Tag Archives: Animal

Animal homosexual behavior: does it justify homosexuality in humans?

From Alan Shlemon Stand to Reason.

Excerpt:

The argument is that since animals engage in homosexual behavior that is instinctual, it must be natural for them and, consequently, natural and moral for humans since they are animals too.

There’s something wrong with this line of reasoning. In fact, a simple question composed of a two-letter word gets right to the heart of the problem: So? Even if animals exhibit homosexual behavior, so?  What does that prove? It proves nothing. Do advocates of this view really want to say: Because animals engage in X behavior, therefore X is natural/moral for humans? This claim is absurd. Here’s why.

[…]Imagine a father asks his daughter, “Why did you start smoking?” She answers, “Because all my friends were doing it.” The father’s response would be obvious: “If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?” Notice the father’s reasoning. He accepts his daughter’s rational, for the sake of argument, and then asks himself a question: If I apply my daughter’s rationale to jumping off a cliff, that would mean she’d jump of a cliff too. But that’s absurd! That means her rationale is also absurd. And then he asks a question that exposes the absurdity of her thinking. That’s reductio ad absurdum.

With the claim about animal homosexuality, this tactic works equally well. The rationale for the argument is that if animals engage in a behavior, it must be natural and moral for humans do it too. Let’s apply that logic to some other animal behavior: cannibalism. Animals eating their own kind has been observed in over a thousand animal species. Following the logic of the view would mean that cannibalism is natural and moral for humans. But that’s absurd! And so is the rationale that led to that absurd conclusion.

[…]When humans have conflicting instinctive reactions, our intellect can reason between them and determine the most expedient or moral course of action. Animals, however, behave according to their strongest instinct given what they see, smell, hear, taste, and perceive. These natural impulses aid in their protection, survival, and reproduction.

But internal or external stimuli can cause their instincts to clash or get confused, leading to unusual behavior. Sometimes a cat will kill his kittens. Unlike females whose strong maternal instinct protects her babies, the predatory instinct of a tom cat can confuse his offspring for prey. Are his hunting impulses natural? Yes. Can they be misdirected? Sure. Should we declare filicide or cannibalism as natural or moral for humans? No.

The same is true for allegedly homosexual acts among animals. Their sexual drive and instinct to mate is extremely strong and can be confused. When animals are in heat, they release pheromones that trigger an instinctual behavior by males. According to an expert in the field, this inborn impulse is so strong, that it can “instigate a frenzy of mounting behaviors. Even other females who aren’t in heat will mount those who are. Males will mount males who have just been with females [in heat] if they still bear their scent…And males who catch wind of the estrus odor may mount the first thing (or unlucky person) they come in contact with.”[4] I’ve even seen a dog mount a couch. One might have good taste in sofas, but I doubt it’s so good that your dog is sexually attracted to it. The poor pooch is confused.

Plus, sexual activity among animals is known to be used for purposes other than reproduction. Although humans can express themselves by speaking, writing, gesturing, and a multitude of other ways, animals are limited. Consequently, they are known to use sexual behavior to express a range of sentiments: social dominance, aggression, avoiding conflict, and many other emotions. That’s why many researchers think it’s naive to impose a human understanding of homosexuality onto animal behavior.

“Properly speaking, homosexuality does not exist among animals…. For reasons of survival, the reproductive instinct among animals is always directed towards an individual of the opposite sex. Therefore, an animal can never be homosexual as such. Nevertheless, the interaction of other instincts (particularly dominance) can result in behavior that appears to be homosexual. Such behavior cannot be equated with an animal homosexuality. All it means is that animal sexual behavior encompasses aspects beyond that of reproduction.”[5]

So we can’t infer homosexuality when a male chimpanzee mounts another male any more than we can infer sofaphilia when a dog mounts your couch. Yes, I made up the word “sofaphilia.”

This is a good one to keep in your back pocket for debating with gay activists. By the way, I think Alan Shlemon is very brave to tackle arguments like this.

If you like this post, be sure and check out my secular case against same-sex marriage.

What do PETA and animal rights activist Meredith Lowell have in common?

Here’s Meredith Lowell, the main character in a very weird story.

Excerpt:

Meredith Lowell, 27, of Cleveland Heights, appeared Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, where a magistrate judge ordered her held by the U.S. Marshals Service pending a hearing next week, court records show.

[…]Investigators say the FBI was notified in November of a Facebook page Lowell created under the alias Anne Lowery offering $830 to $850 for the hit and saying the ideal candidate would live in northeast Ohio, according to an FBI affidavit filed with the court on Friday.

The affidavit says an FBI employee posing as a possible hit man later began email correspondence with Lowell, and she offered him $730 in jewelry or cash for the killing of a victim of at least 12 years but “preferably 14 years old or older” outside a library near a playground in her hometown.

“You need to bring a gun that has a silencer on it and that can be easily concealed in your pants pocket or coat. … If you do not want to risk the possibility of getting caught with a gun before the job, bring a sharp knife that is (at least) 4 inches long, it should be sharp enough to stab someone and/or slit their throat to kill them. I want the person to be dead in less than 2 minutes,” says an email reprinted in the affidavit.

She told the undercover employee she wanted to be on site when the slaying took place so she could distribute “papers” afterward, the affidavit says.

[…]Reprinted emails also say Lowell wrote that she sees nothing wrong with “liberating” animals from fur factory farms and laboratories since “soldiers liberated people from Nazi camps in World War 2.”

She also criticized a new aquarium in Cleveland – saying “it is wrong for animals to be taken against their will and put into their (equivalent) of a bathtub” – and research by the Cleveland Clinic, where she said animals should be “liberated and put somewhere where they are not tortured.”

And here’s what PETA believes:

The graphic campaign and exhibit “Holocaust on Your Plate,” devised by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, juxtaposes 60-square-foot panels displaying gruesome scenes from Nazi death camps side by side with disturbing photographs from factory farms and slaughterhouses. One shows a starving man in a concentration camp next to a starving cow.

The exhibit opens Friday in San Diego, California, and went up Thursday at the University of California at Los Angeles. It also is posted on a PETA Web site, http://www.masskilling.com, which calls for support for the campaign from the Jewish community.

The comparisons prompted an angry statement from Abraham Foxman, Anti-Defamation League national director and a Holocaust survivor.

“The effort by PETA to compare the deliberate, systematic murder of millions of Jews to the issue of animal rights is abhorrent,” the statement said. “PETA’s effort to seek approval for their ‘Holocaust on Your Plate’ campaign is outrageous, offensive and takes chutzpah to new heights.”

Lisa Lange, PETA’s vice president of communications, told CNN’s “American Morning With Paula Zahn” on Friday that the idea for the public relations effort came from the late Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer, who, she said, wrote: “In relation to them [animals], all people are Nazis; for them it is an eternal Treblinka” — a death camp in Poland.

Lange said the campaign is appropriate because “Nazi concentration camps were modeled after slaughterhouses.”

One more thing about PETA. PETA is not a pro-life organization. Every single animal rights person I have ever spoken to is pro-abortion. I find it so weird that an organization that worries so much about animals has nothing at all to say about protecting humans.

How religious faith drives the delusion of Darwinism

Commenter ECM alerted me to Cornelius Hunter’s new blog “Darwin’s God”. Cornelius is a software engineer like me who rose up the ranks of the firm through “sweat equity”, and was able to eventually pursue a PhD in Biophysics from the University of Illinois. I have his first book “Darwin’s God” and I read it. His thesis is basically that theological beliefs about what God would and would not do are the driving force behind evolution.

Evolution and the problem of evil

Here is his latest post about a debate that occured at Westminster Abbey between an atheistic evolutionist and a theistic evolutionist.

Here’s what the theistic evolutionist said:

Alexander is a theist and Jones an atheist. But they both agree that God would not have created what we find in this world. Everything from programmed cell death to the extinction of so many species and the food chain points to a massive economy of death in nature. With this sort of evidence, “What kind of a designer,” asks Alexander, “are you going to end up believing in?

…According to Alexander, this problem of death and evil does not leave much room for a divine creator. Alexander concludes that God did not create the details of the world. He is thus absolved of the world’s many evils. He implemented a framework of sorts, but let unguided processes do the rest.

And here’s what the atheist evolutionist said:

As with Alexander, Jones also finds that biology does not meet with his expectations of divine creation. “The feeblest of designer,” Jones has written, could improve the design of the human eye. This and other examples, says Jones, shows that complex organs are “not the work of some great composer but of an insensible drudge: an instrument, like all others, built by a tinkerer [i.e., the evolutionary process] rather than by a trained engineer.” As with Alexander, Jones’ religious sentiment mandates some sort of evolution to be true.

So let’s think about what causes people to become evolutionists, beyond the normal answers of peer-pressure, career preservation, wanting to be thought of as smart, wanting to rebel against parents, wanting to have sex and drink alcohol, etc. Is it about science? No. It’s about knowing what God would do and observing that the world does not correspond to these ideas of what atheists think God would do.

Remember that post I wrote a while back about Christopher Hitchens’ case against God. None of his arguments against God were based on evidence, but only on his personal preferences. God wouldn’t have done it that way. God should have done it this way. I don’t like this theology. I don’t like that feature of the universe. It’s just a long-running temper tantrum against any kind of authority, regardless of the evidence.

Here’s Dawkins explaining how unobservable aliens must ave evolved, even if Dawkins doesn’t have any evidence:

He doesn’t even need to see the evidence that we evolved. He knows that God wouldn’t have created the life this way, and so the evidence is irrelevant.

Evolution and the problem of sub-optimal design

Another way that assume that evolution is true, other than childhood trauma and the desire to be morally evil, is by assuming that if material forces did not do the creating, then the design must be optimal. Now I am a software engineer, with undergraduate and graduate degrees, a published paper that I presented at the IEEE and a patent in wireless technology. My specialty is architecture. So I will tell you.

There is no such thing as an optimal design.

As part of my graduate course work, I had to study the work done at the Software Engineering Institute at the Carnegie-Mellon University. They have invented an entire methodology for designing software based on analyzing trade-offs between alternative architectural candidates. They use use case scenarios, disaster scenarios, maintenance scenarios and other scenarios in order to evaluate how well each architecture performs.

All of the architectures can satisfy the so-called “functional requirements”. But the architectures differ in their ability to satisfy non-functional requirements, the “-ilities”. These can include performance, maintainability, security, extensibility, testability, simplicity, re-usability. This is the bread and butter that software engineers like me have to deal with every day.

Here’s an excerpt from a related post from Uncommon Descent:

It is simply impossible for one architecture to have all the “ilities” because many conflict. For instance, if I want high “security” I am going to have to give up a good deal of “interoperability”. A large part of architecture is actually deciding what you are going to give up, which incidentally affects how the architecture can change in the future (i.e. usually it cannot “evolve” to conform to different “ilities”). This is all still fairly new, but we are now able to judge architectures in terms of the “ilities” they match and the “ilities” they do not match. A better understanding of the conflicts between certain “ilities” is gradually developing.

When I worked in the embedded space on operating systems like VxWorks, we regularly traded-off memory against speed. It’s the nature of the engineering business. And make no mistake – God is a software engineer. He writes code.

Conclusion

Hunter’s article concludes with this:

Have the theists sold out? Have the theists been duped? Are they afraid to stand up for themselves? Are the atheists taking over? No, no, no, and no. The theists and atheists are united in their religious beliefs about God and how he would interact with the world. They may have their differences, but regarding evolution those differences are irrelevant. Their shared religious convictions mandate evolution. Religion drives science and it matters.

I have an idea. Let’s keep religion out of science and decide how we really got here, no holds barred. Instead of blocking debates and persecuting dissent, let’s actually have a debate about origins, and not rule intelligent causes out before we look at the evidence.

Further study

Atheist responses to scientific arguments for theism are fun to understand. Atheists attribute the beginning of the universe to untestable theories and the fine-tuning to an unobservable multiverse. (And don’t forget their lame responses to galactic, stellar and planetary habitability arguments)