Don’t Blog Angry

by

That’s my advice to the rest of you. I’ve had a heck of a time trying to write without sounding off in a peevish tone. I just can’t get my head straight today. Not after a weekend of consecutive gut punches.

Let’s see… my beloved Astros dropped a 4 game set to the Bravos, being outscored by a ridiculous 38-8. Now they’re heading to Florida to try their luck against the best ERA in the majors. Insult to injury came Saturday night with an abysmal showing by the Rockets in a 40-point Game 7 loss to the Mavs. Did I mention that it was a game 7? The only saving grace this weekend was seeing the Padres take 3 of 4 from the Cards. Of course the luster was taken off of that by the Cards putting up an 11-spot against Tim Redding and company in the 1st inning on Sunday. It’s as if the Cards were telling the Astros, “See, we own your former players, too!” Just a ridiculous weekend for a Houston sports fan. Oh yeah… Horns baseball dropped 2 of 3 to Kansas over the weekend.

Sorry to cross over into a little bit of Coolhand’s territory there, but I had to get it off my chest. I do feel a little better now. Time to discuss the topic at hand. I probably shouldn’t discuss my chosen topic when I have a sunny disposition, much less when I’m dealing with the remnants of a supremely dissapointing sports weekend, but I guess I’ll just jump right in. Take a quick look at this article. Go ahead… I’ll wait here for you.

Seriously… please read the article before continuing further.

I’ll admit that my first thought upon reading this article was not “How dare the FDA deny gay men the inalienable right to anonymously donate their genetic material?” It was more along the lines of disbelief in the fact that the FDA had the fortitude to make this proclamation, knowing full-well the wailing that would ensue.

After my initial reaction, I started to do some mental gymnastics on the subject. The wheels were turning quickly and I smelled smoke a couple of times. In the end, I think I uncovered a logic gap in the pro-homosexual’s favorite arguments. I make a few leaps and assumptions here, so please give me a little lee-way and let me explain where I am going.

Joe’s Thesis

Step 1: A majority of homosexuals do not believe in God. If they believed in God and the Bible, they wouldn’t live the lifestyle that they do.

Step 2: If you don’t believe in God, you have to find an explanation other than creation as to how we got here. For most atheists, evolution fits the bill.

Step 3: The central tenet of evolution is natural selection. Traits that are more conducive to a species’ survival are passed from one generation to the next. Traits that are detrimental to a species’ survival are not passed on, as individuals with these traits are not sexually desirable.

Step 4: The predominant argument from the pro-homosexual community is that homosexuality is a genetic trait and not a behavioral choice.

Step 5: Homosexuals cannot procreate. This trait is not conducive to a species’ survival, therefore natural selection would not perpetuate this trait.

Conclusion: Either evolution theory or the argument that homosexuality is a genetic trait is WRONG. (I happen to think both are wrong, but that’s another argument altogether.)

Now back to the article in question…

As far as I know from what has been reported, there is no shortage of donated material in our genetic repositories. Based on this, I think that the FDA can be as selective as it wants in its donor screening. In fact, I think that the screening process should be expanded to exclude heterosexuals that participate in high-risk behavior. Gay donors are not being barred “because they are gay”, but because there is a significantly higher occurence of HIV infection in gay men.

Now… having thrown a little gas on the fire, I’m anxious to stand back and feel the heat.

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17 Responses to “Don’t Blog Angry”

  1. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Just a quick comment. Steps 3 & 5 in your thesis substantially misstate modern evolutionary theory. Evolutionary processes will and do support any number of seemingly counterproductive genetic traits. Whether or not homosexuality is one of them remains to be seen, but there is nothing in evolutionary theory that bars the possibility.

  2. Al Sturgeon Says:

    Where’s the heat???

    I’ll take issue a bit with Step 1 of the thesis. I really don’t know about actual statistics, but I don’t necessarily buy the logic.

    That’s like saying, “A majority of fabulously wealthy people do not believe in God. If they believed in God and the Bible, they wouldn’t live the lifestyle that they do.”

    In other words, practicing a lifestyle that runs counter to the Bible does not necessarily negate belief in God in the least.

    Now you added in “the Bible” – which I’d suspect any self-respecting homosexual to try his or her best to debunk.

    I’ve probably read too much Philip Yancey stuff, but I’m convinced that there are tons of people struggling with homosexual feelings sitting in church pews every week, feeling horrible about themselves because they very much DO believe in God and the Bible. (I know of one in my town that committed suicide recently, one would suspect in part because of this very thing…)

    As to politics, I’ve got no problem in the world with the FDA decision.

    As to religion, I think it is the call of the Jesus-follower to love everyone – which includes people who are either attracted to sin sexually or are actually doing so, regardless of the gender-preference of the sin… (Note: Those w/o sin are free to cast stones.)

  3. juvenal_urbino Says:

    “As to politics, I’ve got no problem in the world with the FDA decision.”

    Neither do I, really. I do think one of the people in the article had a good point, though, that it seems counterintuitive for a gay man to be barred from donating sperm because of fears about HIV, while a heterosexual man who visits prostitutes (or engages in other high-risk behaviors) is allowed.

    I also have serious doubts about the efficacy and purpose of the rule. If somebody’s dead set on donating sperm, all they have to do is lie about their sexual history. This rule can’t prevent that; therefore, the FDA knows it has to test all donations for HIV, even with the rule. (At least, I certainly hope they know that.) That test is what ultimately determines whether or not sperm will be accepted, not the person’s self-reported sexual orientation.

    The sperm of someone whose lifestyle is in keeping with the rule will not necessarily be accepted, since it might still be HIV-positive. The sperm of someone whose lifestyle is in violation of the rule will not necessarily be rejected, since they can lie. Therefore, all donated sperm has to be tested for HIV anyway. So what good does the rule do? None. Does the FDA know this? Of course. So why do they have it? Is it really for public health reasons, or is it to make a political point?

    The real rule is: no HIV-positive sperm. Why not just say that and be done with it?

  4. Joe Longhorn Says:

    Al said:
    That’s like saying, “A majority of fabulously wealthy people do not believe in God. If they believed in God and the Bible, they wouldn’t live the lifestyle that they do.”

    Hmmmm… now that you mention it. Sounds about right to me. Plenty (quite possibly a majority) of fabulously wealthy people are serving Mammon. Notice I qualified my original statement with “the majority”. I never said all.

    We struggle with a multitude of sins. We cross a line when we publicly embrace the sin and rationalize it as righteous behavior. Having crossed that line, few ever come back over it. That’s what I see from the homosexual rights movement.

    Al said:
    In other words, practicing a lifestyle that runs counter to the Bible does not necessarily negate belief in God in the least.

    I disagree. In using the word “practicing”, you imply that the individual willingly continues in a sinful state, knowing full well the will of God. This demonstrates a lack of belief in the nature of God and His will as revealed in the Bible. The sinner either mistakenly believes that God will accept them despite their sinful nature, or they believe that God’s Word revealed through the Bible is somehow mistaken, and that their behavior is actually acceptable in God’s sight. Either of these beliefs is tantamount to rejection , and thus disbelief, of the one true God.

  5. Joe Longhorn Says:

    juvenal said:

    Evolutionary processes will and do support any number of seemingly counterproductive genetic traits.

    To me, this emphasizes the failure of evolutionary theory to explain anything, much less direct contradictions to the theory.

  6. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Much the way things like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome emphasize the impossibility of the existence of an omnipotent and loving God?

  7. Al Sturgeon Says:

    Okay, I’ll give you that if we’re using that definition of “belief in God” (i.e. refusing to follow).

    But if we are, then your Step 2 is quite a leap: If you reject God, you reject Creation.

    Is that Satan’s stance?

  8. Joe Longhorn Says:

    I don’t think Satan differentiates whether we reject part of God or all of God or whether we completely disbelieve or simply choose not to follow. He’s happy either way.

    You’re right. Step 2 is quite a leap. However, if we were to take a poll of those active in the homosexual rights movement, I think that Creationists would be greatly outnumbered by Evolutionists.

    As an aside… for anyone who has ever struggled with reconciling the Evolution vs. Creation debate, I highly recomment Lee Strobel’s book “The Case for a Creator.”

    By the way, Al… just got your book in the mail yesterday and am looking forward to reading it!

  9. Joe Longhorn Says:

    of course I meant to spell “recomment” as recommend

  10. juvenal_urbino Says:

    “for anyone who has ever struggled with reconciling the Evolution vs. Creation debate, I highly recomment Lee Strobel’s book ‘The Case for a Creator.'”

    <deep breath>

    Okay. But people should know what they’re getting. I haven’t read Strobel’s book. I haven’t read any books on science and religion in years & years & years.

    Why?

    Because none of them are any good. If you want to understand what current evolutionary theory says, read something by an actual evolutionary biologist. If you want to understand what Christianity has to say about life’s origins, read something by an actual theologian who specializes in that.

    Don’t go to the “Apologetics” section of your local Christian bookstore and expect to find a fair or accurate presentation of what evolutionary theory actually says.

    Don’t go to the “Biochemistry” section of your local university bookstore and expect to find a fair or accurate presentation of what Christian theology says.

    I read a crap load of “science & religion” books back in my days as a Christian biologist. In my experience, they are worse than useless. They aren’t serious analysis; they’re cheerleading. They give you an oversimplified, inaccurate version of both science and religion. They don’t just fail to inform; they misinform.

    That’s just my experience. But from what I can tell about Strobel’s book on Amazon.com, it looks like things haven’t changed much.

  11. Joe Longhorn Says:

    Juvenal said:

    I read a crap load of “science & religion” books back in my days as a Christian biologist. In my experience, they are worse than useless. They aren’t serious analysis; they’re cheerleading. They give you an oversimplified, inaccurate version of both science and religion. They don’t just fail to inform; they misinform.

    There are plenty of “scientific” texts that are guilty of the same sin. Plenty of scientists engage in “cheerleading” for their findings or for theories that they support. They emphasize data that supports their hypothesis (and that would support continued funding!)and marginalize data that contradicts their preconceived notions. Scientists are human, too!

  12. juvenal_urbino Says:

    I’m quite aware. That’s why I said people shouldn’t go looking in the “Biochemistry” section for a book that will give them a “fair and accurate” presentation of theology. When I said none of the “science & religion” books are any good, I really meant none.

    They’re all cheerleading for whichever side the author is on, regardless of whether that’s the evolution side or the creation side. None of them are intended to really inform you about the other side’s argument. They’re intended to convince you the author’s side is right.

    Besides which, the people who write them tend to be either theologians who don’t really know anything about modern evolutionary theory, or scientists who don’t really understand theology. Or, worse, by laymen who don’t really understand either one. (See F. LaGard Smith, Josh McDowell, etc. No offense, but Strobel appears to be in this category, too.)

    That’s why I suggested reading a book just about evolutionary biology by someone who works in that field, and a book just about religious explanations for the existence of life by someone who works in that field.

  13. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Asking a preacher (or other religious writer) to explain evolution to you is like asking your dentist what car you should buy.

  14. JD Says:

    Soooo… only an expert in any given field can give a realistic and valid thought in that field, and no other field? My dentist may know a great car to buy. Do we really believe everyone is in a mental straightjacket?

    And anyways… is there a sperm shortage of which I am unaware? I would comment, but I’m not an expert.

  15. juvenal_urbino Says:

    I’m going to buck my better judgment and respond to that, even though, like most of JD’s comments, it’s little more than an adolescent attempt to get a rise out of somebody.

    If somebody wanted to know what conservatives really think about, say, the technical economics of Social Security, would you suggest that a good way to find out would be listening to Air America? Of course not. Why not? Because Al Franken is opposed to the conservative view, doesn’t want people to find it appealing, and therefore isn’t exactly going to give a fair version of it; he’s going to make it look silly. Besides which, he probably couldn’t give a truly fair version of it even if he wanted to, because he probably hasn’t seriously studied it.

    The same thing applies to religion. If somebody asked you for a book about Christianity, you probably wouldn’t hand them something by Richard Dawkins or (even better) Carl Sagan. Those guys don’t believe in Christianity, don’t really understand it, and therefore can’t give a fair account of it — don’t even especially want to.

    The same thing applies to evolution. If somebody wants to read what evolutionary biologists really think, the place to look is not a book by somebody who’s trying to convince people that the very idea of evolution is both silly and immoral. They’re not going to give a fair account of evolutionary theory, and probably couldn’t even if they wanted to.

    That’s the sad fact. Sad because, as Christians, religious figures who write books about other people’s views should be more honest than that and should be more scrupulous in applying the Golden Rule: present the other person’s views as fairly and respectfully as you would want them to present yours. Sadly, Christians generally don’t do that; especially when it comes to evolution (and politics).

    If all you really want is to be confirmed in your opposition to conservative economics, Christianity, or evolution, then by all means, go to people who oppose those things to “learn” about them. But if you really want to understand what people whose opinions differ from yours really think, you might want to look somewhere else for your information on them.

    So, to answer your question, JD. No. Everybody is not in a mental straightjacket. Only those who want to be.

  16. JD Says:

    Thanks, Juvenal, for the insult and for the repeat of your post. I think everyone got it the first time.

    You appear to assume that everyone who argues a certain perspective is unable to comprehend the opposing perspective and present it fairly.

    Just because someone does not agree with a certain perspective does not mean that they would choose to misrepresent it. Certainly this has happened, but that does not mean that it must happen that way – or that it always does.

    It would seem to me that Christians have a greater obligation to present fairly the opposing view. That does not mean they have to have a PhD on the matter. The basics of many matters are sufficient.

    For instance, I guess that you think your snide and smug comments are just good humor, while my comments are merely adolescent attempts to get a rise out of someone.

    Perhaps we are both wrong.

  17. juvenal_urbino Says:

    If you got it the first time, why did you ask the following:

    “Sooo . . . only an expert in any given field can give a realistic and valid thought in that field, and no other field?”

    when that wasn’t what I meant? If you knew that wasn’t what I meant, why ask the question?

    “It would seem to me that Christians have a greater obligation to present fairly the opposing view.”

    As I said, it seems that way to me, too. But sadly, Christians frequently don’t meet that obligation; especially in any area where they feel threatened. That includes both evolution and politics. When they feel their interests threatened, Christians lie, cheat, and steal to defend them just as much as anyone else. That’s unfortunate, but that’s the fact, in my experience.

    “That does not mean they have to have a PhD on the matter. The basics of many matters are sufficient.”

    Evolution is not one of them. It isn’t a simple subject. If somebody’s offering you a version of it that makes you wonder why any intelligent person would believe it, the reason is not that all evolutionary biologists are unintelligent; most of them are highly intelligent. Nor are they just out to get Christianity. Most of them have no interest in Christianity. The reason it sounds so ridiculous is that the “Christian” author you’re reading is either lying or way out of his depth. I learned that the hard way.

    If people want to avoid having the same experience, they should learn about evolutionary biology from somebody who really believes in it, practices it, and understands it. Then they can decide what they think about it based on what evolutionary theory really says, not somebody’s half-baked version of it. That’s all I’m saying.

    I wouldn’t mind it so much if religious writers would stick to giving religious critiques of evolution. Most of them don’t. Most of them try to make it sound like a “real” scientist would laugh at the very idea of evolution because it is scientifically silly. It isn’t. And trying to make it sound as if it is, as most Christian authors on this subject do, is both dishonest and unfair to the people who spend their lives working in that field.

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