On BioScience and Life and Such

The slippery slope, maybe not so slippery after all

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2009 at 6:47 pm

post to news.thinkgene.com

Newlywed male same-sex couple at Gaypride 2006...
Image via Wikipedia

I read this (via AnnaBones):

Yesterday, when Gov. John Baldacci (D) signed a marriage equality law, Maine became the fifth state to allow legal same-sex marriage. On the Christian Broadcasting Network today, Pat Robertson responded by claiming that the “ultimate conclusion” of legalizing same-sex marriage would be the legalization of polygamy, bestiality, child molestation and pedophilia. “You mark my words, this is just the beginning in a long downward slide in relation to all the things that we consider to be abhorrent,” said Robertson.

And it occurred to me that the “Slippery slope” argument used when discussing genetic testing (I have used this argument myself) may have this same hysteric dimension…………based on unfounded anxiety (and prejudice ?).

No doubt, there is a definite possibility that our anticipation of discriminative genetic sorting and the incoherent slippery slope argument above share some of the same f(e)ar-fetched elements………..at least as long as democracy and free will/expression prevails.

Could it be the genetic testing slope isn’t slippery at all ? Just a plain good old slope. And maybe it’s not ending in the “brave new world pits of hell”, but rather, going upwards ending in this  city of happy people. Then again maybe neither. What we should expect post the genetic revolution is most probably today’s world with a little less suffering (from disease that is).

Either way, when I see reflections (however twisted) of my own anxiety in crazy, homophobic, christian conservative, right wing nut-heads, it is time to do some serious reconsiderations.

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  1. […] This post was Twitted by fredcobio – Real-url.org […]

  2. Gay marriage is corrosive because it’s continuing to erode the institution of marriage as a formal means to organize a family with children. If a marriage is merely a civilly recognized partnership, then why bother to get married to plan children? Why should married couples get special treatment from society if there is no implied burden of young adults raising a family?

    It’s funny: everybody blathers about a “Brave New World” dystopia, but in the book, THERE WAS NO “genetic engineering.” Actually, the biggest social difference, and in fact, the prime source of conflict in the book, was the complete destruction of the family as a social unit. “Everybody belonged to everybody else,” and to be a mother or a father was considered a damning taboo.

    I bet out of everybody who ever utters “Brave New World,” I bet almost all of them haven’t read either “The Tempest” nor “Huxley’s Brave New World.”

    But yah, civil rights… obviously, I’m “pro civil rights.” I just don’t see the point, as a young man, to civilly register my relationships if there’s no understanding that it “marriage” is a social signal meaning that I plan to raise a family with children and so I need special social support.

  3. Andrew. You’re right there was no genetic engineering, but there was genetic sorting which is also the case for embryo screening prior to IVF/ART. Also I found the primary source of conflict being the watertight borders between the different groups (alpha-beta-omega was it ?), the breakdown of the family structure was only a consequence of this sorting of humans. I disagree strongly with gay marriage being “corrosive” to marriage as an institution. Not because I am a big fan of marriage (I most certainly am not, and any such corrosion would be welcome IMO), but simply because there is no difference between heterosexual marriage and homosexual marriage – not as an institution and not as a family-structure – period. Only difference is that homosexual partners cannot have biological offspring without assistance (they can still raise children, probably better than many heterosexual couples can), – which puts them together with the 1000’s of heterosexual couples that have the same problem – a solvable problem. Would you argue that infertile couples corrode the marriage-institution ? Right….there you go then.

  4. “because there is no difference between heterosexual marriage and homosexual marriage”

    That’s a plausible idea in the hypothetical future when humans have advanced such that gender distinctions are arbitrary, but that is not true today. I’m pro-transhumanism, but why posture in some silly social class identity skiff? Yes, yes, good university boys and girls sure love to love Diversity, and good proles hate them sum godless fagots gud. Blah blah blah.

    Come on.

    I believe that child-rearing should be socially revered. A traditional marriage institution isn’t ideal (or even good), but it’s better than reproductive anarchy.

    But, yah, equal rights, freedom, and recreational sex for everyone. How can I disagree with THAT? I merely think that the MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE OF ALL BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS —INCLUDING HUMANS, namely, reproduction, hasn’t been given much critical thought. I think that’s bad.

    My problem with the “gay marriage debate” is not that either side is hostile to socially intelligent reproductive ideas, but that BOTH “sides” refuse to address the core idea beyond the most cursory dismissals. THAT is my contention: the frame of the “debate” itself.

    To me, this marriage debate like listening to a Yankees fans and a U.S. Marine argue opposing sides to “should people be allowed to use performance enhancing drugs?”

  5. I admit that I am a good university boy. I do however sincerely believe that providing a good growth environment for a child is completely unrelated to gender or marriage-status. I also think that the reproduction itself is a separate issue. I, maybe naively so, also believe that I would have had these believes irrespective of education level.

  6. My ire is misplaced here, I admit.

    Literally, homosexual marriage makes marriage independent of biological sex. That’s my contention.

    My problem is that (in the USA today as a reasonably responsible adult) it’s so terrible to have a child that only the desperate and stupid do it. There is little social support to counteract this trend, and homosexual marriage further erodes that support.

    What’s so annoying is that the people that are against gay marriage like I am are against it for painfully stupid and destructive reasons, while the people who are for gay marriage like I am not are for it for generally well-meaning, civil intentions. I guess it’s just lonely being me.

    I would support gay marriage if there was some other obvious and effective social institution to help working, educated, responsible adults have and raise children.

    As it is —enjoy trying to maintain your career and education while pregnant or raising small children. You might get a few months vacation, a token tax rebate, and some cards from your friends, but guess what, that thesis isn’t going to write itself, and you still have to go to work, and guess what, nobody at the office is really going to care. Or, yah, sure, drop out of civil society and get on government welfare. Have fun inhabiting the bottom of the social latter during the most stressful two years of your life.

    So you’re getting married? That’s nice, I like to have monogamous sex, too. Oh, you think that getting married justifies some kind of social signaling that you’ll be needing extra social support soon to raise a family? Yah, whatever, I sure wish Uncle Sam wrote me a check everytime I dumped a fuck into the same person as last time, you mooching welfare queen slacker loser.

    —that’s my problem

  7. hm: clarification

    The people who superficially agree with me —that gay marriage is poor policy— do so for reasons I abhor like “cuz god hates fags.”

    The people who superficially disagree with me —that gay marriage is good policy— do so for reasons I endorse like “liberty by enforcing the minimally discriminatory social polices.”

    So, I belong to neither group. That hurts, but I’m used to it.

    And by “inhabiting the bottom of the social ladder”, I mean that there is no way to pause your life, have your children, and resume your life a few years later. Yes, some institution will intervene to prevent you from starving or going homeless, but come on, you may have more ambitious goals in life beyond “don’t starve,” and you probably would appreciate the kind of life inhabited by the kind of people who don’t have “institutional interventions” to prevent them from starving.

    Think: high school. Do you want to be the kid on food stamps in prep school? Economically, that’s the rational decision, right? Why pay when you don’t have to?

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