Data is great - as long as what it is telling is distinguished from what it is not telling.
Most murderers ate potatoes within 24 hours of their murders. Interesting? Not really, most North Americans eat potatoes every 24 hours.
I did not include in yesterday's presentation the correlation between depression, suicide, and other mental illnesses with homosexuality, since I consider homosexuality a product of those things rather than the reverse. is there a correlation? Clearly there is - but which causes which? That is an important question.
Now, if you looked at the data I posted yesterday, how much of it would be significantly altered if there was no such things as AIDS/HIV? A significant portion, I'd suggest. For one, I think you would see the life-span of homosexuals increase. How much? I have no idea. The greater incidence of AIDS amongst homosexuals does not prove homosexuality is wrong, only that it is unhealthy. Not that one has nothing to do with the other, again, as in the case of smoking! If smoking were health-neutral (and fiscally-neutral) it would not be immoral. Yes, it is immoral.
But more troubling philosophical than the relationship between AIDS and homosexuality is the relationship between promiscuity and homosexuality. Human nature is not something that can be changed or taken out of the equation, as can AIDS. We are talking about and only talking about whether homosexuality is right for human beings. It is hard to imagine that the factors at play in the question of promiscuity are about anything other than the relative fittingness of hetero- and homosexuality to human nature. To relate all the problems of homosexuals to the acceptance of society is a poor attempt to skirt this significant issue. Why is homosexuality promiscuous? And, can something be promiscuous and yet morally acceptable? The answer to this latter question is certainly no. There are some prominent theories as to why homosexuality is promiscuous, but this is not the domain of philosophy, but of psychology. It doesn't matter why to philosophy, just whether it is the case or not. It is the case, and so referring back to Prof. Howell's claim, it is hard to reconcile homosexuality with the Natural Law, since that would be to define human sexuality as non-monogamous by its moral nature. The problem of homosexual promiscuity, one would suggest, is the result of radical deviation from the Natural Law, a monster of irrationality, so to speak.
A great deal of the above considerations would be irrelevant to those who define homosexuality existentially. Some do. This simply means that they recognize no frame of reference other than oneself. Homosexualist have to be consistent though. You can't talk about 'choice' and 'nomalcy' or 'nature' together. They are philosophically inconsistent. Either it is objectively right or wrong, or all that matters is choice. Don't talk about it being natural and a lifestyle choice. If it is natural it is not a matter of choice. If it is a matter of choice, nature is irrelevant.
The Catholic teaching on homosexuality is based on a conception of the Natural Law, that the way things are is not morally irrelevant, but it is not structured upon a naive sense of 'normalcy.' The conception of human nature is a sine qua non of human happiness; you can ignore it, but only to your own peril. Errors about human nature impact us in many ways, as they pertain to marriage, to sexuality, to the use of time and money, the gift of knowledge, etc. But you need to know how discern the true character of our nature so as to know how it can be fulfilled.