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Old 2008-10-05, 20:25   #1
Brian-E
 
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Lightbulb Gay Marriage: weekly alternating viewpoints

This thread is an idea of Zeta-Flux posted in the "Should Gay Marriage be Legal" thread starting at post #318. The idea has been further developed by Cheesehead. It was also Cheesehead who in that same thread had posted a humorous list of reasons why gay marriage should be illegal, clearly written by someone who in fact supports legalizing gay marriage and is using irony to make the points. Zeta-Flux felt that this list would be a useful starting point for the unusual type of discussion which he was suggesting. The list is reproduced below:

Quote:
10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong


01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.
And now to the specifics of Zeta-Flux' idea:

The exercise is one of attempting to understand the other side's point of view. Most of us will either be in favour of legalizing gay marriage or against it. The special nature of this thread is that we are required to put forward the arguments of the other side to the best of our ability. So if we think that gay marriage should not be legalized we should post arguments in favour of legalizing it, or if we are for gay marriage we should post arguments against it. Call this group of people who are putting the other side's point of view "Group A". The genuine advocates of this other point of view - call them "Group B" - are then encouraged to suggest modifications and corrections to the points made by Group A, and Group A should then come back with their understanding of the modifications, continuing until hopefully an agreement is reached about Group B's point of view.

Now reverse the roles. Group B should post its understanding of Group A's arguments. Group A suggests modifications and corrections. Et cetera.

After continuing like this for some time, we might ultimately reach a situation where the two groups have modified their own ideas so much that everyone agrees with each other! Almose certainly it is naive to hope for this but there is no harm in trying.

So how will this work in practice?

We are going to strive for a weekly alternating viewpoint. Each week the argument will be either for or against gay marriage. Everyone is asked only to post arguments which are going the "way of the week". So a posting arguing in favour of gay marriage during the week which is supposed to be against gay marriage is out of order!

Please try to participate at least as frequently during the weeks which go against your personal viewpoint as in the other weeks! During these weeks we are trying to understand the other side's point of view, and this is the whole point of the exercise! In the other weeks, when the argument goes along your own views, you are also welcome and encouraged to post, in that case taking on the role of suggesting modifications and corrections to those who are trying to understand your point of view.

The list of "10 reasons why gay marriage is wrong" above is hopefully a useful starting point.

Because this list was clearly written by someone in favour of gay marriage, we are going to begin with the opposite point of view. So in the first week, starting right now, we are arguing against legalizing gay marriage. If you are in favour of gay marriage, please post as from now your ideas of what those against gay marriage believe. It is suggested that you look for logical fallacies in the list above. Or just use your own ideas if you like. Those who are genuinely against gay marriage are then asked to respond to you with suggested corrections.

It would be helpful if each contributor states their genuine viewpoint (for or against gay marriage) at the start of their posting. In some cases the view may be ambivalent or undecided - no problem, just state that too.

I will co-ordinate the change-over to the other point of view each week. If I am going to be unavailable I will ask someone else to take that task on. It should happen each Sunday for those in the Western world or Monday for those in the East.

Well, that's it. Let's see if it works. Have fun.
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Old 2008-10-05, 20:26   #2
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Co-ordinator's note:

As from this posting and for the coming week we are arguing against gay marriage.

Please only post against gay marriage until further notice. Thankyou.
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Old 2008-10-05, 20:42   #3
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[ My genuine view is in favour of legalizing gay marriage. ]

I'll take on a few of the points from the list of 10 above.

Looking at point (6) in the list, I understand that people who reject gay marriage believe that the purpose of marriage is to produce children and to raise them in a stable and loving environment. While outlawing all kinds of marriage which will not produce children is simply not practical (you can't insist on fertility tests or reasonably find out a couple's intention of whether or not to have children), you can be quite sure that a lesbian/gay couple is not going to produce children in the natural way and so opening marriage to them is not going to further the cause of raising children.

Point (9) mentions the need for a male and a female parent to ensure a balanced upbringing. Those who don't agree with a gay couple being the parents of a child are concerned that a child will lack a certain type of role model if it has no mother or no father. Single parent households are therefore also undesirable but sometimes occur due to circumstances. Legalizing gay marriage will in no way help the situation.

And point (1): opponents of gay marriage feel that the only natural coupling is between a man and a woman. Legalizing gay marriage will only further encourage unnatural behaviour.
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Old 2008-10-07, 10:18   #4
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[true viewpoint: in favour of gay marriage]

Let's take a couple of others in the list:

Point (2) deals with the idea that opening marriage to same sex couples will encourage people to be gay or adopt a gay lifestyle. Those against gay marriage will feel that marriage is a major form of promotion of an ideal. It is a statement to young people and others who have not yet married that this is what society expects. If marriage includes same sex couples, the message that will be given to young people is that a gay relationship is what they should be looking for.

Point (4) deals with the tried and trusted nature of heterosexual marriage. Opponents of gay marriage will feel that heterosexual marriage has worked as a societal mainstay since time immemorial and it has worked well. Altering it to include same-sex relationships will mean altering something which has been an agent of stability throughout history and including gay relationships in this institution may mean destabilizing society.


Which opponents of gay marriage will help clarify, develop and correct some of these ideas that I have over their arguments? And which proponents of gay marriage would like to join me in trying to understand the other side?

Last fiddled with by Brian-E on 2008-10-07 at 10:19 Reason: spelling
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Old 2008-10-07, 20:06   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian-E View Post
Which opponents of gay marriage will help clarify, develop and correct some of these ideas that I have over their arguments?
First, I just have to get something said before I can participate further in this thread.

The procedure I posted in the other thread was intended for a different environment than this online sequential forum. (That's not to say that anyone thought it _could_ be explicitly implemented here, or that anyone even proposed to implement it here! I'm just preparing to point out something about the difference.) I'll quote it here for reference:
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
1. Each side states the other side's position in the dispute as accurately and fairly as possible.

2. Each side critiques (fairly) the other side's statement of their position, and requests corrections to it.

3. Each side then incorporates the other's requested corrections to best of their ability. Sincerely try to make the corrections suggested by the other side, while stating them in a way you can agree with.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until both sides agree that the other side's statement of their position is fair, correct, and adequate for proceeding to the next step. (Failure to achieve this goal probably means the original dispute wouldn't have been resolved either, if the sides had discussed the original dispute without this preliminary.)

5. Proceed to discuss resolution of the original dispute.
An unstated assumption there about the environment was that each side would first meet _separately_, by themselves, in each of steps 1, 2, and 3. This would allow each side to discuss how to reach the goal of that step, out of hearing of the other side. Then the two sides would get together after each of those separate meetings (i.e., at the end of each of steps 1, 2, and 3) to present and exchange their versions of the goal for that step. Step 4 would be the joint vote (requiring agreement of both sides) about whether the result of the preceding step 3 was fair, correct, and adequate for proceeding to the next step.

Here, all discussion is joint and open to all, quite different.

Furthermore, the purpose of this thread is, in my words, and if I understand correctly, is simply to see whether (and hope that) some convergence or greater mutual understanding can be achieved. (That's sorta like doing steps 1-3 jointly just until we decide to stop, probably without achieving step 4 agreement, but I defer to our moderator in deciding whether this analogy fits or is even useful.) Whether it can lead to something more is to be determined later.

Sorry, I just felt compelled to write the above. It may not be useful to anyone else.

- - - - -

Whew! Now that I've got that out, I'm ready to try participating in accordance with the stated purposes of this thread (rather than keep dragging in, or referring to, that 5-step procedure).

Quote:
And which proponents of gay marriage would like to join me in trying to understand the other side?
I'll give it a try.
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Old 2008-10-07, 20:34   #6
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[true viewpoint: gay marriage ought to be allowed to be legalized]

Here, I'll quote the 10 points, modified to take out sarcasm. Also, I've replaced "will" by "would" because we are discussing a hypothetical future.

Quote:
1) Being gay is not natural.
Quote:
2) Gay marriage would encourage people to be gay.
Quote:
3) Legalizing gay marriage would open the door to all kinds of other currently-prohibited unnatural behavior. Example: People wishing to marry their pets or other animals.
Quote:
4) Marriage has been around a long time just as it is now and doesn't need to be changed.
Quote:
5) Marriage would be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed.
Quote:
6) The purpose of marriage is to produce children.
Quote:
7) Gay parents would raise gay children.
Quote:
8) Gay marriage would be sinful.
Quote:
9) Children cannot succeed without a male and a female role model at home.
Quote:
10) Gay marriage would change the foundation of society.
I'll comment more later. Here I've just tried to present a sincere, nonsarcastic version -- let me know your suggestions for improving this version.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2008-10-07 at 20:37
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Old 2008-10-08, 01:33   #7
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With regards to #1, it might be good to emphasize the possible equivocations on the meaning of "natural". What do opponents/proponents of SSM mean by "natural"?

With regards to #3, it might be good to give better examples than the one provided in the original list. One could use polygamy. Or crossing state lines, and then requiring their home state to recognize their union. Or forcing agencies to go against their morals. etc...

With regards to #6, at least the way cheesehead phrased it, it appears to lack important qualifiers. First, it isn't the *only* purpose. Second, it is the main purpose of *government's* involvement; but may not be the main purpose that individual people have in mind when they marry. Third, the purpose isn't merely *bearing* children, but raising them in a stable/safe/perpetuating environment to be good citizens who in turn will produce more good citizens.

With regards to #8, I think it should be made even stronger, to say something like "gay relations are considered sinful, as is promoting/endorsing such relations."

With regards to #9, at least the way cheesehead phrased it: it again appears to *over*-state the position. (Note: The original list does this quite often, by using universal qualifiers.) I don't believe the argument is that they *cannot* succeed.
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Old 2008-10-08, 15:01   #8
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Just a thought: we don't have to retain the structure of 10 separate statements. We could merge some if their individual meanings were adequately incorporated into the result.

- - -

Zeta-Flux,

Thank you for your comments. Here, I'll try incorporating them to better the list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
With regards to #1, it might be good to emphasize the possible equivocations on the meaning of "natural".
Okay. How to do that with "1) Being gay is not natural"?
Quote:
What do opponents/proponents of SSM mean by "natural"?
Hmmm ... Let's get out the trusty WTNID and look up "natural" ... (20 main meanings).

Candidate definitions that might fit:

"1 : based upon the innate moral feeling or inherent sense of right and wrong held to characterize mankind"

"2 a : in accordance with or determined by nature : based upon the operations of the physical world"
b : having or constituting a classification or other method of arrangement based on features existing in nature"

"9 a : occurring in conformity with the ordinary course of nature : not supernatural, marvelous, or miraculous"
b : having a normal or usual character : not exceptional"

"11 : characterized by qualities (as warm and genuine feelings, affection, or gratitude) held to be part of the nature of man"

It seems to me that #1, 2a, 9a or 9b might be applicable; the others are long-shots.

Here's a try:

"1) Being gay is not in the ordinary course of nature."

Perhaps it would be more authentic for an SSM opponent to use "homosexuality" instead of "being gay"? Another try:

"1) Homosexuality is an unnatural form of sexuality."

Does one of these look like an improvement?

Quote:
With regards to #3, it might be good to give better examples than the one provided in the original list.
I agree there.

Quote:
One could use polygamy. Or crossing state lines, and then requiring their home state to recognize their union. Or forcing agencies to go against their morals. etc...
So, retaining the first sentence but adding an "or" and substituting "same-sex" for "gay":

"3a) Legalizing same-sex marriage would open the door to all kinds of other currently-prohibited or unnatural behavior. Example: polygamy.

3b) If same-sex marriage is legal in some states but not others, people will cross state lines solely for the purpose of evading one state's law, then return to their home state with an expectation that their marriage will be recognized where it is not legal.

3c) Legalizing same-sex marriage could force some government employees to have to choose between their official duties and their morals."

Gotta stop now. Will come back later to continue, or someone else can try incorporating Z's suggestions for #6, #8 and #9.

Zeta-Flux, you're of course welcome to propose your own candidates for new versions of the statements, to incorporate your suggestions.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2008-10-08 at 15:04
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Old 2008-10-08, 16:55   #9
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I'll take up Zeta-Flux' comments on point 6 (purpose of marriage being to raise children) because they go significantly further than my own initial attempt at understanding.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
With regards to #6, at least the way cheesehead phrased it, it appears to lack important qualifiers. First, it isn't the *only* purpose. Second, it is the main purpose of *government's* involvement; but may not be the main purpose that individual people have in mind when they marry. Third, the purpose isn't merely *bearing* children, but raising them in a stable/safe/perpetuating environment to be good citizens who in turn will produce more good citizens.
OK, so we are concerned with governmental responsibility. While the government is not concerned with who we might fall in love with or even want to live with, it is involved in the designation of what marriage is and the status of a married couple. And its primary concern in the question is the raising of children in a reliable and safe environment. It is felt that man-woman relationships on the whole are more reliable than other set-ups for the raising of children and making them good citizens. That's my understanding of the point so far.
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Old 2008-10-08, 22:22   #10
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cheesehead,

I would go with a hybrid of the two statements you made. Something like, "Opponents of SSM believe that homosexual relations are not in the ordinary course of nature."

--------

Brian-E,

Yes, that sounds appropriate. I might expand it to more than just raising individual sets of children, say to raising a generation of society to perpetuate itself.
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Old 2008-10-09, 10:28   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
...
Brian-E,

Yes, that sounds appropriate. I might expand it to more than just raising individual sets of children, say to raising a generation of society to perpetuate itself.
Alright, I guess then that you go to the extent of expecting that families headed by one man and one woman are more likely to produce children who will later continue in the same way, marrying a member of the opposite sex and reproducing, than families with two mothers or two fathers? This of course brings in point number 7 as well.

I know one of the most important arguments for many opponents of gay marriage is a religious one. Point number 8 of the starting list mentions it. Personally I find religion very difficult to discuss so I'm hoping that other people here will take this up and go beyond what cheesehead and Zeta-Flux have so far said (gay relationships are sinful and so is endorsing such relationships).

Point 10 concerns our ability to adapt to societal change. I guess opponents of gay marriage feel that changing such a fundamental societal mainstay as marriage is not what we need to do in an age when there are already so many destabilizing influences. They would say that our family units are under enough strain already with economic and social pressures. Extra change like introducing gay marriage would add to the list of things to which we would have to adapt.
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