On Thursday night, Ryan T. Anderson, the William E. Simon senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, participated in a debate about gay marriage. We’ve assembled some of the key moments and exchanges from that debate here.
>>> Ryan T. Anderson will be on ABC’s “This Week” this Sunday to discuss gay marriage and the Supreme Court. Tune in!
In a historic study of children raised by homosexual parents, sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin has overturned the conventional academic wisdom that such children suffer no disadvantages when compared to children raised by their married mother and father. Just published in the journal Social Science Research, the most careful, rigorous, and methodologically sound study ever conducted on this issue found numerous and significant differences between these groups–with the outcomes for children of homosexuals rated “suboptimal” (Regnerus’ word) in almost every category.
The Debate Over Homosexual Parents
In the larger cultural, political, and legal debates over homosexuality, one significant smaller debate has been over homosexual parents. Do children who are raised by homosexual parents or caregivers suffer disadvantages in comparison to children raised in other family structures–particularly children raised by a married mother and father? This question is essential to political and ethical debates over adoption, foster care, and artificial reproductive technology, and it is highly relevant to the raging debate over same-sex “marriage.” The argument that “children need a mom and a dad” is central to the defense of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Here is how the debate over the optimal family structure for children and the impact of homosexual parents has usually gone:
Pro-family organizations (like Family Research Council) assert, “Social science research shows that children do best when raised by their own biological mother and father who are committed to one another in a life-long marriage.” This statement is true, and rests on a large and robust collection of studies.
Pro-homosexual activists respond, “Ah, but most of those studies compared children raised by a married couple with those raised by divorced or single parents–not with homosexual parents.” (This is also true–in large part because the homosexual population, and especially the population of homosexuals raising children, is so small that it is difficult to obtain a representative sample.)
The advocates of homosexual parenting then continue, “Research done specifically on children raised by homosexual parents shows that there are no differences (or no differences that suggest any disadvantage) between them and children raised by heterosexual parents.”
Pro-family groups respond with a number of critiques of such studies on homosexual parents. For example, such studies usually have relied on samples that are small and not representative of the population, and they frequently have been conducted by openly homosexual researchers who have an ideological bias on the question being studied. In addition, these studies also usually make comparisons with children raised by divorced or single parents–rather than with children raised by their married, biological mother and father.
It took me decades to come to my views on same-sex “marriage” in light of my personal experiences.
From infancy, I was unwittingly identified under the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual (GLBT) umbrella. During the first 30 years of my life, I garnered many personal, social and professional experiences with my father, whom I always loved, and his partners. My father, a successful executive recruiter, taught me a strong business ethic.
I was exposed to a lot of expressed sexuality in the home and subcultures. I experienced uncountable losses. Gender was supposed to be boundless; yet, I did not see my father and his partners valuing, loving and affirming women. My father’s preference for one gender (male) created an inner sense of inequality for me.
Creation apologists, dealing with the issue of the animals traveling to the Ark, have similarly sought naturalistic explanations where possible. They often point to ‘the migration instincts in various animals’, and/or their instinct to travel to safety if there is impending danger. But both here and in the case of hibernation, the appeal to existing instincts is problematic. As we will see, it cannot avoid the need for the miraculous, pure and simple—and in substantial doses, in fact.
First, present-day migration instincts are nowhere near universal among animals. So even if God may have used the existing instinct somehow in some species, that still leaves the overwhelming majority of those that needed to be on board, which show little trace of a migration instinct. So if supernatural action is needed for that majority, why not the lot? How much, then, has the ‘instinct’ argument really helped the ‘explanation’?
Second, existing instincts do not direct animals towards a man-made boat.
Third, even if all animals had a migratory instinct, and even if all were programmed to migrate towards large man-made vessels, why did only those particular ones from each type make the journey?”3 Clearly, a mighty miracle was involved.
A report of a year-long hibernation in a tiny marsupial raises a subject worth revisiting.
by Carl Wieland Published: 12 December 2007(GMT+10)
A recent [November 2007] news item caused a flurry of interest among creationists. It was based on an article in the German journal Naturwissenschaften (Natural Sciences), about a marsupial able to hibernate for more than a year. 1 Several people wrote in alerting us to the report. They were presumably keen for us to use it as evidence that ‘animals could have hibernated during the year of the Flood’.
It’s worth exploring just how this does or does not add to the apologetic arguments about the feasibility of the Flood account. First, some more detail on the report.
The animal concerned was the pygmy possum, Cercartetus nanus, a marsupial. This is an ‘opportunistic non-seasonal hibernator’. In the right circumstances, it is able to put on substantial fat reserves which enable it to go into prolonged torpor. The research in this instance was directed to seeing whether the pygmy possum, given the right conditions, would be able to prolong its hibernation, existing only on its own body fat, well beyond winter.
The outcome was impressive—the prolonged hibernation lasted 310 days on average in various of the creatures, with one reaching 367 days.
By Andrew Lamb — 11/15/2008 Creation Ministries International — Creation.com
Many carnivores, including lions and tigers, can readily manage on a vegetarian diet, and this may have happened on the Ark. See Teeth and Tucker for several modern cases of ‘herbivorous carnivores’. Dogs are considered carnivores, but dogs in some countries actually survive on a primarily vegetarian diet. During many years of working in Thailand, I observed that most pet dogs were fed on table scraps, which meant cooked rice was their staple food, as this was the staple food of their owners. And in Indonesia many dogs are fed mainly on vegetables—see note 5 here. Consider another carnivore, the snake. There is a widespread misconception that snakes can only eat live food, but there are commercial breeders today whose snakes thrive on dry food pellets. So there is no problem with Noah possibly doing the same for carnivores on the Ark—a mixture of grains and legumes would provide all the nutrition needed, including the building blocks for animal protein.
If it was unavoidably necessary for some of the Ark’s tenants to have meat in their diet, this could have been readily accomplished using salted meat, reconstituted dried meat, or fresh meat from fodder animals carried aboard for this purpose. Tortoises are a good example of a fodder animal. Tortoises can survive up to a year and a half in captivity without water or food. In olden days, the famous Galápagos tortoise nearly went extinct due in part to its popularity as a fodder food. Thousands were taken aboard sailing ships to be kept as a source of fresh meat.