The “tragedy” of hook up culture. And scare quotes.


One of the upsides of reading IWF’s blog (the downside being the constant retching) is that it points you in the direction of gems like this one. Robert P. George and John B. Londregan, professors in Princeton’s Department of Politics, say that sex on college campuses is a “tragedy.” They also really, really like scare quotes.

…Princeton, where we teach, is a wonderful university; but like other colleges and universities there is a dark side to its social life. Our students are bright, enthusiastic, and eager to learn. Most did not come to college bent on boozing and hooking up. Many feel deeply ambivalent about these aspects of campus life. Yet, they find little support on campus for the “alternative lifestyle” of living by traditional moral virtues.
…Whether it is a private institution such as Yale or a public one such as the University of Delaware, the truth is that things begin going badly for them right off the bat. Princeton is all-too-typical. As part of the freshman orientation program, students are required to attend an event entitled “Sex on a Saturday Night.” It consists of a series of skits ostensibly designed to discourage “date rape.” For years, critics have contended that the play, which features vulgarity and suggestive conduct, does nothing to serve this laudable goal; rather, it reinforces the campus culture of sexual permissiveness, primarily by shaping students’ expectations to include sexual license as normal.

Let’s not even get into the fact that date rape is in scare quotes – though I think that reveals volumes about where these two are coming from. What’s interesting is that right off the bat, George and Londregan assume that young people don’t like hooking up and sex – it’s the dark side after all – and that all that’s stopping them from living a life of morality is the lack of a college-funded chastity center. (They recommend calling them “Love and Fidelity Centers.”)

Most universities have established non-academic centers of various kinds that provide educational, social, and counseling support. Princeton is again typical. We have the Women’s Center, the International Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Center, and the Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding. Whether or not one agrees with the ideological bent of some of these centers, at least they represent the University’s effort to meet what are perceived as the needs of certain segments of our student body.

Hmm, the last time I checked being a woman or being gay isn’t ideological – it’s who you are.

Conspicuously absent, however, are centers or programs offering meaningful support for students who desire to live chastely. “Sexual health” offices do not supply the need because staff members see their roles, not as promoting self-discipline and high moral standards, but as providing “non-judgmental” advice about how to have sex while avoiding pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

Perhaps – and this is just a guess – these folks providing scary non-judgmental advice simply don’t think it’s their place to preach “morals” (I think they’re rubbing off on me with the scare quotes!) to adults capable of making their own sexual decisions. But George and Londregan are having none of it. They not only think that there needs to be virginity centers on campus – they believe they need to be led by university officials, not students who presumably can’t be trusted not to fuck their way through school.

Students are strapped for time and don’t have the experience or professional skills to provide the level of guidance and support that their peers need when it comes to important questions of sexuality and morality. Universities know this–that’s why at Princeton, for example, in addition to the student gay Pride Alliance, the Queer Graduate Caucus, LGBT Task Force, and the LGBT Staff and Faculty Group, there is the University’s LGBT Center, with a full-time paid University staff member committed to LGBT support and activities. For the same reasons, there needs to be university support for students who want to live and conduct their relationships honorably in the face of the hook-up culture.

What really gets me – outside of the frightening idea of dudes like George and Londregan heading up a center telling young women anything about sex – is that these professors that claim to have students’ best interest at heart use incredibly shaming language throughout this article. After all, if students who don’t have sex are acting “honorably,” what does that make those who do have sex?
So just a quick message to George, Londregan and all the virginity movement shamers out there: There’s nothing wrong with having sex. There’s nothing immoral, abnormal, or dishonorable about it. (Also, mind your own business and stop thinking about your students’ sex lives. It’s creepy.)

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99 Comments

  1. Roscoe
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Oh, ya, I didn’t imply anyone did, but all too often people start to chime in with those kinds of one-liners and there is no one to even offer a different viewpoint. Ya, I guess I’m biased a little because I have interacted with their arguments a lot, so perhaps I’m not seeing what you are. Again, not to be pushy or whatever it may seem like, but could you point out any specifics on where they do make it sound like that? I know that Jess posted the whole “What are they implying…” thing, but, and while I can accept that you feel their message is shameful, in the end, and to be true to ourselves, Jess is just speculating. She is, effectively, putting words into their mouths. Granted, sometimes some people do deserve it (again, classic example is the guy on the street corner telling homosexuals that they are going to hell). However, because I know him and am familiar with his arguments I know he is not trying to shame anyone, so I don’t believe he deserves whatever defamation he is getting here.
    The man really is incredibly open-minded. You wouldn’t know what his viewpoints are when he teaches because he does present every argument in a passionate-less and non-judgmental way. It just really bothers me that someone who should be admired (because he should for inspiring students to discuss things intelligently and philosophically) is trashed the way he is. I’d stand up for Peter Singer, for instance, in the same way, mind you. It’s not just because I think George is right…
    Thanks for the continued discussion, by the way.

  2. Roscoe
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Oh and I just caught that people might somehow misinterpret what I meant by:
    “(It is a date rape oriented skit, so in a sense, it is directly about hooking-up)”
    I didn’t mean to equate hooking-up with date rape or any other nonsense like that. Only that relationships aren’t the main focus because it’s specifically about the more prevalent date rape (the rape they depict is not the violent kind, rather the “girl is passed out so she can’t say no” kind, ugh, just talking about it like that repulses me) not like “relationship rape” (not scare quotes, I just don’t know what that is called) or rape of that sort.

  3. hellotwin
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad that you caught that because I was going to coment on it.

  4. Roscoe
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    ya, I mean, you should have too. If someone did amount hooking-up to date rape or something like that, it should definitely be called out.

  5. hellotwin
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    “Sexual health offices do not supply the need because staff members see their roles, not as promoting self-discipline and high moral standards…” so, to me this says that if you are having sex that you’re not living a life of self-discipline and high moral standards. “Princeton and other universities have proposed the establishment of centers on campus to support students who seek to lead lives of moral integrity and decency.” This again says to me that students who are having sex are not leading these lives of moral integrity and decency. Since when does having casul sex mean that you can’t live a moral, decent life?

  6. ShifterCat
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    “…those who feel that their choice of a chaste lifestyle leads to social ostracism. You don’t think people do that? Well, we have proof right here on these comments…”
    The closest thing to proof of your assertion in the comments section here is the suggestion that the “chastity center” business be covered by religious organizations. Even though, as SaraLaffs mentioned: “[Our religious office is] successful because they are ecumenical, even in many cases non-religion-based, so students who have different religious traditions or none at all feel welcome.” (Emphasis mine)
    And based on this rather slim piece of evidence, you claimed that people here have said stuff like, “chastity is for those fundamentalist Catholic crazies”.
    Now, for the “social ostracism” bit: citations please?

  7. Roscoe
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Ya, right, sorry, I didn’t finish my sentence and I see it could have lead to that confusion. What I meant to say is that these forums perfectly illustrate how someone could feel ostracized for being chaste. I mean, I certainly don’t feel particularly accepted for defending, or even just presenting, a chaste lifestyle belief. It’s even worse with college kids. Granted, they aren’t going to send me hate mail, they’ll probably just think I’m an idiot, but you still don’t feel like you are part of the group, so to say, or normal.
    Whatever, again, I’m not trying to prove anything or defend any position. I’m only pointing out that you have misinterpreted what the purpose of this center would be. People keep commenting on how this center’s purpose is so clearly to shame non-chaste people so I felt the need to clear up that misconception.
    [8+] Author Profile Page Brady Bonk said:
    “What a” “couple of” “puritanical” “dumbasses.”
    Case in point, btw.

  8. Roscoe
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    To make it quick, I think it has something to do with casual sex objectifying the parties involved. Probably using Kant’s vocabulary of treating people as ends and not means to your own ends (namely a means to your sexual pleasure). This is clearly just 2 sentences so I have added a link to Princeton’s chastity website if you care to read up. There is a lot to read and it really is on you, now, to educate yourself. I’m down to discuss any points you read, if you would like, but I find it very hard to articulate the philosophies of all these people as well as they can. Check it out.
    http://www.princeton.edu/~anscombe/resources/resources.htm

  9. ShifterCat
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    “Sure, of course, talk of virtue CAN be used to shame people, but those people are proud and are usually not very intellectual. Those are the people that stand on street corners yelling at homosexuals and telling them they are going to hell.”
    Oh, come off it. You think that the only shame tactics are those employed by the Westboro Baptist Church? And if someone’s not acting like that, then it stands to reason that they’re “open-minded” and “tolerant”?
    The use of language like “honourable”, “traditional virtues”, “high moral standards”, etc. to describe your own side and, by implication, to describe your opponents as the opposite is so common that it’s disingenuous of you to claim you’re unfamiliar with it.
    “…just because you feel shame…”
    Huh? If I don’t subscribe to someone’s idea of virtue, how would they succeed in shaming me?
    “Now, it’s not my place to provide any evidence of this depression and anxiety…”
    Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. If you’re going to defend your professors’ arguments, then you should cite what they’re using to back up their claims.
    Look, I think I see what’s happened here. You’ve met one or both of these guys in person, and admired them so much that you can’t conceive of them having less-than-admirable views. Well, sorry, but sometimes our heroes have feet of clay. What we’re judging them on is what they have written, not how nice a pair of guys they might be to have a beer with. So if you want to defend your heroes, you’ll have to use their written arguments as well.

  10. ShifterCat
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    “I think it has something to do with casual sex objectifying the parties involved.”
    The problem with that argument is that it proposes a false dichotomy stating that casual sex is inherently about “using” someone, and monogamous sex is inherently about Twoo Wuv. That’s just not so — casual sex can be a mutually respectful sharing of pleasure, and monogamous sex can be selfishly taking your partner for granted.
    Therefore, teaching students to treat their partners with respect and care whether they’re planning to be together for an hour or a decade is a much more productive lesson than “casual sex bad, chastity good!”

  11. ShifterCat
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    “Just because they are based on religious values doesn’t mean they aren’t rational.”
    No, but any argument that equates a clump of dividing cells with a sapient being is not a rational one.

  12. Roscoe
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Look, I’ll say it again, I’m not defending my heroes…I never said I was…
    I was clearing up misconceptions. I have repeatedly said that. Whether or not people get depressed and anxious in a “hook-up culture” is of no concern to me. What is of concern is when people mistakenly attribute arguments like using shame tactics to people who are not.
    It is all too apparent, now, that you are conflating the ideas of virtue and shame. It does not logically follow from the fact that people are not living moral lives that they should feel ashamed or be made to feel ashamed. I know it’s hard to grasp the concept because for thousands of years people have used “virtue” to demean people and dehumanize them. But that doesn’t mean that one who lives a virtuous life necessarily must think that others are shameful. As I said before, I am familiar with the idea, even though you make me out to be unfamiliar with it; I do understand what you are saying and I do see how it can be interpreted in the way you have.
    You could actually empathize with those who aren’t living a life of high moral standards and by calling it such it is describing it as just that, a life lead by high moral standards. I have not said anything about the “other side”. These professors are not, and have not yet said anything, that directly implicates them using your purported shame tactics. They actually believe that casual sex can be harmful (ya, I know, crazy idea, but it’s not just a cover up for religious conspiracy), and, while it may not be generalizable, there are, without any doubt, men and women who have been hurt by casual sex.
    Oh, and I didn’t mean YOU I meant ONE, sorry. I’m not a child, btw, and I’m already fairly disillusioned with the world, so don’t give me any of this demeaning crap about “sometimes your heroes aren’t all they’re cracked up to be”. Thanks for that, I’ll keep that in mind next time I read my comic books… And I do admire these people for their intellectual rigor. These days it’s really hard to come by, and I’m no exception.

  13. Roscoe
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Ah, and it comes out. Way to defend that claim. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. No one is saying a sapient (I mean, sapient works, but I think you meant sentient, regardless, my criticism will still stand) being is equivalent to a bunch of cells. Neither is a stupid kid (I mean, c’mon, kids are pretty stupid, if only by virtue of the fact that they haven’t gone through enough schooling) the same as sentient beings. Are you asserting that we should be allowed to kill babies? Clearly you are not (it’s not meant to be a sarcastic jab, btw, it is a reductio I’m using). But, then, how do you compromise your feelings about sentient beings with infants and children?
    A better argument, in my opinion, is to accept that there is no difference other than time. At that point in time, the lump of cells inside the womb is not sentient and cannot feel, breathe and do all that other stuff. Regardless, it is a being with those capacities. It is, in fact, a being that can think, breathe, feel, etc. just not at that particular moment in time.
    By the way, your assertion that pro-life arguments are irrational is really just ignorant. Why do you think philosopher’s are having this debate in the first place? Because they are responding to each other’s RATIONAL arguments. That you cannot see said rationality only elucidates your own lack thereof. Have you even read the arguments or are you just making baseless claims?

  14. ShifterCat
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    “…for thousands of years people have used “virtue” to demean people and dehumanize them. But that doesn’t mean that one who lives a virtuous life necessarily must think that others are shameful.”
    Okay then. If you think that George and Londregan are the rare exceptions who honestly aren’t looking down their noses and surreptitiously shaking their fingers at everyone who they perceive as “less virtuous”, can you provide anything solid to clear up this “misconception”?
    You see, one reason why the tactic of smearing someone by implication of opposites is so popular and enduring is that it provides the person doing it with plausible deniability. “Oh no, I didn’t say that my opponents are dishonourable or immoral…”

  15. Roscoe
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    It has nothing to do with a false dichotomy. Honestly, have you even read this stuff? I mean, you answered pretty quickly, so either you have read them before (which I doubt because your criticism shows otherwise) or you are, yet again, making baseless and uneducated claims. The argument is much more philosophical in nature, and because you seem to not want to read the site, I will include the argument below for your reading pleasure.
    “Within marriage, sex serves as the ultimate physical expression of love and unity. Because in marriage spouses are united to one another on the mental, emotional, legal, and perhaps spiritual levels, it is appropriate and good that they also be united on a physical level. Such physical union is actualized in sexual intercourse. The nature of this sexual act is itself unitive–two become one flesh. Sex is thus the actualization of the marital union, concretizing the mutual gift of self between the partners. If experienced outside the context of marriage, therefore, it cannot actualize the union, for no union exists.
    Outside of the context of marriage, then, sex ultimately reduces the participants to mere instruments serving an incomplete end–be it the desire for emotional intimacy, physical pleasure, or personal security. Even if two people love each other and plan to marry later on, sexual intimacy must articulate a unity and gift of one’s entire self that has yet to take place. To use sex for pleasure or emotional fulfillment alone not only fails to realize the essential purpose of sex, but degrades the inherent dignity of the human being to that of an object–a means to an end.”

  16. Roscoe
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    “Nor is it fair to students, especially women, who experience pressure to make themselves sexually available as the price of being treated as normal and feeling accepted.”
    I posted this before, but it doesn’t seem you caught it. I reproduce it here. This, at least, shows their concern for the students. They actually see these ways as harming the students, again, as I said before. It is not because they get their rocks off from nagging and wagging fingers.
    Of course, you would bring up:
    “You see, one reason why the tactic of smearing someone by implication of opposites is so popular and enduring is that it provides the person doing it with plausible deniability. “Oh no, I didn’t say that my opponents are dishonourable or immoral…”"
    I mean, ya, thanks for pointing that out, but I can’t disprove that…all I can show you is that they have good intentions by way of the above quote. From there, you either have to take in on faith that they are looking out for the students or keep yourself in your conspiracy.

  17. Roscoe
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    They also urge their students to debate and engage people of different minds, I can’t corroborate this with quotes or anything other than my having participated in a discussion when he said that. I don’t see how this attitude reflects a shameful notion of the “other side”. On the contrary, George has always advocated for treating one’s interlocutor with respect and dignity as they could have better arguments and they could be closer to truth than you are.

  18. ShifterCat
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    “…I think you meant sentient…”
    I know the words “sentient” and “sapient” are often used interchangeably, but I use the latter to eliminate confusion.
    “Neither is a stupid kid… the same as sentient beings. Are you asserting that we should be allowed to kill babies? Clearly you are not…”
    I have no idea what you’re trying to say here, but in any case this isn’t the thread for it. Wait until a relevant post comes along.
    “By the way, your assertion that pro-life arguments are irrational is really just ignorant. Why do you think philosophers are having this debate in the first place?”
    Now you’re putting words in my mouth. I never said that there is no such thing as a rational pro-life argument; some pro-lifers are able to argue their position without resorting to calling abortion murder.
    “Have you even read the arguments or are you just making baseless claims?”
    I read the essay YouCan2 linked to, and the thrust of George’s argument seemed to be “fertilized ova are God’s creatures too”. Which is a theological argument. It’s perfectly valid in that regard, but it is an argument based entirely on religious belief. Which was the point.
    Now, since I’d rather not derail this thread any further, I suggest to you that if you want to get into an abortion debate, wait until a post about the subject comes up, and comment on that.

  19. hellotwin
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    From what was posted, the purpose of sex is to actualize “the union”. I find it hard to swallow that the only appropriate “union” is marriage, and presumably heterosexual marriage.

  20. Roscoe
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Ya, I wasn’t going to post again because it is off topic, but I had to say that I’m sorry to put words in your mouth. I see your point. Pardon.

  21. WickedAnnabella
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Roscoe, I get the feeling that you’re a freshman philosophy major, am I right? I don’t know how to put this really, but just because a philosopher said it doesn’t make it true. They don’t get to just plunk down decrees of what sex is or what isn’t.

  22. ShifterCat
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Articulate as the argument may be, it still doesn’t hold water. It’s basically saying that unless you have a piece of paper legalizing your relationship, you’re degrading your partner by having sex with them.
    So… even though my husband and I were together for ten years before we decided to make it official, “no union existed”, we were not “concretizing the mutual gift of self”, but were in fact “reducing each other to mere instruments serving an incomplete end”.
    No.
    Also, according to this logic, gay couples in the U.S. can never “articulate a unity and gift of one’s entire self”. But up here in Canada they can.

  23. ShifterCat
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    Okay, that’s better. I still don’t agree with the guy — to me, his language still comes off condescending as hell — but I can see how he might have genuine concern.
    It does seem to me that he should shift his target, though. Genuine concern for young women would be better channeled not into attacking casual sex per se, but into attacking the wider phenomenon of the commodification of women — which is, let us not forget, sometimes expressed in trying to “marry them off”.

  24. WickedAnnabella
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    Well, actually, those street-corner preachers railing against homosexuality do claim to be concerned about the well-being of the people they’re persecuting- they say they’re trying to keep them out of hell.
    These professors appear to be doing something similar. They’re claiming (with no apparent evidence) that sex outside of marriage is bad for you. Just as those preachers claim (with no apparent evidence) that having gay sex is bad for you.
    What’s the difference?

  25. Roscoe
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    Yo, I like where your heads at. I’m sure they wouldn’t be against your ideas. I don’t like the thought of that either. But, I think that “marrying off” is a usurpation of the powerful bond that is a marriage. Look, I don’t deny that hate-filled men have dominated people (both mean and women, though for obvious ideological reasons, women more so) for a long time. People desirous of power over others have affected all facets of human society, be it religion, politics, economy, science, etc. Yet, just like (ok, might be a stretch, but go with me) those institutions, the abuse of marriage does not constitute dismissal.
    I would be up in arms right now against arranged marriages, trust me, (And this is NOT a justification, they shouldn’t happen ever),but I wish not to offend those in such an marriage, for who am I to say one can’t find happiness there.

  26. Roscoe
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    Quickly, because they have reason to back them up, while those picketers do not.
    professors: It’s there, and articles aren’t necessarily the best things to read as they don’t put forth a full argument, rather commentary. Academic papers are the best. Google Scholar is wonderful.
    street-corner picketers: A misunderstanding of their Christian morals, if they are Christian. I can’t speak for other religions, as I am not familiar enough with them. Reason would have us believe that if Pride (man, capitals make words sound so important!) is a mortal sin, then those picketers are effectively “throwing the first stone”. They do not realize, or perhaps are in denial about, is that if we are all sinners (hehe, not accusing you) and all sins distance us equally away from God (it’s kinda binary), then they are in no way better than the homosexuals themselves, in God’s eyes. In God’s eyes their all the same. It comes to them having the pride to judge what only God can. Who are they to condemn those poor souls to Hell?
    Seeing as how religious and rational Prof. George is, I have faith (I mean, ultimately I can’t really know, right, maybe he’s a bastard) that he feels compelled to think in a way other than this.

  27. Roscoe
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    Sigh, no, I’m a senior economics major. I don’t know what I am talking about. But what I do know is that I didn’t say I was defending him. I was clearing up misconceptions. For all you know, I may think he’s bat shit crazy. For most of my comments so far I’ve just been trying to present his arguments as rational and not aimed at shaming. I haven’t yet talked about whether I think his arguments are sound. Like I said, I would defend other professors in the same way, whether or not I disagree with them.

  28. Roscoe
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 3:21 am | Permalink

    Well, first off, I think your conceptualization of marriage as a piece of paper legalizing marriage is pretty far off from what George would argue it is.\
    I am not one to judge your marriage, but I think what is most important to keep in mind is that it is necessary for the two parties to mutually give themselves to each other, and lifelong partnership, I do strongly feel, is part of that, with those other details about paper and ceremonies being important in that they are expressions of that unity, but I’m open to anyone who believes otherwise. I’m sure it could be argued that those details don’t matter, for instance, or that lifelong unity isn’t needed.
    As for homosexual marriage, I think it hinges on what one’s view of parenting and whether homosexuals can fill the same roles as do heterosexual parents. I think a case can be made, and one that is not fueled by hate or homophobia, for a child’s right to a mother and father, given that because of our biological nature, the infant may hardwired to “expect” a female and a male as their parents, given that the being brought into the world could only have gotten there by the combining of a man and woman’s DNA. Now, technology is sure to bend our notions of this, so I cannot say that it would not be possible for two men or two women to have babies (I mean, I think they were just able to do that recently, or something in that direction), and for babies to “expect” either two men or two women, or hey maybe more. Science could alleviate this moral problem, I suppose. But then that gets to talk about whether we should do that or not, etc. So, while perhaps a technologically superior (and not like sci-fi, hah, like increasingly soon) and libertarian society could be a way to justify homosexual marriage.
    Regardless, I still think the strong case remains for sex within a marriage but I want to hear your thoughts on why you think otherwise.

  29. Roscoe
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    And that last sentence stands whether or not we are talking about homosexual marriage too. Like, I think it could still be argued that homosexuals should live chaste lives before marriage.

  30. katemoore
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    What about atheists and agnostics? Or do they just never want to remain virgins?

  31. Arium
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Virginity and chastity are religious concepts that atheists and agnostics in general would have little use for. (I suspect exceptions would appear primarily among those with religious upbringings.)
    I can imagine atheists and agnostics abstaining from sex for various reasons. I assume that most also are practiced in resisting peer pressure from experiences of proselytization. I figure these abstainers would have no difficulty in resisting peer pressure to be sexually active without participating in groups that cling to traditional (religion-derived) sexual morality.
    (This atheist’s periods of abstinence during college were involuntary.)

  32. ShifterCat
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    The thing is, when you strip away all the self-help book language, the argument above is basically saying that weddings are a sort of magical ritual that alchemically translates sex from a degradation of your partner into a mystical union of body and soul.
    Sure, there are some religious traditions which believe this — like the Mormons — but if you’re going to posit that, be upfront about it. Don’t hide it behind a lot of psychobabble.
    As I mentioned, I am married myself. So no, I don’t think that it’s “just a piece of paper”, or why would I have bothered? But it would be incredibly arrogant of me to presume that my relationship is inherently better than other people’s just because it’s legally sanctioned. And to say that the sex act is spiritually different now would be to deny my own experience.
    As for the entire business of same-sex marriage and parenting, that is 1. Presuming that the purpose of marriage is producing children (what about ghost marriages?). And the business about “expectation of opposite-sex parents” is completely out of the blue, and I’ve yet to see anything resembling proof. Whoever you got that from is doing an Ass Pull.
    Whether or not same-sex couples believe that they should be “chaste” before marriage is irrelevant to my argument; the fact is that right now, according to the logic above, whether your relationship is truly “concretized” is dependent on GEOGRAPHY.
    Off to work now.

  33. Roscoe
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    You’d like for it to be that so you can just dismiss it as rational. It has nothing to do with alchemically transforming the act of sex. It’s the same goddamn movements. Sex itself doesn’t DO anything to the people having it. Weddings are merely a way to concretely set a point in time and place where you are dedicating the rest of your life to your partner, which is think is an integral part in the whole “giving yourself wholly” to the other person. You are putting religious words in my mouth to make me sound irrational. Building a huge straw-man. Now, granted, I’m sure you aren’t doing it on purpose because you don’t understand my arguments, so surely it’s in part my fault for not expressing them well enough. Regardless, it still stands that for all those who hold the arguments I am presenting, your responses are severely lacking; they are just not addressing my arguments.
    As for your relationship being BETTER or not, I was not implying such a thing. This is where a lot of people misunderstand the argument. I’m not saying the relationship is more worthy of the couple’s having sex once they are married, rather it comes back to the whole lifelong partnership thing. When you are actually having premarital sex it may feel powerful, and perhaps the same way as when you got married (I mean, no one is denying that, it’s can be a very unitive experience, that is what they are saying). However, it still stands that you have not yet dedicated your entire life to the person, so in a sense, somewhere deep inside, you must not feel comfortable with completely giving yourself to the person, or at least, you haven’t thought of it deeply enough (I mean, I don’t think everyone in a pre-marital relationship is secretly planning to break up with their significant other sometime in the future), I just mean to say that there must be some reason you have decided to NOT solidify your lifelong union. The reason sex can be harmful, it would be argued I think, is because there is something still holding you back from giving yourself completely to the other person. One could argue that it is not necessary to intend a lifelong partnership to give yourself entirely to someone, but I think it is not an obvious argument, and thus, it definitely needs more defending than just stating the argument. I’m not familiar with those, so I will not present them in my comment, but I am open to anyone who wants to.
    As for the homosexual marriage thing, to your two points:
    1. Ya, sure marriage may not be about having kids, but the state, it could be argued, has an interest in marriage because, again the chastity people would argue, that marriage is the ideal institution to raise children. That doesn’t mean I am judging other types of family situations as all necessarily producing fucked up kids, but it still may not be the ideal.
    2. I never said, again, that I was defending the argument, merely presenting it because clearly people don’t have a good grasp on it. At this point, it gets really into science and biology, which I am not qualified to say anything about, but I do know enough to present the arguments. Only science can tell us what a baby “expects”, but already things like breast feeding after birth giving the child antibodies until they can develop their own (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081026101713.htm) show that it is not “completely out of the blue”. Again, that is not to say that all babies that don’t get breast fed will die, but it does show that babies are, at the very least, hardwired to have very specific type of relationship with the mother. And this is all science, not some religious dogma. And, again, this is but one example that is not meant as proof one way or another, merely to show that it isn’t a completely illogical argument to make.

  34. Roscoe
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Way to throw out rational arguments before even looking at them. Religious concepts. Sure. So are honesty, love, no theft, no murder, and all that other good stuff. I’m sure atheists have no use for these concepts either…
    You know, you don’t do very much for the whole reaching truth thing. Stifling arguments and brushing them aside because they are derived from religion, though are backed with reason and arguments, doesn’t give you much credibility.

  35. Roscoe
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    BTW, coolvirginity.com is hilarious. Like, you really wonder why abstinence-only edu doesn’t work? I mean, can we really say it’s because kids are just “going to do it anyway” or is it better to say that if this education is anything like cool virginity, it is bound to suck balls? I mean, honestly, being a virgin is cool? I’m pretty sure it sucks…

  36. electrictoaster
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Lying. Hate. Theft. Murder. Sex. *Hums* One of these things is not like the other…
    I’m an agnostic atheist. I’m a college student. I’m a virgin, as much as I hate the term. The idea that sex is immoral is a concept that doesn’t make much sense to me, outside of a religious context. With all of the other things you mention, there is a clear victim. When unattached, consenting adults decide to have sex, who’s the victim? Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems kind of straightforward to me. “Chaste” and “virgin” both have denotations of purity, which implies that people who aren’t chaste and virginal are somehow impure. Why? I don’t take my orders from up above, so I need a reason that doesn’t boil down to “because skydaddy said so”, and I’ve been unable to think of one. Yeah, there are lots of situations where sex can be wrong — like you’re in a monogamous relationship with someone else, or you don’t feel ready, etc. But that doesn’t mean sex in general is wrong. (If that’s how logic worked, it would be immoral to eat, since it’s wrong to punch someone in the face to steal their McNuggets.)
    I’ve never been put down or ostracized b/c I don’t have sex, but maybe that’s because I don’t go around telling other people that they’re in the realm of murderers and bigots for making different choices about what to do in their own bodies. I’m just not ready to have sex yet, and I haven’t found someone I feel comfortable doing it with. That doesn’t have anything to do with my morality. I bet a large chunk of what you think is discrimination against virgins is actually people getting pissed off at all the loaded, offensive language you use to describe people who’ve had sex versus people who have not:
    Virtue, n.
    Definition: honor, integrity
    Antonyms: dishonor, evil, immorality, vice
    Chaste, adj.
    Definition: pure, incorrupt
    Antonyms: corrupt, defiled, dirty, lewd, unchaste, wanton
    Virgin,
    n. A pure, uncorrupted person: angel, innocent, lamb. See clean/dirty, right/wrong.
    adj. Morally beyond reproach, especially in sexual conduct: chaste, decent, modest, nice, pure, virginal, virtuous. See good/bad, restraint/unrestraint, sex/asexual.
    You can try to redefine words to mean what you want them to mean, but that doesn’t erase the connotations they have for the rest of the world. Nor does it obligate everyone else to assume you meant some obscure set of definitions, rather than the most commonly-used ones, especially when you don’t even explain yourself before using them. Is it really a surprise that people are rejecting your ideas about virginity outright when you’re insulting them so much?

  37. ShifterCat
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    “You’d like for it to be that so you can just dismiss it as rational… You are putting religious words in my mouth to make me sound irrational… Now, granted, I’m sure you aren’t doing it on purpose because you don’t understand my arguments…”
    You’re assuming that I’ve never heard this sort of argument before. I have, and I’ve had plenty of time to analyze and deconstruct it.
    Whether or not the people making those arguments realize that they’re engaging in magical thinking, the fact remains that that’s what they’re doing. This entire business about needing state-sanctioned wedding to “give of your entire self”? That’s marriage-ceremony-as-magic, right there. Some people can — and do — devote themselves to a lifelong partner and yet decide that they want nothing to do with the institution of marriage. Here’s an example.
    As an aside: if conservatives really think that marriage is this amazing spiritual panacea, why don’t they want marriage for everyone, gay and straight? They’re being awfully selfish, insisting that this thing they keep rhapsodizing about be limited only to people like themselves.
    Then, of course, there’s the entire notion that you have to “give of your entire self” to the person you’re having sex with, or there’s something drastically wrong. Find me one person who claims to have been “damaged” by friendly and considerate sex. I can find you plenty who haven’t.
    Something else they probably don’t realize is that love being the most important factor in a marriage is a very modern concept. (This book has more.) The need for chastity before marriage is a remnant from eras when the most important thing in a marriage was inheritance of power and property; the emotional needs of two little people were not society’s concern. Non-religious arguments for chastity before a marriage that’s all about love and emotional needs are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
    “Ya, sure marriage may not be about having kids, but the state, it could be argued, has an interest in marriage because… marriage is the ideal institution to raise children. That doesn’t mean I am judging other types of family situations as all necessarily producing fucked up kids, but it still may not be the ideal.”
    But the state does not prohibit the marriages of infertile or childfree couples, nor does it force single or widowed parents to marry. Therefore, it has no business legislating against same-sex marriage.
    [Snip entire breastmilk argument]
    This has nothing to do with that “psychological expectation” ass-pull. An adopted child who is going to a heterosexual couple gets the same amount of breastmilk as if they went to a same-sex couple. And, of course, a child born to a lesbian mother will get breastfed just as much as a child born to a heterosexual mother.
    You keep saying that you’re not really sure where you stand. Well, personally, when I notice one side’s arguments keep falling into shambles under a bit of objective scrutiny, I start taking a hard look at what thinkers on the other side are arguing.
    Anyway, this post is getting old, so I’m going to leave you with one last bit of advice, then I’m done here.
    If you, or a friend of yours, is looking for a non-religious justification for abstaining from sex, why don’t you simply point out that everyone is entitled to express their sexuality as they see fit provided it harms nobody, and that celibacy is how you’re choosing to express yours at this time? It lays out your own boundaries while remaining respectful of others’ differences. As Greta Christina put it, “Sex-positivity isn’t about being a cheerleader for sex, all sex, all the time. Sex-positivity is about seeing sex as an essential part of human life: as diverse as the human race, as ecstatic and sad and absurd as the people who are doing it.”

  38. Roscoe
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I never insulted anyone, and I’m not a virgin, so maybe you are going to accuse me of self-loathing, but that would be presumptuous of you because I am, in fact, doing just fine (though this doesn’t mean I still wasn’t hurt by my premarital sex, I mean, if I am to believe that we are all sinners, then clearly either everyone is living shitty lives or through God or reason one learns from their mistakes). If you cared to read the rest of the comments, it boils down to the argument that sex outside of marriage can hurt both of the parties involved. It has nothing to do with skydaddy. I’m sorry you couldn’t think of any arguments that don’t include that line, but there are, contrary to what you think, many people who have sat down and thought about these issues and how they are, in fact, damaging to the person. People of faith can actually question their faith (crazy I know) and reason with it in order to better understand the commandments given to us by God) and can actually use reason to back up their claims. Again, I’m not going to present any particular arguments here because it is not my interest to defend chastity here, merely to clear up the misconceptions that Professor George and Londregan are being irrational or basing their arguments solely on religion; this I have done below in the comments if you care enough to read.
    Oh, and I agree that the morality of sex is far more subtle than that of murder, for example, but all the more reason to study and discuss it. Trivial truths, like murder, it seems do not need much discussion, but at least some people perceive there to be hurt parties from disrespecting sex and to dismiss these arguments as religious and irrational (if they aren’t) is not productive and does not help anyone, not even atheists.

  39. Arium
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Way to throw out rational arguments before even looking at them. Religious concepts. Sure. So are honesty, love, no theft, no murder, and all that other good stuff. I’m sure atheists have no use for these concepts either…
    You’re right, in a way: I find the idea of religion as an appropriate basis for morality to be so problematic that I give no weight to whether a given religion values a particular moral precept before making my own judgment on the precept.
    You know, you don’t do very much for the whole reaching truth thing. Stifling arguments and brushing them aside because they are derived from religion, though are backed with reason and arguments, doesn’t give you much credibility.
    My rejection of religious concepts of morality was given in the context of discussing the needs of atheists and agnostics. Arguments derived from religion are of no use in this context.
    I do not consider the purpose of discussions such as this to be to arrive at some “truth.” I find that word to be too loaded with religious connotation to be useful.

  40. Roscoe
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    So I know you are signing off, but I felt like posting anyway, because maybe a couple weeks down the road you’ll come back and see my post and it may start up another conversation again. I also post because I have a sincere desire to keep hashing out these intuitions and talking about the arguments, as I am still not sufficiently convinced that you understand the arguments fully, not to your discredit. If you’ve really tried deconstructing them that much, let me help you by adding my perspective.
    The wedding bit: I am not saying that we need
    “state-sanctioned wedding to “give of your entire self”" rather I am saying that to me (and now this is personal, rather than arguing for George and Londregan) the most important part is that lifelong pledge to the other person. If they don’t want to have a state-sanctioned marriage, I’d tend to be a little lenient as what is of concern to me is that lifelong bond. So, all I mean to say about the wedding is that it serves as a physical manifestation of your bond, though is in no way a sufficient one. I mean, when we graduate from high school, we have a ceremony; same with college. Is your diploma and graduation based on the fact that you had a ceremony, no, but it is a physical and outward expression of graduating (Granted, the analogy doesn’t hold because for graduating, it is more of a celebration of something you have already done, while the marriage ceremony is more of a celebration of something that has yet to happen, or better worded, yet to flourish).
    Sure, you may not have to give your entire self, I already said that this could be a valid argument; perhaps not sound, but that’s another question. I would tend to argue that, while it may not damage the persons or irreparably harm them, a strong case could be made that when you do give your entire self, and accept the consensual giving of the other person’s self, then sex is necessarily NOT objectifying the other; they are seen as an end, not as a means for pleasure (Of course, marital rape exists, but here is where I don’t think the aggressor is accepting the consensual gift of self of the other person, but rather taking it forcibly). Now, the objection would argue directly with the logic of whether a lifelong union is necessary, but do you see that this does not necessarily have to be a religious argument? It doesn’t have to rely on saying that lifelong is necessary because God says so? It could be argued philosophically, using talk of ends or means, and how treating the person as an ends entails a lifelong relationship if sex is to be had. I provide no argument for the lifelong claim, as it is heavily philosophical and I truly think it would be better for whoever is interested to honestly peruse philosophical papers regarding this topic. I merely wanted to point out that it doesn’t have to come down to skydaddy.
    “But the state does not prohibit the marriages of infertile or childfree couples, nor does it force single or widowed parents to marry. Therefore, it has no business legislating against same-sex marriage.”
    Sure, the state does not prohibit those marriage, but I’m not arguing that marriage’s purpose is to have kids, rather, and this is subtly, but importantly, different, marriage is the best place/institution for the raising of kids. You see how the latter does not entail the former? Just because marriage is the best place FOR kids doesn’t mean that every person within marriage must have kids. But then when it comes to homosexuals, one must talk about what marriage means. This is also another long subject that must be treated very deeply. Suffice it to say that if marriage is supposed to be the best place for a child to be reared, then it follows directly that the best people for the job are ideally the biological mother and father (Ideally, perhaps not practically). This is exemplified by the Breast Milk example because the baby receives the antibodies from its mother, which is most compatible to it (rather than the breast milk of someone else). The second-best, I would argue based on parsimony, may be A mother and father, which is what the state does currently recognize as the second most ideal option, and thus the best option for adoption. Again, the resaon your lesbian couple argument doesn’t address this argument is because a lesbian couple lacks a father figure. And it is at this point where any further assertions about whether a child “expects” a father an mother, or whether those roles are socially and culturally formed, is a matter of pure science, particularly biology, though philosophical theses can be made to back up both points of view.
    As for your suggestion about a non-religious justification for abstinence, I’m not interested in personal choices, rather moral arguments. I may find that rape is not something I personally would engage in, but if I think that rape is a substantial enough social harm, then I should argue for its immorality to a larger audience. I’m all about respecting people’s differences, but there are some differences that cannot be tolerated (surely you wouldn’t want to tolerate people’s different views on rape, rape, I would think, is clearly something that should be practiced by no one, regardless of whatever personal differences people may have). Likewise, and while I’m in no way cmparing the harm of rape to the harm of pre-marital sex (Obviously, while I think for some people premarital sex can and has been traumatizing and dehumanizing, I can reasonably accept and see that for others it clearly isn’t as big of a deal), the harm of premarital sex could be perceived as enough of a harm to people that one may feel compelled to argue it as a broader moral question. I must point out, again, that this is not because skydaddy said so, it is out of a genuine concern over the health and well-being of those engaging in premarital sex. Paternalistic and Presumptuous, again, sure, one can make the case. Religious. I would posit a resounding NO.

  41. Roscoe
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Fully accepted. Thanks for the response, it cleared up what you meant. All I would say is that, if you are assuming that all atheists and agnostics are are non-believers in God and his Authority, then any arguments that invoke this authority should be dismissed, sure. But arguments that use his authority can be argued in rational ways; and this is of use in considering the needs of atheists.
    Quick illustration:
    God says not to murder because we are his creations and to kill his creations would be undermining God’s power.
    Atheists can give me the finger and I’d just have to accept it because they don’t believe in God.
    However, atheists still don’t murder, so there is clearly some other way to justify not only their personal choice not to murder, but a broader justification of a legal or moral mandate that prohibits murder. This other way is usually reason.
    The same could be said of chastity, I would say.
    God says we should only have sex to procreate because that is the purpose of sex and any other sex offends God.
    Atheists gives me finger; I’m shit out of luck
    On the other hand, if I can argue rationally that premarital sex harms those participating in it, then I have in no way invoked God or his Authority. Thus, it is still in the interest of the Atheist or Agnostic to listen and deliberate my arguments.
    I just wanted to make that clear.
    And I respect your distrust of the word truth, though I would remind you that both scientists, philosophers and mathematicians also seek “truth”…

  42. Arium
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    However, atheists still don’t murder, so there is clearly some other way to justify not only their personal choice not to murder, but a broader justification of a legal or moral mandate that prohibits murder. This other way is usually reason.
    I had inferred from your previous reply that you were in the “atheists can’t be moral because they don’t believe in divine retribution” camp. I am happy to read evidence to the contrary.
    On the other hand, if I can argue rationally that premarital sex harms those participating in it, then I have in no way invoked God or his Authority. Thus, it is still in the interest of the Atheist or Agnostic to listen and deliberate my arguments.
    This scenario illustrates my take on this argument: (Since, to my recollection, you haven’t actually presented arguments regarding the harms of premarital sex, my discussion of such arguments will be generalized.) A list of negative consequences of premarital sex is presented. The list likely will not distinguish by age, since marriage is the key criterion. The presenter most likely will not acknowledge any neutral or positive consequences of premarital sex. The presenter acknowledges acceptance of a tenet of her religion that declares premarital sex to be immoral.
    As someone who does not subscribe to the presenter’s religion, I am going to view such a presentation as not worthy of my attention. A presenter who focuses exclusively on negative consequences will be perceived by me as not having formed her opinion through reasoned consideration, but rather as someone who cherry-picks arguments to support a preordained conclusion.

  43. kisekileia
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Guys suffer from the “sexual purity” movement too, actually. Because that movement is so anti-porn and often anti-masturbation, many guys (and some girls) end up thinking they’re sex-addicted perverts just because their sex drives don’t allow them to completely abstain even from masturbation and they like porn. The sexual shaming in the abstinence movement affects people of all genders.

  44. Roscoe
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Ah, thank you for your response.
    I definitely understand better where you are coming from. So for a long time, sex has been demonized and those who engage in pre-marital sex have been demonized by those people that feel it is virtuous. However, I think one can still see that there are some “good” consequences but that premarital sex is still objectification. Does that mean that those who do engage in it are demons condemned to Hell? No. I’m sure that the sex actually did bring them together, actually did enrich the relationship. I mean, I do believe sex is powerful, so ya, of course I think good things can come from it. But this is a much deeper philosophical question than that. It is a very subtle argument that tries to get at what exactly is harmful about sex. And it is not a pragmatic one; ie. it does not say “oh, well, people can get hurt because one side may expect another so that is the reason”, rather a philosophical one that focuses on treating the other person as a complete end.
    I mean, and this is kind of off topic, but the same kind of argument could be said of capitalism. Ya, good things happen because of capitalism, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a sub-optimal system where wage labor is a bit objectifying. Same thing. Premarital sex is far from some other moral wrongs, but I still think it is sub-optimal compared to marital sex.
    By the way, and this is even more off topic so please don’t respond to it, I, too, for a long time thought that the question of morality depending on God was a bit over-zealous. Now, I’m still not entirely convinced that one cannot reach moral truths without God, but I think that there is definite worth in engaging this topic philosophically, if at least just as a mental exercise. Again, I’m not arguing for either side, and most people who do think you need to believe in God to be moral couldn’t justify that view with reason to save their life. However, it’s not entirely clear to that “one should not cause harm on others” as a basic moral tenet is so easily defensible. It seems like an outright truth to most all of us, but does it have prescriptive force (I mean, can you make the case for some alien coming down to earth that he shouldn’t harm us?). Basically, just because the person in front of me can feel pain, it doesn’t immediately follow that it is wrong to inflict pain on them unless, the enlightened religious person would argue, each and every person is God’s creation and thus we shouldn’t harm them because it would be tantamount to subverting his authority. I know philosophers have tried to connect the two logically and with reason, and there is, like seriously, way too much stuff to talk about regarding this topic. I just wanted to let you know that, for some, the question of morality, God, and their mutual necessity is not as simple as brushing it off. If you find this interesting, I hope you go and learn more about it.

  45. ShifterCat
    Posted March 29, 2009 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    This is becoming a ghost thread. In “a few weeks”, it’ll be utterly abandoned. But comment notice happened to show up while I was perusing, so what the hell.
    You’re rambling so much, and with such incoherent phrasing, that it’s often not clear what exact point you’re trying to argue. If, as you say upthread, you know that you don’t know what you’re talking about, then spare us the wordy evidence of that fact and put more effort into learning.
    I know that’s waspish, but I really lack patience with people who first admit their ignorance about a subject and then give long, patronizing lectures concerning it.
    Two things in the last paragraph stuck out, at least:

    …surely you wouldn’t want to tolerate people’s different views on rape, rape, I would think, is clearly something that should be practiced by no one…

    Hence “everyone is entitled to express their sexuality as they see fit PROVIDED IT HARMS NOBODY“.

    I’m not interested in personal choices, rather moral arguments.

    “If it harm none, do what ye will” is perhaps the oldest and most enduring moral argument there is. If you haven’t heard of that one, you really need to do more reading.
    That is one bad case of last-word-itis you’ve got there. I am not going to exacerbate it any further.

  46. Roscoe
    Posted March 29, 2009 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    I wasn’t claiming to be ignorant, I was being sarcastic towards Annabelle because she thought I was a freshman philosophy major and insulted my intelligence by implying that I took philosophical arguments on authority.
    As for the rest, you mustn’t have read my entire comment. I don’t mean to prolong the issue, but you clearly haven’t studied, yourself.
    I understand full well about the “harm noone” caveat. I was just trying to say that the question of whether premarital sex harms people (by way of diminishing them to a means instead of an end); perhaps not in a physical way, but in a psychological, emotional, perhaps moral, way.
    I have no problem with giving you the final word, but not when it grossly misses the point of my last comment. Just accept that there are non-religious arguments about the harm of premarital sex and that is all I ask. Now, go read, because if I’ve had to clear the argument up this may times, you clearly do not understand. Which is fine…but at least educate yourself if you really want to talk about this issue instead of derailing it as a religious, shame-inducing argument.
    These professors have spent their entire lives educated themselves on these issues, and from both sides mind you! I just find it disgraceful for anyone to just dismiss their arguments as religious and having no intellectual worth. Which is effectively what everyone on this post has been doing.

  47. Roscoe
    Posted March 29, 2009 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    I wasn’t claiming to be ignorant, I was being sarcastic towards Annabelle because she thought I was a freshman philosophy major and insulted my intelligence by implying that I took philosophical arguments on authority.
    As for the rest, you mustn’t have read my entire comment. I don’t mean to prolong the issue, but you clearly haven’t studied, yourself.
    I understand full well about the “harm noone” caveat. I was just trying to say that the question of whether premarital sex harms people (by way of diminishing them to a means instead of an end); perhaps not in a physical way, but in a psychological, emotional, perhaps moral, way.
    I have no problem with giving you the final word, but not when it grossly misses the point of my last comment. Just accept that there are non-religious arguments about the harm of premarital sex and that is all I ask. Now, go read, because if I’ve had to clear the argument up this may times, you clearly do not understand. Which is fine…but at least educate yourself if you really want to talk about this issue instead of derailing it as a religious, shame-inducing argument.
    These professors have spent their entire lives educated themselves on these issues, and from both sides mind you! I just find it disgraceful for anyone to just dismiss their arguments as religious and having no intellectual worth. Which is effectively what everyone on this post has been doing.

  48. Arium
    Posted March 29, 2009 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I get it now. Sometimes I’m a little slow.
    I explain that I have no use for arguments that are based in religious apologetics, and what is your response?
    “I definitely understand better where you are coming from.”
    After which you continue to go on about the philosophical basis for your opinions, as if your philosophy is not determined by your religious belief.
    And then, irony of ironies, you bring up objectification in capitalism. I have another example for you: Treating me as a target for proselytization is objectification.
    Why I have any inclination to continue the discussion is beyond me, but …
    Your idea that premarital sex is objectification makes no sense. I am a serial monogamist. I have been in multiple long-term sexual relationships, two of which converted to marriages. (Not to suggest that sex ended at marriage, or at divorce for that matter.) Any assertion that these relationships involved objectification one day, then the objectification magically ended at “I do” defies reason.
    Personally I like the idea of “do unto others” as basis for morality. I realize that this isn’t perfect, because modern life is far removed from our Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness (EEA – a concept out of Evolutionary Psychology) so our evolved sense of morality can be lacking at times, but its a good start.
    Good day, madam.

  49. Roscoe
    Posted March 29, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    No, my philosophy is not determined by my religion, unless every scientists whose hypothesis is corroborated by their conclusion is also determined by their hypothesis. My hypothesis is my religion, sure I’ll admit that. But my philosophy is how I corroborate my beliefs. I come in completely open-minded and willing to accept whatever logical consequences present themselves. It just so happens that most of my beliefs are supported by the conclusions I have reached through philosophical inquiry. I have yet to decide whether I agree with the Church’s position on marriage and what-not for those who live in a secular, libertarian society. Religiously, sure I believe premarital sex is a sin. Secularly, I’m not entirely sure. And by you just dismissing these arguments as religious you aren’t helping anyone reach a satisfactory conclusion.
    Moreover, I have not tried to defend this position at all, I just wanted to present it in a way that isn’t religious, merely philosophical. Therefore I have in no way objectified you as a subject of my proselytism. What God you believe or don’t believe in is none of my business. Do I think there is much that Catholicism could offer you?> sure, but that’s not my concern in this post. My concern is to clear George and Londregan of the being people who argue religiously (as opposed to philosophically) and who are shamers (they are not).
    BTW, the assertion is not that it magically becomes an act that doesn’t objectify. Rather the argument is that when two people dedicate the rest of their lives to each other and “give themselves wholly” to the other is the only time that sex is no longer objectifying, not becuase the sex is different and “GOD is there” or some bullshit like that. Rather because of the way the two people enter into the act (neither is looking just for pleasure, but something more unitive. Notice that this isn’t a defense of marital rape either because clearly that is not a unitive act. Marriage is not sufficient for unitive sex, only necessary). As I have said before, if you wish to argue why longesvity is not necessary, or why “giving oneself wholly” is not necessary for sex to be unitive and not objectifying, then please argue as much, but don’t just say that my arguments defy reason if you cannot procure an argument to defend that claim.

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