Those of you who are regular readers may have noticed that my use of language fluctuates from post to post. Sometimes I am crude and direct, other times I am flowery and expressive. Some of this is organic – I am actively trying to improve my writing and I think that repeated daily practice is accomplishing that. Other times it is intentional – trying to match the tone of my words to the topic at hand to elicit emotional impact. Sometimes, I will confess, it is simple laziness on my part.
I love words. I can’t really draw or paint, and while I am a musician my creativity in that department is not exactly exceptional. Where I think my real strength lies in in my use of language. Words on a page, properly arranged, can change the world. While my own personal aspirations are somewhat more modest than global metamorphosis, I do put more than a little bit of conscious effort into these sentences you read here.
Sometimes I run into someone who can knock me on my ass with their use of language. Jamie Kilstein is one such person:
Audio is definitely NSFW, but you shouldn’t watch Youtube videos at work anyway.
Yes, I recognize it’s crude, but I challenge you to find fault in the phrase “fist you into a meth coma”.
I’ve run into these kinds of arguments against gay marriage and gay parenting before. They are, quite frankly, ridiculous. There are heterosexual parents who do a far worse job of raising kids than a gay couple could ever hope to. There are single parents who do do an outstanding job without another person around (I’d offer my own upbringing as evidence of that possibility). Suggesting that a mix-gendered environment is a necessary component of a healthy childhood is easily put to the lie by even the most casual of scrutiny. Suggesting further that every gay couple will do a worse job than every straight couple is an even greater height of absurdity.
Jamie Kilstein does a great job of skewering these arguments with a fast-paced, profanity-strewn and impeccably-delivered 3 minute monologue. Of course, being in front of a sympathetic audience certainly helps the delivery, but even without the accompanying laughter it’s quite something to see.
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I find it amusing that whenever one talks about grammar or language in general (especially their own aspirations to excelling at it), one is bound to make *some* kind of grammatical error or other linguistic injury. In this instance, the double-up ‘…who do do an outstanding job…’ is at least one of those. 😉
(Yes, I know the extra ‘do’ is used in colloquial speech for emphasis, but it just *looks* wrong. :P)
Yeah I totally didn’t notice that. I also have a bad habit of using a word twice in the same thought and not noticing. I’m trying to get better, I swear
You ought to check out the Dr. Micheal Brown vs. Dr. Eric Smaw debate. Here is a link with videos of the entire debate if you are interested. http://www.voiceofrevolution.com/2011/05/04/complete-video-of-brownsmaw-debate-on-same-sex-marriage-at-ucf/
Micaiah – Took some time to watch, but it was worth it! Clearly the arguments against gay marriage aren’t so ridiculous. The same can’t be said for Jamie Kilstein. His verbal diarrhoea may be good for a laugh, but laughing at someone’s argument doesn’t make it absurd.
Argumentum ad absurdum is a favorite fallacy among atheists. They call themselves “free thinkers” but any other point of view constitutes mental illness. Seems nazish to me.
Yeah, because if there’s one thing the Nazis were known for it was their power of mockery. Mockskreig was probably their most decisive use of that tactic, resulting in millions of Jews just feeling super-shitty about themselves.
I should also point out that reductio ad absurdum isn’t a logical fallacy, and this post is not an example of reduction ad absurdum. He highlights arguments that people actually make and points out the flaws in their internal logic – that’s simply refutation + swears.
The nazism is due to the assertion of mental illness for believing in God – can you see the writing on the wall here? We are physically flawed because of our belief. Second, argumentum ad absurdum is what I said I think – its when you try to ridicule the shenanigans out of your oponents positions and parade it under the guise of argumentation. I’m pretty sure that is fallacious.
The equation of physical flaw with religion is a connection you’ve made, not me. Religion is a product of the same cognitive biases all people have, coupled with a refusal to accept contradictory evidence. Mental illness is an actual thing – religion doesn’t qualify. Your invocation of the Nazis actually is a logical fallacy (called reducto ad Hitlerum), especially since nothing that I’ve said or done has any resemblance whatsoever to anything the Nazis are known for.
Maybe you want to actually bother to look up what reductio ad absurdum is before you start accusing people of doing it. Your definition is inaccurate. Mockery is a perfectly valid response to a stupid position. The hypocrisy of a group of people who model horrible family values going around telling other people they are hurting families simply because they’re gay is worth mocking. Mocking a position doesn’t necessarily mean it’s false, but again that’s not the case in this video. He is pointing out the legion of hypocritical and irrational stances taken by the anti-gay crowd, and using humour to expose just how egregious and ridiculous they are.
Crom – “telling other people they are hurting families simply because they’re gay is worth mocking” Where did that come from?? Before mocking someone’s position you should at least know what it is! I would suggest you watch the video provided by Micaiah and familiarize yourself with the position.
“He is pointing out the legion of hypocritical and irrational stances taken by the anti-gay crowd, and using humour to expose just how egregious and ridiculous they are.”
He does no such thing – in fact, his humour distracts the audience. They are so clearly captivated by him they don’t care to notice the error of his claims against “heterosexual mentally abusive…” of which this little rant is riddled:
-having nine kids is somehow harmful to the kids
-gay couples should be able to adopt because heterosexual couples screw-up
-heterosexual parents want their children to base their sex life on the sounds coming from the parent’s bedroom
-the church opposes gay adoption so they can have all the children for themselves to sexually abuse
-heterosexual couples only raise unwanted children that result from a broken condom
-Ted Haggard is a hypocrite because he opposes gay marriage, but found himself repenting after having had a homosexual experience.
Once the humour is removed from these claims there is no need for a rebuttal they are so ridiculous.
“The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There’s a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life,” Ted Haggard after being disgraced.
Do you actually need these points explained to you, or are you just being intentionally difficult? I find it difficult to tell, given the notorious lack of a sense of humour repeatedly demonstrated by fundamentalist believers. If you’re sincere I will go through your list point by point and explain them, but I’m holding out hope that you’re just being cantankerous.
I don’t know what you think that the Ted Haggard quote does for your position. Nowhere in it does he admit that he is a hypocrite for campaigning against what he sees as sexual immorality and asserting the superiority of his personal brand of Christian theology, all the while engaging in acts that even those he worked to demonize would find shocking. It is the hypocrisy that is the problem – not the sex.
That was excellent, thanks for posting it. 🙂
Micaiah, Grassrute. Two names = one arsehole. Enjoy trolling.
Tried watching the video debate, got tired. When I heard the word ‘semenary’ in the pastors intro, repeated so many times, I fell off my sodding chair.
Nice early Godwin! About a comedian and atheist, oh puhlease.
Enjoying your work, (May I call you Crom, too?)
Grassrute is an old friend of the blog. He’s definitely not a troll, just a guy with radically different beliefs than the author. Michaiah is someone who appears to have followed me here from Canadian Atheist.
Thanks for the comment and the compliment. I’d prefer not to be called ‘Crom’, but for some reason grassrute doesn’t listen when I tell him that.
Grassrute, thanks for taking the time to check this out – If anyone else on here is interested in the actual arguments rather than their presuppositions I would encourage them to be as objective as they can – including you Crommunist. I think I’m out now – but if you do listen to the debate I think you will find Dr. Micheal Brown to be very scholarly in this exchange.
Step 1: Enter debate
Step 2: Accuse other side of being a Nazi
Step 3: Refuse to address any points the other side has made countering your assertions
Step 4: Accuse opponents of not addressing your arguments
Step 5: Leave debate
Micaiah, ladies and gentlemen! Always a class act.
All I’m going to say is that my conservative, anti-gay marriage friend read this article today and converted on the spot. Deeply satisfying.
G.Syme – this didn’t convert me. One paragraph that got my attention:
“The argument, it seems, is that by eating something else, other people compromise Barnaby Joyce’s fundamental concept of breakfast. Joyce & Co. have an idea of what breakfast is – toast, cereal, glass of orange juice, perhaps – and different configurations, however remote, threaten its very breakfastness”
Apparently if people love each other they should be able to marry and the rest of us should just shut-up and eat our cornflakes. When a man wants your daughter for a wife and she is willing to marry him and join his 3 other wives, you too, had better just shut-up and enjoy your cornflakes. The same goes if your daughter wants to marry your son, other daughter or both or even your spouse.
I’m not as concerned about my breakfast’s breakfastness as I am family and *children*. Gender confusion should be countered, not promoted.
Another concern is religious freedom.
Crommunist – I knew you didn’t like “Crommy” but didn’t realize “Crom” was a problem.
Hallelujah! He gets it!
Sing it, brother!
The scales have, indeed, fallen from his eyes!
I honestly thought you’d never get through to this guy, Crommunist, but I’m clearly wrong.
You are free to marry who you want (or not, as may be the case).
What does your child’s choice have to do with your freedom of religion?
Unless… Your religion claims that your child is your property? But only a fool would follow such a religion. Right?
Why did you put children in asterisks? Am I supposed to treat your arguments differently because you have kids?
I think you might be the confused one here. ‘Gender confusion’ and homosexuality are two completely different things. Gay men are men who are attracted to other men; not men who feel as though they are meant to be women – that’s a completely different thing. But putting that aside for a moment, let’s get back to the point of your statement. Before I react, I would like to give you the opportunity to answer two questions: Why? and How? What is the value of ‘countering’ homosexuality (keeping in mind that this is an atheist blog, and references to scripture are completely meaningless to me). Second, even if I granted your assertion that it as a good idea to ‘counter’ homosexuality, how would you accomplish that? Only answers that don’t increase the suicide rate of young people will be accepted as valid.
As a thought experiment, imagine that you have the power to preside over a single marriage, choosing between two potential couples? Would you support the heterosexual marriage of an 18 year-old girl to a 50 year-old abusive drunk with a history of violence, over the homosexual marriage of two men who have a healthy, stable relationship based on mutual respect and love? If you choose the former, then you clearly do not care about either the suffering of the wife or the children who would be the issue of such a pairing, despite your protestations to be concerned about keeping families intact and children safe. If you choose the latter, then you recognize that ethical decisions should be made based on consequences rather than moralization. If you choose ‘neither’ then you have to explain why you (and those whose positions you defend) are not on a similar crusade to bar abusive drunks from marrying.
Could you also please define ‘religious freedom’ as you see it? As it stands, I don’t know what that comment means.
I realize I’ve inundated you with questions here. I’ll be quite satisfied if you only take on only one. I do encourage you to really think about what your answers would be for the others though.
The only reason children was in asterisks is because children will be affected. They should have a father and mother. My having kids has nothing to do with it.
My reference to gender confusion is simply because children raised by gay couples – as loving as they may be – will confuse the children.
I will go through your questions tomorrow and better explain myself.
I will certainly agree that it is ideal for a child to have a father and a mother. It is less ideal, but still sufficient, to have two loving parents of the same sex. It is certainly better than, for example, only having one parent around (although some people still manage to make that work – my father being one of those people). It is better still than having one, or even two, abusive parents. If your argument was truly about what is best for children, you’d be more concerned with banning alcoholics or drug addicts from getting married, homosexual or otherwise.
Your second statement is completely without merit. Time and again, observations of kids raised by gay couples have found absolutely no evidence of an increased rate of gender confusion, or of any psychological abnormalities of any kind. Gay couples raising kids do not confuse children.
I appreciate you taking the time to consider the questions.
[quote]I will certainly agree that it is ideal for a child to have a father and a mother. It is less ideal, but still sufficient, to have two loving parents of the same sex.[/quote]
How are two parents of the same sex less ideal than two parents of different sex?
I grew up in a household without an adult woman around. It definitely has drawbacks. For myself, but more so for my sister. I learned what it means to be a man in part from my father; she didn’t have a corresponding example in the house. I am not saying that no same-sex couple could be as good as a heterosexual couple in modeling positive gender roles and attitudes; I am merely saying I can see it being more difficult on average. If there’s evidence suggesting otherwise, I’m certainly open to it.
In answer to your thought experiment, I wouldn’t preside over either. If I were to preside over a marriage, I would want to know the couple and make sure certain criteria are met. Pre-marriage classes/counselling would also be required. Neither in this case meets the requirements and choosing one because the other is worse isn’t an option.
Regarding the state and marriage, the state has an interest in promoting the traditional marriage & family. Marriage, as we have known it, was a man and women being joined permanently with the hopes of children. The breakdown of the marriage and the family started with no-fault divorce. Redefining marriage is less about giving gay couples something and more about reducing marriage. The comment by Brian suggests that gay marriage is just an incremental step to rendering marriage irrelevant. (I must admit I was taken-aback by his comment) The difference between traditional weddings and civil partnerships is quickly eroding.
The roles of the father and mother are also being undermined. You hit the nail on the head when you said “[your sister] didn’t have a corresponding example in the house”. My two boys identify with me and often mimic things I’ve done to be like Dad. Likewise my two daughters identify with their mother. When it comes time to talk to the children about the “birds and the bees,” who better than mom to talk to the girls? Likewise, who better than dad to talk to the boys?
The State should always be careful when tackling issues that will redefine the family and/or impact children. The state will ultimately have to deal with the consequences of its actions.
If the electorate/state chooses to turn away from its traditional values, religious freedom becomes a concern. By freedom of religion I am referring to:
1) freedom not to preside over same-sex marriages
2) freedom for religious citizens not to participate in same-sex marriages e.g. photographer
3) freedom for pastors to teach what the bible teaches about homosexuality
4) freedom for parents to have control over what their children are taught in school regarding sex and marriage
5) freedom of speech e.g. dialogue on the topic such as on this blog
-also freedom to have websites, publish books in opposition to same-sex marriage
When I said ‘combating’ gender confusion, I was referring to something like this:
Although you may want to bash this organization, I’m sure you’ll support their freedom to post this kind of material just as you would another’s freedom to bash the church.
So you took 24 hours and then refused to answer the question. Somehow I figured that’s what would happen. You’re so inextricably bound up in your religion’s ridiculous bigotry (one might even say you were wed to it) that it is shortcutting your ability to form rational thoughts.
Marriage is nothing at all like you define it. The ‘traditional’ definition of marriage is a complete lie, perpetuated by people with a child’s grasp of history. Marriage has been defined several different times by several different cultures over several different time periods. The history of marriage in our culture includes polygamy, incest, and women as property to be owned by a man. We have since changed the definition of marriage several times. If we were having this discussion 70 or so years ago, you’d be making the exact same arguments for why interracial marriages should be prohibited. I know this, because I’ve read the arguments from that time.
Who better than mom to talk to the girls? Well, actually it was my mom who taught me about reproductive health, since she was a nurse and understood the biology much better than my father did. My dad taught me to sew, since his years fixing his own clothes in the seminary far outpaced my mom’s limited experience with a needle and thread. It is not necessarily true that a heterosexual couple will be better at parenting than a same-sex couple. And since you’re still refusing to comment on why your “faith” tells you that gay couples are wrong, but you’re not undertaking a similar crusade to stop abusive marriages, I’ll just assume that you’ve arrived at your position and are now scrambling for arguments to support it.
As far as your freedom of religion goes:
1 – if you are an employee of the state, then you have abdicated the right to discriminate against any couple that meets the legal requirement. If you are an explicitly religious officiant, then you can discriminate against whoever you like.
2 – Ditto.
3 – Pastors can teach whatever nonsense they like. They have the same protection that racists, anarchists, and sexists do. You are fully aware that I defend the rights of these all the time.
4 – Parents don’t have this made-up right, no matter how often you insist they do. You do not have sovereignty over what your children hear when they are outside your home. Asserting otherwise doesn’t make it true. Even if they did, it would have nothing to do with freedom of religion.
5 – Freedom of speech is not freedom of religion either.
Focus On the Family is a propaganda group. They’re free to post whatever they like, but you shouldn’t take it seriously. There is not a scholarly article to be found on that entire website. Note that there are 4 sources cited on that whole page. 2 of them are duplicates, one of them is a book (which does not need peer review), and the final one is written by George Rekers, whose complete lack of objectivity and scientific rationality is only the second-most famous thing about him.
Um, what? Marriage has been *always* about property rights.
And your leap from my comment to “marriage will soon be irrelevant” is just bizarre.
I’ll respond more when I’m on a pc.
I feel compelled to point out a couple of things here with the hope that some ethnocentrism and heteronormativity can be unpacked.
First, your argument that having a father and a mother is ideal is an ethnocentric argument that privileges a Eurocentric view of family. There are plenty of ways to raise healthy productive children that don’t fit into that “ideal,” not just in our own society, but across the world. The only reason that family type seems ideal to you is because that’s what our society seems to value.
Second, you argue that “gay couples raising kids do not confuse children”–and I completely agree–but this seems to contradict your statement in #25, where you state that your dad taught you what it means to be a man but your sister didn’t have a mother to teach her what it means to be a woman. Does this mean that she is, in fact, not a woman? I’m curious how you reconcile those two statements.
Finally, the heteronormativity I’d like to point out comes from the idea that there are right and wrong ways to be “a man” or “a woman” and that those ideas can best be taught via example by the same sex. Do you not think that someone can learn “what it means to be a man” from a woman? But more to the point, what, exactly, does it mean to be a man? A woman? I think it’s problematic to buy into gender binaries like that.
Even engaging with the idea of “gender confusion” is troublesome to me. That is a fallacy conjured up by the religious right to scare people. If there is any such thing as “gender confusion,” it is due to “traditionalists” who cling to heteronormative ideals.
You’re probably completely correct. The point I was trying to convey has more to do with how to fit in with societal gender norms rather than instructing you what a man or a woman is supposed to do. I didn’t make the argument that it is impossible for a mother to teach her son to be a man – my conjecture was that it is easier to relate to gender-specific struggles and issues if you’ve gone through them yourself, and at an aggregate level it might be easier for the ‘average’ father to discuss these kinds of things with his son than it would be the ‘average’ woman. Any particular couple should be judged on their merits, and if we’re going to continue to set the bar for parenting at “has working genitals”, then there are a helluva lot of gay couples I’d rather see raising kids than some straight ones I know.
And I agree with you 100% about the Eurocentric thing. I should have been clearer: outside the context of a two-parent household, the ideal is having an entire network of adults as role models who are part of your life.