The Instigator
thg
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Coward
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Argument "from nature" should be dropped from both sides of the debate on homosexuality

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/1/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,532 times Debate No: 35203
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (29)
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thg

Pro

I take the position that arguments "from nature" commonly employed by each side of the larger debate on homosexuality are unsound and should be dropped from the debate.

Note this particular challenge is not about the moral acceptability of homosexuality, but specifically targets the arguments "from nature" commonly employed in the larger debate.

The anti-gay side often argues that homosexuality is "unnatural", and, therefore, should be condemned. I have heard this argument expressed by well-meaning, educated people. The pro-gay side often counters this argument by pointing out that using what is natural and unnatural cannot serve as a valid basis for justification or condemnation. I agree with this corrective.

Nevertheless, the pro-gay side often proceeds to make the very same philosophical mistake it has just countered. How so? The pro-gay side often points to the fact that homosexuality, after all, does occur in nature, and many (if not all) homosexuals are born that way...and, therefore, this natural occurence should lead us to the moral acceptability of homosexuality.

I believe this pro-gay version of the argument "from nature" is just as unsound as its anti-gay counterpart.

I presume my opponent will agree with my initial premise...that both sides of the larger debate do indeed employ these common lines of reasoning. The issue at hand for purposes of this particular debate challenge is whether such lines of reasoning are, in fact, sound, and whether they should be dropped from the larger debate on homosexuality.

I issued this challenge once before...only to be accepted by someone who forfeited after the first round...so I hope the opponent who accepts this challenge will commit to engaging in the debate to the finish...or, at least, if my opponent wishes to concede, I hope s/he will extend the courtesy of making that known so we can close out the debate in a timely manner (rather than let each round run its full course). And I will commit to this courtesy as well.

I look forward to hearing from my eventual opponent.

Coward

Con

My opponent admits that in nature it is obvious that homosexuality would drive a species to extinction if it were commonplace within that species as a whole. They have therefore conceded that the anti-gay nature-based argument has validity.

Therefore, if the anti-gay community have an argument based on observations of animals in nature it would put the pro-gay activists at a huge disadvantage in any debates or cases they put forward in favour of LGBT rights if they were to never address or counter the argument from nature with one of their own.

In essence I am saying that because the anti-gay argument is valid, the pro-gay argument is therefore necessary to counteract the anti-gay one in any and all debates.

While it's easy to suggest that if both cancel each other out they should be dropped, this would not appreciate the validity that both have (and yes they are valid as even my opponent states that they are both making the same philosophical mistake but both are actually true arguments from nature's perspective.

It is like saying that if Muhammad Ali won a fight all punches other than the one he knocked his opponent out with should have been dropped from the fight since they cancelled each other out and were equally valid and thus equally invalid in their essence.

Debating is, in many ways a sport and hobby rather than a race to the conclusion of who wins or loses it. both sides will often make valid debates and yet both sides will have their arguments countered on very similar philosophical basis. The deciding factor on who wins the debate is merely which debater's style of debating is one of more artistic value.

So, although I admit that both sides of the homosexuality argument have equality validity and philosophical fallacy in their nature-based points in favour of their sides, I do not at all think it would be correct to deem them invalid for debate and to assert that they should therefore be dropped from them.

I suggest using the points as they are valid but of course never basing ones entire case for or against homosexual rights on the nature argument. There is no need to drop the argument, just to add other ones as well to have an well-rounded case showing many dimensions and aspects in favour of whichever view the debater holds on the matter of homosexuality.
Debate Round No. 1
thg

Pro

I would like to begin by thanking my worthy opponent for accepting this debate challenge. I would like to address several of the points s/he has raised as well as restate and support my argument.

1. My first "counter" will involve my opponent's first paragraph: that "my opponent admits that in nature it is obvious that homosexuality would drive a species to extinction if it were commonplace..." I made no such concession in my opening statement, and I make no such concession now. This may be one line of reasoning commonly used by the anti-gay contingent, but I believe this argument goes beyond the usual anti-gay "from nature" argument and infuses other parameters which are themselves problematic (i.e., the problem of defining what we mean by "commonplace" and whether such behavior would actually drive a species to extinction, etc.). More important, even if we accept this as part of the anti-gay argument "from nature", I still fail to see how it supports the anti-gay position that homosexuality is wrong or immoral. If we could somehow prove that homosexual behavior necessarily led to a species' extinction, I suppose we might derive some kind of basis for moral judgment, but I believe such proof would be hard to come by, scientifically or logically. The common anti-gay stance is not that homosexuality will lead us to extinction, but that it is "unnatural" in a kind of "yucky" way...and that, therefore, homosexuality is immoral. There simply are too many things in the universe that may be "yucky" or "unnatural" which are, nevertheless, essential for life (such as, say, bad-tasting or painful medical applications which save lives)...so I believe this anti-gay argument is flawed. Even the anti-gay contention that homosexuality does little to propagate the species itself is flawed on many levels (for example, should we also condemn all forms of contraception and childless marriages?). So I maintain my original premise, which is that the anti-gay argument "from nature" (even the form that my opponent has alluded to) is flawed and the larger debate on the morality of homosexuality would be better served if we dropped it altogether.

2. I believe in his/her 2nd paragraph, my opponent makes a more pertinent point...that the pro-gay contingent should be allowed or encouraged to counter the anti-gay argument "from nature" by presenting its own version of the argument "from nature", which is that homosexuality does indeed occur in nature and, therefore, should not be deemed "unnatural." I agree with this counter. But I believe the pro-gay contingent, having countered this anti-gay argument, goes on to make the mistake of justifying homosexuality based on this counter. To the extent that the pro-gay side effectively counters the anti-gay argument "from nature"...I'm all for it. But countering a flawed argument does not necessarily validate the pro-gay view that homosexuality is morally acceptable. Again, my argument is basically the same as it was regarding the anti-gay stance: we can't derive moral acceptability from nature any more than we can derive moral condemnation from nature. There are too many things in nature or that occur in "natural" human experience that are not necessarily exemplary (for example, the propensity for violence or overeating, or a genetic predisposition for cancer or some other disease). Just because something is natural does not automatically make it OK. So, yes, once the flawed "from nature" argument is raised by the anti-gay side, then we should expect the pro-gay side will counter it. But my premise is that the argument should be dropped from both sides. If the anti-gay side stopped using the "unnatural" argument, the pro-gay side would have to waste less time countering it...likewise, if the pro-gay side stopped trying to justify homosexuality based on its version of the flawed argument "from nature", we could spend more fruitful time debating the larger issue.

3. My opponent states in his/her 3rd paragraph and following that "because the anti-gay argument is valid, the pro-gay argument is necessary to counteract [it]". But my premise is that the anti-gay argument is not valid. Furthermore, we may have a semantics problem here insofar as my opponent tries to distinguish between "valid" and flawed arguments. I agreee with my opponent that both sides of the larger debate should be given fair and equal hearings. All I'm saying is that each side would be better served if it would put to rest arguments that are philosophically unsound. I'm uncertain as to whether my opponent agrees that the arguments "from nature" we are alluding to are unsound or not, or valid or not. And I believe my opponent is mistaken in his characterization that I believe these arguments "cancel each other out." That's not my premise. My premise is that these arguments are flawed and should be put to rest (whether they cancel each other out or not). I maintain my position that any debate (large or small) is better served if flawed arguments are passed over for stronger ones. My contention is that the arguments "from nature" I hear commonly employed by both sides of the larger debate on the morality of homosexuality are so flawed as to confuse and dissipate the efficacy of the larger debate. I say let's put these arguments to bed and get on with more relevant ones. If my opponent insists that we keep these arguments in the debate even if we agree they are flawed, then I fail to see the efficacy of his/her stance. I suppose here, too, it might involve semantics insofar as the arguments "from nature" likely will continue to be a part of the larger debate. But my contention is that if we can demonstrate these arguments are flawed, it would then be better to lay them to rest and move on to more viable arguments.

4. Not sure exactly what relevance my opponent's comment re: debating as a sport and hobby have to this particular debate, but I happen to agree. I'm more interested in the exchange of ideas than in "winning" a debate. As for the part of my premise that states "should be dropped"...I apologize if this phrase is confusing. I'll concede that I'm more interested in debating whether or not the arguments "from nature" are flawed than I am in insisting they be "dropped". The part about them being dropped is simply a euphemism for my opinion that they indeed are flawed and counterproductive, and, if we can at least agree to this, then we should be able to move on to more productive parts of the larger debate. My opponent closes with the notion that the arguments "from nature" should never serve as the sole basis for judging the moral efficacy of homosexuality. My contention is that they should not/cannot serve the larger debate at all.

I hope this has helped to clarify my position. If I have misunderstood or misrepresented my opponent's views, I welcome any correctives. I hope we will not focus on the more euphemistic "should be dropped" from the debate part of my original premise, but will proceed to debate how the arguments "from nature" on both sides of the debate are flawed. I suppose if people want to continue debating using flawed arguments, that's their business, but let's at least try to arrive at some understanding of how the arguments "from nature" commonly employed by both sides of the larger debate on homosexuality are flawed.

I look forward to my opponent's response.
Coward

Con

I disagree.
Debate Round No. 2
thg

Pro

Hmmm... apparently my opponent has forfeited or conceded this debate...? Not sure... It appears that s/he no longer is engaged in this debate, as it is difficult to see how his/her short response of "I disagree" for R2 contributes to this debate in any productive way. I'd love to hear his/her arguments and responses in greater detail, so I'll simply extend my argument and hope to hear from my opponent.
Coward

Con

Homosexuality is like spanking. It's hot even though in theory it's an immoral act.

Both sides of the debate hav either arguments and it can feel so damn good to do it but in the end it's actually helping the population decrease in an overpopulated world.
Debate Round No. 3
thg

Pro

Wow...! As a newcomer to this site, I really anticipated I would be able to engage in some good debating. I hated to see so many debates with so many stipulations (like...you have to have won at least 3 debates, or, you must be at least a college grad, or whatever), but after my two attempts at this particular debate challenge have been forfeited and all but conceded, with my opponents demonstrating little, if any, interest in this topic, and after seeing this opponent engaging in what appears to be unnecessary rhetoric, I must confess I now will strive to be more careful about who I challenge. Maybe I'll go on the forum and see if there's anyone who really wants to engage me in some serious debate about this topic. At any rate, since my opponent has chosen not to engage, I'll go ahead and extend my argument and see if s/he will oblige and become more engaged in the next round. If anyone else really would like to debate this topic with me, please send me comments in the comment section or in my profile page. For the record, I'm much more interested in exchanging thoughts than in winning debates, but I really thought this format would be a good way to process issues. I await my opponent's response (or any serious response from anyone). Thanks!
Coward

Con

This debate has been won by Con.

Officially and unofficially.
Debate Round No. 4
thg

Pro

It appears my opponent continues to remain unengaged. Too bad, since I thought s/he might have some challenging thoughts. Oh well. I guess let's close this debate out, and I'll try to get someone else to accept a new challenge. Again, if anyone is interested in debating me on this topic, please contact me via the comments section or my profile page. Thanks!
Coward

Con

Coward forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
29 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by thg 3 years ago
thg
If I may, could I make an appeal to you, prunesquallor? It appears we are steeped in a detailed discussion of semantics and chasing rabbits that may not be all that directly pertinent to this debate challenge. I would be happy to continue this discussion, but maybe we should move it to the FORUM section so that the comments section here can be devoted more to folks who want to comment more directly about the formal part of this debate (and those who will vote on it). Let me know if you will agree to this move. Thanks!
Posted by thg 3 years ago
thg
Again, you misread my earlier post. Perhaps I am not making myself clear enough or we have a language problem or whatever (I don't mean to be rude...I'm simply wondering at this point if we are having a language problem...that is fine, and I certainly am willing to work with it, but it might be good to know if this is the case).

You misread by point in my analogy about a hypothetical cancer debate. You're AGREEING with the point I was making, but it appears you believe I was making a different point. The point I was making is exactly the point you make: that claiming a therapy is LESS dangerous is NOT a flawed argument. I AGREE that would be a valid argument. That was exactly the point I made. Perhaps you missed it. My point was that if both sides claim their side is superior BECAUSE the other side is DANGEROUS (notice I left out the term "LESS"), THEN their arguments would be flawed...since BOTH therapies ARE, in fact, dangerous.

And again, you misconstrued my "premise" point. You said I just "shifted" my stance. In fact, I did not shift my stance. That may be your interpretation, but I am claiming you are mistaken. I NEVER claimed arguments from nature (in general) are flawed. You said I made that claim, and I tried to correct you and reiterated in my last post that I NEVER made such a claim. I never made that claim, and I am not now making it...meaning I did NOT shift my stance.

As for your objection to my use of "common", I agree that our understanding of what is "common" may be different. Again, I assume that most educated folks are aware that these arguments from nature (that I claim are flawed) are, in fact, commonly used in the larger debate. I have used this phraseology in the formal part of the debate as well as in my previous posts with you (please review if you need)...so, again, this phraseology isn't new on my part.

You ask, "how is one to know which arguments you have considered...?" I have expressed them many times already.
Posted by prunesquallor 3 years ago
prunesquallor
To claim superiority because a therapy is LESS dangerous does not seem to be a flawed argument at all. Anyhow, you just shifted your stance from "Arguments from nature (in general) are flawed" to "Arguments from nature (that are commonly used) are flawed"- which, in fact, is worse than before. You now attach another unquantifiable modifier- "Commonly". Now, I'm sure that my common and your common are very different things, simply because there are just a lot of debates done on this subject. In any case, if you are saying that the arguments used "commonly"- whatever those might be- should be abandoned, it accomplishes nothing. It does not imply that one should stop looking for more arguments from nature- because there still might be some that haven't been contemplated over yet. Unless you build a list of "common arguments from nature" as a reference, how is one to know which arguments from nature you have considered? You cannot be suggesting that you have perused all the literature available on this topic and have a comprehensive list of every such argument ever made.

Now to the question of "Arguments from nature are not applicable to the debate on the morality of homosexuality" when you just admitted that [ There may be many "arguments from nature" that are wonderful ] seems to be a bit confusing. Elaborate?
Posted by thg 3 years ago
thg
Good post below...! At least we are focusing in on the issue at hand.

You often claim I have taken a stand or made a claim when, in fact, I have done no such thing. Here again, you claim my premise is "arguments from nature are flawed". That is not true. There may be many "arguments from nature" that are wonderful. I am making no such broad statement, one way or the other. My premise is that:

the arguments from nature COMMONLY USED IN THE ONGOING LARGER DEBATE ON THE MORALITY OF HOMOSEXUALITY are seriously flawed...and my preference is that they be dropped from the larger debate.

So, in fact, I like the way you worded what you call a more "fundamental" premise: that arguments from nature are not applicable to the debate on the morality of homosexuality. That indeed comes close to what I am trying to posit.

I suppose it would be like a debate on cancer treatments where one side tries to establish the superiority of radiation over chemotherapy, and the other asserts chemotherapy is better. In the course of the debate, we observe that each side accuses the other of backing a therapy that is dangerous to human health. But, of course, most of us know that both therapies can be dangerous. So, if each side uses this line of argument, I would call it flawed. Maybe they could argue which therapy is MORE dangerous or whatever, but to claim superiority because the other therapy is dangerous simply is flawed and the debate would be better served if both sides would abandon or change this line of reasoning. When it comes to the debate on homosexuality, I believe the arguments from nature commonly employed by each side are similarly flawed. Maybe I'm wrong about this (which is one reason I'm trying to debate it here on DDO), but if I'm right, it seems to me we'd all be better off if more people became aware of these flaws and proceeded on to more persuasive lines of reason. And I still would be interested in hearing your thoughts.
Posted by prunesquallor 3 years ago
prunesquallor
Rather "Unnaturalness and immorality...". I told you, I have a different manner of approaching the morality of homosexuality. Personally, I haven't yet contemplated the basis of the "arguments from nature". Like I said, I like to be pragmatic about it.
Posted by prunesquallor 3 years ago
prunesquallor
Well, what you most recently said is more understandable. However, I will first give a small recap and then we will move on to what I think.

i. premise: a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn. Let us see what your premise is- "Arguments from nature are flawed". However, the more fundamental premise is- "Arguments from nature are not applicable to the debate on the morality of homosexuality". From the secondary premise you conclude that "Arguments from nature should be dropped altogether from said debate". When I say your premise is flawed, I imply the more immediate premise- which isn't really a premise, rather a corollary. Before delving into the argument of "whether or not arguments from nature are flawed", we have to first establish "whether or not unnaturalness has nothing to do with morality". My point, therefore, when I said my opinion does not change anything, was that even when I express it, we are still debating on the subject of unnaturalness and morality- which implies that the corollary debate of "dropping arguments from nature" can never start before we have settled the subject of "unnaturalness and morality". Therefore, your debate would make more sense had you set the topic to be "Unnaturalness and morality are completely disjoint properties".
Posted by thg 3 years ago
thg
Oops, you beat me to it and already posted another comment before I was done. Oh well. Such are the vagaries of the comment section. I suppose this will make it a bit more difficult to follow everything, but no matter.

As to your most recent comments (both of them)...I'm certain there might be better ways of stating my "opening premise"...but, again, your implication is that an opening premise must be indisputable. I suppose this could be a matter of format or whatever, but my premise (as any premise you might want to put forth) is, by definition, disputable...and I believe "disputable" also means "debatable". It sounds to me like you're saying that my premise is flawed because I am introducing one that is disputable... so you want me to drop this premise from this current debate because it is somehow my flawed opinion rather than an indisputable fact. This sounds a lot like what I am trying to say about flawed arguments from nature. So, again, I'll make yet another appeal. What do YOU think about the arguments from nature commonly employed in the larger, ongoing debate on the moral acceptability of homosexuality? I don't really care whether you agree they should be discarded or whether you think they should continue be a part of the larger debate. I'm more interesting in hearing what you think about them. Are they good arguments? Do they really help to establish (in your mind) the moral justification or condemnation of homosexuality? This really is what I'd like to hear you address.
Posted by thg 3 years ago
thg
(cont'd from below):

iii. Of course your arguments will be your opinion, and of course these all are debatable. That doesn't bother me, and, furthermore, is intrinsic to any debate. So, yes, I would like to hear your thoughts on whether these arguments "from nature" are flawed.

iv. Not sure what you mean by "change nothing". Are you saying that sharing opinions and debating issues will "change nothing" in general (in which case we wonder why you are involved at all), or just re: this particular debate? Either way, I'm still interested in your thoughts.

I'll quote from your paragraph: " 'unnatural does not imply immoral'... However 'immoral does not imply unnatural'." I completely agree with your construct here. (I knew we agreed somewhere...!).

You reiterate your point about my "endorsing" morality in your most recent post. I believe I've already addressed that point. Again, observing and describing something (like, say, a war) doesn't mean I "endorse" it. More important, why does this matter? I'm not debating the morality of homosexuality, just a couple of the arguments commonly employed by the anti- and pro-gay contingents.

You ask why morality is so important to the "larger" debate. Here again, this really is not what I'm debating...I just observe that this is one of the big issues in the larger debate...so I assume it's important to a lot of folks. Are you saying this is NOT a big issue in the larger debate?

Your final statement re: how my observation about the prominence of the morality factor betrays my own endorsement of morality and that surely I must have a (moral) opinion here not only is inaccurate, but is irrelevant to this particular debate I'm trying to instigate here on DDO. But I believe we've already covered this.

BTW, I think it's great that we can have our own (less formal?) debates in the forum and comment sections even alongside the more formal structure. Your turn!
Posted by prunesquallor 3 years ago
prunesquallor
[i]f you observe that a debating opponent has vote-bombed your debate

instead of

[W]hen you observe that....
Posted by prunesquallor 3 years ago
prunesquallor
i. I never said arguments from nature aren't flawed. You might have noticed I have always added "perhaps", "seems", "appears" and other such modifying words when I'm expressing an opinion. And this is exactly my point, you cannot indisputably assert either of those two statements. "Arguments from nature" might or might not be flawed, and until and unless this argument is settled, you cannot move onto the argument of whether or not "arguments from nature" should be stricken off the debate on morality. This is the reason your premise is flawed- it isn't a premise in the first place, it begs the question! A premise should be a priori indisputable, and yours clearly isn't- at least as long as you are willing to debate on the "arguments from nature".

ii. [W]hen you observe that an opponent has... Clearly we live in different philosophical universes. The above statement, to me, looks like the observation of a fact- you cannot endorse facts, they are implicitly correct. Morality is a state of the mind, you cannot touch or see it- even accepting its presence amounts to endorsing what it applies to.
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