Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Fun with logical fallacies.

The confusion of correlation with causation is rampant among the religious right. If something desirable happens: “God answered our prayers.” If something undesirable occurs: “God has punished us for our sins.” This is how LGBTQ people get blamed for hurricanes and all manner of natural disasters.

Blame is assigned to LGBTQ people for anything that the self-righteous set doesn’t like. Which is why one of LifeSiteNews’ village idiots, Jonathon Van Maren, has penned: Massachusetts city approves polyamory, the inevitable consequence of gay ‘marriage.’

These are sore losers who can never get past the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. They are now dedicated to “proving” that it was a bad decision as if that will somehow make it go away. They are incapable of appreciating their own futility. I think that they enjoy being pissed off as a divine sacrifice.

Van Maren cites an article in the New York Times. Indeed the City of Somerville, MA did not have a domestic partnership ordinance on the books, unlike most of the surrounding municipalities. And, yes, groups can now qualify as domestic partners.

The intent was two-fold:

  1. To facilitate hospital visitation for individuals in a relationship of more than two people and;
  2. to allow for expanded domestic partner insurance coverage.

There are two problems with that:

  1. There are no hospitals in Somerville and the ordinance has no effect outside of Somerville. (The Cambridge Hospital campus in Somerville is outpatient only.)
  2. Health insurance coverage is subject to many factors. These include (but are not limited to): The provisions of the policy, the cost of additional dependent coverage, in most cases the approval of someone’s employer as policyholder and the will of the insurer.

In other words, while well intentioned, the city’s new ordinance doesn’t really do anything.

Which brings me to causation. Jonathon Van Maren’s “logic” is akin to:

  • The rooster crows
    • The sun rises
      • Ergo, the rooster causes the sun to rise.

Citing an authority:

On Twitter, Ryan T. Anderson … noted that this had been inevitable. He, and others, had predicted this before 2015’s Obergefell decision: “If the law redefines marriage to say the male-female aspect is arbitrary, what principle will be left to retain monogamy? If justice demands redefining marriage to include the same-sex couple, [what about] the throuple? Love equals love, after all.”

What exactly is “this?” Ryan T. Anderson has said a great many stupid things. We know this because Anderson provided an amicus brief in regards to Obergefell. Anderson searched for a means to defend the teachings of the Catholic Church. Among the gems in the brief is this:

The conjugal view of marriage is eminently
reasonable, as is the concern that redefining marriage
might change its social meaning in ways that
undermine the public goods historically served by laws
defining marriage as the conjugal husband-wife union.

It was idiotic per se because the intent of marriage for hundreds, if not thousands, of years has always been to create a marital estate. Marriage was not “redefined” and the social meaning of marriage has not changed. Anderson’s crystal ball must have some cracks or it is desperately in need of some Windex.

Anderson eventually makes it clear that “conjugal” relates to procreative sex. Anderson used the word conjugal 37 times. The argument was pretty simple (and spectacularly stupid): Gay couples cannot have sex to crank out children. Therefore, they should not be permitted to marry.

Anderson was also dishonest. In the highlighted passage of the above quote from the amicus brief, Anderson claimed that laws define marriage as a conjugal union. There have never been laws doing so in any state in the union.

Anderson attempted to support his speculation with another prediction that went unfulfilled:

After all, law shapes culture, which shapes people’s
behavior. Marriage law shapes what people expect of
themselves and others with respect to marriage. So if
the law defines marriage as, essentially, romantic emotional union, people can be expected to internalize
this view. But because this view removes any basis of
principle for norms like permanence and exclusivity,
and prioritizes personal emotional fulfillment, its
prevalence is likely to further destabilize the
institution of marriage across society.

In point of fact, marriage equality has had no effect on permanence and exclusivity. Nor did marriage equality prioritize personal emotional fulfillment over, … something.

In the above, Anderson also engaged in an appeal to stereotype. He asked the Court to accept, as fact, that gay people are more philandering and less stable in marriage than straight people.

Somehow a schmuck with a PhD doesn’t understand the need to provide evidence. Later on in the brief Anderson attempts to look like he is offering evidence in the form of a 1985 book and an article in the New York Times.

An article in the Times is not evidence. Nor is a passage in a book written 30 years prior to oral arguments in Obergefell. Anderson also lied about the intent of the book in question.

Anderson claimed that the authors were trying to discredit the idea that gay men are philanderers. That was not their intent. Lies in defense of the faith are apparently permissible.

Marriage equality followed the historical meaning of marriage in that it allowed for the creation of a marital estate for mundane matters like insurance, Social Security and inheritance. It also allowed children being raised by gay couples to have the security of married parents.

Mr. Anderson should have known this because the preceding case over which he threw a fit, United States v. Windsor, was explicitly about estate matters and inheritance tax. Anderson cannot help himself. He always has, and always will, disregard evidence which is contrary to his narrative.

The reason that Anderson has always gotten into so much trouble is that he is a reverse-engineering dogmatist. Anderson accepts, as incontrovertible truth, the teachings of the Catholic Church. Rather than forming an hypothesis and subjecting it to tests he starts with a preordained “truth without supporting evidence.

Spared of the obligation to test anything Anderson employs selective observation to assert propositions that substitute faith for evidence. Jonathon Van Maren accepts Anderson’s utterances as truth in spite of the fact that now two people cannot provide evidence of anything that they are suggesting is true.

The broad acceptance, by conservative Christians, of Anderson’s incoherent ramblings is attributable to confirmation bias. It is their tendency to accept, as true, statements which are consistent with their personal beliefs.

The logical fallacies continue to expand (as you will see) because, in the final analysis:

  1. The Church makes faith-based assertions without evidence.
  2. Ryan T. Anderson accepts the dogma as truth without evidence.
  3. Jonathon Van Maren accepts Anderson’s bullshit as truth, again without evidence.

Some LifeSiteNews readers are likely to accept Van Maren’s conclusions on faith. Even if those folks have some intelligence they become wilfully stupid.

Indeed, Van Maren continues to quote Anderson. (How pathetic is that?)

“Once the law and culture says the male-female aspect of marriage violates justice and equality,” Anderson added, “we haven’t ‘expanded’ marriage, we’ve fundamentally redefined what it is. And those redefinitions have no principled stopping point.”

Ryan T. Anderson believes many things including the idea that he is a great deal smarter than he really is. Mr. Van Maren hasn’t the critical thinking capability to recognize that Anderson’s proposition was illogical on its face. Nevertheless, Van Maren is invested in Anderson’s Miss Cleo.

Moreover, this represents the logical fallacy of an an appeal to consequences. In this case Anderson asserted that a proposition is true simply because the consequences of it being true are undesirable. It is a logical fallacy because there is no relationship between desirability and the truth of the proposition. Anderson provided no supporting evidence and contrary evidence has been ignored.

It got even better because Van Maren is echoing an appeal to consequences based on an event that has no relevance to the originally proposed consequence. Even if the Somerville ordinance actually did anything meaningful it has nothing whatsoever to do with marriage and it has no logical link to marriage equality.

Van Maren writing for LifeSiteNews is like Trump at a MAGA rally. No one challenges anything — not even when things make no sense whatsoever. Consider Jonathon Van Maren’s conclusion:

Once again, a government body is throwing its weight behind a new definition of family—and making a moral statement in the process. By claiming that we do not know what a “family” is, they are claiming we cannot know what a family is—and that, by definition, means it is whatever you want it to be. After all, if gender is fluid, why not marriage?

Well of course. It is infinitely preferable for one of many religions to use its political weight to impose its definition of family on public policy. Who cares what anyone else thinks when the sanctimonious fools claim to be in sole possession of The Truth? Then they demand the right to impose standards for morality having no connection, whatsoever, to anything as basic as the Golden Rule.

The idea that we can have a statutory definition of family and a social definition of family is far too complex for Jonathon Van Maren to process. For Van Maren, family is defined by the catechism of the Catholic Church and that settles it.

This whole thing is willful confusion in defense of religious doctrine. It might be palatable if they had the common sense and intellectual honesty to precede their pronouncements with a simple phrase: “As conservative Christians we believe …”

In closing I note that Ryan T. Anderson learned nothing from Obergefell. Five years later, in 2020, Anderson provided the Supreme Court with a brief in the combined cases captioned Bostock v. Clayton County.

In general, embracing Respondents’ theory would
weaponize the Obergefell decision to treat “decent and
honorable” disagreement about marriage as sex discrimination. 135 S. Ct. at 2602. It would treat disagreement about human embodiment as male and female as
sex discrimination. And it would turn our nation’s
cherished civil rights statutes into swords to persecute
people with the wrong beliefs about human sexuality.
Antidiscrimination laws should be understood as
shields to protect citizens from unjust discrimination,
not as swords imposing a sexual orthodoxy on the nation. This Court should not treat biology as bigotry.

Ryan T. Anderson is simply not very intelligent. Whether or not Title VII provides employment nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender expression has absolutely nothing to do with marriage or Obergefell v. Hodges. Nor does it have anything to do with agreement or disagreement — opinions — over anything.

This is a mistake that Anderson and his ilk make over and over and over again. They must believe that everyone is an idiot, including the justices of the Supreme Court. People remain free to believe anything they want. Adverse employment action is not a belief. It is conduct. This is a distinction that most people fully understand.

Anderson has made (at least) two more repetitive mistakes. In claiming that laws should protect people from “unjust discrimination” he is conceding that he believes that there is such a thing as just (proper) discrimination. Selectiveness based on employment-related skills or knowledge is not discrimination.

Anderson closes in hackneyed fashion: “This Court should not treat biology as bigotry.” We have all heard that idiotic phrase too many times. It has never made any sense because it is premised on the false notion that our mental state is irrelevant.

Yet there is no biological connection to Anderson’s extreme Catholic orthodoxy. Anderson has made conscious choices. Those choices affect his mental state; his emotions.

Undoubtedly, Jonathon Van Maren will continue to write noxious prose because no one around him is critical of his intellectually mediocre polemics.

Ryan T. Anderson is wed to a zero-sum proposition. Anything that benefits LGBTQ people is a detriment to the Catholic Church in energy equal to the benefit. Anderson, at Heritage Foundation, is also surrounded by uncritical supporters.

Both of these guys specialize in telling people what they want to hear; a confirmation of their religious beliefs. Critical thinking goes down the crapper. No plunger required.

Related content: