Transgender, agender, pansexual, non-binary, genderqueer, two-spirit: these are but some of the gender types from which we are now free to choose. In 2014 Facebook began offering more than 50 gender options for our profiles, and according to a BBC film used in schools, there are over 100 genders.
It makes sense that they should proliferate, since the decoupling of “gender” from birth sex makes such designations a matter of personal construction, and humans are nothing if not creative. The rationale for this separation gives all appearances of being a simple matter of subjective preference, however, an appeal has been made to biology to justify the blurring of binary sexual distinctions. I’d like to take a look at this justification and show that it doesn’t prove its point, it is a double-edged sword for those who use it, and if this gender theory is pressed apart from biology it proves too much.
When engaging in a discussion with someone, the use of analogies can be very helpful in getting them to understand a point or to deconstruct an argument. Their use is fairly intuitive and widely accepted by people of all perspectives. A Christian may offer analogies to explain the Trinity, and same-sex marriage advocates may point to something like interracial marriage to make their case. Analogies can be cursory likenesses or detailed comparisons. Religious pluralists often point to the story of the blind men and the elephant, and Jesus regularly used analogous stories (parables) to make His point.
I’d like to discuss two general types of analogies that I’ve seen, or used myself, in debates and talk about the pitfalls of each. One form is pretty direct and understandable, but can lead down unproductive rabbit trails. The other is extremely powerful in defeating arguments, but can be off-putting and easily misunderstood.
The argument can be made that homosexuality denies the complementary design of the sexes, and is therefore not natural or normative. The common response to this is to point out that it can be found in the animal kingdom, and consequently must be “natural.” This claim is both overstated and irrelevant. Here’s why.
There is a saying that “all politics is local,” which roughly means that what we care about in politics are those things that personally, locally affect us. I’d go further and say that we often weigh our concerns in a subjective manner that seldom takes the greater good and our larger principles into consideration. So, for instance, we may value a politician that brings home federal funding for projects that directly benefit us, without giving thought to how this adds to the debt or deprives other states, who have less savvy politicians, of needed resources. This kind of thinking is not limited to politics, but manifests itself in areas like social issues and morality.
That’s an interesting question, isn’t it? If you watch TV, read much, or attend an average university you will get one answer loud and clear. It seems that we are simply insignificant creatures on a remote planet who have appeared on the scene by pure chance. For this reason, there really isn’t any meaning or purpose to life other than what you dream up for yourself. You’re just one more thing that chemistry has produced, here for a while but then dissolved and forgotten by time. And meaning is not the only thing that is an illusion by this account: even the ideas of right and wrong are nothing more than human inventions, since there’s no standard higher than humanity and nothing outside nature that has shaped us.
The fastest way to provoke an atheist is to bring up the moral argument for God in some incomplete form. While the formal argument is certainly a legitimate challenge for atheism, I think the common reaction to its presentation is itself a witness to its truth.
A recent example on this topic came when someone posted this quote from the serial killer and cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer:
“I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all come from slime… if a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges?’
When challenging theological liberals about their departure from classical Christianity, I will almost always get the counter-charge that us conservative Christians can’t even agree amongst ourselves about what Christianity is. I won’t go into a detailed response to that here (as I did elsewhere). Suffice it to say that the differences are highly overrated, and that there are vastly more differences between conservatives and liberals than between conservatives across denominational lines.
I recently did some reading on the Crusades and the events and conditions preceding it. I took some notes on points of interest that should be considered when thinking about this issue. It is common practice to mischaracterize the Crusades, its cause, and the Christian vs Muslim behavior. The truth is at some points 180 degrees different than the popular characterization and at other points much more nuanced than some are willing to allow. Here are my notes, without comment.
I saw this on Facebook today. I usually just scroll on by these kinds of “memes” because they are not really made to be serious, coherent arguments that are meant to change minds. This one, however, raised so many objections in my mind (and I had a little time to kill) that I couldn’t resist. Here were my thoughts about it.
Anything that is behavioral involves “choice,” even if it is just in the choice to affirm and act upon the desires that lead to those behaviors. So, for example, something like being human or being of the Asian race is not a choice, because these are not defined by behaviors, desires, or “orientations.” They are merely physical facts that would be true even if the person was a stillborn baby. On the other hand, having a particular sexual orientation is not something that is a physical, observable fact. It is a subjective preference of unclear origin, and which has even been demonstrated in many people to be fluid. So, the most one could possibly say is that a sexual preference itself was not a choice, but it is certainly a “choice” to celebrate and act upon that preference.
It is unfortunate that the best arguments against evolution require some hard work to make, or some knowledge of biochemistry. One of my own favorite arguments requires both. I think it’s a strong argument, and I’ve not seen much attempt to answer it in its complete form. I call it my “favorite,” not because I find it more interesting than all the others, but because it is quantifiable, can stand on its own, and if it is valid, then it provides an insurmountable problem for Darwinian theory.
Below, I will attempt to make the argument as simply, but completely, as possible. I’ll use 10 basic propositions, which I believe are, for the most part, quite uncontroversial. Below each point I’ll include some detail or justification, and I’ll provide links for further understanding or examples.
Here we go.
I’ve seen a lot of chatter on a new paper submitted to the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London by some Oxford researchers. Apparently, they’ve concluded that there is “a substantial ex ante probability of there being no other intelligent life in our observable universe.”
Here is a sample article discussing the paper:
As it says, “The authors assert that the chance humanity stands alone among intelligent civilizations in our galaxy is 53%–99.6%, and across the observable universe is 39%–85%.”
This is based upon a reassessment of the “Drake Equation,” made famous by Carl Sagan, and the probable values for each of its variables. Here is a link to that equation: https://www.seti.org/drake-equation
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