Rape occurs in many animals, therefore…


Would anyone use this as an argument that human rape is therefore morally unproblematic?

If not, then there is no reason to think other arguments of the same form are valid either.


20 comments:

  1. Rather than being morally problematic even for animals? Animals may have a moral sense more than we think.

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  2. Is this a response to any particular example? Pointing to homosexuality in other species as a refutation of the claim that homosexuality is unnatural comes to my mind, but I suspect that this is not what you were countering (especially given that you support marriage equality).

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    1. Samson, do you think that because I am in favor of X, I must be in favor of very bad arguments for X?

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    2. Who doesn't support marriage equality?

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    3. Well, you seem to be reversing the bad argument.

      Normally the argument I hear is against, not for, homosexuality.

      That is, people who consider homosexuality to be morally wrong argue that it's unnatural and seen only among humans.

      That is indeed a bad argument, because even if it was factually correct it would not constitute evidence of moral wrongness. Only people drive cars, too, but I don't see most people who condemn homosexuality eschewing automobiles.

      The retort to this bad argument is often of a pragmatic factual nature, e.g. "you're wrong, homosexual behavior has been noted in numerous other species." Which seems to me to be enough. If the factual component of the argument is shown to be in error, there's no need to reach the moral claim based on that factual error, because the argument is wrong on its face.

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    4. Not saying others don't make the argument you claim, but certainly people make the one I claim they make:
      http://www.news-medical.net/news/2006/10/23/1500-animal-species-practice-homosexuality.aspx

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    5. And, after googling, I cannot find a single online instance of the argument you "normally" hear: can you?

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    6. What I find, in fact, is a bunch of people "refuting" Tom's version of this argument without a single one of them ever citing anyone who forwards it.

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    7. I think that there is some confusion about what I am exactly saying. Tom is actually describing the scenario I'm talking about, where someone forwards as an argument against same-sex marriage that "homosexuality is unnatural" and someone else responds by pointing out that homosexuality exists in other species.

      What I was asking was if any particular example motivated you make this post. The argument that you linked to is actually the kind of argument I was talking about.

      An example of what Tom is talking about can be found here in this thread on the Hannity board.

      Not saying others don't make the argument you claim, but certainly people make the one I claim they make…

      That's actually part of what I was talking about.

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    8. Nope, that thread is NOT an example of what Tom is talking about: no one in it claims homosexuality only occurs in humans!

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    9. I wasn't considering that our posts-per-page would be different (the default is 15, mine is set to 40), so that would screw up which posts you are seeing. It's on page 3 where "AmericanRights" says "There is only one aspect of a gay marriage that is unnatural…".

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  3. Gene,

    I must not be very good at using Google. So far I have not figured out a way to make it pull up church sermons and rally speeches that were never recorded, let alone transcribed.

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    1. As I said, I can't find an ONLINE instance. But if the argument were really common, surely we could find it online, right?
      And:
      "Not saying others don't make the argument you claim..."
      So I've already admitted that argument exists. It just doesn't seem very common.

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  4. I also used to think this is what the "argument from unnatural" meant. I also thought it was dumb.

    But that's not what it means. It's a much bigger idea than that.

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    1. Something along the lines of teleology, I think.

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    2. Right, like that. (I always have to look up the definition of teleology because I can never remember what it means...) the article by Feser which I gave the URL for below I think captures it.

      I think you can also find the basic argument in one of Plato's dialogues, either Republic or Laws if I remember (which I probably don't...). In context, I think he meant it in terms of forms -- that the animals were hewing to something like ideal forms better than people were, and maybe the Greeks should be a bit ashamed of their behavior.

      But again, I may not be remembering/understanding correctly...

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  5. It pains me to support Knapp, but I have heard that argument in person. I have also read it in print (a book I read 25 years ago.)

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    1. Certainly, someone has made it at some point! But it doesn't seem to be very common.

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  6. So is this perhaps your original point, Gene -- that this so-called 'common' argument is actually a strawman dreamed up by the opposite side of the debate to make their opponents look stupid?

    Good point.

    Actually, I suspect it is probably worse, I suspect they did the exact same thing I did -- because they had little/zero understanding of the basics of natural law philosophy, as soon as they heard the reference to 'unnatural' they actually understood the argument to be that shallow.

    I feel bad.

    (BTW a good link on the topic for anyone interested in something closer to the real argument, by Ed Feser ) --

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2012/10/whose-nature-which-law.html

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