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REPLY #3 TO
"HOMOSEXUALITY AND LIFESTYLE ISSUES"
In other words, could homosexuality be something that is "forced upon you" by something (presumably traumatic) that occurred in one's childhood? I don't buy that any more than I believe that *anything* is "forced upon you" by a previous experience.
(R) No, no, that's not what I mean at all. Let me give an example for clarity.
Take intelligence. Psychologists are not sure what exactly causes a person to have the amount of intelligence that he does, and I assume we all agree that nobody makes a concious decision to have the amount of intelligence he has, and that indeed such a choice is not possible.
(MB) That's correct. However, it is fairly obvious that intelligence has a genetic basis. In fact, I like to compare it to a seed which will sprout if given proper care and feeding. If you have, let's say, a tomato seed, a green thumb can produce a top-quality tomato from it while an unskilled gardener might only produce a shriveled plant. However, no amount of gardening influence can produce anything other than a tomato from that seed.
(R) Psychologists *have*, however, noticed certain factors present in people's childhoods that seem to increase the chances for having high intelligence, although these views are in no way definite.
(MB) Don't confuse "knowledge" with "intelligence". Any highly-educated person can gain worlds of knowledge even if he is not unusually intelligent. Intelligence is basically raw ability. Whether or not that ability is utilized or realized is another question.
(R) This is not to suggest that homosexuality and intelligence are in any way connected; I certainly don't believe that they are. But the example illustrates what I was trying to express; the idea that perhaps homosexuality might be influenced in some way by one's early environment.
(MB) I know you're not trying to connect homosexuality and intelligence, but I think you're lending support to the notion that both are genetically-based. Intelligence certainly is not "learned".
(R) There are parallels: psychologists aren't sure of homosexuality's cause either, and there many theories that various childhood factors may increase or decrease the chances of a person being homosexual.
(MB) That supports my view that homosexuality is a learned behavior rather than being genetically-based. It also means that learning the behavior of homosexuality is little different from learning any other positive, negative, or neutral behavior.
(R) I am not saying in any way that homosexuality is "forced" upon somebody, merely that it could be something that simply happens to turn out the way it does, like intelligence.
(MB) Again, intelligence is always there whether or not it is cultivated.
Obviously, homosexuality can be expressed in various degrees of public visibility (so can heterosexuality, for that matter). Whether or not one flaunts their sexuality in public, it is still practiced in private. I don't think that most people's opposition to homosexuality would disappear if there was no public flaunting of it. Remember that homosexuality (and opposition to it) has been around throughout human history while public flaunting of it is only a recent development.
(R) I realise all of this. I was saying in that paragraph that if homosexuality in and of itself were not a choice, it wouldn't be right to criticize all homosexuals simply because certain homosexuals happen to practice a promiscuous, unsafe lifestyle. Many homosexuals themselves have said that the people you describe in your essay are simply a particularly vocal and visible minority. Thus I wrote as I did.
(MB) I want to be careful not to intermix the general behavior of homosexuality with some of the more extreme antics of certain practitioners. Heck, I don't see eye-to-eye with some extreme things done by heterosexuals, either, but I certainly approve of the general behavior.
The criticism was meant to be leveled at those who argue that homosexuality should meet with general approval because homosexuals "have no choice" about how they behave.
(R) Now that idea I can sympathise with. I think I understand your position better now, but let me make sure: is your complaint that these homosexuals are being whiny and overly PC? If so, then I *do* agree with you, as much as I would agree that some environmentalists and feminists are much the same way in pursuit of their respective causes; likewise, many more within these particular groups agree that the above are a more vocal and radical minority that does not accurately represent that majority of those who identify with those groups.
(MB) There are certainly a distressing overabundance of "whiny and overly PC" individuals who are activists in support of whatever their personal cause(s) might be and they are deservingly criticized whether or not one approves or disapproves of the cause itself. Most of these people do a grave disservice to their cause.
Now, it should be emphasized that approval or disapproval for the cause itself can (and should) be separated from the actions of a few radical supporters. It should also be noted that this requires a level of support that is rather more than just "look at those activist idiots".
The behavior still exists and still inspires a generally negative reaction despite how many homosexuals go around protesting against that reaction. Again, the protests are a relatively recent thing while the behavior (and the reactions to it) is old.
(R) Could you clarify what you mean by behavior? Do you mean behavior as in homosexuality itself, or the lifestyle described in your essay?
(MB) I mean homosexuality itself. Again, my views about it are separate from views about activist gay lobbyists.
(R) Although I suppose it's not really relevant, I have found that many people aren't really offended by homosexuality itself so much as by the popular stereotype of the homosexual: the promiscuous, sex-obsessed fetishist or drag queen who has sex indiscriminiately. I mention this because it brings into question exactly how "generally" a negative reaction exists.
(MB) The best answer to that question is to examine recent Gallup poll results on that question.
These polls find that 59% of Americans consider homosexuality to be "morally wrong", while 34% do not. 47% do not believe that it is "something you are born with" while 31% believe it is. What's interesting here is that the percentage of people who believe you are born with it has doubled over the past two decades despite the total evidence of compelling medical evidence in support of that claim. This would seem to confirm that the spin-doctoring of the gay lobby has been rather effective.
On other questions concerning homosexuality, 52% do not consider it to be an "acceptable lifestyle", 47% say that "it should not be legal", and 68% oppose the legal sanctioning of same-sex marriages.
Discounting the 10% or so who had "no opinion" on the various questions, the "anti-homosexuality" opinions are approximately 50% more prevalent than "pro-homosexuality" opinions. I think this qualifies as a general negative reaction.
Again, the behavior itself can be criticized separately from the actions of some of those who practice it or protest in favor of it.
(R) This is the specific point of your stance that I am questioning. I assume you mean by "behavior" the promiscuity and careless sex. Please correct if I am wrong.
(MB) By "behavior", I am referring to homosexuality itself and not the antics of the activists and radicals. It should be mentioned, however, that there is a considerable body of evidence to indicate that promiscuity and careless sex are inherent parts of the general behavior and practice of homosexuality.
(R) The problem is, those two characteristics are exactly the actions, to use your word, of the homosexuals in question. Therefore, they are one and the same thing, and thus homosexuality itself cannot be criticised outside of the actions of the particular homosexuals aforementioned, invalidating that particular argument.
(MB) That is not correct. Are you claiming that only the activists and radicals are promiscuous or practice unsafe homosexual sex?
Consider that it's also entirely possible to approve of homosexuality while still being against the activities of some gay activists.
(R) And there you have summed up *my* stance.
(MB) Obviously, that's also my stance, but we must be careful to delineate where general practice and activism differ.
(R) Looking back over this message, I see the whole thing is somewhat unclear because of the separation of the various parts. Therefore, let me condense everything together to properly state my argument:
(MB) I agree that it is important to properly define the particulars of any given issue. On to the recap...
(R) Issue one: Is homosexuality per se the result of a person's concious decision? I realise that I kept saying "if it weren't a choice" above for the sake of argument, but now I'll make that a definite statement: I believe it is not a choice, and I believe I have read enough regarding the issue to be safe in taking this position. I can find references for you if you want.
(MB) I know that there are plenty of quotable references -- most supplied by the gay lobby. However, none contain any solid or compelling medical evidence in support of that claim any more than there is support for similar arguments seeking to claim a genetic basis for everything from alcoholism to criminal behavior.
(R) Issue two: If homosexuality itself is indeed not the result of choice, then it follows that homosexuals do not by definition practice unsafe sex or act promiscuously or violently protest negative reactions of others against them
(MB) That conclusion does not logically follow from the proposition. Practioners of any given behavior will exhibit general tendencies and similarities whether or not their behavior is purely by choice, purely by genetics, or somewhere in the middle. Indeed, voluntary choice infers agreement with the general practices of others who have made the same voluntary choice.
(R) Issue three: If homosexuals do not by definition practice the above behaviors, then it is incorrect to criticise all homosexuals for the sake of those homosexuals who actually practice such behaviors.
(MB) "Homosexuality" is a general class of behaviors. Each specific behavior (whether one approves or disapproves of it) is its own debatable issue.
(R) Issue four (the last one, I promise!=)): If homosexuals are not homosexual by choice, and they do not violently protest negativity towards them by choice, then a homosexual, given that he does not practice the above behaviors, does have at least some right to complain of unfair treatment.
(MB) Why? All people are (or should be) judged by what they do. If one is openly homosexual, he exhibits at least one behavior that is normally associated with homosexuality and for which he can be open to the judgment of others. Of course, it is incorrect to extrapolate other behaviors from the observation of one particular act. However, if one's choice of lifestyle is one that is generally viewed negatively, he incurs some social responsibility to demonstrate that he himself should not be associated with peers who might otherwise get disapproving looks.
(R) Keep in mind that I do not mean that he can then start trying to shove acceptance of homosexuality down everybody's throat and stay within his rights.
(MB) Agreed. That applies to *any* choice of lifestyle or beliefs.
(R) Ultimately I ask: if somebody criticises a homosexual for certain behaviors which the homosexual does not practice, because the critic believes that all homosexuals do practice those behaviors, is he not in error?
(MB) Yes, he is in error in that particular instance. However, if the majority of practitioners *do* engage in questionable behaviors, then criticism is not unfounded even though it might be incorrect in a given case.
(R) Sorry this got so long and convoluted, but I believe in proper debate should logically procede from one idea to the next until he reaches his final argument, rather than randomly spout opinions mixed in with facts.
(MB) I agree completely and would say that you are doing a reasonable job of presenting your case.
(R) Many people who write you do this, and as you reply in the proper fashion by reasoning through your arguments step by step, I thought it'd be only proper, not to mention much more constructive, to express my ideas in a like manner. Thanks for your patience in reading this beast. =)
(MB) Thanks for taking the time to prepare and present your arguments. Some will agree with you, some with me, and others are likely to still be undecided. However, if the effort to debate the issue is not made, there is little hope of clearing up any confusion.
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