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a penguin love story
February 7, 2004 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Birds do it, bees do it... homosexual attachment and lovemaking are widespread in the animal kingdom, say biologists like Bruce Bagemihl, author of "Biological Exuberance." [For a longer, better-edited version of the same article, go here, but NYT reg. required.] Not everyone agrees, particularly those apt to quote the Bible to justify claims of a "natural revulsion to perverse sex."
posted by digaman (86 comments total)

 
Excellent use of a Digital Underground quote
posted by inksyndicate at 11:34 AM on February 7, 2004


I hope those gay penguins realize they're going to burn in hell, which will seem awfully hot, because they're ... uh ... penguins.
posted by subgenius at 11:48 AM on February 7, 2004


Conservatives Use Gay Union as Rallying Cry
posted by homunculus at 12:11 PM on February 7, 2004


I would note that there is a natural revulsion to regular M-F sex too, until the hormones kick in and compel us past it at puberty.
posted by rushmc at 12:18 PM on February 7, 2004


Scientists warn about drawing conclusions about humans. "For some people, what animals do is a yardstick of what is and isn't natural," Vasey said. "They make a leap from saying if it's natural, it's morally and ethically desirable."

But he added: "Infanticide is widespread in the animal kingdom. To jump from that to say it is desirable makes no sense. We shouldn't be using animals to craft moral and social policies for the kinds of human societies we want to live in. Animals don't take care of the elderly. I don't particularly think that should be a platform for closing down nursing homes."
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:43 PM on February 7, 2004


to continue...

"What the animal studies do show, Zuk observed, is that "sexuality is a lot broader term than people want to think.""
posted by vacapinta at 12:46 PM on February 7, 2004


somewhat related, since this directly challenges the approach of aquinas, for example:
thomas aquinas used the naturalistic fallacy to explain why incest is bad, but his take on it was rather funny (to me at least): he argued that sex with your family members would be so incredibly GOOD you'd never get anything else done. thus, incest should be considered against the rules.

here:
Aristotle adds another reason (2 Polit. ii): for since it is natural that a man should have a liking for a woman of his kindred, if to this be added the love that has its origin in venereal intercourse, his love would be too ardent and would become a very great incentive to lust: and this is contrary to chastity. Hence it is evident that incest is a determinate species of lust.
posted by ifjuly at 12:58 PM on February 7, 2004


Steve's quote is pretty much dead on, looking to Nature (uppercase N and all) to determine what is right and wrong is not a great way to make a point. (on preview, ifjuly: is "naturalistic fallacy" the usual term for this? It's a big pet peeve of mine)

Of course, I guess when you're are debating people who are completely illogical (because their bigotry is handed down from their God), maybe you need to stoop to their level. But I'd rather not, sloppy thinking is sloppy thinking.
posted by malphigian at 1:03 PM on February 7, 2004


The quote is, in fact, dead in the water, because of this fallacy of logic:

Infanticide leads to death of a child; poor treatment of the elderly leads to death of those individuals; but the "ecstatic behavior" described in the original article leads to happiness, companionship, and love. So it's a false parallel. You can't make the parallel stick unless you have decided beforehand that male-male or female-female love and attachment are negative behaviors.

Feel free to invoke AIDS to counter this, but one who does so is treading on very thin ice, given the fact that in Africa, AIDS is primarily a heterosexual disease -- and besides, it's an extraneous issue.
posted by digaman at 1:10 PM on February 7, 2004


I don't think this research is about whether homosexuality is good or bad, but about whether or not it's biological. You don't have to look too far to find a characterization of homosexuality as "unnatural."

I don't see anyone making the "leap from saying if it's natural, it's morally and ethically desirable" -- except for Vasey, who sets up the strawman just to knock it down. That's a different issue: Regardless of sexual orientation, fucking (if it's consensual and responsible) is morally and ethically desirable.
posted by subgenius at 1:14 PM on February 7, 2004


I NEED ME SOME RESEARCH 'FORE I GIVE UP MY JUDGEMENT HAMMER. CONVERT THE BUDDHISTS!
posted by Satapher at 1:21 PM on February 7, 2004


Actually what has happened with steve's argument is that, in his argument, he has no static assertion, but freely moves it as is needed. This is common in arguments with christians.

Christians say, "homosexuality is unnatural". This study finds that not to be the case. That is all it finds. There is no leap to saying it's morally and ethically desirable. The morality of the activity is entirely dependent on other arguments. This is misdirection and sloppy argument.

"homosexuality is unnatural"
"no, look it is natural"
"well, natural isn't everything you know, with that argument you'd kill babies!"
"yes, but. nevermind"

on preview like subgenius says.
posted by rhyax at 1:29 PM on February 7, 2004


Gay groups argue that if homosexual behavior occurs in animals, it is natural, and therefore the rights of homosexuals should be protected.

Digaman, you support this crap? Listen, the only way to see if this logic is relevant is to ask the inverse: If homosexuality didn't occur in animals, would it then be "unnatural" (whatever that means), and therefore homosexuals shouldn't be protected?

Listen, a good way to be taken seriously, is to assert your right, on human rights grounds, to do with your body as you damn well please. But, if you want to lie with the Creationist dogs and start using their bullshit arguments, then you're going to get up with fleas. This story and its moral is an embarrassment, I spit on it, and anyone who apologizes for it.
posted by dgaicun at 1:42 PM on February 7, 2004


I would note that there is a natural revulsion to regular M-F sex too...

Word. If lack of revulsion is the bar we have to clear to condone sexual activity, there are a lot of people are out of luck. Most notably just about everyone's parents.
posted by 4easypayments at 1:48 PM on February 7, 2004


hey dgaicun, I don't apologize for it, but you can spit on me! only after you've tied me up with leather straps, though...
posted by PigAlien at 1:50 PM on February 7, 2004


[this is very good] thanks, digaman!
posted by moonbird at 1:51 PM on February 7, 2004


digaman: your distinctions about the harm of infanticide or what-have-you only strengthen the point that whether homesexual sex is "natural" or "unnatural" has zilch to do with this debate, except in as much as fundies have dragged it in.

I mean, seriously, these words are meaningless, how does any living thing do something that is not in their nature? If you do it, it's natural, ipso facto -- what are you, a robot?
posted by malphigian at 1:56 PM on February 7, 2004


I agree that whether or not the activity is natural has no bearing on the more central moral and ethical considerations, but it is difficult not to correct people who would prohibit homosexuality when they use incorrect information to gather support, even when that information isn't central to the debate.

On further thought though, I have to agree with you (dgaicun). Even though it is difficult it should be avoided. In a perfect world you could say, "that is irrelevant, but false". In the sorts of atmospheres where these arguments actually take place though there is no pretense of logic or integrity in the debate against homosexuality.
posted by rhyax at 2:02 PM on February 7, 2004


Presumably this is what all those public-ball-licking, cud-chewing and poop-flinging activists have been waiting to hear too!
posted by cell at 2:03 PM on February 7, 2004


looking to Nature (uppercase N and all)

malphigian: Your use of an uppercase N implies that you're talking about something with a proper name. The scientific journal seeming most likely. The rest of your statement doesn't seem to tally with this, though your reference to science adds vagueness.

The suggestion that the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality should be inferred from its occurrence in the animal kingdom by using the example of infanticide does not stand up. The more apt comparison would be between celibacy and sexual activity, that is, it is a question of whether individuals act upon their desire or deny it. The fact that animals have a desire to have sex with either males or females rather than to remain celibate suggests a desire to do so and that this desire is thus natural and unchecked by any societal norms. This would seem to imply that the desire amongst humans towards either heterosexual or homosexual sex (or both) is thus naturally occurring, confirming that condemnation springs from societal pressures rather than from any revulsion towards the act itself as being unnatural. This has clear implications for those who suggest that a creator has determined homosexuality to be wrong and backs their viewpoint that this is the case.
posted by biffa at 2:09 PM on February 7, 2004


Oops, I put on a pair of underwear today, very unnatural, time to go to jail. All . . . so . . . logical . . .
posted by dgaicun at 2:11 PM on February 7, 2004


God expressed His opinion on homosexuality already (in Romans) and His opinion is the one that counts. If in your opinion His opinion has no value, then I leave it up to you and Him to hash it out. Meanwhile what animals do has no bearing one way or the other. My guinea pig eats its own poop, and for him that's natural...

(please let me say that just because I cannot agree with homosexual activity does NOT mean I don't like or cannot get along with people who consider themselves gay. I simply cannot agree that their sex practices are anything but wrong in God's eyes. As stated above, if you don't agree, take it up with Him.)
posted by konolia at 2:14 PM on February 7, 2004


Biffa, animals are not created in God's image. Mankind is. Our bodies are created to glorify Him. Therefore things we do in the body do matter.
posted by konolia at 2:17 PM on February 7, 2004


konolia: your guinea pig eats its own poop because that's how it survives (it doesn't absorb certain vitamins and mineral well the first time through). You don't eat your poop because your digestive tract works better. I fail to see how physical digestive system differences negate the fact that homosexual behaviour is clearly natural since it occurs in an enormous number of species. And why does your agreement or lack thereof with "homosexual activity" have any bearing on whether or not it's natural?
posted by biscotti at 2:19 PM on February 7, 2004


I'm not a robot -- I'm a mammal. The widespread occurrence of homosexuality in the animal world is interesting precisely because it refutes the centuries-old arguments by the Church and the psychiatric establishment that homosexuality is contra naturam. That is the only way it is interesting, really. I don't defend my own homosexuality on the basis that there are also gay penguins -- I don't need to defend it. The feelings are self-evident and self-justifying, and have led to dozens of positive things in my life, including marriage.
posted by digaman at 2:21 PM on February 7, 2004


God also expressed his opinion of cotton blends, but that doesn't stop anyone from wearing them, for some reason. His encouragment of slavery and infanticide are also in the bible, but people don't tend to listen to God on those accounts either.
posted by stoneegg21 at 2:22 PM on February 7, 2004


All I meant by what I wrote is that what animals do or don't do makes no difference. And we live in a fallen world, so there are quite a few things that animals do that were not in the original specs.
posted by konolia at 2:28 PM on February 7, 2004


Biffa: Since you seemed to have missed what I was getting at with the uppercase N (unless you were just being cute to make a joke about the journal name), I'll elaborate.

I am talking about the tendency among many people to apply all kinds of intentions and morality to the natural world, evolution, and the like. Essentially, making Mother Nature into their own religious figure. That'd be the proper name I was referencing.

I think konolia did a pretty good job above showing the religious view as it is, and also pretty handily makes this argument irrelevant from the other side.

All that said, you and digaman make some pretty good points about using this information as a counter-tactic in debate, I just wish it wasn't necessary and think it's a silly line of argument.

I could go on about how futile it is to debate with someone who is taking things on faith, but I figure everyone knows that by now, they just like talking to a brick wall.
posted by malphigian at 2:30 PM on February 7, 2004


All we need now is that Bevets guy from Fark to turn this thread into 200 posts of namecalling and utter nonsense.

This 'Bible', is it something I would need to be American to know about?
posted by chrid at 2:33 PM on February 7, 2004


Clarification: I didn't mean that I thought konolia's point was logical (sorry konolia) or something I agree with, I just meant that when someone's entire basis of reasoning is "it is so because it is what I believe", minor logical points aren't going to do you much good. Esp. when they've got a book full of resposnes that's so full of contridictions you could pretty much back up any point with it.
posted by malphigian at 2:35 PM on February 7, 2004


Stoneegg, first, don't confuse Jewish ceremonial law with moral law. Ceremonial/symbolic law has served its purpose already. (In Acts, the only parts of the Law Gentiles were held to is to avoid sexual immorality, eating food offered to idols, consuming blood or eating the meat of strangled animals. They weren't even required to become circumsised. (See Acts 15.) As to the rest, you may be interested to know that slave trading is roundly condemmned in the New Testament. I could have a day-long conversation with you re the rest of what you refer to, but Mefi is not a good forum for it.
posted by konolia at 2:37 PM on February 7, 2004


Biffa: Since you seemed to have missed what I was getting at with the uppercase N (unless you were just being cute to make a joke about the journal name), I'll elaborate.

Thank you for elaborating, I wasn't being cute but felt you could have been clearer.
posted by biffa at 2:48 PM on February 7, 2004


Biffa, animals are not created in God's image. Mankind is. Our bodies are created to glorify Him. Therefore things we do in the body do matter.

Much as I think this will be a bad idea, I'll ask anyway. Is it men or women in gods image? I suspect men is the answer. Also, does God have anything to say on lesbianism?
posted by biffa at 2:52 PM on February 7, 2004


He likes to watch.
posted by digaman at 2:53 PM on February 7, 2004


I wonder what Senator Rick Santorum thinks about these degenerate penguins.
posted by homunculus at 2:54 PM on February 7, 2004


Sorry, God's image (this isnt some sly dig at anyone, I told somebody off earlier in the thread over capitalisation)
posted by biffa at 2:54 PM on February 7, 2004


The actual significance of this is that it will narrow the debate over homosexuality. Opponents are still free, as always, to argue that homosexuality runs contrary to their personal morals or religious beliefs, but they will no longer be able to use pseudo-scientific arguments about what is natural and what isn't.
posted by 4easypayments at 3:17 PM on February 7, 2004


Religious Logic Guy: Masturbation is wrong because God says it is. Also its wrong because there are exactly 5675687686588767790054757568798789898 grains of sand in the Sahara desert.

Guy Who Likes to Masturbate: A-ha, Religious Logic Guy, you're not getting away with this one! I've got you now. It took 68 years and a team of 25,000 guys who like to masturbate to do it, but we've counted every grain of sand in the Sahara and you were wrong, there's exactly 4576879809005676753435453453454543535 grains of sand. So how about that, bitch?!

Religious Logic Guy: Masturbation is wrong because God says it is.
posted by dgaicun at 3:20 PM on February 7, 2004


Religious Logic Guy: . . . also your numbers must be incorrect because of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.
posted by dgaicun at 3:27 PM on February 7, 2004


If God just turned up in person and said to all his creation, don't do this, everybody [apart from the congenitally stupid] would listen.

But oh, no ...

*cough*passive-aggressive*cough*
posted by Blue Stone at 3:37 PM on February 7, 2004


Living as Nature intended is certainly a Pressing Issue:

Jan: I teach my kids history to give them perspective. Last night I was telling them about how Magellan sailed around the Strait of Magellan and met some friendly natives that gave him supplies. Um, then he had to kill all of them, and that's an important lesson about life. If you look at nature, you'll see many species that eat their children to protect them. This is especially true of hamsters. It's about putting the family first. That's really important to me, and where a lot of my morality comes from ... And if you don't like it, find your own husband and stay away from mine, okay?

Maurice: Okay... But excuse me if I sound a little confused here, but I don't think I understand.

Jan: Now, my morality comes from looking at history and biology and working out what's best for my kids and screw anyone else. That's what this country's all about. I mean, I saw the hippies... What a load of claptrap. What's your kid going to do at a school with a name like Moonbeam or Wave or Horseradish or whatever they call 'em. How can you take your kid to a little league game when you live in a communal farm growing drugs? It's awful! And that's what my life is about: Looking down on others.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 3:53 PM on February 7, 2004


-- what are you, a robot?

Someone get him a bohemian drive.
posted by homunculus at 4:12 PM on February 7, 2004


my parents have pugs, and the alpha male is perpetually mounting and dry humping the others. this has everything to do with dominance and nothing to do with "homosexual behavior". jumpin' jesus christ on a pogo stick, people! homo = homo sapiens, it's linguistically impossible for any animal to engage in homosexual behavior.
posted by quonsar at 4:35 PM on February 7, 2004


this has everything to do with dominance and nothing to do with...


A lot of straight women have the same complaint.
posted by digaman at 4:42 PM on February 7, 2004


*snorts homogenized milk out nose*
posted by 4easypayments at 4:43 PM on February 7, 2004


*spews half-chewed hostess frosted donette/diet pepsi mix onto keyboard*
posted by quonsar at 4:47 PM on February 7, 2004


Rabbits eat their own excrement... Yet we lock up people who do that on a regular basis! Heck, we lock up people for just feeding it to others!

Sorry, but just because other animals do it doesn't make it natural.

Not that I'm dissing gays here, but it's a REALLY weak argument to compare ourselves to other species like that.
posted by shepd at 4:54 PM on February 7, 2004


Konolia - ok, I have very little problem with people believing whatever strange things they'd like to believe, and if you feel comfortable in saying that the modern English translation of the result of thousands of years of political infighting and conferences can be said to unambiguously condemn something, then ok.

Just so long as you're willing to keep it separate from state. That means that even if you don't feel comfortable advocating gay marriage, you shouldn't vote against it.

shepd - then what in the word defines natural? "Sure it occurs in nature, but it's unnatural, and therefore you shouldn't do it." Argh! The reality is that something being "natural" or "unnatural" has no bearing whatsoever on any sort of ethical or practical consideration.
posted by kavasa at 5:11 PM on February 7, 2004


I'm not dissing shepd's just-because-it-happens-in-nature-doesn't-make-it-natural argument, but I'm seeing some wonderful logical gymnastics by the homosexuality-is-so-unnatural movement. I never would have thought gay penguins would freak people out like that.
posted by subgenius at 5:18 PM on February 7, 2004


subgenius - you'd have so thought if you'd seen 'em going at it. Them penguins is freaky kinky, all up in the leather and the flipperclamps and what have you.

Not that I paid $45 for the bootleg VHS.
posted by kavasa at 5:19 PM on February 7, 2004


quonsar: I assume you know this, but most of what's discussed in things like Biological Exuberance does not concern dominance behaviours like humping, but with things like long-term pair-bonding. And what kavasa said. The whole "natural" argument, while sound, has little to do with whether or not it's anyone's business what consenting human adults do with (or more to the point, to) each other, aside from making it clear that homosexuality isn't a rare anomaly limited to humans (of course, maybe the animals caught the gay from people). I find it really bizarre that so many people seem to care so much about things which do not affect them and which are fundamentally none of their business.
posted by biscotti at 5:26 PM on February 7, 2004


shepd makes the same error I pointed out earlier in this thread. It goes without saying that the presence of a behavior among animal species doesn't make that behavior morally acceptible in human terms, but the presence of some form of that behavior across a broad range of species -- 450 are documented in Bagemihl's book -- certainly refutes the long-held notion that homosexuality is some wacky, outré perversion thought up by decadent human beings who have strayed far from their mammal roots.
posted by digaman at 5:37 PM on February 7, 2004


This story and its moral is an embarrassment, I spit on it, and anyone who apologizes for it.

dgaicun: you can't spit in cyberspace. Sorry.
posted by moonbird at 5:51 PM on February 7, 2004


you can't spit in cyberspace. Sorry.

I've seen porno that says differently.
posted by Cyrano at 5:57 PM on February 7, 2004


God expressed His opinion on homosexuality already (in Romans) and His opinion is the one that counts.

For many people, God and Paul are not the same person.
posted by gimonca at 6:31 PM on February 7, 2004


malphigian, the notion of refuting arguments of "natural" and "unnatural" social interactions came up for me when i was taking a course on adoption in literature--you get a lot of the same issues re: naturalness and parenthood etc. in adoption issues as in homosexuality. shakespeare's the winter's tale has a great discussion of the folly of calling social interactions unnatural:
POLIXENES:
Say there be;
Yet nature is made better by no mean
But nature makes that mean: so, over that art
Which you say adds to nature, is an art
That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry
A gentler scion to the wildest stock,
And make conceive a bark of baser kind
By bud of nobler race: this is an art
Which does mend nature, change it rather, but
The art itself is nature.


that is, it is odd to call some social interactions natural and others unnatural, as all happen as social acts, and so anything we do or can imagine is "natural" in that it emerges in nature (nature in this case being, the space in which we interact). or, put another way, the word "natural" used for that space is rendered pretty useless, since s and m bondage is, say, as natural as the missionary position. incidentally, just after i had hit upon this fully articulated in literature, a friend wrote of it. he probably explains it better than i have here.

with regard to procreation, george eliot goes further and, in books like silas marner, suggests that the act of raising a child and nurturing it, aside from sharing bloodline, is "natural" in that it puts a piece of you--albeit a social and not genetic piece of you--"in" this offspring you are helping to survive into the next generation. this idea has ramifications for adoption controversies, which may or may not involve homosexuals. it also makes me think twice when people obsess over reproductive strategizing (in a strictly genetic sense) as the basis of all behavior.

the actual term naturalistic fallacy is somewhat more abstracted, as it comes from philosophy it turns out. i used it because the aquinas bit also is studied in philosophy, and is where i discovered it. also, when i mentioned the winter's tale detail to a friend they automatically went, "oh, like the naturalistic fallacy." he's a phil major.

but it definitely is related to the idea above, though it is expressed less concretely.
posted by ifjuly at 7:02 PM on February 7, 2004


My guinea pig eats its own poop.

My mom eats her lover's pussy. No one goes to hell after they die. Everything is going to be all right.
posted by sudama at 7:13 PM on February 7, 2004


"homosexuality is unnatural"
"no, look it is natural"
"well, natural isn't everything you know, with that argument you'd kill babies!"
"yes, but... nevermind"


The two arguments don't aren't necessarily inconsistent. From a reproductive standpoint -- which you could call the "natural" function of sex -- homosexuality certainly doesn't seem very... well, productive. And from a heterosexual stanpoint, homosexuality sure is going to seem rather uncomfortable to encounter. There's no inconsistency in holding both those positions and the idea that there exist biological impulses which shouldn't be followed.

Infanticide leads to death of a child; poor treatment of the elderly leads to death of those individuals; but the "ecstatic behavior" described in the original article leads to happiness, companionship, and love. So it's a false parallel. You can't make the parallel stick unless you have decided beforehand that male-male or female-female love and attachment are negative behaviors.

Overall, that's the problem: "People With Opposing Agendas See Support For Their Case In Same Study: Film at 10." Ships passing in the night.
posted by weston at 8:03 PM on February 7, 2004


Rules for Being a Republican

4. You have to believe that government should stay out of people's lives but it needs to punish anyone caught having private sex with the "wrong" gender.

But he added: "Infanticide is widespread in the animal kingdom. To jump from that to say it is desirable makes no sense.

No, humans never make the moral judgment that it's ok to kill infants under some circumstances.

Unless they're Iraqi infants. Right, Steve@Linnwood?

My mom eats her lover's pussy. No one goes to hell after they die. Everything is going to be all right.

That may be the most cogent, sublime, even Biblical comment heretofore seen on MetaFilter.

(cue Traveling Wilbury's "End of The Line")
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:06 PM on February 7, 2004


Hey, Konolia: I had a profound religious experience some years ago wherein God let me know that it was totally fine to be gay, and in fact, God went on to indicate that it was a stupid question to start with. Well, duh.

I agree with you. God's opinion does matter. Say hi to Paul for me.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:24 PM on February 7, 2004


The two arguments don't aren't necessarily inconsistent. From a reproductive standpoint -- which you could call the "natural" function of sex -- homosexuality certainly doesn't seem very... well, productive.

Weston, think about it from an environmental standpoint. If you have an ecosystem where 100% of the inhabitants bred, there would be a major population problem over time. Some won't reproduce due to death or illness, but consider for just a sec that homosexuality might, just might, be a biological necessity to help stabilize population. That's 10-20% that won't reproduce but in a best case scenario help make up the extended family. Seeing that it's a trans-species trait, that biological argument may be worth thinking about.

And, like Hildegard alluded to, many of us have had deep experiences of spiritual validation that mean a lot more to us than the biology of it.

Now let's all clean off our keyboards and have a group hug.
posted by moonbird at 9:05 PM on February 7, 2004


Is it men or women in gods image

Both.
posted by konolia at 10:10 PM on February 7, 2004


>> you can't spit in cyberspace. Sorry.

> I've seen porno that says differently.


that wasn't spit.
posted by quonsar at 10:11 PM on February 7, 2004


shepd - then what in the word defines natural? "Sure it occurs in nature, but it's unnatural, and therefore you shouldn't do it." Argh! The reality is that something being "natural" or "unnatural" has no bearing whatsoever on any sort of ethical or practical consideration.

BINGO! I totally agree... allow me to repeat:

"it's a REALLY weak argument to compare ourselves to other species like that"

It's also a weak argument for/against the morality of something.

It goes without saying that the presence of a behavior among animal species doesn't make that behavior morally acceptible in human terms, but the presence of some form of that behavior across a broad range of species -- 450 are documented in Bagemihl's book -- certainly refutes the long-held notion that homosexuality is some wacky, outré perversion thought up by decadent human beings who have strayed far from their mammal roots.

It may... BUUUUT... It just a really shitty stance to argue on. Period. Unless, of course, you can prove it's natural for humans. I am SURE I can find 450 species that eat their own young. Again, if a human were to do that, in a lot of societies we'd shoot him.

It's a crap argument for OR against homosexuality, that's all I'm saying. It's about as good an argument as saying "Well, you see, the asshole fits a dick *just* right, so it must be OK.", or "The asshole is an *exit*, not an entrance!"

Remember, the *only* side I'm taking is that this argument totally sucks.
posted by shepd at 10:22 PM on February 7, 2004


homo = homo sapiens, it's linguistically impossible for any animal to engage in homosexual behavior.

Homo = same; as in "not hetero", or different. Or are you suggesting that there's such a species as hetero sapiens? If the homo referred to homo sapiens then it would refer to sex between any two human beings and wouldn't have anything to do with gender.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:51 AM on February 8, 2004


On the other hand, it may just be that I have a faulty irony detector.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:57 AM on February 8, 2004


My sense of irony dictates that any sex not personally involving me is vulgar and distasteful and deserves censorship and ridicule. Consequently I don't have sex much, so you're all going to burn in hell. This means of course that I'll be all alone up in heaven after Judgment Day, fondling myself.

"Remember, the *only* side I'm taking is that this argument totally sucks."

Amen brother. However, it has been an amusing thread to read. So long as one doesn't take it at all seriously.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:23 AM on February 8, 2004


On a related note (and echoing shepd):

G.E. Moore and the "Naturalistic Fallacy"

The Skeptic's Dictionary article on "natural"

The NYT article deals with an empirical fact, nothing else. Whether homosexuality is morally right (or, for that matter, if it is anyone else's business at all) is an entirely different discussion.
posted by Hjorth at 2:22 AM on February 8, 2004


Is it men or women in gods image

Both.


How does that work?
posted by biffa at 5:02 AM on February 8, 2004


Is it men or women in gods image

Both.

How does that work?


*refrains from heshe joke*

... *notes that by posting this, he did not refrain*
posted by billybunny at 7:12 AM on February 8, 2004


Periodically, someone tries to justify human behavior based on animal behavior. There are pitfalls in doing this that should be remembered.

Homosexuality. There are homosexual porpoises. Yes, and porpoises also molest underage porpoises, have gang rape and try bestiality with humans. I hesitate to mention the necro-duck of a few months ago "Ignoble Prize."

Adultery. Dominant male chimpanzees have harems. Female harem chimpanzees often try to cheat with lesser males that stay on the periphery of the dominant males' territory. This proves that adultery is natural. However, if the dominant chimpanzee catches them, he will kill one or both, just like in Texas. So homicide of adulterers is "natural", too.

Last but not least, there is the quandary of the lesbian sheep. When a female sheep wants to mate, she stands still. Therefore, it is impossible to determine if such a thing as a lesbian sheep exists. As one researcher put it, "It's awful hard to tell if too sheep are rigidly longing each other."
posted by kablam at 7:38 AM on February 8, 2004


Our bodies are created to glorify Him.

Kinky.
posted by rushmc at 7:47 AM on February 8, 2004


So homicide of adulterers is "natural", too.

I can believe that too. The point is that the high incidence of homosexual behaviour in the animal kingdom undermines the position that homosexuality is 'unnatural', and highlights that its condemnation is purely a social more. If anything your argument bolsters this point, its just that we respond socially to homicide and homosexuality differently - and rightly so given that homosexuality harms no-one and even if classified as a crime remains a victimless one.
posted by biffa at 7:54 AM on February 8, 2004


Now let's all clean off our keyboards and have a group hug.

Whoever that is, get your hand off my ass!
posted by jonmc at 8:24 AM on February 8, 2004


Hmmm... If men and women are both God's image, then heterosexual sex is God's image having intercourse with God's image, just as homosexual intercouse is God's image having sex with God's image.

So where's the wrongness in homosexuality?

The fact that there would be no progeny as a result in such a relationship should be counted as a blessing in this crowded world of today.
posted by dazed_one at 10:49 AM on February 8, 2004


If man and woman are both God's image, then God has the equipment of both man and woman.

Which works great, because when it comes to God's opinion in civil rights for gays, God should go fuck himself.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:29 PM on February 8, 2004


My sense of irony dictates that any sex not personally involving me is vulgar and distasteful and deserves censorship and ridicule.

Mine, too.

Guess we're gonna have to hook up.

You're not a penguin, are you?

As for the religious argument, of course God is going to frown upon any social arrangement of support, love, cooperation, sharing, compassion, and kindness. Isn't it obvious? Good is bad.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:50 PM on February 8, 2004


No, God is going to frown on disobedience and rebelllion. Homosexuality is simply a symptom.
posted by konolia at 4:09 AM on February 9, 2004


A symptom of what, exactly?
posted by agregoli at 7:48 AM on February 9, 2004


Yes, I'm sure your God has vetoed a supportive, loving relationship.

Because, you know, it's ever-so-important to your God that a couple of consenting adults not be allowed to love each other in a world with 6.3 billion people that have a difficult time not killing each other.

I'm sure it's a perfectly sensible, perfectly compassionate decision on your God's part, in that famously inscrutable, ineffable way of His.

Good is bad. Do not question.

of course, the alternative view is that the religionists have a completely fucked-up understanding of the all-loving god...
posted by five fresh fish at 8:48 AM on February 9, 2004


So are all of God's agents caught fucking those little boys being "disobedient" or "rebellious," konolia? And how badly does He frown on the fact that more men have gone to jail for consentual sodomy than preists have gone to jail for child molestation?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:03 AM on February 9, 2004


I am curious as to what god plans to do with around 25 MILLION Indian and Chinese males who have absolutely no chance to mate or marry? Maybe they should turn to prayer to ask god to stop torturing them with desire or turn half of them into females, like some kind of fish.
posted by kablam at 1:12 PM on February 9, 2004


So are all of God's agents caught fucking those little boys being "disobedient" or "rebellious," konolia? And how badly does He frown on the fact that more men have gone to jail for consensual sodomy than priests have gone to jail for child molestation?

Lets not conflate the issue of paedophilia and consensual adult expressions of love (or just lust). You have no reason to think that konolia defends child abusing priests and she doesn't have to defend the actions of others who claim to be members of what is a very disparate faith which numbers in the 100s of millions.

Arguing the two concepts together only panders to those who seem to have difficulty in telling the difference between the two.

Also, congratulations on today's most meaningless use of statistics.
posted by biffa at 1:37 PM on February 9, 2004


So are all of God's agents caught fucking those little boys being "disobedient" or "rebellious," konolia?
Disobedient, rebellious, and EVIL. But you knew that already.

I am curious as to what god plans to do with around 25 MILLION Indian and Chinese males who have absolutely no chance to mate or marry?

Well, why don't we ask the Chinese government that question instead as they had so many female fetuses aborted? I don't know what you are referring to as to the Indian males, but the fact that culturally boy babies are greatly preferred over girls both in India and China is not God's fault.

Sexual love is for a married man and woman. There are other kinds of love. I love a lot of people,but I only sleep with my husband.
posted by konolia at 2:53 PM on February 9, 2004


biffa, my argument is relevant to the very fact that an organization as self-serving and historically hypocritical as organized religion has no right to be even an argument in the issue of civil rights. And I'm not conflating- just pointing out that the people supportive of the church seem to care more about the outrages the church has declared to be outrageous, instead of the crimes the church is committing that's exponentially more dangerous to society.

Clearly, I don't think konolia supports pedophilia, but clearly, to suggest her opinion that homosexuality is a "symptom of rebellion" came out of the blue is a bit of a stretch considering the amazing coincidence between public sentiment and religious leaders of the time explaining that it's without a doubt logical that, for example, we should own brown people. Or that women shouldn't be allowed to work. Or that everything in the universe- literally- revolved around the Vatican's home office. Being the most concerned about the things the church is most concerned about is a wee bit o' a coinkydink, ya think?

Years from now when public sentiment, which I'll hereafter refer to as "logic," overrides religious decree, which will never receive such a definition, the churches will again suddenly "realize" that they had typos in their bibles. Just like they did for women and minorities. And we'll get to test how much free will God allegedly gave his true followers once again.

I think it's safe to say the most meaningless use of statistics are the ones that mention why gays are bad because of what God says. He seems to have been wrong a lot.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:55 PM on February 9, 2004


Sexual love is for a married man and woman.

You know, I get physically ill when I read obnoxious bullshit like that. It is such a hateful view of humanity.

Little wonder there is so much terror and misery on this planet: fucking religionists gotta be such judgemental evil bastards about everything.

God forbid that people love one another.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:20 PM on February 9, 2004


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