Tuesday, March 08, 2011

1 Chron 12:32 report, 68: Standing up for unwelcome "big truths" in New Sodom

A few days ago, I put up a post in this capacity-building focus series, on using the SWOT strategising technique, in the face of the trends of our C21 Romans 1 world, which I now call New Sodom.

Almost immediately, I was pounced on by a frequent adverse commenter at Cornelius Hunter's blog, Darwin's God; backed up by an anonymous commenter. It seems that by touching on unwelcome big truths about homosexualisation of marriage, family, public policy and the courts joined to increasing persecution of Christian people of principled conscience, I touched a raw nerve.

However, the rhetorical assault is a very useful case study on the techniques and tone Bible-believing Christians who speak up on controversial issues will increasingly encounter in a Saul Alinsky, trifecta fallacy, turnabout accusation world where the notion is that one real or perceived hole suffices to rhetorically sink a case or a side of an issue, and to discredit, demonise and dismiss the presenter. 

I think we should take it apart a bit, the better to understand how to respond. 

First, let us see how J and A opened their case:
J: KF: "2) It is a fact, backed up by over 10,000 studies, that children do best when they are born in and nurtured across the twenty or so years it takes, in a stable marriage, where they are supported by their mother and father."

This is an astonishingly large number of studies. I tried to find out more on the Internet. The best I could find is that Dobson mentioned this in his book, "Marriage Under Fire" but failed to explicitly enumerate them (instead just provided a much shorter list of books). So calling this number a "fact" a bit of a stretch and I'm a bit surprised KF didn't check his sources more thoroughly. Others have also quoted this number (even a Senator) but also could not properly substantiate the claims.

But it isn't hard to find quite a good number of studies that show exactly the opposite, that there is no evidence that gay parenting is harmful. In fact one long-term study indicates that kids of lesbian in fact do better in some respects (see: http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/06/07/Study_Children_of_Lesbian_Parents_Happy_and_Healthy/). [NB: Cf. the other side of this talking point, here.]

A: KF: "So, let us grant J his claim [after all I was simply noting on a consensus statement, now being disputed by those with an agenda], and say there are "only" 1,000 or even 100 studies that support..."

So I guess the next time you say something is a "fact" I guess I should take it with a pinch of salt, since it's possible you are willing to accept "facts" just on hearsay without any proper vetting of your own? But then when you are in need of facts to support one's bigotry I suppose one doesn't have to be too choosey.
 This of course set out the key talking points that would be used over and over again, and is a classic illustration of the now tediously familiar Alinskyite Trifecta Combination Fallacy:  
distractive tangential red herrings led out to strawman caricatures, soaked in ad hominems and ignited to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere.
In my summing up response, having already addressed the main attack, pointed to the worldview root in the inherent, inescapable and destructive amorality and radical relativism of evolutionary materialism that was already exposed by Plato in his The Laws, Bk X, in 360 BC, but nowadays likes to present itself in the holy lab coats of "science" -- falsely so called --  and rebutted several further tangents, I analysed the talking point tactics (with some links made in the thread and an explanatory parenthesis or two added):
. . . Let us focus again on just one [talking point], the "10,000 studies" point, to see what is going on.

Let us put what I originally said under the microscope, taking out the double-comma parenthesis to see just what is the FACT in view:

>> 2) It is a fact . . . that children do best when they are born in and nurtured across the twenty or so years it takes, in a stable marriage, where they are supported by their mother and father. >>
As I showed earlier, this fact is indeed so, and is backed by a "plethora" of studies, as well as by common good sense based on 5,000+ years of history all over the world.

So, it would be reasonable that we should be very protective of marriage and family, as individuals and communities. For the survival of the community is at stake.

Was J able to dispute and overturn this fact?

Not at all. Indeed, the study cited above in an overthrow attempt turned out to be yet another flawed study used for ideological purposes. [NB: Cf Ron Linden's painfully explicit -- not for children or the faint-hearted -- response to homosexualist talking points here, and the articles here, here and here. BTW, the "no harm" claim being made reflects as well the assumption that morality is relative, so being raised in a morally questionable environment and being deeply influenced or affected by it, is of no account. And of course the onward chaotic and destructive  implications of such Romans 1 world amorality and relativism for the society as it spreads ever more into it -- as I discussed in the post that provoked the hostile responses -- are ignored or dismissed. Cf. here for a grad student's report on the ideologisation of psychology.]

What did he do instead?

He tried to discredit the support for the fact that was alluded to, namely the round number 10,000 studies.

The pretence was that if someone as suspect as -- horror of horrors, Dr James Dobson, Christian and psychologist -- says something and did not list all 10,000 studies in a short, non-academic book of 120 pages, that is proof that he has no substantial support and that the claim can be dismissed as though it were false, and those who cite from Dobson [through the Alinskyite rhetorical magic of the trifecta fallacy and assorted associated turnabout false accusations] can be derided as careless of facts.

When I pointed out that even if Dr Dobson was two orders of magnitude high, it would make no material difference [to the material fact at stake: that children do best when they are born in and nurtured across the twenty or so years it takes, in a stable marriage, where they are supported by their mother and father], that was pounced on for rhetorical points.

When I cited history, personal experience as a Jamaican, and other experts in the literature, that was brushed aside on one excuse or another.

And when I have gone back and pointed out the context of the past 100 years of studies in several related disciplines [that make 10,000 studies a reasonable round number estimate for the supportive social science and psychology/psychiatry literature], that too was brushed aside.

So, the conclusion is plain: we are seeing a turnabout projective accusation here, to excuse and distract from homosexualist closed mindedness to massively evident facts and abuse of flawed studies by trying to make it seem that those who do have the facts right are in the wrong.
 What is going on here?

 a --> At personal level, since I am now a contributor at the leading Intelligent Design Blog, Uncommon Descent, evolutionary materialist advocates are trying to find any points they can to pounce and demonise or discredit. Thus, we routinely find smear words like "fundamentalist" -- after all we all "know" that design theory is nothing but theocratic, right-wing theocratic tyranny hiding in a cheap tuxedo [NOT] -- and false accusations like"when you are in need of facts to support one's bigotry I suppose one doesn't have to be too choosey."

b -->  Dean Byrd, in a key point in his peer-reviewed journal article, "Gender Complementarity and Child-rearing: Where Tradition and Science Agree" [S. J. QUINNEY COLLEGE OF LAW Journal Of Law & Family Studies University Of Utah VOLUME 6 NUMBER 2] -- which I added to the original post as an update once I saw that this was the line of false accusations being used (duly ignored of course) -- rebuts the attempt to dismiss the material fact; rather directly:
There is no fact that has been established by social science literature more convincingly than the following: all variables considered, children are best served when reared in a home with a married mother and father. David Popenoe (1996) summarized the research nicely: "social science research is almost never conclusive, yet in three decades of work as a social scientist, I know of few other bodies of data in which the weight of evidence is so decisively on one side of the issue: on the whole, for children, two-parent families are preferable to single-parent and step-families" (p. 176). Children navigate developmental stages more easily, are more solid in their gender identity, perform better; in academic tasks at school, have fewer emotional disorders and become better functioning adults when they are reared by dual-gender parents. This conclusion, supported further by a plethora of research spanning decades, clearly demonstrates gender-linked differences in child-rearing that are protective for children. That is, men and women contribute differently to the healthy development of children. Children of parents who are sex-typed are more competent (Baumrind, 1982). Research has repeatedly supported the conclusion that most effective parenting is highly expressive and highly demanding (Baumrind, 1991). Highly expressive, instrumental parenting provides children with a kind of communion characterized by inclusiveness and connectedness, as well as the drive for independence and individuality. These essential contributions to the optimum development of children are virtually impossible for a man or woman alone to combine effectively (Greenberger, 1984). Children learn about male-female relationships through the modeling of their parents. Parental relationships provide children with a model of marriage--the most meaningful relationship that the vast majority of individuals will have during their lifetimes.
c --> But the advocates' typical rebuttal to such a cite from the Vice President of NARTH, is predictable: the source is "bigoted" -- i.e. Byrd disagrees with the evolutionary materialistic, homosexualist position -- and so he and whatever he says can be strawmannised, soaked in ad hominems, set ablaze with incendiary rhetoric and dismissed.

d --> The first answer to that is of course to expose the attack to the man for what it is, dishonesty, and point to the balance of the case on the merits. Namely, Byrd -- as Dobson -- is summarising the overwhelming, evidence backed consensus that has made Creation order  marriage the backbone of society for 5,000 years of recorded history. 

e --> But if you are hostile to an unwelcome big truth, the easiest way to discredit it in your mind is to strawmannise it and those who present it, soak in ad hominems and set alight. 

f --> So -- in the teeth of the predictably onward hostile or even verbally violent, abusive response --  we need to consistently expose such incivility for what it is, and point out the first steps in critical thinking and drawing wise conclusions on issues. 

g --> Namely, that arguments draw persuasive force from one or more of three appeals: (i) to emotions [pathos], (ii) to the claimed credibility of an authority [ethos], (iii) to the merits on fact and logic [logos]. And, we can easily see:
I: PATHOS: While our emotions may sometimes rest on an accurate perception of the truth, the opposite can just as easily happen, and in any case the mere intensity of our feelings and perceptions has nothing to do with the substantial force of a case.

II: ETHOS: While we must rely on authorities starting with our parents and teachers and the friendly local dictionary for 99% of practical reasoning, no authority is better than his or her facts, assumptions and reasoning.

III: LOGOS: It is only when an argument is based on all the material facts -- those that make a difference to the conclusion or decision at stake -- and reasons correctly, that we should trust the conclusions.
h --> To this, we must add certain first principles of right reason, and steps to building a sound worldview, starting from the issue that every worldview must start from a set of first plausibles that defines its faith-point. For building our world and life view on "turtles all the way down" (or turtles in a circle . . . ) makes no sense:

i --> And, in fact the root issue at stake is that in our day evolutionary materialism presents itself as the only credible, "Scientific" worldview; but in fact this is a case of "turtles in a circle." This, we can see from Lewontin's well known 1997 NYRB review of Carl Sagan's last book, The Demon-haunted World:
To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test . . . .  
 It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.  [From: “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997.]

j --> The blatant question-begging and triumphalism are obvious. Philip Johnson, a leading design thinker, therefore aptly rebutted in November that year:

For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them "materialists employing science." And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) "give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose."  

. . . .   The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [Emphasis added.] [The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

k --> But the problem is deeper than that, it also goes to the inescapable amorality and irresponsibility of evolutionary materialism, as we may first see from historian of science (with a special focus on evolutionary biology and population genetics) Prof William Provine of Cornell University, in his 1998 Darwin Day keynote address at the University of Tennessee:

Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . . The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is  another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . . [Evolution: Free Will and Punishment and Meaning in Life, Second Annual Darwin Day Celebration Keynote Address, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, February 12, 1998 (abstract).]

l --> This is chillingly revealing, to the point of being a disguised reduction to absurdity. Will Hawthorne, of the blog Atheism is Dead, therefore tellingly rebuts:
Assume (per impossibile) that atheistic naturalism [[= evolutionary materialism] is true. Assume, furthermore, that one can't infer an 'ought' from an 'is' [[the 'is' being in this context physicalist: matter-energy, space- time, chance and mechanical forces].  (Richard Dawkins and many other atheists should grant both of these assumptions.)
Given our second assumption, there is no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer an 'ought'. And given our first assumption, there is nothing that exists over and above the natural world; the natural world is all that there is. It follows logically that, for any action you care to pick, there's no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer that one ought to refrain from performing that action.
. . . . [[We see] therefore, for any action you care to pick, it's permissible to perform that action. If you'd like, you can take this as the meat behind the slogan 'if atheism is true, all things are permitted'.
For example if atheism is true, every action Hitler performed was permissible. Many atheists don't like this consequence of their worldview. But they cannot escape it and insist that they are being logical at the same time.

Now, we all know that at least some actions are really not permissible (for example, racist actions) . . . there must be a problem somewhere in the argument.

m --> There is. By trying to build a worldview on a foundation that not only begs the question but has in it no IS that can ground OUGHT, evolutionary materialism locks us up to the absurdity that our sense of moral obligation is an illusion. So, the real issue then becomes, who holds the guns and the mikes, to intimidate under false colour of law, or to manipulate through creating a new Plato's cave of deceitful shadow-shows in the name of the truth:

n --> Plato exposed the evolutionary materialist agenda long since, in The Laws, Bk X, 360 BC. (I find it interesting how this little discussion is not a part and parcel of the intellectual furniture of every educated person.)  Let us excerpt:

Ath. . . . [[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. [[In short, evolutionary materialism premised on chance plus necessity acting without intelligent guidance on primordial matter is hardly a new or a primarily "scientific" view! Notice also, the trichotomy of causal factors:  (a) chance/accident, (b) mechanical necessity of nature, (c) art or intelligent design and direction.] . . . .

[[Thus, they hold that t]he Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke's views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic "every man does what is right in his own eyes" chaos leading to tyranny. )] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here],  these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless tyranny], and not in legal subjection to them.

o --> In short, evolutionary materialism is usually presented in the name of progress and critique of "backward" thought. It boldly claims to be knowledge, and leads to the direct implication that morality has no objective foundation, inviting adherents to assume that "the highest right is might," so that they then form ruthless factions that vie for power and -- should they gain it -- will use it to oppress those that they oppose. Resemblance to the legal rulings in the  recent Bull and Johns cases is NOT coincidental.

p --> That is, we are seeing here that in our time, leading evolutionary materialists and fellow travellers, especially homosexualists, have hit on the idea that they can cynically exploit our notion of fairness and the concepts of rights and equality to impose homosexualisation of marriage, family, law, education and the state, silencing those who base their worldview on the Bible as a bastion of principled moral thought. Thus, through their abuse of the concept of rights to oppress people of principle, we see the force of Mike Judge's stinging retort:
Discrimination law is meant to act as a shield to protect people from unfair treatment, not to be used as a sword to attack those whose beliefs you disagree with.
q --> But of course, that is exactly what we are facing, at the hands of those who believe that the highest might is right, and that they have the power to intimidate, silence and prosecute those who dare differ with them.

r --> Indeed, this saddening attitude uncomfortably echoes the recorded words of the men of Sodom when Lot made the mildest of remonstrances (and badly stumbled morally himself in so doing):
Gen 19:9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.”
s --> That might-makes-right amorality is plain. And, it brings to mind the grim warning in Romans 1:
Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. 

t --> But, there is hope, a hope that will likely (cf also here, here and here) require much skilled counsel, a steadfast walk and ongoing support in many cases of life dominating sins such as pornography sexual addiction, drugs addiction and homosexual habituation, but it is hope, a hope that has been found by thousands across the centuries and in our own day:
1 Cor 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
u --> Of course, many are inclined to simply dismiss the gospel out of hand. To such, we point here as a beginning point to thinking afresh, and we invite an open-minded viewing of this video:


So, we have some food for thought, and some possible steps to take to deal with this challenge in our times. END


ADDED, Mar 17: Some useful references that will give perspective and insight:

1: Spitzer in Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2001, on two orthodoxies regarding homosexuality, in light of his study on possibilities for desired change in same sex attraction.

2: Harren's Homosexuality 101 "what we need to know" primer.

3: Satinover on the state of scientific evidence vs. official and clinical positions in mental health professions.

4: Austriaco on the status of "gay gene" research and the evidence.

5: Whitehead and Whitehead online book, My Genes Made Me do it. (The discussion on the Sambia of New Guinea is particularly significant. Cf also here.)

6: Gagnon on implications of and agendas behind gender identity hate crime laws.

7: Mohler on the attempted homosexualisation of Christian theology

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