RE: What is "natural" anyway?

From: Shuan Rose (
Date: Fri May 17 2002 - 13:19:10 EDT

  • Next message: bivalve: "exegesis and sexuality from What does a liberal think?"

    I maintain that your use of natural is unhelpful, even if used in your
    sense. It is frankly hard to say what human beings are designed for. Rather,
    human beings appear to be the ultimate multi function device. Individual
    human beings appear to be designed for different things. Mozart appeared to
    be designed to make music; Einstein to do physics; Michael Jordan to play
    basketball( but not apparently, baseball or golf).
    >From a biologist point of view, it would be hard to define what humans are
    designed for. Biologically, Homo sapiens is a hairless, bipedal ape with a
    large brain that is adapted to living in open country. That is not really a
    good answer to the question of what human beings are designed for. You can
    say that human beings are designed for sexual reproduction, but is that the
    ultimate telos or purpose of every human being? Let me give you a short list
    of people who apparently did not sexually reproduce:

    St. Paul
    Francis of Assisi
    Leonardo Da Vinci
    Pope John Paul II

    Did these people fail to achieve their purpose or telos?
    The theological answer to what human beings are designed for is probably
    best found in ( I think) the Westminster Confession: The purpose of Man is
    to glorify God and enjoy him forever. There are many ways of glorifying God
    and apparently one way for the homosexual Michelangelo to glorify God was to
    paint the Sistine Chapel. Maybe in painting the Sistine Chapel he achieved
    the purpose for which God made him. I would say this side of heaven we
    cannot know the ultimate purpose of every ( and indeed) any human being.

    BTW, I checked out the PUb. Med. website and found that male homosexuals are
    at risk for certain diseases and that female homosexuals are less at risk
    for certain diseases than heterosexuals. Among other things, there has never
    been a case of transmission of AIDS through lesbian sex. And no medical
    association says that homosexual sex is inherently unsafe (Many antigay
    websites say so, however). In my view, the sexual safety argument is
    unproven. There is also the matter of different sexual practices. A
    monogamous gay couple who practiced only oral sex and took the proper
    precautions would avoid all the sexual problems you so luridly portray. I
    doubt, however, that you would then approve of their lifestyle. I will check
    out your references, Kamilla. But I have a distinct feeling that you simply
    looked only at the evidence that supported your position and ignored the
    I would say that even beyond these arguments the question of our treatment
    of homosexuals remain. For me, acceptance and prayer rather than Bible
    quoting and insistence that they change is the best way to deal with gays.
    Among other things, one of the big problems that gays deal with is hostility
    from non gays. Studies have shown that this is the chief cause of higher
    depression and suicide rates among gays. Frankly, I don't think your
    attitude is at all helpful here.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: []On
    Behalf Of Kamilla Ludwig
    Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2002 2:20 PM
    Subject: Re: What is "natural" anyway?


    I have seen the tactic used too often to find it humorous any longer.
    Too many on this list are engaging in those same tactics of conflation,
    confusion and redefinition. I have been very careful to use "natural" in
    a narrow, technical sense (design, telos, function) yet correspondents on
    this list insist on tossing in red herrings and illegitimately confusing
    the discussion by using the term in a variety of senses I do not. If
    anyone still thinks the practice of sodomy is not against nature, I will
    happily help them arrange a discussion with a Gastroenterologist who has
    treated gay men for their perforated rectums, fecal incontinence, chronic
    diarrhea and rectal cancer.

    I think you may be confused on what the naturalistic fallacy is. It is
    attempting to derive an "ought" from an "is". If anyone is committing it
    in this discussion it is those defending homosexual practice. It does
    seem that some are arguing that the self-identified homosexual ought to
    be a homosexual because that will make him happier than denying his


    On Thu, 16 May 2002 12:25:50 EDT writes:
    > Kimilla Ludwig wrote:
    > > Nice try, Tim. But pregnancy isn't inherently risky - it may
    > well be for
    > > some but clearly is not so for all. It also confers certain
    > > protections, especially if a woman has her first child before the
    > age of
    > > 30. Sodomy, on the other hand, is inherently damaging to the
    > lower bowel
    > > (whether or not a condom is used, by the way).
    > Perhaps you arguing too hard and missed the humor of
    > Tim's post.
    > You do have to be very careful when you argue for ethics
    > based on what is "natural". In the academic parlance,
    > this is "natural laws". You can quickly fall down the slope
    > of what is known as the naturalist falacy in philosophy. Dawkins
    > in Co. also seems to slide in this direction I think, so you're
    > in good company with other very bright people in the world.
    > Nature (as Tim also pointed out) simple "is".

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