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Author Topic: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church  (Read 2351 times)

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Offline Skynet

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2013, 01:30:28 PM »
There is one good thing about this families of gay members don't have to disown them which is likely what would happen as long as the person abstains for sex with the same gender, its not nice but to a Mormon the sex part might be a smaller price to pay for the staying in the faith part.

I hear this a lot from conservative Christian groups, but I don't buy it.  Simply having same-sex feelings is enough to cause ostracism; they don't need to be sexually active to face shunning.

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Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2013, 02:00:37 PM »
That's because most people, on a gut level, can't wrap their heads around the idea of someone choosing to abstain from sex.  It's either a 'Gee, that sucks' reaction, or an 'I don't believe anyone has that kind of control' reaction.

Never mind the fact that most of these same conservative groups preach the 'abstinence only' method of preventing teen pregnancies.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2013, 02:18:59 PM »
Abstinence only as birth control... that's like starvation as protection from choking.

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Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2013, 02:23:08 PM »
Except abstinence won't kill you on its own.  ;)

Offline Caela

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2013, 07:56:42 PM »
Abstinence only as birth control... that's like starvation as protection from choking.

You do have to admit though, that both are very effective at preventing what they seek to prevent! :)

Teaching abstinence only is just stupid. Why people don't want to arm their kids with the best information they can, so that their children can make an informed decision about something as important, and possibly dangerous, as sex is just beyond my ability to understand. My mini is going to go into making her choices about sex knowing about STI's and pregnancy and how to prevent both along with the fact that it's a lot of fun with the right partner and that she has the right to tell anyone, "No." Hell, if she tells me when she's ready I'll schedule her an appointment with my own GYN to get on the Pill and start her yearly exams since she should be having them if she's active.

In this day and age, I just don't get why people hold so tightly to antiquated notions that having us judging our children. Why is them not having sex, or having the "right" kind of sex, more important than them simply being happy??

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Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2013, 08:13:33 PM »
Castration is also an excellent preventative for teen pregnancies, but no one in their right mind is going to put that one on the table.

Offline Caela

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2013, 08:35:25 PM »
Castration is also an excellent preventative for teen pregnancies, but no one in their right mind is going to put that one on the table.

Ackkkk....

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #32 on: January 14, 2013, 12:50:44 AM »

Slightly related, I was watching an interesting talk about determinism on youtube recently. While I don't fully agree with determinism, or perhaps don't fully understand it ( ie. how choice making is possible in a strictly deterministic universe ), the discussion did bring out some interesting points of view concerning this. Take the following into consideration:

If we don't really have full-blown "free will", but rather more limited version of free will. If our choices, decisions, and actions stem more from the creatures that we are than from our conscious minds. If indeed, we are who and what we are - not entirely because of our own personal choice, but more for reasons that we were not in control of ( ie,. you never chose to be the physical person that you are. You never chose your environment, or to have your particular moods and brain chemistry from which your choices and ideas flow ) then some of what we do has to be chalked up to who and what we are.

Bears sometimes kill people, however, we don't just wipe out all bears because they are potentially dangerous - rather we develop a healthy respect for them and give them their space. They are not seen as evil, rather, its just in their nature to be dangerous or whatever - its part of being a bear. People on the other hand, are not held to an equally fair standard that takes their nature into consideration. It's assumed that people are equally capable of fitting into and adhering to some silly *norm* ( that some sadly misguided know-it-all made up).

People who are gay or straight are most likely so because of factors that they never chose, likewise those who are straight are not straight strictly because they they are *moral* or because they decided to be ( though they may tend to disagree *cough* cackle *snort* ). There are some folks who change their orientation at some point, so this explanation is not a perfect fit for all cases - at least, not in simplest terms.

By the same token, those who are religious and are members of stuck up, greater-than-thou religious groups may not have chosen that path either. They didn't choose their parents, their environment, their nature, alignment, etc.. so they are religious twits for reasons that are not their doing for the most part - perhaps some of it is conscious choice, but certainly not all. It seems that if you factor in each person's nature, then its a tiny bit easier to be little more tolerant.  ( And yes, this is coming from someone who's guilty of being rather intolerant of religious folks. )

Offline Caela

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2013, 11:19:16 AM »
I think we expect more from the people than the bear, because people, unlike the bear, have the self-awareness to say, "I know this is wrong, I won't do it," despite their instincts telling them to do something. A bear will simply live according to it's drives and instincts without that same level of awareness. I expect more from a human being than I do from a bear.

I don't think our "free will" is limited by circumstances beyond our control, it just means that we have to determine how we are going to choose to react to those things. Will we accept, them, fight against them, pause and wait to see what happens next? Things like our sex, our parents, our family are all things we don't choose but we do get to choose how we react to those things. This might just be a matter of semantics and POV on free will though.

Let's be realistic, people are capable of fitting into the "norm" if they choose to. For generations it's what they did regardless of how they might have personally felt about it, because to not fit into the norm could mean being ostracized from society or death depending on time period and the culture they were from. In some places in our own world it still means that. Part of the problem we face today is that a lot of the rule (particularly those of the Abrahamic religions) were made for a tribal people of small numbers trying to survive in a desert. In that time, in those circumstances, life was about survival and if everyone didn't do their part to contribute to the tribe (including via procreation) then the tribe could die out. A prohibition against sex that didn't aid in procreation does make some sense when survival of an entire people is on the line.

The problem is that these rules got codified into a religion instead of being allowed to stretch, and expand, or simply break, as they became unnecessary. We obviously don't have a need, in our current place in the world, for every man and woman to pass along their genes. We have enough people on this world that survival isn't really an issue and neither is genetic diversity. The old taboos seem, and are, silly for our circumstances. Unfortunately, religious fanatics have decided to cherry-pick which rules are still relevant and which aren't.

I think this clip from the West Wing is a good example of such rules that no longer fit our current world. It also just amuses the hell out of. :)

I'm going to just flat disagree about religious twits not choosing to be religious twits. I know a number of people of faith who are not religious twits at all because they choose not to be. They know the background of their faith and have chosen faith in a Diety that makes sense to them, while discarding rules that make no sense for people in a modern world. Being a close minded, ignorant twit (religious or otherwise) may not start out as a choice. It may start as it simply being the way you were raised, but when you are presented with information counter to what you thought you knew, and choose to bury your head in the sand against it, then being an ignorant twit has become a choice.

I was actually going somewhere with all that but I got distracted by my mini and have lost it! lol If I remember the end point I was going toward I'll come back and edit, but for now I'll just leave it there. :)

Offline Cthonig

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2013, 01:46:54 AM »
   As others have said, it is a very tiny step sort of in the right direction. While some religions are making progress, it would be nice if all religions were at least making small efforts rather than some still spewing lies and denials.

   I have to share these lines from the movie "Latter Days", a gay romance where one of the guys is a Mormon:
Father: "I wish my shame was enough for both of us. Not to mention the shame you've brought to this church, our family, our ancestors."
Gay son: "Wait a minute, our ancestors? Dad, your grandfather had half a dozen wives. ... I'd say we were the original definition of alternative lifestyle."
Father: "Are you calling us hypocrites?"
Gay son: "No, we've gone way beyond hypocrisy, Dad, now we're just being mean."

   Jacqueline Bisset has several wonderful lines in the movie but this is the one that best applies here: "Your church [LDS] doesn't like alcohol or homosexuals. Well I'm definitely not joining. I can't imagine heaven without both."

   I generally don't like romance movies because of the rampant stupidity and artificial "reasons" the couple can't just be together. But I enjoyed this movie greatly. I felt this was well written and intelligent. There are some beautiful moments, some tragic and heart wrenching moments and a wonderful knitting together of seemingly unrelated storylines. Plus some good music.


Offline Caehlim

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2013, 12:52:22 PM »
While I don't fully agree with determinism, or perhaps don't fully understand it ( ie. how choice making is possible in a strictly deterministic universe )

Forgive the minor diversion from the thread topic, however since I consider myself a determinist I thought I'd answer this.

When people make a choice, it's an entirely deterministic phenomenon. Let's picture a simple choice, though it really applies to any choice, and imagine someone in a supermarket trying to decide between pepsi and coke.

From a psychological view, the person is thinking about which one they like better, their experiences they've had with them, the marketing campaigns they remember and how much the two items cost. Eventually they make a decision and pick one up.

From a physical view, within the person's brain trillions upon trillions of chemical and electrical interactions are occurring within the brain as various neurotransmitters and neurons do their respective things. The whole time each atom within the brain is following the laws of physics and chemistry. As an eventual result of these interactions, an electrochemical signal goes down the spine into the nerves in the arm, triggering the muscles to move and pick up one of the bottles.

These aren't two different processes, they're the same thing viewed in two different ways. It's like I could say, "The other night my World Of Warcraft character fought a dragon" which is true from one point of view. It's equally true to say "The other night, my computer's circuit boards flowed with electricity in a complex pattern that I interpreted as symbolically representing a night elf fighting a dragon".

People still "make choices" in a deterministic universe, it's just caused by physical phenomena that could theoretically be predicted if you have enough information.

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Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2013, 02:22:42 PM »
People still "make choices" in a deterministic universe, it's just caused by physical phenomena that could theoretically be predicted if you have enough information.

Just like the weather - if only you could track down all those blasted butterflies.  *chuckle*

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2013, 04:44:28 PM »
 I get this perspective, but to say that choice is effectively an illusion doesn't sit very well with me.  If our choices are strictly inevitable reactions to previous conditions then I don't think I would call them choices.  It seems that this would make choice no different from any other thought.

It would be interesting to see if there was some concrete experiment that could be done to prove or disprove this, but then one could argue that you conducted this experiment out of necessity - that it wasn't a choice, but rather the next event in a predetermined domino effect.  This is starting to resemble the argument of whether or not there is a god. Something smells fishy.

(Edit:  Sorry, but it was bound to happen :p )




« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 05:09:44 PM by TaintedAndDelish »

Offline Caehlim

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2013, 06:26:54 PM »
*snip* I get this perspective, but to say that choice is effectively an illusion doesn't sit very well with me. I don't like the consequences of that assertion. *snip*

I'm not going to respond point by point, because I get the overall meaning of what you're saying and will try to respond to it in two sections. Let me know if I've misunderstood.

When I first started seeing the evidence for determinism, I had many of the same concerns. It's taken me a lot of time thinking about it to try to come to terms with what it really means, I'll try to share what I came up with and see if it helps you feel a bit more comfortable with it.


Part 1
The human experience


Imagine if I stab my finger with a sharp needle. The process follows the physical laws and we can describe it all scientifically very easily. The needle displaces some of the substance making up my finger causing an injury and also a signal in the nerves that conduct pain. But such a clinical look completely ignores the human reality of what that pain feels like, and what it means to me to experience it. We all understand pain, but only because we've all experienced it, there's no scientific explanation we can use to help someone understand pain if they don't know what it's like.

Likewise if a mugger puts a gun to my head and says "Your money or your life", I'm going to feel something different. I'm going to be afraid of what might happen, I'm going to start anticipating possible future outcomes and weigh their possibility. We can scientifically describe how this happens in the brain just as easily as we can describe what's happening with the needle pricking my finger. Once again though, there is the human reality. The feeling we experience that we call 'choice'. Like the needle, it usually involves pain because unfortunately that's a lot of what life is. It's caused and explainable through entirely physical, natural reality but that doesn't capture what it means to us when we experience a choice.

It's easy to feel that scientifically explaining how choices are made cheapens them and it can if you let it. But only academics in ivory towers would imagine that the scientific explanation is all that matters and that you can disregard the human experience. For people in the real world, the human reality is so obvious and we all understand it that it doesn't need explanation, the science just covers what's left over.


Part 2
Responsibility


I don't have to tell you that you really do have to make choices. Whatever science discovers over the next three thousand years, we've all been there and we know how choices work. Yes, we can explain now how it happens and yes theoretically the result was predetermined all along. It doesn't change that process we have go through where we decide what to do.

Just because the ending of the book is already written, doesn't mean we don't have to still turn the pages to get there.

Also, yes, it's kind of unfair that with the end result already determined we have to put in that kind of effort. But that's because that effort was already included in the end result. If I ask my best friend to do me a favour and clean the kitchen, I might know them so well that the result was predetermined. I had confidence in them (because of my knowledge of their character) and knew that they would put in the effort to get it done. Doesn't mean they put in any less effort to do it, just because I knew they would.

And yes, we could make the decision to shoot someone. Yes, that decision would have been predetermined. It will still require the same effort from us to make and action that choice. We'll still have to live with the consequences. So yes, you still do have to try to make the right choices, even though the result was predetermined.



In short, determinism doesn't really change anything about the human experience, and why should it? Assume for a moment that it's true, just as a thought experiment. What would you do differently and why?

(The only change it's made in my life is it's made it a lot easier to forgive people.)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 06:30:17 PM by Caehlim »

Offline Caehlim

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #39 on: January 31, 2013, 06:37:50 PM »
Additional response, post edit.

It would be interesting to see if there was some concrete experiment that could be done to prove or disprove this,

Yes falsifiability is important to any scientific theory. Fortunately it's easier than you think. You can disprove determinism and prove the existence of choice easily by finding a single neuron firing in the human brain without any underlying physical cause.

Quote
but then one could argue that you conducted this experiment out of necessity - that it wasn't a choice, but rather the next event in a predetermined domino effect.

I don't understand why this would invalidate the result.

Quote
This is starting to resemble the argument of whether or not there is a god. Something smells fishy

I don't see the resemblance or smell the fish personally.

I'm not personally invested in you believing in determinism or not. It won't save your soul and preaching it won't get me into heaven. But you were curious and this is something I've thought about a lot, I'm happy to share it with you and hope that it helps you in some way.

I don't know how well I explained my thoughts on the subject, but at the end of the day, I don't think you should take my word for it. Think about it yourself and come up with your own conclusions. I only hope that I've given you a bit more food for thought.

Offline Cthonig

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #40 on: January 31, 2013, 07:03:54 PM »
Yes falsifiability is important to any scientific theory. Fortunately it's easier than you think. You can disprove determinism and prove the existence of choice easily by finding a single neuron firing in the human brain without any underlying physical cause.
    But that isn't correct. What you are giving an example of is magic/divine intervention or a magical free will. The only way to prove determinism is to make a perfect copy of the universe and start all the copies running at the same time and see if there is any divergence. If there isn't any at all anywhere then reality is deterministic. If there are any divergences then the universe is stochastic.
    In the mean time, the logical choice is to accept the universe as stochastic - it is predictable but it is not predetermined.

    Relevent subjects which explain part of why there is choice in what is to some a seemingly deterministic universe: chaos theory, emergent complexity. But I won't go into them since that would be an even further divergence form the thread topic.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #41 on: January 31, 2013, 07:23:12 PM »
But that isn't correct. What you are giving an example of is magic/divine intervention or a magical free will.

You're quite correct and it's a good point. I'll address it again later in this post.

Quote
The only way to prove determinism is to make a perfect copy of the universe and start all the copies running at the same time and see if there is any divergence. If there isn't any at all anywhere then reality is deterministic. If there are any divergences then the universe is stochastic.
    In the mean time, the logical choice is to accept the universe as stochastic - it is predictable but it is not predetermined.

I don't see any reason why stochastic is any more or less the logical default choice than deterministic. I will admit that my preference for deterministic is aesthetic more than anything else. I'm not 100% sold on determinism either and am quite willing to accept the possibility of a stochastic universe. The available evidence seems to support either quite well. And as you described in your first line, the test required to prove it one way or the other seems like it would be a difficult engineering challenge to say the least.

However returning back to your original point. While I agree that you're correct, I don't think the universe being Stochastic makes free will any more possible than it would be in a deterministic universe.

Your actions being determined by the rolls of your GM's d20 isn't choice, it's just random. The kind of choice people are talking about sound like magical free will to me, if they disregard causal reality and don't function based on brain chemistry and prior circumstance.

Quote
Relevent subjects which explain part of why there is choice in what is to some a seemingly deterministic universe: chaos theory, emergent complexity. But I won't go into them since that would be an even further divergence form the thread topic.

I'm not convinced by the arguments for emergent complexity generating conscious thought. I admit though I would love to hear your thoughts on it. But you're right, this is hardly the time or place.

Still I'd be happy to talk about it any time you like.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 07:24:28 PM by Caehlim »

Offline Cthonig

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #42 on: January 31, 2013, 08:09:39 PM »
    My understanding of the different aspects we're discussing is that deterministic is at one end and free will is at the other with stochastic in the middle. The extremes are very unlikely to be real while the middle is the most logical possibility.
    I wasn't sure if I should even discuss this since I've met some determinists who believed in determinism with a religious fervor. I'm glad to see that you take a reasonable approach.
    Another part of why I don't accept determinism (other than it not being logical to me) is that it presents IMO a very negative view in that there is nothing that can be done to change things. I foolishly cling to the hope we can change things for the better even when it looks IMO like the rabid religious are going to try to drag all of us down into a new dark ages.
    The attempts by the religious extremists to get their religious beliefs taught in schools as an alternative to science worries me. That they've succeeded in some places scares me. While LGBT efforts have succeeded in some areas, scary people are working hard to IMO begin the fourth reich.
    What I really want is a way to get decent, normal people who happen to be religious to see the extremists for the problems that they are.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #43 on: January 31, 2013, 08:23:17 PM »
My understanding of the different aspects we're discussing is that deterministic is at one end and free will is at the other with stochastic in the middle. The extremes are very unlikely to be real while the middle is the most logical possibility.

Hmm, I actually considered them to be on a different axis to one another, but yeah I see what you mean.

Quote
I wasn't sure if I should even discuss this since I've met some determinists who believed in determinism with a religious fervor. I'm glad to see that you take a reasonable approach.

I haven't done enough research into a lot of the ideas about randomness that are being explored in quantum physics to really consider myself qualified to have all the answers. Determinism seems consistent with what I've seen of how things work (particularly on the macro-level), but I could very easily be wrong.

Quote
Another part of why I don't accept determinism (other than it not being logical to me) is that it presents IMO a very negative view in that there is nothing that can be done to change things.

I like to think that our eventual victory over human suffering and misery and the eventual golden age of mankind is inevitable and already predetermined, but I'm an optimist that way. :P

Quote
I foolishly cling to the hope we can change things for the better even when it looks IMO like the rabid religious are going to try to drag all of us down into a new dark ages.
    The attempts by the religious extremists to get their religious beliefs taught in schools as an alternative to science worries me. That they've succeeded in some places scares me. While LGBT efforts have succeeded in some areas, scary people are working hard to IMO begin the fourth reich.
    What I really want is a way to get decent, normal people who happen to be religious to see the extremists for the problems that they are.

While I agree that there are a lot of scary folk around, I think that they've come out of the woodwork and are pushing so hard because they're scared of how progressive the world has been lately. Look at all the great stuff happening in America right now, with several states legalizing gay marriage, the US president openly speaking in favour of gay equality.

I personally think the religious extremists are trying so hard because they realize that the average man on the street just isn't willing to accept the excuses for religious extremism or corruption any more.

Over here in Australia there were the same child-abuse cases happening within the catholic church and getting covered up by the church hierarchy that was happening everywhere else and people were saying nothing could get done about it because the people involved were too high up and protected for the police. So our government just declared a Royal Commission to investigate, giving it massive powers and support to try to crack the code of silence that was occurring on these crimes.

Offline Cthonig

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #44 on: January 31, 2013, 08:31:22 PM »
I hope for the best but expect the worst. That way, what happens is usually somewhere in the middle.

The Royal Commision is excellent news, thank you, I hadn't heard about that yet.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #45 on: January 31, 2013, 08:33:51 PM »

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Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #46 on: January 31, 2013, 09:24:22 PM »
Personally , I don't  understand how people can disbelieve in determinism.'


I look at it like this , you breathe oxygen. You didn't make that choice. Evolution  or God (whichever you believe) made the choice. It was determined long before you existed and you absolutely no say it and you still don't.


I don't think your life was written out from the day you were created but I   would say I know for a fact that certain parts were determined without so-called Free Will.

I don't think most people chose to die but it's pre-determined  from the day you're born that you're  going to die.



I understand that people like Free Will and want to Believe but I think that it's easier for me to see a Deterministic universe then one of free will.



I can't choose tomrrow that I want to be taller or black or  have long nose. All these things were pre-determined and free will had absolutely no say in them.


Offline Cthonig

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #47 on: January 31, 2013, 10:27:47 PM »
Evolution  or God (whichever you believe) made the choice.
Evolution doesn't make choices. It is a process.

The rest of your points do not apply to the basic discussion for or against determinism. Also, I also don't accept "free will". While we can make choices (negating determinism), they are from a limited selection of possibilities based on the factors of our lives (negating "free will") with nanoscopic random changes due to subatomic variations adding a tiny bit of chance.


Caehlim, IIRC I read about the more local investigation issues in NSW. I didn't watch the videos because my computer is being uncooperative but I found the articles encouraging. It would be nice to see the same sort of thing happen here in the USA but I don't think it likely.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Gay is not a choice, says the Mormon Church
« Reply #48 on: January 31, 2013, 10:59:30 PM »

I suppose if determinism is true, then it doesn't really change anything. Perhaps it suggests that the notion that we are the masters of our destiny is a little flawed. I agree with your point on forgiveness and tolerance, though.


Additional response, post edit.

Yes falsifiability is important to any scientific theory. Fortunately it's easier than you think. You can disprove determinism and prove the existence of choice easily by finding a single neuron firing in the human brain without any underlying physical cause.

Interesting... OK, I'm a little more in favor of determinism now.  It tastes bad, but seems to make logical sense.

Quote
I don't understand why this would invalidate the result.

I don't see the resemblance or smell the fish personally.

Sorry, Brainfart.

Quote
I'm not personally invested in you believing in determinism or not. It won't save your soul and preaching it won't get me into heaven. But you were curious and this is something I've thought about a lot, I'm happy to share it with you and hope that it helps you in some way.

I don't know how well I explained my thoughts on the subject, but at the end of the day, I don't think you should take my word for it. Think about it yourself and come up with your own conclusions. I only hope that I've given you a bit more food for thought.

You've explained your thoughts quite well. Thank you :-)