Robert Price & Chris Mooney - Must Atheists Also Be Liberals?

July 2, 2010

Recently in Amherst, New York, two of Point of Inquiry’s hosts sat down for a special in-studio episode of the show. One was a conservative (Robert Price), one a liberal (Chris Mooney)—and both were atheists.

The topic they tackled: Is there any necessary correlation between one’s disbelief in God and one’s place on the political spectrum?

The result was a fascinating—and notably civil, and frequently entertaining—conversation ranging across foreign policy, abortion, stem cell research, animal rights, and many other topics. In the end, the discussants actually found not only much disagreement, but also some common ground.

Robert M. Price is Professor of Biblical Criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute as well as the editor of The Journal of Higher Criticism and a host of Point of Inquiry. His books include Beyond Born Again,  The Widow Traditions in Luke-Acts: A Feminist-Critical Scrutiny, Deconstructing Jesus, and The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man. 

Chris Mooney is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write “The Intersection” blog together for Discover blogs. In the past, Chris has also been visiting associate in the Center for Collaborative History at Princeton University and a 2009-2010 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. He is also a host of Point of Inquiry.

Comments from the CFI Forums

If you would like to leave a comment about this episode of Point of Inquiry please visit the related thread on the CFI discussion forums

I’m an atheist and a conservative, not a half or ¾ conservative like Mr. Price, a real old fashioned social conservative. I’m surprised and appalled at the link between skepticism and political liberalism because liberalism is so conspicuously irrational, illogical, dishonest, authoritarian, and exploitative. Liberalism has hijacked the skeptical movement and is prostituting it – same thing it does to everything it touches.
  Mr. Price can rest assured conservative economics is strictly evidence based and rational right down the line. I commend him also for his apparent realism in foreign affairs.
  I also agree abortion is murder. The only truly innocent people on earth are butchered because they are powerless and inconvenient. Nothing about human history or behavior and certainly nothing about liberals gives me any confidence I wouldn’t meet the same fate if I became similarly powerless and inconvenient.
  Price and liberals are completely wrong about homosexuality. I have the same attitude most of us have toward all the other sexual perversions, you know, the ones that are not as beneficial to the Democratic Party, just as we all did until the day before yesterday when the totally irrational propaganda campaign on their behalf was started.
  I’m a reluctant atheist who recognizes the immense benefit Christianity has been to mankind. I practice religious tolerance. But I have done public debates against Creationists and maintain a standing offer against all comers. And I wouldn’t be afraid to debate liberals, but they are too powerful and have nothing to gain by even recognizing any questioning of their dogmas.

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 4:22am by rg21 Comment #1

You actually come across sounding closed minded, dogmatic and frankly not very rational. I’m surprised you would think this was a good way to approach “rationality” and an “evidence based” approach to life. Although I don’t agree with many conservative economic or political positions I am willing to acknowledge that there are intelligent and rational people who come out at different places on such issues. The same goes for abortion. (It does not go for creationsim—no one interested in and informed about the scientific facts could possibly be a creationist).

But when it comes to homosexuality you clearly have not done any of your homework. A rational person must be aware that very few (if any) people have the luxury of choosing their sexual orientation. A true atheist who is interested in facts would recognize this and also recognize that there is no scientific or rational argument that would make homosexuality “immoral”. The lines of argument making it immoral are religious-based ones. Homosexuality arises in nature—for whatever reason—like redheadedness or lefthandedness. It is just as immoral as being a redhead is. If the circles you’ve moved in have not made you aware of this you need to expand your social circles. Your position here sounds ill-informed and ignorant. It doesn’t inspire confidence that any of your other positions are as rationally based as you want to believe they are either.

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 6:19am by kevin Comment #2

Nice discussion; it gave me a much better idea of where both of these P.O.I. interviewers are coming from. (Bob Price has been a real mystery man to me. No longer!) One thing marred this show though -call me picky- it was Chris Mooney repeatedly mispronouncing the word etcetera. Chris: it’s pronounced just the way it’s spelled, not “eck-cetera”.

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 6:30am by eplommer Comment #3

New member here.  Just listened to the above podcast.  While I don’t consider myself an atheist but a pantheist (maybe a fine distinction), I, too, am a political conservative a la Bob Price.  Chris offered some points about conservatives being anti scientific, but he is apparently unaware of some of the anti science stands of liberals in the name of science.  In my view the mainstream scientific community as represented at universities and government agencies (NASA, EPA, etc.) are akin to the Christian Church of the Middle Ages battling Galileo. 

In my study I have become convinced that the universe is not ruled by gravity: there was no Big Bang 13 Billion years ago; there is no such thing as a Black Hole, and Dark Matter and Dark Energy, the darlings of modern astronomy, are similarly non existent.  The Black Hole is science’s substitute for God—wondrous, magical and totally impossible things happen there.  One example will suffice.  The concept of the Big Bang rests upon the slender reed of one assumption.  That assumption is that the red shift of the light spectrum emitted by a celestial body is proportional to its distance from earth.  Astronomer Halton Arp showed in his book “Seeing Red” that many high red shifted objects were between earth and some low red shifted objects.  He also showed that some low red shifted objects were physically connected to some high red shifted objects.  His findings falsified the assumption upon which the theory of the Big Bang rests.  What did the university based scientific community do in light of those revelations?  Did they decide that there must be something wrong with the theory and go back to the drawing board? No.  They denied Dr. Arp any telescope time so that he could not do further research.

Now all things are connected, and the same reason that there are no Black Holes is the reason that any global warming that may be occurring is not anthropologically caused by CO2 emissions, but is the result of the nature of the energy which powers the sun. And it’s not a sustained nuclear fusion reaction for which there is no experimental evidence of being able to occur.  The Climategate correspondence shows that mainstream climate “scientists” are of the same ilk as mainstream astronomers.  The Bush Administration was right to question climate conclusions coming out of the EPA and government funded university research.

Interesting discussion between Bob and Chris.

David

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 9:49am by davido Comment #4

I never said homosexual proclivity is voluntary any more than any other perverse sexual proclivity is voluntary. (Behavior, however, is voluntary.) It is immoral because it is loathsome, filthy, degrading, and unhealthy, and elicits instinctive repugnance, just like the other perversions. Society has every right, in fact an obligation, to draw the line between approved and taboo. Whether society’s ostensible rationale comes from religion, manners, or political correctness is secondary. But I will take tradition as justification over liberal conceit or self serving nine times out of ten.

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 11:21am by rg21 Comment #5

Of your four adjectives, the first three are purely your subjective opinions (loathsome, filthy, degrading). Only the fourth one even attempts to sound objective (unhealthy), so that’s the one I will address. Sex between two consenting adults is as healthy or an unhealthy as they make it. There are safe sexual practices and unsafe ones in hetero and homosexual relations alike. Furthermore, sexualities are not just—or even most importantly—about the physical acts. They are also about who you can fall in love with and develop intimate romantic emotional bonds with.

But I have no doubt that you have a set of bigoted adjectives to trot out about that as well. I don’t know what you’re doing in a forum about inquiry. You are so dogmatic and closed minded that it doesn’t appear you’re interested in any inquiry at all. You have a closed set of black and white views on things and that’s all you’re about. So much for critical inquiry.

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 11:54am by kevin Comment #6

And on tradition…it’s always amusing when people object to gay marriage because it would supposedly constitute a “redefinition” of marriage. Well, exactly which set of marriage traditions do they have in mind? History offers us many permutations—-polygamy, polyandry, marriages of convenience, arranged marriages, marriages of children with each other or of a child with an adult… Speaking of “marriage” as a “tradition” as though it were and had always been a single monolithic thing is naive and uninformed.

“Approved” and “taboo” vary widely from culture to culture and across time periods. If we’re simply going to appeal to tradition, then women should never have gotten the right to vote and we should still have slavery and believe that the earth is flat.

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 12:30pm by kevin Comment #7

Homosexual advocates (something about that word advocate ought to tell us something in itself) are as closed minded as anyone can be. But, yes, I’m closed minded about this subject. Are you contending that it is subjective and thereby dismissible to characterize other perversions as loathsome, filthy, and degrading also?

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 12:30pm by rg21 Comment #8

If it’s closed minded to want to be able to marry the person that you’re in love with, then so be it. How arrogant of you to decide who an adult should be able to have a romantic emotional bond with or to thrust upon others your own notions of what is or isn’t an appropriate union.

I really have not spent much time trying to decide what human behaviors count as perversions, and I’m not sure which ones you have in mind. But there are certainly some things I would be comfortable calling perversions. Sex with children is a perversion. Sex with animals is a perversion. These are very different from what two consenting adults do together.

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 12:38pm by kevin Comment #9

New member here.  Just listened to the above podcast.  While I don’t consider myself an atheist but a pantheist (maybe a fine distinction), I, too, am a political conservative a la Bob Price.  Chris offered some points about conservatives being anti scientific, but he is apparently unaware of some of the anti science stands of liberals in the name of science.  In my view the mainstream scientific community as represented at universities and government agencies (NASA, EPA, etc.) are akin to the Christian Church of the Middle Ages battling Galileo. 

In my study I have become convinced that the universe is not ruled by gravity: there was no Big Bang 13 Billion years ago; there is no such thing as a Black Hole, and Dark Matter and Dark Energy, the darlings of modern astronomy, are similarly non existent.  The Black Hole is science’s substitute for God—wondrous, magical and totally impossible things happen there.  One example will suffice.  The concept of the Big Bang rests upon the slender reed of one assumption.  That assumption is that the red shift of the light spectrum emitted by a celestial body is proportional to its distance from earth.  Astronomer Halton Arp showed in his book “Seeing Red” that many high red shifted objects were between earth and some low red shifted objects.  He also showed that some low red shifted objects were physically connected to some high red shifted objects.  His findings falsified the assumption upon which the theory of the Big Bang rests.  What did the university based scientific community do in light of those revelations?  Did they decide that there must be something wrong with the theory and go back to the drawing board? No.  They denied Dr. Arp any telescope time so that he could not do further research.

Now all things are connected, and the same reason that there are no Black Holes is the reason that any global warming that may be occurring is not anthropologically caused by CO2 emissions, but is the result of the nature of the energy which powers the sun. And it’s not a sustained nuclear fusion reaction for which there is no experimental evidence of being able to occur.  The Climategate correspondence shows that mainstream climate “scientists” are of the same ilk as mainstream astronomers.  The Bush Administration was right to question climate conclusions coming out of the EPA and government funded university research.

Interesting discussion between Bob and Chris.

David

That was one of the weirdest off-topic rants that I’ve seen on these forums.

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 1:21pm by Havermayer Comment #10

Interesting talk.  Personally, I’m a social liberal and moderate/slightly conservative on fiscal issues.  (No, I’m not a libertarian because I think libertarians views about laws and human nature are entirely wrong.)

One thing that bothered me about the discussion is Robert Price’ tendency to exaggerate the liberal position while moderating the conservative position.  His apparent motive was to make himself look reasonable and the liberal position unreasonable.  For example, saying that liberals are never willing to go to war.  This is simply not true.  It’s true that liberals are less willing to go to war than conservatives, but they’re just closer to the “peace” end of the continuum than many conservatives (which is different than saying that they’re on the very end of the “peace/war” continuum). 

To illustrate my point, here’s an excerpt from an article in October 7, 2001 describing support for airstrikes in Afghanistan:
“While public support for the air strikes is nearly unanimous, there are some differences in its intensity. Men are 10 points more likely than women to strongly support the action, although it’s high in both groups — 88 percent among men, 78 percent among women. Similarly, 94 percent of Republicans support the airstrikes strongly, compared to 75 percent of Democrats and 79 percent of independents.”
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/DailyNews/STRIKE_poll011007.html

So, 75% of democrats support airstrikes, but liberals are “always against war”.  Is Price going to argue that only 25% of the Democratic party voters are “liberals” (and perhaps 6% of Republicans are liberals, as well)?  I think this illustrates my point about Price turning Democrats and liberals into an extreme version of themselves, knocking down that strawman, and then feeling superior in his own superior position.

I’ve been noticing this a lot on the internet lately - the tendency of people to defend their own position by twisting the other guy’s position into some extreme version of itself so that everyone has to agree with them.  It usually takes the form of “I just don’t agree that [insert extreme version of other guys position]” - but the statement is setup to be so extreme that 95% everyone has to agree with that statement.  (I usually just roll my eyes and think, “This guy isn’t willing to make an attack on the other position unless he can turn it into a strawman first.  What sloppy thinking.”)

Regarding abortion, I’m also pro-choice.  (Personally, I look down on late-term abortions and think people should’ve made that choice earlier.)  It struck me as odd that Price would defend the idea that abortion is essentially the same as infanticide.  Does Price want to defend the notion that aborting sperm and an egg which have just joined together (making one single cell or a small mass of cells) is the same as infanticide?  That just seems like an odd notion to me.  There’s plenty of thought-experiments that show that even pro-lifers don’t see a blastocyst as the same thing as a living, breathing baby.  For example, if you’re in a fertility clinic and there’s a fire, and you have the option of grabbing a few fertilized human eggs and running out the door, or grabbing a baby and running out the door, everyone chooses the baby - even though you could save dozens of fertilized eggs.  Why do pro-lifers choose one baby over dozens of “human beings” in blastocyst form?  How many blastocysts does the thought-experiment have to involve before a pro-lifer chooses the blastocysts over the living baby?  If it takes 100 blastocysts, then aren’t pro-lifers saying that one baby is worth 100 times more than one blastocyst?

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 1:39pm by tinyfrog Comment #11

All these cultural relativist objections to opposing the legitimizing of homosexuality illustrate my point about liberals. OUR culture defined homosexuality as a perversion, did so for generations time out of mind. The vast majority of the human race still does. And I grant you, these are subjective, not scientific positions. My point is why do liberals have such enormous conceit that that they set their preference not only equal, but superior, not only superior, but in a place to invoke enforcement and repression of dissent over traditional and established mores?
    And, by the way, the revulsion is not something idiosyncratic with me. It is natural and normal. Tolerance of homosexuality has to be learned (or feigned).

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 4:05pm by rg21 Comment #12

I never said homosexual proclivity is voluntary any more than any other perverse sexual proclivity is voluntary. (Behavior, however, is voluntary.) It is immoral because it is loathsome, filthy, degrading, and unhealthy, and elicits instinctive repugnance, just like the other perversions. Society has every right, in fact an obligation, to draw the line between approved and taboo. Whether society’s ostensible rationale comes from religion, manners, or political correctness is secondary. But I will take tradition as justification over liberal conceit or self serving nine times out of ten.

You sound like a Fundie.  How do you feel about women’s health issues, such as abortion?  Pro-choice or Pro-life?

Personally, I don’t think atheism has anything to do with being conservative or liberal.  Now humanism…  Personally, I would question any professed humanist who stated anything like you are stating.  They would have to come up with a very good scientific AND RATIONAL reason for what you are saying.  See, what you are stating has nothing to do with reason and compassion or even rationality.  Your statements are all based purely on emotion.  Might I add that sex between a man and a woman isn’t exactly hygienic either.

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 5:02pm by Mriana Comment #13

rg21 seems to think that only liberals accept gay people as people.  Shockingly, the Conservative Party in England seems to not have a problem either.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/20/now-put-away-diamante-fairy-wands

I prefer discussions to include facts and to live in reality.  I don’t care if you have an “opinion.” To get me to think your opinion is worthy of consideration, you need to give me facts, too.

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 5:32pm by HappyHumanist Comment #14

No, they are based on tradition, experience, established order, and consensus, as opposed to conceit, pathologically malcontented personality, partisan agenda, a desire for attention or for regaining the youthful delusion of importance and destiny, self serving perverted desires, or the unresolved impulse to “get back at” your father. And I don’t need either a liberal or an Englishman to tell me how to be a conservative. You have conservative and Conservative confused.

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 6:21pm by rg21 Comment #15

All these cultural relativist objections to opposing the legitimizing of homosexuality illustrate my point about liberals. OUR culture defined homosexuality as a perversion, did so for generations time out of mind….

So… Liberals are guilty of being cultural relativists, but your argument for why homosexuality is wrong is based on ‘in general, our culture says thinks it’s wrong’?  In what sense AREN’T you a cultural relativist?

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 6:38pm by tinyfrog Comment #16

No, they are based on tradition, experience, established order, and consensus, as opposed to conceit, pathologically malcontented personality, partisan agenda, a desire for attention or for regaining the youthful delusion of importance and destiny, self serving perverted desires, or the unresolved impulse to “get back at” your father. And I don’t need either a liberal or an Englishman to tell me how to be a conservative. You have conservative and Conservative confused.

Tradition, established order, experience (which you are not gay from what I gather so you don’t have that experience), consensus was created by humans.  Who says homosexuality is pathologically malcontented personality or conceit?  Who says it is a desire for attention?  Who says it is perverted?  Humans do.  I hardly think being gay has anything to do with getting back at one’s father, esp when it has a genetic component.  So again, you are not providing facts or any rational.  It is strictly emotion and going by authoritarian rules and propaganda, not by any facts.

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 7:28pm by Mriana Comment #17

Liberals are motivated by conceit, etc. I prefer traditional emotion, authoritarian rules, etc. rather than those of liberals. Why is this even a question? Because the conceit of liberals is so enormous they think their idea outweigh all of human experience and accumulated wisdom. Or I could put it this way for you. I prefer the “consensus created by humans” to the imposition of coercive utopians. Stop shoving this down our throats.

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 8:01pm by rg21 Comment #18

Liberals are motivated by conceit, etc. I prefer traditional emotion, authoritarian rules, etc. rather than those of liberals. Why is this even a question? Because the conceit of liberals is so enormous they think their idea outweigh all of human experience and accumulated wisdom. Or I could put it this way for you. I prefer the “consensus created by humans” to the imposition of coercive utopians. Stop shoving this down our throats.

And you don’t think the attitude you have is arrogant and conceited?

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 8:30pm by Mriana Comment #19

I suppose there’s a sort of natural historical alignment of conservatism with religion because conservatism since Burke is concerned fundamentally with the value of tradition and community.  If liberalism is aligned historically with the detached sort of rationalism that is particularly indifferent to tradition and community, and focuses instead on efficiency and productivity then it makes sense that it would attract atheists who are hostile to religion. 

This is not a compulsion by any means, however.  The meaning of conservatism and liberalism shift over time and have shifted in particularly distinctive ways recently as some political parties have learned to build their power bases by encouraging ideological polarization.  Most people seem only too willing to go along with that, which is why it has been so effective.  If an atheist “must” be a liberal today, it is only because we’ve let party politics define the ways of thinking that we consider acceptable.  Bravo to those folks who think for themselves and resist the stigma of not adhering to party definitions of conservatism and liberalism.

Posted on Jul 03, 2010 at 8:54pm by ToddStark Comment #20

I cringe when I realise it is going to be Robert Price, I really do.
He left at the end with a challenge asking if anything he had said was religious in nature, i.e., faith-based.  To which I think I can say yes, his views on abortion are an extrapolation of the sixth commandment.  To call it infanticide, murder, is the invocation of the sanctity of life which is promoted by the religious mindset.  It is true that an early embryo is human and alive but it has no identity, no self. Unless Price perceives a soul there, there is no rational reason to preserve it over other considerations, the welfare of the mother for example.
But this issue was dug into with Peter Singer on POI, (15/11/2008) and the topic was discussed with real clarity.  In that episode there was none of Price’s insufferable crowing. None of his deliberately obscuring language, his ethereal cultural or theological references.  This man is remorselessly self-promoting, he argues to win. This in depressing contrast to other presenters who seek to explain and to illuminate.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 1:44am by WetaMan Comment #21

“And you don’t think the attitude you have is arrogant and conceited?” There’s a tu quoque argument for you. But no, I’m speaking for the status quo or status quo ante, the accumulated practice and agreement of ages, hardly an act of conceit. Liberals just can’t get past the idea their pet projects and causes are superior to all and every. There is a taboo against murder (yes, religiously based, so what), a taboo against incest, a taboo against homosexuality. There are or were cultures that lack all of these. This is a values issue, not a scientific experiment. This does not mean it isn’t important. This does not mean liberals have better ideas and have a right to impose them on us and the future. That is the point and liberals are apodictically incapable of grasping it. New Age hucksters (invariably liberals themselves) can and do claim “scientifically proven” not only for claims that can be tested but for some that can’t and they believe it themselves. Liberals are the same sort of con artists. Liberals expect us to embrace their values because of who they are. That is the same reason I won’t.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 3:02am by rg21 Comment #22

rg21 is a kook. I have now read through some of his previous posts to this site, including an earlier exchange on homosexuality. He is clearly interested in using incendiary language and pissing people off. He is not interested in any kind of dialogue, of offering proof, of reasoning. His approach is indeed that of a fundamentalist (I think he’s probably a crypto-fundamentalist) but I have to say that I’ve discussed ideas with many fundies who aren’t nearly as offensive as rg21 is. This guy is a waste of time and effort.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 4:35am by kevin Comment #23

And when liberals can’t win arguments, they call names, make ad hominem insults, declare the arguments they can’t confront nonexistent, declare the dissenter a non person, beat their breasts, and declare victory. After all, might makes right.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 4:53am by rg21 Comment #24

A fascinating topic, however I am less then comfortable with the premise.  If I had to choose a label for myself it would not be conservative/liberal but skeptic or atheist.  Wearing a conservative/liberal badge makes it easy to adopt a herd mind set rather then think for ones self.  From there we find the us vs. them thinking which is rarely productive and often disasterous.  Regards

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 7:19am by Tintmeister Comment #25

...There’s a tu quoque argument for you. But no, I’m speaking for the status quo or status quo ante, the accumulated practice and agreement of ages, hardly an act of conceit. Liberals just can’t get past the idea their pet projects and causes are superior to all and every. There is a taboo against murder (yes, religiously based, so what), a taboo against incest, a taboo against homosexuality. ...

Why should we accept the traditionalist, authoritarian view handed down through an “agreement of ages” as holding any validity?  You seem to think we arrived that way through some incrementally improving process (social darwinism?) and, therefore, that it has been optimized to reflect the behaviors of human nature.  By this logic, though, we should all be religious, but you are not.  By this logic, honor killing and FGM are appropriate and acceptable in the countries that practice them.  This argument stinks of the worst kind of traditionalism and results in nothing but community-based cultural relativism.  Moreover, why should we expect such a society to optimize for human happiness or social harmony as opposed to, say, exploitation and expansionism?

When we determine important societal policies, it should be through logic and good ethical practice.  We can use the thinking of our forebears for help, but we would be making a grievous mistake to accept their words as holy writ.  This applies especially to social conservatives, who often base their decisions on gut feelings rather than clear thinking (e.g. “gay is icky and therefore wrong”).  Here, too, the “New Age hucksters” on the left are also guilty, viewing cool logic as anathema to the human condition, they rebel against it and embrace their own special woo.  I suppose the overriding theme should be: just because you feel emotionally justified does not mean you are intellectually justified.  We need to base our social thinking on facts and reason, not tradition and feelings, if we’re to have any hope of improving the human condition.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 8:21am by bimston Comment #26

And when liberals can’t win arguments,...

I’m not sure this is an “argument” that can be won or lost.  I see greater acceptance of homosexuality as a consequence of changing sexual mores, which itself I think is a consequence of increased longevity and health.  It seems inevitable to me, not a result of liberals or anyone else pushing an agenda.  It made more sense to enshrine lifetime sexual fidelity as a moral imperative when most of us didn’t survive much beyond the years we spent raising children, many of whom did not survive into adulthood.  The fact that, as a species, we were never particularly good at living up to that imperative is at least partly beside the point, as is the fact that men were always allowed greater latitude with regard to it than women.  Moral imperatives and restrictions tend to track what is broadly perceived as beneficial for the species (there were usually pretty good health reasons for religious dietary restrictions, for example) at a given time, and gradually fall away when they no longer serve the same purposes.

We’re currently in that gradual falling away phase with regard to homosexuality, which didn’t even emerge as a distinct identity until about 150 years ago and took several decades to begin to codify.  That, itself, was an outgrowth of the idea of human sexuality being a subject for inquiry.  It isn’t something that can be rolled back without also rolling back ideas about love, free will, and human rights that have become enshrined in Western literature and philosophy for the past several hundred years.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 9:03am by mcubedpdx Comment #27

And when liberals can’t win arguments, they call names, make ad hominem insults

... says the man who said:
“Liberals are motivated by conceit”
“[Liberal opinion is based on] conceit, pathologically malcontented personality, partisan agenda, a desire for attention or for regaining the youthful delusion of importance and destiny, self serving perverted desires, or the unresolved impulse to “get back at” your father.”

declare the dissenter a non person

Who declared you a non-person?  Or are you just making up imaginary slights to “prove” that all your detractors are sleazy (and who wants to side with sleazebags)?

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 10:06am by tinyfrog Comment #28

Nice posts by Kevin in reply to RG21.

I have to say, I’m very disappointed in the quality of comments from Robert Price. His stated points were reckless and hyperbolic. In particular Bob’s characterization of stem cell research as “Frankenstein science” and his equating the rational basis for opposition to Reagan’s “Star Wars” program to that of creationists who oppose evolution science. I’m afraid that Bob poorly represented the quality of thought that exists among the conservative point of view.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 10:52am by Riley Comment #29

“And you don’t think the attitude you have is arrogant and conceited?” There’s a tu quoque argument for you. But no, I’m speaking for the status quo or status quo ante, the accumulated practice and agreement of ages, hardly an act of conceit. Liberals just can’t get past the idea their pet projects and causes are superior to all and every. There is a taboo against murder (yes, religiously based, so what), a taboo against incest, a taboo against homosexuality. There are or were cultures that lack all of these. This is a values issue, not a scientific experiment. This does not mean it isn’t important. This does not mean liberals have better ideas and have a right to impose them on us and the future. That is the point and liberals are apodictically incapable of grasping it. New Age hucksters (invariably liberals themselves) can and do claim “scientifically proven” not only for claims that can be tested but for some that can’t and they believe it themselves. Liberals are the same sort of con artists. Liberals expect us to embrace their values because of who they are. That is the same reason I won’t.

Seems to me people said things almost similar to those who fought against past social issues.  Why bother making change if every time the same or similar rhetorical is thrown out?  The fact is, once change is made, people stop talking in archaic ways and in a direction that betters humanity.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 12:07pm by Mriana Comment #30

And when liberals can’t win arguments, they call names, make ad hominem insults, declare the arguments they can’t confront nonexistent, declare the dissenter a non person, beat their breasts, and declare victory. After all, might makes right.

“Liberals” of the past:  Abolitionists, Equal Rights, Civil Rights, Women’s rights, and the list goes on and on.  The very same excuses against Gay rights are basically the same excuses found concerning interracial marriages.  The law against Blacks and Whites marrying was repealed in 1966.  However, when one does their research, some of the very same arguments against gay marriages were made then against interracial marriages.  There is no ad hominem there.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 12:10pm by Mriana Comment #31

It is immoral because it is loathsome, filthy, degrading, and unhealthy, and elicits instinctive repugnance…


`
You seem to be conflating ‘distaste’ with morality.  They are very different things.  Are you not aware of this?

Also,  if someone were to feel similarly about your personal/romantic life, would their ‘repugnance’ be a valid platform for making moral judgements about you?

 

`

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 4:42pm by Axegrrl Comment #32

as opposed to conceit, pathologically malcontented personality, partisan agenda, a desire for attention or for regaining the youthful delusion of importance and destiny, self serving perverted desires, or the unresolved impulse to “get back at” your father.


`
Good grief, do yourself and everyone else a favour and pick up a psychology textbook sometime (one that was written in the last 25yrs, that is). 

There are qualified professionals who know far more about the subject than you do.  Reach out to them :)


`

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 4:51pm by Axegrrl Comment #33

Homosexual behavior is both immoral and repugnant as well as loathsome (not “icky’). Why should I have to defend either my or society’s abhorrence of it? Why is this even a question? Because liberals inherently believe their ideas and preferences are superior to those of established society or anyone else and they are going to enforce them come Hell or high water. Stop shoving this down our throats!
Strange, isn’t it, the people on this blog aren’t concerned to defend any other doctrine or aspect of liberalism other than homosexual legitimization. There’s a lesson in motivation.
  Incest and polygamy, contemptibly immoral though they are, are not quite as loathsome as homosexuality. But does anyone here believe their practitioners or pederasts could not elicit liberal support if they could become as big an asset to the radical left as homosexuals have been and promise to continue being? I suspect the pederasts have watched their close kin carefully and are prepared to follow their path.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 5:13pm by rg21 Comment #34

“Good grief, do yourself and everyone else a favour and pick up a psychology textbook sometime (one that was written in the last 25yrs, that is).

There are qualified professionals who know far more about the subject than you do.  Reach out to them :)”


Let me guess. They will say that liberals are intelligent and virtuous and well adjusted and responsible for all the good and progress in the world. If it doesn’t seem that way to me, it is my attitude at fault. Conservatives have an “authoritarian personality” oops, over 25 years old. I’m sure there is a more snide and sophisticated terminology now.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 5:26pm by rg21 Comment #35

While I am still trying hard to make the transition to the new Point of Inquiry Podcast, episodes like this one make it difficult.
My opinion is that the discussion on the topic of the left and right is not a useful or helpful discussion, especially the way it took place in this episode.
You really need to define liberal and conservative clearly, as no single person is one or the other in all aspects.
To define what I mean by democrat and liberal or republican and conservative in this post, I will use the history of elected presidents in America, using the average of the president’s ideology based on the record.
If one is examining the usual two party system in America, as well as the historical past, one would have to conclude honestly that both parties are horrible.
The democrats are moving more to the right and are continuing to take part in the aspects that one previously would have identified as a Republican policy, such as support for big business, war, the rich, and many more.
The current Republican party tends to block science, favor the corporation, cut taxes for the rich, destroy the financial standing of America to help a few high status people, stop social programs, reduce personal freedoms under the tactic of scaring people, and privatize everything.
While I find the history of America’s presidency to be troubling, I find Liberal Presidents to be the lesser of two very bad choices.  However, this is becoming the same bad choice as each year passes.
My criticism about the current conservative party, on record, the Bush Presidency, is it made profit at the expense of others at all cost, had bad policies, engaged in two illegal wars, and broke the law at every turn as its main objectives. 
Defending the Republican Bush strategy can be done if logic is applied.  For example, a person can state that Bush programs helped make tons of money for a person’s business and allowed special no bid contracts for a big company that one owns.
While I can disagree about the merits of the party values, I cannot argue with a person who is stating real facts that make sense about why a person can support the policies.  If one gets rich and had job opportunities, these can make a person find such policies supportive.  Did Price get great tax benefits?
While I find Price to be amazingly knowledgeable about the specific aspects of religion, the logic and reason he utilized for politics seemed to be absent.
For example, Price defended Conservative policy on the following claims:
1.  Conservatives keep war as a needed option, where a liberal president would make peace at all costs which would cause a disaster or words to the same effect.
(I cannot think of any case where this slippery slope was a reality.  Obama is continuing the wars with lots of spending.  Also, I am not aware of any left wing extremist that became the president or even had a chance of winning.  I am unaware of any left wing radical that has a TV show or a high media profile that would be equivalent to Rush and Glen Beck)
2.  Conservatives are a more sensible approach or words to this effect based on the fact that Liberals would be bad because of what they are capable of believing and doing. 
(I again cannot think of a liberal president who Bankrupted the country, tried to break federal law by limiting the constitution, used the Supreme Court as a platform to decide a presidential election, engaged in a war without logical explanations and did so illegally, well…you get the idea.  If you are going to support your claims with facts, you cannot say that conservative ideology is good because the potential left wing radical would be far more destructive.  This is among other things presenting a world view that there are only two possible outcomes, a Republican where we are using war to survive, and a liberal view where peace will cause the American empire to fail.  Again, look at the Bush presidency and see if the war was helpful except for private industry and weapons manufacturers and then look at Obama, who is not going to focus on peace and cost America its empire.  Instead, Obama has a few more right wing policies than Bush on some privacy issues, war goals, and more, which is actually not appreciated by many Americans)
3.  Abortion is morally wrong. 
(I cannot answer the question of this issue because it is not an objective aspect.  Morality is subjective.  If morality is paired with a religious value, then the idea that abortion is wrong is an opinion, which is as right as a person’s belief that it is acceptable in some cases, since no one that I am aware of is actually what is known as pro-abortion, instead, people are prochoice, a secular position, since it comprises of choosing a subjective personal value.  It is interesting to note which issue of potential murder excites the public.  Abortion is serious and murder, but why is not an equal or even a close to equal concern from the same people directed at the deaths caused by alcohol, which is the right of a large company to sell products which are abused so much that thousands of people die from the drug every year, including freeway accidents, where people may not have even used the substance and were just hit by a drinker.  How about the right for a company to deny medical coverage for a person who needs it and that person then dies?  I understand that Price ultimately is pro-choice)  Continued…....

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 6:28pm by The Doctor Comment #36

Continued———

4. The Republican party does not really cut medical funding and deny the legitimate use for science.  (Again, Price suggests left wing radicals would find many numerous ways to destroy science and many other things, and would make the Supreme Court so left wing that it would “?,” but the evidence that we have is Bush, who censored science, limited stem cell research, and created a state funded prayer based initiative.  He also stacked a very right winged Supreme Court.  Obama has so far ended the limits on stem cells and has not actively censored scientists on climate and CDC disease results.  Obama also appointed two moderate justices, they may be a bit liberal, but they are not left wing radicals, comparable to Thomas, Alito, Roberts, and Scalia who are very right winged.

Dr. Price, I am sure that many of your fans who find your knowledge of religion extremely impressive would love to have you take some time and modify and repair some of your political conclusions using the logic they have long expected and have appreciated.

Thanks,

The Doctor

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 6:30pm by The Doctor Comment #37

Doctor is confusing political parties and ideological positions. Many Republicans are not conservatives and I can see very little justification for calling George W. Bush a conservative. Nobody is a perfect conservative but conservatives include people like the late William F. Buckley and Russell Kirk, Robert Bork, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, George Will, and yes, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter (whom I adore because of her utter contempt for liberal moral pretensions) and many many others: intellectuals, economists, theologians, plus some popular culture ideological celebrities and masses of basically decent ordinary people. Liberals are the twisted, raving radical scum I knew all too well in the 60’s, the unrepentant SDSers and former rioters, thugs and vandals, dope users and libertines and their soulless, gutless, moral imbecile main stream “useful idiot” enablers. These are ingrates who hate the society that bore and nurtured them and gave them privileges, comfort, and liberty. Conservatives are not perfect and never have been, but they are the ones who have done most to bring us material security and affluence and they are the ones who defend cultural practices that enhance beauty, progress, trust, character, love, safety, and opportunities for progress in every direction. In my life time I have seen liberals turn civilization into a stinking cesspool and I hate them for it.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 7:20pm by rg21 Comment #38

Homosexual behavior is both immoral and repugnant as well as loathsome (not “icky’). Why should I have to defend either my or society’s abhorrence of it? Why is this even a question? Because liberals inherently believe their ideas and preferences are superior to those of established society or anyone else and they are going to enforce them come Hell or high water. Stop shoving this down our throats!
Strange, isn’t it, the people on this blog aren’t concerned to defend any other doctrine or aspect of liberalism other than homosexual legitimization. There’s a lesson in motivation.
  Incest and polygamy, contemptibly immoral though they are, are not quite as loathsome as homosexuality. But does anyone here believe their practitioners or pederasts could not elicit liberal support if they could become as big an asset to the radical left as homosexuals have been and promise to continue being? I suspect the pederasts have watched their close kin carefully and are prepared to follow their path.

I’m sorry, but do you think this is an argument?  You’ve made assertions without even attempting to rationalize them.  Perhaps this is how you’re used to presenting arguments, and, if so, this is very telling.  For instance, you make three statements:
1) Homosexual behavior is immoral
2) Homosexual behavior is repugnant
3) Homosexual behavior is loathsome

and you have the audacity to add:
I don’t have to defend my argument because
QED.

To properly convey your point, your statements should read “homosexual behavior is immoral because [well-stated reason]”.

Why is homosexuality worse than incest or polygamy?  What’s wrong with incest and polygamy?  Do you expect me to just take your word for it?  Do you actually think the argument, “many people find behavior X loathsome, and thus it is immoral” works one whit toward defending anything?  Allow me to demonstrate:

Pederasty is morally repugnant because children cannot be consenting partners in a sexual relationship either legally or mentally.  Frequently, the nature of the pederast-child relationship is one where the child’s explicit trust in the adult as an authority figure or guardian is exploited.  In any case, the young victims often experience mental and physical trauma as a result of such abuse, and are more likely to engage in pedophiliac behavior, themselves.  Since it is wrong to inflict trauma on somebody, especially if you are a guardian or authority figure over that individual and they are additionally incapable of mentally consenting to the attentions, pederasty must be wrong.

Some people may agree with your view (that homosexuality is immoral, repugnant, and loathsome), but if you ever expect to argue your case before a critical audience like this one, you must present a well-formed argument.  Until you learn to provide arguments instead of ill-informed opinions, you won’t get very far on this board.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 7:30pm by bimston Comment #39

Homosexual behavior is both immoral and repugnant as well as loathsome (not “icky’). Why should I have to defend either my or society’s abhorrence of it? Why is this even a question? Because liberals inherently believe their ideas and preferences are superior to those of established society or anyone else and they are going to enforce them come Hell or high water. Stop shoving this down our throats!
Strange, isn’t it, the people on this blog aren’t concerned to defend any other doctrine or aspect of liberalism other than homosexual legitimization. There’s a lesson in motivation.
  Incest and polygamy, contemptibly immoral though they are, are not quite as loathsome as homosexuality. But does anyone here believe their practitioners or pederasts could not elicit liberal support if they could become as big an asset to the radical left as homosexuals have been and promise to continue being? I suspect the pederasts have watched their close kin carefully and are prepared to follow their path.

You sound like a Xian.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 7:55pm by Mriana Comment #40

Homosexual behavior is both immoral and repugnant as well as loathsome (not “icky’). Why should I have to defend either my or society’s abhorrence of it?


`
Hey, as long as you don’t actively do anything to try to prevent things like same-sex marriage (and base your ‘argument’ on your loathing), then abhor away! :)

I feel similarly about Rush Limbaugh and wouldn’t my loathing to be restricted either :) 

And all of the people who would find your personal/romantic life to be despicable and vomit-inducing (and trust me, they’re out there) should be free to continue their abhorrence as well :)

*starting a round of ‘Kumbaya’*


`

Posted on Jul 04, 2010 at 9:22pm by Axegrrl Comment #41

Matters of morals, mores, and values are fundamentally different from science. People here seem to have trouble grasping that. Sexual perversion, murder, deceit, harming other people, torturing animals, destroying wilderness - these are morally wrong by arbitrary cultural agreement. Their relationship to material empirical facts is complex, indirect, and often contradictory. Always or nearly always it is impossible to see or trace them all.
    The status quo, logically, is not required to defend itself. The burden of proof is on the radical change advocate, like the person making a paranormal claim. The revulsion against homosexuality is natural. The taboo is or was established and effectively universal. You accursed radicals are demanding the line between normal and deviant, approved and taboo, be moved to accommodate homosexuals and homosexuals only. Why? The id argument and a reward for support for the Democratic Party are not good enough answers. The claim that traditional values have no simple overt obvious scientific basis in no answer at all. It is a diversion.
    The consent distinction for pederasty is for teenagers something of a legal fiction, a legal fiction I’m willing to buy, but disingenuous for an argument as presented here by homosexual advocates. Even if we were to grant you that one, it still leaves you bound by consistency to support incest, polygamy, coprophilia, necrophilia, vampirism, and God knows what other Hellish abominations.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 3:30am by rg21 Comment #42

Let me get this straight: you’re saying the status quo has no obligation to justify its position because it’s the status quo?  The status quo is often wrong, and if it appears to be depriving rights from an arbitrary swathe of the population, we need to see that this is undone.  It doesn’t matter if this group is cultural, financial, or sexual in nature, or what your personal hang-ups about the group may be; in an open and free society, we can reasonably expect to be open and free.  If you want to live in a reactionary society dominated by ancient taboos, superstitions, and prejudices, you’re welcome to move to wherever such values are appreciated.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 8:12am by bimston Comment #43

I would like to share my experiences within the Atheist/Secular internet sites.  I tend to be Fiscally Conservative and Socially liberal.  In other words, my whole outlook socially and politically is based on individual freedoms and fiscal responsibility.  I am registered on a number of Atheist sites and when I mention my political opinions, I am taken to task.  I do not vote for Social Conservative positions and have not been a Republican since 1988.  I am as close to Capitalism as I can find in a candidate.  Corruption took over the GOP and allowed a terrible corruption with regard to corporations.  Allowing Enron to function was the last straw for me.  Without money making corporations that bring jobs to all of us, we will have to put up with government control over our incomes.  I personally believe that allowing Bush to pay the Christian Churches out of Federal funds, was the turning point in bringing the Christians into the voting booth.  It triggered a corruption based on any laws broken in the name of Jesus Christ were justified. 

We must train the next generation into knowing right from wrong before we allow them to vote.  I learned from Rand to never take anything from anyone that I did not earn.  It is easier to work for something rather than vote for someone who promises handouts.  I am very unpopular on many internet sites.

The only solution to my problems will work only when the separation of church and state is set in cement.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 9:14am by Sandy Price Comment #44

I would like to share my experiences within the Atheist/Secular internet sites.  I tend to be Fiscally Conservative and Socially liberal.  In other words, my whole outlook socially and politically is based on individual freedoms and fiscal responsibility.  I am registered on a number of Atheist sites and when I mention my political opinions, I am taken to task.

How so?  I mentioned earlier that I tend towards economic moderate/conservative and social liberalism, and I’ve never been “taken to task” for my position on economics (being socially liberal gets plenty of attacks from social conservatives, though).  Although, maybe I’m underestimating the degree to which you are economically conservative - I can imagine that some rich people want absolutely minimal taxes, and I can imagine that it starts arguments.  Personally, I’m more of the opinion that some of the money that people “earn” isn’t as directly earned by themselves as they believe it is - it’s “earned” because they live in a society that has lots of social programs that increase the wealth of the entire society, including things like: free public education, libraries, roads, police, military, government funded research, etc.  That’s why I think people who claim that every penny they “earn” is 100% theirs and taxes are the equivalent of government-based theft are full of it.  No rich person in America would’ve been 1/10th as rich if they had been born in Jamaica - and I think that shows just how much those rich people benefit from their surrounding society, even though they try to deny it and act as if they are an island.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 11:01am by tinyfrog Comment #45

I don’t think a person’s stance on fiscal issues is especially relevant to his or her theological stance.  A disproportionate number of atheists are probably fiscally liberal because they’re socially liberal and the two stances are loosely correlated.  However, a substantial chunk of social conservatism is deeply rooted in religious ideals and traditional ideas about the role of government in policing morality.  Financial conservatism has no such link, insofar as I can tell.  An extreme fiscal conservative will likely be viewed as cold or uncharitable by a fiscal liberal; and, likewise, fiscal liberals can be seen as naive or impractical by a conservative.  However, both of these positions are legitimate views regarding the role of government in controlling the wealth of society and supporting the welfare of the populace.  They rely not on gut instincts or religious dogma in deriving their position, but upon well-reasoned positions on why (and how) the government should or should not collect revenue and use those funds for administration, infrastructure, defense, and social programs.  So, in short, it’s perfectly okay for somebody to have grievances with fiscally conservative stances, but that it is antithetical to an atheistic perspective is not one of them.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 11:16am by bimston Comment #46

Matters of morals, mores, and values are fundamentally different from science. People here seem to have trouble grasping that. Sexual perversion, murder, deceit, harming other people, torturing animals, destroying wilderness - these are morally wrong by arbitrary cultural agreement. Their relationship to material empirical facts is complex, indirect, and often contradictory. Always or nearly always it is impossible to see or trace them all.
    The status quo, logically, is not required to defend itself. The burden of proof is on the radical change advocate, like the person making a paranormal claim. The revulsion against homosexuality is natural. The taboo is or was established and effectively universal. You accursed radicals are demanding the line between normal and deviant, approved and taboo, be moved to accommodate homosexuals and homosexuals only. Why? The id argument and a reward for support for the Democratic Party are not good enough answers. The claim that traditional values have no simple overt obvious scientific basis in no answer at all. It is a diversion.
    The consent distinction for pederasty is for teenagers something of a legal fiction, a legal fiction I’m willing to buy, but disingenuous for an argument as presented here by homosexual advocates. Even if we were to grant you that one, it still leaves you bound by consistency to support incest, polygamy, coprophilia, necrophilia, vampirism, and God knows what other Hellish abominations.

Who says homosexuality is a sexual perversion?  It has nothing to do with incest, which is vile IMO.  What does a human creation such as God have to do with it?

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 12:49pm by Mriana Comment #47

rg21 is the Uncle Ruckus of atheists. If I’m not mistaken he actually called himself authoritarian in one of his posts.

I stand for the vast majority of atheists when I say that it is more paradoxical to be a socially conservative atheist than to be an atheist who believes in ghosts. One of the first things I learned as I explored atheism and critical thinking is that tradition and majority do not and cannot demonstrate the truth of an argument; repugnance need not even apply.

Price argued that animals do not deserve ethical treatment because they cannot return our benevolence and have none towards each other. Non-theological defenses of ethical indifference toward animals often implicitly or explicitly employ naturalistic fallacies; “Suffering is inherent in nature, therefore it is admissible to cause suffering”. Devoid of “nature, red in tooth and claw” connotations, the argument Price forwards is just as valid in human society as it is the wilderness. If one wishes to argue (as examples) that “killing animals for food or research is okay because death and suffering are omnipresent in nature” there is no reason that you could not also make the arugment that “stealing is okay because there well always be some level of crime in society” and that “killing an annoying old woman is okay because she’ll die soon anyway.”

And it is not enough to counter that human societies are built on social contracts and trust that cannot exist between humans and animals or between animals and other animals. Social contracts and reciprocity are involved in keeping society functional. They are not the basis for ethical consideration. They may very well explain why morality evolved, but it does not justify withholding assistance from someone in need if you’re unsure if you’ll be repaid or thanked. Animals cannot be punished for breaking a law they have no concept of, but they can and should be protected from humans who should know better. This is the basis for animal welfare organizations like ASPCA, even if their jurisdiction is limited to “pets”: these animals should be protected not merely because they are bred as pets, or are someone’s property, or are loved, or could be loved, but because they can suffer and were made to suffer by culpable humans.

The idea that animal rights implies some kind of interspecies harmony or the policing of nature is ludicrous. It would make as much (non)sense to argue that fascism is the inevitable result of effective law enforcement. The prevailing sentiment is that vegetarians and animal rights activists are unrealistic peacenik kooks and ignore the suffering inherent in nature. While that may be true of some it is not for myself. Conversely, my experience of those who defend meat-eating, hunting, and general ethical indifference toward animals is that they have a warped view of nature, that they overemphasize predation and violence in order to justify their behavior. Their view is a philosophical cousin to the belief that evolution via “survival of the fittest” will always tend toward viciousness, sharp teeth, and sociopathy, a view regarded by the majority of evolutionary biologists and ecologists as simplistic and naive.

That’s the two-cents of a pro-choice vegan atheist.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 1:51pm by Logan Comment #48

I think rg21 is right about one thing: if you support the right of consenting adults to do something “perverted”, then your support must logically extend to all perversions between consenting adults, not just one or two. Therefore, incest and polygamy should not be banned or made illegal in of themselves, but forcing a young girl to be your fourth wife or trying to impregnate your sister and carry the child to term would still be illegal.

I think it was Johnathan Haidt who recorded people’s reactions to morally ambiguous stories in a psychology study. One was a hypothetical about a brother and sister together on vacation who decide to have sex once and use contraception. Every reader reacted with disgust but no one could state why exactly it was ethically “wrong”. Similarly, I think that to dismiss preversions as (ethically) wrong because they are yucky is no better than rg21’s dismissal of homosexuality. I find smoking repugnant and damaging but I don’t think society has the right to force people to stop (dangers of second-hand smoke notwithstanding).

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 2:12pm by Logan Comment #49

Price is sharp, but when he talks politics he just regurgitates everything he heard on Rush Limbaugh the night before. Unfortunate. He is capable of being so much more logical.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 2:51pm by Vic333 Comment #50

I think rg21 is right about one thing: if you support the right of consenting adults to do something “perverted”, then your support must logically extend to all perversions between consenting adults, not just one or two. Therefore, incest and polygamy should not be banned or made illegal in of themselves, but forcing a young girl to be your fourth wife or trying to impregnate your sister and carry the child to term would still be illegal.

Incest is most certainly perverted, but who says homosexuality is?  Incest is not an act between two consenting adults, so that has nothing to do with the discussion of homosexuality and is a complete and total ad hom.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 3:21pm by Mriana Comment #51

Price is sharp, but when he talks politics he just regurgitates everything he heard on Rush Limbaugh the night before. Unfortunate. He is capable of being so much more logical.

I don’t even discuss politics with Bob, because we have two opposing views.  The same goes for animals and the environment.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 3:22pm by Mriana Comment #52

Incest is most certainly perverted, but who says homosexuality is?  Incest is not an act between two consenting adults, so that has nothing to do with the discussion of homosexuality and is a complete and total ad hom.

Why is incest perverted?  Why can’t it be between two consenting adults?  While I find the idea of incest “icky”, that doesn’t make it any more perverse than any number of things that people like to do that I find disgusting.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 3:37pm by bimston Comment #53

I think it was Johnathan Haidt who recorded people’s reactions to morally ambiguous stories in a psychology study. One was a hypothetical about a brother and sister together on vacation who decide to have sex once and use contraception. Every reader reacted with disgust but no one could state why exactly it was ethically “wrong”.

Probably doesn’t matter much, but I think it was Marc Hauser, not Jonathan Haidt.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 4:12pm by George Comment #54

Incest is most certainly perverted, but who says homosexuality is?  Incest is not an act between two consenting adults, so that has nothing to do with the discussion of homosexuality and is a complete and total ad hom.

Why is incest perverted?  Why can’t it be between two consenting adults?  While I find the idea of incest “icky”, that doesn’t make it any more perverse than any number of things that people like to do that I find disgusting.

It’s perverted because the majority of the time it is a father or alike raping a child.  What do you not get?  I don’t find it “icky”, I find it down right SICK!  And anyone who makes stupid statements…  You just don’t get it do you?  Homosexuality and incests are two different topics and to say they are one in the same is total ignorance.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 4:28pm by Mriana Comment #55

In the majority of cases incest is an incident of an elder adult raping a child. But, strictly by definition, I suppose it need not be. As a matter of what is what is not “perverted” ... that’s just a matter of taste. Most homosexual men I know consider sex with a woman to be “icky”. What makes an act moral or immoral comes down to whether it is harmful, isn’t it? That’s even the line the draw in cases of mental evaluation, a danger to yourself or others. Rape, murder, theft, would all fall under that heading pretty easily. I believe pr brought up vampirism is his desire to paint those with different sexual taste than his as. Voluntary vampirism, fine, involuntary, bad. Pretty simple, it seems.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 4:40pm by Vic333 Comment #56

I don’t even discuss politics with Bob

Yeah, I really don’t get his political views. It seems 180 degrees from his normal mode of thinking. Or, maybe it’s the other way around? Either way, it’s a good topic to avoid.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 4:52pm by Vic333 Comment #57

In the majority of cases incest is an incident of an elder adult raping a child. But, strictly by definition, I suppose it need not be. As a matter of what is what is not “perverted” ... that’s just a matter of taste. Most homosexual men I know consider sex with a woman to be “icky”. What makes an act moral or immoral comes down to whether it is harmful, isn’t it? That’s even the line the draw in cases of mental evaluation, a danger to yourself or others. Rape, murder, theft, would all fall under that heading pretty easily. I believe pr brought up vampirism is his desire to paint those with different sexual taste than his as. Voluntary vampirism, fine, involuntary, bad. Pretty simple, it seems.

It is not a matter of taste.  Incest is psychologically damaging and traumatizing for the child involved.  It is abuse, while homosexuality is not traumatizing for the two adults involved.  It is a choice for adults, but not for the child.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 5:20pm by Mriana Comment #58

Incest is most certainly perverted, but who says homosexuality is?  Incest is not an act between two consenting adults, so that has nothing to do with the discussion of homosexuality and is a complete and total ad hom.

Why is incest perverted?  Why can’t it be between two consenting adults?  While I find the idea of incest “icky”, that doesn’t make it any more perverse than any number of things that people like to do that I find disgusting.

It’s perverted because the majority of the time it is a father or alike raping a child.  What do you not get?  I don’t find it “icky”, I find it down right SICK!  And anyone who makes stupid statements…  You just don’t get it do you?  Homosexuality and incests are two different topics and to say they are one in the same is total ignorance.

`

I think we need to differentiate between different forms of incest and not make a blanket statement ~ parental/child incest would fall into the ‘harm’ category, but what about the example given, between a brother and sister?  I personally don’t have any moral objections to whatever 2 consenting adult siblings do.

 

`

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 6:06pm by Axegrrl Comment #59

I think we need to differentiate between different forms of incest and not make a blanket statement ~ parental/child incest would fall into the ‘harm’ category, but what about the example given, between a brother and sister?  I personally don’t have any moral objections to whatever 2 consenting adult siblings do.

 

`

Exactly.

Any incest that involves a child is wrong. But, is it wrong because it’s incest, or wrong because it’s rape, and child abuse. I say it’s wrong because it’s rape and child abuse. Incest involving two adult siblings is certainly not my cup of tea, but it’s not wrong in the way that an adult raping a child is.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 6:13pm by Vic333 Comment #60

Haven’t listened to the podcast yet and may not bother to do so, if for no other reason than that the answer to the question is clearly in the negative.

However, I did scan some of the posts above and noted a couple of folks raised the question of exactly how “conservative” might be defined.  I’m one of those who thinks that about 98% of the people in the U.S. who claim that label today do not meet a reasonable standard of intelligently conserving anything of value, but instead are people who are inadvertently, and sometimes intentionally, doing their very best to accelerate the decline of the United States along virtually every dimension.

Be that as it may, the question of whether Bob Price might be a conservative or simply a highly biased crank in the area of politics is relevant to the podcast and possibly to his credibility in general.

There is some evidence to help anyone who is interested reach a conclusion on that question on Mr. Price’s own web site, HERE.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 6:55pm by Trail Rider Comment #61

Well, some of the things Bob writes and says, even in one his own podcasts, is worthwhile.  So I don’t know if I would say he’s a total crank and he isn’t so conservative that he doesn’t listen to a woman’s POV on some things.  He is a professor of religion and doesn’t refuse to listen to what anyone has to say.  My problem is, he calls himself, besides a humanist, the oxymoron of Christian atheist.  He went to Skepticon and before his lecture, he had himself introduced as a Xian atheist.  IMO, that is a complete and total oxymoron, but I’m sure Bob would love to debate me on that.  Hey, I’m willing to listen to what he has to say and he had a lot to say about it during his lecture at Skepticon, but I still say its an oxymoron.  He flip-flops in his self labeling so much that I don’t know what he is anymore, except whatever the case, he still professes to be an atheist.  I don’t think we can question that much.  He is still very much confusing though.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 7:52pm by Mriana Comment #62

Price argued that animals do not deserve ethical treatment because they cannot return our benevolence and have none towards each other. Non-theological defenses of ethical indifference toward animals often implicitly or explicitly employ naturalistic fallacies; “Suffering is inherent in nature, therefore it is admissible to cause suffering”. Devoid of “nature, red in tooth and claw” connotations, the argument Price forwards is just as valid in human society as it is the wilderness. If one wishes to argue (as examples) that “killing animals for food or research is okay because death and suffering are omnipresent in nature” there is no reason that you could not also make the arugment that “stealing is okay because there well always be some level of crime in society” and that “killing an annoying old woman is okay because she’ll die soon anyway.”...

That’s a good point, Logan.  When I was listening to the podcast, this was one of Price’s points that also rubbed me the wrong way.  I totally forgot about it when I was writing up my comments, though.  This idea that animals don’t treat each other with respect doesn’t mean that humans don’t need to treat them with respect.  In my opinion, animals have various levels of subjective experience of the world, and it’s that experience that forces us to treat them humanely.  (Admittedly, I’m not a vegetarian.  I do enjoy meat, and don’t think our protection of animals is the same as our obligations to protection of humans.)  Another point against Price’s argument is that you could say the exact same thing about human beings in any anarchist society.  Humans who existed 50,000 years ago in hunter-gatherer tribes didn’t respect the right of humans in other tribes to live—“therefore” there should be no ethical obligations towards humans in other tribes.  Or, it was okay for europeans to enslave Africans because Africans also enslaved other Africans.  Therefore, White people have no ethical obligations *not* to enslave Africans.  Obviously that argument doesn’t work, yet, I would think that Price would have to accept those conclusions in order to maintain consistency.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 9:45pm by tinyfrog Comment #63

My problem is, he calls himself, besides a humanist, the oxymoron of Christian atheist.  He went to Skepticon and before his lecture, he had himself introduced as a Xian atheist.  IMO, that is a complete and total oxymoron, but I’m sure Bob would love to debate me on that.


`
Perhaps he means it in much the same way that Jewish atheists do?  Meaning, lacking belief in ‘God’, but culturally Christian.

(I have no idea how he means it, but just thought I’d toss that out there)

 


`

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 10:03pm by Axegrrl Comment #64

Well, I think many (not all) of us are “culturally” Xians because we were raised Xian, even if we didn’t stay Xian later.  So I don’t think clarifying our background is necessary.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 10:30pm by Mriana Comment #65

Well, I think many (not all) of us are “culturally” Xians because we were raised Xian, even if we didn’t stay Xian later.  So I don’t think clarifying our background is necessary.


`
Well, as we all know (especially from the intermittent atheist vs agnostic discussions here:) that when it comes to ‘self-labelling’, people are ALL over the map when it comes to what they choose to call themselves and why…...

But now I’m really curious to know what Price means by that.

 

`

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 10:39pm by Axegrrl Comment #66

Well, I think many (not all) of us are “culturally” Xians because we were raised Xian, even if we didn’t stay Xian later.  So I don’t think clarifying our background is necessary.


Well, as we all know (especially from the intermittent atheist vs agnostic discussions here:) that when it comes to ‘self-labelling’, people are ALL over the map when it comes to what they choose to call themselves and why…...

But now I’m really curious to know what Price means by that.

Yes, we are.  I listened to him at Skepticon, but I’m still not sure what he means.

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 11:04pm by Mriana Comment #67

But now I’m really curious to know what Price means by that.

Yes, we are.  I listened to him at Skepticon, but I’m still not sure what he means.


`

It’s so funny, because I’ve heard Price as a guest on shows/podcasts like ‘Reasonable Doubts’, ‘The Infidel Guy’ and PoI over the past few years and had no idea that he affiliated himself thusly.

I just noticed that on the most recent episode of the podcast ‘American Freethought’ (#94, July 1, 2010), the guest is the editor of a book called “The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails”, a collection of essays from contributors including Dan Barker, David Eller, Robert Price and Richard Carrier.

Methinks I’ll listen to it soon to see if it ‘illuminates’ anything :)

`

Posted on Jul 05, 2010 at 11:46pm by Axegrrl Comment #68

I am glad Logan (Comment #48) left a comment about the attitudes of Bob Price towards animals. I have to admit I have been losing interest in POI for a while, and this show just about ended it for me. I was personally offended by his diatribe against animal rights and animal-rights activists, in which he repeatedly mocked them and the entire idea as “crazy” and completely devoid of any scientific basis whatsoever. Sadly, Chris Mooney did not offer anything to the contrary; his only characterization of the animal-rights movement was blowing up labs.

As a strict vegan and longtime animal-rights activist, who has not blown up a single lab, I was offended as much by their callous speciesism (which is a serious fault of humanism in many respect, unfortunately) as by their own lack of thorough scientific (yes, “scientific”) understanding of animals, their capacity to suffer, their right to live without arbitrary and needless suffering being inflicted on them, and the complexity of the"culture” that many animals have. It seems that every month new (and credible) scientific findings are being published that show the complex social structures, as well as the “language” and communication capacities, in many animals at various levels of the food chain.

Logan already touched upon the fallacy of speciesistic reasoning that denies animals have any legitimate claim to equal consideration by humans. Peter Singer, in Animal Liberation, explodes this instance of poor, biased reasoning pretty soundly…as he does the argument that animals kill animals, so we can (and bloody well should!) kill animals as well. Sadly, this argument ignores the vast number of vegetarian animals in nature; the super-predators that get such attention in the “cruel nature” argument are the minority.

All of this makes me sad not just because POI’s hosts took positions opposite to mine on an issue that is more important than many would admit—because, in their dismissive attitudes towards animals, the hosts displayed what I think is the foundational anthropocentric prejudice that allows us to plunder the environment simply for our own comfort and benefit. I am more saddened because, in the bellicose ranting and slanderous language used in addressing this issue and those who actually give a damn about other living creatures than us lordly humans, they sounded eerily like the close-minded pundits and entrenched ideologues that atheists and secularists, with all their skeptical acumen, seek to deconstruct.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010 at 4:21am by JustinVK Comment #69

Brings back memories of the 60’s again when my radical friends considered asking me to be agricultural adviser to their commune where they sat around and debated whether they were keeping their animals in “slavery.” C’mon guys. Why don’t you come out with it and just declare that from now on no conservative heretics will be allowed to speak here or anywhere and as soon as you have the power, they will be burned at the stake (or maybe the steak). Oh, that is your plan.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010 at 4:54am by rg21 Comment #70

But now I’m really curious to know what Price means by that.

Yes, we are.  I listened to him at Skepticon, but I’m still not sure what he means.


It’s so funny, because I’ve heard Price as a guest on shows/podcasts like ‘Reasonable Doubts’, ‘The Infidel Guy’ and PoI over the past few years and had no idea that he affiliated himself thusly.

I just noticed that on the most recent episode of the podcast ‘American Freethought’ (#94, July 1, 2010), the guest is the editor of a book called “The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails”, a collection of essays from contributors including Dan Barker, David Eller, Robert Price and Richard Carrier.

Methinks I’ll listen to it soon to see if it ‘illuminates’ anything :)

Well he did at Skepticon and something else recently.  I’m not sure why he did that.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010 at 7:28am by Mriana Comment #71

I am glad Logan (Comment #48) left a comment about the attitudes of Bob Price towards animals. I have to admit I have been losing interest in POI for a while, and this show just about ended it for me. I was personally offended by his diatribe against animal rights and animal-rights activists, in which he repeatedly mocked them and the entire idea as “crazy” and completely devoid of any scientific basis whatsoever. Sadly, Chris Mooney did not offer anything to the contrary; his only characterization of the animal-rights movement was blowing up labs.

As a strict vegan and longtime animal-rights activist, who has not blown up a single lab, I was offended as much by their callous speciesism (which is a serious fault of humanism in many respect, unfortunately) as by their own lack of thorough scientific (yes, “scientific”) understanding of animals, their capacity to suffer, their right to live without arbitrary and needless suffering being inflicted on them, and the complexity of the"culture” that many animals have. It seems that every month new (and credible) scientific findings are being published that show the complex social structures, as well as the “language” and communication capacities, in many animals at various levels of the food chain.

Logan already touched upon the fallacy of speciesistic reasoning that denies animals have any legitimate claim to equal consideration by humans. Peter Singer, in Animal Liberation, explodes this instance of poor, biased reasoning pretty soundly…as he does the argument that animals kill animals, so we can (and bloody well should!) kill animals as well. Sadly, this argument ignores the vast number of vegetarian animals in nature; the super-predators that get such attention in the “cruel nature” argument are the minority.

All of this makes me sad not just because POI’s hosts took positions opposite to mine on an issue that is more important than many would admit—because, in their dismissive attitudes towards animals, the hosts displayed what I think is the foundational anthropocentric prejudice that allows us to plunder the environment simply for our own comfort and benefit. I am more saddened because, in the bellicose ranting and slanderous language used in addressing this issue and those who actually give a damn about other living creatures than us lordly humans, they sounded eerily like the close-minded pundits and entrenched ideologues that atheists and secularists, with all their skeptical acumen, seek to deconstruct.

Justin, I’ve had lunch with Bob and I’m a vegetarian.  He saw what I brought with me for my lunch and didn’t say a word.  I saw what he was eating too- I think it was pepperoni pizza or something like that (Gross) Neither one of us brought it up.  He’s not going to attack a person out of the blue because they are vegan or vegetarian.  I don’t like his attitude either, but as long as he doesn’t attack me about it when we meet, I’ll leave him alone about his carnivorous ways.  If it makes you feel any better, Bob is a pretty big man.  As you know, most vegans and vegetarians are not big people.  I’ll let you take it from there and think about it, then if you want, you can come back and let me know if that helped any.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Bob, even though we disagree on several things, but it seems to me he’s heading for a health hazard- maybe its because I like him that I am concerned.  If he’d get off the meat, he might lose some weight and be healthier.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010 at 7:38am by Mriana Comment #72

Brings back memories of the 60’s again when my radical friends considered asking me to be agricultural adviser to their commune where they sat around and debated whether they were keeping their animals in “slavery.” C’mon guys. Why don’t you come out with it and just declare that from now on no conservative heretics will be allowed to speak here or anywhere and as soon as you have the power, they will be burned at the stake (or maybe the steak). Oh, that is your plan.

A conservative heretic would be one who chose a belief system other than the established conservative outlook, not whatever bizarre point you’re trying to make.  In any case, it’s ironic that you’d make that accusation at this web site; the CFI is all about putting all of our ideas on the table and examining them critically, not sitting around in a self-congratulatory love-fest.

Animal rights is a serious issue because animals are not mindless automatons.  Their mental lives are very different from (and in most cases inferior to) ours, but we still need to examine what rights they ought to be afforded.  Hopefully, we can agree that it’s unethical to cause undue suffering in an animal that can experience pain and fear.  In an age where the exploitation of animals is not especially necessary in the developed world, at least much less so than our ancestors, we are afforded the unique luxury of contemplating the ethics of animal use in agriculture and research.  While I don’t take an extreme position on the issue (I think the use of animals is generally okay, provided they don’t suffer unnecessarily), I think it would be callous not to consider what all sides of the issue have to say.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010 at 7:39am by bimston Comment #73

Brings back memories of the 60’s again when my radical friends considered asking me to be agricultural adviser to their commune where they sat around and debated whether they were keeping their animals in “slavery.” C’mon guys. Why don’t you come out with it and just declare that from now on no conservative heretics will be allowed to speak here or anywhere and as soon as you have the power, they will be burned at the stake (or maybe the steak). Oh, that is your plan.

What?  Where do people get these sick ideas?  No one is going to burn you at the stake.  Too violent for starters.

As for animals, our (my family) pets are family.  They aren’t slaves.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010 at 7:42am by Mriana Comment #74

Justin, I’ve had lunch with Bob and I’m a vegetarian.  He saw what I brought with me for my lunch and didn’t say a word.  I saw what he was eating too- I think it was pepperoni pizza or something like that (Gross) Neither one of us brought it up.  He’s not going to attack a person out of the blue because they are vegan or vegetarian.  I don’t like his attitude either, but as long as he doesn’t attack me about it when we meet, I’ll leave him alone about his carnivorous ways.  If it makes you feel any better, Bob is a pretty big man.  As you know, most vegans and vegetarians are not big people.  I’ll let you take it from there and think about it, then if you want, you can come back and let me know if that helped any.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Bob, even though we disagree on several things, but it seems to me he’s heading for a health hazard- maybe its because I like him that I am concerned.  If he’d get off the meat, he might lose some weight and be healthier.

Thank you for the response, Mriana, and thank you also to the others who responded. I do not take issue with Bob Price in his personal lifestyle (though of course I would love to see him go vegan…ha ha), but only in the rancorous way he criticized anyone who makes a case for animal rights. Most of us know more about the scientific facts of animals’ capabilities than he (or other critics) admit, and it is not really a matter of a “bleeding heart” for most of us. This is indeed a serious moral issue in its own right, regardless of (or I should say in addition to) the very real harm that is done to living creatures. I would be more than happy to debate the point with Bob Price or anyone, but not if they are going to start screaming about how stupid I am and the topic is. That is where I start to get turned off…and when I start to think that the show is not being open to other perspectives.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010 at 8:07am by JustinVK Comment #75

Thank you for the response, Mriana, and thank you also to the others who responded. I do not take issue with Bob Price in his personal lifestyle (though of course I would love to see him go vegan…ha ha), but only in the rancorous way he criticized anyone who makes a case for animal rights. Most of us know more about the scientific facts of animals’ capabilities than he (or other critics) admit, and it is not really a matter of a “bleeding heart” for most of us. This is indeed a serious moral issue in its own right, regardless of (or I should say in addition to) the very real harm that is done to living creatures. I would be more than happy to debate the point with Bob Price or anyone, but not if they are going to start screaming about how stupid I am and the topic is. That is where I start to get turned off…and when I start to think that the show is not being open to other perspectives.

I agree and would debate Bob about it too, if given a fair opportunity.  I wonder if he even sees us as being connected to each other?  I’ve never asked him nor do I know his thoughts on Evolution.  He missed quite a bit of the other presentations at Skepticon, including PZ’s talk which was on Evolution.  Something about not feeling well.  Bob’s the Bible Geek, but I don’t know how much his geekiness goes beyond that.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010 at 8:47am by Mriana Comment #76

I’ve been hoping for something like this since I heard who the new hosts were going to be. I have been a long time fan of Bob as the Bible Geek and have subscribed to his monthly Zarathustra emails for years. I’m a social liberal in most every sense of the word, though I tend to be sympathetic to some conservative notions in economics. I have been blown away by some of Bob’s anti-liberal rants in the Zarathustra emails and have written him several dissenting letters, but that said, he is *still* one of my favorite hosts on any show anywhere and I can listen to him talk about religion and philosophy ALL DAY. He is provocative and engaging and a great asset to POI. And yes, I am fairly sure the “Christian atheist” title has everything to do with inherited Christian culture and death of God theology (ala Nietzsche’s criticism of certain pervasive remnants), though he would be better at explaining that.

So many things to respond to in this blog so far, I don’t know where to start. First, I guess I should say that what represents both the liberal and conservative parties in America often have little to do with the implications of the actual ideologies (unfortunately non-defined for the podcast), but instead are vestigial organs of coalitions contrived for better or for worse political reasons. This makes a huge difference and really complicates the discussion. For example, is Christianity really a “conservative” theology? Not at all. At its core, it is a very liberal theology (well, the argument could be made that it is really a totalitarian theology, but the actions of the Apostles in Acts and some of the teachings of Jesus were much closer to socialistic models than conservative or Capitalistic ones [excluding Joseph’s free market stint]). I would be happier to hear two shows on the subject: one that addresses atheism’s connection to the actual philosophies (e.g. atheism and the implications of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, the roles of conservatism and liberalism in religion itself, etc.) and one that addresses the behavior of the Parties themselves in the context of atheism (which this episode mostly was). All arguments in the latter must be treated VERY DIFFERENTLY than the former, because they are much more vulnerable to logical fallacies via ad hominem (ala RG21).

To be fair, I think Bob *might* qualify his statements about “animal rights” in the context of talking about the nature of “rights” for ANY sentient being (including humans). Many vegetarians (I myself am a flexitarian) don’t base their argument for vegetarianism on “rights,” but rather upon *responsibility* There is a difference. Personally, I like Jeff McMahan’s arguments, which pretty much ignore the issue of rights and dispel the notions of sanctity: http://c4.libsyn.com/media/18828/Jeff_McMahan_on_Vegetarianism.mp3?nvb=20100707003742&nva=20100708004742&sid=641faab5ea11425f95de67450ebe59e1&t=0e3b1e03163f7b2e14eb9 

Bob’s notion that any argument for abortion of a first trimester embryo can also be applied to infants is clearly the most specious statement he made the entire show IMO, as very few elements between the two can be linked. That’s a huge topic for another post.

As for military policy being identified with a conservative or liberal philosophy, again, that is not necessarily an ideological question that can evade context. Every single conflict has its own context and threat level that demands a unique assessment. It’s completely unfair to characterize either ideology as being hawkish or wimpy- though the history of the Parties is another story, but just as atheism can fit into either ideology because it is not fundamental to it, so can a national response to some international aggression. Neither ideology contends that all wars are equally justified.

RG21’s “reasoning” (based on gut instict!) was riddled with fallacies, namely is/ought, ad hominem, fallacy of convention/ad populum, etc- and the way he paints with such a big brush is telling of his inability to grasp anything remotely resembling nuance or eclecticism. Haven’t you learned anything at the Center for Inquiry about cognitive biases based on gut instinct? Consenting adults in a non-harmful context is the gold standard for sexual relations- including homosexuality- yes, that includes polygamy too, but not necessarily incest, as that often results in literally physically damaged/deformed children who did NOT consent. Mutual consent of adults HAS TO BE the baseline- there’s no better baseline you can offer. If you want to argue that polygamy is harmful to the spouses and children of polygamous families, you need to put up the evidence and go from there. Then we decide as a society if it’s reasonable. OBVIOUSLY children and animals cannot consent nor comprehend and are excluded from any sexuality. People allow some forms of pain into their lives in different contexts every day, from sports, to work, to rock-climbing- is it different for consenting adults in a sexual context (ala S&M)? Maybe, but I couldn’t say. I COULD say, though, that it doesn’t reflect the Republican value of individual freedom to deny someone that freedom with another consenting adult.

To say that conservatives “are the ones who defend cultural practices that enhance beauty, progress, trust, character, love, safety, and opportunities for progress in every direction” when they clearly opposed liberally inspired movements that brought America so much “beauty, progress, trust, character, love, safety, and opportunities for progress in every direction” shows you are probably willfully ignorant beyond saving. RG- do you “hate liberals” for the “cesspool” of worker’s rights, equal rights, women’s rights, and racial equality? Yeah, what a cesspool. I wish we could send you back there too. Maybe you’d get lucky and own a couple slaves, your wife would “know her place,” and your kids would get a modest 80 hour work week in a rat infested factory.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010 at 6:34pm by Gatogreensleeves Comment #77

Having problems with the quote button and text box tonight for some reason.

Gatogreensleeves said:

I’ve been hoping for something like this since I heard who the new hosts were going to be. I have been a long time fan of Bob as the Bible Geek and have subscribed to his monthly Zarathustra emails for years. I’m a social liberal in most every sense of the word, though I tend to be sympathetic to some conservative notions in economics. I have been blown away by some of Bob’s anti-liberal rants in the Zarathustra emails and have written him several dissenting letters, but that said, he is *still* one of my favorite hosts on any show anywhere and I can listen to him talk about religion and philosophy ALL DAY.

I also subscribe to his Zarathustra emails too and found the most liberal of them all being the one concerning women, which I responded to, but still I am often shocked by his views.  Like you though, I could listen to him all day when when he talks about religion, philosophy, and one you missed, sci-fi.  My only problem is when he goes on political rants.

To be fair, I think Bob *might* qualify his statements about “animal rights” in the context of talking about the nature of “rights” for ANY sentient being (including humans). Many vegetarians (I myself am a flexitarian) don’t base their argument for vegetarianism on “rights,” but rather upon *responsibility* There is a difference.

I do both, but keep my views concerning my vegetarianism to myself most of the time.

RG21’s “reasoning” (based on gut instict!) was riddled with fallacies, namely is/ought, ad hominem, fallacy of convention/ad populum, etc- and the way he paints with such a big brush is telling of his inability to grasp anything remotely resembling nuance or eclecticism.

I agree and I even think I said he using ad hom also, as well as others.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010 at 7:34pm by Mriana Comment #78

Unfortunately, it so often seems that arguments about animal “rights” really get in the way of reasonable discussion on the topic of how humans treat nonhuman animals. I mean, it often seems like opponents think we want animals to be out voting, getting drivers licenses, or serving in juries. It is simply a matter of extending to nonhuman animals a fair, unprejudiced consideration of their welfare and their right (gasp, I used the naughty word!) not to be treated cruelly. Proponents of animal rights go further than that usually because of the extent to which humans exploit nonhuman animals, even those that are kept as companions: think of the horrible neglect and abuse of dogs and cats, the exploding feral cat population (and the suffering they go through), dog and cockfighting, etc. There is a basic right to life in the sense of having a basic right to have your life and your welfare considered before they are impinged upon or taken away; the civic rights of humans is another matter. Civic issues only come into the picture when legislation is required to keep humans from abusing the hell out of the nonhumans.

Posted on Jul 07, 2010 at 3:51am by JustinVK Comment #79

...the exploding feral cat population (and the suffering they go through)...

I’m sorry to hear about the suffering bit, but where can I get an exploding feral cat?  I must know!

Posted on Jul 07, 2010 at 8:30am by bimston Comment #80

I had high hopes for the discussion but was disappointed by the entire exchange.  Bob Price is conservative and Chris Mooney is liberal; big deal.  Does their atheism, skepticism, or humanist values inform their worldviews?  Apparently not; they’re just culture warriors who coincidentally don’t believe in god(s).  If that was the story there was no story.  I don’t know much about Chris but I’ve followed Dr. Price for years.  I was disappointed that he glibly blasted away at this topic, one barrel loaded with pro-conservative shinola and the other with anti-liberal screed.  Chris made a statement to the effect that he was surprised an atheist would not be pro-choice.  While being pro-choice is a litmus test for being judged a liberal, I’m surprised to hear such a sentiment from the perspective of atheism or skepticism, as is the only ethical objections to abortion are based on religious values, or that skepticism offers defintive answers to moral questions.  Instead of spending a half hour repaving the borders of the same old “red state, blue state” tedium how about you revisit this issue by testing specific, individual topics in light of the ethics and values espoused by the atheists and humanists involved?

Posted on Jul 07, 2010 at 8:30am by Giles Comment #81

I’m sorry to hear about the suffering bit, but where can I get an exploding feral cat?  I must know!

Ah, yes, you have to love the ambiguity of language!!! Sounds like a Monty Python skit…

Posted on Jul 07, 2010 at 9:03am by JustinVK Comment #82

An exploding feral cat?  Awesome!  I want one too.

Posted on Jul 07, 2010 at 2:33pm by Dead Monky Comment #83

Unfortunately, it so often seems that arguments about animal “rights” really get in the way of reasonable discussion on the topic of how humans treat nonhuman animals. I mean, it often seems like opponents think we want animals to be out voting, getting drivers licenses, or serving in juries. It is simply a matter of extending to nonhuman animals a fair, unprejudiced consideration of their welfare and their right (gasp, I used the naughty word!) not to be treated cruelly. Proponents of animal rights go further than that usually because of the extent to which humans exploit nonhuman animals, even those that are kept as companions: think of the horrible neglect and abuse of dogs and cats, the exploding feral cat population (and the suffering they go through), dog and cockfighting, etc. There is a basic right to life in the sense of having a basic right to have your life and your welfare considered before they are impinged upon or taken away; the civic rights of humans is another matter. Civic issues only come into the picture when legislation is required to keep humans from abusing the hell out of the nonhumans.

It’s splitting hairs really, and I truly do empathize with your concern and your passion over the issue of animal suffering, but I really do feel that the language of “rights” is an important one to consider in this context (and in the human one as well) and is not “unreasonable” to discuss. The notion of rights is very complex. Also, the idea that all sentient beings have certain rights to life and/or pleasure beyond anything in the civic sense is not an open and shut case in the context of the sentient agent’s action upon moral agents (consider the rights of insects, bacteria, and cancer cells). If an animal has a right to life, (when) do we defend it from another animal’s right to survive and shouldn’t that be treated as a criminal action too? If not, how is it a meaningful “right”? If both an animal and a human were threatening your life, would you deal with their “right to life” (or happiness, etc) in the same way? These are not unreasonable questions. More problems come when trying recognize, establish, and distribute the rights of a (presumably) non-moral agent. Part of that entails observing how they treat other animals, including us. This will often not help the animal’s case. ‘Seems to me that when approaching the situation more from the responsibility of moral agents, we bypass the animal’s (a)moral interaction and focus on its capacity for suffering, as well as not only including a rational moral agent (humans) into the equation, but *starting* with the moral agent and not an amoral one. What I’m saying is that it seems more complicated to get there from the rights route philosophically than from the angle of responsibility, which only requires the maxim: prevent harm to beings who can experience pain unless it is necessary for protection or survival.

Posted on Jul 07, 2010 at 2:36pm by Gatogreensleeves Comment #84

I also subscribe to his Zarathustra emails too and found the most liberal of them all being the one concerning women, which I responded to, but still I am often shocked by his views.  Like you though, I could listen to him all day when when he talks about religion, philosophy, and one you missed, sci-fi.  My only problem is when he goes on political rants.

I do both, but keep my views concerning my vegetarianism to myself most of the time.


I think Bob is the perfect host to keep us on our toes. While I don’t agree with some of his politics, it’s important to remember that there are many ways to approach philosphical issues. I remember some years back reading a debate between two atheists on abortion:
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/debates/secularist/abortion/index.shtml and that was something I just hadn’t considered- that maybe there was a non-religious argument against abortion. The same with homosexuality and other issues. I still don’t think there is a GOOD secular argument for either, but they do exist and it’s important to acknowledge that there COULD be.

Yeah, I mostly keep it to myself too, though I am not a full veggie anymore. I was a veggie for several years, vegan for a year, and pretty much pescatarian for the last 15. I go with flexitarian, because of the very rare occassions I eat meat- sometimes to try something unique at my restaurant job, or sometimes on the rare occassions I’m challenged just show people I am against the “sacred object” mentality (in which case, I believe the action is justified). It’s about preventing suffering for me and I do it within my capacity, recognizing when my actions fall short of my ideal.

Posted on Jul 07, 2010 at 2:53pm by Gatogreensleeves Comment #85

I had high hopes for the discussion but was disappointed by the entire exchange.

I’m with Giles on this. I found the podcast shallow. Bob and Chris were not debating, they were congratulating each other for being so open minded in accepting each other’s views.

Posted on Jul 07, 2010 at 9:01pm by DarronS Comment #86

It’s splitting hairs really, and I truly do empathize with your concern and your passion over the issue of animal suffering, but I really do feel that the language of “rights” is an important one to consider in this context (and in the human one as well) and is not “unreasonable” to discuss. The notion of rights is very complex. Also, the idea that all sentient beings have certain rights to life and/or pleasure beyond anything in the civic sense is not an open and shut case in the context of the sentient agent’s action upon moral agents (consider the rights of insects, bacteria, and cancer cells). If an animal has a right to life, (when) do we defend it from another animal’s right to survive and shouldn’t that be treated as a criminal action too? If not, how is it a meaningful “right”? If both an animal and a human were threatening your life, would you deal with their “right to life” (or happiness, etc) in the same way? These are not unreasonable questions. More problems come when trying recognize, establish, and distribute the rights of a (presumably) non-moral agent. Part of that entails observing how they treat other animals, including us. This will often not help the animal’s case. ‘Seems to me that when approaching the situation more from the responsibility of moral agents, we bypass the animal’s (a)moral interaction and focus on its capacity for suffering, as well as not only including a rational moral agent (humans) into the equation, but *starting* with the moral agent and not an amoral one. What I’m saying is that it seems more complicated to get there from the rights route philosophically than from the angle of responsibility, which only requires the maxim: prevent harm to beings who can experience pain unless it is necessary for protection or survival.

Hey there G, first let me say I appreciate your understanding, and second let me say I agree that the issue of “rights” is valid beyond the human, civic realm. What I meant was that I think the concept of “rights” gets turned into a slippery-slope argument in many cases (by both sides) and distracts people from the main point: reducing the suffering we cause on nonhumans. The questions you pose, and the examples you cite (e.g., rights of insects/bacteria/cancer and interfering with predation in the wild), are philosophically legitimate, but I personally feel the most important thing here is to be practical, realistic, reasonable when it comes to our responsibility to other species. If we want to speak in extremes, then yes, there will be vegans and animal-rights advocates who want to push things as far as they can possibly go, and then to try to dictate the extreme position on everyone. But honestly, for the vast majority of vegans and even non-vegans who simply want to do right by animals, it really boils down to doing as much as we personally, and realistically, can to reduce the unnecessary and intentional suffering that we inflict on animals. It comes down to rights (in my opinion at least) only to the extent that there are many obvious instances of abuse/exploitation that necessitates legislation in order to be curbed (examples include factory farms, needless/avoidable animal experimentation, companion animal abuse, etc.). The right is one of equal consideration, of not being dismissed as a valueless brute with no feelings or capacity to suffer; it is the animals’ “right” at least to get a moment’s thought from us and not be unduly hurt. And for myself, I even extend this consideration to insects…I mean, do I really need to squash a spider in my kitchen just because I can, when I can (with only a little less convenience to myself) catch it in a glass and take it outside? Why default to a kill-or-be-killed mentality when we can choose to do otherwise without serious hardship? But it is not our job to police nature or push our moral codes onto levels where they are not really applicable. Animal rights is a moral issue for us only because we have an ethical code founded on reasonable, just conduct towards others, and we deem it unethical to inflict harm on another “person” who can clearly suffer in some way.

But even here the discussion could go on for ages with more split hairs than in a hair salon. And surely my comments are riddled with philosophical holes. Ultimately, I probably will never fill all of them, and I know I will never convince the rest of the world to “convert” to veganism or even give a crap about nonhuman animals. If I think only in extremes, then I risk turning into a fanatic (and no one likes a fanatic…) and losing sight of the main point; and if we in society (especially critics of ANY opposing position) only look at serious issues in their extreme cases, then we risk missing the value they might have and, in this case, the very REAL and REASONABLE chances to do good in the world that they offer.

In the end, for me, all that matters is that I do what I can, honestly trying to reduce the harm I cause other beings (human and nonhuman, intentionally and unintentionally) who certainly can experience such harm. Respect, responsibility, rights…the philosophical nits may be worth picking, but they pale in comparison to the compassion I feel, the intention with which I interact with the world, and the choices that I make in my life as a result.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 3:44am by JustinVK Comment #87

Mr. Price can rest assured conservative economics is strictly evidence based and rational right down the line.


Depends on how conservative those economics are. Every functioning economic system that has ever existed has been a combination of capitalism and socialism. Yup, I said the s word, deal with it. Pure capitalism, much like pure socialism, can’t ever exist. They are too sides of the same coin - utopian fantasies that only take into account one half of human nature and which could only be enforced through force and/or fraud because the majority of people will never want either of them in pure form.

Irrational and unrealistic utopian fantasies, like pure capitalism and pure socialism, can be considered religions because they are not evidence-based. Ayn Rand, a second-rate propaganda novelist, is worshipped like a goddess, and we’re told that the invisible hand of the market will magically fix everything as long as we set the markets “free”. Well someone said about God that the invisible and the non-existent look very much alike. I don’t see why it would apply only to God and not some invisible hand.

I highly recommend the book “Are Capitalism, Objectivism, & Libertarianism Religions? Yes!” by Dr. Albert Ellis. I’m very happy with the print copy I bought but it’s also available for free here (pdf): http://www.walden3.org/index.htm

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 4:38am by Diagoras Comment #88

it is the animals’ “right” at least to get a moment’s thought from us and not be unduly hurt. And for myself, I even extend this consideration to insects…I mean, do I really need to squash a spider in my kitchen just because I can, when I can (with only a little less convenience to myself) catch it in a glass and take it outside?

I agree with everything you said (though again, the limits of [potentially contrived] rights I still question with some skepticism), but especially on these two points. Whether or not I would frame it in the language of rights, I absolutely think it’s a shame that so many people stuff their pie holes without a second of thought as to the ethical parameters of eating- and not even just the issue of eating animals, but the socio-economic implications as well. I recently wrote about this on my facebook page, as non-threateningly as possibly (with that same great link to Jeff McMahan on Philosophy Bites), and only one of my 62 friends “liked” it, let alone commented. You have to drag people kicking and screaming to even listen to the arguments, let alone engage them, which is another reason I am usually quiet about it. Jesus was WRONG about it not mattering what we put into our bodies (though if the issue was strictly concerning the purity factor, then he was right- of course, it’s too cryptic to really know).

The second point: I remember like 15-16 years ago, when I was in a bad way, dumped by the love of my life and really depressed, there was a spider on the wall and I went over to kill it, and then I thought, if this is the kind of world that a god would create (I was actually a quasi-deist/Taoist/New Ager type back then), where creatures are forced to kill each other and suffer so profoundly, then I’m going to let this spider live as my FUCK YOU to that Creator. I took it outside and let it go. Since then, I haven’t always been so kind, I’ll confess, and when I kill an insect, I try to be quick about it, hoping I’ll get the same (not that I believe in karma)

One more thing this conversation makes me think about is the potential and actual morality of animals. At what point do we consider them to be moral agents? Why are some birds, for example, vegetarian and others are not? If it has nothing to do with morality in the sense that we know it, and it probably doesn’t (though it may with apes and dolphins, etc), is there still a factor that carries over to humans when considering our own diet? I can’t help but think of that vegetarian shark in Finding Nemo- that is funny.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 12:31pm by Gatogreensleeves Comment #89

One more thing this conversation makes me think about is the potential and actual morality of animals. At what point do we consider them to be moral agents? Why are some birds, for example, vegetarian and others are not? If it has nothing to do with morality in the sense that we know it, and it probably doesn’t (thought it may with apes and dolphins, etc), is there still a factor that carries over to humans when considering our own diet? I can’t help but think of that vegetarian shark in Finding Nemo- that is funny.

G, some brilliant comments there: YES to the Jesus was wrong thing (actually it was Paul, or echoed by Paul); Yes to the F*** God and thinking twice about squishing spiders. To your final comment/question, though, I would respond thus: I am very, VERY hesitant to bring in the idea of “morals” to how animals interact. They (i.e., some of them) MAY have some sort of morality, but I really limit my thoughts about morality to humans. Our morality is a highly developed code of conduct, part of which is based in human nature, and part of which has been honed through reason and discussion through time. I do not think animals have something so systematic, but perhaps some have an inherent sense of what is right and wrong, acceptable and not, etc. But as far as diet goes, e.g., the vegetarian shark, I do not personally think animals have the ability to choose in this respect in the same ways we do—in an informed (and ethical) way. Other omnivores might have that luxury biologically, but I am not sure and would not want to argue that they can reason through the implications of choosing one type over the other…or even make such a choice. Those that are carnivorous or herbivorous are more biologically than ethically determined; I do not think the lion makes a choice to eat a gazelle, it just does it by instinct. (I wish there were more science behind this, but what I have seen so far informs my comments.)

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 12:42pm by JustinVK Comment #90

G, some brilliant comments there: YES to the Jesus was wrong thing (actually it was Paul, or echoed by Paul); Yes to the F*** God and thinking twice about squishing spiders. To your final comment/question, though, I would respond thus: I am very, VERY hesitant to bring in the idea of “morals” to how animals interact. They (i.e., some of them) MAY have some sort of morality, but I really limit my thoughts about morality to humans. Our morality is a highly developed code of conduct, part of which is based in human nature, and part of which has been honed through reason and discussion through time. I do not think animals have something so systematic, but perhaps some have an inherent sense of what is right and wrong, acceptable and not, etc. But as far as diet goes, e.g., the vegetarian shark, I do not personally think animals have the ability to choose in this respect in the same ways we do—in an informed (and ethical) way. Other omnivores might have that luxury biologically, but I am not sure and would not want to argue that they can reason through the implications of choosing one type over the other…or even make such a choice. Those that are carnivorous or herbivorous are more biologically than ethically determined; I do not think the lion makes a choice to eat a gazelle, it just does it by instinct. (I wish there were more science behind this, but what I have seen so far informs my comments.)

Thanks Justin, yeah I was just joking about the shark, I don’t think that is possible whatsoever at this point- and yeah, we shouldn’t expect any creature without the brain for it to have morality in any sense like we have… but we DO see the instinct to take care of closest kin in many creatures and that is something and some brains, like that of dolphins and whales, may be right on the cusp.

I am interested in a polymoralist approach to ethics (not sure if anyone has coined that term), in the sense that I believe that some of our moral concerns are (or should be) treated philosophically differently than others, distinguished by how contingent they are upon convention vs. physiology. I’m still exploring this notion (based upon Mark Hauser’s work, for example- see the great POI podcasts on that). It may be that more physiologically based moral propositions (e.g. “right” to life, sustenance, mutually desired procreation, etc.) are (or should be) treated differently mentally, leaning more toward, for example, (and I’m picking this arbitrarily, since I don’t know) a consequentialist system, with fundamental rights, etc, while conventional/cultural morality employs (or should employ) some other system (e.g. based upon intention, for example, and/or democratic vote, etc). Sometimes they clash and we have inner turmoil. Religions screw things up by demanding an objective grid be super-imposed over what should be a more relativistic system. Anyway, I’m way off topic now…

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 1:25pm by Gatogreensleeves Comment #91

Hey G, your interest sounds like a seriously tough topic to tackle. I think you are in for some serious work because “instinctual morality” (if I can call it that) feeds into “intellectual morality,” so that it would be hard but not impossible to distinguish which ones are from nature and which ones are additional moral principles built upon that foundation. The examples you cite from nonhumans are good ones, which is why I qualified all of my thoughts on the matter. I definitely recognize some form(s) of morality as such in many nonhumans, at all levels of the “food chain.” But I hesitate to think they also have the rational superstructure that we do, and the codification that results. Your reference to Hauser reminds me of how intriguing I found his books when I heard about them (when I was still listening to POI!); another good writer is Marc Bekoff. The more we learn about nonhumans, the less inclined I am to pass them off as pure instinct machines, even if instinct may be their primary capacity. Anyway…all of this only speaks again to how much they rightfully deserve more consideration than we often give them.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 1:32pm by JustinVK Comment #92

Much of what we know of human physiology we’ve learned using lab animals.

In my laboratory we used live rats, frogs and rabbits, under anesthesia, to view first hand how some of their functions could be observed and measured using computers.

Students were required to record and analyze their observations much like a manuscript for publication in a scientific journal.

Every week we studied another aspect of physiology.

Upperclass students 50:50 male:female were determined to enter Medical or Veterinary Medical School with a sound foundation in both anatomy and physiology. They were outstanding students and, at my instruction, questioned every aspect of the work.

The weekly reports were instead of exams.

It always gratified me how much and how quickly these 18-20 year olds learned and how much their confidence was increased.
——————————————————————
PETA types had no insight into what these animals - and other experimental animals - have contributed to our knowledge base.

Childishly demanding that human rights are, or should be, applied to animals is absurd. Treating animals humanely is a given.

Whereas, my students bitched about the difficulty of the course, they reported that they thought it was the best course they had “endured”. The best course at the University; they made statements such as “I finally got my money’s worth” ... at this expensive University.

PETA attempted two breakins into my course, but they were expelled from the room. Their leader was actually arrested and tried before a University tribunal composed mostly of staff and students. He was not expelled as I wanted - but there was little doubt that his behavior was egregiously WRONG.

Their Faculty Advisor had approved of the PETA organization, but curiously, when he became incurably ill, he wanted evrything possible done to save him. He finally opted for a marrow transplant - a technique first developed in animals - but he died anyway. He and his sister were not a match.

Animals have great value, but to this day so far, human life exceeds the puerile animal “rights” proposed by such stupid people.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 1:35pm by Analytic Comment #93

I hardly think being gay has anything to do with getting back at one’s father, esp when it has a genetic component.  So again, you are not providing facts or any rational.  It is strictly emotion and going by authoritarian rules and propaganda, not by any facts.

Prove it Mriana. I’ve discussed this at some length and I don’t want to be repetitive to a group of zealots.

Please provide, just one article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal providing evidence that homosexuality is genetic, or biologically determined, in any sense, THAT HAS BEEN REPRODUCED in another similar study.

I’ll wait.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 1:52pm by Analytic Comment #94

Liberals are motivated by conceit, etc. I prefer traditional emotion, authoritarian rules, etc. rather than those of liberals. Why is this even a question? Because the conceit of liberals is so enormous they think their idea outweigh all of human experience and accumulated wisdom. Or I could put it this way for you. I prefer the “consensus created by humans” to the imposition of coercive utopians. Stop shoving this down our throats.

And you don’t think the attitude you have is arrogant and conceited?

rg21 is proposing an alternative to the knee jerk response of amoral leftists when their concocted rationales are ATTACKED for their mindlessness.

I’ll try to inform you about what women do when they have an abortion.

They deny that the embryo-fetus is comprised of the DNA of TWO PEOPLE and that their unilateral decision in many cases is incredibly arrogant and unjust.

You see, the DNA of the conceptus defines a “unique HUMAN BEING”, never before seen on earth, and a reasoned argument would suggest its abortion was MURDER OF A HUMAN BEING.

The morbidity with which amoral, anti-intellectual “feminists” look at the conceptus, fetus and child, defines EVIL.

A fetus accidentally killed during a shooting of the mother-to-be is considered MURDER!

But if you were to choose even a late term or partial birth abortion, you would get off scott-free.

There is reasoning and then there is amoral argumentation!

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 1:53pm by Analytic Comment #95

Animals have great value, but to this day so far, human life exceeds the puerile animal “rights” proposed by such stupid people.

Ouch! Busting out the “stupid” and “puerile.” Honestly, I have mixed emotions about animal testing. We see the clear benefits. I’m not opposed to non-violent testing of humans, so why should I oppose non-violent animal testing? Well, one can consent while the other can’t. But we’re weighing potential values and means and that’s what makes this such a difficult topic. Will we discover something that’s more valuable than one or even several animal’s suffering? What if we don’t? If aliens came down to experiment on humans analogously (i.e. they are so advanced as to consider us at the level of a chimp), should it be tolerated to some level? Or is it a fundamental self-awareness that sets the standard and we just don’t happen to have many animals at that critical self-awareness point on this planet (yet)?  How important is Bentham’s notion that it doesn’t matter whether a being can reason or not but that its ability to suffer is what matters? How can we weigh primary goods and evils vs secondary goods and evils when dealing with non-moral agents who can suffer and what kind of ethical language, if any, can we access to address these concerns (e.g. “rights” and “responsibilities”)? These are not “stupid” nor “puerile” considerations.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 2:19pm by Gatogreensleeves Comment #96

I hardly think being gay has anything to do with getting back at one’s father, esp when it has a genetic component.  So again, you are not providing facts or any rational.  It is strictly emotion and going by authoritarian rules and propaganda, not by any facts.

Prove it Mriana. I’ve discussed this at some length and I don’t want to be repetitive to a group of zealots.

Please provide, just one article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal providing evidence that homosexuality is genetic, or biologically determined, in any sense, THAT HAS BEEN REPRODUCED in another similar study.

I’ll wait.

First off, since my background is psychology, homosexuality is not a deviant behaviour or mental illness nor is associated with any issues with one’s father or mother for that matter:  http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/sexual-orientation.aspx  and http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/policy/  ex-gay.pdf (for some reason this one is blacklisted and it’s from the APA, thus the space, so please remove the space)

So you can scratch that off, even with the added articles at the bottom of the statement.  You can also dig around the APA site as well as the DSM-IV (soon to be V) website for more info as to it not being any sort of mental issue.  Neurology in the area of psychology was my second area of study.

This study deals with domamine genes concerning SOI and sexual behaviours (they grouped hetro and homosexuals together):  http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP05696715_corrected.pdf

This one shows that it is likely the gene comes from the maternal side:  http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/273/1605/3031.full

http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/0022-3514.78.3.524

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/261/5119/321

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/261/5119/321

http://escholarship.org/uc/item/863841tx

Brain response to putative pheromones in homosexual men:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1129091/?tool=pmcentrez

More concerning the brain of homosexual men (post mortum):  http://www.pnas.org/content/89/15/7199.long

Oh you said just one, didn’t you?  Well have more studies about the genetic, biological, neurological, psychological, and brain studies if you want them.  There is a whole lot of information on this subject.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 3:31pm by Mriana Comment #97

There is a whole lot of information on this subject.

Including some really fascinating stuff like how heterosexual males are better at picturing and rotating three-dimensional objects in their heads than homosexual men are.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 3:33pm by Dead Monky Comment #98

Liberals are motivated by conceit, etc. I prefer traditional emotion, authoritarian rules, etc. rather than those of liberals. Why is this even a question? Because the conceit of liberals is so enormous they think their idea outweigh all of human experience and accumulated wisdom. Or I could put it this way for you. I prefer the “consensus created by humans” to the imposition of coercive utopians. Stop shoving this down our throats.

And you don’t think the attitude you have is arrogant and conceited?

rg21 is proposing an alternative to the knee jerk response of amoral leftists when their concocted rationales are ATTACKED for their mindlessness.

I’ll try to inform you about what women do when they have an abortion.

They deny that the embryo-fetus is comprised of the DNA of TWO PEOPLE and that their unilateral decision in many cases is incredibly arrogant and unjust.

You see, the DNA of the conceptus defines a “unique HUMAN BEING”, never before seen on earth, and a reasoned argument would suggest its abortion was MURDER OF A HUMAN BEING.

The morbidity with which amoral, anti-intellectual “feminists” look at the conceptus, fetus and child, defines EVIL.

A fetus accidentally killed during a shooting of the mother-to-be is considered MURDER!

But if you were to choose even a late term or partial birth abortion, you would get off scott-free.

There is reasoning and then there is amoral argumentation!

It is not murder when the blastocyst is nothing but cells.  There is nothing but a leech that, one in which cannot live on its own, so it is not human.  Not only that, the early stages of cats, dogs, and other mammals look very much like the early stages of that which is suppose to turn into a human.  You can’t murder something that is nothing but a set of cells.

Not only that, it seems you don’t know the reasons for late term abortions.  One being that if the baby dies in the womb, to allow it to stay there and be stillborn could cause a septic infection with could risk the mother’s life.  The baby is dead anyway and since the body has not aborted it natural (that is what a miscarriage is, a spontaneous abortion) the woman might as well have a late term abortion in order to safe any risk to her life.  That is not amoral or even murder.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 3:52pm by Mriana Comment #99

I hardly think being gay has anything to do with getting back at one’s father, esp when it has a genetic component.  So again, you are not providing facts or any rational.  It is strictly emotion and going by authoritarian rules and propaganda, not by any facts.

Prove it Mriana. I’ve discussed this at some length and I don’t want to be repetitive to a group of zealots.

Please provide, just one article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal providing evidence that homosexuality is genetic, or biologically determined, in any sense, THAT HAS BEEN REPRODUCED in another similar study.

I’ll wait.

So you’re ignorant to any of the studies in this area despite your apparent interest in the subject?  I find that odd.  I hope some of these references below will help.  I’ve included PubMed numbers in case you want to look up the articles.

There’s no serious doubt that genetics or early development have substantial influences on later sexuality.  Just look at the effects of hormone exposure in utero on partner preference, such as that seen in estradiol- and testosterone- treated rats (Brand & Slob, 1991, PMID: 2017462; Henley et al., PMID: 2017462).  These are just two studies among hundreds of overlapping studies that show how early hormone exposure influences brain development and subsequent sexuality independent of chromosomal sex.  Whereas in rodents, b-estradiol is the primary fetal masculinizing hormone, testosterone does the job in primates.  However, primates are generally similar to rodents in terms of the organizational effects of early hormone exposure and their influence on adult sexuality.  Section 7.3 of Wallen (2005, PMID: 15862182) provides references to twenty or so articles detailing how prenatal hormones influence adult sex behavior.  Kim Wallen’s group has published a number of publications in this field and he frequently goes into detail regarding the similarity between rhesus monkey development and behavior and that of humans, such as in a 2009 paper (Wallen & Hassett, 2009, PMID: 19207815).  While it’s certainly more difficult to determine this effect in humans due to experimental limitations, we can still correlate prenatal hormone exposure with sexuality via various anatomical markers, such as Marc Breedlove’s group has done using digit ratio (Martin et al., 2009, PMID: 18161017), a finding that’s been replicated by other groups such as Honnekopp et al. (2006, PMID: 16005157).

If you want to know more about how specific genetic factors (rather than the developmental influences I’ve emphasized above) influence human sexuality, I’m afraid I’m not as well-versed in that subject.  If you’re really interested, I’m sure I can do some background research and find some literature for you.  My main point, though, is that our neural architecture, including the formation of sexually dimorphic nuclei such as the MPN, plays a major role in determining our sexuality, and this doesn’t always correspond to our chromosomal sex.  The biological determination of sexuality is not seriously questioned by those of us who work in behavioral neuroendocrinology.  If you seriously consider “daddy issues” as being an acceptable explanation for human sexuality, I’d suggest psychotherapy circa 1920 as being a more appropriate field of research.

Edit: it looks like Mriana’s posted some genetics articles, so I guess that fills out the genetics side.  This post was not meant to be comprehensive so much as an attempt to trace a single line of evidence from rodents to humans.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 4:12pm by bimston Comment #100

Thanks bimston.  You added a list of the one’s I hadn’t gotten to yet.  Well, he’ll have LOTS of reading to do and all peer reviewed too.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 4:31pm by Mriana Comment #101

We can always hope.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 4:34pm by bimston Comment #102

They deny that the embryo-fetus is comprised of the DNA of TWO PEOPLE and that their unilateral decision in many cases is incredibly arrogant and unjust.

You see, the DNA of the conceptus defines a “unique HUMAN BEING”, never before seen on earth, and a reasoned argument would suggest its abortion was MURDER OF A HUMAN BEING.

The morbidity with which amoral, anti-intellectual “feminists” look at the conceptus, fetus and child, defines EVIL.

A fetus accidentally killed during a shooting of the mother-to-be is considered MURDER!

But if you were to choose even a late term or partial birth abortion, you would get off scott-free.

There is reasoning and then there is amoral argumentation!

Uh huh.  So, when a fertility clinic produces embryos for implantation inside infertile women, and when it inevitably happens that the woman becomes pregnant and not all the embryos (“a unique HUMAN BEING”) have been implanted inside her, you would prosecute the doctor for MURDER if he discarded the unused embryos?  What nonsense.

Let’s also bring up the fact that it is not considered murder in all states, and New York only considers it murder after 24 weeks of pregnancy - but many conservatives have championed these laws so that it is considered murder - in an attempt to make it relevant to the abortion debate.  Seems like some rather circular logic to me.  I think I’ll go champion laws that says that taking someone’s picture steals their soul.  Then, once laws are in place that define picture-taking as “stealing someone’s soul”, how can you possibly deny that photographs steal someone’s soul?!

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 5:34pm by tinyfrog Comment #103

Stereotypical response.

Nothing substative to add, so change the intent of the subject, or the subject itself.

That kind of logic ... is not!!

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 6:18pm by Analytic Comment #104

Stereotypical response.

Nothing substative to add, so change the intent of the subject, or the subject itself.

That kind of logic ... is not!!

Typical Analytic response. Ask for peer-reviewed literature supporting an opposing viewpoint, receive answer with links to such literature, ignore peer-reviewed literature.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 6:24pm by DarronS Comment #105

Analytic ... is not!!
How ironic!!

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 6:42pm by bimston Comment #106

Stereotypical response.

Nothing substative to add, so change the intent of the subject, or the subject itself.

That kind of logic ... is not!!

Typical Analytic response. Ask for peer-reviewed literature supporting an opposing viewpoint, receive answer with links to such literature, ignore peer-reviewed literature.

Yes, we gave him what he asked for and then he rejects.  Typical and exactly what I thought he’d do.  He more than likely didn’t read any of it.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 6:45pm by Mriana Comment #107

I hardly think being gay has anything to do with getting back at one’s father, esp when it has a genetic component.  So again, you are not providing facts or any rational.  It is strictly emotion and going by authoritarian rules and propaganda, not by any facts.

Prove it Mriana. I’ve discussed this at some length and I don’t want to be repetitive to a group of zealots.

Please provide, just one article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal providing evidence that homosexuality is genetic, or biologically determined, in any sense, THAT HAS BEEN REPRODUCED in another similar study.

I’ll wait.

First off, since my background is psychology, homosexuality is not a deviant behaviour or mental illness nor is associated with any issues with one’s father or mother for that matter:  http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/sexual-orientation.aspx  and http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/policy/  ex-gay.pdf (for some reason this one is blacklisted and it’s from the APA, thus the space, so please remove the space)


I won’t hold your background against you if you promise not to respond as if you are an authority on the subject of what biologic, especially genetic, is required to determine “sexual preference”.

I also hold an EARNED doctorate in a hard science, not something I had to fall back on because I couldn’t get into medical school.
———————————————————————-
I assumed that my question would have been taken as written and yield the last word on the subject. But the stuff you presented has copyrights as early as 1991. But, if someone else took that old stuff and was able to REPRODUCE the findings - using the same experimental design - one of my MAIN crieteria, I might read it through.

By the way if you thought you could stop me cold with inaccessible publications - eg, Science Mag - you are wrong. I have access to all the databases and scientific journals held by my University library system. But Science Mag has become something more attuned to PC than actual scientific research. I have had publications in Science that were NOT reviewed at all.

Virtually all the old stuff has not been reproduced, so scratch that. The DSM Manual used to describe homosexuality as a mental illness but the contributors/editors caved under the pressure heaped on it by homosexuals, and homosexually friendly groups, who didn’t feel their deviance was a mental illness. People like psychologists!!

But now it’s eupemistically called an “orientation”, and I won’t buy that unless you DEFINITIVELY PROVE a biological basis.

I consider MSM the result of a series of CHOICES based on PREFERENCES and no one of any credibility has even begun to prove otherwise. Twin studies have been published, but not twins raised apart from birth. Anatomic studies of brain features - a sort of neo-phrenology using E/M - are still being cited by the ignorant.

BTW, I don’t come at this from any religious bias. I come to this as a scientist who knows the route(s) of transmission of HIV, a world-wide pandemic introduced to the United States by highly promiscuous homosexuals in the bath houses, and I will NOT be moved by any pressure. Politically correct and/or hypocritical or not.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 6:50pm by Analytic Comment #108

Analytic ... is not!!
How ironic!!

He 1. doesn’t want to take the time to read any of it and 2. doesn’t want to find out he’s wrong.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 6:54pm by Mriana Comment #109

I won’t hold your background against you if you promise not to respond as if you are an authority on the subject of what biologic, especially genetic, is required to determine “sexual preference”.

I also hold an EARNED doctorate in a hard science, not something I had to fall back on because I couldn’t get into medical school.

A humble suggestion to the moderators: Make unbridled arrogance grounds for banishment.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 6:58pm by DarronS Comment #110

I won’t hold your background against you if you promise not to respond as if you are an authority on the subject of what biologic, especially genetic, is required to determine “sexual preference”.

What I gave you was all of that, but I guess you didn’t want to read anything and find out you were wrong.

I also hold an EARNED doctorate in a hard science, not something I had to fall back on because I couldn’t get into medical school.

I’m skeptical of that.  BTW, I EARNED my degree too. Big deal.  Give what you display here, I seriously doubt you have any sort of degree and since you haven’t read anything we’ve posted, I see no reason to read the rest of you post.  Except as mod, I have to at least skim it.  As for everyone else, I highly suggest they ignore you because you have you’re mind made up and don’t want to read anything that people give you in answer to you.  They have no reason to respond to you anymore after that.  If anything you certainly do have it Piled high and Deep, but I doubt it’s a Ph. D.

Virtually all the old stuff has not been reproduced, so scratch that. The DSM Manual used to describe homosexuality as a mental illness but the contributors/editors caved under the pressure heaped on it by homosexuals, and homosexually friendly groups, who didn’t feel their deviance was a mental illness. People like psychologists!!

And this is why I say you have it Piled high and Deep, but not an actual Ph. D.  You don’t have a clue what you are talking about.  I also addressed more of your statements than just that one thing.  I addressed genetics, biology, physiology, neurology etc.  Another added on more genetics and alike, but you didn’t read any of it.  You just discarded it.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 6:59pm by Mriana Comment #111

I won’t hold your background against you if you promise not to respond as if you are an authority on the subject of what biologic, especially genetic, is required to determine “sexual preference”.

I also hold an EARNED doctorate in a hard science, not something I had to fall back on because I couldn’t get into medical school.

A humble suggestion to the moderators: Make unbridled arrogance grounds for banishment.

Don’t think I wouldn’t love to, esp when he acts like he is better than those with degrees in other fields of science.  IF he had one, he’d be looking at the evidence we piled up on him and re-evaluating his thinking.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 7:04pm by Mriana Comment #112

A humble suggestion to the moderators: Make unbridled arrogance grounds for banishment.

Don’t think I wouldn’t love to, esp when he acts like he is better than those with degrees in other fields of science.  IF he had one, he’d be looking at the evidence we piled up on him and re-evaluating his thinking.

I could always tell him I have a PhD in Astrophysics. And he calls Biology a hard science. Meh.

it’s a pity Analytic jumped into this thread. I was actually enjoying reading the thread and finding good information in the posts: better than what I heard in the podcast we were discussing.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 7:10pm by DarronS Comment #113

And some will never see the light if it critiques deeply held prejudices.

And for a Moderator to be censorious is blatant hypocrisy!

I read your stuff, but if I criticize it in any way, I should be burned at the stake!!??
————————————————————
As to the reproducibility of your citations, why are you averse to providing evidence of reproducibility, given your stated willingness to do so?

Did I mess with your ID? :ohh:

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 7:12pm by Analytic Comment #114

And some will never see the light if it critiques deeply held prejudices.

Go look in a mirror.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 7:13pm by DarronS Comment #115

I read your stuff, but if I criticize it in any way, I should be burned at the stake!!??

No, I don’t think we have a stauros big enough.  That and it’s quite messy and painful.  I wouldn’t want to hear your screams and feel your pain.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 7:18pm by Mriana Comment #116

And some will never see the light if it critiques deeply held prejudices.

Go look in a mirror.

Yes, I noticed the same thing, Darron.  I truly feel sorry for all our gay members, esp since they have to see such prejudice views as his.  He’s not only insulted LBGTs, but also non-theists of all stripes, women (ignorant comments about abortion), and well educated people.  I think, esp the last group, covers about everyone on the board, if not everyone.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 7:23pm by Mriana Comment #117

I truly feel sorry for all our gay members

I kinda feel sorry for the homophobes, not the gays. Would you feel bad if I mocked you for being the “weaker sex,” Mriana? ;-)

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 7:56pm by George Comment #118

I read your stuff, but if I criticize it in any way, I should be burned at the stake!!??

Yes, burned at the stake was exactly what was said.  Are you sure you’re not rg21 under a different name?  As soon as someone argues against you, start with the martyr complex.  A few pages back rg21 played the exact same game: “And when liberals can’t win arguments [they] ... declare the dissenter a non person” versus “if I criticize it in any way, I should be burned at the stake!!??”  Hmmmm.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 8:02pm by tinyfrog Comment #119

Yes, burned at the stake was exactly what was said.  Are you sure you’re not rg21 under a different name?  As soon as someone argues against you, start with the martyr complex.  A few pages back rg21 played the exact same game: “And when liberals can’t win arguments [they] ... declare the dissenter a non person” versus “if I criticize it in any way, I should be burned at the stake!!??”  Hmmmm.

Good point, tinyfrog. Analytic’s posts do have a sock puppet sound about them. Maybe the mods should check into this.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 8:07pm by DarronS Comment #120

I won’t hold your background against you if you promise not to respond as if you are an authority on the subject of what biologic, especially genetic, is required to determine “sexual preference”.

I also hold an EARNED doctorate in a hard science, not something I had to fall back on because I couldn’t get into medical school.
———————————————————————-
I assumed that my question would have been taken as written and yield the last word on the subject. But the stuff you presented has copyrights as early as 1991. But, if someone else took that old stuff and was able to REPRODUCE the findings - using the same experimental design - one of my MAIN crieteria, I might read it through.

By the way if you thought you could stop me cold with inaccessible publications - eg, Science Mag - you are wrong. I have access to all the databases and scientific journals held by my University library system. But Science Mag has become something more attuned to PC than actual scientific research. I have had publications in Science that were NOT reviewed at all.

Virtually all the old stuff has not been reproduced, so scratch that. The DSM Manual used to describe homosexuality as a mental illness but the contributors/editors caved under the pressure heaped on it by homosexuals, and homosexually friendly groups, who didn’t feel their deviance was a mental illness. People like psychologists!!

But now it’s eupemistically called an “orientation”, and I won’t buy that unless you DEFINITIVELY PROVE a biological basis.

I consider MSM the result of a series of CHOICES based on PREFERENCES and no one of any credibility has even begun to prove otherwise. Twin studies have been published, but not twins raised apart from birth. Anatomic studies of brain features - a sort of neo-phrenology using E/M - are still being cited by the ignorant.

BTW, I don’t come at this from any religious bias. I come to this as a scientist who knows the route(s) of transmission of HIV, a world-wide pandemic introduced to the United States by highly promiscuous homosexuals in the bath houses, and I will NOT be moved by any pressure. Politically correct and/or hypocritical or not.

I don’t care what your background is in.  It’s clear you have no idea what you’re talking about.  I specifically included PubMed numbers on all of my links to facilitate lookup and access on all of the articles.  In cases where multiple studies found the same information, I explicitly stated it.  In cases where numerous studies overlapped the same field and arrived at similar conclusions, I’ve also stated it.  However, it seems like you haven’t even pretended to consider the information therein.  These are not byzantine, backwards, highly controversial publications that I’ve referenced, but peer-reviewed publications that are frequently cited by other authors in the field due to their robust conclusions.  This is real, mainstream research, and is roundly supported by our current data.

And, for what it’s worth, neuroanatomical studies using fMRI and postmortem histology are proven, reliable measures of function, unless you consider the structures of the brain to be largely unimportant for behavioral output.  Just look at how they’ve helped our understanding of depression, schizophrenia, and autism.  As an example, in this free article linked below, imaging and ICA was used to show abnormal network connectivity between brain areas in individuals with schizophrenia; in other words, it demonstrates a specific functional abnormality seen in individuals with a specific behavioral phenotype.  It seems rather disingenuous to call this a form of modern phrenology.
Evidence for Anomalous Network Connectivity during Working Memory Encoding in Schizophrenia: An ICA Based Analysis

There are real anatomical differences between the brains of individuals and those differences impact behavior.  I’m sorry if the scientific findings aggravate you or challenge your strongly held personal beliefs, but your gut feelings do not constitute a valid scientific argument, regardless of your OMG PHD IN HARD SCIENCES qualifications.  If you have to rely upon your qualifications to add emphasis to your point, you aren’t making it correctly.  Either refute the counterpoint with a well-researched, well-reasoned response or concede the point.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 8:18pm by bimston Comment #121

I truly feel sorry for all our gay members

I kinda feel sorry for the homophobes, not the gays. Would you feel bad if I mocked you for being the “weaker sex,” Mriana? ;-)

I’m not so sure women are weak, given we are the ones who go through painful labour.  I don’t think men could deliver a baby.  :lol:

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 8:23pm by Mriana Comment #122

I won’t hold your background against you if you promise not to respond as if you are an authority on the subject of what biologic, especially genetic, is required to determine “sexual preference”.

I also hold an EARNED doctorate in a hard science, not something I had to fall back on because I couldn’t get into medical school.
———————————————————————-
I assumed that my question would have been taken as written and yield the last word on the subject. But the stuff you presented has copyrights as early as 1991. But, if someone else took that old stuff and was able to REPRODUCE the findings - using the same experimental design - one of my MAIN crieteria, I might read it through.

By the way if you thought you could stop me cold with inaccessible publications - eg, Science Mag - you are wrong. I have access to all the databases and scientific journals held by my University library system. But Science Mag has become something more attuned to PC than actual scientific research. I have had publications in Science that were NOT reviewed at all.

Virtually all the old stuff has not been reproduced, so scratch that. The DSM Manual used to describe homosexuality as a mental illness but the contributors/editors caved under the pressure heaped on it by homosexuals, and homosexually friendly groups, who didn’t feel their deviance was a mental illness. People like psychologists!!

But now it’s eupemistically called an “orientation”, and I won’t buy that unless you DEFINITIVELY PROVE a biological basis.

I consider MSM the result of a series of CHOICES based on PREFERENCES and no one of any credibility has even begun to prove otherwise. Twin studies have been published, but not twins raised apart from birth. Anatomic studies of brain features - a sort of neo-phrenology using E/M - are still being cited by the ignorant.

BTW, I don’t come at this from any religious bias. I come to this as a scientist who knows the route(s) of transmission of HIV, a world-wide pandemic introduced to the United States by highly promiscuous homosexuals in the bath houses, and I will NOT be moved by any pressure. Politically correct and/or hypocritical or not.

I don’t care what your background is in.  It’s clear you have no idea what you’re talking about.  I specifically included PubMed numbers on all of my links to facilitate lookup and access on all of the articles.  In cases where multiple studies found the same information, I explicitly stated it.  In cases where numerous studies overlapped the same field and arrived at similar conclusions, I’ve also stated it.  However, it seems like you haven’t even pretended to consider the information therein.  These are not byzantine, backwards, highly controversial publications that I’ve referenced, but peer-reviewed publications that are frequently cited by other authors in the field due to their robust conclusions.  This is real, mainstream research, and is roundly supported by our current data.

And, for what it’s worth, neuroanatomical studies using fMRI and postmortem histology are proven, reliable measures of function, unless you consider the structures of the brain to be largely unimportant for behavioral output.  Just look at how they’ve helped our understanding of depression, schizophrenia, and autism.  As an example, in this free article linked below, imaging and ICA was used to show abnormal network connectivity between brain areas in individuals with schizophrenia; in other words, it demonstrates a specific functional abnormality seen in individuals with a specific behavioral phenotype.  It seems rather disingenuous to call this a form of modern phrenology.
Evidence for Anomalous Network Connectivity during Working Memory Encoding in Schizophrenia: An ICA Based Analysis

There are real anatomical differences between the brains of individuals and those differences impact behavior.  I’m sorry if the scientific findings aggravate you or challenge your strongly held personal beliefs, but your gut feelings do not constitute a valid scientific argument, regardless of your OMG PHD IN HARD SCIENCES qualifications.  If you have to rely upon your qualifications to add emphasis to your point, you aren’t making it correctly.  Either refute the counterpoint with a well-researched, well-reasoned response or concede the point.

Now you see why I was so irritated.  I had at least one postmortem study listed as well as at least one PubMed study too.  It is obvious he is just trying troll.

Posted on Jul 08, 2010 at 8:30pm by Mriana Comment #123

It seems Analytic is getting taken to task on many sides, but I want to come back to the “stupid” and “peurile” animal-rights question, specifically regarding experimentation. If Analytic will indulge my juvenile curiosity, I would love to know if he is in favor of animal experimentation

1) even when there are non-animal alternatives (such as computer software for dissection, which has proven to be as if not more effective for instruction),
2) without any anesthesia or other measures to ease the suffering of the animals being used,
3) despite the fact that animals frequently prove to be poor analogues for human physiology and psychology, and
4) despite the fact that a great many animal experiments are conducted for trivial reasons and end up serving no useful purpose whatsoever?

Lastly, what about voluntary human experimentation? There, the human can understood the full nature of the experiments involved and make a willing choice (or not) to participate. Is this completely anathema, Analytic?

It is easy to dismiss animal-rights activists who oppose animal experimentation…but remember that it was only after the ALF broke into the facilities at Silver Springs and smuggled out tapes of the atrocious treatment of the monkeys there that much of science and greater society even started to think twice about experimenting on animals and how humanely such experiments were conducted.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 4:24am by JustinVK Comment #124

Analytic ... is not!!
How ironic!!

He 1. doesn’t want to take the time to read any of it and 2. doesn’t want to find out he’s wrong.

To limit your whining, I looked at EVERY ONE of the supposedly peer-reviewed, REPRODUCIBLE scientific publications proving that homosexuals would really rather be heterosexuals but their biology/genetics prevents it.

Your first two citations were in the APA journal and were merely POSITION papers of the APA that assumed the biological basis of the sexual preferences of homosexuals and went on to what normal folks MUST do to grant them special civil rights.

The Science articles were dated 1991, 1992 and have NOT been reproduced.

The rest were NOT scientically designed and included a non-scientific questionnaire.

Your position appears no more rigorous than the sermons of clergy on what was said in the Old Testament and by St. Paul condemning homosexuality ... except that you think those sermonizers are wrong and your zealotry is correct.

Bushwah!!

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 6:31am by Analytic Comment #125

To limit your whining,

You’re not limiting anything and I’m not whining.  The fact is, I don’t believe you read anything, you don’t have a clue what you are talking about, and are arrogant and prejudiced, even though the facts are right before you.  End of discussion.  BTW, they are all reproducible, esp the postmortem studies- so there again, you are talking out of your hat.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 8:26am by Mriana Comment #126

The Science articles were dated 1991, 1992 and have NOT been reproduced.

A quick note on this:
When you’re doing a literature review, it’s expected and appropriate to start with early articles in the field to establish background and early experiments on your position.  It’s also frequently the case that somebody made an observation in a study, the relevance of which wasn’t apparent until many years later.  When I’m writing an introduction section, it’s likely - especially if referencing anatomy or histology - that I’ll include a few papers from the 1960s or older.  This is because a lot of good, basic research was done then and the findings haven’t changed in the intervening years (and we shouldn’t expect them to).  There have often been numerous studies to corroborate the findings of older papers, but it’s convention to cite the oldest unambiguous reference to the data you’re discussing.  Anybody who’s interested can look up the old article you’ve referenced and do a library search to see what more recent papers cite this article (PubMed even does the work for you to some extent).  This is pretty much straight out of research writing 101.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 8:41am by bimston Comment #127

Why is it that someone as misinformed - and grateful for it - as yourself would even dare take on the question of animal models standing in for humans?

There are no CELL CULTURES or computer programs that could be used to study a single ORGAN system relevant to human health.

Sorry, but your zealotry doesn’t even begin to dent my armor. In fact, I’ve heard it all before from equally untutored people.

But my 4 decades of material - not theoretical - research using animal models has taught all interested something they could NEVER have learned using your tinker toys.

Now before you take umbrage at what you may feel are abrasive comments, try to use REASON to belittle me.

Good luck. :coolgrin:

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 11:36am by Analytic Comment #128

As for using humans in biomedical research, that is almost always subject to consideration of a committe designed specifically to make certain that NO HUMAN be subjected to any potentially deleterious research.

One of the factors considered is “what has been learned about the research under consideration from lab animal research”?

PETA is a bogus group whose sole mandate is to prevent the use of animals for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.

Their irrational beliefs compete with whacky religions for first place in the Kook contest!!

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 11:45am by Analytic Comment #129

studio7manga, if you think this podcast was bad (and I agree with you) do not listen to Thomas J.J. Altizer, the Death of God. The link takes you to nine pages of people, many of whom joined just to complain, talking about how pointless and trite it was. The Price and Mooney Mutual Congratulation Show was bad, but not the low point for PoI. After listening to the PoI episodes Robert Price has hosted I cannot figure out why so many people hold him in high regard.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 11:46am by DarronS Comment #130

A nice bit of moving the goalposts here.

Somehow, this:

Please provide, just one article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal providing evidence that homosexuality is genetic, or biologically determined, in any sense, THAT HAS BEEN REPRODUCED in another similar study.

turned into this:

To limit your whining, I looked at EVERY ONE of the supposedly peer-reviewed, REPRODUCIBLE scientific publications proving that homosexuals would really rather be heterosexuals but their biology/genetics prevents it.

When Analytic was given the “evidence that homosexuality is genetic, or biologically determined” that he asked for, he declares it’s insufficient because it doesn’t prove “that homosexuals would really rather be heterosexuals”.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 11:51am by LawnBoy Comment #131

When Analytic was given the “evidence that homosexuality is genetic, or biologically determined” that he asked for, he declares it’s insufficient because it doesn’t prove “that homosexuals would really rather be heterosexuals”.

Just in case you haven’t noticed, Analytic’s strong suit is strident ideology, not logic. He uses arrogance as a trump suit.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 11:57am by DarronS Comment #132

Why is it that someone as misinformed - and grateful for it - as yourself would even dare take on the question of animal models standing in for humans?

There are no CELL CULTURES or computer programs that could be used to study a single ORGAN system relevant to human health.

Sorry, but your zealotry doesn’t even begin to dent my armor. In fact, I’ve heard it all before from equally untutored people.

But my 4 decades of material - not theoretical - research using animal models has taught all interested something they could NEVER have learned using your tinker toys.

Now before you take umbrage at what you may feel are abrasive comments, try to use REASON to belittle me.

Good luck. :coolgrin:

Thank you for the very convincing response, Analytic. I feel entirely comfortable trusting everything you say and your expertise in light of all the ensuing discussion, and I always appreciate a reasonable dialogue. Really changes my outlook on the whole topic of animals for science, and I look forward to a day when we, like Tithonus, live forever and keep reproducing full speed. Have fun in your lab.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 12:00pm by JustinVK Comment #133

I really hate being so correct all the time; some might think I’m a God!! :cheese:

For those so inclined I would like to help you put your minds at ease.

The reference to the possibility that homosexuals had no choice in their sexual preferences suggest the possibility that if they could have they would rather have been born heterosexual.

That was easily identifiable sarcasm.

You apparently had something else in mind.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 12:22pm by Analytic Comment #134

A nice bit of moving the goalposts here.

Somehow, this:

Please provide, just one article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal providing evidence that homosexuality is genetic, or biologically determined, in any sense, THAT HAS BEEN REPRODUCED in another similar study.

turned into this:

To limit your whining, I looked at EVERY ONE of the supposedly peer-reviewed, REPRODUCIBLE scientific publications proving that homosexuals would really rather be heterosexuals but their biology/genetics prevents it.

When Analytic was given the “evidence that homosexuality is genetic, or biologically determined” that he asked for, he declares it’s insufficient because it doesn’t prove “that homosexuals would really rather be heterosexuals”.

I know.  He’s as close-minded as a Fundamngelical.  It wouldn’t surprise me if he was/is one.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 12:27pm by Mriana Comment #135

That was easily identifiable sarcasm.

Since that statement was made with the exact tone and bluster of all your other statements on this thread, I think I have to conclude that everything you’ve stated is sarcasm.

Odd to have a troll out himself, but it sure makes life easier.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 12:27pm by LawnBoy Comment #136

When Analytic was given the “evidence that homosexuality is genetic, or biologically determined” that he asked for, he declares it’s insufficient because it doesn’t prove “that homosexuals would really rather be heterosexuals”.

Just in case you haven’t noticed, Analytic’s strong suit is strident ideology, not logic. He uses arrogance as a trump suit.

Ideology is right.  He reeks of Fundamngelicalism.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 12:28pm by Mriana Comment #137

The Science articles were dated 1991, 1992 and have NOT been reproduced.

A quick note on this:
When you’re doing a literature review, it’s expected and appropriate to start with early articles in the field to establish background and early experiments on your position.  It’s also frequently the case that somebody made an observation in a study, the relevance of which wasn’t apparent until many years later.  When I’m writing an introduction section, it’s likely - especially if referencing anatomy or histology - that I’ll include a few papers from the 1960s or older.  This is because a lot of good, basic research was done then and the findings haven’t changed in the intervening years (and we shouldn’t expect them to).  There have often been numerous studies to corroborate the findings of older papers, but it’s convention to cite the oldest unambiguous reference to the data you’re discussing.  Anybody who’s interested can look up the old article you’ve referenced and do a library search to see what more recent papers cite this article (PubMed even does the work for you to some extent).  This is pretty much straight out of research writing 101.

In a scientific PUBLICATION versus an undergraduate thesis, editors of the better journals demand that you be as brief as possible. Printing excess wording costs money.

So mostly publications within the recent past and germane to the subject should be the only necessary citations. Because hard scientist writers KNOW that the EARLIER literature, if worthy, would be cited by EARLIER writers.

You will not find extensive citations in science publishing. The exception could be deep reviews, and they are not frequent, but even they limit citations to the recent past.
————————————————————
Thus, I take attempted “snow jobs” by non - or pseudo-scientists with a ... stick of dynamite. :snake:

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 12:32pm by Analytic Comment #138

Why is it that someone as misinformed - and grateful for it - as yourself would even dare take on the question of animal models standing in for humans?

There are no CELL CULTURES or computer programs that could be used to study a single ORGAN system relevant to human health.

Sorry, but your zealotry doesn’t even begin to dent my armor. In fact, I’ve heard it all before from equally untutored people.

But my 4 decades of material - not theoretical - research using animal models has taught all interested something they could NEVER have learned using your tinker toys.

Now before you take umbrage at what you may feel are abrasive comments, try to use REASON to belittle me.

Good luck. :coolgrin:

This is fun. I want to see RG21 and Analytic talk to each other. They have so much in common. They could talk about appeal to authority, varieties of ad hominem, ignoring evidence, ignoring questions, moving goal posts, reverse appeal to antiquity- they could talk about how impervious their “armor” is to the challenges of others- which is a great disposition for a supposed scientist… oh wait… maybe they aren’t actually aware of these things… And that was too smooth of a baton passing…  I CALL SOCK PUPPET!!  And the only thing underneath is a shivering, angry bird.

Answer the questions Analytic!!!

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 12:53pm by Gatogreensleeves Comment #139

In a scientific PUBLICATION versus an undergraduate thesis, editors of the better journals demand that you be as brief as possible. Printing excess wording costs money.

So mostly publications within the recent past and germane to the subject should be the only necessary citations. Because hard scientist writers KNOW that the EARLIER literature, if worthy, would be cited by EARLIER writers.

You will not find extensive citations in science publishing. The exception could be deep reviews, and they are not frequent, but even they limit citations to the recent past.
————————————————————
Thus, I take attempted “snow jobs” by non - or pseudo-scientists with a ... stick of dynamite. :snake:

I’m not sure what field you’re publishing in, but it must not be biology.  Either that, or somebody trained you wrong as a joke.  I guess either one is possible.  Since the specific discussion is on biology and/or psychology, these are the standards we go by.  Recent references generally go in the discussion section, whereas the introduction has a mixture of old and new references to establish the scope of the study.  It isn’t uncommon for an ~8-page paper to have 100+ references with 40 or so of those cited in the introduction.  Also, you keep on changing the focus of your attacks.  I assume this means you concede the previous points?

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 1:12pm by bimston Comment #140

In a scientific PUBLICATION versus an undergraduate thesis, editors of the better journals demand that you be as brief as possible. Printing excess wording costs money.

So mostly publications within the recent past and germane to the subject should be the only necessary citations. Because hard scientist writers KNOW that the EARLIER literature, if worthy, would be cited by EARLIER writers.

You will not find extensive citations in science publishing. The exception could be deep reviews, and they are not frequent, but even they limit citations to the recent past.
————————————————————
Thus, I take attempted “snow jobs” by non - or pseudo-scientists with a ... stick of dynamite. :snake:

I’m not sure what field you’re publishing in, but it must not be biology.  Either that, or somebody trained you wrong as a joke.  I guess either one is possible.  Since the specific discussion is on biology and/or psychology, these are the standards we go by.  Recent references generally go in the discussion section, whereas the introduction has a mixture of old and new references to establish the scope of the study.  It isn’t uncommon for an ~8-page paper to have 100+ references with 40 or so of those cited in the introduction.  Also, you keep on changing the focus of your attacks.  I assume this means you concede the previous points?

I agree with you, bimston and along with that long paper are generally that stats that were involved in the testing.  New or same findings must have something previous to base the current findings.  Either past findings are supported or they are not and in each case we showed, old findings were supported.  Add to that evaluations of postmortem studies are usually conclusive with each new observation.  If each new corpse show similar findings, then there is something to what is found with autopsies.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 1:17pm by Mriana Comment #141

Fundamngelical

How do you pronounce that?

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 2:27pm by Dead Monky Comment #142

Fundamngelical

How do you pronounce that?

:lol:  Just as it looks- fun-damn-gel-e-cal

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 3:37pm by Mriana Comment #143

Gotcha.  Me am are read poor.  Word things hurt brainhead.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 3:42pm by Dead Monky Comment #144

Gotcha.  Me am are read poor.  Word things hurt brainhead.

Sorry didn’t mean to hurt your head.  I like creating new words, esp when flat out saying it is several times longer.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 4:02pm by Mriana Comment #145

Sorry didn’t mean to hurt your head.  I like creating new words, esp when flat out saying it is several times longer.

I’m just messing around.  I just failed to notice that “damn” was inserted in the middle of it.  I make up words all the time.  Like “douchetacular” and “donkeyfied.”

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 4:13pm by Dead Monky Comment #146

I stand for the vast majority of atheists when I say that it is more paradoxical to be a socially conservative atheist than to be an atheist who believes in ghosts.

You and others are equating atheism with morality (not everyone here). Atheism is the lack of a belief in the supernatural/gods. If you put “humanism” where you wrote atheism, you may have something (depending on how you define humanism).

My beef with the episode was that it was only 30 minutes long. It seemed to me, listening to the show that Mooney just said “well, we’ve been talking for a bit, lets stop”.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 4:26pm by KevinISlaughter Comment #147

Atheism is the lack of a belief in the supernatural/gods.

No it’s not.  Atheism is merely the lack of belief in a god.  One can be an atheist and still believe in the supernatural.  Most don’t though.

If you put “humanism” where you wrote atheism, you may have something (depending on how you define humanism).

Still not a proper fit.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 4:29pm by Dead Monky Comment #148

Sorry didn’t mean to hurt your head.  I like creating new words, esp when flat out saying it is several times longer.

I’m just messing around.  I just failed to notice that “damn” was inserted in the middle of it.  I make up words all the time.  Like “douchetacular” and “donkeyfied.”

:lol:  Those are good.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 4:37pm by Mriana Comment #149

Those are good.

Thanks.

Posted on Jul 09, 2010 at 4:42pm by Dead Monky Comment #150

I’m not sure what field you’re publishing in, but it must not be biology.  Either that, or somebody trained you wrong as a joke.  I guess either one is possible.  Since the specific discussion is on biology and/or psychology, these are the standards we go by.  Recent references generally go in the discussion section, whereas the introduction has a mixture of old and new references to establish the scope of the study.  It isn’t uncommon for an ~8-page paper to have 100+ references with 40 or so of those cited in the introduction.  Also, you keep on changing the focus of your attacks.  I assume this means you concede the previous points?

All of my publications - except reviews - have ben accepted by the top-rated (ISI) scientific journals. Some you might recognize: Nature, Science, PNAS, Endocrinology, J. of Cell Biology, ABB, BBA, JBC, and many somewhat lesser peer-reviewed journals.

FYI, references may be cited in all sections of a paper in those journals, except very rarely in the Abstract or Summary.

The sections, except Science and Nature, include an Abstract (Summary), Introduction, Materials and Methods including Statistics (design and analysis of experiments), Results and Discussion.

If one has conducted completely novel experiments, the Reference LIST may be necessarily brief. Whenever one is following up on older publications, or his own earlier work, all such work MUST be cited.

Scientific papers - as compared to ‘soft science’ papers - are usually more terse.

A good reviewer will recommend cutting unimportant stuff; such as cited antique references.

Incidentally, papers published in the top rated bioscience journals are orders of magnitude more numerous than in ‘soft science’ journals.

I doubt it, but without actually looking it up on full text articles, the numbers of references in those ‘soft science’ journals are more numerous since there are simply many fewer investigators of the subject matter over a longer period.

So maybe it’s thought that sheer numbers of citations make for a good article in soft science!

Not so.

However, one must be aware that even published work in hard science journals must refer to earlier work as either correct or lacking. That is so often the way of it.

Posted on Jul 10, 2010 at 7:12am by Analytic Comment #151

All of my publications - except reviews - have ben accepted by the top-rated (ISI) scientific journals. Some you might recognize: Nature, Science, PNAS, Endocrinology, J. of Cell Biology, ABB, BBA, JBC, and many somewhat lesser peer-reviewed journals.

FYI, references may be cited in all sections of a paper in those journals, except very rarely in the Abstract or Summary.

The sections, except Science and Nature, include an Abstract (Summary), Introduction, Materials and Methods including Statistics (design and analysis of experiments), Results and Discussion.

If one has conducted completely novel experiments, the Reference LIST may be necessarily brief. Whenever one is following up on older publications, or his own earlier work, all such work MUST be cited.

Scientific papers - as compared to ‘soft science’ papers - are usually more terse.

A good reviewer will recommend cutting unimportant stuff; such as cited antique references.

Incidentally, papers published in the top rated bioscience journals are orders of magnitude more numerous than in ‘soft science’ journals.

I doubt it, but without actually looking it up on full text articles, the numbers of references in those ‘soft science’ journals are more numerous since there are simply many fewer investigators of the subject matter over a longer period.

So maybe it’s thought that sheer numbers of citations make for a good article in soft science!

Not so.

However, one must be aware that even published work in hard science journals must refer to earlier work as either correct or lacking. That is so often the way of it.

I’m not sure why we’re even talking about this subject, as it veers so far off the course of the original argument.  This seems pretty much par for the course.  I’m glad, though, that you seem to realize the current research is decidedly against you and are instead attacking the very foundations of scientific inquiry.  I applaud your ambitious if misguided attempts.

Naturally, the number of references cited in a work must be commensurate with the scope of the topic.  Might I point out, though, that the grand total of scientifically valid sources supporting your opinion that you’ve thus far cited is zero.  This is an infinite number of orders of magnitude less than the number of papers posted that go against your unsubstantiated opinion.  Admittedly, some of these may be on “soft science” topics such as biology or neuroscience, so I welcome the bevy of physical chemistry and quantum mechanics papers I’m sure you’ll be posting that illustrate definitively the primacy of choice in determining sexuality.  Perhaps a mechanical engineering or materials science article will tackle the tough questions of why we behave the way we do.  Keep me posted!

Posted on Jul 10, 2010 at 3:17pm by bimston Comment #152

All of my publications - except reviews - have ben accepted by the top-rated (ISI) scientific journals. Some you might recognize: Nature, Science, PNAS, Endocrinology, J. of Cell Biology, ABB, BBA, JBC, and many somewhat lesser peer-reviewed journals.

Before anyone responds to this exercise in contested pissing, please keep in mind that this tangent is the result of Analytic disregarding the studies he requested because they were too old (something that is both irrelevant to the issue and not stated in the initial question).

I really don’t think it matters which style of citation is being used; the bigger point is that Analytic’s challenge was answered, and his response was to redefine the question (goalpost move #2 by my count).

Posted on Jul 10, 2010 at 3:18pm by LawnBoy Comment #153

All of my publications - except reviews - have ben accepted by the top-rated (ISI) scientific journals. Some you might recognize: Nature, Science, PNAS, Endocrinology, J. of Cell Biology, ABB, BBA, JBC, and many somewhat lesser peer-reviewed journals.

Before anyone responds to this exercise in contested pissing, please keep in mind that this tangent is the result of Analytic disregarding the studies he requested because they were too old (something that is both irrelevant to the issue and not stated in the initial question).

I really don’t think it matters which style of citation is being used; the bigger point is that Analytic’s challenge was answered, and his response was to redefine the question (goalpost move #2 by my count).

Yes, and if you notice, he spends an inordinate amount of time telling us how superior he is to all of us, without providing proof. I’m sure I could take five minutes and dream up a pretty impressive curriculum vitae to match his and cultivate a supercilious condescending air!
:shut: Drat, now I’m OT as well!!

Posted on Jul 10, 2010 at 5:55pm by asanta Comment #154

In your dreams!!

Posted on Jul 10, 2010 at 6:34pm by Analytic Comment #155

I’m afraid I have to agree with Analytic on this one, Asanta. You could never come across as arrogant, condescending and bigoted as him. And that is not even one of his better efforts.

Posted on Jul 10, 2010 at 6:39pm by DarronS Comment #156

I’m afraid I have to agree with Analytic on this one, Asanta. You could never come across as arrogant, condescending and bigoted as him. And that is not even one of his better efforts.

:lol:

Posted on Jul 10, 2010 at 7:25pm by asanta Comment #157

wow you go on vacation for a week and you get put on page 11…...

(1)  This reminds me of the survey which Some Guy did back in 2008, getting Forum members to take a questionnaire to place them on a 2D grid. Here is the link (maybe there are new members to post..)—

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/4656/
At least the forum members were (in my opinion :)  ) skewed “to the left”.
One key point of the diagram is that there is more than one dimension to “liberal” and “conservative”—I think this also came up in the podcast.  We are all non-authoritarian—more non-authoritarian than the fictitious scrores of the politicians (also more “left-wing” which shows some weakness in the survey).

(2) I was very much bothered by Mooney’s framing of the discussion. It came across as propaganda encouraging atheists to vote Democratic because they want to be consistent with their principles and follow the crowd.
(2a) I don’t think industry is anti-science and Mooney provided the counter-example of stem cell research. But I think all pharmaceutical research is science-based since it has to work, and they are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to look for new drugs.  There are plenty of other examples.
(2b) To me the “Republican war on science” polemic is more “anti-Republican” than “pro-science”.  There are plenty of scientists who are Republican and Mooney is “framing” the discussion to basically define Republicans as anti-science.
(2c) I agree with the spirit of some earlier comments—Robert Price is not the debater to represent “conservative atheists”. Mooney should pick on someone who can also “frame” like Christopher Hitchens.
(2d) Price did bring up Obama trying to quote scientists as backing his thinking to ban drilling—Mooney says this is an exception but I disagree—Obama would like to use scientists to increase his credibility as one of the tools of persuasion (‘experts’ agree with him…). Price should not have let Mooney just say “it’s unique”.
(2e) The title of the discussion is “must Atheists Also be liberals”, but Price allowed Mooney to define “conservative” as George W. Bush, rather than insisting on a more general definition.  To me this also sounds like election-mongering and attempting to continue to run against George Bush (or Ronald Reagan). 

(3) I think realists should be atheists. Price lost the opportunity to note that if CFI is a “reality-based community” it should reflect on these values.  Obama’s “HOPE” slogan is not reality-based,  and his solutions to the recession and the oil spill are largely political spin.

(4) Around 18:45-18:55 Mooney said someting like the only thing Obama hasn’t accomplished is to solve global warming.  I think I misunderstood because that’s just too odd.  I’ll try to listen to it again…
http://i353.photobucket.com/albums/r375/danlhinz/PI9.png

Posted on Jul 11, 2010 at 5:17pm by Jackson Comment #158

`
Mriana and mckenzievmd, look at the 3 of us…...all snuggly together, spooning with the CFI average :)


`

http://i353.photobucket.com/albums/r375/danlhinz/PI9.png

Posted on Jul 11, 2010 at 11:07pm by Axegrrl Comment #159

I had high hopes for the discussion but was disappointed by the entire exchange.

I’m with Giles on this. I found the podcast shallow. Bob and Chris were not debating, they were congratulating each other for being so open minded in accepting each other’s views.

I agree with both of you.  It was not a very useful discussion.  While I want so much to like the new Point of Inquiry show, I am finding it difficult.

Posted on Jul 12, 2010 at 1:33am by The Doctor Comment #160

Yes, and if you notice, he spends an inordinate amount of time telling us how superior he is to all of us, without providing proof. I’m sure I could take five minutes and dream up a pretty impressive curriculum vitae to match his and cultivate a supercilious condescending air!
:shut: Drat, now I’m OT as well!!

C’mon! A nanosecond would have been sufficient.

Posted on Jul 12, 2010 at 6:45am by Analytic Comment #161

`
Mriana and mckenzievmd, look at the 3 of us…...all snuggly together, spooning with the CFI average :)


`

http://i353.photobucket.com/albums/r375/danlhinz/PI9.png

:lol:  And that is why we are here and not else where.  ;)

Posted on Jul 12, 2010 at 6:50am by Mriana Comment #162

Naturally, the number of references cited in a work must be commensurate with the scope of the topic.  Might I point out, though, that the grand total of scientifically valid sources supporting your opinion that you’ve thus far cited is zero.

Balderdash! Check the “Guide for Authors” of your favorite “hard science” journal. The scope of the topic cannot possibly be handled in one new paper; it can ONLY be approached in a Review.

BTW, “biology” is a hard science along with “chemistry” and “physics”. And given the fantastical nature of some astrophysics, only some physics may be considered “hard science”. Also, the number of people reading chemistry and physics articles is severely limited.

Maybe because a lot of it appears in rags like Scientific American.

Your estimate of anything numerical is rankest BS!

As I said, if your not a scientist, with an earned doctorate in a specific field of endeavor, you’re not a scientist - just a bloviator.

Posted on Jul 12, 2010 at 6:58am by Analytic Comment #163

So “hard science” is better than “soft science”?  Oh well, make sure you tell Dawkins this, because he joins with those, like Harris, a neurologist, concerning science and alike.

I find it interesting how you can call yourself a scientist and just brush aside things that don’t agree with your thinking.  Not to mention, it is apparent none of what you have studied have to do with human behaviour or the human body.  Add to that, you conveniently change the conversation when it is not going your way and don’t provide anything to back your statements.  Show us the evidence if you’re so confident.  We have yet to see you pull up anything that justifies your side of the fence.  All we’ve seen is a bunch of BS and no facts.

Posted on Jul 12, 2010 at 7:09am by Mriana Comment #164

Dawkins is a midget prophet of the ilk of a charlatan reading tea leaves.

I wouldn’t debate with him even if he - or a sycophant - paid me.

I have more dignity than to acknowledge a fool.

I make exceptions to that rule here.

“Where little is given, little can be expected”.
————————————————————
He is not in any way an objective scientific spokesman. In fact, other than a pile of rubbish, he has nothing to offer me. :mad:

Posted on Jul 12, 2010 at 7:31am by Analytic Comment #165

Regarding homosexuality, I have read ALL of the highly speculative papers - including those few of recent vintage, and I am not convinced they make an arguable case that homosexual preferences are anything other than the result of a series of personal choices based on experience.

The obvious inconsistencies especially in male homosexual behavior are, for example:

1. The “Homosexual Agenda”, a spiel that resembles the agenda of a M. L. King. But the content of their “character” is so lacking that only the naive/stupid would argue that they are worthy of special consideration ... even to be married.

2. They herded together to ensure their HIV status would be maintained confidential and demand normal people accept their reasoning: they would be considered outcasts even as their identification was made public. As it is, except for the military, homosexuals have access to all the civil rights normal people do and THEN SOME ... except the benefits of marriage.

3. They want health insurance to cover the extraordinary costs of AIDS treatment, but want their HIV status hidden from insurance companies and ... even from a prospective ‘spouse’.

4. Their public behavior can be outrageously ‘homosexual’ ... GAY even!! ... yet they are rarely arrested for “lewd and lascivious conduct”, and are supposedly beset with grave depression!

5. They are not representative of the ethics of most Americans, and while they have generated inappropriate pity, the basis of that pity is naivete/ignorance.

6. The ONLY way they will be considered for special treatment has come down to how many simple-minded people they can convince that they were “born” homosexual who will then grant them what they clearly do not deserve ... until they adhere to Public Health regulation of EVERY OTHER transmissible-disease carriers AND PROVE THEY ARE DESERVING.

It takes a rational public, in possession of and UNDERSTANDING of ALL the biomedical research, that there is NOTHING REPRODUCIBLE to support a genetic/biological “cause” of homosexuality. And the BS conclusion that they cannot help their BEHAVIOR!!

Posted on Jul 12, 2010 at 8:02am by Analytic Comment #166

Naturally, the number of references cited in a work must be commensurate with the scope of the topic.  Might I point out, though, that the grand total of scientifically valid sources supporting your opinion that you’ve thus far cited is zero.

Balderdash! Check the “Guide for Authors” of your favorite “hard science” journal. The scope of the topic cannot possibly be handled in one new paper; it can ONLY be approached in a Review.

BTW, “biology” is a hard science along with “chemistry” and “physics”. And given the fantastical nature of some astrophysics, only some physics may be considered “hard science”. Also, the number of people reading chemistry and physics articles is severely limited.

Maybe because a lot of it appears in rags like Scientific American.

Your estimate of anything numerical is rankest BS!

As I said, if your not a scientist, with an earned doctorate in a specific field of endeavor, you’re not a scientist - just a bloviator.

If you acknowledge that biology is a hard science, then you’ll gladly note that most of the papers I linked are of a decidedly biological (rather than psychological) bent.  As for your Balderdash!, if you’ll be so kind as to link the source you’re referring to, I would be much obliged.  Your posts are generally devoid of content, and I can’t be bothered to engage in a snipe hunt for what “hard” “science” “journals” “feel is an appropriate way to cite sources”.

As for whether or not my (my what?) is a scientist - it is irrelevant, as are my particular qualifications for internet wang-waving.  The issue should be whether or not I’m correct and whether my view is substantiated by the facts (it is) or whether I use my alleged qualifications as an argumentum ad verecundiam without substantiating my claims.  The greatest scientist in the world might be foolish, indeed, when working outside of his or her chosen field.  It is far wiser to realize the limits of our expertise than to attempt to apply them to fields where we clearly have no clue what we’re talking about.  If my background is in behavioral neuroendocrinology, then I will feel comfortable in speaking in that realm, and my references ought to reflect this.  As opposed, you know, to an OMG PHD HARD SCIENCES!! where I would speak with expertise on that topic and not presume to call the material in an unrelated field bunk by fiat because I don’t like what it says.

I’ve posted my sources.  You don’t like them.  Fine.  Post your own sources.  It’s time to put up or shut up, Analytic.

Posted on Jul 12, 2010 at 10:24am by bimston Comment #167

the content of their “character” is so lacking that only the naive/stupid would argue that they are worthy of special consideration ... even to be married.


`

It is precisely this kind of staggeringly ignorant comment that confirms for everyone that you are nothing but a bigoted crank, determined to cling to your ideology-driven position, regardless of an entire body of current research that shows it to be without merit.

 

 


`

Posted on Jul 12, 2010 at 10:35am by Axegrrl Comment #168

A, the ‘behavior’ you spout on about has nothing to do with being homosexual.  It is in many ways a cultural affectation.  An attempt to create a unique and distinctive subculture.  And one that pokes in the eye the mainstream culture which marginalizes them while it’s at it.  Really, it’s no different than any other subculture: it strives to stand out and be different or unique while altering, abandoning, and/or mocking that in the mainstream culture which it finds disagreeable.  And from what I’ve seen, a lot of what makes up gay culture looks like it comes from a love of camp and kitsch.

Oh and not all gays are the flaming ‘loud-and-proud’ queen types.  Many gay men aren’t even remotely feminine and many don’t go for the the whole “We’re loud, we’re proud” in-your-face stuff.  Like any other group of people, they are nothing if not varied.

Granted, as a straight man, my knowledge is a little limited and second hand, but at least I’ve made an attempt to understand things rather than make gross generalizations and bigoted dismissals.

Posted on Jul 12, 2010 at 11:03am by Dead Monky Comment #169

I’m an atheist and a conservative, not a half or ¾ conservative like Mr. Price, a real old fashioned social conservative. I’m surprised and appalled at the link between skepticism and political liberalism because liberalism is so conspicuously irrational, illogical, dishonest, authoritarian, and exploitative. Liberalism has hijacked the skeptical movement and is prostituting it – same thing it does to everything it touches.
  Mr. Price can rest assured conservative economics is strictly evidence based and rational right down the line. I commend him also for his apparent realism in foreign affairs.
  I also agree abortion is murder. The only truly innocent people on earth are butchered because they are powerless and inconvenient. Nothing about human history or behavior and certainly nothing about liberals gives me any confidence I wouldn’t meet the same fate if I became similarly powerless and inconvenient.
  Price and liberals are completely wrong about homosexuality. I have the same attitude most of us have toward all the other sexual perversions, you know, the ones that are not as beneficial to the Democratic Party, just as we all did until the day before yesterday when the totally irrational propaganda campaign on their behalf was started.
  I’m a reluctant atheist who recognizes the immense benefit Christianity has been to mankind. I practice religious tolerance. But I have done public debates against Creationists and maintain a standing offer against all comers. And I wouldn’t be afraid to debate liberals, but they are too powerful and have nothing to gain by even recognizing any questioning of their dogmas.

Just catching up here. What is your rational opposition to homosexuality?  It is between consenting adults, involves the bodies and desires of consenting adults, and has no effect on the lives of others, unless they permit the consensual nature of another independent party to have a bearing on their lives. 

I don’t get it.  Everything else, I’m with you.  (well, I wouldn’t say “immense benefit” exactly).  However, you are right about liberalism, and if you read the posts here, you will surely seem some serious irrationality (and double standards, cognitive dissonance, etc). 

Come join us free-market, dope-smoking, gay loving, rockn’ roll libertarians man.

Posted on Oct 06, 2010 at 7:23pm by UlsterScots432 Comment #170

I never said homosexual proclivity is voluntary any more than any other perverse sexual proclivity is voluntary. (Behavior, however, is voluntary.) It is immoral because it is loathsome, filthy, degrading, and unhealthy, and elicits instinctive repugnance, just like the other perversions. Society has every right, in fact an obligation, to draw the line between approved and taboo. Whether society’s ostensible rationale comes from religion, manners, or political correctness is secondary. But I will take tradition as justification over liberal conceit or self serving nine times out of ten.

Wow!

Look, when someone (even the great Caesar Geekus) talks of morals I sort of wonder when they actually did any of the soft science. I am sure use the maestro uses it at an understood short hand.  Sure its a term of convenience but its not a real world.  There are no exhibited morals that new christian supernatural progenitor gives us.  In fact, morals are only a short hand for human behaviour good or bad.

Thus for someone to say something is “immoral” they say something is not part of human behaviour.

Thus for somebody to say that something that occurs within human behaviour is “loathsome, filthy, degrading, and unhealthy, and elicits instinctive repugnance, just like the other perversions”; the grammar and sentiment is severely misguided.  Clearly jesus doesnt give a dingoes kidney. He/she is not a historical figure.  Clearly a grandstand by somebody who doesn’t love his brethren.

Sadly “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”.

Posted on Oct 06, 2010 at 7:50pm by Henk van der Gaast Comment #171

Regarding homosexuality, I have read ALL of the highly speculative papers - including those few of recent vintage, and I am not convinced they make an arguable case that homosexual preferences are anything other than the result of a series of personal choices based on experience.

The obvious inconsistencies especially in male homosexual behavior are, for example:

3. They want health insurance to cover the extraordinary costs of AIDS treatment, but want their HIV status hidden from insurance companies and ... even from a prospective ‘spouse’.

Hopefully the need for hiding expensive diseases such as HIV, heart disease, pending future operations, and other pre-existing conditions which might prevent an individual from getting health insurance from an insurer, has been addressed by congress. However, this type of hiding medical conditions is practised by almost everyone, we don’t want to have exclusions or unaffordable rates for heterosexuals, now do we?. 
As to hiding a dangerous disease from a loved partner, homosexuals are people not deranged egomaniacs.

4. Their public behavior can be outrageously ‘homosexual’ ... GAY even!! ... yet they are rarely arrested for “lewd and lascivious conduct”, and are supposedly beset with grave depression!

Should we arrest everyone who dresses or behaves outrageously? I see teenagers with their pants so low that aside from the obvious inconvenience, it is not a pretty sight. I see advertisements of 99% nude pictures of sportsmen and women with pasties and the briefest of bikinis in the most provocative positions and obvious message of sensuality. Why do you not complain about that? If your morals compell you to speak of lewd and lascivious behavior, you should be consistent and also condemn such behavior by heterosexuals.
In my life I have had the good great fortune to meet many homosexuals, which offered me help or comfort when I needed it, without expecting anything in return, knowing I am straight. Never have I seen a homosexual present lewd and lascivious conduct to me or in public. What they do in private is none of my concern, nor yours.

They are not representative of the ethics of most Americans, and while they have generated inappropriate pity, the basis of that pity is naivete/ignorance.

Homosexuals are as representative of ethics as heterosexuals. The basis for thinking otherwise is a Freudian fear.

6. The ONLY way they will be considered for special treatment has come down to how many simple-minded people they can convince that they were “born” homosexual who will then grant them what they clearly do not deserve ... until they adhere to Public Health regulation of EVERY OTHER transmissible-disease carriers AND PROVE THEY ARE DESERVING.

Agreed, but this rule applies to everyone. Apparently heterosexuals teens don’t, by the number of unwanted pregnancies and peer acquired TD. I would wager that a significant percentage of sexually active (at risk) heterosexual men and women also do not adhere to the Public Health Regulations. I am afraid, here you are expressing a naive viewpoint.

It takes a rational public, in possession of and UNDERSTANDING of ALL the biomedical research, that there is NOTHING REPRODUCIBLE to support a genetic/biological “cause” of homosexuality. And the BS conclusion that they cannot help their BEHAVIOR!!

Again, homosexuals do not display a greater “uncontrollable impulse” than heterosexuals. Think it through. (rape, incest, physical abuse, sexual serial offenders/killers). 99.99% of these are committed by heterosexuals.
Conclusion,
a) As humans beings, homosexuals are no different than heterosexuals. Their difference lies only in the fact that homosexuals are attracted emotionally and romantically to their own sex, while heterosexuals are attracted, for the same reasons, to the opposite sex. There is nothing evil about this, just different, but then heterosexual partners also practise and publicly display some very different (lewd and lascivious) behaviors.
b) If you stop fighting against granting homosexuals full rights as any other citizen, homosexuals will stop fighting to obtain them.
Trust me, they will not seek you out. All they ask is that you don’t seek them out.

Posted on Oct 06, 2010 at 8:34pm by Write4U Comment #172

author=“Henk van der Gaast” date=“1286434224”

Thus for someone to say something is “immoral” they say something is not part of human behaviour.

Thus for somebody to say that something that occurs within human behaviour is “loathsome, filthy, degrading, and unhealthy, and elicits instinctive repugnance, just like the other perversions”; the grammar and sentiment is severely misguided.  Clearly jesus doesnt give a dingoes kidney. He/she is not a historical figure.  Clearly a grandstand by somebody who doesn’t love his brethren.

Sadly “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”.

Hollander or Aussie?
Welcome to CFI, and I hope to hear more of your well reasoned arguments.

Posted on Oct 06, 2010 at 8:45pm by Write4U Comment #173

Hollander or Aussie?
Welcome to CFI, and I hope to hear more of your well reasoned arguments.

Thank you.

I am a dutch born, of Frisian descent (ie.. folk only count my single line patrilineage) full time Oz since 2. I.e I come from the uncultured ends of society it appears as I compare my thought on homosexuality.

I find it strange that your correspondents denigrate behaviour as filthy and degenerate and I find it all perfectly normal. Its a perfectly good opportunity for me to shine as a beacon to their women that at least one of the gang here is a great time.

I will state here and now, not only am I what appears to a filthy degenerate worthy of sexual denigration”, I am a fantastic cook and stunning conversationalist!

I expect fan mail to light my e-box from the very disappointed ladies bonded to these “morality” fundamentalists.

If its immoral to explore sexual expression, start shooting the majority of mammals.

Hell, in the biota of the world, heterosexuality is by far the exception to the norm.


It would be ignoble of me to cause divorces however…

Lets get to the real tin tacks of the situation. Whilst we dont make choices to minimise and remove harm in this world, all of us are..“immoral”. Ridiculous bigots, the pick up number for Soylent is *### #### ####”.  Apparently the new line of “Bigot in a box” biscuits is now available in; green, green or greeny green.

PS It may just be that I am a “filthy degraded and disgusting pervert” that just wouldnt notice “filthy, degraded and disgusting perversity” due to my heterosexual position.  My only response to this is can you pass the pepper after you poured that shiraz?

Speak for yourselves fundies, we normal folk come in all stripes, sadly sex is only e mission statement for you.

Posted on Oct 06, 2010 at 9:59pm by Henk van der Gaast Comment #174

LOL   (I am from Amsterdam, raised in an atheist family)

One small correction, my correspondents are Free Thinkers, not bigots or “moral bible-thumpers”, but I won’t deny them the right to speak. This is what makes CFI so interesting. Every one with a reasoned argument will find supporters or opponents. I’ve been on both sides of the coin.

Posted on Oct 06, 2010 at 10:12pm by Write4U Comment #175

Thanx Write4u,

I find this anti-humanist banter here abhorrent.

I have found one even claiming he/she has read “ALL” the papers on an issue.  This is astounding because there is no possible way I could have read all the journal articles in my field.  This is of course for a number of reasons.  A big reason is that I may not be able to understand the content of a lot of papers in my field, I am no mathematician of any note.


A lot of comments here are reverse pyramidal hubris.  Confidence that is undeserved for a social luddite.


The term liberals comes into play here.  What comprises liberalism and conservatism varies from region to region.  If liberalism means free market economies (as it does in many countries) I can hardly see how atheism has any connection.  Nor can I see how it would be to any advantage to be an adherent to nudism on a Croatian beach (which also applies to naturalism in some quarters).


To be an atheist you don’t have to be ultra analytical.  Its just a position you adopt to all religions.


Given that Judaeo christianity revolves around tenotheism or polytheism at best, they have a lot more issues to sort out than simple acts between humans seeking simple pleasures that can just as easily end up in breakdowns.


If your readership really agrees with buffoon statements such as folk seeking insurance and superannuation for a sexual bias, then they just haven ruminated on the issue at all.


Maybe its time to debate the real issues here. If you are a conservative or liberal of faith, how can you justify the misery of apportioning religious based education and health care to only part of the community?

But, that’s for a nihilist to despise, an atheist to ponder and a “secularist” to discuss.


I hope the Bible Geek has many more years of educating me!

Posted on Oct 07, 2010 at 6:08pm by Henk van der Gaast Comment #176

The thread Title was in reference to the Mooney/Price discussion on POI, but appears to have strayed.

Try some of the other Forum topics, you will find a variety of interesting topics. But Fundamentalist theists usually don’t last very long here.

Posted on Oct 08, 2010 at 2:46am by Write4U Comment #177

Who cares who sticks what into whom in the privacy of their own house! If you want to be gay then go be gay! Or not! It’s nobodies business –especially the governments on what body parts you want to lick! Moralizing on legal sexual behavior just makes you look like an intolerant dweeb! Even if you have a degree in biology!!!

Most atheists I have met are rationalists. They tend to be reasonably intelligent with a good amount of empathy. Sometimes their intellectual arrogance can get in the way of a good argument and I think that is what I’m seeing a lot of in this discussion.

The definition of Liberal and conservative slides all over the map depending on where you are. A liberal in Canada is damn near a communist in the lower States and a Bible belt conservative is practically a fascist (Godwin’s law?) in Quebec. They tax, they both spend, they both lie and they both do exactly what the other side accuses them of- no matter what it is.

It is likely that a majority of atheists are “liberals” because they can accept the concept that forcing the distribution of a percentage of goods more equitably within a society increases the overall likelihood of survivability of said society.

A conservative could give a shit.

Posted on Nov 07, 2010 at 12:09am by superfly Comment #178

I certainly care what goes on in the confines of my neighbours houses.  Haven’t you noticed that all the people you have ever met that are injured, killed, pulled up for crimes and proselytising strange sectarian behaviour are….people that you have met?


I hear this behind the confines of homes idea quiet a lot.  Police wont have a bar of it either.

Posted on Nov 07, 2010 at 12:18am by Henk van der Gaast Comment #179

If they are beating their spouses, children or pets I care. If they are cooking methamphetamines (explosive and toxic) I care. There are plenty of reasons for me to care about (and report) what is going on in my neighbors house. Sex between two consenting adults is not one of them.

Posted on Nov 07, 2010 at 12:40am by asanta Comment #180

If no one is breaking the law then it is none of your business or mine. Most people I know who are injured are that way because of accidents. I have never met anyone who was killed and if you commit a crime and you are out it means you have served your time. As far as proselytizing they can have at it as long as they stay out of schools and government. (Or call for my death!)

I really don’t give a damn what cops want. They are there as tools of the state to protect me and keep the peace – nothing more, nothing less.

My house is my castle and if it aint on fire and no one is hurt then keep the f*** out!

Posted on Nov 07, 2010 at 12:42am by superfly Comment #181

IF one is abusing their spouse, in or out of the house, then it is a crime.  IF one is making meth in their home, then it is a crime.  IF one is abusing their child in any way shape or form, in or out of their home, then it is a crime.

BTW, how did we get on this topic?

Posted on Nov 07, 2010 at 12:55am by Mriana Comment #182

who was talking about sex?  we were talking about psychotic religion… If your neighbour is telling their kids that the catholics across the road are scum, you should worry.

Pumping your kids with ideologies is a crime.


Getting back to atheist liberals?  I wouldn’t know, I am a philosophical nihilist.  Atheists and agnostics believe in far too many fairy stories as it is.  Adding a deity and calling yourself religious makes you only one step worse.

I must admit, Price seems to forget this when he goes rant side mid show.

Posted on Nov 07, 2010 at 3:40am by Henk van der Gaast Comment #183

Being both right-wing and being an atheist isn’t a popular combination.  To many, it may seem unnatural or contradictory for someone to embrace both positions.  But this is because of the prejudices of our age and not due to any inherent conflicts.

Atheism does not necessarily lead to left-wing or right-wing politics.  In the modern West this seems like a strange claim to make, and for it to make sense we must understand what the actual origins of political belief are.

The most convincing attempt to explain the framework underlying people’s political views comes from Thomas Sowell.  He so elegantly argues that the origin of left and right comes from the way the two groups see the world.  It is basic, and sometimes unconscious, underlying beliefs about how the world works that has created “a conflict of visions.”  I will try to summarize the two visions that make up the left and right from Sowell’s book A Conflict of Visions.  If my summary seems odd or incomplete the fault is my own and not Sowell’s.

The Utopian Vision

The Utopian Vision of the world is the underlying world-view of the political left.  In this vision human nature is optimistically changeable through reason.  Our limitations are the product of our social environment, so tradition has no inherent value.  There is a natural distrust of decentralized processes and a favor for planning.  This view also holds that mankind can be, and should be, perfected and that government is the instrument of that perfection.  Typically this vision also sees a small, elite, group of people as being those who have been given the ‘vision of the anointed’ to lead humanity to the better future.  If only the right people can be in power then a better word can be created.  This elite can take many forms, such as an intellectual or racial elite or philosopher kings.

The Tragic Vision

The Tragic Vision is the underlying world-view of the political right.  This vision sees mankind as having a human nature that is both unchanging and flawed.  The religious sometimes express this as “man’s fallen nature”.  In this vision humans are basically self-interested if not outright selfish.  While leaders may emerge among men, because of our deeply flawed nature there can be no natural elite.  Human reason is valuable but limited, which makes central planning naturally repugnant.  Limitations of human reason are why time-tested structures and processes are valued.  These time-tested structures are the product accumulated evolved wisdom (traditions), and changing these structures is dangerous because of the limitations of human reason.  The decentralized processes of accumulated evolved wisdom (tradition) and the free-market are trusted because of the limitations of human reason.  Social decisions typically do not lead to solutions but rather to trade offs.

These two visions are not hard categories and any particular person can hold elements of each

The Atheist

As you should have figured out by now, neither of these visions requires a belief in a god or the supernatural.  An atheist could easily believe in either of these visions of the world.  Because it is these visions, not the belief in the supernatural, the give rise to the political Left and Right, then it should come as no surprise an atheist can be on the Right.

Both the Utopian Vision and the Tragic Vision each have some inherent appeal to them.  Most of us can look at each vision an nod in agreement to at least some parts of each.

Are these simply to be two philosophies forever in debate with one another?  Or can we find evidence in Nature that one view is closer to the truth than the other?

In a bit of historic irony, the emerging evidence in the study of both evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology has been tilting the scales in favor of the Tragic Vision.  The historic irony is that those who hold the Tragic Vision, and thus are typically religious and hostile towards Darwinian evolution, are those who’s claims about how the world works are being supported by the evidence of evolution.

Not only that but those most religious, such as Duggar family with their 19 children, are showing the most Darwinian success because they are leaving the most children. Oh bitter irony that those who most disbelieve in Darwin are those with the most Darwinian fitness.

As Steven Pinker put it in his book The Blank Slate:

... the new sciences of human nature really do vindicate some version of the Tragic Vision and undermine the Utopian outlook that until recently dominated large segments of intellectual life.

It is because the Tragic Vision is basically correct, and thus man basically deeply flawed imperturbable being is why some form of a social conservative ethic is required.

Posted on Mar 13, 2011 at 12:24pm by Walenty Lisek Comment #184

Should we change the topic to “Can a conservative be Gay”  ;-P

Posted on Mar 13, 2011 at 5:07pm by mrkaline Comment #185

Justin, I’ve had lunch with Bob and I’m a vegetarian.  He saw what I brought with me for my lunch and didn’t say a word.  I saw what he was eating too- I think it was pepperoni pizza or something like that (Gross) Neither one of us brought it up.  He’s not going to attack a person out of the blue because they are vegan or vegetarian.  I don’t like his attitude either, but as long as he doesn’t attack me about it when we meet, I’ll leave him alone about his carnivorous ways.  If it makes you feel any better, Bob is a pretty big man.  As you know, most vegans and vegetarians are not big people.  I’ll let you take it from there and think about it, then if you want, you can come back and let me know if that helped any.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Bob, even though we disagree on several things, but it seems to me he’s heading for a health hazard- maybe its because I like him that I am concerned.  If he’d get off the meat, he might lose some weight and be healthier.


Thank you for the response, Mriana, and thank you also to the others who responded. I do not take issue with Bob Price in his personal lifestyle (though of course I would love to see him go vegan…ha ha), but only in the rancorous way he criticized anyone who makes a case for animal rights. Most of us know more about the scientific facts of animals’ capabilities than he (or other critics) admit, and it is not really a matter of a “bleeding heart” for most of us. This is indeed a serious moral issue in its own right, regardless of (or I should say in addition to) the very real harm that is done to living creatures. I would be more than happy to debate the point with Bob Price or anyone, but not if they are going to start screaming about how stupid I am and the topic is. That is where I start to get turned off…and when I start to think that the show is not being open to other perspectives.

Price seems to have a perfectly reasonable position on the animal rights thing.  Rights are a human concept and apply to humans.  Animals shouldn’t be tortured, but not because they have rights, just because allowing cruelty in any form can (and does) lead to cruelty to humans.  While I disagree with the biblical idea of man’s dominion over animals (and women), I think trying to make everyone a vegan is kinda stupid.  It is very difficult and in some cases expensive to get all the nutrients we need without consuming some animals.  Also, plants have “feelings” too.  Did you never wire up a head of lettuce and “hear” its dying scream as you bit into it?  :)  Until we have the technology to generate all our nutritional requirements through non-living chemistry, the whole animal rights thing is just kinda silly.  We have to kill animals to survive.  Do we let rats (nice cuddly fellow mammals) and crows (did you know crows mourn their dead?) run rampant and eat up more than the 15% of the world’s food supply that they currently consume?  No…. so to quibble about eating animals is just being willfully ignorant of what it takes to keep 7+ billion of us minimally alive on this tiny planet.  I’ve got no problem with advocating a primarily vegetarian diet for environmental and health reasons, but animal right? Gimme a break!

Posted on Jun 03, 2011 at 11:20am by ullrich Comment #186