Intro to Ethics: Homosexuality (part 1)

by Luke Muehlhauser on January 8, 2010 in Ethics,Intro to Ethics

intro_to_ethics

Welcome to my course on ethics.

I wrote earlier about reasoning in ethics without assuming a meta-ethical view. Today we’ll reason about the ethics of homosexuality without assuming a meta-ethical view.

Sex and romantic love are among our most basic desires. Most of us could not be happy without a chance for sexual and romantic fulfillment. But people do not choose which sex they are attracted to. Thus to prohibit homosexuals from exercising their sexuality is to condemn them to unhappy lives.

But prohibiting pedophiles from exercising their sexuality may condemn them to unhappy lives, too. We justify this by saying that pedophiles are a serious threat to their own happiness and the happiness of others – the children they molest and the families of those children. So if homosexuals are, like pedophiles, a threat to greater happiness, perhaps we can justify a condemnation of homosexuality.

And this claim has been made. Christian philosopher William Lane Craig writes:

…it’s not hard to show that homosexual behavior is one of the most self-destructive and harmful behaviors a person could engage in.

In support of his view, Craig summarizes the research collected in Thomas Schmidt’s book Straight and Narrow.

[Homosexuality] is a dark, twisted, and dangerous lifestyle…

…75% of homosexual men have more than 100 sexual partners during their lifetime.  More than half of these partners are strangers.  Only 8% of homosexual men and 7% of homosexual women ever have relationships lasting more than three years… Male homosexuals average over 20 partners a year…

…Studies show that 47% of male homosexuals have a history of alcohol abuse and 51% have a history of drug abuse….

…40% of homosexual men have a history of major depression.  That compares with only 3% for men in general.  Similarly 37% of female homosexuals have a history of depression.  This leads in turn to heightened suicide rates.  Homosexuals are three times as likely to contemplate suicide as the general population.  In fact homosexual men have an attempted suicide rate six times that of heterosexual men, and homosexual women attempt suicide twice as often as heterosexual women.  Nor are depression and suicide the only problems.  Studies show that homosexuals are much more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexual men…

So I think a very good case can be made out on the basis of generally accepted moral principles that homosexual behavior is wrong.  It is horribly self-destructive and injurious to another person.  Thus, wholly apart from the Bible’s prohibition, there are sound, sensible reasons to regard homosexaul activity as wrong.1

Those are some startling claims. “Male homosexuals average over 20 partners a year.” Really? But let us not presume that Craig and Schmidt are wrong. After all, the pressure of “political correctness” would be to cover up such facts if they are true.

Schmidt says he has been careful in his research:

Four physicians with relevant specialties reviewed the first draft of this chapter in order to correct any factual errors. I avoided all secondary sources of information such as newspapers and popular magazines or books, and I cite no Christian writers. Instead I document every point of fact in this chapter only from scholarly, secular medical and social scientific publications, and from the most recent research available at the time of writing – virtually all of which is either neutral or affirming toward homosexuality.2

So let us examine each of Schmidt’s own sources with regard to William Lane Craig’s summary.

Sourcing Craig’s Assertions

…75% of homosexual men have more than 100 sexual partners during their lifetime…

Schmidt’s source is Bell & Weinberg, Homosexualities, p. 308, table 7.

More than half of [the partners of gay men] are strangers…

Again the source is Homosexualities, pp. 208-9, table 7. The actual report is not that half the partners of gay men are strangers, but that for 75% of gay men, half their partners are strangers.

Only 8% of homosexual men and 7% of homosexual women ever have relationships lasting more than three years…

Schmidt’s endnote says: “This number is not reported by Saghir and Robins (Male and Female Homosexuality) but is derived from the numbers in tables 4.10, 4.14, 12.7, and 12.11.”

Male homosexuals average over 20 partners a year…

Schmidt’s endnote says: “L. Linn et al., ‘Recent Sexual Behaviors Among Homosexual Men Seeking Primary Medical Care,’ Archives of Internal Medicine 149 (December 1989); 2685-90. The authors acknowledge the possibility that results are unrepresentative of all homosexual men, since their 823 subjects were drawn from those seeking medical help, who may be more promiscuous. But, they counter, most other studies, which recruit subjects from gay organizations and publications, are unrepresentative in other ways (p. 2689).”

Studies show that 47% of male homosexuals have a history of alcohol abuse and 51% have a history of drug abuse….

Schmidt’s endnote reads: “Williams et al., ‘Multidisciplinary Baseline Assessment,’ p. 127, table 2; P.H. Rosenberger et al., ‘Psychopathology in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection: Lifetime and Current Assessment,’ Comprehensive Psychiatry 34 (May/June 1993): 153, table 1; 154, table 2. It should be noted that none of the subjects were referred to the study because of psychiatric difficulties (p. 151).”

40% of homosexual men have a history of major depression.  That compares with only 3% for men in general.

Schmidt’s endnote reads: “Williams et al., ‘Multidisciplinary Baseline Assessment,” p. 127, table 2; Rosenberger et al.,’Psychopathology,’ p. 153, table 1; 154, table 2. Rosenberger et al. found that 45 percent had a history of both affective (depression, etc.) and substance use disorders.”

…37% of female homosexuals have a history of depression.

Schmidt cites Ryan & Bradford, “National Lesbian Health Care Survey,” p. 550.

Homosexuals are three times as likely to contemplate suicide as the general population.

Schmidt writes: “Bell and Weinberg [in Homosexualities] found that 35 percent of male homosexuals had seriously considered or attempted suicide (compared to 11 percent of male heterosexuals), and 31 percent of female homosexuals had seriously considered or attempted suicide (compared to 24 percent of female heterosexuals). Jay and Young [in The Gay Report] reported the 40 percent of male homosexuals and 39 percent of female homosexuals had either seriously contemplated or attempted suicide.”

…homosexual men have an attempted suicide rate six times that of heterosexual men, and homosexual women attempt suicide twice as often as heterosexual women.

Schmidt writes: “18 percent of male homosexuals and 23 percent of female homosexuals had attempted suicide (compared to 3 percent of male heterosexuals and 11 percent of female heterosexuals).” Schmidt appears to be citing Jay & Young’s The Gay Report for this claim.

Studies show that homosexuals are much more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexual men…

Schmidt writes: “Homosexual men are not necessarily pedophiles. Still, several studies reveal that while no more than 2 percent of male adults are homosexual, approximately 35 percent of pedophiles are homosexual.” He cites “Pedophilia and Heterosexuality vs. Homosexuality” by Freund and Watson in Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 10 (Fall 1984) page 197 and also “Homosexual Molestation of Children: Sexual Interaction of Teacher and Pupil,” Psychological Reports 57 (1985) pages 27-36.

Schmidt also writes: “…since homosexual pedophiles victimize far more children than do heterosexual pedophiles (150 to 20), approximately 80 percent of pedophilic victims are boys who are molested by adult males… It is impossible to determine the number of male pedophiles, but they may constitute as much as 10 percent of male homosexuals.”

Concerning the first point, Schmidt cites Freund & Watson, “The Proportions of Heterosexual and Homosexual Pedophiles Among Sex Offenders Against Children: An Exploratory Study,” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 18 (Spring 1992), pages 34-43.

Concerning the second point, Schmidt’s endnote reads: “If we take the total number of victims and divide it by the mean number of victims per pedophile (150), we arrive at 21,333. But this is not an accurate number, because it is based only pedophiles who have been caught. The majority are probably never caught – perhaps in part because they molest fewer boys. If we lower the victimization rate to, say, twenty-five boys per pedophile, we arrive at the very disturbing number of 128,000, which is over 10 percent of the practicing male homosexual population.”

Conclusion

So, does all this build a successful case for the immorality of homosexual acts? (Craig & Schmidt oppose homosexual acts, not homosexuality itself, just as some may oppose drunken acts without opposing those who have a gene for alcoholism.) We turn to that question next time.

  1. I left out the parts of Craig’s quote for which I could not easily find the sources in Schmidt’s book. []
  2. Straight & Narrow, page. 101. []

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Torgo January 8, 2010 at 7:53 am

Perhaps you’ll address this very point in your next post, but assuming that all or most of these statistics are accurate, they don’t necessarily establish a cause-effect relationship between homosexuality and the ills described. It may be, for instance, that all these negatives are caused not by being homosexual, but by being homosexual in a society that (especially at the times many of these studies were published) demonizes and marginalizes homosexuals. If society wouldn’t allow me to have an openly homosexual relationship, then it would likely be hard to maintain one for any length of time. And the need to be secretive about one’s sexual orientation would encourage a person to seek out companionship in places and situations that are not conducive to healthy behavior–e.g., places and situations where drug use is more prevalent, and/or that encourage promiscuous behavior.

It’s no surprise that these factors, and similar difficulties, lead to depression, drug abuse, suicide attempts, and so on.

On the other hand, we may find that as homosexuality becomes more mainstream and socially tolerated, homosexuals have less incidences of the problems discussed–again, assuming that these statistics are accurate. Being able to be honest about one’s inner self, and having relationships that are encouraged and supported by friends and society in general, will produce a decline in the so-called self-destructive aspects of homosexuality.

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Jeremy Killian January 8, 2010 at 7:59 am

Luke, I’m surprised that you did not fairly point out that Craig only addresses homosexual acts instead of homosexuality. Craig’s project is not necessarily to address homosexuality; rather, he intends to address the harm caused by gay sex. By not being specific in this distinction, you obscure his point.

In the essay that you refer to, Craig makes it explicit that (on his view) the Bible does not even mention homosexuality as a lifestyle, but it does condemn homosexual acts. So, for clarity, perhaps you should adjust your critique accordingly.

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drj January 8, 2010 at 8:10 am

Jeremy Killian: Luke, I’m surprised that you did not fairly point out that Craig only addresses homosexual acts instead of homosexuality. Craig’s project is not necessarily to address homosexuality; rather, he intends to address the harm caused by gay sex. By not being specific in this distinction, you obscure his point.

It sure doesnt seem like Craig only addressed gay sex, unless he can show that all those ominous stats are causally related to the act of gay sex.

Is the depression that some homosexuals experience a consequence of their gay sex? If I were to wager, I’d say its more related to how family, friends, and society tend to act towards them. I suspect a large amount of the problems suffered by homosexuals is a direct result of their marginalization – not the act of gay sex. Gay sex, after all, can be had as responsibly as heterosexual sex.

Also, I’m pretty sure that lesbians fare far better in most areas, especially when it comes to disease transmission, than either heterosexuals or homosexual men. Does that mean lesbians are God’s chosen people? (Hey, maybe this God character isn’t such a bad guy after all=) )

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lukeprog January 8, 2010 at 8:24 am

Jeremy,

I didn’t even notice that I left that out. I’ll fix it.

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John D January 8, 2010 at 8:25 am

Three points:

1. Statistics are misleading unless some context is provided. What are the comparative rates of promiscuity? What are the comparative rates of alcohol and drug abuse? The one area where context is provided is in relation to suicide rates and mental illness, where an alternative causal explanation is readily available, i.e. social ostracism.

2. Some of the statistics are morally irrelevant. You’ll have to do better than simply stating that homosexuals are more promiscuous and have fewer stable long-term relationships. Again, context is all-important: are long-term relationships more conducive to human flourishing?

3. Craig’s strategy is highly disingenuous. I could present statistics showing that societies that do not allow free access to abortion cause great suffering amongst their female populations (either through forced pregnancies, or through the women seeking “back-alley abortions”). Would Craig then concede that abortion is permissible? Of course not. He doesn’t get his morality from a careful study of human welfare; he gets it from the Bible and his interpretation thereof.

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drj January 8, 2010 at 8:27 am

Also, it seems they are perpetuating some misconceptions about paedophilia.

Paedophilia is generally considered its own sexual orientation. The attraction is to pre-pubescence, moreso than gender. While its true, a paedophile generally prefers one sex over the other, they will often victimize the other gender if their preference isnt available and they are feeling compelled.

Paedophiles are paedophiles – not homosexuals, nor heterosexuals.

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John D January 8, 2010 at 8:33 am

When I said “you’ll” I was not talking to you Luke. I know you didn’t make those claims. Sorry if that was unclear.

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Dacheron January 8, 2010 at 10:21 am

Societal factors should really be taken into account, even when considering the problems of sample selection.

Unlike heterosexual couples, homosexual couples do not on average have the implicit support of family, community, and friends for their relationships. I would be anything but surprised if their relationships did not last as long comparatively to heterosexual couples, but I also would not interpret that as indicative of some inherent problem with homosexuality (or gay sex).

It’s much the same case with suicide rates, depression, and substance abuse. Without eliminating that other factor of society from the correlation to solidify the connection, I find it particularly disingenuous to be using it as evidence for his position.

The criticism mentioned before about the distinction between paedophilia and homosexuality is quite on the mark. Within this debate and similar ones, it’s far too often that “gay” and “homosexual” becomes synonymous to having gay sex or being a part in the act of gay sex (which I do believe the Christian definition follows, however convoluted the discussion then turns to). It is this misunderstanding that allowed the Catholic Church with impunity to declare that their molestation problem was a “homosexual” problem, not because the male priests doing it were oriented gay in the psychological definition but because their targets were primarily boys. This very claim was not substantiated by even the researchers hired by the Church (John Jay College of Criminal Justice) to investigate the cases, and it answers little for us whether access played a large role in the targets of those priests, i.e. if they had primarily young altar girls and supervision over girl camps/retreats, would we still see the same incidence of male victimization?

Basically it’s not an issue of political correctness. Were those rates found in a representative sample of the population, it would still need to be assessed whether the societal influences play a part or not. I’m not confident that question can be easily answered, not for a few decades in even the most “liberal” countries in the world.

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Torgo January 8, 2010 at 11:56 am

Jeremy Killian: In the essay that you refer to, Craig makes it explicit that (on his view) the Bible does not even mention homosexuality as a lifestyle, but it does condemn homosexual acts.So, for clarity, perhaps you should adjust your critique accordingly.  

What exactly is the “lifestyle” of homosexuality. I don’t dispute that gay culture can be different from that of other groups, but the term “lifestyle” needs clarification by you or Craig.

Also, this lifestyle, culture, or whatever we call it, is not shared by all homosexuals equally–e.g., lesbian culture is different from gay male culture, and not every member of these respective groups participates in the culture. So, what is the gay “lifestyle,” and what does it have to do with harming homosexuals? And what of those who don’t share this lifestyle?

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Jeremy Killian January 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Luke points out the distinction very well. There is a difference in getting drunk once in a while and being an alcoholic. The first situation involves an individual act, while the second involves someone who is predisposed to those kinds of acts. All Craig addresses in this essay is homosexual acts; he purposefully leaves aside the question of whether it is wrong to “be” a homosexual, because (in his interpretation) the Bible is silent on that issue.

Craig wants to say that whether you are gay or not, if you engage in homosexual sex, you are taking a bigger risk than if you engage in heterosexual sex. This is the limit of his critique.

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Dacheron January 8, 2010 at 12:24 pm

I would revise this in the future since some of my thoughts have changed since I wrote it, but this is my general view on the comparison of alcoholism and sexuality.

I am quite biased in that regard, but I won’t hide that my blog is limited to my ramblings and stream of consciousness than higher intellectual thought.

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Torgo January 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Jeremy,

Thanks for clarifying. So, you’re arguing that the homosexual lifestyle involves having sex only (or mostly) with members of the same sex? And it’s these actions that lead to harm, Craig argues?

Homosexuality itself would just be the inner desire to commit such acts? The general background attraction to members of the same sex?

If so, fine. But it’s hard to see the value of this distinction when evaluating homosexuality or homosexual acts. In the case of sexual orientation, to evaluate a person’s actions is to evaluate their inner desires. To criticize homosexual sex (not this or that specific sexual act or practice) is to criticize the desires those sex acts spring from. Craig doesn’t seem to be criticizing specific sex acts, but the desire of one person for another person of the same sex, regardless of whether that results in anal sex, oral sex, and so on.

Likewise, I doubt Craig argues that heterosexual sex in the missionary position only is healthiest, but defends a more general claim that sex between people of the opposite sex is ideal.

To put things another way, if Craig is critical of homosexual sex, are there certain specific homosexual acts that are harmful? Are some more harmful than others? As one commenter put it, the alleged harms to lesbians are far less than those of homosexual males.

What about these specific sex acts causes one to be depressed, suicidal, a substance abuser, etc.?

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lukeprog January 8, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Thanks for the link, Dacheron.

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John D January 8, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Jeremy Killian: Craig wants to say that whether you are gay or not, if you engage in homosexual sex, you are taking a bigger risk than if you engage in heterosexual sex. This is the limit of his critique.  

But most of the statistics he cites have nothing to do with the actual sex acts. They would apply just as well to someone who has homosexual desires but who doesn’t act on those desires. He would need to show higher incidents of STDs or something to make this point.

I know several people whose struggles with sexuality led them to depression and substance abuse. It was the struggle with the desires and not the actual activity that was the problem.

Also, I have to get back to the crucial point: Craig obviously does not care about these statistics. He would reject them if they applied to something the Bible approved of.

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John D January 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm

I see Torgo made the same point.

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Torgo January 8, 2010 at 2:40 pm

John D,

Thanks for making my point more succinctly. And to further agree with you, I almost added to my previous comment that should new research show a decrease in these alleged harms of homosexuality (which my argument implicitly predicts will happen as homosexuality becomes more mainstream), I’ve no doubt Craig would either dismiss them or shift to some other argument against it. The alleged harms of homosexuality supplement his case against it, but his real objection is elsewhere (e.g., the Bible, intuition). I’m sure his position on this issue is similar to his position on God’s existence: some inner witness or intuition tells him God exists/homosexuality is wrong, and all the arguments and evidence for these claims are just icing on the cake.

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Baal January 8, 2010 at 3:31 pm

If, for the sake of argument, you accept the figure about greater number of sexual partners among homosexuals, why would that be necessarily be “…a dark, twisted, and dangerous lifestyle…”?
As long as those sexual encounters are consented to by all and safer practices are engaged in, I don’t see the problem.
Open relationships where partners love each other but allow for sexual activity outside are arguably more ethical than those where partners try to be monogamous, succumb to temptation and cheat, and then lie about it.

Of those instances where there might be greater compulsivity to the sex, we don’t know how different those people would be if the society around them were more accepting of difference.
Perhaps just as with the greater suicide rates, using sex as an outlet for feelings of lack of self-worth might be caused by the stigmatisation of homosexuality, just as you can have greater gun crime, drug abuse and sexual promiscuity among disenfranchised blacks, to take one example.
If it weren’t for the social changes of the last few decades I could imagine someone using the same arguments for the reality of the curse of Ham.

As to the conflation of paedophilia with homosexuality, that seems to be cherry-picking of data. Two studies from the same two men, Freund & Watson, doesn’t strike me as being a scientific consensus.

This review, for one, of medical records of children evaluated for sexual abuse says “In the remaining 269 cases, two offenders were identified as being gay or lesbian. In 82% of cases (222/269), the alleged offender was a heterosexual partner of a close relative of the child. Using the data from our study, the 95% confidence limits, of the risk children would identify recognizably homosexual adults as the potential abuser, are from 0% to 3.1%. These limits are within current estimates of the prevalence of homosexuality in the general community.”

William Lane Craig is not dispassionately examining all the data and coming to his conclusions.

He starts from the Biblical viewpoint that homosexuality is wrong, and the modern-day Christian view that promiscuity is wrong, (after all, today’s Christians ignore the fact that the Bible permitted men to have sexual relations with their female slaves and also to engage in polygamous marriage) and looks for the evidence that seems to confirm this.
And he seems to get all this evidence from this guy Schmidt who appears none too particular about his sources himself.

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Baal January 8, 2010 at 4:06 pm

(Sorry but adding two links to outside seemed to mess up the HTML so I continue here.)

The other study cited by Schmidt – “Homosexual Molestation of Children: Sexual Interaction of Teacher and Pupil” is by P. Cameron, who was expelled from American Psychological Association in 1983.

The reason given was -
“He was misrepresenting and distorting other peoples’ psychological research and using it to sensationalize his point of view on homosexuals. He talks about homosexuals being mass murderers and child molesters and credits other people for those findings. If you read their research, they have in no way made such claims. We have letters from those researchers saying his (work) has distorted their research.” Natalie Porter, assistant professor of psychology at University of Nebraska.(LA Times-8/20/1985).
For more on Cameron see here.

The fact that Schmidt published his book Straight & Narrow in 1995, a decade after the expulsion of Cameron might mean he included his work in ignorance. Or perhaps he knew but didn’t consider it important.
Just as creationists accuse the scientific establishment of a conspiracy to silence them while pushing ‘Darwinism’, Schmidt might have put the expulsion of Cameron down to a similar conspiracy on the part of those pushing ‘The Homosexual Agenda’.

Whatever his reasons he included it, and William Lane Craig then uses Schmidt’s ‘research’ in support of his own views.

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Paul January 8, 2010 at 4:10 pm

“So, does all this build a successful case for the immorality of homosexual acts?”

No. I think they have made case for supporting Gay couples to marry.:-)

As other have said, causality is not provided. Until better argument is made I tend to side with others in that these stats are what they are not because of nature but environmental.

I do have some questions to the following quote. Something doesn’t add up. The math at first glance appears to be deliberately manipulated.

—- Start quote of luke’s post
Schmidt also writes: “…since homosexual pedophiles victimize far more children than do heterosexual pedophiles (150 to 20), approximately 80 percent of pedophilic victims are boys who are molested by adult males… It is impossible to determine the number of male pedophiles, but they may constitute as much as 10 percent of male homosexuals.”

Concerning the first point, Schmidt cites Freund & Watson, “The Proportions of Heterosexual and Homosexual Pedophiles Among Sex Offenders Against Children: An Exploratory Study,” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 18 (Spring 1992), pages 34-43.

Concerning the second point, Schmidt’s endnote reads: “If we take the total number of victims and divide it by the mean number of victims per pedophile (150), we arrive at 21,333. But this is not an accurate number, because it is based only pedophiles who have been caught. The majority are probably never caught – perhaps in part because they molest fewer boys. If we lower the victimization rate to, say, twenty-five boys per pedophile, we arrive at the very disturbing number of 128,000, which is over 10 percent of the practicing male homosexual population.”
— end quote

First oddity – the following claim is made “since homosexual pedophiles victimize far more children than do heterosexual pedophiles (150 to 20)” but then later the 150 number magically changes to 25.
25 is not far more than 20 so the he undermines his own argument. Although I could be charitable and say he would lower 20 to say 3.

Moving on -

150 victims per homosexual. Given the context I take this number is inclusive of both male and female homosexuals. It is a bit ambiguous.

21,333 pedophiles. Again I take this to be the total for both male and female homosexuals. “If we take the total number of victims and divide it by the mean number of victims per pedophile (150), we arrive at 21,333.”

Approximate number of victims is 3,199,950 victims, of these 80% are adult males abusing boys which is 2,559,960 :

This is where the manipulation, I think, comes in.

“But this is not an accurate number, because it is based only pedophiles who have been caught…If we lower the victimization rate to, say, twenty-five boys per pedophile”

I don’t know how the number 25 came to be but from data provided seems completely arbitrary – they claim there are 6x as many homosexual *male* pedophiles. Ok, I’ll let it slide. Then he cheats. He either multiplies 21,333 by six or he divides 3,199,950 by 25. Which allows him to reach the 128,000 male homosexual pedophiles. The answer is actually 102,399. Which is still a signifcant number. But given the loose handling of the data does cause me to be more skeptical of their analysis.

If I change the mean number of (non-homosexual) pedophiles from 20 to 3. Using like rationality. I wonder what percentage of the straight population are pedophiles. I don’t have the data available to me at the moment.

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Supernova January 8, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I, myself, have seen better cases brought forth by atheists and/or naturalists that say homosexual acts or lifestyles are wrong.

The deontological argument says for an ‘act’, or in this case a lifestyle, to be morally permissible it must be impartial and done universally (by all humans) without exception. So, in this case if everyone was practicing and living a homosexual lifestyle, I think it is safe for us to assume that the human population would die out. I mean we just don’t spontaneously generate, thanks to the help of Louis Pasteur. Also, it would be some crazy fast evolving for us to somehow start asexually reproducing.

So, on the deontological argument is one way to say a homosexual lifestyle is impermissible. Though as with moral ethics there are holes in them all. Just providing an argument.

On the naturalist side, being a homosexual goes against the fundamental fact of ‘living’ or ‘being.’ Now, Richard Dawkins is not a great philosopher, but when it comes to science and every living object’s sole purpose for being he couldn’t be more right. Dawkins says, “There is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. We are machines for propagating DNA, it is every living object’s sole reason for being.” Well, how do homosexuals ‘propagate’ their DNA? Well… they don’t. Though, one could argue that evolution will one day get rid of the ‘homosexual gene’ because what is the point of coming this far without passing on your genes. Also, if there is a ‘homosexual gene’ wouldn’t that go against natural selection and evolution, since the whole point of it is for living things to be able to pass on their genes to the next to do the same? I guess we could say it’s a mutation of some genes that causes homosexuality. It happens such as cancer and other diseases. Though, I’m not calling homosexuality a disease.

Now, back to the OP and the statistics. We can play the statistics game all day. We can skew the numbers to say homosexuals are average if not better than heterosexuals and vice versa. Then we could find counter-arguments and holes in each sides reasoning and conclusions.

Someone argued that homosexuals could be depressed b/c of society and that their external environment frowns on the fact. While, this could be true, don’t you think even if that were not the case they (homosexuals) would see people having babies and if you been around a couple who are pregnant and/or expecting a baby and etc., don’t you think it will finally click for the homosexual that they will never get to experience that. Point is that’s enough to make heterosexual couples depressed (ones with fertility problems), what do you think it will do for the homosexual.

**(though for sake of the above argument I know at least lesbian couples can find a sperm donor and get pregnant and science is possibly on it’s way where it can take two sperm from gay partners and make it where they can have a child via a surrogate mother)**

Then the debates is centered around is being a homosexual a choice or is it genetic. I don’t know, but this debate about rather it’s right or wrong will never end.

Sorry for the long post.

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Paul January 8, 2010 at 4:17 pm

My math is wrong, due to a wrong reading

“Approximate number of victims is 3,199,950 victims, of these 80% are adult males abusing boys which is 2,559,960 :”

A claim is made that 80% of all cases of pedophilia is adult male on boys. I wrongly interpreted this when doing my calculations. Within the homosexual cases the percentage would be higher.

I have to think it through a bit but I think the main point of my criticism still stands.

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lukeprog January 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Great stuff, Baal!

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lukeprog January 8, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Supernova,

No apologies necessary – great comment!

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Jeff H January 8, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Paul: “So, does all this build a successful case for the immorality of homosexual acts?”No. I think they have madecase for supporting Gay couples to marry.:-)

I think this is a good point as well. Heterosexual people have an option of marriage, and marriage tends to improve monogamy. (Married people are, on average, more committed than even cohabiting common law partners.) Homosexuals, on the other hand, in many places don’t have the option to marry. It makes sense that people who at least have an option to marry, when taken in aggregate, will end up with lower “promiscuity” than those who have no option to marry. It may not completely account for the data, but it’s definitely a confounding factor. Also, as other have mentioned, societal disapproval tends to cause break-ups, as it adds an extra stressor to the relationship.

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Lorkas January 8, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Supernova: The deontological argument says for an ‘act’, or in this case a lifestyle, to be morally permissible it must be impartial and done universally (by all humans) without exception.

What a stupid-ass argument. According to this reasoning, it’s immoral to be a doctor, since if everyone were a doctor we’d have no farmers and there wouldn’t be enough food. It’s immoral to have more than 2 children, since if everyone had more than 2 children we’d run out of food and cause suffering in future generations. It’s immoral to be a woman, because the species would die out if we were all women.

Supernova: On the naturalist side, being a homosexual goes against the fundamental fact of ‘living’ or ‘being.’

Is/ought fallacy.

Supernova: Well, how do homosexuals ‘propagate’ their DNA? Well… they don’t.

Again, is/ought fallacy, but even your fallacy is mistaken here. Studies in some species with homosexual individuals (that is, every sexually-reproducing species so far studied) have shown that homosexuality seems to be caused by a part of a gene complex that makes the individual more likely to assist parents and siblings in raising young. Because the parent or sibling of an individual shares 50% of the individual’s genes, helping your parent/sibling to reproduce more rather than reproducing yourself can be a viable strategy for increasing the number of genes you pass on.

If you can help your sibling to raise more than twice as many young as you could have raised yourself over your lifetime, then homosexuality is actually a better individual strategy for passing on genes than heterosexuality is. Obviously this isn’t a strategy that would work if everyone adopted it, but there is an equilibrium level at which homosexuality genes in a population exist, and it differs for each species. If there are too many heteros in a population, then homosexual genes become more fit, and if there are too many homosexuals in a population, then heterosexual genes become more fit.

This equilibrium is maintained by natural selection in the same way that the approximate 1:1 ratio of males to females in the human population is maintained. If the number of males is higher than the number of females, then females are more likely to pass on their genes than males are, so people who have more female children will pass on more genes, on average, than people who have male children, and the ratio comes back toward 1:1 in the next few generations.

All this to say, that an activity or characteristic doesn’t need to be universal for it to be natural. For some characteristics (such as gender or sexual orientation), there exists an optimal equilibrium enforced by natural selection.

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Lorkas January 8, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I hear some saying “gender ratio in humans is determined by whether the sperm has an X or a Y chromosome, a 50/50 chance anyway”. This is true for gamete formation, but other traits can change the probability of an X or Y sperm fertilizing an egg.

One such trait is the length of time that the sperm have to survive inside the female reproductive tract. X sperm are slightly larger than Y sperm and tend to live longer inside the woman, so a woman with a long path that sperm have to follow to reach the egg are more likely to have girl babies than boy babies, and vice-versa. A male could have a mutation on his X or Y chromosome that makes one type of sperm less likely to survive, for a second example.

These characteristics tend to be kept in balance by the mechanism I described above, though, to enforce the 1:1 ratio of males to females in the human population.

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Rob January 8, 2010 at 7:12 pm

WCL’s podcast on “The American Psychological Association Resolution on Homosexual Change”:

http://www.rfmedia.org/blog/index.php?id=61

If, as Nietzsche observes, “the moral (or immoral) intentions in every philosophy constitute the true living seed from which the whole plant has always grown,” then WCL’s Current Events Audio Blog is perhaps more attention-worthy than the arguments for which he is best known.

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lukeprog January 8, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Rob,

Yeah, his current events audio blog are ripe for quote mining for anyone who wants to make WLC look like a fundamentalist nutjob.

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Ben January 8, 2010 at 7:29 pm

While, this could be true, don’t you think even if that were not the case they (homosexuals) would see people having babies and if you been around a couple who are pregnant and/or expecting a baby and etc., don’t you think it will finally click for the homosexual that they will never get to experience that. Point is that’s enough to make heterosexual couples depressed (ones with fertility problems), what do you think it will do for the homosexual.

A couple’s opportunity to raise a child is as much a societal construct as is the rest of our attitudes towards homosexuality. Just because you may not be biologically disposed to have children does not mean there aren’t children out there in need of parents, or other means of conceiving them.

Millions of kids live in poverty around the world, but anti-homosexual sentiment would see them starve to death rather than live under the same roof as loving homosexual couple. We have governments telling homosexuals “you can’t adopt because many believe (with no data to prove it, and plenty of contrary evidence) that children can do better.” It is this knowledge, the societal construct defining the “ideal family” and the death and hurt it encourages, which is depressing.

And then there’s many western governments limiting access to IVF for lesbians and the outlawing of surrogacy for gay men. The truth is raising a child is no longer just about what appendage is put in what orifice. Biology plays a part, sure, but social conscience is by far the largest contributing factor to who gets to raise children and in what way.

“Never” only depends on the laws our governments have in place. Personally I hadn’t placed myself into the “never” compartment. That was until I learned what laws Australia, and in particular my state, have in place, and how the anti-homosexual brigade consistently get their way despite studies and recommendations that the discrimination be removed.

I guess my point is: the most depressing aspect is not that having a biological child of my own would be difficult even if it was allowed and accepted, it’s that my own government is telling me that I can’t, and the anti-homosexual crowd is telling me that I shouldn’t, that I should stop wanting to, and to be quiet.

To think that the anti-homosexual sentiment perpetrated by the government and the vocal Christian mob doesn’t have a profound and negative effect on homosexual psyche is naive.

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Baal January 8, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I went looking and something interesting came up.
Whereas this line above says –
[He cites “Pedophilia and Heterosexuality vs. Homosexuality” by Freund and Watson in Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 10 (Fall 1984) page 197],
the abstract for the paper on pubmed lists the authors as Freund K, Heasman G, Racansky IG, Glancy G.
One thing that stands out is the fact that the researchers do not use heterosexual and homosexual in reference to attraction for adults. Heterosexual and homosexual are used when talking of paedophiles who offend against boy children (homosexual) and girl children (heterosexual). They differentiate that from attraction to adult women (gynephilia) and adult men (androphilia).
They are not using homosexual in the common usage as men attracted to adult men.
The actually state in the last line of the abstract -
“This difference……and that in pedophilia, the development of heterosexuality or homosexuality is brought about by factors different from those operative in the development of androphilia or gynephilia.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6512871?dopt=Abstract

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Baal January 8, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Also, I did find a paper on pubmed called -

“The proportions of heterosexual and homosexual pedophiles among sex offenders against children: an exploratory study.” by Freund K, Watson RJ.
J Sex Marital Ther. 1992 Spring;18(1):34-43.
which has this in the abstract – “Previous investigations have indicated that the ratio of sex offenders against female children vs. offenders against male children is approximately 2:1, while the ratio of gynephiles to androphiles among the general population is approximately 20:1. The present study investigated whether the etiology of preferred partner sex among pedophiles is related to the etiology of preferred partner sex among males preferring adult partners. Using phallometric test sensitivities to calculate the proportion of true pedophiles among various groups of sex offenders against children, and taking into consideration previously reported mean numbers of victims per offender group, the ratio of heterosexual to homosexual pedophiles was calculated to be approximately 11:1. This suggests that the resulting proportion of true pedophiles among persons with a homosexual erotic development is greater than that in persons who develop heterosexually. This, of course, would not indicate that androphilic males have a greater propensity to offend against children.”
I draw your attention to the last line where it explicitly states that androphilic males (who we commonly call homosexuals) do no have a greater propensity for paedophilia.

So, previous studies have shown the ratio of offenders against female children vs. offenders against male children is approx. 2:1 and

The ratio of gynephiles to androphiles is 20:1.

The present study shows the ratio of heterosexual to homosexual paedophiles to be 11:1

The study is contrasting the ratio of gynephiles to androphiles (20:1) with the ratio of heterosexual to homosexual paedophiles (11:1) to show that there is a higher incidence of men who offend against children of their same sex than there are adult men who are attracted to other adult men in the general population.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1556756

It is not saying anything about adult male homosexuals being more likely to offend against young boys.

I will be charitable and say that possibly confusion came about because of the difference in use of the terms homosexual and heterosexual in a clinical setting when compared to how these terms are used commonly.

It is also possible that Schmidt went looking for something and he found it, regardless of whether it was actually there.

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Joseph January 8, 2010 at 8:34 pm

While I appreciate you taking on the this topic, I’m concerned by your choice of research by Thomas Schmidt. Based soley on excerpts you’ve included these statistics seem rather ridiculous and are highly subjective.

The sample was self-admittedly small and highly unrepresentative of the entire gay population. As a gay guy I know of 0 men that have had over 100 sexual partners. That seems quite extreme for any guy or girl, straight or gay. Of course, my observation is obviously non-scientific and I don’t feel like digging up all of the studies refuting Schmidt’s claims. Those religiously opposed to the “homosexual lifestyle” will most likely use Schmidt as a source regardless so at least your addressing those claims.

Anyhow, to make this a productive comment I’ll direct to John Corvino. He’s done some great writing on the subject. Check out his 6 part series on Homosexuality and Morality at Independent Gay Forum. He’s got some good reads.

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lukeprog January 8, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Joseph,

Please don’t assume I agree with Craig and Schmidt!

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Supernova January 8, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Lorkas:
What a stupid-ass argument. According to this reasoning, it’s immoral to be a doctor, since if everyone were a doctor we’d have no farmers and there wouldn’t be enough food. It’s immoral to have more than 2 children, since if everyone had more than 2 children we’d run out of food and cause suffering in future generations. It’s immoral to be a woman, because the species would die out if we were all women.

I made sure in my post (just for this very purpose) that all moral ethical philosophies have holes in them that would make them seem as a ‘stupid-ass argument.’ However, it seems you don’t know how deontology works (though I don’t wish to debate the ins-and-outs between all these moral ethical philosophies and this or that). You have rule and act deontology and for the Doctor scenario you brought forth, your argument fails b/c it misses to realize that Doctors do more than just ‘doctoring.’ Whereas, homosexuals cannot by laws of nature produce offspring. As far as your other scenario (having more than 2 children), you’d be surprised at how many believe in exactly that point of view. I know some that believe in abortions b/c they argue the child would have a negative carbon impact on the environment, which in return could have a negative impact on us individuals living here on earth. The abortions are called eco-abortions.

I also just want to note that never said I believe in these ethical theories. I was only providing them, just to do so.

Lorkas:
Again, is/ought fallacy, but even your fallacy is mistaken here. Studies in some species with homosexual individuals (that is, every sexually-reproducing species so far studied) have shown that homosexuality seems to be caused by a part of a gene complex that makes the individual more likely to assist parents and siblings in raising young. Because the parent or sibling of an individual shares 50% of the individual’s genes, helping your parent/sibling to reproduce more rather than reproducing yourself can be a viable strategy for increasing the number of genes you pass on.If you can help your sibling to raise more than twice as many young as you could have raised yourself over your lifetime, then homosexuality is actually a better individual strategy for passing on genes than heterosexuality is. Obviously this isn’t a strategy that would work if everyone adopted it, but there is an equilibrium level at which homosexuality genes in a population exist, and it differs for each species. If there are too many heteros in a population, then homosexual genes become more fit, and if there are too many homosexuals in a population, then heterosexual genes become more fit.This equilibrium is maintained by natural selection in the same way that the approximate 1:1 ratio of males to females in the human population is maintained. If the number of males is higher than the number of females, then females are more likely to pass on their genes than males are, so people who have more female children will pass on more genes, on average, than people who have male children, and the ratio comes back toward 1:1 in the next few generations.All this to say, that an activity or characteristic doesn’t need to be universal for it to be natural. For some characteristics (such as gender or sexual orientation), there exists an optimal equilibrium enforced by natural selection.  

None of that surprises me. Though, I think much of the above would be speculation with regards to homosexuals and us Homo sapiens (tried to make a joke). Were those species that were being studied mammals? Have scientists been able to ‘cut off’ those genes to confirm their studies? I could argue that to me it seems mammals do better when they produce offspring together and raise them together: either in groups/colonies/herds. Like what wolves, lions, bison, meerkats, bats, elephants, dauphins, primates, and et al. do. Only to pay back the favor, since you threw out a logic term (is/ought fallacy), I guess I’ll throw out a logic term and say the burden of proof falls on you to show what you are saying is applied to us humans. Just b/c homosexuals in those species ‘might’ help their population grow doesn’t mean it’s the same for us. I’m sure there’s some fancy logic term out there for this particular case. lol

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dbassett January 8, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Great post! I eagerly await your full response Luke.

Kudos to Baal on addressing my biggest concern regarding the conflation of pedophiles that target same sex children and non-pedophile homosexuals.

We frequently see arguments that label the former group as “homosexual pedophiles” or simply as homosexuals, and then go on to cite statistics about this group without clearly defining how these labels have been applied, like so:

“Homosexual men are not necessarily pedophiles. Still, several studies reveal that while no more than 2 percent of male adults are homosexual, approximately 35 percent of pedophiles are homosexual.”

The phrase “approximately 35 percent of pedophiles are homosexual” could mean either that 35% of pedophiles are homosexuals with regard to adults, which would support WLC’s argument, or that 35% percent of pedophiles target children that are the same sex, which is irrelevant to the argument.

When the intrepid check the sources they usually find that the argument is equivocating the casual and the scientific definitions for homosexual, and that the data provided is in fact irrelevant.

I agree with the other comments that the best explanation for the other statistics would be an intolerant society and misplaced morals, rather than some intrinsic quality of homosexual thoughts/acts. You’ll notice that arguments such as this one never try to explain how homosexuality might cause any of these ailments.

Sadly, by bolstering the idea the homosexuality is “a dark, twisted, and dangerous lifestyle” it would seem that the apologists are merely perpetuating the very problems that that they are trying to solve.

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Supernova January 8, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Ben:
A couple’s opportunity to raise a child is as much a societal construct as is the rest of our attitudes towards homosexuality. Just because you may not be biologically disposed to have children does not mean there aren’t children out there in need of parents, or other means of conceiving them.Millions of kids live in poverty around the world, but anti-homosexual sentiment would see them starve to death rather than live under the same roof as loving homosexual couple. We have governments telling homosexuals “you can’t adopt because many believe (with no data to prove it, and plenty of contrary evidence) that children can do better.” It is this knowledge, the societal construct defining the “ideal family” and the death and hurt it encourages, which is depressing.And then there’s many western governments limiting access to IVF for lesbians and the outlawing of surrogacy for gay men. The truth is raising a child is no longer just about what appendage is put in what orifice. Biology plays a part, sure, but social conscience is by far the largest contributing factor to who gets to raise children and in what way.“Never” only depends on the laws our governments have in place. Personally I hadn’t placed myself into the “never” compartment. That was until I learned what laws Australia, and in particular my state, have in place, and how the anti-homosexual brigade consistently get their way despite studies and recommendations that the discrimination be removed.I guess my point is: the most depressing aspect is not that having a biological child of my own would be difficult even if it was allowed and accepted, it’s that my own government is telling me that I can’t, and the anti-homosexual crowd is telling me that I shouldn’t, that I should stop wanting to, and to be quiet.To think that the anti-homosexual sentiment perpetrated by the government and the vocal Christian mob doesn’t have a profound and negative effect on homosexual psyche is naive.  

I agree with that.

Just to make sure on the never part. In my post, I was saying homosexual couples will never get to have that ‘special’ feeling about bringing forth a child like heterosexual couples do. I said knowing this fact would, of course, make a homosexual become depressed just like heterosexuals get depressed when they have fertility problems… especially when they are around people who are pregnant and/or expecting a child.

I was just trying to bring up a counter-argument that homosexuals have higher depress rates (if these are even trustworthy reports) is b/c of the fact that society frowns upon homosexuality. I say sure, but knowing that they (homosexuals) will not be able to produce a child like heterosexual couples will also make them depressed. My overall point is to say I don’t think it would be far-fetched to believe homosexuals could have higher depress rates even if society didn’t frown on the fact, but b/c they know they couldn’t have that so called bond or special feeling of making a baby naturally.

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Kutuzov January 9, 2010 at 1:32 am

Lorkas: Studies in some species with homosexual individuals (that is, every sexually-reproducing species so far studied) have shown that homosexuality seems to be caused by a part of a gene complex that makes the individual more likely to assist parents and siblings in raising young. Because the parent or sibling of an individual shares 50% of the individual’s genes, helping your parent/sibling to reproduce more rather than reproducing yourself can be a viable strategy for increasing the number of genes you pass on.
If you can help your sibling to raise more than twice as many young as you could have raised yourself over your lifetime, then homosexuality is actually a better individual strategy for passing on genes than heterosexuality is. Obviously this isn’t a strategy that would work if everyone adopted it, but there is an equilibrium level at which homosexuality genes in a population exist, and it differs for each species. If there are too many heteros in a population, then homosexual genes become more fit, and if there are too many homosexuals in a population, then heterosexual genes become more fit.
This equilibrium is maintained by natural selection in the same way that the approximate 1:1 ratio of males to females in the human population is maintained. If the number of males is higher than the number of females, then females are more likely to pass on their genes than males are, so people who have more female children will pass on more genes, on average, than people who have male children, and the ratio comes back toward 1:1 in the next few generations.

this is great, do you have any reference links I can read regarding these studies?

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Joseph January 9, 2010 at 7:16 am

Haha, I would hope you don’t agree. You seem a bit too intelligent for that.

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Baal January 9, 2010 at 10:58 am

Supernova: My overall point is to say I don’t think it would be far-fetched to believe homosexuals could have higher depress rates even if society didn’t frown on the fact, but b/c they know they couldn’t have that so called bond or special feeling of making a baby naturally.

If there were some way to measure a putative depression at the inability to impregnate your partner and carry a child to term that would still not show that it didn’t have it’s source in societal conditioning.

Take the example of the so-called biological clock. It started as the idea that as a woman ages, so do her eggs and there is an optimal time to conceive. This entered the public conciousness and morphed into an idea that women have some innate ‘feeling’ that tells them they need to have a baby. Some started talking about how they could ‘feel their clock ticking’.
So a metaphor about fertility becomes a quasi-mystical sense.

Evolution needn’t endow you with such a sense to get you to procreate. All it needs is that you have the desire for sex and pregnancy happens.

Just as you have children, both boys and girls getting anxiety and depression around body image issues. These feelings are created and fed because they are bombarded with images of skinny celebrities and men with six-packs.
Feelings and desires can be created by what you see around you, what others are doing.
I’m not trying to say that some women don’t feel a particular satisfaction at bearing a child within them. But I have heard plenty of women say that if they could put the foetus in a box for nine months they would happily do that and not suffer the sleepless nights hormonal changes, constipation and the pain of giving birth.

As Ben above said, much more apparent is the tyranny of the majority.
In Ireland recently there was the case of a gay man who was sperm donor to a couple of lesbians, who objected to them emigrating with the child and went to court. It ruled in his favour as the father and having rights over the child.
The most disturbing part of it was the judgement that the lesbian couple weren’t recognised by the Irish constitution as a valid family unit.
This constitution reflects the conservative Catholic culture of Ireland of 1937 against that of the European convention on Human Rights which originally ruled in favour of the couple.
Homosexuality itself was only legalised in Ireland in 1993.

There is another case of a gay male couple who had a woman, a sister of one of them, agree to be surrogate. She wasn’t the genetic parent as the egg was donated, yet she was given rights over the twins as the mother. She claimed they had taken advantage of her when she was vulnerable.
Compare this to a woman who gives her baby up for adoption, to then later claim back her child citing her state of mind at the time of the adoption.

I don’t mean to judge here. Just to give some examples of how, even when gay couples do what is necessary to have children of their own, the state can fall back on entrenched ideas, sometimes with a religious background, and rule against them.

With reproductive technologies changing how children will be born in the future, tradition hardly seems the best way to go about making these judgements, especially when tradition often has shown itself to be based on bigotry and prejudice.

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Dacheron January 9, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Prejudice, certainly.

I’m curious how Craig would approach the issue of being black, if he used his same method of the dangers of the homosexual lifestyle (some of that depression perhaps brought on by perception of being gay rather than actuality or behavior). It’s no shock that white supremacist groups use similar rhetoric of disease, family dysfunction, drug use, and incarceration rates to put up whiteness as more moral.

As others I have said, I too doubt that if the case could be proven differently–where without social stigma, gays’ attributes had no statistically significant difference between them and the general general population–Craig would find it less objectionable. Like most groups, it’s ancillary information to their cause, and it’s why they end being taken in more easily by “research” of the likes of Paul Cameron and sites such as NARTH.

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Supernova January 9, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Baal:
If there were some way to measure a putative depression at the inability to impregnate your partner and carry a child to term that would still not show that it didn’t have it’s source in societal conditioning.Take the example of the so-called biological clock. It started as the idea that as a woman ages, so do her eggs and there is an optimal time to conceive. This entered the public conciousness and morphed into an idea that women have some innate ‘feeling’ that tells them they need to have a baby. Some started talking about how they could ‘feel their clock ticking’.
So a metaphor about fertility becomes a quasi-mystical sense.Evolution needn’t endow you with such a sense to get you to procreate. All it needs is that you have the desire for sex and pregnancy happens.Just as you have children, both boys and girls getting anxiety and depression around body image issues. These feelings are created and fed because they are bombarded with images of skinny celebrities and men with six-packs.
Feelings and desires can be created by what you see around you, what others are doing.
I’m not trying to say that some women don’t feel a particular satisfaction at bearing a child within them. But I have heard plenty of women say that if they could put the foetus in a box for nine months they would happily do that and not suffer the sleepless nights hormonal changes, constipation and the pain of giving birth.As Ben above said, much more apparent is the tyranny of the majority.
In Ireland recently there was the case of a gay man who was sperm donor to a couple of lesbians, who objected to them emigrating with the child and went to court. It ruled in his favour as the father and having rights over the child.
The most disturbing part of it was the judgement that the lesbian couple weren’t recognised by the Irish constitution as a valid family unit.
This constitution reflects the conservative Catholic culture of Ireland of 1937 against that of the European convention on Human Rights which originally ruled in favour of the couple.
Homosexuality itself was only legalised in Ireland in 1993.There is another case of a gay male couple who had a woman, a sister of one of them, agree to be surrogate. She wasn’t the genetic parent as the egg was donated, yet she was given rights over the twins as the mother. She claimed they had taken advantage of her when she was vulnerable.
Compare this to a woman who gives her baby up for adoption, to then later claim back her child citing her state of mind at the time of the adoption.I don’t mean to judge here. Just to give some examples of how, even when gay couples do what is necessary to have children of their own, the state can fall back on entrenched ideas, sometimes with a religious background, and rule against them.With reproductive technologies changing how children will be born in the future, tradition hardly seems the best way to go about making these judgements, especially when tradition often has shown itself to be based on bigotry and prejudice.  

I thought what I was saying was quite simple. I mean who wouldn’t get depressed when they can’t conceive a child naturally and even further as you said in your first paragraph cannot carry a child to term. I believe the fact one would get depressed b/c of those two reasons are based on innate emotions. It doesn’t take external factors like society for me to get depressed when me and my wife try our hearts out to make a child and it never quite seems to work. I know family members and friends who have/had fertility problems and who had a few miscarriage that made them get depressed. I think it’s pretty obvious it’s not b/c of society, but b/c of commonsense reasons. I mean people try and try and try and try to have a child and all their work is futile. Who in the world wouldn’t get depressed after such a thing. I know I would and I wouldn’t blame society for my depression.

It seems that some say we can sweep just about every kind of depression under the rug and say it’s only due to our society. Even if one could show a chemical imbalance to be the source of depression we can then just argue well nurture is stronger than nature.

Your second paragraph about the so-called biological clock. You do realize it’s not ‘so-called’, but is a real thing. Women unlike men don’t have their whole life to be able to make a child. This is a fact and women know it. The older the woman gets the more likely they are to have a child with a genetic disorder like Down Syndrome and are more likely to have miscarriages. Studies have confirmed this, and women understand this. So, once again, if a woman waits too long to conceive a child her chance for the child to have a genetic disorder becomes higher and also increases the chance of her having a miscarriage. Also, if the woman waits too long she will be no longer be able to produce eggs b/c of that pesky thing called menopause. The menopause is the kicker that says, “your chance is forever gone.” So, acting like this biological clock is just some society made rule is silly. It’s a fact of life and women know it. I thank God, that I’m not a woman. :) I meant I thank nature, though I put my influence on society for thinking that, I’m not a woman. lol

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Jeff H January 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Supernova:
I thought what I was saying was quite simple. I mean who wouldn’t get depressed when they can’t conceive a child naturally and even further as you said in your first paragraph cannot carry a child to term. I believe the fact one would get depressed b/c of those two reasons are based on innate emotions. It doesn’t take external factors like society for me to get depressed when me and my wife try our hearts out to make a child and it never quite seems to work. I know family members and friends who have/had fertility problems and who had a few miscarriage that made them get depressed. I think it’s pretty obvious it’s not b/c of society, but b/c of commonsense reasons. I mean people try and try and try and try to have a child and all their work is futile. Who in the world wouldn’t get depressed after such a thing. I know I would and I wouldn’t blame society for my depression.

That could be right, except there’s one big difference: Gay people aren’t “trying” to have children. They know the biological requirements in order to have children, and when one man puts his ding-dong in the other’s hoo-hah, they’re not doing it for the purpose of procreating. Certainly there are couples who become disappointed or depressed because they are infertile or for whatever other reason are having trouble conceiving. But that’s not necessarily because of a thwarted desire to procreate – it’s because of the constant hope followed by continual let-down and failure.

A person might be kind of disappointed if they want to be a pilot and find that they’re colour-blind and therefore ineligible. And then they find another passion and they put their desire to be a pilot aside. A person is more likely to be depressed if they take the pilot’s test over and over again and constantly fail. They begin to wonder if they’re not good enough, if they’re stupid, if they’re worthless….the two process are very much different. It’s not the lack of pilot-hood that would make the person depressed (most likely)…it’s the constant failure.

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Baal January 9, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Supernova,
Without getting off topic too much, the point I was trying to make was that humans have accumulated knowledge about fertility and the inverse relationship between age and chances of becoming pregnant which was called the biological clock.
The same biological clock exists in men in the sense that the quality of sperm lessens over time which can lead to offspring with genetic disorders, etc.

That knowledge of a cut-off point in having children is enough to explain the depression and anxiety at not having children.

Then factor in all the things like the need for respect and approval. Some women have been known to have one pregnancy after another because they miss how they get treated by others, and get jealous of other pregnant women, yet have little interest in the children once they are born.

The need felt to reproduce is not physiological but psychological. Even after menopause some women still feel that need to have children. To love and care for a child.

I wasn’t trying to draw some arbitrary line between nature and nurture which personally I think is like the dualism that gives rise to ideas about separate souls.

There are plenty of people who have absolutely no desire for children.

There is no strong evidence for a procreative urge in the same sense as an urge to eat.

That’s not to say that in the future there might not be more evidence for it.

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Supernova January 9, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Jeff H:
That could be right, except there’s one big difference: Gay people aren’t “trying” to have children. They know the biological requirements in order to have children, and when one man puts his ding-dong in the other’s hoo-hah, they’re not doing it for the purpose of procreating. Certainly there are couples who become disappointed or depressed because they are infertile or for whatever other reason are having trouble conceiving. But that’s not necessarily because of a thwarted desire to procreate – it’s because of the constant hope followed by continual let-down and failure.A person might be kind of disappointed if they want to be a pilot and find that they’re colour-blind and therefore ineligible. And then they find another passion and they put their desire to be a pilot aside. A person is more likely to be depressed if they take the pilot’s test over and over again and constantly fail. They begin to wonder if they’re not good enough, if they’re stupid, if they’re worthless….the two process are very much different. It’s not the lack of pilot-hood that would make the person depressed (most likely)…it’s the constant failure.  

Hey, I can agree with that. I was simply providing a simple and straight-forward counter-argument for some of the posters saying the reason why homosexuals have higher levels of depression is only b/c of the society/external factors. I say wait just a minute. Don’t you think it’s completely rational to say they could have higher depression rates b/c they know they could never conceive a child naturally. That was my point. It wasn’t about trying to conceive a child, just I simply provided the ‘trying’ part AFTER Baal spoke about people who can’t carry a child to term.

Though, comparing never being able to produce child naturally to a pilot not being able to get a license is far-fetched, but I understand the analogy and the two different processes you brought forth. However, child bearing is on a much higher bar than anything else in life (for many people). Certainly, we can agree on that.

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Baal January 9, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Lol at -

Jeff H: when one man puts his ding-dong in the other’s hoo-hah

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Supernova January 9, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Baal: Supernova,
Without getting off topic too much, the point I was trying to make was that humans have accumulated knowledge about fertility and the inverse relationship between age and chances of becoming pregnant which was called the biological clock.
The same biological clock exists in men in the sense that the quality of sperm lessens over time which can lead to offspring with genetic disorders, etc.That knowledge of a cut-off point in having children is enough to explain the depression and anxiety at not having children.Then factor in all the things like the need for respect and approval. Some women have been known to have one pregnancy after another because they miss how they get treated by others, and get jealous of other pregnant women, yet have little interest in the children once they are born.The need felt to reproduce is not physiological but psychological. Even after menopause some women still feel that need to have children. To love and care for a child.I wasn’t trying to draw some arbitrary line between nature and nurture which personally I think is like the dualism that gives rise to ideas about separate souls.There are plenty of people who have absolutely no desire for children.There is no strong evidence for a procreative urge in the same sense as an urge to eat.That’s not to say that in the future there might not be more evidence for it.  

I get what your saying, but the fact still remains the biological clock is a real thing. For women once menopause hits they are done for are far as conceiving a child goes.

I agree that knowing, especially for women, that your on a clock can cause anxiety that leads to depression. But this goes with anything in life. We are all on the clock. I don’t have forever to fall in love, or to this or that, b/c the finality of death is looming around the corner.

I totally get your part about women or couples in general get this good feeling about expecting a child b/c they are treated better and get more attention, via friends, family, and from the child itself.

However, I completely disagree about the part when you said,”The need felt to reproduce is not physiological but psychological.” It is both, especially for humans if not the other way around for every other living organism. That’s the whole point of biological imperatives. This is basic level biology 101 type stuff. We animals have this innate sense to reproduce. It is universal among organisms that there is a capacity for reproduction and the drive to do so whenever physiological and environmental conditions allow it. Now, you could argue humans b/c we are more aware of things can have a more psychological need to reproduce than physiological need to. But, that still goes around acknowledging the fact that we do have this biological imperative to reproduce that is built into us and as I said before is seen universally in all living organisms.

But yeah, we are getting off topic.

Good talking to you.

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Baal January 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Supernova,
Good talking to you too.
Just so you know I haven’t pulled this out of my arse I’ll leave you with this quote (which I’m not saying is the final word).

Does that mean people are driven by a primordial edict to bear children? Evolutionary psychologist Stephen Pinker of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, thinks not. Pinker is the author of the recent book, “How the Mind Works.”

“Primarily, we have a drive to have sex,” he says. “If we really had a drive to have children that bear copies of our genes, you’d have men lining up around the block to donate sperm.” Pinker says humans wouldn’t be such avid consumers of birth control if our genes were commanding us to reproduce.

“There are people who decide not to have children,” Pinker points out. “Probably most people in our society decide to have fewer children than they could have.” There is, however, one other powerful impulse: “I think there are very few people who decide they have no interest in sex,” Pinker says.

From an evolutionary perspective, there was never a need for humans to develop a desire for babies, Pinker argues. As long as we wanted sex, we got babies. He believes the reason so many people do want babies is that human brains run on more than instinct. People can reason. We can predict that having children might make us happy. But many experts on human behavior, including Pinker, say once a baby is born, an instinct does kick in: parents are driven to care for their children.

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Supernova January 9, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Baal: Supernova,
Good talking to you too.
Just so you know I haven’t pulled this out of my arse I’ll leave you with this quote (which I’m not saying is the final word).
  

No problem.

Pinker is a very educated man and tore down John Locke’s Tabula rasa in his book ‘The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature.’

Though, for the excerpt you brought forth, he (Pinker) notes us males are not lining up at sperm banks and we (both males and females) are using contraceptives, then he goes on to say we reason (with our brains) in having babies b/c they could make us happy and etc. To me he’s leaving out the fact we also reason for using contraceptives and not lining up at the sperm bank. We can reason against our instincts. Like when I go mountain climbing or sky diving I’m going against my instincts which tell me to be afraid of heights and of dieing, but I do so, nonetheless, b/c I rationalize to myself that this is fun and a thrill to do so. So, he brings up a valid counter-argument, but doesn’t use the same standard (in this case reasoning) for us not lining up at sperm banks and using contraceptives compared to us ‘wanting’ babies.

But, yeah, I know you wasn’t making it up. Just I think we do have this innate (I go even further and say especially females) sense to not only have sex, but to create offspring.

I guess Pinker would argue our biological imperative is an urge for sex and the effect of that imperative creates offspring. I think there’s a biological imperative for both. We see this in the animal kingdom constantly. For example when animals are in heat, which is an innate thing makes it where they say it is time for me to find a mate and produce offspring. Many female mammals undergo the estrous cycle (going into heat) which is a physiologic (non-psychological) change, and in humans this is called the menstrual cycle. So, Pinker doesn’t address this at all and this IMO severally undercuts his argument.

I too wasn’t trying to get the last word either. lol It’s interesting stuff.

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Dacheron January 9, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Supernova,

If it were true that the lack of creating children were a source of depression for mechanically infertile couples such as gays and lesbians, how would this color our perspective in assessing what would overall be best for gays and lesbians?

I can’t imagine it would be better for many gays or lesbians to simply follow the heterosexual paradigm to eliminate that possible link of non-procreativity and depression. In fact, I think this decision has proven to be quite disastrous to the families of the men and women who have tried it.

And if we followed that the depression were sourced from the lack of being able to bear children, the common end goal of Catholics and some therapy groups for gays and lesbians is a life of celibacy if not the previous outcome of marrying a heterosexual. The celibate life would do no better in reducing that depression (and in fact, I would argue it might be the worst blanket suggestion since it robs these individuals of having a companion for emotional support and stability).

I’m not aptly convinced the connection is as strong as you suggest, but I’m baffled how you would resolve it if true, not creating a situation as prone to inducing depression.

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Supernova January 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Dacheron: Supernova,If it were true that the lack of creating children were a source of depression for mechanically infertile couples such as gays and lesbians, how would this color our perspective in assessing what would overall be best for gays and lesbians?I can’t imagine it would be better for many gays or lesbians to simply follow the heterosexual paradigm to eliminate that possible link of non-procreativity and depression.In fact, I think this decision has proven to be quite disastrous to the families of the men and women who have tried it.And if we followed that the depression were sourced from the lack of being able to bear children, the common end goal of Catholics and some therapy groups for gays and lesbians is a life of celibacy if not the previous outcome of marrying a heterosexual.The celibate life would do no better in reducing that depression (and in fact, I would argue it might be the worst blanket suggestion since it robs these individuals of having a companion for emotional support and stability).I’m not aptly convinced the connection is as strong as you suggest, but I’m baffled how you would resolve it if true, not creating a situation as prone to inducing depression.  

My whole goal was to provide a simple and straight-forward counter-argument in that society is not the only reason why homosexuals may have higher depression rates. I created an hypothetical world in which society did not frown upon homosexuality and said it would be rational to say that they could have higher rates (even it were .01%) of depression than heterosexuals b/c they would come to understand that they will never be able to conceive a child naturally.

Never said I thought their depression rates would be monstrously higher than heterosexuals, and nor did I say or hint at how one could solve this problem.

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tlludwig August 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm

I do think its logical to include homosexuals in the same category as pedophiles. It all comes down to one reason: consent. homosexuals are engaging in consentual sex whereas pedophiles are having sex with children who cannot consent.

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tlludwig August 8, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Damn website is slow and lagging; I caught the error after my post. I do NOT think its logical to group homosexuals with pedophiles.

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