Tom Gilson

Wrong Question: “Wouldn’t It Be Better for the Child If Her Gay Parents Were Married?”

One of the common arguments for same-sex marriage (SSM) goes something like this:

“Same-sex couples can adopt children, and in fact many of them already do. Wouldn’t it be better for those children if their parents were legally married to each other? Wouldn’t it be even better if we could all accept the validity of their parents’ marriage, without stigma? (You do believe that marriage is good for children, don’t you?)”

One answer is yes (maybe), I could imagine it might be better for that child if her parents were married, and with no stigma.

The other answer is that whether that’s the right answer or not, it’s the wrong question.

Taking a Systems View

Consider this by way of analogy. Some children are being raised in serious poverty. Wouldn’t it be better for them if the government gave their parents large amounts of money to raise them? The answer, of course, is that for the children who benefited from the extra nutrition, clothing, educational opportunities, and so on, it would definitely be better. Still, the United Stated decided during the Clinton administration that there was a huge downside to that policy. Was it better for some children to be granted government funds? Yes; but that was a right answer to a wrong question.

The problem with both of these questions, SSM and welfare, is that they don’t take the larger systemic effects of their decisions into account. Systems are powerful. As Peter Senge showed masterfully in The Fifth Discipline, a poorly designed system can cause even the best and brightest to make really poor decisions. His “Beer Game” summarized here demonstrates this in a way that’s both comical and horrifying at the same time. For another take on a related theme, read Steven Kerr’s classic “On the folly of rewarding A, while hoping for B.

Rotten Systems Yield Rotten Decisions

Both Senge and Kerr emphasize the uncanny power of systems over people, at least while they remain naive to the system’s influences. Therefore this is not about whether people are good or bad, rational or irrational. It’s about structures in which people’s seemingly rational decisions turn out to have unforeseen, undesired, and sometimes even disastrous effects. In the Beer Game, for example, the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer all make perfectly rational inventory decisions based on the information they have at hand–the kind of information businesses usually rely on. In the end they all perfectly, rationally bankrupt. The system does it to them, in all their rationality. The only way out of it is to re-structure the system. (In this case they could have all done far better by redesigning their communications flow.)

The question we started with at the top of this blog post is a systems-naive question. It takes no account of any long-term systemic influence that marriage policies might have upon children. For that reason, it’s impossible for it to be the right question to start with, in any social policy discussion. That’s not to say it’s never a good question, but that it’s never a good idea to ask it apart from the wider systems it’s connected with.

Better for the Child: Systems-Savvy Questions

So then what are the right questions? I propose these for starters. In keeping with my usual blog policy, I’m only trying to accomplish one thing today. For this post, my objective is to show that the question we started with is irrelevant in most discussions, because it gets introduced too early into the analysis. I’m specifically not going to attempt to answer these prior questions; I’m only going to list examples of what they might be.

Here then are some examples of systems-savvy questions regarding what’s best for children.

  1. What is society’s primary interest in marriage? Is it the couple, or is it future generations that may come from marriage?
  2. If society’s primary interest regarding marriage is for future generations, is there any other good way besides marriage to maximize future generations’ life outcomes?
  3. If so, then how do we best support those other ways?
  4. If not, then how do we best support marriage as an institution to build future generations?
  5. Are there societal influences that tend to encourage and support strong and enduring marriages (the kind that research has demonstrated to be most beneficial to future generations)?
  6. Conversely, are there societal influences that tend to undermine strong and enduring marriages?
  7. Specifically, have society’s lax attitudes toward sex undermined marriage as a widespread social institution?
  8. To what extent has the prevailing view of marriage shifted toward its being an institution for the benefit of the couple rather than for the benefit of the couple and their children?
  9. To what extent have these influences (7 and 8) done systemic damage to an institution that might (depending on 2, 4, 5, and 6) be our best ways of ensuring the maximum future for coming generations?
  10. To what extent does SSM endorse and reinforce influences such as those (7 and 8)?

Why the Question We Began With Is Always a Bad Question to Begin With

These are all prior questions. Now, the way I would answer them would lead to a conclusion that says that no matter how much individual good it might do to a child if her same-sex parents were married, the overall damage done to an entire generation through the undermining of marriage far outweighs that good. I would consider that the case even if we were talking about tens of thousands of individual children; for there are millions who are growing up in a culture broken due to broken views of marriage and parenting.

Maybe you disagree with my conclusions. What you cannot rationally do is jump to the individual case without considering the wider systemic situation. I could imagine situations where the question we opened with might be a good one at the end of a systemic analysis. Apart from that systemic view, though, your answer matters very little, because it’s the wrong question to ask in the first place.

P.S. Someone is sure to accuse me of being heartlessly indifferent to individual children’s plights. I said nothing of the sort. I specifically did not say, “Never ask what’s best for the individual child!” I said instead, “never ask that question without considering the wider systemic context, and its effect on millions of individual children.

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27 thoughts on “Wrong Question: “Wouldn’t It Be Better for the Child If Her Gay Parents Were Married?”

  1. … the overall damage done to an entire generation through the undermining of marriage far outweighs that good

    If memory serves, you have claimed that the undermining of the institution of marriage in various forms has gone on for decades in the US. Can you cite a clear objective trend of decreased child well-being as a result? Most of the studies I look at show increased child well-being over time (at least since 1995).

  2. See further pages 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 32. Just for starters.

    Feel free to ask any child of divorce whether they would rather have lived with their two parents in a stable, loving relationship, too. Just in case you think the statistics need a little extra help.

  3. >>without stigma

    That’s one of the underlying reasons of those who advocate for same-sex “marriage” and for same-sex relationships. It is to do away with the taboo, without the ‘ew.’ It is to present what is abnormal as normal.

    To do without the stigma is to ignore reality and to live in LaLa Land.

  4. Unfortunately the effect of policy changes on the future systemic situation is inevitably speculative. This means it is easy to deny that the speculated effects will eventuate. People’s worldviews may even influence their’ views of whether the effects are positive or negative.

    It is much easier to address immediate concerns, and of course politicians are primarily motivated by short-term goals. “Think of the future children” is never going to be as powerful as “think of the (current generation of) children”.

  5. To what extent has the prevailing view of marriage shifted toward its being an institution for the benefit of the couple rather than for the benefit of the couple and their children?

    Y’know, disentangling things like health (and other) insurance, estate planning, visitation in hospitals and jails, and so forth from marriage – or at least offering ways to get those legal benefits without marriage – might go a long way toward making marriage specifically focused on children. So long as we’re thinking systemically and all.

  6. Tom,

    I can’t figure out from your comment whether or not you are claiming children are worse off since 1995 and how that relates to marriage trends.

    The statistics I’m aware come from from the Child and Youth Well-Being Index (CWI) (PDF).

    Some highlights:

    * teenage births declined 20.1/1000 in 1991 to 7.9/1000 in 2011
    * violent crime victimization declined 121.3/1000 in 1994 to 26.9/1000 2010
    * violent crime offending declined 51.9/1000 1993 to 9.5/1000 2010.
    * infant mortality is down 16.1/1000 in 1975 to 6/1000 in 2012.
    * mortality rate is down from 56.9/100000 in 1975 and 24/100000 in 2010.
    * college graduation rates are up
    * health insurance coverage is up
    * smoking is down
    * binge alcohol drinking is down
    * suicide is down
    * community engagement is up
    * reading test scores are up
    * math scores are up

    Not all the news is good:

    * economic well-being hasn’t done well by some measures.
    * there’s a health decline due to obesity.
    * religion importance and attendance is down

    But are those due to changes in traditional marriage? It doesn’t jump out at me.

    And finally:

    * single-parent family rate is 27.4% 2012, down from 28.2% in 2005 but up from 17% in 1975.

    At least things are moving in the right direction over the last 7 years, if slowly.

  7. Can you cite a clear objective trend of decreased child well-being as a result?

    Do attitudes and beliefs about sex, morality in general, life in general and more count as an objective trend? And if they don’t, is there any guarantee what’s left over is the most interesting area?

    That’s before noticing that a good share of those trends are down from fairly recent peeks, only down slightly, some are irrelevant (‘More college graduates’ while the quality of a college education has gone down, not to mention the uselessness of most college degrees.)

  8. Crude,

    Do attitudes and beliefs about sex, morality in general, life in general and more count as an objective trend?

    Sure, those can be objective but harder to relate to child well-being. The issue for me is that if anyone can show that child well-being is being clearly hurt by SSM or by any other trend in society, I, as a secularist, will get on board and join the outcry. But if child well-being is primarily defined in terms of a correct relationship with God then there is much less common ground.

    The Sullins study recently discussed is exactly the sort of thing I pay attention to since it’s a published, peer reviewed study. It establishes that children born to joint biological parents are better off than children adopted or from broken families, but it doesn’t shed any real light on whether (1) adopted children fare better with opposite-sex -vs- same-sex parents, or (2) how children of one same-sex parent fare when conceived via donor or surrogate during a same-sex relationship instead originating from a broken opposite-sex relationship.

  9. Wife and I were at a resort in Cuba recently and noticed a couple, both men, playing in the pool with their two adopted daughters, 2 and 5 years of age. One older lady approached the men to ask what their names and age were. The two year old pointed to the lady and asked if she was “mommy”. This only confirmed to my wife and I that children need a Mother and Father, not two mommies or two daddies.

    Just thought I’d share this with you.

  10. Tom,

    If possible, can we delete comment # 11 as I’ve made a few (minor) changes to it, to be posted next etc…….sorry if this leaves a mess…..

    [Done (Tom)]

  11. A few points of interest on truths, times, and histories. The data on children raised with one parent is relevant in a few ways here. Children raised by the single father are found to be less aware of, and more likely to possess some degree of maladroitness in, many relational contexts where the feminine is concerned. And the reverse is seen in those raised by the single mother. This of course does not amount to simple dysfunction, but rather to degrees of awareness, to degrees of ability to fully interact in and with and by our humanity’s full range of potential, of capacity. Obviously this can be in part overcome by emersion – from day one – with a wider circle of close – daily – contacts (it takes a village, so to speak). However, we don’t seem able to find the equal to the sort of daily intimacy of the home as our own humanity’s fully feminine to fully masculine range weigh in on childhood plasticity. Many humanists appeal to the brain, to neural-networks, as the sole basis of humanity – despite the intractable philosophical problems such reductionism fails to navigate – and yet they seem to disinvite such (tempting for them to be sure) nuances as these from the table. One would think the reductionist would jump to embrace such observations. The observation that a kind of critical mass is needed in those critical formative years of high plasticity finds our humanity’s range of the fully masculine to the fully feminine in need of a particular some-thing which, as it turns out, actually exists in the real world. Of course, just because “X” for various reasons offers the highest possible chance for a robust emotional intelligence amid the sexes does not mean that good functionality is not obtainable with X-minus-some-thing. We all get by with various levels of discomfort or unawareness, as it were, amid something less than fully healthy interfaces as adults. But being functional has gradations, or layers, or degrees, as it were. We find here an interesting move on the part of the newly institutionalized majority and its narrative in the denial of such layering in our humanity as it develops. And here we find a close cousin to another interesting observation we see in the narrative of the newly institutionalized majority inching further into its dependence on the marginalization of minority lines of actual lived-lives and/or real observation. By that we mean that just as that newly institutionalized majority’s narrative cannot welcome the small minority of ex-gays to the table on pains of that small minority’s narrative housing a critical and fundamental line of evidence against a core pillar of the majority’s narrative, so too here we are seeing the newly institutionalized majority’s narrative actively ignoring – or disinviting – very real gradations, degrees, and layers of childhood development narratives – and these seem to be means motivated towards the ends that its own narrative may remain not just, say, work-able, but rather, say, highly plausible. As we unpack this it seems that perhaps these sorts of (inconvenient) minority gradations and layers – and so on – are just that – inconvenient to the majority’s narrative which seems, for unclear reasons, wedded to something which the ex-gay’s minority narrative threatens and also seems wedded, again for unclear reasons, to – when it comes to the development of emotional intelligence amid healthy interfacing with both sexes as adults – something along the lines of this: “Children’s highly plastic emotional intelligence amid the sexes don’t do best when immersed in our humanity’s full range of that which is the robustly feminine to the robustly masculine in the sustained intimacy of the home. That range in that setting just is not a real, living, factor with real, living outcomes”. These sorts of basic, apparent, and intentional steps are rather interesting when applied to the issue of narrative. When any one narrative becomes dependent, as we see here, on, say, the need to disenfranchise inconvenient minorities who are themselves lived-lives, or on, say, the need to shape public awareness with select layers or degrees of observation that sum to something less than the full array of all layers observed, or on, say, the necessity to just go ahead and foist what amounts (in essence, as it were) to false-narratives, when any institutionalized majority begins employing those means for the ends of its own narrative remaining highly plausible, well then, as Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. taught us so well, when such narratives begin to succeed by such means they are themselves fated to come down on the wrong side of history – time and truth just do have that peculiar sort of relationship. History is both our teacher and a kind of proof in this arena. Power and deception just cannot endure over time. For a century or two, yes, but eventually the truth of our humanity rises. We’ve seen these principles of Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. play out over and over again on the world stage – for millennia. Disinviting truths about our humanity from the assembly cannot serve humanity in the long run. No one, none of us, can move forward in autohypnosis and wish-fulfillment and expect to succeed. The newly institutionalized majority cannot commit the crimes of the old majority and expect to survive – for it will, quite obviously then, fail for all the same reasons the old majority failed. Perhaps that is one of the reasons many of us find ourselves on the side of Christ here – simply on the grounds of grace’s embrace of every last one of us and on the grounds of seeking to embrace reality’s true narrative.

  12. Tom,

    Well, yes, on second thought……. sigh…. the use of the “enter” button and a few paragraph breaks would definitely have been a wise move 😉

    As an aside ~ On whatever topic may arise – not just this thread’s topic – we seek, strive, press – it’s difficult – to use caution in our own interior navigations of our own tendencies both towards and away from grace, and, just the same, in our own tendencies both towards and away from truth. On such navigations I’ve proven to be an inept sailor. Fortunately though, He is Himself the Ocean – that is to say – He holds all things. We are, perhaps, not on the side of any Majority/Minority in any ipso facto sense, but rather we are on the side of Grace in all directions – towards all period, and of Truth in all directions – towards all period. Grace and Truth as a Singularity. That is the Narrative Whose Name is The-Real.

  13. No, I think I get it, but I’m allowed to use sarcasm, too. I suspect you wouldn’t make the decision that doctor did, at least for the reasons she said she did.

    But even if we answer every single one of your above questions the way you would, there are still plenty of relevant – indeed, urgent – followup questions.

    Let’s assume legal marriage is not to be granted to same-sex couples, and further assume that same-sex couples raising couples will not be legally forbidden. We still have to consider what protections, benefits, support, etc. will be available to such couples… if any.

    Having a concrete proposal in mind about those questions might actually help sell the first assumption, that “legal marriage is not to be granted to same-sex couples”.

  14. Ray-

    Do we need to consider what protections, benefits, support, etc. will be available for any and all relationships between adults that are raising children together?

    I think that is worth considering.

    I do not have any concrete proposals.

    It does not follow from this that “therefore, legal marriage for all people raising children.” It is not as if one person lacks a concrete proposal that another’s idea automatically goes. I hope this is not what you are suggesting. I also hope you do not care more for the well being of children raised by same sex couples.

  15. To pick up on some earlier comments:

    What mechanisms will provide the humanity of a child her fullest range of extrication there in the child’s early years of high plasticity amid potentiality of a vigorous emotional intelligence amid the sexes?

    It seems that we have two approaches – that of final causes (God) and that of the latent potentiality of already-present deeply embedded neuro-biological networks (no-god) as the “end of the line”, as it were. It is unclear that either finds us with a different answer. In fact, both seem to converge on very present means and outcomes here in the very real world which we awake to find at our fingertips. The reductionist (no-God paradigm) who appeals to neurobiology as the end of the line where our humanity’s employable substrate is concerned finds, it seems, all the evidence of his tapestry’s stimuli / outcome trajectories amassing in all the same foci as various trajectories stated by final causes (God paradigm).

    It starts, simply, with childhood plasticity.

    That plasticity and its potentiality just “is what it is”, so to speak, and by that we mean the very simple statement that no amount of semantics can change “that stuff” there in our skulls (if no-god) or there in Mankind’s final causes (if God). As discussed earlier, where emotional intelligence amid the sexes is concerned, there is that certain potentiality, that underlying capacity, and, then, there is that certain range of exposure which finds its greatest or most robust extraction there within the intimacy of love’s fully-felt range from the robustly feminine to the robustly masculine in a stable, ongoing environment from day one and onward. Such “means” applied to childhood plasticity extract capacity in distances which various other combinations and/or permutations can’t seem to reach.

    It is worth pointing out that whether God or no-God, this or that century’s latest flavor of Politic cannot *actually* change this – as in – when it comes to our own childhood plasticity, potentiality, and means of extraction, it is an interesting observation that given *either* final causes (God paradigm) *or* neural-biological networks (no-god paradigm) as the end of the line, well, all of that still is as it is, still is what it is. And that is, as it turns out, the case for what amounts to obvious reasons given that the means we are speaking of there in the home’s robustly feminine to robustly masculine fully-felt range of enterprises are the “some-thing” which both attains the necessary reach and which simply exists in the real world.

    As already noted, none of this is to say that other combinations or permutations don’t get by, often quite well – they do – but we are speaking here of the fullness of range of what just is our humanity’s capacity as it relates to childhood’s early plasticity and a robust emotional intelligence amid the sexes. Nature is what nature is, as it were, and here we come to the question of what a child’s final causes may or may not be, of what person-hood’s final causes may or may not be. Obviously if all of this is, if all ends are, so to speak, truly nature-less then there really is no such thing as *actual* harm or loss in genuinely seeking something different than this or that specific essence and that is because, given that paradigmatic definition, there actually is no such ontic-end as *a* human essence. Hydrogen plus time just does equate, finally, to man plus time, which just does equate, finally, to….. and then to….. ….. and so on as conceded by philosophical naturalism itself. Such is the “actual state of affairs” in, well, any particular slice of humanity we wish to speak of – if, that is – we dialogue beneath skies void of final causes.

    Before going further, there is this fact: But we all matter. And there it is – reality – and not the fiction of eliminative materialism. The final causes of immutable love infuse value into all of us in ways the final ends housed in Naturalism/Humanism never can – hence we find the metaphysics of Christianity far more plausible when it comes to any of our many appetites – those appetites being, in neo-Darwinian epistemology, the very definition of bell-curve shaped baby-making worth, whereas, in God, we find no such discrimination in that sort of ipso facto hard stop. As an aside here on that blunt and merciless definition: First, we are trying to examine actual states of affairs here, and, second, the naturalist simply need not bother fussing about that harsh and pitiless definition of genomic ends as both Feser and Hume agree with logic – reason finds no categorical imperative at the end of the line tying it to flourishing.

    The lack of such an artificial hard-stop in Theism’s metaphysics is why when Scripture tells us liars or adulterers will not be found – finally – in God, I discover that though I lie both to myself, to God, and to others in all sorts of ways, daily, and though my eye may follow some woman far too long (and that *is* adultery per Christ), that I am yet found in God, that I am, even still, found in God. So too with whatever slice of my/our nature this or that cherry-picked-verse which this or that accuser of Christ’s Sacrifice happens to throw at any of us. The accuser’s thought that such cherry-picking of verses will find this or that slice of our humanity out-powering His Sacrifice just fails to account for the whole-show that just is the meta-narrative of the God paradigm, that is to say, such accusers are akin to philosophical naturalism’s attempt to define all ends by various ontic-slices of us, of you and I, rather than of God. But that is nonsense. Why? Because All-sufficiency just does outreach, well, you and I, insufficiency. Or, if it helps: God outdistances Man. Or, if that is still too hard, then simply: Necessity outreaches Contingency. As if it could be any other way.

    The Child’s plasticity?

    Man is what man is – just as – childhood plasticity is what it is. Just as the robustly feminine to the robustly masculine range of emotional intelligence is what it is. Just as the child’s potentiality is what it is. Capacity. Nature. And – then – there is the very present reality of the intimate and full range of stable, daily conditions extracting the fullest reaches of that capacity’s robustly feminine to robustly masculine elaborations, as discussed in earlier comments in this thread. The humanist who reduces all of our humanity to neural-biological networks ought to wonder here at such ranges as they converge with some non-materialist observations if he genuinely means to be true to his own definition of that which is our fullest range of humanity as such relates to early plasticity. Generally speaking what ought our reductionist friends posit here as the child’s preeminent shot overall? Further, is it *true* that it is the case that if all our reductionist friend has to offer is a set of irrationally conditioned reflexes inside our skulls, then there is no such thing – ever – as *actual* loss should we decide to aim at some other mark where the child’s ends are concerned – or where any human outcome is concerned? Honest dialogue rises to the level of relevance.

    All of this is revealing – again – where narratives are concerned as the newly institutionalized majority establishes its narrative by repeating the same unthinking, dangerous, and shortsighted crimes which the old defunct majority use to employ – by disinviting the truth of our potentiality – of our humanity – of our unending value – from the assembly. Further, it is worth noting, this is also why any collective mantra per se, that peculiar will to power, is the whole show in philosophical naturalism’s arena and all definitions begin and end “there”. This in part explains the reductionist’s confusion when this or that latest Politic is at times challenged, whether anew or of old. Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. taught us all well as his means outreached the reductionist’s means in all such trajectories, that is to say, he got it right.

    Obviously Pastor Martin Luther King Jr., and so on, are speaking from within the metaphysical ends of final causes, of God, of those beautiful contours of ceaseless reciprocity within Trinity there in the immutable love of the Necessary Being. Hence the reductionist’s confusion as he seeks to disinvite inconvenient findings of observational reality from the assembly. But surely he must know that God’s timeless reciprocity, such unending self-sacrifice amid such pouring and filling ever in Trinity is the first and final cause of love’s nature – that such unending sacrifice finds All-Sufficiency pouring Himself out for, and into, we His beloved, we who are – by nature – the insufficient. Surely he must know by now that these lines, these motions, simply have no first, no last, for such fabric just is reality’s landscape, just is the topography of God – that “infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of all reality” – that is the ultimate meaning maker.

    On whatever topic may arise – not just this thread’s topic – we seek, strive, press – it’s difficult – to use caution in our own interior navigations of our own tendencies both towards and away from grace, and, just the same, in our own tendencies both towards and away from truth. We cannot offend grace and think our narrative will – ultimately – flourish. We cannot offend truth and think our narrative will – ultimately – flourish. Such crimes have been found wanting upon the world stage – over and over again. History finds our final ends rising – bit by bit – inside of the stuff of time and physicality – towards His unquenchable instantiation. On such navigations amid grace and truth I’ve proven to be an inept sailor. Fortunately though, He is Himself the Ocean – that is to say – He holds all things. We are, perhaps, not on the side of any Majority/Minority in any ipso facto sense, but rather we are on the side of Grace in all directions – towards all – full stop – and in the same sense – we are on the side of Truth in all directions – towards all – full stop. Grace and Truth as an *actual* singularity. That is the Narrative Whose Name is The-Real.

  16. DR84 – I didn’t say that a counterproposal was logically necessary. I said that it would “help sell the… assumption, that “legal marriage is not to be granted to same-sex couples”.” It would be politically useful, and given the way politics seems to be going, I’d think that utility would be welcome.

    Once upon a time, there was talk of ‘civil unions’. But the majority of the ‘defense of marriage’ state-level amendments banned same-sex civil unions as well as marriages. This rather forced an all-or-nothing fight, and, well… here we are now, waiting on SCOTUS. As Sun Tzu advised, leave your enemy a line of retreat, unless you want a fight to the death.

  17. Systems….

    I have actually given quite a great deal of thought to the sorts of “systems” we exist in.

    I’ve come around again and again to the conclusion that the systems we’ve existed under for quite a long time – oft hailed by the anti-gay-marriage crowd as never producing any form of recognized marriage between same-sex couples (false, btw) (but have produced societies that execute gay people for… being gay) – as extremely damaging to individual children and adults, both gay and straight – as well as future generations, just like any system is that permits slavery or any other form of irrational, non-sensical, and often brutal discrimination.

    So yea… lets consider systems!

  18. d makes a good point. Any system unable to coherently incorporate the essential properties of early childhood plasticity and the child’s best opportunity towards the full breadth of her potential isn’t a system or narrative which properly handles our actual humanity – as delineated in earlier comments. The Negro too agrees with d’s metaphysical essentialism as Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. reached past any system or narrative settling for something less – as delineated in earlier comments. The innate value of all and the real slices of our essential ends find truth and grace landing atop all of us. Such a necessary singularity as that – as truth and grace – converges in one peculiar system’s final causes. We call His name love.

  19. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/south-africa-parents-find-daughter-17-years-after-kidnap/ar-BBi2mah

    If one claims that same sex parents are just as good as biological parents, I would think that it would be impossible to also coherently claim the kidnapping couple harmed this child at least as long as they raised her just as well as her biological parents could have. Maybe I am wrong, but I cannot imagine on what grounds the claim could be made.

    It also seems to follow that if the kidnapper parents were actually more fit to raise a child than her biological parents were, that they actually did the child they kidnapped a favor.

    The “same sex parents are just good as biological parents” claim leads to moral conclusions that defy common sense.

    PS I am aware this story does not involve same sex parents; however, it does involve a girl raised from birth by non-biological parents. Which is also true of a child raised from birth by a same sex couple (they would be raised by at least one non-bio parent).

  20. DR84 #24:

    If one claims that opposite-sex adoptive parents are just as good as biological parents, I would think that it would be impossible to also coherently claim the kidnapping couple harmed this child at least as long as they raised her just as well as her biological parents could have. Maybe I am wrong, but I cannot imagine on what grounds the claim could be made.

    It also seems to follow that if the kidnapper parents were actually more fit to raise a child than her biological parents were, that they actually did the child they kidnapped a favor.

    The “opposite-sex adoptive are just good as biological parents” claim leads to moral conclusions that defy common sense.

    PS I am aware this story does not involve opposite-sex adoptive parents; however, it does involve a girl raised from birth by non-biological parents. Which is also true of a child raised from birth by an opposite-sex adoptive couple (they would be raised by at least one non-bio parent).

    That sounds pretty silly, doesn’t it?

  21. It’s easy to study.

    Biological / adoptive long-term outcomes and so on. Siblings of such duo’s tracked over decades. Masculine-Feminine submersion has unavoidable and unmistakable benefits atop childhood plasticity – as discussed earlier. The data on biological vs. adoptive seems to narrow to much less of a gap but doesn’t fully close to zero. SF’s hint about a “favor / better” nuance is accurate overall as there is a reality of “the widest, the most robust”, as it were. Again, many permutations do get on quite well – as noted earlier – but we are speaking here of identity claims – that A and B are identical ontic-realities. Observational reality seems to be declaring such to be (in at least some vectors of import) a false identity claim. Of course none of these are or need to be legal observations – but rather are observations of essence.

  22. Here’s an idea. Let’s monitor, study and rank all the potential parent groups in the world – from best to worst. When children are born we put them in a holding facility until we can finish studying them and ranking each one using relevant metrics. We then match the child with the parent group so the best situation possible is obtained.

    Utopian society, here we come.

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"Engaging… exhilarating.… This might be the most surprising and refreshing book you’ll read this year!" — Lee Strobel

"Too Good To Be False is almost too good to be true!" — Josh McDowell

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