Saturday, August 16, 2014

it gets so hard sometimes to understand

Continuing from the first part, we're picking up with binkey's reply to Matt Sierra:
"From an evolutionary point of view, humanity has been practicing monogamy for no time at all. That and the fact that as a species we're actually not very good at it, makes me doubt that it has had much of an effect on us as a species at all.

Anyway, your arguments are all just conjecture. If you can demonstrate your position with any evidence, I'd be interested in studying it more.

There is also a big difference between arguing for same-sex marriage and arguing for polygamy. Banning same-sex marriage is fundamentally unequal. You are saying that one group of people is allowed to do something that others cannot (marry one person of their choosing). There is nothing unequal about a law against polygamy. That law is applied equally to everyone.

Fundamentally though, I'm not sure I understand I get your economic argument. If you were arguing against the state sanctioning of all marriages, I would get it. But fundamentally you are saying 'Yes, I understand that banning same-sex marriage is unfair, but allowing it would cost me financially, so I'm opposed to it.'

There was a huge financial cost involved in getting rid of slavery, but eventually people recognized that it was fundamentally wrong and stopped doing it. As a species we have a much more solid and much longer tradition of slavery than we do of restricting marriage to being between one man and one woman, but no one (at least no one reasonable) would argue that because of that, we should go back to it."
I agree. And I also love how often Matt's sneaking in that polygamy reference, as if he's thinking we're going to start equating same-sex marriage with polygamy, oh teh shock and horror.

Matt's response:
"'If you can demonstrate your position with any evidence, I'd be interested in studying it more.'
lets see what happens when traditional marriage is let go of by a culture:
if a society does not support same sex marriage i dont see anywhere near the same repercussions. im not saying that im against seeing evidence for same sex marriage to be equally beneficial to society. but at this point i have not
His argument here seems to be "See? Japan allowed gay marriage and look what happened!" Except, that's nothing close to what happened. While there are, yes, gay relationships in Japan, for the most part few talk about it. And they have nothing to do with actual marriages among the population. What that article discusses is not homosexuality, but delay--in specific, that Japanese people are choosing to defer marriage until they're more financially stable, and concentrate on their careers in the meantime. As Japan thinks in terms of what happens decades after the now, in economic and sociological terms this is kind of a big deal. But it has nothing to do with same-sex pairings at all. Invalid argument. Next.

From Ella Mongrella:
"What's the difference between paying benefits for a straight couple who can't have kids of their own and a gay couple? Lots of straight marriages are childless."
Excellent question. Matt's response:
"weather taxes increase or not wont change weather the government gets less income or insurance companies get less money from same sex couples. it wouldnt make sense for married couples to file jointly if they ended up paying more. im not saying that same sex marriage will be a detriment to society or even that it will not have a net positive effect but to say that it has an equally good effect on society as traditional marriage is at the least unproven and therefor shouldnt just be blanketed with the same benefits. tax and insurance benefits are not a 'right' they are a 'privilege' that that the government should carefully weigh who to distribute to, rather than dole out so as not to hurt peoples feelings."

First off, that would be "whether", not "weather", but how exactly, does that work in Matt's head? The government and the insurance companies get less money from same-sex couples? Why? Sure, currently, without formalized gay marriage in many states, same-sex couples do not suffer the 'marriage penalty' on taxes that heterosexual couples do--but by and large, they pay more because they're having to do everything by proxy that married couples get by fiat. Tacitly, the case can be made that for certain benefits, overall taxation might go down, but with the increase in marriages overall, taxation would stabilize at a higher, more consistent rate. Also, issues of partner death or illness, joint holdings of assets, and child-rearing would gain strong protections--which in turn would likely lead to more consistent taxation payments. He's just wrong on all counts.

From Ela, again, in a Google+ response:
"'tax and insurance benefits are not a "right" they are a "privilege" that that the government should carefully weigh who to distribute to'
So you are actually saying that gay couples should be denied a 'privilege' that straight couples can have. You're not making yourself sound any better.
He's really not.

Matt's response to that:
"yes, which is to say the same tax and insurance benefits that a single person like myself would experience. traditional marriage fulfills a vital role that same sex marriage or single people like me do not or at the least have not been shown to. would you actually say that single people should be denied a privilege that same sex couples should have? why shouldnt me and some random person just be able to file jointly or why cant i be covered by some random persons insurance benefits just because im not married? (protip: because it's dumb to just give out benefits so that people dont feel excluded)"
That's...pretty dumb as an argument, actually. Moreover, nothing does stop him--beyond filing feels, court costs, and hours of booked time with an estate lawyer--from filing jointly with another random person. It is possible, legally, to gain nearly every benefit of "traditional" marriage in contract law, because--guess what--"traditional" marriage as it is currently interpreted in the United States is contract law. Moron.

There was more back and forth arguing, mostly about taxation and insurance costs, but Matt steadily lost coherency, so I'm done with him.

Peter Peterson said:
"You know Hank, the fact that you don't understand the Anti-Gay point of view is why you are unable to effectively argue against them and change their point of view. To actually change someone's point of view you have to understand why someone believes something and the context of the situation rather than just throwing your arguments at someone. People don't believe in Gay Marriage because they believe God hates it. They don't understand that attempting to ban it is the equivalent of voiding the right of freedom of religion, or if they do they likely believe that to allow Gay Marriage is not upholding God's laws/values, and they must uphold God's values regardless of what laws are put forth in our Constitution.

Remember that Christians (Catholics & High Church Protestants in particular*) are often told stories about Martyrs sacrificing their lives to fight the government for the Glory of God, so the 'Government/Constitution says you can't ban it' argument won't be overly effective.

Similarily, Christians (Low Church Protestants and Evangelicals in Particular*) are heavily entrenched in their beliefs and the culture surrounding their beliefs, so attempting to challenge the underlying biblical beliefs are, while possible, quite difficult.

Merely deflecting their arguments in a hostile fashion will simply make them see you as a non-believer and cling to their beliefs even more. Instead you must see the world from their view, and work to change that view in the issue you want to change it in.

Unless you just want to 'win' an internet debate, which I would argue is impossible since the other side usually runs away screaming 'I CANT HEAR YOU' after hours of arguing, if that was your ultimate goal.

*For reference, the "High Church" Protestants are generally considered to be Lutherans, Anglo-Catholic Anglicans, Presbyterian, Methodists and Calvinists occasionally while "Low Church" Protestants are considered to be Baptists, Pentecostals, Evangelical Anglicans, and most of the smaller Evangelical & Liberal churches. However, the line is a bit fuzzy; there are some low-church Lutherans and high-church Evangelical churches, though the latter is much rarer than the former."
I think Hank's point was more that, however tenacious the "traditional" religious types are about this, that our government as a whole should not allow themselves to be swayed by religious interests. (Which is hard, because they are so annoyingly vocal, EVERYWHERE, right now.) That whole separation of church and state is kind of a big deal to many of us, and seeing it chipped away year by year is hurtful. We are more diverse a population than the fundamentalists care to understand--they just want things to go their way. (But the problem inherent in that is even among hardcore fundamentalists, their perceptions of 'their way'/'the RIGHT way' to do things varies WIDELY.)

From Isabel Greene in response:
"f you can find a place in the bible where it says that god doesn't like gay people. i will applaud you. :P And I agree that it's impossible to argue it w/o understanding their view point, but i also think that this country is supposed to have a separation of religion and state and that anti-gay marriage laws clearly violate that in most cases. YES there are arguments about how having two of the same sex parents can be bad for a kid, but a) not being married doesn't mean they can't have kids, so it doesn't matter, and b) there's not a lot of good evidence to support that."
There are passages that are widely interpreted--which is the key word, here--to reference homosexuality. What's problematic about all of them is that, as the NALT Christians Project clearly points out, what we understand today as homosexuality--and heterosexuality, for that matter--didn't exist in the times in which the Bible was written. It's mostly Paul in various letters in the New Testament giving specifics, anyway, about what constitutes abhorrent and un-approved behavior for other Christians, and nowhere in anything that he writes does he ever, not once, refer to a happy, committed gay relationship as sinful or against God. What he does reference, and often, is the behavior of Roman statesmen, who were the main oppressors of the emerging Christian faith at the time. And what were Roman statesmen mainly known for? Having sex with their slaves as a diversion. Anyone who is enslaved cannot give consent, even if they are not morally opposed to what's being asked of them. They are enslaved, forced to another's will, and thus lack agency in any way. Plus, many of the preferred sexual slaves of choice were young boys, which adds on a whole separate layer of non-consensuality.

The Bible, through the writings of Paul, rightly, I think, condemns these forced "relationships" as against God for various reasons. But these relationships have nothing to do with homosexuality as we understand it now. So this entire line of thinking is wholly specious and without merit.

From Andrew Whythe:
"If somebody wants to marry their brother?
spamvicious in response:
"That's illegal because it would be incest, regardless of their gender."
Andrew's reply:
"Yes it's illegal - but if they want to. You're not supportive of marriage equality?"
Here's the thing about marriage equality, Andrew, and it's the same argument that can be made for incest, bestiality, and polygamy (not that these things are related, just listing other proposed 'married states' that usually crop up in Christian arguments). If something is illegal for all citizens, then it's not something that impacts equality. Everyone's already equal in that no one is allowed to marry their siblings, marry goats, or marry groups. How'ver, the fact that a man can marry a woman, but a man cannot marry a man (or a woman a woman) in some states means that they do not have full equality. Does that make sense, Andrew, or do I need to dumb it down further?

Jocelyn Bowling
"That is illegal more for the factor of mutation that would come of the offspring over what the person 'wants.' Incest creates medical issues that are purely avoidable, which is why it is made illegal."
Absolutely. To which Andrew replied:
"And homosexuality does not? The point is, it's inconsistent to forbid (thus far) incestuous or pedophiliac, polyamorous etc. marriages and enshrine this one."
Err, no, because incestuous and pedophilic relationships are already illegal, and that's not likely to change. And while I, personally, would like polyamorous relationships to be legalized, I can cope that the majority of people do not want them to be, and since--again--polyamorous relationships are not allowed marriage rights for all citizens, there's no inequity involved.

Jocelyn in reply:
"Homosexuality cannot biologically produce offspring so thetefore no, homosexuality does not give potentially deadly preventable diseases to babies. Sorry."
And it's true. While, at some point in the far future, we may be able to genetically engineer two sperm or two eggs to create reproductive ability, in a lab, I'm fairly sure it's never going to happen "in the wild", so to speak. So she's right, there.

Andrew in response:
"The life expectancy, incidence of STDs, alcoholism and other things are way higher in the homosexual community. And who are you to tell people who want to marry their sister (and vice versa) that they can't, what sort of bigot are you."
Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were just an idiot. Turns out you're a troll. Right. Done with you, too.

From Sara St. Clair:
"Also in a homosexual relationship both people know what they are getting into and any children adopted or surrogated will be okay. But in a brother and sister relationship the child that may be produced has no way of controlling the brain defects and other diseases you have a chance of forcing on them. This is why it's wrong because it is literally genetically wrong."
A very good point.

From Kaci Smith:
"Marriage should be between two people who love each other. A man and a woman marrying that arent in love is worse than teo people of the same sex marrying... A few decades ago marrying outside of your race was illegal. For example an African American could not marry a white person. It was also illegal for a black person to drink from the same water fountain as a white person.. To most of us these laws seem ridiculous, barbaric and unconstitutional yet not allowing same sex couples to marry is ok.. In a few decades people will look back at how same sex couples are treated and have the same thoughts that we do about how African Americans were treated in the past. They will wonder how and why so many ppl were so ignorant and full of hate... Ill never understand why ppl believe same sex couples getting married will harm them. Even if youre a Christian you should believe that God is the one and olny person who can judge them and if God believes same sex couples are a sin then he will deal with it. Just because Fred and Bob get married and have sex it doesn't mean everyone in the world is going to hell.... If anything thr bible says ur suppose to love all of Gods creatures not just the ones who have sex with the opposite sex... In my opinion religion breeds more hatred than love and acceptance... Who Bob, Fred, John, Jacob, Ashley, Amanda, Victoria, Suzie etc decide to have sex with and or marry is nobodies business except the person they decide to marry or have sex with... Sex before marriage is also a sin and yet 97% of Christians have premarital sex.... Stop judging others and pointing out their "sins" and pay attention to your own sins... Religion is one thing ive spent years studying and disliking... The more I learn, the more i dislike it..."
Also a good point.

stfwho responded:
"the right to marriage is not the same as the right to drink water. The act of drinking water wasn't created specifically for linear reproduction and raising of offspring. Marriage was designed to be between a man and woman specifically because of the awesome power that men and women have when they combine their lives and their sex organs. One man and one woman have sex, and a life is created that they both need to stick together to nurture and raise. Two men have sex, and they walk funny the next morning. One of these could really NEED marriage, the other just needs lube. That's really the only logical reason to say marriage should be exclusive to heterosexuals... it's their ritual that works well with their superpower of creating life. Gay people should have all the same rights as regular people. It's just that marriage itself isn't so much a right as it is a ritual and practice based on a need for an answer to a sexual issue. Thank you for your time."
So, from your perspective, only those who can breed should be allowed to marry? What if the heterosexual couple can't? Or doesn't want to? Would you have the government force sexual testing on all potential marriage partners? And what happens to children who are orphaned, or abandoned? Are you saying because they weren't born into a household with a man and a woman who fathered and gave birth to them, specifically, that they don't matter?

They continue:
"Ever wondered why it's a sin to have sex before marriage? Cuz it creates chaos and disorder. If everyone waited until marriage, we would never have any bastards or abandoned single mothers or kids whom the mother doesn't know who the father was. All of that is because of sex. Why is the only legitimate reason for divorce in the bible sexual infidelity? Because if your wife sleeps with another man, your sexual exclusivity is broken. That would lead to confusion as well. Now of course all of these things are of course going to be broken by everyone, but the rules do make perfect sense from a mathematical view. That's why marriage exists; in a perfect world, we'd have perfect order, and an incredibly big part of that would be the whole practice of marriage. It's where the next generation would come from. Raised by their biological parents in a nuclear family setting. That's why marriage is so special and that's why it isn't just about love and feelings. It has a practical purpose that was designed for a reproductive couple. If you think marriage is all about love, why has arranged marriage been a normal thing in the world far longer than our modern idea of marriage?"
So, in a perfect world, they're saying, everyone would wait until they were old enough to marry (impossible), there would be no rape (ludicrous, considering the rape statistics), no incest (REALLY ludicrous considering that one in EVERY four women in the US has been sexually abused or raped), and only single, virgin men would marry single, virgin women and immediately begin to raise children for the coming generations. That's...that's baffling to me, just how wrong-headed that is.

Plus, arranged marriage everywhere had nothing to do with love or reproduction--it had to do with property rights and estate wealth. Virtually everywhere you look throughout history, it was a trading game. In India, the family of the bride traded the bride--a burden on the family economically, but a valued unpaid servant--for economic gain, thus supplanting that servant to both increase the family's coffers, and potentially buy another servant to take her place. In Western Europe, plots of land typically were retained--though not legally "owned"--by women, and by marrying them, men gained legal rights to their holdings, and thus, any economic gains received. We see this pattern over and over, and it has nothing to do with babies in the least.

From steve cannon:
"Marriage was originally about property rights. The woman became the property of her husband and all her property became his. Marriages were arranged so that property would be kept in families. Marriage assured that the children of the couple would be the "legitimate" heirs and bastards wouldn't be able to inherit. That's what marriage was about in the earliest years, not love or God, property. If procreation were the goal, people who were barren would not be allowed to get married (like older folks who can't have kids and people who marry but decide NOT to have kids), only folks of child bearing age with the ability to have kids would be allowed to get married. Before you start talking about biology and morality, get your facts straight (sic)."
Yes, exactly, thank you for echoing my points.

From Henry Wallace:
"If you're talking in a mathematical point of view, the best way to create a 'next generation' is where one man has several wives because a man can produce sperm on a daily basis but it takes 9 months for women to produce babies. This means that if one man were to have, say 5 wives, he would be able to produce 5 babies every 9 months rather than one. Maybe Islam got it all right...."
As strange as that would make America, and as much as people on all sides of the issue would carry on about it, from a purely biological point of view, he's not wrong.

From Granticus3000:
"It is against my religion to allow gay marriage. Marriage is meant for a man and a woman, that's how God made it. I don't expect everyone to believe in my religion and I know many people don't believe in my religion, but that doesn't mean I have to support gay marriage. Really that argument is being hypocritical, it's saying that not every believes in your religion so we should not base laws on it, but we should allow gay marriage because I believe in it. Not everyone believes in gay marriage so stop using that argument, it's hypocritical!
Thank you, Granticus, for completely missing the point of the entire video. Ffffft.

And while I was willing to go on into part three, I think you get the point from here. Gay marriage remains an incredibly divided issue, and the closer religion's a part of the mix, the more the other side just fails to hear anything clearly.

This country abolished slavery because we felt it to be wrong--but not just morally wrong; it was economically and sociologically wrong, as well. It took several years of struggle before full rights were granted to blacks, including both the right to marry citizens (of any skin color), the right to enter establishments owned and operated by white people, the right to serve in the military...the list goes on. And there are still hardcore, defiant racists to this day who feel this country made the wrong decision.

Now we have gay marriage, another situation where one sector of the population is being restrained from full legal rights to marry and engage with other citizens in chosen contractual obligations, and while great strides have been made, these types of attitudes are exactly why we're having the struggle in the first place: because again, it's not just a moral issue, it's an economic and a social one, as well. In the end, I think we will look back as a society and realize how pointless this all was, and how much easier it would have been if we'd just allowed it in the first place.

everybody knows what you will say

So, Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers put this video out in May of 2012. I still think the points are sound, though, and I've also decided to transcribe it, for reasons that will become obvious later.
"Morning, John! A rather...complicated morning, John, because stuff's been going down this week...As you know, the state of North Carolina, where our parents live, just decided to just outright ban gay marriage, like stick it in the Constitution--

"Opposing gay marriage is not a viewpoint that I understand, and I know that this video is going to piss people off, but I don't care anymore. This isn't a political issue, it's just deciding that we're going to treat some citizens of our country differently than other citizens. That's wrong!

"So I want to go through some of the arguments that I hear, and why they're crazy.

[Onscreen flashes "Why Can't Gay People Just Be Committed Without Marriage"] "'What's the big deal, why can't gay people, just, you know, have a party and say they're committed to each other? Why do they gotta come in on our thing?' IRRELEVANT! This isn't complicated! If some people can get married, and other people can't, then that's wrong.

"TWO!" 'But..God...'"
[Onscreen flashes the same two words] "Marriage can be a religious thing. It can also be a secular thing. And guess what--not everyone in the world is of the same religion. Preventing gay people from getting married is not an expression of religious freedom, it's an expression of religious oppression. Because in the religion of the gay people getting married, presumably their god thinks it's okay, and you are oppressing them.

'But...the Bible...'"
[Onscreen flashes the same words.] "The Bible is not a legal document. Our country was founded upon the idea of a separation between church and state. The Bible is also very explicit on the rules of farmers selling their daughters as slaves. It may be not the best document to base our laws on. 'Gay marriage would undermine the institution of marriage.'" [Onscreen flashes the same words.] "This is a thing that I've named, I've created a name for it in my head, because I see them all the time. I'm calling them 'hypothetheories'."

"So a hypothesis is a question that you ask. You say, 'I wonder if gay marriage would undermine the institution of marriage?' That's a hypothesis, that you can then go out and test, in any number of ways. And then, if you confirm that it is true, that it explains the phenomenon, then you can eventually convert that into a theory. If you skip the middle step, and just assume that you have a true-statement-of-fact 'theory', then you have created what I call a 'hypothetheory'!

"I could make the exact opposite hypothesis, and it would be just as valid, because it would have just as much testing behind it! I could say that not allowing people who love each other to get married, that is undermining the institution of marriage! That that seems like a valid thing; now let's go test it!

"So stop saying this as if it is truth! Because you just made it up and you're like, 'Oh, that makes sense to me! Why does that make so much sense to me? It does, whatever, it must be true! It makes sense!' And you know why it makes sense? Because of the biggest actual complaint that people have about gay marriage, which is 'It's unnatural'."
[Onscreen flashes the same two words.]

"'It doesn't feel right to me.' And maybe to you, it doesn't seem right--because we build our worlds, we build the rules of the world that we live in; that's how we understand this place. And I think to a lot of people, it feels like this is a big, messy, grey world, and at least, there are some sharp distinctions. Like the distinctions between genders, and sexual orientation, and those are just lines that shouldn't--they should be always be hard lines. But saying that that simplicity is 'natural' is idiotic, because the most natural thing in the world is complexity, and gender, and sexual orientation, are proven over and over again to not be firm lines. The whole world is
grey, and if you just appreciate that, if you understand it and appreciate it, then it's beautiful.

"But if you try and spend your whole life fighting against it, then you're going to be bitter about the world actually being more complicated than it is, and you're going to make other peoples' lives less awesome. Which is exactly what this boils down to. Because there are a hundred arguments against gay marriage; you can come up with--with all kinds of hypothetheories, and just spout them off, and people will say 'nod nod, yes yes yes'. But to me, there's only one argument that matters for gay marriage: that all people in our country should be seen as equals in the eyes of the law. So North Carolina, and all of the thirty other states that have passed laws like this, you better check yourselves. Because we can't live in a society like that, and call ourselves Americans.

"John, I will see you on Tuesday."
Now, some of the dimensions, state by state, have shifted in this debate, some states going further, some states retracting, but that's not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the comments that Hank Green got after posting this video.

From Matt Sierra:
"so im not really against same sex marriages having the same rights i just dont want to pay more for taxes and healthcare because they are getting the same benefits as opposite sexed married couples, i haven't really seen anything that shows that same sex marriage or polygamy having the same benefits to society as one man one woman marriage. im certainly open to seeing data that shows polygamy or same sex marriage to society but at this point I'm not convinced."
I'm wondering what's wrong with supporting all marriages the same way? If two people wish to marry, raise children, share a home together, get involved in joint tax returns--who's Matt (or anyone else) to say that they can't do just that? Again, that creates a sub-class of citizens, and to date, the only real sub-class of citizens we have that's likely not to change is the criminal class. (And there are even some arguments that, after a set number of years back in society without further criminal behavior, their full citizen rights should be restored.)

How'ver, in reply to that, Nimulos Maltibos asked,
"What benefits do you mean? Children? Check the orphanages. Other than that I don't get what you could mean by benefits, care ot enlighten me?"
Matt answered:
"no, because man/woman married couples are better able to pass on favorable genes they have evolved to complement one another and society so as an example there is a domesticating effect that women have on men that lowers crime rates and increases a drive to work and produce. i dont think that most of the societal effects that opposite sex marriage have are as easy to quantify but the ability to adapt and pass down complementary traits are not something that same sex married couples have. we dont give tax and insurance benefits to married couples because they are some sort of inherent right, it's because we know from history that societies do better when there are more opposite-sex married couples."
...Right. A "domesticating effect". Tell that to the girlfriend of the Florida man who dreamed his girlfriend was cheating on him, so spent the entire day after he woke up beating her. Not kidding, this happened. "Domesticating effect", my ass.

In a Google+ comment, ShadoWolf0913 stated to Matt:
"I'm sorry, but by "favorable genes," I have to assume you mean heterosexual genes (which is not simply a genetic thing, anyway), because that is THE only difference between gay and straight people. Otherwise, people are people, regardless of whether they like men, women, both, or neither. A male/female marriage, assuming they do decide to have a child (which many do not,) certainly doesn't mean that child will have "better" genes.

A gay couple can be quite beneficial to society in terms of children by adopting orphans/unwanted kids and raising them in what can be as much a loving, dedicated family as any other. Those children, once grown, can offer every bit as much potential to society as a child raised by heterosexual parents. Should gay couples receive the same benefits as straight couples? I don't see any reason why not. Just because two men or two women cannot physically produce a child together doesn't mean they are less useful to society than a man/woman match. (There are also options like surrogacy to consider. A gay person, assuming they don't have a medical problem that would prevent it, would be in no way unable to reproduce if they chose to. Sexual orientation does not affect fertility, nor the quality of a person's genes.)

That wives somehow have an effect on men that "lowers crime rates and increases a drive to work and produce" I'm not even going to get into, except to say I think that's a pretty sexist statement that isn't backed by any statistics I have personally seen, and which implies only men commit crimes and won't/can't stop or be productive unless they are married to a woman. If nothing else, there are plenty of female and married male criminals out there."
Exactly. Witness Zach Wahls' rather passionate defense of being raised in a non-traditional family, in which he states unequivocally that being raised in a caring, loving environment by his two mothers gave him the moral compass he has today.

Matt goes on:
"I'm not talking about an opposite sexed couples ability to have kids but their ability to provide a greater chance of passing on favorable genes and reducing the chance of passing on negative genes through natural selection. because of this a man and a woman are more likely to complement one another then two men or women or one man or woman or one man and several woman etc. this is why we give tax incentives to married couples but not single couples or polygamy couples even though there is nothing to make me believe that polygamy is any less valid to a secular society than man-woman marriage or same sex marriage. im totally fine with same sex couples having the same benefits for having kids but also the same marriage benefits as polygamists."
That's actually the first thing he's said I agree with, that all marriage constructs should be equally valid, but again, that's not the point. I'm wondering where he's getting this "favorable genes" theory in the first place. In 2013, Bjorn Carey published an article on the livescience blog about the developing rules of sexual attraction, as perceived by heterosexuals. The big three? Symmetrical features (visual perception), a specific hip-to-waist ratio in women (a subconscious understanding of the potential levels of energy to care for offspring, plus her ability to easily bear children), and scent (which comes down to gut-level olfactory perception of pheromones, which we have zero conscious control over). But here's the thing--these are rules for heterosexual people. Are there rules for homosexual attraction?

Well, sort of. For gays, it mostly comes down to olfactory perception, in initial studies from 2001 and 2005. Later, in 2010, a study of Samoan homosexuals posits that "unaffiliated" (at least genetically) men involved in non-reproductive relationships with other men still substantially aided the children of heterosexual couples to whom they were related.

Which is all well and good that there may actually have been an evolutionary reason for same-sex affiliation to evolve, but again, doesn't give me any understanding of that "favorable genes" argument. Either my Google-fu is failing, or he's holding a completely irrational belief set.

In answering someone else's question, Matt replied:
"'What do you mean by "favorable genes," exactly?'- the way that men and women are different in such a way that they complement one another, though it is possible for two men or women or men and women in a polygamy relationship to exhibit slimier traits, to expect them to inherently would go against what science can observe about us. i havent seen anything to show same sex marriage to be anymore valid or useful than polygamy as such i dont want to pay more for health insurance or taxes because they pay less. what makes me less entitled to similar tax or health insurance breaks as a single man?"
I'm going to go out on this limb and assume he meant similar traits, not slimier ones, but even so, that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Matt again:
"'If I were making the laws, I would probably allow it because if people find happiness with that kind of relationship, that's their business and not mine' it is my business though because i am spending more on taxes and healthcare. what makes those more worth the benefits then my choice to be single? society is where it is because of the classic male female dynamics of society, i do believe that men and women are different and complement one another. men tend to be more explorative but without the feminine drive for stability social structure and justice would not develop, for example. if all were masculine society would not develop, if all were feminine the race would die in its infancy. we needed that dynamic and that is why the roles developed."
So basically, in spite of everything else he's said, his objection is that he'll take a larger hit in taxes as a single man? What? Because the same argument could be made if heterosexual society--the marriages he's claiming to defend--generates a great upswing in marriages suddenly. That same tax hit would happen. Is he against that, too? Or just the "gay ones"?

From a Google+ comment by binkey:
"You say 'there is a domesticating effect that women have on men that lowers crime rates and increases a drive to work and produce'

"This sounds like another "hypothetheory". What evidence do you have that women have that effect on that men at all? Even if you show that men who are married to women are less likely to commit crime and more driven to work, you have to remember that correlation is not causation. It could be argued that the reason for this discrepancy is that women are just more likely to marry lawful, hard working men, than they are to marry lazy criminals.

"Assuming that you prove that it is actually women having a "domesticating effect" on the men they marry, you would have to show that a man marrying another man or a woman marrying another woman would not have the same effect. To do that you need married gay people, but if gay marriage isn't allowed then how could you do that study?

"You say that heterosexuals are better able to "pass on favourable genes." But the fact is that heterosexuals are also better able to pass on unfavourable genes. Besides, reproduction is not impossible for homosexual couples. I live in Canada where same sex marriage is legal* and I know a lesbian couple who through a sperm donor were able to have children of their own. Sure the children don't share genes with both parents, but I don't see how that would interfere with their ability to raise the children. They seem to have managed to pass on their favourable (and perhaps some unfavourable) genes just fine.

"* So far I haven't noticed a big any effect on the taxes I pay. In fact the tax rate has gone down since gay marriage was made legal—not that I'm suggesting a causal link."
Which are also great points--there is nothing that stops two gay men from fathering children, or two lesbian women from giving birth to them, but actual infertility or a complete lack of desire to raise kids in the first place. It's a specious argument to insist that just because a couple cannot breed, they cannot marry. That also leaves out a great chunk of marriages among the infertile--who may or may not know that at the time of their marriages--as well as marriages occurring later in life, where childbirth may no longer be possible due to age.

Matt starts going off the rails here:
"he point was because our species has such a solid tradition of monogamy and solidarity, that i think a man and a woman will be prone complement one another in such a way that i wouldn't expect a polygamy marriage or incest or same sex marriage to. not that those forms of marriages cannot but that on average they won't be as complementary and useful to society. im not opposed to seeing evidence to the contrary but im not just going to be ok with giving people special benefits that i dont have access to because of my choice to be single on some vague principle that all marriage should be treated the same."
Wait. Okay, first, what's a "prone complement", I don't understand that term. But second, who mentioned incest?? While the rules are growing lax in some states regarding the marriages of first cousin to first cousin, which I personally find fairly creepy for genetic reasons, there is no state that allows incest to occur--let alone incestuous marriages, which is what I think he's leading up to implying.

We're moving on to part II.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

all the sweet green trees of Atlanta burst like little bombs

Necronomm VI is going away--may, in fact, already have been taken down by the writing of this missive. It was a highly technical, detailed build, that underwent many revisions in both structure and storyline over the years, but it was always intriguing, and always worth a visit. I was never more than an occasional bit player, but I tried to keep tabs now and again. I will genuinely miss the build.

No word yet on whether this means the Doomed ship is also leaving, as--while they're operated by separate people--they occupied the same sim, and I just don't know so far whether the sim itself is leaving, or just Oni Horan's section of it.

Also, I don't know whether or not Oni's Marketplace store is going to stay up, but for now it seems to be functional. Do with that information what you will.

In slightly brighter news, due to the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, many groups from the 70s are finding themselves suddenly back on the charts. You can get Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix 1 (AKA, the soundtrack to the film) on Amazon, iTunes, and, one would assume, most record stores.

If you bear any level of love for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the word is out to avoid the film, as though it's a rabid dog with rocket-powered teeth that can lunge forward and bite from miles away. Apparently--at least according to that reviewer, though other reports I've heard sound equally as dire--it makes TMNT II look watchable by comparison.

Yeah. It makes Vanilla ICE watchable. It's THAT BAD.

Want to know how your state measures up, internet-wise? Here, have at. (For the rest of the world, feel free to point and laugh at how bad our net connections really are. They're only matched by our abysmal social programs and slipshod medical coverage.)

Finally, prepare to have your mind blown by a Lord of the Rings theory regarding the giant eagles. Though it's been a bit since I've last read the source material, I don't recall the eagles were specifically mentioned outside of existing, so the fact that Gandalf's iconic line could potentially relate to them made me headtilt in a good way.

I don't know if it was intended to be that way; but it does make that line very, very intriguing.