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 Post subject: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:43 pm 
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I'm sure you guys are familiar with the teleological argument that sex is for procreation. Anything that deliberately frustrates that end is immoral. But how do you counter the objection that argues why, then, isn't it immoral for old people or infertile couples to have sex? I thought of countering the argument from the vantage point of complementarity (which I don't personally find convincing as an argument, and I have a hard time conveying to secular people I know), or, pointing out that old people and infertile couples don't deliberately frustrate the end of sex (but I've had people counter that by asking how then do gay people frustrate the end of sex, when like old and infertile couples they're basically having sex that they know will not result in fertility). So perhaps you guys can come up with a more cogent explanation of the natural law view of sex, that addresses these objections, that I can use?


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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:51 pm 
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The act of the infertile couple is still directed towards procreation. That there is something breaking that process doesn't change that's what the act is for. Gay sex is not sex at all for exactly that reason. It is not the kind of act that is directed towards having children. (I assume I don't need to be graphic here -- the "sex" acts between two males or two females (and, indeed, some "sex" acts between heterosexual couples) are not sex precisely because the mechanics are not procreative.) That's why gay marriage is a self-contradiction, like a square circle.

The case is different, by the way, in impotence--impotence of the sort that the marital act cannot be brought to end. More specifically, if a couple can never consummate the marriage, then you've got an impediment to marriage. Whether or not that consummation can lead to children is not, in and of itself, an impediment to marriage (there may be some specific instances I don't know off the top of my head in which infertility is an impediment, but again I'm unaware of any).

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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:15 pm 
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DominiCanis wrote:
I'm sure you guys are familiar with the teleological argument that sex is for procreation. Anything that deliberately frustrates that end is immoral. But how do you counter the objection that argues why, then, isn't it immoral for old people or infertile couples to have sex?


I don't know, how about pointing out that it is a really stupid objection? Or is that too flippant? It's similar to the old chestnut 'can God make a rock so heavy even he can't lift it?', it's just not a serious argument.

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Last edited by Doom on Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:51 pm 
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theJack wrote:
The act of the infertile couple is still directed towards procreation. That there is something breaking that process doesn't change that's what the act is for. Gay sex is not sex at all for exactly that reason. It is not the kind of act that is directed towards having children. (I assume I don't need to be graphic here -- the "sex" acts between two males or two females (and, indeed, some "sex" acts between heterosexual couples) are not sex precisely because the mechanics are not procreative.) That's why gay marriage is a self-contradiction, like a square circle.

The case is different, by the way, in impotence--impotence of the sort that the marital act cannot be brought to end. More specifically, if a couple can never consummate the marriage, then you've got an impediment to marriage. Whether or not that consummation can lead to children is not, in and of itself, an impediment to marriage (there may be some specific instances I don't know off the top of my head in which infertility is an impediment, but again I'm unaware of any).

This is a good explanation, and infertility is not of itself an impediment to marriage.

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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:36 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
theJack wrote:
The act of the infertile couple is still directed towards procreation. That there is something breaking that process doesn't change that's what the act is for. Gay sex is not sex at all for exactly that reason. It is not the kind of act that is directed towards having children. (I assume I don't need to be graphic here -- the "sex" acts between two males or two females (and, indeed, some "sex" acts between heterosexual couples) are not sex precisely because the mechanics are not procreative.) That's why gay marriage is a self-contradiction, like a square circle.

The case is different, by the way, in impotence--impotence of the sort that the marital act cannot be brought to end. More specifically, if a couple can never consummate the marriage, then you've got an impediment to marriage. Whether or not that consummation can lead to children is not, in and of itself, an impediment to marriage (there may be some specific instances I don't know off the top of my head in which infertility is an impediment, but again I'm unaware of any).

This is a good explanation, and infertility is not of itself an impediment to marriage.

But is it 'convincing as an argument' in answer, to 'secular people'? DominiCanis asked for 'a more cogent explanation...'.

('Pointing out that it is a really stupid objection' is not a convincing or cogent explanation.)

Here's why I don't think your explanation is a convincing or cogent explanation, Jack, and Obi:

What about an infertile married couple having non-penetrative sexual activity (e.g. because penetration is painful or for a medical reason)? Non-penetrative sexual activities are definitely not directed towards procreation. Jack, you said 'Gay sex is not sex at all for exactly that reason. It is not the kind of act that is directed towards having children.' But the same can definitely be said about an infertile married couple enjoying non-penetrative sexual activity. (Leaving aside a fertile couple enjoying non-penetrative sexual activity.) So if it's not immoral for an infertile married couple to have non-penetrative sexual activity, you can't convincingly and cogently argue that non-penetrative gay sexual activity is immoral because 'it is not the kind of act that is directed towards having children.'


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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:48 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:58 am 
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why would secular people be persuaded by any argument put forth from a religious perspective?

and who says (other than you) that it is NOT immoral for an infertile married couple to enjoy non-penetrative sexual activity?

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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:11 am 
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Doom wrote:
DominiCanis wrote:
I'm sure you guys are familiar with the teleological argument that sex is for procreation. Anything that deliberately frustrates that end is immoral. But how do you counter the objection that argues why, then, isn't it immoral for old people or infertile couples to have sex?


I don't know, how about pointing out that it is a really stupid objection? Or is that too flippant? It's similar to the old chestnut 'can God make a rock so heavy even he can't lift it?', it's just not a serious argument.


It's too flippant. I've gotten in discussions trying to explain from purely philosophical reasons why contraception and gay sex are immoral, and these are the common answers I receive back. But to be fair, I may be the stupid one here since I may not be explaining it well to them.


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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:15 am 
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faithfulservant wrote:
why would secular people be persuaded by any argument put forth from a religious perspective?

That's a question for DominiCanis. Some arguments put forth from a religious perspective can make sense to 'secular people'. For example, Thou not kill.


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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:16 am 
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DominiCanis wrote:

It's too flippant. I've gotten in discussions trying to explain from purely philosophical reasons why contraception and gay sex is immoral, and these are the common answers I receive back. But to be fair, I may be the stupid one here since I may not be explaining it well to them.


Okay, so instead of calling it 'stupid' call it 'a transparent logical fallacy' because that is exactly what it is. your argument is 'if A then B' and they respond with 'so then, are you saying that if B then A'? The logical fallacy could not be more obvious here, it is not even a serious attempt to address what you said.

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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:17 am 
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Denise Dee wrote:
faithfulservant wrote:
why would secular people be persuaded by any argument put forth from a religious perspective?

That's a question for DominiCanis. Some arguments put forth from a religious perspective can make sense to 'secular people'. For example, Thou not kill.


And yet there are many 'secular people' who reject the commandment that 'thou shall not kill', otherwise there wouldn't be such widespread support as there is for abortion, infanticide and involuntary euthanasia. And there are even 'secular people' who openly reject the idea that there is such a thing as 'an objective moral code' and insist that morality is defined entirely by the law, what is legal is moral and vice versa.

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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:19 am 
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Denise Dee wrote:
faithfulservant wrote:
why would secular people be persuaded by any argument put forth from a religious perspective?

That's a question for DominiCanis. Some arguments put forth from a religious perspective can make sense to 'secular people'. For example, Thou not kill.


To clarify, the arguments I'm after are not ones that appeal to religious authority (the bible or the magsterium) but from philosophical arguments alone. Basically what people generally can know from reason alone.


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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:35 am 
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faithfulservant wrote:
and who says (other than you) that it is NOT immoral for an infertile married couple to enjoy non-penetrative sexual activity?

I've never ever heard anyone saying it's immoral for an infertile MARRIED couple to enjoy non-penetrative sexual activity. Why would it be "immoral"?

If penetration is painful for the woman, what is she supposed to do? Suffer the pain? Or refuse to ever have any kind of sexual activity with her husband? What's he supposed to do? Inflict pain on his wife? Or forego ever having any kind of sexual activity again? If, with living in close and intimate circumstances with his wife, he's aroused at times, what's he supposed to do? Move out? Why would anyone want to wreck a marriage to avoid some kind of so called "immorality" that normal people have never even heard of? We hear so much from so many religious people condemning the "immorality" of gay relationships, so if it's immoral for infertile married couples to have non-penetrative sexual activity, why do we never hear any condemnation from the religious people who are so obsessed with condemning gay relationships?


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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:35 am 
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Denise Dee wrote:
faithfulservant wrote:
why would secular people be persuaded by any argument put forth from a religious perspective?

That's a question for DominiCanis. Some arguments put forth from a religious perspective can make sense to 'secular people'. For example, Thou not kill.


"some" arguments perhaps...but i was referring in this case to the argument put forth... if it relates to an intimacy issue, secular people are certainly more likely to reject any religious intervention into their freedom/pleasure in the bedroom

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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:41 pm 
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faithfulservant wrote:
Denise Dee wrote:
faithfulservant wrote:
why would secular people be persuaded by any argument put forth from a religious perspective?

That's a question for DominiCanis. Some arguments put forth from a religious perspective can make sense to 'secular people'. For example, Thou not kill.


"some" arguments perhaps...but i was referring in this case to the argument put forth... if it relates to an intimacy issue, secular people are certainly more likely to reject any religious intervention into their freedom/pleasure in the bedroom

There are many 'secular people' who believe in commitment and faithfulness to one partner, or if not, there are many who are at least open to being persuaded of the value of commitment and faithfulness. Almost all 'secular people' believe that sexual relationships should be consensual. There are many enlightened 'secular' men who believe that women should not be treated as sexual objects. So there are moral arguments, relating to sex, which 'secular people' can accept, or can be persuaded to accept, without needing to appeal to religious authority


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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:50 pm 
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Denise Dee wrote:
faithfulservant wrote:
and who says (other than you) that it is NOT immoral for an infertile married couple to enjoy non-penetrative sexual activity?

I've never ever heard anyone saying it's immoral for an infertile MARRIED couple to enjoy non-penetrative sexual activity. Why would it be "immoral"?

If penetration is painful for the woman, what is she supposed to do? Suffer the pain? Or refuse to ever have any kind of sexual activity with her husband? What's he supposed to do? Inflict pain on his wife? Or forego ever having any kind of sexual activity again? If, with living in close and intimate circumstances with his wife, he's aroused at times, what's he supposed to do? Move out? Why would anyone want to wreck a marriage to avoid some kind of so called "immorality" that normal people have never even heard of? We hear so much from so many religious people condemning the "immorality" of gay relationships, so if it's immoral for infertile married couples to have non-penetrative sexual activity, why do we never hear any condemnation from the religious people who are so obsessed with condemning gay relationships?


The reason religious people don’t discuss the subject is because there are about 10,000 other ways that people commit serious sexual sin that aren’t related to obscure situations as you’ve presented (e.g., penetration is painful so they engage in other forms of sex). It’s a common tactic to create this nearly straw-man type of argument.

Kind of like when folks say, “What kind of God would condemn the poor ignorant pagan child to hell who lives in the middle of the Amazon rain forest and has never heard about Jesus or had the chance to be bapzied?” Rather than create those types of objections we should focus on the millions of souls around the world who have heard the Gospel and reject it.

The same thing applies to sex here. Rather than object to a given response about activity outside the marital embrace, due to some fairly uncommon situation as you’ve described, why not focus on the millions who’ve created sex objects out of each other via the use of contraception? Why not focus on those who aren’t true to their marriage vows and are addicted to pornogaphy?

And religious people aren’t obsessed with condemning gay relationships because being gay, in and of itself, isn’t sinful. We are obsessed with the attempt (successful in IMHO) of normalizing sexual perversion to the detriment of our society and God’s creation. Homosexual intercourse is one of a few sins that cries out to Heaven. The Bible is crystal clear about this type of sexual sin.

But being gay isn’t a sexual sin and not something I or anyone else I know “obsesses” about.

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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:50 pm 
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Denise Dee wrote:
faithfulservant wrote:
and who says (other than you) that it is NOT immoral for an infertile married couple to enjoy non-penetrative sexual activity?

I've never ever heard anyone saying it's immoral for an infertile MARRIED couple to enjoy non-penetrative sexual activity. Why would it be "immoral"?


Because it is inherently nonprocreative and non unitive. Your argument was basically that theJack's argument would render such acts immoral.

The problem with arguments to the consequence is that they only work if the consequence has already been shown false, or (if only concerned with persuading) you interlocutor agrees the consequence is false.

But Catholics believe that oral and anal sex, as well as manual, is immoral. It is considered sodomitical. Now "touches and kisses" including of the private parts may be licit as foreplay, or to bring the woman to completion, only in the context of a consummated sexual act, i.e an act of sex that completes in vaginal penetration. I hate to be this explicit, but there it is.

And you must be new here. These issues have been discussed... A lot.

If it is painful, and foreplay etc does not render it less so, well then yes, both may need to forgo sex. If the condition is so severe as to render it impossible (if not physically, at least morally) it is a case of impotency. They are unable to have sex. If prior to attempting marriage, and if it is permanent, it is an impediment to being married. If discovered after the wedding, but still in fact antecedent, it is grounds for an annulment.

If the condition develops later, and there is no medical recourse, well so be it. Sex cannot happen, by definition. It would be a call to live a more Josephite marriage

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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:24 pm 
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And, the Josephite marriage is possible when the couple puts the Lord first in their lives, and prays and receives the Eucharist for the strength to do so.

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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:29 pm 
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theJack wrote:
The act of the infertile couple is still directed towards procreation. That there is something breaking that process doesn't change that's what the act is for.

Let me preface this by saying I agree with your explanation; but how do I defend this premise from something like the following (a friend of mine argued this, and it's a paraphrase): "how is sex with an infertile woman directed toward procreation? It's like putting a dollar in a broken soda machine, knowing full well that it's broken and you aint gonna get any soda out of it, and then telling me that that act is directed towards getting a soda."

Now I tried to argue from complimentary ("that that's where it's supposed to go", that the difference between that and gay sex is like the difference between putting a dollar in a broken soda machine and throwing a dollar into a garbage bin). But he's still not convinced. He's challenging me on the basis that he doesn't see the difference in both scenarios since the end is knowingly not achieved.

Btw, I have a vague idea how to answer him. But it's one of those things that's on the tip of my mind, but I can't seem to articulate it.


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 Post subject: Re: Teleology, Sex, and Infertility
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:47 pm 
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Perhaps he's confusing the intention of the person performing the action, with the end of the action itself due to it's nature, which are two different things? I dunno. I take it as a given that you don't need to have the intention to procreate when having sex. Otherwise infertile couples having sex and NFP would be immoral..


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