Measured Against Reality

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Gay Animals

I found this article to be quite interesting. Not because I didn’t know that animals exhibited homosexual tendencies, but because of this:

One radical Christian said organisers of the exhibition – partly funded by the Norwegian Government – should "burn in hell", Mr Soeli said.


It seems to me that gay animals throw the assertion that homosexuality is unnatural right out the window. I’ve never heard of a theology that grants animals free will (a right reserved solely for humans because we’re so special), so how can they choose to be gay? They’re just doing what’s natural to them, and in some cases, that means homosexuality.

So anyone who declares the fact that homosexuality is perfectly natural has to burn in hell for the heinous crime of exposing the hatred and idiocy of the bigots. Personally, I’d like to see more exhibits like these, as well as more education about the research in genetic/environmental causes of homosexuality (for instance, every older brother you have multiplies your odds of being gay by four-thirds. I guess younger siblings just choose to be gay more often).

One of my high school teachers told the class a story about a gay friend of hers. He could remember when he was five, playing with two neighbors, a boy and a girl, and he had a crush on the boy. Taking this story at face value, how could a five year old boy have a crush on another boy without naturally preferring boys? Like gay animals, it doesn’t make sense unless homosexuality is natural for some people.

Which leads me to my conclusion: homosexuality is natural for some people. Even if you don’t happen to like it, live and let live. It’s that simple.

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20 Comments:

  • "I’ve never heard of a theology that grants animals free will (a right reserved solely for humans because we’re so special), so how can they choose to be gay? They’re just doing what’s natural to them, and in some cases, that means homosexuality."

    Stu, you really should stop talking about religion and religious people. You don't understand them and you don't understand their faith.

    By Blogger Mr. Fantastic!, at 7:44 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • Yeah, and your personal theology is the same as the other 6 billion theists. I have never heard anyone say that animals have free will in any religion ever. It is solely for humans (not even angels have free will, right?)

    Of course, some people probably do, but I'd bet the large majority don't.

    So what, exactly, am I not understanding about their faith?

    By Blogger Stupac2, at 7:48 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • Where have you ever heard religious people say that animals do not have the ability to make decisions?

    I am sitting here with my cat who comes to see me when he wants to. He calls me to let him outside when he wants to play. He clearly has free will. Any person, religious or otherwise, can see this. It has nothing to do with religion, or theology.

    You're exactly the same as all of the other elitist pricks in the world who think they know what everybody else doesn't. I swear you pull stuff out of your butt sometimes.

    By Blogger Mr. Fantastic!, at 7:53 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • Except that I've had conversations with Christians who say explicitly that animals don't, and it has always been my understanding that Christian theology held that only humans had free will.

    I'm not saying that they do or don't because I don't think I can possibly know that.

    I also think you should take a good hard look at what you just said and decide which of us is being unreasonable.

    By Blogger Stupac2, at 7:57 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • "So anyone who declares the fact that homosexuality is perfectly natural has to burn in hell for the heinous crime of exposing the hatred and idiocy of the bigots."

    Okay, you call all of us bigots. Cute.

    There is not one "Christian theology," there are thousands of established churches. I belong to none of them. I don't claim to speak for other people, but I will defend others' rights to make up their own minds.

    You just said:

    "I have never heard anyone say that animals have free will in any religion ever. It is solely for humans (not even angels have free will, right?)

    Of course, some people probably do, but I'd bet the large majority don't."

    Okay, now you have heard somebody say it. You stand corrected.

    By Blogger Mr. Fantastic!, at 8:09 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • Did you even read the last part of that quote? "Of course, some people probably do, but I'd bet the large majority don't." So you're in the first category, my statement wasn't wrong, you just didn't read it. Even then, I still said that my estimation was x, not that x is definitely true. So what's the problem?

    Most churches agree with each other on overarching issues. Again, my understanding is that the Old Testament (either implicitly or explicitly) says that only humans have free will. I could very well be wrong, but I think my statement that animals don't would not be controversial in most churches. I could be wrong.

    You seem to think that every time I make some kind of generalization of faith or religion in general and Christianity in particular I'm speaking directly about you. Get this through your head: I don't give a shit about what you believe. In the religious in general and Christianity in particular you will find someone who holds almost every belief. I can't possibly speak about all of those people. But most people do hold certain beliefs, and when I say things like "to my understanding" or "in my experience" it means that I have found those to be the general beliefs a group holds.

    For example, in my experience Democrats prefer to have a large social safety net, and Republicans prefer a smaller (or nonexistent) one. THAT STATEMENT IS NOT ALWAYS TRUE FOR EVERY INDIVIDUAL. I never said it was. It was generalization.

    And don't say not to generalize, because without generalization you could never describe anything but homogeneous groups, and almost all discussion about anything would be useless.

    From what I've been able to gather your personal theology is very out of mainstream, so stop getting pissed off when I describe mainstream (as I understand it).

    And if you don't think that people who protest at a gay man's funeral with signs that say "Good Riddance" and "God Hates Fags" and "Burn in Hell Fag" are bigots, then there is something seriously wrong with you.

    By Blogger Stupac2, at 8:35 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • "Yeah, and your personal theology is the same as the other 6 billion theists. I have never heard anyone say that animals have free will in any religion ever. It is solely for humans (not even angels have free will, right?)"

    Okay so what about that quote?

    You contradict yourself every time you type. I've been following your blog to assess exactly how much you know about the religious people you make such sweeping statements about. It's one thing to generalize or to refer to specific groups of people (like the Westboro Baptist people, who are highly vocal bigots and they're damn proud of it).

    My personal theology is based on the common moral threads of all religions of which I am aware. I read about what people say, take what they agree about as given and discard the disagreements. What you are left with- the common truth- must be that which is real. It's a logical philosophy that results in a highly arguable point of view.

    I believe very strongly that most thinking people form their personal philosophies the same way. The variable then becomes their personal experience.

    I believe this method is highly agreeable with science, as with philosophy and most other modern forms of thought.

    What it does not agree with is the kind of authoritarian fundamentalism espoused by people like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, who you seem to have an affection for. Their philosophy starts with a conclusion (There is no God) and picks evidence to support it. It asserts that any heterodox POV is absurd and should be abolished for the good of mankind.

    This is no different from any other tyranny perpetuated upon mankind, from Stalin and Mao to Alexander the Great and Sayyed Qutb. This is a new and highly polished authoritarianism that I had imagined you too rational to buy into.

    Unfortunately this "new Atheism" (as Wired is calling it) has taken the tack of associating itself with Science, which is great except that the approach is wholely unscientific.

    By Blogger Mr. Fantastic!, at 9:53 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • Yes, except that I said that BEFORE you declared that you believe that animals have free will. At the time I knew zero people who believed that. Now I know one. I also know no one who believes that unicorns exist, but some day I might meet one. Saying right now that "I've never heard of anyone who thinks that unicorns exist" wouldn't be contradicted by that future knowledge.

    I'm sure that I've contradicted myself before, I have probably typed several hundred thousand words for this blog, it's bound to happen. But this is not one of those times.

    I can't speak for Harris or Dawkins, but I don't think either one of them wants to take away your right to believe and worship whatever you want. They both think that religion is bad, but I highly doubt they want to actively purge it from society. All they want to do is convince people that religions are wrong. They use rational arguments, not all of which involve science, to try to accomplish that end.

    The rhetoric, like all rhetoric, gets more heated, but that's the point. Things like, "religion is the root cause of all evil" (which Dawkins has said he doesn't believe) grab ears, but that's hardly what's in their books (I've read both), which are more of a discussion of why they think religion is wrong. They also talk about other things like alternate sources for morality or alternate, godless approaches to morality.

    They're really not fundamentalists filled with hate. Dawkins has repeatedly commented that he likes the theists he interviews, even when they say that killing doctors who perform abortions is perfectly OK. He's not hateful, and he doesn't want to force anyone to do anything.

    And their arguments do the opposite, but you already know that. If you had any evidence that actually suggested that God exists you would have said it in one of your comments.

    I can't understand how you can say that Dawkins and Harris, two men who have done nothing but publish books, are as evil as Stalin or Mao. I can't say for certain, but I highly doubt that Richard Dawkins would kill every theist on earth if he had a magic button that would do just that. But he'll be in town this Sunday, I'll ask him.

    But I know you don't care. The only one here with predetermined conclusions is you.

    By Blogger Stupac2, at 10:12 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • Okay, let's get this animals with free will thing down.

    I really would like you to find someone - anyone - who believes that animals do not have the ability to make decisions on their own. I've never in all my life seen this in writing by anyone, in any doctrine or dogma.

    I did not explicitly state that Dawkins wishes to kill theists. I said he espouses an authoritarianism (and we all know how those end up) that is incompatible with freedom of thought. Once I can afford to do all of the other things I need to do I will review his new book which I have not (yet) read, but have not read the most flattering things about.

    That said, he is an interesting character and his movement will be interesting to watch.

    It is still an authoritarianism, just like those founded on religious principles or racialist principles or nationalist principles. It's all the same thing.

    I am an individualist above all else. Not all people are this way, and I understand that. It's very easy to get caught up in a "movement" and follow a group you think is new and exciting. This is the trap that millions of Muslim men get caught up in. The same principles are employed in America by leftist professors like Ward Churchill to rally campus commies with Che Guevara t-shirts.

    "Scientific" Atheism of the sort Mr Dawkins is hawking has just this kind of momentum to cause great damage in this country. His point of view is highly compatible with what is drilled into the brains of millions of American kids in public schools.

    I even bought into it for a while.

    The point I've been trying to make here is that I think you and I agree more than we disagree. I use the word "God" to describe reason, rationality, morality, goodness, purpose, etc. All of the things we can agree upon.

    If you believe that the use of those things, then you believe in the same God that I do. I also believe you will find, as I have, that many modern religions teach exactly the same thing. It's all very compatible, Stu, and it's not dogmatic at all.

    By Blogger Mr. Fantastic!, at 10:46 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • These are my last two comments:

    I know people who have said that before, and I have read things that indicate it is (at least) Catholic doctrine that God only gave humans free will. I've said at least once that it is my understanding that the old testament says that somewhere.

    Whatever you think of his overall argument, you are completely and totally mistaken about him wanting to establish anything autocratic. He advocates rationality above everything. If rationality leads you to a god, then fine, but he thinks you're wrong.

    You also need to remember the gigantic difference between "faith" and "religion". One is personal, the other requires many people.

    By Blogger Stupac2, at 10:52 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • "You also need to remember the gigantic difference between "faith" and "religion". One is personal, the other requires many people."

    That's my point. One's faith is a personal conclusion that should be based on reason and that all-too-familiar internal dialogue.

    I'm not sure what it is that we're disagreeing about here, except my objection to his calling people who draw out the terms of the debate as I have "Delusion(al)" per the title of his book.

    "religion" does not require "many people" as you say. Perhaps you're referring to what I termed as "movements" which are not necessarily religious in nature but are always authoritarian. These must be opposed at all costs.

    I still contend that we agree on much more than you might like to admit. His redefinition of "rationality" apparently does not involve tolerance (talk about a noble principle that has been perverted beyond recognition). If you'd like me to show you some really mean-spirited quotes by him and those in his movement towards believers, I'd be glad to do that.

    If you oppose dogmas, you must oppose his. I can't believe you think his philosophy does not fit the classification.

    By Blogger Mr. Fantastic!, at 11:08 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NzZiNWFhZGEzMzg5YjA4OTgyNzlkNzk1YjliOWNjOTc=

    The National Review always says it better than I can.

    By Blogger Mr. Fantastic!, at 11:26 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • That article was drivel. All he did was accuse Dawkins of telling truths that make people sad.He might as well have said that no one should read Satre or Neitzche because existentialism makes people feel bad. Yes, some people find the "purposelessness" of modern science to be disheartening, but many have exactly the opposite reaction. And maybe some people find religion comforting, but many don't (Dawkins talks about them in his book). If Mr. Holloway thinks that Dawkins is irresponsible for making some people feel bad, then he should feel exactly the same about everyone who has ever said anything about Hell (a far scarier concept than purposelessness) to anyone. Besides, Dawkins never forced anyone to read his book, he just put it out there. And it has brought great joy to many people, and they far outnumber those who have been depressed by it.

    As to the dissection of the quote at the end, here's the whole thing: “Presumably there is indeed no purpose in the ultimate fate of the cosmos, but do any of us really tie our life’s hopes to the ultimate fate of the cosmos anyway? Of course we don’t; not if we are sane. Our lives are ruled by all sorts of closer, warmer, human ambitions and perceptions. To accuse science of robbing life of the warmth that makes it worth living is so preposterously mistaken, so diametrically opposite to my own feelings and those of most working scientists, I am almost driven to the despair of which I am wrongly suspected.”

    Why does Carson Holloway find that so disturbing? Why is basing purpose on your own actions worse than having an intrinsic purpose built into the universe? And even if it is worse, why is Dawkins irresponsible for saying what he feels?

    Honestly, how can you call this tripe good thinking and writing?

    By Blogger Stupac2, at 11:44 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • "Here, again, Dawkins fails, dogmatically asserting as truth things that his science cannot confirm, things that science properly understood does not even claim to address. “Presumably,” he opines, “there is indeed no purpose in the ultimate fate of the universe.” On the basis of what evidence does Dawkins ground this momentous presumption? As a result of what scientific reasoning does he make this grandiose claim about the nature of all things? He has no such basis, and there is none available to him. It is true that pre-modern science sought to explain the purposefulness of the cosmos, while modern science has abandoned that project in favor of what is perhaps easier and more immediately useful: figuring out how nature works and how it can be manipulated. Nevertheless, it is clear that science’s turning away from questions of ultimate meaning is not equivalent to a denial of their importance, nor to a denial that they can be answered, let alone a claim to have answered them. Sober scientists — those who respect the limits of their method and avoid amateur philosophic extrapolations from it — understand this."

    Okay, how about that. Dawkins isn't talking science, he's talking doctrine. He's proscribing a system of belief predicated on the nonexistence of God.

    From what I've seen, morality is secondary to the notion that he is advancing, which is that all religion is is a bunch of ridiculous fairytales.

    "Dawkins’s denial of the meaningfulness of the cosmos arises not from any evidence that science reveals to him, but instead from a simple dogmatic hostility to those who see purpose in the universe itself, or, put more simply, an animus against religion."

    This is what I've been talking about in our ongoing dialogue here for the last couple of months.

    Yeah, Dawkins put his stuff out there, but I don't see any "great joy" in this at all. All I see is a stuck up elitist prick with lots of credentials and high self-esteem thinking he's bigger than God.

    God exists to humble man in comparison. Without something greater, man becomes a selfish, sickening, miserable, spiteful creature. That's human nature. Men since time immemorial have recognized it and attempted vainly to tame their nature in one form or another. It's not a good thing, and religions all over the world have terms for it.

    By Blogger Mr. Fantastic!, at 12:22 AM, October 25, 2006  

  • Of course, no religious people are selfish, sickening, miserable, or spiteful.

    By Blogger SchnappM, at 4:51 AM, October 25, 2006  

  • Are these animal really gay, or do they just happen to have homosexual intercourse? This makes a huge difference, because being gay is about engaging in a loving relatrionship with another man and not just fucking another male from time to time. I'm just bored of people showing me fucking animals and telling me that's gay, so well - even if I dont agree with these christians - they shall burn in hell, yes :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:25 AM, October 25, 2006  

  • "Of course, no religious people are selfish, sickening, miserable, or spiteful. "

    Wow, insightful observation schnappm. They're still people, they just have a source of morality that drives them to subdue it.

    By Blogger Mr. Fantastic!, at 12:22 PM, October 25, 2006  

  • "Here, again, Dawkins fails, dogmatically asserting as truth things that his science cannot confirm..."

    Sort of like, say, Christianity? Unless you want to establish it's infallibility through it being an enforced insitution for the last two thousand years. To the fact that, well, we've believed like this for so long it must be true.

    To my undying dismay I've found this to be a most popular paradigm among the zealous masses.

    By Anonymous Villanus, at 12:43 PM, October 30, 2006  

  • Heh....I think Mr Fantastic needs to get laid, is what I think. (but then, he might find he's not so mr fantastic... lol)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:40 PM, October 30, 2006  

  • You guys are funny! :-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:04 AM, May 22, 2007  

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