Thursday, May 30, 2013

So Lesbians Cannot Love their Children?

Sometimes coincidences are so spooky.  At the very time the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) asserted a week or so ago that gay marriage and their inevitable progeny are akin to the Stolen Generation of indigenous children, I went to dinner with my lesbian relatives and spent the night listening to their uplifting tales of their two loved and loving kids.  It was an experience of stark contrasts. The inspiring encounter with parental love in full flight contrasted with depressing, nasty and wicked views of the ACL.  It was truly an evening of coincidence and contrast writ large.
But it is not just enough to say the Christian Lobby are malicious and mean. We ought to unpick the arguments. Senator Penny Wong (a Christian) correctly labelled them bigots but we must do more than call them names.
The ACL position appears to be this: a child from a gay/lesbian couple is analogous to an indigenous child being stolen from his/her family when outdated and cruel white views on the nature of family mandated forced theft of kids.  http://www.acl.org.au/2013/05/mr-rudd%E2%80%99s-change-on-marriage-sets-up-a-new-stolen-generation/
The analogy is wrong. The heartache and pain caused by the forced separation of indigenous families was shameful, was documented by a Royal Commission and was accordingly the subject of a dramatic apology. The heartache of the many kids of gay or lesbian marriages that I know is nil. They revel in their special status. Empirical evidence shows that children of gay parents do not suffer any poorer outcomes as a result of their parenting. 
ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said “Kevin Rudd’s change of mind on redefining marriage ignored the consequence of robbing children of their biological identity through same-sex surrogacy and other assisted reproductive technologies… Thus there will be another generation of stolen children.”
The analogy is also wrong because it equates biological identity with cultural and familial identity. Analogies are a powerful tool of argument but are often misleading because the comparisons do not equate like with like.  So it is here.  Biological identity does not need to be lost merely because the sperm donor donates to rather than marries a lesbian (mutatis mutandi the donation of a womb and ovum to a gay man).  Donation does not mandate loss of biological identity.  I am not saying that biological identity is unnecessary. One only has to listen to the terrible longing of adopted kids to know their birth parents to see that biological identity has power.  Indeed, I know a case where the mother of a gay man who donated sperm to lesbian woman travelled from Europe just to see her progeny. I concede that the call of biological identity is powerful. The tug of ancestors and personal history is compelling. It is just that one cannot assume that it is absent in gay and lesbian couples. Certainly, in the couples I know, everyone, including the kids of course, knows who did what to whom.  The children of gay parents will usually be raised by at least one of their biological parents (I haven’t read research about this but imagine this is almost always the case). The ACL is wrong to link gay/lesbian children to loss of biological identity.

Biological identity in this era of donated building blocks of life and DNA testing is a matter for State governments to protect and promote.  I advocate that.  But in no way is the question of biological identity comparable with the cultural and familial identity that was broken in indigenous families in the first few years after that identity was established at birth. 
They’re conflating marriage and procreation. While during some of human history the 2 were closely entwined, that’s certainly far less so the case since the stigma of being an unwed mum has largely disappeared in western societies. LGBT couples are having children despite them not be able to marry …so preventing gay marriages won’t prevent gay people from having and/or raising children.

The ACL is also being hypocritical. Where is their concern for biological identity when they advocate adoption over abortion?  Some of their members are anti abortion and the whole issue of biological identity is never addressed when they demand adoption over abortion. It was church welfare groups who were often implicated in pressured adoptions in the early post war decades.  No concern of a loss of biological identity there. The ACL have unfairly deprecated adoption and fostering.
Apart from the bogus issue of biological identity, it is also clear that gay and lesbian families have great success in rearing children. The wiki entry on LGBT parenting discloses the empirical data that corroborates my anecdotal evidence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_parenting  Why undermine success, love and happiness? That in my view makes the ACL position immoral.
Love arises in several ways. Let me illustrate by a friend who is not gay.  She had a child with a donated egg inseminated by her husband.  So there are three possible parts of her motherhood, genetic bequest, pregnancy and rearing.  She has no genetic relationship but has borne the child and reared and loves that baby with a ferocity I have yet to see equalled. The biological link seems to be irrelevant and the loved child will have the biological certainty she might crave because there will be no secrets.  Love arises from nature, from nurture and now from the clinic. We need a moral canvas that is flexible and not mired in pre industrial situations.
And this is the rub. Christianity and other faiths like the certainty of rules etched in tablets of stone. Unchanging and unyielding rules have popularity because of their clarity and simplicity. But certainty sacrifices humanity and progress.  The ACL position shows why I cannot be a believer. Not only can I not believe but the archaic rules of faith come to repellent positions when faced with change unforseen by the authors of the bible.
What is your view?
·         Are lesbians having kids analogous to the Stolen Generation?
·         Is biological identity important or just an occasional bout of curiosity?
·         Are Christian ethics too unyielding? Too archaic? Just right?
·         Are atheistic ethics too uncertain and captured by the issue de jour?
Over to you...



236 comments:

  1. MalcolmS12:18 AM

    "So Lesbians Cannot Love their Children?"

    Of course lesbians can love their children.

    But why use the ACL as the foil?

    Why not a more objective criterion?

    The first thing I thought is that those kids will not have a father.

    Do you think that's relevant?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The first thing I thought is that those kids will not have a father.
      Do you think that's relevant?"

      Research seems to suggest that it doesn't matter so then, no, not relevant.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS6:46 AM

      "Research seems to suggest..." results in no conclusion whatsoever.

      Delete
    3. 8x
      Why not a more objective criterion?

      The first thing I thought is that those kids will not have a father.
      x8


      8x
      "Research seems to suggest..." results in no conclusion whatsoever.
      x8


      Well in the objective stakes, "Research seems to suggest" assuredly trumps "The first thing I thought", so definite win to boof on this occasion.


      Of course in the nobjective stakes those results would have been reversed (because whacky-do). Unfortunately thats unlikely to happen as we only have one nobjectivist on the panel.

      Dont you have any friends who want to play with you mal?

      Delete
    4. Dear Mal,

      There are a few assumptions - that the kids won't have contact with the father, that not co habitating with a father is necessarily bad and that if it is, we are entitled to treat LGBT parenting differently to other single situations or non dad situations (absence through work, illness, travel or death). So it is a long answer but this is my quickie reply.
      Thanks again for your contribution MalcolmS

      Delete
    5. The first thing I thought was Maliciou s is wrong and the second was that he has maintained his basement standards.

      Delete
    6. "The first thing I thought is that those kids will not have a father."

      Yes they do, they just might not know him. You really are thick.

      Delete
    7. The first thing I thought Malcolm is "why would you make that assumption?" How do you know those children won't have a father?

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS8:14 PM

      So, one is not entitled to presume that the child of a lesbian couple does not have a father??

      Wow, you lot are really weird!

      Delete
    9. "So, one is not entitled to presume that the child of a lesbian couple does not have a father??"

      Since cloning or parthenogenesis is not available for humans yet all children have a father.

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS10:58 PM

      "Since cloning or parthenogenesis is not available for humans yet all children have a father"

      You, Andrew, have not the slightest notion of what constitutes the concept "father."

      Delete
    11. "You, Andrew, have not the slightest notion of what constitutes the concept "father.""

      Actually I have a much better idea than you. You think father-figure ore male role model equals father. This is why we talk about biological father with adoptions.

      Delete
    12. Long John Silver6:15 PM

      Malcolm, please convert to Christianity. You are an embarrassment to Team Atheist.

      Delete
    13. MalcolmS12:46 AM

      I don't do "teams."

      Especially with idiot pirates.

      I'm the Lone Atheist.

      Hi Ho Silver - Aw-a-a-a-y!

      Delete
  2. The ACL are a bunch of whiners who know that there is nothing like hysteria and moral panic to loosen purse strings.

    Bludgers one and all.

    And thats also why I'm not surprised to see mallywally hungrily pursing his lips close to their backsides

    Birds feathers playing together...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Long John Silver6:20 PM

      My parrot is offended by you putting birds in the same category as the ACL and/or Mal. Polly would never play with such people. To quote the parrot - "Typical cat!"

      Delete
  3. I also have a lot of personal experience of gay couples being great parents.

    All the same, when I was asked to donate sperm for a lesbian couple I declined, even though someone I trusted vouched for the couple. I am sure they went on to be good parents.

    I couldn't quite understand my decision but my mother put it in words when I discussed it with her - she said, "there would be a little Robin out there and you wouldn't know where".

    That was more or less it - I would have always regarded the child as my son or daughter and feel that I had abandoned him or her.

    I would feel that way whether it was a gay or heterosexual couple.

    So I guess that biological identity matters if it matters to you.

    I knew a woman who could not care less about her biological mother and regarded her adoptive parents as being the only parents she had.

    So it didn't matter to her and I totally support that.

    But it would matter to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS7:00 AM

      Terry Lane, a longtime ABC broadcaster, was adopted. He said that he loved his adopted parents as much as if they were his biological parents. He said on a number of occasions that, if his biological parents suddenly arrived on the scene, he would have nothing to do with them and would refuse to even meet them. Very interesting.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Robin. Yes biological identity is important. So I really appreciate your contribution. But I agree with Malcolm. Terry showed no public hunger to meet his biological parents and two friends of mine told me that meeting their biological progeny ended in tears. It is an area fraught with complexity.

      Delete
    3. "I couldn't quite understand my decision but my mother put it in words when I discussed it with her - she said, "there would be a little Robin out there and you wouldn't know where"."

      Unless you've always had sex using contraceptives, and never a one night stand, there's always a chance of that happening.

      Delete
    4. Yes, it makes me glad I am not a love 'em and leave 'em sort of a guy.

      Delete
    5. Dick wrote: "Terry showed no public hunger to meet his biological parents and two friends of mine told me that meeting their biological progeny ended in tears. It is an area fraught with complexity."

      Similar to my friend as I describe above. She rightly regarded those who had brought her up as her parents.

      She used to refer to her mother as "that bitch who gave birth to me".

      That seems to suggest to me that the whole biological identity was not completely a non-issue.

      Delete
    6. Dear Robin, That is a confronting but informative piece of evidence. Thanks. Dick

      Delete
  4. Dick wrote: " The ACL position shows why I cannot be a believer. Not only can I not believe but the archaic rules of faith come to repellent positions when faced with change unforseen by the authors of the bible."

    But oddly you seem to have forgotten that you have already pointed out that Penny Wong is a Christian.

    And our Christian ex Prime Minister supports same-sex marriage. And the Christian President of the USA supports same sex marriage.

    But our atheist Prime Minister does not.

    And I have just been watching on Q&A the American Bishop Gene Robinson talking about his partner, now his husband.

    That is a lot of bending for unbending rules.

    And in any case believing in God does not necessarily mean subscribing to any religion at all as I can attest.

    ReplyDelete
  5. One of my daughter's friends has gay parents. She is the daughter of one lesbian. Her half brother is the son of the lesbian partner and they have the same father who is also gay.

    They have a father who they live with half the time and it's working out fine and heaps better than most of the separated heteros that I know as the parents get along just fine.

    Buzz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS8:33 AM

      "One of my daughter's friends has gay parents. She is the daughter of one lesbian. Her half brother is the son of the lesbian partner and they have the same father who is also gay"

      No kiddin' Loonman. Well, I'm a monkey's uncle!

      Delete
    2. 8x
      Well, I'm a monkey's uncle!
      x8

      Thats last weeks column mallypoo. Do try to stay in focus

      Delete
    3. In your case Malthoid, a rewrite of Origin Of Species is warranted.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS8:20 PM

      I don't think so Loonman. Darwin's discovery was brilliant and even includes me :)

      Delete
    5. Ralph9:18 PM

      No kiddin' Loonman. Well, I'm a monkey's uncle!" (MalcolmS8:33 AM)

      If you're a "monkey's uncle" Malcolm, you're running the evolutionary story backwards. If you want to play the evolutionary game you'd have to be a monkey's nephew!

      I agree about Buzz's example. What a mish-mash.

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS9:37 PM

      Er... it's just an expression Ralph. Although in another sense we are all primates.

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS9:42 PM

      Oops.. perhaps I should retract. The anti-vilification Gestapo may be listening.

      Delete
    8. Buzz, I have known a couple of families similar to the one you describe and they have also worked out well.

      I imagine, though, that practical considerations would mean that this arrangement would not happen very often.

      Delete
  6. "Are lesbians having kids analogous to the Stolen Generation?"

    No.

    "Is biological identity important or just an occasional bout of curiosity?"

    It may be to some and not others.

    "Are Christian ethics too unyielding? Too archaic? Just right?"

    They are totally fucked up. Catholics would rather a mother died than see he have an abortion to save her life.

    "Are atheistic ethics too uncertain and captured by the issue de jour?"

    What are 'atheistic ethics'?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Stranger. You leave us in no doubt...

      Delete
  7. RalphH2:59 AM

    “Are lesbians having kids analogous to the Stolen Generation?” (Godless Gross - THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2013)

    The first question to ask is “What is a lesbian?” A lesbian is a woman who feels a physical sexual attraction to other women and has decided to accept and ultimate that feeling. All women (unless there is some physical impediment) can have children in conjunction with a man/male but two lesbians together cannot “have kids”. A child may be the offspring of one woman but not the other. There will always be a missing father from the family relationship. If neither woman was the mother there is something of an analogy with the Stolen Generation but the same would apply to any foster child without, however, the gender mix-up.

    “Is biological identity important or just an occasional bout of curiosity?”

    Biologic identity is important (obviously from the examples given more important to some than others) but not crucial. Each case would be individual but it would be a big mistake to disregard biological identity as a principle because 'blood' ties can run very deep. I suggest the “identity” would be more that biological because there is a spiritual element involved as well.

    “ Are Christian ethics too unyielding? Too archaic? Just right?”

    That depends what one means by “Christian”. Christ revealed eternal spiritual principles that have application to all situations and all times. They are certainly not unyielding or archaic; they have the same standing (but on the spiritual plane) as the Laws/principles of Nature do on the natural plane.

    On the other hand there are ethics or morals formulated by various Christian traditions that may have a very tenuous connect to Christ's principles and be more the work and ideas of people from the past interpreting Christ in a time specific way that no longer applies. That does not apply, IMO, to fundamentals like the distinction between male and female and their complementary roles.

    “Are atheistic ethics too uncertain and captured by the issue de jour?”

    I'd say they have no basis other than limited human intelligence (what appears from whatever subjective desire and perspective is being currently used to work at the time) which thanks to common-sense can be and often is at least partly right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. " If neither woman was the mother there is something of an analogy with the Stolen Generation but the same would apply to any foster child without, however, the gender mix-up."

      Who exactly is the child being stolen from?

      " They are certainly not unyielding or archaic; they have the same standing (but on the spiritual plane) as the Laws/principles of Nature do on the natural plane."

      Prove it.

      Delete
  8. MalcolmS9:04 AM

    "Are lesbians having kids analogous to the Stolen Generation?"

    That's a totally invalid question since the "Stolen Generation" was a false narrative fabricated by New Left "historians" trying to misrepresent and distort history to further their respective political causes or ideological positions[such as multiculturalism]. The works of Windshuttle and Blayney are well known in the refutation of this myth. The so-called Stolen Generation was nothing more than aboriginal children removed from their dysfunctional parents in the same way as white kids are removed from dysfunctional parents.

    Perhaps you may care to comment on what you think should happen to this little girl.

    http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/aboriginal-girl-mikala-caught-in-middle-of-adoption-struggle/story-fnet08ui-1226654057440

    Personally I think they should continue to be "stolen."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good idea dweeb.

      A couple of dozen aboriginal kids living in the basement with you would bring down the level of twerpiness currently manifesting itself there by quite a substantial amount.

      Just one question though: How you gonna feed them?
      Your disability pension wont be enough.
      Maybe you could start a charitable foundation?

      "Uncle Monkeys Bludge Fund" perhaps?

      Delete
    2. Mal: Personally I think they should continue to be "stolen."

      I share your scepticism about the ‘stolen generation’. It is another example of the scourge of political correctness. It is one group’s view of history and even if we think it has merit that doesn’t mean we should ignore other views. Yet that’s exactly what has happened. The term is so emotionally charged (the word ‘stolen’ is not an accident) that rational discussion becomes almost impossible.

      Delete

    3. 8x
      the word ‘stolen’ is not an accident
      x8

      Neither is "generations".

      Both "Stolen children" and much of the original justifications for the removal of children from their families ( for instance: "protection of at risk girls" ) fed into the angst and confusion of those susceptible to hysteria and moral panics with the usual predictable results.

      For those with a penchant for exploitation both panics provided fertile ground in which to work and realism was shown the door.

      But meh... People are stupid. So whattayagonnado?
      Or more to the point. WhattayaNOTgonnado.

      To which I suggest; dont buy into this embryonic boondoggle either


      Delete
  9. How’s this for irony? One of the popular theories in biology is that homosexuality may have evolved to help raise kids. It has been observed in hundreds of different species, and in every case homosexuals play a role in raising offspring in their family groups. They also often adopt orphaned or abandoned kids.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. You mean to say that despite all the histrionic "evidence" presented to the contrary, it turns out that children from "non-traditional" (eyeroll) households will just grow up, go out, get jobs and get married like everybody else?

      Why has no-one ever noticed this before?

      Wait on. Maybe they actually have, and . . just . . dont . . care.

      After all, ya gotta persecute somebody, right? Dont wanna be gettin outta practice, yeah?

      I wonder what an actual christian who doesnt depend on donations from hysterical idiots to pay his way might have to say on this subject?


      "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be 'cured' against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals." -

      C.S. Lewis


      Nah - That cant be right - Okay, lets round 'em all up and stick 'em in special homes staffed by wackos, sadists and perverts. That'll make sure they turn out "normal"

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS7:44 PM

      Terry:".. homosexuality may have evolved to help raise kids"

      Homosexuality is not an example of evolution. Homosexuality[or heterosexuality] results from adoptinging certain *values* in one's formative years. This is often *implicit* [i.e., not performed with conscious intent] as is the case with many values acquired in childhood. But, in that sense, one's sexuality is *chosen* and not inherited.

      "It has been observed in hundreds of different species, and in every case homosexuals play a role in raising offspring in their family groups. They also often adopt orphaned or abandoned kids"

      Fallacy of anthropomorphism.

      Delete
    3. ""It has been observed in hundreds of different species, and in every case homosexuals play a role in raising offspring in their family groups. They also often adopt orphaned or abandoned kids"

      Fallacy of anthropomorphism."

      No it's observed behaviour. Reality doesn't stop happening just because you don't like it.

      Delete
    4. 8x
      Reality doesn't stop happening just because you don't like it.
      x8

      How much reality can there be in a basement anyway?

      Delete
    5. RalphH9:44 PM

      “Homosexuality is not an example of evolution. Homosexuality[or heterosexuality] results from adoptinging certain *values* in one's formative years. This is often *implicit* [i.e., not performed with conscious intent] as is the case with many values acquired in childhood. But, in that sense, one's sexuality is *chosen* and not inherited.” (MalcolmS7:44 PM)

      I think this is more than obvious Malcolm despite all the who-ha we hear on the subject. I refuse to accept that there are such beings as “homosexual (or gay) people” except by their own choice. Your mention of “implicit” demonstrates that they are responding to 'errant' feelings rather than making a rational choice. Animals, of course, don't even have the possibility of rejecting or over-riding errant feelings because they don't have the capacity of rationality.

      IMO, homosexuality has nothing to do with genetics/evolution because two of the same sex cannot reproduce.

      Delete
    6. RalphH10:10 PM

      "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be 'cured' against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals." - C.S. Lewis” (zedinhisbigflyinghead6:05 PM)

      Thanks for that quote zed.... dit.dit.dah. There really is something of a scholar behind all that flap-doodle.

      I completely agree with Mr Lewis and suggest that he gets it from a sensible interpretation of scripture. There is nothing God values more than human freedom because the exercise of freedom is the only way humans can choose to connect with eternity (i.e. God).

      The message of scripture is directed to each individual directly via their own conscience. It is not the business of Christians (and other theists) to harass and compel others. Their job is to witness – speak out to any willing to listen – so that the 'good news' is not unknown and has a chance not to be unheeded.

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS10:25 PM

      RalphH: "Animals, of course, don't even have the possibility of rejecting or over-riding errant feelings because they don't have the capacity of rationality"

      True, except that animals don't have "errant" behaviour. That's an attribute of volitional/ethical beings. "Rationality" is man's primary virtue from which all other virtue procedes.

      Delete

    8. 8x

      "Rationality" is man's primary virtue from which all other virtue procedes.

      x8

      Is your particular version of "rationality" "implicit", "chosen", or "inherited" there mallypops?

      Delete
    9. "I think this is more than obvious Malcolm despite all the who-ha we hear on the subject."

      Ralph will you stop lying about how you accept science? as you clearly reject what science has to say about homosexuality.

      "IMO, homosexuality has nothing to do with genetics/evolution because two of the same sex cannot reproduce."

      You obviously haven't read anything about the subject. Why do you think your willful and abject ignorance is better than knowledge?

      Delete
    10. "There is nothing God values more than human freedom because the exercise of freedom is the only way humans can choose to connect with eternity"

      If God really valued freedom he would respect our choices and not punish us for not believing in him.

      Delete
    11. RalphH8:15 AM

      “Ralph will you stop lying about how you accept science? as you clearly reject what science has to say about homosexuality.” (Stranger4:59 AM)

      Stranger, personifying “science” and pretending it has an overall infallible view on anything is I believe stretching the truth (or if you want an emotional evaluation I'm sure “lying” would serve as another explanation).

      There is no consensus view on the cause of homosexuality and even if there were it would only be a majority opinion of a group of individuals.

      Delete
    12. RalphH8:26 AM

      “If God really valued freedom he would respect our choices and not punish us for not believing in him.” (Stranger5:03 AM)

      God does not “punish us for not believing in him”. That's a false, irrational idea that you've picked up from somewhere. God is Love and love does not punish. If you want to make any progress in understanding/forming a rational concept of God you need to stop imposing human frailties on Him. The punishment for not believing in God is self-inflicted because it means one rejects/deprives one's mind of God's love and wisdom. An analogy would be if one hid away in a dark cellar all one's life, rejecting the heat and light of the sun. You can just imagine the 'punishment' that would inflict on one's physical being.
      Rejecting God on the basis of having built up a 'straw-man' concept of Him that is irrational and despicable is at best foolish (i.e. done in ignorance) and at worst dishonest. I place you in the first category because to be dishonest one has to know the truth (or a pretty good approximation of it) to be able to twist it into a falsity.

      Delete
    13. Long John Silver6:45 PM

      "Homosexuality is not an example of evolution. Homosexuality[or heterosexuality] results from adoptinging certain *values* in one's formative years."

      Apart from Ralph backing up your claims, can you present any EVIDENCE for this assertion?

      Delete
    14. "God does not “punish us for not believing in him”. That's a false, irrational idea that you've picked up from somewhere."

      That would be the Bible.

      "If you want to make any progress in understanding/forming a rational concept of God you need to stop imposing human frailties on Him."

      There is no rational concept of God, and you're the one giving him human attributes.

      Delete
    15. RalphH8:20 PM

      “True, except that animals don't have "errant" behaviour. That's an attribute of volitional/ethical beings. "Rationality" is man's primary virtue from which all other virtue procedes.” (MalcolmS10:25 PM)

      How then do you explain the occasional existence of homosexual type behaviour in animals. My suggestion is that somehow the programming has gone awry which would result in errant behaviour. The same can occur with humans but they do have a corrective mechanism – reason and free-will i.e. an ability to choose and act contrary to 'natural' instincts that can be seen to be out of line.

      Delete
    16. MalcolmS11:52 PM

      RalphH: "How then do you explain the occasional existence of homosexual type behaviour in animals"

      I wouldn't try to explain it. I'm surprised that you would fall for anthropomorphism Ralph. How would anyone know what goes on in the mind*** of an animal?

      Animals do not have free will, consciousness is automatic, so the notion of "errant behaviour" does not arise.

      *** Note to materialists/determinists: I said 'mind,' not 'brain.'

      Delete
    17. MalcolmS12:57 AM

      Long John Silver: "Apart from Ralph backing up your claims, can you present any EVIDENCE for this assertion?"

      I don't do "Ralph backing up your claims" replies.

      Especially with idiot pirates.

      I'm the Lone Replier.

      Hi Ho Silver - Aw-a-a-a-y!

      Delete
    18. "Long John Silver: "Apart from Ralph backing up your claims, can you present any EVIDENCE for this assertion?"

      I don't do "Ralph backing up your claims" replies.

      Especially with idiot pirates.

      I'm the Lone Replier.

      Hi Ho Silver - Aw-a-a-a-y!"

      So that's a no then.

      Delete
    19. "How then do you explain the occasional existence of homosexual type behaviour in animals. My suggestion is that somehow the programming has gone awry which would result in errant behaviour"

      So you were lying when you said you accept science as science does not say animals are programmed. Why do you keep lying Ralph?

      Delete
    20. MalcolmS9:23 AM

      Stranger aka AndrewR: "So that's a no then"

      No.

      Delete
    21. MalcolmS9:48 PM

      "So you were lying when you said you accept science as science does not say animals are programmed. Why do you keep lying Ralph?"

      The *animals are programmed* scientists say that animals are programmed. Why do you keep lying Andrew? :)

      Delete
    22. "The *animals are programmed* scientists say that animals are programmed."

      Scientists don't say that animals are programmed.

      Delete
    23. MalcolmS1:35 AM

      Stranger aka AndrewR: "Scientists don't say that animals are programmed"

      The *animals are programmed* scientists say that animals are programmed. Why do you keep lying Andrew? :)

      Delete
    24. Long John silver3:10 AM

      Please cite the studies in which scientists say that animals are programmed.

      Delete
    25. 8x
      Please cite the studies in which scientists say that animals are programmed.
      x8

      Reference here



      http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Acoustic_Kitty&oldid=170011718

      Delete
    26. Long John silver5:20 AM

      Thanks Billy - I can only wonder why Mal failed to cite that when challenged.

      Delete
    27. MalcolmS6:33 AM

      Long John silver[sic]: "Please cite the studies in which scientists say that animals are programmed"

      I don't do "cites."

      Especially for idiot pirates or bigloonyheaded cats.

      I'm the Lone Citer.

      Hi Ho Silver - Aw-a-a-a-y!

      Delete
    28. Q: Who was that masked twerp?

      A: I dont know, but he left behind this silver brainfart...

      Together: OMG! Its Ayn Rand's Dildo!!

      Fade out into sunset: Curtains: Lights up

      Delete
    29. Long John silver10:19 PM

      I don't do "cites."

      People who are unable to back up their statements with facts never do "cites.". It is generally taken as an indication that they are making things up as theygo along.

      That's why I laugh and point at them. That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence is the usual quote for those of us who don't object ot citing things - usually it is applied to claims about the existence of God, but it seems to also apply to nonbelievers who assert their independence of "Team Atheist".

      Delete
  10. "Homosexuality[or heterosexuality] results from adopting certain *values* in one's formative years."

    Complete rubbish. No studies show that an individual's sexuality is purely a cultural/social construct. Most studies show physical causes, for example a recent study in mice showed blocking serotonin changed sexual preference in females.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS8:23 PM

      I have not claimed a "cultural/social construct." I have suggested an implied choice. Please try to remain in focus. Your chronic materialism renders you permanently adrift of grasping this issue.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS8:36 PM

      "a recent study in mice showed blocking serotonin changed sexual preference in females"

      Fallacy of anthropomorphism.

      Er... you have sexual relationships with mice?? :)

      Delete
    3. Stranger wrote: "Most studies show physical causes, for example a recent study in mice showed blocking serotonin changed sexual preference in females."

      Ah, so a cure for heterosexuality is finally on the horizon.

      Delete
    4. 8x
      blocking serotonin changed sexual preference in females.
      x8

      8x
      Your chronic materialism renders you permanently adrift of grasping this issue.
      x8

      C'mon mallypoos, dont be so hasty

      I'm sure you'd change your mind about serotonin if all those cute little lady mice were turning into flaming dweebosexuals


      Delete
    5. Fallacy of anthropomorphism."

      Fallacy of being an ignorant fool.

      Delete
    6. " I have suggested an implied choice."

      Which is very much reliant in one's social and cultural ties. You don't even have a clue of your own bullshit.

      Delete
    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  11. Mal:

    If ever there was an example of unreliable human reason, you are it. Every serious scientific journal I subscribe to has at one time or another published a paper concerning evidence for an evolutionary explanation for homosexuality. The latest was The Quarterly Review of Biology’s review of Sergei Gavrilet’s interesting work on a possible epigenetic explanation.

    Given all of this evidence, and the seriousness with which the hypothesis is treated, you’d think a reasonable man, such as you claim to be, would at least give it some consideration. Yet you don’t. You just vomit out Rand’s views over and over again with no explanation of why we should consider those views or any evidence to support them.

    Where’s the rationality in that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS2:21 AM

      Terry, what on Earth makes you think I am expressing Rand's view? I have no idea what her view on the cause of homo/heterosexuality is or whether she even has a view. Since you presume to know better, then, please advise what it is!

      Your position always seems to presume a mechanistic/deterministic/physical cause for everything. On the issue of sexuality you are way out of line as are your modern teachers whose primary concern is where their next government grant is coming from. So the more sensationalist their waffle the better. The "Age of Science" is long gone. You should not place too much trust in the moderns Terry. Look at their monumental stuff up on alleged cataclysmic man made global warming!!

      My position is that any theory of sexuality must consider value theory amongst other things and that is certainly not a physical science. If you don't, then, you are just whistling Dixie no matter how fascinating you may find epigenetics. Do you know what the science of values is called? No I didn't think so! It's called ethics :)

      In the final analysis I reckon the cause of sexuality will come from some sort of psychology/value theory hybrid but that's only my hypothesis. But hey, I'll give it to you for free.

      Just acknowledge it when you go to receive your Nobel Prize :)

      Delete
    2. Mal: I don't trust *modern* scientists - especially government employed scientists. Those during the "Age of Science" - Newton, Galileo, Avagadro, etc were brilliant.

      Well, that explains a lot. I wasn’t sure if your limited science was due to ignorance or to stupidity. Perhaps if you were to update your knowledge to discoveries made beyond the 1600s you might find that some of your ideas need revision.

      I got Rand’s view by going to The Atlas Society where I found this little piece: http://www.atlassociety.org/homosexuality-moral.

      Regarding determinism, why shouldn’t I be? What’s my alternative? To believe that ghosts and gods make things happen?

      Are you sure you’re not a Christian?

      Delete
    3. "On the issue of sexuality you are way out of line as are your modern teachers whose primary concern is where their next government grant is coming from. So the more sensationalist their waffle the better...My position is that any theory of sexuality must consider value theory amongst other things and that is certainly not a physical science"

      Do you have any evidence to support this claim or are you just making it up as you go along?

      Delete
    4. 8x
      The "Age of Science" is long gone. You should not place too much trust in the moderns Terry.
      x8

      Hey concretehead!!

      I'm STILL waiting for you to deliver my phlogiston

      Delete
  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Mal:

    Your answer, then, is that you don’t trust science because you think there’s some sort of conspiracy going on? Instead you prefer to ‘reckon’ that homosexuality will be explained by ‘some sort of psychology/value theory hybrid’?

    Genius.

    By the way, Rand’s position on homosexuality is that it is volitional, which is exactly what you said. What a coincidence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS4:10 AM

      Terry: "Your answer, then, is that you don’t trust science..."

      I don't trust *modern* scientists - especially government employed scientists. Those during the "Age of Science" - Newton, Galileo, Avagadro, etc were brilliant.

      "Rand’s position on homosexuality is that it is volitional"

      What's your source please.

      Delete
    2. "I don't trust *modern* scientists - especially government employed scientists. Those during the "Age of Science" - Newton, Galileo, Avagadro, etc were brilliant."

      Not all scientists are employed by the government. What exactly do you think is untrustworthy with all modern science? And why was it more trustworthy centuries ago?

      Delete
  14. The chaff to wheat ratio is pretty high in most, if not all, science journals.

    We cannot really claim to know how much sexuality is nature and how much is nurture.

    I am not sure what difference it makes to the subject at hand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The chaff to wheat ratio is pretty high in most, if not all, science journals."

      Your evidence is what?

      Delete
    2. A good place to start is Daryl Bem and "Feeling the Future", a paper on experiments on precognition which met the criteria for publishing in a peer reviewed journal.

      As a New Scientist editorial pointed out, this is not evidence in favour of precognition, it is evidence that science has set the bar too low.

      Bem's paper is pretty competent in terms of experimental design and statistical analysis.

      In fact it is a lot better than many papers which are generally taken as scientific evidence for something or other.

      You might also consider all the normal human quirks which have been turned into disorders by the "publish or perish" ethos - confusing the issue for those who really do have disorders. Look at the fuss over the DSM-5.

      Delete
    3. Robin:

      It’s not clear to me what the NS editor means when he says Bem’s paper is evidence that science has set the bar too low. The paper’s results might be weird, but they appear to have been reported in a way that makes them testable, and that’s good science. Perhaps you can explain.

      On the DSM-5 controversy, it’s true that funding can and does influence the direction of projects. In my field of evolutionary biology the Templeton Foundation will give money to any project that links science to religion. And my colleagues in physics tell me that it is nearly impossible to get funding for anything but string theory research.

      But this is nothing new. Scientists have always depended on patronage and patrons have always sought to influence science in a way that benefits them. Our predecessors were aware of this and their response was to establish a set of norms that gave rise to the cooperation and disclosure you see in the scientific community today.

      It might be true that there is some chaff in our publications. But it is not true that there’s more chaff than wheat. And the evidence of it is all around you. Science works, and it works well, probably better than any other discipline you care to name.

      Delete
    4. I never suggested for a moment that science doesn't work.

      In fact the high chaff to wheat ratio is one of the reasons that it does work - it is OK to get things wrong in science.

      Now I said that ratio is high, I didn't say it was above 50%, it may be, but neiher you nor I really know that.

      Jerry Coyne (no dismisser of science) recently gave the opinion that maybe 30% to 40% of published results in biology are unrepeatable.

      As you say the Bem paper is good science. It is considerably better science than some I have seen.

      All this means that science works because it is OK to be wrong and when you are wrong you will either be corrected or (mostly) just forgotten because nobody could replicate the result.

      But the upshot of this is that to back up some point of view with "... a recent study showed ...", for example, is not any guarantee of accuracy, far from it.

      And today's leading hypothesis may well turn out to be tomorrows words that are best forgotten.

      Delete
    5. "Bem's paper is pretty competent in terms of experimental design and statistical analysis."

      So your only piece of evidence is something that disproves your claim.

      Delete
    6. That is one of my pieces of evidence and it only disproves my claim if you think that we have good evidence for precognition on the basis of it.

      Otherwise it is evidence in favour of my claim.

      I didn't say that the chaff was incompetent in terms of experimental design and statistical analysis (although much of it is), chaff is all the stuff that does not turn out to be genuine scientific knowledge.

      Delete
    7. "That is one of my pieces of evidence and it only disproves my claim if you think that we have good evidence for precognition on the basis of it."

      Well no. Lots of people dispute claims in papers, the point is that the paper was competent in terms of experimental design and statistical analysis.

      " chaff is all the stuff that does not turn out to be genuine scientific knowledge."

      Now you define chaff, why not so so in the first place so we know what you meant? How do you know what is going to be genuine scientific knowledge or not?

      Delete
    8. The lower end of the chaff are people like Diederik Stapel who Jerry Coyne misrepresents as being someone who fudged his data and got caught.

      Stapel did not just fudge his data - he made it up on the spot along with experiments which were never performed.

      He only got caught because he was brazen and made himself unpopular and only got caught after getting 55 fraudulent papers through the refereeing process for various journals.

      10 PhD dissertations besides are now worthless.

      He is the extreme but there is a blog called Retraction Watch which documents the many papers that get published and have to be retracted.

      And they are just the ones who get identified.

      If Stapel had merely fudged his data and only done it a couple of times and then kept his head down, would he have been caught?

      Again, this is not to say science does not work. Just that you shouldn't treat every study and hypothesis as though it were evidence of something in itself.

      Delete
    9. Robin:

      I’m struggling to follow you. On the one hand, you say we shouldn’t pay too much heed to science journals because they’re full of chaff. On the other hand, the chaff is what makes science work.

      By the way, I know Coyne’s work very well. But I’ve never come across that comment about 30% to 40% of results being unrepeatable. Where did you read that?

      Delete
    10. Terry, obviously you won't follow me if you don't read what I say. Do I have to repeat myself?

      The Coyne quote was from his blog: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/04/27/dutch-psychologist-admits-research-fraud-and-the-lessons/

      ____________________
      "My own guess—and this is pure speculation—is that about 30-40% of whol- organismal biology studies in ecology and evolution would not give the same results if repeated."
      ____________________

      So if someone simply quotes to me "... a recent study shows ..." how much use is that as evidence given that it may be in that category?

      Delete
    11. Stranger wrote: "Now you define chaff, why not so so in the first place so we know what you meant?"

      If you didn't know then why didn't you ask? What did you think I meant?

      In the context I was obviously talking about things for which we lack real evidence. In any case, now you know.

      Stranger wrote: "How do you know what is going to be genuine scientific knowledge or not? "

      I don't and neither do you or anybody else. That is the entire point.

      Delete
    12. Robin:

      Thank you for the Coyne link. Sorry I missed it first time round.

      I think you may have taken Coyne out of context. He is referring specifically to whole-organism studies, which are messy for obvious reasons. You, on the other hand, are making the claim against all scientific research.

      That aside, I don’t accept that because there are instances of ‘chaff’, as you call it, in some journals, I’m going to ignore or not take seriously papers that are published in them. My point still stands: It is unreasonable to ignore the possibility of a biological origin for homosexuality given that respected scientific journals publish the work of respected scientists on the subject.

      Delete
    13. "If you didn't know then why didn't you ask? What did you think I meant?"

      I did ask for evidence. The example you gave still doesn't support your assertion as you can't say if it will produce 'genuine scientific knowledge' or not.

      Basically you are just whining for the sake of it and didn't really think about it very much.

      Delete
    14. ""My own guess—and this is pure speculation—is that about 30-40% of whol- organismal biology studies in ecology and evolution would not give the same results if repeated."
      ____________________

      So if someone simply quotes to me "... a recent study shows ..." how much use is that as evidence given that it may be in that category?"

      Plenty of use as the quote clearly says it is pure speculation.

      Delete
    15. Stranger wrote: "I did ask for evidence."

      And I have given you evidence

      Stranger wrote: "The example you gave still doesn't support your assertion as you can't say if it will produce 'genuine scientific knowledge' or not. "

      And as I have already pointed out what you have just said entirely supports my assertion.

      Or are you saying that we should rely on studies even though we have no idea whether or not they will lead to any genuine scientific knowledge?

      Delete
    16. Although I have to add - I am pretty confident that Bem's paper will not lead to any genuine scientific knowledge.

      Delete
    17. "Or are you saying that we should rely on studies even though we have no idea whether or not they will lead to any genuine scientific knowledge?"

      If the study follows the scientific method any info garnered is genuine scientific knowledge

      Delete
    18. Terry wrote:"My point still stands: It is unreasonable to ignore the possibility of a biological origin for homosexuality given that respected scientific journals publish the work of respected scientists on the subject."

      Yes, and it is also unreasonable to ignore other possibilities.

      Delete
    19. Stranger: If the study follows the scientific method any info garnered is genuine scientific knowledge.

      Exactly. What Robin doesn't understand is that most of the time we end up in dead-alleys, but that doesn't mean the work is worthless. Dead-alley or not, we always learn something that advances out knowledge.

      Delete
    20. Robin: Yes, and it is also unreasonable to ignore other possibilities.

      It took you a while to get there, but you eventually got there. Well done.

      Delete
    21. Robin: Although I have to add - I am pretty confident that Bem's paper will not lead to any genuine scientific knowledge.

      Unless you are an experimental psychologist you have no authority whatsoever to make this claim. It’s pure arrogance, designed to impress.

      Delete
    22. Stranger wrote: "If the study follows the scientific method any info garnered is genuine scientific knowledge"

      All the studies will certainly seem to follow some version of the scientific method. Even Stapel's studies ostensibly did so even though we now know that he made it all up.

      But even those who are honest will make mistakes, they will mess up during an experiment, think it does not matter and gloss over it in the paper.

      There are so many ways things can go wrong with the process. That is why there is replication.

      Delete
    23. The thing is that journals don't represent completed science - they are science in action which is always a dialogue, a continuous process.

      Sorting out the wheat from the chaff is an important part of that process.

      But don't rush to judge what is chaff and what is wheat - even the top scientists cannot always tell that.

      A single paper may never be replicated - maybe because of a lack of funding, maybe because it is just wrong.

      Today's leading hypothesis may turn out, for all we know, to be tomorrow's phlogiston.

      Delete
    24. Terry wrote: "It took you a while to get there, but you eventually got there. Well done."

      It is exactly what I said in the first place, before you and Terry started disagreeing with me:

      Robin originally said: "We cannot really claim to know how much sexuality is nature and how much is nurture."

      I love it when people finally agree with my original statement and then try to claim that I didn't say it. Very ..er.. "rational".

      Delete
    25. "All the studies will certainly seem to follow some version of the scientific method. Even Stapel's studies ostensibly did so even though we now know that he made it all up."

      One can't follow the scientific method and make it all up at the same time.

      "There are so many ways things can go wrong with the process. That is why there is replication."

      Indeed but if the replication doesn't follow proper procedure it too can fail, or be made up.

      "But don't rush to judge what is chaff and what is wheat - even the top scientists cannot always tell that."

      So we still don't have any actual evidence for your chaff to wheat figures.

      Delete
    26. Stranger wrote: "One can't follow the scientific method and make it all up at the same time."

      Perhaps you should look up the words "seem" and "ostensibly".

      Stranger wrote: "So we still don't have any actual evidence for your chaff to wheat figures. "

      What figures? I only said there was a high ratio of chaff to wheat.

      Delete
    27. Again, Stranger, what is your point?

      Are you saying that we should implicitly believe studies in journals because we don't know if they are right or not?

      Are you denying that there is any chaff at all?

      Delete
    28. "What figures? I only said there was a high ratio of chaff to wheat."

      You did quote someone who gave figures, but we still haven't seen evidence of 'a high ratio of chaff to wheat'.

      "Are you saying that we should implicitly believe studies in journals because we don't know if they are right or not?"

      No.

      "Are you denying that there is any chaff at all?"

      No.

      Delete
    29. Science wins!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcykSekGRLY

      Delete
  15. MalcolmS9:03 AM

    Terry: "Rand’s position on homosexuality is that it is volitional"... "I got Rand’s view by going to The Atlas Society."

    LOL Just as I thought - the methodology of the "modern scientist."

    1. The only place you will get "Rand's position" is from original sources.

    2. The Atlas Society is not "Objectivist"[despite their claims]. They are Libertarian.

    3. Even in that article Rand's alleged view on homosexuality is far more nuanced than "is volitional."

    4. Homosexuality is not a philosophical issue - although aspects may be psychological.

    5. One of her more expansive articles on ethics and sex was in her Playboy Interview of 1964 which caused much controversy at the time and is now available online:

    http://ellensplace.net/ar_pboy.html

    ReplyDelete
  16. MalcolmS9:10 AM

    Terry: "Regarding determinism, why shouldn’t I be? What’s my alternative?"

    LOL At least you're consistent. A determinist being determined :) Don't forget the "raising your right arm excercise" :)

    FYI it's introspectively self-evident that you have the capacity to think, or not. *That* is your free will.

    "To believe that ghosts and gods make things happen?"

    That's entirely unnecessary. "Things happen" causally - in accordance with the laws of nature.

    "Are you sure you’re not a Christian?"

    I'm an intransigent atheist, though not a militant one. I'm not especially anti-religion but I am pro-reason. When faith and reason clash it is up to the religious people to decide how they choose to reconcile the conflict. As far as I'm concerned I have no terms of communication and no means to deal with people except through reason.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RalphH5:12 PM

      “I'm an intransigent atheist, though not a militant one. I'm not especially anti-religion but I am pro-reason. When faith and reason clash it is up to the religious people to decide how they choose to reconcile the conflict. As far as I'm concerned I have no terms of communication and no means to deal with people except through reason.” (MalcolmS9:10 AM)

      Does that make you something like Spock of the 'Star Trek' series Malcolm? Reason is a very important tool but it is basically a tool. The core of a human being is their loves, desires, wants, will. Without those they wouldn't even put their reason to work because there would be no impulse for it. Reason gives form to something that would otherwise be nebulous but it is still just a means that works at the behest of the will.

      If a will is good (looking to creative altruistic ends) reason will affirm it and 'show' the way to achieving those ends. The same applies to an evil will (intransigently good for self but destructive to others and in the longer term to self also). Reason being a tool will also affirm and direct that evil love.

      So why do we need God? So that we have access to a higher will than a puny, limited human one. The very idea of free-will (in the choice between good and evil) presupposes that we have options. If our will (in a particular matter) is evil there is always an idealistic concept/will of good (that is not self-derived i.e. conscience which we have from our consciousness of God/the highest good we are capable of picturing) that opposes it.

      This sets up an either/or situation where two wills are in conflict within us. Only one will can rule/go forth into act. When the choice (hopefully with the discernment of reason) is made (i.e. God's way or my way) the reason will be used to affirm and direct that choice.

      If on the other hand, if our will is good, the two coalesce and there is no conflict.

      Delete
    2. "I am pro-reason."

      Bullshit. Reason dictates you accept modern science, which you don't.

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS7:52 PM

      Stranger aka AndrewR: "Bullshit. Reason dictates you accept modern science, which you don't"

      Actually, reason dictates you get your bowel problem seen to urgently.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS9:27 PM

      RalphH: "The core of a human being is their loves, desires, wants, will"

      So, "loves, desires, wants, will" are prior to reason? Is that what you're saying?

      Delete
    5. RalphH9:52 PM

      "So, "loves, desires, wants, will" are prior to reason? Is that what you're saying?" (MalcolmS9:27 PM)

      Yep Malcolm, if you didn't have any you wouldn't have anything to think about or any impulse to think.

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS11:31 PM

      RalphH: ""So, "loves, desires, wants, will" are prior to reason? Is that what you're saying?" (MalcolmS9:27 PM) Yep Malcolm, if you didn't have any you wouldn't have anything to think about or any impulse to think"

      Then your position is entirely false.

      "Loves, desires and wants" are experiences of *emotions.* Emotions are not irreducible primaries as you imply. They result from prior thinking[reason]. An infant does not have the emotion of fear when an adult holds a gun to his head. An older child, who knows and understands the nature of a gun, does. Reason is prior to emotion.

      Thinking[reason] is based on your observations of the world around you. Sense observation is the basis [the given] of the rational process. Yes, you can think and analyse your emotions but only much later when you have considerable knowledge of the external world.

      Consciousness for man is the faculty of reason. [Free] will is just a variant of looking at the same thing. Man does not have two consciousnesses! Thinking *is* an act of will. Volition *is* the "impulse to think."

      Delete
    7. 8x
      MalcolmS 11:31 PM
      x8

      My faculty of reason has assessed your comment and concluded... yep, you're still a goofy self-important twerp.

      I suggest you get some kind of grown-up job and "observe the world around you".
      If it helps, I hear the CES will try to help even the most hopeless cases...

      Delete
    8. "An infant does not have the emotion of fear when an adult holds a gun to his head."

      Infants have fear of strangers regardless of whether they hurt the child or not. Adults have a fear of a gun to the head even before they know it is loaded or not. Emotions are before reason. You know nothing of what you speak about.

      Delete
    9. MalcolmS2:52 AM

      Stranger aka AndrewR: "Infants have fear of strangers regardless of whether they hurt the child or not"

      Is that comment addressed to me?

      If so, then, I suggest you stick to what I *actually* said. Idiot.

      Delete
    10. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    11. "Is that comment addressed to me?

      If so, then, I suggest you stick to what I *actually* said. Idiot."

      I did quote what you wrote idiot. I take it you are too stupid to understand what I wrote.

      Delete
    12. MalcolmS3:15 AM

      You did not quote what I said. Why do you keep lying? :)

      Delete
    13. "You did not quote what I said. Why do you keep lying? :)"

      Yes I did "Stranger2:35 AM

      "An infant does not have the emotion of fear when an adult holds a gun to his head.""

      Why do you persist is being an idiot?

      Delete
    14. RalphH6:23 AM

      “"Loves, desires and wants" are experiences of *emotions.* Emotions are not irreducible primaries as you imply. They result from prior thinking[reason]. An infant does not have the emotion of fear when an adult holds a gun to his head. An older child, who knows and understands the nature of a gun, does. Reason is prior to emotion.” (MalcolmS11:31 PM)

      Malcolm, there are two sides (for want of a better word) to the mind – feeling and thinking, emotion and reason, willing and understanding, love and intellect. The feeling, emotive, willing, loving side is the volitional side. Volition is what makes things go – the active. Reason, by comparison is passive.

      And yet you say “(emotions) result from prior thinking[reason].” What could initiate that thinking/reasoning other than the volitional i.e. the emotions fuelled directly by the loves.

      Haven't you heard the sayings, “It's love that makes the world go round.” (my comment - because it's volitional) and, “The wish is father (prior/that which generates) to the thought.” ?

      Delete
    15. RalphH6:44 AM

      “Emotions are before reason.” (Stranger2:35 AM)

      Looks as if we have a point of agreement Stranger. You see religion does agree with science.

      Just to enlarge on the quote I gave Malcolm, “The wish is father (prior/that which generates) to the thought.” In the Bible, from a human perspective, the 'Father' is the loving, willing side of God, the Son (Jesus – also called The Word of God) is thinking, understanding, reasoning side of God. I don't expect you to understand that but take my word for it – I never lie.

      Delete
    16. Malcolm9:14 AM

      "The feeling, emotive, willing, loving side is the volitional side. Volition is what makes things go – the active. Reason, by comparison is passive"

      It's actually the opposite Ralph.

      There is nothing volitional about your emotions. They are *automatic* and follow instantaneously after application of the stimulus. For example, a stranger placing a gun at your head causes an instantaneous emotion of fear because, as an adult, prior use of reason has given you knowledge of the nature of guns. No matter what you do the emotion is fear and cannot be otherwise. The emotion is instantaneous, automatic and not affected by any immediate volitional process.

      On the other hand, thinking[reason] is the opposite. If you want to think about guns you must volitionally focus on the subject [as distinct from any other subject] and continue to maintain that volitional focus until the thought process is complete. At any stage of the process you can volitionally change your focus to think about something else. Or you can volitionally let your mind drift and think about nothing in particular. But whist you are thinking it must be initiated, sustained and concluded as a continual volitional process. Thinking *is* a volitional process.

      All thinking is volitional. All emotions which occur follow automatically from application of the relevant stimulus.

      Delete
    17. RalphH5:10 PM

      “There is nothing volitional about your emotions. They are *automatic* and follow instantaneously after application of the stimulus. For example, a stranger placing a gun at your head causes an instantaneous emotion of fear because, as an adult, prior use of reason has given you knowledge of the nature of guns. No matter what you do the emotion is fear and cannot be otherwise. The emotion is instantaneous, automatic and not affected by any immediate volitional process.” (Malcolm9:14 AM)

      Still don't agree with you Malcolm. The only reason your emotion of fear is “automatic” is from the memory of a prior experience, either the experience itself or learning about it from others. What stimulated that learning process? You would probably say, “The external stimuli.” I'd reply that external stimuli do nothing for us unless we focus on them. What causes that focus? Some love or emotion in us. It could be a feeling of self-preservation or a love of feeling safe.

      I think your example is very selective because you've chosen a stimuli that inflicts pain or distress. One thing I don't think you've considered is that it's not the gun that causes the distress and fear but the anger and hatred of the perpetrator which is communicated in a non-verbal way (even if no words are spoken) and directly impinge the emotive process prior to the thought process.

      A much easier way to see that emotion precedes thinking/reason is that we spontaneously think about the things we love. The love is what motivates and focuses the thought. We can 'learn to love things' but only if we have some prior love of the value of those things and focus on that,

      Delete
    18. 8x
      For example, a stranger placing a gun at your head causes an instantaneous emotion of fear.
      x8

      causes?

      What happens if you arent a helpless, basement dwelling wimpanzee?

      Delete
    19. "The feeling, emotive, willing, loving side is the volitional side. Volition is what makes things go – the active. Reason, by comparison is passive."

      Why do you keep making shit up Ralph?

      "I don't expect you to understand that but take my word for it – I never lie."

      You lie all the time Ralph.

      Delete
    20. MalcolmS8:56 PM

      RalphH: "What stimulated that learning process? You would probably say, “The external stimuli.” I'd reply that external stimuli do nothing for us unless we focus on them. What causes that focus?"

      Yes, we *focus* on the external stimuli!! That's my point! Focus *is* free will. To focus *is* to choose. Focus *is* your capacity to direct your mind.

      Emotions follow automatically at a later stage in response to such mental processes.

      Delete
    21. RalphH9:04 PM

      "Why do you keep making shit up Ralph?"

      "You lie all the time Ralph." (Stranger7:09 PM)

      One small point of agreement a few posts ago. I knew it was too good to last. You really should do something about your addiction Stranger (i.e. accusing people of "making shit up" and "l(ying) all the time").

      Delete
    22. " I knew it was too good to last. You really should do something about your addiction Stranger (i.e. accusing people of "making shit up" and "l(ying) all the time")."

      Ralph for me to do that you need to stop your addiction to lying and making shit up.

      Delete
    23. RalphH4:28 AM

      “Ralph for me to do that you need to stop your addiction to lying and making shit up.” (Stranger1:47 AM)

      Stranger, don't you find it strange (pun intended) that you seem to be the only one making that assessment. I know a lot of others disagree with me at times (after-all I am one of a few theists in a circle of atheists) but for them (mostly) it's just a difference of opinion.

      I invite you to make any counter argument you like. If you persist in muckraking (again pun intended) and name calling I might have to get Adam Goodes to stick up for me.

      Delete
    24. "Stranger, don't you find it strange (pun intended) that you seem to be the only one making that assessment."

      No.

      "I invite you to make any counter argument you like."

      You haven't provided an argument, just lies and bullshit.

      Delete
  17. MalcolmS9:28 AM

    RalphH: "If you want to make any progress in understanding/forming a rational concept of God you need to stop imposing human frailties on Him"

    If you want to make any progress in understanding/forming a rational concept of *man* you need to stop imposing divine or otherworldly demands on him.

    ReplyDelete
  18. MalcolmS10:11 AM

    The circus rolls on.

    Bolt apologises to Eddie McGuire.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/sinking-the-boot-too-soon-into-eddie-mcguire/story-fni0ffxg-1226655437320

    Some excellent points made.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RalphH5:26 PM

      Thanks for that Malcolm. I think Bolt needed to make that apology. It's amazing what a few hours of quiet reflection can do when the 'heat of the moment' dies down.

      Delete
  19. Mal: “Things happen causally - in accordance with the laws of nature”

    What you really mean to say is that things are 'determined' by the laws of nature. Except free will, of course. How is that determined, I wonder?

    Mal: FYI it's introspectively self-evident that you have the capacity to think, or not. *That* is your free will.

    This makes sense to you because you ignore ‘modern science’, whatever that term means. But to someone whose scientific knowledge extends beyond what was known in the 1600s it’s a joke. You are so far behind in your understanding of human physiology and psychology that you and I are practically incapable of discussing the subject.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS8:12 PM

      Terry: "What you really mean to say is that things are 'determined' by the laws of nature. Except free will, of course. How is that determined, I wonder?"

      The existence of free will *is* determined - it's a part of man's nature.

      You are "determined" to choose.

      However, *what* you choose is *not* determined.

      It's *chosen* in the face of an alternative.

      Delete
    2. Mal:

      I asked you 'how' free will is determined. How do physical laws give rise to free will? Which physical laws do this? And does this mean free will itself is physical thing?

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS9:12 PM

      So, before I answer, do you accept that free will exists?

      Delete
    4. 8x
      The existence of free will *is* determined - it's a part of man's nature.
      x8

      Well its part of MY nature. I have my doubts about yours though.
      For example: Flex your majestical nobjectivist free will for us and become a socialist for a week.

      Betcha cant do it... betcha betcha betcha...


      8x
      However, *what* you choose is *not* determined.

      It's *chosen* in the face of an alternative.
      x8

      What determines the alternatives we have to choose from there leapin' looney?

      Or can i just make anything I want out of mental concrete?

      Wait on: What if I want a balloon? Balloons made of concrete? Thats just silly

      Delete
    5. Mal:

      I think free will is an illusion.

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS12:21 AM

      Terry: "I think free will is an illusion"

      Yes, that's what I thought your position would be.

      So there is no point in answering your questions.

      However, I'll just point out one contradiction: You had to use your "illusion" to reply to my post :)

      Delete
    7. You two dweebs back on that ol' hamster wheel again?

      Honestly boys; I dont know where you get all that orgone from. ;)

      Delete
    8. Mal: So there is no point in answering your questions.

      Alright, I’ll just go read what Rand has to say on the matter, and that will tell me what you think about it.

      Mal: However, I'll just point out one contradiction: You had to use your "illusion" to reply to my post :)

      How do you know that my reply was the product of free will?

      Delete
    9. Terry: "I think free will is an illusion."

      An illusion of what?

      Saying that free will is an illusion suggests that there is some real thing called free will but we don't have it.

      I would suggest that the real problem is that nobody has defined exactly what we mean by the term.

      Delete
    10. Billy: You two dweebs back on that ol' hamster wheel again?

      Pot calling the kettle black?

      Delete
    11. 8x
      Pot calling the kettle black?
      x8

      Cant be. All talking pots are mere illusions. ;)

      Delete
    12. 8x
      All talking pots are mere illusions.
      x8

      Unless you're a nobjectivist of course. In which case talking pots are made of concrete. rofl

      Hmmm. I wonder if a talking concrete pot is actually the nobjectivists long lost perfect being?

      Over to you. Have fun boys
      roflmao

      Delete
    13. 8x
      I wonder if a talking concrete pot is actually the nobjectivists long lost perfect being?
      x8


      OH GREAT ILLUSORY CONCRETE TALKING POT.

      Speak not unto we miserable blacken'd kettle-dweebs, that we may argue interminably about thy existence.

      So mote it be...


      rofl rofl rofl Couldn't resist

      Delete
    14. MalcolmS9:09 PM

      Terry: "How do you know that my reply was the product of free will?"

      I accept that you don't know.

      It's a question which cannot be understood or answered by one who thinks he's a billiard ball.

      You want to pretend that you can't direct your consciousness? Fair enough, I can't help you. Only you can correct that pretense. The only "free will" you can ever observe is your own!

      Delete
    15. MalcolmS9:15 PM

      Robin: "Saying that free will is an illusion suggests that there is some real thing called free will but we don't have it. I would suggest that the real problem is that nobody has defined exactly what we mean by the term"

      I think they have.

      Free will is simply your capacity to direct your thinking. That we have such a capacity is self-evident. Terry would have to use it even to deny it.

      Delete
    16. Mal: Free will is simply your capacity to direct your thinking.

      This is not a definition I’ve seen before. But let’s run with it. I see an immediate difficulty with the words ‘capacity’ and ‘thinking’. What do they mean to you? How do they arise?

      Mal: That we have such a capacity is self-evident.

      And the difficulty with this statement is that you need to define ‘self-evident’. What is the ‘self’ you are referring to? How does the self register ‘evident’?

      Delete
    17. MalcolmS1:23 AM

      Terry: "This is not a definition I’ve seen before"

      No you haven't and it's not a definition - it's a description.

      They are good questions, Terry, which all have answers in philosophy.

      However, the relevant point here is that, in order to consider any of them, you must first direct your mind to refer to a specific part of reality.

      Which would only be possible if you had the "free will" to do so.

      Get it :)

      Delete
    18. Mal:

      What do you mean by 'mind' and 'reality'?

      Delete
    19. Mal:

      And on your definition, if all it takes to exercise free will is to direct your mind to reality, then presumably frogs can exercise free will when they choose between eating this insect or that? Or must I refer to philosophy for the answer to that, too?

      Delete
    20. 8x
      What do you mean by 'mind' and 'reality'?
      x8

      Well you see Terence, it's like the difference between farts and concrete. This is the great dichotomy of the ages that the philosophers have selflessly given their lives in an attempt to reconcile.

      But its only when you learn to fart concrete that you will finally be wholly integrated, and able to call yourself a fully fleged nobjectivist

      parp parp .. woo woo!

      Delete
    21. 8x
      presumably frogs can exercise free will when they choose between eating this insect or that? Or must I refer to philosophy for the answer to that, too?
      x8

      Platoad actually addresses a similar question in his most famous essay, "Free Willy - WTF was that? - I want my money back"

      Delete
    22. MalcolmS8:48 PM

      "Mal: What do you mean by 'mind' and 'reality'?"

      Fallacy of the stolen concept.

      Like I said, Terry, when you understand that you can direct your consciousness to whatever it is you choose we shall proceed - not until.

      Delete
    23. MalcolmS8:53 PM

      "Mal... then presumably frogs can exercise free will when they choose between eating this insect or that"

      Why do you "presume" that?

      Fallacy of anthropomorphism.

      Delete
    24. 8x
      Fallacy of the stolen concept.
      x8

      8x
      Fallacy of anthropomorphism.
      x8


      This has been covered before. Do TRY to keep up Terence.

      The nobjectivist hamster wheel is no place for the weakminded...

      rofl

      Delete
  20. Robin: The chaff to wheat ratio is pretty high in most, if not all, science journals.

    I’m always pleased to discover fellow travellers who enjoy science journals. Which ones do you read?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read papers from a number of sources as they interest me or as they are recommended to me as relevant.

      In particular I will see a lot of papers regarding trials of drugs to treat psychological disorders, for example from PubMed but also a number of other sources.

      Do you disagree with my assessment?

      Delete
    2. Robin:

      I think I asked you which journals you read. But never mind. Tell me instead how you are able to judge whether or not these paers contain wheat or chaff? Are you a scientist?

      Delete
    3. I am not sure that you read my post above. I don't regularly read any particular journal, I read papers from a number of journals as they interest and as they are recommended to me as relevant.

      I can list a few if you are really interested, but I don't see how it is relevant.

      I understand statistics and experimental design - better than some so-called scientists judging by what I have read.

      I can also find out if a study has been replicated and I can discuss it with a number of people who can offer qualified opinion in the relevant field.

      I have never been impressed by the "back off man, I'm a scientist" mentality and need to have a look at the evidence itself, especially when it affects me and my family, but sometimes just out of sheer curiousity.

      Do you think that you need to be a scientist to judge the merit of any scientific claim?

      Do you need to be a historian to judge the merit of some historical claim?

      Delete
    4. Robin: Do you think that you need to be a scientist to judge the merit of any scientific claim?

      I find it hard to understand some of the work in my own field let alone any other field. The body of scientific knowledge is expanding so fast it’s hard to keep up. Now if it’s difficult for me to understand it, what chance someone without my training and experience?

      The best people can do is read popular science books, which are very good, or attend the further education courses that are on offer everywhere. That will give you at least enough to form opinions, which is important and necessary. But to make judgements on technical papers? No, I think not.

      Delete
    5. So tell me Terry, will a person who understands all about how a vaccine works necessarily be better placed to make judgements about a technical study into the links between the MMR vaccine and autism?

      In fact those studies are really nothing to do with how the vaccine works and a lot to do with how we use properly designed studies and statistics to find things out.

      Someone who understands how a vaccine works will not necessarily have the proper training and experience in statistics to properly understand such studies.

      Sometimes the "back off man I'm a scientist" attitude that you are championing here can be counter productive as doctors and biologists can misunderstand those studies and help reinforce the claims of the anti vaccine lobby.

      Delete
    6. Robin:

      You're arguing my case for me. If the scientist who developed the vaccine can't understand a study into the application of his vaccine, what chance has a layman of understanding it.

      I agree that you shouldn't back off in the face of science. But I can't see how, in some instances at least, you can avoid it. That is why peer review is so important. It gives the public some confidence that dodgy science will eventually be found out, which is more often than not the case.



      Delete
    7. Terry wrote: "You're arguing my case for me. If the scientist who developed the vaccine can't understand a study into the application of his vaccine, what chance has a layman of understanding it."

      They have every chance if they know all about statistics and the design of studies.

      Here is your misunderstanding. Someone who is a layman in how vaccines work is not necessarily a layman in all areas.

      Someone who knows all about the biology of vaccines may be a relative layman in statistical analysis.

      And vice versa.

      In the case of those studies into the link between MMR vaccine and autism a knowledge of how the vaccine works is of no use in understanding the studies.

      On the other hand someone like me can read those studies and understand them completely without any knowledge of how a vaccine works.

      Delete
    8. "In the case of those studies into the link between MMR vaccine and autism a knowledge of how the vaccine works is of no use in understanding the studies."

      if you don't know how vaccines work how do you if it's the vaccine causing the problem and not something else?

      I see stupid people everywhere.

      Delete
    9. Stranger wrote: "I see stupid people everywhere."

      Plenty of mirrors then.

      Delete
    10. Also you may have missed the fact that those studies I mention show there is no link between MMR vaccine and autism.

      Delete
    11. And you missed that I didn't say "caused", I spoke of "a link between"

      Delete
    12. Robin:

      As is your habit, you’re arguing just for the sake of it.

      In order to do all the analysis you claim to have done, you need technical skills. And if you possess those technical skills, then you are hardly the layman I’m referring to, are you?

      The question you’re avoiding is how someone WITHOUT the necessary technical skills can make head or tail of a scientific claim. This might be hard for you to admit, but there must be something about which you don’t know enough to be able to make a judgement as to its merits.

      Delete
    13. Terry, as usual you have forgotten what the discussion was. We are talking about whether a non-scientist can evaluate scientific papers and pointed out that someone with the relevant skills in statistics can evaluate many such studies.

      And I have already pointed out that I can check whether there are replications and that when I cannot make a judgement about some matter: "...and I can discuss it with a number of people who can offer qualified opinion in the relevant field.", as I have already said.

      It is those people, incidentally, who originally made the point about chaff/wheat in scientific studies.

      So given the studies that I can evaluate, given the advice I get from professionals, given the fact that we can see that many studies are withdrawn and found to be fraudulent and give the nature of science itself I think that I have sufficient evidence that there is a lot of chaff our there in the scientific journals.

      Delete
    14. Robin: I think that I have sufficient evidence that there is a lot of chaff our there in the scientific journals.

      I know I’m being pedantic, and I risk attack from Mal’s best friend for it, but I note that your ‘sufficient evidence’ is Coyne’s ‘opinion’. I’ll say no more.

      Delete
    15. 8x
      That is why peer review is so important. It gives the public some confidence that dodgy science will eventually be found out, which is more often than not the case.
      x8

      While I completely agree with your statement that peer review is important, I wonder how you can back up the "more often than not" bit.

      How do you know what you dont know ?

      Delete
  21. Robin: "Although I have to add - I am pretty confident that Bem's paper will not lead to any genuine scientific knowledge."

    Terry wrote: "Unless you are an experimental psychologist you have no authority whatsoever to make this claim. It’s pure arrogance, designed to impress."

    I guess I have to give you and Stranger credit for having an open mind to paranormal phenomena.

    But I have been analysing these studies into mind-reading, mental telepathy, presentiment and precognition for some time and I think I have as much authority as anyone to say that they never show anything except the pitfalls in the experimental method.

    I once downloaded the entire GCP database and reanalysed it according to a consistent statistical method to show that the significance claimed in the metanalysis was an artifact of cherry picking.

    I have developed a method for detecting whether or not the anticipation artifact was present in presentiment experiment data. I have done Monte Carlo simulations of the entire PEAR experimental set.

    It would be nice to think that we could see the future, read minds or influence stuff directly with our consciousness.

    Sadly, I am pretty sure that none of these studies will ever come to anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS9:35 PM

      Robin: "I guess I have to give you and Stranger credit for having an open mind to paranormal phenomena"

      An "open mind"? To the irrational? You are overly generous.

      Delete
    2. "It would be nice to think that we could see the future, read minds or influence stuff directly with our consciousness."

      In a way we do.

      "In a study reported in the February 26 issue of Nature (Vol. 391, pp. 871-874), researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have now conducted a highly controlled experiment demonstrating how a beam of electrons is affected by the act of being observed."

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS1:59 AM

      Stranger aka AndrewR: "In a study reported in the February 26 issue of Nature (Vol. 391, pp. 871-874), researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have now conducted a highly controlled experiment demonstrating how a beam of electrons is affected by the act of being observed."

      Are you saying that's "paranormal"?

      Delete
    4. Long John silver3:43 AM

      "But I have been analysing these studies into mind-reading, mental telepathy, presentiment and precognition for some time and I think I have as much authority as anyone to say that they never show anything except the pitfalls in the experimental method."

      I knew that you were going to say that!

      Delete
    5. MalcomS wrote: "Are you saying that's "paranormal"?"

      Well of course paranormal researchers always say this themselves, that this is some sort expression of quantum events at a macro level.

      You could invent a plausible sounding theory behind it - for example that the brain is a massive network of "observers" and that a sufficiently long chain of observers will increase the length of time involved and so the subjects of Bem's experiments are all having their wave forms collapsed by observations several seconds in the future.

      But that is all just gobble-de-gook. If it were not gobble-de-gook then you could build mathematical models that could made predictions..

      Delete
    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    7. LJS wrote: "I knew that you were going to say that!"

      In fact I am wearing an experimental fMRI device that allows me to predict everything that I am going to say or do 8 seconds before I decide to say or do it.

      Delete
    8. With a small enough fMRI machine you can do that.

      Delete
    9. MalcolmS8:31 PM

      "It would be nice to think that we could see the future.."

      Human history is determined by *fundamental ideas* - for good or bad.

      In that sense a rational philosopher can predict the future.

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS9:16 PM

      "You could invent a plausible sounding theory behind it - for example that the brain is a massive network of "observers" and that a sufficiently long chain of observers will increase the length of time involved and so the subjects of Bem's experiments are all having their wave forms collapsed by observations several seconds in the future"

      It would be nothing more than an "invented theory" devoid of content.

      Brain does not "observe." Consciousness observes.

      Delete
    11. 8x
      It would be nothing more than an "invented theory" devoid of content.
      x8

      lol

      Tell me "O' Great Cletus of the Basement", what was Randypoos foolosophical position on "irony"?

      rofl

      Delete

Followers