In Defense of Hetero-Technological Marriages

Hilarious line from an anti-gay marriage rally in North Carolina earlier this year,

David Gibbs III, a lawyer who in 2005 fought to keep brain-damaged Terri Schiavo on life support, told rally participants gay marriage would “open the door to unusual marriage in North Carolina.”

“Why not polygamy, or three or four spouses?” Gibbs asked. “Maybe people will want to marry their pets or robots.”

Providing it is among consensual adults (and dual core processors) there’s nothing wrong in principle with multiple spouses or marriages to robots (I do agree on the pets issue, but I’m not sure how Gibbs gets from consensual marriage among consenting adults to marriages involving animals with clearly extremely diminished mental faculties).

Personally, though, I think people will probably prefer to simply have sex with robots rather than marrying them. For those curious, David Levy wrote a fascinating book about future human-machine relationships Love and Sex with Robots.

Certainly in a world where Gibbs himself argues for a right to have life preserved by artificial means, why not a world where we have a right to love by artificial means?

The Dalai Lama on the Horrors of Sex

Dalai LamaBack in November, the Dalai Lama decided to hold forth about the advantages of celibacy and the attendant “complications” created by sexuality (emphasis added),

“Sexual pressure, sexual desire, actually I think is short period satisfaction and often, that leads to more complication,” the Dalai Lama told reporters in a Lagos hotel, speaking in English without a translator.

He said conjugal life caused “too much ups and downs.

“Naturally as a human being … some kind of desire for sex comes, but then you use human intelligence to make comprehension that those couples always full of trouble. And in some cases there is suicide, murder cases,” the Dalai Lama said.

He said the “consolation” in celibacy is that although “we miss something, but at the same time, compare whole life, it’s better, more independence, more freedom.”

Considered a Buddhist Master exempt from the religion’s wheel of death and reincarnation, the Dalai Lama waxed eloquent on the Buddhist credo of non-attachment.

“Too much attachment towards your children, towards your partner,” was “one of the obstacle or hindrance of peace of mind,” he said.

This is just one in a long line of anti-sex comments made by the Dalai Lama. Back in 1993, he told The New York Times,

Then, of course, there is the feeling that something sexual must be
something very happy, a marvelous experience. When this develops, I always see the negative side. There’s an expression from Nagurajuna, one of the Indian masters: “If you itch, it’s nice to scratch it. But it’s better to have no itch at all.” Similarly with the sexual desire. If it is possible to be without that feeling, there is much peace. [Smiles.] And without sex, there’s no worry about abortion, condoms, things like that.

Kind of weird that hundreds of millions of ordinary people manage to have sex without committing murder or suicide and yet a man who is supposedly supremely “enlightened” apparently lives in fear of the effects of sexual intimacy.

And while it is certainly true that people do sometimes make poor choices as a result of desire for or lack of initimate relationships, that pales in comparison to the “complications” created by religious zealots.

Sex After Death?

Knight Ridder’s Faye Flam has an interesting survey of different religion’s views of whether people in heaven/paradise/whatever have sex.

Of course we’re all now aware Islam’s promise of many perpetual virgin-like Houri to devout adherents.

Not surprisingly, Christianity, especially in pre-Protestant forms, was not especially kind to the idea of getting it on in heaven,

Early Christians believed that after the end of the world they’d all get their bodies back in heaven, and this led to inevitably to questions about sex and marriage. On pondering resurrection of the flesh, St. Augustine decided we’d keep our sex organs for aesthetic reasons, but we wouldn’t use them.

Wow — Augustine in the anti-sex camp. That’s a real shock.

Zoroastrianism has a different but still odd view,

Zoroastrians, he said, believed there was sex in heaven, but people would wean themselves from both food and sex as they got used to being dead.

Personally, being in heaven wouldn’t be the time to start denying myself sex and food, but your mileage may vary.

Of course we atheists just sort of stop existing and wait for our atoms to scatter around the universe, so you can forget about any hot and heavy post-mortem atheist action. Damn.