June 18th 2016

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Deregulation cause of dairy industry crisis

CANBERRA OBSERVED Double-dissolution election likely to deliver disillusionment

EDITORIAL Turnbull keeps his smile as all around lose theirs

LIFE ISSUES Infant viability fails to wake upper house interest

GLOBAL ECONOMY A generation left to twiddle its thumbs

LOCAL GOVERNMENT Amateur hour at the Brisbane City Council

EUTHANASIA Too quick a leap to counsel of despair

CULTURE WARS Australia Council cuts funding to Quadrant

SEXUAL POLITICS Gay "marriage" and the given in human procreative behaviour (Part 2)

FEDERAL ELECTION How to ensure your Senate vote goes all the way

PHILOSOPHY John Haldane holds true to faith-reason nexus

HISTORY The Chinese in Australia: not the story you've heard

MUSIC The times it takes to reach eternity

CINEMA Madcap adventures in the Kiwi bush: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

BOOK REVIEW The curate's egg

BOOK REVIEW That other great Irish prelate


 A day in the life of a religious white man from the point of view of evidence and truth

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Gay "marriage" and the given in human procreative behaviour (Part 2)

by Lucy Sullivan

News Weekly, June 18, 2016

We have seen enough of the results of the 50-year assault on marriage to be sure that certain behavioural patterns, though “expressed in custom and reinforced by ritual”, are hard-wired and are for our good: that is, marriage works, especially for children. Lucy Sullivan writes. Part Two of two parts 

Marriage, family, generations 

are social patterns analogous 

to fixed action patterns found 

among lower species.

Some may be convinced by the representation of hurt caused by the exclusion from marriage, but it comes too hard on the heels of the pre-AIDS modus operandi to be credible (and homosexual committed couples did quite well without the bit of paper, as do many hetero committed couples today).

They need the refusal of marriage to maintain their passion/mission/outrage, and if it is ceded to them, they will seek another affront on which to vent their jealous animosity. In fact they are already doing so where they have won their case by taking legal action against those not actively preventing it but wishing to take no part in ancillary roles such as providing wedding cakes or reception facilities. And in this legal action they have been supported in the courts.

These are not the actions of people whose primary goal is the protection of a personal commitment, but rather of those with an animus in for the kill. When gay activists engage in such methods we know that their concern is not with strengthening a personal relationship, but with an assault on the unbreachable fortress of heterosexuality.

Priests and ministers of religion who cannot and should not bend to secular law, and who refuse the marriage rite to same-sex couples, are bound to become targets of these attacks, which, if supported by secular law, deny freedom of religious belief and practice. Differences of religion always imply exclusion of one sort or another, and where positive persecution is not involved, neither has secular law intervened. For example, when the Catholic Church, disallowing divorce, refuses re-marriage and Holy Communion to its secularly divorced members, the law, which awards divorce, is not appealed to, and does not act, to force it to do so. So should it be with same-sex marriage if it is legalised.

Diversity: love of “the other”

To those of the second strand of the same-sex-marriage lobby, who sentimentally appeal to narcissistic love – narcissistic in that it is love of “the self”, one’s own kind, as opposed to the love of “the other” that “marriage” truly means – I would appeal that they turn from self-centredness to the wider social field and consider the likely effect of the merging of homosexual and heterosexual marriage on the true social function of marriage.

With the consciousness of our behaviour patterns (as expressed in custom and reinforced by ritual), and given their partly voluntary nature, we are inclined to understand them as of human devising. But, as described in the work of ethologists (students of animal behaviours) such as Nikolaas Tinbergen, and particularly in Jane Goodall’s observations of chimpanzees (In the Shadow of Man), hyenas and African wild dogs, many of them are shared with other mammals, are innate behavioural/social patterns, and are thus the product of successful evolution, and thus represent fitness for survival.

With the development of psychology, anthropology and sociology as empirical disciplines, the expectation developed that just as science can design a plane, it can design a family or a society. This has been entirely premature. The social sciences are, so far, at most descriptive. Whenever they have abandoned description and become prescriptive, they have moved from science to ideology.

The universality of marriage (man and woman) across human societies as a ritual institution which serves to keep biological father and mother and their children together in a supportive relationship indicates that it is of this character as a fixed social pattern, analogous to the fixed action patterns seen in lower species, which provide for their survival by short-cutting the slower processes of learning by trial and error. Culture and ritual in human society need to support the innate, not contravene it.

The last half-century has seen the progressive dismantling of the innately determined structures that help parents and society raise the next generation through a presumptuous invocation of rationalism to challenge the behavioural universals of that project. These behavioural universals have been increasingly revealed through their attrition to be as much scientific laws as those of disease control – prophylaxis can only do so much.

The desacralisation of marriage of course meant that adultery, or any copulation, was purely the business of the participants, as was any other reason for the repudiation of this no-longer-sacrament by either of the parties. And so we got no-fault divorce. As far as current law is concerned, formal marriage is defined entirely by the currency of sexual relations, and indistinguishable from co-habitation with sex (de facto marriage). But this is a travesty of marriage’s true function, which is the protection of procreation and cultural reproduction.

This was “scientifically” demonstrated when sexual liberation in the 1970s, extolling multiplicity of partners, resulted in a resurgence of STIs (sexually transmitted infections) that medicine could no longer control, and in the 1980s when the even more extreme promiscuity of gay men produced AIDS.

But it is also seen in the effects on child welfare, damage that state means have been helpless to remediate. The first moves were against marriage as essential to stability at a community-wide level. States embraced sexual utopianism in their liberalisation of divorce, removal of the legal stigmas of illegitimacy, taxpayer support liberally supplied to mothers in the absence of husbands, and exoneration of non-conjugal fathers from support of their offspring.

This was in a context that accepted that parents would remate – indeed its intention was serial monogamy, justified by changing subjects of sexual desire – while duplicitously pretending that the divorce determination should be “in the best interests of the children”. In fact stable marriage is best predictive at the family level of good child outcomes, and pastiche families have produced most of sexual liberation’s child victims.

Behavioural genetics

We now know from child-welfare statistics that illiberal divorce and sanctions on paternal desertion serve this end far better. Already known factors which might have been considered in the flight to “rationality” are: the natural (biological) behavioural and hormonal induction of attachment that birth and babyhood evoke; the incest “prohibition” that exists socially in all human societies as seen in marriage rules, but also in mammals generally, although its mechanism is not yet fully understood; and the inheritance of intellectual, physical, personality and behavioural characteristics which sow compatibility between parents and children as children grow.

In short, it is not rational to ignore behavioural genetics. Our ability to act selflessly, and even to see what others need, is limited, and it is folly to create circumstances that test our virtue beyond nature’s endowment, particularly after half a century of mockery of self-abnegation and espousal of self-centredness.

While extra-nuptial birth and repartnering happen at the individual level, their effect spreads to the wider society as dysfunction infects children’s environments and that of their parents. The fiscal cost of ineffectual attempts at professional reparation has been paid by intact families, driving women into the workforce and their children into the care of strangers.

It would be superfluous to spell out yet again the easily observable effects of decades of degradation of respect for the natural family in favour of extra-nuptial birth, welfare support for illegitimacy and divorce leading to an epidemic of child abuse and neglect in unnatural family settings, and youth alienation and suicide, while the public and policymakers alike ignore the causal relationship.

And now the same-sex “marriage” project injects a further element of deconstruction, and we can be sure that, if same-sex marriage is granted, the demands will not stop there, because of the perverted need for a grudge, for revenge, and for obstruction. “Equality” in this case has the same falsity as the “social justice” of the progressive left of the 1980s.

“Social justice” as legislated in Australian tax and welfare policy was never the taking from the unfairly rich to give to the unfairly poor. It was a taking by the powerful from those who observed the proven needs of human generation in their manner of living – ordinary families supporting themselves through legitimate labour and responsibility inside and outside the home – to give to those who reneged on this responsibility.

We are already seeing the full extent of the gay lobby’s demands: same-sex marriage to be taught in schools (real marriage was never “taught” – its validity needed no teaching); the Safe Schools project to promote transgender dressing among children not of an age to have conceived of it, let alone to have any conception of its likely significance; a bill to outlaw therapy for sexual malfunction.

We cannot at this stage conceive what new travesties will be claimed in the name of rights and equality, but we can be sure it will happen, for the different nature of heterosexual life satisfactions is a gift that cannot be disguised.

The mistake as regards the gay treaty with life is to build envy into a perceived slight, rather than coming to terms and finding plausible satisfactions within their natural limitations, as must heterosexuals who miss out on connubial love and procreation. One dreads to think what new phantom of obstruction the militant gay lobby will devise in order to create “meaning” and “purpose” in sexual relationships that of their nature lack the species value of reproduction.

Why are we falling for a campaign with so transparent a hidden agenda as that for gay marriage? Why are we responding with serious argument to so absurd a demand? How gullible we seem to be about the distinction between words and intentions, between words and reality. An essentially fallacious assault on a fundamental, biologically grounded social institution is dressed up in the language of rights and we apparently have no defence against it.

In this war for truth in the actual conduct of human lives we are giving “broad-minded” tolerance to phony adult demands whose consequence is to harm children. Call any demand “a right” or “for equality” and it bulldozes all before it. It is time to use the real words to defeat this vacuous discourse.

In truth, the best course both for us and for them is to maintain our stance on marriage. For them it provides the grudge, the obstacle they need. For the whole society, for us and them, it safeguards the rising generation.

Lucy Sullivan, PhD, is an Australian social scientist.

Please read Part 1 of this article here.

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