The Instigator
thg
Con (against)
Tied
9 Points
The Contender
TUF
Pro (for)
Tied
9 Points

Is the argument "no harm to others" effective in establishing the acceptability of homosexuality?

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/4/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,817 times Debate No: 36369
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
Votes (3)

 

thg

Con

Many thanks to TUF for agreeing to accept this debate challenge. I look forward to an engaging and provocative discussion.

I have been frustrated for several years with the ongoing larger debate on the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior and lifestyle. I am not weighing it at this point on that debate per se. The following is not a debate about whether homosexual behavior is morally acceptable or not. But I continue to be frustrated with so many of the arguments that are being put forth on the part of both sides of the larger debate. My contention is that the weak and flawed arguments being used in the larger debate need to be exposed and abandoned for more cogent and persuasive ones if the larger debate is to have any lasting impact...especially on those of us who are still "on the fence" and who are skeptical about the arguments we are hearing.

One of the arguments I commonly hear from the pro-gay contingent is that homosexual behavior should be morally acceptable because homosexual behavior "does no harm". The anti-gay version of this argument (that homosexual behavior should be condemned because it IS harmful) is just as flawed, in my opinion, and we may include this argument in our discussion, but, for the purposes of this particular debate, I hope to focus mainly on the pro-gay argument. Part of why I want to focus on the pro-gay argument is because it is largely an argument from silence. That is, it is very difficult to "prove" (clinically or otherwise) that any given sexual behavior is "harmless". Many studies, however, do purport to demonstrate the harm that results from homosexual behavior, so often anti-gay proponents reference such studies (whether these studies are credible or not). The pro-gay contingent, on the other hand, often simply appeals to "common sense" or opinions from organizations like the AMA (American Medical Association) or APA (American Psychological Association), an approach which is largely anecdotal and inconclusive, often culminating in, "It's just common sense...no one seriously believes homosexual behavior is harmful...so it's time we all accepted it's harmless..." which, of course, is circular reasoning. I happen to believe the anti-gay argument is largely anecdotal and circular as well, but it often does appeal to actual statistics more persuasively than the pro-gay version.

My premise is that this "does no harm" argument needs to be dropped from the pro-gay platform, not only because there is little scientific evidence to support it, but because what evidence there is is largely anecdotal and cannot really be researched and tested conclusively. Furthermore, as the anti-gay platform often includes faith-based moral reasoning that claims NOT to be based on common perceptions of "harm" but on the "sanctity" of heterosexual intimacy, the pro-gay contingent would do well to at least try to debunk or counter that reasoning with something that matches this moral intensity. The "does no harm" argument remains relatively superficial and anemic, and should be abandoned.

My opponent is welcome to use the first round to accept...or proceed with his opening arguments.
TUF

Pro

Thankyou Thg for this debate, and our fun (though a little repetitive) discussion in the Forums. I hope this debate will establish some grounds on where we stand on the issue a little more.

I will lay out some groundwork for this debate.

First off I should have talked to my opponent a little bit about the definitions in this debate, before accepting, but let's establish what the most important word in this resolution is: "harm".

There are multiple definitions to the word, and this debate can be interpreted on several different levels. I would prefer that this debate is centered around a certain notion, but let's clear this up.

1. Physical or psychological injury or damage.

The physical contingency of this argument focuses around what physical harms can come from "acceptability of homosexuality". I would assume that arguments centered around this notion would be aimed at "sexual diseases" brought forth from homosexuality etc.

2. Wrong; evil.

This argument follows the moral principle. This is the debate where I am hoping my opponent centers his arguments around. As he knows, I am a subjectivist, so I wouldn't be arguing that one moral is more right than the other, just that one morality is contradictive in reference to the resolution.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com...


Underlying Value:

The underlying value of this debate that I will be centering my argument on, is that these principles of homosexuality cannot be considered harmful if the same effects can be brought about from a heterosexual relationship. Specifically, harms need to be centered around one side, and they need to outweigh those of the harms on the heterosexual side for them to hold any meaning in this debate.

Contention 1: The Physical Side

Like I said, I hope the debate doesn't go this way, but I will make an argument for it just in case. Physically, Homosexuality harms no one. Whether they get diseases (one of medic's common arguments), that's on them. Sexual diseases are prevalent in heterosexual relationships as well. As this meets the underlying value (let's call it the UV for short), it is irrelevant. Ultimately this point is going to be on my opponent to prove, as I don't know what arguments he will make (technically the BOP is on him). But if my opponent goes this way, my opponent must prove how homosexuality harms others more than any other type of relationship.

Contention 2: The Moral Side

The Moral side, is completely subjective. But from what my opponent said (most anti-gay arguments are faith based) I will assume most of these morals come from the existence of a God. I will debate those that aren't as well. My main argument here will center around hypocrisy of morals if any are brought up, but because I don't know how my opponent will approach this debate, I will wait until he makes his arguments. These first two points may be completely un-needed, depending on where THG goes with this, so if you arguments are focused on only contention 3, feel free to dis-regard these points.

Contention 3: The argument itself

This contentions holds the crux of the debate. There are many effective arguments for socially accepting Homosexual relationships. The "no harm to others" argument however, is just as effective as the rest.
Again we have to weigh how these relationships can be more physically and morally harmful then heterosexual relationships, before we can substantiate the claim that the argument itself is flawed.

But the argument covers the fairness principle. There needs to be some attribute about same sex relationships that make it more harmful than heterosexual relationships. So If I can correlate things that heterosexual relationships cause with that of homosexual relationships, this argument reaches my UV value, and it is nullified.

So we can ask questions: If both are the same, why dis-allow one if it isn't more harmful than the other?

That is where the weight of this argument comes from. Fairness and equality stemming from a defining physical attribute, is the only difference in someone being deciphered as "harming" others. In this case, there is no specific harm that comes from homosexuality.


There is not a lot more I can do in this round without knowing where my opponent plans to go with this debate, so I will await his response.

I accept this debate based on the framework I have set up in this round.
Debate Round No. 1
thg

Con

Many thanks to TUF for an organized and thorough post.

I agree with my opponent that we must deal with a definition of "harm". But that is a tall order, and I submit that "moral acceptability" is just as crucial a phrase. Harm can be permanent, substantial, trivial, temporary, OK at first but bad in the long run, bad at first but good in the long run, and a whole range of things too numerous to list here. People also disagree about the very nature of morality: is it subjective, objective, based on God or evolution? So I contend that there are multiple definitions and that the complexity of this issue serves as one of the reasons why the "no harm" argument is weak.

If there were a clear, present, direct correlation of homosexual behavior with substantial and visible harm, I suppose we would have to abandon the "no harm" argument. My contention is that there is no clear correlation, and that, even if there were, we'd likely end up having to condemn all kinds of "acceptable" sexual behavior, such as normal marital relations (I believe, based on his R1 post, my opponent agrees). I believe, however, that the "no harm" argument still is weak. Since I believe the most persuasive moral argument opposing homosexual behavior is not predicated on obvious, direct harm in the first place, countering it with the usual "no harm" argument seems to me to be irrelevant (even if it could be proven).

Moral "harm" might entail a kind of subtle, long-range effect. Something that seems pleasurable and harmless might, after all, be detrimental to someone's well being. This is particularly relevant for sexual behavior. We might accept that much sexual behavior (even heretofore considered immoral) appears to be quite harmless and pleasurable, whether a one-time act or part of an ongoing lifestyle. Perhaps it's polyamorous or incestuous or extra-marital. Perhaps everyone is adult and consenting. But, as has been corroborated by countless testimonies, many participants end up, eventually, regretting their choices. So one must assert with great care that ANY sexual behavior is truly harmless in the long run. Since the moral argument against homosexual behavior has been so dominant throughout human history, any counter must take this moral component seriously, whether any immediate and substantial harm is being asserted or not.

So, let's try to agree on the following definitions:

HARM: Harm that is substantial, enduring, and ultimately detrimental, which can include long-range psychological effects, not limited to clear and immediate physiological ones.

MORALITY: A construct of beliefs held by one or more humans that distinguish between "right" and "wrong" (moral or immoral) behaviors, a preponderance of which are claimed to be based on religious precepts.

If we are to establish the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior, and if the opposition largely is undergirded by religiously-based moral precepts, then we either must show that these precepts are being interpreted incorrectly, or we must show that the precepts are themselves invalid.

The usual pro-gay argument from "harmlessness" is problematic for at least three reasons, corresponding to each of my opponent's contentions, respectively:

1. CAN'T BE TESTED: There is no way to prove the argument from "harmlessness" with reliable testing. There are many studies that purport to prove that homosexual behavior is either harmful or harmless. I would be happy to see any study that my opponent might present, but I have already seen many of them, and they all are inconclusive. The ones that have any integrity at all always conclude with something like, "We have no actual proof of any direct correlation, but we believe the evidence points to a likelihood that homosexual behavior does little or no lasting harm (or DOES lasting harm)." These studies are anecdotal, and are prone to a common fallacy: coming to a conclusion because of presuppositions more than based on the evidence. So, if a homosexual ends up being maladjusted or depressed, the anti-gay contingent says it is a result of guilt and immorality (which is entirely plausible), while the pro-gay contingent says it is a result of unjust discrimination (which also is entirely plausible). No study persuades me one explanation is definitely more reliable than the other (or that the proponents--both testers and subjects--were not already predisposed toward one view or the other). While we may confess that there are several studies that correlate a preponderance of homosexual disease and maladjustment to homosexual behavior, and while these may present more "scientific" data than the studies supporting the harmless view, I submit that neither side has made its case persuasively. For this reason, I submit that neither my opponent nor I need to reference any such studies. My point here, in any case, is not a scientific one so much as a philosophical one. I simply don't believe any study will ever be able to prove conclusively that homosexual behavior does harm or does not harm. Based on my opponent's R1 post, I believe we agree on this point.

2. THE MEANING OF FAITH-BASED MORALITY: Testing for harm directly caused by a behavior is difficult, but so is testing for long-range effects. This kind of test would have to be based largely on anecdotal testimony. But anecdotal testimony often includes religious claims. The moral argument against homosexuality often consists (SHOULD consist) of prohibitions against something not necessarily because it is directly or visibly harmful, but because it goes against an ideal. The biblical conception of sin is not that it is always blatantly evil and visibly harmful, but that it falls short of God's ideal for human fulfillment (the Greek work for sin, omartia, means "to fall short", as an arrow that falls just short of its mark). So being opposed to homosexual behavior doesn't have to be predicated on a clear and present danger, or upon its being some heinous evil, but upon the notion that an ideal is being breached, trivialized, or otherwise compromised. Might long-range harm result? Sure, but that is not necessarily immediately obvious or relevant. Faith-based precepts are, by definition, faith-based, and are beholden to a notion that God has instituted them and that we should follow them whether we understand their effects fully or not. We certainly can question such precepts and how they are interpreted. We even can question whether faith-based precepts can be proven to be faith-based in the first place. All well and good. But if we are going to counter the anti-gay side of the homosexuality debate, we must counter this moral stance with either a better one of our own, or show that having a moral stance is itself fallacious.

3. OBFUSCATION OF MORALITY: The argument from "harmlessness" may be appealing, but it tends to beg the question, "Just what behaviors ARE wrong?" This is NOT a "slippery slope" argument. I'm saying that justification used for homosexual behavior can also be applied to many behaviors that even many pro-gay proponents commonly oppose. Consider the following list of sexual behaviors that could pass the "harmlessness" test:

3.1 Incest
3.2 Polyamorous relationships
3.3 Prostitution
3.4 Group Sex
3.5 Extra-marital sex
3.6 Pre-marital sex
3.7 Pedophilia
3.8 Bestiality

All these can be just as harmless as homosexual behavior. In fact, some of them might even be safer. Most folks are not ready to give consent to many of these behaviors. So the "harmlessness" argument is apparently missing something very integral to any discussion on sexual morality. Why use this argument to justify homosexual behavior if we know it is inadequate to justify these other behaviors? The "harmlessness" argument appears to be incomplete and confusing.

CONCLUSION: The argument from "harmlessness" is too ambiguous and shaky--morally and logically--to be a reliable plank in the pro-gay platform.

I give the floor back to my opponent.
TUF

Pro

Rebuttals

"Harm can be permanent, substantial, trivial, temporary, OK at first but bad in the long run, bad at first but good in the long run, and a whole range of things too numerous to list here."

As according to my underlying value, we must only consider harms that outweigh those of straight couples, since we are talking about homosexuality specifically.

"My contention is that there is no clear correlation, and that, even if there were, we'd likely end up having to condemn all kinds of "acceptable" sexual behavior, such as normal marital relations"

A clear line about what harm is, cannot be drawn and harm is technically interpreted. That is why I presented my UV in the opening round, to clarify that the burden behind homosexual relationships being harmful, must out weigh that of heterosexual relationships. But again, there is also A BOP on my opponent in the first place to prove that there is a physical harm in the first place. Saying there is a no clear correlation, doesn't argue that there is harm in the first place, even from his own POV.

"So, if a homosexual ends up being maladjusted or depressed, the anti-gay contingent says it is a result of guilt and immorality (which is entirely plausible), while the pro-gay contingent says it is a result of unjust discrimination (which also is entirely plausible). No study persuades me one explanation is definitely more reliable than the other (or that the proponents--both testers and subjects--were not already predisposed toward one view or the other). "

The problem with this whole argument, is that is doesn't provide support for the straight contingencies.

http://new.vawnet.org...
http://psychcentral.com...
http://www.guttmacher.org...

The point is that if I can demonstrate equal or greater value in heterosexual relationship, it contradicts that in straight relationships, meanings the UV is still upheld.

"Faith-based precepts are, by definition, faith-based, and are beholden to a notion that God has instituted them and that we should follow them whether we understand their effects fully or not. We certainly can question such precepts and how they are interpreted."

We must operate under the assumption that faith based morality is just as flawed as the argument against precept of harms, because abiding by the faith based morality principles, means that you dis-regard the morals of others, which is where I draw my conclusive basis for subjective morality.

"I'm saying that justification used for homosexual behavior can also be applied to many behaviors that even many pro-gay proponents commonly oppose."

This argument doesn't meet the UV, as the same could be said about heterosexual relationships. Again harms must outweigh one, to over-reach the other, and to meet the proper association of this argument.

3.1 Incest
3.2 Polyamorous relationships
3.3 Prostitution
3.4 Group Sex
3.5 Extra-marital sex
3.6 Pre-marital sex
3.7 Pedophilia- Not equivalent, as per lack of consent.
3.8 Bestiality- Not equivalent, as per lack of consent.


My opponents own moral basis for the dis-allowance of 31.-3.6 need to be substantiated with reasoning's before we can address individually how each are wrong, but I would contest that you should be able to apply the same morality with these to any sort of relationship. What is wrong about them in accordance to freedom of partner, is exactly the same as with heterosexual relationships fitting his own morality.

Conclusion:

In order for something to be considered harmful in this situation, is must be compared to it's anti contingent. As per my opponents arguments, every single one of them can be cross applied to heterosexuality, meaning that there is no basis for the argument of "no harm to others" to collapse. Physically, emotionally, psychologically, there is no evidence to face that Homosexual relationship cause significant harm if any, or more than heterosexual relationships.

Debate Round No. 2
thg

Con

I now will try to address the following points.

((TUF: As according to my underlying value, we must only consider harms that outweigh those of straight couples, since we are talking about homosexuality specifically.))

I was hoping to forestall this in the last round, but I will try to address this more clearly here. I do not agree that "we must only consider harms that outweigh those of straight couples". My contention, one that I stated in the title as well as in earlier rounds, is that the argument from harmlessness is unsound. I am not contending that homosexuality is either harmful or harmless. Nor am I contending that it is more or less harmful than any other sexual behavior. Nor am I contending that it is moral or immoral. I am making a philosophical, not a moral, argument. I am contending that the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior cannot properly be bolstered by the "harmless" argument.

If I were arguing that homosexual behavior WAS more harmful than heterosexual behavior, or, if I were arguing that homosexual behavior was immoral because of its harmfulness, then my opponent's challenge would be entirely appropriate. But I am arguing that the moral stance on homosexuality cannot properly--and should not--be based on either "harmfulness" or "harmlessness". I argued that such conclusions are ambiguous and that neither conclusion can be tested reliably (regardless of whether the supposed harmfulness is better or worse than of any other sexual behavior).

The irony of my opponent's objection here is that he actually is arguing that heterosexual behavior can be just as harmful as homosexual behavior...which not only does not establish the harmlessness of homosexuality, but actually coincides with my contention that the "harmless" argument doesn't work...for either side of the larger debate.

((TUF: there is also A BOP on my opponent in the first place to prove that there is a physical harm in the first place. Saying there is a no clear correlation, doesn't argue that there is harm in the first place...))

I do not have this BOP, as I am not trying "to prove that there is a physical harm." I agree completely with the last statement (above). It does not refute anything I have presented thus far.

((TUF: The problem with this whole argument, is that is doesn't provide support for the straight contingencies.))

My opponent's contention here, again, would be valid if I were trying to establish that homosexual behavior was more harmful than heterosexual ones. I do appreciate the sources he provided, but neither my opponent's argument here nor his citations speak to what I am contending. In fact, I contend that this is the very kind of study that makes the arguments from harmfulness and harmlessness moot. I strongly contend that my opponent and I actually agree with the force of his contention here as it applies to other similar discussions, but that it does not refute any part of my argument, but rather supports my resolution.

((TUF: We must operate under the assumption that faith based morality is just as flawed as the argument against precept of harms, because abiding by the faith based morality principles, means that you dis-regard the morals of others, which is where I draw my conclusive basis for subjective morality.))

My opponent here does not establish that we "must" assume that a morality, by virtue of its being faith-based, is invalidated because it "means that you disregard the morals of others" or because it is necessarily "subjective". In any case, I am not arguing the validity of faith-based morality. My opponent's challenge here surely would be great fodder for countless debates, and I may engage him sometime on this topic, but he, once again, is challenging something that I am not contending. I am contending that faith-based morality that questions certain sexual behaviors ultimately is not--and should not be--based on an argument from harm. I am contending that, based on my read of sociology, anthropology, and the history of religion, the faith-based argument opposing homosexual behavior is heavily based on the notion that a God-sanctioned ideal is being breached. Sure, one can argue that this can have long-term effects, but that is a separate argument altogether. But whether this faith-claim is valid or not is not at issue. I happen to believe it is the only valid argument opposing homosexuality, but that is not what I am arguing here.

I am arguing that, IF we are going to counter faith-based moral arguments in any effective way, we must do so with an argument that is not based on harmlessness, as the faith-based moral argument is not predicated on harmfulness, but on a breach of a "sacred" ideal.

But whether the anti-gay argument is from harmfulness or from divine sanction, and whether it is a valid argument or not, our counter should not be another flawed argument. We either must show that homosexual behavior is not a breach of sacred ideal, that the faith-based argument is not what I claim it is, or that any faith-based argument is invalid in the first place. If we can show any of these things, then we might refute the faith-based argument. But that is not what I am contending in this debate. What I am contending is that the argument from harmlessness does not accomplish any of these things. It is a flawed argument aimed at a straw man.

My opponent might argue that, since the anti-gay contingent often uses the argument from harmfulness, we might as well counter it. But my contention is that both arguments are unsound. The best way to counter the anti-gay argument from harmfulness is not to counter with the argument from harmlessness, but to show that the argument from harmfulness is flawed to begin with. Countering a flawed argument with a flawed argument not only wastes effort on a straw man, but tends to weaken one's stance generally.

((Thg: I'm saying that justification used for homosexual behavior can also be applied to many behaviors that even many pro-gay proponents commonly oppose."

TUF: This argument doesn't meet the UV, as the same could be said about heterosexual relationships. Again harms must outweigh one, to over-reach the other, and to meet the proper association of this argument.))

This is exactly my point. I agree completely with my opponent"s first statement here ("the same could be said""). This is what I've been arguing all along. As for the last statement ("harms must outweigh"), my opponent once again misses the point.

((TUF: My opponents own moral basis for the dis-allowance of 31.-3.6 need to be substantiated with reasoning's before we can address individually how each are wrong, but I would contest that you should be able to apply the same morality with these to any sort of relationship. What is wrong about them in accordance to freedom of partner, is exactly the same as with heterosexual relationships fitting his own morality.))

Once again, my opponent misses the point. I am not trying to "disallow" these behaviors, nor do I need to. Isolating 3.7 and 3.8 also misses the point, as we are not debating whether consent should be used in moral reasoning. Why not single out the other entries as being "not equivalent" (pre-marital, because they are not married; prostitution, because it is purchased)? There may be lots of reasons to condemn these behaviors. Many are condemned even by the pro-gay contingent. The "harmless" argument doesn't justify any of these behaviors any more effectively than it does homosexual behavior.

The argument from harmlessness is unsound not only because of our earlier stated reasons, but also because it does not distinguish between any sexual behaviors. We might as well say that "anything goes". My point is that if we are going to justify or condemn sexual behaviors, we must do so with arguments other than the one from harmlessness.

Back to my opponent.
TUF

Pro

"I am contending that the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior cannot properly be bolstered by the "harmless" argument."'

Than why include the word "homosexuality" at all in the title of this debate? I accepted this debate mainly on the principals of defending against homosexuality in the first place. This debate should have been phrased "Is the argument "no harm to others" effective?" and just not included the homosexuality bit in there at all if this is the case.

"But I am arguing that the moral stance on homosexuality cannot properly--and should not--be based on either "harmfulness" or "harmlessness". "

The entire focus around gay rights focuses on whether not giving homosexuals the same rights as straights is immoral. Discrimination is both wrong from a moral point of view and a logical point of view. Harm can be universally established in this sense. But what I am saying is the point where we can start establishing that it IS a harm, is the point where we single this argument out only for homosexuals rather than straights. If we can classify discrimination is a harm, than we can establish that the resolution has a basis of harms in and of itself.

Okay let's not continue wasting time arguing the same subject, because the rest of my opponents rebuttals seem to be saying the same thing "That I am arguing for the wrong thing".

While first of all, the use of homosexuality at all in the resolution demonstrates that this is and will be about the flawed arguments in protecting specifically about gays, I will do my best to ignore that part.

Philosophically is the argument wrong?

No because something specifically is being done to homosexuals that isn't being done to straights. We have physically taken rights away from homosexuals, and treated them differently purely on a basis of their life style. Universally this can be seen as a harm, not just morally. Anyone undergoing social discrimination would feel physically, mentally, or psychologically harmed because naturally, that is what is happening to them. What is being done to gays not only meets the discrimination portion of the argument, but also matches the definition of harm. Philosophically, the arguments pertaining to this are just as applicable, though I maintain the UV I have set is still philosophical and pertains to this debate. My opponent doesn't so we can drop this.
Debate Round No. 3
thg

Con

THG: "I am contending that the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior cannot properly be bolstered by the "harmless" argument."'

TUF: Than why include the word "homosexuality" at all in the title of this debate? I accepted this debate mainly on the principals of defending against homosexuality in the first place. This debate should have been phrased "Is the argument "no harm to others" effective?" and just not included the homosexuality bit in there at all if this is the case.

The reason I asked the question is because the larger debate on homosexual behavior has raged now for such a long time, and I believe many of the arguments commonly being used by both sides of the larger debate are unsound. I’m not sure why my opponent is so frustrated by my resolution question. I am concerned that people on both sides of the larger debate often use arguments that are unsound, and I believe the larger debate would be better served if we exposed such arguments. I am interested in this particular question and see no reason why we can’t have a legitimate debate about it.

My opponent appears to assume that my resolution is about supporting or condemning homosexual behavior. But I tried to make it clear from the start that this is NOT a debate about the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior. This is a philosophical debate about one of the common arguments employed in the larger debate. Indeed, I know many pro-gay as well as anti-gay folks who agree that this argument from “harm” needs to be dropped. My opponent appears to assume that this resolution is somehow anti-gay, but it is no such thing. It is anti- unsound reasoning. Dropping this argument, in fact, would only help the pro-gay side, as the argument doesn't serve the pro-gay side well.

I don’t understand why my opponent believes we should drop the homosexuality part and just discuss “harm”. I would never argue that “harm” should not be part of many moral considerations. But my thinking is that “harm” becomes less of a consideration specifically when we discuss sexual morality, because I contend that sexual morality is one area of morality that doesn’t use “harm” in ways we commonly understand it. A sexual breach might not be harmful by most “normal” standards of harm, but might still be a breach of an ideal. My point in the earlier rounds was that if we apply the metric of “harm” in the usual ways, most sexual behaviors can pass the test, so we end up having no real standards at all (that is, anything goes). If we wish to condemn certain behaviors on other grounds, fine, but approving ALL of them because they are “harmless” doesn’t really serve the purpose of establishing sexual moral standards. My point is that homosexual behavior—along with several other behaviors—may, indeed, be harmless, but that is not how we should evaluate whether a sexual behavior is right or wrong. So, therefore, the argument from “harmlessness” is ineffective and irrelevant. It doesn’t really help us where sexual morality is concerned.

THG: "But I am arguing that the moral stance on homosexuality cannot properly--and should not--be based on either "harmfulness" or "harmlessness". "

TUF: The entire focus around gay rights focuses on whether not giving homosexuals the same rights as straights is immoral. Discrimination is both wrong from a moral point of view and a logical point of view. Harm can be universally established in this sense. But what I am saying is the point where we can start establishing that it IS a harm, is the point where we single this argument out only for homosexuals rather than straights. If we can classify discrimination is a harm, than we can establish that the resolution has a basis of harms in and of itself.

Again, I’m not sure what my opponent is getting at here, exactly. I can be slow, so perhaps he will indulge me and clarify his point here. It almost sounds like he’s arguing a different point entirely, or even supporting my resolution. This debate is not about whether homosexual behavior is right or wrong, or whether homosexuals are wrongfully discriminated against and harmed. Such a debate might be entitled: “Do moral arguments against homosexual behavior wrongfully discriminate against homosexuals?” or something along those lines. That might be a legitimate topic, but that is not what we are debating here. We are not discussing whether others’ arguments or actions harm homosexuals, we are discussing whether the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior can be established by “proving” that homosexual behavior is “harmless”. I am contending that the “harmless” argument fails:

1. It is not testable scientifically.

2. It does not address one of the main arguments (possibly the only viable argument) against homosexual behavior, which is a religious claim that a spiritual ideal is being breached (regardless of whether harm is done or not).

3. It does not help to establish a reliable moral standard for sexual behavior in general, let alone homosexual behavior.

It, therefore, should be dropped from the larger debate. The pro-gay side of the larger debate would be strengthened if it would drop this argument altogether.

TUF: Okay let's not continue wasting time arguing the same subject, because the rest of my opponents rebuttals seem to be saying the same thing "That I am arguing for the wrong thing".
While first of all, the use of homosexuality at all in the resolution demonstrates that this is and will be about the flawed arguments in protecting specifically about gays, I will do my best to ignore that part.

Again, I’m having a difficult time understanding my opponent’s point here. I hope he will be patient and indulge my sincere confusion and take some time to clarify what he means so I can properly address his point.

TUF: I maintain the UV I have set is still philosophical and pertains to this debate. My opponent doesn't so we can drop this.

Again, I continue to be puzzled by my opponent’s point here. What, exactly, is he suggesting we "drop"? No one is claiming that discrimination and harm is not being inflicted on homosexuals. That is not what we are debating at all. Let’s say I had stated the resolution as follows:

“Condemning homosexual behavior does no harm to homosexuals.”

If this had been the resolution, then many of my opponent’s points in this debate would make perfect sense. But this is not the resolution. We are debating a philosophical point, not a moral one. We are debating whether a particular argument is sound.
What I hope my opponent will do is address the resolution more directly. If he contends that the argument from “harmlessness” IS sound and needs to remain a strong plank in the pro-gay platform, then I want him to show me why he believes this way. I believe it is unsound and needs to be discarded, and I believe I am making a persuasive case. If my opponent believes it is sound, then show me how it is sound.

Again, we are not debating whether homosexual behavior is right or not. We are not even debating whether homosexual behavior is harmful or not. We are debating whether the argument “homosexuality does no harm” is an effective way to establish or bolster the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior.

I’m trying to think of an analogy that might help us clarify our purposes in this debate. Let’s say Johnny takes away Bill’s ball, which happens to be red. Bill says, “Hey, you can’t do that. My ball’s black!” They go back and forth for days, Johnny claiming the ball is red and Bill insisting it’s black. Finally, Bob comes along and says, “Hey, guys, Johnny’s right. The ball isn’t black, it’s red. But that’s not the problem here in the first place. The problem is that one of you took something that didn’t belong to him. Let’s drop this color argument and get to what really matters here.” That’s what I’m trying to say about the argument from “harmlessness”. It is not effective or relevant as a plank in the pro-gay platform.

Now back to my opponent. I hope he'll stay with this debate.
TUF

Pro

I’m not sure why my opponent is so frustrated by my resolution question.

Well it is off topic now, but initially I thought I was going to be debating one thing, than halfway throughout the debate, I am being told that we are arguing another, even though the resolution clearly states "homosexuality". So yes, I am a little put off about being told that homosexuality has nothing to do with the debate... But I would have been more okay had we discussed debating the philosophy of the argument prior to the challenge. I digress, it is all hindsight now.

Dropping this argument, in fact, would only help the pro-gay side, as the argument doesn't serve the pro-gay side well.

Again I do dis-agree. If we consider harms to be something more than what heterosexuals provide with relationships, and center this difference strictly around their sexual preference, than the argument actually make perfect sense in terms of applying it to discrimination.

I don’t understand why my opponent believes we should drop the homosexuality part and just discuss “harm”

Because in the last round you dis-regarded every argument I made about the homosexuality bit as irrelevant to the debate... So there is no reason to debate homosexuality.

A sexual breach might not be harmful by most “normal” standards of harm, but might still be a breach of an ideal.

To breach an ideal however, is a self created harm. The breaching of an ideal is also contradictory to establishing harm doesn't apply to homosexuality either. To breach this ideal means that you are dis-regarding the ideals of another group of people, but in this case, to take it a step further and actually take away rights from this group, is where the line should be drawn on harmful ideals. So harming ideals needs to be established under the contingencies of both sides, physically and psychologically as well. Which side is being harm worst?

My point is that homosexual behavior—along with several other behaviors—may, indeed, be harmless, but that is not how we should evaluate whether a sexual behavior is right or wrong.

So how should we determine whether sexual behavior is right or wrong then? My solution as stated above, and in the resolution would be to weigh the harms on both sides. if on one side we are just harming an ideal, but on the other side we are harming ideals, psyche, physical, mental state of being, and denying rights, where is the line drawn, which should we consider?

1. It is not testable scientifically.

Earnshaw and her colleagues interviewed 420, 14- to 21-year-old black and Latina women at 14 community health centers and hospitals in New York, during the second and third trimesters of their pregnancies, and at six and 12 months after their babies had been born. They measured their reported experiences of discrimination. They also measured their depressive symptoms, pregnancy distress and pregnancy symptoms. Levels of everyday discrimination reported were generally low. However, the impact of discrimination was the same in all the participants regardless of age, ethnicity or type of discrimination reported. Women reporting greater levels of discrimination were more prone to depressive symptoms, and ultimately went on to have babies with lower birth weights than those reporting lower levels of discrimination. This has implications for health care providers who work with pregnant teens and young women during the pre-natal period, while they have the opportunity to try and reduce the potential impacts discrimination on the pregnancy.

http://www.sciencedaily.com...

Social discrimination and it's harmful effects are damaging. While the resolution applies to racism in the above quote, if we are to consider homosexuality as a harm, than we must consider that there is scientific tests that actually prove that this is harmful, as opposed to the minor harm of an ideal being discriminated against on the other side. If there are more harms than that, the BOP is on you.

2. It does not address one of the main arguments (possibly the only viable argument) against homosexual behavior, which is a religious claim that a spiritual ideal is being breached (regardless of whether harm is done or not).

Interesting because I just had a discussion with a fellow employee at my work about this last night. What his argument was, was that if marriage itself was specifically harmful to gays as they could easily create and make their own contract agreement without violating the Christian ideology. Now I know this debate isn't about marriage specifically, but my argument back to him can be used almost in the same concept.

The legal and moral implications set by the government concerned with religious issues, only weighing the harms of one side, is what we call discrimination. Thankfully with the Proposition 8 legislation, the government is taking a stance on this issue more firmly. However on principle of harms, even by the same logic used by the employee, other individuals can too create a different contract agreement if they feel the foundation of their ideals have been violated. But if you made an oath with someone, and fully believe in an oath, why does it matter if another person makes that oath for what you believe are wrong reasons? As long as you know you are in the right in upholding your oath, the other shouldn't matter right? There really isn't a harm in the religious ideals at all, except the pre-face that we are tagging on them because we dis-like the idea of the difference.

3. It does not help to establish a reliable moral standard for sexual behavior in general, let alone homosexual behavior.

Agreed. This is an argument that comes from the religious stand point that commonly associates homosexual behavior being immoral in and of itself, but this is lacking of a basis of harm. Moral harm should be different than idealism harms, but such is not the case. But my point would be that there doesn't need to be a moral precedent specific to sexual behavior with two consenting parties, and if there should, I ask that my opponent please state why there should as it is relevant to the debate.

No one is claiming that discrimination and harm is not being inflicted on homosexuals. That is not what we are debating at all.

Discrimination and harm IS relevant to the debate though, because I am mentioning them as a premise to prove why the no harm to others argument is effective. My point through the UV was to establish that if certain individuals that others don't, then there is a harm, and a breach of the UV. If you are to dis-regard this argument, you would have to show that the same harms could be applied to heterosexuality. My point that the harms don't exceed those, and pertain more to homosexuality, thus there is more harm to them than not. Remember we are singling out homosexuality within the confines of this debate.

We are debating whether the argument “homosexuality does no harm” is an effective way to establish or bolster the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior.

Exactly, but if I can prove that over all moral acceptability of homosexual behavior is just as harmful as heterosexual behavior, it defeats the purpose of setting a moral basis for the argument, and even philosophically, the argument is flawed.
So let's focus on how Bill taking the ball is wrong then.

To conclude, I will give a relevant example from my work. A discriminatory comment was made by co-worker about gays, and played off as a joke, with my supervisor in the room. I wonder, would the supervisor have cared if the hateful comment was made about race, or gender? Have we already established that the behavior of homosexuals is wrong, without really realizing that it is no different than the harmful discrimination towards race and gender?

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from my opponent.
Debate Round No. 4
thg

Con

Unfortunately, this debate was encumbered by a misunderstanding. My opponent appears to have assumed that I was arguing against the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior, and he posed a number of arguments that I deemed were irrelevant. I tried to make it clear from the start that we are not arguing for or against the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior. I tried to clarify the topic several times. I don’t believe I switched gears mid-stream as he intimates, but perhaps I could have been clearer, and I apologize for any ambiguity.

My purpose in this debate was to target a particular argument that is commonly used by the pro-gay contingent in the ongoing debate on the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior. This argument attempts to bolster the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior by asserting that homosexual behavior is “harmless”. I believe this argument is weak, and the pro-gay contingent would be better off dropping it from the larger debate.

My reasons are as follows:

1. Studies purporting to show that homosexual behavior is harmless are inconclusive. I accept some studies that show that homosexual behavior does tend to result in some degree of harmful effects (disease, etc.), but I do NOT buy that such studies prove that homosexual behavior is immoral or unacceptable. While “harm” is a construct that should be considered when establishing some moral standards, I simply don’t believe it can be used to condemn homosexual behavior any more than the “harmless” construct can be used to justify homosexual behavior. The correlation of “harm” or lack thereof with homosexual behavior cannot be tested and established as a scientific theory, so any claim to "harmfulness" or "harmlessness" is unreliable. Even if such studies were to yield conclusive results (on either side of the argument), I would still doubt that such conclusions could then be used to establish a MORAL standard.

Early in the debate, I thought my opponent agreed with this reasoning. But he also continued to propose that the “harmless” argument WAS valid insofar as so-called “acceptable” heterosexual behavior was just as harmful as homosexual behavior. He extrapolated that homosexual behavior could be claimed to be “harmless” because it was NO MORE HARMFUL than “acceptable sexual behavior”. I tried to counter this line by pointing out that this was flawed logic and was not relevant to the debate resolution. I pointed out that this debate is not about whether homosexuality should be morally acceptable because it is harmless…or no more harmful than “acceptable” sexual behavior. That line might apply if we were countering the anti-gay claim that homosexual behavior IS more harmful than other sexual behaviors, but, as (I believe) we agreed that the anti-gay version of this argument was flawed, I asserted that there was no need to counter with this pro-gay version. The best way to counter the flawed anti-gay version would be to show how the anti-gay claim of “harmfulness” does not automatically lead us to morally condemn homosexual behavior…rather than turn around and use the same flawed logic from the pro-gay perspective. A point I didn’t make clear in earlier rounds is that if the pro-gay contingent insisted on its version of the “harmless” argument to establish moral acceptability, then the anti-gay contingent would just keep on using its “harmful” argument, and both sides would just keep referring to so-called “studies” that prove their respective points. As such studies aren’t conclusive, this back-and-forth would continue to get us nowhere.

I contend that my opponent's citation from the last round is interesting, but, again, does not apply to this debate.

2. I also argued that the “harmless” argument doesn’t address the dominant faith-based argument against homosexual behavior, which is that, even if homosexual behavior is not obviously harmful, it nevertheless is a breach of a sacred ideal for sexual behavior. I am not making the faith-based argument in this debate. I simply am observing that this is one of the main anti-gay arguments, and the “harmless” argument doesn’t address this issue. In other words, if we are going to argue effectively against the anti-gay contingent, it doesn’t do much good to use the “harmless” argument because the anti-gay contingent will just say, “So what if it’s harmless? It still goes against a divinely instituted standard for sexual behavior.”

My opponent attempted to show that the faith-based argument was weak and shouldn’t be taken that seriously. He argued that faith-based standards are "self-created" and can’t be used against those that do not subscribe to such standards. But I am not trying to argue that the faith-based standards are valid…only that this is the dominant anti-gay argument. I also disagree that faith-based standards can’t be applied to those outside the faith, or that they are any more "self-created" than any other moral standards. Whether people subscribe to a faith or not or whether that makes them subject to faith-based standards is not at issue. If a standard is valid and is accepted widely throughout a culture or the world…or the entire history of the human race (such as “thou shalt not kill” or “steal”…and, if the vast majority of people have frowned upon homosexual behavior throughout history), then the standard is relevant whether it is a faith-based standard or not. Even if we were skeptical toward a faith-based standard, we should expose the unfairness or invalidity of a standard, not automatically dismiss it because it happens to be faith-based or "self-created". But, in the case of homosexual behavior, since the anti-gay contingent holds the faith-based standards in such high regard, the pro-gay contingent would be better off dropping the “harmless” argument and coming up with an argument that addresses this “sacred ideal” concept…say, something along the lines of “the Bible actually supports homosexual behavior”, or “homosexual behavior can be just as strong an expression of God’s ideal as heterosexual behavior.”

3. Finally, I argued that the “harmless” argument ends up being TOO non-discriminating toward sexual behaviors. Many behaviors that even the pro-gay contingent tends to oppose can be justified using the “harmless” argument, so we are hard pressed to explain why the “harmless” argument is adequate to distinguish one sexual behavior from another. We either end up with “anything goes”…or we must come up with other reasons for justifying some behaviors over others. It is unlikely that most folks (let alone the anti-gay folks) are going to buy into “anything goes”…and, in fact, often the anti-gay contingent argues this very point: that if we justify homosexual behavior because it is “harmless”, then we might as well justify incest, bestiality, group sex, and a number of other sexual behaviors. The “harmless” argument simply doesn’t address WHY a sexual behavior is—or should be—justified or condemned in the first place.

My opponent mentioned "consent" as a metric for sexual morality. Consent is problematic. Are we to approve of every sexual behavior merely because the parties are consenting (group sex, incest, prostitution, etc.)? But, again, this construct doesn't address the "harmless" argument. My opponent also mentioned the harm that results when homosexuals are bullied. Surely we can agree that this is not a good thing, but the fact that homosexuals are bullied doesn't make homosexual behavior OK. But even if it did, this does not address our debate resolution.

Sexual morality is a complex subject. I believe we need more discussion which aims at the core of why people draw sexual lines where they do. And we need to subject our assumptions and arguments to tougher scrutiny. I hope, despite our apparent misunderstanding, this debate will shed some light on this topic. Many thanks to my opponent for tackling this very complex subject matter.

TUF

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for toughing out this lengthy debate with me!

To conclude this debate I will post an excerpt from a passage I wrote called Over Coming Ignorance.

Hey everyone, I"ve wanted to do this for a while, but I think it"s finally time. I want to talk you today about what I believe, is one of society"s biggest challenges: Overcoming Ignorance.

Let"s be honest though. Every single person is guilty of this at some point in their life. Some more than others, but everyone to some degree is a little ignorant in at least on area of their life. I know I am all the time.

I think our own ignorance sets up road blocks in your life; especially if you feel like what you do or say is wrong, but convince yourself that you "know" it isn"t. But do we really know, or do we just have a hard time facing the fact that we could have been wrong about something? Are you even willing to believe that there could be a different answer to a question that you were previously so convinced of the answer to?

I will admit, over the years, my own ignorance has been my greatest human flaw. There"s been many times that I have been so unwilling to budge on something despite even being presented with outstanding evidence, or great arguments to something that I didn"t originally agree with. The problem is that these only presented a challenge for me to find more arguments, or reasons to dis-agree. It gets to the point where if I defend something enough, I can get to the point of making an argument that I would have never thought of myself making when I originally made my point.

The extent that we go to in order to be "right" is pretty tremendous. When faced with a compelling objection to our beliefs, we will continue to make a goal of being right. But over the last few years, I have been looking at my own life, and have personally seen that doing this has gotten me absolutely no where. In fact, I feel like I have held myself back. So while my ignorant tendencies are still there, I have made it a goal to get over them. To consider the possibility of being wrong; to weigh and balance my opinions and ideas until I feel confident that what I am doing and saying is right.

A lot of what made me realize that I had this problem, was noticing it in others. How can I claim that someone else is ignorant if I don"t notice my own ignorant tendencies?

So with that I am going to switch this topic up a little bit, and point out something I think I tend to notice a little bit of ignorance in. I know this will raise some controversy, but I only ask that you hear me about before closing out this thread.

I want to talk about Gay Rights. This is an important topic right now to me because this is one place that I feel human ignorance takes a physical effect on others, and in some way this effect can be largely detrimental. Born and raised in a Christian family, with a very vocal and opinionated father, I spent about 5 years of my life adopting my beliefs from what he preached to me almost daily. Since becoming an adult, a lot of my beliefs have changed as I have been able to think independently.

But I always loved to argue when I was younger. When I found someone with an opposing belief to mine, I found it challenging and excited to try and "win" them in debate. Looking back, a lot of my arguments were poor and probably contradicted other values I claimed to stand by, but I refused to recognize this. I was so caught up in being right, that I promptly would choose to ignore the possibility that I could ever be wrong.

I was heavily against gay rights. I made arguments that were riddled with false premises, arguments that weren"t really even relevant, and arguments that outright were hypocritical. In doing so, though, I didn"t realize that what I was doing was wrong. I had discriminated an entire group of people because it suited me. This was the most selfish thing I have done. I chose to not support a right that belonged to every human being, because it was different than the normal.

Did I really believe that Gay"s didn"t deserve rights? Probably not. But I knew I had to convince myself that I did, or risk *gasp* being wrong about it.

So my request is that we allow ourselves to put ignorance aside for a moment and really consider something.

So let"s ask ourselves: Is there anything wrong with Gay Rights?

There are plenty of reasons that people discriminate the marriage of gays, however this issue is a lot more serious than some people seem to think.

The point is we have seen this over and over again throughout history. You can say that there is a difference between race, gender, and orientation, but the arguments in which you see all three categories discriminated against are identical. You see Neo-Nazi"s make stereotypical arguments against other races that almost exactly resemble the arguments made against gays. So how can you support one, without supporting the other? This is evidence of the ignorance that some of us have. But society changes and becomes open to new concepts all the time. Just as with any other case in history, society will have to legally accept gays. Soon discrimination will die down. It will always exist, though people in general will have to acknowledge gays as equal, just as they did with racism, and sexism.

The ultimate point of all this; Don"t let yourself do things that may harm your integrity or moral standards based on ignorance. I did it for years; I never realized the harm I have done by little comments.

The resolution in this debate specificying homosexuals, yet dealing with philosophy on a whole, is evidence to my initial point in this case.


The harm to others argument in prinicipal is effective in establishing acceptability of homosexuality. The resolution means that in order for acceptability to be established, that the standards of "No harm" needs to be established on both sides. I think that the UV is very important to look to, because it means that in almost any situation; we have to look at the harm all angles use, other wise not consider them harms periods. So even if my opponent is right that fundamentally, the argument from harms can't exist or be proved, than we still can't say that the no harm to others argument is falsified. How can we know if we can't prove, or dis-prove it's existence? Thus to single out homosexuality, shows a natural bias, or a harm itself.

This is issue is a lot more serious than most people seem to think it is. This isn"t just an argument against gays anymore. They are being used as an excuse to augment hate and discrimination; This is not okay. So if you read the whole debate all the way through, than I would like to invite you to over come ignorance. If you feel at all that what you are doing and saying might be wrong than don"t stop the feeling because you want to be "right". Let Ignorance die. Take a stand with me. Thankyou.
Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by neurotic1 3 years ago
neurotic1
would you guys let me get away with witchcraft? c'mon just once.
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
Thanks to everyone that has voted.
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
Thanks to everyone that has voted.
Posted by thg 3 years ago
thg
Thx to Mikal, snamor, leonardlewis4 for voting on this debate. Apparently, mikal backs my opponent's notion that I somehow changed the direction of this debate mid-stream, so TUF isn't the only one that thinks this way. I've tried and tried, but just can't figure this one out at all. Snamor appears to really get this scenario. Oh well, such are the vagaries of DDO. Ultimately, I really don't care about points (really!)...but I do care about the topic...which I'm discussing in another thread...and hope you all (or anyone else) can join us there:

http://www.debate.org...
Posted by thg 3 years ago
thg
@TUF: I thought I had made the resolution pretty clear, but maybe there might be a better way to word it (I can always improve my wording).

You also accused me of presenting arguments that were non-debatable. I really don't get that at all. What it sounds like is that you agreed with me about the ambiguity of studies that try to prove harm or harmlessness. That doesn't mean my contention is non-debatable...it just means you agree with me. We then would just proceed to a part of the debate where we disagree.

And just where did I leave the impression that I thought DDO minds aren't "rich" enough for me? Geez, TUF, that is a pretty unfair accusation, don't you think? I don't recall expressing that kind of sentiment explicitly or implicitly anywhere I've been on DDO.

And your "assessment" of philosophy? Wow...I really am disappointed that you feel that way. Sound logic is a major part of sound debating. So I really don't get your sentiment there.

You keep insisting that I should not have included the term "homosexuality" in the resolution...as if it was unnecessary and misleading. I just don't get this at all. I wish you would explain this more. I'm pretty intelligent (sometimes!)...but this one just baffles me. I suppose there are 1000s of debates that don't "need" that term in the resolution, and maybe ours didn't either, but I was wanting to expose an argument that is commonly used in the larger homosexuality debate. I'm sure a similar debate could happen focusing on other moral themes, but I maintain my resolution was relevant and timely. We could have exposed the weakness in this argument as it might be used by those wishing to justify group sex...but that is not quite as hot an issue.

Anyway, I enjoyed the debate, pitfalls and all, and I have no desire to have the last word or cut off our exchanges (because they are annoying or repetitive or whatever)...but I really think your analysis was unfair, and would look forward to further clarification
Posted by thg 3 years ago
thg
@TUF: It's curious to me that you seem to be so annoyed with our prior exchanges and this debate and these follow-up comments...and that, while you allow that maybe you might have misunderstood something, you really end up blaming me for being needlessly repetitive (both in our debate and other exchanges)...and that you are so annoyed by my apparent persistence that you want to call a halt and make your "final" statement.

Geez, TUF. I take you for an intelligent dude, not an immature, impatient dud. I am frustrated not by our debate so much as by your insistence that I missed the point of my own resolution. I STILL don't get, after you last posts, where I went wrong. When you begin to explain it to me, all I see are points that actually support my resolution. You appear to agree with me that the argument from "harmlessness" is not all that persuasive.

Whenever a conversation seems to be "going nowhere", the fault could be all mine. It is more likely, however, that all participants are to blame. But I'm not even interested in blaming you. I just don't want to be blamed for derailing our debate. If I truly did, I want to know where I erred, because I don't want to do that sort of thing again.

Perhaps it would have helped if I had made the following clarification: We all are aware that a large, ongoing debate has raged now for decades on the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior. I am concerned that many arguments being used in that larger debate are weak. I believe this is true for both sides. I'd like to expose just ONE of those arguments in this DDO debate with TUF, the one from "harmlessness" often used by the pro-gay side. I DON'T want to debate the larger issue. I just want to focus on this particular argument. I figure if we can expose the weakness of this argument, the larger debate will be better served.

Would this have helped?
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
it"s very likely many will not understand your exact positions on a lot of things, as such is commonly the case with great philosophical minds. But while philosophy is fun, there is no reason to get to bet up about a philosophical position, because philosophy in it"s nature, are arguments that can only be guessed at and never really known.

Good luck in future endeavors, and my apologies for the dis-pleasure you took within our debate. I hope we have both learned somewhat of a lesson here, and are ready to make better decisions in the future.
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
stance that opposed by beliefs, and here some great arguments that may help me understand the contradicting point of view a little better. But I even tried to take the debate into your ball park, somewhat, and argued slightly more specific to your arguments. You still continued to say that I mis-understood. This was so annoying, because it felt like you were forcing me to give up the debate to something I actually didn"t dis-agree with. This debate had already failed after the second round, when you basically told me my entire case was inaccurate. I wasn"t going to give in and just debate something that contradicted the resolution, out of manipulation, so I continued to largely argue for what I argued. And even still, the arguments are still applicable. The word homosexuality need not be in the resolution, and because it was, my arguments fell in line with the true meaning of the "no harm to others" arguments.

So in the end this debate was just a pissing contest about where we should take the debate. You weren"t going to cave to me, and I wasn"t going to cave to you.

Lesson learned? Better communication prior to the start of the debate. On my end, I definitely should have made sure that you were supporting the stance I thought you were going to, or should have asked you in the comments; Though to be honest I never would have expected you to have gone where you did in this, or anyone else for that matter.

So I am sorry if you feel the minds on DDO aren"t rich enough for you. I tend to find that when I am not on the same page as everyone else, that there may be a flaw on my end of thinking, in which case, I will consider different options. As such, I have been open minded and changed my beliefs on many things through the course of my time here. From starting out as an objectivist, to now a subjectivist, who is considering nihilism, and has completely dropped religion all together. You make of logic as you will. But as you are a philosopher at heart it seems,
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
your position legit from a semantics POV.

Let"s look at the resolution specifying homosexuality. Your response is that you are only using this as an example because it is a hot issue. Why would you need to use it at all as an example rather than just the argument itself? Because you specifically used the word homosexuality and it wasn"t clarified in the opening round that this wasn"t actually about homosexuality, the entire debate was mis-leading. By specifically choosing the word homosexuality, you are specifically saying that the argument is wrong from their point of view. If that was the case, my whole argument only needed to rest on heterosexuality being equivalent or worse with harms, otherwise there is absolutely no burden. And you still could have argued from that perspective too, as I assumed you would. But let"s look at the position you took.

You were basically saying it"s impossible to know whether anything could be tested as harms. This is a stanceless position that strays from the topic, because you are claiming an objective fact cannot be disputed, and using it as the crux of your argument. Harm is completely subjective, why would I try to argue that harms vary between individuals? That"s why anyone is in an anti-gay position in the first place, because they feel they are being harmed. So I was focusing on what I thought obviously was the burden of the debate, the actual argument in question.

"The no harm to others" argument isn"t strictly about the concept of harm itself, as you wrongly interpreted, it is about 100% about harm a made up harm that gays somehow bring that heterosexuality doesn"t. You interpreted this argument to literally, so literally in fact that it is impossible to debate, because you are focusing on something that ONLY supports your side. So upon having you comment to every one of my arguments that my point wasn"t topical, naturally I became a little un-interested in the debate. I was wanting to debate someone who took a sta
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
Alright THG, this will be my last comment on the issue.

Again, I apologize for the mis-understanding between the two of us, and thankyou for being polite. Since you asked, I will explain why in a little bit more detail this was just as annoying from my perspective, please don"t take offense.

After I found our conversation repetitive and going nowhere in the forums, I was more interested in knowing what your actual stances on gay rights were. You had been up until that point been making arguments that seemed to suggest that if I didn"t believe in other things that weren"t like gay rights, than I should question my beliefs on gays as well. After explaining multiple times that there is a matter of difference between the issues, but ultimately, some fit more with the societal moral code that individuals follow, you continued to pursue the same questions, even though I had already answered them for you. I was still interested in knowing what your actual stance was on the issue, though because I remember that you said your morals were faith based as well. I naturally assumed that meant that you negated gay rights. I am pretty open to different opinions, and so far on DDO, I haven"t seen any real arguments that don"t sound contrived or contradicting to another belief someone had. From talking to you, you seemed to be pretty intelligent, so I was very interested in hearing your take on the argument. I scanned your profile and saw the debate in question. I read the resolution only, not any of your arguments, and was interested because I took the topic for what it was. So I guess it"s my fault that I didn"t read your arguments, or didn"t communicate with you better from the start of the debate. However, I think you have to admit that the resolution was COMPLETELY irrelevant in accordance to what you actually wanted to debate. Also the position you were arguing also seemed a little unfair from my position. You weren"t actually taking a stand, and your arguments would mak
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
thgTUFTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Both sides were quite thorough in this debate. I believe the main downfall for con was the actual topic they were discussing. The topic clearly states this is relevant to homosexuality. Con tries to drop the homosexual part off and argue this from a philosophical perspective of what harm entails. I also love how Pro chose to gauge harm from a moral perspective. Using a comparison to hetero sexual couples and drawing the line at if homosexuals couples could cause a greater harm was a perfect way to gauge the word harm in this type of discussion. Since morality in itself can be very subjective, and as Pro notes can be influenced by religion. Using this as a way to gauge the measure of harm and overcoming the subjectivity of morality, won him the arguments vote. Maybe it was confusion as to what you two were actually debating, but Pro stayed to the title quite well. Also after reading this over again, sources to pro as well because he actually offered some to support his argument.
Vote Placed by snamor 3 years ago
snamor
thgTUFTied
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Total points awarded:52 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Con was pretty clear from the beginning and throughout as to the subject of the debate. Pro errored by accusing Con of switching mid stream. Pro's lack of arguments for basically the second half of the debate and R5 almost totally ignoring the topic. Arguments - Pro never really touched the main argument. Honestly I'm not sure what an effective approach could be but again Con was clear up front as to the topic. Reliable sources - On the one hand, Pro's sources weren't exactly on topic, on the other hand they were reliable and did support Pro's argument. S&G - I don't look hard but keep track of any errors I notice while reading. My score 3 for Con and 20 for Pro. If I don't count the " in place of the ', it was approx. 3-10. Thanks.
Vote Placed by leonardlewis4 3 years ago
leonardlewis4
thgTUFTied
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Total points awarded:42 
Reasons for voting decision: - Conduct to Con for consistently trying to get the debate back on track... Pro seemed to be arguing against an unintentional straw man the whole time. Not that he consciously constructed the straw man, but he was not rebutting Con's position. - Con's position all along was that the "no harm" position was not effective--not that he was arguing homosexuality was harmful, or immoral, or anything else necessarily against homosexuality. Con established his case and consistently reinforced it. Pro did not effectively rebut Con's position, nor did he present his position with sufficient warrant. - Pro provided sources (though not necessarily to the point)... Con never really provided sources.