Just before the American Atheist convention I did a debate on Homosexuality/Gay Marriage with Vocab Malone and here it is. I have a few posts to put up about this debate which will be going up in the next few days.
Homosexuality/Marriage DEBATE [04/14/2013]
Like with most short form debates there are simply lots of things that can't be said in the time allotted. Points were made by my opponent which I was unable to give response to due to time constants and and also points I made which I believe I should clarify here since there are no time constraints on my blog. In fact we covered so many topics that I have broken this post up into several shorter posts rather than ask you to read what could easily amount to ten pages of writing all at once.
A lot of this debate came down to who had the better statistics. Now after explaining why I had a problem with Paul Camron's methodologies I stated that what I generally discovered across the board with the statistics quoted by people arguing against homosexuality was that the studies were either badly flawed or the figures were poorly contextualized. It was therefore interesting to me that Vocab spent most of the debate doing what I just described. He quoted a lot of statistics in the third segment which we did not have a chance to fully discuss because of time constraints, and also because he quoted several studies which I was unfamiliar with and thus could not really comment on. I have had a chance to review some of those statistics/studies now and so I will be posting a few articles over the next few days reviewing them as well as a few other claims made in the debate that I felt deserved closer analysis.
Before I delve into the particulars of the problems with some of Vocab's arguments, I would start by pointing out that even if the claims were right it would not really change my conclusions about gay rights very much. Most of his arguments did not, and could not really speak to the morality of homosexual behavior, and his references to the bible and people being made in the image of God were pointless since he cannot demonstrate that any of those claims are true.
Furthermore, many of his statements were based upon a naturalistic fallacy. For instance claiming that anal sex is bad because the rectum is designed for expelling things rather than having things enter them. We as humans do many things we were not "designed" to do. In any case, potential risk alone cannot be the sole measure of right or wrong, we must, at a minimum, also measure potential benefits as well. What are the benefits in this case you might ask? Well, for one thing people who accept themselves as they are are generally better adjusted and happier, this is one of the reasons homosexuals who go into programs to cure them of their homosexuality are known for having higher rates of depression and suicide. I'll be talking about this more in a separate post.
It is also problematic that Vocab seems to distil the entirety of what it means to be gay down to "butt sex is unnatural." Most gay people would point out that there is more too it than that. Further, we could also argue that sexual organs are not meant to be put in ones mouth but this doesn't stop heterosexuals from having oral sex either, and many of the health concerns he mentions can apply to heterosexual sex too. Of course we didn't actually address that point so I suppose it's possible Vocab is against both oral and anal sex between heterosexuals too.
In any case, tomorrow I will go into some of the problems with some of the statistics Vocab brought up.