The Incest Argument and Same Sex Marriage

**FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MAN, OR AT LEAST THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER, PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE CAREFULLY BEFORE COMMENTING. THIS COULD BE A RATHER IMPORTANT MODERN MORAL PROBLEM.
**
blog.talkingphilosophy.com/?p=6952

The gist of the author’s point is that, emotionally speaking, he would rather not have incest be legalised. However, the most common argument against incest - namely that incest produces genetically diseased children - has several holes in it.

The clearest of these is that two people who cannot produce children at all cannot even produce genetically diseased children.

Another is that, if the spreading of genetic disease is an evil we should make illegal, any two people who are are higher risk for bringing genetic disorder to their children ought to be prevented from marriage - not just incestuous couples.

After that, he admits, if that cookie crumbles - and he makes a good case for why it does - well, perhaps incest would be allowable in some cases, logically, if not emotionally.

To wrap things up, he tries to offer some other arguments against incest - namely, lack of consent in adult-to-child cases, and the harming of family relations in consensual cases.

**Do any atheists/Catholics/non-Catholic theists have any further good, philosophical arguments against incest? ** Otherwise, it seems to me, the so-called slippery slope to incest is not all that fallacious. There does not seem to be a good argument against incest, given current societal attitudes.

Laws of the state have to do with protecting the general public welfare. It guards against whatever seems to harm it. The state also protects itself, that the general populace will not destroy the state.

Now when there is incest, there would be a definate increase in number of births having defects which the state would have to address, and take care of in many of those cases. Just as it has to address the general public welfare in regard to sickness, for prevention and cure.

Now in regard to incest, the family is put at risk. Right now it is known that incest is not tolerated by everyone, and so incest is prevented from increasing as much. The brother and sister at home living together in a family unit live quite closely. But in the current times, tho there is still incest, the idea of incest is very foreign to them. If this idea were accepted, we would be putting additional stress on that brother and sister because it would become an accepted idea. And the poor parents …

Frankly in the article, I do not see why the author brings up incest at all. I believe he is making a sore where there is none.

Oddly the argument the author casts aside rather flippantly is the real reason that incest has been taboo LONG before our current marriage laws and even longer before we had any understanding of genetics. A few exceptions occurred, the Egyptians for example, but for most societies incest with close relatives (not cousins for example) was an anathema. Why? As one of my favorite rabbis noted, because thousands of years ago our small tribal societies would have been destroyed by incest. As the author noted, this causes discord among families. In the distant past, in the desert, discord meant death, not just getting unfriended on Facebook.

There is the canard that incestuous couples will produce birth defects but a) unlikely and b) many birth defects are simple recessives and thus one marries a person carrying that same gene such as for CF and 25% of the offspring will have CF. Further as the author noted, we would have to apply the same standard to unrelated couples and they would have to submit to genetic testing before marriage.

The reality is that man/woman marriage has been the natural building block and underpinning of virtually every society from the beginning of time. It is a clear societal good, protects children and also women. It creates stability and prosperity. Thus the laws have upheld this as a societal benefit that deserves specific recognition…or they did. Now it’s whatever you want to do with whomever you want to do it. Most laughable are the gay activists who claim that SSM won’t lead to polygymy, incest or removal of age restrictions for marriage. If it’s all about “love” then who are we to say that Bill and his six “wives” are any different than your parents who just celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary?

Relativism. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, it’s an evil that creates more evil.
Lisa

Please don’t shout. Or blaspheme against the Noodly One.

There is extensive evidence that incestuous relationships tend to be abusive - indeed they make up the most common and most harmful of the obvious groupings of child abuse of which we know.

Add to this that banning incestuous relationships only bars you from marrying a few hundred people worldwide, even in a prolific family. Barring same sex marriage prevents you from marrying billions of people, and in the case of a true homosexual, prevents you from marrying anyone you might ever be in love with or attracted to. So the burden being imposed on those affected is not comparable :shrug:

Allowing only same sex incestuous marriage, to avoid the inbreeding argument, also involves active discrimination on the basis of sexuality. Arguably justified, in thus case, but you can hardly claim that pro-gay marriage lobbyists are in favour of discrimination on the basis of sexuality.

:twocents:

Subtle difference, he says children produced in incest are more likely to have genetic defects. A child produced by incest can be by all means that he have to measure it healthy and a child produced by parents with no traceable common ancestor could have inherited genetic defects.

This isn’t so much an argument against it as much as a reason I see frequently for not considering the change on laws of incestuous marriage. It is often stated that a law allowing such a thing wouldn’t exists without there first being enough people both interested in it and willing to raise a challenge against current laws. Until that happens it’s been said there’s not reason or motivation to argue against it.

You’re right that there doesn’t seem to be a logical argument against incest based on the current social ways. The argument linked is the same I’ve used while playing devil’s advocate with marriage “equality” advocates. I think it’s interesting that the author repeatedly brought up their internal disgust…but they hardly bothered to delve into why. Oh, well, at least they’re being logically consistent. :shrug:

If there is any useful link between the gut reaction of disgust, and for why same sex/incestuous marriage is wrong, it would be found in this tidbit:

“The main difference is, of course, that the harm arguments presented by opponents of same sex-marriage have been shown to have premises that are not true.”

The author denies that SS unions are not harmful to the family structure or children, but that incestuous relations would be.

1.) SS unions can and do cause great division within families; where I live now, just coming out is enough to get some poor kid kicked out or “disowned”. The family division argument that “shows” incest is wrong is no good. Besides, given enough time, incest can become socially acceptable, too.
2.) The author mentioned numerous times that incest is viewed as a disordered attraction because it is usually tied to abuse/molestation of the younger relative during formative years. Isn’t there still question as to how many people with SSA developed it as a result of the same? If it’s a significant number, that could bump down the legitimacy argument of a lot of SS relations. There’s also the issue (and I’m just going on hearsay here,) that a lot of young people with SSA end up being preyed on by older, more experienced ppl, especially if they were in a vulnerable place, just kicked out of their home for example.
3.) From what I’ve heard and seen, promiscuity in the LGBTQ circles tends to run high. Maybe I’ve gone a bit blind to hetero promiscuity because it’s been a norm for so long, but I was still surprised by how loose some of the young gay men I knew could be, even when they were in a relationship with someone they “loved”. THAT is not something children should be exposed to, no matter who raises them, and it just seemed to be worse among these young men. So, may not nullify all SS couples, but it’s something to consider.
4.) Author mentions the risk to children if their incestuous parents have a genetic disorder. Not sure about this, but I think I read that most children born out of a “1st-generation” incestuous relation actually have a very low risk of having a genetic disorder; it’s with repeated incest down the line that the risks get high. But if the safety of children is a concern, what about surrogate or in-vitro fertilization that many SS couples would look into? Aren’t those riskier, aren’t surrogates taken advantage of and treated like broodmares, and aren’t children destroyed if they’re part of the “excess” batch? Oh, wait…I forgot logic is supposed to go out the window when it involves unborn children.:rolleyes: If this is strong enough to hold up, it could bolster the argument against in-vitro and surrogacy, at least.
5.)How many good studies actually exist that prove raising a child with a SS couple is just a good as raising them with opposite-sex parents, all other things equal?
6.) Many parents raise their kids without the other parent, sometimes because of necessity, other times because…poor planning? Teen pregnancy, for example? And the children can still grow up to be just fine! Yet, barring cases where one of the parents is abusive/a danger, who would argue that single parenthood is, by default, “just as good” as a two-parent household where the children can grow up with both a mom and dad who set a good example?? (I mean no offense to the hard-working single parents out there! Please correct me if I’m way off!) If people wouldn’t argue this, then I think it could be a good way to show how having both parents of opposite sex is important, and having two people of the same sex raising a child is just not the same.

That’s about it. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing about a push for incestuous “marriage” pretty soon. I have faith that we can persevere, but not without seeing this stuff, first.

I’ve never believed the slippery slope arguments against SSM. First, I don’t believe allowing legal SSM will mean allowing child marriages. We still have legal consent laws. I don’t believe legalizing SSM will mean legalizing bestiality for the same reason…consent. And I have never seen a connection between legalizing SSM and legalizing incestuous marriages. I also don’t buy legalizing SSM will lead to legalizing polygamy. I do, however, believe that polygamy between consenting adults should be legal if their religious beliefs allow or require it.

Now, as far as SSM being damaging to a family the same way incest could damage a family…well, yes. But the truth is that a lot of differences in belief and lifestyle damage familial relationships.

What I find really interesting about the article is the unrelated genetic defect point. In times past, we were required to have a blood test as part of the application for a marriage license. The purpose was to screen for illness and disease. Now, that is no longer the case in all states. Why not bring that back as well as add in a requirement for genetic screening?

The author is correct when he says that the reason incestuous marriage was made illegal was the fear of genetically unsound and diseased offspring, yet we let any two unrelated yahoos marry when it’s entirely possible for them to produce genetically unsound and diseased children. This is inexcusable in an era where it’s possible to eliminate that risk by requiring genetic screening to apply for a marriage license.

**I think I should add that I am the child of a disabled woman who was disabled due to birth defect. Her handicap was quite severe and very rare. No one knows if it was a genetic or environmental issue. When I was pregnant with my oldest I did the genetic screening thing and met with a genetic counselor. It’s not expensive and it’s not a lengthy process or even very invasive. This was over 20 years ago. I imagine it’s easier and more accurate now.

A rather biased view. Why is it the same sex unions that are blamed for the division, rather than the anti-same-sex-marriage views of the dissenting relatives?

After all, the same sex couple are just trying to live their own lives according to their beliefs, it is the anti-same-sex-marriage relatives that are trying to impose their subjective views on other people. Not coming to the wedding may be resented, but will not divide the family, it is only something like haranguing the happy couple on their wedding day that would cause an irreversible split.

Not that I know of. If you have evidence that a significant number of homosexuals are that way only because they were abused as children, please post it.

While I generally agree with the latter part of your post, this waving dismissal of the “slippery slope” theory is contradicted by actual court cases. Along with numerous SSM court cases, there is at least one, if not more cases for recognizing plural marriage (polygymy in these cases but conceivably polyandry as well). As to child marriages, there are already huge differentials between states as to age of consent. If a current or future couple wishes to push that envelope, it will be difficult to object unless the child were prepubescent (and puberty is ocurring earlier and earlier). There are Muslim groups pushing for Shariah law within areas of the US and with that we get the child brides and the multiple wives…I must admit that this gives me great disgust having seen grotesque photos of crying girls being held by bearded and grinning adult males. Our troops in Afghanistan have witnessed little girls being torn apart by their “husbands.” But when relativism takes over, who are we to judge :mad:

And what defense would we have against this now that SSM has been shoved down our throats by activist judges (ha am I being a bit hyperbolic…yes). In reality with no unique criteria for “marriage.” where SSM is championed to allow us “equal rights” and the ability to marry “the person I love” there is no natural restriction on opening marriage to any arrangement, number, gender or even age.

Also to refer to another post, yes it’s correct that the first generation of incestuous relationships is unlikely to create a child with severe birth defects. However repeated inbreeding increases both the good and the bad in the increased genentic likelihood of certain characteristics being expressed. As an animal breeder I assure you that, line breeding and in breeding are extremely common to fix certain desired characteristics. You would look at a four generation pedigree and there might be only three unique animals. Ditto with lab rats who are heavily inbred to make studies more credible.

Oh and the blood test was not for ordinary disease but for STDs. It was a public health issue. Ironically while we now have up to 80% of young people carrying one STD or another, we no longer test…go figure

And yet the example you quote is not one of ‘relativism’ taking over, but one of a religious determination of what is permissible marriage! :hmmm:

How would a secular decision based on psychology, physical development and moral philosophy possibly do worse?

Relativism is necessary to make the disgusting acceptable. There is no actual truth, truth is what truth means to me. You carefully ignored the other examples though. If “marriage” means anything the parties, a judge or politician want it to mean, relativism is necessary. There is no actual truth in the term.

Please don’t quote psychology as some sort of credible source. When failed human beings vote on whether something does or does not belong in the DSM, it’s hardly based on empirical evidence but instead what is PC, popular or the agenda promoted by the person with the bully pulpit. This sort of relativism is the reason I left the Methodist church. Depending who was at General Conference the prior year various elements of doctrine were elevated or removed. It was just one Conference’s opinion and changeable the following year if a different constituant happened to attend. Hardly a church built upon a rock.

I don’t know how physical development factors into this. One born with an XY chromosome is male, designed to engage in sexual relations with females. The physical development of a boy doesn’t change male genitalia into female genitalia, nor does it change the digestive tract into a vagina. IOW the body parts might be larger and function differently upon sexual maturity, but their inherent nature doesn’t change. They may be used improperly but that is not “physical development” but is a behavior.

Whenever I use the incest argument I am trying to ask why incest is morally wrong if it involves two consenting adults and homosexual actions are not. I am not saying it will lead to incestuous marriages (although it might).

Incest is morally wrong because it violates the natural role of the two family members. They are not supposed to have intercourse with each other, this along with homosexual actions is wrong according to natural law.

And slavery almost did that to our country. And the Nikonian Reforms almost did that to Russia. And x almost did that to y. Do you think the legalisation of incest would still pose that risk?

The reality is that… If it’s all about “love” then who are we to say that Bill and his six “wives” are any different than your parents who just celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary?

I was really looking for something addressing the incest angle, not that I disagree with you.

Relativism. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, it’s an evil that creates more evil.
Lisa

Amen, Amen, Amen.

Ah, stop me. :stuck_out_tongue: If people would read the articles, I wouldn’t need the loud preface. Or to involve your mama - I mean the FMS - in it.

There is extensive evidence that incestuous relationships tend to be abusive - indeed they make up the most common and most harmful of the obvious groupings of child abuse of which we know.

Agreed. Definitely agreed. There’s already one good argument against forced incest: it does violence to the non-consenting party, at least.

Add to this that banning incestuous relationships only bars you from marrying…

A person whom you could really, “truly” “love”. You say the burden is lighter for incestuous folk than for homosexuals. If you can only love one person (assuming we don’t want to drag polygamy into this, either), I don’t think why you’re not allowed to “marry” for “love” makes any difference to the two people “in love”.

In other words, if you’re going disqualify people from what is claimed to be the center of marriage, that is “love”, one should at least have a reason for it, don’t you think?

Does that make sense?

Thank you for making that point, Mr. Software Engineer. You get a gold star.

Until that happens it’s been said there’s not reason or motivation to argue against it.

As a purely practical point, I take your point. I would give you another gold star, but I’m trying to save space on this post. Sorry.

However, it would not be the first time a popular “tradition” has been challenged. Slavery, human rights, gay marriage… these have all been opposed by law, common opinion, and common emotions. And yet all of these are enshrined in modern law, and for most people (at least the first two) they are not a matter of controversy. And the number of supporters of gay marriage is growing in America.

I see no reason why incest could not also be legalised. Why the tiny, tiny faction of consensual incest could not, as homosexual activists have done, get the nation to support and have empathy for incest rights. Remember, it was not even 50 years ago that homosexuals were thought to be the cause of the spread of AIDS. I’m not saying it will happen. But I see no reason it cannot happen. And I find that prospect frightening.

From what I read, he doesn’t seem to claim knowledge of whether consensual incest would actually cause harm. There’s not enough data, for obvious reasons.

Isn’t there still question as to how many people with SSA developed it as a result of the same? If it’s a significant number, that could bump down the legitimacy argument of a lot of SS relations.

Good question. **Anyone got some stats on that?
**

3.) From what I’ve heard and seen, promiscuity in the LGBTQ circles tends to run high.

Yeah, I think that’s a general disorder in the country, among all people - and a strong argument against sexual and emotional attraction being the basis of “love”. (After all, if I supposedly “love” someone - and love’s supposed to be this big, important thing, so big we enshrine it in a “permanent” statement called “marriage” - why isn’t “love” strong enough to foresee and get over big obstacles?) And if that’s the kind of “love” being shown to children, of all sorts, Good Lord deliver us from this. It does no good for the family or the society.

4.) But if the safety of children is a concern, what about surrogate or in-vitro fertilization that many SS couples would look into?

Also a good question. I think he brought that up. One more good argument for incestuous marriage - or for tighter restrictions on sexuality and marriage, depending on how you look at it.

5.)How many good studies actually exist that prove raising a child with a SS couple is just a good as raising them with opposite-sex parents, all other things equal?

Good question. Anyone got some stats?

6.)…Yet,… who would argue that single parenthood is, by default, “just as good” as a two-parent household where the children can grow up with both a mom and dad who set a good example??

No one. But I don’t think anyone is arguing for gay marriage or incestuous marriage to become the norm. They’re just asking for the “right”, as a minority, to “get married”.

That’s about it. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing about a push for incestuous “marriage” pretty soon. I have faith that we can persevere, but not without seeing this stuff, first.

Sadly, I don’t.

Actually, Doc, I find it very interesting, that this sort of a society as has been described is found in the pluralistic, “free-thinking” country of Britain. Apparently, the truth you claim to be your own can even be one that restricts your freedoms. You can choose to be a slave, and as long as you want to be a slave, the freedom-loving minds of Britain (and elsewhere) will approve of it!

How would a secular decision based on psychology, physical development and moral philosophy possibly do worse?

Do we really want to bring up the baddest of the bad of the past century? The dictatorships built on national pride swam in psychology, bioethics (then called “eugenics”), what makes a fit citizen, and even something like “morality”, whatever that means to an atheist. :shrug:

I’m sorry, but even science can be perverted and used for evil. Even reason can be.

I think you don’t understand why slippery slope is a fallacy. You link gay marriage with incest as if one inevitably leads to another, but you provide no logic whatsoever as to why.

Actually, Christianity is the slippery slope that has led to a vast increase in incest. Because the Bible claims that Adam and Eve are our only common ancestors, and so we couldn’t possibly exist unless Adam and Eve’s children had incestuous sex. And since God would never have forced them to do anything immoral, and God never changes, incest can’t possibly be a sin. QED. Therefore the Church is a slippery slope that has led to incest, and the Church must be banned. :rolleyes:

That’s why slippery slope is a fallacy.

It leads to the other because the principle that opposed both of them is no longer accepted. When there are no principles it is easy to change your mind on any given issue. It all comes down to emotion.

The argument against the slippery slope doesn’t work except in situations where there are no principles at stake. But in morality there are principles at stake, and those principles underlie more than just a rule; they underlie a whole way of life.

Your counter example doesn’t make any sense. Incest has been against the Jewish law for atleast 3500 years, and Christianity has been opposed to it since it started. That is pretty clear.

Well yes, I know my example doesn’t make any sense, I wrote it to show why slippery slope is fallacious.

It’s the claim that gay marriage will lead to more incest which is based on emotion, there’s no logic there, just dark unspoken fears.

What is this principle of which you speak? The principle that homosexuals must be put to death, “their blood will be on their own heads”, as God clearly commands in Lev 20? Are you saying the slippery slope really began when Christians decided to pick and choose which bits of God’s commands we should ignore? We’d all be better off if our role models were those principled fellows in the Taliban? :smiley:

Evidently not, as your own example of Muslims were religious moral positivists not moral relativists. :shrug:

Psychology can be based on empirical evidence, even if it eventually ends up in a vote.

I am specifically thinking of the issue of child brides and setting a reasonable age of consent. If we just go by religious texts, how can you possibly argue against those Muslims? Whereas if we argue based on physical and psychological reasons, even if we don’t agree we at least have a common basis for discussion.

A nine year old is clearly not physically ready for marital relations.

You actually make my point. The reference to relativism isn’t with respect to Islamist practices but with respect to our willingness to accept all religious practices as equally valid and worthy of support. When we (Americans) lose our ethical moorings, how can we possibly argue against such practices? It’s all relative dontcha know!

While empirical evidence can be used in psychology, in the case of deciding homosexuality was no longer an abnormal behavior, it was simply the opinion of “the powers that be” rather than some kind of double blind study proving the efficacy of a drug in treating depression for example. Psychology overall is a relatively soft “science” if you can even call it such. When one is able to simply stack the deck or stuff the ballot box to make sweeping decisions, it hardly has the same credibility.

Again you make my point, a nine year old is clearly not physically or emotionally ready for sexual relations but relativism would render this reality irrelevant. Allah wills it

You are simply expressing your opinion with respect to the slippery slope theory. You also set up a straw man by saying “…claim gay marriage will lead to more incest…” No one tried to make that point. Instead the point is that once marriage no longer has a specific meaning, there can be no argument against any other relationships being eligible for recognition as “marriage”. Natural marriage as it exists and has existed in societies for millenia, has required a man and a woman, something quite specific. The societal support for this marriage is that normally such relationships result in the birth of children and for society’s benefit, such relationships were given special status, support and legal recognition.

With the advent of SSM, marriage is no longer based upon the natural family but some ridiculous “marry whom you love” meme. Thus if judges and politicians decide that the ONLY criteria for a person or persons to be “married” is a declaration of love then plural marriage and incestuous marriage should be recognized as well…hence the slippery slope argument. In point of fact, this very argument has been used to sue for a plural marriage already. The slippery slope has already started.

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