Discussion Concerning the Anti-Gay-Marriage Argument from Tradition

The cosmos is about 13.8 billion years old.
The human is about 200,000 years old.
The first recorded marriage involving a human occurred about 2,674 years ago.

Marriage contracts were first recorded in the Late Period (661-332 BC), and continued until the first century AD. They were often drawn up by the husband to establish the rights of both parties to maintenance and possessions. The law did not require a marriage to be recorded.


Appeal to Tradition

The argument supports a position by appealing to long-standing or traditional opinion, as if the past itself were a kind of authority.

Marie  I suppose you don’t consider Adam and Eve to’ve been married?
Mark  Did you snope this already? j/k
Joseph  Whoa whoa whoa … I thought everything was only 6,000 years old. Check your facts, heathen.
Clifton  Marie, this hadn’t actually occurred to me. From what I can gather, the thinking behind such a position is that Eve was "wed" to Adam because she was taken from a part of his body and then added back to him to complete him. If that is what it takes, then I would imagine that no marriage since has been valid. No?

Mark, I didn’t. As always, I am open to contradiction. I claim no expertise. Incidentally, Snopes generally does an excellent job of avoiding the argument from authority, which seems to me to be one of the human’s most abused fallacies.

Joseph, I’m glad you responded. I always wonder why my irreligious friends get married. Perhaps you can explain it to me. From my perspective, if you want to be with somebody, you will do that. Fidelity shouldn’t be a problem because you both agree to certain terms prior to formally entering into your relationship.

Marie  Ha! Oh, shoot. I better rethink my marriage
Mark  Ha. I think it’s a great site.
Joseph  Oh, the reason I got married? I’m fertile and so is my lady. Ha! Just kidding. One of the biggest reasons was that she thinks I’m funny and we have the same friends. So when I want to go hang out with my crazyass friends, I’m not dragging her along. I think I really lucked out to be honest with you.
Clifton  OK, Joe. I understand that I’m the Martian here and I appreciate everyone dignifying this post with a response. It sounds like you two would’ve been so Happy Together by The Turtles regardless of whether or not you got married. I can’t imagine your mutual fertility changing. Would your behavior toward each other have changed? The friend situation would’ve stayed the same, I assume. I also assume she’d’ve said "Yes" to you if you’d just said, "Hey, wanna be in a committed relationship forever and be mutually responsible for kids we have together and produce positive brain chemicals together that reinforce our bonds of affection?" Whoa, I think I see now. That’s too sexy even for me.
Mark  Most people do it to say, "This is the real deal — no need to marry again. This is my one and only."

The reason people get divorced is that we all come from dysfunctional families, and we have no training. That’s why you have to take a class before you get a divorce, to show you that you’re a quitter with no human skills.

Clifton  Yeah, that still seems to me to be something that could be done with a contract. But, then people might be like, "Oh, but, we’re in Love — why do we need a contract?"

And, I would say it’s more fundamentally a matter of being honest and doing what you say you’re going to do. And then preparing somehow for not being able to. Like if you die or end up being too psychologically handicapped to hold up your end of the agreement.

Marie  Just for the heck of being the religious nut there is talk of marriage and divorce in the New Testament.
Joseph  The word "marriage" originates from 1297, from French marriage. I think the reason you can find it in the NT is because of the numerous revision.
Clifton  Marie, your comments are more than welcome here. Truly, some of my favorite people are "religious nuts." And, I realize that such "nuts" constitute ~78% of Arizona’s population and ~81% of the US population (Gallup — ’09).

I don’t think the word "marriage" itself is important, as Joe may be suggesting. The concept seems to be basically the same. However, my understanding is that, within the context of those writings, women were still considered to be more like property than like … people. So, marriage may have been more to protect society from the burden of caring for abandoned women and their children.

I happen to agree with Jesus in my belief that simply having thoughts of infidelity constitutes infidelity. This is why I think honesty is critical. But, I think that’s true inside or outside of marriage.

Marie  Clifton, thanks! Here are my personal feelings on the matter. I don’t think the government should be involved in marriage, union, committed relationship. I married Robert, not Robert and the state of Arizona or the United States. I’m not trying to get into anyone else’s relationship business and I don’t really want anyone to be all up in mine.

I’m not sure why the wording of this was so weird, but I don’t feel like retyping it out.

Mark  I think the "truth" lies in finding that special someone, that someone that you can’t live without and they feel the same. Believe it or not, I have taken marriage classes in church, and even though man represents the home and is held accountable, he is told in many scriptures how to love and take care of her, so that his life is not filled with strife.

As far as man being dominant and unfair, that’s just the state of things ’til 30 or 40 years ago when money could be made by women. But when there wasn’t work in town for the ladies, or we lived in tribes or clans, the male was dominant. But, both had jobs even then.

Anyways, marriage is a statement/declaration made before everyone that you are committed to the ideal of unification, the only problem is no one has had any education of marriage or parenting, and society says it’s better to move on than be sad. so there are many divorces. But, just because a vegan eats a hamburger, veganism isn’t wrong. lol

I guess I got sidetracked. Does it matter if it’s marriage or contract? The thing about marriage is you should go into it for what it stands for, for better or worse, and be able to actually do it when you’re called to. I think Paul says, "That’s why there are two of you: when one falls, he has the other to lift him up again.”

I think it’s Hosea that God tells to marry a prostitute, and he is trying to preach, and the people ridicule him. It’s a great story if you have twenty minutes.

I think the dream is what you said about not thinking of someone else, and what not, but the reality is we are all messed up and prone to failure. That’s not to say some things aren’t unbearable, but people should know that they need a lasting conviction of words.

Off track again.

Why does it matter for homosexuals to be acknowledged under God and state, and why do heterosexuals care? Been thinking the same thing.

Clifton  Thanks, Mark. I’ll try to look into it.

My philosophical standpoint is, at base, "be as good as possible to every person and living thing that you possibly can, even if you can’t think of some personal gain and even if you’re not in mutual love with that person/living thing and even if you’re not an immediate relative of that person/living thing."

This stance, it seems to me, would already demand honest, fair treatment in dealing with romantic partners, irrespective of ceremony, religion, or politics.

I think we should also not assume that two-people-forever-in-monogamy will be ideal for everyone. Some people will simply want to be alone. Some people will want the company of others for short periods of time and will grow deeply unhappy if they are forced to stay in a relationship.

As for children, only millionaires should be allowed to have them.

Also, when a millionaire dies, his/her estate should be dissolved into a predetermined public charity or should go to basic scientific research. The maximum private inheritance should not exceed $100.

Mark  People’s estates already are given to the government. And, you might disagree if you stood to get an inheritance. That’s like straight people making decisions for gays.

This is the most PC post I have ever read. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I think you answered many questions. "People will stay together, people will be sad if they do, and so on. That already happens."

Life is like school: you can get to a point where you are looking down your nose at people but it takes practice.

Happy Easter.

Marie  Oh no, Clifton, not having children (at least in my opinion) would be a huge mistake. My children have brought me more joy than I could have ever have imagined. If only millionaires could have kids it would change our society, I believe, for the worse. We would have generations of children that didn’t know how to work. They would expect to be given the world. I love that my children have been able to see Robert and I struggle. They are learning that hard work, patience, and goals produce results instead of just getting things.
Clifton  Marie, they aren’t millionaires so that they can spoil their children, but so that they can respond to any family emergency adequately without outside assistance. Children would not receive handouts, but would be protected from many — possibly most — emergencies. This would eventually result in the dissolution of most prisons as prisoners are mostly ill-educated poor people (see Freakonomics and Waiting for Superman).

Mark, my position on inheritance was advanced by Ben Franklin and would make for a fairer, more egalitarian society, I think. It would not matter if I felt entitled to an inheritance. No one should have anything that they haven’t worked for themselves.

Sorry if any of this comes off as condescending. I don’t consider myself to be extraordinarily intelligent. I do think the ideas I’ve expressed here are rooted in reason to a greater degree than any alternatives I’ve heard, though.

Thanks for the easter wishes! (Though, I don’t think holidays should exist.) I hope that today and all future days are as joy-filled as possible.

Marie  I think you are living in a dream world. Yes, millionaires would have the money to "take care" of their children’s needs, but it’s not just about money. I take care of my three children without assistance. Financially, it can be hard, but you make sacrifices and learn. Obviously, this is my opinion and other people are going to disagree with me.

I despise the idea of someone being able to tell me I could not have children, just like I despise the idea of telling someone they must have children.
As far as inheritance goes, I believe people should be allowed to do whatever they want with their money!

Clifton  Marie, yes, I realize that I’m living in a dream world. It’s John Lennon’s dream world. I don’t imagine that the things I’m proposing be retroactive somehow, though. And, I don’t think they need be mandated. I do hope that people, more and more, just naturally shift that way, though. I think that’s happening. The millionaire idea is just an idea. And, generally, I’m in favor of any ideas people have for producing fewer offspring. My politics and ethics both ultimately boil down to ecology.

Mark  I heard on NPR that the U.S. is on a decline with people having kids. Can you tell a sailor not to sail because you’ve never done it and don’t want to?

Also, thoughts are regulated through marketing, and it’s the rich who donate more. What if a rich person said that people under a certain salary had to work more because they obviously weren’t smart enough to become rich?

Also, rich kids don’t grow up to be poor because of mindset. That’s like saying everyone will be raised in single parent households on low income, under the same mentality.

We are a product of our raising, our minds are the same. You could miss the mark your whole life and be nurtured, or you can be made not good enough and reach every mark and feel incomplete.

Marriage takes two separate upbringings and meshes them. Sometimes, people learn, and most of the time their preprogramming rules out.

Marie  Clifton, thanks for letting me join in on this conversation! I love learning about other people’s beliefs an opinions and I love to voice mine. As the 9th child of 10 I can completely understand the challenges of having many kids. I believe the good far outweighed the bad, though. I chose to only have three children for my own reasons. I would guess that for most people it is just too expensive to have a large family and that is why people are having less children (that and birth control).

I say this with total respect to you, and realize that mine is just a difference of opinion, but this ideal society you have "created" sounds sad. That being said, I know you are a happy, intelligent person so I hope that this does not come off as offensive to you, but only the opinion of another

Clifton  Mark, if I discouraged some kind of behavior and someone were to ask me why I was discouraging that behavior, I would not answer, "Because I have not done it" or, "Because I would prefer not to do it."
However, if there is something that we humans know is a serious issue — like overpopulation — then we ought to encourage caution with respect to adding people exponentially. There are mountains of data which indicate that human consumption is harming the earth. More humans = more consumption = more harming of earth.

You say that the rich donate more. So, here is this: "It turns out that lower-income people tend to donate a much bigger share of their discretionary incomes than wealthier people do. And rich people are more generous when they live among those who aren’t so rich."*

If a rich person tried to claim that intelligence is a prerequisite for wealth, I would argue that, while there are data suggesting a positive correlation between intelligence and income, there is even more evidence suggesting that early socioeconomic status plays a big part in intelligence development. In other words, income and environment encourage childhood brain development, allowing innate intelligence to be expressed. Then, that child can grow into a more intelligent adult.

And, consider this:

A later study of French youngsters adopted between the ages of 4 and 6 shows the continuing interplay of nature and nurture. Those children had little going for them. Their I.Q.’s averaged 77, putting them near retardation. Most were abused or neglected as infants, then shunted from one foster home or institution to the next.

Nine years later, they retook the I.Q. tests, and contrary to the conventional belief that I.Q. is essentially stable, all of them did better. The amount they improved was directly related to the adopting family’s status. Children adopted by farmers and laborers had average I.Q. scores of 85.5; those placed with middle-class families had average scores of 92. The average I.Q. scores of youngsters placed in well-to-do homes climbed more than 20 points, to 98 — a jump from borderline retardation to a whisker below average. That is a huge difference — a person with an I.Q. of 77 couldn’t explain the rules of baseball, while an individual with a 98 I.Q. could actually manage a baseball team — and it can only be explained by pointing to variations in family circumstances.


Clifton  Marie, I’m happy enough if this resulted in food for thought for anyone. I’m curious to know what you think is sad, though. Also, I would like to respond better to your statement, "As far as inheritance goes, I believe people should be allowed to do whatever they want with their money!"

I would say that I agree with this, but would alter it slightly to this: "As far as inheritance goes, I believe people should be allowed to do whatever they want with their money, so long as they personally earned it (therefore making it their money) and so long as their spending of it does not result in net suffering!"

I don’t find many arguments from personal preference very persuasive, generally. Personal preference can and often does lead to stronger people taking advantage of weaker people, some weak by biology, and some weak by circumstance.

Mark  Even still, a lot of babies are unplanned.

I hope you don’t take this wrong, but you will probably walk into love, because you’re giving it way too much thought. Someone could go Arlington Road on your nonmarriage passion. I am definitely not as passionate about this debate to spend hours researching.

Anyway, once it happens, it swallows you whole. You should know, the world revolves around it. Do you think you are going to find a life partner who wants to abort the baby every time other measures don’t work, or at some point doesn’t want to adopt?

It doesn’t matter how many people are on the planet, it just matters about us and what we do with our time. Think about it: our debate only matters to us, individually, and people who care about us. But every piece of logic revolves around us.

People have been dying since the dawn of time, you don’t have to tell people not to populate: mother nature will cause a devastation, but we will continue to push on.

I believe the more we struggle, the more the worth of life. There’s no way I can know what anyone else goes through, though.

I must admit that I lack the technical skills or care in that area enough to answer questions on a term paper standard. I know you are intelligent, and speak to intelligent people, but what about the rest of us. What about non safe speak? I’m done for tonight. Bed time. Really enjoyed the conversation.

Clifton  Mark, I read a recent figure that says that about 40% of births weren’t planned. The argument in Freakonomics is that planned babies fair better (lower incarceration rate, better quality of life) over their lifespans than unplanned ones.

I’m not sure what you mean when you say that I will probably "walk into love." You mean, like, love is a glass door that I didn’t see it? And, I don’t understand what it means to "go Arlington Road" on something. I’m not playing dumb. I genuinely don’t understand. Are you saying that I’m going to become an anti-marriage terrorist? Man, I hope that’s not what you’ve gotten out of this.

I don’t feel especially passionate about this. I do think that, generally, if you’re going to say something, you ought to try to make sure that it’s as reasonable as possible, especially if it’s going out in some public, or semi-public forum.

I couldn’t agree less with you that "it just matters about us and what we do with our time." I think that we have a duty to people who are alive now and to people who will come after us to try not to make their lives miserable because we were … in love. Hell of an excuse, no?

I hope we can agree that consuming ourselves out of existence is not an ideal way to go, especially if we can prevent this from happening. I really, really hope that’s not too much of a stretch. Really.

I thought at least that my view is a minority one. Many of my religious and non-religious friends are married. I kind of understand why religious people do it. I definitely do not understand why non-religious people do it. It is simply a non sequitur.

No one has given me a justification on more than emotional terms, I assume because there is none.
Somebody might’ve said, "But, we all know that marriage is better for raising kids and married people are happier than non-married people."

To which I might reply by citing this recent study from the Journal of Marriage and Family: "The effects of marriage and cohabitation are found to be similar across a range of measures tapping psychological well-being, health, and social ties. Where there are statistically significant differences, marriage is not always more advantageous. Overall, differences tend to be small and appear to dissipate over time, even when the greater instability of cohabitation is taken into account."*

I understand that tone doesn’t translate to text very well. But, please, try believe me when I tell you that my pulse rate is normal, my face is not flushed, my teeth are not bared. I am typing in a completely relaxed state (except that I’m standing at my standing desk, swaying to and fro). I find it easy to write dispassionately about this topic because I see my potential impact as being negligible. I would prefer not to have to type out this paragraph about my state of mind and just have it assumed that I’m not a raving maniac. Oh well.

Mark  Not to be insulting, but you say that you don’t understand something, but then go on to showing that you do. Isn’t it really one big farce? But, for who? I assume your friends.

Without sounding like an ass (I might, but I hope not much), I just skimmed through your reply. I don’t answer term papers.

I have met many people in my travels, and never one like you. You’re a cyborg and that didn’t come from society. I’m pretty sure that you believe in yourself, but it doesn’t show up in your writing. It just turns into words on paper.

I seriously couldn’t make it through your reply. Perhaps if they were written better, I might read your reply like a book, or even want to.

Irrelevant. You have never been Married, had kids, been rich, been out of Arizona(?) You can write a world on paper if anyone could get through it without getting bored. But, you know what a great writer is? Someone who is understood by everyone.

When I said you would run into love, and you played coy, as per who you are, I think you have watched enough movies about it. It isn’t fake, but then you will see when it comes to you. robo-boy.

Ha, seriously, I can only assume you have friends that understand you, but I’m sure reading your personality can be done by a teen. It pours off you in your writing style: "textbook moron." lol.

I hope you find facts behind your theories. As it stands, it sounds like the statements teenagers make, except turned into their teacher.

Clifton  Sorry, Mark. It was close to my bedtime when I started that response and I should’ve realized that I wasn’t up to the task. I’m glad you didn’t read it closely because, even after several revisions, it still had embarrassing typos. Once again, I wasn’t trying to be coy. I told you that I wasn’t playing dumb and I was being 100% honest. I imagine I didn’t understand fully because my thinking was somewhat clouded by mental fatigue.

I think I have many faults (bad memory, easily distracted, masturbate excessively, continue arguments long, long after they’re productive, etc.), but I don’t think lack of travel is one of them. In fact, I think that a high proportion of travel is excessive and that unnecessary travel is probably even immoral. Consider the cost of a plane ticket. Then, consider your carbon emissions along with the fact that the money for that plane ticket could have (depending on its cost) saved the life of a severely impoverished person somewhere. I don’t think a lot of people care about such things, but I genuinely do. If this makes me "sad" or "robotic" then I’ll gladly take that.

So, I guess that I write "term paper" responses because I try to appeal to scientific research on topics and cite that research. Here is an argument from personal experience that I hope will illustrate the superiority of the scientific method: "I heard that the earth goes around the sun, but I don’t believe it! The ground never moves and we say ‘sunrise’ and ‘sunset.’ Why would we do that if it were the earth doing the moving?"

Many things that humans regard as intuitive are just wrong.*

You say that a great writer is someone who is understood by everyone. So, what about Moby Dick or Foucault’s Pendulum or Gravity’s Rainbow, or the Bible (written mostly in Hebrew for goodness’s sake!)?

The last thing I’ll say is that I highly doubt that even my most adventurous or curious friends will read more than one or two of these responses, either because they’re too busy or because they already agree with me or because they just don’t give a damn.

I have continued to respond because I think this topic is important and interesting. I’m not trying to impress anyone and I think that’s a horrible reason for doing something.

Mark  Now, I truly liked that reply. I appreciate your suffering me, and I appreciate the way your mind works. I want you to know that much of my argument was for the sake of argument. There was no malice or yelling into my phone. I enjoy that type of interaction, but i don’t like that I am misunderstood. I should try and exude some sort of intelligence, but I’m kind of dumbafide these days. I really like the conversation, though.
Clifton I’m really relieved to hear that. I was hoping that I wasn’t going to mess all of this up by coming off like a giant a-hole unintentionally.

This seems like a good note to conclude on.

Best wishes to everybody.

Mark You didn’t. I didn’t mean to be such a primate in my responses. I was totally involved, but not overly stimulated. I hope I didn’t scare your friends off with my rude accusations.
Clifton Doubtful. My closest friends also happen to be earth’s worst degenerates. No degree of rudeness could ever satisfy them. And, they already know that I’m a shut-in who’s seen too many movies and done too much book learnin’. And, they’re all illiterate anyway.

In a letter to Robert Morris in 1783, Franklin wrote about the right of the public to regulate property passing to heirs: “All Property, indeed, except the Savage’s temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it.”

Basic property necessary for man to live should be left alone, Franklin wrote. But he continued that “all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition.”

We thought one sentence has particular relevant here: “Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it.”


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