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Author Topic: '"Overcome" Homosexuality'
G-Man
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quote:
Bollocks G-Man, almost nobody on the thread can can make head nor tail of what Cunt is saying. I'm not arsed about you being polite or any of that jazz, but can you please knock it off with these completely pointless insertions.
No. Fuck off, you cunt.
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ad hoc
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quote:
It was pretty fucking self-evident, to be honest.

I could not have been any clearer about my views on the matter, and still I get your fucking "you what?" shit.

OK. Here's your first statement:

quote:
I think it's unconducive to human flourishing, in greatest part, though not exclusively, because many people do, unfortunately, think it's morally wrong
And here's your statement after I asked you to clarify:
quote:
And the way it should be phrased, "really", is "Being the subject of bigoted judgementalism is unconducive to one's own human flourishing"
So, you obviously could have been clearer on the matter, since after my questions you were clearer. And if it had been self-evident I wouldn't have needed to ask the questions.

quote:
Call it ludicrously hysterical if you wish. I call it getting fed up to my back teeth at having to defend myself against every idiotic bigoted thing that people will go out of their way to read into what I've said, when I've said nothing of the sort.
You're not having to defend yourself, you're having to clarify.

As part of your work, I presume you have to teach. When your students ask you a question because they don't understand something do you fly off the handle with them and launch into these fuck-filled tirades? Or is this just behaviour you reserve for OTF?

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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GY -
quote:

This strikes me as incredible responsibility shifting, and if you take that approach I can't see how one can be any more responsible for one's actions than for one's beliefs. After all one's actions are triggered by one's beliefs.

Well, they're not "triggered", they're freely chosen. It's not like we're compelled to act upon them.

You're the one who's cited Dennett's Freedom Evolves on here recently. Well, what's his conclusion there? Roughly, that our actions considered free insofar as we are responsible for them, and vice versa. But meme theory, He, Dawkins, and yourself all subscribe to (as do I) says that we do not choose our ideas - they, in a sense, choose us. That is absolutely incompatible with the notion that the set of beliefs we hold is a matter of our free choice, and hence that we are responsible for them.

We always have the choice whether or not to act on them. We may be too lazy, we may not think it worth our while, we may act on other beliefs instead. I'm going to the pub in about an hour, and one of the friends I'll meet there is cheating on his wife. It's a shitty, immoral thing to do, I think. But that won't affect anything I do.

If you're following Dennett on this stuff, as you profess to do, you must conclude that our actions are freely chosen, but that our beliefs are not. And hence that we are responsible for our actions, but not our beliefs.

quote:
It might be valid for people who have only ever been exposed to one viewpoint or a very limited range, but for someone who has been exposed to multiple viewpoints and arguments, as pretty much every adult in Britain has on this particular subject, it's an absurd cop out. They've had a chance to weigh the options, and they've come down on one side. Certainly people from a particular background are more likely to have a particular view, but that doesn't make them any less responsible for them than people who coming from particular backgrounds are more likely to commit particular crimes.

If the claim here is that meme theory only applies to simple, sheltered people, you've completely misunderstood it. If the claim is something else, I have.

quote:
The correctness of a belief is never sufficient to explain someone's holding it.
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When have I ever said it was? Why on earth would it be?

You haven't said it was, but it's a necessary presumption of your position. If there's any difference between holding a correct belief and an incorrect one, other than simply that one is correct and the other incorrect, (such as that one is blameworthy and the other praiseworthy) then there must be a link between the holding and the correctness. There's nothing else there for the relevant connection to be based on.

quote:
A "positive" argument is one that proceeds on its own, and stands on its own merits.
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We had a multiple page thread in which you insisted a) arguments don't stand on their own merits, but rather proceed from axioms that must be assumed, and b) values can't be arrived at rationally.

Well, I don't see the relevance of (b) to what i mean by "positive arguments". I'll deal with that below. But I never said arguments don't stand on their own merits. The claim there was that rationally persuasive arguments must proceed from premises shared by the two sides, and that there were no such premises that an opponent could not refuse to share, even down to the validity of modus ponens, and so no "pure", neutral rational argument. Once we have shared premises, though, which every pair of functioning persons must, that worry disappears.

That's extremely different from claiming that "any argument must be made by rebuttal of the opponent only". If everyone followed that, no one would have anything to rebut.

quote:
For instance, an argument against the reification of poles of behaviour inherent in any homophobic sentiment
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You what?

It's an example of a fairly well-known "positive" argument against homophobia; the claim that "homosexuality" and "heterosexuality" are not distinct "kinds", but only statistical extremes along a spectrum of a behaviour. If we can't "reify" them (ie, consider them proper, distinct "things"), then we have no basis to say that either is "good" or "bad" per se.

That's what I mean by a "positive" argument - it's not seeking to rebutt any particular opposing argument, but instead directly undermines the claim that those oppposing arguments are trying to establish.

quote:
Hence the lack of a positive argument. If we're starting from different premises then a positive argument will mean nothing. I can present a positive argument that works (in theory) for people operating on the same premises, but if I don't know whether they do what's the point?

Well, as I say, you can find shared premises. In order to talk to each other at all we have to agree on the vast majority of the features of the world (Donald Davidson's the man on this...). But John Stuart Mill isn't where to find them, that's all.

quote:
Assuming social liberalism will win out conservatism if we just argue about it politely is a historically naive approach.

Well, since I'm talking about ideas as distinct from people acting upon them, that wouldn't be a counterexample to my claim even if (a) I wasn't speaking about the long term and (b) it was an accurate historical analysis of what happened, which I don't think it is.

quote:
You have stated repeatedly that the moral status of beliefs not only can, but must be separated from that of their believers. That is precisely "hate the sin, love the sinner".

No, it's not. Since I've said that we can't blame people for the beliefs they hold, there's no sense of either "sin" or "sinner" in what I'm saying, unless people act upon those beliefs.

SSS -
quote:
I shall endeavour to waste no more time on you. OK?

Agreed. It's what I've been trying to do for some time now, though I failed upthread.

ad hoc - what I went apeshit about was your imputation that I considered this an argument "against homosexuality" (your 13.40, yesterday) when i could not have been more explicit that I didn't think it was. If you look, I was civil in my attempts to clarify the phrase, to the point of admitting that it depended on an unsatisfactory translation. It was the other bit which made me flip.

quote:
As part of your work, I presume you have to teach. When your students ask you a question because they don't understand something do you fly off the handle with them and launch into these fuck-filled tirades? Or is this just behaviour you reserve for OTF?
If I told a student I didn't think there was any good argument against homosexuality, and outlined one where the premise was correct, but explicitly said that that didn't matter as the reasoning didn't work, and he still accused me, publicly, of advancing it as an argument against homosexuality, there is every chance that I would swear and shout at him, yes. Particularly had I been as frank about certain things as I had been just before.

I've an unduly short temper, I realise. But there's provocation and there's provocation.

Wictred - so, does (all) that answer your question?

[ 02.12.2005, 17:47: Message edited by: y yo soy el toro ]

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TonTon
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What are the other reasons it's unconducive to human flourishing, member 465?
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Super Sharp Shooter
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I'm kind of curious about that too.

That aside, the entire argument above would appear - and I'm sure others can correct me if I'm wrong - an argument against points that no-one is raising, and positions no-one holds. And therefore, while containing a clutch of correct statements, is irrelevant.

Of course it can be demonstrated in this sense that you don't choose what to believe, in the sense described above. And of course "our ideas choose us", in the sense described above. Within the context of what's actually under discussion, this is once again tedious semantics. In fact, probably we should coin the noun "pedantics" for this, it would be more accurate: "a narrow, often tiresome focus on or display of learning and especially its trivial aspects"

The core of the topic is how systems of faith can affect people's views of homosexuality (among other things). This particular tangent sprang from talk of SR's confrontational ("needlessly"? Maybe, maybe not) "if you say you are a Muslim / Christian then you believe gay people are bad, don't you?"

Within this discussion, it is fairly plain that where people have used the word "believe" they actually mean "subscribe to". Of course one is not responsible for what one believes. One believes it, drawn from one's wider experience and knowledge.

But of course, why actually bother to discuss the topic, when one can just trot out some of one's actually rather narrow reading? Again. Much easier for every conversation to actually be about the pile of books on your nightstand than anything upon which there isn't a handy "X is your man for this" to whip out.

This is the problem with discussions to which The Thinker "contributes". And for someone who gets in such Violet Beauregard hissy fits about what he sees as people deliberately misunderstanding him, it's a pretty poor show.

However, the problem - far more than all the shouting and screaming, which is kind of funny - is that it's an intellectual cul-de-sac. It becomes impossible to draw any useful conclusions about anything, if we are too busy putting a gorgeous dot on the "i" and an elegant cross on the "t" to actually read the sentences, allow them to cohere into paragraphs, allow those paragraphs to augment one another, allow the discussion to have some flow beyond a tennis match of a line-by-line nitpick.

Annnnnnnyyyyway.....


To return to the point, people are entirely responsible for what ideas and ethical systems they subscribe to. And if you are a Christian or a Muslim, the question as to where you stand on the "gay people are bad" thing is a fair question. Effectively, "OK, you say you follow this belief system, where are you on this nasty bit here?"

Our ideas may choose us, but scriptural specifics emphatically cannot. And we are entirely responsible for which ones we accept as ideals.

In the case of homosexuality, it is worthy of note that neither the bible nor the Koran offers a reason why homosexuality is bad. It simply baldly states that it is. There's no argument, no evidence, no attempt to persuade. And we are definitely responsible for making the choice to accept such bald assertions.

[ 03.12.2005, 11:31: Message edited by: Super Sharp Shooter ]

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Wyatt Earp
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Toro, I must admit that's not my reading of Dennett at all. You seem to see him as drawing a line between beliefs, which are (in his rather specialised sense) unwilled, and actions, which are (in the same sense) willed. I may be misremembering, but I recall the line as lying, rather, between things that we decide and things that we don't. Meaning that to the extent that someone has chosen to believe proposition X, or even to leave it unexamined, he or she is reponsible for that belief.

I don't think Dennett would argue, for example, that there's anything philosophically wrong with the idea that we have a "responsibility" not to believe utter risible bollocks. And if I have misremembered, and he would, then he's wrong. He makes memes do too much work anyway, for my money.

So Heston is responsible for his beliefs. That doesn't mean SR wasn't kind of rude to him, kind of out of the blue, when Heston hadn't said anything wrong. But ultimately, if people think homosexuality is wrong but can't say why other than "Well, it just is" (effectively), that is "not fucking good enough". Your own Church has teachings on this, but you quite clearly think for yourself on the issue. We all have a "responsibility" to do the same.

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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TonTon - the psychological health profile of the gay community, for instance, is quite different, as far as I know, from that of the straight population. And this isn't merely due to what we might call "mental oppression"; victimisation, prejudice, imposed guilt, and the like. There are very many structural expectations of modern western society which are not available to the gay man or woman, and failure to achieve which can thuis cause psychological trauma. The having of children, for a start. Hopefully today's welcome legal developments will go some way towards altering that. But there is certainly reason to think that flourishing, in a wide, Aristotelian sense, is not best conduced to (gram.?) by homosexuality, and not only because of prejudice, as such.

But like I say, I don't think those Aristotelian notions hold any ethical water.

SSS - whatever.

Wictred - I'm not saying Dennett has a line on this at all. What I'm arguing is that if one accepts the memetic theory at all - or holds in any strong sense that religion/ideology/other nefarious domintating systems of thought can unduly "close" people's minds and impair their thoughts - then one cannot ascribe free choice to people's ideas. And if one cannot ascribe free choice to them, one cannot hold people responsible for them.

There is a distinction between that and choosing to believe something, as you say. But in that case, the choosing is the action, the belief is not.

And I'm unsure, anyway, whether people really can will their own beliefs in such a fashion. There's certainly a school of thought that says they can, but I don't really find it plausible. In any case, as I say, the choice in such a case would count as an action, and therefore be morally culpable or praiseworthy, but the belief itself would not.

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Super Sharp Shooter
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quote:
SSS - whatever.
I wasn't atually adressing you. You don't need to keep doing this. You could just do what you claim to be capable of and ignore me.
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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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Whatever.
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TonTon
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Tell you what, my problem is that I don't get any sense of what you think about anything from reading your posts. And so I find that all a bit tedious really.

I am genuinely sorry that that isn't a response in the same spirit as your post. But it does feel like something I need to say.

Anyway - why say homosexuality makes things tough for people in the world, rather than say the world makes things tough for gay people? Just wondering why you phrase it in that way. Whether or not you subscribe to the argument.

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Super Sharp Shooter
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He doesn't think, that's the thing*.


*Not a facetious reply, this is indeed my view.

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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TonTon - well, if you have a look at the thread I started on this same subject (called "I spend so much time on here portraying the Catholic Church as humane and tolerant", or somesuch), the first post couldn't possibly have made my feelings clearer.

As regards saying it that way around, I don't intend anything by the ordering. That's just the way the Aristotelian argument goes; "given the way the world/society is, X is/is not conducive to flourishing". Like I say, I don't subscribe, that's just the argot.

I, ermm, think.

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TonTon
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But that's another example. You started that thread, then when someone said your church isn't humane and tolerant, you got arsey and claimed you'd never said it was. And quite probably put together a perfectly reasoned argument explaining exactly how you had never said it was.

Which leaves me, at the very least, puzzled.

Thanks for explaining the Aristotelian thing. I'm not sure why anyone bothers thinking up stuff like that mind, it seems utterly pointless.

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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Well, okay. My point was that the Church was not a single, monolithic entity in the sense that it could be said as a whole to be humane and tolerant, or inhumane and intolerant.

What I meant was that the task of stressing the existence of humane and tolerant aspects is made much more difficult (and, needless to say, much more urgent) by the brazenness of some of the inhumane and intolerant aspects. I didn't say that either characterised it as a whole, which is what AIATL immediately interpreted me as saying.

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TonTon
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I think he interpreted it that way partly because that's what you said. I mean, don't get me wrong, I appreciate your explaining what you meant later, it helps. But you do seem quite often to give an impression at least, if nothing stronger, which you apparently really don't want to give.

So for example, if you don't want people to think that you think that your church can be characterised as a whole as tolerant and humane, then don't say "I spend so much time on here portraying the Catholic Church as humane and tolerant".

It's just a thought.

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