The Instigator
Tim_Spin
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
Contradiction
Pro (for)
Winning
67 Points

Resolved: That homosexual acts are immoral

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/1/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,363 times Debate No: 17356
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (97)
Votes (12)

 

Tim_Spin

Con

Rules/ Clarifications

1. Drops will count as concessions.

2. Semantic or abusive arguments will not be counted.

3. Burden of proof will be shared.

4. New arguments brought in the last round will not be counted.

5. R1 is for acceptance and clarifications. Argumentation begins in R2.

6. Moral realism will be assumed. What specific nornmative theory is correct will be up to debate.

Definitions

Homosexual acts: Any consensual, sexual act performed by two or more members of the same sex. I add consensual because I have no intention of defending non-consensual sexual acts whether they are heterosexual or homosexual.

Immoral: Unethical, not in accordance with the right code of conduct. What specific code of conduct is correct will be a point of contention between my opponent and I.

I look forward to an interesting debate with my opponent and wish him the best of luck.

Contradiction

Pro

I accept. Let me further clarify that this debate is not over whether a homosexual orientation is immoral, but whether or not homosexual ACTS are immoral.
Debate Round No. 1
Tim_Spin

Con

Tim_Spin forfeited this round.
Contradiction

Pro

In this debate, I will be arguing for the proposition that homosexual acts are immoral by appealing to classical natural law ethics. In doing so, I will defend my arguments against objections, including the infamous is-ought "problem" of David Hume and the naturalistic fallacy of G. E. Moore. My argument, if sound, will also constitute an argument against oral sex, anal sex, contraception, masturbation, and pretty much everything else contained in a liberal sexual morality.


The Argument

The argument I will defend is relatively simple, and consists of three premises:

1. If we act, we ought to act in accordance with our nature.
2. Homosexual acts are contrary to our nature.
3. Therefore, homosexual acts are immoral.

This is a logically valid argument. If the premises are true, then the conclusion necessarily follows.

Premise 1

Special attention must be paid to the meaning of "nature" in the first premise. By nature, I do not refer merely to phenomena which occur in the physical world. Rather, I refer to notions of proper function or teleology. For example, we call a heart "good" if it is functioning properly, whereas we call it "bad" if it is not functioning properly. Similarly, a good car is one that fulfills its purpose properly, whereas a bad car is one that does not fulfill its purpose properly. Our proper function is therefore what determines our good. This becomes moral goodness insofar as it is applied to rational moral agents capable of moral deliberation. It is therefore a red herring to appeal to the fact that homosexuality is, say, practiced in the animal world.

This does not, mind you, fall victim to either the is-ought problem or naturalistic fallacy. Both Hume and Moore simply begged the question by assuming a mechanistic conception of nature that is devoid of any teleology. They assumed ethical naturalism to be false. Edward Feser writes:

One example of such confusion is the assumption that any natural law theory must commit the “naturalistic fallacy” by failing to take note of the "fact/value distinction.” For there can only be a “fact/value distinction,” and thus a “fallacy” in deriving normative conclusions from factual premises, given something like a modern mechanistic-cum-nominalistic conception of nature. No such distinction, and thus no such fallacy, exists given a classical essentialist and teleological conception of the world.
[1]


If one really can't derive an "ought" from an "is," then the entire discipline of medicine falls apart. Medicine is inherently normative and is concerned with restoring the proper function of our organs. Granted, the "ought" in this situation is non-moral, but this is sufficient to demonstrate that normative premises (be them functional or moral) can be derived from descriptive facts. [2]

Moreover, to deny that we can infer normative premises from descriptive premises is ultimately self-defeating. Consider the mind, which has the proper function (ie: purpose) of producing true beliefs. Even though our cognitive processes might sometimes lead us into error, it is oriented toward the production of true belief. Now if the Humean is true and teleology as such does not exist, then the mind does not have the purpose of producing true belief. This, however undercuts the epistemic warrant for the Humean claim itself! Thus, teleology is an irreducible fact of this world and cannot be denied without self-refutation.

Any such fact-value problem therefore collapses. As David Oderberg aptly puts it, "it is value 'all the way down'." [3]

Premise 2

Thus when we engage in sexual acts, we must act in accordance with the proper function of our sexual organs. The purpose of our sexual organs, upon reflection, is procreation. This is an inference from the way our sexual organs are structured. Just as it is the proper function of the eyes to see or the heart to pump blood, the proper function of our sexual organs is to procreate. Homosexual acts are intrinsically non-procreative in type and are therefore contrary to the natural end of our sexual organs.

It might be objected that pleasure, and not procreation, is the function of our sexual organs. This is untrue. As Feser points out: "[G]iving pleasure is not the final cause or natural end of sex; rather, sexual pleasure has as its own final cause the getting of people to engage in sexual relations, so that they will procreate." [2] Indeed, he draws a parallel with eating: "Even though eating is pleasurable, the biological point of eating is not to give pleasure, but rather to provide an organism with the nutrients it needs to survive... to emphasize pleasure is to put the cart before the horse." [3]

Pleasure, moreover, must always be practiced in accordance with something's proper function. While it might be pleasurable to eat junk food, it is certainly not good in that it frustrates the purpose of nutrition. Pleasure is thus subordinate to the proper function of sex.

Special attention must also be drawn to the meaning of "contrary," for sometimes it is objected that given natural law theory, it would be immoral to wear glasses, walk on your hands, etc... These are not immoral, for they are not contrary to any natural function, but simply the use of something other than its function. "Contrary to" is not logically equivalent to "other than." Wearing glasses, moreover, actually aids in fulfilling the proper function of our eyes. This objection therefore fails.

From this, premise three follows logically. Homosexual acts are therefore immoral.
_______

Sources

1. Edward Feser, "Classical Natural Law, Property Rights, and Taxation" Social Philosophy and Policy, vol. 27, no. 1 (2010)
2. J. Budziszewski, The Line Through the Heart: Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction (ISI: 2009) 13
3. David S. Oderberg, Moral Theory: A Non-Consequentialist Approach (Blackwell: 2000) 15.
4. Edward Feser, The Last Superstition (St. Augustine's Press: 2008) 142
5. Ibid .

Debate Round No. 2
Tim_Spin

Con

Tim_Spin forfeited this round.
Contradiction

Pro

Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
Tim_Spin

Con

Tim_Spin forfeited this round.
Contradiction

Pro

Arguments extended. Vote Pro.

Also, here's a song:
Debate Round No. 4
97 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Danielle 5 years ago
Danielle
I haven't debated in a very long time, and the ethics of homosexuality is not usually discussed (it seems people only care to debate the merits of gay marriage). I'd love the opportunity to debate Contradiction on this. He should challenge me asap :)
Posted by Tim_Spin 5 years ago
Tim_Spin
I'd like to see Contradiction vs. Danielle on an a debate regarding the ethics of homosexuality. Someone will emerge victorious but as we all know there can be only one so...
Posted by Danielle 5 years ago
Danielle
I'm curious to see what Con's argument would have been.

Contradiction, you should challenge me to this debate. I say you challenge me instead of vice versa, since your case is already written out.
Posted by Tim_Spin 5 years ago
Tim_Spin
I'd like to do the debate again some other time but ATM I'm engaged in a debate on Hoppean argumentation ethics that is taking up some time.
Posted by Contradiction 5 years ago
Contradiction
Read the debate.
Posted by kohai 5 years ago
kohai
Who says unnatural things are immoral? We see other animals that have gay tendencies. Homosexuality is very natural.
Posted by Contradiction 5 years ago
Contradiction
Basically.
Posted by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
Sex organs are made for hetero sex, thus gay sex is wrong. Correct?
Posted by Contradiction 5 years ago
Contradiction
"One sided and improperly structured." -- Well maybe if my opponent bothered to respond.....
Posted by 000ike 5 years ago
000ike
Mr. Contradiction did not even define what "immoral" is. This argument was one sided and improperly structured. I will not vote on it.
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
Tim_SpinContradictionTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by jewgirl 5 years ago
jewgirl
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Reasons for voting decision: f
Vote Placed by randolph7 5 years ago
randolph7
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Reasons for voting decision: forfeit
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
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Reasons for voting decision: Tim's forfeit does leave Contradiction's argument unanswered, thereby losing him points for conduct, argumentation, and sources (Pro also had a list of sources)...
Vote Placed by Danielle 5 years ago
Danielle
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Reasons for voting decision: It's pretty self-explanatory.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
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Reasons for voting decision: Multiple forfeits by Con force a Pro vote.
Vote Placed by Dimmitri.C 5 years ago
Dimmitri.C
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfiet.
Vote Placed by Meatros 5 years ago
Meatros
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Reasons for voting decision: This would have been a good debate to read, but Con FF. Conduct/arguments to Pro, who presented a compelling (unfortunately uncontested) case.
Vote Placed by GMDebater 5 years ago
GMDebater
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Reasons for voting decision: ff. So sad, I was anticipating a good debate