Tom Gilson

“Extremism in Defense of Equality”

All ideas have consequences. But the worst ideas usually have consequences for someone else.

That’s from Mike Adams,  writing today on extremism in defense of equality. There’s much insight in this article, along with a healthy dose of Mike’s usual wry wit.

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25 thoughts on ““Extremism in Defense of Equality”

  1. “First, he falsely asserts that there are only two arguments against same-sex marriage.”

    There’s only one: “My god doesnt like it.” If there was a logical reason to oppose gay marriage, we’d hear it put forth all the time. People only resort to religion to justify their position on something when no logical justification can be found.

  2. Todd, the chief objection I would raise to your assertion is that it’s just totally and completely wrong in every respect. I don’t mean to overstate the case, but I don’t think I have.

    I don’t think I need to defend that assertion, because it’s your turn first. You’ve made an extreme claim with no evidential or logical support behind it, it’s wrong, and if you think otherwise the burden is on you to show why. Otherwise we’ll chalk your comment up to trolling bluster.

  3. “Next, he asserts that the burden of proof is on his opponents.”

    Yeah, thats the way it works in a free society, and the way it should work. If I assert that you shouldnt be allowed to listen to country music, for example, the burden on is on me to provide proof that allowing you to exercise liberty and choice in the matter is somehow harmful to someone else. Otherwise, anyone can just say that others shouldnt have this freedom or that, and we’d all be imprisoned in a society without freedom.

    And if I claim that you should be allowed to listen to country music because the god I believe in doesnt like it, well.. that really doesnt cut the mustard, does it?

  4. Then take your own advice. You made a strong claim in your first comment. The burden of proof is on the person making the claim.

    By the way: Mike is right. The burden of proof rests on the person making the claim in the context of his article, too. It is SSM advocates who are claiming marriage is not harmed, and the only proof this guy brings to support his claim is that opponents cannot disprove it. That’s illegitimate by any measure

  5. @Todd:

    Can you read? You made an extraordinary claim, e.g. that there are no rational reasons to reject same-sex marriage (SSM for short) other than “My god does not like it”, so Tom Gilson asked for a proof of such assertion.

    Second, consider that once there were laws against SSM and humanity’s general opinion was against it. There are still large swaths of the human population against it. So comparing to an imagined prohibition of listening country music is pure idiocy. Because if you insist on making idiotic comparisons then soon someone will come and ask you what are your reasons against paedophilia — and you do not even have the luxury of invoking God. On the contrary, it stands to reason, and by your own criteria, that you yourself also have to present a defense of your own position. Burden of proof does not rest on one side only, you know.

  6. “So comparing to an imagined prohibition of listening [to] country music is pure idiocy.”

    Well I dont agree, but if it helps you, consider that it certainly wouldnt be idiocy to compare it to a prohibition against rock music. Surely you realize that society’s general opinion was once against that? (As it was once against interracial marriage.) Im guessing you can see the point here, rather than focusing on the type of music I picked for a hypothetical example, but just choose not to, because my point is one you cant refute:
    The burden of proof should be on those who seek to restrict our personal freedoms.

    As for my assertion that people only resort to religion to justify their position on something when no logical justification can be found, the alternative in this case is to believe that christians know of rational non-faith-based reasons to oppose same sex marriage, but just choose not to share them for some reason. Is that your position? If so, dont be afraid to say so.

  7. 1. SSM opponents do not own the “microphone” that will reach your ears. We have arguments, but you don’t hear them. Don’t blame us.

    2. Example

    3. Example

    4. Example

    I could keep going, but this ought to be enough reading material for you for an hour or two.

  8. The first link is a link to a 43 page study. I might be more tempted to read it if the other links you provided were more reasonable. But the second link has “reasons” like, “It seals us in a culture of divorce.” Is that a joke? Millions of heterosexual marriages end in divorce and that site is trying to blame same-sex marriage?

    It also has a “reason”, the discussion for which devolves to “Why stop here? What about people whose desires cannot be fulfilled unless they perform sexual actions … with precocious children?”

    Actually, its my position that gives us a defense against that, and yours which does not. The evidence is that children are harmed psychologically by sexual molestation from adults. A society that makes its rules based on reason and evidence has the means to realize such behavior should be banned. A society that needs no evidence-based justification for its rules can always decide that “god says this is ok”. And then, anything goes. In fact, isnt that how we had christian slave owners? And is that possibly what the child rapists in the Catholic clergy tell themselves?

    I certainly dont see any reasons to ban same-sex marriage in the last link you provided.

    Rather that just posting links with 43 pages of stuff I dont have time to read, why dont you try your hand at explaining in clear concise language why same-sex marriage should not be allowed?

  9. @Todd:

    To repeat myself, can you read? Do you even pay attention to the responses or just type the first answer that pops into your mind?

    Well I dont agree, but if it helps you, consider that it certainly wouldnt be idiocy to compare it to a prohibition against rock music. Surely you realize that society’s general opinion was once against that? (As it was once against interracial marriage.)

    Do you even realize that you are just proving my point? *If* those that fought against anti-segregation laws adopted your attitude of refusing to even give a rational defense because interracial marriage is some sort of inviolable freedom than they would have convinced nobody and we would still be in the same rot. But because they actually cared, they argued rationally and they tried to persuade others that anti-segregation laws were unjust, iniquous and *indeed* violated some core human freedoms.

    As for my assertion that people only resort to religion to justify their position on something when no logical justification can be found, the alternative in this case is to believe that christians know of rational non-faith-based reasons to oppose same sex marriage, but just choose not to share them for some reason. Is that your position? If so, dont be afraid to say so.

    Who are you trying to fool, me or yourself? Information about the rational arguments against SSM is plenty and easily available. You are ignorant of it because it suits your self-serving propaganda; after all, it is so much easier to refute SSM opponents when it is “obvious” that all they have to show for is Bible-thumping. And if evidence was needed, here it is in your post #8:

    Rather that just posting links with 43 pages of stuff I dont have time to read, why dont you try your hand at explaining in clear concise language why same-sex marriage should not be allowed?

    I can readily believe that you do not have the time (nor the intellectual capacity) to read and understand the arguments, but just answer me this: Tom Gilson provided references which you did not even deign to read and at the same time you come here saying that you do not even have to argue for SSM as rejecting it is akin to prohibiting Country music. So tell me, why should we even bother to explain in “clear concise language” when you yourself, refuse to do so? Or if the irony is lost on you, why should we humor you when you are guilty of precisely what you have accused SSM opponents of — actually it is worse, because you do not even have the “My God says so” excuse, you only have “because Todd says so”.

  10. Todd,

    why dont you try your hand at explaining in clear concise language why same-sex marriage should not be allowed?

    I’ll try to keep this as secular as possible so I won’t be accused of invoking religion.

    If you are paying attention, Todd, you will notice that same-sex unions are already allowed and recognized by the state. You will also notice that nobody is asking that this practice be stopped and nobody is asking that same-sex couples be prevented from living together. It’s not about same-sex relationships.

    What is happening is that the same-sex lobby wants to adopt the heterosexual term “marriage”. It’s your burden to explain why a heterosexual term should now also be a homosexual term?

    If you succeed, please go on to explain why a female should (or should not) be able to legally adopt the term male? If you succeed, please go on to explain why a married couple should (or should not) be able to legally adopt the term divorced?

  11. “It’s your burden to explain why a heterosexual term should now also be a homosexual term?”

    Thats like saying that the term “voter” is a male term, and thus women should never have been granted the right to vote.

    “If you succeed, please go on to explain why a female should (or should not) be able to legally adopt the term male?”

    Male and female are biological terms. Marriage is just a social construct. Thus the two concepts are not analogous.

    “If you succeed, please go on to explain why a married couple should (or should not) be able to legally adopt the term divorced?”

    The meaning of “divorced” is related to the marriage to which it refers. Thus to be married and divorced at the same time (assuming youre talking about the same marriage) would be a contradiction. But the meaning of “marriage” is merely a legal status in contrast to single, divorced, or widowed. Therefore there would be nothing contradictory about being married to someone of the same gender. So again, youre trying to make two concepts analogous which are not.

  12. G. Rod,
    “*If* those that fought against anti-segregation laws adopted your attitude of refusing to even give a rational defense..”

    I have given a rational defense. Can you read? I explained that personal freedoms should not be limited unless the activity in question harms someone. Gay people should be able to marry each other for the same reason they should be able to throw a frisbee, juggle tennis balls, or listen to rock music: Because they feel it will bring them happiness in some way, and it it doesnt hurt anyone, so why not?

    “Information about the rational arguments against SSM is plenty and easily available.”

    Yeah, so I keep hearing. But all I see are absurd irrational arguments, like blaming heterosexual divorce on gay people.

    “you are ignorant of it because it suits your self-serving propaganda;”

    Oh I cant wait to hear how my support of same sex marriage is self serving for me.
    You have a talent for believing what feels good to believe, without any evidence to support that belief.

    “So tell me, why should we even bother to explain in “clear concise language” when you yourself, refuse to do so?”

    I did. And I did it again at the top of this very post. Read it again, as many times as you want.

    “actually it is worse, because you do not even have the “My God says so” excuse, you only have “because Todd says so”.”

    Even if my line of reasoning had been “because I say so”, how would that have put *me* in a worse position? At least I really exist. Doesnt that put me one up on your god?

  13. Todd,

    Marriage is just a social construct.

    That is what is at issue, so to assume this is true is just begging the question.

  14. Todd,

    You demanded,

    As for my assertion that people only resort to religion to justify their position on something when no logical justification can be found, the alternative in this case is to believe that christians know of rational non-faith-based reasons to oppose same sex marriage, but just choose not to share them for some reason. Is that your position? If so, dont be afraid to say so.

    I responded by showing your premises were all wrong:

    SSM opponents do not own the “microphone” that will reach your ears. We have arguments, but you don’t hear them. Don’t blame us.

    You chose not to read the first example or to take the other two seriously, and demanded again,

    Rather that just posting links with 43 pages of stuff I dont have time to read, why dont you try your hand at explaining in clear concise language why same-sex marriage should not be allowed?

    I don’t have time write that now, and it would be irrelevant to your question anyway. You had said that Christians were not sharing non-faith-based reasons, and I showed that we were. You ignored the fact that your point had been answered, and instead you raised another demand.

    I’m not playing that game. You started out trolling, you’re still trolling.

    You claim to be giving a rational defense but you beg the question, a sure sign of failure in any rational defense. (By the way, if you had read that 43-page paper you would have known further why Melissa said that.)

    You give analogy after analogy without showing why they are relevant.

    This is not productive; it’s wasting time. Remember when I said that we don’t own the microphone that you will listen to? You’ve proved me right by not even noticing it when your argument had been rebutted. I’m not going to give you a microphone here any longer. Goodbye.

  15. As always, disagreement is welcome. There is plenty to demonstrate that even on this thread. This is not the Argument Clinic, though, and disagreement by simple gain-saying, and without following a line of discussion, is not.

  16. Are you guys serious?

    Same-sex marriage has existed in other countries for 20+ years now – we have *actual* data that suggest little to no perceptible change in the trajectory of the institution of marriage in the countries where it has been instituted. In a few places, the rates of divorce dropped slightly (though not in a statistically significant way).

    We have the data, and it falsifies everything SSM opponents say.

  17. It seems you’ve overstayed your welcome, Todd, but I wanted to respond anyway.

    Thats like saying that the term “voter” is a male term, and thus women should never have been granted the right to vote.

    This is a failed analogy, and thus a failed argument by analogy. I’ve already said that same-sex couples can get “married”, except the state calls it a civil union. No rights are being denied.

    Male and female are biological terms. Marriage is just a social construct. Thus the two concepts are not analogous.

    You are begging the question. The term marriage refers to something real – a heterosexual couple – just like the term male does. How can you deny that?

    Society can change the language it uses to refer to things. There’s nothing sacred about the biological terms, and as stupid as it would be to do this, society could refer to both sexes using the same term.

    The reason we don’t do that is because there’s a REAL and MEANINGFUL difference. There’s also a real and meaningful difference between a heterosexual couple in love and a homosexual couple in love. You are saying there is NO difference, and that the same term should be used. It’s your burden to argue for that.

    The meaning of “divorced” is related to the marriage to which it refers….But the meaning of “marriage” is merely a legal status in contrast to single, divorced, or widowed.

    That’s your argument. Mine is that the meaning of “marriage” is related to the heterosexual relationship to which it refers. It’s been that way for centuries. If others want to adopt the term, then include a qualifier such as “homosexual marriage” so that the very REAL and MEANINGFUL distinction is publicly and legally noted.

  18. SteveK:

    Civil unions and marriages are not the same.

    At least one difference is states are free to disregard civil unions issued from other states.

    Of course, DOMA blurred that distinction somewhat, because it allows states to disregard actual same-sex marriages issued by other states. Which is rather unbelievable – talk about failing to protect the institution of marriage.

  19. At least one difference is states are free to disregard civil unions issued from other states.

    Then we can agree that this should be fixed at the Federal level. How about we do that instead? I’m on board with that.

  20. You mean require that civil unions issued by a state, be recognized nationally?

    That’s alright, though I could still probably sympathize with arguments that might claim the distinction itself is a form of unfair discrimination and a sort of attempt to “ghetto-ize” same-sex relationships.

  21. What is this about “ghetto-izing” something? You make it sound as if we’ve rounded up all the gay couples and forced them into the inner city. More to the point, you make it sound as if SSM opponents have taken some aggressive political initiative to put an end to SSM.

    Never, never forget who took the active political initiative. SSM opponents are not the aggressors. We’re the defenders. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the way some people represent this battle, it’s like calling the RAF the aggressors for shooting at the Luftwaffe over London.

  22. d,
    Are you saying we should legislate according to our sympathetic tendencies? You want to use the same term because someone, somewhere has hurt feelings?

    Your definition of unfair discrimination is warped. Next you’ll be telling me that the term “Asian” unfairly discriminates against people from that part of the globe.

  23. Tom – I merely mean to maintain some modicum of marginalized status.

    And I only said I could sympathize with views that the term “marriage” might be important to homosexual couples may be understandable. If they got legal recognition that was identical in all respects to marriage, except by name, I think they’d be crazy not be happy about it.

    Whatever marginal status the term civil union may (or may not) carry could be changed by influencing our cultural attitudes. But again… I can sympathize – the insistence that the terms must differ seems rather unreasonable.

  24. I thought this last comment from Todd was worth releasing from moderation. I am unafraid of the charge he makes. There is clear evidence that I do not avoid controversy, disagreement, or difficulty. I do have an aversion to trolls and time-wasters, however.

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