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Don’t Mess with Mother Nature: On Marriage and Driving Licenses. - Comments

skiles1's Avatar Comment 1 by skiles1

Legislation creating artificial biological discriminants, where none actually exist in nature, cannot survive the march of time, or the continued onslaught of reality.

That's a beautiful way of putting it, "the continued onslaught of reality". I like that.

An act that you do with somebody instead of something underhanded you do against somebody, cannot be a sin, as there is no victim. Even if we were the only species with such a behavior, the same would hold true.

It seems to me that what is happening, is that morality has advanced so far beyond the popular version of Christian morals, that to the casual observer, Christianity is now essentially a hate group. Christians may talk about love, but such talk is empty, no more than a disguise. Any group can talk about love all they want, but as we read the news and nonetheless perpetually find one group to be the most vocal, most militant opponent of equality, protesting a minority's equal treatment where marriage rights are concerned for example, then the "cash value" of that is that we're witnessing a hate group. Some members of such a hate group might even be fooled by its disguise, but the result of such senseless bigotry is unchanged. Christian groups are the leading lobbying groups for unequal treatment of homosexuals; on that issue, Christians are more militant than the Klan and the neo-Nazis put together. I feel like I'm playing a scratched record, but simply put, there is no role more representative of hate than that of the lobbyist for inequality.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 05:53:44 UTC | #854093

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 2 by All About Meme

Well spaketh, Lawrence. A clarion call for science and rationality.

as my friend Steven Pinker has argued in a massive treatise soon to be released...

Yes, YES... ? Do tell. I'll be watching for it.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 06:05:51 UTC | #854095

Noble Savage's Avatar Comment 3 by Noble Savage

Comment 2 by All About Meme :

Well spaketh, Lawrence. A clarion call for science and rationality.

as my friend Steven Pinker has argued in a massive treatise soon to be released...

Yes, YES... ? Do tell. I'll be watching for it.

Look no further:

http://www.amazon.com/Better-Angels-Our-Nature-Violence/dp/0670022950/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311670578&sr=8-1

Holy hell! 832 pages. Well, Pinker has been called the only living linguist capable of constructing readable prose, so I'll battle through it. The Blank Slate was fantastic!

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 08:56:49 UTC | #854149

Saganic Rites's Avatar Comment 4 by Saganic Rites

From the OP;

...And no matter what religious fundamentalists may feel about scriptural dogma condemning homosexuality,...

I think that 'A man who lays with another man shall be stoned' is possibly the most misunderstood part of scripture. It had nothing to do with a homophobic god; he was simpy ofering advice on heightening sensation as poppers weren't available but the good weed grew freely. Brings a new meaning to the 'burning bush' gag too.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 09:23:58 UTC | #854158

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 5 by AtheistEgbert

Why we may bemoan the current sorry state of the world, with terrorism, religious rivalry, sexual trafficking and the like still rampant, we have to realize, as my friend Steven Pinker has argued in a massive treatise soon to be released, that progress toward a more rational world is actually occurring at some basic level.

To be honest, this seems to me to be an overly optimistic view of history. Did we ignore two world wars and the forced death of millions of people in the twentieth century?

Actually no, I don't think we are progressing as a society. Yes, there is progress in terms of science and technology, but not always for the better (the atomic bomb as one example). Not everyone is lucky enough to enjoy living in a modern democratic pseudo-liberal society either. And where the hell are such societies heading? When they're unsustainable and growing increasingly in debt.

If we are to face reality, then let's face reality--humans simply don't care enough about themselves, their environment and their long term survival.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 10:48:48 UTC | #854190

CarolineMary's Avatar Comment 6 by CarolineMary

Have you ever had one of those discussion/school exercises where you decide what period of history you'd like to have lived in?

As a woman - I'm happy in the here and now, thank you.

I can vote. I can drive. I was the recipient of a good education, including University. I'm well paid, working in a job that would have been male-only before the middle of last century. I pay my own taxes. I was not shut up in an institution when I became a single parent, nor was I forced to become the domestic slave of the father, nor was my child taken from me. I chose to marry when I met a decent man that I want to spend the rest of my life with.

Some of the above options have only become available to women in the last 50 years, even in the western world. Even when I started work, in the 1980s a wife's income/taxes were automatically her husband's business, he had to know her salary, but she had no right to know his.

I am profoundly grateful to the generations of women and men who have fought for these rights. I see the same-sex marriage as part of the same process. We're not quite there yet in the UK, but I would bet that 'civil partnerships' will become actual marriages within my lifetime.

Some things do take time to become acceptable, but changes in the right direction, anywhere, should be nurtured and encouraged.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 11:11:53 UTC | #854191

Noble Savage's Avatar Comment 7 by Noble Savage

Comment 5 by AtheistEgbert :

Why we may bemoan the current sorry state of the world, with terrorism, religious rivalry, sexual trafficking and the like still rampant, we have to realize, as my friend Steven Pinker has argued in a massive treatise soon to be released, that progress toward a more rational world is actually occurring at some basic level.

To be honest, this seems to me to be an overly optimistic view of history. Did we ignore two world wars and the forced death of millions of people in the twentieth century? Actually no, I don't think we are progressing as a society. Yes, there is progress in terms of science and technology, but not always for the better (the atomic bomb as one example). Not everyone is lucky enough to enjoy living in a modern democratic pseudo-liberal society either. And where the hell are such societies heading? When they're unsustainable and growing increasingly in debt.

If we are to face reality, then let's face reality--humans simply don't care enough about themselves, their environment and their long term survival.

You need to do some research. Do you really think Pinker "forgot about the two world wars and the forced death of million?" I know for a fact he didn't and I don't see any reason to suspect he would. We can kill people more effectively now in larger numbers because we have technology. Do you think technology has been a detriment to societal health? I didn't think so.

Pinker has some talks on Youtube about this.

More people today than in previous centuries, believe human beings deserve equal rights, no matter what sex they are or what color their skin might be. That's progress right there.

We've pretty much eradicated torture as it was practiced some time back, and animals actually have rights now.

I live in Norway and this friday some guy shot and killed a lot of people over here. What do you suppose the vikings would have done to this guy? I don't think he would have got a fair trial, and I don't think there would be an avalanche of Norwegians screaming for more democracy and love directed toward the victims, their families and each other, instead of hate directed toward the killer. I could be wrong about this, of course.

We're still pretty bad, but we're better than we were.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 12:55:13 UTC | #854222

wisnoskij's Avatar Comment 8 by wisnoskij

The animal reason why homosexuality is natural and right is ridiculous, animals do a lot more regularly stuff that no human on earth (except some mentally deranged people possible) would ever condone. As well as them and us sharing a lot of diseases and disabilities. Not that I am against HS marriage, why not, HSs are people to, obviously and it hurts no one else to allow it.

But back on topic, it is ridiculous how much of a liberal bent "science" can have on some topics, which is sad because it makes the entire establishment less respectable and trustworthy in my opinion.

And in a purely scientific way unless you can give a reason why Homosexuality helps the community or the individual and how it does not harm both (the inability to reproduce with mate) then how can it not be classified as a disability?

Being disabled should not be considered a insult, obviously in this case and in many others it is only very slight and in today's society there are many ways to work around disabilities to still have a full, happy, and productive live (in this case it is adoption, which in this day and age is actually better for the society then giving birth).

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 13:30:24 UTC | #854236

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 9 by aquilacane

The only reason I don't think government should recognize gay marriage is due to my opinion that government shouldn't recognize any marriage. A contract of shared assets, I get. A certificate of guardianship over a child that bears two peoples names as guardians, I get. A union between two people (some say three), not possible.

You want to form a union with another person, have a child. A child is an actual union of two people. Want to have a union with your gay partner, not currently possible, although science may change that. Want to appear on the same piece of paper. Adopt (buy) a child and be a registered guardian. Not kid to look after, no care if you are together.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 14:01:23 UTC | #854246

dandelion fluff's Avatar Comment 10 by dandelion fluff

Comment 9 by aquilacane

The only reason I don't think government should recognize gay marriage is due to my opinion that government shouldn't recognize any marriage. A contract of shared assets, I get. A certificate of guardianship over a child that bears two peoples names as guardians, I get. A union between two people (some say three), not possible.

You want to form a union with another person, have a child. A child is an actual union of two people. Want to have a union with your gay partner, not currently possible, although science may change that. Want to appear on the same piece of paper. Adopt (buy) a child and be a registered guardian. Not kid to look after, no care if you are together.

I completely disagree. The thing marriage does for a couple is to make them next of kin, whether they have a child or not. It is built into our nature to couple, and to make that irrelevant, you would have to remake society (and our DNA as well) from the ground up.

Marriage is merely a recognition of our biological urge to couple. The practical upshot of it is that marriage lets you choose your next of kin if you so desire, and that relationship is recognized everywhere from the emergency room to the insurance company to inheritance laws.

I am not at all sure I would like your rebuilt version of society, but in the here and now it's beside the point. Right now, we need to give everyone the equal ability to make their life partner their next of kin. Then if we want to discuss other ways to improve society, for everyone, we can move on to that.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 14:30:16 UTC | #854256

wisnoskij's Avatar Comment 11 by wisnoskij

@aquilacane and dandelion fluff I could not have said it better then dandelion fluff, I completely agree with him on all points.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 14:40:24 UTC | #854259

Sara12's Avatar Comment 12 by Sara12

Comment 11 by wisnoskij :

@aquilacane and dandelion fluff I could not have said it better then dandelion fluff, I completely agree with him on all points.

I think the point being made is that "marriage" as we currently use the term, is basically a piece of paper from the government that allows for certain financial and legal benefits and responsibilities, and that includes child care. But that piece of paper does nothing to govern the emotional aspect of the relationship (including child care). If two people are interested purely in the emotional aspects of the relationship and for whatever reason have no interest in the financial and legal benefits, why precisely does the relationship need a permission slip from the government? That being said, most people do want those benefits and there is no reason whatsoever for those benefits to be denied as long as all other legal requirements, the same ones that heterosexuals are subject to, are met. Good on New York.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 15:35:30 UTC | #854282

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 13 by Stafford Gordon

This sounds terribly smug, but I think what he says is blindingly obvious. So much so that even I was able to work it out years ago; nay decades.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 16:59:22 UTC | #854324

wisnoskij's Avatar Comment 14 by wisnoskij

"If two people are interested purely in the emotional aspects of the relationship and for whatever reason have no interest in the financial and legal benefits, why precisely does the relationship need a permission slip from the government?"

Because it is not just benefits it is basic rights. No matter how much you love your partner he or she is not part of your family unless you are married so will miss out on a lot of things and decisions if you are too hurt or dead to force people to allow a unrelated person to be part of your life.

And no one is suggesting you force Homosexuals to marries just give them the ability to so tehy do not miss out on being legally considered a part of your family.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 17:35:45 UTC | #854339

Sara12's Avatar Comment 15 by Sara12

Because it is not just benefits it is basic rights. No matter how much you love your partner he or she is not part of your family unless you are married so will miss out on a lot of things and decisions if you are too hurt or dead to force people to allow a unrelated person to be part of your life.

All of those "things and decisions" are legalistic conventions. Hospital visiting rights, or health care decisions, for example. It's legalistic convention that is granted to family members in a specific order, spouses, if any, coming first. All I am saying is that if a couple is willing to forego those kinds of legal convention benefits, then a government permission slip to have an emotional relationship is superfluous. Most people don't want to forego those benefits because they are actually important. And because they are important, homosexuals shouldn't be denied the legal mechanisms to get them just because of some stupid religious reasons. And I never said anything about "forcing." Don't know where you got that from...

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 18:19:11 UTC | #854359

TerryL's Avatar Comment 16 by TerryL

I don't know about this analogy, at least, (I hope,) we don't have moral police (with police powers,) as Saudi Arabia does, and beat women and men who choose to marry each other.

I agree though, that this is much ado about nothing, since no harm can come from men marrying men, and women marrying women.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 19:27:02 UTC | #854382

LP22's Avatar Comment 17 by LP22

There you go, Dr. Krauss, making sense again. How do you expect to be taken seriously? ;)

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 03:00:01 UTC | #854516

moddem38's Avatar Comment 18 by moddem38

His reasoning on homosexuality is fallacious: "The biological fact is that homosexuality is completely natural in many species, occurring with frequencies that are largely biologically and culturally independent."

I'll assume that's true--that doesn't address its morality. Rape also occurs in numerous species. Natural does not mean right.

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 06:12:41 UTC | #854537

dandelion fluff's Avatar Comment 19 by dandelion fluff

Comment 18 by moddem38

His reasoning on homosexuality is fallacious: "The biological fact is that homosexuality is completely natural in many species, occurring with frequencies that are largely biologically and culturally independent."

I'll assume that's true--that doesn't address its morality. Rape also occurs in numerous species. Natural does not mean right.

"Homosexuality is natural in many species" is not a fallacious argument that homosexuality is moral; it's an answer to all the people who keep claiming that homosexuality is unnatural. Which they have done, over and over again.

There really aren't any arguments that homosexuality is wrong; that's why the only attempts at opposition you see amount to "it's unnatural," "God/the bible said so," and the catch-all meaningless "it's disordered."

Anne

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 11:17:53 UTC | #854601

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 20 by aquilacane

If you can adopt a kid and make them a legal member of the family you can "adopt" a spouse for legal benefits. The act of marriage is a ritualistic irrelevancy the contract of marriage is all that matters. The contract requires a pen at most but filling out a field on a webpage is no different.

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 13:15:22 UTC | #854652

PERSON's Avatar Comment 21 by PERSON

aquilacane, arguably there are benefits to subsidising childless couples in stable, settled relationships that extend beyond those to the couple themselves. Assistance to others with childcare and greater productivity (less time spent chasing new partners), for instance.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 00:49:41 UTC | #854881

GeeBee's Avatar Comment 22 by GeeBee

The act of marriage is a ritualistic irrelevancy the contract of marriage is all that matters.

Yes. I live in a country where I enjoy the same rights in a (hetero) de facto relationship as I would in a marriage. So I don't see the reason to get married, unless I was travelling or moving somewhere where my de facto status meant I wouldn't be able to access the same rights as that of marrieds, to whatever extent. As I have no spiritual reason to marry or sentimental reason (never had an attachment to the idea of a wedding), that's that then. Marriage has its advantages depending on where you are, and everyone should be able to access it if that's what they want. I'm lucky enough to be in a position where it really doesn't mean anything if I'm married or not, but for others, it can make all the difference. To deny them this choice is to be a supporter of inequality.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 10:30:57 UTC | #855054

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 23 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator - off topic

Fri, 12 Aug 2011 16:23:09 UTC | #860470

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Fri, 12 Aug 2011 17:43:39 UTC | #860488

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Sun, 14 Aug 2011 16:15:32 UTC | #860995

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 26 by Zeuglodon

This strikes me as being too rosy an account of progress. It's true that any claim that goes against reality is at risk of being proven wrong sooner or later; that was the basis of Feynman's claim that public relations should come after reality, since reality can't be fooled. Nevertheless, erroneous claims can evade scrutiny, can exploit human psychology, and can still do a lot of damage before they are exposed and their power diminished.

It is also true that many countries (like New Zealand, Canada, the USA, France, Denmark, Norway, and Germany) have high literacy rates, more accessible education systems, and greater emancipation of women, but there are still far more countries where all these measures of 'progress' are still notably low, such as among subpopulations in African and Asian countries. That's a lot of the global population of people still not enjoying the benefits.

And no, this isn't a pro-Western advocacy. Emancipating women is anybody's idea if they want to claim it and incorporate it into their culture. This Guilt by Association ("we can't advocate equal treatment of women and men to non-Westerns because the Western civilisation does so and has X, Y and Z problems") is simply a dismal failure of logic. It doesn't matter who advocates the idea - the idea must stand by its own merits.

Personally, I would be skeptical of the extent to which we can claim moral progress, and I would say that, at present, it is too limited. If the abolition of slavery, reduction of economic social inequality, lack of exploitation of underpaid workers, freedom of speech, and acceptance of sexual diversity all become more common globally and become characteristic of the vast majority of world countries (say, 85% or 90% of all countries known), I think then we'll have more cause to cheer. Until then, we've got work to do yet and can't be complacent or self-congratulatory.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 17:15:58 UTC | #861000

simonheffer's Avatar Comment 27 by simonheffer

Why we may bemoan

I think this should be 'While' or 'Whilst'. Is there a name for this type of typo?

Mon, 15 Aug 2011 09:50:08 UTC | #861220

BigNoboDaddy's Avatar Comment 28 by BigNoboDaddy

Modern ethics requires that we do not put the possibility of future generation in peril - for instance combating global warming. Every individual has a responsibility to ensure the future existence of the species. Homo-sexual relationships without medical intervention cannot produce offspring and it therefore jeopardising the future existence of the species. While we might excuse this on a small scale it is nevertheless unnatural but in a world with a burgeoning population this is excusable and we have scientists claiming that it is natural because other species exhibit this unproductive behaviour. But what if most of humans were homo-sexual and threatened the future existence of humanity? Would we still justify this unproductive behaviour that contributed to a shrinking human gene pool and with that human extinction?

Thu, 18 Aug 2011 21:20:41 UTC | #862329

BigNoboDaddy's Avatar Comment 29 by BigNoboDaddy

Homosexuality can be innate or nurture. I accept that humans, especially males, can be born with male genitalia yet through inadequate testosterone levels during development results in failed sexual dimorphism of the human brain leaving a male child with the default female brain. In this case homosexuality is natural. However I have a problem explaining lesbianism. For a female embryo to undergo sexual dimorphism of the brain during development the mother must have been idiotically prescribed testosterone during gestation. Lesbianism is therefore more difficult to explain naturally and debunking a lesbian is like debunking a deluded religious crackpot.

Thu, 18 Aug 2011 21:41:28 UTC | #862332

mmurray's Avatar Comment 30 by mmurray

Comment 28 by BigNoboDaddy :

Modern ethics requires that we do not put the possibility of future generation in peril - for instance combating global warming. Every individual has a responsibility to ensure the future existence of the species. Homo-sexual relationships without medical intervention cannot produce offspring and it therefore jeopardising the future existence of the species. While we might excuse this on a small scale it is nevertheless unnatural but in a world with a burgeoning population this is excusable and we have scientists claiming that it is natural because other species exhibit this unproductive behaviour. But what if most of humans were homo-sexual and threatened the future existence of humanity? Would we still justify this unproductive behaviour that contributed to a shrinking human gene pool and with that human extinction?

What if red heads developed laser eyes that burnt up everything they looked at and threatened the world with total destruction. Would we still justify read heads ?

What if ...

Michael

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 01:01:22 UTC | #862361