Nerdfighters

You already know what most people will say.

Far right: Yes. It is a difficult choice, but can be overcome. There are bad things to being gay, but some people live with it the way geeks live with ridicule because of their strangeness that they could change.

 

Far left: No. You can't choose who you fall in love with. You're just born that way. Why would someone choose to be teased, rejected and alienated by society and their loved ones?

 

Well, to be fair to the right, some people, like geeks or weirdos, don't care about being teased or bullied or rejected because of the things they like. Even straight couples are willing to be teased or rejected because of their choice of a partner, but it's for love, right? Then again, is there really such a thing as true love at all?

Maybe it's just physical. Let's be honest, being gay or straight depends mostly on sex. If you fall in love with someone online then find out their not th gender you like, you probably wouldn't want to be with them the same way you did before.

For all we know, we do choose who we fall in love with. We make decisions about how to interperet our feelings, how to react to a person's actions or thoughts, when judging something they do or believe in, those are all little choices. Bu are they really what make us fall in love with people?

 

But it's true, if you want to love someone, why make it someone you're family or friends would reject you for? Why pick someone you can't have kids with or marry?(If that's what you want)

 

In Chrsitianity, the Bible says at least three times that being gay is wrong. But the only reason it would be wrong is if it's a choice, because sin is about disobeying God's will and rejecting the truth of his law and words. You can really only go against God's law by choosing to reject or go against it, like choosing to steal or choosing to ignore Jesus once you've heard the truth, or choosing not to even try to be a better person. So how can something be a sin if you don't choose to do it? (please no religious bashing from any sides in this discussion) Many christians who don't support being gay say that it's a hard thing to overcome but can be done, but how many gay people do they know that have actually stayed celibate or gone straight?

 

Main questions wiht this issue: Is it a choice? Can you choose who you fall in love with? Why or why not?  If it is a choice, why would you choose to be gay at all?

EDIT: If you have anything directed specifically at me, the one posting this, I'm not going to read it. The discussion is mainly for other people who wanted to discuss it, and I lost track of the comments months ago anyway.

Tags: choice, christianity, debate, gay, opinion

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In both of those examples, the services are no longer necessary. The world population is becoming unsustainable given its resources: each nation can afford an approximate 10%, non-reproductive homosexual population.

As for obsession over calories, I think it's a cultural thing, and I don't find it equatable at all, but changes in the average American lifestyle at least to a sedentary one have reduced the number of calories burned daily, and thus the amount of calories required on a daily basis to function. Calorie reduction in itself isn't a solution to this problem, but the whole issue is beside the point.

Oh, I'm by no means criticizing homosexuals. Merely saying that our bodies are coded by natural selection for heterosexuality. Similarly, we're adapted to environments where every calorie counts, which is why we struggle with eating in moderation. However, humanity has adapted our environment to our own needs (rather than adapting to the environment), throwing the whole system out of balance. As you said, the conditions imposed upon us by natural selection no longer apply, and things like, "Needing to find the strongest mate," or, "Violently attacking your competitors," are obsolete. Sure, the species still needs people reproducing, and you need to eat to survive, but we've reached a state of such prosperity that being homosexual is about as harmful as still having your tonsils.

To be fair to the more orthodox members of my religion (Roman Catholicism), being a homosexual isn't a sin -- and it's also considered by the Church not to be a choice. The Church believes (though tentatively, barring any further news) that people are born gay or straight or bi. What She (the Church) also believes is that the act of sex is only fitting between couples who are capable of and open to the possibility of procreation, in a loving a mutually beneficial relationship which is only possible (so She believes) in the framework of marriage.

Now I think that's a load of horse-E.E. Cummings, but no one's going to elevate me to the papacy.

But in answer to the actual question, not getting into my pretty obvious opinion (I am bi and am totally open to having a husband in my future), if even the Roman Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality isn't a choice, people need to start listening, because if you're more conservative than the Roman Catholic Church, you probably made a wrong turn near Albuquerque.

Interesting but rather irrelevant question, since a modern understanding of neuroscience has established, pretty soundly, that all mental functions are a result of biological processes. From a reductionist approach we have derived an answer!

I realize that this does not conclusively state how sexual orientation nor gender identity operate, yet I don't feel all that uncomfortable in using biochemical determinism to understand those phenomena.

It is important to realize that behavior is disparate, on an apples to apples level, from either orientation or identity; there is very little doubt in my mind that both of those things are biological in nature, although the exact vehicle is presently unknown.

So in summary: If by choice you mean that sexual orientation or gender identity are constructs, then no they are not. It is my interpretation of scientific findings that both orientation and identity are as biological as the person's physical sex , i.e. their sex organs. Behavior is a much more muddy subject which I would argue is extraneous to the core of the issue.

Spatial awareness centers do not exist. The posterior parietal cortex does help localize the body and objects in space, but I did find the article to which i assume you were referring and it really has nothing to do with the premise of my argument. It only states that through heavy use a very small portion of the brain that can create more neurons does so if it is used (if that is an incorrect summary please tell me, I only skimmed it).

My premise states that behavior stems from biological function, which incidentally does not place it out of the jurisdiction of the law which your argument fallaciously (reductio ad absurdum) assumes. And as for any evidence of it, you will find a wealth of research done in behavioral neuroscience on motivated behavior.

 

Sorry I use () when I am too tired to make a correctly punctuated sentence

Spatial awareness centers do not exist. The posterior parietal cortex does help localize the body and objects in space, but I did find the article to which i assume you were referring and it really has nothing to do with the premise of my argument. It only states that through heavy use a very small portion of the brain that can create more neurons does so if it is used (if that is an incorrect summary please tell me, I only skimmed it).


On the contrary, it has everything to do with your argument. You argued that homosexuality is somehow biologically determined, however I respond by pointing out that biology is not destiny, since we have the capacity to change our biology, even to the point of altering the functioning of our brains. Taxi drivers have been demonstrated to do this.


My premise states that behavior stems from biological function, which incidentally does not place it out of the jurisdiction of the law which your argument fallaciously (reductio ad absurdum) assumes. And as for any evidence of it, you will find a wealth of research done in behavioral neuroscience on motivated behavior.


Here's the problem though. If you can't describe an individual as responsible for his/her choices, instead saying that all actions are pre-programmed by the brain, and you cannot control them, how can you be held responsible for that which you cannot control?

I guess I am not communicating well. To address your second point first: I really must stress the distinction between choices, i.e. behavior, the conscious decisions we make, and the brain the those behaviors arise from. All I am postulating is that we can no more "choose" our sexual orientation than we can the color of our hair or the speed with which our metabolic processes take place.


Also the taxi drivers are not changing the function of their brain, the point was that some existing brain functions can be bolstered by repeated use. What you seem to be arguing is analogous to arguing that the muscles one gains as a result of exercise where not present before the exercise. They are most decisively not changing the function of the parietal lobe and even if they where, it would not be relevant to the issue of sexual orientation.

I really must stress the distinction between choices, i.e. behavior, the conscious decisions we make, and the brain the those behaviors arise from. All I am postulating is that we can no more "choose" our sexual orientation than we can the color of our hair or the speed with which our metabolic processes take place.


Yes, but you are oversimplifying behaviour and its causes. If you accept that behaviour is caused by choices, why do you insist that other things like orientation are not?

Behaviour is sometimes caused by subconsious triggers which themselves can be altered by choices made.

And since you have presented no evidence that homosexual orientation is in any way biologically conditioned, as is the colour of our hair etc, that leaves the objective portion if it squarely in the relm of behaviour.


Also the taxi drivers are not changing the function of their brain, the point was that some existing brain functions can be bolstered by repeated use. What you seem to be arguing is analogous to arguing that the muscles one gains as a result of exercise where not present before the exercise. They are most decisively not changing the function of the parietal lobe and even if they where, it would not be relevant to the issue of sexual orientation.

 


My point is though that you are making a claim that homosexuality is biological to the point of impossibility to change. I would argue however that since so much of our bilogy is changable, as is evidenced by the taxi driver case, unless you have more specific evidence, you cannot claim with authority that homosexuality is biologically determined.

I would hardly say that ascribing "biology" as a causative agent is simplification in anything but a linguistic sense. Behavior is the choices you make, to differentiate them is just semantics.

Also I would postulate that you cannot make a definitive claim that anything, much less behaviors are ultimate causes of significant change in anatomy or physiology.

And yes, you may be right that I can not point to a specific biological cause to sexual orientation; However, there is no scientific support for any behavioral model that would induce a radical realignment in sexual orientation. Not to mention that sexual orientations other than heterosexuality are well documented in over 500 species of sexually reproducing animals with different sexes, animals that do not exhibit the range of behaviors ascribed to humans. And there have been significant inroads and many plausible hypotheses on a biological mechanism.

-Rahman, Q (2005). "The neurodevelopment of human sexual orientation". Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 29 (7): 1057–66.

-Swaab DF (December 2004). "Sexual differentiation of the human brain: relevance for gender identity, transsexualism and sexual orientation". Gynecological Endocrinology 19 (6): 301–12.

-https://www.msu.edu/~breedsm/pdf/CAHFingersFinal.pdf

-http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2775980/

-Manning, John T.; Bundred, Peter E.; Newton, Darren J.; Flanagan, Brian F. (2003). "The second to fourth digit ratio and variation in the androgen receptor gene". Evolution and Human Behavior 24 (6): 399–405.

-Tortorice, J.L. (2002). "Written on the body: butch/femme lesbian gender identity and biological correlates". Rutgers Ph.D. Dissertation.

-http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1502306/

-http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10508-006-9159-7

-LeVay S (August 1991). "A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual and homosexual men". Science 253 (5023): 1034–7.

 

I can give you more if you would like.

A series of brief points. Firstly, the Rahman study you mentioned has been criticised as flawed because it is a twin study, and twin studys are heavily open to selection bias, since twins with at least one gay individual are more likly to come forward.

Swaab's study is flawed because his study again had a minute sample size (6 people) and he ignored large numbers of other factors that could impact the area being studied.

Digit ratio studies can be dismissed seeing as how they give contradictory results regarding correlations (some studies find the correlation as positive, others negative).

The Le Vay study you cited has been widely criticised as systemically flawed. It had an exceptionally small sample size, and even Le Vay himself said he had not found what so many claimed he had found.

"It’s important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn’t show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain. The INAH3 is less likely to be the sole gay nucleus of the brain than a part of a chain of nuclei engaged in men and women's sexual behavior."

 

Le Vey measured the volumes of four cell groups in this region  and found that for one of these the volume was larger in heterosexual men than it was in women or homosexual men. He suggested that this shows that 'sexual orientation has a biological substrate.' Once again, there are some problems with this research. Out of the 41 brains that were studied, there was a lot of variation between the results. Indeed one of the homosexual men had the second largest volume of all - if sexual orientation was determined by the size of the anterior hypothalamus then he should be very strongly heterosexual. Furthermore, the sexual labelling was uncertain. The heterosexual men were only presumed to be heterosexual - only two of them had denied homosexual activities, for the rest of them sexual histories were not available.

The LeVey study is also more than 20 years old. I never contended that scientific research can, at the moment, give us a definitive answer, nor do I think that deviation in sexual orientation is genetic in nature. However I would like to see some research done that supports a behavioral model or anything else for that matter.

I am not a scientist by training yet and my views are only interpretive of second hand knowledge. I would love to be educated.

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