Divorced From Logic

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Michael LaBossiere, a philosophy professor at Florida A&M University, has written a short Kindle book entitled For Better or Worse Reasoning: A Philosophical Look at Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage. In this book, LaBossiere reviews the “arguments” against same-sex marriage and points out the fallacious reasoning behind them. I would like to highlight a couple of the fallacious arguments, but for a complete treatment I suggest you download his book which is only $0.99.

In one of LaBossiere’s early examples, he uses a recent blog post by Bristol Palin in which she commented on Obama’s support of same-sex marriage by saying:

While it’s great to listen to your kids’ ideas, there’s also a time when dads simply need to be dads.  In this case, it would’ve been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends parents are no doubt lovely people, that’s not a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage.

This common argument from same-sex marriage opponents is an Appeal to Tradition, a logical fallacy. The fallacy occurs when something is assumed better or correct simply because it has been around for a long time. In reality, the “tradition” of marriage has evolved since ancient times. As Jay Michaelson points out:

Abraham had two wives, … King Solomon had 700 wives, … Jacob, the patriarch who gives Israel its name, had two wives.

Rick Santorum suggested that legalizing same-sex marriage was akin to legalizing polygamy:

So, everybody has the right to be happy? So, if you’re not happy unless you’re married to five other people, is that OK?

Santorum used the fallacy known as the Slippery Slope where the legalization of polygamy inevitably follows from the legalization of same-sex marriage with no argument for the inevitability. The reasoning is fallacious because there is no reason to believe the inevitability. Ironically, polygamy has been a “traditional” form of marriage for thousands of years.

Santorum’s slippery slope could also be used to argue against opposite-sex marriages: “if we allow different-sex people to marry, the next thing you know, same-sex couples will get married and then people will be marrying flying fish.”

With regard to consenting adults, LaBossiere writes:

I regard homosexuality the same as I regard heterosexuality, namely as being morally neuter: neither good, no bad.

H/T: WaPo, WSJ.

84 thoughts on “Divorced From Logic”

  1. Appeals to geography won’t help your argument. Simply accept the idea of incestuous marriage, as you do homosexual marriage, and you’ll have no more argument from me. In fact, we can then simply leave the matter to a difference of moral standards and religious viewpoints. Or does your conscience speak to you, that there may be something, well, “wrong” with letting a man marry his son? Where is that idea coming from? Why is it saying that? Is that idea evil? Or is rejecting that idea evil?

  2. Give Texas its independence. And don’t go to Alaska. The odds are good, but the goods are odd.

  3. So, Matt, does that mean you support the legalization of incestuous marriage in the United States? If not, on what grounds do you oppose it?

  4. importanttopics 1, May 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I am referring to either. If either is opposed I want to know on what grounds it is opposed. For example, if the Peters twins wanted to marry each other, should they be legally able to. http://www.salon.com/2010/05/21/twincest/

    The same question could apply to a man wanting to marry his father or his mother.
    There are a few countries where there are age of consent laws only. Including Israel. Figure that out for yourself.

  5. Nal,

    Don’t blame me for other country’s legal arguments. Figure that out for yourself. Look it up for yourself. In some municipalities it’s legal.

  6. Are referring to opposite-sex incestuous marriage or same-sex incestuous marriage? The “one-man one-woman” definers of marriage would have to allow opposite-sex incestuous marriage if they’re consistent in their argument.

  7. importanttopics

    Do you also support the legalization of incestuous marriage? If you do, at least I’ll concede that you’re consistent in your argument.
    Look it up on the internet. In some countries, there are age of consent laws only.

  8. Do you also support the legalization of incestuous marriage? If you do, at least I’ll concede that you’re consistent in your argument.

  9. What just struck me as one of the funniest things I have ever read is Bristol Palin offering parenting advice (in a very polite and genteel manner of course) to Malia and Sasha’s Dad! Let’s see how the Dads are doing with their helpful parental advice in her extended family!

  10. Just let the morons get married. Then they have to deal with it like the rest of us.

  11. Nal,

    I think the ThinkProgress article cited is a bit deceiving.

    The exact question asked in the poll was “Overall, do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of President Obama’s statement this week that he supports allowing gays and lesbians to get married?”

    While 54% of African Americans had a favorable impression of Obama’s statement, that doesn’t translate into broad support for gay marriage within the community according to more direct polls on the question. For example:

    Movement among black North Carolinians on gay marriage

    Our final poll before the primary last week found only 20% of black voters in the state favoring gay marriage, with 63% opposed. Now 27% express support for gay marriage with 59% opposed, for an overall 11 point shift on the margin.

  12. Who gives a rats-ass about equal opportunity? If they want to tie the knot, big deal.

  13. NAACP Endorses Marriage Equality

    The board of the NAACP, the “nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization,” endorsed marriage equality at a meeting this afternoon. The move comes 10 days after President Obama announced his support of same-sex marriage.

    The NAACP’s move comes as attitudes about gays and lesbians in the African American community are changing rapidly. A recent poll found that 54% of African Americans supported President Obama’s recent decision.

  14. J. Brian Harris, Ph.D., P.E., NSPE 1, May 20, 2012 at 12:38 am

    The notion of “same sex” is intriguing. There is the story of the person who was filling out a form that had a fill-in blank for “Sex” and the person entered, “Once, in Peoria, in June, 1969.”

    What if no two (or more) people are actually the same sex when the totality of human sexuality is accurately recognized?

    Perhaps “same-sex” marriage is an impossibility.
    A recent scientific discovery of Leiolepis Ngovantrii shook up some folks along that line:

    All-female species reproduces via virgin birth, new study says.

    You could call it the surprise du jour: A popular food on Vietnamese menus has turned out to be a lizard previously unknown to science, scientists say.

    What’s more, the newfound Leiolepis ngovantrii is no run-of-the-mill reptile — the all-female species reproduces via cloning, without the need for male lizards.

    (The Virgin MOMCOM, quoting National Geographic). The discovery of sex among microbes has also generated a lot of ink and paper communication to try to explain some aspects of this perplexity.

    Some will assert that sex, like science and religion, did not come into existence until Dr. Thinky Podunk, in 2,500 B.C.E., thought these notions up for the first time.

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