from a normative view of the family. If we eliminate any normative view of it, then why can't we define marriage any way we want it? As Craig said, it could be open to polygamy, incestual marriage and so on. I've never heard a convincing reason why the floodgates couldn't logically open unless marriage is normative.
    But healthy and statle families depend on a normative definition of marriage. And, a society depends on the family. So until I see an argument against this, I see no reason why the minority (who, in this case, typically hold to some form of moral relativism making moral rights incoherent) should dictate to the majority such a foundational and stabilizing force within society.
    I've already made this point in my parenthetical comment but, furthermore, if we really are infringing on moral rights, then objective morality must exist. So you're really pinning your hopes on Spencer's view in the "Mississippi" thread and I have expressed my issues with it there.

  8. robaylesbury says on Feb 13, 2012 @ 01:40 PM:

    You know my position on your less than compelling moral argument, Scott. Let's keep that ungainly beast caged in the other thread.

    And why would floodgates have to open? Isn't it more likely that things are just going to plod along? Are you suggesting that there's an army of deviants out there just waiting for the green light?

  9. BJ says on Feb 13, 2012 @ 02:14 PM:

    Spencer,

    You present a very compelling case everytime this issue comes up. At this point I lean towards the position of homosexuality being immoral based on my theological convictions, nevertheless perhaps these individuals should be allowed to marry.

    What keeps me from going all the way on this is what you would refer to as "the slippery slope argument" -- that is to say that legalizing same sex marriage would lead to other more unconventional forms of relationships being considered as a legalized marriage.

    This makes perfect sense to me, but you don't believe this argument is adequate. Can you please briefly tell me why it isn't?

  10. BJ says on Feb 13, 2012 @ 02:18 PM:

    PS -- I think Obama's compromise was a good move and Dr. Craig and other conservatives are grasping at straws. Bring it on KStret.

  11. JC says on Feb 13, 2012 @ 05:34 PM:

    This is an interesting exchange. I consider the notion of ethics and politics as understood by Aristotle to be especially pertinent to this discussion. In short, those notions are as follows: ethics is about recognizing what it is that constitutes true human flourishing for the individual. And then politics should be understood roughly as the science of legislating laws which best help citizens to achieve that flourishing which follows from human nature.


    Now, it seems to me that both sides of the debate-those for and against the recognition of homo-sexual marriage-can consistently agree to want the following: the greatest possible flourishing for individuals, homosexual in orientation or not. From this it follows that both parties desire flourishing for homosexuals. The point of disagreement, then, is over what rules/laws promote such flourishing.


    How do we then offer arguments to support any given piece of legislation? The best way is to simply point to "facts of the ground" and explain their relevance to a given piece of legislation.


    In the case of homosexual marriage legislation, a few points should be made. First, it seems obviously false that marriage is necessary for human flourishing. No doubt social interaction is necessary for human flourishing, but there are many individuals who willingly choose to pursue interests and live their lives as "single" individuals. Surely we do not want to exclude them from those who may flourish as humans simply because they made a what we think is a poor choice to remain unmarried (regrettably, this attitude is not uncommon among most Americans, and perhaps even more so inside the church). Secondly, given the previous consideration, it is clear the debate is not about whether marriage is necessary for flourishing, but rather, whether the right to choose to marry [with all title and benefits included] is being violated.


    But this raises another important question in the debate; namely, what is it that grounds a right? There are many options people can appeal to in attempting to ground the rights of humans (e.g. Naturalistic Platonism, Aristotelianism, Natural Law Theory, etc), but any plausible version needs to at least presuppose the existence of natural kinds. By natural kind, I mean to say that when one asks what it means for someone to be human, a correct answer to such a question can be given. Furthermore, if one wants to uphold the objectivity of ethics-something essential to any argument on behalf of homosexual marriage-then the answer to any natural kind question must be true at all times (This need not rule out evolutionary theory, though it may plausibly require one to be a theistic evolutionist).


    But then if we must assume that there are natural kinds in order to ground natural rights, then we can compare the definitions we have of marriage (tradition & modified-to-accommodate-homosexual-marriage) and see how altering the definition of marriage would affect the facts on the ground.


    Of particular importance for such questions are recognizing the end or aim of marital relationships. Traditionally construed, such relationships are essentially oriented toward the rearing of children (complications arise that I will not deal with here for people who cannot have children due to biological reasons. For further understanding on this and the other issues I've mentioned, see "What is Marriage" in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy by Robert P. George, Sherif Girgis, and Ryan T. Anderson). However, sociological data suggests that the environment in which a child grows up can heavily factor into the quality of their development (this is uncontroversial). More importantly, however, one factor that affects the quality of a child's upbringing immensely is the sexual orientation of that child's parents (see article above for reference and the studies). Many interpretations can be made to fit the data. The following are two pertinent ones: 1) the widespread prejudice against homosexuals has skewed the results of such sociological surveys where such results would not be present in a non-prejudiced [i.e. utopian?]society, or 2) the data is a legitimate indication that a living situation involving non-traditional parents is counter-productive to the flourishing of children. Both of these are interesting interpretations and need further reasoning to be supported. If (2) is right then in fact, there is a moral obligation for the government, which follows from its commitment to human flourishing for its citizens, to not change the definition of marriage. If (1) is right, then more data needs to be gathered to show how the re-definition of marriage might affect the flourishing of citizens.


    Recall that marriage is not itself what constitutes flourishing for the advocate of redefining marriage, but rather, the right to choose to marry. However, if there is a natural kind 'human'-an assumption that I think isnecessary to ground the objectivity and thus legitimacy of revisionist moral claims-then the definition of marriage ought to be derived from that natural kind. An important insight, one noticed by philosophers as wide ranging as Philippa Foot and Robbie George, is that biology indicates human nature and teleology. And it seems that biology does suggest a male-female relationship is intended when it comes to the having and raising of children.


    Caveat: If evolutionary naturalism is true, then a case can easily be made that our biology is simply changing and that we no longer can base our definition of marriage on biology. But as I hinted at above, such a view amounts to a rejection of the objectivity of morality since morality can change as evolution progresses. While if such a moral standpoint were true (a society-subjective one), we might get closer to a redefinition of marriage, such a definition (it must be recognized) would only be a result contingent on how human beings "happened" to evolve. The only way a violation of unalterable and steadfast rights can be argued for is if one assumes morality is objective in that it does not depend on something which can change-e.g. the intentions of God to bring about certain types of species through the process of evolution, or by the existence of the kind human in some other way.


    I've said a lot and invite comments. I do lean on the traditional interpretation because of philosophical convictions regarding morality, but I enjoy discussing this issue with anyone who might consider philosophical argument a hobby. Do please offer actual arguments against the points I've made though. It's especially difficult as a reasoner to reconstruct arguments for others when they do not know how to articulate them clearly for themselves.


    Thanks,
    JC

  12. Windy says on Feb 13, 2012 @ 06:57 PM:

    Saying that a ban on same-sex marriage does not discriminate against gays because gay individuals can still marry members of the opposite sex (provided they “convert”) is as silly saying that a ban on Protestant services does not discriminate against Protestants because they can still go to mass like normal people (provided they convert).

    Anytime a state tells people they cannot do something they want to do, it infringes on a “liberty” interest within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. Even a restriction as lowly as a parking regulation infringes on a liberty interest. And anytime the state makes a distinction based on group characteristics, it is discriminating against the disadvantaged group and, accordingly, the discrimination must comport with “equal protection” under the law. A parking regulation that applies only to trucks unarguably discriminates against truckers, so that it must comply with whatever constitutional standards apply in that setting, and it is no answer to say that truckers remain free to drive and park cars like everyone else. Similarly, a state prohibition on gay marriage unarguably burdens a liberty interest (individual gays can’t do what they want), and it unarguably discriminates against same-sex couples who want to exercise that liberty interest on the same terms as opposite-sex couples (they are treated differently).

    There already exists a well-defined analytic structure to determine whether a law that discriminates against a disadvantaged group does so constitutionally or unconstitutionally (and, surprise!, Aristotle is not consulted). The discrimination is constitutional if it furthers a sufficiently strong public interest with the degree of precision appropriate to the particular liberty interest at stake. In the case of the parking regulation on trucks, the established constitutional test is minimal: the liberty interest of truckers to park where they want is permissibly restricted so long as (a) a rational person could conceive of a reason why trucks shouldn’t be allowed to park in the forbidden spaces and (b) the regulation has some rational connection to the furtherance of that legitimate objective. That is why no one (except maybe a bishop on his way to a Catholic university conference on one-sex priesthood) goes around claiming a constitutional right to park wherever he wants. However, unlike parking, getting married and having sexually intimate relationships with a consenting adult are both “fundamental” liberty interests (according to Supreme Court decisions), so the constitutional test is more demanding: any rule that prevents couples in same-sex relationships from entering into a marriage on the same terms as opposite-sex couples must further a compelling public interest and do so in a manner so narrowly crafted as to be neither over-inclusive nor under-inclusive. This is not to say that all limits on when a marriage may take place must meet such a high standard of scrutiny; it’s just that a blanket prohibition on all same-sex marriages has to meet it. And I can tell you in advance that no rationale for prohibiting gay marriage is sufficiently narrowly tailored, so don’t bother to argue the point. All you have to do is note that some opposite-sex couples aren’t good parents or can’t have children, while some same-sex couples are good parents and can have children (or adopt them, in the case of gay men).

    The California situation was unique because the state Supreme Court (to which the Ninth Circuit was obliged to defer on a question of state constitutional law) had previously held that Proposition 8 did not do anything to repeal the marriage-equivalent rights already guaranteed in the state’s “domestic partnership” statute. (Ironically, the proponents of the amendment argued in favor of that conclusion, so that it could lawfully have been placed on the ballot through direct initiative rather than through the state legislature.) All Proposition 8 accomplished, said the state Court, was to place a paper-thin tiara of praise atop opposite-sex marriages. The situation could thus be likened to the “separate but equal” law at issue in Brown v. Board of Education, where children of all races had an equal opportunity to attend same-race schools of equal educational quality. The only reason for the discriminatory treatment was to make clear to everyone just how greatly the majority race prized itself and what little regard it had for a less valued minority. Back in the fifties, the Supreme Court did not feel comfortable telling most of the country (including the District of Columbia then run by Congress) that this kind of animus was utterly irrational, so it invented a (theretofore unknown) category of “inherent” inequality to strike down the racial discrimination. (Talk about your metaphysics!) After the legal scholars got a hold of it, the rule morphed into the more respectable “strict scrutiny” test used today. Times have changed, however, and today courts are more willing tell majorities flat out when they are behaving irrationally, even when they have been behaving irrationally for a long time and where they have developed very strong emotional attachments to their invidious demonologies and the myths used to justify them.

    It is time for that kind of judicial candor now. The Ninth Circuit did not have occasion to address what would have happened to a same-sex-marriage prohibition with some actual teeth in it, but the implication is clear: such a prohibition would not meet even the minimal rational-basis test, so it could not possibly meet the more demanding strict-scrutiny standard applicable to the “fundamental” liberty interests in marriage and intimate relationships. Well done, Ninth Circuit, well done. America is now that much closer to liberty and justice for all!

  13. Spencer says on Feb 14, 2012 @ 10:09 AM:

    BJ,

    Briefly, in response to the "slippery slope" objection, we need to distinguish two kinds of slopes: logical and causal. The logical slope objection asserts that the purported connection between the legalization of same-sex marriage and the so-called bad consequences is one of logical entailment, whereas the causal slope objection asserts that the purported connection is one of causal entailment. Which version do have in mind?

    In either case, proponents of the slope objection have the burden of demonstrating: 1) that the purported connection holds, and 2) that all the so-called bad consequences really are undesirable.

  14. Spencer says on Feb 14, 2012 @ 10:49 AM:

    "Only marriage between a man and a man, and a woman and a woman, is valid or recognized in California." Would Craig think this proposition doesn't discriminate against heterosexuals?

  15. Scott says on Feb 14, 2012 @ 01:13 PM:

    Rob said:
    You know my position on your less than compelling moral argument, Scott. Let's keep that ungainly beast caged in the other thread.

    The problem with this, Rob, is that social issues don’t exist in a vacuum completely unaffected by the worldview which informs it.
    I thoroughly read and enjoyed JC’s post above and think JC did a masterful job in stating that outside worldview issues must come into play here. Yes I think we can and must learn from other threads which are pertinent.
    This is because I have no idea what you and Spencer mean by “right” or “discrimination.” Your view seems incoherent to me in that many people who agree with you say:
    1) Objective moral truths don’t exist.
    2) It’s objectively true that we ought to allow homosexuals to marry each other.

    When we consider the broader worldview in which so many people in this culture want to advocate for gay marriage, their views don’t even make sense within themselves so why should we take them seriously.

    However, when we take Spencer’s view that objective morals do exist apart from the teleology JC was referring to, in my opinion, his view is only a slight improvement above yours. For if homosexuals have rights, and we really are discriminating against them, this implies a teleology I “ought” to be prescribed by. But Spencer’s view lacks any such purpose, meaning and because of this, it lacks any ultimate significance whatsoever. If proponents of gay marriage think that ultimate significance does exist in how we answer the question whether or not homosexuals should be allowed to marry, then modernism’s lack of meaning provides no foundation for its adherants to build upon.
    I’ve used the analogy many times with my church, family and friends that the left seems to attempt to build a beautiful and expansive second floor in which They keep adding more and more rooms on to it while at the same time taking a chain saw to the first floor.
    So the reason I’m brining moral ontology into this discussion is that I think absolutely anything the left says—unless they, themselves hold to natural law which would have its own issues—in regards to moral rights is just as logically hollow as an architect who attempts to build his two story house without the first floor.

    Rob said:
    1. And why would floodgates have to open? Isn't it more likely that things are just going to plod along? Are you suggesting that there's an army of deviants out there just waiting for the green light?

    I apologize for my use of the word, “floodgates” which would seem to imply that if we legalize homosexual marriage on Monday, then on Tuesday the whole world’s social issues are going to fall apart. No, I don’t think it will happen that quickly.
    What I mean is that if we dismiss the idea of teleology as being inherent within humans which is what the article in the Harvard Journal of Law JC referred to, then there is no logical basis for why anything couldn’t be permitted.
    I once made this point to a local radio talk show host and he said, Scott you’re right. Which is why I think the government should get out of the marriage business altogether.”
    This guy’s attitude seems to prove the point. If there is no teleology in human relationships, then why isn’t this radio talk show host correct? Why shouldn’t the government get out of it and anyone can define a marriage or a family in any way they want.
    I’m not claiming that it will occur the day after gay marriage is legalized but this is irrelevant. Whether it occurs one day or fifty years the same point implies, we were part of the generation which just sat by and watched the family slowly died all in the name of a worldview which has never been convincingly defended—let alone made coherent.

  16. Silentmatt says on Feb 14, 2012 @ 04:25 PM:

    I think Craig's right when he says that homosexuals and heterosexuals have an equal right to enter into heterosexual unions, though of course homosexuals by nature have no inclination or ability to enter into it. It is no more controversial than saying that all people have the right to be allowed to swim, even though there may be some people who lack limbs who can't swim, and that there's no right to have drowning recognized as a form of swimming.

    There is no equivalence even in principle between homosexual attractions, which are sexually dysfunctional, and heterosexual ones, so I find it very difficult to see this as a "rights" issue.

    It's just a symptom of the modern perverse view of sex that reduces it to mutual masturbation, as opposed to the facilitator of reproductively-fecund, steady familial relationships that it is.

    Marriage is the societal recognition of a natural institution- the bonding of a male and female brought together for the purpose of reproduction and the formation of a stable family (this need not, of course, be the case consciously with the participants- nature has its ends independently of what the participants may consciously intend), so even in principle I cannot see why one should call a donkey a horse and recognize gay "marriage."

  17. robaylesbury says on Feb 14, 2012 @ 04:51 PM:

    I'm going to be terribly guilty of cross pollination between threads here, but needs must. You see, I just don't get where the Christian can, with any confidence claim to be custodians of an objective morality when the whole edifice is based upon an unproven, and as far as I can see, unprovable premise. In contrast, whilst I do not claim that I can ever provide a perfect moral framework, I am confident that we can and do know enough about wellbeing to give us much to reflect upon. To say that unless one subscribes to objective moral values they cannot offer valuable insights as to how we might enhance wellbeing, appears to wilfully ignore what we have come to know about mind, brain, and the evolved human condition. Remember, I do not have to provide a complete narrative as to what is best for sentient creatures; I need only maintain that we can and do know much about how to enhance flourishing.

    Concerning the rights fixation with gay marriage, I continue to be frankly astonished that they deploy so much time and money to fighting it. There are so many other issues to consider, so much that diminishes real wellbeing that the whole thing smacks of self destruct. That's not to suggest that the majority of Christians don't concern themselves with the alleviation of suffering; it's just this issue always seems front and centre. I really don't think homosexuality is one of the more pressing concerns society faces during the early part of the 21st century.

  18. KStret says on Feb 14, 2012 @ 06:11 PM:

    The fundamental issue is if redefing marriage is a right. If homosexuasl are not being treated equally because they can not get married, polygamist and bigamist are also being discriminated against because they can not get married. If you change the definition marriage for one group you have to change the definition for ALL groups.

    Do polygamist and bigamist have the exact same right that gays have to have a judge impose polygamy and bigamy on the American culture?

    We have had this debate many times.....bring on the red herrings

  19. KStret says on Feb 14, 2012 @ 06:16 PM:

    The issue is a legal argument. The slippery slope is also a legal argument. You can't change the definition of marriage for one group and deny another group that same right.

  20. Windy says on Feb 14, 2012 @ 06:33 PM:

    Here’s an excerpt from a Supreme Court decision which, though it did not address same-sex marriage directly, might shed some light: “[O]ur laws and tradition afford constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education. . . . These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. . . . Persons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do.” Lawrence v. Texas, 534 U.S. 558, 574 (2003) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

  21. KStret says on Feb 14, 2012 @ 06:50 PM:

    Windy,
    "Persons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do.”

    The Fourteenth Amendment dictates that you can't change the definition of marriage for one group and deny another group that same right.Their own legal rationale should also be applied to bigamist and polygamists.

    Do polygamist and bigamist have the exact same right that gays have to have a judge impose polygamy and bigamy on the American culture?

  22. Spencer says on Feb 14, 2012 @ 07:10 PM:

    "The fundamental issue is if redefing marriage is a right."

    Nope, this isn't the "fundamental issue" at all.

  23. Spencer says on Feb 14, 2012 @ 07:37 PM:

    "The slippery slope is also a legal argument"

    Except it's an extremely bad argument. The intent is to show that legalization of same-sex marriage "leads to" (whatever that means) to a bunch of other marriages, which may or may not be desirable. Proponents of the slippery slope argument (SSA) need to: 1) demonstrate the purported connection (not just assert it ad nauseum), and (2) demonstrate that the other marriages are all bad (not just assume they are without argument).

    Moreover, even if SSA does show that same-sex marriage "leads to" some really bad marriage, what would follow? It would follow that same-sex marriage shouldn't be legal, but it does not show that opposite-sex marriage should remain legal. If SSA works against same-sex marriage, it may also work against opposite-sex marriage, in which case SSA undermines marriage everywhere.

  24. Scott says on Feb 14, 2012 @ 10:45 PM:

    Great post Matt! I was thinking about Spencer’s questions from earlier in the thread and wanted to post something very similar to what you wrote. Here are Spencer’s questions: "Only marriage between a man and a man, and a woman and a woman, is valid or recognized in California." Would Craig think this proposition doesn't discriminate against heterosexuals?
    Spencer also wrote:

    1. I wonder whether Craig would think the following discriminates against racial minorities:
    "Only marriage between a man and a woman of the same race is valid or recognized in California."

    I must admit that if modernism is correct, then Spencer would probably be correct. It seems that much of the media, and proponents of gay marriage ask us these type of questions almost rhetorically. If we accept modernism’s view of ethics and the family, then I think Craig would be wrong.
    But the incoherent foundation Modernism provides for homosexual marriage sends its logical structure crashing down.
    Keep in mind that Rob’s defense for this foundation was:

    To say that unless one subscribes to objective moral values they cannot offer valuable insights as to how we might enhance wellbeing, appears to wilfully ignore what we have come to know about mind, brain, and the evolved human condition. Remember, I do not have to provide a complete narrative as to what is best for sentient creatures; I need only maintain that we can and do know much about how to enhance flourishing.

    However, in our discussion in the “Mississippi” thread as well as in Craig’s debate with Sam Harris, both Craig and I affirmed we can and do knowhow human beings can flourish. So I don’t see any force to Rob’s comment as it’s just flat out wrong.
    We can recognize what it takes for humanity to flourish and you don’t have to be a Christian to see that. Likewise, we can also detect what it takes to diminish human flourishing as well. So Craig and I both agree with Rob and Sam Harris on this point. There’s no debate thus far.
    The debate is, given modernism, WHY should we favor human flourishing over, say, the flourishing of bacteria? Right now I’m taking antibiotics to hopefully diminish their flourishing inside of my sinuses. Because their view is only descriptive and provides no moral ontology whatsoever, Rob’s view (as well as Sam Harris’) provides no basis for why I’m not committing murder. Now I’m sure that both Rob and Sam Harris (as well as all modernists) would agree that I’m not, in fact, committing murder. Yet in so doing, they are borrowing the capital of a worldview which is not their own.
    But as I said in my last post, Spencer’s view does little better. Yes he does subscribe to objective morality, but his view lacks the teleology described so eloquently in JC’s post and so can’t consistently make any moral claim .

    So I disagree with Spencer and think we’ve addressed on many different occasions the connection between allowing gay marriage and any kind of “relationship” Spencer asked for. Given any moral basis derived from Modernism, there is no teleology (across the board) as well as no rational basis for moral claims of any kind.
    Related to this, one could take Rob’s “human flourishing” argument and apply it to polygamy and bigamy as well.
    And it is my guess that if gay marriage was ever adopted and someone attempted to use it as a foundation for other “relationships,” and someone like Spencer attempted to stop this by asking for the logical connection between the two, the response would probably be similar to one I’ve heard far too often: “Who are you to judge?” While natural law theory can answer this nicely, given Modernism, how would this person answer?

    I know that Spencer has asked us to provide reasons why allowing any possible relationship imaginable would be detrimental to society, and if we accept the tenets of Modernism (no ultimate teleology), and employ a possibly baseless morality to inform our laws, why wouldn’t child marriage be permissible? Remember, Rob has given us no reason why, under Modernism, we ought to prefer the well being of humanity and Spencer’s view can give us no objective meaning or purpose inherent within these children which would be the basis for any moral claim decrying child marriage.

  25. robaylesbury says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 01:49 AM:

    What leaps out from Scott's post is one comment in particular. It's the one where he questions why we should prefer the flourishing of bacteria over the flourishing of humans? Well on the one hand he stumbles upon an accidentally valid point, which is that humans are, from the biological sense, vast colonies of bacteria. However, and absurdly, he appears not to factor in questions of complexity which might better inform our perspective on this?

    There is much ethical discussion as to the rights we should offer what some might term "lesser life forms", yet these questions will be informed by what we know about these creatures themselves, about their brains and nervous systems.

    Ergo, I suggest with some confidence that the rights of a vast colony consisting of billions of bacteria, or as we call them humans, outweighs the rights of a single bacteria absent the vast levels of sentience that we enjoy.

    And who makes this decision? We do. How do we know we're right? We won't, always. And often we'll be wrong. But given there is NO demonstrable, effective, observable, applicable morality beyond that which we cobble together I'm strapped for options. So by all means insert the theistic objective moral values at this juncture, but do so in the knowledge that this affords us nothing that we don't already have. Certainly not a foundation.

  26. Windy says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 08:12 AM:

    KStret:

    In response to your question earlier, I am hesitant to predict how the Supreme Court might apply the reasoning in Lawrence v. Texas to polygamy and bigamy. My offhand guess is that polygamy’s historical association with a “patriarchal principle,” which, “when applied to large communities, fetters people in stationary deposition,” Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145, 166 (1878), and more contemporary concerns about the “persons who might be injured or coerced” in such arrangements, Lawrence, 539 U.S. at 578, might affect the balance of interests in a way not applicable to a blanket prohibition on the marriage of same-sex couples. The use of a numerical limit (which could be likened to age, degree-of-affinity and length-of-residency restrictions) would be an additional wrinkle. But I fail to see how any analysis that supports a ban on polygamous opposite-sex marriages today would lose its vitality tomorrow were same-sex marriages (subject to the same numerical limit) added to the equation. For our purposes, it is enough to agree with Justice Scalia that “the progression of thought” in Lawrence (and other decisions) dismantles any legally-relevant distinction “between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition of marriage is concerned.” Id. at 604. I realize that this thread has now moved on to deeper topics than law, so I will rest my case here.

  27. Jim Pemberton says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 09:35 AM:

    Extend this reasoning to children and multiple marriages. Many other laws currently on the books are unconstitutional based on this. Just think: entire communities may now have the right to declare themselves married under the same marriage, or a network of marriages where partners are married to multiple people who aren't necessarily married to each other but each have multiple marriages beyond. Just think about the tax and insurance benefits, not to mention paying for other family services. "Married filing jointly" could mean so much. Try proving tax evasion if the network is complex enough. So there is no government interest? Wait until people actually start trying this.

  28. Scott says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 12:49 PM:

    Rob said:
    What leaps out from Scott's post is one comment in particular. It's the one where he questions why we should prefer the flourishing of bacteria over the flourishing of humans? Well on the one hand he stumbles upon an accidentally valid point, which is that humans are, from the biological sense, vast colonies of bacteria. However, and absurdly, he appears not to factor in questions of complexity which might better inform our perspective on this?

    So are you saying we ought to favor the flourishing of humans above the flourishing of lesser bacteria? If you’re saying this then that is your objective moral value. If you’re saying you’re not sure whether we should or not, then you’re just stating your preference. But I’m inclined to think you’re referring to the former because you used the word, “inform” which indicates we can use complexity to discover the moral knowledge that the flourishing of more complex bacteria ought to be favored above that of lesser complex bacteria. So it seems to me that you can’t escape the fact that you do believe in objective moral values.
    Rob said:
    1. Ergo, I suggest with some confidence that the rights of a vast colony consisting of billions of bacteria, or as we call them humans, outweighs the rights of a single bacteria absent the vast levels of sentience that we enjoy.

    So Rob suggests with some confidence in trhe objectively true moral truth claim that we have more rights than simple forms of bacteria? Whether or not a moral truth claim is objective doesn’t depend on how certain we are of its truth as something could be objectively true and I just wouldn’t either be aware of it or have settled it in my mind.

    Rob said:
    1. And who makes this decision? We do. How do we know we're right? We won't, always. And often we'll be wrong. But given there is NO demonstrable, effective, observable, applicable morality beyond that which we cobble together I'm strapped for options. So by all means insert the theistic objective moral values at this juncture, but do so in the knowledge that this affords us nothing that we don't already have. Certainly not a foundation.
    If it’s possible that we can be wrong, then, by definition, moral values must be objective. We can’t be wrong on something which is not objective. So I, again, think that Rob’s position is self-refuting.
    And, yes, a theistic objective moral value would give us a solid foundation for moral truth claims because this Creator would have been the Creator of all of reality. Thus, with God, we have all the necessary ingredients to base a coherent moral ontology. We have moral purpose and, thus, value, ultimate moral reasoning and ultimate moral significance.
    But, then, I think Rob tacitly points out a weakness in Spencer’s point of view by saying that objective moral values are theistic. Spencer does believe in omv’s, yet denies the existence of any objective moral lawgiver and without the above ingredients, moral ontology lacks any significance let alone any coherent meaning.

  29. Scott says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 01:00 PM:

    Often in the course of a discussion I like to sum things up and see how we’re doing.
    Spencer began by saying that Craig was wrong and Prop 8 really does discriminate against homosexuals.
    Several of us have attacked this by saying that, given modernism, Spencer may be right and Craig might be wrong. But, modernismsm’s moral ontology has been attacked heavily in this thread.
    Rob has defended it by making some, at least as I see them, self-refuting statements that we don’t have objective moral truth yet we can be wrong on moral truth nonetheless.
    Spenbcer has said that we need to prove two things in order to be against gay marriage:
    1) There is a connection between gay marriage and other relationships.
    2) Other relationships are bad.

    But I think several of us have addressed Spencer’s first point in saying that, given Modernism, there is no teleology for any kind of human relationship and, thus, there is no reason to allow gay marriage and just stop there.
    The second one has been responded to by saying that, given Modernism, we have no basis for teleology and, thus, even child marriage remains a logical option.

    So, in short, I don’t think gay marriage is the big bear we should be fighting. The big bear is Modernism and all of its inconsistencies and I thank God that Craig is on university campuses everywhere and having such a huge impact. I also thank God for Colson’s and Koukl’s organizations which also expose Modernism’s inconsistencies.
    So, I still challenge proponents of gay marriage to defend their view. I think it’s been heavily attacked by several people here and haven’t seen any reason why we should accept it.

  30. JC says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 03:44 PM:

    I apologize that I am just now returning to this thread, but as many of you probably understand, life is busy. I will give some comments regarding Windy’s post from 13 February 2012 @ 6:57pm. Then I’ll say a few things about objectivity and subjectivity that ought (no pun intended) to be cleared up.

    Anytime a state tells people they cannot do something they want to do, it infringes on a “liberty” interest within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. Even a restriction as lowly as a parking regulation infringes on a liberty interest. And anytime the state makes a distinction based on group characteristics, it is discriminating against the disadvantaged group and, accordingly, the discrimination must comport with “equal protection” under the law.

    In the above paragraph, Windy stresses the importance of the value of liberty, especially to the American people. Obviously, no one should seriously contend to deny liberty to be an important value. However, it is important to avoid giving the value of liberty a “trumping” authority over all other values. The reason for this is simple; namely, that there are many important values aside from liberty (I take this to be roughly synonymous with autonomy), which contribute to the flourishing of any human life (e.g. the value of social interaction, healthy eating habits). The government makes many restrictions to an individual’s liberty, and although I disagree with some of those limitations, I believe many of them are legitimate. For instance, LSD is illegal. Suppose my cousin wants to take LSD but the only option I have to stop him involves violating his autonomy/liberty. I should do it because in the end it would be good for him, and the disvalue of ruining his life through LSD outweighs the disvalue of violating his liberty. However, if liberty is taken to be a “trump” value, no other value can outweigh it, and this is just implausible at best. I take it that Windy would agree with what I’ve said so far.

    Now what I’ve said so far has not addressed the problem at issue; namely, whether the government can rightfully refuse to change the definition of marriage. From what I’ve said above, even if the government’s refusing to change the definition of marriage does amount to violating the autonomy of homosexual citizens, it doesn’t follow that they should change the definition, for other value considerations may counterbalance the value of liberty in this case. (Think about Windy’s “truck-driver parking restriction” example).

    So what constitutes a reasonable restriction on the value of liberty in any given case? Windy proposes the following:
    (a) a rational person could conceive of a reason why trucks shouldn’t be allowed to park in the forbidden spaces and (b) the regulation has some rational connection to the furtherance of that legitimate objective.

    A couple of points can be made here. Consider (a) first. Defining a “rational person” is very problematic. Consider an example from history: Columbus. The vast majority of rational persons were in fact wrong about the earth’s geometrical shape, but if they were rational, then according to the above criterion, they are legitimate judges of why Columbus should never have sailed the ocean blue. Or for something involving morality and the average “rational” US citizen, consider the slave trade. I for one would not want to say that in that day and time, appealing to what most “rational” people would say with regard to owning a slave was the best way to determine how a government should legislate. The question is not about what any rational person would say, but what a rational person with the best evidence, arguments, and understanding of the weightings of values would say. This is a much more restrictive requirement and as I realize, it is at odds with the democratic spirit of many Americans. But then again, perhaps I spend too much time reading my Plato and Aristotle when I should instead be consulting as many Americans as I possibly can on this question.

    Criterion (b) suffers from similar problems of vagueness and ambiguity regarding ‘rational connection’ as well as in its use of the phrase ‘legitimate objective’. To whom is this objective to be considered legitimate? The rational person? In that case, we circle around to other problems. Perhaps people familiar with the intersection of ethics and policy making (i.e. political philosophy) ought to be consulted, and it would be helpful to get people who represent many and varied viewpoints, especially if our goal is working with the best arguments and information available.

    Now I’ll turn to objectivity and ethics. There are degrees of objectivity, and you can see this if you zero in on what is meant by subjectivity, and then slowly back out to objectivity. So let me roughly characterize subjectivity in morality as follows: morality is subjective iff for any individual x, whatever verdict (true or false) x offers with respect to a given moral proposition-something of the form “one ought to F in circumstances C”-x is right. Thus, if there are 2 individuals, A and B, and a moral proposition P, it is consistent for A to affirm P and B affirms not-P and them to both be correct in their verdict. From this it follows that there really can’t be any such thing as a moral truth, which applies across the board. But clearly, if advocates of redefining marriage want to claim the current definition of marriage transgresses their rights in some way, holding this view of morality would defeat their efforts entirely.

    So, suppose we broaden morality such that something is a moral truth relative to a given culture (we’ll grant for the sake of argument that defining the boundaries of each relevant subculture is possible, although I seriously doubt that). In other words, a moral proposition P is true in a culture if and only if that culture collectively decides that P. Notice that this view of morality is a midpoint between subjective and objective ethics in that the truth of a moral proposition does not depend on the verdict of individuals, but on the verdict of a group. However, the issues of a subjectivist ethics remain because different cultures can issue contradictory verdicts on moral propositions. Indeed, even the same culture can legitimately endorse a moral proposition at one point in time, but then reject it later. And finally, such a view of ethics relies on the majority opinion of a culture, but as was discussed above, majority rationality is a poor substitute for truth.

    Okay, maybe morality can be objective in the sense that it depends on how we human creatures are now, but does not depend on our verdicts about moral propositions. In other words, perhaps morality can be derived from our evolutionarily contingent teleology (I know, loaded terminology. What I mean by this is that given evolution by natural and “chancy” selection, we have evolved naturally with certain aims, such as survival, continuation of the species, characteristic avoidance of pain and pursuit of pleasure, social goals and behaviors, and finally aims somehow based on our rational natures. These aims are teloi or ends that we naturally pursue, and one might think this is the “stuff” of ethics). However, the contingency of such an ethical stance is worrisome, for we could have evolved in such a way that radically different moral truths obtained as a result of the way the world was. Suppose humans had evolved in such a way that extreme pain would always accompany every second of each human’s life. No enjoyment would be possible whatsoever. Perhaps in such a world the right thing to do would be to commit suicide, but alas, sometimes my examples are a bit dramatic. The point remains, however, that moral propositions, even on this model can at one time (or at one world) be true while at another time (or at another world) be false. This might be sufficient to get revisionists what they want now, but I take it the content of their convictions regarding the redefinition of marriage includes something stronger than the contingent claim “that it is currently morally wrong to define marriage in the way the US does, although it hasn’t necessarily been wrong and won’t necessarily be wrong forever.

    So finally, if you want morality to be true unalterably, there are three options in ethics. The first is deontology, the view that there exists a moral law, knowable by reason alone and independent of the state of the world. I won’t discuss this view because as far as I’m concerned, it won’t work aside from theism. For anyone interested in reading excellent work on Kant’s theory, googlescholar the work of Christine Korsgaard at Harvard. The second is to endorse a version of Aristotelian essentialism or natural kinds, the view that there is a timelessly true (or true-at-all-times) answer to the question, “What is it to be F?” (e.g. What is it to be human? What is it to be an octopus? Etc). Of course, while this view was plausible for the science of Aristotle’s time, it is at odds with the naturalistic science of our times. One can give up naturalism for something else (might I suggest Christian theism?), but that’s unlikely for most of the revisionist camp. The third option available to us in attempting to ground ethics in an immutable way would be to advocate theism and natural law theory (some argue that NL and Aristotelian Virtue Theory amount to the same thing, but I think this is mistaken).

    Unfortunately for the revisionist camp, they are left with a dilemma. They need immutably true morality to make their case of a desirable strength; however, any adequately objective moral theory requires them to posit entities that are unpopular (e.g. natural kinds, a God, categorical imperatives). So to make this explicit, the dilemma is as follows:

    Either 1) morality is immutably objective or 2) morality is not immutably objective.

    If (1), then revisionists are committed to the existence of at least one of the following three things: categorical imperative, natural kinds, or God. Such commitments make their position considerably more difficult to defend (e.g. they must engage natural law theory).

    And (2) is undesirable simply because it doesn’t provide a strong enough conclusion to meet the desires of revisionists. They want morality to be more binding, but on these non-immutably-objective views, discrimination of any form could be true given the right conditions.

    So there’s my argument for now. Feel free to comment and offer objections.

    Best,
    JC

  31. Scott says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 04:42 PM:

    JC,
    Thank you for your posts. I must say that I enjoy reading them and find them very informative and helpful in analyzing this issue.

  32. robaylesbury says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 04:55 PM:

    Hello Scott,

    Based on what we know about single bacteria in contrast to what we know about humans, I would suggest we may want to give humans a modicum of additional priority. That observation requires no recourse to objective morality; the knowledge informing our decision has been accrued in myriad different ways. Point is, the whole enterprise is from the ground up rather than from the top down.

    And once again, theism offers no foundation whatsoever as its central claims are contested and unproven. Were it otherwise it's unlikely we would be having this disagreement.

  33. robaylesbury says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 05:35 PM:

    As an additional observation, let's concentrate on humans alone for a few moments and consider the following; we are all pretty much identical in terms of our composition. Our brains have the same wiring, our bodies the same nervous system. All the core stuff is in one and all. With this in mind, it seems relatively uncontroversial to suggest that we might see a broad scale of agreement when it comes to what might enhance wellbeing. Our bodies are evolved to regard pain as a warning marker, and hunger as a prompt to seek out nourishment, and so on and so forth. There's going to be a whole gamut of things we can know to empirically enhance wellbeing, long before we start adding elements like culture etc. So when I hear people question why we should think of pain as bad or question the merits of wellbeing, I'm inclined to do little more than roll my eyes. We're made a certain way and have developed certain needs. As such I've little doubt that if and when we discover the true origins of morality we shall discover that wellbeing was sat at its left hand all along.

  34. KStret says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 06:05 PM:

    The definition of marriage is one man and one woman. Same sex marriage proponent want to change the definition of marriage.Therefore it is accurate to say they want to redefine marriage.

    They are not taking the position that they would like to change the law and if people reject it, that is fine. They are taking the position that it is a right for homosexuals to get married.

    By taking that position the judiciary can impose same sex marriage on the culture, this becomes a legal issue. Redefining marriage is a right. What is the legal rationale for same-sex marriage?

    Straight people can get married. Same-sex couples can not. The 14th amendment's equal protection clause dictates that laws must be applied uniformly. That is to say, if a person with blue eyes can easily get a business license, people of all eye colors must be able to get a business license as easily as the person with blue eyes.

    Since straight people can get married and same-sex couples can not, this is a violation of the 14th amendment and same sex marriage can be implemented by a judge. This position affirms that refining marriage is a right and makes this a constitutional issue.

    The argument to impose same sex marriage on the culture via the judiciary dictates anyone who doesn't like the current definition of marriage should be able to go court and have a judge impose their preferred definition of marriage on everyone else. Why?

    The 14th amendment of the constitution equal protection clause dictates that laws must be applied uniformly. If redefining marriage is a fundamental right for homosexuals, it must also be a fundamental right for other groups.

    It also dictates that other groups such as polygamist and bigamist are being deprived of their fundamental right to marry who they want too.

    Here is the problem: The argument to allow same-sex marriage dictates that if anyone wants to change the definition of marriage all they need to do is go to court and have a judge impose on everyone else. Same-sex marriage proponents can't have this. If you ask them:

    Do you believe the polygamists and bigamist have the exact same right as homosexuals to go to court and have polygamy and bigamy imposed on the culture?

    They generally will not answer the question. Why?

    1. If they answer no, they are guilty of the special pleading fallacy. They are being hypocritical. All the words and insults that usually end with phobia/ism to insult anyone who disagrees would then apply to them.

    2. If they answer yes, they are admitting that they want to force people to live in a society where marriage means anything anyone wants it mean.

    Objections/ rebuttals

    1. Dodge the question by saying they don't have a problem with polygamy. The question was not the same sex marriage proponent's opinion of polygamy. The question is do polygamist and bigamist have the exact same right right that same sex couples do.

    2. Equivocate over to a libertarian position. The position that the government should not be in the business of sanctioning marriages to begin with.

    Same-sex marriage proponents are not fighting to have the government stop sanctioning marriages. They are fighting to have the government sanction same sex marriages.

    3. They attempt to flip the argument on it's head. By denying same sex marriage anyone who disagrees with them are using the power of the government to deny the rights of a minority group.

    This presupposes that redefining marriage is a right and same sex couple's rights are being denied. However, the main problem with this argument is that is exactly what they are doing. They are using the power of the government to impose same sex marriage on the society.

    4. Polygamy and same sex marriage are two different issues. This is a constitutional issue. It is about the 14th amendment's equal protection clause. If same sex couples have the fundamental right to redefine marriage all other groups have that exact same right. They are not two separate issues.

    5. Change the subject to a red herring. They might ask a loaded question like "Oh yeah.... well ... how does same sex marriage hurt you?"

    The subject is predicated on the 14th amendment. Also, when the rule of law isn't followed and a group of judges are basing their decision on whether they like an idea or not that hurts me and the rest of the country.

    Attempting to draw you into a side argument or changing the subject to religion is also tried frequently.

    6. Shift the burden. Tell me one good reason we shouldn't have same sex marriage?

    Marriage has had the same definition for a very long time. If you want to change you tell me why we should. If you want to change the definition of marriage, it's your responsibility to make the case for your position. This is another variation of the red herring.

    5. Start insulting. This can be subtle or overt.

  35. KStret says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 06:10 PM:

    Spencer,
    "Nope, this isn't the "fundamental issue" at all."

    It is.

    "(2) demonstrate that the other marriages are all bad (not just assume they are without argument)."

    This is a red hearing. The argument has nothing to with marriages being "bad." It is a constitutional argument.

    "Except it's an extremely bad argument. The intent is to show that legalization of same-sex marriage "leads to"

    The logic chain to allow same sex marriage dictates the slippery slope is a right.

    "Proponents of the slippery slope argument (SSA) need to: 1) demonstrate the purported connection (not just assert it ad nauseum"

    The argument to allow same sex marriage is the same as the slippery slope. This is a 14th amendment argument.The equal protection clause dictates if you change the rules for one group you must change the rules for all groups. That is their argument to allow same sex marriage.

    We have had this argument many times. Have you changed your position or your arguments?

    In the past, every argument that you bring up is a red hearing. You attempt to frame the debate so your position is assume to be correct. You will not answer any questions, dismiss any point that you do not like or can't answer as irreverent without quantifying why, and everything is a strawman argument, a lie, or a misrepresentation.

    1. You have stated in the past that same sex couples have the right to go to court and have a judge impose same sex marriage on society.

    2. You have also stated in the past that you believe that polygamist and bigamist have the exact same right that gays have to have a judge impose polygamy and bigamy on the American culture.

    What you usually do to deny that you said that about polygamy and obfuscate your position on same sex couples having the right to go to court.

    If you believe that same sex couples can go to court and impose same sex marriage on the culture by judicial fiat, you have to believe that redefining marriage is a right.

    If you believe same-sex marriage can be passed via the judiciary, refuse to clarify whether you believe that, and then turn around accusing me of lying or misrepresenting your position because you never said that out loud, that is inherently dishonest. It is also a waste of time.

  36. KStret says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 06:30 PM:

    Windy,
    You misunderstood my question. I wasn't asking you to predict how the Supreme Court would rule. My question is:

    Do you believe the polygamists and bigamist have the exact same right as homosexuals to go to court and have polygamy and bigamy imposed on the culture?

    One of the things the progressive movement did was change the way law was taught. They stopped studying the constitution and the founders. They replaced studying constitution with case law. This allowed then to incrementally change the constitution.

    For example, they changed the interpretation of the 1st amendment. The current interpretation has the free expression clause at odds with the establishment clause. That is not what the founders intended.

    The legal rationale to allow same sex marriages amounts to a judge deciding he likes an idea and wants to pass it into law. The judge then pulls the legal rationale out of thin air to support his preconception.

    The argument boils down to redefining marriage being a right. The founders of this country wouldn't agree with that. Reynolds v. United States affirms that redefining marriage is not a right.

  37. KStret says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 06:34 PM:

    JC,
    Do you believe the polygamists and bigamist have the exact same right as homosexuals to go to court and have polygamy and bigamy imposed on the culture?

  38. Scott says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 10:02 PM:

    JC, have you written any books or papers on the subject? I'd love to read them if I could.
    KStret,
    I think your posts at 6:05 and 6:10 were extremely good. I think, along with what Matt and I said, you answered Spencer's statement right on target. He said: "In either case, proponents of the slope objection have the burden of demonstrating: 1) that the purported connection holds,

    I think you did a tremendous job of analyzing the connection between the two and also analyzing the contemporary debate. You have a way of analyzing both sides of an issue that summarizes the contemporary scene quite well.
    You and I may see his second challenge a little differently but I honestly see this as a minuscule point compared with the larger issue we agree on and so don't care to spend any time discussing it.
    Thanks guys along with Spencer, Rob, Matt, Wendy and Jim (as well as anyone I've missed, I apologize) for your comments as they've been helpful to me. The contrary views are helpful in that they make sure I know what I'm talking about as both Spencer and Rob have been bulldogs in spotting errors I've made in the past. further, I've actually reflected on and refined this issue much more deeply in this thread than I have in awhile and this reflection as well as reading the posts from all you worthy people who both agree and disagree with me have helped me to see, in my opinion, the fundamental flaws in allowing gay marriage.

  39. Spencer says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 10:33 PM:

    Scott,

    I don't know what you mean by "modernism," and I don't know how it has any bearing on the arguments and issues under consideration. Moreover, I don't know why you would make strong pronouncements in this thread regarding the coherency of objective non-theistic ethics (or about my position), as that issue is far from settled (you don't see me making similar pronouncements in this thread regarding the coherency of objective theistic ethics or your position).

    I have still yet to see a proper articulation of the so-called slippery slope argument (SSA). As explained earlier, the proponent of SSA needs to: 1) demonstrate that same-sex marriage "leads to" (whatever that means) to other types of marriages, and 2) demonstrate that those other types of marriages really are bad or absurd. For instance, if a proponent claims that same-sex marriage "leads to" polygamy, is he asserting a logical or causal connection between the two? The type of connection should be explicitly stated and then proven, which has yet to be done. To show a logical connection, one would have to show that, as a matter of logic, it would be a contradiction to allow same-sex marriage and not allow polygamy. To show a causal connection, one would have to show that, as a matter of causality, it would be highly probable that polygamy will occur if same-sex marriage is allowed. Mere assertions are not demonstrations, as they simply beg the question, and neither are posing questions (a much used tactic in this debate), as they simply improperly shift the burden of proof.

    Moreover, even if same-sex marriage does "lead to" polygamy, the proponent then needs to explain why this consequence is so bad or absurd that it would warrant a rejection of same-sex marriage.

    Lastly, assuming the second step can be accomplished (so far, no one has even completed the first step), and a rejection of same-sex marriage is warranted, the proponent of SSA needs be able to justifiably maintain that the slope argument isn't applicable to opposite-sex marriage.

    The best strategy for opponents is to explain why same-sex marriage itself is so problematic for society, and to do this, they need to justifiably maintain that the alleged problems are unique to same-sex marriage. A bad strategy for opponents is to simply tout the alleged virtues of opposite-sex marriage (Maggie Gallagher does this a lot), since just because opposite-sex marriage has positive value, that in itself is no reason to prohibit same-sex marriage. Showing that A is good is not a reason for why B should be prohibited.

  40. Spencer says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 10:48 PM:

    KStret's representations of my position and arguments (as well as those held by same-sex marriage proponents) are so uncharitable, so full of wild distortions and obvious caricatures, that they do not deserve rebuttal. For some reason, he appears unable or unwilling to engage in genuine dialogue, a fact which hasn't changed since we began debating this topic.

  41. Scott says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 11:03 PM:

    Rob said:
    Based on what we know about single bacteria in contrast to what we know about humans, I would suggest we may want to give humans a modicum of additional
    priority. That observation requires no recourse to objective morality; the knowledge informing our decision has been accrued in myriad different ways.
    Point is, the whole enterprise is from the ground up rather than from the top down.

    So to me what you’re saying is that, from the bottom up, we have found out what benefits as well as what diminishes human flourishing and when human flourishing is at odds with the flourishing of lesser life forms, we want to favor that of humanity simply due to our higher level of complexity.
    If I got you right, I’m with you. However, to make moral claims such as, “We ought to respect the rights of homosexuals and allow them to marry” requires inserting the concept of an “ought” into your statement. So how do we go from a want to an ought if moral truth doesn’t exist? In fact, the concept of a moral ought becomes incoherent at that point.
    So the correct statement, from your viewpoint as I see it would be, “Many people want to respect what, in our opinion, is a moral right to allow homosexuals to flourish which could be accomplished by allowing them to marry.”
    But one can’t use such a statement to base laws upon. No judge can say, “I want to allow homosexuals to marry because it supports my worldview and, therefore, you ought to obey me.”
    Unless one can base the laws they support on a coherent moral ontology capable of ascribing moral “oughts,” then you’re left with group A forcing group B to abide by group A’s desires which is tyranny. Frankly, Rob, since proponents of gay marriage can’t give any convincing reason why we should allow it to occur, it seems they are simply imposing their desires on the rest of us and the fight to make gay marriage legal is simply tyrannous.

    Rob said:
    And once again, theism offers no foundation whatsoever as its central claims are contested and unproven. Were it otherwise it's unlikely we would be having
    this disagreement.

    So you’re saying that God can’t be the foundation of moral values simply because people disagree on his existence? Could I claim in the same manner that naturalism can’t be a reliable epistemology because it is contested?

    Rob said:
    of pain as bad or question the merits of wellbeing, I'm inclined to do little more than roll my eyes. We're made a certain way and have developed certain
    needs.

    But all your doing is describing the way nature works. But how do you get an ought from this.
    What your saying amounts to (let x stand for human flourishing):
    1) We’ve discovered that it is possible for A, B, C and D to occur.
    2) It is the desire for most people to prefer x.
    3) Only A and B allow for X.
    4) Therefore, we ought to compel people to be in favor of A and B.

    The conclusion seems to come out of left field. There is no way this inference could be made. It is a non sequitur. It seems the only way one could infer 4) from 2) is not through a logical connection but through tyranny.

    Spencer,
    I just finished my comments on Rob's posts. It's late and I'd like to dissect them at a later time.

    e

  42. Spencer says on Feb 15, 2012 @ 11:28 PM:

    This is an elaboration of my initial response to WLC.

    In the audio, WLC claims that proposition 8 doesn't discriminate against homosexuals because the law provides the same right to everyone - the right to marry a person of the opposite sex. Everyone is treated "equally" under this law. There are various responses to this claim.

    First, if proposition 8 doesn't discriminate, what about P8? P8 says: "Only marriage between a man and a woman of the same race is valid or recognized in California." Suppose a lot of interracial couples in California want to marry, but a very large group of racial purists comes along and manages to get P8 passed. When P8 gets challenged in court on equal protection grounds, they assert the following defense: P8 doesn't discriminate against interracial couples because the law provides the same right to everyone - the right to marry a person of the opposite sex who is of the same race. Everyone is treated "equally" under this law. Would WLC endorse this defense of P8? Would he really think that P8 doesn't violate equal protection?

    Second, the above example illustrates that an extremely narrow understanding of "discriminates" is implausible. Proposition 8 does discriminate against homosexuals, even if the language of the law doesn't say anything about homosexuals. The law is discriminatory in that it has the undeniable effect of denying homosexuals the right to marry their partners, while granting heterosexuals the right to marry their partners. Similarly, P8 is discriminatory in that it has the undeniable effect of denying interracial couples the right to marry their partners, while granting non-interracial couples the right to marry their partners.

    Third, even under WLC's narrow conception of "discriminate," proposition 8 does not grant everyone the same right to marry. Under proposition 8, a man has the right to marry a woman, but a woman does not have the right to marry a woman. Hence, a man has a right that a woman does not have - namely, the right to marry a woman. Moreover, under proposition 8, a woman has the right to marry a man, but a man does not have the right to marry a man. Hence, a woman has a right that a man does not have - namely, the right to marry a woman. Thus, Craig is just wrong to suggest that proposition 8 accords the same right to marry to each individual. In addition to discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, proposition 8 also discriminates on the basis of gender.

  43. Spencer says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 12:40 AM:

    On a related issue: many opponents claim that allowing same-sex marriage is solely an issue for states, not for federal courts. In particular, the legality of same-sex marriage is something to be decided directly by voters, since they should have the final say. Call this the Voter-Should-Decide position (VSD).

    One logical consequence of VSD is that if voters in a particular state decide (by a majority) to allow same-sex marriage, then same-sex marriage should be legal in that state. Suppose this happens. Suppose a majority of voters in state A vote to legalize same-sex marriage. How could same-sex marriage opponents respond to change this result? I see three ways.

    1) Bring the issue up for another vote and persuade a majority of voters to ban same-sex marriage in state A.

    2) Elect enough representatives to the state legislature who will work to pass legislation to ban same-sex marriage in state A.

    3) Elect enough representatives to the U.S. congress who will work to pass federal legislation to ban same-sex marriage in all states.

    VSD is logically inconsistent with (2) and (3), since it maintains that the issue of allowing same-sex marriage should ultimately be determined directly by voters - not by the state legislature or congress. Curiously, though, there are many who favor both VSD and (3), which reflects a deep hypocrisy. Should there be a federal ban against same-sex marriage? If so, then those who purport to hold to VSD actually hold to:

    (VSD*) The legality of same-sex marriage should be decided directly by voters, so long as they vote in favor of prohibiting same-sex marriage. If voters vote in favor of allowing same-sex marriage, then the legality should be determined by either (2) or (3).

    Summary

    1. Those who think the issue should be decided directly by voters hold to VSD, and VSD implies that if voters decide in favor of same-sex marriage, then same-sex should be legal (in that state).

    2. Those willing to utilize options (2) or (3) do not hold to VSD, or, if they do, they do so on pain of blatant hypocrisy.

    3. Those willing to utilize options (1) or (2) but claim they adhere to VSD really hold to VSD*.

    I wonder how many opponents of same-sex marriage are willing to admit they hold to VSD*.

  44. robaylesbury says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 01:37 AM:

    Hello Scott, Good post. You ask me if we can reject naturalism because it remains contested? You most certainly can. I'm not sure what that leaves us with, though? I think the preferred avenue to take is to see how theistic morality and naturalism compare on the ground. Now whilst you can look at naturalism and critique it robustly, the one thing I don't think you can do is question it's existence. I at least have that on my side. So by all means describe naturalism as a stinky old idea full of problems, to which I will nod my head sadly and agree. I then shrug and comment dryly, "In the absence of other options. . . "

    Moving to the issue of homosexuality, I couch myself in a far less articulate manner than many of the brilliant posters such as JC and Windy who have explained so well some of the issues. Primitive cave dweller that I am, I prefer to look at the position and ask myself what the likely outcome will be should we allow women to marry other women? Well I don't think it spells certain doom for traditional marriage or the traditional family, both of which I cherish and value. Neither do I think we're suddenly going to see a tsunami of alternative marriage requests. Granted, we may may see the occasional Apache transvestite pitch up in Vegas and ask to marry his horse, but on the whole we can expect this to be only on the rarest occasion.

    With homosexuality, I do not think they are a minority group. They seem to be a rich and integral part of our society, and doubtless share many of the same faults and foibles. I for one would want to see them enjoying the same rights and privileges that I, as a heterosexual male enjoy.

    The last point using the A,B,C & D options doesn't leap out at me as particularly forceful. And I'm not sure you've captured the essence of what it means to favour wellbeing. There are times when what we prefer may not, in fact, be what's best for us. To me it is a bit more nuanced than just appealing to preference. We could go into all kinds of hypothetical scenario's at this point, but at risk of being a fanboy I'm going to use Harris's example. How can we know that it is bad to throw battery acid over a young female who is learning to read? Dare we speak into a culture that is alien to us? What right have we?

    Every right, as it happens. Everything we know about pain receptors, about the brain, and about human flourishing suggests that dousing a female in battery acid is a less than ideal thing to do. We can look at this culture and with some confidence claim that this practice should stop. Some might call this an objective claim and annex this to their argument, but this to me seems errant. The reason to make the claim is not borne of some theistic dictate, but rather the foundation is built upon what we have learned about the human condition.

  45. Windy says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 07:41 AM:

    KStret:

    I don’t see how a “patriarchal principle” that “fetters people in stationary despotism,” Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. at 166, can plausibly be characterized as an interest fundamental to ordered liberty, and a ban on polygamy would appear to be rationally related to a legitimate government interest in avoiding such harm. So, I don’t think a ban on polygamy would be unconstitutional under the standard of review appropriate to that particular issue. I would be open to hearing a counter-argument, however.

  46. Scott says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 01:14 PM:

    Spencer said:
    I don't know what you mean by "modernism," and I don't know how it has any bearing on the arguments and issues under consideration.

    I’m a little surprised to hear you say this Spencer. Modernism can have a wide variety of meanings, but the way I’m using it is the way the Catholic Encyclopedia uses it when it says, “In general we may say that modernism aims at that radical transformation of human thought in relation to God, man, the world, and life, here and hereafter….”
    Thus, ethics was affected by Modernism as well as teleology in human relationships. So this discussion on gay marriage is extremely involved with the tenets of Modernism.

    Spencer said:
    Moreover, I don't know why you would make strong pronouncements in this thread regarding the coherency of objective non-theistic ethics (or about my position), as that issue is far from settled (you don't see me making similar pronouncements in this thread regarding the coherency of objective theistic ethics or your position).

    The reason I’ve done such is I’m attacking the basis on which gary marriage stands. Yes, I think your view is incoherent and have discussed why in this thread and its up to each individual to decide for themselves if I’ve made my point. I brought it up partly because I was hoping to defend my position if necessary and partly because you asked a question early on in this thread and I answered it by saying I think the moral basis for gay marriage is incoherent and supported it by analyzing your views. If you disagree with this, then defend your position. Lastly, if you think your position would be helped by attacking the coherency of theistic morality then, by all means, bring it up!

    Spencer said:
    I have still yet to see a proper articulation of the so-called slippery slope argument (SSA). As explained earlier, the proponent of SSA needs to: 1) demonstrate that same-sex marriage "leads to" (whatever that means) to other types of marriages, and 2) demonstrate that those other types of marriages really are bad or absurd. or causal connection between the

    I was shocked to see this. I know you’ve missed quite a few posts but it seems that with this statement we’ve left you behind. JC has commented on this, I’ve commented on this, Matt has, KStret has. I was hoping to see a refutation to what we’ve said not mentioning the same two things we have to prove again. We’ve commented extensively on this.
    So I think you need to catch up on several posts here.

    1. Your comment at Feb 15, 2012 @ 11:28 PM: also contained questions which were either irrelevant to my argument or they’ve already been answered.
    2. Your most recent comment above wasn’t relavant to my argument but concerned states rights and since states rights is not a part of my argument I’ll withhold comment.

    So I must say that the two things you say we need to prove have been addressed and you didn’t bother responding to any of these. Keep in mind that what I said about your (and Rob’s moral ontology) weighs heavily in addressing the first item you say which needs to be proven. And I addressed the second several posts ago and haven’t seen a response.
    Furthermore, JC’s masterful posts have gone completely unresponded to. So I’m unclear why proponents of gay marriage think we haven’t made our case.

  47. BJ says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 02:53 PM:

    Spencer,

    Can you please demonstrate an example of how one could demonstrate the validity of the causual or logical slippery slope? Just a sample argument that you may not even agree with would be sufficient.

    It often seems that when people give out these challenges, they have the issue worked out in their mind in such a way where a defeater is not even conceivable (i.e. Kenkoshinen). At which point, the challenge is merely a rhetorical trick. I hope you're not drinking from that same fountain.

  48. Spencer says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 02:59 PM:

    Scott,

    I still have no idea what you mean by modernism and its relevance to the current debate. How is modernism being defined? What propositions does it explicitly endorse? These questions are unanswered. The most I got is that modernism is supposed to be radically different than Christian/Catholic ethics, which isn't saying much.

    "The reason I’ve done such is I’m attacking the basis on which gary marriage stands."

    Do you even understand the "basis on which gay marriage standards?" In one sentence, can you state the fundamental reason why proponents of same-sex marriage think it ought to be legal?


    "I was shocked to see this. I know you’ve missed quite a few posts but it seems that with this statement we’ve left you behind. JC has commented on this, I’ve commented on this, Matt has, KStret has. I was hoping to see a refutation to what we’ve said not mentioning the same two things we have to prove again. We’ve commented extensively on this."

    Except none of those comments attempted to do what I explained was necessary for SSA, so there's no "refutation," I'm afraid. Please quote the post which did the following:

    1) Explicitly state the type of connection that SSA is supposed to show: whether logical or causal.

    2) If the former, explicitly articulate an argument (containing at least one premise and a conclusion) demonstrating that other marriages logically follow from permitting same-sex marriage, such that it would be a inconsistent to grant one and not the other. I would like to see the inferential relations explicitly spelled out.

    3) If the latter, explicitly articulate an argument (containing at least one premise and a conclusion) demonstrating that other marriages, as a matter of empirical fact, will probably occur as a result of permitting same-sex marriage. I would like to see substantial documentation from reputable sources establish this purported causal connection.

    4) Explicitly articulate an argument that the other types of marriage are so bad or absurd, such that if they are consequences of same-sex marriage, then we should reject the latter. For instance, if same-sex marriage "leads to" polygamy, tell me what's so problematic about polygamy.

    Scott, no one has done ANY of the above, and I challenge you to quote the exact post purporting to do so.

    Btw, I'm really surprised you think KStret's above posts are worthy of praise since they are so full of blatant distortions and obvious caricatures. It's quite obvious to any reasonable observer that he is either unable or unwilling to engage in genuine dialogue, as evidenced by his repeated distortions, extreme uncharity, mean-spirited tone, and persistent unwillingness to understand opposing positions in their strongest light. I'll supply one egregious example:

    "Do you believe the polygamists and bigamist have the exact same right as homosexuals to go to court and have polygamy and bigamy imposed on the culture?"

    No serious proponent of same-sex marriage believes he or she has the right to go to court and have same-sex marriage "imposed" on culture. In fact, no serious proponent thinks the battle in courts is about "imposing" same-sex marriage on culture. Can you not see how attributing these beliefs to proponents (as KStret does) is extremely uncharitable and presents a severely distorted view of the actual goals of those in favor of same-sex marriage?

    For us, it's about genuine equality under the law - about civil rights. We believe we have the right to go into courts and argue that prohibiting same-sex marriage violates the law, since it unfairly discriminates against homosexuals. We believe we have the right to compel courts to listen and consider our legal arguments, and hope they will take them seriously (as some have). But we do not believe - as KStret suggests - that we have the right to go into courts and force them to rule in our favor (NO one believes this). (Now, I understand you disagree with same-sex marriage, but at the very least, you should try to genuinely understand our perspective and where we're coming from, and why it matters so much to us. I don't see a whole lot of trying on KStret's part.)

  49. Spencer says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 03:09 PM:

    BJ,

    I'm only stating the requirements for a successful slope argument, the whole point of which is to reduce same-sex marriage to absurdity. Do you disagree with them? How can the argument have any force if it can't be shown that A "leads to" B and B is objectionable?

  50. BJ says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 03:23 PM:

    Spencer,

    I find it (SSA) compelling. The bottom line where you and I disagree is that you don't see any relevent difference between a homosexual relationship and a heterosexual relationship. I see a very relevent difference between them -- namely, that one possesses the natural teology for childbearing and the other one doesn't.

    Second point -- what do you think this is really about? At the end of the day, homosexual couples are allowed to live together, have consensual sex in their bedrooms, adopt children, etc (I am aware that progress still needs to be made in some of these areas). So at the end of the day, is this piece of paper really that big of a deal?

  51. Spencer says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 03:33 PM:

    BJ,

    Can you articulate SSA?

    "I see a very relevent difference between them -- namely, that one possesses the natural teology for childbearing and the other one doesn't."

    I don't see how this difference is "relevant," since the ability to produce children has never been a requisite for a marriage license. Moreover, many opposite-sex couples lack the ability for childbearing, and yet, that is no bar to marriage. It appears your argument is the following:

    1) Only couples who can produce children should be allowed to marry.
    2) Same-sex couples can't produce children.
    3) Therefore, same-sex couples shouldn't be allowed to marry.

    The problem, of course, is that no opponent of same-sex marriage believes (1), and yet they want to infer (3) from (2), which is logically impossible without (1). If not (1), what supplementary premise, coupled with (2), would allow you to conclude (3)?

    "Second point -- what do you think this is really about? At the end of the day, homosexual couples are allowed to live together, have consensual sex in their bedrooms, adopt children, etc (I am aware that progress still needs to be made in some of these areas). So at the end of the day, is this piece of paper really that big of a deal?"

    Imagine the debate was not about same-sex marriage, but interracial marriage. Interracial couples are allowed to live together, have consensual sex in their bedrooms, adopt children, etc. So at the end of the day, is a piece of paper really that big of a deal?

  52. Spencer says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 04:16 PM:

    Scott,

    "1. Your comment at Feb 15, 2012 @ 11:28 PM: also contained questions which were either irrelevant to my argument or they’ve already been answered."

    Those comments were not intended to address your argument (in fact, I don't even know what it is), but were, as I stated, an "elaboration of my initial response to WLC." Moreover, they have NOT been answered (I don't see anyone defending WLC on this point).

    "2. Your most recent comment above wasn’t relavant to my argument but concerned states rights and since states rights is not a part of my argument I’ll withhold comment."

    Again, those comments weren't addressed to you in particular.

  53. BJ says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 04:31 PM:

    Spencer,
    My syllogism goes more like this:

    1. Only relationships where both members possess the teleology for child-bearing should be considered as a marriage.
    2. Homosexual couples do not possess this teleology.
    3. Therefore homosexual relationships shouldn’t be considered as a marriage.

    Obviously, premise (1) is the key. I would appeal to the fact that if premise 1 isn’t true, you could replace “homosexual” with anything else you want (bigamy, polygamy, groups, person-dog, person-painting) and call it a marriage (SSA). I just don’t see why this isn’t the case.

    With respect to whether or not the ability to reproduce is a relevant difference -- I agree that in many cases heterosexual married couples don't have kids (some choose not to, too old, one of them is sterile, etc. But In ALL cases, homosexual couples can't have kids with the DNA from both parents. So if, 100% of the time this cannot happen, why should the two types of relationships be given the same license recognition?

    As for me imagining if this were about interracial marriage (IM) instead of same-sex marriage, I think we’re comparing apples and oranges here. The people, who opposed IM back in the day, did so for a completely different set of reasons than people who currently oppose SSM. In interracial relationships I can see why the paper would matter, because these couples of having kids and need to be governed under the set of laws that pertain to other couples who can have kids with the DNA from both parents.

  54. Spencer says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 05:24 PM:

    BJ,

    -----------
    1. Only relationships where both members possess the teleology for child-bearing should be considered as a marriage.
    2. Homosexual couples do not possess this teleology.
    3. Therefore homosexual relationships shouldn’t be considered as a marriage.
    -------------

    I don't know what you mean by "teleology" or how it differs from "ability." In what sense do sterile opposite-sex couples possess the teleology for child-bearing, and why is that teleology (whatever that means) so significant for civil marriage?

    "I would appeal to the fact that if premise 1 isn’t true, you could replace “homosexual” with anything else you want (bigamy, polygamy, groups, person-dog, person-painting) and call it a marriage (SSA). I just don’t see why this isn’t the case."

    This is just a bare assertion of SSA and hence not an established "fact" by any measure.

    "With respect to whether or not the ability to reproduce is a relevant difference -- I agree that in many cases heterosexual married couples don't have kids (some choose not to, too old, one of them is sterile, etc. But In ALL cases, homosexual couples can't have kids with the DNA from both parents."

    The fact that couples who can't produce children are permitted to marry shows that the ability to produce (AP) is not a requirement for marriage. If AP is not a requirement for marriage, then the fact that homosexuals lack AP is not sufficient to show that they shouldn't be allowed to marry. To maintain otherwise, one would have to hold that:

    a) AP is not required for heterosexual couples to marry.

    b) AP is required for heterosexual couples to marry.

    Who can seriously defend this distinction?

    "So if, 100% of the time this cannot happen, why should the two types of relationships be given the same license recognition?""

    State the relevant difference between the types of relationships. Is AP the relevant difference? It clearly can't be, as shown above.

    "As for me imagining if this were about interracial marriage (IM) instead of same-sex marriage, I think we’re comparing apples and oranges here. The people, who opposed IM back in the day, did so for a completely different set of reasons than people who currently oppose SSM."

    Not so different: IM was opposed because of animus against racial minorities, and SSM is opposed because of animus against homosexuals, and I don't find the two kinds of attitudes morally different at all. Are there people who oppose SSM on some abstract, seemingly principled basis which is not motivated by animus against homosexuals? Sure, but the same could be said about IM. The consistent racial purist can oppose IM (of all kinds) without being motivated by racial animus.

    In any case, from our pov, the current situation for homosexuals in regards to SSM parallels the situation for racial minorities in regards to IM. Hence, it isn't enough to say: you can still do x, y, and x without that piece of paper.

    "In interracial relationships I can see why the paper would matter, because these couples of having kids and need to be governed under the set of laws that pertain to other couples who can have kids with the DNA from both parents."

    Do all interracial relationships result in children? You seem to be overlooking the distinction between producing children and raising children. While same-sex couples can't produce children, they are certainly capable of raising them.

    Moreover, suppose it were a biological fact that interracial couples can't produce children - only non-interracial couples can. Would you advocate P8?

  55. Spencer says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 05:26 PM:

    BJ,

    I meant to write:

    a) AP is not required for heterosexual couples to marry.

    b) AP is required for homosexuals couples to marry.

    Who can seriously defend this distinction?

  56. Spencer says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 05:30 PM:

    The following point bears repeating:

    The best strategy for opponents is to explain why same-sex marriage itself is so problematic for society, and to do this, they need to justifiably maintain that the alleged problems are unique to same-sex marriage. A bad strategy for opponents is to simply tout the alleged virtues of opposite-sex marriage (Maggie Gallagher often does), since just because opposite-sex marriage has positive value, that in itself is no reason to prohibit same-sex marriage. Showing that A is good is not a reason why B should be prohibited.

  57. Spencer says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 05:57 PM:

    BJ,

    "So at the end of the day, is a piece of paper really that big of a deal?"

    This question, of course, can be flipped. If a piece of paper really isn't that big of a deal, then why the persistent opposition? Why fight tooth and nail to prevent homosexual couples from obtaining a piece of paper? SSM IS a big deal, for both sides.

  58. KStret says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 06:02 PM:

    Spencer,
    "representations of my position and arguments (as well as those held by same-sex marriage proponents) are so uncharitable, so full of wild distortions and obvious caricatures, that they do not deserve rebuttal. For us, it's about genuine equality under the law - about civil rights. We believe we have the right to go into courts and argue that prohibiting same-sex marriage violates the law, since it unfairly discriminates against homosexuals."

    You just affirmed that I am accurately portraying your position!

    Same sex marriage proponents do not use the 14th amendment equal protection clause to justify their position? You just conceded that.

    If I am so off base, you must not believe that same sex couples can go to court and have a judge redefine marriage. Is that correct? You believe that too.

    What did I say that was inaccurate?

    "We believe we have the right to compel courts to listen and consider our legal arguments, and hope they will take them seriously (as some have). But we do not believe - as KStret suggests - that we have the right to go into courts and force them to rule in our favor (NO one believes this)"

    You are accusing me of being dishonest and then you turn around and say my argument is you are some how forcing the courts to rule in your favor?

    I never said that you are forcing the courts to agree with you. I said you are forcing your view of marriage on the rest of us by judicial fiat.

    Same sex marriage proponents shop for a judge that they know will agree with them. They know the judge's mind is already made up.

    The judge will attempt to provide legal justification for his preconceived opinion instead of making his decision the other way around. The judge legislates from the bench and implements their agenda.

    The legal justification makes absolutely no sense. You cannot cite the 14th amendment's equal protection clause to justify same sex marriage and then turn around and say it doesn't apply to other groups.

    If you change the definition of marriage for homosexuals, the 14th amendment's equal protection clause dictates that other groups have the exact same right to redefine marriage too. This you your own argument!

    "I'm only stating the requirements for a successful slope argument, the whole point of which is to reduce same-sex marriage to absurdity."

    Your constitutional argument dictates that redefining marriage is a right for everyone. That is the definition of a slippery slope. Your own constitutional argument is the slippery slope.

    That position is inherently illogical.The problem is the justification for that position shows that you are special pleading or you have to admit that you want to force your view that marriage should be a free for all on the rest of society.

    You don't want to be forced into either position and you will attempt to evade it any way you can.

    "For some reason, he appears unable or unwilling to engage in genuine dialogue, a fact which hasn't changed since we began debating this topic."

    No Spencer, I refuse to let you frame the issue that assumes that you are correct, engage in a red herring debate, or let you put the burden on me.

    For example:
    "If the former, explicitly articulate an argument (containing at least one premise and a conclusion) demonstrating that other marriages logically follow from permitting same-sex marriage, such that it would be a inconsistent to grant one and not the other."

    Saying that you believe that there is no difference between same sex marriages and straight marriages is irrelevant. Stating that there is no good reason not to allow same sex marriage is also irreverent.

    or

    "The best strategy for opponents is to explain why same-sex marriage itself is so problematic for society, and to do this, they need to justifiably maintain that the alleged problems are unique to same-sex marriage."

    Again, this is a constitutional argument. You are flipping the burden on it's head. You want to change the subject.

    The burden is not on the traditional marriage proponent's side to give one good reason why we should not have same sex marriage. We have had the same definition of marriage for a very long time. The burden is on you to explain why we should change the definition.

    What is your reasoning to redefine marriage? You believe that redefining marriage is a fundamental right and cite the 14th amendment. That takes us back to my argument against your position, which you clearly want to avoid.

    This is a constitutional argument. Once you take the position that a judge can force same sex marriage on the culture that becomes the only issue. You need to justify that constitutional position.

    If you believe that a judge can force same sex marriage on everyone else, you are taking the position that redefining marriage is a right and the burden is on you to explain that. You have affirmed that you do believe that.

    However, you don't want to say that. I can ask you 5 million times if that is what you believe and you will not answer the question.

    This is the equivalent asking me if I am a conservative and I refuse to answer the question. However, I have clearly stated that I am for small government, low taxes, and have indicated that I am also socially conservative.

    I will not say whether I am a conservative. However, My positions on various issues shows that I am a conservative even though I have never said that exact phrase.

    You call me a conservative and then I turn around and accuse you of lying and misrepresenting my position. Who is being dishonest?

  59. KStret says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 06:16 PM:

    Windy,
    You still haven't answered my question.

    Do you believe the polygamists and bigamist have the exact same right as homosexuals to go to court and have polygamy and bigamy imposed on the culture?

    "I don’t see how a “patriarchal principle” that “fetters people in stationary despotism,” Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. at 166, can plausibly be characterized as an interest fundamental to ordered liberty, and a ban on polygamy would appear to be rationally related to a legitimate government interest in avoiding such harm. So, I don’t think a ban on polygamy would be unconstitutional under the standard of review appropriate to that particular issue. I would be open to hearing a counter-argument, however."

    By taking the position that it is constitutional to ban polygamy the supreme court is affirming that redefining marriage is not a right. Therefore that would also apply to same sex marriage.

    I would think that the polygamists would also have more of a legal leg to stand on. They were arguing from a freedom of religion perspective. Their religion at the time encouraged polygamy.

    Apparently, there is a reality show that is about a polygamists family. After the show aired on T.V, Utah started investigating the family. They subsequently fled to Nevada and filed a lawsuit against Utah citing a freedom of religious expression argument.

    Obviously, this case isn't going to go anywhere. The question is if they were living in a state the legalized same sex marriage and they cited the 14th amendment instead of free expression, what would be the result?

  60. KStret says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 06:19 PM:

    Windy,
    Would the founders of this country believe that same sex couples have the fundamental right to marry each other? No! If you concede that point same sex marriage falls on it's face.

    I suspect your rebuttal to that point would be to argue from the progressive view of the Constitution.

  61. KStret says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 06:27 PM:

    Another issue that I should point out is the judges opinion shows that they are aware of the ramifications of their rationale to legislate same sex marriage into law.

    They cite the 14th amendment's equal protection clause. Straight couples can get married but same sex couples cannot. In their view, Equal protection means that same sex couples have a fundamental right to get married too.

    Here is the problem, if same sex couples have the fundamental right to change the definition of marriage, everyone has that exact same right. Their decision just gave everyone the fundamental right to define marriage how they want.

    Obviously, same sex marriage proponent can't have that. To get around that problem, they punt the burden to the other side and add a justified discriminate clause to the Constitution that isn't there.

    If a state wants to define marriage between one man and one women they have no obligation to explain why same sex couples shouldn't be able to get married.

    There is no "tell me one good reason why" clause of the constitution. The court has to decide on the constitutionality of a law...period!

  62. Spencer says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 06:32 PM:

    "You just affirmed that I am accurately portraying your position!"

    More distortion - I did nothing of the sort. Any fair-minded reader will be able to tell that my position is not the view that proponents of SSM have the right to go to court and have SSM "imposed" on culture, which is a total caricature.

    "The legal justification makes absolutely no sense. "

    Of course, KStret will say this without bothering to attack the actual legal justification contained in the judicial opinions. He apparently wants people to take his word that the "legal justification" makes no sense. Does he even understand the legal jurisdiction? Has he even read the opinion? I challenge KStret to do two things:

    1) Provide an accurate, informative and charitable summary of one of the legal arguments in Brown v. Perry decision that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/btb/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Prop8Ruling.pdf

    2) Then show how that legal argument "makes absolutely no sense."

    Will he do this? He will not.

  63. KStret says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 06:55 PM:

    Spencer,
    "More distortion - I did nothing of the sort. Any fair-minded reader will be able to tell that my position is not the view that proponents of SSM have the right to go to court and have SSM "imposed" on culture, which is a total caricature."

    If you believe that same sex marriage is a fundamental right, you believe that it is unconstitutional not to allow same sex marriage.

    If same denying sex marriage is unconstitutional, a judge is within his mandate to impose same sex marriage on the culture regardless of whether they like it. Again, this affirms your position that redefining marriage is a right.

    That is your position. You just don't like the way it is phrased.

    Under your view, Do I have a say of how marriage is defined? NO! Same sex marriage is a constitutional right. Regardless of whether you want to admit it or not you are imposing your view on me. I do not have a choice.

    "Of course, KStret will say this without bothering to attack the actual legal justification contained in the judicial opinions. He apparently wants people to take his word that the "legal justification" makes no sense. Does he even understand the legal jurisdiction? Has he even read the opinion? I challenge KStret to do two things:"

    I have explain my position and your argument makes no sense. You either believe:

    1. That redefining marriage is a right for homosexuals but no one else. If this is the case you are special pleading.

    or
    2. You want to force everyone to live in a society where everyone has the right to redefine marriage.

    Which option do you agree with?

    Do you believe the polygamists and bigamist have the exact same right as homosexuals to go to court and have polygamy and bigamy imposed on the culture?

    Let's argue about red herrings and see if you get me to go on a wild goose chase to summarize a decision.

    I have also stated there is no justified discrimination clause of the Constitution or punting the burden clause.

    You keep accuse me of lying and distorting and then affirm that I am accurately portraying your position. By lying and misrepresenting your position what you mean is that I am accurately portraying your position but I am not wording the argument the way you want.

  64. Windy says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 08:28 PM:

    KStret:

    I will answer your last two posts to me and no more. I am talked out. I assume you are asking about the intent of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment, not the founders. I think they intended to permit states to define marriage – or to pursue any other social value – only in a manner that complies with due process and equal protection. Denying same-sex couples the ability to marry on the same terms as opposite-sex couples does not, in my view, comply with due process and equal protection. Denying would-be polygamists the ability to marry more than one spouse does, in my opinion, comply with due process and equal protection. So, at that level of abstraction, I guess one could say that the framers wanted to force states to accept whatever restrictions the language of the Fourteenth Amendment places on them, including limits on the ability to deny marriages to same-sex couples, but they also wanted to leave states free to exercise all other lawful authority, including the ability to prohibit multiple spouses and other abusive marital relationships like incest or child-brides. The issue is not about who has the authority to define marriage. Clearly, the states do. Properly framed, the issue is whether the states are exercising that power in a constitutionally permissible manner with respect to same-sex couples. If this does not answer your questions, I am sorry. I am unable to discuss these matters in terms of an individual “right to define marriage.” That stuff makes as little sense to me as all the discussion about objective moral values, Platonic sources of rights, and genital teleology.

  65. Spencer says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 08:28 PM:

    "That is your position. You just don't like the way it is phrased"

    False, and it dishonest to suggest that it is. Wanting a judge to rule that SSMN cannot be constitutionally denied is not the same as wanting a judge to "impose" SSM on culture, which is a total caricature. Legal acceptance not the same as cultural acceptance, despite how much KStret wants to equate the two.

    I will reissue my challenge to KStret, who boldly asserted that the legal justification for SSM "makes absolutely no sense."

    1) Provide an accurate, informative and [/b]charitable[/b] summary of one of the legal arguments in Brown v. Perry decision that Prop 8 is unconstitutional (with references to the page numbers).

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/btb/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Prop8Ruling.pdf

    2) Show how that legal argument "makes absolutely no sense."

    Will he do this? He will not.

  66. Spencer says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 08:47 PM:

    Another one of KStret's egregious distortions: "if same sex couples have the fundamental right to change the definition of marriage"

    No SSM proponent is claiming a fundamental right to change a definition. Claiming that there is a fundamental right for homosexuals to marry is NOT the same as claiming that there is a fundamental right for homosexuals to change a definition. Moreover, claiming that prop 8 violates equal protection is NOT the same as claiming that there is a fundamental right for homosexuals to change a definition.

  67. Scott says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 11:45 PM:

    Letg me just begin by saying that I respect Spencer very much but he has a masterful way of placing the burden of proof 100 percent on his opponent. He attempted to do this in the “Mississippi” thread on abortion but when he was called up on it, I didn’t hear any further response.So let me say that Spencer has thus far not proven his case in any way. The only thing he’s doing so far is just being the eternal skeptic of our position. But I would ask why he isn’t skeptical of the other side. What positive evidence can he give to support his position? So even if Spencer is right in absolutely everything he says, the only position one ought to take is agnosticism on the issue.
    I think BJ did an excellent job in presenting the SSA. Spencer responded to it and, BJ, if you don’t mind if I stick my nose in your conversation, I’d like to answer it at least how I see it.
    Spencer replied to BJ:
    I don't know what you mean by "teleology" or how it differs from "ability." In what sense do sterile opposite-sex couples possess the teleology for child-bearing, and why is that teleology (whatever that means) so significant for civil marriage?

    I think your first question, here, Spencer is a good one. What is the difference between teleology and ability? A great example of this difference is by contrasting my eyes with yours. You have the ability to see the computer monitor in front of you. I do not have the ability to see my monitor as I’m blind. But when you look at the intricacies of the eye, I think it’s obvious what my eyes were meant to do. My eyes were meant to be seeing but they just don’t work. (Yes, I know there’s loaded terminology in what I just said but our main discussion here is not biological teleology so I’ll use it.)So my eyes have teleology but no ability.
    Let me use another, less controversial, example. A computer which doesn’t work was certainly designed to run programs but does not have the ability to do so. So Spencer’s first question seems fairly straightforward.
    If there is no design or purpose for marriage, then anything goes. Now just because some heterosexual couple is sterile doesn’t mean it wasn’t designed anymore than my eyes or this computer, which don’t work, weren’t designed. Again, in each case, you have design without ability.
    The thing I don’t think Spencer has convinced anyone yet is why, if there is no ultimate design to marriage, anything and everything isn’t permitted. I mean, after all, there’s NO design or purpose right?
    So I think Spencer needs to prove if there is no design to marriage, why should we allow gay marriage and not other forms (e.g., bigamy, polygamy) of marriage?
    That’s a reasonable question and if you’ve responded to it Spencer, I apologize but I’ve missed it.

    Now let me move to Spencer’s responses to me.
    Spencer said:
    1. 1) Explicitly state the type of connection that SSA is supposed to show: whether logical or causal.
    2) If the former, explicitly articulate an argument (containing at least one premise and a conclusion) demonstrating that other marriages logically follow from permitting same-sex marriage, such that it would be a inconsistent to grant one and not the other. I would like to see the inferential relations explicitly spelled out.
    3) If the latter, explicitly articulate an argument (containing at least one premise and a conclusion) demonstrating that other marriages, as a matter of empirical fact, will probably occur as a result of permitting same-sex marriage. I would like to see substantial documentation from reputable sources establish this purported causal connection.
    4) Explicitly articulate an argument that the other types of marriage are so bad or absurd, such that if they are consequences of same-sex marriage, then we should reject the latter. For instance, if same-sex marriage "leads to" polygamy, tell me what's so problematic about polygamy.


    As far as 1). This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve (and others) said this but if there is no ultimate teleology in human relationships, then there are no ultimate boundaries we should confine ourselves to. What Same Sex Marriage proponents need to do, if they want to prevent the logical connection between SSM and absolutely anything being legal, is show some sort of ultimate purpose for marriage which SSM possesses but other relationships do not. This will be awfully hard to do, though, if one discounts ultimate purpose in marriage to begin with.
    As far as 2), I’ve addressed this in my paragraph above.
    As far as 3), it is irrelevant because 2) applied and not 3).
    As far as 4), I’ve addressed this back on Feb 14 at 10:45pm when I said:
    I know that Spencer has asked us to provide reasons why allowing any possible relationship imaginable would be detrimental to society, and if we accept the tenets of Modernism (no ultimate teleology), and employ a possibly baseless morality to inform our laws, why wouldn’t child marriage be permissible? Remember, Rob has given us no reason why, under Modernism, we ought to prefer the well being of humanity and Spencer’s view can give us no objective meaning or purpose inherent within these children which would be the basis for any moral claim decrying child marriage.

    Back to the present, I hope I don’t have to defend why adult-child and adult-infant marriages would be wrong. But if there is no ultimate design or meaning and if you hold a moral ontology which is incoherent (I’ll discuss this if you like), thenyou have no basis whatsoever for stopping this from occurring.
    So, Spencer, I just haven’t seen a response to this and think one would assist us in the discussion.

    Spencer said:
    Scott, no one has done ANY of the above, and I challenge you to quote the exact post purporting to do so.

    I don’t mean this in any uncharitable way, but this is my honest feeling, here. I sincerely ask you to please read the posts more carefully. When I stay up late responding to these challenges and then find out that the challenges are just repeated with no response, it’s a little frustrating.

    Spencer asked:
    Do you even understand the "basis on which gay marriage standards?" In one sentence, can you state the fundamental reason why proponents of same-sex marriage think it ought to be legal?

    Fine question. After all, shouldn’t I be informed the position I’m against? If I’m not informed of this, then it’s a little silly for me to disagree with it. I thought about it, and think your statement below sums it up pretty good (I’m sorry but it is more than one sentence.):
    Spencer said:
    For us, it's about genuine equality under the law - about civil rights. We believe we have the right to go into courts and argue that prohibiting same-sex marriage violates the law, since it unfairly discriminates against homosexuals. We believe we have the right to compel courts to listen and consider our legal arguments, and hope they will take them seriously (as some have)

    But the only way you can do so is if you have a coherent moral ontology and because you have yet to show you do, then I think gay marriage’s rational support is in serious trouble.

  68. robaylesbury says on Feb 17, 2012 @ 12:57 AM:

    Wow, I've just spent 30 minutes catching up on the posts since I went to bed. From a European point of view this makes for fascinating reading.

    Having scoured this thread, I'm still struggling to understand what the primary objection to SSM is?

    I don't think I've seen the SSL argument properly fleshed out? I'm certainly unclear how SSM is suddenly going to erode the fabric of American society? And I also think I heard a veiled allusion to us not being "designed" for SSM, which I suspect is front and centre of the concern.

    In short, and forgive my directness here, this is about sex. It's about who is doing what with whom?

  69. Spencer says on Feb 17, 2012 @ 08:01 AM:

    Scott,

    "I don’t mean this in any uncharitable way, but this is my honest feeling, here. I sincerely ask you to please read the posts more carefully."

    I do read the posts carefully and stand by my previous claim: the steps required for a successful SSA have not been taken. No one has laid out an argument for the claim that SSM logically entails other types of marriages, which is what you're asserting.

    "This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve (and others) said this but if there is no ultimate teleology in human relationships, then there are no ultimate boundaries we should confine ourselves to. What Same Sex Marriage proponents need to do, if they want to prevent the logical connection between SSM and absolutely anything being legal, is show some sort of ultimate purpose for marriage which SSM possesses but other relationships do not. This will be awfully hard to do, though, if one discounts ultimate purpose in marriage to begin with."

    First, I don't know what you mean by "ultimate teleology." Do you mean "ultimate purpose?" And what do you mean by "ultimate?" Beyond human convention or objective?

    Second, it appears you're making two distinct claims: (i) if there is no ultimate teleology (NUT), then all marriages are permissible, and (ii) if there is no ultimate teleology for marriage (NUTM), then all marriages are permissible. Are you claiming (i) or (ii)?

    Third, the claim that all marriages are permissible is logically entailed by NUT or NUTM is just an assertion, supported by no argument whatsoever. How does one follow from the other? What's the inference?

    Fourth, nothing you wrote even attempts to demonstrate that same-sex marriage, the actual topic under discussion, logically leads to other types of marriages. The claim that NUT logically leads to all marriages is NOT the claim that SSM logically leads to all marriages. Moreover, the claim that NUTM logically leads to all marriages is NOT the claim that SSM logically leads to all marriages. Which proposition are you trying to defend?

    a) NUT logically leads to all marriages.

    b) NUTM logically leads to all marriages.

    c) SSM logically leads to all marriages.

    The SSA asserts (c), not (a) or (b).

    "I hope I don’t have to defend why adult-child and adult-infant marriages would be wrong."

    I think that would actually be instructive, because once you can articulate why those marriages would be wrong, it should painfully obvious that those marriages are very different (i.e. logically and morally distinguishable) from same-sex marriages.

    "I think BJ did an excellent job in presenting the SSA."

    But BJ did not do this. Rather, his argument was an argument from teleology, not a reductio.

    "So even if Spencer is right in absolutely everything he says, the only position one ought to take is agnosticism on the issue."

    Not so. Unless some reason can be given for why SSM is relevantly different than heterosexual marriage (HM) -- i.e. why permitting HM is justified but permitting SSM is not -- then laws which prohibit SSM violate equal protection. To survive an equal protection challenge, a law which makes classifications must, at the very least, have a rational basis. If no rational basis can be given for prop 8, then it follows that prop 8 is unconstitutional.

    "But the only way you can do so is if you have a coherent moral ontology and because you have yet to show you do, then I think gay marriage’s rational support is in serious trouble."

    (1) You have not even come close to demonstrating any incoherency in my moral ontology.

    (2) You are confusing morality with legality. The claim that SSM is unconstitutional is a legal claim, and to show this, it isn't necessary to delve into abstruse debates about meta-ethics.

  70. Spencer says on Feb 17, 2012 @ 08:19 AM:

    Scott,

    I'm not even sure the general topic of debate here. Are we debating:

    1) Whether laws like prop 8 are constitutional.

    2) Whether SSM, from a moral pov, should be legal .

    3) Something else.

    I don't know anymore.

  71. BJ says on Feb 17, 2012 @ 12:16 PM:

    Spencer,

    As for what I mean by teleology, I would cosign with Scott’s response – not that I’m trying to tag-team on you with Scott or piggy back off of his answer. But I thought his eyesight analogy was very helpful.

    As for why I think child-bearing teleology is significant for civil marriage, I’m afraid we’re going to go in circles here. My response is that if child-bearing teleology (CBT) isn’t a necessary condition for a marriage, you have no grounds for excluding any other relationship without CBT under the rubric of civil marriage. I don’t think you’ve ever explicitly denied this – you just keep asking the SSM opponents to prove it. What is your justification for thinking the SSA is false? Do you really think that if homosexual marriages are permitted, that the floodgates aren’t going to open and every bizarre hippy group-sex society isn’t going to want their piece of the marriage certificate action?

    As for the ability to reproduce (AR), I agree that the AR is not a requirement for marriage. That wasn’t my point. My point was that you shouldn’t go around saying that there is no relevant difference between homosexual and heterosexual couples. The fact that no homosexual couple possesses CBT is relevant because the set of laws that govern spouses, both of which are the biological parents of their children, are not and would never be needed in any homosexual marriage. I think this is the nub of the issue for me.

    As for equating IM and SSM, I just beg to differ with you. Yes there are people, like myself, who object to SSM on grounds besides hostility towards homosexuals. I challenge you to show me any example of someone who opposes IM for reasons other than far-right wing racist bigotry. The example you provided just proves the point. What, other than racial animus, do you think motivates the racial purist? Maybe you’ve met some neo Nazis that I’m not familiar with.

    Finally, just to show you that I’m willing to be consistent with this issue, in some avatar-like world where interracial couples did not possess the natural teleology for producing children, I would advocate P8.

  72. Spencer says on Feb 17, 2012 @ 01:43 PM:

    BJ,

    I withheld comment on Scott's explanation of "teleology" before seeing whether you agreed with it. It still needs to be spelled out in a lot more detail.

    Based on Scott's explanation, heterosexual couples, in the abstract, possess CBT since their biological parts were designed for reproduction when conjoined in a particular way. This entails that heterosexual couples who can't reproduce, but still possess CBT, have "design flaws," such that if they weren't there, they'd be able to reproduce. So, if all heterosexual couples possess CBT, even if they don't all possess AR, that's because their biological parts were designed - correctly or not - for reproduction when conjoined in a particular way. Homosexual couples, on the other hand, don't possess CBT because their biological parts were never "designed" for reproduction when conjoined in a particular way.

    Your claim is that CBT is a necessary prerequisite for marriage, and all heterosexual couples possess CBT, whereas no homosexual couples possess CBT. If so, your argument should be restated as follows:

    ------------------
    1. Only those relationships which possess CBT should be considered marriages.
    2. Homosexual relationships do not possess CBT.
    3. Therefore, homosexual relationships should not be considered marriages.
    ------------------

    Is this your argument? Is the above what you mean by CBT?

  73. BJ says on Feb 17, 2012 @ 02:47 PM:

    Spencer,

    Yes that's what I meant by CBT. Thank you for streamlining it. The syllogism accurately describes my position.

  74. Spencer says on Feb 17, 2012 @ 05:25 PM:

    BJ,

    One last clarification before I get to my objections. By "design," I assume you mean there was purpose behind the biological mechanisms, as in a mindful-purpose. Where did this purpose come from? God?

  75. BJ says on Feb 17, 2012 @ 05:50 PM:

    Spencer,

    Yeah as a theist I do think there was a mindful purpose behind these biological mechanisms, but obviously we're not going to see eye to eye there and the discussion will ultimately collapse into a debate about natural theology.

    So for the purposes of discussing this subject I'm content to appeal to the evolutionary purpose of propagating the species.

  76. KStret says on Feb 17, 2012 @ 11:45 PM:

    Spencer,
    Your argument to allow same sex marriage is predicated on the 14th amendment's equal protection clause. That is the subject of this debate. This is a constitutional argument.

    You asserted that same sex marriage is a fundamental right but you don't want to talk about that. You want to evade the subject because the argument is 100% illogical. It simply doesn't work.

    You want to debate red herrings and put your explanatory burden on any one who disagrees with you. If you want to change the law, the burden is on you.

    "Not so. Unless some reason can be given for why SSM is relevantly different than heterosexual marriage (HM)"

    Again, you want to change the laws, you make the case.

    This is the equivalent of Rob moving to the United States, he doesn't like the fact they we drive on the opposite side of the road, he asserts it is a fundamental right to change the sides of the road we drive on, and then demand that anyone who disagrees has to demonstrate why he shouldn't be allowed to dictate to us what side of the street we drive on.

    That is completely illogical. It is 100% your responsibility to make the case in favor of same sex marriage. You believe that it is a right, you can own and address the ramifications of that opinion.

    Since I will not discuss red herrings you are left to falsely accuse me of lying and misrepresenting you position. How have I done this?

    Example 1:
    I am misrepresenting your position because I said you are forcing the judges to rule in your favor.

    You are actually misrepresenting my position because I never said that. I said same sex marriage proponents are going judge shopping for liberal judges that agree with them.

    Example 2:
    "False, and it dishonest to suggest that it is. Wanting a judge to rule that SSMN cannot be constitutionally denied is not the same as wanting a judge to "impose" SSM on culture, which is a total caricature. Legal acceptance not the same as cultural acceptance"

    Again, under your view do I have a choice whether I want to live in a society that allows same sex marriage? Nope.

    Whether you like the way I phrased this or not, your position is your opinion counts and mine does not. You are imposing your position on me.

    Secondly, same sex marriage proponents are rigging the deck. The judges are basing their decision on their political ideology and not the constitutionality of the issue.

    This would be the equivalent of a myriad tax evasion cases coming before a group of judges. The group of judges all belong to the tea party and want to abolish the IRS and the tax law. The judges rule in favor of the defendants.

    The implications of their ruling would abolish the IRS and the tax law or be a major step in that direction. This is legislating from the bench. I might like that idea but the judges are not following the rule of law.

    Example 3:
    "No SSM proponent is claiming a fundamental right to change a definition.

    This goes right back to my analogy about refusing to answer a question if I am conservative and then turning around and calling you dishonest because you called me a conservative.

    Does marriage have a definition? YES! It's one man and one woman.

    Do you want to change that definition? Yes. It is 100% accurate to say that you want to redefine marriage.

    Do you think that same sex marriage is a fundamental right? Yes! It is 100% accurate to say that you think that redefining marriage is a right regardless of if you used that exact phrase or not.

    Your objection to this has to do with my phraseology. It is a disingenuous attempt to dismiss the substance of my argument without addressing it. It is inherently dishonest on your part.

    "Claiming that there is a fundamental right for homosexuals to marry is NOT the same as claiming that there is a fundamental right for homosexuals to change a definition. Moreover, claiming that prop 8 violates equal protection is NOT the same as claiming that there is a fundamental right for homosexuals to change a definition."

    Actually it is. Once again, if it is a fundamental right for homosexuals to marry, your own 14th amendment argument dictates that other groups have that right too.

    If homosexuals are being discriminated against simply because they can not get married. It logically and constitutionally follows that Polygamist and bigamist are also being discriminated against because they can not get married either.

    If you disagree with that explain why without dismissing it.

    As for your challenge, you have not demonstrated that I am misrepresenting same sex marriages proponent's position. In fact you have affirmed that I am correctly summarizing the position. Your objections amount to not liking my phraseology or misrepresenting my position.

    Your challenge is simply a diversionary tactic. You refuse to answer any question I ask you unless I do X. Once I address X you will not answer any questions until I do Y. I am not playing that game.

    Also, the 9th Circuit Court of appeals is overturned about 90% of the time if not more. They make their decisions based on their political ideology and legislate from the bench.

    I have explain my position and why your argument makes no sense.

    You either believe:

    1. That redefining marriage is a right for homosexuals but no one else. If this is the case you are special pleading.

    If you want to argue that you are not special pleading,you need to explain why homosexuals simply not being able to marry is discrimination but polygamist and bigamist not being able to marry who they want is not discrimination.

    The criteria for discrimination is not being able to get married. You are going to have a difficult time explaining why one group being denied the fundamental right to marry who they want is discrimination and another group who is being denied the exact same fundamental right to marry who they want is not discrimination.

    or

    2. You want to force everyone to live in a society where everyone has the right to redefine marriage.

    If you go with option #2 explain why your opinion counts and mine does not.

    Which option do you agree with?

    Do you believe the polygamists and bigamist have the exact same right as homosexuals to go to court and have polygamy and bigamy imposed on the culture?

    You answered this question before and conceded that you do believe polygamist and bigamist do in fact have the exact same right.

    The reason you conceded this point was because you mistakenly thought that answering yes would take the the problem off the table. However, taking that position forces you to look into the mirror. The position shows that you want to force your view on everyone else.

    You are going to deny this and if I ask you the question again you will not answer it.

    You are arguing from emotion rather from a constitutional or logical position. There has been a generation that has been indoctrinated to believe that same sex marriage is the modern day civil rights movement. Think about how asinine that is.

  77. Scott says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 12:10 AM:

    Guys,
    I have thought about this for quite a bit but I have come to the realization that I need to bow out of this discussion. I've been debating either abortion, moral ontology or same-sex marriage with you for the greater part of 3 months. While I've taken some breaks from it I just haven't taken enough and I fell asleep today on the way home from work and had to sleep again this evening while my family was eating dinner and I just need to get to bed earlier on a more consistent basis. This discussion moves fast enough if you're not posting a lot, you fall behind. I mean, Spencer, 16 posts in approx. the last 48 hours!)
    Also, I've tried to hold my debating in moderation but I find it addictive and thus hard to say only a little and must exit. If withdrawal symptoms arise I may be back shortly.
    As far as the debate itself, I fear we're somehow talking past each other as Rob and Spencer can't find an argument here against SSM and I think there have been arguments presented in abundance from several different people. Further, I can't find how they've been refuted.
    I didn't get the sense that either Spencer or Rob understood why I view moral ontology as vital to this debate and so I never thought they covered thoroughly enough what I see as an all important issue and still think there is a large hole in this discussion.
    Spencer and Rob, you always handle yourselves very well and this is partly why I always enjoy debating you. We're passionate in disagreement, but I am sincere when I say I respect you. I've also enjoyed reading the posts from the capable people with whom I agree and have much respect for you as well. See y'all after I get a few weeks (or so) of good sleep.
    Night, Night.......

  78. Spencer says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 10:46 AM:

    BJ,

    ------------------
    1. Only those relationships which possess CBT should be considered marriages.
    2. Homosexual relationships do not possess CBT.
    3. Therefore, homosexual relationships should not be considered marriages.
    ------------------

    Objections

    1. You simply haven't supplied any reason for thinking that (1) is true. Your response -- that "if child-bearing teleology (CBT) isn’t a necessary condition for a marriage, you have no grounds for excluding any other relationship without CBT under the rubric of civil marriage -- is simply a mere assertion, unsupported by no argument whatsoever. Since you made the claim, the onus is on you to defend it.

    You asked: "What is your justification for thinking the SSA is false?"

    Shifting the burden. So far, no one has shown how SSA is supposed to go. Although I know the conclusion of SSA (SSM ought to be rejected), I have no idea how you get there from allowing SSM. What is your justification for thinking that SSA is even valid, not to mention sound?

    "Do you really think that if homosexual marriages are permitted, that the floodgates aren’t going to open and every bizarre hippy group-sex society isn’t going to want their piece of the marriage certificate action?"

    So far, since SSA hasn't been demonstrated, I just don't know why (i) SSM would logically entail other marriages, and (ii) why those other marriages, even if they do follow from SSM, are really bad.

    2. As I pointed out previously, you seem to be overlooking the distinction between producing children and raising children. While same-sex couples can't produce children, they are certainly capable of raising them. Why favor child-producing teleology over child-raising teleology? Again, you don't say.


    3. Btw, even if CBT is a necessary prerequisite for marriage, it wouldn't follow that other types of marriages wouldn't be permissible. Consider:

    a) Incestuous relationships
    b) Adult-child relationships
    c) Multiple-partner relationships
    d) Rapist-rape victim relationships

    Every one of those relationships possesses CBT. If positing CBT as a necessary condition for marriage is to avoid (a)-(d), that obviously won't work since they don't lack CBT. Contrary to your claim, premise (1) cannot do the work of excluding those relationships from become marriages.

    But if (1) can't exclude those relationships, then what's the point of (1)? Recall its original purpose: "if premise 1 isn’t true, you could replace “homosexual” with anything else you want (bigamy, polygamy, groups, person-dog, person-painting) and call it a marriage." It appears we can still do that (groups, incest, adult-minor, rapist-rape victim). (Perhaps at this point you'll need to appeal to religion?).

    You wrote:
    "The fact that no homosexual couple possesses CBT is relevant because the set of laws that govern spouses, both of which are the biological parents of their children, are not and would never be needed in any homosexual marriage. "

    Not true. There are a number of ways that being legally married benefit spouses, ways not readily obtaining without being married. While CBT may be relevant to *some* laws governing spouses, it certainly isn't relevant to *all* laws governing spouses.

    http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/marriage-rights-benefits-30190.html
    http://people.howstuffworks.com/marriage1.htm

    "The example you provided just proves the point. What, other than racial animus, do you think motivates the racial purist? "

    A number of things - perhaps the false but sincere belief that God wants all races to remain "pure." On this view, no race is superior to any other race, but races just shouldn't mix. A person could also falsely (but sincerely) believe that racial purity is really just better for everyone (e.g. Purity Teleology), and so laws prohibiting interracial marriage would be motivated by a genuine (albeit very misguided) sense of compassion.

    "Finally, just to show you that I’m willing to be consistent with this issue, in some avatar-like world where interracial couples did not possess the natural teleology for producing children, I would advocate P8."

    Consistency on this issue isn't enough. Are you willing to be consistent and allow marriages like (a)-(d)?

  79. Anonymous says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 11:07 AM:

    KStret,

    "You are actually misrepresenting my position because I never said that."

    That's what your statement implied - that homosexuals have the right to go into court and force judges to rule in their favor. The fact that you never "said that," in those exact words, is irrelevant. Don't like my "phraseology?" Tough.

    "You are imposing your position on me."

    Again, wanting a judge to rule that SSMN cannot be constitutionally denied is not the same as wanting a judge to "impose" SSM on culture, which is a total caricature. Legal acceptance is not the same as cultural acceptance.

    "It is 100% accurate to say that you think that redefining marriage is a right regardless of if you used that exact phrase or not."

    Another total caricature. Claiming that there is a fundamental right for homosexuals to marry is NOT the same as claiming that there is a fundamental right for homosexuals to change a definition. Moreover, claiming that prop 8 violates equal protection is NOT the same as claiming that there is a fundamental right for homosexuals to change a definition.

    Recall P8: "Only marriage between a man and a woman of the same race is valid or recognized in California."

    If an interracial couple challenges P8 on constitutional grounds, and seeks to get it struck down, according to you, they want a fundamental right to change a definition, which is a total misrepresentation of their position. It's about the right to marry - not about the right to change a definition.

    "Actually it is. Once again, if it is a fundamental right for homosexuals to marry, your own 14th amendment argument dictates that other groups have that right too."

    Another unsupported assertion.

    KStret wrote that the legal justification for SSM "makes absolutely no sense." Of course, in order for KStret to make this statement, he needs to first know what the legal justification is. It is thus EXTREMELY curious why he is so unwilling to explain, in a charitable, non-propagandist way, the constitutional arguments for SSM. I reissue my challenge for KStret to:

    1) Provide an accurate, informative and [/b]charitable summary of one of the legal arguments in Brown v. Perry decision that Prop 8 is unconstitutional (with references to the page numbers).

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/btb/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Prop8Ruling.pdf

    2) Show how that legal argument "makes absolutely no sense."

    Will he do this? He will not.

    Why won't he do this? Several possibilities suggest themselves:

    a) Because he simply can't understand the actual legal justifications for SSM.

    b) Because he is simply genuinely incapable of being not misrepresenting opposing positions.

    c) Because he knows that the actual legal justifications are a lot better than his Mickey-Mouse caricatures, and so by representing them in their strongest light, he's be forced to retract his claim (given his pride, he'll never do).

  80. Spencer says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 11:08 AM:

    Spencer = Anonymous

  81. Spencer says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 12:12 PM:

    One thing I'd still like to see articulated is why SSM is itself so objectionable. So far, the only argument against SSM is that it would "lead to" other (presumably objectionable) marriages, but this doesn't explain why SSM is problematic. I think opponents face the following dilemma:

    1) Either other types of marriages (OTMS) are objectionable or they are not.
    2) If OTMS are not, then SSA fails.
    3) If OTMS are objectionable, then either SSM is objectionable for the same reason or it is not.
    4) If SSM is not objectionable for the same reason that OTMS are objectionable, then SSA fails.

    So, it's very important for opponents to explain why OTMS are objectionable, because once they do, we can then see whether SSA falls prey to the same objections. If SSA does suffer from the same problems as OTMS, then I'll concede that SSA is problematic. But if not, then OTMS are irrelevant, and so SSA fails.

    I suspect opponents have deliberately refrained from articulating why OTMS are problematic because either: (i) they just don't know what is so objectionable with OTMS; (ii) they do know, but know that by explaining why OTMS are objectionable, it would obvious that SSM isn't objectionable for the same reason (if at all); and (iii) a combination of (i) and (ii).

  82. Spencer says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 12:22 PM:

    Scott,

    "Spencer and Rob, you always handle yourselves very well and this is partly why I always enjoy debating you. We're passionate in disagreement, but I am sincere when I say I respect you."

    I thoroughly enjoy debating these issues with you as well, which is why I end up coming back for more. Although we disagree fundamentally, I always get the sense that you make genuine efforts to understand my position and engage my arguments. Sadly, this just isn't true of all people on here.

  83. Anonymous says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 12:42 PM:

    Another dilemma:

    1) Either SSM is itself objectionable or it is not.
    2) If SSM is itself objectionable, then SSA is irrelevant.
    3) If SSM is not itself objectionable, then SSA is irrelevant.
    4) Therefore, SSA is irrelevant.

  84. Spencer says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 12:43 PM:

    Spencer = Anonymous

  85. BJ says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 12:51 PM:

    Spencer,

    I’ve read your discussions on this subject going back 3-4 years, and I’ve seen you make a lot of plausible points. This is why I even chose to engage you in the first place. I appreciate that you took the time to try to understand my argument and construct the syllogism for me, but let me be clear – I’m not trying to win a debate with you.

    I’d be perfectly happy with saying that homosexuality (like fornication, adultery, etc.) is not ethical behavior within the purview of my faith, but that nonetheless homosexuality, and ultimately, SSM should be permitted in the general society. The only thing standing in my way from that position is the SSA. Instead of simply telling me why the conclusion of the SSA isn’t something I should be worried about, you’ve instead decided to throw the Cambridge debate society handbook at me like you do to every right wing evangelical you’ve engaged on this blog.

    I think this is unfortunate and I was genuinely hoping for something more constructive than this. I’m going to give a full engagement to your objections one last time, and you will respond with the last word. After that, any comment from me to you on the matter will solely be direct towards a discussion of why the conclusion of the SSA isn’t worth worrying about.
    In terms of your objections to premise (1), you say I merely asserted it and gave no argument. I don’t see how you can say that when I’ve appealed to the Slippery slope as a consequence of the delinquency of this premise over and over.
    --------------------------------

    In terms of your justification for thinking the SSA is false, you asked me for justification of the SSA. I don’t know what to say other than it makes perfect sense to me that if you take the CBT requirement out of the institution, then homosexual couples aren’t the only relationships that would qualify for the certification.

    As for your not knowing why those other marriages are really that bad, perhaps you don’t mind living in an absurd fundamentalist Mormon-compoundesque world where someone’s third wife is also their second aunt and third cousin, and she’s legally married to her IPad simultaneously. I don’t want to live in that society, and if you don’t mind living in that society, we’ll have to agree to disagree.
    How do I know that would happen if SSM were legalized? I don’t have my crystal ball handy. I simply don’t see what’s standing in the way of that happening if we take CBT out of the equation.

    As for CBT vs. Child-raising teleology (CRT), I simply say that if we replace the CBT criteria with CRT, homosexual relationships aren’t the only groups that will want, and be qualified for the certificate. Again, if you don’t mind that, I simply beg to differ with you.

    As for your (3) objection, with all due respect, I’m totally convinced that you’re just trying to pin me in every way possible. Premise 1 of the argument you constructed for my position doesn’t entail that CBT is the sole criteria for a permissible marriage. The argument only shows why homosexual marriages shouldn’t be permitted. If I wanted to show why your (a)-(d) examples shouldn’t be permitted, I’d have to give other arguments.

    As for my objection regarding the set of laws that would be relevant to a couple with CBT but never relevant to a couple without CBT, you disagreed, and then tacitly admitted that I was right! Yes – there are laws governing CBT spouses that would never be applicable to a couple without CBT. This is precisely what I was getting at, and this is why you can’t say that there’s no relevant difference between heterosexual and homosexual couples.

    As for the examples you provided with regard to racial purists, I’m willing to wager that if I sat down and asked such people some follow up questions, within 5 minutes they would reveal that at the end of the day that think their race is superior or other races are inferior. But I asked you for examples and you gave them, so I have to concede the point.
    ---------------------------------------

    Now I repeat: you are obliged to the last word regarding the material we’ve covered here. But I simply cannot afford to lose another half a day trading 800 words with you. Therefore any further response from me will be only in response to my initial question: why isn’t the SSA something I should worry about if I wish to avoid the “other marriages” from also being permitted.

  86. BJ says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 01:01 PM:

    Spencer,

    PS -- I want to reiterate that I respect you, and appreciate your contribution on this matter. I didn't intend for the tone of my response to be so coarse.

  87. Windy says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 01:28 PM:

    If good-faith opponents of same-sex marriage have been reading carefully to this point, I hope they now perceive that a constitutional right to same-sex marriage is at least a thinkable outcome under the applicable law, and that they have gained at least some reassurance that recognition of same-sex marriage would not create a slippery legal slope leading inescapably to polygamy, etc. (To repeat for BJ: the Supreme Court has recognized that polygamy is potentially harmful in a way that same-sex marriage is not, and this is what changes the constitutional analysis and makes the slope non-slippery). I hope opponents also can appreciate, as BJ just articulated, the huge difference between a constitutional or legal freedom to do something within one’s own space, and a non-binding obligation (to one’s Maker or Dr. Darwin or whoever) to eschew certain sexual behavior on traditional moral grounds. What I would like to ask here is similar to the question Rob asked some time ago: How, if at all, do opponents of same-sex marriages fear their mere formal recognition would damage existing opposite-sex marriages? Put aside the (imaginary) slippery slope, put aside the (ineffable) cosmic purpose of things, and just deal with actual marriages of actual people in a concrete way. You think divorce will go up? People will stop getting married at all? What? It seems to me that straights trying to keep the blessings of marriage to themselves look like the children at the Monopoly board who won’t let the new kid play because he looks funny and they just know he’ll wreck the game, but they won’t say how. And that makes it hard to perceive their arguments as anything other than rationalizations (sometimes subtle, sometimes crude, sometimes articulated by professors, sometimes articulated by rabble-rousers) for long discredited prejudices. Sorry if I sound blunt, but people’s basic dignity matters.

  88. Spencer says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 01:54 PM:

    BJ,

    I'm not trying to "win" a debate with you either, but to sincerely express my objections with your argument, which I believe stand. In this response, I'll simply address your question directly: "why isn’t the SSA something I should worry about if I wish to avoid the “other marriages” from also being permitted."

    IMO, there really is no slippery-slope argument, only a slippery-slope question (SSQ). The problem with SSQ is that it's not really an objection, and even if it were, it's entirely irrelevant. Here are my two arguments:

    1) Either other marriages (OMS) are objectionable or they are not.
    2) If OMS are not, then SSA fails.
    3) If OMS are objectionable, then either SSM is objectionable for the same reason or it is not.
    4) If SSM is not objectionable for the same reason, then SSA fails.

    1) Either SSM is itself objectionable or it is not.
    2) If SSM is itself objectionable, then SSA is irrelevant.
    3) If SSM is not itself objectionable, then SSA is irrelevant.
    4) Therefore, SSA is irrelevant.

    Now let's get specific. Suppose you wonder: "if SSM, why not marriages between Rapist and Rape-Victim?" I'm sure we both object to latter, the main reason being that rape is both immoral and criminal and non-consensual marriages are both immoral and legally impossible in our society. It is thus undeniably obvious that rape marriages are VERY different from SSM -- the reasons against the former are NOT the reasons against the latter (and it is highly insulting to suggest otherwise, which many opponents do). From this, we now have the following:

    1) Rape marriage (RM) is objectionable because of reason R.
    2) SSM is not objectionable because of R.
    3) If SSM is not objectionable because of R, then SSM cannot logically lead to RM.
    4) Therefore, SSM cannot logically lead to RM.

    And:

    1) Human-animal marriage (HAM) is objectionable because of R1.
    2) SSM is not objectionable because of R1.
    3. If SSM is not objectionable of R1, then SSM cannot logically lead to HAM.
    4. Therefore, SSM cannot logically lead to HAM.

    And:

    1) Human-object marriage (HOM) is objectionable because of R2.
    2) SSM is not objectionable because of R2.
    3). If SSM is not objectionable because of R@, then SSM cannot logically lead to HOM
    4) Therefore, SSM cannot logically lead to HOM.

    SSA, in order to have any force, must presuppose that (i) "other marriages" are objectionable and (ii) SSM is objectionable for the same reason. But the problem with SSA is that opponents never seem to want to say, exactly, why those "other marriages" are objectionable. Is it because they just can't articulate why (for some marriages, like polygamy, it may be difficult)? Or is it because they can articulate why, and thus know that SSM is very very different (e.g. rape-marriages).

    So BJ,

    Why shouldn't you worry about SSA? You should worry, but if only if: (a) "other marriages" are objectionable, and (b) SSM is objectionable for the same reason -- otherwise, SSA is simply irrelevant and not applicable to SSM. I hope this addresses your question.

  89. Spencer says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 02:27 PM:

    BJ,

    Earlier you asked for an example of a successful slippery slope argument. Here is one I reject, but it can be made logically valid..

    In some jurisdictions (I forget where), an assailant can be charged with double-murders if he kills both a pregnant woman and her fetus. From this, it could follow (given certain assumptions) that fetuses are legal persons under the law entitled to constitutional protection.

    1) Only legal persons can be murdered. (premise)
    2) Therefore, U.S. laws prohibiting the murder of fetuses (LPMF) consider fetuses to be legal persons. (from 1)
    3) Therefore, fetuses are considered legal persons. (from 2)
    4) Legal persons are entitled to constitutional rights.
    5) Therefore, if fetuses can be murdered, they are entitled to constitutional rights. (from 4, 3, 1)

    So, LPMF "logically leads to" (given certain assumptions) the conclusion that fetuses are entitled to constitutional rights. Can a similar, validly deductive argument be given for SSA?

  90. BJ says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 02:30 PM:

    Spencer,

    Thank you for that. I have a much clearer understanding of why you don't think the SSA is problematic. Namely, that even if SSM were permitted, "other marriages" could still be objected to for completely different reasons unless it could be shown that there is no relevent difference between SSM and "other marriages" -- added to which there are relevent differences between hetoerosexual marriage and "other marriages".

    I'd like to meditate on that before I totally jump the fence, but I definetly see your point.

  91. BJ says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 02:38 PM:

    Wendy,

    Thank you for those comments. Can you tell me where I can read the Supreme Court deemed polygomy potential harmful in a way that SSM is not? I'd like to give that a read.

    I have access to a law school database, so just the name of the case or opinion would do.

  92. Spencer says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 02:40 PM:

    BJ,

    That is precisely my view, and it has taken awhile to fully articulate my problem with SSA (my objections can probably be refined even further). If you have time, consider John Corvino's very good paper on this subject:

    http://wrightjj1.people.cofc.edu/teaching/PHIL3000/corvino%20homosexuality%20and%20the%20PIB%20arg.pdf

  93. robaylesbury says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 03:11 PM:

    Spencer, some tremendous posts. I can sense this is an issue close to your heart and your knowledge has been incredibly helpful to me. Windy, I'm also indebted for enabling me to better understanded some of the nuances of the matter.

    Scott, I hope you get some well earned sleep. Its always a pleasure to exchange ideas. And well done BJ for your willingness to engage with integrity and openess.

  94. Spencer says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 04:26 PM:

    Rob,

    I think the opposition needs to understand that, for advocates of SSM, it *really* is a civil rights issue -- akin to the battle over interracial marriage (IM). The failure to genuinely understand this is, I suspect, the source of much distortion and caricatures. Before Loving v. Virgina, marriage was legally defined in many states to exclude IM. Those who objected, of course, wanted to change the legal definition of marriage. It is also true that they wanted such laws declared unconstitutional, based on the sincere belief that they were in fact unconstitutional. How many opponents of SSM would dare characterize the position of IM advocates as the following?

    1) They believe there is a fundamental right to redefine legal marriage.

    2) They believe they have the right to go to court and have the judge impose IM on American culture.

    As I hope is obvious, (1) and (2) are inexcusable distortions of those who fought tirelessly for IM, rhetorically designed to obfuscate debate, and anyone who would attribute such beliefs to them cannot be taken seriously. IM advocates believed interracial couples had a fundamental right to marry (not a fundamental right to change a definition), and believed judges should accept their legal position (not "impose" IM on culture - whatever that means). Yet, that very same dishonest rhetoric is being used today - in this very thread - to describe the position of SSM advocates.

    1)* They believe there is a fundamental right to redefine legal marriage.

    2)* They believe they have the right to go to court and have the judge impose IM on American culture.

    If SSM opponents wouldn't attribute (1) or (2) to IM advocates, why on earth would they attribute (1*) or (2*) to SSM advocates? Like IM advocates, we want to see current legal definitions of marriage changed, and we sincerely think they violate the constitution. Hence our beliefs and positions exactly parallels IM advocates.

    Unfortunately, the endless caricatures continue because of a failure to genuinely understand, from our pov, what is truly at stake.

  95. Spencer says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 04:57 PM:

    Consider my P8 example again: "Only marriage between a man and a woman of the same race is valid or recognized in California."

    Suppose an interracial couple, wanting to get married, challenges P8 as unconstitutional. Which of the following is an accurate representation of their argument?

    Argument 1 (A1)

    1) We have a constitutional right to change the definition of marriage.
    2) In California, P8 is the definition of marriage.
    3) Therefore, we have a constitutional right to change P8.

    Argument 2 (A2)

    1) All laws which violate the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause are unconstitutional.
    2) P8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause.
    3) Therefore, P8 is unconstitutional.

    Suppose the interracial couple in my hypothetical is in a debate with an IM opponent (call him KST), and patiently explains, over and over, that their argument against P8 is A2, not A1. A1, actually, is a total caricature of their position. Suppose, further, that KST continues to insist that, contrary to their explicit denials, A1 is *really* their argument.

    Who is right? The interracial couple or KST? Is KST guilty of making gross distortions and caricatures? Intellectual dishonesty?

  96. robaylesbury says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 05:14 PM:

    If its any consolation Spencer, he's the same in every thread. And engaging with him is invariably subject to the law of diminishing returns. The thing I find so distasteful is the level of distortion. Is he a wilful liar or does he just not understand?

  97. Spencer says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 05:22 PM:

    Contrast A1 and A2 with the following:

    Argument 3 (A3)

    1) We have a constitutional right to change the definition of marriage.
    2) In California, proposition 8 is the definition of marriage.
    3) Therefore we have a constitutional right to change proposition 8

    Argument 4 (A4)

    1) All laws which violate the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause are unconstitutional.
    2) Proposition 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause.
    3) Therefore, proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

    SSM advocates explicitly endorse A4 and disavow A3 -- we maintain that A3 is not our position. A3, actually, is a total caricature of our position. However, KStret continues to insist otherwise, claiming that we really believe A3.

    How is KStret any different from KST? Like KST, is he not guilty of making gross distortions and caricatures? Intellectual dishonesty?

    1) If KST is guilty of distortion, then so is KStret.
    2) KST is guilty of distortion.
    3) So is KStret.

  98. Spencer says on Feb 18, 2012 @ 05:58 PM:

    "Is he a wilful liar or does he just not understand?"

    If the latter, it's because he hasn't even bothered to try to understand, in any charitable way, the SSM position, but simply insists on propagating distortions. Although I try, it's very difficult to attribute any non-bigoted motives to such persons.

  99. Windy says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 02:04 AM:

    BJ:

    The case is Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1878), and the relevant language is on page 166. You might also want to look at Loving v. Virginia is 388 U.S. 1 (1967), the Supreme Court decision striking down miscegenation, wherein you will find a cautionary tale about relying on “natural” teleology to decide constitutional rights.

  100. KStret says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 12:50 PM:

    Spencer,
    Once again, you arguments and objections are indicative of emotion rather than reason, logic, or constitutional points.

    " that homosexuals have the right to go into court and force judges to rule in their favor."

    You are repeating the exact same thing. I did not say that you are forcing judges to rule in your favor. That is a misrepresentation. I have addressed this point.

    "wanting a judge to rule that SSMN cannot be constitutionally denied is not the same as wanting a judge to "impose" SSM on culture, which is a total caricature."

    Once again, you are restating something that I have already addressed. Your objection amounts to not liking the way I phrased your position.

    Do I have a choice? No! Does you opinion count more than mine? Yes!

    "Claiming that there is a fundamental right for homosexuals to marry is NOT the same as claiming that there is a fundamental right for homosexuals to change a definition."

    Once again you are simple repeating your original objection which I addressed.

    Does marriage have a definition? YES! It's one man and one woman.

    Do you want to change that definition? Yes. It is 100% accurate to say that you want to redefine marriage.

    Do you think that same sex marriage is a fundamental right? Yes! It is 100% accurate to say that you think that redefining marriage is a right regardless of if you used that exact phrase or not.

    "Moreover, claiming that prop 8 violates equal protection is NOT the same as claiming that there is a fundamental right for homosexuals to change a definition."

    Does marriage have a definition? YES! It's one man and one woman.

    Does the ruling change the definition of marriage? Yes, it does.

    "If an interracial couple challenges P8 on constitutional grounds, and seeks to get it struck down, according to you, they want a fundamental right to change a definition, which is a total misrepresentation of their position. It's about the right to marry - not about the right to change a definition."

    This is the most illogical straw-man objection that same sex marriage proponents use.

    What is the definition of marriage? One man and one woman. Any man has the right to marry any woman he wants and vice versa. If the government restricts certian races from marring other races, that is telling one man that he can't marry the one woman he wants and thus violating the 14th amendment.

    You want to change the definition of marriage to include one women and one woman or one man and one man. One man and one woman is not the same as your redefinition. You are comparing apples and oranges.

    "Another unsupported assertion."

    I am explaining my reasoning. You might not like it but I have explained it. You are making unsupported assertions, and repeating the same points without a addressing by rebuttals.

    "legal justification for SSM "makes absolutely no sense." Of course, in order for KStret to make this statement, he needs to first know what the legal justification is."

    I have explained this too.

    "Contrast A1 and A2 with the following:"

    You are saying the same thing in a different way. Of coarse same sex marriage proponents do not want to say that they are redefining marriage. Just like they don't want to say that are for abortion. They are are for choice.

    You are simply playing games with semantics.You can not defend your position. You need to shift the explanatory burden and frame the issue away from the flaws of your argument.

  101. KStret says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 12:56 PM:

    Spencer,
    Regardless of how your argument is phrased, my objections still stands. You have not addressed this issue at all. Your argument dictates that:

    You either believe:

    1. That redefining marriage is a right for homosexuals but no one else. If this is the case you are special pleading.

    If you want to argue that you are not special pleading,you need to explain why homosexuals simply not being able to marry is discrimination but polygamist and bigamist not being able to marry who they want is not discrimination.

    The criteria for discrimination is not being able to get married. You are going to have a difficult time explaining why one group being denied the fundamental right to marry who they want is discrimination and another group who is being denied the exact same fundamental right to marry who they want is not discrimination.

    Here is what you are saying:

    Black people have a fundamental right to eat in the restaurants they want, shop were they want, and vote but that doesn't apply to Mexicans or that right being applied to Mexicans is a separate issue. That doesn't make any sense.

    The 14th amendment dictates if you change the rules for homosexual you must change the rules for all groups.

    Where do you stand on this point?

    Do you believe that the fundamental right to marry only applies to homosexuals? If that is your position explain how you can deny another group that exact same fundamental right.

    or

    Do you believe the polygamists and bigamist have the exact same right as homosexuals to go to court and have polygamy and bigamy imposed on the culture?

    "I think the opposition needs to understand that, for advocates of SSM, it *really* is a civil rights issue"

    Do you know why black people get so offended at statements like the one above?

    They were owned as slaves, beaten, murdered, denied the right to vote, forced to live in segregated communities, forced to sit on the back of buses, forced to give up their seats to white people on buses, they were sprayed with hoses by the police for marching peacefully, and denied due process etc.

    You are comparing that to two guys or women who want a piece of paper saying that they are married when they have never been able to do that in this county's history?

    Can you see how ridiculous, insulting, and asinine that comparison is?

  102. KStret says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 12:58 PM:

    Rob,
    "The thing I find so distasteful is the level of distortion. Is he a wilful liar or does he just not understand?"

    What am I lying about? What am I distorting?

    Is the definition of marriage not being changed?

    Are same sex marriage proponents not arguing that same sex marriage is a fundamental right?

    Is the criteria for discrimination not being able to get married?

    Explain to me how in one case not being able to get married is discrimination but in another case it's not.

    Explain to me how one group has the fundamental right to get married and other group does not have that exact same fundamental right.

    Explain to me how you can change the rules for one group under the guise that it is a fundamental right but not change the exact same rule for another group who also wants the same fundamental right.

    Rob, if you can not explain any of this, you are simply making another ad hominem attack.

  103. Daniel says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 01:44 PM:

    I don't think they need to argue that it is a fundamental right. All they need to argue is that the Equal Protection amendment is violated. If the law goes out of its way to bestow legal benefits to heterosexual couples, but deny them to same-sex couples, then you better have some compelling reason to justify that -- and that reason best not come across as thinly disguised religious dogma. Furthermore, if the law recognizes homosexuals as a protected group -- and it does -- then they are entitled to civil rights protections as well. Since they are entitled to those protections, they are a government recognized group of people. Yet here they are discriminated against by law. It's a contradiction and violates the rule of law.

    Of course, our government is replete with such scenarios. If I go outside and intentionally harm a pregnant woman, causing her to abort her baby, then I rightfully deserve to be charged with murdering that baby. But if she decides to pay an abortionist to cut that baby into pieces and vacuum it out, then that is her right. Huge contradiction in the law right there.

    The contradictions are not exclusive to any group of people either. Those who defend the rights of same-sex couples, by appealing to our constitutional rights, are very likely to support our government violating those same rights when it comes to the abridgement of those rights when it harms the religious groups who do not support their lifestyles. These same people who complain of others violating the separation of church and state in the context of defense of marriage laws gleefully violate that same legal doctrine to impose their own morality upon churches.

    There is no end to this. It will go on and on. Every time one side gets a politician who marginally panders to their tribal faction, they will abridge the rights of the other tribes. Then the other tribes do the same exact thing. The end result is a Bill of Rights reduced to nothing more than a list if parchment guarantees.

  104. KStret says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 01:49 PM:

    Windy,
    "I hope they now perceive that a constitutional right to same-sex marriage is at least a thinkable outcome under the applicable law....and that they have gained at least some reassurance that recognition of same-sex marriage would not create a slippery legal slope leading inescapably to polygamy, et"

    Explain to me how same sex couples have a fundamental right to change the definition of marriage changed for them but other groups who want that same fundamental right can not have it?

    You didn't answer my questions:

    Do you believe the polygamists and bigamist have the exact same right as homosexuals to go to court and have polygamy and bigamy imposed on the culture?

    Would the founders of this country believe that same sex marriage is a fundamental right?

  105. KStret says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 02:23 PM:

    Daneil,
    "I don't think they need to argue that it is a fundamental right. All they need to argue is that the Equal Protection amendment is violated.'

    Same sex marriage proponents are not arguing for a specific right like having whoever they want visit them in the hospital if they were dieing. They should have that right. Every should. However, that is not what they are asking for.

    By arguing not allowing same sex couples to marry violates the equal protection clause, you are saying same sex marriage is a fundamental right.

    Why is not allowing same sex couples to marry violating the equal protection clause but denying polygamist and bigamist the same fundamental right to marry who they want not violating the equal protection clause?

    The equal protection clause dictates that you have to change the rules for both groups.

    "but deny them to same-sex couples, then you better have some compelling reason to justify that "

    Where is the justified discrimination clause of the constitution?

    That is just an attempt to shift the explanatory burden and get around the problem of other groups wanting the same new right they have legislated in to law for homosexuals.

    If you want to talk about dangerous slippery slopes a justified discrimination clause would be just that. We can round up group X because...... Group X doesn't have the right to free speech because....

  106. Spencer says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 02:40 PM:

    KStret,


    "I did not say that you are forcing judges to rule in your favor. That is a misrepresentation. I have addressed this point."

    No, it is absolutely not a misrepresentation, since that is what your statement implied. The fact that you did not use those exact words is irrelevant. Your objection amounts to not liking the way I phrased your position.

    "Once again, you are restating something that I have already addressed. Your objection amounts to not liking the way I phrased your position."

    No, it does not. My objection amounts to drawing a distinction between desiring a judge to favor a legal position and desiring a judge to favor "imposing" some practice on culture.

    "
    Do I have a choice? No! Does you opinion count more than mine? Yes!"

    non-sequitur.

    "Once again you are simple repeating your original objection which I addressed."

    Once again, you are simply repeating a distortion I corrected.

    "It is 100% accurate to say that you think that redefining marriage is a right regardless of if you used that exact phrase or not."

    Nope - that is 100% not accurate, since I do not hold that "redefining marriage is a right." My constitutional argument is A4, not A3, but you continue to insist - like KST - that it is A3.

    What is the difference between you can KST?

  107. Spencer says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 02:47 PM:

    In KStret's next post, I'd like him to explain the difference between him and KST. (Of course, he won't).

    KST's Distortion
    -----------------------------
    Suppose an interracial couple, wanting to get married, challenges P8 as unconstitutional. Which of the following is an accurate representation of their argument?

    Argument 1 (A1)

    1) We have a constitutional right to change the definition of marriage.
    2) In California, P8 is the definition of marriage.
    3) Therefore, we have a constitutional right to change P8.

    Argument 2 (A2)

    1) All laws which violate the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause are unconstitutional.
    2) P8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause.
    3) Therefore, P8 is unconstitutional.

    Suppose the interracial couple in my hypothetical is in a debate with an IM opponent (call him KST), and patiently explains, over and over, that their argument against P8 is A2, not A1. A1, actually, is a total caricature of their position. Suppose, further, that KST continues to insist that, contrary to their explicit denials, A1 is *really* their argument.

    Who is right? The interracial couple or KST? Is KST guilty of making gross distortions and caricatures? Intellectual dishonesty?
    ---------------------

    KStret's Distortion


    ---------------
    Argument 3 (A3)

    1) We have a constitutional right to change the definition of marriage.
    2) In California, proposition 8 is the definition of marriage.
    3) Therefore we have a constitutional right to change proposition 8.

    Argument 4 (A4)

    1) All laws which violate the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause are unconstitutional.
    2) Proposition 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause.
    3) Therefore, proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

    SSM advocates explicitly endorse A4 and disavow A3 -- we maintain that A3 is not our position. A3, actually, is a total caricature of our position. However, KStret continues to insist otherwise, claiming that we really believe A3.

    ------------------

    How is KStret any different from KST? Like KST, is he not guilty of making gross distortions and caricatures? Intellectual dishonesty?

    1) If KST is guilty of distortion, then so is KStret.
    2) KST is guilty of distortion.
    3) So is KStret.

  108. Spencer says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 02:56 PM:

    Why does KStret seem to think he can make claims without any argumentative support whatsoever?

    KStret wrote that the legal justification for SSM "makes absolutely no sense." Of course, in order for KStret to make this statement, he needs to first know what the legal justification is. It is thus EXTREMELY curious why he is so unwilling to explain, in a charitable, non-propagandist way, the constitutional arguments for SSM. I thus reissue my challenge to KStret to:


    1) Provide an accurate, informative and charitable summary of one of the legal arguments in Brown v. Perry decision that Prop 8 is unconstitutional (with references to the page numbers).

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/btb/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Prop8Ruling.pdf

    2) Show how that legal argument "makes absolutely no sense."

    Will he do this? He will not.

    Why won't he do this? Several possibilities suggest themselves:

    a) Because he simply can't understand the actual legal justifications for SSM.

    b) Because he is simply genuinely incapable of not misrepresenting opposing positions.

    c) Because he knows that the actual legal justifications are a lot better than his Mickey-Mouse caricatures, and so by representing them in their strongest light, he's be forced to retract his claim (something his pride will never allow him to do).

  109. robaylesbury says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 03:02 PM:

    Kstret, Spencer has just pointed out your distortions. He has specifically articulated his position, in Queens english, time and time again.

    Now you can continue to insist otherwise, but we on this thread have mastered the non trivial art of reading. Perhaps this may be another opportunity to reflect upon your conduct when interacting with others?

  110. Spencer says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 05:28 PM:

    "By arguing not allowing same sex couples to marry violates the equal protection clause, you are saying same sex marriage is a fundamental right."

    Actually, this doesn't follow. All that follows, from an equal protection violation, is that rights granted to one group cannot be denied to another - it doesn't follow that those rights are fundamental. Suppose states eliminated the right to enter into civil marriages all together. Could same-sex couples sue for the right to marry under equal protection? They could not - they'd have to sue under substantive due process.

    KStret, you simply don't know what you're talking about 98% of the time.

  111. Spencer says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 05:36 PM:

    "Would the founders of this country believe that same sex marriage is a fundamental right?"

    Would the founders of this country believe that interracial marriage is a fundamental right?

    Would the founders of this country believe that "separate is not equal?"

  112. Spencer says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 05:47 PM:

    Two predictions:

    1) KStret will again dodge my objections to his distortions. In particular, he will not even attempt to differentiate KST and KStret, which I have asked him to do. What is the difference between two? If KST is guilty of gross distortion, why isn't KStret?

    2) KStret will again refuse to support his assertion that the legal justification for SSM "makes absolutely no sense." In particular, he will not even attempt to explain, in any charitable, non-propagandist way, the actual legal justifications contained in Perry v. Brown. If the legal justifications in Perry v. Brown don't make any sense, why won't he interact with them? (Has he even read the opinion?).

  113. Spencer says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 09:22 PM:

    For those interested, check out this very good talk by philosopher John Corvino (aka The Gay Moralist):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRTbzeTgHvU

  114. Daniel says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 10:38 PM:

    KStret,

    1. I did not argue that marriage is a right. I argued that treating one group of marriages with priveleges, while legally deprecating another group of marriages violates the Equal Protection Clause. Homosexuals are a legally defined group as far as the government is concerned, and are protected as such under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For the government to then declare that their marriages are invalid or in some way "seperate but equal" is to violate quite a lot of the Constitution as we have it today. It's inconsistent, whether you want to call marriage a right or not.

    2. But if you want to play the rights game, the rights of the people are NOT limited to those explicitely enumerated in the Bill of Rights or in further amendments. Those rights are considered reserved by the People. We very well could argue that marriage is a right. We can appeal to the Ninth Amendment to justify that right. But we cannot argue that heterosexual marriage is a right whereas all other marriages are not a right without being some seriously hypocritical sobs. No group of Americans can have a right that is denied to any other group. Therefore, if those of us who are heterosexual want to call our marriages rights, we cannot then argue that homosexual marriage is not a right. Either marriage is a right or it is not a right. You cannot have it both ways depending upon who is getting married.

    3. What SHOULD concern all of you is what happens when the same-sex couples demand the right to be married in YOUR church, not whether or not they can be married.

    The government should stay well out of the marriage business. They never should have been there. The only reason we even have marriage laws like we do is because people in the past wanted to discriminate against groups they did not particularly like. Whether it was Mormons, blacks, or whatever targeted group. Once you establish the government as the arbiter of what is a valid marriage and what is not, we all become ensnared by it, when we would have been better off just dealing with it at church (and nowhere else, especially not the government).

    Now they will regulate it. You already saw a good taste of how the government likes to regulate religion this month. The way I see it, progressives will come along and try to hurt churches the same way many of you guys want to hurt them by declaring their marriages not a right and banning them.

    This will not end until people learn to leave well enough alone.

  115. Daniel says on Feb 19, 2012 @ 11:34 PM:

    And do not take what I wrote the wrong way. I do NOT defend their choices in life. They were dealt a difficult life, and we have it quite easy in comparison. But I would prefer to keep our marriages within our churches, and the government out of those churches.

    Each church is like an embassy of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is sovereign territory as far as I am concerned, and not some issue to be regulated by government. Each mind, conscience, and soul of a Christian is also sovereign territory. The secular state should might have sway over everything else, but we should have the freedom within our own hearts and minds, within the walls of our own churches, to do as we are commanded and live like Christians, without being harasses, coerced, or otherwise attacked by the secular state.

    But in order for that state of affairs to remain, we must also respect that separation of church and state. Else we opened the door for state infringements upon places where it ought not to go.

    In order that we have free and open society, no man's conscience should be assailed by another, and especially not by the state. If we lose that right, then we lose everything, because no democratic and open society can stand where even the hearts and minds of the people are infringed as election politics. Nobody will remain safe then. If you want that to be protected, then stop crossing that line yourselves. Stop threatening to cross it. Identify that line and stop all who would violate it.

    Marriage ought to be the domain of the Church. Not the government. Not the purview of "culture warriors". Marriage remains the purview of God. If non-Christians want to call some other domestic living arrangement a marriage, then let it go.

    We are NOT of the world. We are of the Kingdom of Heaven. This world hates us just as it hates Christ. Stop opening the door to let them in. That's all I ask. Because I guarantee this will get quite a lot worse for us. We already are forced to pay for abortions now through this mandate. No kind of abortion is off the table since the law literally states that all services are at the discretion of the HHS Secretary. It's only a matter of time before this same government attempts to force us to marry people. I can see them already attempting to argue that churches engage in commerce in charging for weddings, and they therefore must abide by the state.

    Please let it go so we can begin the more important battle of keeping the state out of our churches.

  116. Daniel says on Feb 20, 2012 @ 01:55 AM:

    And do not take what I wrote the wrong way. I do NOT defend their choices in life. They were dealt a difficult life, and we have it quite easy in comparison. But I would prefer to keep our marriages within our churches, and the government out of those churches.

    Each church is like an embassy of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is sovereign territory as far as I am concerned, and not some issue to be regulated by government. Each mind, conscience, and soul of a Christian is also sovereign territory. The secular state should might have sway over everything else, but we should have the freedom within our own hearts and minds, within the walls of our own churches, to do as we are commanded and live like Christians, without being harasses, coerced, or otherwise attacked by the secular state.

    But in order for that state of affairs to remain, we must also respect that separation of church and state. Else we opened the door for state infringements upon places where it ought not to go.

    In order that we have free and open society, no man's conscience should be assailed by another, and especially not by the state. If we lose that right, then we lose everything, because no democratic and open society can stand where even the hearts and minds of the people are infringed as election politics. Nobody will remain safe then. If you want that to be protected, then stop crossing that line yourselves. Stop threatening to cross it. Identify that line and stop all who would violate it.

    Marriage ought to be the domain of the Church. Not the government. Not the purview of "culture warriors". Marriage remains the purview of God. If non-Christians want to call some other domestic living arrangement a marriage, then let it go.

    We are NOT of the world. We are of the Kingdom of Heaven. This world hates us just as it hates Christ. Stop opening the door to let them in. That's all I ask. Because I guarantee this will get quite a lot worse for us. We already are forced to pay for abortions now through this mandate. No kind of abortion is off the table since the law literally states that all services are at the discretion of the HHS Secretary. It's only a matter of time before this same government attempts to force us to marry people. I can see them already attempting to argue that churches engage in commerce in charging for weddings, and they therefore must abide by the state.

    Please let it go so we can begin the more important battle of keeping the state out of our churches.

  117. robaylesbury says on Feb 20, 2012 @ 05:50 AM:

    I don't hate you, Daniel. I don't hate anybody.

  118. Windy says on Feb 20, 2012 @ 04:02 PM:

    I don’t hate you, either, Daniel, and, for what it’s worth, I agree with you about same-sex marriage. Within its own four walls, churches should remain free to bless or not bless the unions of couples as conscience and doctrine dictate. The legal definition of marriage, however, must comport with separate constitutional requirements designed to preserve a free and pluralist society. If a secular definition of marriage is out of whack, as it was in California after Proposition 8 was passed, then it must be snapped back into shape, and by court order if necessary, since the state’s first duty is to the Constitution. Not so with a church. Its light only diminishes when culture warriors – well meaning but without understanding – use it as a torch to guide a mob through the halls of power. Recall that Satan’s third and most dangerous offer to Jesus was to rule the world.

  119. KStret says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 10:03 AM:

    Rob,
    You did not answer one question that I asked you. Should we try again:

    1.What is the right that is being denied?
    2. Is that "right" changing the definition of marriage?
    3. 1+1= What?

    If the 14th amendment equal protection clause dictates that all laws must be applied equally, if same sex couples have a fundamental right to marry, how can you say that other groups do not have that same fundamental right?

  120. robaylesbury says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 10:10 AM:

    Refer to the above, Kstret. Accept you are incorrect, learn accordingly, and return chastened and wiser.

  121. robaylesbury says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 10:11 AM:

    Spencer, have just watched the Corvino video. What a great speaker and how precisely he articulates his position.

  122. Spencer says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 10:24 AM:

    "1.What is the right that is being denied?"

    The right to get married.


    "2. Is that "right" changing the definition of marriage?"

    Nope.

  123. KStret says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 10:26 AM:

    rob,
    "Refer to the above, Kstret. Accept you are incorrect, learn accordingly, and return chastened and wiser."

    In other words you can not articulate where I am wrong or even answer a few questions.

    Rob, why do you think it is that no same sex marriage proponent will answer this question?

    If the 14th amendment equal protection clause dictates that all laws must be applied equally, if same sex couples have a fundamental right to marry, how can you say that other groups do not have that same fundamental right?

    Why can't you answer it?

  124. Windy says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 10:27 AM:

    For the last time, KStret: The rights being denied are substantive due process and equal protection. Revising the definition of marriage to comply with those requirements is the appropriate remedy where a state's marriage definition violates a group's rights. The remedy is not the right itself. Your question suffers from what I think philosophers call a "category mistake." The Fourteenth Amendment applies equally to all, but not all circumstances to which it applies are the same. A right to single-sex marriage differs from a right to polygamy and child-marriage as a right to own firearms differs from a right to own as many firearms as you want and the right to own a flamethrower.

    Finally, I wasn't a math major, so I'll let Rob field the last one.

  125. robaylesbury says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 10:28 AM:

    As above, Kstret.

  126. Spencer says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 10:28 AM:

    KStret,

    Two questions (which you won't bother to answer):

    1. What was the right being denied to interracial couples when they couldn't get married?

    2. Was that "right" the right to change the definition of marriage?

  127. Spencer says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 10:35 AM:

    Windy wrote:

    "The remedy is not the right itself."

    This is precisely the conflation KStret makes -- confusing the right being denied with the remedy used to correct the violation. Prop 8 denies gay and lesbian couples the right to marry their partners, in violation of equal protection and substantive due process, while changing the definition of prop 8 is the necessary remedy used to correct the denial of that right.

  128. KStret says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:02 AM:

    Spencer,
    Q: Is that "right" changing the definition of marriage?"
    A:Nope.

    If that is the case, you should be able to provide an example when marriage meant something other than one man and one in this country's history. When was that?

    "1. What was the right being denied to interracial couples when they couldn't get married?"

    Spencer, I addressed this point a few posts back. Telling one man he can't marry the woman who he wants to marry is not the same as changing the definition of marriage. You are comparing apples and oranges.

  129. KStret says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:04 AM:

    Windy,
    "he Fourteenth Amendment applies equally to all, but not all circumstances to which it applies are the same. A right to single-sex marriage differs from a right to polygamy and child-marriage as a right to own firearms differs from a right to own as many firearms as you want and the right to own a flamethrower."

    You are special pleading. I can say the exact same thing comparing same sex marriage to straight marriage.

    You are also comparing apples to oranges. Everyone can buy a gun not everyone can get married. You are serious argueing that marriage is a fundamental right for homosexuals but not for bisexuals?

  130. KStret says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:05 AM:

    Spencer,
    There is nothing you said that would disqualify my objections. You said:

    "that rights granted to one group cannot be denied to another"

    1.What is the right that is being denied?
    2. Is that "right" changing the definition of marriage?
    3. 1+1= What?

    1) All laws which violate the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause are unconstitutional.
    2) Proposition 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause.
    3) Therefore, proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

    It is unconstitutional to define marriage between one man and one woman. Explain to me how it is not unconstitutional to define marriage as only being between straight people and gay people too?

    This ruling leaves marriage's definition as ambiguous.

    Even if you get the language you want. It doesn't change anything.

    The rights granted to straight people can not be denied to homosexuals. Straight people's right to marry can not be denied to homosexuals.

    The rights granted to straight people can not be denied to polygamists. Straight people's right to marry can not be denied to polygamists.

    If the 14th amendment equal protection clause dictates that all laws must be applied equally, if same sex couples have a fundamental right to marry, how can you say that other groups do not have that same fundamental right?

    "Actually, this doesn't follow. All that follows, from an equal protection violation, is that rights granted to one group cannot be denied to another - it doesn't follow that those rights are fundamental."

    Group A is being discriminated against because they can't do X.

    Group B wants to do X too, is group B being discriminated against?

    "Suppose states eliminated the right to enter into civil marriages all together. Could same-sex couples sue for the right to marry under equal protection? They could not - they'd have to sue under substantive due process. "

    First, this is a straw-man argument and a bad one. States eliminating civil marriages all together, would a libertarian position.

    Does an individual state have the right right to become a libertarian state and not sanction marriages at all? YES!

    Your rebuttal does nothing to nullify my objections and does not solve the problem of of extending the same right's to polygamist that you believe same sex couples have.

    "Would the founders of this country believe that "separate is not equal?"

    The Declaration of Independence was originally going to read "Life, Liberty and property" but they changed it to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Do you know why they changed this?

    They changed it because they believed that slavery proponents would argue that since slaves are property it is their constitutional right to own them.

    Would you like to talk about the 3/5 compromise?

  131. Spencer says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:10 AM:

    KStret,

    "If that is the case, you should be able to provide an example when marriage meant something other than one man and one in this country's history"

    Don't need to - laws like prop 8 violate equal protection. The fact that marriage has been legally defined a certain way for x many years doesn't mean it isn't discriminatory.

    "Spencer, I addressed this point a few posts back. "

    But you didn't. What is the difference between you and KST?

    "Telling one man he can't marry the woman who he wants to marry is not the same as changing the definition of marriage. "

    According to you, why not? P8 defines marriage as between a man and woman of the same race. If an interracial couple wants to change this definition, is their argument A1 or A2? Why do you continue to dodge these questions?

    "You are comparing apples and oranges."

    Mere assertion. Why won't you address the analogy between you and KST?

  132. Spencer says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:22 AM:

    KStret,


    "Explain to me how it is not unconstitutional to define marriage as only being between straight people and gay people too?"

    Red-herring. As already explained, the burden is on opponents to demonstrate the slippery slope argument (SSA), which you have failed to do. You haven't supplied any actual argument that SSM leads to "other marriages," and you haven't supplied any actual argument that those "other marriages" are problematic. Why is it that you can't seem to articulate why you think SSM is itself objectionable?

    Why won't you address the analogy between you and KST?

    "First, this is a straw-man argument and a bad one."

    Actually, it isn't. My only point was that rights being denied under equal protection are not necessarily fundamental rights.

    "Your rebuttal does nothing to nullify my objections and does not solve the problem of of extending the same right's to polygamist that you believe same sex couples have. "

    First, you haven't explained what the "problem" is, since you haven't even articulated a valid version of SSA.

    Second, my rebuttal has demonstrated that your framing of the issue is a total distortion ("redefining marriage is a right"), since it conflates the remedy being sought with the right being denied.

  133. Spencer says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:30 AM:

    KStret,

    "I can say the exact same thing comparing same sex marriage to straight marriage."

    But you can't (and haven't). After all this time, you have been unable to articulate why advocates of SSM are logically committed to permitting "other marriages." Moreover, after all this time, you have been unable to articulate why those "other marriages" are all problematic.

    Asking why "other marriages" should be allowed if SSM were permitted, is not the same thing as showing that "other marriages" should be allowed if SSM were permitted. Asking questions is not the same as giving arguments.

  134. Spencer says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:34 AM:

    It looks like my two predictions came true:

    1) KStret again dodged my objections to his distortions. In particular, he did not even attempt to differentiate KST and KStret, which I have asked him to do. What is the difference between two? If KST is guilty of gross distortion, why isn't KStret?

    2) KStret again refused to support his assertion that the legal justification for SSM "makes absolutely no sense." In particular, he did not even attempt to explain, in a charitable, non-propagandist way, the actual legal justifications contained in Perry v. Brown. If the legal justifications in Perry v. Brown don't make any sense, why won't he interact with them? (Has he even read the opinion?).

  135. KStret says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:43 AM:

    Spencer,
    "Don't need to "
    You just asserted that same sex marriage is not redefining marriage but you don't have to back up such a ridiculous statement?

    Were you or were you not just accusing me of making mere assertions without explaining my self?

    If same sex marriage is not redefining marriage, there must have been a time in this county's history when marriage meant something other than one man and one women. When was that, Spencer?

    "This is precisely the conflation KStret makes -- confusing the right being denied with the remedy used to correct the violation. Prop 8 denies gay and lesbian couples the right to marry their partners, in violation of equal protection and substantive due process, while changing the definition of prop 8 is the necessary remedy used to correct the denial of that right."

    Prop 8 denies bisexual couples the right to marry their partners, so .....

    You are changing the definition of marriage to the one you prefer and denying other groups that same right.

    "But you didn't. "

    Is one man being told he can't marry any women he wants the same as changing the definition of marriage?

  136. KStret says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:48 AM:

    Spencer,
    "Explain to me how it is not unconstitutional to define marriage as only being between straight people and gay people too?"

    Your own logic chain is a Red-herring? Answer the question.

    Explain to me how it is not unconstitutional to define marriage as only being between straight people and gay people too?"

    "s already explained, the burden is on opponents to demonstrate the slippery slope argument"

    No it is not. As I have already explain your own logic chain dictates a slippy slope.

    You are not saying that you think same sex marriage is a great idea. You are making a constitutional argument which puts the burden entirely on you.

  137. Spencer says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 01:45 PM:

    KStret,

    "You just asserted that same sex marriage is not redefining marriage"

    No, I didn't say this. Both the interracial couple and the same-sex couple want the legal definition of marriage changed, since both P8 and proposition 8 defines marriage in a way that excludes those groups from getting married. But neither group is claiming a fundamental right to change a definition. Seeking to change the legal definition of marriage is the remedy sought, not the right asserted. Right asserted = to get married. Remedy being sought = to change the legal definition. So again, you confuse the right being denied with the remedy being sought.

    I wonder how long your distortions will continue. Why won't you address the analogy between you and KST? If KST is guilty of gross distortion, why isn't KStret?


    "Your own logic chain is a Red-herring? Answer the question."

    A question isn't an argument, as I already pointed out. After all this time, you have been unable to articulate why advocates of SSM are logically committed to permitting "other marriages." Moreover, after all this time, you have been unable to articulate why those "other marriages" are all problematic.

    "As I have already explain your own logic chain dictates a slippy slope."

    But you HAVEN'T "explained" this at all - mere assertions and questions don't amount to "explanations." See above.


    1. KStret, why won't you address the analogy between you and KST? If KST is guilty of gross distortion, why isn't KStret?

    2. KStret, why won't you support your claim that the legal justification for SSM "makes absolutely no sense? In particular, why won't you even attempt to explain, in a charitable, non-propagandist way, the actual legal justifications contained in Perry v. Brown?

  138. Windy says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 01:59 PM:

    I think KStret asks endless "questions" so that at the end he can complain that his "questions" haven't been answered and he wins by exhaustion. It has been shown (on this thread) that there are differences between opposite-sex marriage and same-sex marriage, but no legally significant ones (under applicable constitutional tests) have been identified. So, the discriminatory classification fails. It is also been shown (on this thread) that there are legally significant differences between single-spouse marriages and plural marriages (under applicable constitutional tests). So, the discriminatory classification passes muster. Yes, KStret, I have seriously argued in earlier posts that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry and that would-be polygamists (including bi-sexual ones) do not have a fundamental right to marry more than one spouse. If you think that plural marriages are not different from single-spouse marriages in any legally significant way, you are free to so argue. So far, you have not. The reason you can't fathom why the results in the different settings come out differently is that you don't understand what a legally significant difference is (under applicable constitutional tests), and you refuse to be educated. Go back and read my earlier posts (and those of others). All your questions have been answered.

  139. Spencer says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:07 PM:

    Exposing KStret's dishonest distortions (there are many more, but I'll only focus on two)


    Distortion #1

    KStret: SSM advocates claim there is a fundamental right to change the definition of marriage.

    Me: No, we're not. The right we're claiming is the right to get married - not the right to change a definition. Although we want the legal definition of marriage changed, that is the remedy being sought, not the right being asserted. Our argument is A4, not A3. What is the difference between KST and KStret?

    KStret: [no response]


    Distortion #2

    KStret: Your own logic chain dictates a slippery slope.

    Me: Mere assertion. There has been no demonstration that permitting SSM logically entails permitting "other marriages," and there has been no demonstration that those "other marriages" are problematic in anyway. Demanding an explanation is not the same as giving an argument. What is the argument that permitting SSM logically entails permitting "other marriages?" Tell me!

    KStret: Your own logic chain dictates a slippery slope.

    Me: Tell me how.

    KStret: Your own logic chain dictates a slippery slope.

    Me: Again, tell me how - don't just assert.

    KStret: Explain to me why your logic chain doesn't dictate a slippery slope.

    Me: Demanding an explanation is not the same as giving an argument. What is the argument that permitting SSM logically entails permitting "other marriages?"

    KStret: Your own logic chain dictates a slippery slope.

    Me: But tell me how!

    KStret: [no response]

  140. robaylesbury says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:29 PM:

    Windy, Spencer, your concise demolition of his non-arguments are empirical, well structured, and coherent. I expect that the many lurkers have gained much in the way of knowledge and insight. The interesting thing is that every time Kstret posts now he further erodes his credibility, which was already subject to a deficit. The more he persists in what appears to be pride based brinkmanship the more he intellectually self harms.

  141. Spencer says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:50 PM:

    Quick summary

    As I see it, KStret seems fanatically obsessed with two things: (1) characterizing the position of SSM advocates as asserting a fundamental right to change the legal definition of marriage; and (2) asserting SSA.

    The problem with (1) is that it conflates the distinction between the right being asserted with the remedy being sought. To see this, consider the KST analogy, to which KStret refuses to address. The problem with (2) is, very simply, that it is all assertion and no argument.

    How will KStret respond? With respect to (1), he has three options:

    a) Defend the position that there is no distinction between the right being asserted and the remedy being denied, and to do this, he will need to address the KST analogy.

    b) Acknowledge the distinction and concede the point.

    c) Continue to repeat himself.

    With respect to (2), he has three options:

    d) Articulate SSA - namely, spell out the premises and the purported logical connection between SSM and "other marriages," and explain why those "other marriages" are all problematic.

    e) Stop asserting SSA.

    f) Continue to repeat himself.

    My prediction? He will go with options (c) and (f).

  142. Spencer says on Feb 21, 2012 @ 03:23 PM:

    KStret wrote: "Is one man being told he can't marry any women he wants the same as changing the definition of marriage?"

    Here are the relevant similarities between advocates of interracial marriage (IM) in my KST analogy and advocates of same-sex marriage.

    1) Both groups want to change the legal definition of marriage. In my KST analogy, the legal definition is P8, whereas in California, the legal definition was proposition 8.

    2) Both groups assert that being denied the right to marry violates equal protection.

    3) Both groups assert that being denied the right to marry violates substantive due process.

    Is it unfair to characterize IM advocates as claiming a fundamental right to change the legal definition of marriage (i.e. P8)? If so, then why isn't it unfair to character SSM advocates as claiming a fundamental right to change the legal definition of marriage (i.e. Prop 8)? What's the difference between the two?

  143. Windy says on Feb 22, 2012 @ 02:21 PM:

    To sum up the marriage issue from my perspective: Furthering God’s teleological plan for the world is not a legitimate governmental objective (hence totally irrelevant to the constitutional analysis), and polygamy is an imaginary booger-man who doesn’t really lurk down the road. The case for same-sex marriage stands unrebutted.

    I would now like to turn to the other matter raised in the podcast: the contraceptive-coverage question. Unlike Dr. Craig, I don’t think the Obama administration backed away once inch from its commitment to comprehensive health coverage when it compromised with the Catholic non-profits. The administration merely provided a way for the non-profits to formally distance themselves from the purchase of birth-control pills, while doing nothing to diminish the coverage actually furnished to employees. This amounted to a friendly nod to church hypocrisy. (Church-affiliated non-profits already look the other way when their employees spend some of the salary portion of their compensation package on birth control. Now they can look the other way when they submit insurance claims.) In defusing this non-issue, the President can be likened to a matador who deftly stepped to one side and left the snorting bull confused, shaking its head, and uncertain whether to charge again. Leave it there, culture warriors. I fail to see any need to further accommodate religiously-affiliated non-profits that are self-insured, since there is no cognizable, conscience-based reason to prefer self-insurance over private insurance. Believers who want to conduct non-profit business in the secular world on terms consistent with their religious conscience have been given means. If that’s not good enough, too bad. Free exercise of religion is not entitlement to your druthers in the private sphere, at least not if we want to live in a country of laws where compliance with the facially-neutral regulation is not completely optional.

  144. kStret says on Feb 22, 2012 @ 03:28 PM:

    A more important issue than the question raised by Spencer, is the issue of drcraigvideos (John Leonard) filing illegal DMCA requests on YouTube.

    Now, the important question is, and one that RF can't run away from or keep censoring, is when they are going to do something about this illegal activity carried out in Dr. Craig's name?

    You have had a couple of weeks to deal with this, and the pressure will be raised still yet further. Running away and hiding is not going to solve the problem.

    Don't allow Dr. Craig's name to be muddied by this incident.

  145. KStret says on Feb 22, 2012 @ 04:57 PM:

    "kStret says on Feb 22, 2012 @ 03:28 PM:A more important issue than the question raised by Spencer, is the issue of drcraigvideos (John Leonard) filing illegal DMCA requests on YouTub"

    This post is not mine.......

  146. KStret says on Feb 22, 2012 @ 04:58 PM:

    Spencer,
    You asserted that same sex marriage was not changing the definition of marriage. If that is the case, marriage must have meant something other than one man and one woman. Either:

    1. Provide an an example of when marriage meant something other than one man and one women.

    or

    2. Concede that marriage is being redefined.

    "Both groups want to change the legal definition of marriage"

    You did not answer the question.

    Is one man being told he can't marry any women he wants the same as changing the definition of marriage to include same sex couples?

    "2) Both groups assert that being denied the right to marry violates equal protection.3) Both groups assert that being denied the right to marry violates substantive due process."

    "KStret: [no response]"


    If I am not responding why are you ignoring my questions?

    What you can not seen to see is that any group who wants to get married can make the exact same argument. Charlie Sheen lives with two girls, he wants to marry both of them.

    2) Sheen asserts that being denied the right to marry violates equal protection.

    3)All three groups assert that being denied the right to marry violates substantive due process.

    A Bisexual man wants to marry a man and a woman

    2) Bisexual guy asserts that being denied the right to marry violates equal protection.

    3)All four groups assert that being denied the right to marry violates substantive due process.

    Explain to me how it is not unconstitutional to define marriage as only being between straight people and gay people?

    "Asking why "other marriages" should be allowed if SSM were permitted, is not the same thing as showing that "other marriages" should be allowed if SSM were permitted. Asking questions is not the same as giving arguments."

    Group A is being discriminated against because they can't do X.

    Group B wants to do X too, is group B being discriminated against?

    The most over ruled court in the country has decided that it is unconstitutional to define marriage as one man and one women. What does that mean? Does that mean it's unconstitutional to define marriage all together?

    Why wouldn't it be unconstitutional to define marriage as one person and one person?

    Last, when the issue is same sex marriage vs straight marriage the burden is on me to explain why we shouldn't have same sex marriage under the tell me one good reason provision of the constitution.

    If that is the case, the burden should be on you when Charlie Sheen argues he wants to marry two women under the tell me one good reason provision of the constitution.

    Tell me one good reason why Charley Sheen can't marry two women?

    You can not get away from this. Your logic chain dictates marriage means whatever anyone wants it to mean and no one has a choice.

    You can keep name calling, pretending I am not answering questions, attempting to steer the argument to red herrings, attempt to dictate how the issues is framed, and to punting your explanatory burden over to me.

    Anyone who is not arguing from a emotional point of view can see the flaw in your argument. You are running away from my points, question, and objections.

  147. KStret says on Feb 22, 2012 @ 04:59 PM:

    Rob,
    "The interesting thing is that every time Kstret posts now he further erodes his credibility, which was already subject to a deficit."

    If I am so off base, you must agree that the definition of marriage isn't being changed?

    To argue that the definition of marriage is not being changed is clearly a rational and honest position. Arguing that marriage is being redefined is clearly irrational and dishonest.

    If it is false and dishonest to say that marriage is being redefined, marriage must have meant something other than one man and one woman in the last 300 years or so. When was that?

    If you are on the rational and honest side of the table, you should have absolutely no problem answering that question. Are you going to answer the question Rob?

    Would you like to have a discussion directly with me?

    If one man is in a fight with two others, what do you call a guy runs in and hits the man fighting the two others and runs away?

  148. KStret says on Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:02 PM:

    Windy,
    "I think KStret asks endless "questions" so that at the end he can complain that his "questions" haven't been answered and he wins by exhaustion"

    Where have my questions be answered?

    "It has been shown (on this thread) that there are differences between opposite-sex marriage and same-sex marriage, but no legally significant ones (under applicable constitutional tests) have been identified. So, the discriminatory classification fails. It is also been shown (on this thread) that there are legally significant differences between single-spouse marriages and plural marriages (under applicable constitutional tests). So, the discriminatory classification passes muster. "

    You are special pleading. You like same sex marriage and you don't have the same empathy for polygamists that you do for homosexuals.

    "I have seriously argued in earlier posts that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry and that would-be polygamists (including bi-sexual ones) do not have a fundamental right to marry more than one spouse."

    Again, you are just changing the definition to the one you like. The answer you provided to get around this problem does not work. You brought up guns.

    For the most part, everyone has equal access to buy guns. Every man has equal access to marry any women he wants or vice versa.

    You want to change the definition of marriage from 1 man and one women to 1 man/women to 1 man/woman and pretend you are not changing the definition. In order to get around that problem you are reverting semantic gymnastics and special pleading.

    Why do you get to dictate what the new definition of marriage is?

    To get around this problem, you are basically saying that there is good reason to allow polygamy. Polygamists can make the exact same case and use the exact same logic chain that you are. Straight couples can make the exact same objection to same sex marriage that you are with polygamy.

    There is no justified discrimination clause or tell me one good reason provision of the constitution. Either a right or law is applied uniformly or it isn't.

    If you change the definition of marriage for one group that right must be applied uniformly. That means everyone gets the same fundamental right to marry that homosexual do.

    To get around this problem, you are arguing that marriage is the remedy for certian laws that apply to only to people who are married.

    However, you are not going to court and filing a lawsuit for specific laws to be applied uniformly. You are going to court and filing a lawsuit because same sex couples can not be married. Same sex marriage proponents are equivocating.

    We have a fundamental right of marriage.
    Objection: Refining marriage is a right?
    Rebuttal: We are not saying redefining marriage is a fundamental right. We are saying that marriage provides certian rights that only apply to straight people.
    Objection: But you are not filing a lawsuit for specific laws XYZ to apply to everyone. You are filing a lawsuit to get married. Therefore, you are not arguing for specific laws XYZ to apply to everyone. You argument is for marriage.

    "If you think that plural marriages are not different from single-spouse marriages in any legally significant way, you are free to so argue. So far, you have not."

    Let me get this straight:

    When the issue is same sex marriage vs straight marriage the burden is on me to explain why we shouldn't have same sex marriage under the tell me one good reason provision of the constitution.

    If that is the case, the burden should be on you when Charlie Sheen argues he wants to marry two women.

    NO,NO NO...... The burden is on me again to explain "why plural marriages are not different from single-spouse marriages"

    Do you see a problem here?

  149. Spencer says on Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:11 PM:

    KStret,

    "You asserted that same sex marriage was not changing the definition of marriage."

    What part of "No, I didn't say this" in post# Feb 21, 2012 @ 01:45 PM don't you understand?

    "You are running away from my points, question, and objections."

    False. I addressed your framing of the fundamental issue and your so-called slippery slope "argument." Why did you completely ignore my last four posts?

  150. robaylesbury says on Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:17 PM:

    Kstret,

    We're not fighting. We're talking.

    And I support both Windy and Spencer because I find the case they make cogent and compelling.

    The erosion continues . . . .

  151. Spencer says on Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:21 PM:

    KStret wrote:

    "You did not answer the question.

    Is one man being told he can't marry any women he wants the same as changing the definition of marriage to include same sex couples?"

    Another lie. This was addressed in post Feb 21, 2012 @ 03:23 PM

    "If I am not responding why are you ignoring my questions?"

    Why are you ignoring my responses to your questions? Why are you lying?

    "Explain to me how it is not unconstitutional to define marriage as only being between straight people and gay people?"

    Already addressed - see post # Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:07 PM (under Distortion #2) and Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:50 PM.

    "Your logic chain dictates marriage means whatever anyone wants it to mean and no one has a choice."

    Already addressed - see above.

    "pretending I am not answering questions"

    I'm not pretending anything. You are NOT answering questions!

    1. KStret, why won't you address the analogy between you and KST? If KST is guilty of gross distortion, why isn't KStret?

    2. KStret, why won't you support your claim that the legal justification for SSM "makes absolutely no sense? In particular, why won't you even attempt to explain, in a charitable, non-propagandist way, the actual legal justifications contained in Perry v. Brown?

  152. Spencer says on Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:27 PM:

    KStret,

    "Would you like to have a discussion directly with me? "

    How can anyone have a genuine "discussion" with someone who persistently misrepresents and distorts the opposing position? Let's focus on one distortion at a time.

    Distortion #1

    KStret: SSM advocates claim there is a fundamental right to change the definition of marriage.

    Me: No, we do not (how many times do I need to say this?). The right we're claiming is the right to get married - not the right to change a definition. Although we want the legal definition of marriage changed, that is the remedy being sought, not the right being asserted. Our argument is A4, not A3. What is the difference between KST and KStret?

    KStret: [no response]


    KStret, why do you continue to claim that SSM advocates believe redefining marriage is a fundamental right? Why?

  153. Windy says on Feb 23, 2012 @ 07:51 AM:

    KStret:

    Last call. All of your questions (and all of your new ones) were answered in my earlier posts. The reason why I think polygamy is not mandated by the Fourteenth Amendment is not based on any lack of empathy toward polygamists. It is based on law. Would-be polygamists could certainly try to assert a right to marry more than spouse, but they would not be using the same analysis that I use to support same-sex marriage and I don't think they would win. As I said before, you are simply unable to understand the relevant constitutional tests and you are unable to understand the legally significant differences between the two factual settings. That's why everything looks to you like special pleading. Reexamine my earlier posts on the subject. I cannot educate you if you are unwilling to do the reading assignments.

  154. Scott says on Feb 23, 2012 @ 12:44 PM:

    Howdy guys,
    You knew I couldn't keep out of here for long! I wanted to see where the discussion has gone after I left without sticking my nose in it too much until I'm positive my schedule allows for a time intensive discussion. I find it amazing that on Craig's own website I'm outnumbered putting even more stress on the time. Where are all ya guys? Perhaps you're in the Open Forum? I'll have to check that out some time. Well, anyway, I awoke from my hibernation and skimmed these posts and have found it fascinating (and maybe a bit too hostile) am am wondering if the discussion between KStret and Rob, Spencer and Wendy is still productive?

  155. Spencer says on Feb 23, 2012 @ 01:01 PM:

    Scott,

    The discussion with KStret hasn't been productive in a very long time, as it is difficult to engage someone who isn't shy about launching shameless distortions at every turn. I sense zero effort on his part to genuinely understand the SSM position.

  156. robaylesbury says on Feb 23, 2012 @ 01:07 PM:

    Welcome back, Scott.

    Too hostile? I think not. I think that lack of honesty and persistently misrepresenting of the views of others should be bought to account and exposed in the clearest possible terms.

    He's been doing it for years. It needs to stop.

  157. Scott says on Feb 23, 2012 @ 01:23 PM:

    KStret,
    Consider what your opponents have said. I obviously think your overall case has a solid foundation but we've got to phrase our opponent's objections how they use them. Keep coming back though as I think much of what you say is helpful but think about the tone in which you say it.
    Thanks, man.

  158. Spencer says on Feb 23, 2012 @ 05:14 PM:

    Debate between Maggie Gallagher and John Corvino: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zhhbINcmKY

  159. Scott says on Feb 23, 2012 @ 10:41 PM:

    Okay, my wife has no problem with me engaging you folks well past our bed time and clearing that potential obstacle is one reason I’m back. Furthermore, it’s an important discussion to have and you are all more fun than a child, gallon of paint and a ceiling fan. I’ll keep up with you as best as I can but if I do need to take a break for other commitments (or if I just feel like I’m losing the debate, ha ha :o) ) I’ll let you know. And, please, if you need to take a break if your job or other demands get too heavy, I’ll fully understand.

    As I’ve read through the discussion thus far it appears there have been two main lines of thought coming from the opposition:
    1) There are no legal grounds we should allow polygamy given SSM.
    2) The SSA has not been established.

    As far as 1), the reason I have not dealt with this at all is I’m not concerned with case law or even the current interpretation of the Constitution as these are far too contingent. Spencer asked quite a few posts ago:
    1. I'm not even sure the general topic of debate here. Are we debating:
    1) Whether laws like prop 8 are constitutional.
    2) Whether SSM, from a moral pov, should be legal .
    3) Something else.
    I don't know anymore.

    I’m debating 2). It seems that today’s case law can just as easily be deemed unconstitutional tomorrow. So I’m not concerned with any legal point of view on whether the SSA works but, rather, a moral point of view. Thus, in my opinion, anything which has been written above regarding case law or the SSA from a legal standpoint is very interesting and would be relevant if we were discussing 1), but since I’m not, I haven’t put too much stock in any of the legal conv ersation.

    What about the overall thrust that the SSA hasn’t been established?
    I thought a portion of what Spencer wrote above was absolutely excellent and I want to copy and paste it here and then provide comment:

    1) Either SSM is itself objectionable or it is not.
    2) If SSM is itself objectionable, then SSA is irrelevant.
    3) If SSM is not itself objectionable, then SSA is irrelevant.
    4) Therefore, SSA is irrelevant.

    I thought this was very good in that, if successful, it shows that SSA is irrelevant either way I answer! I mean, after all, if SSM is really objectionable on its own grounds, then I don’t need SSA. But if SSM is not objectionable on its own merits, then there must be a good, solid reason for it which would break the slide of the slippery slope. But this, too, would make SSA irrelevant as it would simply be untrue in that case. Therefore, the opponent of SSM who employs the SSA would seem to be defeated either way he answers the question. A potential nice move Spencer!

    Let me respond to that by saying that, yes, I think SSM is objectionable on its own grounds because it contradicts the design of the one who gave us meaning, value and existence. Further, if we don’t have any objective teleology whatsoever (which is how I used Modernism, Spencer), then there is no intrinsic difference between SSM, polygamy, adult-animal relationships. The only way it seems to me you can come up with a non-arbitrary distinction between SSM and any relationship whatsoever is to say that some meaning, purpose and design exists for traditional marriage which no other relationship possesses. But if you cut off design, then any difference is arbitrary.
    Thus, design is the only thing which would seem to level off the slippery slope. So I think SSA is not irrelevant in that respect.

    What about Spencer’s claim that, “2) If SSM is itself objectionable, then SSA is irrelevant.” If SSM is, itself, objectionable, then why is the SSA even needed? It’s because YOU don’t think there is anything intrinsically wrong with SSM.
    Consider the Nazis desire to eliminate anyone who was not of the Aryan race (or otherwise fit their definition of the perfect human being).
    An a fortiori argument against the Nazis would be:
    If we eliminate people who do not fit our definition of the perfect human being, then this will cause a slippery slope type argument that could give every single human being alive a different “worth” based on how well they match up to the accepted definition of “perfection.”

    Now we could employ Spencer’s formulation above here:

    1) Either eliminating those who aren’t perfect is itself objectionable or it is not.
    2) If eliminating those who are not perfect is itself objectionable, then SSA is irrelevant.
    3) If eliminating those who aren’t perfect is not itself objectionable, then SSA is irrelevant.
    4) Therefore, SSA is irrelevant.

    But SSA works here because eliminating people who don’t fit the definition of “perfection” is, itself, objectionable and the Nazi’s didn’t agree with this view making SSA needed!
    But the same thing is true for SSA when it comes to same-sex marriage. Yes, SSM is objectionable for the reason stated above and SSA is needed because you don’t believe that it is objectionable giving us the need to hopefully convince you of the nasty side-effects of SSM.
    In fact, if Spencer’s formulation here is correct, then any use of the a fortiori argument would itself be irrelevant (I just employed the a fortiori here!).

    In spite of all this, because Spencer hasn’t presented any positive evidence for his case, I haven’t seen any MORAL reason why any possible marriage under the sun wouldn’t someday be allowed if there is no ultimate design, purpose or meaning to this thing we call marriage.

  160. Scott says on Feb 23, 2012 @ 10:42 PM:

    So what is my ultimate objection to same-sex marriage? Is it the unforgivable sin? No. Will America completely lose all meaning of right and wrong on Tuesday if same-sex marriage is adopted on Monday? No. Do I find same-sex marriage more abhorrent than other possible relationships? No.

    What I find truly abhorrent is the view that there is no ultimate, objective morality. I find it equally abhorrent that there is no objective, conscious lawgiver behind any alleged objective morality that may exist.
    But if you take a series of domino’s and knock the first one down, then all of them will fall down until someone sticks there hand in the middle of the series and stops it. While same-sex marriage is not the Greatest of all evils we could possibly commit, it is another domino and another subconscious recognition of the societal awareness that there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no ultimate meaning for the ultimate of relationships. We create them and are obliged to no one. The concept that we are morally obliged to something is religion and it’s perfectly acceptable to keep it locked within the walls of your church, but don’t allow it to invade the public square.
    The problem is, a conscious, objective moral lawgiver is the only rational basis for why anything and everything isn’t acceptable. It’s the only place where we can grab the domino and say, Stop!” without them all coming crashing down.

    So, this debate may inevitably lead us back to where we were at in the “Mississippi” thread; we may, indeed, be headed for a clash of whether a conscious, objective moral lawgiver is necessary to ground objective moral value, thus, giving us a basis for case law in the first place.

  161. robaylesbury says on Feb 23, 2012 @ 11:56 PM:

    Hello Scott. At the risk of being harsh I'd rate that amongst your less impressive posts. As Corvinho illuminates, and as many of us already recognise, there are myriad things for which we are not "Designed", that we do every day, so that objection seems to me bogus.

    And yep, if you wish to deploy your morality defence I'm perfectly happy to deploy mine. Christians have no moral foundation because it's claims remain unproven. And for all the faults my worldly morality contains its existence cannot be challenged, and using Harris's arguments we can no longer claim to be ignorant of what might enhance wellbeing.

  162. KStret says on Feb 24, 2012 @ 12:47 AM:

    Scott,
    "Consider what your opponents have said. I obviously think your overall case has a solid foundation but we've got to phrase our opponent's objections how they use them."

    Look at how issues are framed by the left:

    The standard debate about abortion is framed as a the sanctity of life vs. a woman's right to chose. The way the issue is framed amounts to a difference of opinion and disagreeing with abortion proponents amounts to taking away a right like freedom of speech. If the issue is framed that way, it is rigged for the conservative side to lose.

    Please allow me an ADD moment to articulate my point.

    For a long time when conservatives debated liberals, the conservatives would be very polite and never interrupt. The liberal side played into that. When the liberal spoke, the conservative wouldn't interrupt them but when the conservative spoke, the liberal would talk over them.

    The end result is the conservative couldn't make a point. When the Conservatives pointed this out and started interrupting the liberals, this stopped.

    Look at same sex marriage. It is framed exactly the same way. The issue is the sanctity of marriage vs the right to marry. Once again it amounts to a difference of opinion with the Conservative side taking away a "right." Once again, the debate is framed for the Conservative side to lose. The evil Christian bigots are attempting to take away the equivalent of the right of free speech away.

    They control how the issues is framed and hammer people over and over again with propaganda. When I was in high school, I literally though getting an abortion was the equivalent of going to the dentist.

    The reason I had that opinion was I picked it up via osmosis. I heard the message "a woman's right" over and over again and I never thought about it.

    What happens when they can't frame the issue they way they want? They get mad and will do anything they can to get the issue framed the it was.

    Many Christians want to be nice and don't want to offend anyone. When a subject is being debated and the side opposing the Christian demands that the burden is on the Christian, they will take the explanatory burden even though it is not theirs.

    When a subject is being debated and the side opposing the Christian is backed into a wall, they will demand the subject should be changed.

    For example, you pressed Rob on an position he had with morals. He made several cantankerous comments and you agreed to change the subject. How would Rob feel about you if you didn't change the subject?

    Let's go back to the subject of abortion. The fundamental issue is when a baby has person-hood. What do you do when the other side will not debate the issue unless it is framed as a woman's right to choose?

    Do you let them have their way so they will like you or do you keep the subject on the fundamental issue?

    Look at the hypocrisy on this subject alone:

    If the subject is same sex marriage vs traditional marriage, the burden is on me to explain why we shouldn't have same sex marriage.

    If the subject is same sex marriage vs polygamy, the burden is also on me to explain why polygamy isn't any different.

    Same-sex marriage is a constitutional right but that doesn't apply to any other group who wants the exact same right.

    Group A is being discriminated against because they can't do X.

    Group B wants to do X too, is group B being discriminated against?

    They want to change the definition of marriage that has been the same for hundreds of years, but the burden is on their opposition to give them one good reason why we shouldn't have same sex marriage? They want to change marriage, they have the burden.

    Does that make any sense?

    Should I just go along with that because I want Spencer and Rob to like me?

    I should answer all their questions but they can ignore mine?

    Does same sex marriage change the definition of marriage? Yes! Once you get to that point, the argument falls apart.

    "Keep coming back though as I think much of what you say is helpful but think about the tone in which you say it."

    Scott, am I calling people names? Are Spencer and Rob calling me names? Why would you take issue with my tone and not theirs?

  163. KStret says on Feb 24, 2012 @ 12:50 AM:

    Rob,
    "We're not fighting. We're talking."

    It was an analogy. I didn't say we were actually fighting. You did not answer my question.

  164. KStret says on Feb 24, 2012 @ 01:04 AM:

    "Another lie. This was addressed in post Feb 21, 2012 @ 03:23 PM"

    Where is your answer? You compared interracial marriage to homosexual marriage. One man and one woman is not the same as same sex marriage, is it?

    That is not the question that I asked you. I asked you if the definition of marriage is being changed.

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. striking down laws that prohibited Inter-racial marriage changed the law from one white man/ one white women to one man and one women
    3. Therefore, striking down inter racial marriage laws does not change the definition of marriage

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. The definition of Same sex marriage is not one man and one woman.
    3. Therefore, Same sex marriage is changing the definition of marriage.

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. laws that prohibited Inter-racial marriage did not change the definition of marriage and same sex marriage does change the definition of marriage
    3. Therefore, same sex marriage and inter-racial marriage are not the same

    "Already addressed - see above."

    Did I or did I not respond to that?

    ""You asserted that same sex marriage was not changing the definition of marriage."

    What part of "No, I didn't say this" in post# Feb 21, 2012 @ 01:45 PM don't you understand? .....Don't need to - laws like prop 8 violate equal protection. The fact that marriage has been legally defined a certain way for x many years doesn't mean it isn't discriminatory."

    Is that "right" changing the definition of marriage?"
    Nope.

    I didn't ask you anything about discrimination. I asked you if the definition of marriage was being changed. You said, "Nope"

    Since you don't believe that if the definition of marriage is being being changed, there must have been a time when marriage meant something other than one man and one women.

    "SM advocates claim there is a fundamental right to change the definition of marriage. Me: No, we do not ...The right we're claiming is the right to get married - not the right to change a definition."

    "Although we want the legal definition of marriage changed, that is the remedy being sought, not the right being asserted."

    Does the right you are claiming change the definition of marriage? Yes.

    Is it discriminatory to have the definition of marriage as one man and one woman? Yes.

    Are you asserting that it is your right to change the definition of marriage? Yes

  165. robaylesbury says on Feb 24, 2012 @ 03:28 AM:

    Kstret stated the following towards Scott;

    "For example, you pressed Rob on an position he had with morals. He made several cantankerous comments and you agreed to change the subject. How would Rob feel about you if you didn't change the subject?

    Scott, is this correct?

  166. Scott says on Feb 24, 2012 @ 12:59 PM:

    Rob and KStret,
    I wasn’t sure if I had agreed to changed the subject sos I looked back up and, sure enough, Rob made a post I had not responded to and that was the end of our discussion on the matter. Nevertheless, it’s not because I’m afraid of what Rob will think of me if I engage in debate (as I hope people would agree I haven’t shunned it). Rather, I just missed it. I was heavily engaged with Spencer at the time and, unfortunately, due to time constraints I often pick one person to debate and that is what may have happened
    So, Rob, let me place your last post here on the subject since it appears we’re moving in the direction of moral ontology.

    robaylesbury says on Feb 16, 2012 @ 01:37 AM:
    1. ….but at risk of being a fanboy I'm going to use Harris's example. How can we know that it is bad to throw battery acid over a young female who is learning to read? Dare we speak into a culture that is alien to us? What right have we?
    Every right, as it happens. Everything we know about pain receptors, about the brain, and about human flourishing suggests that dousing a female in battery acid is a less than ideal thing to do. We can look at this culture and with some confidence claim that this practice should stop. Some might call this an objective claim and annex this to their argument, but this to me seems errant. The reason to make the claim is not borne of some theistic dictate, but rather the foundation is built upon what we have learned about the human condition.

    We have learned this how? We learned about it through science? Science can’t teach us moral commands though. Science can detect that the girl is feeling pain but it can’t detect why she should not feel pain.

    Rob said:
    Hello Scott. At the risk of being harsh I'd rate that amongst your less impressive posts. As Corvinho illuminates, and as many of us already recognise, there are myriad things for which we are not "Designed", that we do every day, so that objection seems to me bogus.

    Please be harsh. If you think my post is an F minus please don’t be afraid to tell me so.
    However, what I want to know from you is to name some of the things we do every day, that we weren’t designed for which can be the basis for law.
    If you can’t, then it seems to me that my post above stands and SSA remains a formidable foe to SSM.

  167. Spencer says on Feb 24, 2012 @ 01:02 PM:

    KStret,

    "I asked you if the definition of marriage was being changed. You said, "Nope"

    Another lie. You asked whether there is a right to change the definition of marriage, to which I said "Nope." (review my explanation of the distinction between the right being asserted and the remedy being sought). Again, as I've explicitly acknowledged, SSM does change the legal definition of marriage in states where marriage is defined like prop 8. But the same is true of interracial marriage as well.

    If state A defines marriage like P8, then marriage in state A is defined as between one man and one woman of the same race. Hence, it follows that if an IM couple wants P8 changed, they want the legal definition of marriage in state A changed.

    Similarly, if state B defines marriage like prop8, then marriage in state B is defined as between one man and one woman. Hence, it follows that if a SSM couple wants prop8 changed, they want the legal definition of marriage in state B changed.


    1) Both groups want to change the legal definition of marriage. In my KST analogy, the legal definition is P8, whereas in California, the legal definition was proposition 8.

    2) Both groups assert that being denied the right to marry violates equal protection.

    3) Both groups assert that being denied the right to marry violates substantive due process.

    Is it unfair to characterize IM advocates as claiming a fundamental right to change the legal definition of marriage (i.e. P8)? If so, then why isn't it unfair to character SSM advocates as claiming a fundamental right to change the legal definition[b/] of marriage (i.e. Prop 8)? What's the difference between the two?

    -----------
    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. striking down laws that prohibited Inter-racial marriage changed the law from one white man/ one white women to one man and one women
    3. Therefore, striking down inter racial marriage laws does not change the definition of marriage
    ------------

    Actually, premise (1) was false in states that defined marriage between one man and one woman of the same race. In my hypothetical, P8 is the definition of marriage in California.

    "Did I or did I not respond to that?"

    Nope, you didn't.

    KStret, why won't you address the analogy between you and KST? If KST is guilty of gross distortion, why isn't KStret?

    KStret, why won't you support your claim that the legal justification for SSM "makes absolutely no sense? In particular, why won't you even attempt to explain, in a charitable, non-propagandist way, the actual legal justifications contained in Perry v. Brown?

    "Since you don't believe that if the definition of marriage is being being changed,"

    See above. How long will you continue to repeat this falsehood?

    "Are you asserting that it is your right to change the definition of marriage? Yes"

    Nope - I am NOT asserting this. How long will you continue to repeat this distortion?

    Distortion #1

    KStret: SSM advocates claim there is a fundamental right to change the definition of marriage.

    Me: No, we do not (how many times do I need to say this?). The right we're claiming is the right to get married - not the right to change a definition. Although we want the legal definition of marriage changed, that is the remedy being sought, not the right being asserted. Our argument is A4, not A3. What is the difference between KST and KStret?

    KStret: [no response]

  168. robaylesbury says on Feb 24, 2012 @ 02:20 PM:

    Hello Scott,

    In answer to your question, we began learning about wellbeing long before science came along. Modern science is of course now enhancing our understanding of things at the level of the brain and beyond.
    The process is one of accretion, of gradual evolution.

    And concerning things we are not designed for, how about riding a bike? How about hand gliding? How about using a knife and fork? An alarm clock? A jacuzzi? The list stretches into the millions.

    The design objection is, and has always been, just plain daft.

    And what slippery slope? Will somebody, anybody tell me what the risks are should gay women be allowed to marry?. Where's the evidence? Haven't Fox news done some kind of poll or something?

  169. Mark Guetersloh says on Feb 24, 2012 @ 06:26 PM:

    Any serious, observant and unbiased student of history can describe the logical outworking of lawlessness in human culture. I have heard it said by some that we live in a neopagan society, but R.C. Sproul was the first I heard rightly correct this, describing the 21st century as neobarbarian. Truly we are entering an age where anything goes.

    Just so I am not misunderstood, if the right to be married comes from laws written to suit the everchanging will of men, then indeed then this and indeed anything, was, is and will be again, permissable. This terrible cycle has played itself out throughout human history, and without periodic direct intervention by God Himself, would have destroyed our species a long time ago.

    Society has its beginning in God. Effective and just rule comes from God. It did not begin with Moses, but at creation. Gods law was firmly written on the hearts of Adam and Eve long before appearing in the tablets of Moses. What we see in all cultures is the gradual, exponentially deteriorating rule of God. I can find no circumstance where this deterioration has benefitted the human condition. Christianity changes society for the better. But our president has said emphatically that we are not a Christian nation. While I don't think he has the authority to make such a statement, he is not far from the truth. If he is right in his assertion of athiesm, things are only going to get worse.

    Sexual sin is nothing new. It has figured prominently throughout history as a marker in the last stages of the worlds great cultures (Egyptian, Babylonian, Meadopersian, Greek, Roman). It is the work of Christ in society that inhibits the inevitable decline into barbarism. If I'm right in this assertion, then threats to religious liberty are in fact threats to civilized society. I think I heard Dr. Craig make this statement in the audio clip.

    Blaise Pascal once wrote that, "Power rules the world, not opinion. But it is opinion that exploits power." In a democratic society like ours, public opinion equals votes. As Christianity gives way to humanism, good and evil become wholly subjective. When the majority opinion asks for sin, power must grant it.

    UNLESS, God is real. In which case, hope remains and the cycle can be broken. "Revival" and "awakening" are wonderful words that describe periods when the people (and their opinions) turn back to God. Outside of Christs imminent return, such is our only hope.

  170. Spencer says on Feb 24, 2012 @ 07:27 PM:

    Scott,

    After this post, I probably won't be able to respond until after Wednesday.

    "I think SSM is objectionable on its own grounds because it contradicts the design of the one who gave us meaning, value and existence."

    Two things.

    1) If you think SSM is inherently objectionable, can you demonstrate this? What is it about SSM that makes it so objectionable? Your above claim amounts to an assertion that SSM is objectionable because it is contrary to the purpose of the Christian God, but that would make your position on SSM contingent on proving the truth of Christianity. Are you really prepared to do that?

    2) If you can demonstrate that SSM is inherently objectionable, then SSA is irrelevant; there would be no need to show that SSM leads to "other marriages." In response, you wrote:


    "It’s because YOU don’t think there is anything intrinsically wrong with SSM...SSA is needed because you don’t believe that it is objectionable giving us the need to hopefully convince you of the nasty side-effects of SSM."

    Then your disagreement isn't with premise (3), but (2) -- If SSM is itself objectionable, then SSA is irrelevant. In other words, you think that while SSM is itself objectionable, I can only be convinced of this via SSA. Is this because you can't demonstrate why SSM is itself objectionable? If you can, then I can be convinced of SSM's intrinsic wrongness via your demonstration, and thus SSA isn't necessary. If you cannot, I can see why SSA may be necessary, but I have yet to see a logically valid formulation of SSA (more on this below).

    "Further, if we don’t have any objective teleology whatsoever (which is how I used Modernism, Spencer), then there is no intrinsic difference between SSM, polygamy, adult-animal relationships."

    Scott, you appear to be confusing two claims.

    a) If SSM is morally permissible, then, as a matter of logic, all types of marriages would be morally permissible.

    b) If there is no objective teleology, then, then as a matter of logic, all types of marriages would be morally permissible.

    SSA is (a), not (b), but you've been arguing (b) this whole time. The argument you've been putting put forth is NOT SSA.

    Suppose there is objective teleology (I'm still unclear as to what this means). Would it follow that SSM is morally impermissible? No, it would follow only if there is objective Christian teleology. This goes back to my above observation: your position on SSM is contingent on proving the truth of Christianity. Are you really prepared to do that?

    Moreover, as stated before, your claim that there is no intrinsic difference between all possible marriage types, if there is no objective teleology, is just a bare assertion. What is the argument for (b)? I still have no idea. You make a couple of related assertions, none of which are given any support:

    1. But if you cut off design, then any difference is arbitrary.
    2. The only way it seems to me you can come up with a non-arbitrary distinction between SSM and any relationship whatsoever is to say that some meaning, purpose and design exists for traditional marriage which no other relationship possesses.

    Surely, you can recognize that these statements are mere conclusions, and thus beg the question.

    "I haven’t seen any MORAL reason why any possible marriage under the sun wouldn’t someday be allowed if there is no ultimate design, purpose or meaning to this thing we call marriage."

    I'm going to quote from a response I gave to BJ.

    ----------------
    Now let's get specific. Suppose you wonder: "if SSM, why not marriages between Rapist and Rape-Victim?" I'm sure we both object to latter, the main reason being that rape is both immoral and criminal and non-consensual marriages are both immoral and legally impossible in our society. It is thus undeniably obvious that rape marriages are VERY different from SSM -- the reasons against the former are NOT the reasons against the latter (and it is highly insulting to suggest otherwise, which many opponents do). From this, we now have the following:

    1) Rape marriage (RM) is objectionable because of reason R.
    2) SSM is not objectionable because of R.
    3) If SSM is not objectionable because of R, then SSM cannot logically lead to RM.
    4) Therefore, SSM cannot logically lead to RM.

    And:

    1) Human-animal marriage (HAM) is objectionable because of R1.
    2) SSM is not objectionable because of R1.
    3. If SSM is not objectionable of R1, then SSM cannot logically lead to HAM.
    4. Therefore, SSM cannot logically lead to HAM.

    And:

    1) Human-object marriage (HOM) is objectionable because of R2.
    2) SSM is not objectionable because of R2.
    3). If SSM is not objectionable because of R@, then SSM cannot logically lead to HOM
    4) Therefore, SSM cannot logically lead to HOM.

    SSA, in order to have any force, must presuppose that (i) "other marriages" are objectionable and (ii) SSM is objectionable for the same reason. But the problem with SSA is that opponents never seem to want to say, exactly, why those "other marriages" are objectionable. Is it because they just can't articulate why (for some marriages, like polygamy, it may be difficult)? Or is it because they can articulate why, and thus know that SSM is very very different (e.g. rape-marriages).
    -----------------

  171. Spencer says on Feb 24, 2012 @ 08:06 PM:

    KStret wrote:

    "Once again, the debate is framed for the Conservative side to lose."

    What a preposterous claim. The way the debate is framed does not automatically entail the outcome. Consider the following ways of framing the issue:

    a) whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to get married

    b) whether denying same-sex couples the right to get married violates equal protection

    c) whether denying same-sex couples the right to get married violates substantive due process.

    As a matter of pure logic, none of the above ways of framing the issue entails that one side is right and the other side is wrong. Perhaps same-sex couples don't have a constitutional right to get married; perhaps denying them the right to get married doesn't violate equal protection; and perhaps denying them the right to get married doesn't violate substantive due process.

    To suggest, as KStret does, that any of the above "rigs" the debate "for the conservative side to lose," is just silly and utterly bizarre. What utter nonsense.

  172. Spencer says on Feb 24, 2012 @ 08:23 PM:

    KStret wrote:

    "They want to change the definition of marriage that has been the same for hundreds of years, but the burden is on their opposition to give them one good reason why we shouldn't have same sex marriage? They want to change marriage, they have the burden.

    Does that make any sense?"

    It makes perfect sense, if you understand equal protection analysis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Protection_Clause (see Carolene Products and the various levels of Equal Protection scrutiny). To survive an equal protection challenge, the challenged law must survive at least rational basis scrutiny, something you don't seem to want to understand.

    More on equal protection:

    http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/epcscrutiny.htm

    http://nationalparalegal.edu/conlawcrimproc_public/EqualProtection/HistoryOfEqualProtection.asp

    http://faculty.ncwc.edu/mstevens/410/410lect07.htm

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/rational_basis_test

    http://dictionary.findlaw.com/definition/equal-protection.html

    KStret, why won't you support your claim that the legal justification for SSM "makes absolutely no sense? In particular, why won't you even attempt to explain, in a charitable, non-propagandist way, the actual legal justifications contained in Perry v. Brown?

  173. Scott says on Feb 24, 2012 @ 10:52 PM:

    Rob said:
    In answer to your question, we began learning about wellbeing long before science came along. Modern science is of course now enhancing our understanding of things at the level of the brain and beyond.
    The process is one of accretion, of gradual evolution.

    If you’ll recall, though, Rob, my question is not aimed at asking how we learned what contributes to human flourishing. This is an interesting question I’m sure you and I agree on. There’s probably little debate here. My question is really getting at how we learned that it’s wrong to diminish suffering. Remember, my question with you never concerns moral epistemology but moral ontology. I think that you and Sam Harris are confusing the two.

    Rob said:
    And concerning things we are not designed for, how about riding a bike? How about hand gliding? How about using a knife and fork? An alarm clock? A jacuzzi?

    How does this not beg the question though? (And when you answer this, be careful not to confuse primary intentions with secondary intentions.)
    I’m not sure if you agree with Spencer that in order to defend my opposition to SSM I must prove the Christian God to be true, but if you do, are you prepared to prove naturalism?

  174. Scott says on Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:09 AM:

    Spencer said:
    Two things.
    1) If you think SSM is inherently objectionable, can you demonstrate this? What is it about SSM that makes it so objectionable? Your above claim amounts to an assertion that SSM is objectionable because it is contrary to the purpose of the Christian God, but that would make your position on SSM contingent on proving the truth of Christianity. Are you really prepared to do that?

    I have not entered the Christian God into this debate so this is far from the truth. Islam could be true and my objection to SSM would still stand. The Jehovah’s Witnesses could have it right and it would still stand. So I’m sincerely not sure where you get this from.
    All I need to show is that a conscious, objective moral lawgiver exists. (I attempt to do so below.)

    Spencer said:
    1. Scott, you appear to be confusing two claims.
    a) If SSM is morally permissible, then, as a matter of logic, all types of marriages would be morally permissible.
    b) If there is no objective teleology, then, then as a matter of logic, all types of marriages would be morally permissible.
    SSA is (a), not (b), but you've been arguing (b) this whole time. The argument you've been putting put forth is NOT SSA.

    I think you make a fine distinction between two different points but I’m not sure how I’m confusing them as I acknowledge this issue in my Feb. 23 post at 10:42pm. .
    What I’m saying is that if there is no objective teleology, then any distinction between SSM and other marriages is arbitrary (more on this below). So, you could say that SSA really applies to Modernism. After all, my major claim is that if there is no conscious, objective moral lawgiver, then anything is morally permitted (that would be the quintessential SSA).
    So if it really is true that we should keep any form of teleology out of the public square and safely locked in our churches (which is what I hear far more often than I believe the claim is worth), then that claim starts the slippery slope toward complete moral relativism.
    Preventing same-sex marriage would then be an attempt to stop this slide into relational moral relativism and allowing it to occur would bring us closer to moral relativism. Why? Because as I said in my previous post, allowing same-sex marriage would be “another subconscious recognition of the societal awareness that there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no ultimate meaning for the ultimate of relationships. We create them and are obliged to no one.”

    Scott said:
    1. 1. But if you cut off design, then any difference is arbitrary.
    2. The only way it seems to me you can come up with a non-arbitrary distinction between SSM and any relationship whatsoever is to say that some meaning, purpose and design exists for traditional marriage which no other relationship possesses.

    Spencer responded:
    Surely, you can recognize that these statements are mere conclusions, and thus beg the question.

    Fair enough Spencer. But this is why I’ve practically been begging for a debate on moral ontology in this thread as I see it is the only way we can settle this matter. Perhaps this is where it begins.
    As you know, in my view, an objective moral obligation without a moral command is incoherent. This is because an objective moral obligation has no properties. There’s nothing to distinguish this type of objective morality from no morality at all.
    You’ve responded to this by saying something to the effect that objective obligations exist, and the lack of obligations do not exist.

    But, again, there are no properties ascribed here. To me, this is like saying, “The difference between a nopswi and a non-nopswi is that a nopswi exists and a non-nopswi does not exist.”
    I’ve heard it said that teleology is ineffable, but, I think your moral ontology is truly what is ineffable! There are no properties ascribed to it whatsoever…It just exists…that’s it!
    So I think an objective moral law without a conscious, objective moral lawgiver is simply incoherent and, thus, any hope for salvaging same-sex marriage as an objective claim (or any other objective moral claim one could make), sans design, is also incoherent.

    Scott said:
    1. "I haven’t seen any MORAL reason why any possible marriage under the sun wouldn’t someday be allowed if there is no ultimate design, purpose or meaning to this thing we call marriage."

    Spencer said:
    I'm going to quote from a response I gave to BJ.
    1. 1) Rape marriage (RM) is objectionable because of reason R.
    2) SSM is not objectionable because of R.
    3) If SSM is not objectionable because of R, then SSM cannot logically lead to RM.
    4) Therefore, SSM cannot logically lead to RM.

    I haven’t bothered to copy and paste your other arguments on human-object and human-animal relationships because I think they suffer from the same problem the above argument suffers from.
    I reject your ability to meaningfully assert premise 1) in every situation. The thing this misses is that without teleology, the challenge is that 1) is arbitrary. In fact, I’ve argued above that without teleology it’s incoherent! If I’m correct that your entire moral ontology is in shambles then you can’t meaningfully assert premise 1) so I don’t see any of these arguments as being persuasive.
    So if BJ reads this post, this is how I would respond to Spencer’s arguments: His arguments miss the point that a moral claim which is ontologically vacuous (as I think Spencer’s 1) is), is meaningless.

  175. Windy says on Feb 25, 2012 @ 01:08 AM:

    Some (relatively) non-hostile responses to Scott’s recent observations, which I find considerably less productive than KStret’s:

    1. Someone who puts “no stock” in the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, the well-established tests used to understand it, and the Supreme Court precedents interpreting it should be reluctant to proffer any opinion whatsoever about how state laws restricting personal liberties should be written (from a moral point of view or any other). Proposition 8 was not a mere advisory manifesto on upright living. It was a law. It sought to restrict people's established rights. Its validity depends, first and foremost, on whether it is constitutional. If Scott wants to change the subject to his own personal views about the (supposed) moral trajectory of the cosmos, fine, but he’s moving the subject in a trivial direction. Recall that the trial court's decision in Loving v. Virginia was based on God's supposed disapproval of race-mixing, which the judge inferred from the general placement of different races on different continents. Does anyone seriously want our jurisprudence to revive that kind of nonsense? The only “objective” rule that matters for same-sex marriage is the one that can be derived from the words of the Constitution, which was written by human hands, which judges have been authorized to interpret, and by which all Americans have agreed to abide. There is no such thing as a form of discrimination that should be legally allowed from a moral point of view, if it is illegal from a constitutional point of view. Not in a country of laws. Not in my country.

    2. Strictly on its own (irrelevant) terms, Scott’s analysis is badly flawed because it neglects one positive moral value that (in this particular instance) I think should be deemed to trump all others, namely, the importance of giving other people the space they need to work out their own salvation -- with fear, trembling or otherwise -- so long as they are not hurting innocent, non-consenting or otherwise vulnerable persons. To concede that same-sex marriage would not cause serious harm to society is to logically counsel a policy of live and let live. Were such self-restraint not a paramount virtue, Jesus would have let the lawful punishment of the sinful woman proceed, instead of merely offering His advice as her future personal conduct.

    3. As far as the (non-legal) morality of polygamy goes, the answer should depend, case-by-case, on whether there are any innocent or vulnerable victims involved, which is the same way we judge the morality of single-spouse marriages. There is no slippery slope. Was it moral to force the plucky Rebecca to marry a couch potato named Isaac she had never met? Was it moral for Saul to offer the noble Michal to David as a war trophy? Was it moral to force poor Bathseba into an unwilling marriage with the murderer of her husband? Should Solomon have had so many wives? The Bible suggests no, for each marriage ended badly. But these arguably immoral unions were perfectly lawful under then-applicable standards.

    4. Traditional marriage? Please. Traditional marriage was a financial transaction between families. Polygamy is traditional. What people are “defending” here is a particular version of modern marriage, as it has evolved along with the rest of modernity from stagnant status-based relationships (where you are born into your place) to freer and more efficient contract-based relationships (where you create your own place through your own ingenuity and effort). If there is a God with some sort of plan (highly doubtful based on the evidence) and He has a respectable grasp of economics, then surely the core of the plan would be an evolutionary trend toward greater freedom of contract where no victim is being hurt, and the plan should be designed to capture ever more Samaritans (read: same-sex couples) within the evolving definition of a “neighbor” with whom we cooperate and do business. If that's not His plan, we humans need to devise a more satisfactory one.

    5. Finally, I think Scott’s criticism of KStret’s tone was totally out of line. KStret may be stubborn (a trait for which I confess some fondness myself), but he’s at least sticking to the wholly legal nature of the issue and not veering off into idle theocratic musings. As he has just admitted, he cannot accept our (legally appropriate) framing of the same-sex-marriage question and win the debate. So, he pretends not to hear anything we say. But, to his credit, he’s not trying to con anyone into thinking the issue isn’t really a legal one or that it should be decided by reference to a (cosmic) source of law other than the humanly-written Constitution. We’re on the same civic page there, KStret.

  176. robaylesbury says on Feb 25, 2012 @ 04:17 AM:

    Scott,

    I do find it alarming when the issue of “why” we should prefer flourishing over suffering is raised. Everything we know about bodies, about minds, about consciousness screams out that flourishing is a preferable state. I honestly see any objection as a wilful rejection of all the knowledge we have accrued.

    And what do you mean by primary intentions? Can you articulate?

    And your request that I “prove” naturalism is oblique to me? What reason do I have to doubt it? I’m entirely open to new information that might compel me to reconsider the possibility of Gods, but until I find anything persuasive I’d take the position that naturalism is the more likely.

    A part of me wanted to address newcomer Marks post, but it contained so many unproven assertions that It just needs to stand as an example of how NOT to interact with others.

    And Windy, that last post of yours was divine.

  177. J. Paul says on Feb 25, 2012 @ 09:22 AM:

    Just because someone is born with certain sexual tendencies does not mean that it is in their best interest (or society's best interest) to act on them. Sexual inclinations should not be classified under the same category as skin pigment.

  178. Scott says on Feb 25, 2012 @ 09:59 AM:

    Wendy,
    If you think KStret’s, posts are more productive than mine, that’s great! I will happily be corrected on my comments toward KStret. KStret, I apologize to you sincerely as it appears my observations were flat out wrong.
    Wendy, you and I simply disagree on which is more foundational: law or moral ontology. If I wasn’t up to my ears in a debate with Rob and Spencer, I’d happily engage you on your post.

  179. BJ says on Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:02 AM:

    Scott,

    Can you elaborate on your responce to Spencer's rape-marriage/animal-human-marriage/child-adult marriage syllogism?

    Earlier in our discource, Spencer explained to me that he didn't think the SSA is problemic with respect to SSM because the "other marriages" we wish to avoid could still be objected to for reasons wholly apart from SSM.

    I have to say that this made sense to me. Does it make sense to you? If not, what am I missing?

  180. BJ says on Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:05 AM:

    P.S. While I can't speak for Windy, I would be shocked if she didn't mean to say that Scott's comments were more productive than KStret.

  181. BJ says on Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:09 AM:

    Wow after rereading Windy's critique. I take it back. She must've meant what she said -- I just profoundly disagree with her.

  182. Scott says on Feb 25, 2012 @ 10:39 AM:

    Rob said:
    I do find it alarming when the issue of “why” we should prefer flourishing over suffering is raised. Everything we know about bodies, about minds, about consciousness screams out that flourishing is a preferable state. I honestly see any objection as a wilful rejection of all the knowledge we have accrued.

    May I say that I agreed with every word you wrote here? I agree with you that it’s nonsense to wonder, “Do you think I ought to prefer human flourishing or human suffering?” Anyone who sits around and ponders that question is in need of help.
    So I want to make it clear that that is not what I’m asking and it’s not what Craig was asking in his debate with Harris. What we’re trying to ask is that, if the statement A) below is true, (which we both agree it is), what best explains for this?
    A) It is ttrue that we ought to prefer the flourishing of humanity and ought not prefer the suffering of humanity.

    Let me state again that I’m not questioning A). It’s absolutely true.

    What I’m asking is which statement below accounts for the truth of A).

    1) A) is just true. That’s it. (What must also be a part of this is the next sentence.) Even though science itself provides no moral command nor can detect any moral oughts in a test tube, we somehow detect (through our senses?) the truth of A).
    2). A conscious, objective Creator of all reality has created us with meaning and purpose which explains the truth of A). The reason we can apprehend A)’s truthfulness is because this Creator has also created us with moral consciences and the ability for moral reasoning so we can use Ken’s CREI to apprehend the truth of A).

    Somehow I think that opponents of theism oppose 2) by claiming that we can’t fully understand the Creator. But is 1) above fully understandable?
    At least 2) provides greater explanatory power for the truthfulness of A). At least 2) makes A) coherent as (I’m trying to show in my discussion with Spencer), a moral obligation without a moral command is incoherent.
    Furthermore, if 1) is true, why isn’t A) simply a contingent truth? I think (hopefully not too presumptuously) that we both would agree that A) is a necessary and not a contingent truth. But if 1) is true, why hold A)’s truth necessarily? It would seem that, much as science is, A)’s truth would be tentative. I mean, how would we apprehend A) as a necessary truth with any epistemological certainty? But because A) must be true and there is no possible world in which A) isn’t true, then a conscious, moral lawgiver must exist.

    So, to sum up, same-sex marriage can’t be established as a right until someone can make 1) not only coherent but give reasons why we should prefer it over 2).

  183. Scott says on Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:04 AM:

    BJ said:
    1. Earlier in our discource, Spencer explained to me that he didn't think the SSA is problemic with respect to SSM because the "other marriages" we wish to avoid could still be objected to for reasons wholly apart from SSM.
    I have to say that this made sense to me. Does it make sense to you? If not, what am I missing?

    The point I’m attempting to make with Rob and Spencer is that, without any conscious moral lawgiver who gave us purpose and design foreverything, then Spencer can’t consistently be against rape victim-rape predator, adult-object or adult-animal relationships. Objective moral values imply a teleology and meaning that only a conscious, objective moral lawgiver can give. In the spirit of Top Gun, “Spencer’s (as well as the entire Modernistic worldview) moral claims are writing checks his worldview can’t cash!!” :o)

    So, when Spencer writes:
    1. 1. 1) Rape marriage (RM) is objectionable because of reason R.
    2) SSM is not objectionable because of R.
    3) If SSM is not objectionable because of R, then SSM cannot logically lead to RM.
    4) Therefore, SSM cannot logically lead to RM.

    I reject his first premise here and think this argument falls at that point. While you and I can meaningfully state premise 1), I’m attempting to argue that Spencer cannot meaningfully claim premise 1) and be opposed to this (or any other) moral claim.

    Now I thank God that Spencer and Rob affirm moral truths like, “It’s wrong to murder”, “Rape is wrong”, and “Helping someone in need is right.” But their claims are inconsistent with their worldview. Now I’m thankful that they are inconsistent with their worldview and not inconsistent with it. I’m thankful they listen to their God-given moral consciences in the moral decisions they get right.
    But any moral claim made apart from ultimate design, purpose and value is vacuous for the reasons I’m attempting to show in my moral ontology debate with Spencer.

  184. Spencer says on Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:00 PM:

    Scott,

    "I have not entered the Christian God into this debate so this is far from the truth. Islam could be true and my objection to SSM would still stand...All I need to show is that a conscious, objective moral lawgiver exists."

    You are partially correct. Although your objection against SSM is compatible with various religions being true, not just Christianity, it is still the case that your position is contingent on the truth of a religious/theological claim - that God (or an objective moral lawgiver) is against SSM. Just because a moral lawgiver exists, it doesn't follow that SSM is prohibited. Hence your position rests on two claims:

    O) An objective moral lawgiver exists.

    P) An objective moral lawgiver is against SSM.

    Even if I were to grant (O) (which I don't), how can you show (P) without getting proving theology? This will inevitably lead us into a debate about the Bible.

    "I think you make a fine distinction between two different points but I’m not sure how I’m confusing them as I acknowledge this issue in my Feb. 23 post at 10:42pm."

    You are confusing them because you continue to assert SSA (Feb 23, 2012 @ 10:41 PM), but, as I pointed out, your argument isn't SSA at all. Rather, your argument is that if there is no objective teleology, then there are no morally relevant differences between any types of marriage. SSA plays no role in your argument.

    "After all, my major claim is that if there is no conscious, objective moral lawgiver, then anything is morally permitted (that would be the quintessential SSA). "

    Yes, this is your claim. But this claim should not be confused with the following (SSA): If SSM is morally permissible, then, as a matter of logic, all types of marriages would be morally permissible.

    Can we agree that SSA is not part of your argument at all?

    "Preventing same-sex marriage would then be an attempt to stop this slide into relational moral relativism and allowing it to occur would bring us closer to moral relativism. Why? Because as I said in my previous post, allowing same-sex marriage would be “another subconscious recognition of the societal awareness that there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no ultimate meaning for the ultimate of relationships. We create them and are obliged to no one.”

    This goes back to my previous observation: your position is contingent on the truth of a certain theological claim - that God is against SSM.

    "But this is why I’ve practically been begging for a debate on moral ontology in this thread as I see it is the only way we can settle this matter. Perhaps this is where it begins."

    Just to hammer the point again, your position rests on two claims:

    O) An objective moral lawgiver exists.

    P) An objective moral lawgiver is against SSM.

    I understand you wish to debate (O), but even if you win that debate, you'd still need to demonstrate (P), which is essentially a theological view. Earlier, you indicated a desire to debate whether SSM, from a moral pov, should be legal. It thus appears that your position on legalizing SSM is rooted in theology/religion, and thus you are arguing from theocratic viewpoint. Do you believe America should be a theocracy? Consider the following activities:

    1) Consensual sexual activities between homosexuals.

    2) Adultery.

    3) All sexual activity contrary to the Bible.

    4) Gay-dating.

    5) All instances of lying.

    Scott, if you believe SSM is objectionable--and thus shouldn't be legally permitted--because it "contradicts the design of the one who gave us meaning, value and existence," what about the above? Do you believe (1)-(5) "contradicts the design of the one who gave us meaning, value and existence?" If so, but think they should nevertheless be legally permitted, then you face a problem:

    P1) The fact that an action "contradicts the design of one who gave us meaning, value and existence" either is or is not a sufficient reason against its legal permissibility.
    P2) If so, then actions like (1)-(5) should be legally impermissible.
    P3) If not, then an action's legal permissibility depends on something other than whether it "contradicts the design of one who gave us meaning, value and existence."

    So far, you've been claiming that SSM is inherently objectionable - and thus shouldn't be legal - because it contradicts design, and you've been assuming that the fact that SSM contradicts design is sufficient to render it legally impermissible. In a theocracy, this reasoning may very well be persuasive, but we don't (thankfully) live under such a system of government. Do you think we ought to? If not, can you offer any non-theologically based reason against SSM?

    I'll happily concede that SSM and actions like (1)-(5) are theologically impermissible. But from the fact that something is theologically impermissible, why should it follow that it should also be legally impermissible? I'm going to venture a guess and assume that you don't think actions like (1)-(5), while theologically impermissible, should be illegal. If not, then you need to explain why theological impermissibility is decisive against SSM being legal but not decisive against other actions being legal. Can you do this?

    Regarding my Rape-Marriage example, you wrote:

    "I reject your ability to meaningfully assert premise 1) in every situation...If I’m correct that your entire moral ontology is in shambles then you can’t meaningfully assert premise 1) so I don’t see any of these arguments as being persuasive."

    It's irrelevant whether I can meaningfully assert premise (1) -- I can, but I certainly don't need to prove it. The fact is, YOU think (1) is true: that is, YOU believe Rape Marriage is objectionable for various reasons (e.g. because it involves rape). Do you believe SSM is objectionable for those same reasons or not? If not (and I don't think you do), then there is no logical slope from SSM to Rape Marriage. So my argument stands.

  185. robaylesbury says on Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:09 PM:

    Hello Scott. Well worded post. I would want to suggest that a combination of mind/body experience can provide some explanatory power here. All that we are, all that we apprehend and experience enables us and empowers us on our journey. I'm also not entirely sure that "Not being fully understandable" necessarily creates a stumbling block to naturalism. In actual fact, we should expect as much. We could even predict it. Once again, my fumbling morality may very well be full of inconsistencies and error, yet we can trace its origins back through the epochs and afford it the title of empirical. I do not see that we can do the same with theism? It does not appear to offer any moral foundation? At least none that I can see.

    One small gripe; do we have use the term debate? Sounds so formal. We're just exchanging ideas and I'm not expecting a panel to adjudicate. I'm not interested in winning, just trying to better understand the various perspectives.

    J Paul, welcome. Could you perhaps articulate why it is not in society's best interest to practice homosexuality? What is about two women having sex that concerns you? And if we're going to draw a line should we perhaps forbid heterosexuals such as myself from engaging in practices such as oral sex, or role play?

  186. Spencer says on Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:23 PM:

    My previous post was a bit long, but I made two main points:

    1) Scott's argument against SSM has nothing to do with SSA.

    2) Scott's argument against SSM rests on a theological claim.

  187. Scott says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:07 AM:

    Spencer said:
    1. a moral lawgiver exists, it doesn't follow that SSM is prohibited. Hence your position rests on two claims:
    O) An objective moral lawgiver exists.
    P) An objective moral lawgiver is against SSM.
    Even if I were to grant (O) (which I don't), how can you show (P) without getting proving theology? This will inevitably lead us into a debate about the Bible.

    A few comments on this:
    1) I must say that to me this is an example of where you are unwilling to shoulder little if any burden of proof. Even if I couldn’t establish P), this doesn’t mean that we ought to allow SSM. The truthfulness of P) must be argued against (perhaps by arguing against O)?). But SSM advocates apparently don’t seem eager to either engage in a debate against O) or (if they, themselves, are theists) defend a natural law position which includes SSM but excludes all other marriages. So if I argue for P) and your entire case rests upon doubting P) and not building a positive case of your own for why we should allow SSM in which you either defend why you reject O) or you become a theist and defend some position of P) which allows for SSM but not other marriages, then even if you’re successful in knocking down P), you still haven’t made a positive case of your own.
    2) As far as you and I being on a potential discussion of the Bible I disagree. I invite you to read JC’s masterful posts again. JC made an argument for P) which was for some reason ignored and yet he didn’t crack open the Bible once. Furthermore, the lengthy article JC referred to in the Harvard Journal of Law by Robert George, Sherif Girgis and Ryan Anderson attempted to prove P) yet didn’t appeal to any religious text to make the case. So, again, a debate on the Bible is nowhere on the horizon.
    3) Let me now attempt to defend P). In order to do this, at present, yu’ll have to accept the veracity of O). If you can’t do that then it’s useless for us even to be discussing P) right now and we ought to be discussing O).
    So, for the sake of the argument, because an objective moral lawgiver exists, how can we detect his intentions?
    Let me begin by something I think we agree on. This is the fact that not every possible relationship we can conjure up should be legally permissible.
    But this would seem to imply that we, as humans, can’t create truth on the subject but, rather, we recognize truth and the intrinsic value of certain kinds of relationships to society.
    As JC said, we don’t want to favor liberty at all costs. But, rather, we want to recognize natural kinds and base our rights upon them. So before I quote from JC here on the subject, I would ask the theistic advocate of SSM (for the sake of the argument, that would be you, Spencer. If you choose not to do this, I don’t see any reason for me to defend p)) to give a more plausible natural kind than what JC gives.
    So, JC, if you read this, I hope you don’t mind if I quote a portion of your post, and if you want to defend it you certainly can. But if not, I agree with it and I’ll attempt to do it justice.
    JC said:
    1. given the previous consideration, it is clear the debate is not about whether marriage is necessary for flourishing, but rather, whether the right to choose to marry [with all title and benefits included] is being violated.

    But this raises another important question in the debate; namely, what is it that grounds a right? There are many options people can appeal to in attempting to ground the rights of humans (e.g. Naturalistic Platonism, Aristotelianism, Natural Law Theory, etc), but any plausible version needs to at least presuppose the existence of natural kinds. By natural kind, I mean to say that when one asks what it means for someone to be human, a correct answer to such a question can be given. Furthermore, if one wants to uphold the objectivity of ethics-something essential to any argument on behalf of homosexual marriage-then the answer to any natural kind question must be true at all times (This need not rule out evolutionary theory, though it may plausibly require one to be a theistic evolutionist……

    Recall that marriage is not itself what constitutes flourishing for the advocate of redefining marriage, but rather, the right to choose to marry. However, if there is a natural kind 'human'-an assumption that I think isnecessary to ground the objectivity and thus legitimacy of revisionist moral claims-then the definition of marriage ought to be derived from that natural kind. An important insight, one noticed by philosophers as wide ranging as Philippa Foot and Robbie George, is that biology indicates human nature and teleology. And it seems that biology does suggest a male-female relationship is intended when it comes to the having and raising of children.


    Back to me. Thus, since the biological structure indicates a design of a family as being one man and one woman, then, with this design, we have a natural kind which can ground the right of this relationship JC was referring to. What natural kind do SSM advocates use to defend SSM but rule out other forms of relationships? If none can be given, then, it would seem, the SSA would apply.

    Spencer said:
    1. Yes, this is your claim. But this claim should not be confused with the following (SSA): If SSM is morally permissible, then, as a matter of logic, all types of marriages would be morally permissible.
    Can we agree that SSA is not part of your argument at all?

    I must agree that I have been focusing primarily on teleology but I must say that a lack of teleology is the basis for SSA. Your bulldog persistence and attention to detail (as well as JC’s fine post) has also helped me identify another basis for SSA. Even if we do admit that teleology exists , as I’ve said before, the SSM advocate must be able to base their right on a natural kind which other relationships can’t have in order to ground their right to marry in this teleology without allowing other relationships to creep in the door. If this can’t be done, the SSA can be employed.


    Spencer said:
    Earlier, you indicated a desire to debate whether SSM, from a moral pov, should be legal. It thus appears that your position on legalizing SSM is rooted in theology/religion, and thus you are arguing from theocratic viewpoint. Do you believe America should be a theocracy?

    This is way off base. No America should not be a theocracy as a Christian theocracy would be a horrific thing. The position of Robert George, JC and myself can’t rightly be interpreted as leading to a theocracy. If I was advocating for a theocracy then I would simply be arguing against the legality of SSM by quoting Romans 1. Because we’re arguing our viewpoint while not quoting from the Bible at all but from shared human reason, then it’s not a theocracy.


    Spencer said:
    1. Consider the following activities:
    1) Consensual sexual activities between homosexuals.
    2) Adultery.
    3) All sexual activity contrary to the Bible.
    4) Gay-dating.
    5) All instances of lying.
    Scott, if you believe SSM is objectionable--and thus shouldn't be legally permitted--because it "contradicts the design of the one who gave us meaning, value and existence," what about the above? Do you believe (1)-(5) "contradicts the design of the one who gave us meaning, value and existence?"

    Spencer, here I think you’re confusing necessary reasons with sufficient ones. When I say that SSM shouldn’t be legal because it contradicts the design of the one who gave us meaning, I’m giving a necessary reason for not allowing SSM. In short, I’m saying that it is necessary for us to base our laws on what is morally rational, and the only one who can make objective moral truth rational is an objective moral lawgiver.
    Thus, sufficient moral reasons don’t come in to play here.
    So, in case you haven’t already guessed, I’m not saying that anything and everything which contradict the meaning and value of the objective moral lawgiver is sufficient to counted as illegal. This is another instance of a difference between my position and a theocracy. My position is that, in order for any moral act to be illegal, it is necessary (but not sufficient) for it to be grounded in the design of the objective moral lawgiver. What makes it sufficient is that the state needs to have a significant interest in the matter. Yes, the state does have a significant interest in holding to a normative view of marriage as a normative view of marriage is vital to the family and the family is vital to the state.

    So, no, I don’t think my son lying to me about making fun of his sister today should be illegal (even though it contradicts the God-given purpose and value both he and his sister have) but I still think that any naturalistic basis for why murder should be illegal is incoherent. Necessary and sufficient reasons must be distinguished here.

    Spencer said:
    1. It's irrelevant whether I can meaningfully assert premise (1) -- I can, but I certainly don't need to prove it. The fact is, YOU think (1) is true: that is, YOU believe Rape Marriage is objectionable for various reasons (e.g. because it involves rape). Do you believe SSM is objectionable for those same reasons or not? If not (and I don't think you do), then there is no logical slope from SSM to Rape Marriage. So my argument stands.

    In commenting on this remark, let me copy and paste the original argument here so people have an idea what we’re dealing with:

    1. 1) Rape marriage (RM) is objectionable because of reason R.
    2) SSM is not objectionable because of R.
    3) If SSM is not objectionable because of R, then SSM cannot logically lead to RM.
    4) Therefore, SSM cannot logically lead to RM.

    What I claimed was that Spencer cannot logically affirm 1) without affirming teleology. He says that he can but doesn’t need to. I disagree with this because I’m claiming that his support of SSM without teleology or an objective moral lawgiver is incoherent. As I quoted in my previous post, “Spencer’s moral claims are writing checks his worldview can’t cash.”
    However, Spencer said we’re not dealing with his assertion of premise 1) but my own. If that’s the case, then I reject premise 2). In my view, rape marriage and Same-sex marriage are to be rejected for the same reason: they contradict the purpose of the objective moral lawgiver).
    So, if Spencer’s asserting the argument, premise 1) is problematic because he can’t assert it rationally. I’ve argued for this in my previous post and it has gone unresponded to.
    But if I’m the one asserting the argument, then premise 2) is false is I reject both rape marriage and same-sex marriage on the same grounds.
    So you've given one argument in favor of your position of why SSM would not allow for other marriages and it seems to either be incoherent or just plain false (depending on whether your or Iam making the argument).

  188. Scott says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:13 AM:

    So, to sum up, Spencer said that I’m making a theological claim and the Bible must be defended if we’re going to be against same-sex marriage. But JC, Robert George in the Harvard Journal of Law (I find it highly unlikely that the Harvard Journal of Law would have even accepted the article if it was based on Scripture), and myself all attacked the basis for same-sex marriage without using the authority of the Bible. So, no such debate is needed.

    Further, Spencer said that I not only need to prove that an objective moral lawgiver exists but that this lawgiver has not designed SSM.
    I said that, for purposes of this argument Spencer must accept an objective moral lawgiver otherwise it would be meaningless for us to debate the point. I quoted from JC’s fine p0ost above in that rights must be grounded in natural kinds. With one man and one woman marriages we can ground these rights in childbearing. But unless the advocate of SSM is going to allow for a very slippery slope and allow every kind of relationship one can think of to be legally recognized, then he must come up with a natural kind for SSM which other relationships do not enjoy.

    After this, I think Spencer was way off base in saying that my view was theocratic. I listed a couple of instances of one major difference between my view and a theocracy (i.e. , in a theocracy, mentioning religious authority is sufficient to base law, mine isn’t sufficient but merely necessary. Related to that, in a theocracy, merely quoting from the religious text is sufficient to base law whereas people who hold my view don’t use any religious texts in their arguments.)

    Next, I’ve asked for Spencer to give an argument for why SSM would not lead to other marriages. He said that there are differences between SSA and other marriages. But I noted, if he makes this claim it is incoherent as he has no ontological basis for doing so and if I make the claim it’s just false because I think we should reject SSM for the very same reason we reject other marriages.

  189. Windy says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 05:13 AM:

    I accept, arguendo, a natural moral lawgiver. Tell me how the contents of these laws are ascertained in a reliable and principled manner, such that a diverse society will accept them as fairly determined and even-handedly applied.

  190. Scott says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:56 AM:

    Wendy,
    I think you're getting moral epistemology confused with moral ontology. I think if I can't give an overall epistemology for my views, that doesn't affect the truth of my moral ontology anymore than naturalist's not being able to clearly articulate a moral epistemology. Even Rob and Spencer disagree fundamentally on the nature of moral ontology let alone moral epistemology. So if we can't answer the question, it's not only irrelevant to the question of whether or not a moral ontology exist but I think it can be turned on its head and equally applioed to the naturalist.

  191. Spencer says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:14 AM:

    Scott,

    Because of school work, I won't be able to respond until after Wednesday - probably not until the weekend.

  192. Windy says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:24 AM:

    No confusion on my part, Scott. I don't think you guys are ever going to agree on ontology, but I guess hope springs eternal. I would like, at some point, to move on to the practical application, if any, of the theistic view to the actual way people live their lives and structure their laws in a diverse society where good folks with multiple viewpoints and religious traditions have to get along (as you may have guessed, I am personally something of a pragmatist when it comes to religion). So, I am willing to assume, arguendo, you are right about ontology. I don't dispute that an inability to ascertain precisely what God thinks doesn't prove He isn't there thinking, but it does limit what we can do with the conviction that He is there thinking when other people believe Somebody Else is there thinking something completely different. Take your time about getting to my point, though, if you don't think the ontological discussion with Rob and Spencer is over yet. I'm in no rush, and I sort of know what I think already (that natural law is a lousy guide for actual law).

  193. Spencer says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:47 AM:

    Scott,

    A quick reply regarding your response to windy, in which you said: "I think you're getting moral epistemology confused with moral ontology."

    No, she is not confusing the two. Moral epistemology has to do with how we know what is moral--i.e. the content of morality--and your position that a moral lawgiver is against SSM is precisely an epistemological issue. It's one thing to know that morality is grounded in a moral lawgiver (ontology), but it's another thing to know which normative statements are true (epistemology).

    Even if there is a moral lawgiver (ML), as Windy accepts arguendo, that doesn't tells us anything about what ML permits or forbids. Specifically, the mere existence of ML doesn't tell us whether SSM should be permitted in society, so Windy's question is a good one. Given that, on your view, acts need to be "grounded in the design of the objective moral lawgiver," it is thus imperative to know the intentions of ML. How can we ascertain the intentions of ML in a reliable and principled manner? We can't, unless we accept religion.

  194. Spencer says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 11:37 AM:

    Scott,

    When I get around to addressing your post in full, I will make three main points:

    1) Your argument has nothing to do with SSA.

    2) Your argument does rest on a theological claim. (In fact, your argument is NOT the one found in Robert George's article, which does not contend that a moral lawgiver is against SSM. I invite you to quote the relevant portions if you disagree).

    3) Your failed to adequately address my challenge to SSA.

  195. Windy says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:26 PM:

    Careful, "Scott." It's also illegal to impersonate people on the Internet.

  196. Windy says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 02:19 PM:

    My warning is unnecessary now. It was directed at a troll who has apparently been returned to the netherworld.

  197. Scott says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 02:36 PM:

    Wendy said:
    1. No confusion on my part, Scott. I don't think you guys are ever going to agree on ontology, but I guess hope springs eternal. I would like, at some point, to move on to the practical application, if any, of the theistic view to the actual way people live their lives and structure their laws in a diverse society where good folks with multiple viewpoints and religious traditions have to get along (as you may have guessed, I am personally something of a pragmatist when it comes to religion). So, I am willing to assume, arguendo, you are right about ontology. I don't dispute that an inability to ascertain precisely what God thinks doesn't prove He isn't there thinking, but it does limit what we can do with the conviction that He is there thinking when other people believe Somebody Else is there thinking something completely different. Take your time about getting to my point, though, if you don't think the ontological discussion with Rob and Spencer is over yet. I'm in no rush, and I sort of know what I think already (that natural law is a lousy guide for actual law).


    Okay, wendy, I understand your question. I apologize if I was reading something into your question which may not have been there and Spencer’s observations could be correct. However, if you are assuming, arguendo, that my moral ontology is correct let us make sure to note that even if I can’t give a sufficient moral epistemology, it doesn’t do anything to my moral ontology. If I can’t give what you think is a sufficient moral epistemology based on an objective moral lawgiver, this doesn’t mean naturalism is true or positively benefits from this in any way unless you could give a sufficient naturalistic epistemology. Furthermore, I don’t think it makes SSM, sans design, any more coherent. If we can agree on that, I’ll be happy to discuss it with you.
    If we can’t agree on the above, then I may not have read anything into your question after all and Spencer’s observations would then be incorrect. :o).

    Wendy said:
    1. Careful, "Scott." It's also illegal to impersonate people on the Internet.

    Great advice, Wendy. I’ll keep this in mind. Was I impersonating someone?

  198. Scott says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 02:38 PM:

    Wendy said:
    My warning is unnecessary now. It was directed at a troll who has apparently been returned to the netherworld.

    Sorry, I didn't see this comment until after I posted my last comment.

  199. Windy says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 03:17 PM:

    A clown who has some beef about video copyrights involving clips of WLC's speeches was pretending to be you. He keeps popping up for some reason on this thread.

  200. Windy says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 03:35 PM:

    Scott (the real one):

    You are correct. Assume I agree that the moral lawgiver exists. I am not laying a trap to return to that. (And, to be honest, I’m not even sure what “naturalism” means.) What concerns me is that uncertainty as to what the lawgiver thinks renders the practical utility of natural law suspect for either moral or legal purposes, given that people who have very different ideas about the lawgiver’s opinions must be made to feel they are part of society, too, and that moral/legal questions decided against them have been decided fairly, reasonably, accurately and impartially. Fairness, virtue and truth are different objectives, and sometimes fairness trumps virtue and truth (e.g., the privilege against self-incrimination).

  201. KStret says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 03:50 PM:

    Spencer,
    "The right we're claiming is the right to get married - not the right to change a definition."

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. The definition of Same sex marriage is not one man and one woman.
    3. Therefore, Same sex marriage is changing the definition of marriage.


    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman
    2. Same sex marriage redefines marriage
    3. Any man can marry any woman he wants.
    4. Therefore, homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry. It is demonstrably false for homosexuals to assert that they are being denied the right to marry.

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman
    2. Same sex marriage redefines marriage
    3. Same sex couples are not being denied the right to marry
    4. Therefore, same sex couples are being denied the "right" to redefine marriage

    You keep equating same sex marriage with inter-racial marriage. They are not the same. Citing a case that has to do with inter-racial marriage doesn't apply to same sex marriage.

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. striking down laws that prohibited Inter-racial marriage changed the law from one white man/ one white women to one man and one women
    3. Therefore, striking down inter racial marriage laws does not change the definition of marriage

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. The definition of Same sex marriage is not one man and one woman.
    3. Therefore, Same sex marriage is changing the definition of marriage.

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. laws that prohibited Inter-racial marriage did not change the definition of marriage and same sex marriage does change the definition of marriage
    3. Therefore, same sex marriage and inter-racial marriage are not the same.

    1. The 14th amendment's equal protection equal protection clause dictates that laws must be applied uniformly.
    2. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman
    3. inter-racial marriage marriage denied one man the right to marry any woman he wants and vice versa.
    4. Therefore, inter-racial marriage laws violated the 14th amendment's equal protection equal protection clause

    1. The 14th amendment's equal protection equal protection clause dictates that laws must be applied uniformly.
    2. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman
    3. Same sex couples are not being denied the right to marry. They are being denied the right to redefine marriage.
    4. Therefore, the 14th amendments equal protection clause is not being violated.

    1. The 14th amendment's equal protection equal protection clause dictates that laws must be applied uniformly.
    2. Homosexuals assert that they have a right to redefine marriage.
    3. Therefore, if Homosexuals have the right to redefine marriage under the 14th amendment's equal protection equal protection clause all groups have the right to define marriage.

    You also keep equating same sex marriage with civil rights.

    1. Black people were owned a slaves, denied the right to vote, beaten, murdered, completely segregated, sprayed with fire hoses for marching peacefully, etc
    2. None of those things are being done to homosexuals.
    3. Therefore, the comparison between homosexuals and the civil rights movement is a invalid one, inherently illogical, disrespectful, and insulting.

    Being chased down by a bunch of guys in white sheets and lynched is not even remotely close to two men or women who think that redefining marriage is a civil right.

    "why won't you even attempt to explain, in a charitable, non-propagandist way, the actual legal justifications contained in Perry v. Brown?"

    It is imposable to have any type of dialog when you ignore what I say. I addressed this issue. Would you listen to some who is wrong 90% of the time? I would hope not.

    The 9th circuit court is overturned at least 90% of the time and you are citing that court to back up your position?

  202. KStret says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 03:52 PM:

    Windy,
    "As he has just admitted, he cannot accept our (legally appropriate) framing of the same-sex-marriage question and win the debate."

    You are misunderstanding what I am saying. What the left constantly does is frame an issue as a civil right when it is not.

    For example, contraception and socialized medicine are civil rights. They are not but the issue is framed from the beginning to rig the debate. The civil right is assumed and to take a position against is taking away the equivalent of free speech.

    In the case of contraception, the issue is does the government have the right to force church institution to provide non essential coverage that they morally disagree with or does the government have the right to force private insurance companies to provide contraception at no cost.

    The issue is not "a woman's right" to get free contraception and if the left is allowed to frame the argument in that manner the debate is rigged. On this issue, conservatives did a better job at not letting the left frame the narrative.

    How is abortion usually framed?

    The right to life vs A woman's right to chose. What is the central issue? When a baby has person-hood. If a a women is pregnant and there is a baby in her utters, no one would say she has the right to kill it.

    "So, he pretends not to hear anything we say."

    I am not ignoring what you had to say. Your response to my 14th/ polygamy objection was cite gun laws which is a 2nd amendment issue. Even if we put the 2nd amendment problem aside, everyone has equal access to guns.

    What you are saying with same-sex marriage amounts to arguing that homosexuals should have the right to get flame throwers but no one else does.

    You response stated that my objections had already been answered and you did not address anything that I said.

    It is inherently illogical to say:
    1. Group A is being discriminated against because they can't do X.

    2. Group B wants to do X too, but group B is not being discriminated against.

    1. It is a civil right for group A to do X.
    2. It is not a civil right for group B to do X.

    This amounts to arguing that black people have the fundamental right to vote and eat in whatever public restaurant they want but Mexicans do not. Black people voting is not the same as Mexicans voting? Yes it is and the two can not be separated.

    If black people have the fundamental right to vote, so do Mexicans and everyone else in the country.

    "Proposition 8 was not a mere advisory manifesto on upright living. It was a law. It sought to restrict people's established rights."

    You are presupposing that not letting a group of people redefine marriage is restricting established rights. There are no established rights in regard to same sex marriage.

    "If Scott wants to change the subject to his own personal views about the (supposed) moral trajectory of the cosmos, fine, but he’s moving the subject in a trivial direction."

    On this point we agree on. It is a red herring. It has nothing to do with same sex marriage.

    "The only “objective” rule that matters for same-sex marriage is the one that can be derived from the words of the Constitution...... which was written by human hands, which judges have been authorized to interpret, and by which all Americans have agreed to abide."

    As I said before, the problem is we changed interpreting the constitution from what the founders believed to case law.

    The current interpretation of the 1st amendment is no where near what the founders believed. The founders do not have the free expression clause at odds with the establishment clause. By using case law to interpret the constitution the meaning of 1st amendment was totally changed. This was not by accident.

    You see the same thing happen with the 2nd amendment. Their legal rationale is:
    We don't really know what the founders meant by a well regulated militia and case law says X, therefore we can ban guns. The problem is that the founders were clear, a well regulated militia means an armed populous. There is a myriad of quotes to back that up.

    Are the people who want to ban guns going to change their minds? No. They will equivocate over to the position that the constitution is an antiquated living breathing document that can be changed to fit their political agenda.

    When you have one side legislating the bench and not following the rule of law and the other following the law, you are getting into dangerous territory.

    That is exactly what is happening with same sex marriage. You can not tell me that a liberal court that is overturned 90% of the time is not legislating from the bench.

    "There is no such thing as a form of discrimination that should be legally allowed from a moral point of view, if it is illegal from a constitutional point of view. Not in a country of laws. Not in my country."

    You are assuming that it is discrimination. The comparison to inter-racial marriages and the civil rights is not comparable.

    "A clown who has some beef about video copyrights involving clips of WLC's speeches was pretending to be you."

    It's that what that was about? ... someone posted using mine name doing the same thing.

  203. KStret says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 03:53 PM:

    Scott,
    "I apologize to you sincerely as it appears my observations were flat out wrong."

    If you think my tone is out of line, you are entitled to your opinion. I don't understand why you would take issue with my tone and have no problem with Spencer's or Rob's.

    The example of Rob getting cranky when you pressed him on his position on morals was on the other thread not this one.

  204. Spencer says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 04:16 PM:

    KStret,

    At this point, you aren't even pretending to address the substance of my posts, which tells me that you now realize that your distortions have been sufficiently exposed. There's no longer any need for this "dialogue" to continue.

  205. Scott says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 04:40 PM:

    KStret said:
    If you think my tone is out of line, you are entitled to your opinion. I don't understand why you would take issue with my tone and have no problem with Spencer's or Rob's.

    There is one reason that, if i have a way of letting you know privately, I will. But I guess another reason was that it didn't seem like anyone who debated you had any respect for you. Whether it was Spencer, Rob, Wendy, Ken or even BJ, it seemed like everyone was ticked off at the way you were handling yourself. Now while it is perfectly acceptable to think one person could get it wrong, the reason why I made that post is, in part, because many different people didn't like the way you were handling yourself. I think it was either Rob or Ken in the last thread refuse to address you. At the time I thought, "That's not very nice of either Rob or Ken," but when it came from several different sources I thought there must be an issue here. But since Wendy found your posts more productive than mine, I thought that I must have been wrong and your posts were having value.
    I suppose this could strain our mutual bond in these threads as we probably agree on most if not all the essentials and that would be unfortunate. Because of that possibility, I struggled mightily about making that post but, because of the above reason (and also because of the one I'd share with you privately if I could), I thought it was necessary.

  206. Windy says on Feb 26, 2012 @ 04:50 PM:

    KStret:

    One factual point: The California Supreme Court had held that same-sex marriage was a right under the state constitution, which is why Proposition 8 was put on the ballot. In that setting (though obviously not elsewhere) an established right to marry was taken away. Re the troll: Apparently, some denizens of mom and dad's basement are having a flame war about who can put clips of WLC's speeches on You Tube for the purposes of ridiculing him, or his critics, or somebody. Now someone is posting about it on this thread and using people's names. The comments get erased quickly. It's quite creepy.

  207. robaylesbury says on Feb 27, 2012 @ 12:37 AM:

    Cantankerous? I'd take that over dishonesty, verbosity, and incoherence any day of the week.

    Is there any data to suggest that allowing SSM will lead to the downfall of society? Or is it just a proverbial monster under the bed? Scares the heck out of some folk, but in truth nothing to worry about? Where is this army of polygamists?

    And here we are on a religious, specifically Christian website, pretending that this discussion has nothing to do with Christianity? Oh come on. It's a worldview which has long since expressed its unease at female/female relationships. If we're going to be honest about anything, let's begin with that.

  208. Scott says on Feb 27, 2012 @ 04:50 AM:

    Wendy said:
    What concerns me is that uncertainty as to what the lawgiver thinks renders the practical utility of natural law suspect for either moral or legal purposes, given that people who have very different ideas about the lawgiver’s opinions must be made to feel they are part of society, too, and that moral/legal questions decided against them have been decided fairly, reasonably, accurately and impartially.

    This question you pose can be very challenging when the rubber meets the road and we have the task at hand to create law in a pluralistic society. However, I don’t see why we need to only take into account competing religious traditions here as naturalism (the view that nature is all there is) is an additional competing worldview in a pluralistic society. So I don’t think only religious folks need to address the challenge of this question but everyone within a pluralistic society must do so (whether theist, pantheist, deist, agnostic or atheist.
    First, I think everyone in society has a worldview. Even the seemingly carefree among us have overarching thoughts and beliefs about the way the world is structured. Some hold theirs more tentatively, some hold theirs with less educational background and others just have worldviews which are self-contradictory.
    Second, I think it is as close to impossible as one can get to completely jettison their worldview at the voting booth, in the halls of Congress, in the Oval Office or in the courthouses; and, for that matter, I don’t think one should completely abandon their worldview in these situations.
    So, in light of these competing worldviews, how do we all get along?
    I think the way to do it is to continue debating the relevant topics and examining them in light of moral truths we all recognize.
    It is my conviction that whichever worldview is correct, if its proponents can adequately argue for it, can bring a feeling of tension to any open-minded people who disagree with whichever worldview is true. I also think we all have a moral conscience inside of us which gives us the capability for understanding and arguing for these moral truths. Now these moral truths may be difficult to understand, it may take months and years of debate on the matter for people to overcome their own beliefs on the subject and, perhaps the optimistic nature in me thinks that debate on these matters, if carried out as dispassionately and as cordial as possible, can seriously benefit society as a whole because, hopefully, more and more people who hold false beliefs about reality are feeling cognitive dissonance inside of them and gradually changing their worldviews. If this occurs, hopefully more and more people then will take their truth-possessing minds into the voting booths, halls of Congress, Oval Office and courthouses and society will then be governed by moral truth.
    Now will we fall into times of moral regress? Yes. But I think the good will never triumph if its proponents don’t consistently debate these issues.
    Let me make one more point I think is extremely important: Because whichever worldview possesses ultimate truth would be the one which informs our moral consciences, I think it is necessary (and possible) to argue for a law apart from any specific claim of authority. For example, if my Christian worldview is correct, then I think I should not only be able to, but be required to argue for the truth of the law and not ever quote the Bible. I wholeheartedly think Romans 1 is true. Yet I don’t expect you to do so as well. So I think for any moral law one ought to depend on moral truth given to us in our moral conscience and not rely on Scriptural texts. So, I guess one thing we can do to help matters is say that if a religious tradition cannot argue for moral truth apart from quoting from their Scripture, then the veracity of their moral claims can be doubted.
    So while I don’t think religious authority alone can be appealed to when passing laws as we also need to appeal to our shared moral experience, I don’t think religious authority can be ruled out of court beforehand either. I think every worldview—whether religious or secular—must not rule the other sides laws out of court before each side has a chance to present its worldview in light of our shared moral experience.
    Thus, I get very nervous when I notice much of today’s culture either implying or directly stating that a sufficient condition to make a law unconstitutional is that it is based on a religious worldview. I not only don’t think this is what the framers of the Constitution had in mind but, more importantly than that, it reflects the bias of one group over and against another. In my opinion, people who think this way are similar to their religious counterparts who simply quote a Scriptural passage and simply on the basis of the text expect all to obey.
    In my view, the way we ought to proceed in allowing for moral truth to be heard and not reject any potential worldview is to avoid either extreme. I think every worldview should be tested upon the canons of logic and the worldview which emerges has a strong potential (if not a downright sure bet) to be the possessor of moral truth which ought to be the basis for our laws.
    I hope I answered the question but that is certainly how I see things.

  209. Windy says on Feb 27, 2012 @ 07:26 AM:

    Scott:

    Thank you for thoughtful comments. Let me add this: We, as a society, already have reached a moral consensus on two matters. First, the cloudy moral vision of slaveholding states thrust the United States into a devastating civil war. Never again, we said, shall states have the power to deny due process and equal protection of the laws to unpopular minorities. Not to enforce a moral vision. Not no way, not no how. Second, to secure that principle, we will look to our courts, whose precedents shall be followed unless there is a very good reason not to. Our courts have well-established tests for determining what a state can and can’t do and be consistent with the limits on its powers in the Fourteenth Amendment. A law that prohibits gays from having sex in the privacy of the home is one restriction on liberty that the state cannot lawfully pass. Justice Scalia has said that this and other precedents logically lead to the conclusion that a state also cannot deny marital rights to same-sex couples who seek to wed on the same terms as opposite-sex couples. I’m with Scalia. I ask the opponents of same-sex marriage to either show why Scalia is wrong or accept the reality that their moral objections to same-sex marriage must be limited to the marketplace to ideas, to exhorting gays to voluntary eschew the exercise of rights that the states cannot legally deny them. The same way that cosmic-law and naturalist moralists still can exhort gays not to have sex in the privacy of their homes. But let not our fallible states again enforce another cloudy moral vision on minorities without a legally adequate justification.

    Ps. I’ll see your Robert George and raise you a Richard Posner and a William N. Eskridge Jr. Eskridge recently published a short and very readable analysis of the Perry case. See The Ninth Circuit’s Perry Decision and the Constitutional Politics of Marriage Equality, 64 Stanford Law Review Online 93 (2012). I invite anyone with an open mind to compare it with the version of George’s thesis published on the Wall Street Journal Online. Imagine George informing a veteran, returning home in a wheelchair to his hometown sweetheart, that English common law did not recognize marriages if they had not been consummated by a penetration. Hey, if it was good enough for Henry VIII, . . .

  210. Scott says on Feb 27, 2012 @ 01:15 PM:

    Rob said:
    1. Is there any data to suggest that allowing SSM will lead to the downfall of society? Or is it just a proverbial monster under the bed? Scares the heck out of some folk, but in truth nothing to worry about? Where is this army of polygamists?

    Fine point Rob. To those who want to uphold to a normative definition of marriage, are we screaming, “The sky is falling!” if SSM passes? Are there going to be 25 million households in the 2020 census which are polygamist if we allow for SSM today?

    No. Let me give my honest opinion of what will occur if SSM passes (I could easily be wrong onany of this). I think nothing dramatically will change. I don’t think there will be millions of people waiting to marry their adult children.
    There aren’t armies upon armies of polygamists just waiting outside the courthouses banging the doors for their right to marry.
    So, Scott, the SSA is just one huge scare tactic, right?

    The reason I don’t think it is is that laws should not be based upon percentages or on how many people are just sitting outside the doorstep waiting to break it. Rather, law ought to be focused on the good, not the percentages.
    Let’s consider these statements:
    A) One ought to be allowed to marry anything they choose.
    B) One ought to be allowed to marry someone of the same sex.
    If A) does not promote the public good, then unless someone can come up with a meaningful moral distinction between A) and B) then B) ought to be rejected whether one million people advocate A) or just one person (or nobody at all for that matter).
    So it may be an interesting question you ask Rob but, morally speaking, I just don’t think it’s relevant to whether or not SSM should be legal. If you can come up with an intrinsic difference between A) and B) which recognizes the natural kinds for B) which A) does not possess, I’m on board with you that the SSA would be a lousy argument. But I’ve honestly never seen any advocate of same-sex marriage do this.
    So to finish up what I think will happen if SSM passes. We will continuously recognize the societal awareness that there is, at bottom, no design or purpose for marriage and that it’s merely a social construct.

  211. Spencer says on Feb 27, 2012 @ 02:19 PM:

    Scott,

    I have a few mins. There is another general objection I have with your entire approach to this issue, which stems from your lack of desire to debate the constitutionality of laws like prop8. I assume you accept the following:

    (C) From a moral standpoint, unconstitutional laws should not be permitted.

    I assume you accept (C) because you value our democratic form of government. If so, and if laws prohibiting SSM really are unconstitutional, then it follows that you should, from a moral standpoint, be in favor of allowing SSM, even if you think SSM is immoral. However, if you do not accept (c), then I question whether you really value our democratic form of government.

    Suppose, for sake of argument, that laws like prop8 really do violate equal protection. In that case, how could you still be favor of them? If you are, then you are in effect saying: We should prohibit SSM even if doing so is unconstitutional, since
    the constitutional rights of same-sex couples don't matter. From a societal pov, there is no moral obligation to defend the constitutional rights of these people. Is this really your position? Consider:

    a) SSM contradicts the design of the conscious moral lawgiver.

    b) Laws prohibiting SSM violate the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.

    I think you need to recognize the possibility that both (a) and (b) could be true -- so far, you've only attempted to argue for (a). If (b) really is true, and I think it is, then what would be the significance of (a) on the issue of whether to permit SSM? It would have significance only if you think (C) is false, in which case I would question whether you really value our democratic form of government.

  212. Scott says on Feb 27, 2012 @ 04:48 PM:

    Spencer,
    I've got to be wise with my time so I'm not going to get involved in a lengthy discussion on this as I'm already engaged with you, Wendy and Rob on other issues.
    But, in short, I do value our democratic form of government but that is merely because I think the Constitution recognizes higher moral truth, it does not, itself, create moral truth. So if our country supports things which are immoral (which I do not think a proper understanding of the Constitution does), then I'll reject it.
    I'm not sure if this should even be controversial. Suppose we passed an amendment in the Constitution like DOMA, would you be in favor of it then or would I have reason to doubt your value for our democratic society? I think your question could easily be turned back on you.

  213. Spencer says on Feb 27, 2012 @ 05:40 PM:

    Scott,

    "I think your question could easily be turned back on you."

    I don't think so. My not being in favor of such a constitutional amendment is not analogous to you being in favor of denying the constitutional rights of same-sex couples. It appears that in regards to SSM, you are committed to the following: that even if the constitutional rights same-sex couples are being violated, too bad, because God is against SSM, which is a position more consistent with theocracy.

  214. Spencer says on Feb 27, 2012 @ 06:06 PM:

    Scott,

    "I've got to be wise winth my time so I'm not going to get involved in a lengthy discussion on this as I'm already engaged with you, Wendy and Rob on other issues."

    Scott, my general objection is highly relevant to our ongoing debate (which will be resumed later this week when I can devote a good amount of time to it), since if I'm right, then you need to be prepared to prove the following:

    O) An objective moral lawgiver exists.

    P) An objective moral lawgiver is against SSM.

    Q) If (P) is true, then same-sex couples should not be permitted to marry, even if that restriction violates their rights under the constitution.

    Do you accept (Q)? Notice that accepting (Q) would NOT commit you to the position that restrictions on SSM do in fact violate constitutional rights. Rather, (Q) asserts that, even IF the constitutional rights of same-sex couples were being violated, SSM should not be permitted. Do you really believe this? If so, then how are you not adopting a theocratic position?

  215. Spencer says on Feb 27, 2012 @ 06:15 PM:

    Scott,

    To put my point another way, suppose I were to accept (O) and (P). Would it follow that I shouldn't be in favor of permitting SSM? No, it would not. In addition to (O) and (P), I could accept the following:

    (Q*) If (P) is true, but if restrictions on the ability of same-sex couples to marry violates their constitutional rights, then same-sex couples should be permitted to marry.

    If you reject (Q*) and accept (Q), then again, I wonder whether your position endorses theocracy. What is wrong with (Q*)?

  216. Spencer says on Feb 27, 2012 @ 06:18 PM:

    Scott,

    Moreover, if you DO accept (Q8), then shouldn't we be debating the constitutionality of laws like prop8, rather than highly abstruse metaphysical issues?

  217. Scott says on Feb 27, 2012 @ 09:35 PM:

    Spencer,
    I think you’re very far off base here.
    My ultimate concern is for upholding moral truth here, not the Constitution. Don’t you agree? If the Constitution merely recognizes moral truth and does not create it, then moral truth is preeminent. This is the whole purpose of Amendments. If we gain further knowledge of moral truth then Amendments can recognize this fact and, thus, the Constitution is dependent upon prior moral truth.
    So it is my hope that we would both agree that if the Constitution really did support something immoral (or at least something which did not promote the public good), then we ought to have an Amendment to change it. It seems to me that placing the Constitution above moral truth is like attempting to place the weather forecast in a preeminent position above the actual day's weather. It seems true that both the weather forecast and the Constitution recognize something which is above themselves--not the other way around.
    I’ve already discussed the differences between my position and a theocracy. If basing your morals on an objective moral lawgiver is sufficient to call my views theocratic, then why couldn't I call your views, which would be based in a non-theistic system, atheocratic? Why would an atheocracy be preferable to a theocracy before the arguments are even presented. Thus, I think an atheocracy and a theocracy are two positions we ought to avoid and if my views are sufficient to label me as the latter, then why can’t we label you as the former.

    Spencer said:
    1. since if I'm right, then you need to be prepared to prove the following:
    O) An objective moral lawgiver exists.
    P) An objective moral lawgiver is against SSM.
    Q) If (P) is true, then same-sex couples should not be permitted to marry, even if that restriction violates their rights under the constitution.

    I’ve already commented on O) and P) and am awaiting your full response. As far as Q) I think it would only be sensible to hold Q) if one thought that the Constitution was actually creating moral truth. If it is true that the Constitution creates moral truth (a position I doubt you even believe as you’ve told me you believe in objective moral values), then perhaps Q) could be denied.

    So, if both O) and P) are true, then that is the basis for objective moral truth.
    Take these two statements:
    H) The Constitution creates moral truth
    I) The Constitution recognizes moral truth

    If H) is true, then perhaps I could see your point. But, again, I seriously doubt even you believe in H) as you’ve told me yourself that you believe objective moral values exist. If H) is true, then if we could pass an amendment to the constitution making marriage only between one man and one woman, then it seems in this perspective, same-sex marriage would be objectively wrong. Would you agree? Do you still hold this view if you agree?

    So I’m not sure of the force behind much of what you’ve said in these posts. I think if my view could be labeled as a theocracy, your view could be labeled as an atheocracy. But I’ve already dealt with the differences between my position and a theocracy and haven’t seen any comment to this. Lastly, because the Constitution recognizes moral truth, then if I’m right about O) and P), even if same-sex marriage is Constitutional, the right these people have is vacuous because, as we said before, the Constitution does not create moral truth but, rather, recognizes it. So if it can’t create moral truth then neither can the Constitution, apart from moral truth, grant same-sex couples the right to marry. Thus, to answer your question directly, in the case you've presented, there would be no intrinsic right which is being denied.

  218. Windy says on Feb 28, 2012 @ 05:26 AM:

    "My ultimate concern here is upholding moral truth, not the Constitution." Priceless. That should be the first line in the Prop 8 defenders' Supreme Court brief.

    Scott, has it occurred to you that the Great Moralist has several purposes in mind for marriage, and that your unreliable, fallible and sin-filled conscience has been too blinded by passion to discern more than a minor one, and only through the glass darkly at that? The Fourteenth Amendment was not written to help saints society march to the moral good. It deliberately sacrificed some arguable more moral good to protect society from the bad caused by zealots who think like you do. Much as the "free exercise" clause defends "religion" against an "objectively true religion" imposed by the state.

  219. robaylesbury says on Feb 28, 2012 @ 10:05 AM:

    Windy, I suspect the whole edifice known as theology is men genuinely seeking after the will of God, yet in reality they merely reflect the will of other men, and of their zeitgeist. And as the centuries past their descendents have the task of squaring a lot of proverbial circles.

    That's it. That's the whole thing in microcosm. For the most part sincere, yet ultimately sincerely wrong.

  220. Scott says on Feb 28, 2012 @ 12:50 PM:

    Scott said:
    "My ultimate concern here is upholding moral truth, not the Constitution."

    Wendy said:
    Priceless. That should be the first line in the Prop 8 defenders' Supreme Court

    Wendy,
    I will refrain comment here as there frankly is no argument to comment on. Furthermore, there is an argument I presented you never dealt with. While you may have read the entire post, I have no way of knowing since you picked a comment, and copied and pasted it apart from its argumentative context. If there’s something wrong with the argument I presented, what is it?
    One thing I would ask is that you read Spencer’s posts more carefully. While I disagree with him in our worldview and while I often complain that he too often places 100 percent of the burden of proof in his opponent’s hands, I never come away with the feeling that Spencer hasn’t made an attempt to deal with his opponent’s arguments. If his opponent makes an argument, Spencer is very good at addressing it. I have never seen Spencer take one sentence, copy and paste it apart from its argumentative context (as you have done), and deal only with it. Please read them more carefully.

  221. Scott says on Feb 28, 2012 @ 01:04 PM:

    Rob,
    If you're correct that atheism is true, then your last post is absolutely correct. So argue for it. I made an argument in the last post that moral truth is preeminent to the Constitution and the Constitution does not dictate moral truth and have thus far seen nothing convincing to refute it.

  222. BJ says on Feb 28, 2012 @ 01:17 PM:

    Scott,

    I admire your stamina. Your exchanges with Spencer/Wendy etc. tend to go a bit over my head, but I've enjoyed reading them and I'm continuing my attempt to truly appreciate the dept of the issues at hand.

  223. Spencer says on Feb 28, 2012 @ 01:43 PM:

    Scott,

    Please clarify because I don't quite understand your answer. Do you hold (Q) or (Q*)? Or are you saying it is impossible for the constitutional rights of same-sex couples to be violated if (P) to be true?

    (Q) If (P) is true, then same-sex couples should not be permitted to marry, even if that restriction violates their rights under the constitution.

    (Q*) If (P) is true, but if restrictions on the ability of same-sex couples to marry violates their constitutional rights, then same-sex couples should be permitted to marry.

  224. robaylesbury says on Feb 28, 2012 @ 02:36 PM:

    I wondered how long it would be before the "prove atheism" gambit was deployed? It's let off its leash as though it were some all conquering Rottweiler, only after a few yards it's rolls comically onto it's back and demands a tummy rub. Scott, after everything I've argued for you know that my arguments are probabilistic in nature. I'd never claim one hundred percent certainty, but the reason I'm sat so comfortably on my side of the fence is that I feel we've a good model for understanding our origins, our evolution, and much more about mind and brain that we once could have dreamed of. More than that, having spent thirteen years as an evangelical, and perhaps six now as a humanist, I have come to view theology as the black art of saying nothing at all with maximum verbosity. Sorry, I cannot feign respect, as to do so would be dishonest. I think you're a fantastic guy and certainly a vast improvement on the God you proclaim. If he does exist, he'd do well to model some of your qualities as these would be a marked improvement over the current celestial software.

  225. robaylesbury says on Feb 28, 2012 @ 02:53 PM:

    And concerning your statement that moral truth is preeminent to the consitution my naturalist basis for morality based on favouring the wellbeing of conscious creatures could be deployed comfortably to undergird the whole affair. It's my suggestion that this is precisely what's happened. This claim that there exists some over arching moral plumb line is as vapid today as it is has ever been, and the more we understand mind and brain and the profound mysteries of consciousness the worse it becomes for any claim that morality is a top down rather than a ground up affair.

    God. Theology. Theism. Surplus to requirements. No explanatory power. The whole thing kicks on without recourse to these tired old ideas from another age.

  226. Spencer says on Feb 28, 2012 @ 03:00 PM:

    Scott,

    To clarify, I don't claim your position endorses theocracy because you believe morals are derived from a moral lawgiver. Rather, my claim is that you seem to think that, with respect to SSM, the commands of a moral lawgiver is sufficient to determine the legality of SSM, regardless of whether or not the constitutional rights of same-sex couples are being violated. (That is, you seem to be open to the possibility that SSM shouldn't be legal EVEN IF the constitutional rights of same-sex couples are being violated).

    Consider an analogy. Suppose I believe that God is against swearing, but I also recognize that people have a constitutional right (under the First Amendment) to swear. If I took the position that people shouldn't be legally permitted to swear, even though they have a constitutional right to swear, I think it's pretty obvious that my position endorses theocracy. Wouldn't you agree?

    Similarly, IF it were true that same-sex couples do have a constitutional right to get married, but you nevertheless think SSM shouldn't be legal because the moral lawgiver is against it, then your position endorses theocracy.

  227. Scott says on Feb 28, 2012 @ 08:46 PM:

    BJ,
    Thanks for the comment. I must admit that there have been times I wonder if it's been worth it to stay up past my bedtime most nights as I've wondered who all actually reads this thread. Your comment certainly helps! I almost didn't come on this evening because I'm really dragging. But I read all your posts after I got off work and knew they were good ones. I would not be able to do this without my wonderful wife. She's read some of our exchanges and thinks it's important I be in here so has no problem with it. The moment she says, "Stop, this is too much," however, I'll have to cut it off.
    Frankly, there are times I wonder how some of you all manage to be so prolific in your posts.

  228. Scott says on Feb 28, 2012 @ 09:06 PM:

    Rob,
    I agree with you that proving with 100 percent certainty is unreasonable. That's why I'm only asking you to argue for atheism and not totally prove it.
    Thanks also for your candid remarks. I always enjoy hearing people talk about their feelings of god--whether they love him or hate him. Because you were so candid, I hope you don't mind if I return in kind.
    I have loved and served God for many years. It has been within the last 15 or so in which I wanted to learn more about the God I loved and, thus, I studied as much philosophy and theology as I could. I'm thankful for people like WLC who articulate and defend the Christian faith extraordinarily well so that in his debates, in my opinion, the Christian faith consistently comes out on top. despite his opponents already being familiar with Craig's opening speech
    I thank God for the objective meaning, purpose and joy he gives me particularly in the rough times. The most devastating moment in my life came in 2008 when I went almost totally blind. July-Sept. were some pretty rough times. I thank God for this meaning and joy he has provided me despite any circumstances. I love him more and more every day.

  229. Scott says on Feb 28, 2012 @ 09:45 PM:

    Spencer said:
    to think that, with respect to SSM, the commands of a moral lawgiver is sufficient to determine the legality of SSM, regardless of whether or not the constitutional rights of same-sex couples are being violated.

    Spencer, suppose I believe that:
    1) Moral truth which is coherent is the only proper basis for law.
    2) The only way we can have moral truth which is coherent is to have a conscious, objective moral lawgiver.
    3) Therefore, the only way we can have a proper basis for law is to have a conscious, objective moral lawgiver.

    Now I hope you agree with me on 1). So if 2) is correct (which I’ve argued for), then I’m not sure what the issue is.
    You can call it a theocracy or whatever you want, but if the above premises are true, and if I am limited only to the choices of:
    A) I have a coherent moral truth system and, thus, a proper basis for law and I believe in theocracy.
    B) I do not have a coherent moral truth system and, thus, do not have a proper bais for law and I do not believe in theocracy

    I’ll choose A) every time. In fact, it would be self-refuting to choose B)! If we don’t have a proper basis for law or even a coherent moral truth, then there is no way one could legitimately criticize a theocracy! Thus, while I’m not endorsing a theocracy as I’m merely saying that for the sake of your argument, if what your saying is true then we would have no moral basis to reject it!

    My preferred option is:
    C) I have a coherent moral truth system and, thus, a proper basis for law and I’m not a believer in a theocracy.
    This provides the benefits of not affirming self-contradictory claims and also allowing the democratic process to take place—a process impossible in a true theocracy. Remember, I’m not advocating you folks abide by my moral truth claims by the sword. Rather, I’m attempting to have you folks agree with me by providing arguments and evidence. If you guys want, you can say, “That Scott is simply a religious zealot who has no regard for truth and no regard for allowing people the freedom of choice” and, if enough people agreed with you, my position would be illegal (though, not necessarily immoral).
    So, are there similarities between my view and a theocracy? Yes. Are there similarities between your view and nihilism? Yes. Do these similarities suffice to rightfully make your view nihilistic? No. I don’t see why the same doesn’t apply to my views.

  230. Spencer says on Feb 28, 2012 @ 10:08 PM:

    Scott,

    I believe you are evading the issue. Can I get a direct answer to my question regarding whether you hold to (Q) or (Q*)? If you can't answer directly, can you at least say why?

    (Q) If (P) is true, then same-sex couples should not be permitted to marry, even if that restriction violates their rights under the constitution.

    (Q*) If (P) is true, but if restrictions on the ability of same-sex couples to marry violates their constitutional rights, then same-sex couples should be permitted to marry.

    Recall my swearing analogy. As a Christian, I assume you think swearing is immoral, but I'm willing to bet you don't think it should be illegal since we have a constitutional right to swear (in fact, I'm willing to bet you think it would be IMMORAL to make swearing illegal, despite the immorality of swearing). Thus, in this instance, constitutionality trumps the dictates of the moral lawgiver. But why shouldn't constitutionality trump the dictates of the moral lawgiver in the case of SSM? Can you explain the difference?

    (I) Swearing shouldn't be illegal even though it is immoral because we have a constitutional right to swear.

    (J) SSM shouldn't be illegal even though it is immoral because same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

    If you hold (I), why won't you hold (J) if same-sex couples really do have a constitutional right to marry?

  231. Spencer says on Feb 28, 2012 @ 10:30 PM:

    Scott,

    In an earlier post, you acknowledged that theocracy is a position to be avoided. If so, and if my recent posts have shown that you are committed a theocratic position, then you yourself have grounds for rejecting various steps in your argument (I can think of several).

  232. Windy says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 03:15 AM:

    Obviously, Scott is ducking the question. The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land. There is no higher law binding on a state. A state cannot enact a law to comply with "moral truth" -- or pursue any other objective -- in violation of the limits placed upon it by the Fourteenth Amendment. Plain and simple. Anyone who thinks otherwise favors something other than the American form of republican government. So, Scott, Spencer is asking you a simple, direct question: do you believe a state should deny same-sex marriage equality on the basis of moral law if the action violates the Fourteenth Amendment? Yes, no, or no opinion? Your personal views about whether there is a moral law or whether moral law gives life meaning are irrelevant. The question is whether a state can enforce moral law in violation of the Constitution.

  233. Spencer says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 08:37 AM:

    "So, Scott, Spencer is asking you a simple, direct question: do you believe a state should deny same-sex marriage equality on the basis of moral law if the action violates the Fourteenth Amendment? Yes, no, or no opinion?"

    The glaring inconsistency, I pointed out, is that Scott (I assume) is willing to say "no" if the question were about swearing and the First Amendment. Why is that?

  234. Daniel says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 10:39 AM:

    Do Protestants not have something similar to Theology of the Body?

    A lot of these posts seem to me like people trying to build their ideas up to it. I think it is more than simply flourishing. This issue also relates to disorder (not the medical sense of the definition). When we act against God, we really end up doing something disordered that can bring us suffering, or cost us life and happiness in some way.

    One very big problem with which most of us struggle is disentangling sex from love itself. While we must have wives and husbands to properly reproduce and raise families, sex should not be the basis of what we think of as love outside of familial relationships. But that is exactly what we have done. Our society has placed sexual attraction and sexual gratification as the basis and motive of love. Therefore, it only stands to reason that people who are sexually attracted to the same sex will tend to seek approval for their relationships to be accepted by others.

    The reason we arrived at this point is that we deprecated what marriage actually means. It doesn't mean sex and cohabitation. At least, it did not mean this until the past few generations. Sex is important. Sexual relationships are necessary for marriage (obviously). But that is not what a marriage was ever about until recently. We married to establish families.

    If we are to live in a society where we can (theoretically) live without being coerced to do immoral things by our government (such as participate in abortions through bizarre government insurance schemes), then we have to accept that these people will want to call themselves married. But we did this to ourselves. It's not like you can undo the past fifty years of decline. Look at our own marriages. Look at our divorces and infidelities. Look at families living in dysfunction. We should worry about those things.

    But I also point out that, if the other side wants to live in a society where they can create these social and legal constructs, they need to stop crossing the line themselves. I will not personally have a damned thing to do with abortion pills. I will not pay for that. Does that mean I have to go to jail because of something I believe in? That feels quite a lot worse than somebody telling me I cannot marry another man. We can all debate the morality of homosexual sex and legitimacy same-sex marriages forever, but when we reached the point where the government brazenly violates the first sentence of the first amendment, and a huge segment of the population fervently supports it, then we are in a lot of trouble. But for that same group of supporters to then appeal to the Bill of Rights to justify massive alterations to our society is beyond ridiculous.

    If you want same-sex marriage, then why exactly do you support an abortion mandate? If the other guy is morally wrong for wanting to violate the Bill of Rights, then why is it okay for you to do it? It works both ways.

    And the way I see it, if there are not enough people like me keeping the peace, then I have to pick a side. That side is not going to be the one that forces me and mine to do immoral things. I imagine that decision is going to be made by a lot of people in the years to come, and many on the left are going to be surprised how badly that turns out for their cause.

  235. Windy says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 12:20 PM:

    Daniel:

    The “free exercise” clause of the First Amendment is relatively easy to apply where the government tries to dictate religious thought or practice. But it has been difficult to apply consistently in situations where someone raises a conscience-based objection to a law of general applicability passed for a non-invidious regulatory purpose (like promoting health-care coverage). Supreme Court precedent has swung widely from being extremely deferential to the governmental regulation, to being extremely deferential to the religious objector, and then back again to being extremely deferential to the government. Under current Supreme Court precedent, as long as the state is not telling people what to think or attempting to disadvantage a particular religion, the government can pretty much impose any commercial regulation it wants without violating the free-exercise clause. If you can’t engage in commerce without violating your religious conscience, your remedy generally is to stay in your church and out of the stream of commerce. But, under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Congress resurrected the standard that was more deferential to the objector and made it applicable to federal regulations. So, it's really the statute, not the First Amendment, on which objectors are more likely to rely. My guess is that the contraceptive-coverage exemption, as currently structured, will easily pass even the more rigorous statutory test, because the availability of the “free private coverage” option both minimizes the burden on the employer’s convictions and makes it harder for the employer to characterize his choice of employee-insurance structure as a matter of religious belief or doctrine. It’s not a black-and-white question, though, and some progressives are sympathetic to more accommodation of religious conscience here. We don't have to choose up sides. The problem is: when do you accommodate religious objectors so much that compliance with any law becomes optional? That’s a line that probably can only be drawn only case by case, and it’s sad when culture warriors try to exploit this as a wedge issue for their own gain. It’s not an area of law where there are easy answers.

    Having said that, I would still like to stay on Spencer’s most recent question to Scott for a while longer. The corner seems so nicely painted, it would be a shame to waste it.

  236. Scott says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 12:57 PM:

    Spencer, Wendy,
    I apologize for being under the impression that many of my above statements made it blatantly obvious where I stood. In both posts, in fact, I thought it was obvious so not only have I not been attempting to evade the question, I’ve given justifications for my position. But (mistakenly perhaps) I have not directly stated what I’m about to state and have relied upon the context of the post and assume that would suffice.
    So, yes, if we can put quotation marks around the “right,” then Q**) is true.

    (Q**) If (P) is true, then same-sex couples should not be permitted to marry, even if that restriction violates their “rights” under the constitution.

    In this situation I would support Q**) and I’ve argued why in my previous posts.
    As far as swearing. I’ve already addressed this as well when I discussed my child lying about teasing his sister. Recall that I said an action which goes against the design of the objective lawgiver is not sufficient to make it illegal. It is necessary, yes as to say so otherwise would be incoherent. But it is not sufficient. Recall I said that the state must have an interest in the action or institution. Thus, the state does not have an interest in whether or not I swear. However, recall I said earlier that the state does have an interest in the normative view of marriage as a normative view of marriage is vital to a normative view of the family and the family is vital to the state.

    So I apologize for not directly stating Q**) and assumed it was understood by the context of my statements.

  237. Spencer says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 02:54 PM:

    Scott,

    I don't understand the significance of your quotes around the word "rights." Are you saying you hold (Q**) but not (Q)? Why won't you say you hold (Q)? Hence my continued confusion!

    (Q**) If (P) is true, then same-sex couples should not be permitted to marry, even if that restriction violates their “rights” under the constitution.

    (Q) If (P) is true, then same-sex couples should not be permitted to marry, even if that restriction violates their rights under the constitution.

    "Recall I said that the state must have an interest in the action or institution. Thus, the state does not have an interest in whether or not I swear. However, recall I said earlier that the state does have an interest in the normative view of marriage as a normative view of marriage is vital to a normative view of the family and the family is vital to the state. "

    On your view, Scott, how do we determine whether the state has an interest in the matter? Do we determine that by reference to the moral dictates of the conscious moral lawgiver (CML)? If so, then it's unclear why the state can't have an interest in upholding the moral dictates of CML, including the prohibition on swearing. If not, then how should we determine what interests are within the purview of the state in a democracy?

    Your above claim amounts to the assertion that the state has an interest in maintaining opposite-sex marriage (OSM), but this interest, which I accept, is not in any way threatened by permitting SSM. Permitting SSM places no restrictions whatsoever on OSM. Instead, you need to maintain:

    (M) The state has an interest in prohibiting SSM.

    Compare:

    (N) The state has an interest in maintaining OSM.

    Notice that (N) does NOT entail (M), since the state could have an interest in both maintaining OSM and permitting SSM. Since you hold (M), my question then becomes: why does the state have an interest in prohibiting SSM? It must be because SSM is harmful in some way from a societal pov. What is that harm?

  238. Windy says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 03:06 PM:

    Spencer: The purpose of the quotation marks was to pass off an "answer" as an answer.

  239. Windy says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 03:42 PM:

    To claim that the state has a legitimate interest in convincing its citizens that families headed by same-sex couples are not normal families is to claim that the state has a legitimate interest in spreading invidious prejudice. But no matter. Under the applicable constitutional test, the state needs a compelling interest and the exclusion of all same-sex couples it excludes and the inclusion of all opposite-sex couples it includes must be narrowly tailored to achieve the goal. Did I mention the Moral Lawgiver doesn't care for gays?

  240. Spencer says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 04:21 PM:

    It appears Scott's case against SSM is becoming clearer. He needs to prove:

    (O) An objective moral lawgiver exists.

    (P) An objective moral lawgiver is against SSM.

    (M) The state has a legitimate interest in prohibiting SSM.

    Even if I were to accept (O) and (P)--there are serious problems with both--Scott has given me no reason whatsoever to accept (M). Why should I accept (M)? What is the legitimate state interest here?

  241. robaylesbury says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 04:27 PM:

    God doesn't like it much. Beyond all the wordplay I suspect this undergirds the perspective of most Christians.

  242. Scott says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 04:51 PM:

    Spencer,
    I've got a few minutes to read the responses before I catch my bus. I appreciate you taking the time to interact with the arguments I've presented. I'll try and get to it tonight.
    Wendy, Rob, thanks for the comments. It appears your mind is already made up before Spencer and I have finished the discussion!

  243. robaylesbury says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 05:07 PM:

    By no means Scott. I'm open to new information and look forward to your further comments. That said, I'm not convinced you would be doing this were it not for your Christian beliefs? God says that homosexuality is bad. You appear to agree with God.

  244. Daniel says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 06:32 PM:

    Windy, that simply is untrue. There is no precedent for this. The United States government certainly cannot coerce a religious organization to violate their faith. That is why we have the first amendment. That is why our ancestors came to this place. To avoid people who would abuse others like that.

    The precedent that is already in place is a stunning unanimous rebuke of this administration's previous attempt to violate the first amendment when they attempted to regulate who a church can and cannot hire as their minister. No, the government cannot do that.

    But worse is this idea that you can force every other American to violate their consciences. That has NEVER happened. Not even in Antebellum times were abolitionists forced to participate in slavery. Not even in the Second World War were pacifists forced to take up arms.


    In a way, this mirrors quite a lot of what happened with abolition. This mandate will do to us what Dred Scott did for slavery. Just like slavery, it clearly is impossible to simply tolerate evil, since people who do these things are never satisfied with that. It's only a matter of time before they attempt to coerce others into the act. I firmly believe abortion supporters are on an evil side of this issue, and I say that as somebody who is pretty far left myself.

    But regardless of right or left, I oppose all this coercion and violence people are inflicting upon one another by twisting our Constitution and passing unjust laws. If you think this is not such a bad thing for you now, consider what happens when a social conservative takes office and does the exact same thing to you. If your answer is "it's different", then you are part of your own problem.

    As far as where to draw the line when it comes to commerce, or whatever issue you want to address, the line is crossed when the government forces Americans to violate their consciences outside of paying taxes. We pass laws so that people will not *do* bad things. Passing laws to force us to do something is ALWAYS going to be a problem. Nor does this just rest on religious grounds. The first amendment applies equally well to atheists.

    Our democracy cannot stand when the state takes the power to coerce the consciences of its own people. What you really violate here is the freedom of thought. You trespassed on our minds and souls. A democracy depends upon all the participants acting rationally and faithfully to their own beliefs and values, that they might collectively agree upon the best course of action with respect to those values. You might think it's a great idea for everybody to have access to abortion pills. But a good number of Americans do not. The day you force the other half of America to do something like that is the day our government becomes a tyranny, because thereafter all this will be is a war for control of the federal government in order that one group impose absolutely its will upon the rest of America. I see that danger in social conservatives and progressives alike. But there is something about the progressives that worry me quite a lot more. Not even the social conservatives ever thought to do something this atrocious and pernicious. It's downright tyrannical and completely antithetical to our republic. It's basically Dred Scott all over again.

  245. KStret says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 07:05 PM:

    Spencer,
    "At this point, you aren't even pretending to address the substance of my posts, which tells me that you now realize that your distortions have been sufficiently exposed. There's no longer any need for this "dialogue" to continue."

    I did address the substance of your posts. Which premise do you have a problem with?

    Your rebuttal to my redefinition point was to argue that homosexuals want the right to marry and redefining marriage is the remedy.

    The definition of marriage is one man and one woman. Do homosexuals want one man to marry one woman? No.

    Are homosexuals being denied the right to be married to one man and one woman? No.

    It is false to say that homosexuals want the right to be married.

    What is accurate is to say that homosexuals what the right to redefine marriage. This again shows that your entire case is predicated on the notion that redefining marriage is a right.

    Your other points are just invalid comparisons. You can not compare the civil rights movement to redefining marriage. You can not take a case about inter-racial marriage and apply it to same sex marriage. You are comparing apples and oranges.

    You have also shown that you are special pleading with shifting the burden.

    It is up to me to tell you why same sex marriage should not be allowed.

    If that is the case, it should be up to you to tell Charlie Sheen why he can't marry the two women he lives with.

    When any one asks you that question, it's up to Charlie Sheen to tell you why his marriage should be viewed as normal or permissible.

    To side step the redefinition problem the entire case you are making is predicated on the special pleading fallacy.

  246. KStret says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 07:06 PM:

    Scott,
    "There is one reason that, if i have a way of letting you know privately, I will."

    I have absolutely no problem with you giving your opinion.

    This is what I don't understand: I was not talking to Rob at all. Rob jumps in to call me various names and then can't answer a single question I asked him.

    You have have a problem with my tone but don't have a problem with Rob's insults?

    "But I guess another reason was that it didn't seem like anyone who debated you had any respect for you. Whether it was Spencer, Rob, Wendy, Ken or even BJ, it seemed like everyone was ticked off at the way you were handling yourself."

    If every jumped off a bridge would you too? I have had many debates with Spencer Rob, and BJ. Many of these debates have been about political issues. Spencer, Rob, and BJ are all left wing guys and I am not. They would all like to be able to dictates and frame the debates.

    This goes back to the point I made before. If you do not let them frame the debate or change the subject when they back themselves into a corner they get really angry. They do not like me and that is one of the reasons why. I don't care.

    "Now while it is perfectly acceptable to think one person could get it wrong, the reason why I made that post is, in part, because many different people didn't like the way you were handling yourself. I think it was either Rob or Ken in the last thread refuse to address you."

    If everyone said the world was flat does that make it true? Are any of these people answering my questions? Not really.

    Why don't they have a problem with you? Look what you are taking about. You played into Spencer's "tell me one good reason why we shouldn't allow same sex marriage" red herring ploy.

    If he wants to change the definition of marriage that has been the same for a very long time who has the explanatory burden? You also picked morals which is very agreeable to everyone.

    Take my position that redefining marriage is a fundamental right, don't change the subject, and see what happens.

    As I said before, you pressed Rob about his position on morals in the other thread and he immediately got mad. Then the subject was changed. If you didn't change the subject, he would start to really not like you very much.

    "At the time I thought, "That's not very nice of either Rob or Ken," but when it came from several different sources I thought there must be an issue here."

    The issue is there is history between me and most of these people.

    "But since Wendy found your posts more productive than mine, I thought that I must have been wrong and your posts were having value."

    Scott, you are essential making a peer pressure argument. Because BJ, Spencer, and Rob don't like me that means there must be a problem with me.

    There are only two of us in here.....

  247. Anonymous says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 07:07 PM:

    Windy,
    "One factual point: The California Supreme Court had held that same-sex marriage was a right under the state constitution, which is why Proposition 8 was put on the ballot.In that setting (though obviously not elsewhere) an established right to marry was taken away."

    Would you concede that another factual point is the 9th district court is over turned 90% of the time?

    Would you concede if a court is turned over 90% of the time it is a pretty good indication that they are legislating from the bench rather than making their decisions based on the law?

    "Apparently, some denizens of mom and dad's basement are having a flame war about who can put clips of WLC's speeches on You Tube for the purposes of ridiculing him, or his critics, or somebody. Now someone is posting about it on this thread and using people's names. The comments get erased quickly. It's quite creepy."

    I have seen atheists complaining people are using their clips... wait that doesn't count.

  248. KStret says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 07:11 PM:

    rob,
    "Cantankerous? I'd take that over dishonesty, verbosity, and incoherence any day of the week."

    You are simply making an ad hominem attack. I have asked you direct questions several times and you will not answer them. Now you ask me questions and expect an answer?

    "Is there any data to suggest that allowing SSM will lead to the downfall of society? Or is it just a proverbial monster under the bed? Scares the heck out of some folk, but in truth nothing to worry about? "

    Is there a difference between allowing and a fundamental civil right?

    If redefining marriage is a fundamental civil right for group X, it should also be a fundamental civil right for group Z who wants the same thing.

    Communist Goals for America (1963)

    24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.

    25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

    26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

    27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a "religious crutch."

    28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."

    29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.

    30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."

    Does any of this sound familiar?

    Why would communists want to "Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy" in America who was their enemy at the time?

    "Where is this army of polygamists?"

    Utah and Arizona

    "And here we are on a religious, specifically Christian website, pretending that this discussion has nothing to do with Christianity? "

    It doesn't. It's a legal argument.

  249. KStret says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 07:34 PM:

    Windy,
    Anonymous was me.

    "the applicable constitutional test, the state needs a compelling interest and the exclusion of all same-sex couples it excludes and the inclusion of all opposite-sex couples it includes must be narrowly tailored to achieve the goal."

    1. You are assuming that your position is a fact. Homosexuals are being discriminated against because they can't change the definition of marriage.

    2. You have flipped the burden on it's head. No one needs to present a compelling interest. The court rules on the constitutionality not whether the opposition gave a good reason why.

  250. Spencer says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 08:16 PM:

    KStret just re-affirmed my impression of him with his continued gross distortions. The following is instructive.

    "It is false to say that homosexuals want the right to be married."

    Um, yes they CERTAINLY do. I must have read this supremely bizarre claim about 5 times since it's just that fantastically unbelievable. Even though many same-sex couples say want to get married, and the entire debate and fight over SSM is whether they should have the right to get married, apparently KStret knows better! He must be...the master guru of all psychics?? This is a whole new level of distortion for KStret, one I'm unable to adequately characterize without resort to profanity.

    I hope it's clear to everyone why I can't/won't engage KStret as I would people like Scott (in case anyone thinks I'm afraid to debate him).

  251. robaylesbury says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 08:26 PM:

    Kstret,

    I'm really not angry with you. I don't mind that you appear to think me some kind of left wing communist hybrid. I don't even mind that in your address to Scott you appear to indicate you possess some psychic hotline which affords you a window into my mind. Come to think of it, I don't even mind that you resist any and all attempts, even by well meaning Christians, to suggest your conduct might, on occasion, be worthy of some reflection.

    I no longer expect anything of you.

    Interesting that you invoke Utah and Arizona as the tip of a polygamist iceberg. I expect I'm not the only one to note the several levels of irony in referring to the fringe Christian cult by way of evidence.

  252. Scott says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 09:23 PM:

    Guys, As I catch up on this evening's posts it feels like the calm waters of good spirit and productive dialogue are currently in a hurricane.
    This is an important issue and I think Spencer and I are tossing around some extremely important issues and I think we've made progress as my argument has unquestionably been refined by spencer's precision and, at least I think, Spencer's argument's have been refined a bit as well.
    But when I enter this atmosphere my blood pressure just sky rockets as the overall tone puts me in defense mode and it feels like I'm in an all out war--not necessarily of ideas--but between people.
    So, if you don't mind, I'm going to bow out of this discussion until the waters have calmed down a bit.
    Can we just all agree to adopt a motto for this (and any other) thread, though? I would like it to be: It's not KStret and Scott (although our relationship is a bit murky now) versus Spencer, Rob and Wendy? Rather, it's KStret, Scott, Spencer, Rob and Wendy all fighting error--wherever that may be. It's an idea I've failed too often to live up to in my life and I'm certainly not one to judge and because the temptation for me to return tit for tat is enormous at times, I'm just going to bow out for a bit.

  253. Spencer says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 09:30 PM:

    Scott,

    I think one way for the waters to become calm again is for you to jump back in.

  254. robaylesbury says on Feb 29, 2012 @ 09:35 PM:

    Scott, the waters will be calm when Kstret decides to conduct himself in an appropriate manner. We can and should continue to challenge him when he chooses not to do so. The rest of us are having a lively good natured discussion about some interesting topics. I also think its very important for you to stick around as I feel that Windy and Spencer have done a good job of placing your position under considerable pressure. I would encourage you to remain and see things through.

  255. Windy says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 12:26 AM:

    KStret:

    To resume my never-ending struggle against error: According to a blog that keeps track of these things, 79 percent of the cases heard in the last Supreme Court term were reversed or vacated. The reversal rate for the Ninth Circuit was 79 percent. It ranked third highest of eleven. Using reversal rates to evaluate circuits is misleading, though. Ordinarily, the Supreme Court does not take review unless there is a split of authority in the circuits, so it might be more accurate to say that the Ninth Circuit, being the largest, has most interesting and controversial cases decided in it. In re the video-clip wars, I agree there are definitely a lot of strange characters on the Internet.

    Scott: I have never attacked anyone personally and take none of this discussion personally. Except for this one thing: It burns my biscuits when you call me "Wendy." Everyone knows it's Windy. Well, everyone of a certain age.

  256. Windy says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 07:00 AM:

    And now that we have all blown off a little steam, let's segue back to Scott-Spencer: As I read the exchange so far, Scott had just made a significant concession. If cursing is contrary to the design of the Moral Lawgiver but the state has no legitimate interest in restricting the right to curse, then there are at least some circumstances where the design of the Moral Lawgiver is outside the State’s power to enforce. Our “side” has been saying all along that restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples is another such instance, that is, one where due process and equal protection compel the state to bite its lip and stay the Lawgiver’s hand. The basis for this distinction is not a “moral truth” but a political act (the passage and ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, a “mere” social construct that unarguably and objectively contains certain words and sentences). Scott has been called upon to explain: (1) how we know the Lawgiver exists; (2) how we know what the Lawgiver thinks by way of design; and (3) how we know when the state should stay the Lawgiver’s hand and let people such as same-sex couples exercise a liberty interest in marriage on equal terms with their neighbors. I think he has previously answered the first two, albeit not very reassuringly, but I understand his answers. The third question is on the table. If Scott is saying that we should look to the Lawgiver’s moral design to determine when to stay the Lawgiver’s hand, he is either demanding something impracticable or he is acknowledging that sometimes the Moral Law commands those who believe in it to bite their lips and practice “live and let live.” I assume he is not going to try to defend any assertion that the Moral Law overrides the Constitution, such that states could defy a Supreme Court decision. If Scott is trying to suggest that courts or lawmakers should somehow look to a higher and quasi-religious Moral Law to decide what the objective and verifiable words in the Constitution should be construed to mean with respect to restrictions on the power of the states, then his ideas are somewhere back in the Seventeenth Century and the argument lacks seriousness. I leave it Scott, Spencer, Rob, et. al., to correct the errors I have no doubt made in this summary.

  257. Spencer says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 07:39 AM:

    Windy,

    The above is an excellent summary. I hope Scott will rejoin the discussion sooner because I'm just *itching* to read his response!

  258. Spencer says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 07:40 AM:

    *soon

  259. Scott says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 07:44 AM:

    Spencer, Rob,
    Fair enough, you've been more than gracious to me. Either on my lunch today or tonight I'll post the response I had planned on posting last night.

  260. BJ says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 12:21 PM:

    Spencer,

    While you await Scott's response. I'd like to bring up the paper you linked me to in a previous discussion -- a philosophical paper arguing for the view that objective moral values (OMV's) could exist without an objective moral lawgiver.

    When I asked you what your response would be to fellow athiests, like Rob, who don't believe OMV's exist, your response was basically (I don't recall your exact words) that you take it by faith but you can't prove it. Fill free to correct me if I got that wrong.

    My question is how is your unprovable belief that OMV's exist necessarily any different than the theists? I mean the theist believes the same thing, with the added tennent that the OMV's are grounded in the character of God.

    Do you think you're trying to retain certain aspects of your worldview from your theist days, but jetissoning the central core?

  261. BJ says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 12:29 PM:

    Restating my question:

    Do you think you're going out of your way to retain favorable aspects of your previous theistic worldview, while jetissoning the central core?

  262. Scott says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 01:15 PM:

    I’m working on a response to your post Spencer and will hopefully have it tonight. It will include why I’m not feeling the pressure Rob has referred to. To fill you in on some of the reason why I’m not feeling it, very little I say tonight will be new. I’ll just attempt to restate it in some situations and copy and paste it in others.
    I love it that BJ asked the question as last night my post was going to begin with the following. BJ’s question is very much related to it. I am going to do something I’ve wanted to do for a little while now and that is get Spencer to share his burden of proof. I’ve always that that if you have 2 positions, position A) is weak if all it can do is attack position B) and not build a cogent case of its own. As Robert George stated in the article which has been alluded to, it’s easier to take shots at an opposing viewpoint than build up your own case. I’ve always thought the case for same-sex marriage was weak and my feeling has not been swayed from that belief as I’ve not seen Spencer’s view argued for. So, I’m happy to attempt to argue for my case (which is what I’ve been doing), but, I’m going to start being a bit of a nag in each of my posts and request a positive case be made for same-sex marriage. Why do you, Spencer, favor SSM?
    I think what needs to be argued for is the following:
    H) Objective Moral Values without an objective moral lawgiver is coherent
    I) Our cognitive faculties can, sans both design and command, detect these moral truths.
    J) There is a natural kind which same-sex marriages possess which other marriages do not possess.

    The only reason I’m doing this Spencer is because I want to know why you, as an atheist, support SSM and give you the opportunity to make your case stronger with positive evidences in its favor. My premises could still be doubted but until you come up with a positive case of your own and defend it, the objective person should remain agnostic on the matter.
    I realize that our posts could get longer here but truth cannot properly be established until it’s actually argued for.

    Hope you’ll see my post tonight!

  263. robaylesbury says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 03:53 PM:

    I am reflecting on the nature of human relationships in general, and wondering whether all present would agree on the following;

    1. It is perfectly moral for men to make deep emotional connections with other men, and for women to form deep emotional connections with other women? Assuming this is relatively uncontroversial I take that to suggest that it is not this facet of same sex relationships (SSR's) that some find problematic?

    Now to the point, and one I have already alluded to. The heart of the objection is sex, or to be specific whom is doing what with whom. I suspect it is the physical aspect of these otherwise "perfectly moral" relationships that Christians on this thread have an issue with.

    Kissing, intimate touching, sexual interaction of any kind.

    It can't be reproductive potential, either. This point has already been admirably dealt with by Spencer.

    It's sex. This is about sex. About what God has said about SSR's and the theists efforts to realise his will in the modern world.

    I'd be interested to hear your respective comments.

  264. robaylesbury says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 04:32 PM:

    BJ,

    My case for morality draws deeply from the work of Sam Harris.

    The question for me is whether we know enough about the condition of humanity, about states of our brain and our potential for suffering to dare suggest we can speak confidently about how we might enhance wellbeing and recognise when it could be diminished or enriched.

    I claim that we can. I claim that we do. And I claim that the question "Why should we prefer wellbeing?" so often touted by theists is a perfect example of a failure to engage with the real world.

  265. Scott says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 04:51 PM:

    Rob said:
    And I claim that the question "Why should we prefer wellbeing?" so often touted by theists is a perfect example of a failure to engage with the real world.

    BJ,
    I've already dealt with this statement back on, I believe February 25, when we made the exchange:
    Rob said:
    I do find it alarming when the issue of “why” we should prefer flourishing over suffering is raised. Everything we know about bodies, about minds, about consciousness screams out that flourishing is a preferable state. I honestly see any objection as a wilful rejection of all the knowledge we have accrued.

    May I say that I agreed with every word you wrote here? I agree with you that it’s nonsense to wonder, “Do you think I ought to prefer human flourishing or human suffering?” Anyone who sits around and ponders that question is in need of help.
    So I want to make it clear that that is not what I’m asking and it’s not what Craig was asking in his debate with Harris. What we’re trying to ask is that, if the statement A) below is true, (which we both agree it is), what best explains for this?
    A) It is ttrue that we ought to prefer the flourishing of humanity and ought not prefer the suffering of humanity.

    Let me state again that I’m not questioning A). It’s absolutely true.

    What I’m asking is which statement below accounts for the truth of A).

    1) A) is just true. That’s it. (What must also be a part of this is the next sentence.) Even though science itself provides no moral command nor can detect any moral oughts in a test tube, we somehow detect (through our senses?) the truth of A).
    2). A conscious, objective Creator of all reality has created us with meaning and purpose which explains the truth of A). The reason we can apprehend A)’s truthfulness is because this Creator has also created us with moral consciences and the ability for moral reasoning so we can use Ken’s CREI to apprehend the truth of A).

    Somehow I think that opponents of theism oppose 2) by claiming that we can’t fully understand the Creator. But is 1) above fully understandable?
    At least 2) provides greater explanatory power for the truthfulness of A). At least 2) makes A) coherent as (I’m trying to show in my discussion with Spencer), a moral obligation without a moral command is incoherent.
    Furthermore, if 1) is true, why isn’t A) simply a contingent truth? I think (hopefully not too presumptuously) that we both would agree that A) is a necessary and not a contingent truth. But if 1) is true, why hold A)’s truth necessarily? It would seem that, much as science is, A)’s truth would be tentative. I mean, how would we apprehend A) as a necessary truth with any epistemological certainty? But because A) must be true and there is no possible world in which A) isn’t true, then a conscious, moral lawgiver must exist.

    So, to sum up, same-sex marriage can’t be established as a right until someone can make 1) not only coherent but give reasons why we should prefer it over 2).


    Back to the present. Later that day (I believe) Rob responded to this post, but I honestly didn't find an argument in the response so I did not respond back. It just seemed like assertions to me.

  266. BJ says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 04:51 PM:

    Rob,

    Thanks for those thoughts. On a quick side note, it sounds like Obama took a page out of our book in making birth control more easily attainable for women in the US -- much to the dismay of our friend KStret.

    I haven't read the moral landscape but I have read scholarly reviews and watched his debate with Craig several times.

    I'm sure you've also seen the debate and I'm sure you know whats coming:
    1. How can you equate human wellbeing with the good, when even Harris himself concedes that there are possible worlds where psychopathic people can occupy the peaks of his moral landscape?

    2. Ought implies can. How do you square your ideas concerning moralitiy with atheistic determinism?

  267. robaylesbury says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 06:06 PM:

    I should probably take Scott and BJ's posts in tandem.

    Given everything we know about the human condition, about our response mechanisms on both the physical level and at the level of the brain, it would appear we are so evolved to prefer states of being that avoid harm. For the most part, our desire to avoid harm and seek wellbeing is shared by our fellow humans. When we encounter psychopaths we now have a good understanding as to why they behave as they do. We have learned much from studies of their brains and have an emerging knowledge of where their minds differ via techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging.

    It appears, then, that there is a normative drive to flourish, survive, and as a species we appear to have evolved in such a way to suggest that this state can be enhanced when we co-operate.

    We don't have to. We're not obligated. We do appear to be wired, or if you like shaped by natural selection to have these shared drives.

    2. I don't know what you mean by atheistic determinism? Can you articulate?

    Scott, I think my response to your question as to what best explains our preference to wellbeing was twofold. I suggested that Christianity provided no basis for morality as its entire edifice rested on an unproven hypothesis. I also believe I said something similar to what I have said above.

  268. KStret says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 07:09 PM:

    Spencer,
    "Um, yes they CERTAINLY do. I must have read this supremely bizarre claim about 5 times since it's just that fantastically unbelievable. Even though many same-sex couples say want to get married, and the entire debate and fight over SSM is whether they should have the right to get married, apparently KStret knows better! He must be...the master guru of all psychics?? This is a whole new level of distortion for KStret, one I'm unable to adequately characterize without resort to profanity."

    You did not address what I said. You have been constantly accusing me of misrepresenting your position and lying but you are misrepresenting my points.

    Did I say that homosexuals really don't want to get married meaning that I am a psychic and I can read their true feelings? That is not what I said.

    My argument is:

    The definition of marriage is one man and one woman. Homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry. They do not want the right to marry. Why? because the definition of marriage is one man and one woman.

    What do they want? They want the right to redefine marriage. This affirms that your entire case is predicated on the notion that redefining marriage is a right.

  269. KStret says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 07:09 PM:

    Rob,
    "I'm really not angry with you."
    You do not like me and that is fine. I do not care.

    "I don't mind that you appear to think me some kind of left wing communist hybrid."

    I don't think that you are a communist. You do have a left wing ideology. That is not inaccurate to say. Did you or did you not say that my ideology is consistent with the Tea party and that is crazy?

    Did you or did you not say that that my opposition to socialized medicine means that I hate the poor?

    These are not middle of the road positions. They are left wing wing positions. I wouldn't have a problem with you characterizing me as a conservative or having a right wing ideology if you were referring to the American definition of right wing.

    "I don't even mind that in your address to Scott you appear to indicate you possess some psychic hotline which affords you a window into my mind."

    Rob, you can not be serious. Did you or did you not accuse me of being dangerous and mentally ill? But I am reading your mind?

    If you are pressed on an issue, you get mad. That is not inaccurate to say.

    Look at how you responded to my objections to your position on morals:

    I asked you if morals are subjective how can you say that the position of alleviating human suffering being the greatest good is any better than a radical environmentalists view.

    First, you changed specific example of my question to the health of environment playing a part in human flourishing.

    I pointed that was not what I asked you and then your response amounted to saying human flourishing being the barometer to measure goodness is a self evident truth.

    My response to that was that you were basically affirming objective moral values.

    How is that unreasonable, lying, or misrepresenting your position?

    I asked you a direct question. You didn't answer it, and then you get mad and accuse me of lying etc.

    The same thing is true of same-marriage. The case to allow same-marriage is predicated on redefining marriage being a right.

    Do same sex marriage proponents want to admit that? No... of coarse not.

    They want to assume that redefining marriage is a right and denying same sex marriage is discriminatory. In other words, they want their opinion to be the default position and it's not.

    If I don't go along with that same sex marriage proponents get mad and they will not like me. That's great.... I don't care.

    I asked you several question about same sex marriage multiple times and you have refused to answer them.

    Misrepresentations are easily to point out. Crazy people are illogical. It really easy to show how an argument is illogical.

    If I am the insane, lying, misrepresenting, caricature that you believe I am, why is it you can't answer any questions?

    "Come to think of it, I don't even mind that you resist any and all attempts, even by well meaning Christians, to suggest your conduct might, on occasion, be worthy of some reflection."

    I am not having a discussion with you. You jump in and insult me, I ask you to back up you insults, and you refuse to answer one question.

    Is that appropriate conduct? Of coarse it is but if I were conducting my self in the exact same way, there would be a problem.

    "Interesting that you invoke Utah and Arizona as the tip of a polygamist iceberg. I expect I'm not the only one to note the several levels of irony in referring to the fringe Christian cult by way of evidence."

    Actually it was a joke......

    What are the several levels of irony that you speak of? That sounds like an insulting comment, could you clarify that?

    " the waters will be calm when Kstret decides to conduct himself in an appropriate manner. We can and should continue to challenge him when he chooses not to do so."

    Do you honestly think that your behavior is not an issue?

    It is perfectly fine for you to insult someone who is not talking to you and you don't have to back up your insults or answer any questions?

  270. KStret says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 07:10 PM:

    Scott,
    "It's not KStret and Scott (although our relationship is a bit murky now) versus Spencer, Rob and Wendy? Rather, it's KStret, Scott, Spencer, Rob and Wendy all fighting error--wherever that may be. It's an idea I've failed too often to live up to in my life and I'm certainly not one to judge and because the temptation for me to return tit for tat is enormous at times, I'm just going to bow out for a bit."

    We have no problem. When I said that there are two of us I was referring to the people on this board who are against same sex marriage.

    Your explanation of taking issue with my tone seemed like it was predicated other peoples reactions rather than a specific example that you had an issue with.

    As I asked you before, why do you have a problem with my tone and not Rob's?

    The waters are not murky... I have no problem with you at all.

  271. KStret says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 07:11 PM:

    Windy,
    "To resume my never-ending struggle against error: According to a blog that keeps track of these things,"

    You can't make your case from a blog. Blogs can be biased or have an agenda. If I posted something from a conservative blog would that mean it is a fact? No. You didn't cite the blog....

  272. robaylesbury says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 07:50 PM:

    Kstret,

    Let's open this up to everybody in the forum, shall we?

    I've openly challenged Kstret's behaviour in the clearest possible terms, as have a number of others, amongst them fellow Christians. As such, and given his rejection of these concerns I fear that Kstret is either unwilling or unable to participate in reasoned and honest debate without resorting to distortion.

    If I am incorrect about this I would ask for somebody to say so.

    Given that moderators do not wish to intervene I feel that it is essential to the spirit of our discourse that we continue to identify when his conduct falls below acceptable standards.

    This is a fantastic forum full of really interesting people. I would hope we would all seek to see our dialogue continue despite the efforts of a minority of one to muddy the waters.

  273. Spencer says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 08:13 PM:

    BJ and Scott,

    I'm tired tonight and so will address your questions some time over the weekend.

    KStret,

    "Did I say that homosexuals really don't want to get married meaning that I am a psychic and I can read their true feelings? That is not what I said."

    Hmm...except you kinda did. According to you, it is FALSE so "say that homosexuals want the right to be married," which means they're all lying when they say they want the right to get married. Only a psychic can know this. Only someone willing to engage in willful distortion can make this claim. Which one are you? (Btw, I HAVE addressed what you said - many many times. The distortions never end.)

  274. Spencer says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 08:17 PM:

    Sometimes, I just can't help myself...

    "Homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry. "

    Yes, they are. Can same-sex couples get married??

  275. Scott says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 09:29 PM:

    KStret said:
    As I asked you before, why do you have a problem with my tone and not Rob's?

    If I could tell you privately I would. I'm finished talking about this. There are bigger fish to fry here.

  276. Scott says on Mar 1, 2012 @ 09:47 PM:

    Rob said:
    We don't have to. We're not obligated. We do appear to be wired, or if you like shaped by natural selection to have these shared drives.

    I found your response to BJ and myself interesting but I still don't think it answered BJ's challenge 1) or my own in which we must ask which view better explains why we favor human flourishing. You've stated several times that we do, in fact, favor it and I agree!
    But the statement you made above seemed to pull the chair out from underneath any reason why your view has better explanatory power than the theistic position in why we should favor human flourishing.
    I disagree and think we ought to favor human flourishing over the diminishing of human flourishing.
    The vast majority of humanity also favors the taste of chocolate over vinegar (I'm going to assume that's a safe assumption). The vast majority of humanity favors helping the diminishing of a child over raping and torturing her.
    In your account, though, there seems to be no intrinsic difference between the two.
    So, on what basis ought I be morally obligated to allow for same-sex marriage? As you said, there are no obligations so, in my mind, this current debate seems settled.Because there is no moral truth you're discovering here, the two statements:
    1) The Constitution ought to allow for same-sex marriage
    2) The Constitution ought not allow for same-sex marriage

    couldn't be determined as their is no intrinsic difference between the two. Perhaps it's whichever side is in power, perhaps it's who throws out the most rhetoric. Yet, in any case, if there is no moral truth, either position is arbitrary.

    Spencer, I'm so glad you said you're tired because I'm tired too and can't make my response tonight. I really want to devote ample time to it and am thankful the weekend approaches. The discussion continues though.......

  277. Windy says on Mar 2, 2012 @ 02:59 AM:

    KStret:

    The information on reversal rates was complied by Tom Goldstein, co-founder of the SCOTUSblog, and I found a summary of it on the West Reference Attorney Blog. To my knowledge, these are not ideological sources.

  278. Windy says on Mar 2, 2012 @ 05:16 AM:

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but the affirmative case for same-sex marriage (which Scott claims is lacking) seems pretty clear to me. As a matter of law, due process and equal protection demand that same-sex couples be permitted to marry on the same terms as opposite-sex couples. As a matter of sound public policy and moral principle, people should be treated as neighbors and equals, unless they are doing something un-neighborly. A same-sex couple is doing nothing un-neighborly by entering into a marital relationship on the same terms as the opposite-sex couple next door. And the couple is certainly doing no verifiable violence to any cosmic plans for humanity that some people imagine may be floating in the eternal aether. If God doesn’t like same-sex marriage, He can enforce His rules on Judgment Day. If Mother Nature doesn’t like it (though She seems to appreciate the evolutionary value of a certain amount of same-sex intimacy), She can take care of things by natural selection or, failing that, an asteroid; or, failing that, a nova; or, failing that, radioactive decay. In the meantime, Live and Let Live, Absent Good Cause seems like an appropriate sub-clause of Do Unto Others. Good enough for mortal use, anyway. Peace out, friends.

  279. robaylesbury says on Mar 2, 2012 @ 06:30 AM:

    Scott, If I hear you correctly we agree that to prefer human flourishing is good, and that your main question is what provides the best explanation for this?

    Being frank, I think I have already put forward a naturalistic case that provides one. I've ventured that our brains are largely the same, as are our basic needs, and that these factors alone provide some explanatory power. Divergent culture and the zeitgeist mucks things up some more until we have the milieu that we see around us. In light of this, to venture a non explanation such as God appears a bit surplus to requirements. In fact, the whole concept of God/Gods likely emerged from the zeitgeist anyway.

    I fear that I risk repetition to say more.

  280. Scott says on Mar 2, 2012 @ 07:50 AM:

    Rob,
    But I could grant everything you said as being true and wouldn't have the basis for moral obligations. You've said we have no moral obligations but then, I ask, why ought I favor the good? To me, it seems that in your view the basis for law or the Constitution is it's just how our brains are typically wired. As I'm sure you've heard before, an "is" does not imply an "ought." How do I get from A) to B) here:
    A) Our brains are hard-wired so that people typically favor the good
    to
    B) Therefore, we have a moral basis on which law can dictate that everyone ought to favor the good.

    B) does not follow from A) alone. You've stated A) many, many different times and don't want to repeat yourself. I'm thankful for that because I've heard A) enough as well. I want to know how you get B) from A). You cannot do this by simply restating A).

  281. robaylesbury says on Mar 2, 2012 @ 09:29 AM:

    The foundation I have offered is, as far as I can determine, the only one empirically available to us. We can trace its origins and understand something about it. And the kind of moral obligations you speak of are without foundation as the hypothesis which undergirds them is unproven.

    I've never claimed my solution offers a perfect foundation for moral obligations. I do suggest that we are able to move from a perceived minus to a plus given what we have come to know.

    I really think you're hung up on the word "obligation", and perhaps a bit lacking in confidence as to the human propensity to move forward. Concerning the latter I cannot deny that you may have a legitimate grounds for concern. We shall have to see.

    One thing that appears fairly plain to me, is that positing a moral lawgiver doesn't grease the wheels any more effectively.

  282. Windy says on Mar 2, 2012 @ 09:45 AM:

    Who the hell needs a foundation? All you need is an agreed-upon starting point, like "consent of the governed" or "the person who sits closest to the window deals first." After that, you can innovate and evolve on the basis of experience, evidence and taste. You can even reconsider whether you still like the opening starting point. Customary rules are no different in kind from any other rules or any other tools humans use to get by in the world.

  283. Scott says on Mar 2, 2012 @ 01:26 PM:

    Spencer,
    I'm reflecting on O) P) and Q) and it's taking me awhile. When I'm done, I think I'll change the premises in my argument a bit because I thought it was necessary to do so in order to better explain Q**). I'll try and have it over the weekend.

  284. Windy says on Mar 2, 2012 @ 02:08 PM:

    Maryland just enacted same-sex marriage. If the Perry decision is not reversed, this means that more than a quarter of the American population will be living in a state where same-sex marriage is recognized. If the purported ill effects of same-sex marriage are real, they should have already shown up in a state with a large population like New York. At this point, the opponents should be relying on empirical evidence, not mere conjecture.

  285. robaylesbury says on Mar 2, 2012 @ 03:33 PM:

    There's been no Gay-pocalypse in Europe either, although sales of Ugly Betty box sets have spiked of late.

  286. Windy says on Mar 2, 2012 @ 04:16 PM:

    Good point. I guess I should acknowledge that, here in the States, people are tolerating Doogie Howser now. It's not all wine and roses.

  287. Windy says on Mar 2, 2012 @ 05:36 PM:

    The Governor of Maryland has a fine statement on the Huffington Post. A good contrast to the lucubrations of the same-sex marriage opponents like Robert George.

  288. robaylesbury says on Mar 2, 2012 @ 06:16 PM:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/23/martin-omalley-maryland-gay-marriage_n_1296224.html

    You mean this one?

  289. Windy says on Mar 2, 2012 @ 07:01 PM:

    Yes.

  290. KStret says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 12:18 AM:

    Spencer,
    "...except you kinda did. According to you, it is FALSE so "say that homosexuals want the right to be married," which means they're all lying when they say they want the right to get married. Only a psychic can know this. Only someone willing to engage in willful distortion can make this claim. Which one are you? (Btw, I HAVE addressed what you said - many many times. The distortions never end.)"

    You just repeated the same thing that you said before, which is misrepresenting my position.

    Did the context of my comments mean that I was reading gay peoples minds? Was I saying they really don't want to get married even though they are say they do? No and that is a distortion.

    I said the because the definition of marriage is one man and one women, it is false to say that homosexuals want to get married or are being denied the right to get married.

    It is accurate to say that homosexuals want the right to redefine marriage and are being denied the right to redefine marriage. The entire case for same sex marriage is predicated on that point.

  291. KStret says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 12:22 AM:

    Rob,
    "Let's open this up to everybody in the forum, shall we?"

    I am not effected by peer pressure. You have one atheists whose eye starts twitching like the police chief who always tried to kill Inspector Clouseau when he hears my name. BJ has always had a problem with me and Scott.

    There have been many Christians who didn't have a problem with me and took issue with you.

    "I've openly challenged Kstret's behaviour in the clearest possible terms, as have a number of others, amongst them fellow Christians."

    When we were discussing morals in the other thread, Dullhammer and I believe Scott took issue with the way you were addressing me.

    Did you think that you were being unreasonable when two people took issue with the way you were addressing me?

    "As such, and given his rejection of these concerns I fear that Kstret is either unwilling or unable to participate in reasoned and honest debate without resorting to distortion."

    Give me one example of me distorting your opinion.

    Is it unreasonable to ask, if you believe there are no objective morals but human flushing is the greatest good, how you can say that position is any better than a radical environmentalist? How is the distorting your opinion or lying?

    Wouldn't attempting to argue that human flushing is consistent with the health of the environment be a misrepresentation and a distortion of my question?

    Is it a step over the line into crazy town to point out when you can't or will not answer my question, that it sounds like you are saying that the goodness human flushing is a self evident truth, which is affirming objective moral values?

    Have I ever insulted you?

    "Given that moderators do not wish to intervene I feel that it is essential to the spirit of our discourse that we continue to identify when his conduct falls below acceptable standards."

    Moderators have intervened in the past. They have deleted posts before. They have never deleted any of mine. Why don't you e mail them?

    PS. In the post about the communist goals for America I was not calling you a communist. It was a legitimate question.

    Why would the Soviets who were the mortal enemy of the United States at the time want to implement that kind of cultural agenda in America?

    I could put it another way.

    If my memory serves me correctly, you are married and have two girls. What would happen to your family if you and your wife decided to have open marriage and doing other things that coincide with communist list?

    Answer: Your family would fall apart.

    The soviet cultural agenda was designed to attack America's foundation. If the foundation falls apart what happens to the house that was sitting on top of that foundation?

  292. KStret says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 12:24 AM:

    BJ
    "On a quick side note, it sounds like Obama took a page out of our book in making birth control more easily attainable for women in the US -- much to the dismay of our friend KStret."

    Does the government have the right to force religious institutions to provide non-essential care that they morally disagree with?

    Does the government have the right to force private insurance companies to provide non-essential care at no cost?

    You own a store. The government tells you that you have to give away one of the products in the store for free. What would this government policy do to the price all the other products you sell?

  293. KStret says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 12:29 AM:

    Windy,
    "To resume my never-ending struggle against error: According to a blog that keeps track of these things, 79 percent of the cases heard in the last Supreme Court term were reversed or vacated."

    That was 2003 to 10. If someone is 80% wrong in everything they tell you, would you listen to them?

    In 2007, they were the most overturned court in the country. They had a steak going as the most overturned court in the country for a while.

    In 2008, at one point there had a 94% reversal rate.I don't think they were doing much better from 2009-11. It's possible they had a good year.

    Justice Kennedy basically scolded the court in one decision. According to Kennedy the 9th Circuit had shown “judicial disregard for the sound and established principles” of habeas corpus.

    The SC unanimously overturned five consecutive cases out of the 9th Circuit in less than a week last year. When you can not get one liberal justice on the supreme court to agree with you, that is a pretty good indication the decision is literally out in left field.

    "The 9th Circuit also has a long-running streak as the most overturned, which went unbroken this year. The Supreme Court reviewed 22 cases from the 9th Circuit last term, and it reversed or vacated 19 times. By comparison, the Supreme Court reviewed only five cases, vacating or reversing four, from the next-busiest court of appeals, the 5th Circuit based in New Orleans.

    In other words, although the 9th Circuit decided only one-third more appeals on the merits than the 5th Circuit, it was reversed nearly five times more often.

    These numbers suggest that the 9th Circuit is not doing a very good job. I am not the first to point this out. For many years, lawyers, judges and legal scholars have argued that the 9th Circuit is so large and unwieldy that it should be split. Indeed, before the 2006 midterm elections, Congress came very close to doing just that. Legislation passed the House but was never acted on in the Senate."

    http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jul/11/opinion/oe-fitzpatrick11

    Even if I give you the reversal rates can be deceiving point, the other barometer is to measure a court record is the amount of cases that the supreme court takes up.

    In 2011, at one point the Supreme Court has 48 cases and 20 of them came from 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

    They are a liberal activist court. That is a point that most people agree on.

  294. Spencer says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 12:44 AM:

    KStret,

    "You just repeated the same thing that you said before, which is misrepresenting my position."

    There is no misrepresentation: according to you, it is FALSE to say that homosexuals want the right to be married, which means when they do say that, they must be lying. How do you know they're lying? Either you're psychic or you're just making stuff up, as usual.

    "Did the context of my comments mean that I was reading gay peoples minds?"

    Yes, because your comment implies that homosexuals are lying about what they want, and the only way you can know that is if you have the ability to read their minds. The other possibility: you're engaging in willful distortion.

    "Was I saying they really don't want to get married even though they are say they do? No and that is a distortion. "

    No, that is not a distortion. Your statement that it is FALSE to say that homosexuals want the right to get married implies precisely that - that they don't really want to get married even though they say they do.

    If it's FALSE to say that homosexuals want to get married, then it follows that when homosexuals SAY they want to get married, they aren't telling the TRUTH. Hence they must be lying, according to you. There is no distortion.

    "I said the because the definition of marriage is one man and one women, it is false to say that homosexuals want to get married"

    Of course, this doesn't follow in the slightest.

  295. Spencer says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 12:46 AM:

    "It is accurate to say that homosexuals want the right to redefine marriage"

    Nope, this is just more willful distortion on your part. The fact that you WON'T address my remarks regarding this distortion (even though you'll FALSELY say you did) is very telling.

  296. robaylesbury says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 12:50 AM:

    More of the same from Kstret. No attempt to engage in honest dialogue nor any attempt to accurately reflect an opponents position.

    Its a bit like Groundhog Day mixed with the Monty Python dead parrot sketch.

  297. KStret says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 01:29 AM:

    Spencer,
    You are again repeating the same thing and ignoring the context of what I said.

    "If it's FALSE to say that homosexuals want to get married, then it follows that when homosexuals SAY they want to get married, they aren't telling the TRUTH. Hence they must be lying, according to you. There is no distortion. "

    No, that doesn't follow. I didn't say that they were lying. I said it is false to say they want to get married.

    If I told you the X mart is on the Elm street and I really believed it was, I made a false statement but I was not lying.

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. The definition of Same sex marriage is not one man and one woman.
    3. Therefore, Same sex marriage is changing the definition of marriage.

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman
    2. Same sex marriage redefines marriage
    3. Any man can marry any woman he wants.
    4. Therefore, homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry. It is demonstrably false for homosexuals to assert that they are being denied the right to marry.

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman
    2. Same sex marriage redefines marriage
    3. Same sex couples are not being denied the right to marry
    4. Therefore, same sex couples are being denied the "right" to redefine marriage

    "I said the because the definition of marriage is one man and one women, it is false to say that homosexuals want to get married...Of course, this doesn't follow in the slightest."

    You believe that homosexuals are being denied the right of one man marrying one women?

    You believe that homosexuals want the right of one man to marrying one women?

    or

    Do they want the right to redefine marriage?

    "Nope, this is just more willful distortion on your part. The fact that you WON'T address my remarks regarding this distortion (even though you'll FALSELY say you did) is very telling."

    I have addressed your remarks and there is no distortion on my part. I have clearly pointed out where you are distorting my point.

  298. KStret says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 01:29 AM:

    Rob,
    "No attempt to engage in honest dialogue nor any attempt to accurately reflect an opponents position."

    What did I say that was dishonest Rob?

    How am I inaccurately reflecting my opponents position?

    The definition of marriage is not one man and one women?

    Homosexuals are being denied the right of one man marrying one women?

    Homosexuals want the civil right of one man marrying one women?

    Homosexuals are not saying redefining marriage is a right?

    Tell me where I am getting it wrong.

  299. KStret says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 01:37 AM:

    1. Homosexuals believe that Same sex marriage is a fundamental civil right.
    2. The definition of marriage is one man and one women
    3. Same sex marriage redefines marriage.
    4. Therefore, it is accurate to say redefining marriage is a fundamental civil right.

  300. Windy says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 05:54 AM:

    Kstret:

    The reversal-rate statistics I gave you were from the last Supreme Court term, exactly as I said. Reversal rates vary from year to year, and, as I said, reflect little more than which circuit decided the highest number of decisions worthy of review. The Supreme Court reviews only a tiny percentage of decisions, and it often takes review of an issue where one circuit has taken a maverick position. The Ninth Circuit, being the largest, has more chance of issuing an occasional maverick opinion. The reversal says nothing about the overall quality of the circuit. Moreover, the reversal rate for an entire circuit says precisely nothing about the quality of a particular decision by one three-judge panel. If you want to be useful, why not try your hand at critiquing Perry v. Brown, as Spencer suggested? See if you find your proposed framing of the issue in either the majority opinion or the dissent. You are starting to tread on my maverick endorsement of your contribution to the discussion, and the opinion is reviewable.

  301. Windy says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 06:14 AM:

    By the way, I guess I should correct myself. There are thirteen circuits, not eleven. I forgot the District of Columbia and the Federal Circuit.

  302. robaylesbury says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 08:11 AM:

    Kstret, you have already been told by multiple people, multiple times. If anybody else doubts this perhaps they can leap to your defence.

  303. Spencer says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 08:35 AM:

    KStret,

    "No, that doesn't follow. I didn't say that they were lying. I said it is false to say they want to get married. "

    Actually, it does follow, and it is still an outrageous and insulting suggestion. I stand by my comment.

    "If I told you the X mart is on the Elm street and I really believed it was, I made a false statement but I was not lying."

    Poor analogy. The difference is you're making a claim about a person's own desires, not merely about beliefs.

    "1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. The definition of Same sex marriage is not one man and one woman.
    3. Therefore, Same sex marriage is changing the definition of marriage."

    Already addressed.


    "You believe that homosexuals are being denied the right of one man marrying one women?

    You believe that homosexuals want the right of one man to marrying one women?"

    Neither. (Of course, you know perfectly well I DON'T believe this, since this is just more distortion on your part).

    "I have addressed your remarks..."

    No, you haven't - another lie. You've COMPLETELY ignored the following posts: Feb 24, 2012 @ 01:02 PM, Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:27 PM, Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:21 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 03:23 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:50 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:07 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 01:45 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:30 AM, and others.

    "I have clearly pointed out where you are distorting my point."

    There is no distortion on my part. In fact, you even proved my point! Previous, you wrote:

    "Was I saying they really don't want to get married even though they are say they do? No and that is a distortion."

    But in your latest post, you wrote:

    "it is false to say they want to get married."

    If it's FALSE to say homosexuals want to get married, then you ARE saying they DON'T really want to get married even though they say they do! No distortion whatsoever. Moreover, your statement implies they're lying, a claim for which you have no evidence (unless you're psychic).

  304. Spencer says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 08:39 AM:

    KStret,

    "1. Homosexuals believe that Same sex marriage is a fundamental civil right.
    2. The definition of marriage is one man and one women
    3. Same sex marriage redefines marriage.
    4. Therefore, it is accurate to say redefining marriage is a fundamental civil right."

    Of course, (4) doesn't follow as I pointed out a thousand times. KStret, what rule of logical inference allows you to infer (4) from the other premises?

  305. Spencer says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 08:54 AM:

    KStret asks:

    "What did I say that was dishonest Rob?"

    Do you want a list?

    1). Your (recent) claim that homosexuals don't want to get married.

    2). Your (recent) claim that you didn't say (1).

    3) Your (recent) claim that homosexuals aren't being denied the right to get married. (Btw, WLC made the same foolish statement, which I addressed in posts: Feb 13, 2012 @ 01:05 AM and Feb 15, 2012 @ 11:28 PM)


    4) Your claim that SSM advocates believe that redefining marriage is a fundamental right (a claim which willfully ignores the distinction between the right asserted and the remedy sought).

    5) Your claim that SSM advocates believe they have the right to force judges to "impose SSM on culture."

    6) Your claim that you've actually addressed the KST analogy.

    I could go on.

  306. Spencer says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 09:13 AM:

    Windy wrote:

    "If you want to be useful, why not try your hand at critiquing Perry v. Brown, as Spencer suggested?"

    I find it absolutely bizarre that KStret refuses to do this, considering his claim that the legal justification for SSM "makes absolutely no sense." If the legal justification makes "absolutely no sense," why won't he explain it to us?

    His only (bizarre) defense is to say that the 9th Circuit gets reversed a lot. Does it follow from that that a reversed opinion "makes absolutely no sense?" (Reversed opinions make a lot of sense even when they're wrong.) Does it follow from that that Perry v. Brown "makes absolutely no sense?" KStret's REMARKS make absolutely no sense!

  307. Spencer says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 09:21 AM:

    More KStret nonsense:

    "1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman
    2. Same sex marriage redefines marriage
    3. Same sex couples are not being denied the right to marry
    4. Therefore, same sex couples are being denied the "right" to redefine marriage"

    Of course, (3) is so obviously and plainly false: Most same-sex couples CANNOT get married, and thus they ARE being denied the right to marry.

  308. BJ says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 10:50 AM:

    KStret,
    1. As you well know, the administration made it so that religious institutions don’t have to provide the birth control. But of course, you’re still not happy. You’re not going to be happy no matter what Obama does.

    2. Private insurance companies are happy to provide the birth control because it’s cheaper than paying for women to go through full term pregnancies. Don’t act like you’re standing up for the rights of private insurance companies.

    3. I’ve always had a problem with you and Scott? Nice attempt to try to lobby Scott’s support. I have a problem with you my friend because you play dirty in these discussions. You’re not interested in open minded discussion – you’re interested in getting the last word and winning a debate. You should humble yourself and apologize.

  309. Jeff says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 01:53 PM:

    Re: Spencer,

    "More KStret nonsense:

    "1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman
    2. Same sex marriage redefines marriage
    3. Same sex couples are not being denied the right to marry
    4. Therefore, same sex couples are being denied the "right" to redefine marriage"

    Of course, (3) is so obviously and plainly false: Most same-sex couples CANNOT get married, and thus they ARE being denied the right to marry."

    Of course, (3) is obviously and plainly true if (1) is true. Any individual with homosexual desire still has the right to get married (defn: one man, one woman), they just might not have the desire to.

    And Windy re: KStret,

    "You are starting to tread on my maverick endorsement of your contribution to the discussion, and the opinion is reviewable."

    I hope you're not serious. If so, I think KStret is better off without your "maverick endorsement".

  310. Spencer says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 02:42 PM:

    Wow, a KStret advocate to the rescue!

    "Of course, (3) is obviously and plainly true if (1) is true. Any individual with homosexual desire still has the right to get married (defn: one man, one woman), they just might not have the desire to."

    My goodness - what utter nonsense! Sure, homosexuals have the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, but that ISN'T the right that they're being denied (or one anyone is talking about!). They're being denied the right to marry their romantic partners, as is obvious. Moreover, (3) asserts that same-sex couples are not being denied the right. What does it mean to say that a same-sex couple wants the right to get married? To say that a couple wants the right to get married IS to say that they the couple want the right to get married - to each other. (Did this really need to be spelled out?).

    So Jeff, your defense of KStret's argument fails.

  311. Spencer says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 02:48 PM:

    Jeff,

    Suppose that in California, the legal definition of marriage is one man and one woman of the same race. Would the following be true?

    (3*) Interracial couples in California are not being denied the right to marry.

  312. Windy says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 03:35 PM:

    Jeff:

    We went through this at the beginning of the thread. Read Lawrence v. Kansas. The majority opinion, written by Justice Kennedy, explains why gays have a fundamental right to sexual intimacy in the privacy of their own homes. Justice O’Connor’s concurrence explains why a law prohibiting same-sex intimacy violates equal protection. In dissent, Justice Scalia explains why the analysis leads directly to the conclusion that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry on the same terms as opposite-sex couples. If you think anyone in this chain has the Fourteenth Amendment wrong, argue your position. The rest is noise.

    ps. Meow.

  313. BJ says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 03:43 PM:

    Windy,

    Would you care to endorse Rush Limbaugh while you're at it?

  314. Windy says on Mar 3, 2012 @ 03:49 PM:

    No. His base of support is wide enough.

  315. Windy says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 01:49 PM:

    Jeff: It's Lawrence v. Texas, not Kansas. For some reason, that correction was erased.

  316. Windy says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 02:07 PM:

    Daniel:

    I haven’t forgotten you. I was waiting for Scott to wrap up his same-sex marriage argument, so we could put that to rest. In the meantime, I advise you to read Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1989). Virtually every word you wrote about the First Amendment and a conscience-based right to ignore economic regulations of general applicability conflicts with the majority opinion written by Justice Scalia.

  317. KStret says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 03:48 PM:

    Spencer,
    "1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman
    2. Same sex marriage redefines marriage
    3. Same sex couples are not being denied the right to marry
    4. Therefore, same sex couples are being denied the "right" to redefine marriage"

    "Of course, (3) is so obviously and plainly false: Most same-sex couples CANNOT get married, and thus they ARE being denied the right to marry"

    Is your position that homosexuals are being denied the right of one man marrying one women?

    "You believe that homosexuals want the right of one man to marrying one women?"

    "Neither. (Of course, you know perfectly well I DON'T believe this, since this is just more distortion on your part)."

    How is asking you a question distorting? You disagree with premise 3.

    "They're being denied the right to marry their romantic partners, as is obvious. Moreover, (3) asserts that same-sex couples are not being denied the right. "

    That is a distortion. 3)asserts that same sex couples are not being denied the right to marry. What is the definition of marriage? One man and one women.

    If the definition of marriage is one man and one woman, homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry.

    You can throw in the term romantic partner but that doesn't change anything. Their romantic partner is someone of the same sex. What is the definition of marriage? One man and one women. They are being denied the "right" to redefine marriage.

    "So Jeff, your defense of KStret's argument fails."

    Actually it didn't. You are ignoring the distinction between the definition of marriage and the redefinition of marriage.

    "(4) doesn't follow as I pointed out a thousand times. KStret, what rule of logical inference allows you to infer (4) from the other premises?"

    You can't simply say, "that doesn't follow" with out an explanation.

    "Suppose that in California, the legal definition of marriage is one man and one woman of the same race. Would the following be true?(3*) Interracial couples in California are not being denied the right to marry."

    You keep equating same sex marriage with inter-racial marriage. They are not the same. Citing a case that has to do with inter-racial marriage doesn't apply to same sex marriage.

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. striking down laws that prohibited Inter-racial marriage changed the law from one white man/ one white women to one man and one women
    3. Therefore, striking down inter racial marriage laws does not change the definition of marriage

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. The definition of Same sex marriage is not one man and one woman.
    3. Therefore, Same sex marriage is changing the definition of marriage.

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. laws that prohibited Inter-racial marriage did not change the definition of marriage and same sex marriage does change the definition of marriage
    3. Therefore, same sex marriage and inter-racial marriage are not the same.

    1. The 14th amendment's equal protection equal protection clause dictates that laws must be applied uniformly.
    2. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman
    3. inter-racial marriage marriage denied one man the right to marry any woman he wants and vice versa.
    4. Therefore, inter-racial marriage laws violated the 14th amendment's equal protection equal protection clause

    1. The 14th amendment's equal protection equal protection clause dictates that laws must be applied uniformly.
    2. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman
    3. Same sex couples are not being denied the right to marry. They are being denied the right to redefine marriage.
    4. Therefore, the 14th amendments equal protection clause is not being violated.

    1. The 14th amendment's equal protection equal protection clause dictates that laws must be applied uniformly.
    2. Homosexuals assert that they have a right to redefine marriage.
    3. Therefore, if Homosexuals have the right to redefine marriage under the 14th amendment's equal protection equal protection clause all groups have the right to define marriage.

    You also keep equating same sex marriage with civil rights.

    1. Black people were owned a slaves, denied the right to vote, beaten, murdered, completely segregated, sprayed with fire hoses for marching peacefully, etc
    2. None of those things are being done to homosexuals.
    3. Therefore, the comparison between homosexuals and the civil rights movement is a invalid one, inherently illogical, disrespectful, and insulting.

    Being chased down by a bunch of guys in white sheets and lynched is not even remotely close to two men or women who think that redefining marriage is a civil right.

    As far as your list of my distortions, first, that was addressed to Rob.

    Secondly, I have addressed every single one of those points. In some of the examples you are actually distorting my opinion.

    The entire case for same sex is predicated on the notion that redefining marriage is a right.

    "distinction between the right asserted and the remedy sought)."

    What is the right? Being able to get married.

    What is the definition of marriage? One man and one woman. Homosexuals are not being denied that right. Any man can marry any woman he wants. They are being denied the right to redefine marriage.

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. The definition of Same sex marriage is not one man and one woman.
    3. Therefore, Same sex marriage is changing the definition of marriage.

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman
    2. Same sex marriage redefines marriage
    3. Any man can marry any woman he wants.
    4. Therefore, homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry. It is demonstrably false for homosexuals to assert that they are being denied the right to marry.

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman
    2. Same sex marriage redefines marriage
    3. Same sex couples are not being denied the right to marry
    4. Therefore, same sex couples are being denied the "right" to redefine marriage

  318. KStret says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 03:48 PM:

    BJ,
    First of all you did not answer my questions.

    "1. As you well know, the administration made it so that religious institutions don’t have to provide the birth control."

    If a religious institution doesn't want to provide contraception to their employees, their employees are going to get contraception coverage any way.

    If all insurance companies are forced to provide contraception at no cost, there is no way to get around that. I agree with Windy on that point.

    "2. Private insurance companies are happy to provide the birth control because it’s cheaper than paying for women to go through full term pregnancies. Don’t act like you’re standing up for the rights of private insurance companies."

    First of all, your entire point is a red herring. The issue is does the government have the right to force private insurance companies to provide non-essential contraceptives for at no cost. The answer to that question is no.

    Secondly, that is up to insurance companies to decide not the government. I take it your response means that the government does have the right to force private insurance companies to provide services at no cost?

    "3. I’ve always had a problem with you and Scott? Nice attempt to try to lobby Scott’s support."

    You misunderstood me. I wasn't saying that you have a problem with me and Scott. I said you have had a problem with me and Scott had a problem with my tone.

    "I have a problem with you my friend because you play dirty in these discussions. You’re not interested in open minded discussion – you’re interested in getting the last word and winning a debate."

    How do I play dirty? What does that even mean? I poke you in the eye or trip you? You were about to post a response and I hacked into your computer and deleted it?

    BJ, if you hold an opinion you should be able to defend that opinion. If you can't defend a opinion, what does that tell you?

    You think that an abortions are wrong after 2 months and you agree that it doesn't make sense if a women gets an abortion it's permissible for her but if the father causes a miscarriage on purpose, that is murder. Ok fine..... we agree.

    Let's apply that same logic chain to your contention that abortion is permissible until two months.

    A father puts something in the mother's drink to cause a miscarriage and she is one month pregnant, what should happen to the father?

    Is that an unreasonable question? Am I somehow tricking you? Is asking you that question some how lying or being dishonest?

    Did you answer that question? No, you did not. You disappeared and then reappeared to call me names.

    Why didn't you answer that question? Because it shows your position is flawed but you are not going to change your opinion. Instead of your opinion being the issue, problem has to be with me.

    "You should humble yourself and apologize."

    I have nothing to apologize for. Am I insulting people?

  319. KStret says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 03:49 PM:

    Rob
    "Kstret, you have already been told by multiple people, multiple times. If anybody else doubts this perhaps they can leap to your defence."

    All you are doing is throwing around logical fallacies. Argumentum ad populum and Ad hominem attacks are logical fallacies.

    You are accusing me of refusing to engage in any honest dialog but I have attempted to have an honest dialog about your accusations. It is you who doesn't want to engage a honest dialog about your accusations.

    If I am lying and distorting your opinion, shouldn't you be able to provide one example of my doing that to you? I ask you to provide one example and you turn around and call me a liar again.

    I ask you another question and you turn around and tell me all the cool kids agree with you.

  320. KStret says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 03:51 PM:

    Windy,
    You ignored the point about the volume of cases being another barometer to test how bad a court is. In the article I posted he pointed out:

    "The 9th Circuit also has a long-running streak as the most overturned, which went unbroken this year. The Supreme Court reviewed 22 cases from the 9th Circuit last term, and it reversed or vacated 19 times. By comparison, the Supreme Court reviewed only five cases, vacating or reversing four, from the next-busiest court of appeals, the 5th Circuit based in New Orleans.

    In other words, although the 9th Circuit decided only one-third more appeals on the merits than the 5th Circuit, it was reversed nearly five times more often.

    These numbers suggest that the 9th Circuit is not doing a very good job."

    It was the same thing last year. Almost half the SC's docket was coming from the 9th circuit court. When the 9th circuit has 1/3 more of a case load than the next largest court and they have 20-25 decisions going to the supreme court and the next largest court has 5 cases, there is a problem.

    It's not like this court goes 5 years without a problem and then all of the sudden has a bad year. You can't just ignore the past work and look at this on a year to year basis. There is a pattern.

    Most liberals would concede that this is an activist court. Even the most liberal press reported that the SC smacked down the 9th which was an indication that the SC is getting tired of the 9th circuit court's decisions.

    "explains why gays have a fundamental right to sexual intimacy in the privacy of their own homes. "Justice O’Connor’s concurrence explains why a law prohibiting same-sex intimacy violates equal protection."

    You are conflating two different issues. Do consenting adults have the right to have whatever kind of sex they want in the privacy of their own home? Yes! That is an entirely different issue than same sex marriage. One is a privacy issue and the other is not.

    You can't make these huge leaps of explanatory legal gymnastics to back your opinion up. Inter-racial marriage is not the same as same sex marriage. A case that has to do with privacy is not the same as same sex marriage.

    "why not try your hand at critiquing Perry v. Brown, as Spencer suggested? See if you find your proposed framing of the issue in either the majority opinion or the dissent. "

    When a court hears a case, does it pick a side and assume one side is correct and put the explanatory burden on the other side or should both sides make their case?

    "You are starting to tread on my maverick endorsement of your contribution to the discussin, and the opinion is reviewable."

    If you want to change your opinion that is up to you. I don't need your endorsement. If you don't address something I wrote, I am going to point that out. If I disagree with you, I am going point too. If that leads to you changing your endorsement, that's fine. In am not a peer pressure person. Peer pressure doesn't work for me....

  321. KStret says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 03:52 PM:

    You guys are taking the 3000 contraception women who 's testimony wasted the tax payers time and money, seriously?

  322. Spencer says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 04:36 PM:

    KStret,

    "If the definition of marriage is one man and one woman, homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry."

    Yes, they are -- you are simply grossly distorting the facts, as you always do. Same-sex couples cannot get married in states where marriage is defined as between one man and one woman. Hence they lack the right to get married - to each other.

    "You can throw in the term romantic partner but that doesn't change anything. Their romantic partner is someone of the same sex. What is the definition of marriage? One man and one women. "

    More distortion. Your premise (3) asserts that same sex couples are not being denied the right to marry, but they are CLEARLY being denied this right. Can same-sex couples get married in most states??? If no, that's because they ARE being denied the right marry.

    "They are being denied the "right" to redefine marriage."

    "You are ignoring the distinction between the definition of marriage and the redefinition of marriage. "

    I have not ignored any such distinction (in fact, the one ignoring distinctions is YOU, who refuses to see the distinction between the right asserted and the remedy sought.)

    Nope - already addressed (about 50 times).

    "Homosexuals are not being denied that right."

    More distortion. The fact that homosexuals are not being denied the right marry members of the opposite sex DOESN'T mean they aren't, in a very real sense, being denied the right marry. The relevant right here is the right to marry one's romantic partner, which homosexuals cannot do. You know this of course.

    "You can't simply say, "that doesn't follow" with out an explanation."

    I've explained this numerous times. You've COMPLETELY ignored the following posts: Feb 24, 2012 @ 01:02 PM, Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:27 PM, Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:21 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 03:23 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:50 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:07 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 01:45 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:30 AM, and others.

    "You keep equating same sex marriage with inter-racial marriage. They are not the same."

    You keep refusing to addressing my KST analogy head on, so repeating this pat-reply won't do. You've COMPLETELY ignored the following posts: Feb 24, 2012 @ 01:02 PM, Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:27 PM, Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:21 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 03:23 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:50 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:07 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 01:45 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:30 AM, and others.

  323. Spencer says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 04:41 PM:

    KStret,

    "Secondly, I have addressed every single one of those points. In some of the examples you are actually distorting my opinion."

    This is another bold-faced lie. You've COMPLETELY ignored the following posts: Feb 24, 2012 @ 01:02 PM, Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:27 PM, Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:21 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 03:23 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:50 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:07 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 01:45 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:30 AM, and others.

    Moreover, what about your latest (dishonest) claim that homosexuals don't want the right to get married? Are you still going to pretend you didn't say this?

    Earlier you wrote:
    "Was I saying they really don't want to get married even though they are say they do? No and that is a distortion."

    But later you wrote:

    "it is false to say they want to get married."

    If it's FALSE to say homosexuals want to get married, then you ARE saying they DON'T really want to get married even though they say they do! No distortion whatsoever. Moreover, your statement implies they're lying, a claim for which you have no evidence (unless you're psychic).

  324. Spencer says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 04:54 PM:

    KStret asked for examples of distortions he's made in this thread. I gave him the following list:

    1). Your (recent) claim that homosexuals don't want to get married.

    2). Your (recent) claim that you didn't say (1).

    3) Your (recent) claim that homosexuals aren't being denied the right to get married. (Btw, WLC made the same foolish statement, which I addressed in posts: Feb 13, 2012 @ 01:05 AM and Feb 15, 2012 @ 11:28 PM)

    4) Your claim that SSM advocates believe that redefining marriage is a fundamental right (a claim which willfully ignores the distinction between the right asserted and the remedy sought).

    5) Your claim that SSM advocates believe they have the right to force judges to "impose SSM on culture."

    6) Your claim that you've actually addressed the KST analogy.

    If anyone would like elaborations on any of the above, let me know. I challenge KStret to defend against my charge of distortions by either: (1) arguing that the attributed claims are not in fact distortions, but accurately represent the position of SSM advocates, and/or (2) arguing that the attributed claims are not in fact the ones he's made.

  325. robaylesbury says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 05:05 PM:

    Kstret,

    The evidence suggests that "honest dialogue" is not your primary modus operandi.

  326. Spencer says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 05:17 PM:

    Here, I'm going to focus on KStret's (dishonest) claim that same-sex couples "are not being denied the right to marry." Unfortunately, this (dishonest) claim is peddled by a lot of people, including WLC. How is the argument supposed to go?

    KStret observes that the legal definition of marriage in most states is between one man and one woman. Under this definition, homosexuals can get married if they choose to marry a person of the opposite sex. From this, KStret thinks it follows that homosexuals aren't being denied the right to marry. Of course, the problem with this argument is that it (dishonestly) commits the fallacy of ambiguity.

    (i) Homosexuals can marry persons of the opposite sex.
    (ii) Therefore, homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry.

    The problem is that (ii) is ambiguous and can be interpreted in at least two ways. It could mean:

    (I1)Homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry persons of the opposite sex.

    Or,

    (I2) Homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry their romantic partners.

    Although (I1) follows from (i), (I2) does not follow from (i). In fact, (I2) is obviously and plainly false in most states. When homosexuals say they are being denied the right to marry, that is simply a shorthand way of expressing (I2), and anyone paying attention to the SSM debate knows this. KStret makes it seem like when homosexuals say they are being denied the right to marry, they are complaining about being denied the right to marry persons of the opposite sex, which is totally and utterly dishonest.

    But the problems do not end there. Recall KStret's claim that same-sex couples are not being denied the right to marry. To say that a couple cannot get married IS to say that they the couple cannot get married to each other. Again, KStret knows this (hence my charge of dishonesty and gross distortion).

  327. Spencer says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 05:25 PM:

    KStret wrote:

    "It is you who doesn't want to engage a honest dialog about your accusations."

    Hey, how about having an honest dialogue with me about my accusations? I think one is long overdue. Perhaps we can start with the list of distortions I provided:

    1). Your (recent) claim that homosexuals don't want to get married.

    2). Your (recent) claim that you didn't say (1).

    3) Your (recent) claim that homosexuals aren't being denied the right to get married. (Btw, WLC made the same foolish statement, which I addressed in posts: Feb 13, 2012 @ 01:05 AM and Feb 15, 2012 @ 11:28 PM)

    4) Your claim that SSM advocates believe that redefining marriage is a fundamental right (a claim which willfully ignores the distinction between the right asserted and the remedy sought).

    5) Your claim that SSM advocates believe they have the right to force judges to "impose SSM on culture."

    6) Your claim that you've actually addressed the KST analogy.

    How about we started with (1)?

  328. Kstret says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 05:46 PM:

    "The problem is that (ii) is ambiguous and can be interpreted in at least two ways. It could mean:"

    It's not ambiguous at all The definition of marriage was clearly defined.

    You are equivocating between premise 1 and 3. You object to premise 3 and equivocate over to objecting to premise 1 without saying that.

    "The relevant right here is the right to marry one's romantic partner, which homosexuals cannot do. You know this of course."

    The relevant issue is the definition of marriage. If the definition of marriage is one man and one woman, homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry.

    You can throw in the term romantic partner but that doesn't change anything. Their romantic partner is someone of the same sex. What is the definition of marriage? One man and one women. They are being denied the "right" to redefine marriage.

    Charlie Sheen is also being denied the right to marry his romantic partners too....

    "I have not ignored any such distinction (in fact, the one ignoring distinctions is YOU, who refuses to see the distinction between the right asserted and the remedy sought.)"

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. The definition of Same sex marriage is not one man and one woman.
    3. Therefore, Same sex marriage is changing the definition of marriage.

    Your distinction is false and you are pretending there isn't a distinction between redefining marriage and marriage.

    Same sex couples are being denied the right to redefine marriage not get married.

  329. KStret says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 05:47 PM:

    Rob,
    All you are doing is throwing around logical fallacies. Argumentum ad populum and Ad hominem attacks are logical fallacies.

    You are accusing me of refusing to engage in any honest dialog but I have attempted to have an honest dialog about your accusations. It is you who doesn't want to engage a honest dialog about your accusations.

    If I am lying and distorting your opinion, shouldn't you be able to provide one example of my doing that to you? I ask you to provide one example and you turn around and call me a liar again.

    I ask you another question and you turn around and tell me all the cool kids agree with you.

  330. Spencer says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 05:54 PM:

    KStret,

    "It's not ambiguous at all The definition of marriage was clearly defined. "

    More distortion. The legal definition of marriage - one man and one woman - isn't the issue. The issue is what right same-sex couples are being denied, which is the right to marry their partners.

    "You are equivocating between premise 1 and 3. You object to premise 3 and equivocate over to objecting to premise 1 without saying that."

    There is no equivocation on my part at all. Premise (3) asserts that same-sex couples are not being denied the right to marry, but they clearly are. Most same-sex couples cannot get married in most states. Again, you know this.

    "The relevant issue is the definition of marriage. If the definition of marriage is one man and one woman, homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry."

    Again, this doesn't follow in the slightest. The fact that the legal definition of marriage is one man and one woman doesn't mean homosexuals aren't being denied the right to marry. Again, you are DISHONESTLY conflating (i) being denied the right to marry a person of the opposite sex with (ii) being denied the right to marry one's romantic partner.

    Imagine the legal definition of marriage in California is P8, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman of the same race. It would be absurd to claim that interracial couples aren't being denied the right to marry even though they are allowed to marry persons of the same race.

    "You can throw in the term romantic partner but that doesn't change anything."

    It changes everything, because the right being denied to homosexuals is the right to marry one's romantic partner, not the right to marry a person of the opposite sex. More dishonest conflation.

    "Charlie Sheen is also being denied the right to marry his romantic partners too...."

    Yes, he is.

    "Your distinction is false"

    It's not false. Again, you are DISHONESTLY conflating (i) being denied the right to marry a person of the opposite sex with (ii) being denied the right to marry one's romantic partner.

  331. Spencer says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 05:57 PM:

    KStret,

    "Same sex couples are being denied the right to redefine marriage not get married."

    I already addressed this DISHONEST claim multiple times in posts which you have ignored (but claim you haven't). You've COMPLETELY ignored the following posts: Feb 24, 2012 @ 01:02 PM, Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:27 PM, Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:21 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 03:23 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:50 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:07 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 01:45 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:30 AM, and others.

  332. robaylesbury says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 06:00 PM:

    Kstret,

    I stand by my comments. As always, it remains up to others to decide whether they are salient.

  333. Spencer says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 07:47 PM:

    Scott,

    Here is my long overdue reply in response to your post on Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:07 AM.

    As I pointed out recently, your argument against SSM relies on the following claims:

    (O) An objective moral lawgiver exists.
    (P) An objective moral lawgiver is against SSM.
    (M) The state has a legitimate interest in prohibiting SSM.

    Arguably, if (M) is true, then prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying would not violate their rights under the constitution. (I say arguably because my inclination is that under applicable constitutional standards, the state's interest in prohibiting SSM must be compelling - not just legitimate). Even if (O) and (P) are true, what is your argument for (M)? Moreover, I'd like for you say why you won't accept the following:

    (Q) If (P) is true, then same-sex couples should not be permitted to marry, even if that restriction violates their rights under the constitution.

    "Even if I couldn’t establish P), this doesn’t mean that we ought to allow SSM. The truthfulness of P) must be argued against (perhaps by arguing against O)?)."

    Disagree - I DON'T need to argue (P) to maintain my position on SSM because I can hold to the following:

    (Q*) If (P) is true, but if restrictions on the ability of same-sex couples to marry violates their constitutional rights, then same-sex couples should be permitted to marry.

    Very simply, my positive case for SSM is that restrictions on allowing same-sex couples to marry violates their rights under our constitution. Do you accept the idea that if such restrictions violates the constitutional rights of same-sex, then SSM should be permitted? If not, then I don't see how your position isn't a theocratic one. If so, then the focus of our debate should be on whether the constitutional rights of same-sex couples ARE being violated.

    "As far as you and I being on a potential discussion of the Bible I disagree. I invite you to read JC’s masterful posts again. JC made an argument for P) which was for some reason ignored and yet he didn’t crack open the Bible once."

    This is false: JC did NOT make an argument for (P). Nowhere in his posts did he make any reference to a conscious moral lawgiver. Can you point to where he did this?

    "Furthermore, the lengthy article JC referred to in the Harvard Journal of Law by Robert George, Sherif Girgis and Ryan Anderson attempted to prove P) yet didn’t appeal to any religious text to make the case. So, again, a debate on the Bible is nowhere on the horizon. "

    Again, false. George's article does not attempt in anyway to argue against SSM on the basis of (P). Can you point to where in the article George makes reference to a conscious moral lawgiver?

    "3) Let me now attempt to defend P). In order to do this, at present, yu’ll have to accept the veracity of O). If you can’t do that then it’s useless for us even to be discussing P) right now and we ought to be discussing O)."

    A quibble: I don't need to accept (O) at all before getting into a discussion of (P). At most, all I need is to accept (O) for argument's sake (which is probably what you meant).

    "So, for the sake of the argument, because an objective moral lawgiver exists, how can we detect his intentions?"

    This is precisely the question at issue in regards to (P). You quote JC, who wrote:

    -------------
    . given the previous consideration, it is clear the debate is not about whether marriage is necessary for flourishing, but rather, whether the right to choose to marry [with all title and benefits included] is being violated.

    But this raises another important question in the debate; namely, what is it that grounds a right? There are many options people can appeal to in attempting to ground the rights of humans (e.g. Naturalistic Platonism, Aristotelianism, Natural Law Theory, etc), but any plausible version needs to at least presuppose the existence of natural kinds. By natural kind, I mean to say that when one asks what it means for someone to be human, a correct answer to such a question can be given. Furthermore, if one wants to uphold the objectivity of ethics-something essential to any argument on behalf of homosexual marriage-then the answer to any natural kind question must be true at all times (This need not rule out evolutionary theory, though it may plausibly require one to be a theistic evolutionist……

    Recall that marriage is not itself what constitutes flourishing for the advocate of redefining marriage, but rather, the right to choose to marry. However, if there is a natural kind 'human'-an assumption that I think isnecessary to ground the objectivity and thus legitimacy of revisionist moral claims-then the definition of marriage ought to be derived from that natural kind. An important insight, one noticed by philosophers as wide ranging as Philippa Foot and Robbie George, is that biology indicates human nature and teleology. And it seems that biology does suggest a male-female relationship is intended when it comes to the having and raising of children.
    ---------------

    Again, I go back to my previous observation that JC did not make any reference to (P) or to the intentions of a conscious moral lawgiver. So I'm not seeing how the above is supposed to answer the question of how to detect the intentions of the conscious moral lawgiver.

    Scott wrote:
    "Back to me. Thus, since the biological structure indicates a design of a family as being one man and one woman, then, with this design, we have a natural kind which can ground the right of this relationship JC was referring to"

    At most, this implies that opposite-sex relationships form a natural kind (whatever that means). It does not even remotely suggest (P): that the conscious moral lawgiver is against SSM. It doesn't even suggest that the conscious moral lawgiver favors "natural kind" relationships over non-natural kind relationships.

    "What natural kind do SSM advocates use to defend SSM but rule out other forms of relationships?"

    Shifting the burden. Your question assumes that if same-sex relationships don't form a "natural kind," then they are inherently objectionable. What is your evidence that the conscious moral lawgiver is against ALL relationships that don't form a "natural kind?" It appears that in order to prove (P), you need to prove:

    (p) Same-sex relationships don't form a natural kind.
    (p1) The conscious moral law giver is against all relationships that don't form a natural kind.

    What is your argument for (p1)? I can imagine a theist holding that the conscious moral law giver isn't against SSM, even though same-sex relationships don't form a natural kind. How do you rule out this position?

    "If none can be given, then, it would seem, the SSA would apply. "

    As I think is now clear, your above argument against SSM has nothing to do with SSA, which purports to establish a LOGICAL connection between SSM and other marriages. I still haven't seen any valid articulation of SSA.

    "If this can’t be done, the SSA can be employed."

    So employ it. I'm still waiting to see a valid articulation of SSA.

    Scott wrote:

    "This is way off base. No America should not be a theocracy as a Christian theocracy would be a horrific thing. The position of Robert George, JC and myself can’t rightly be interpreted as leading to a theocracy. If I was advocating for a theocracy then I would simply be arguing against the legality of SSM by quoting Romans 1. Because we’re arguing our viewpoint while not quoting from the Bible at all but from shared human reason, then it’s not a theocracy. "

    Whether you advocate a theocracy depends on your acceptance or rejection of (Q). If you believe that the moral dictates of a conscious moral lawgiver can trump the constitutional rights of same-sex couples, your position is a theocratic one, at least in regards to SSM.


    "My position is that, in order for any moral act to be illegal, it is necessary (but not sufficient) for it to be grounded in the design of the objective moral lawgiver. What makes it sufficient is that the state needs to have a significant interest in the matter. Yes, the state does have a significant interest in holding to a normative view of marriage as a normative view of marriage is vital to the family and the family is vital to the state."

    This goes back to my observation that your case rests on the following claims:

    (O) An objective moral lawgiver exists.
    (P) An objective moral lawgiver is against SSM.
    (M) The state has a legitimate interest in prohibiting SSM.

    What is your argument for (M)? Your last sentence does not amount to an assertion that the state has a legitimate interest in prohibiting SSM, but rather, that the state has a legitimate interest in maintaining opposite-sex marriage (OSM). However, the fact that the state has a legitimate interest in maintaining OSM doesn't mean it has a legitimate interest in prohibiting SSM.

    Regarding my argument against SSA, I originally wrote:

    ------------
    1. Rape marriage (RM) is objectionable because of reason R.
    2) SSM is not objectionable because of R.
    3) If SSM is not objectionable because of R, then SSM cannot logically lead to RM.
    4) Therefore, SSM cannot logically lead to RM.
    -------------

    "However, Spencer said we’re not dealing with his assertion of premise 1) but my own. If that’s the case, then I reject premise 2). In my view, rape marriage and Same-sex marriage are to be rejected for the same reason: they contradict the purpose of the objective moral lawgiver)."

    Scott, your response raises more questions than it answers. On your view, both rape and lying can be rejected for the same reason: they contradict the purpose of the conscious moral lawgiver. But are you suggesting that the two are morally equivalent? Are you suggesting that there AREN'T reasons against rape that aren't reasons against lying? Consider the following reason against rape:

    (r) It involves a severe violation of the victim's bodily integrity.

    Do YOU recognize (r) as a reason against rape? If so, then you must recognize that while (r) counts as a reason against rape, it doesn't count as a reason against lying. Hence rape and lying are objectionable for DIFFERENT reasons.

    Why can't the same thing be said about SSM and "rape marriages?" Do YOU agree that (r) counts as an objection against the latter? If so, then you must recognize that while (r) counts as a reason against rape, it doesn't count as a reason against SSM. Hence SSM and "rape marriages" are objectionable for DIFFERENT reasons, and thus premise (2) stands.

    But suppose you believe that the ONLY reason against rape and SSM is that both contradict the purpose of the conscious moral lawgiver. Is the conscious moral lawgiver against rape and SSM for the same reasons? If so, then your position entails that rape and SSM are morally equivalent. Do you think this? If not, then you hold the moral lawgiver is against rape and SSM for DIFFERENT reasons. Perhaps you hold the following:

    (r*) The conscious moral lawgiver is against rape for reason (r), but he is not against SSM for (r).

    If you hold (r*) or (r), then my premise (2) stands. But if you do not, and hold that the conscious moral lawgiver rejects SSM and "rape marriage" on the same grounds, then you can reject (2) - but must hold that rape and SSM are morally equivalent.

    Summary

    1) Scott needs to prove (M).

    2) Neither JC nor Robert George argue for (P).

    3) Scott still has not shown how we can detect the intentions of a conscious moral lawgiver.

    4) There still hasn't been a valid articulation of SSA, and Scott's argument is NOT SSA.

    5) Regarding Scott's rejection of premise (2) of my above argument, he needs to clarify whether he believes SSM and "rape marriages" can be rejected on different grounds. If they can, then premise (2) stands. If they cannot, then Scott can reject premise (2), but only at the cost of embracing the (absurd) position that SSM and "rape marriages" are morally equivalent.

  334. Spencer says on Mar 4, 2012 @ 08:27 PM:

    BJ,

    "Do you think you're going out of your way to retain favorable aspects of your previous theistic worldview, while jetissoning the central core?"

    I don't believe I am. By "central core," I assume you mean the theistic foundation of morality. It is far from clear to me why God is at all necessary for morality, and if he isn't, then there's no problem. You asked whether my belief in OMVs is "necessarily any different than the theists?" It is very different - their belief rests on a theistic foundation, while mine does not. The "added tenet" of grounding OMVs in God is a huge difference.

    With that said, I will admit that I am not particularly well-read on the subject of metaethics and the objectivity of morality. These are deep, complicated issues, and unlike philosophers who spend much of their time studying those subjects, I mainly concentrate on other matters. My opinion is that NO ONE I've seen on here has an adequate grasp on the relevant philosophical literature (which is vast). So, while it may be productive to debate these issues, we should remain conscious of our ignorance and refrain from making any firm, grandiose pronouncements.

  335. Windy says on Mar 5, 2012 @ 02:17 AM:

    Spencer:

    A noble try, but I really think it’s hopeless. These opponents of same-sex marriage equality – from JC on down the food chain – have made clear in post after post after post that they do not understand the basics of constitutional law. Even after 300-plus posts, they still do not grasp the difference between “rational basis” and “strict scrutiny.” (I went back and read JC’s “correction” of my restatement of the “rational basis” test for equal protection, which has been used since the 1930's, and I still couldn’t stop laughing. He actually made it more stringent than it is.) They do not know the difference between ordinary “liberty” and “fundamental liberty.” They do not understand what “substantive due process” is. They do not understand what “equal protection” is. They do not know what the “right to privacy” means. They have not read Lawrence v. Texas and they do not care to. They have not read Perry v. Brown and would not understand it if they did. They do not understand how precedent is applied to new situations. In fact, Scott actually thinks Supreme Court precedent is too “contingent” even to be worthy of examination. They do not grasp that marriage is a social institution, the nature of which has changed dramatically over time. They think that the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry on the same terms as opposite-sex couples “must” grounded in some “intrinsic” and “eternal” requirements of “natural law” and “teleology” (which they then proceed to make up.) This is a frivolous argument that would be laughed out of any court. They do not understand that constitutional rights come from the words in the Constitution, not from God and not from nature. Talk about your judicial activism! There is no point trying to engage with these philosopher-kings anymore. They simply do not know what they are talking about, and they refuse to be educated by people who do. All they know how to do is damage society through willful ignorance. We can only encourage them, in the future, to learn about a subject thoroughly before they starting giving their opinions and spreading error. They could start with the many books and articles on same-sex marriage written by William N. Eskridge Jr. He is a clear and lucid writer. He makes learning an unfamiliar subject easy.

  336. KStret says on Mar 6, 2012 @ 12:04 PM:

    Spencer,
    "More distortion. The legal definition of marriage - one man and one woman - isn't the issue."

    That is the fundamental issue. Do same sex couples have the "right" to redefine marriage?

    "The issue is what right same-sex couples are being denied, which is the right to marry their partners"

    You are assuming that redefining marriage is a right. If it is a right for same sex couples to marry their partners, it is a right for Charlie Sheen to marry his partners.

    ""Charlie Sheen is also being denied the right to marry his romantic partners too....Yes, he is."

    Since Charlie Sheen is also being denied the right to marry his romantic partners too, a federal judge should rule that Charlie Sheen can marry his partners. Is that correct?

    "It's not false. Again, you are DISHONESTLY conflating (i)

    There is no dishonestly on my part. Not being allowed to frame the issue the way you want to does not mean I am being dishonest.

    "being denied the right to marry a person of the opposite sex with (ii) being denied the right to marry one's romantic partner."

    I am not conflating anything. You are ignoring what the definition of marriage is. You stated that the definition is ambiguous.

    Marriage has had the same definition in this country since the puritans came. Being denied the right to marry "one's romantic partner" is changing the definition of marriage.

    It is demonstrably false to say that homosexuals are being denied the right to marry. The definition of marriage is one man and one women. They are not being denied that right.

    To say same sex couples are being denied the right to redefine marriage is demonstrably true. That is the right they want.

    "More distortion. Your premise (3) asserts that same sex couples are not being denied the right to marry, but they are CLEARLY being denied this right. Can same-sex couples get married in most states??? If no, that's because they ARE being denied the right marry. "

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman.
    2. The definition of Same sex marriage is not one man and one woman.
    3. Therefore, Same sex marriage is changing the definition of marriage.

    1. The definition of marriage is one man and one woman
    2. Same sex marriage redefines marriage
    3. Same sex couples are not being denied the right to marry
    4. Therefore, same sex couples are being denied the "right" to redefine marriage"

    Your distinction is false and you are pretending there isn't a distinction between redefining marriage and marriage.

    You are equivocating. You object to premise #3 on the grounds that they can not get married. Premise #1 clearly states the definition of marriage.

    You just assume that the definition of marriage is not one man and one women but rather being able to marry a romantic partner or partners. Your phraseology redefines marriage.

    Objecting to premise #3 on the grounds that they can't get married doesn't follow.

    1. If the definition of marriage is one man and one women homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry.
    2. The definition of marriage is one man and one women.
    3. Therefore, Homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry.

  337. Spencer says on Mar 6, 2012 @ 12:26 PM:

    KStret,

    "To say same sex couples are being denied the right to redefine marriage is demonstrably true. That is the right they want."

    This is just a blatant lie, as I have pointed out numerous times. No one is asserting a RIGHT to redefine marriage. As I pointed out, you have COMPLETELY ignored the following posts: Feb 24, 2012 @ 01:02 PM, Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:27 PM, Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:21 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 03:23 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:50 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 02:07 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 01:45 PM, Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:30 AM, and others.

    "I am not conflating anything."

    Yes, you are. You are conflating (i) being denied the right to marry a person of the opposite sex with (ii) being denied the right to marry one's romantic partner.

    "You object to premise #3 on the grounds that they can not get married."

    I object to #3 on the grounds that it is false: same-sex couples do NOT have the right to get married. As I pointed out earlier, to say that a couple cannot get married IS to say that they the couple cannot get married to each other.

    "It is demonstrably false to say that homosexuals are being denied the right to marry."

    Again, this is a distortion. The fact that homosexuals aren't (i) being denied the right to marry a person of the opposite sex with DOESN'T MEAN they aren't (ii) being denied the right to marry one's romantic partner. The phrase "right to get married" is ambiguous, as you very well know.

    Can same-sex couples get married in most states? Yes or no?

    "There is no dishonestly on my part."

    There is dishonest in virtually every one of your recent posts. The following are some examples:

    1). Your (recent) claim that homosexuals don't want to get married.

    2). Your (recent) claim that you didn't say (1).

    3) Your (recent) claim that homosexuals aren't being denied the right to get married. (Btw, WLC made the same foolish statement, which I addressed in posts: Feb 13, 2012 @ 01:05 AM and Feb 15, 2012 @ 11:28 PM)

    4) Your claim that SSM advocates believe that redefining marriage is a fundamental right (a claim which willfully ignores the distinction between the right asserted and the remedy sought).

    5) Your claim that SSM advocates believe they have the right to force judges to "impose SSM on culture."

    6) Your claim that you've actually addressed the KST analogy.

  338. Spencer says on Mar 6, 2012 @ 12:32 PM:

    KStret,

    "1. If the definition of marriage is one man and one women homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry."

    Again, false. From the fact that homosexuals have the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, it doesn't follow that they aren't being denied the right to marry - because they do NOT have the right to marry their romantic partners.

    Can same-sex couples marry in most states? Yes or no?

  339. KStret says on Mar 7, 2012 @ 06:55 PM:

    Spencer,
    What you are saying is:
    I agree that the definition of marriage is one man and one women but it's false to say that homosexuals can get married.

    You agreed with premise 1. If you agree with premise 1, you have to agree with premise 3. It doesn't follow to agree with premise 1 and disagree with 3.

    You agree that the definition of marriage is one man and one women and then you change the definition of marriage when you object to premise 3.

    This shows that the actual issue is redefining marriage.

  340. Spencer says on Mar 7, 2012 @ 07:41 PM:

    KStret,

    Nice of you to actually address my post.

  341. KStret says on Mar 8, 2012 @ 02:09 AM:

    Spencer,
    You are welcome. Now if you would kindly address my post.

    You are not objecting to the definition of marriage being one man and one woman. Marriage means one man and one women. Yet your objection to premise 3 is:

    "it doesn't follow that they aren't being denied the right to marry"

    What doesn't follow is your objection. You agreed that the definition of marriage is one man and one women and then you turn around and object that SS couples can't get married.

    You agreed that the definition of marriage is one man and one women. You would have to agree that any man can marry any women they want. Therefore, homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry. Why? Because the definition of marriage is one man and one women.

    Why doesn't it follow that they aren't being denied the right to marry?

    "because they do NOT have the right to marry their romantic partners."

    You just redefined the definition of marriage. The definition of marriage is not the unity of romantic partners. The definition of marriage is the unity of one man and one women.

    If same sex couples are not being denied the right to marry, what "right" are they being denied?

    The right to redefine marriage.

    You never answered my Charlie Sheen question:

    Since Charlie Sheen is also being denied the right to marry his romantic partners, a federal judge should rule that Charlie Sheen can marry his partners. Is that correct?

  342. Spencer says on Mar 8, 2012 @ 09:40 AM:

    KStret,

    "Therefore, homosexuals are not being denied the right to marry. Why? Because the definition of marriage is one man and one women."

    I've already explained several times why this inference doesn't follow. I've also explained (more than) several times why SSM advocates aren't arguing for the right to redefine marriage. Since it's obvious that you will continue to willfully distort and ignore my posts, no matter what I say, there's no longer any point in responding. As I pointed out, genuine dialogue with you is impossible. Have the last word, because that's clearly what you want. My next post will likely be to Scott if he chooses to respond.

  343. KStret says on Mar 13, 2012 @ 11:34 PM:

    Spencer,
    You conceded that the definition of marriage is one man and one women. If you concede that point, there is no distinction between same sex couples being able to get married and redefining marriage because it's the same thing.

    You can not simply say that something doesn't follow. I have shown that it does.

    You are agreeing that the definition of marriage is one man and one women, then turning around and redefining marriage when you object to premise 3. You objection doesn't follow.

    The definition of willfully distorting someone's argument has nothing to do with not being able to control the narrative.

    Have you been learning about Saul Alinsky in college?

  344. Windy says on Mar 18, 2012 @ 09:35 AM:

    I have always found it contradictory for primarily groups who want a drastic distinct separation of church and state also support same-sex marriage in the government. primarily because marriage is a religious ceremony that was put into the government because almost all people were christian who put their marriage status into the legal system. If the separation of church and state advocates really want to be consistent they should in fact be arguing to have marriage removed entirely from the legal system

  345. Windy says on Mar 19, 2012 @ 06:29 AM:

    Would whoever posted the previous comment for me please claim it? I keep getting your fan mail and it's piling up.