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A thread at rationalskepticism.org on gay marriage


Severian
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I wasn't sure where to put this, since I am not meaning to discuss gay marriage here, but wanted your opinion on a thread at rationalskepticism.org. As you know, this is SFN's "partner" site, so I think it is a fair enough topic.

 

Could you please take a look at this thread and let me know what you think. In particular, please take a look at my own posts and the reaction I go to them (I lost it a bit at the end, so edited my last post out).

 

I genuinely am confused as to what the problem is. I gave the argument (which people here are familiar with) that I am opposed to state organised "marriage", irrespective of the gender of the participants. But these guys just don't seem to get it and are getting really nasty. Do you think I just didn't explain my opinion well enough, or is there some other issue with RatSkep I am not aware of, or are these guys just being complete douchebags?

 

Incidentally, the moderation of that site is terrible. I have reported many of the troll posts in that thread, and there has not even been a comment from a mod.

 

Anyway, I would appreciate your comments.

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The behavior I most often see leading to trouble in debates is reading ulterior motives into your opponents posts. The RatSkep crowd insists on the ad hominem attack "he's just trying to advance his secret homophobia by proposing this plan" and makes only a few points about your actual post. (I believe the most relevant comment was that it'd be tough for marriage contracts to be legally binding -- but that's an implementation detail that can presumably be solved.)

 

I particularly enjoyed the bit where you said "the state shouldn't recognize marriage" and they said "ah! so you only want churches to recognize marriage! it's all part of your devious plan!"

 

I do agree with you that the moderation there is terrible (at least, from this one sample I've glanced through). No debate should descend to that level and stay open.

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As it stands, marriage is a legal "contract" with verbal promises made in front of witnesses (although not usually recorded). A recorded contract is typically called a "pre-nuptial agreement". Any party officially wanting out of the contract sue to do so ... people literally "sue" for divorce. Being a contract is why marriages of underage parties (<18yo in the US) require parental consent and/or a court order, etc, because any contract involving minors is not binding.

 

Marriages are unusual contracts. Most people enter into such contracts, some more than once; it is expected for people to do so. It is a social contract, and one of cultural importance, typically defining a couple seeking to start and raise a family. The law defines it as a contract of sexual and emotional exclusivity, and a breach of this exclusivity is called "infidelity" and "bigamy". It is a contract of mutual support, and a breach of this is called "abandonment".

 

Other contracts are not necessarily "recognized" or rubber-stamped by any government, although the parties can turn to the judicial system under contractual law to seek remedies of wrongs committed. Most of the time, two or more parties simply enter into a contract on their own. Major corporate takeovers sometimes require government approval, but not otherwise.

 

Perhaps the question should be: Why should government define/approve the marriage contract?

 

Many nations have already flipped on the biggest "tabu" — that is, dropping the one-man-one-woman requirement. Why shouldn't so-called "confirmed bachelors" make it official? A Taiwanese woman "married" herself. What's so "illegal" with polygamy among consenting adults? A billionaire who wants 5 wives could engage in "parallel" polygamy instead of "serial" polygamy. Don't people already say, "Anne is my first wife, Betty is my second wife, Claire is my third wife, Donna is my fourth wife, and Esther is my fifth wife"? The punishment for polygamy would be five mother-in-laws. ;)

 

Probably the most serious reason why governments define/approve marriage contracts is to secure stable, long-term situations under which the next generation is created and raised and, thus, secure the future of of the population.

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Severian,

 

I had a look through the thread...that site is a toilet. The Science threads are pathetic and junior school with interjections of juvenile humour that would get people banned here as you know. Trust your instinct...24 carat pseudo intellectual morons. ;).You can't argue intelligently in the face of the mindless stupid.

 

If that is this site's partner it needs cutting adrift.

 

Jimmydasaint put a quote on a thread that seems pertinent here that they definitely don't embrace there which is an a essential component in any civil discussion:

 

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle

Edited by StringJunky
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Yeah, they're not listening to you, and being very rude about it. I suspect it is largely due to the signal-to-noise ratio in that thread. You're just lumped in with one of the many other crazies from the thread, and they're responding to you as such. My suggestion would be to start a new thread topic yourself, so that you have a good clean start, and your well-reasoned and well-written arguments are nicely visible and all together, and you don't start behind a pile of crazies to be confused with you.

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Thanks for your comments Cap'n. It isn't just this thread either - it is the same level of "debate" on the entire site.

 

To be honest, I think having them as a "partner" site does a disservice to SFN.

 

We partnered very early on in the existence of RatSkep. Once I'm done with my exam and my physics homework I'll take a wander through their site and see how things have changed.

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Wow, that's a steaming mess of a thread, and Severian was definitely treated unfairly. Only eventually did anyone get around to debating you instead of what they assumed your ulterior motives were, or what they seemed to think you said apparently without reading it.

 

I agree with Mr Skeptics suggestion. That thread was poisoned from the start and hopelessly confused by the time you joined it. Start a new one, nonconfrontationally as possible, and see what happens. Something like "Should the state be involved in marriage?" Don't call anyone out for behavior in the old thread, don't make it about religion/atheism, don't imply hypocrisy on the part of anyone. Just a polite, carefully laid out proposal, and see what happens.

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Thanks guys. I feel a bit better that it isn't just me being out of touch with reality or something. I don't think I have the energy to try starting another thread though.

 

I think he sort of attitude they have is really detrimental to the atheist cause (and the gay one for that matter). It seems strange that they don't see it, but I suppose they all feed of each other.

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I encourage users to try the search feature offered here at SFN.

I encourage search a term = "marriage" put forth by username = Severian, and I encourage you to return results as posts.

 

You will quickly see that those people at the other site he linked in the OP were rather accurate in their assessment, as supported by his numerous posts here.

 

For further reinforcement of my point, try the same search with keyword = "gay."

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I encourage users to try the search feature offered here at SFN.

I encourage search a term = "marriage" put forth by username = Severian, and I encourage you to return results as posts.

 

You will quickly see that those people at the other site he linked in the OP were rather accurate in their assessment, as supported by his numerous posts here.

 

For further reinforcement of my point, try the same search with keyword = "gay."

 

Severian's arguments on gay marriage are irrelevant here ...it's the manner of delivery by some of the posters on the other site that is in question . It clearly has some unfettered prominently puerile membership...would you care to grace them with your presence seeing as they agree with you on gay marriage...must we be fascist and contemptuous in our attitude with those that disagree with us because we think we are right? We won't gain any converts to gay marriage by fighting and disrespect will we? ;)

Edited by StringJunky
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You will quickly see that those people at the other site he linked in the OP were rather accurate in their assessment, as supported by his numerous posts here.

Maybe you should spend more time there. They seem like your sort of people.

 

Also, the search you suggest doesn't bring up a single homophobic or antigay post. Maybe you are just imagining things?

Edited by Severian
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Relative to gay marriage, the debate is not about legal unions, but about an intrusion/confusion into traditions some people hold dear. If the name was different, there would be much less resistance.

 

Let give an example of the effect. Say I wanted to use the "N" word to describe a violent person. The resistance by the PC crowd, would not be about my thesis about violent people, but the fact that I am using that particular word. If I called my POV about violent people something neutral, I could still get my point across. But if I insistent on using that very PC taboo word, I would be fought, since I am intruding into their dictionary of proper meanings.

 

The reason this would be so is that particular word will create a fog that starts to merge into other things not related to my thesis. The "N" word has other meanings that are mean and derogatory, so if I use it, the ignorant might read too much into it. If I call it the effect violope (short for violent people), since I am not trying to intrude on the PC dictionary, the PC reaction will be different, with my thesis taking for what it is. But if I wanted to keep the controversy going, I would insist on the button pushing "N" word in the title of my thesis. I might even try to turn it around, and say those PC people support violent people, since they fight so hard against my thesis.

Edited by pioneer
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Severian's arguments on gay marriage are irrelevant here ...it's the manner of delivery by some of the posters on the other site that is in question .

 

Well said. Even is Severian is some YEC bent on enslaving homosexuals, the posters on the other site behaved in an appalling manner. And to his credit, he tried repeatedly to clarify his position. They just wouldn't listen.

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As a committed atheist it was a little upsetting to see the bigotry evinced by many of the posters, how badly moderated the thread was and the puerile nature of the argument. I think there is more than a little missionary zeal in Sev's insistence on stepping into the lion's den - but a site with rationalism and scepticism as its raison d'etre should be able to tackle a debate with argument and logic, and avoid falling into the trap of relying on lazy stereotypes; and they failed on both points.

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Severian, you tried, but it was a lost hope.

 

After having a look around I must agree with other comments here. Sister siting with those clowns does SFN a dis-service. They are neither rational, nor particularly sceptical and certainly appear to favour insult over logical thought.

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It is interesting that this post in another thread suggests almost the exact same thing I did, but there is no reaction at all. It is very clear to me that I was flamed only because I said I was a Christian.

 

I was also surprised by this thread, where they are discussing whether or not a user's avatar breaks their rules. It is a animation of a lizard with a large penis, raping the head of a skeleton hanging on a cross with the caption "F*** the skull of Jesus". The current opinion seems to be that it isn't a depiction of a sexual nature because Jesus "isn't real".

 

I think the sooner we disassociate SFN from this bunch of losers the better.

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One ten minute scanning of RatSkep makes me ashamed to call myself an athiest. All of the secular arguments coming from their posters are more dogmatic than many of the religious arguments I've heard. One could write a geometry thesis with all those logic circles!

Rational Skepticism makes me ashamed to be an atheist, but it also makes me proud to be a member of SFN where informative debate, constructive criticism, and friendly disagreement is abundant and is set as the standard. Let's have a round of e-pplause for the dedicated mods that keep this forum a house of free thought and intellectual exchange.

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One ten minute scanning of RatSkep makes me ashamed to call myself an athiest. All of the secular arguments coming from their posters are more dogmatic than many of the religious arguments I've heard. One could write a geometry thesis with all those logic circles!

Rational Skepticism makes me ashamed to be an atheist, but it also makes me proud to be a member of SFN where informative debate, constructive criticism, and friendly disagreement is abundant and is set as the standard. Let's have a round of e-pplause for the dedicated mods that keep this forum a house of free thought and intellectual exchange.

 

It's funny isn't it how rules can actually encourage freedom (of expression) rather than inhibit it as SFN demonstrates? Freedom is not Anarchy as RatSkep clearly shows.

Edited by StringJunky
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I like this one, posted in response to someone attacking a YouTube video:

 

Be careful, I think he is a member here and therefore protected under the FUA [Forum Users' Agreement].

His arguments are so brain-meltingly moronic that I simply don't feel strong enough to endure a new vid right now. I'll check it out later when I'm relaxed enough to have a laugh at his expense.

 

On the other hand, in eight months they've made as many posts as we have in eight years. It's apparent this sort of behavior brings them together as a group -- like-minded people like to hang out.

 

Interesting, but definitely not a model I'd like to emulate.

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Okay, I have to say something here too. As many of you know, at least from the posts and threads that I participate in, I am gay. I am also in disagreement with many of Severian's points both in terms of the general "marriage" point and in terms of particularly gay marriage.

 

That said, I express my disagreement with (a) respect and (B) desire to actually listen to the points expressed to me.

 

If I wanted to lecture someone, I'd post a blog post. When I debate in a forum, I expect a debate, not a bashing. So I don't come on to bash or attack, I come on to listen and answer.

 

Agree or disagree, the problem in the linked thread is the attitude. They don't quite seem to be interested in debating, but rather attacking whoever seems to have a different approach. I can simply say that this isn't what we want in *this* forum, and this is how most of us moderators.

 

 

The problems are usually not about the opinion itself, it's what's done with it, and how it's presented. I just hope we're different in this forum in both those aspects.

 

~moo

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