Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Who doesn't get sex?

A friend of mine sent me an article about how Rick Santorum doesn't get sex.  After having read it I wonder if the title would better apply to the author, one Christopher Ryan.  The following is a takedown.

In a recent appearance in New Hampshire, he summarized his thoughts on the subject, saying, “God made man and woman, and men and women come together to have a union to produce children, which keeps civilization going and provides the best environment for children to be raised.”
This is fine as far as it goes.  But even in the beginning it goes off the rails:
But the sexuality of human beings—and our closest primate relations, bonobos and chimps—is utterly different. We and our chimp and bonobo cousins typically have sex hundreds—if not thousands—of times per birth, with or without contraception.
 Not three paragraphs in and we have a false dichotomy AND a strawman.  This is quite efficient of Mr. Ryan.

The Catholic Church teaches that sexual relations between married couples is both for procreation and unitive purposes.  The procreative aspect is referred to as the primary purpose. To attempt to sever procreation from the union aspect (contraception) or vice versa (in vitro fertilization) is to damage both.

So already Mr. Ryan has proposed that because humans mate with a low conception ratio this somehow disproves the primary purpose of sexual relations of humans. And that this in turn disproves Rick Santorum's point.  Not only does this misrepresent Santorum (and in theory the Catholic Church), but it is a false dichotomy.

Let us continue with the train wreck:
 But human beings happily experience, witness, imagine, and lament a cornicopia of erotic encounters that couldn’t possibly result in conception.
As we have discussed here before, inclinations do not by any means prove the morality of one's actions.  That a serial killer may be inclined to bash in the skull of another does not confer a moral status onto the action fantasized about.
 For Homo sapiens, sex is primarily about establishing and maintaining relationships—relationships often characterized by love, or at least affection. Reproduction is a by-product of human sexual behavior, not its primary purpose.

Now we are just engaging in a massive question begging exercise.  It is simply asserted, not established by any argument nor does this even follow from the previous statements.  There is a reason why they are called genitals.    And finally:
Another way in which we differ from most mammals is in our complex, multi-male social networks. 
Which has very little to do with the notion of if one can morally separate the unitive nature of sexual relations from the procreative aspects.  This last assertion is so weak that one can safely ignore it at this point.

Perhaps Mr. Ryan should take Human Physiology 101 and learn what sexual relations are for from a biology perspective.  That might explain to him why the contraception industry works so hard to sever what is the natural outcome of engaging in such "socializing behavior."  Based on this I'm not convinced that Santorum is the one who doesn't know what he is talking about.

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