Invalid comparisons, invalid conclusions

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The image above is making the following argument:
Premise 1: Things that look the same should be treated equally
Premise 2: Under the skin, we all _look_ the same
Conclusion: Therefore we should disregard all of the categories above and treat each other as equals.

The first problem is that its not true that we are all the same under the skin. There are numerous differences between us even in our skeletons. These differences are such that archeologists will still know a lot about us even when we are dead and gone.

Next, there are a number of problems with both premises. And a lot of it has to do with disregarding what the categories above are based on.

For example, black and white are two categories that deal primarily with skin. Therefore its invalid to show a picture of a skeleton in order to prove that no difference exists between blacks and white. Martin Luther Jr didn’t base his argument that he and his people should be treated equally on that argument. Instead he based his argument on the Bible which teaches us that we are all equal by virtue of our relationship to our creator. Not because we all “look” the same under the skin.

Then there is the issue with comparing one set of categories with another. For example, the black and white categories can be considered two elements of one set that we can express as (black, white). The next set of categories is gay and straight as those both deal with sexual orientation. That can be expressed as (gay, straight). And the final set, just for completeness, is (religious, atheist) which is based on acknowledgement of the supernatural or not.

Comparing the three sets of categories based on what the author supposes is a good argument for the equality of the first category (that we are all equal under the skin based on the general fact that we have bones) isn’t valid. Even if it were true that elements of the (black, white) set could be shown to be equal by the “everyone’s equal under the skin” function, it doesn’t follow that we can apply that same function to the other sets.

For example, we can’t say that the categories of gay and straight are equal simply because the have equivocal bone structure. That would be like saying that Mother Teresa and Hitler were really the same (ie equal) because they both had feet and hands.

The biggest difference between Mother Teresa and Hitler isn’t primarily physical. So a comparison based on a physical measure isn’t going to help us come to a correct conclusion about the relationship between these two people or elements.

Likewise, the difference between the sets above are not primarily physical so it follows that the image is wrong in its premise that things which look the same are the same since physical appearance is not the distinguishing characteristic of any of the categories above.

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40% of homeless youth are LGBT, and the parents are to blame!

Thus says this ThinkProgress image, anyway:

I found this image on a Facebook friend’s wall. Here’s my response interposed with comments from his rather liberal friends:

It is sad that they would reject their family rather than learning to control themselves.

So it’s safe to assume, Wes Widner, that you also would reject your children if/when they decided they were gay, because you read Leviticus and you choose to ignore all other Leviticus passages, but hold the one about same sex to literal interpretations.

I guess we can see now why 40% of homeless youths are lgbt. It’s parents who feel they have to be cruel to show love, even though that’s not Showing love.

You know you could replace homosexuality in that equation with any other immoral lifestyle and you would have essentially the same question of how we, as parents, would deal with it. Certainly we wouldn’t condone it or support it in any way. And because we believe it is deeply immoral and therefore self-destructive we would plead with them to repent and change their ways. But if they persist, if they choose their immorality over us then we won’t stand in their way and will allow them to make that choice.

Now you can try to re-frame that as rejecting them and causing them to be homeless if you want and then draw from that a wellspring of moral indignation of our apparent bigotry towards homosexuality. But the truth is that I’ve had friends whose children have decided to live in immoral heterosexual relationships where they have been forced, by their children, to make the hard and gut-wrenching decision (I know it was gut wrenching because I saw the tears) to not enable their immoral lifestyle which, because of their immaturity and stubborn determination to life as they saw fit, led to their being homeless. Thankfully that destitution lasted until they wound up pregnant in which was another rocky road in itself but eventually caused them to think of someone other than themselves and now they aren’t homeless and, more importantly, aren’t living in a self-absorbed immoral lifestyle.

Now the real tragedy with the image above is that the LGBT lifestyle is being so aggressively pushed even when it leads to such horrible outcomes. I understand the desire to paint the parents as the evil ones here, and in many other pro-GLBT propaganda pieces I’ve seen, but the truth is exactly the opposite. I would wager that in most cases its not the parents who are rejecting their children but the children who are rejecting their parents.

Sorry, but the truth is that many people like myself believe that some lifestyles are deeply immoral and that that immorality is more important than any temporary physical discomfort such as homelessness.

Oh, and the tl;dr version is: Its not “showing love” to condone an immoral/self-destructive lifestyle.

I am absolutely appalled at your attitude. “Physical discomfort?” Are you fucking kidding me? Would you throw your 14-year-old child out on the street for expressing love for a person of the same gender? With no tools or ability to survive? Would you be OK with that same child wandering the streets, only to be lured into drugs or prostitution by criminals because the very people who were supposed to love and protect them rejected them for their silly little “morals?”

Where is the morality in abandoning your child? It sickens me, how you’d throw your kid out like common trash.

XXXX, are you likewise trying to justify condoning immoral behavior by not dealing with it?

Rather than turning this into an emotional “I’m offended” session why don’t we try to suppress our natural emotional responses and at least make an attempt to view this issue from a viewpoint different from our own?

Homosexuality is not immoral behavior. Your argument, therefore, is completely invalid.

I get emotional when I hear that someone would have no problem discarding a child for not adhering to their parents’ religious doctrine. There is a huge difference between murder/theft/selling drugs and loving someone of the same sex.

The fact that you think it’s all the same tells me you have some serious mental issues. I suggest therapy. Maybe it’ll help clear away the brainwashing.

‎”Homosexuality is not immoral behavior. Your argument, therefore, is completely invalid. ”

Ah, so here is where our difference really lies. So we can cut out all the emotionalism and I can attempt to help you understand my viewpoint by substituting homosexuality, which you don’t believe is immoral, with something you do believe is immoral and then all I want to ask is whether that would change your perception? I really want to know because I’ve known parents who have housed and thus tacitly condoned their childrens’ drug addictions so I wouldn’t presume to conclude that just because we change the act in question from something you don’t consider to be immoral to something you do presumably do consider to be immoral that you would then agree that a valid course of action would be to refuse to condone their behavior through material support which includes room and board.

One of the issues we run into when discussing issues like this is that they are built on multiplied layers where we disagree on more than one so that if we don’t take the time to unravel the issue we cannot possibly hope to gain any substantive understanding of one another and thus cannot expect to make any progress.

Oh, and as an addendum, refusing to condone a child’s immoral lifestyle by expecting them to provide for themselves when they refuse to abide by your rules is hardly to discard them. That would be what pro-abortion proponents advocate in terms of discarding unwanted children as mere biomass. No, regretfully allowing a child to experience the results of their rejection of their parents is to actually hold out hope that they will, at some point in the future, end their rebellion and choose to end their selfishness and self-destructive lifestyle.

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