If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

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If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby Mr. Sluagh » Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:28 pm

The purpose of this thread is to settle an issue that Aaron has here. So, suppose we lived in an alternate universe where every time two men or two women have sex, a baby explodes somewhere in the world. Would homosexuality be immoral in that universe? Tough one, I know.

(I think masturbation kills kittens in that universe, too.)
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Re: If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby NH Baritone » Wed Jun 17, 2009 4:35 pm

Mr. Sluagh, I appreciate that you are trying to clear something up, but I think you're only making it far muddier.

Consider asking your question in a different way: What if any sex acts led to someone else's death? (Why just pick on gay folks?) Would sex itself be immoral if it caused babies to explode?

Or perhaps you are suggesting that oral sex or anal sex would destroy babies? Kissing? Cunnilingus? Frottage? Hugging? After all, gay guys and lesbians don't do anything that straight folks don't do. (We just happen to do it with people who share similar plumbing.)

Are you trying to say that straight people would have to carefully avoid sexual foreplay and go straight for the rod-and-shaft event in order to keep the planet populated? Are you trying to turn sex into a William Tell episode, where if you don't pierce the apple with your arrow, you risk skewering a child?

Answering your question is impossible without compromising logic to the breaking point.

People drive cars, even though doing so in aggregate kills 40,000 annually. Does that mean that driving a car is immoral?

Many Christians recently claimed "imprecatory prayer" works, as shown in the death of Dr. George Tiller. Apparently they believe that prayer is a murder weapon. So if you believe them (and I don't), should prayer itself be considered immoral?

So I have left your question unanswered, not only because it's nonsensical, but because it singles out same-gender couples who are doing exactly the same thing that straight couples do. It smacks of the same heterosexual morality bias that Scott showed earlier.
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Re: If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby Mr. Sluagh » Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:37 pm

NH Baritone wrote:Mr. Sluagh, I appreciate that you are trying to clear something up, but I think you're only making it far muddier.

Consider asking your question in a different way: What if any sex acts led to someone else's death? (Why just pick on gay folks?) Would sex itself be immoral if it caused babies to explode?


Probably, although we'd need to figure out another way of reproducing.

Or perhaps you are suggesting that oral sex or anal sex would destroy babies? Kissing? Cunnilingus? Frottage? Hugging? After all, gay guys and lesbians don't do anything that straight folks don't do. (We just happen to do it with people who share similar plumbing.)

Are you trying to say that straight people would have to carefully avoid sexual foreplay and go straight for the rod-and-shaft event in order to keep the planet populated? Are you trying to turn sex into a William Tell episode, where if you don't pierce the apple with your arrow, you risk skewering a child?

Answering your question is impossible without compromising logic to the breaking point.


You're making Loki's wager here. Presumably, if my Bizarro world were theistic, all the ambiguities would be sorted out by God's Perfect Judgement. That's irrelevant, though. The point is to admit, for argument's sake, that if homosexuality were somehow harmful (it's hard to imagine how, but it doesn't matter), it would be immoral. It's weird, but if you can't do it you have no consistent basis on which to refute the analogies to paedophilia etc. on the premise that they are harmful whereas homosexuality isn't.

People drive cars, even though doing so in aggregate kills 40,000 annually. Does that mean that driving a car is immoral?


There are a lot of problems with cars, especially in the numbers that exist now. That's one of the reasons why I've avoided learning to drive. The net detriment is still much smaller than the hypothetical one I've chosen for homosexuality.

Many Christians recently claimed "imprecatory prayer" works, as shown in the death of Dr. George Tiller. Apparently they believe that prayer is a murder weapon. So if you believe them (and I don't), should prayer itself be considered immoral?


If that was true, how could it not be immoral? One would effectively be taking out a hit someone. (I think this is also why, as I understand it, most Christians consider it immoral to pray for someone's death).

So I have left your question unanswered, not only because it's nonsensical, but because it singles out same-gender couples who are doing exactly the same thing that straight couples do. It smacks of the same heterosexual morality bias that Scott showed earlier.


You and I have both often countered analogies between homosexuality and bestiality/incest/paedophilia by saying something like "homosexuality is not immoral because it harms no one". If we are to be consistent, we must also be able to say "IF homosexuality did harm someone, it would be immoral". The trouble is that it's difficult to imagine how something so simple and innocent could be inherently destructive (part of the reason why I chose something so absurd was to point this out), but in theory, the principle must still stand.
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Re: If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby NH Baritone » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:05 pm

Mr. Sluagh wrote:You and I have both often countered analogies between homosexuality and bestiality/incest/paedophilia by saying something like "homosexuality is not immoral because it harms no one". If we are to be consistent, we must also be able to say "IF homosexuality did harm someone, it would be immoral". The trouble is that it's difficult to imagine how something so simple and innocent could be inherently destructive (part of the reason why I chose something so absurd was to point this out), but in theory, the principle must still stand.

You are not talking about some abstract issue. You are talking about millions of gay people, including me, and speculating about what if we were harming the planet.

If a Christian came along and said "If atheism were shown to harm the planet, would atheism be immoral?" Or being Irish? Or women voting? This is the same kind of speculation that seems idle until somehow someone begins to BELIEVE that harm arises from atheism, Ireland or women's suffrage. Then the groundwork has been laid for oppression.

Your speculation is not morally neutral. The hypothesis itself implies too much immorality on its own.
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Re: If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby Mr. Sluagh » Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:20 pm

NH Baritone wrote:
Mr. Sluagh wrote:You and I have both often countered analogies between homosexuality and bestiality/incest/paedophilia by saying something like "homosexuality is not immoral because it harms no one". If we are to be consistent, we must also be able to say "IF homosexuality did harm someone, it would be immoral". The trouble is that it's difficult to imagine how something so simple and innocent could be inherently destructive (part of the reason why I chose something so absurd was to point this out), but in theory, the principle must still stand.

You are not talking about some abstract issue. You are talking about millions of gay people, including me, and speculating about what if we were harming the planet.

If a Christian came along and said "If atheism were shown to harm the planet, would atheism be immoral?" Or being Irish? Or women voting? This is the same kind of speculation that seems idle until somehow someone begins to BELIEVE that harm arises from atheism, Ireland or women's suffrage. Then the groundwork has been laid for oppression.

Your speculation is not morally neutral. The hypothesis itself implies too much immorality on its own.


The damage is done. People do believe it, and now it needs to be refuted honestly. If you want to make people listen to reason, you must show that you are willing to follow reason, especially your own. Otherwise it looks like you have something to hide. If you state that homosexuality is not immoral because it harms no one, that entails that if homosexuality were harmful, it might be immoral. Rejecting simple logic does nothing for your cause. You don't want some fence-sitter to swing by here and see you stonewalling with emotional appeals while Aaron, of all people, makes very relatively logical arguments. When you say that Christianity is harmful to society, a Christian can accuse you of slander and hate speech for all the same reasons you're using with all kinds of violence against Christians as her witnesses, and she'll only be wrong if your reasons for calling Christianity harmful are unsound. A paedophile can use the same reasoning you're using, and he'll be just as right if he can show that his behavior isn't harmful. That's the crux of the issue, and that's what we need to focus on and discuss frankly. Everything else is a distraction.
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Re: If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby whoosanightowl » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:50 pm

If homosexuality deliberately harmed someone or denied other human beings their constitutional rights, then it would be morally wrong. Drunk driving is morally wrong because the drunk driver makes an immoral decision to drive under the influence of alcohol, unlike cases where nothing immoral, illegal or intentional is being done that caused an accident.
So if it were proven that participating in gay sex carried a high risk of causing someone else harm or death, it would be morally wrong in my opinion. Just as if someone who is HIV positive were to engage in sexual relations without informing the other person first and taking preventive measures toward not infecting someone else.
Coercing children to have sex is morally wrong because kids are just too naive' and vulnerable to give informed consent, plus they often feel very intimidated by the adults who prey on them. Children are also both physically and psychologically too immature for sexual relations, so it would very likely cause them great harm in some way, possibly lasting for many years.
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Re: If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby mikedsjr » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:03 am

NH Baritone wrote:Mr. Sluagh, I appreciate that you are trying to clear something up, but I think you're only making it far muddier.

Consider asking your question in a different way: What if any sex acts led to someone else's death? (Why just pick on gay folks?) Would sex itself be immoral if it caused babies to explode?


Then you would be asking a question that is not relevant to Christians, but your own situation. And Mr. Sloughs question is irrelevant too.

If immoral sexual act caused a baby to explode, would you still think it should be a right of a human to have immoral sex so that they get their thriller on?

Even still, that question is irrelevant to Christians.
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Re: If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby Salwinder » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:29 pm

The question fails because everyone's concept of morality differs. It also depends what kind of morality we are talking about - for instance a Skinnerian utilitarian morality would suggest that giving to Third world charities is immoral because all it does is keep some people in Third world countries alive long enough to procreate and thereby produce children which in turn adds to the sum total of human suffering in the world as there would be a greater number of impoverished people. In other words there are the issues of the degree of harm being defined by numbers, and there is the balance of short-term benefit versus long-term detriment. So is charity moral or immoral?

Therefore the question fails without further qualifiers or context.
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Re: If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby mitchellmckain » Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:39 pm

whoosanightowl wrote:If homosexuality deliberately harmed someone or denied other human beings their constitutional rights, then it would be morally wrong. Drunk driving is morally wrong because the drunk driver makes an immoral decision to drive under the influence of alcohol, unlike cases where nothing immoral, illegal or intentional is being done that caused an accident.
So if it were proven that participating in gay sex carried a high risk of causing someone else harm or death, it would be morally wrong in my opinion. Just as if someone who is HIV positive were to engage in sexual relations without informing the other person first and taking preventive measures toward not infecting someone else.
Coercing children to have sex is morally wrong because kids are just too naive' and vulnerable to give informed consent, plus they often feel very intimidated by the adults who prey on them. Children are also both physically and psychologically too immature for sexual relations, so it would very likely cause them great harm in some way, possibly lasting for many years.


I am 100% with whoosanightowl on this one. The ethics of any action always has to do with the fact that this action has consequences and that you know what those consequences are. I believe that evil is the pursuit of ones desires without regard for the well being of others. All freedoms of action in a free society MUST be contingent upon a defense that the action in question does no harm to others.

Ultimately I think that the most important consequences, that ethics are based upon, are the consequences to what kind of person you are because of what you have done. It is all about the choices you make and thus the context of those choices including what you understand the consequences of your actions to be. The moral person takes responsibilty for his actions, both avoiding those that will harm others and seeking to ameliorate what harm has been done unintentionally.

HOWEVER! There is an interesting dilemna involved here. For there is a question of causality. Are babies really exploding because of the act itself or because there is some being somewhere who has decided to punish such actions by exploding babies? Do we believe the lie of the gunman who says that if you do not do as he says then you are responsible for the people he shoots? I think we have to say that there is a primary responsibility and secondary responsibilty and the former must be our primary concern but it does not mean that the latter is no concern at all. I will not believe the lie of the gunman regardless, BUT that does not mean that I will refuse some trivial or even morally abiguous request in order to challenge that lie, because I will have regard for the people whom the gunman threatens above more petty concerns.

So lets try to make things more interesting. Lets suppose we have some twisted Demiurge who says that if anyone acts to save the life of another person then this will be punished by a baby exploding somewhere. Well then, what will you do? Will you watch someone die without lending a hand in order to save the baby, or will you defy the Demiurge to save the people you can and place the blame for the exploding babies on the Demiurge where it belongs? I think that I would choose the latter!
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Re: If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby michael-45 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:39 am

It is harmful and it is immoral.
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Re: If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby whoosanightowl » Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:14 pm

michael-45 wrote:It is harmful and it is immoral.

To whom is it harmful?
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Re: If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby humanguy » Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:15 pm

No. It would only be harmful. Smoking is harmful, but it isn't immoral.
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Re: If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby whoosanightowl » Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:33 pm

humanguy wrote:No. It would only be harmful. Smoking is harmful, but it isn't immoral.

But how is it harmful? Can it cause cancer like smoking?
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Re: If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby humanguy » Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:44 pm

whoosanightowl wrote:
humanguy wrote:No. It would only be harmful. Smoking is harmful, but it isn't immoral.

But how is it harmful? Can it cause cancer like smoking?


I'm not saying it's harmful. It's not harmful. The question is "If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?" And my answer is no.
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Re: If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?

Postby whoosanightowl » Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:46 pm

humanguy wrote:
whoosanightowl wrote:
humanguy wrote:No. It would only be harmful. Smoking is harmful, but it isn't immoral.

But how is it harmful? Can it cause cancer like smoking?


I'm not saying it's harmful. It's not harmful. The question is "If homosexuality was harmful, would it be immoral?" And my answer is no.

Ah, gotcha, sorry about that. I agree with you then! :D
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As long as it was not harmful to anyone else.
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