Pages

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Bishop Gilbert OSB, logical argument, and a great tradition

Primarily through lazy commentary that does not engage with his argument, Bishop Gilbert OSB of Aberdeen has come under fire for daring to state the truth about same-sex marriage.

I hope that the argument over same-sex marriage will mature in the MSM now that this knee-jerk response to any attempt to engage in a debate is becoming more transparently obvious. We should be able to spot the fallacies more easily as they are more common.

The argument for which Bishop Gilbert has been pilloried was essentially a reductio ad absurdum which could be set out more fully in the following form:
  1. The argument for legalising same-sex marriage is that if two people love each other and want to be committed to each other, they should be allowed to marry.
  2. But a man may love two women and be committed to them; also a niece may love her uncle and be committed to him.
  3. Therefore according to the same argument used for same-sex marriage, it follows that the Government should allow bigamy and incest.
  4. But we do not agree with bigamy or incest.
  5. Therefore the rationale for same-sex marriage does not stand. 
Nowhere in his argument does he say that same-sex marriage is of the same moral character as bigamy or incest. Nor does he say that same-sex marriage will lead to bigamy or incest. He is pointing out that the argument used to justify same-sex marriage could equally well be used to justify bigamy or incest and that it is therefore fatally flawed.

The director of the Equality Network takes the offensive by being offended (another modern substitute for rational argument):
“We are very disappointed the Bishop of Aberdeen should choose to compare same-sex marriage to polygamy and incest. That is offensive and uncalled for.”
No, the Bishop didn’t compare same-sex marriage to polygamy and incest, he pointed out that the argument used to justify same-sex marriage could be applied to polygamy and incest.

The Christian Post unhelpfully said Catholic Bishop Suggests Gay Marriage Could Lead to Bigamy, Incest in Scotland.

No he didn’t suggest gay marriage would lead to bigamy and incest, he pointed out that the argument used to justify same-sex marriage could be applied to polygamy and incest.

Pink News says "Catholic Bishop: Government should make incest legal if it really believes in equality."

No he didn't say that the Government should make incest legal if it believes in equality, he pointed out that the argument used to justify same-sex marriage could be applied to polygamy and incest.

Et ita porro... 

Of course, the Bishop did not limit himself to this point: he also referred to the natural character of marriage as being between a man and a woman, arguing that the Government might legislate otherwise but that it cannot change reality.

It occurred to me that Bishop Gilbert stands in a great tradition. There are saints in many countries (and not a few in Britain) who were peacefully praying in their monasteries only to be dragged out, charged by the Pope with the care of a diocese, and rudely thrust into the maelstrom of controversy. By and large they seemed to have served the Church with fortitude and a practical wisdom not anticipated by the worldly, but not surprising to those familiar with the history of the Church. May his great Benedictine episcopal forbears intercede for Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...