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Homosexuality has been on debate for numerous years. It is mentioned in
the Bible which is thousands of years old. But recently two philosophers have
spoken how they feel about Homosexuality. Michael Levin and Richard Mohr’s
views on the subject are in conflict with one another. Levin argues that
homosexuality is abnormal because it is a misuse of body parts that have evolved
for use in heterosexual intercourse (Levin 354). Furthermore, because natural
selection has made the exercise of heterosexuality rewarding to human beings,
homosexuality has a high probability to unhappiness. Mohr refutes Levin’s
stance about homosexuality myths and stereotypes. He rejects arguments that
homosexuality is immoral or unnatural.
Levin exemplifies the point that homosexuality is misuse of body parts
with the case of Mr. Smith, who likes to play “Old MacDonald” on his teeth so
devoted is he to this amusement, in fact, that he never uses his teeth for
chewing but instead takes nourishment intravenously. This is a clear example
where Mr. Smith is misusing his teeth. In addition to misuse, Levine states
that this man will have a dim future on purely physiological grounds (Levin 355).
Since Mr. Smith isn’t using his teeth for chewing, his digestive system will
suffer from disuse. The result will be Mr. Smiths deteriorating health. Levin
incorporates the evolution process into this example. He states that Mr. Smith
descended from creatures who enjoy the use of such parts. Creatures who do not
enjoy using such parts of their bodies will tend to be selected out. In
particular, human males who enjoyed inserting their penises into each other’s
anuses have left no descendants. Homosexuality is likely to cause unhappiness
because it leaves unfulfilled an innate and innately rewarding desire (Levin
Mohr takes a completely different stance on homosexuality. According to
Mohr, homosexuality is perfectly unobjectionable. The unnaturalness charge that
Levin give homosexuality carries a high emotional feeling. This feeling is
usually expressing disgust and evincing queasiness. An example of such feelings
are some people’s response to women who do not shave body hair. Many of the
people who have a strong emotional reaction, without being able to give good
reasons for them, we think of them not as operating morally, but rather as being
obsessed and maniac (Mohr 367). So the feelings of disgust that some people
have to gays will hardly ground a charge of immorality.
The idea of “natural” is a key defense in Mohr’s debate. He states that
natural is that it fulfills some function in nature. According to Levin,
homosexuality on this view is unnatural because it violates the function of
genitals, which is to produce babies. The problem with this view is that lots
of bodily parts have lots of functions and just because some one activity can be
fulfilled by only one organ, this activity does not condemn other functions of
the organ immorality (Mohr 367). The use of genitalia to produce children does
not condemn other uses, such as achieving intimacy.
Mohr states that moral authority is needed to define proper function
(Mohr 368). Some people try to fill in this moral authority by appeal to the
design or order of an organ saying that the genitals are designed for the
purpose of procreation. But these people do not make it explicit who the
designer and orderer is. If it is God, then we are holding others accountable
for religious beliefs.
In response to Levin statement that homosexuality causes unhappiness,
Mohr states that Society’s attitude toward a childless couple is that of pity.
The couple who discovers it cannot have children is viewed as having to forgo
some of the richness of life. Gays who do not have children are to be pitied
rather than condemned. Mohr feels the willful preventing of people from
achieving the richness of life is immoral. The immorality with the case of the
gay and lesbian is the statutes that prevents them from adopting families.
In reflection of the two articles read, I feel that Mohr has a stronger
stance in the argument of homosexuality. He takes the Levis’s view on misuse of
body parts, and shows that many body parts have multiple uses. Levis provides a
strong argument about misuse, and in his example it is completely accurate.
When applied to the genitalia, the argument seems to be diminished by Mohr’s
view. Mohr introduces moral authority by bringing out the question of “order
and design”. He states that if God is the designer and orderer, than we are
back to square one which others are accountable for religious beliefs. Mohr
takes Levis stance on unnatural one step further by saying we should follow
nature. If this were the case, the possibilities would be endless. Who should
we follow? A fish that changes gender over their lifetimes. This would make us
be operative transsexuals. Orangutans live completely solitary lives. This
would make us hermits. With the many models that nature gives us to follow, it
is wrong to say that homosexuality is abnormal.
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