bookmark_borderEvidence that Doesn’t Demand a Verdict

I am a left-wing atheist who hates Donald Trump and who is disgusted with every White Evangelical Christian SHITHEAD who supports Trump and his evil racist, sexist, anti-immigrant basket-of-deplorables.
I spend much of my time critically examining the arguments of Evangelical Christian apologists like Norman Geisler, Peter Kreeft, and Josh McDowell.  I have come to the conclusion that the intellectual efforts of these apologists amount to stinking piles of dog shit.  They present mountains of unclear, illogical, ignorant, dubious, and false BULLSHIT as if they were presenting intelligent arguments, thus polluting the minds of millions of Christians by presenting paradigm examples of IDIOCY and STUPIDITY as if they were presenting examples of intelligent reasoning.  I have little respect for these Evangelical Christian apologists and significant contempt for them.
NEVERTHELESS, the recent criticisms of Josh McDowell as being a “racist” strike me as UNFAIR and UNFOUNDED.  So, although I have significant contempt for McDowell and for White Evangelical Christians in general, I am going to BRIEFLY DEFEND McDowell against what seems to me to be UNFAIR and UNFOUNDED criticism.  Even IDIOTS like McDowell can be good-hearted people who are decent and morally upright in character.  In any case, the EVIDENCE presented fails to justify the strong moral condemnation of McDowell.
Part of my strong reaction to recent criticisms of McDowell concerns the sloppy use of the word “racist” and “racism”.  These terms are at least ambiguous and so when used to criticize and to morally condemn a person should be CLARIFIED, at the very least.  Furthermore, since one of the meanings of these terms is particularly odious, to fling these words around in a sloppy and careless way is offensive and is counter-productive in the battle against racism and racial prejudice.

In my view, nobody should be morally condemned as being a “racist” simply on the grounds that he/she has said or done something that indicates racial prejudice.   Racial prejudice is wrong and should be called out whenever it occurs, but the reality is that virtually ALL white people have some degree of racial prejudice which on occasion influences the words and actions of a white person.
Furthermore, racial prejudice is generally NOT as evil and as harmful as the conscious belief that one race is superior to other races or that one race is inferior to other races or that some races are inferior to other races.  One of the meanings of the word “racism” is the belief that some particular races are inferior to other particular races (e.g. the belief that black people are morally and intellectually inferior to white people by nature, because of their race).
When people say that Josh McDowell is a “racist” this is a very strong moral condemnation of him because ONE meaning of “racist” implies a person who holds the belief that some particular races are inferior to other particular races.  But there is NO EVIDENCE that McDowell holds such a belief or advocates such a belief.  So, the use of the word “racist” about Josh McDowell is SLANDEROUS because it suggests a claim about McDowell that IF TRUE would justify strong moral condemnation, but this is a claim for which there is NO EVIDENCE.
 
THE OFFENDING WORDS OF MCDOWELL
Here is a tweet that provided a quote from McDowell that led to the moral criticism and condemnation:

Another person who was present provides a bit more extensive quote of McDowell:

 
MY VIEW OF MCDOWELL’S OFFENDING STATEMENT
First of all, it is patently OBVIOUS to anyone who has two brain cells to rub together that McDowell’s comment is about NURTURE rather than NATURE.  This is clearly NOT a comment about the genes or inherited traits or the natural character of black people.  This is CLEARLY a comment about how black children are generally RAISED or SOCIALIZED.  So, it is clear and obvious that this quote has NOTHING to do with “racism”; that is to say, there is NO EVIDENCE here that McDowell believes that black people all belong to a race that is intellectually or morally inferior to white people who belong to a superior race of humans.
To use this quote as the basis for condemning McDowell as being a “racist” is SLANDEROUS because ONE clear meaning of this term is that the person in question consciously believes that some races are inferior to other races, and in this context, that means holding the belief that black people all belong to a race that is morally and intellectually inferior to the race to which white people allegedly belong.
Second, it is NOT clear that McDowell’s statement is FALSE.  IF McDowell’s statement is in fact TRUE, then we ought to be cautious about morally condemning McDowell for making this statement.   Do we really want to go around morally condemning people for making TRUE statements?  Before people get too bent out of shape, they need to study the relevant FACTS and DATA about how black children are raised in the USA and about how white children are raised in the USA.  Perhaps McDowell’s statement is TRUE, or perhaps it is partially TRUE and partially FALSE, or perhaps it is totally FALSE.  Until one studies the relevant sociological FACTS and DATA, one should not presume to know what those FACTS and DATA show to be the current social reality in the USA.
Third, McDowell probably does deserve some degree of chastisement and criticism, because he probably made this statement on the basis of PREJUDICE and STEREOTYPE, rather than on the basis of sociological FACTS and DATA.  If McDowell had studied the sociology of black families and of the rearing of black children (in the USA), and also studied the sociology of white families and of the rearing of white children (in the USA), then he might have had FACTS and DATA that supported his statement.
However, McDowell has quickly apologized for making this statement, and I think it is very unlikely that he would apologize for making this statement if he made the statement on the basis of FACTS and DATA that he learned from studying the sociology of black families and child-rearing vs. white families and child-rearing.  So, it seems very likely that his statement was NOT based on FACTS and DATA, and thus it was likely made on the basis of PREJUDICE and STEREOTYPE.  In short, it does seem to me that McDowell should be chastised and criticized, but that he is guilty of racial prejudice in his thinking and speaking, and NOT guilty of RACISM.  There is NO EVIDENCE here that McDowell is a racist.
Fourth: “There but for the grace of God go I”.   I am a left-wing atheist, and I HATE racism and racists.  I hate NAZIs.  I hate the KKK.  I hate the alt-right.   I hate skinheads.  I hate yahoos who wave the Confederate flag (particularly the SHITHEAD who waved the Confederate flag in the Capitol Building during the Trump-inspired insurrection). But I am a white guy, and I am aware that us white guys (and white gals) all have some degree of racial prejudice.  Our culture in the USA is saturated with racial prejudice.
So, I might one day say (or write) something STUPID that comes from a PREJUDICE or STEREOTYPE about black people (or about some other people of color).  I don’t want a FREE PASS if that happens.  I hope that I would be called out and criticized for speaking or writing something that arises from racial prejudice in my thinking.  But I would OBJECT to being called a “racist” and to being accused of “racism” and to being morally condemned for the sin of “racism” on the basis that I manifested some racial prejudice in my thinking.  I would view such a strong moral condemnation as being UNFAIR and UNFOUNDED and SLANDEROUS because I do NOT believe that some races are inferior to other races, and I am firmly opposed to such a belief or ideology.
This is the standard that I would insist upon for how other people treat me, so this is the standard I will insist upon for how people treat Josh McDowell.  Yes, he made ONE statement that reflects PREJUDICE or STEREOTYPE about black people, and this does reflect racial prejudice in his thinking.  But that is NOT equivalent to being a “racist”.  This is NOT EVIDENCE that McDowell believes that black people belong to an inferior race of humans, nor that white people belong to a superior race of humans.  Making a statement that reflects racial prejudice in one’s thinking is NOT as bad and as evil as holding (or promoting) the evil belief that some people belong to an inferior race of humans.
 
MCDOWELL’S APOLOGY FOR HIS STATEMENT
Here is McDowell’s apology for his offending statement:

I see nothing wrong with this apology.  It is a clear and straightforward apology.  If I had made a stupid statement like McDowell did, based on racial prejudice or stereotypes, then I would apologize in a similar manner.
McDowell could have gone a bit further by admitting that he made a statement that “does not reflect reality” BECAUSE of his own racial prejudice, because of prejudice and stereotypes in his own thinking about black people.  But he did identify the specific problematic statement as being WRONG, and he affirms his opposition to racism.
I think in this context McDowell is using “racism” in the weaker sense of “racial prejudice”, which makes it harder for him to admit that his statement arose from racial prejudice in his own thinking (because that would be admitting that he was involved in and was promoting “racism”).    Racism is indeed one reason why equality for blacks has not yet been achieved, but another important factor is racial prejudice, such as we see in the thinking and words of Josh McDowell.
This apology would have been a bit better and a bit clearer if McDowell had drawn the distinction between the evil of RACISM and the evil of RACIAL PREJUDICE, and confessed to having made a statement that came NOT out of RACISM but out of RACIAL PREJUDICE in his own thinking.
NOTE: Given the general sloppiness and unclarity of McDowell’s thinking, it is not a surprise to me that he failed to notice this important distinction, and failed to make use of it in his apology.

bookmark_borderFeser’s Perverted Faculty Argument – Part 2: Clarifying the Conclusion of the Core Argument

WHERE WE ARE
Edward Feser has put forward a version of the Perverted Faculty Argument (hereafter: PFA) against homosexual sex, so I will now examine that argument in the hopes that it is an actual argument consisting of actual claims.  Based on his book Five Proofs of the Existence of God, Feser understands the need to define and clarify the meanings of keywords and phrases in philosophical arguments.  I am hoping that in his presentation of PFA,  Feser will define and/or clarify the meanings of keywords and phrases in his version of PFA so that it constitutes an actual argument that is composed of actual claims.  If I find his effort to constitute an actual argument, then I will attempt to rationally evaluate that argument.
In Part 1 of this series of posts, I attempted to clarify the core argument in Feser’s PFA, based on his summary of that argument in his book Neo-Scholastic Essays (hereafter: NSE) on pages 403 and 404.
 
THE REVISED CORE ARGUMENT OF FESER’S PFA

3a. A situation where a human being uses the sexual faculties belonging to that human being in a manner that is contrary to the procreative and/or unitive ends of the sexual faculties of human beings AND where that activity is good for that human being is a metaphysically impossible situation.

4a. In any situation where a human being engages in homosexual acts, that human being uses the sexual faculties belonging to that human being in a manner that is contrary to the procreative and/or unitive ends of the sexual faculties of human beings.

THEREFORE:

5a. A situation where a human being engages in homosexual acts AND where that activity (of engaging in homosexual acts) is good for that human being is a metaphysically impossible situation.

This revised core argument is significantly more CLEAR than the statement by Feser.  However, all three sentences here still make use of UNCLEAR words and phrases, so I’m not yet willing to admit that these three sentences make actual claims, nor that this is an actual argument.  It depends on whether Feser defines or clarifies the various UNCLEAR  words and phrases in these three sentences.
In this post I will address this crucial question:

Does Feser provide useful definitions or clarifications of the meanings of the keywords and phrases in these sentences that are, apart from such efforts, too UNCLEAR to make it so the sentences may reasonably be treated as actual claims?

 
WHAT DOES THE CONCLUSION MEAN?
Because the conclusion of an argument is the main point of the argument, it is generally best to start an examination of an argument by focusing on the conclusion.  Because CLARIFICATION is often needed to understand the meaning of a statement and thus be in a position to rationally evaluate the statement, it is generally best to start an examination of a statement by working to clarify the meaning of that statement.  I have already made one attempt to clarify the conclusion of the core argument in Feser’s PFA, but it is still UNCLEAR.  So, I will continue to work at achieving a better understanding of this statement:

5a. A situation where a human being engages in homosexual acts AND where that activity (of engaging in homosexual acts) is good for that human being is a metaphysically impossible situation.

There are at least three UNCLEAR phrases in this statement:

  • human being H engages in homosexual acts
  • activity A is good for human being H
  • situation S is a metaphysically impossible situation

Because NONE of these three phrases has a clear meaning, (5a) is UNCLEAR and cannot be rationally evaluated as it stands.  These are three main parts or components of the statement (5a), and each part must be CLARIFIED.  Apart from a definition or clarification of each one of these phrases, it will not be possible to have a clear understanding of the meaning of (5a), and apart from such a clear understanding, it will not be possible to rationally evaluate this statement, nor to rationally evaluate an argument given in support of this statement.
Breaking down (5a) into its main parts or components, into these three phrases, is part of the process of ANALYSIS.  The point is to take a big task or problem, like CLARIFYING (5a), and turn it into smaller, easier to manage problems.  So, instead of having one big problem, we now have three smaller problems to manage.
 
WHAT DOES THE PHRASE “ENGAGES IN HOMOSEXUAL ACTS” MEAN?
In my previous examination of a PFA presented by Tim Hsiao one of the reasons that I rejected that argument as a worthless piece of intellectual garbage is that Hsiao made NO EFFORT to clarify the meanings of the key phrases “homosexual activity” and “sexual activity”.  So, we are walking down the same path with Feser’s version of a PFA.  The main question now is whether Feser made any effort to clarify the meaning of the UNCLEAR phrase “engages in homosexual acts”.  If Feser attempted to clarify the meaning of this phrase, then his version of PFA might be able to go beyond the FAILED attempt by Hsiao to present a version of PFA.
According to Feser, his article “In Defense of the Perverted Faculty Argument” in Neo-Scholastic Essays is his most detailed and systematic treatment of sexual morality (as of June in 2015):

 
The phrase “homosexual acts” occurs not only in the conclusion of the core argument in his PFA but also in the ultimate conclusion of PFA:

Feser uses the phrase “homosexual acts” thirteen times in his article defending PFA.  However, he NEVER DEFINES what this phrase means, and he NEVER attempts to CLARIFY the meaning of this phrase.  Because the phrase “homosexual acts” is an UNCLEAR and AMBIGUOUS phrase, we don’t know what the hell the conclusion of the core argument in PFA means, and thus it is not possible to rationally evaluate the core argument of Feser’s PFA.
 
THE GENERAL UNCLARITY OF FESER’S PFA
This lack of clarity is not confined to just the key phrase “homosexual acts”.  There are other key phrases in Feser’s PFA that he also FAILS to DEFINE or to CLARIFY:

The phrases in bold red font appear in Feser’s summary of the PFA, and the other terms and phrases in blue font are closely related terms that appear in the article.  There are a total of 73 instances of these terms and phrases in the article, and as you can see from the chart above there are ZERO DEFINITIONS of these terms, and ZERO attempts to provide CLARIFICATIONS of these terms by Feser.
Although the phrase “sexual faculties” does not appear in the conclusion of Feser’s PFA, nor in the conclusion of the core argument in PFA, it does appear in three out of the six premises of his PFA, and is clearly a key concept in the argument:

 
I don’t know what Feser means by the key phrase “homosexual acts”, nor do I know what Feser means by the other key terms and phrases in his PFA.  So, it is NOT possible for me to rationally evaluate this argument.   CLARITY is a gateway standard of Critical Thinking.  If a statement is UNCLEAR, then one literally does not know what that statement MEANS, and one cannot rationally evaluate a statement when one does not know what that statement means.

 
CONCLUSION
Feser’s PFA is just as UNCLEAR as the PFA presented by Timothy Hsiao.  In both cases we are dealing with a PSEUDO argument, something that looks and sounds like an argument, but that is composed of UNCLEAR statements which cannot be rationally evaluated, and thus neither “argument” is an actual argument, because an argument consists of CLAIMS, statements that are clear enough to be understood and to be rationally evaluated.
According to Feser his article in Neo-Scholastic Essays defending his version of the Perverted Faculty Argument is the “most detailed and systematic treatment of sexual morality” he has ever written, but that article is a pathetic piece of intellectual garbage that presents us with a PSEUDO argument that only pretends to be an actual argument.

bookmark_borderLeviticus and Homosexuality – Part 13: False Claims and Assumptions in Leviticus

WHERE WE ARE
One important reason for rejecting the view that Leviticus was inspired by God is that this book contains several FALSE claims and assumptions.  I have already argued that Leviticus contains FALSE historical claims and assumptions and that it also contains logical contradictions, so I have already shown that Leviticus contains FALSE claims and assumptions:

  • In Part 8 of this series, I presented some general points in support of my fourth reason for doubting the inspiration and authority of the book of Leviticus:

4. Leviticus is NOT an historically reliable account of actual events.

  • In Part 9 of this series, I presented a number of examples of contradictions between Leviticus and other books in the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) to provide additional evidence in support of this fourth reason.  There are dozens of contradictions between Leviticus and the other books in the Torah.  Nearly all of these contradictions cast doubt on the historical reliability of the book of Leviticus and also cast doubt on the historicity of the books of the Torah in general.  If the book of Leviticus is historically UNRELIABLE or if it contains a number of false or dubious historical claims and assumptions, then we can draw two conclusions: (1) we cannot rely on Leviticus to present accurate information about what Jehovah communicated to Moses (even if Jehovah actually existed and if Moses was an actual person), and (2) Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.  Both conclusions are good reasons to reject using the content of Leviticus as a basis for the moral condemnation of homosexual sex.
  • In Part 10 of this series, I gave examples of internal contradictions in the book of Leviticus, which shows that half of those claims or assumptions are FALSE.

 
SCIENTIFIC ERRORS IN GENESIS AND LEVITICUS
The book of Genesis contains several scientific errors.  It is a book that discusses the origins of the universe, the sun and the moon, the planet Earth, plant and animal life on Earth, human life, and the origin of human languages, the origin of death, and the origin of rainbows.  This is all bullshit invented by ignorant pre-scientific goat herders a few thousand years ago.  But Leviticus does not discuss the origins of anything (except the origin of the nation of Israel, and what it says about that are FALSE historical claims).
Leviticus is primarily a book of laws, rules, commands, and instructions for the performance of various religious rituals.  So, there is not much in the way of scientific claims or assumptions in the book of Leviticus. Nevertheless, in addition to making FALSE historical claims and assumptions, and in addition to asserting some logical contradictions, the book of Leviticus does contain a few scientific errors in Chapter 11, and these scientific errors provide further evidence that Leviticus was NOT inspired by an all-knowing and perfectly truthful deity:
1. Rock Badgers Chew The Cud (FALSE).

5 The rock badger, for even though it chews the cud, it does not have divided hoofs; it is unclean for you. (Leviticus 11:5, NRSV)

2. Hares Chew The Cud (FALSE).

6 The hare, for even though it chews the cud, it does not have divided hoofs; it is unclean for you. (Leviticus 11:6, NRSV)

“chews the cud” means that the animal regurgitates food from its stomach back into its mouth and then chews on that food some more before swallowing it again. See this post: “On Rabbits and Rumination – A Response to Christian Interpretations of Leviticus 11:5-6“. Rock badgers and hares do NOT regurgitate food from their stomachs and then chew on that food some more before swallowing it again.

Young Hare, a watercolour, 1502, by Albrecht Dürer

3. Bats are Birds (FALSE).

13 These you shall regard as detestable among the birds. They shall not be eaten; they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, the osprey,  14 the buzzard, the kite of any kind;  15 every raven of any kind;  16 the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind;  17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl,  18 the water hen, the desert owl, the carrion vulture,  19 the stork, the heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat. (Leviticus 11:13-19, NRSV)

An all-knowing deity would know that bats are mammals and that birds are NOT mammals, and thus would know that bats are NOT birds.
4. Some Insects have four legs and four feet (FALSE).

20 All winged insects that walk upon all fours are detestable to you.  23 But all other winged insects that have four feet are detestable to you. (Leviticus 11:20 & 23, NRSV)

5. Locusts, Crickets, and Grasshoppers have four legs and four feet (FALSE).

21 But among the winged insects that walk on all fours you may eat those that have jointed legs above their feet, with which to leap on the ground. 22 Of them you may eat: the locust according to its kind, the bald locust according to its kind, the cricket according to its kind, and the grasshopper according to its kind.  23 But all other winged insects that have four feet are detestable to you.  (Leviticus 11:21-23, NRSV)

Insects, including locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers have three pairs of legs.

 
CONCLUSION
My Reason #7 for rejecting the view that Leviticus was inspired by God is this:

7. Leviticus contains false information.

I have shown that Leviticus makes FALSE historical claims or assumptions and that it contains some logical contradictions (implying that half of those claims are FALSE), and that it also contains a few scientific errors or FALSE scientific claims or assumptions.  Therefore, we have good reason to believe that Reason #7 is TRUE and that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.

bookmark_borderBack to God and Leviticus

When Easter rolled around this year, I dove back into the questions “Did God raise Jesus from the dead?”  and “Did Jesus rise from the dead?”  These are issues that I have enjoyed thinking about for the past four decades, and will continue to think and write about for the rest of my life.
 
DEFENDING THE HALLUCINATION THEORY
I wrote a series of posts defending the Hallucination Theory, specifically examining seven objections raised against this theory by Josh McDowell in his book The Resurrection Factor.  I discovered that the main problem with McDowell’s discussion about this skeptical theory is that he DOES NOT HAVE A CLUE about (a) what the word “hallucination” means, (b) what psychologists have learned about hallucinations and dreams, and (c) how to present a clear and intelligent argument for an historical claim about Jesus.  So, McDowell had no chance of producing a solid and strong refutation of the Hallucination Theory.  
His more recent defense of the resurrection in a book co-authored with his son, Evidence for the Resurrection mostly re-hashes the same pathetic objections against the Hallucination Theory, and COMPLETELY FAILS to refute that skeptical theory just like he COMPLETELY FAILED to refute it in The Resurrection Factor.  I noticed that in the most recent version of Evidence that Demands a Verdict McDowell abandoned his pathetic case against the Hallucination Theory and instead points to Peter Kreeft’s pathetic attempt to refute it (although Kreeft’s attempt appears to lean heavily on McDowell’s case).
 
DEFENDING OTHER SKEPTICAL THEORIES ABOUT THE RESURRECTION
If you are interested in the questions “Did God raise Jesus from the dead?”  and “Did Jesus rise from the dead?” you might want to also see my series of posts defending the Conspiracy Theory against objections raised by Peter Kreeft in his Handbook of Christian Apologetics (co-authored with Ronald Tacelli), and my series of posts defending the Apparent Death Theory (or “Swoon Theory”) against objections raised by Peter Kreeft.

Portion of the Temple Scroll, labeled 11Q19, one of the longest of the Dead Sea Scrolls

 
BACK TO GOD, LEVITICUS, AND THE PERVERTED FACULTY ARGUMENT
Having exposed McDowell’s sham of a case against the Hallucination Theory, I will now return to my previous topics:

  • Leviticus and Homosexuality

Part 12: More Bad Guidelines is where I left off on Leviticus.

  • Feser’s Perverted Faculty Argument

Part 1: The Core Argument is where I left off on the Perverted Faculty Argument.

  • The Thomist Cosmological Argument

I’m critiquing Norman Geisler’s pathetic attempt to present a Thomist cosmological argument, as a warmup exercise before I attempt to critique Feser’s better and clearer presentation of this argument for the existence of God.

 

bookmark_borderLeviticus and Homosexuality – Part 12: More Bad Guidelines

WHERE WE ARE
In Part 1 through Part 10 of this series, I have presented some reasons for rejecting the idea that the book of Leviticus was inspired by God, and for rejecting the view that this book is a reliable source of truth or wisdom. In Part 11 of this series, I began to discuss, two more reasons for rejecting the idea that Leviticus was inspired by God, or that it is a reliable source of truth or wisdom:

5. Leviticus contains bad moral guidelines.
6. Leviticus contains bad laws and bad social guidelines.

The Bible in general, and the first five books of the Bible in particular, is supposed to provide us with excellent moral guidelines, and exemplary laws and social guidelines.  The book of Leviticus, however, is FILLED from start to finish with BAD moral guidelines, BAD laws, and BAD social guidelines.  If the book of Leviticus contains messages from Jehovah (as most Christians and Jews believe), then we may reasonably infer that Jehovah is either a SHITHEAD and/or an ASSHOLE, based on the lousiness of his rules, laws, and guidelines.
In more philosophical terms, we may reasonably infer that Jehovah is a morally imperfect person or an intellectually imperfect person, or that Jehovah is both morally and intellectually imperfect.  If Jehovah is either morally or intellectually imperfect, then Jehovah is NOT God, because God, by definition, is morally and intellectually perfect.  In any case, the BAD moral and practical guidelines presented in Leviticus show that this book was clearly NOT inspired by God, and that we have very good reason to reject this book as having any sort of authority or credibility as a source of moral or practical truth.
The book of Leviticus promotes sexism.  The book of Leviticus promotes slavery and discrimination.  The book of Leviticus promotes violence and wars of aggression.  This book is better at instructing us about how NOT to behave, or about how to behave without regard to basic morality and without regard for basic fairness, and without regard for basic human rights, than it is at providing instruction about how to be a good and just person.  Leviticus is better at teaching people how to be SHITHEADS and ASSHOLES than to be decent human beings.
Not only do we find this ignorant and unjust sexism consistently promoted throughout the entire book of Leviticus, but we also find other stupid and unjust views, laws, and guidelines promoted in Leviticus.  For example, there is no hint that DEMOCRACY is of any value; instead we get a big fat helping of brutal authoritarianism.  There is no hint that FREEDOM OF RELIGION has any value; instead, religious beliefs and practices are repeatedly DICTATED by laws and ENFORCED by the threat of the DEATH PENALTY.
In Part 11 of this series, I argued that SEXISM is rampant in Leviticus, from start to finish, I pointed out sexist passages in Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, and Chapter 4 of Leviticus.
As I argued in Part 6 of this series, killing thousands of mammals and birds every year to atone for sins when only the death of Jesus can atone for sins is not just stupid, it is morally wrong.  It is wrong to kill thousands of mammals and birds every year for no good reason, and according to the teachings of the New Testament, sacrificing animals does NOTHING to atone for anyone’s sins.  If animals sacrifices worked to atone for sins, then there was no need for Jesus to die on the cross to atone for anyone’s sins.
So, if one accepts the Christian belief that Jesus’ death was necessary to accomplish atonement for the sins of all humankind, then animal sacrifices to Jehovah were superfluous and thus immoral.  Either Jehovah was IGNORANT about the fact that only the death of Jesus could atone for sins, or else Christianity is a false religion, and the death of Jesus was NOT necessary to atone for the sins of humankind.  So, if one insists on maintaining the basic truth of the Christian faith, then one must also conclude that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.
In Part 11 of this series, I also argued that the dietary laws in Chapter 11 of Leviticus are STUPID, and that the prohibitions against eating various animals show that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.
 
CHAPTER 17: THE DEATH PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO SACRIFICE ANIMALS TO JEHOVAH IN A PARTICULAR WAY
The whole practice of animal sacrifices demanded by the book of Leviticus is immoral and contrary the basic Christian theology, but setting those problems aside, the book of Leviticus uses the DEATH PENALTY to force people to not only worship a particular god (JEHOVAH), but to worship him in a very particular way through animal sacrifices:

1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 “Speak to Aaron and to his sons and to all the sons of Israel, and say to them, ‘This is what the LORD has commanded, saying,
3 “Anyone from the house of Israel who slaughters an ox, a lamb, or a goat in the camp, or slaughters it outside the camp,
4 and has not brought it to the doorway of the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to the LORD in front of the tabernacle of the LORD, bloodshed is to be counted against that person. He has shed blood, and that person shall be cut off from among his people.
5 This shall be done so that the sons of Israel will bring their sacrifices which they were sacrificing in the open field—so that they will bring them to the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting to the priest, and sacrifice them as sacrifices of peace offerings to the LORD.
[…]
8 “Then you shall say to them, ‘Anyone from the house of Israel, or from the strangers who reside among them, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice,
9 and does not bring it to the doorway of the tent of meeting to offer it to the LORD, that person also shall be cut off from his people.
(Leviticus 17:1-5 & 8-9, New American Standard Bible)

Exodus 31:14 states that a person shall be “cut off from his people” if that person violates the Sabbath day, and there this clearly means that such persons are to be put to death.
The use of the DEATH PENALTY to force people to (a) worship a particular god, and to (b) worship that god in a very particular way, is the sort of thing that a totalitarian government would do, and this shows very clearly that Leviticus is completely opposed to freedom of religion.  So, not only are the religious laws of Leviticus STUPID, and contrary to basic Christian theology, but they are also antithetical to freedom of religion and to democracy.  These laws support totalitarianism.  So, if Jehovah inspired Leviticus, then Jehovah is opposed to democracy, opposed to freedom of religion, and Jehovah supports totalitarianism.  But if democracy and freedom of religion are good things and reflect basic human rights, and if totalitarianism is evil, then Jehovah is NOT God, and thus Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.
 
CHAPTER 18: THE DEATH PENALTY FOR CHEATING WIVES (NOT CHEATING HUSBANDS) & FOR HAVING SEX WITH A WOMAN ON HER PERIOD
It is morally wrong to enforce marital fidelity by the use of the DEATH PENALTY, so the fact that Leviticus does this shows that this book was NOT inspired by God.  Furthermore, it is EXTREMELY SEXIST to use the DEATH PENALTY on wives who cheat, but not on husbands who cheat, which is exactly what the book of Leviticus insists upon.  A husband is free, according to Leviticus, to have sex with an unmarried woman, but a wife has no such freedom.  She is considered to be the property of her husband, so if she has sex with a man other than her husband, she is helping that man to “steal” the property that belongs to her husband (i.e. her body).  But the husband is NOT considered to be the property of his wife, so he can have sex with any woman he wants to have sex with, so long as that woman does not “belong” to some other man:

1 The Lord said to Moses, 
2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God.
19 “‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.
20 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife and defile yourself with her.
29 “‘Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people.
(Leviticus 18:1-2, 19-20, 29,  New International Version)

Exodus 31:14 states that a person shall be “cut off from their people” if that person violates the Sabbath day, and there this clearly means that such persons are to be put to death.  A  wife having sex with any man other than her husband was clearly to be punished by the DEATH PENALTY, as well as the man who was not her husband but who had sex with her:

10 If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.
(Leviticus 20:10, New Revised Standard Version. see also Deuteronomy 22:22)
So the phrase “must be cut off from their people” means “must be put to death”.  Using the DEATH PENALTY to keep men from having sex with a woman on her period is stupid and morally wrong (this prohibition is repeated in Leviticus 20:18).  If Jehovah inspired Chapter 18 of Leviticus, then Jehovah is NOT God, because God is perfectly good and perfectly intelligent. We may once again conclude that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.

Leviticus 20:10 says nothing about a husband having sex with an unmarried woman (who is not his wife), nor is there any such prohibition anywhere in Leviticus.
 
CHAPTER 18: NO PROHIBITION OF A FATHER HAVING SEX WITH HIS DAUGHTER
There are all sorts of prohibitions in Leviticus against various sexual acts.  There is a long list of prohibitions concerning having sex with a family member or close relative.  Given that sex with a family member or close relative carries the risk of producing children with serious physical defects or genetic-based diseases, and given the temptation of adult or older family members to use their authority or physical strength to force or manipulate children and younger family members to engage in sex with the adult or older or stronger family member, such prohibitions seem reasonable.
However, there is one such prohibition that is of OBVIOUS importance that is MISSING from the long list of sexual prohibitions in Leviticus.  There is no law in Leviticus against a father having sex with his own daughter!  See for yourself:

6 “‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord.
7 “‘Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.
8 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.
9 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.
10 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you.
11 “‘Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father; she is your sister.
12 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative.
13 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, because she is your mother’s close relative.
14 “‘Do not dishonor your father’s brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.
15 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her.
16 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother.
17 “‘Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.
18 “‘Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.
(Leviticus 18:6-18, New International Version)
There is no prohibition here against having “sexual relations with your daughter” nor “sexual relations with your step-daughter”.  One might argue that such a prohibition is IMPLIED by verse 17 which prohibits “sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter”, but there are significant problems with that interpretation.

First, this appears to be a prohibition against alternating between having sex with a woman and having sex with her daughter while both are still alive.  It appears that a man was ALLOWED to have sex with a woman for a period of time, and then if she died, the man was then ALLOWED to have sex with her daughter.  That sort of qualification is mentioned in the very next verse about not having sex with your wife’s sister “while your wife is living”, implying that it was ALLOWED for a man to have sex with his wife’s sister after his wife died.  So, if a man and his wife have sex, and as a result she gets pregnant and has a baby daughter, and if the wife dies during childbirth or dies years later when the baby girl has grown into a child or young woman, Leviticus 18:17 would not prohibit the father of that girl (his daughter) to have sex with her, because her mother was no longer alive and thus no longer a “rival” for the man’s sexual interest and attention.
A second problem with the proposed interpretation of verse 17 is that a man could have a daughter by a woman who is NOT his wife, stop having sex with the woman, and then start having sex with her daughter.  In this case he would be having sex with his own daughter. This too appears to be ALLOWED by this rule in Leviticus, since he would not be alternating back-and-forth between having sex with the woman and having sex with her daughter.
A third problem with the proposed interpretation of verse 17 is that a man can have have a daughter with his wife, and then divorce his wife and start having sex with his daughter.  If the man divorces his wife, he is no longer obliged to have sex with her, and can stop having sex with her for the rest of his life.  That would mean that if he starts having sex with that woman’s daughter, he would not be alternating between having sex with the woman and having sex with her daughter over a period of time.  In this case the man would be having sex with his own daughter.
A fourth problem is that a man could marry a woman who has a step-daughter from a previous marriage.  The step-daughter is NOT a blood relative of the woman, so the prohibition would appear to NOT apply in  such cases.  The husband would be free to have sex with the step-daughter even while continuing to have sex also with his wife, her step-mother.  The step-daughter would probably not be a blood relative to the man, but she might well be a girl or young woman who was under the authority of the man, a man who took on the role and responsibility of being her father.  So, although the genetic problems with having sex with a close relative would probably not apply in this case, there would still be the very serious problem of an adult or older family member abusing their authority or physical strength to force or manipulate a child or younger family member in order to gratify his sexual desires.
So, either the author of Leviticus was an IDIOT, or else the author was OK with fathers having sex with their daughters.  Since the author of Leviticus viewed daughters as the PROPERTY of their fathers, it is quite possible that the latter is the case.  In any case, this is yet another good reason to reject the claim that Leviticus was inspired by God.  Note that there is also no prohibition against a father having sex with his own son, which is a real problem that an all-knowing God would have recognized and addressed, but that never crossed the ignorant and sexist mind of the author of Leviticus.
 
CHAPTER 19: VARIOUS TRIVIAL LAWS
While there is no law prohibiting a husband from cheating on his wife, and no law prohibiting a father from having sex with his daughter, and no law prohibiting a father from having sex with his son, there are various trivial laws that serve no significant practical purpose:

 19 “‘Keep my decrees.
“‘Do not mate different kinds of animals.
“‘Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.
“‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.
27 “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.
28 “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.
(Leviticus 19:19 & 27-28, New International Version)
Clearly, the author of Leviticus was stupid or mentally ill.  To insist on obedience to such trivial demands, while ignoring very significant issues, like husbands cheating on their wives, or fathers having sex with their daughters (or sons), is clear evidence of intellectual deficiency and moral imperfection. God is all-knowing and all-wise, so clearly God would NOT have such idiotic and uncaring priorities.  This is another good reason to conclude that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.

 
 CHAPTER 20: THE DEATH PENALTY FOR CHILDREN WHO CURSE THEIR PARENTS
 Leviticus demands that children show respect for their parents, which is a reasonable demand, at least in cases where the parents are responsible and loving parents to their children.  But some parents are assholes and do not deserve respect from their children.   In any case, Leviticus also demands that the DEATH PENALTY be used against children who curse their parents:

9 All who curse father or mother shall be put to death; having cursed father or mother, their blood is upon them.
(Leviticus 20:9, New Revised Standard Version)

No responsible and loving parent would want their child put to death for such misbehavior.  The idea of using the DEATH PENALTY on children for such misbehavior is both idiotic and immoral, providing another good reason to reject the claim that God inspired Leviticus.  Scold the child, explain to the child why this behavior is wrong, send the child to bed without supper, but kill the child? That is the idea of a demon or a psychopath, not an idea from God.
 

The “baptism by fire” of Old Believer leader Avvakum in 1682 by Pyotr Yevgenyevich Myasoyedov

CHAPTERS 20 & 21: BURNING PEOPLE TO DEATH 
It is hard to imagine how the morally disgusting use of the DEATH PENALTY promoted by Leviticus for such minor things as children cursing their parents, men and women having sex when the woman is on her period, for doing any work on a Saturday (including cooking a meal!), or for sacrificing an animal in a way different than the manner described in Leviticus, could be topped by even worse commands and rules, but Leviticus goes beyond the extreme use of the DEATH PENALTY to the psychotic requirement that we punish some “bad behavior” by BURNING PEOPLE TO DEATH:

14 If a man takes a wife and her mother also, it is depravity; they shall be burned to death, both he and they, that there may be no depravity among you. 
 (Leviticus 20:14, New Revised Standard Version)
9 When the daughter of a priest profanes herself through prostitution, she profanes her father; she shall be burned to death.
(Leviticus 21:9, New Revised Standard Version)
Nero’s Torches by Henryk Siemiradzki, 1876.

You would think that a perfectly wise and perfectly good God would be opposed to torturing people to death, even for horrific crimes, and you would be right.  So, this is yet another excellent reason to conclude that the book of Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.  If Leviticus was inspired by Jehovah, then we may reasonably conclude not only that Jehovah was stupid, and extremely sexist, but was also a psychotic bastard who loved nothing more than blood and violence and extreme cruelty.  Jehovah was truly a sick motherfucker.

The burning of a 16th-century Dutch Anabaptist, Anneken Hendriks, who was charged with heresy.

Jews burned to death in the Strasbourg massacre. A contemporary drawing of the 2000 Jews of Strasbourg being burned to death over a pit on Feb. 14, 1349 in the Strasbourg Massacre during the Black Death persecutions. The Jews were accused of causing the Black Death by poisoning the wells. Babies thrown out to be saved were thrown back into the fire. The monument to this massacre erected in the early 20th century was removed by the Nazis.

 
CHAPTER 20: THE DEATH PENALTY FOR MEDIUMS AND WIZARDS
According to Leviticus, we are supposed to impose the DEATH PENALTY on anyone who is a medium or wizard:

27 A man or a woman who is a medium or a wizard shall be put to death; they shall be stoned to death, their blood is upon them.
(Leviticus 20:27, New Revised Standard Version)

 
I am a skeptic, so I believe that mediums are usually con artists, although a few may be sincerely deluded into believing they can actually communicate with the dead.  So, as far as I am concerned all mediums are either crooks or kooks.  Although I have no fondness for mediums, I would never advocate that we impose the DEATH PENALTY on mediums.  Crooks and con artists should be arrested, tried, and sent to prison (at least for a while) when they deceive and defraud people, but it would be cruel and extreme to KILL a crook or con artist for merely duping some naïve person and taking their money.  It would also be wrong to imprison someone for merely being deluded and believing that they really could communicate with the dead, so imposing the DEATH PENALTY on such deluded people, who identified themselves as mediums, would be absurd and clearly immoral.
I also don’t believe that there are wizards or witches, nor that there ever have been people who have magical powers.  Again, anyone who claims to be a witch or wizard is either a con artist or a nutcase.  It is wrong to impose the DEATH PENALTY for con artistry, and it is absurd and clearly immoral to impose the DEATH PENALTY on people for having idiotic supernatural beliefs, such as the belief that one possesses magical powers or magical potions or magical spells.  The very possession of such idiotic beliefs is sufficient punishment by itself for such foolish people.
Furthermore, if some people really can communicate with the dead, and if some people really do have magical powers or magical potions or magical spells, then these are amazing and extremely valuable and important people from whom we could learn a great deal of important truths.  Killing such valuable and important people would deprive humankind of important and useful knowledge about life after death, about events in the past (observed by people who are no longer alive), and about magical powers and forces.  If any crime was deserving of the DEATH PENALTY it would be the crime of KILLING such important and valuable people as mediums and wizards (assuming they truly had the supernatural powers they claim to have).
So, if you don’t believe that we can communicate with the dead, and you don’t believe that some humans have magical powers, then the use of the DEATH PENALTY against mediums and wizards is both STUPID and IMMORAL, which means that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.  On the other hand, if you believe that some people can communicate with the dead, and you believe that some people have magical powers, then the use of the DEATH PENALTY against mediums and wizards is both STUPID and IMMORAL, which means that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.  Either way, Leviticus is bullshit.
 
CHAPTER 21: STIGMATIZING BIRTH DEFECTS, PHYSICAL DEFORMITIES, HANDICAPS, SERIOUS INJURIES, AND SOME DISEASES
According to Leviticus, Jehovah stigmatized birth defects, physical deformities, handicaps, serious physical injuries, and even some diseases:

16 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
17 Speak to Aaron and say: No one of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the food of his God.
18 For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, one who is blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long,
19 or one who has a broken foot or a broken hand,
20 or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or a man with a blemish in his eyes or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles.
21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the Lord’s offerings by fire; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the food of his God.
(Leviticus 21:16-21, New Revised Standard Version)

 
Many societies, unfortunately, stigmatize birth defects, handicaps, and physical deformities.  Such stigmatization causes many people to be ignored, shunned, isolated, abused, mocked, hated, beaten, and even killed.  Such stigmatization results in a great deal of suffering and pain and sorrow to people who are good and innocent people who have done nothing wrong, and who do not deserve such ill treatment.  This is a great injustice in this world.
Empathy is a basic element of good moral character.  If we have empathy towards others, then we will realize that those who have birth defects, handicaps, and physical deformities deserve to be treated with love and respect, and that we ought to help such people to live full, productive, and happy lives, at least as full and as productive and as happy as is practically possible for each such person.  To stigmatize such people the way that Leviticus says Jehovah did, is morally reprehensible.  So, if Leviticus is accurate here, then Jehovah is a cruel and cold-hearted bastard, and thus Jehovah is NOT God.  But if Leviticus is WRONG here and this is a FALSE characterization of Jehovah’s words, then Leviticus was written by someone who had FALSE BELIEFS about Jehovah, or it was written by someone who LIED about Jehovah.  Either way, Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.  God is all-knowing and so does not have FALSE BELIEFS, and God is perfectly good, so God would not tell horrible lies about himself or about another person.
 
CHAPTER 25: LEVITICUS PROMOTES SLAVERY BASED UPON PREJUDICE
Leviticus promotes SLAVERY, and it promotes slavery on the basis of PREJUDICE:

 39 If any who are dependent on you become so impoverished that they sell themselves to you, you shall not make them serve as slaves.
40 They shall remain with you as hired or bound laborers. They shall serve with you until the year of the jubilee.
41 Then they and their children with them shall be free from your authority; they shall go back to their own family and return to their ancestral property.
42 For they are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt [i.e. Israelites]; they shall not be sold as slaves are sold.
43 You shall not rule over them with harshness, but shall fear your God.
44 As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves.
45 You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property.
46 You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshness.
(Leviticus 25:39-46, New Revised Standard Version)

 
SLAVERY is a horrible evil, so the fact that Leviticus promotes slavery is a very powerful reason to conclude that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.  But Leviticus tops even the morally disgusting promotion of slavery by encouraging slavery on the basis of PREJUDICE, namely sociocentrism, the widespread (cross-cultural) tendency of peoples and nations to believe they are better than, superior to, and more important than, OTHER peoples or nations.  White people of European heritage justified the evil of slavery in the USA on the basis of the sociocentric PREJUDICE that white Europeans are smarter and morally superior to black Africans,  and thus that it was a good thing for white people to own black people and treat them as slaves, and as sub-humans.  We can see the roots of this rationalization of slavery here in Chapter 25 of Leviticus.  It is NOT OK for Israelites to treat other Israelites like slaves, like property, and it is NOT OK for Israelites to treat other Israelites “with harshness”, but it IS OK to treat foreign people as slaves, as property, and to treat them “with harshness”, according to Leviticus.
Sociocentrism is not just a problem for the Israelites, it is a serious problem for all or nearly all peoples and nations.  This is a great human evil that the book of Leviticus promotes, especially in Chapter 25.  This SHIT in Leviticus polluted and corrupted the minds of white Europeans, because they were already naturally inclined towards sociocentrism, and the Holy Book of Judaism and Christianity blessed these evils in their minds and societies.  It blessed the evil of SLAVERY, and it blessed the PREJUDICE upon which slavery is based.  Chapter 25 of Leviticus provides a very powerful and conclusive reason, all by itself, to reject the now obviously absurd claim that Leviticus was inspired by a perfectly good and perfectly wise person (i.e. God).
 
CONCLUSION
The following two claims have been established beyond any reasonable doubt:

5. Leviticus contains bad moral guidelines.
6. Leviticus contains bad laws and bad social guidelines.

Because Leviticus is clearly filled from stem to stern with bad moral guidelines, bad laws, and bad social guidelines, it is obvious to any objective and clearheaded person that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.

Death By Tire Fire: A Brief History Of “Necklacing” In Apartheid South Africa – by Mark Oliver

bookmark_borderFeser’s Perverted Faculty Argument – Part 1: The Core Argument

HSIAO’S PERVERTED FACULTY ARGUMENT
I have REJECTED Timothy Hsiao’s Perverted Faculty “Argument” against homosexual sex NOT because it was a bad argument, but because it was a FAUX argument, and not an actual argument.  The core “argument” by Hsiao consists of three declarative sentences that were so UNCLEAR that they cannot be rationally evaluated, and thus those sentences do NOT assert actual claims, and thus those sentences do NOT constitute an actual argument.
For my analysis and criticism of Hsiao’s “argument” see the following posts:

Aquinas and Homosexual Sex – Part 1: A Thomist Argument
Aquinas and Homosexual Sex – Part 2: Argument Structure
Aquinas and Homosexual Sex – Part 3: Unclear Argument
Aquinas and Homosexual Sex – Part 4: The Logic of Applied Ethics
Aquinas and Homosexual Sex – Part 5: From Fake to Real
Aquinas and Homosexual Sex – Part 6: Sexual Activity
Aquinas and Homosexual Sex – Part 7: Definitions of “Sexual Activity”
Aquinas and Homosexual Sex – Part 8: Legal Definitions

 
FESER’S PERVERTED FACULTY ARGUMENT
Edward Feser has also put forward a version of the Perverted Faculty Argument (hereafter: PFA), so I will now examine that argument in the hopes that it is an actual argument consisting of actual claims.  Based on his book Five Proofs of the Existence of God, Feser understands the need to define and clarify the meanings of key words and phrases in philosophical arguments.  I am hoping that in his presentation of PFA,  Feser will define and/or clarify the meanings of key words and phrases in his version of PFA so that it constitutes an actual argument that is composed of actual claims.  If I find his effort to constitute an actual argument, then I will attempt to rationally evaluate that argument.
Here is how Feser summarizes PFA in his book Neo-Scholastic Essays (hereafter: NSE):

(NSE, p. 403-404)
The logical structure of this argument is simple and straightforward, consisting of a series of three inferences:

THE CORE ARGUMENT IN FESER’S PFA
Typically, the core of such a three-tiered argument occurs in the middle of the argument, and that seems to be the case here.  I have indicated what I take to be the core argument by the purple line drawn around the middle argument.
Here is what I take to be the core argument in Feser’s PFA:

(NSE, p. 404)
As with Hsiao’s PFA, this core argument is filled with UNCLEAR words and phrases.  However, for right now, I’m going to assume that Feser defines or clarifies the meanings of these UNCLEAR words and phrases (or most of them) somewhere in the chapter that he devotes to PFA, so that these sentences will turn out to be actual claims.
Before I try to nail down the meanings of the various UNCLEAR terms, I am going to work at eliminating UNCLEAR REFERENCES in these sentences, by applying a basic rule of argument analysis:

*** 86 THE MOTHERFUCKING PRONOUNS! ***

I don’t use the expression “motherfucking” here to indicate a criticism of Feser.  We ALL use pronouns, and even the best philosophers use pronouns when laying out philosophical arguments.  So, in using pronouns to summarize PFA, Feser is not doing anything contrary to normal practice, even among the best philosophers.
Nevertheless, it is good to develop some antipathy towards pronouns, if you want to properly analyze and evaluate philosophical arguments, or even if you just want to be a competent critical thinker.  Pronouns often create AMBIGUITY and UNCLARITY, and these things are anathema to philosophy and to critical thinking.
Don’t criticize what you don’t understand.  We need to understand the meaning of a claim first, before we can rationally evaluate that claim.  We need to understand an argument first, before we can rationally evaluate that argument.  So, CLARITY is a basic requirement for claims and arguments used in philosophical thinking and for thinking critically about any claim or argument.
 
EVIL PRONOUNS IN THE CORE ARGUMENT
I put the evil pronouns in bold red font.
Premise 3:
it is metaphysically impossible”
“for it to be good for us
“to use those faculties”
“in a manner that is contrary to their procreative and unitive ends”
Premise 4:
“homosexual acts” [ Note: I’m going to ignore the other “bad” sexual activities: “contraceptive acts”, “masturbatory acts”, and “acts of bestiality”.]
“involve the use of our sexual faculties”
“in a manner that is contrary to their procreative and/or unitive ends”
Premise 5:
it is metaphysically impossible”
“for it to be good for us
“to engage in homosexual acts” [ Note: I’m going to ignore the other “bad” sexual activities: “contraceptive acts”, “masturbatory acts”, and “acts of bestiality”.]
 
NOW WE 86 THE PRONOUNS
I replaced the pronouns in bold red font with words or phrases in bold blue font.
Premise 3:
it is metaphysically impossible”   ==>   “a situation is metaphysically impossible”
“for it to be good for us”   ==>   “for the activity to be good for a human being
“to use those faculties”   ==>   “to use the sexual faculties belonging to that human being
“in a manner that is contrary to their procreative and unitive ends”   ==>   “in a manner that is contrary to the procreative and unitive ends of the sexual faculties of human beings
Revision of Premise 3:

3a. A situation where a human being uses the sexual faculties belonging to that human being in a manner that is contrary to the procreative and/or unitive ends of the sexual faculties of human beings AND where that activity is good for that human being is a metaphysically impossible situation.

Premise 4:
“homosexual acts” [there are important elements missing from this phrase]   ==>  “in any situation where a human being engages in homosexual acts”
“involve the use of our sexual faculties”   ==>   “that human being uses the sexual faculties belonging to that human being
“in a manner that is contrary to their procreative and/or unitive ends”   ==>   “in a manner that is contrary to the procreative and/or unitive ends of the sexual faculties of human beings
Revision of Premise 4:

4a. In any situation where a human being engages in homosexual acts, that human being uses the sexual faculties belonging to that human being in a manner that is contrary to the procreative and/or unitive ends of the sexual faculties of human beings.

Premise 5:
it is metaphysically impossible” ==> “a situation is metaphysically impossible”
“for it to be good for us” ==> “for the activity (of engaging in homosexual acts) to be good for a human being
“to engage in homosexual acts” ==> “in any situation where a human being engages in homosexual acts”
Revision of Premise 5:

5a. A situation where a human being engages in homosexual acts AND where that activity (of engaging in homosexual acts) is good for that human being is a metaphysically impossible situation.

 
THE REVISED CORE ARGUMENT OF FESER’S PFA

3a. A situation where a human being uses the sexual faculties belonging to that human being in a manner that is contrary to the procreative and/or unitive ends of the sexual faculties of human beings AND where that activity is good for that human being is a metaphysically impossible situation.

4a. In any situation where a human being engages in homosexual acts, that human being uses the sexual faculties belonging to that human being in a manner that is contrary to the procreative and/or unitive ends of the sexual faculties of human beings.

THEREFORE:

5a. A situation where a human being engages in homosexual acts AND where that activity (of engaging in homosexual acts) is good for that human being is a metaphysically impossible situation.

This revised core argument is significantly more CLEAR than the statement of it by Feser.  However, all three sentences here still make use of UNCLEAR words and phrases, and so I’m not yet willing to admit that these three sentences make actual claims, nor that this is an actual argument.  It depends on whether Feser defines or clarifies the various UNCLEAR  words and phrases in these three sentences.
So, in the next post of this series I will begin to address this question:

Does Feser provide useful definitions or clarifications of the meanings of the key words and phrases in these sentences that are, apart from such efforts, too UNCLEAR to make it so the sentences may reasonably be treated as actual claims?

 
To Be Continued…

bookmark_borderAquinas and Homosexual Sex – Part 8: Legal Definitions

WHERE WE ARE
Sometimes, Christian philosophers put forward pieces of crap that they pretend to be philosophical arguments, but that are just word salads that are posing as philosophical arguments.  The core “argument” in Tim Hsiao’s article “A Defense of the Perverted Faculty Argument against Homosexual Sex” (hereafter: PFA) appears to me to be one such faux argument.  Hsiao fails to define or to clarify ANY of the basic terms and phrases in his core “argument”, making it a string of words that cannot be rationally evaluated.
Here is the core “argument” in PFA:

4. All sexual activity that is not open to the creation of new life is immoral.

A. All homosexual activity is sexual activity that is not open to the creation of new life.

THEREFORE:

7A. All homosexual activity is immoral.

This is NOT an actual argument, because an argument consists of claims (premises) that are given in support of another claim (the conclusion).  But NONE of the three sentences above is a claim.  These are declarative sentences, so they look and sound like claims, but they are TOO UNCLEAR to be rationally evaluated as true or false, or as probable or improbable.  Declarative sentences that are too unclear to be rationally evaluated are NOT claims.  So, these three sentences are FAUX claims  or PSEUDO claims, not actual claims.
These sentences are in the form of a categorical syllogism, so taken together they look and sound like an argument, but this is NOT an actual argument, because the sentences do not make actual claims.  Because these sentences are NOT claims, this collection of sentences is NOT an actual argument, but is a FAUX argument or a PSEUDO argument.  This is just a word salad that Hsiao is pretending to be an argument.
Unless and until Hsiao can figure out what he means by the four UNCLEAR terms in these sentences and then spells out the meanings of these terms so that others can be let in on his little secret, God only knows what the hell these three sentences mean.
 
THE TERM “SEXUAL ACTIVITY” IN THE LEGAL SPHERE
One of the UNCLEAR phrases in Hsiao’s core “argument” is the phrase “sexual activity”.
According to 90Lew90, however, this phrase is “completely unambiguous”:

 
90Lew90 is correct that “sexual activity” is a term of law, but instead of providing a reason or justification for his IDIOTIC claim, he points us to a mountain of evidence that proves the very opposite of his claim.  If you look at the dozens and dozens of different legal definitions of the phrase “sexual activity” the idea that this phrase is “completely unambiguous” quickly becomes ABSURD and impossible for any rational person to believe.
In Part 7 of this series, I pointed out that there are dozens and dozens of different legal definitions of the phrase “sexual activity”, and that the obvious and apparent variety of different definitions makes the claim that this phrase is “completely unambiguous” extremely dubious.
In this post I will examine a number of these legal definitions, and point out specific differences and contradictions between them.  This will show beyond any reasonable doubt that the phrase “sexual activity” is NOT “completely unambiguous” but, rather, that this phrase is undeniably ambiguous, and that it was  foolish of 90Lew90 to point us towards the legal use of this phrase as evidence for his view.
 
A COMPARISON OF SOME LEGAL DEFINITIONS OF “SEXUAL ACTIVITY”
 
==>DEFINITION #1 (or D#1)

D#1 specifies two different categories of “sexual activity” and clarifies what each of those two categories includes.
The first category is that of “sexual conduct” which is, roughly speaking sexual intercourse. Note that there is no requirement concerning the PURPOSE of these actions.  Also note that the people engaged in the activity  must be “without privilege to do so”.  I believe this means that the people who are engaging in the activity do not have a legal right or permission to do so.  For example, if a man has sexual intercourse with a woman who does NOT WANT to have sexual intercourse with that man and has NOT CONSENTED to have sex with the man, then that man does not have “privilege” to have sex with that woman at that time:

If I understand that condition correctly (“without privilege to do so”), then this definition clearly implies that when an adult man and adult woman both willingly engage in sexual intercourse, that would NOT COUNT as “sexual activity” (in most cases) according to D#1, because sexual intercourse between two consenting adults is generally legally permissible (at least when done privately as opposed to in public).  But most of us would consider sexual intercourse between two consenting adults (in private) to constitute a clear example of “sexual activity”, so this legal definition is definitely in conflict with how most people use the term “sexual activity”.
The second category is that of “sexual contact” which is “any touching of an erogenous zone of another” which is done for a particular PURPOSE: “the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying either person” (i.e. either the person who is doing the touching or the person who is being touched).  This condition has a rather interesting implication.  If a man fondles and kisses and licks the naked breasts of a woman as part of a sex show NOT in order to sexually arouse or gratify himself or the woman, but rather for the purpose of sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the patrons who paid to watch the sex show, then this activity would NOT COUNT as “sexual contact” and thus would also NOT COUNT as “sexual activity” according to D#1!  Once again, this implication is contrary to how most people would be inclined to use the term “sexual activity”.
Because the touching must be “of another” in order to be categorized as a “sexual contact”, this definition EXCLUDES public masturbation!  So, if a man takes off his pants in public, and masturbates in public, because he is not touching “another” person, this activity would be EXCLUDED by D#1, and thus would NOT COUNT as a “sexual activity”.  However, most people would consider public masturbation to be a clear case of “sexual activity”, and thus D#1 departs from how most people would use this term.
It is NOT clear on D#1 whether a medical examination involving the insertion of a medical device into the vagina of a woman would COUNT as a “sexual activity”.  It depends on whether the doctor is considered to have done this “without privilege to do so”.  Most of us would ASSUME that consenting to have a medical doctor conduct such an examination would give the doctor the LEGAL RIGHT to insert the medical device into the vagina of the woman, but D#1 does not explicitly spell out the conditions for having “privilege to do so”.  Taken straightforwardly, D#1 categorizes “the insertion…of…any instrument…into the vaginal cavity of another” to constitute a “sexual activity”, even in the case where a medical doctor inserts a medical instrument into a woman’s vagina as part of a legitimate medical examination or procedure, which is contrary to how most people would use the term “sexual activity”.
 
==>DEFINITION #2 (or D#2)
 

Unlike D#1 this definition does NOT divide “sexual activity” into two different categories (e.g. intercourse vs. sexual touching), but focuses exclusively on intercourse or penetration.  So D#2 EXCLUDES various sorts of sexual touching that are specifically INCLUDED by D#1. These two definitions clearly have very different implications concerning what is to count as a “sexual activity”.
Clearly D#2 EXCLUDES passionate kissing and French kissing because that activity does not involve “penetration” nor does it involve “union with…the sexual organ of another”.  Many people, however, would consider passionate kissing and French kissing to be examples of  “sexual activity”.  So, D#2 appears to differ from how many people would use the term “sexual activity”.
D#2 does not mention breasts.  That means that if a man fondles, kisses, and licks the naked breasts of a woman for the purpose of sexually arousing himself and/or the woman or for the purpose of sexually gratifying himself and/or the woman, this does NOT COUNT as a “sexual activity” according to D#2.  However, most people would consider such activity to constitute a clear example of “sexual activity”, so D#2 EXCLUDES an activity that most people would consider to be a “sexual activity”.
Furthermore, D#1 does explicitly mention the touching of a female “breast” as being a “sexual activity” if done for the PURPOSE of sexual arousal or sexual gratification of the person doing the touching or the female whose breast is being touched.  So, D#2 EXCLUDES an activity that is specifically INCLUDED by D#1.
Sucking on the toes of another person can be (and usually is) considered to be a sexual activity, but there is no mention of “toes” in D#2, and this definition is focused on sexual intercourse and penetration, so it EXCLUDES the activity of one person sucking on the toes of another person.  In that respect, this definition appears to depart from how most people would use the term “sexual activity”.
Like D#1, this definition requires that the sexual activity involve touching or penetration of “the sexual organ of another”.  So, D#2 also EXCLUDES public masturbation, which does not involve touching or penetration of “the sexual organ of another” person. Public masturbation would NOT COUNT as a “sexual activity” according to D#2.  However, most people would consider public masturbation to be a clear case of a “sexual activity”, so D#2 clearly departs from how most people use this term.
Unlike D#1, there is no requirement in D#2 that the people engaged in sexual intercourse be “without privilege to do so”, therefore if we consider an adult man and an adult woman who both willingly engage in sexual intercourse with each other (in private) this would COUNT as a “sexual activity” according to D#2, which corresponds with how most people use this term, in contrast with D#1.
Note that there is no requirement in D#2 that anyone engaged in the activity have a particular PURPOSE.  However, there is an interesting EXCLUSION based on “bona fide medical purpose”.  For example, if a medical doctor touches the vagina of a woman or inserts a medical tool into the vagina of a woman as part of a legitimate medical examination (that the woman has agreed to), then this action would NOT be considered to be a “sexual activity”, which is in keeping with how most people use the term “sexual activity”.  This is a very interesting exclusion, because very few definitions of “sexual activity” include such an exclusion, and thus most definitions that fail to require a particular PURPOSE (such as sexual pleasure or sexual gratification) would INCLUDE legitimate medical examinations of sexual organs as being a “sexual activity”!
 
==>DEFINITION #3 (or D#3)

Like D#1 and unlike D#2, this definition INCLUDES more than just sexual intercourse or penetration.  So, D#3 clearly has different implications than D#2 concerning what is to count as a “sexual activity.”
Because specific body parts are required to be involved by D#3, and because lips and tongues are not among the specified body parts, passionate kissing and French kissing would be EXCLUDED by D#3.  However, if lips and tongues are considered “erogenous zones”, then D#1 would INCLUDE passionate kissing and French kissing (if done for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying one or both kissers).  So, D#3 might well have different implications than D#1 concerning what counts as a “sexual activity”.
Because D#3 specifically mentions “female breasts” this definition would INCLUDE the activity of a man fondling, kissing, and licking the naked breasts of a woman, while D#2 clearly EXCLUDES such an activity.  So, the implications of D#3 clearly differ from the implications of D#2, concerning what activities count as being a “sexual activity”.
Like D#2 and unlike D#1, this definition of “sexual activity” does NOT require that the people engaged in the activity be “without privilege to do so”.  So D#3 INCLUDES consensual sexual intercourse between an adult man and an adult woman.
It is not clear whether D#3 refers to any sort of PURPOSE. It uses the vague term “of a sexual nature” as a requirement, but it is not clear whether this implies any particular sorts of PURPOSES on the part of the agents.  If this is a reference to the purpose of sexually arousing or sexually gratifying one of the people involved in the activity, then D#3 would have some similarity to D#1 which specifies one sub-category of “sexual activity” in terms of such purposes.  This would also make D#3 significantly different from D#2 which makes no reference to the purposes of the people involved in the activity.
However, because the expression “of a sexual nature” is VAGUE, we cannot determine whether this refers to the purposes of the agents, nor can we clearly determine what particular purposes this expression might be attempting to specify.  In this respect D#3 is less clear than D#1, because D#1 explicitly spells out what sort of PURPOSES are relevant to the application of the term “sexual activity”.
The requirement that the activity be “of a sexual nature” might, however, be sufficient to EXCLUDE legitimate medical examinations of genitals by a medical doctor.
 
==>DEFINITION #4 (or D#4)

D#4 defines “sexual activity” not in terms of TWO categories (like D#1 does), but in terms of THREE categories:

  • penetration
  • touching
  • any other activity

That means that the scope of D#4 extends beyond the scope of both D#1 and D#2.  It INCLUDES some activities that are neither penetration nor sexual touching, while D#1 includes only those sorts of activities, and D#1 includes only penetration or intercourse.  Clearly D#4 has different implications compared to D#1 and D#2  concerning what COUNTS as being a “sexual activity”
D#4  also specifies THREE different ways that an activity could be classified as being “sexual”:

  • because of the nature of the activity (apart from the circumstances or purposes of the activity)
  • because of the circumstances of the activity
  • because of the purposes of any person in relation to the activity

The definition FAILS to specify or clarify any of the three different ways that an activity could be considered to be “sexual”, so these three different sub-categories are UNCLEAR and are not very helpful.
Because of it’s broader scope D#4 might well INCLUDE passionate kissing and French kissing.  It might well also INCLUDE public masturbation.  Thus, the broader scope of D#4 seems to be closer to the scope of how most people use the term “sexual activity”.
However, because of the vagueness of D#4, there may be many cases or examples where it is difficult to determine with confidence whether that activity COUNTS as being “sexual”.  In this respect D#4 is more UNCLEAR than the previous definitions.
 
==>DEFINITION #5  (or D#5)
 

This definition requires “physical contact” that is either “direct or indirect” and that falls under one of two categories:

  • which is intended to erotically stimulate either person or both
  • which is likely to cause erotic stimulation in either person or both

No specific body parts are mentioned in D#5.  The first category concerns the INTENDED PURPOSE of the activity, and the second category concerns the LIKELY EFFECT of the activity.
Because of the phrase “either person or both” it appears that this definition is focused on activity involving two or more persons, and thus this definition appears to EXCLUDE public masturbation.  However, public masturbation is an activity that most people would consider to be a clear case of a “sexual activity”, so D#5 appears to be in conflict with how most people would use the term “sexual activity”.
Because D#5 does not specify particular body parts, it has a broader scope than some of the previous definitions.  This definition, for example would INCLUDE passionate kissing and French kissing because these activities could be done “to erotically stimulate either person or both”.  A man fondling, kissing, and/or licking the naked breasts of a woman could be done “to erotically stimulate either person or both”.
Furthermore, since a person who engages in sucking the toes of another person usually does this “to erotically stimulate either person or both”, toe sucking would be INCLUDED by this definition.  So, D#5 INCLUDES more than D#2, which focuses on sexual intercourse or penetration.
Because the focus of this definition is on the purpose of erotic stimulation (or the likely effect of erotic stimulation), a medical examination of the genitals of a patient by a medical doctor would (generally) be EXCLUDED by D#5, in keeping with how most people use the term “sexual activity”.
 
==>DEFINITION #6 (or D#6)

Unlike ALL of the previous five definitions, D#6 INCLUDES a category of “soliciting” activities “of a sexual nature”.  So, in that respect, this definition is broader than all the the previous five definitions. Soliciting sexual intercourse would COUNT as a “sexual activity” under this definition.  Soliciting fondling for the purpose of causing sexual arousal would also COUNT as a “sexual activity”, and soliciting someone to engage in passionate kissing or French kissing would COUNT as a “sexual activity”.  None of this would COUNT as a “sexual activity” under ANY of the previous five definitions.
This definition also specifically INCLUDES “kissing” and “fondling” of “parts of the body meant to cause sexual arousal”.  So, D#6 INCLUDES passionate kissing and French kissing, and it INCLUDES a man kissing and fondling the naked breasts of a woman (when this is done to cause sexual arousal), and it would appear to also INCLUDE the activity of toe sucking.
Because there does not appear to be a requirement in D#6 that two or more people are engaging in the activity, it appears that this definition also INCLUDES public masturbation (involving just one person).
 
CONCLUSION
Each of the six LEGAL definitions of “sexual activity” considered above is significantly different than the others.  Each of these definitions has different implications concerning what COUNTS as a “sexual activity”.
Many, if not all, of these definitions INCLUDE (or EXCLUDE) examples that most people would not INCLUDE (or EXCLUDE) and thus depart from how most people use the term “sexual activity”.  Because the various legal definitions of “sexual activity” disagree with each other, and often depart from how most people use the term “sexual activity”, these definitions of the term “sexual activity” provide powerful evidence that the phrase “sexual activity” is NOT “completely unambiguous”.
In pointing to the use of the phrase “sexual activity” in the legal and criminal arena 90Lew90 FAILS to establish his views about the meaning of this phrase, and instead points us to information that clearly proves his claims to be FALSE.  The phrase “sexual activity” is NOT clear; the meaning of this phrase is NOT “completely unambiguous”; the meaning of this phrase is NOT obvious.  Rather, the meaning of the phrase “sexual activity” is UNCLEAR and AMBIGUOUS, and it is in need of definition or clarification.
The UNCLARITY of the phrase “sexual activity” supports my view that sentence (4) and sentence (A) of Hsiao’s core “argument” are both FAUX claims, and thus that his core “argument” is not an actual argument, but is a FAUX argument that merely looks and sounds like an argument.
For many more LEGAL definitions of the phrase “sexual activity”, see this website: https://www.lawinsider.com/dictionary/sexual-activity
PS
I have no interest in wasting my time attempting to evaluate Hsiao’s FAUX argument.  However, I will check out the efforts by Edward Feser to support and defend a version of the Perverted Faculties Argument in order to determine whether Feser manages to present an ACTUAL argument, an argument that is composed of ACTUAL claims.  If Feser seems to present an ACTUAL argument, then I will attempt to evaluate that argument.

bookmark_borderAquinas and Homosexual Sex – Part 7: Definitions of “Sexual Activity”

In Part 6 of this series, I argued that the phrase “sexual activity” is unclear, and that the meaning of this phrase is NOT obvious.
I used examples and information about the use of this phrase in the medical and health arena.  I plan to also look at some information about the use of the phrase “sexual activity” in the legal and criminal justice arena.  But before I move on to discussing the meaning of this phrase in the legal arena, I want to dig a bit deeper into some definitions and interpretations of this phrase in the medical and health arena.
DIFFERENT DEFINITIONS OF “SEXUAL ACTIVITY” IN THE MEDICAL AND HEALTH ARENA
Let’s start off with the definition of “sexual activity” that is provided by Vocabulary.com:

DEFINITION 1:   

X is a sexual activity IF AND ONLY IF:

(a) X is an activity, and

(b) X is associated with sexual intercourse.

The Encyclopedia Britannica has an article on sexual activity by an expert on sex, and the article provides a definition of “sexual activity”:

DEFINITION 2: 

X is a sexual activity IF AND ONLY IF:

(a) X is an activity, and

(b) X induces sexual arousal.

 
A third definition of “sexual activity” can be inferred from an article presenting scientific research about the frequency of sexual activity:

 
DEFINITION 3:

X is a sexual activity IF AND ONLY IF:

(a) X is an activity, and

(b) a person P engaging in X on an occasion O constitutes P having sex on occasion O.

These three definitions of “sexual activity” are clearly different definitions.  It seems, at least at first glance, that they are NOT equivalent to each other, and that they have different implications.  If this is so, then there are at least three different possible definitions for the phrase “sexual activity” in relation to the medical and health arena.
Let’s put these definitions to work, in order to see if they are in fact different definitions that have different implications.
Suppose that John kisses Susan passionately on the lips for a minute or two, and suppose that Susan is not completely passive but also engages in passionate kissing of John on the lips at the same time.  Is John involved in sexual activity here?  Is Susan involved in sexual activity here?
If we try to apply DEFINITION 1, we run into some problems.  First of all, is the activity here the generic one of “kissing someone on the lips”?  or is it “kissing someone passionately on the lips”?  or is it “John kissing Susan on the lips”? or “John kissing Susan passionately on the lips”? or is it “John kissing Susan passionately on the lips on this particular occasion”?
Kissing someone on the lips can be done without any sexual desire or any intention to ever engage in sexual intercourse with the person being kissed.  Kissing someone passionately on the lips implies some degree of sexual desire or intention to arouse sexual desire.  However, sometimes people become sexually aroused or intend to arouse sexual desire in another person while having no intention to proceed on to having sexual intercourse with that person.
In fact, two people who are attracted to each other may have an explicit plan to AVOID engaging in sexual intercourse, while sometimes engaging in passionate kissing.  Perhaps John and Susan are just such a pair of people.  In that case, is this passionate kissing activity “associated with sexual intercourse”?  It is very difficult to say.  Kissing in general is remotely associated with sexual intercourse, because people often kiss each other as a prelude to engaging in sexual intercourse.  But it is also the case that people often kiss without there being any sexual desire or intention to ever have sexual intercourse with each other.
Although John and Susan apparently have some sexual desire for each other, they may be perfectly capable of controlling their sexual desires and behavior and be able to passionately kiss each other on the lips without then proceeding to have sexual intercourse.  It is simply UNCLEAR whether this activity constitutes a “sexual activity” according to DEFINITION 1.
But if both John and Susan are engaged in passionate kissing for a minute or two, then it seems clear that this activity “induces sexual desire” in John and in Susan, and thus would clearly count as a “sexual activity” according to DEFINITION 2.
Kissing on the lips, even passionate kissing on the lips, does NOT constitute “having sex” with another person, so this activity is clearly NOT an instance of “sexual activity” according to DEFINITION 3.
We can already see that these three definitions are three DIFFERENT definitions, with different implications.  DEFINITION 1 leaves us unclear as to whether the passionate kissing between John and Susan counts as a “sexual activity”.  DEFINITION 2 clearly implies that the passionate kissing between John and Susan counts as a “sexual activity”, and DEFINITION 3 clearly implies that this passionate kissing between John and Susan does NOT count as a “sexual activity.”
We have examined three definitions of “sexual activity” and discovered that they are three different definitions, and that at least in some cases they have conflicting implications.  Therefore, these three different definitions of “sexual activity” represent three different conflicting interpretations of that phrase.  I did not have to look very long to find these three definitions, so if I took more time, I’m sure I could come up with at least two or three more alternative definitions.  This is strong evidence that the phrase “sexual activity” as used in the medical and health arena is UNCLEAR, and that the meaning of this phrase is NOT obvious.
 
DIFFERENT DEFINITIONS OF “SEXUAL ACTIVITY” IN THE LEGAL AND CRIMINAL ARENA
A commenter who rejected my criticism of Hsiao’s core “argument” in PFA, claimed that the meaning of the phrase “sexual activity” was self-explanatory:

Apparently, 90Lew90 believes that the phrase “sexual activity” is “completely unambiguous” and that the meaning of this phrase is OBVIOUS to most people.  We have seen above that this phrase is clearly NOT “completely unambiguous” and that the meaning of this phrase is NOT obvious.
90Lew90 goes on to point out that this phrase is “also a term of law”.  Although it is true that this phrase is a term used in our laws and our legal system, concerning sex crimes, what 90Lew90 failed to realize is that our laws provide powerful evidence that the phrase “sexual activity” is AMBIGUOUS and that the meaning of this phrase is NOT obvious.
90Lew90 apparently forgot that our laws (in the USA) against sex crimes are, primarily, STATE LAWS.  Thus, we have 50 different sets of STATE LAWS that define various sex crimes.  The assumption that all 50 states would define “sexual activity” in the same way is very implausible, and extremely unlikely.  In any case, a few seconds of searching on the internet reveals this assumption to be not only FALSE, but to be as WRONG as it could possibly be.
Here are just a few of the dozens of different definitions of “sexual activity” provided by different laws about sex crimes:

 

For many more definitions, see this website: https://www.lawinsider.com/dictionary/sexual-activity
I have examined a few of these definitions.  Some are very general and abstract, others contain lots of details and specifics.  The ones that contain specifics differ from each other on what specifics they include or exclude in the definitions.  The general and abstract definitions also do NOT all agree with each other.  So, although some of these definitions are very similar to others, some are unique, and some are different from, and disagree with, other definitions.
In pointing to the use of the phrase “sexual activity” in the legal and criminal arena 90Lew90 FAILS to establish his views about the meaning of this phrase, and instead points us to information that clearly proves his claims to be FALSE.  The phrase “sexual activity” is NOT clear; the meaning of this phrase is NOT “completely unambiguous”; the meaning of this phrase is NOT obvious.
Rather, the meaning of the phrase “sexual activity” is UNCLEAR and AMBIGUOUS, and it is in need of definition or clarification.

bookmark_borderAquinas and Homosexual Sex – Part 6: Sexual Activity

HSIAO’S FAUX ARGUMENT
Sometimes, Christian philosophers put forward pieces of crap that they pretend to be philosophical arguments, but that are just word salads that are posing as philosophical arguments.  The core “argument” in Tim Hsiao’s article “A Defense of the Perverted Faculty Argument against Homosexual Sex” (hereafter: PFA) appears to me to be one such faux argument.  Hsiao fails to define or to clarify ANY of the basic terms and phrases in his core “argument”, making it a string of words that cannot be rationally evaluated.
Here is the core “argument” in PFA:

4. All sexual activity that is not open to the creation of new life is immoral.

A. All homosexual activity is sexual activity that is not open to the creation of new life.

THEREFORE:

7A. All homosexual activity is immoral.

This is NOT an actual argument, because every key term in the argument is UNCLEAR, making it impossible to rationally evaluate any of the three statements that make up this core “argument”.
 
HSIAO’S RESPONSE
Here is Hsiao’s response to my criticism of his core “argument”:
 

In short, his response is that “There’s no need to define the obvious.”  The unstated assumption in this response is that the meanings of all of the key words and phrases in his core “argument” are OBVIOUS.  This response leads me to the following conclusion:  The reason why the core “argument” in Hsiao’s article is a steaming pile of crap is that Hsiao is intellectually incapable of constructing and evaluating philosophical arguments.
It seems self-evident to me that all of the key terms in his core “argument” are UNCLEAR, VAGUE, and/or AMBIGUOUS.  If Hsiao cannot discern that there is a problem of CLARITY in these key terms even after I point to those key terms and object to their UNCLARITY, then he is not intellectually capable of producing an intelligent, logical, and clear philosophical argument.
 
A DEFENDER OF HSIAO’S “ARGUMENT”
One commenter on the post in which I stated my main objections against Hsiao’s core “argument” agreed with me that Hsiao’s article was crap, and yet did NOT agree with my objections against Hsiao’s core “argument”:


90Lew90 replies to my objections in pretty much the same way that Hsiao replied to my objections.  According to 90Lew90 at least three of the key terms in Hsiao’s “argument” have meanings that are “self-explanatory”.  (The whole IDEA of a term that is “self-explanatory” strikes me as absurd.)  Whatever the hell it means for a word or phrase to be “self-explanatory,” the main point appears to be that the meanings of these words and phrases are OBVIOUS.  This is implied when 90Lew90 states that my failure to agree that the phrase “sexual activity” is self-explanatory shows that I am “the one with the problem here.”
Given that 90Lew90 FAILS to discern that  that there is a problem of CLARITY in these key terms even after I point to those key terms and object to their UNCLARITY, I am forced to conclude that just like Hsiao 90Lew90 is not intellectually capable of producing an intelligent, logical, clear philosophical argument, or of rationally evaluating philosophical arguments.
 
ARE THE KEY TERMS IN THE CORE “ARGUMENT” OF PFA UNCLEAR?
Because it seems self-evident to me that ALL of the key terms in Hsiao’s core “argument” in PFA are UNCLEAR, it seems to me that I should NOT have to argue for my objections.  However, Hsiao cannot see the problem, and 90Lew90 cannot see the problem.  So, perhaps the UNCLARITY of these words and phrases is for many people NOT self-evident.
This, however, suggests that I’m incorrect in thinking that the UNCLARITY of these terms is self-evident, given that many (perhaps most) human beings would FAIL to notice the UNCLARITY of these terms, even after I point this out to them.  If I give up my assumption that the UNCLARITY of these terms is self-evident, then I have an obligation to provide REASONS and EVIDENCE to support my view that these terms are in fact UNCLEAR.
I have previously provided some evidence that the term “homosexual activity” is UNCLEAR.  One commenter provided a definition of this term which came from a well-known Catholic bishop and a respected moral theologian (Saint Alphonsus Ligouri).  I examined that proposed definition and found a number of significant problems with the definition, and I pointed those problems out in Post #5 of this series.  The fact that a definition put forward by a well-known Catholic bishop and respected moral theologian contains several obvious and significant problems is evidence that the term “homosexual activity” is UNCLEAR, and this is evidence that the meaning of this phrase is NOT obvious, since a well-known Catholic bishop and respected moral theologian defined this term in a way that is mistaken and inaccurate.
 
FUCK UP BY WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION EXPERTS ON SEX
90Lew90 cannot see any problem with the CLARITY of the phrase “sexual activity”.  So, I am going to provide him and Hsiao (and anyone who bothers to read my posts on this topic) with evidence that this phrase is UNCLEAR, and evidence that the meaning of this phrase is NOT obvious.
First, a short story.  In 1975 the World Health Organization (hereafter: WHO) produced a ground-breaking report concerning “sexual health”: One important thing that this report did was to provide a DEFINITION of the term “sexual health” that has significantly influenced thinking and investigations about this subject for the past four decades:

Although this 1975 WHO report had significant impact on the development of thinking and investigations about sexual health, there was a significant problem with this report, as is pointed out in a 2002 WHO publication (Defining sexual health: Report of a technical consultation on sexual health, 28–31 January 2002, Geneva, p.4):

The doctors and sex experts who wrote the 1975 Report fucked up.  They FAILED to clearly define the most basic terms they were using, such as “sex” and “sexuality” and “sexual activity”.
Hsiao and 90Lew90 would not see any problem with the 1975 WHO report, since their view is that the meanings of terms like “sex” and “sexuality” and “sexual activity” are CLEAR and OBVIOUS. But as the authors of the 2002 WHO report note:

…there has been no subsequent international agreement on definitions for these terms.  

In other words, these terms are UNCLEAR, and the meanings of these terms are NOT obvious, so these basic terms are in NEED of a clear definition, which the 1975 WHO report FAILED to provide.
 
A COMMON MEDICAL QUESTION
Here is another bit of evidence that supports my view that the phrase “sexual activity” is UNCLEAR, and that the meaning of the phrase is NOT obvious.  A common medical question that doctors ask their patients involves a phrase that is very close to the phrase at issue here:

Are you sexually active?

Many people find this question to be problematic.  This in itself is evidence for my view that the phrase “sexual activity” is UNCLEAR and that the meaning of this phrase is NOT obvious.
But because many people find this question to be problematic, they ask experts about the MEANING of this question.  They ask health experts at Planned Parenthood, for example, and they ask other medical experts.  The response of experts generally begins with the admission that this question is somewhat UNCLEAR.  Furthermore, when these experts provide “clarification” of this question, they end up contradicting each other, by giving different and conflicting interpretations of the question.  This provides even more evidence supporting my view that the phrase “sexual activity” is UNCLEAR and in need of definition.
Here is a response to a request to a medical expert to clarify this common question:

Note that this medical expert admits that

…this question is somehow vague. 

According to this expert, if you engage in sexual activities that involve penetration of the penis into the vagina or penetration of the penis into the anus, then you are “sexually active” but if you do NOT engage in one or the other of these two types of sexual activities, then you are, according to this medical expert, NOT “sexually active”.  This seems fairly clear, but other experts understand this phrase as having a different meaning.
Here is the answer that health experts from Planned Parenthood give to people who ask for clarification of the common question “Are you sexually active?”:

According to health experts at Planned Parenthood:

…there’s sometimes confusion over what ‘sexually active’ actually means.

In other words, this phrase is somewhat UNCLEAR, and the meaning of this phrase is NOT obvious.  They point out that some people think this phrase “just refers to vaginal intercourse”.  But in the view of Planned Parenthood health experts, this expression, in this context, should be understood as referring to vaginal intercourse plus various “other forms of sex”, including : anal sex and oral sex.
So far, we have seen that there are at least three different interpretations of the phrase “sexually active”:

  • the person has engaged in vaginal sex
  • the person has engaged in activity involving either (a) penetration of the penis into the vagina or (b) penetration of the penis into the anus
  • the person has engaged in either: (a) vaginal sex, or (b) anal sex, or (c) oral sex

But other medical experts provide yet another possible interpretation of the phrase “sexually active”.  Here is the clarification offered by health experts at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center:

Note that, once again, the health experts admit that:

The phrase sexually active is a bit vague…

They provide a fourth possible meaning for this phrase:

  • the person has engaged in either: (a) penis-in-vagina sex, or (b) oral sex, or (c) anal sex, or (d) manual sex.

NONE of the previous clarifications/definitions mentioned “manual sex”.
So, not only do MANY people find the meaning of the phrase “sexually active” to be problematic, but health experts often AGREE that this phrase is vague or UNCLEAR.  Furthermore, different health experts provide different and conflicting interpretations of what this phrase means.  NO WONDER patients are confused about the meaning of the question “Are you sexually active?”, because medical and health experts DON’T AGREE WITH EACH OTHER about what this question means!
But the phrase “sexually active” is very closely related to the phrase “sexual activity”.  The latter phrase could easily be used in place of the former:

Do you engage in sexual activity?

Given the UNCLARITY of the phrase “sexually active” it is likely that the phrase “sexual activity” is also UNCLEAR.  Given that the meaning of the phrase “sexually active” is NOT obvious, it is likely that the phrase “sexual activity” is also NOT obvious.
 
CONCLUSION
In view of the fact that a careful definition of “homosexual activity” put forward by a well-known Catholic bishop and well-respected moral theologian has several significant problems, and thus fails to be a clear and accurate definition of that phrase, this is evidence that the phrase “homosexual activity” is an UNCLEAR phrase, and that the meaning of this phrase is NOT obvious.
In view of the fact that the 1975 WHO report on sexual health FAILED to clarify or define some of the most basic terms used by health and sex experts, such as “sex”, “sexuality”, and “sexual activity”, and given that this is now understood by health and sex experts to be a significant problem with that historical and influential report, and given that there was no consensus on the meanings of those important basic terms among health and sex experts for decades after the 1975 WHO report, there is good reason to believe that these basic terms are somewhat UNCLEAR, in need of DEFINITION, and that the meanings of these terms are NOT obvious.
In view of the fact that the common medical question “Are you sexually active?” is confusing and problematic for many patients, and given that medical and health experts provide different and conflicting accounts about what that question means, it is clear that the phrase “sexually active” is UNCLEAR and that the meaning of this phrase is NOT obvious.  Since the phrase “sexual activity” is closely related to the phrase “sexually active”, it is likely that the phrase “sexual activity” is also an UNCLEAR phrase, and likely that the meaning of the phrase “sexual activity” is also NOT obvious.
In the next post, I will present evidence concerning the UNCLARITY of the phrase “sexual activity” in the LEGAL arena, where the focus is on sex crimes.

bookmark_borderAquinas and Homosexual Sex – Part 5: From Fake to Real

WHAT I REALLY HATE
I really, really, really fucking hate it when Christian philosophers put forward pieces of crap that they pretend to be philosophical arguments, but that are just word salads that are posing as philosophical arguments.  I really, really, really fucking hate having to dig through their bronzed turds to try to make something of intellectual value out of their lazy, sloppy, unclear faux arguments.
The core “argument” in Tim Hsiao’s article “A Defense of the Perverted Faculty Argument against Homosexual Sex” (hereafter: PFA) appears to me to be one such faux argument.  He fails to define or to clarify ANY of the basic terms and phrases in his core “argument”, making it a string of words that cannot be rationally evaluated as it stands.  I was happy that Hsiao responded to my objections, because I was hoping that he would shed some light on his pathetic “argument” by defining or clarifying some of the key words or phrases in his core “argument”.  But he has failed to provide any such clarification in comments, so his “argument” remains a faux argument; it was Dead On Arrival.
However, I would like to have something intelligent to say in response to this sort of Thomist argument, because this Thomist shit about homosexual sex, abortion, contraception, etc. is not going away anytime soon.  Although I really, really, really fucking hate doing this, I am going to make an attempt to turn the faux argument by Hsiao into a REAL ARGUMENT, something that has actual intellectual content, something I can sink my teeth into.
Here is the core “argument” in PFA:

4. All sexual activity that is not open to the creation of new life is immoral.

A. All homosexual activity is sexual activity that is not open to the creation of new life.

THEREFORE:

7A. All homosexual activity is immoral.

The first task we need to perform, in order to turn this FAKE argument into a REAL argument, is to spell out what the conclusion (7A) means.  We cannot rationally evaluate an argument that we do not understand.  And we do not understand an argument unless we understand the point of the argument, and that requires that we understand the MEANING of the conclusion of the argument.  The conclusion of this “argument” is a categorical claim, namely a universal generalization of the following form:

ALL Xs are Ys.

We can clarify (7A) by putting it more explicitly into the form of a universal categorical generalization:

7B. ALL instances of homosexual activity ARE instances of immoral actions.

This is a simple, straightforward logical structure, so we don’t need to spend any more time on the logical structure of the conclusion.
But we do need to understand the terms or categories that this claim uses.  What does “homosexual activity” mean?  and what does “immoral actions” mean? Until we have clear and reasonable answers to those two questions, we do not understand the conclusion of this argument, and thus we do not understand the argument.
 
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF “HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVITY”?
Jesus H Christ, you would think that a philosopher who is putting forward an argument against “homosexual activity” in a journal of philosophy would define or explain what the HELL it was that he was arguing against!  But that is apparently too great a burden for Hsiao to bear.  I suspect that he is intellectually incapable of providing such a definition or clarification, otherwise he would have provided it in PFA, or he would have provided it in his comments on my post #3 where I argue that his argument is a faux argument because it is so thoroughly UNCLEAR.
Although Hsiao completely FAILED to provide clarification of the key term “homosexual activity”, one of the comments by someone else in response to my objections proposes a definition of this phrase:

According to this comment by Jonathan Schwartzbauer, we should define “homosexual activity” like this:

Person A engages in homosexual activity IF AND ONLY IF:

1. two people are engaged in sexual relations, and

2. those two people are of the same sex, and

3. person A is one of those two people.

This is certainly clearer than anything suggested by Hsiao, but that is mainly because Hsiao has not suggested ANY definition or clarification of this phrase.
I see a few problems with this definition right off the bat.  However, these problems might not be deadly.  Perhaps this definition could be refined to avoid the problems that I am now going to point out.
FIRST, what about when THREE or FOUR or FIVE or SIX people engage in “sexual relations” together?  This definition appears to rule out GROUP SEX by specifying that “two people” must be “engaged in sexual relations”.  But what if man A is thrusting his penis into the anus of man B while man B is thrusting his penis into the anus of man C while man C is thrusting his penis into the anus of man D while man D is thrusting his penis into the anus of man A?
In this scenario FOUR MEN are engaged in “sexual relations” with each other, not just TWO people: 
I have never tried this myself, so perhaps this is physically unrealistic.  Maybe you would need to have six or more men in order to form a simultaneous circle of anal sex (although just four men could engage in circular anal sex, if they took turns penetrating their partner, going around the circle).  But this group sex activity seems to be a clear case of “homosexual activity”, so the definition proposed above seems to be incorrect in specifying that there must be only TWO people who are engaged in “sexual relations” in order for “homosexual activity” to occur.
SECOND, the phrase “sexual relations” is unclear.  Most American adults, even those who don’t care about politics, current affairs, or American history, are probably familiar with the following English sentence:

I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

This sentence was uttered by President Bill Clinton on January 26, 1998.  The woman he referred to is Monica Lewinsky.
If this sentence is unfamiliar, then you should check out this video:

Although this sentence uttered by Bill Clinton was intended to mislead and deceive the public, various lawyers wrangled over how to define the phrase “sexual relations”, and the definition blessed by the judge in Clinton’s trial was such that the sentence uttered by Bill Clinton was TRUE, at least if you understand the phrase “sexual relations” according to the definition used in his trial, even though Monica Lewinsky had sucked on Clinton’s cock until he experienced an orgasm and ejaculated semen into her mouth and/or onto her dress.
Of course, most people would take this to be a clear-cut case of Clinton having “sexual relations” with Monica Lewinsky.  But the precise definition adopted in his trial does not fully and accurately capture the ordinary meaning of “sexual relations” and thus provided a legal loophole for Clinton to use, making this claim by Clinton true, in that context, based on that precise definition.
This historical event suggests two lessons that are relevant to our discussion here.  First, the phrase “sexual relations” is somewhat UNCLEAR and in need of definition or clarification.  Second, it is somewhat CHALLENGING to produce a definition of the phrase “sexual relations” that fully and accurately captures the ordinary meaning of this phrase.
THIRD, the phrase “the same sex” in condition (2) of the definition is problematic.  The concepts of “sex” and “gender” are no longer as clear as they once seemed to be.  Nowadays, some people who are born with a penis decide to “become” a female or a woman.  Some people who are born with a vagina decide to become a male or a man.  Also, there are some people who do not identify as either a male or a female, and there are some people who want to be partly male and partly female.  There are many options and alternatives these days.  Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, and conservative Catholics who are upset by these new options and alternatives want to establish a clear-cut criterion for determining the sex of a person, a criterion that is based on biology or on our physical bodies.  So, the temptation is to define a “male” as someone who was born with a penis (for example):

The sex of person A is male IF AND ONLY IF:

person A was born with a penis.

The sex of person A is female IF AND ONLY IF: 

person A is NOT a male.

On these definitions, every person would be either male or female, and no one would be both male and female, and no one would be partly male or partly female.  Furthermore, based on this “conservative” definition, it would not be possible for a male to “become” a female, nor for a female to “become” a male, even though it is possible for a person born with a penis to (through surgery) get rid of the penis and obtain a vagina, and even though it is possible for a person born with a vagina to (through surgery) get rid of the vagina and obtain a penis.   However, such definitions, as comforting as they may be to Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, and conservative Catholics, might still be problematic when applied to our current issue.
What if a person who was born with a vagina decides to become a person who identifies as a male and that person also has surgery performed to get rid of the vagina and surgery to obtain a penis?

If this person, who now has a penis, has anal sex with a man – with someone who was born with a penis – by thrusting his/her penis into the anus of the male sexual partner, then this would NOT count as “homosexual activity” based on the above definition of what it means to be a MALE and based on the proposed definition of “homosexual activity”.  Although the sexual activity here looks just like clear-cut cases of “homosexual activity” it would NOT count as such, because these two people would NOT be “of the same sex”.  The person thrusting the penis into the man’s anus would be considered to be a FEMALE (on the “conservative” definition), because that person was not born with a penis.
In short, before we can reasonably settle on a definition of the phrase “homosexual activity”, we must first settle on a definition of what it means for two people to be “of the same sex”, and in order to settle on a definition of that phrase, we need to first determine what it means to be a MALE,  and what it means to be a FEMALE.  This is no longer a simple and easy task to accomplish, especially in this context of discussing homosexuality and other alternatives to traditional ideas and practices about sex and gender.
FOURTH, because we are dealing with moral evaluations, the concept of “intention” is important to keep in mind.  What if a man (in this case a person who was born with a penis, still has a penis, and identifies as a male) has sex with a person who appears to have a vagina, and the man does so by thrusting his penis into the “vagina” of the other person, whom he believes to be a female, but the man is mistaken (according to the “conservative” definition of MALE above) because although his sexual partner has no penis now, and has what appears to be a vagina, that other person was actually born with a penis, and then later underwent sex-change surgeries to obtain a more feminine body.
Although this sexual activity looks just like ordinary heterosexual intercourse, it would count as “homosexual activity” based on the above proposed definition.  These two people would be “of the same sex” (based on the “conservative” definition of what it means to be MALE), and they are clearly engaging in “sexual relations” (that look just like ordinary heterosexual intercourse), so this would count as “homosexual activity” and the moral condemnation of this activity would fall upon the unsuspecting man, specifically on the man who was born with a penis, still had a penis, and who identified as a male.  This man would be morally condemned for engaging in “homosexual sex” even though his intention was to engage in heterosexual intercourse and his sexual activity looks just like ordinary heterosexual intercourse to most observers (e.g. if the activity was video taped and viewed later by intelligent sexually-experienced adults).  This seems very UNFAIR and UNREASONABLE.
Intentions are also significant because RAPE and BEING RAPED, it seems to me, still counts as a sub-set of engaging in sexual relations.  If one man rapes another man by forcing the other man to bend over and have his anus penetrated by the first man’s penis, the first man is clearly doing something immoral, but that is because he is FORCING the other man to “engage in sexual relations” against his will.  The second man is NOT doing anything wrong!  He is a victim.  But the definition of “homosexual activity” that is proposed above makes no mention about the intentions of the people who are “engaged in sexual relations”, so it would count this as an instance of “homosexual activity” by BOTH men involved, and thus the victim of RAPE here would be morally condemned when he has clearly done nothing wrong.
I see at least four problems with the proposed definition of “homosexual activity”.  It might be the case that all four problems can be resolved by making some revisions to the proposed definition.  However, it might also be the case that revisions to this definition that are required to resolve these problems will themselves involve resolution of controversial issues about gender, sex, and sexual morality.  So, there might not be a quick and easy fix for the various significant problems with this proposed definition.