It’s Just Not NATURAL, Damnit!!!

human-rights-campaign-symbolOr… “The Inigo Montoya Fallacy”

by @TakeThatHomo

One of the most popular attempts at a non-religious argument against homosexuality is the Appeal to Nature, or the Naturalistic Fallacy. It’s one of those arguments that make me roll my eyes and shake my head. I try, most of the time, not to judge any of the people who argue against the gay community, be it on the basis of marriage or just in general, because they genuinely believe that they are right. People hold their opinions for a reason, be it religious or logical (at least to them), so when I come across Tweets like this:

It is easy to reply with something like “homosexuality occurs in nature, therefore is “natural”. You’re welcome.” By the time I find these Tweets someone else has usually got in there before me with some variation of the rebuttal, like pointing out how many different species engage in homosexual acts in the natural world. From the point of view of the liberal, equal opportunities Tweeter this is the end of the argument. Someone has made a statement, and that statement has been shown to be incorrect. How can the argument continue?

68ba10c2cda3628f1f6f7319c46c3ee9Oh, how naive of us to believe that this is the case. The individual making the statement can simply ignore the facts and just keep repeating the claim, even when you pull up links to scientific papers on the subject or the actual definition of “natural”, which can be beyond frustrating. In these cases there really is no point in continuing with the conversation. If someone refuses to concede to a scientifically proven fact then there’s not really anywhere you can go.

The alternate route will quickly transform the argument from the appeal to nature to the religious argument, which is much more interesting but harder to keep on track. That’s something that I will cover at another time, because there is something that is frequently missed when it comes to the “it just ain’t natural” claim.

When the wingnuts use the word “natural” they’re not using it in the way that we are. It’s the homophobic version of “evolution is just a theory” that my esteemed colleagues @TakeThatDarwin and @TheoryFail have to deal with. Those people are using “theory” to mean “guess” or “idea” or “hunch”, rather than the actual context in which it is meant; that of a scientific theory (which I’m not going to cover because that’s best left to people who know what they’re talking about).

4246469107_gay_kiss_0_xlargeWhat the homophobe is doing in this situation is making a moral judgement about what the word means, and they’re getting it wrong. What they’re doing here is equating “natural” with “good” or “right”. They don’t like the idea of homosexuality. Most of the wingnuts on Twitter that I find have a particular vehemence towards man on man action. They find it disgusting and can’t get their brains around why any real man would want to do that sort of thing with another male. It makes them uncomfortable to see same sex affection, they don’t like seeing gay characters on the television or in the movies and it makes them feel icky. This is because it is outside of their normal experience. Twenty years ago the same could be said of mixed race relationships. They weren’t exposed to such relationships and therefore judged them as unnatural, or bad, or wrong.

In the minds of these people good equals natural, so because homosexuality is not good then it must be unnatural. How could it be anything else? This is the root of their argument in most cases. When someone uses the “homosexuality is not natural” argument they are begging the question, because they are already putting their conclusion in their premise.

Inigo-MontoyaNature, however, doesn’t make implicit value judgements. There is no “good” or “bad” or “sin” in nature, there is just “nature”. To assert that natural equates good means that accepting rape is good. Rape occurs in the natural world, therefore rape is good. A lion taking down a gazelle is natural, therefore murder is good. Cancer is natural, therefore disease is good.

This is the true meaning of what they think “natural” means. As usual it is religious indoctrination that leads to this conclusion. Homosexuality is going against the plan of God, and therefore not natural. The fact that it is present in thousands of species is irrelevant to them. It’s nothing more than an attempt to frame their religious world view in a secular standpoint.

When you hear the argument that homosexuality is not natural perhaps it might be an idea to find out what they think “natural” means, because if you leap into a defence of what you think they mean you may be coming at it from the wrong angle.

Thank you for reading, please leave a comment and if you have any ideas for future posts then please leave a comment or contact @TakeThisBlog.

Take That, General Ignorance

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By @TehFoodBae

Here at Teh Food Bae Labs, we have one simple guideline for deciding what is good and what is bad for you: “Don’t ingest what you can’t pronounce.” Unluckily for us, in a world that’s getting stupider because of fluoride in our water, chemtrails in our skies, and GMOs in our foods, it’s often difficult to know where to start , so some things are getting harder to pronounce.

THE DANGER: DYHYDROGEN MONOXIDE IS EVERYWHERE

That’s right! There are many chemicals in foods, including many that you will find in your household, including that ever-present bugbear dihydrogen monoxide. My tests have shown conclusively that MOST of the food we eat, and EVERYTHING we drink contains this chemical. Want to know more about this insidious chemical? The website dhmo.org has this to say about it:

“Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. Its basis is the highly reactive hydroxyl radical, a species shown to mutate DNA, denature proteins, disrupt cell membranes, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters. The atomic components of DHMO are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol.”

As alarming as this is, DHMO has been responsible for countless deaths WORLDWIDE. according to the World Health Organisation, DHMO poisoning is the “ 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths” accounting for “an estimated 372,000 annual … deaths worldwide.”

The fact is, that DHMO can cause these side effects:

Worse than this, DHMO is all around us! In fact, DHMO is present in YOUR BODY in quantities up to 70%, depending on your body weight and size, and how much activity you undertake. DHMO can even leach out of your pores in times of physical and emotional distress, causing your body to lose heat through evaporation. DHMO is also prevalent in our environment; It’s in the air we breathe, in

DHMO IS EVIL!

THE RUB:

Only, it’s not. All of these overblown claims above are actually true, and DHMO is also known as water. Yep, it’s water, the lifeblood of our planet. What I’m pointing out here is that there are many out there who make a living from creating a false hype around our safety, and they do this by using large and unfamiliar words for common household items. That water can also be called “hydric acid” is often enough for ignorant people to get scared and try to remove these evil chemicals from their lives. But everything is chemicals, in fact, chemicals make up everything.

This is what I like to call “misrepresenting what is easily mispronounced”.

So be wary every time you hear either a positive or negative health claim from someone who stands to make money from whether or not you choose to believe their words. It may be genuine concern caused by ignorance, or it may be that the person selling you their miracle cure actually stands to gain from your ignorance.

What About Whataboutism?

By @TakeThatHomo
slice_PT_Margherita

We’ve all been there. We’ve seen it happen. You’ll be happily pointing out the errors in someone’s argument or having a general debate on whether George Lucas should be flayed for making the Star Wars prequels when your opposition trots out a time honoured tactic for diverting the subject. You’ll be making valid points, whilst possibly adding them to some convoluted scoring system that you’ve created in your head until you reach the point when you’ve “won”, when they pull out the “whatabout” card.

Let’s say you’re discussing one of my favourite topics: equality for homosexuals. Last month I had the joy of retweeting wingnuts who had a biblical perspective on a dinky little place called Memories Pizza, who stated that they would refuse to cater for a same sex marriage. No one asked them to, but they felt the need to make their stand regardless. Personally I think a marriage with pizza provided would be all kinds of awesome, but that’s beside the point.

So you’re cheerfully pointing out that yes, businesses have to abide by the law even when it comes to something as stupid as catering pizza when they throw “yeah, but what about ISIS throwing gays off buildings in Syria” at you. This is a whataboutism and you need to avoid it at your peril.

The technical term for a whataboutism is the Fallacy of Relative Privation, which is used in an attempt to try and dismiss your argument. Sure, things might not be good for the queers in America, but they’re not getting hurled from buildings. Okay, so misogyny is bad, but women aren’t even allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. There are children starving in Africa!

It’s an attempt to make you falter and if they whip that bad boy out you’re probably using good tactics. One subject has nothing to do with the other. The fact that ISIS have thrown people from buildings simply for suspected homosexuality has nothing to do with the catering concerns of Christians in California (yes, I know the pizza place was in Indiana, but I like alliteration).

You are actually allowed to be opposed to multiple things at the same time. People being stoned to death or thrown off buildings does not invalidate your argument. It does not make misogyny the lesser of two evils and therefore acceptable. The fact that there are starving children in the world is a horrible thing that should be ended, but has nothing to do with whatever you’re opposing.

A whataboutism is nothing more than an attempt to divert the topic, to shift it by saying “that’s bad, but this is worse” and in no way invalidates your argument. If you volunteer at an animal sanctuary your actions aren’t invalidated by the fact that people are sleeping on the streets. It doesn’t mean that you approve of the latter because you support the former.

Beware of the whataboutism, learn to spot it and cut it out of the conversation as quickly as you can, or you’ll just end up trying to justify your position as worthy when it doesn’t need to be.

Take This Blog

Greetings and behold! We are a group of skeptics (some might say skepdicks, especially when arguing, ah ha ha) who are sometimes known as the Take That Crowd on Twitter. If you’re here you have probably come to know and love/hate us for showing off the best of the worst arguments presented by creationists, new agers, conspiracy theorists, insane racists, various bigots, and others for whom evidence and logic do not fall high on the list of virtues. But now the fun and excitement can no longer be contained in 140-character bursts, and so we offer you this blog, and give you the chance to Take This Blog. Watch this space for:

  • Additional information regarding refutations of terrible arguments
  • Highlights of the most amusing Specimens
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  • Additional skeptical topics
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Is there something else you’d like to see, or do you have a request for a specific article? Comment here or send us a Tweet to @takethisblog Cheers, #ttcot