Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
fgoodwin

Community Day backs away from BSA over its gay policy

Recommended Posts

Heh, heh, Watson is for sure a piece of work, eh? ;) But if you or I walked up to Watson and called him a racist jerk, his response would probably be something like, "So what's your point?" rather than threatening violence or a war. Same for scientists. I certainly HAVE heard sweeping indictments of scientists along those lines from certain religious persons. The way we respond is to provide counter-arguments backed up with data and objective reasoning. If you can find a large group of scientists (say, the NAS, for example) who have threatened violence because they were called bad names, I'd like to know about it.

Watson, for whom Cold Springs Harbor was like his pampered 'only' child, had that 'child' taken from him in response...by other scientists.

 

I agree that it is wrong to accuse an entire religion just because of the words or deeds of some of the followers...as I commonly hear on talk radio with respect to Islam.

But that is your idea not mine. "...I think if you are tryin' to judge a whole group by the actions of its most outrageous or misguided members". That is not what I wrote.

To me prejudice, with its connotations, is an idea that is sometimes extended into hateful actions. The similarities between race and sexual orientation with respect to prejudice is obvious, I hope. If someone expresses personal prejudice or takes those hateful actions, I identify THEM as prejudiced or hateful.

What I have directly observed is a LARGE number of white people, years ago, expressing racial prejudice and justifying it on the basis of scripture. Now I see a large number of people expressing prejudice against gays and justifying it on the basis of scripture. You and Aquila have noted an exception. Fine.

 

But, if those mean old prejudiced people exclude gays, using their religion as their authority for the action, and if YOU exclude gays using the same religion as your authority, HOW do I make the distinction between you? Keep in mind I am following YOUR idea of 'action' being the important factor.

 

Back to Watson. Watson is a very bright, arrogant jerk. He seems to be proud of that. As part of the pageant of life, he is a fascinating character. But he does not base his prejudice on some central body of scripture that a large group of scientists accept on faith alone and worship as Holy. If I am wrong please correct me.

Likewise, if you can identify a large group of scientists who are threatening violence on some other group of people because of a disagreement on some theory or experimental result, I'd like to know about it...especially if they base their threat on some kind of 'scientific scripture'. I see no evidence of any such interaction.

Religious people (on behalf of religion), I am sure you understand, can make no such claim (with the possible exception of wimpy sects like Quakers and UUs ;)).

To me THAT is one of the strongest criticisms of religion that can be made - again, conforming to your 'action' standard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh, heh, I guess we were writing at the same time. I have to admit that discussions of things like greater or lesser sins or cultural dynamics and effects on society (or something like that) just leave me bewildered.

I would like to note that I directly observed an empirical test of the powerline thing back when I was in college. Tragic. Don't touch powerlines, even with really good, insulated shoes. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

pack,

Being black is not a sin. Homosexual sex (the act) is a sin. Just because a man is attracted to another man does not mean he has to follow those urges. If a married man is attracted to another woman, if he follows those urges, he is committing the sin of adultery. Some here will say a homosexual following that lifestyle is just being true to himself. What would those same people say about men who are attracted to women other than their wives? Should they act upon those urges? Are they not being true to themselves?

 

"Likewise, if you can identify a large group of scientists who are threatening violence on some other group of people because of a disagreement on some theory or experimental result, I'd like to know about it...especially if they base their threat on some kind of 'scientific scripture'. I see no evidence of any such interaction. "

 

I can identify a crowd, and their "science" has become religion - it is based on faith, not science. The Global Warming crowd. Give them another year or two, and they will start a war. They will scare some people so bad that they will feel their lives are threatened, and when those people can't get the "non-believers" to follow their "doctrine" to save the planet, they will resort to violence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brent, you make a good point regarding global warming. I note that I am not as pessimistic about the political outcome while I am probably MORE pessimistic about our ability to solve the problem, assuming we can even identify it clearly.

At any rate, those people are not scientists. They neither understand nor care about science. I could probably add some of the 'Earth First' types to your group...in fact they may well be some of the same people.

From my perspective, these are fundamentally ignorant people. Dilettantes, perhaps, with only a superficial understanding of their own ignorance...and locked in unshaking faith on their 'fundamental' ideas. Sound familiar?

In this respect I see strong similarities to fundamentalists of many types.

 

With that in mind, I would instead argue that while these groups may well be prejudiced, it is rather based on 'absence' of real science and in ignorance of the way science proceeds. The collective scientists who do research on global climate change...I doubt can be found among the group you mention. I could be wrong.

 

As I already mentioned, I don't understand the concept of sin. I understand dishonesty. If consenting adults mutually agree for any reason to engage in acts that have no effect on me, I try not to make judgements about them. There just aren't enough hours in the day and too many other things in life to worry about or enjoy. That said, if a particular physical activity between male and female are the result of mutual love and attraction, then I most certainly do NOT condemn the same thing between males or between females as wrong or sinful. Can't say, however, that I can base that on scripture of any kind. Sorry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I already mentioned, I don't understand the concept of sin. I understand dishonesty. If consenting adults mutually agree for any reason to engage in acts that have no effect on me, I try not to make judgements about them.

 

Let's try that with a different topic, eh?

 

If a friend of yours were a "practicing" alcoholic or drug user (engaged in acts that have no direct effect on you), would yeh not make a judgment about that? Not care enough to try to help?

 

If a friend got into gambling and was spending way too much money lookin' to get rich quick (engaged in acts which have no direct effect on you) would yeh not make a judgment about that? Not care enough to try to help?

 

I would consider that a failure of charity, a violation of the Scout Oath and Law (divine positive law).

 

Sin which is self-destructive, which leads a person to be less than he/she could be, is also harmful. Just because it doesn't hurt you doesn't mean it doesn't hurt others or, through them, society at large. Yeh might not jail people for such things, but surely it's OK to teach that such actions are harmful? OK to not hold the person up to kids as a fine example and role model?

 

The attraction to alcohol, or drugs, or gambling is neutral, and we don't fully understand the causes. But isn't acting on that attraction a problem, as BrentAllen says?

 

That said, if a particular physical activity between male and female are the result of mutual love and attraction, then I most certainly do NOT condemn the same thing between males or between females as wrong or sinful. Can't say, however, that I can base that on scripture of any kind. Sorry.

 

Scripture is just data recorded by folks across many cultures based on their observed interaction with God and each other. In fact, the data that is reported was filtered in the same way science was filtered - over time, by humans selecting what was most relevant and important and "successful." Plenty of abandoned religions and religious theories along the way. 4,000 years that's pretty good. So at least we have some data, eh?

 

Your statement, as close as I can figure, is based on no data at all, beyond your personal prejudices and experiences as a child of da 60s in America.

 

Beavah

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beavah, why do your examples only include ones with demonstrative harm. In particular, you cite gambling and losing way too much money. What if you knew someone who, say, played blackjack and was good enough to consistently win? Is it no longer a "sin" since they're winning? Is it only acceptable to berate other people for their harmful vices?

 

Come to that, do you advocate digging into someone else's sex life, at least enough to determine if it's harmful (like gambling and losing too much money vs. gambling and NOT losing too much money) before criticizing them? Do you ask about what specific sex acts are performed, what preexisting diseases each has, and what, if any, precautions against disease are taken?

 

I'm guessing not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I have directly observed is a LARGE number of white people, years ago, expressing racial prejudice and justifying it on the basis of scripture.

 

Yeh aren't very good at social science data collection are yeh, mate? Perhaps yeh should stick to physical science. What yeh missed was the white Catholic president and his attorney general brother, and the huge number of white, Christian religions legislators and voters and federal marshals who were the folks that actually were successful at combating racial prejudice in the south. Mrs. Beavah drove down to Selma in those days to help.

 

So yeh saw a small fraction of the population (which of course looks large when it's concentrated in one area), ignored the majority, and came to the wrong conclusion. Nice use of scientific data, there, eh?

 

 

But Watson does not base his prejudice on some central body of scripture that a large group of scientists accept on faith alone and worship as Holy. If I am wrong please correct me.

 

Happy to. He bases his prejudice on genetic theory, part of a large body of commonly accepted scientific writing (aka "scripture") that is accepted based on historically reported data which most folks don't collect personally (aka "faith"), and which he committed his life to (aka "worshipped as Holy"). He comes to some odd and off-da-reservation conclusions based on that. So does Fred Phelps. So scientists took away Watson's institute. And a bunch of Christian plaintiffs and jurors just took away Fred Phelps' church.

 

What exactly is da difference? I sure hope it's not just the terms used. That would be... prejudice ;).

 

Beavah

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back to the kids perhaps. Units run with them in mind foremost will usually politely ask "ANY" individual who may negatively affect the kids to leave, simply because that possibility exists, no matter how small. So, we return to the "avowed" thing. Perhaps National could change this to "Any Individual Avowing Possibly Detrimental Influence". Then all the possible, even minutely, harmful examples could be pointed at, not just one. But, even then, someone will be offended. So, back to local control, as originally intended anyway by earlier standards on a national level.

 

Part of the problem with this discussion is the idea that any difficult change or modification cannot happen overnight. Even most science appears to come to very slow conclusions of accepted principles; and some people continue to be skeptical. That is the nature of things.

 

Still, as noted before, simple logic and common sense appear to not be in play much too often in these interminable arguments. No matter which "side" ultimately is correct (and how do we absolutely know even then?), if even the smallest chance exists that something may be harmful to the children in our charge, then we should not take the chance. And that decision falls on the parents and CO, as they are the closest to the group.

 

So, will National eventually change its policies. It is likely to evolve into something that most CO's can live with. But finding the "right" way to do that may be more difficult than some of us know.

 

Meanwhile, focus on your own units and what you "can" effect. Those of you who are here to simply berate the awful BSA, grow up and find something else to denigrate. No matter how bad you think the current policy is, the overall benefit of the organization far out weighs the negative.

 

Putting on the fire suit now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the two brothers were noble, prominent, and met a very sad fate for their efforts.

Your contention that only a small number of whites held prejudicial views on race in the '50s and '60s is suspect considering what measures were ultimately taken by the federal government to stem the violence. Mrs. Beavah may know this well. I report what I observed as a young person growing up in the South. I heard about and saw terrible things. As I read about the struggle, I tend to think this was widespread throughout the South. If you want to minimize it by saying my 'window' on the world was small, that's your choice. Perhaps there really wasn't much of a problem back then, and perhaps Trent Lott was right.

 

Regarding data. Scripture hardly qualifies as history, much less as objective scientific data. I'm a little surprised that you don't understand the difference.

In science, observations that cannot be reproduced using the same observational methods are suspect and eventually get marginalized or rejected (just ask Pons and Fleischman). Indeed, regarding the classification of humans, history is littered with ideas that science eventually discredited and rejected. And yes, they were used in support of prejudice in those days.

 

Science is a system of understanding that constantly questions and challenges its own assumptions and observations. This self-correcting tendency is its great strength. It constantly attempts to disprove even ideas that are currently accepted by much of the scientific community (such as those old racial classifications were back then). Indeed, I enjoy bringing these controversies to lecture, poking fun at even some famous scientists. The students need to understand that 'facts' are always open to challenge and that we really WANT to learn from mistakes. And sometimes it is fun and makes for a pretty good story later on.

All assumptions are tentative, just waiting for a critical experiment to reject them. Show me the religion that does this as a matter of fundamental doctrine (aside from UUs).

 

I have had friends in the past who were alcoholics. I tried. They are dead. I never thought of them in terms of sin. I have gay friends some of whom are dead. I never thought of them in terms of sin. You haven't come close to explaining sin satisfactorily. Separate 'sin' as a concept from any kind of religious background, and I might be able to grasp it.

 

Regarding Watson...yes he is prejudiced. Please explain the genetic theory, the reasoning, and data that Watson has employed to form his prejudice. I would like to know this myself.

 

I think you have mischaracterized the body of genetics and science in particular. Whereas Watson expresses prejudice if he says one ethnic group is 'inferior' to another based on whatever, the distinction is that on one hand, there is actual evidence of a difference and no particular judgement is made.

For prejudice, on the other hand, the judgement is made independently and perhaps 'evidence' gathered in support. I recognize this as 'dishonesty' in the form of a self-deception. If brought to the public, I call it what it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"So I'm not sure what your point is in tryin' to hold Biblical religions up to a different standard than the rest of human endeavor."

 

Because if the morality of homosexuality is open to interpretation, then that means that the Biblical support of it is not conclusive. Which means that it is open to doubt and questioning, and not some "moral absolute" that others would like to portray it as.

 

"But because you're not a practicin' Christian or at least are fairly far removed from anyone teachin' yeh how it works, you're introducing a lot of your own personal prejudice. Christianity at least, and probably many of the others, believes exactly what you describe:"

 

I will happily grant you that I don't fully understand the Christian concept of "sin". I've always been much more interested in practical matters like harm. You claim that homosexuality IS harmful, but I have to tell you, in all my years of experience dealing day in and day out with the LGBT community, I have yet to see it. I've seen plenty of evidence of the harmfulness of the prejudice of society, but no harm in being homosexual. Your circular logic of "it's harmful to their soul because it's a sin" just doesn't work for me, either.

 

"In fact, if yeh look at the data carefully, the only culture that is wafflin' at all on homosexuality is America and some of western Europe. The rest of the Anglican world is up in arms against the "renegade" American Episcopal church. So from da evidence, it suggests that it is most likely that embracin' homosexuality as acceptable is a strange cultural phenomenon of America. Part and parcel with America's sexually promiscuous culture in other ways... and a very, very short-term and recent phenomenon to boot."

 

Um, no, it's not. Trev probably has more data on this than I do, but there are other cultures from other times in history that have had no problem whatsoever with homosexuality. Perhaps that is your ethnocentric prejudice showing ;)

 

Brent, perhaps I was taken in by the UMC's latest PR campaign, trying to reform their image to be more gay-friendly. They are willing to accept only gays who are celebate, I now see. But there are other Christian denominations that embrace non-celebate homosexuals, even as clergy. I'm afraid I'm still left trying to understand how they justify it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your contention that only a small number of whites held prejudicial views on race in the '50s and '60s is suspect considering what measures were ultimately taken by the federal government to stem the violence.

 

Not at all. You're continuin' a classic error in observation. Fact is, a small number of people can cause a lot of damage. Most riots and insurrections involve less than 5% of the population.

 

Can I judge all scientists base on da action of 5%, while ignoring the action of the majority (>50%) in opposition?

 

That's terrible science, mate.

 

Regarding data. Scripture hardly qualifies as history, much less as objective scientific data.

 

Ah, again with the prejudice. "History" is written accounts of human activity supplemented by archeaological findings. "Scripture" is written accounts of human belief and faith (supplemented by history and archaeological findings). I fail to see the difference, other than that the subject is "moral belief" rather than "political organization".

 

Objective scientific data is a fallacy anyway. It's an OK way to think for lab experiments on chemicals and such, but "objective scientific data" when it comes to more complex systems which can't be isolated... like humans ;)... is ridiculous. Data is data. It's what one person with particular views chose to measure, in one place, at one time, with what instruments were available.

 

Show me the religion that does this as a matter of fundamental doctrine

 

So because religions have a different approach to epistemology than science, they must be flawed? Prejudice again.

 

Actually, my understandin' is that the long Christian tradition is that defining God and what's right is very hard. It is far easier to determine what is wrong. So the old church councils very rarely established "creeds", but often criticized erroneous belief (heresy). Sounds a lot like your science eh? Errors can be rejected, but "truth" is never completely established?

 

Separate 'sin' as a concept from any kind of religious background, and I might be able to grasp it.

 

Yah, that's funny. Try to separate "Linebacker" from any kind of sports background. Or "electron" from any kind of science background. Some things only have meaning within a context, but that does not make them less real.

 

Regarding Watson...yes he is prejudiced. Please explain the genetic theory, the reasoning, and data that Watson has employed to form his prejudice. I would like to know this myself.

 

So would I. But clearly he was a product of and believer in your "science." I accept it if yeh say that he was misinterpreting your scripture (writings) and history (data) or used faulty reasoning. Same thing happens with religions, eh? I wouldn't condemn science for it, or even talk about him being prejudiced "like other scientists". His prejudice doesn't have anything to do with science, even though he framed it in scientific terms in a science interview. So why would you not show the same courtesy in reverse? Because in your prejudice against religion, yeh want to believe that the oddballs are connected with the mainstream.

 

Um, no, it's not. Trev probably has more data on this than I do, but there are other cultures from other times in history that have had no problem whatsoever with homosexuality.

 

Yah sure. Not many left, are there?

 

Anyway, da presence of other isolated examples doesn't disprove the point. Most of humanity for almost all of time and across many, many different cultures have been of similar mind. Only in America and Western Europe do we see a shift, and only within the last 30 years. So the more likely scientific hypothesis, based on that data, is that this is an odd cultural phenomenon found in modern America and Western Europe, growing out of a (similarly odd) sex-focused culture in those two regions. Yah, sure, American culture tends to look down on the rest of the cultures of the world, like all strongly prejudiced folks do. Yeh prove that point.;)

 

Tough bein' multicultural sometimes, ain't it :)

 

Beavah

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beavah, I'm not sure if it is the sex-oriented culture, or simply the continuous push for a secular culture.

 

Having secular governance is seen as good from most viewpoints, but once you marginalize the role that religion and faith have within a culture, things start to unwravel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In spite of the good intentions of a few individuals in this thread this entire argument is just ridiculous. Theologians, scientists, social scientists, and other experts have argued and debated these issues for centuries and have never found any common ground. Certainly a bunch of middle aged scouters with way too much time on their hands don't stand a chance of ever finding any solutions. If you guys put half this effort into your scouting then we would be far better off as an organization, unless, as I expect, most of you are not active in units anymore and can't find anything more constructive to do with your time.

 

Using the Bible as a weapon to justify hate and prejudice just goes to show the ignorance of so many churchs out there and the incorrect and sinful message that they preach. The Bible is a gift to us from God about his love and living in peace and to show us the error of our ways, instead it seems we just keep repeating these same errors with every generation, and that is the true SIN!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Certainly a bunch of middle aged scouters with way too much time on their hands don't stand a chance of ever finding any solutions." Now them's fightin' words! ;)

I think the idea is to just have fun batting the thing back and forth over the net. Jump on in and we can call it volleyball. :) Besides, I figure as long as I keep 'em writing, I won't have to worry about them declaring war on me or a fatwa or something. ;)

 

"Can I judge all scientists base on da action of 5%, while ignoring the action of the majority (>50%) in opposition?"

Actually that's not science at all. But I'm not judging all of anything based on the action of 5%. In fact I don't think I have used the word 'judge' or 'judgement' in that context. I'm just identifying prejudice when I see it. I saw it then...I see it today using the same criteria.

Do you really think that 5% or less of white people in the South were prejudiced against blacks back then? Really?

 

"But if yeh asked packsaddle whether different scientists ever look at the same set of data and come to very different conclusions (or workin' theories or whatever), I bet he'd say "yes, all the time."

 

I almost forgot this one. Yeah, I might say that as a figure of speech. But if pressed, actually I'd say NO, sometimes the results are crystal clear to everyone. You see, those are the times that really worry me. When I can't figure out a way to poke holes in the results, I suspect a hidden flaw. Those are the times when I like to see the data replicated to make sure. Several times would be better...always subject to doubt, even when it seems conclusive.

 

"So because religions have a different approach to epistemology than science, they must be flawed? Prejudice again."

That is your conclusion. I have consistently maintained that science cannot address matters of faith. But in your failure you have given no evidence to reject my contention. If you think that constitutes prejudice on my part, so be it. I'm just not yet feeling the effect of that blade.... ;)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×