Biotechnology

The Gay Science

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The gay blogosphere is heralding the results of a new study from the Karolinska Institute that provides even more evidence that sexual orientation is biological, as "the most compelling evidence yet that being gay or straight is a biologically fixed trait."

According to the study, gay men's brains resemble those of straight women, and gay women's brains resemble those of straight men. But while victories like California warrant popping the cork on some champagne, this occasion is far more ambiguous.

Blogger Breaktheterror leads his post on the study by calling it something that the "Religious Right never, ever, ever wants you to see," but the truth is exactly the opposite. Opponents of gay rights have been steadily losing ground in the political fight to maintain a moralistic hetero-hegemony, and they're adapting their culture war strategies to the scientific frontier.

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has been pushing the anti-gay rights movement in this direction for over a year. In an essay published in March 2007, Mohler called for a revision of the Baptist Church's stance on interference in the genetic development of embryos, for one reason only:

"If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin."

The Karolinka Institute's study suggests that sexual orientation might result from too much or too little exposure to androgen in the womb, suggesting to some that it might be changeable using hormone therapy.

So, congrats to gays and lesbians. According to science, you're hardwired to prefer members of the same sex. I'm genuinely glad to hear it. But be mindful of the the ugly history of the use and abuse of science to justify persecution of gays, and tread warily.

Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey responded to Albert Mohler here last year.

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  1. Disclosure: I attend the same church as Albert Mohler.

    I havent no other comment to make, so feel free to apply that disclosure to absolutely nothing.

  2. Clearly, God just simply hates some fetuses.

    What other conclusion could we possibly come to given Mr. Mohler’s bullshit comments?

  3. One of the best questions to ask pro-choice people is “If a gay gene could be detected in utero, should the mother be allowed to have an abortion because she doesn’t want a gay child?”

    Could a return to eugenics be in the future?

  4. The comments in the linked thread are much better than the ones in this thread (so far). Including mine.

  5. brave robc. You’ve thrown yourselves to the wolves.

  6. couldn’t one argue that brain development is the result of external stimuli that aggregates over the course of ones life, thus the biological theory for being gay may not hold… just a thought.

  7. You see, eugenics isn’t all that bad when it comes to getting rid of teh gay.

    Biological homosexuality or just-for-the-fun-of-it homosexuality, doesn’t matter. The impulse to regulate the lives of others runs even stronger.

  8. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on. Are they saying that gays having multiple-man orgies fueled by cocaine (Red Bull when poor), vodka, and Viagra isn’t a learned behavior?

  9. robc,
    Admit it, you just wanted to be the first commenter on the thread.

  10. elemenopee, you cussed me out in a previous thread for bemoaning the pitiful atheistic armchair theology in this forum.

    You implied that people here are capable of better. I see that you opted for worse.

  11. This is why the “nature” argument for homosexuality has always bothered me. It treats it like some kind of defect to be used as an excuse: “Sorry, we just can’t help it, so I guess you’ll have to tolerate us.”

    We should be focusing more on the more universal personal freedom aspect: “Well, we’re consenting adults, so fuck you.”

  12. gay women’s brains resemble those of straight men

    And all this time I thought it was the flannel gene.

  13. Hey, why not simply start an outright flame war?

    Re: Fetuses & Abortion.

    If God has foreknowledge, and he finds the murder of the unborn *Detestable*, then couldn’t he simply foreknow which fetuses would be aborted and not give them souls, thus avoiding the perpetration of something he finds *Detestable*?

    Cue “But what about free-will?!!!1!11!” in 5…

    Generally the arguments about teh gay are just warmed-over retreads of shoddy back pocket theology left over from the Abortion Wars.

  14. We should be focusing more on the more universal personal freedom aspect: “Well, we’re consenting adults, so fuck you.”

    IIRC, that was approximately Andrew Sullivan’s reaction over at the Dish.

  15. Maybe if we could abort fetuses with authoritarian genes…

  16. Wow, it’s like in the X-Men movie where Rogue got treated for being a mutant. I guess if they did create gene therapy and someone born gay didn’t want to be anymore, they should be able to get themselves the “cure.” But the idea of it saddens me.

  17. You implied that people here are capable of better. I see that you opted for worse.

    And upon what point if theology, exactly, are you whining about? I personally was making fun of Mr. Mohler’s “we can fix ’em in the womb” stance since he discovered that, *shock*, teh gay is in the divine (natch, Genetic) plan all along.

    What, that I can’t make fun of a deity that hard-wires people to break His rules?

    What, that Christians in particular are *serial* violators of consistency in argumentation when it comes to matters of free will?

  18. You may be onto something, SugarFree.

  19. J sub D

    Admit it, you just wanted to be the first commenter on the thread.

    Yes, you got me. “I attend the same church as Albert Mohler” is the new cliche on slashdot and fark, like “first post” or “Soviet Russia”.

  20. Advertisers move fast, way fast. There’s already a realjock ad on the right hand part of the screen.

  21. Elemenope,

    He’s just a Catholic troll who will unleash a sock puppet attack when cornered. The chrous of “jj’s right!” will start any minute.

  22. Does that mean we will soon be seeing this scenario:

    DOCTOR: Congratulations, Mrs. Jones, it seems that your fetus will contribute to the wonderful cultural diversity of this great country.

    WOMAN: Huh?

    DOCTOR: It’s got the gay gene – you got a gay child!

    WOMAN: I don’t want a gay child; can’t you cure it?

    DOCTOR: What do you take me for – a fundamentalist? I’m not going to do that.

    WOMAN: OK, then, I want an abortion. Gay babies deserve to die.

    DOCTOR: That’s your right as a woman. Let me arrange the procedure immediately.

  23. lmnop,

    Which rules are we not hard wired to break? Why would this one be any different?

  24. SugarFree displays his amazing powers of foreknowledge….

    Are you sure you aren’t a Sorceror? They burn in Hell, y’know!

  25. Maybe, just maybe, God has allowed a genetic predisposition to provide for the ministry. Paul, in his 1st letter to the Corinthians, suggested marriage for those unable to contain their sexuality in the manner that he did. “…for it is better to marry than to burn.” He was speaking of marriage to a woman of course. If gay behaviour is sinful, and also genetic, then it was obviously God’s design for gays to be in the celibate and unmarried priesthood, the highest of God’s callings.

    just a suggestion.

  26. Wow, this hot on the heels of a baseball discussion.

  27. Which rules are we not hard wired to break? Why would this one be any different?

    None, and it’s not, and somehow you are beginning to stumble onto one of the many reasons that I am not a Christian. It isn’t just their position on homosexuality that did it, you see.

    I am philosophically opposed (on metaphysical grounds) to the concept of Deity, but I am deeply and viscerally *morally* opposed to the specific sort of sadistic and capricious deity that is offered by Christianity.

  28. Mike Riggs: But be mindful of the the ugly history of the use and abuse of science to justify persecution of gays, and tread warily.

    I’m familiar with the historical (ab)use of science to justify persecution of many genetically-defined groups, but totally not getting the “tread warily” part. What are you proposing, exactly?

    John: Great comment. I suspect that given the propensity of religious fanatics to deny scientific discoveries they find inconvenient, and the huge investment of fundagelicals in the homosexuality as a sin (conscious choice) trope, that they’ll deny the validity of these discoveries. Could turn freaky, though.

    Old Bull Lee: Yes, it’s all about choice, but since that’s too radical a notion for most people I’ll go with genetic minority.

    Shorter JJ: “Wah….”

  29. Mad Max,
    that poses quite a quandary for people who are both staunchly “anti-gay” and “anti-abortion”… sort of a no win situation for anyone who feels that way.

  30. “We should be focusing more on the more universal personal freedom aspect: “Well, we’re consenting adults, so fuck you.””

    Old Bull Lee, I agree. For one thing it is a safer position to take. The science might turn out to be flawed in 20 years. I am no scientist I do not know. Either way, you have a right. Whether it is a “choice” or not I support your right to engage in this consenting behavior with a consenting adult.

  31. This is why the “nature” argument for homosexuality has always bothered me. It treats it like some kind of defect to be used as an excuse: “Sorry, we just can’t help it, so I guess you’ll have to tolerate us.”

    I think that the reason gay rights supporters believe that the nature argument is a compelling one is to combat the “its a choice…why should we make accommodations to someone who is making a choice to be gay”.

    If being gay is something you are born into — like being a minority — then it makes it easier to get protection from discrimination.

    Furthermore, I don’t think the that the “nature” argument is necessarily geared towards evangelicals — although some of them may be the target audience in a “god made me and he does things for a reason” kind of way — I think it’s more for the people in the middle…the ones who don’t hate the gays, per se, but are generally uncomfortable about gayness and gays. It may be a way to say to them “Being gay isn’t merely a choice — I was wired this way”

    We should be focusing more on the more universal personal freedom aspect: “Well, we’re consenting adults, so fuck you.”

    AHAHAHAHAHAH — yeah that works so well with some many other things — why didn’t we think of this before.

    One of the best questions to ask pro-choice people is “If a gay gene could be detected in utero, should the mother be allowed to have an abortion because she doesn’t want a gay child?”

    Not that I should even bother to respond to this stupid query — but yes, as a pro-choice person I believe people should be able to abort their baby for whatever reason — regardless of my personal distaste for those reasons. I don’t see why that should matter — and I think only a moron would think that this is some profoundly relevant question.

  32. @Mad Max

    A Branden Fraser movie “Twilight of the Golds” covered that exact scenario. If nothing else you get to see Branden Fraser act.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120392/

  33. This is worth reading before anyone gets too excited:
    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=256

    MSM doesn’t do a terribly good job of accurately representing the conclusions of these scientific studies.

  34. but totally not getting the “tread warily” part. What are you proposing, exactly?

    He’s merely saying that the anti-gays will just pivot to using a more science based approach to “ending” homosexuality. For instance, say a “cure” was discovered. They might attempt to get the government to mandate application of the “cure” as being in the best interests of the child. They would draw ugly parallels between homosexuality and disease and posit that if you don’t “cure” children it’s like not curing a kid of, say, retardation*.

    I would not be even remotely surprised if they tried this.

    * which reminds me of a favorite exchange from Strangers With Candy:

    Jerri: Mr. Noblet wants me to snitch on a friend.
    Jellineck: Snitching doesn’t seem like you, Jerri.
    Jerri: Oh, it’s not what you think. It’s not like snitching on a real person. She’s–
    Jellineck: Gay?
    Jerri: Retarded.
    Jellineck: Yes, most of them are.
    Jerri: Most who are what?
    Jellineck: Most gay people are retarded.
    Jerri: Does that mean Kimberly Timbers is gay?
    Jellineck: I don’t know. Hey! Make a pass at her and find out. She’d have to be retarded to turn you down.

  35. Mad Max, thank you for the laugh.

    Tonio: I considered that argument, but I think choice is a more universal argument that should be pushed. If the genetic gay argument wins, then there’s the bisexual argument (is it genetic too?) and a host of other alternative sexual practices including prostitution. Scat fetishists have just as much a a right to do their thing as everybody else. Even beyond that, you get to the nonsexual choices like drugs.

  36. Tonio,

    90% of women whose babies have a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome obtain an abortion. I don’t imagine the number for the gay gene would be that high, but I think it could be high enough that it would have see a serious reduction of the gay population in future decades. Pretty scary stuff.

  37. brotherben: Please remember to take your meds. Also, what about lesbians? Are you a member of a celibate priesthood church that ordains women? [steps back as bb’s head explodes like a “Mars Attacks” alien exposed to Slim Whitman music]

  38. “MSM doesn’t do a terribly good job of accurately representing the conclusions of these scientific studies.”

    As long as MSM inaccurately represents the conclusions in my favor – I don’t have a problem with it.

  39. ChicagoTom: The thing is, I don’t think the “respect my choices” argument has really been tried much, and the gay gene argument works against it.

  40. Frankly, I’m surprised this surprises anyone. The alternative – that we choose are sexuality – means that we would be congenitally bi-sexual in nature. I find it hilarious that many conservative Christians have been stating this for years and years.

  41. Who care if it’s biological or a choice? i never saw homosexuality as a problem, and ive never felt the inclination to study how or why some people are gay, they just are, if they are fine with it then im fine with it.

    Jeez, it’s just people f*cking after all…

  42. Episiarch,

    Snitchin is bitchin!

  43. Tonio,
    LOL, actually, I am a member (not in particularly good standing) of a southern baptist church.

  44. SugarFree displays his amazing powers of foreknowledge….

    My powers are great and sundry!

    I don’t imagine the number for the gay gene would be that high, but I think it could be high enough that it would have see a serious reduction of the gay population in future decades.

    It will start a baby war. Pro-gay couples intentionally making gay babies, and the gay-haters weeding them out. Unfortunately, this country is already reeling under the strain of the right / left breeding gap.

    The only thing on the left’s favor is that 9 times out of 10, your kid is the opposite of what you want him/her to be.

  45. Which rules are we not hard wired to break?

    This question is basically the doctrine of original sin and total depravity and one of the basic foundations of Christian theology.

  46. To believe the hypothesis, I’d first have to see evidence that humans are hardwired to recognize male & female of our species.

  47. Be at peace, Elemenope, for I believe in you.

  48. ChicagoTom: The thing is, I don’t think the “respect my choices” argument has really been tried much, and the gay gene argument works against it

    Old Bull Lee,

    As much as I want to believe that “respect my choices as an adult” is a valid strategy, there are too many laws and regulations to control peoples’ behavior out there for me to be able to believe it.

    That line of thought hasn’t done to well when it comes to Drugs or gambling or many other “vices” – I dunno why it would be different this time. In fact, it took the Supreme Court to overturn Texas Sodomy laws just recently — and even in that decision some Supreme Court Justices felt that the state does in fact have a right to dictate what adults do in private.

    And the “we are consenting adults” has been tried — the response has been basically: do what you want but keep it behind closed doors or in the closet and don’t expect any “special treatment” like protection from being fired or being kicked out of the army or whatnot.

    Sad to say I don’t think the “we are adults” is at all a compelling argument for most citizens of this country.

  49. One of the best questions to ask pro-choice people is “If a gay gene could be detected in utero, should the mother be allowed to have an abortion because she doesn’t want a gay child?”

    I’m pro-choice and I don’t view this as the “gotcha” question you seem to think it is; just because you might be willing to make “Teh Ghey” exceptions to what you consider basic human rights doesn’t mean that I would. If a woman doesn’t want to carry a pregnancy to term she doesn’t have to.

    Got any more “best questions” to ask me?

  50. But while victories like California warrant popping the cork on some champagne, this occasion is far more ambiguous.

    As mentioned on this very site, the California Supreme Court ruling is very much a double edged sword for gay “marriage” proponents. Fortunately it doesn’t look like the residents of California can do anything to reverse Civil Union legislation but a referendum to amend the California State Constitution to define “marriage” as between a man and woman would most likely pass if held this year.

  51. The alternative – that we choose are sexuality – means that we would be congenitally bi-sexual in nature.

    That is not the alternative. The alternative is that we chose to override our “God given” (not my phrase) sexual orientation.

    I’m curious. When a hormone balancing procedure is invented which ensures a particular sexual orientation, is there any (Randian/libertarian/other) moral basis for objecting to it? I don’t think so.

  52. speaking of my meds,they are whompin on me and it’s time to lie down awhile. that and I have no interest in another choice vs. life shoutdown. It’s just painful. I hope all here have a real smooth evening.

    ???

  53. My powers are great and sundry!

    So is your beer belly.

    It will start a baby war. Pro-gay couples intentionally making gay babies, and the gay-haters weeding them out. Unfortunately, this country is already reeling under the strain of the right / left breeding gap.

    Which would pretty much keep things as they are. I doubt very much that all gay couples would specifically aim for gay children just like not all straight couples would aim for only straight children.

  54. speaking of my meds,they are whompin on me and it’s time to lie down awhile

    What meds? Intellectual curiosity drives me to ask.

  55. So are bisexuals somewhere in-between straight-female and straight-male brains (whatever that means)? I haven’t read the study of course, but I don’t see how the conclusions can cover all cases of sexual orientation. I thought the idea of black-and-white homosexuality vs. heterosexuality had been discredited in favor of a gray continuum between the two anyway.

    I don’t have a vested interest in this dispute anyway. Whether homosexual orientation is a genetic trait like Down’s syndrome or an acquired one like cocaine addiction is not important to the morality of homosexual acts.

  56. It will start a baby war. Pro-gay couples intentionally making gay babies, and the gay-haters weeding them out. Unfortunately, this country is already reeling under the strain of the right / left breeding gap.

    Subtle, but important distinction between “intentionally making gay babies” (which is AFAIK currently beyond human control) and failing to abort the naturally occuring gay babies.

  57. xodol 10/300, 4 times a day. same as lortab with less acetominephen. For degenerative disc disease, 2 herniated discs and arachnoiditis in my lumbar spine.

  58. I’m pro-choice and I don’t view this as the “gotcha” question you seem to think it is; just because you might be willing to make “Teh Ghey” exceptions to what you consider basic human rights doesn’t mean that I would. If a woman doesn’t want to carry a pregnancy to term she doesn’t have to.

    Well, at least you’re consistent. While my position on homosexual behavior is well-known, I would find the destruction of unborn life even more appalling if it was done for such a flimsy reason, as opposed to rape, incest, or economic desperation.

  59. Wait a minute, doesn’t this mean that sons of gay men and straight women would have much higher rates of homosexuality, and the daughters would have much lower rates of homosexuality? And vice versa for the case of a straight man and a gay woman.

  60. Of course, I didn’t RTFA, but I wouldn’t jump automatically from “brain structure” to “genetically determined.”

    I’ve always thought that sexual preferences of all kinds (other men, redheads, other redheaded men, whatever) were imprinted. Dunno if an imprint will affect brain development structure, post-imprint, but its a possible alternate explanation.

  61. ChicagoTom: In our state (WV) we recently had a public vote on whether to allow a dog racing track with slot machines to also have table games. The two arguments were “gambling is against God and you’ll all burn in Hell” vs. “our economy sucks and we need to create jobs.” Which kind of proves your point that most people are so anti-sin that we’ll never have our freedom.

    The thing is, even if it means losing some battles right now, I’d rather take the big step and push for personal freedom. If the gay gene argument would all-out win, it would provide an excuse to persecute everything else. BDSMers and other fetishists, bisexuals, pornographers, as well as gamblers and other sinners would be fair game for the moralists because they wouldn’t have the genetic excuse for their behavior.

  62. xodol 10/300, 4 times a day. same as lortab with less acetominephen. For degenerative disc disease, 2 herniated discs and arachnoiditis in my lumbar spine.

    That sucks. But at least it’s a (semi-synthetic) opiate.

  63. Epi, Epi, Epi,

    You say beer belly like it’s a bad thing. Hater.

    I doubt very much that all gay couples would specifically aim for gay children just like not all straight couples would aim for only straight children.

    My personal experience is that gay parents hope their children will turn out straight because they don’t want the kids to go through the hell that we went through growing up gay. Please note that this is situational, not absolute, and that this attitude would change if society were less gay-hostile.

  64. Well the bright side is it gives me time ti hang out with you buncha geeks and freaks at will. Expand me brain and learn some empathy (can empathy be learned?) and all that rot.

    “crunchy frog” is stuck in my head for now fo unknown reasons.

  65. I’m curious

    Just feel free to let it all out, MP. We don’t judge here.
    πŸ˜‰

  66. xodol 10/300, 4 times a day. same as lortab with less acetominephen. For degenerative disc disease, 2 herniated discs and arachnoiditis in my lumbar spine.

    That sucks. I extend my sympathies and best wishes.

  67. One last thing, Pete Townsend said in an interview once that we are all bisexual by nature.

    had a relative tell me it’s all just friction and spasm anyway.

  68. thanks J sub

    TTFN

  69. You say beer belly like it’s a bad thing. Hater.

    I can’t be responsible for your fetish for paunchy men.

    had a relative tell me it’s all just friction and spasm anyway

    How limited. It also involves domination and submission, possession, mind games, and a host of other things.

  70. The alternative – that we choose our sexuality

    Whoa! The alternative? What about the possibility that we neither are born with it nor deliberately choose it, but that, as with most other complex human preferences, discover over time what we (involuntarily) like?

    means that we would be congenitally bi-sexual in nature.

    How about the possibility that we’re congenitally non-sexual, and that sexuality is something we pick up more or less involuntarily like language & religion?

  71. Well, at least you’re consistent. While my position on homosexual behavior is well-known,

    Your position on sexual behavior is well-known: don’t even think about it unless you’re ready and willing to have a kid. Those of us who’ve actually had sex naturally view the act as somewhat less than traumatizing.

  72. brotherben | June 18, 2008, 2:44pm | #
    Maybe, just maybe, God has allowed a genetic predisposition to provide for the ministry. Paul, in his 1st letter to the Corinthians, suggested marriage for those unable to contain their sexuality in the manner that he did. “…for it is better to marry than to burn.” He was speaking of marriage to a woman of course. If gay behaviour is sinful, and also genetic, then it was obviously God’s design for gays to be in the celibate and unmarried priesthood, the highest of God’s callings.

    just a suggestion.

    If God set up any sexual predisposition as a way to expand his priesthood, from all recent evidence it was probably pedophilia rather than homosexuality.

  73. I haven’t RTF-Study yet, but something doesn’t seem right. Like those that mentioned bisexuality (imo, likely a underreported phenomenon), I’m skeptical that this is really it, and not just, perhaps, a single indicator. Have they done studies on gay male brains vs. straight women brains and gay women brains vs. straight men brains in other ways to see if they actually function similarly? Or am I missing something?

  74. Chris Potter:

    The referenced study doesn’t address bisexuality in any way.

    Kinsey introduced a scaled continuum of sexual orientation from 0 (totally straight) to 6 (gayer than a handbag full of rainbows).

    Self-identified bisexuals are very much a numerical minority compared to gays or lesbians.

  75. Self-identified bisexuals are very much a numerical minority compared to gays or lesbians

    In my experience bisexuals usually have a clear preference for one sex. In other words, put a hot chick and a hot guy before a “bisexual” and they will pick one of the sexes 8 or 9 times out of 10.

    It obviously changes if you make one of the choices ugly, but that’s what I’ve seen.

  76. When it comes to the whole nature/nurture debate on homosexuality, I still come down [sic] on the side of nurture.

    One of my good friends in high school became gay. Wasn’t born gay, he became gay. It was simply because he had bad luck with women. Everytime he would strike out with a woman, or his girlfriend would leave him, or something like that, he would wonder if he was gay. The gay friends we knew would all tell him he was not. He got married, got divorced, married again, and then his second wife left him. He declared himself “gay” the next week, and had a college age boy toy move in with him. I grew up with this person, went to school together, roommates in college, shared a girlfriend even. He was NOT gay. Yet his sexual frustrations led him to becoming gay. All it takes is getting past the “ick” factor.

    Anyone can orgasm with anyone else. The glans and clitoris don’t care what gender it’s rubbing up against. Add to this the fact that guys understand guys and gals understand gals, it makes simple sense that some people prefer having sex with the same sex. Heck, I bet the majority of hetero men have a secret envy of gay men who don’t have to put up with the weirdness of women. “No I don’t want to talk about our ‘relationship’, I want to watch the game!”

    What there is genetic predisposition for, is “sensitivity”. Some guys are more emotional and sensitive than others. This doesn’t make them gay, but in a society that expects men to cover their emotions, it does alienate them from the mainstream male culture.

  77. I’m skeptical that this is really it, and not just, perhaps, a single indicator

    I’m not sure I follow what you’re skeptical about. The study (unsurprising) shows that there is a physiological likeness between the brains of gay men and straight women. If there is (and I strongly believe there is) a physiological basis for the sexual preference of most individuals, then evidence of that would eventually be found in the brain.

  78. My brain can’t possibly be too similar to a woman’s, I can actually back out of a parking space in one move!

    *ba dum bum*

  79. When it comes to the whole nature/nurture debate on homosexuality, I still come down [sic] on the side of nurture.

    One of my good friends in high school became gay.

    There is nothing about the physiological nature of sexual preference that excludes the possibility of choice.

  80. The banner ad for this thread now says “Gay Chubby Dating: Browse Singles in Your Area.”

    Nothing to add to this thread; I just found the banner humorous for some reason. The photograph belies the stereotype that gay men all look fabulous.

  81. I can’t be responsible for your fetish for paunchy men.

    This now explains the “Chubby Gay” banner ad I’m getting. Thx Epi.

  82. The thing is, even if it means losing some battles right now, I’d rather take the big step and push for personal freedom. If the gay gene argument would all-out win, it would provide an excuse to persecute everything else. BDSMers and other fetishists, bisexuals, pornographers, as well as gamblers and other sinners would be fair game for the moralists because they wouldn’t have the genetic excuse for their behavior.

    Old Bull Lee,

    you may be right. I didn’t want my previous comments to be taken as saying that I agree with the strategy of making the “nature” argument. In fact I don’t really have an opinion about whether it is proper/effective/or a good strategy. I was merely trying to say that I understand where some of the appeal comes from.

    Although I will say that currently, those other fetishes are already being persecuted, and I don’t exactly see how the “nature” argument would make that persecution worse for those other groups. Nor do I think that people pushing for gay rights are required to take other “sinners” into account and worry about how the “nature” (or any other) strategy would affect others persecuted groups.

  83. Brandybuck, are you trying to cause genetic mutations in us all?

  84. My brain can’t possibly be too similar to a woman’s, I can actually back out of a parking space in one move!

    Yea, what he said! And I will add that I can tell the difference, visually, between a foot and a yard.

  85. MP –
    I’m just a skeptical person, is all. I don’t really know what I’m talking about.
    The brain is, after all, the biggest erogenous zone.
    I just think it’s a complicated matter and that any attempt to reduce it to “see, it’s because they have similar brain activity to the straight member of the opposite sex” should be viewed carefully.

  86. Heck, I bet the majority of hetero men have a secret envy of gay men who don’t have to put up with the weirdness of women. “No I don’t want to talk about our ‘relationship’, I want to watch the game!”

    I work with a significant number of gay men and lemmee tell you, they bitch about their partners as if they were wives. So, no, no escape from the other person driving you batshit crazy. Sorry, it’s universal.

  87. One of my good friends in high school became gay.

    “Becoming gay” later in life doesn’t inherently mean that the person wasn’t gay by nature.

    I girl I dated for a brief time had a gay father. He was married for 15 some odd years and had two kids. He only came out of the closet in the last 5 years or so. He said that deep down he always felt he was gay, but that he tried to deny it, it wasn’t acceptable and went through the motions hoping that it would change. It didn’t and he eventually divorced his wife although he had a very good relationship with her (they are best friends) and his kids.

    As for kinds in HS or younger, I have had gay friends tell me that they didn’t really understand that they were gay or what being gay was, just that they didn’t feel like they fit into the traditional roles, and it wasn’t until going away to college and being exposed to other gay people or more open-mindedness did they really get to explore themselves and figure out their sexuality.

    There is nothing about the physiological nature of sexual preference that excludes the possibility of choice.

    Very true. Some people may have a gay gene and others may just make a choice at some point.

  88. Sorry ChicagoTom, I thought you were agreeing with the nature strategy, much like those who would rather take small steps like medical marijuana over total drug legalization.

    The other types are already persecuted, but I think a nature victory would cause a clearer line to be drawn and give the crusaders a blank check.

    As for those pushing for gay rights, I want to agree with you, but shouldn’t freaks stick together? Seriously, gay people and the fetish community have had a long relationship because of a common let-live attitude.* The columnist Dan Savage frequently opines that straight people should get in on the gay marriage argument, because it’s all of our bedrooms that the religious right wants to control.

    Speaking of:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28491

  89. But be mindful of the the ugly history of the use and abuse of science to justify persecution of gays, and tread warily.

    So in the year 2021 gays will be suing parents who abort homosexual fetuses or use hormone therapy to guarantee the straightness of their child on the grounds of persecution?

  90. This now explains the “Chubby Gay” banner ad I’m getting. Thx Epi.

    I aim to please. As soon as can get adblocker for Firefox 3 I think I may start using phrases like “tentacle fetish” and “furry dating” as a way to freak people out on threads through their ads.

  91. “””if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin.”””‘

    What happen to be proud of how God made you? And forgiveness?

  92. So is your beer belly.

    I don’t have a beer belly! I’m just big stomached!

    By the way, Adblock Plus works with FF3. I DLed it today after the Chubby dating ads. I know fat people have sex, I just don’t want it rubbed in my face!

  93. That quote is quite scary. Wonder what other sins they’d like to genegineer out of us – the desire to have het sex outside marriage? The desire to drink, take drugs, play the lottery, drive without wearing a seatbelt?

  94. Unfortunately, Old Bull Lee, I’m afraid that people aren’t as “live and let live” as we, as libertarians, would usually like to think. A lot of people who are for gay rights would have an absolute fit if you suggested that a woman should be allowed to abort her fetus because it was going to be gay, even if that gay rights supporter would otherwise be pro choice. People who are pro gun rights are seriuosly against even civil unions. It’s just the way people are – no matter how much someone claims to be for everyone’s rights, most of them really just mean that they want more rights for a specific group of people.

  95. I know fat people have sex, I just don’t want it rubbed in my face!

    Not even with baby oil like in the Seinfeld episode?

  96. “Becoming gay” later in life doesn’t inherently mean that the person wasn’t gay by nature.

    For one thing, he was always “borrowing” my Playboys to wank off to. That at least demonstrates that the visual stimulus of naked women helped to arouse him. Someone who was secretly gay would might not go buy Playgirl, but he would at least not need Playboy during his hand sessions.

    He was obsessed with sex. He wasn’t trying to hide behind a beard, or having a girlfriend just because it was expected of him. He was constantly on the prowl for pussy. My big “proof” is that our gay friends declared him hetero. I trust gaydar more than I trust “he had to have been gay since birth if he slept with a man at age 40”.

  97. You’re getting gay ads? All I’m getting are McCain ads. Do you think that means McCain is gay?

  98. “Becoming gay” later in life doesn’t inherently mean that the person wasn’t gay by nature.

    A girl I “dated” in Jr. High looked me up a few years ago. Now she’s a lesbian, which was too bad (for me). I remembered her being very cute.

    By the way, Adblock Plus works with FF3. I DLed it today after the Chubby dating ads. I know fat people have sex, I just don’t want it rubbed in my face!

    But, but, they looked very happy!

  99. Those of us who’ve actually had sex naturally view the act as somewhat less than traumatizing.

    Actually, *all* of us have had sex, and in fact still have it; that is to say, we’re either male or female. Those who are gender-confused, however, may find the sex they have to be somewhat traumatizing.

  100. A girl I “dated” in Jr. High looked me up a few years ago. Now she’s a lesbian, which was too bad (for me). I remembered her being very cute.

    Cute lesbians are hot!

    But if they can weld it is just too much of a tease for me.

  101. Maybe a lot of McCain supporters are gay?

    The only ad I’ve gotten is the RealJock one. Right under the Ayn Rand one, of course. Haven’t seen the chubby ones.

  102. Epi: I can’t be responsible for your fetish for paunchy men.

    No, but Jennifer is!

    But, seriously, folks…

    Brandybuck: An alternative explanation for your friend’s unfortunate experiences with women is that he was unsuccessful because he was really gay. Also, do you claim that he was “not gay” because he exhibited heteronormative behavior?

  103. I know fat people have sex, I just don’t want it rubbed in my face!

    Apparently so do old people!
    Ew!

  104. As far as the ads go, this is the most recent in a series on topics involving homosexuality that I get an ad for Mark Udall of Colorado.

    Still not getting it.

  105. It’s just the way people are – no matter how much someone claims to be for everyone’s rights, most of them really just mean that they want more rights for a specific group of people.

    Just remember, we’re the “nutjobs” for not wanting to control people’s lives. Evidently, the test for sanity is how much you want to smack someone else down.

  106. Such a great thread, hate to leave it for work! Nobody say anything witty while I’m gone.

  107. According to the study, gay men’s brains resemble those of straight women, and gay women’s brains resemble those of straight men.

    This sounds like a suspicious oversimplification. Like, in what way do gay men’s brains resemble the brain of a straight female?

    For instance, behavioral studies show that despite the popular view that gay men behave like women, they’ve found that their overall behavior is very similar to that of straight men. All of the external behaviors and ‘affectations’ are really cultural window dressing.

    For instance, it was found that gay men are more promiscuous, less likely to get involved in long term relationships, etc. Gay women still considered things like stability and earning power to be high priorities. Basically, men still just want a quick, easy piece of ass, and women still want to mary up, and to someone who’s in touch with their feminine side.

    What’s the old joke about lesbians renting the U-Haul after the first date?

  108. The problem with the nature/nurture debate, is this weird need to prove that homosexuality has a genetic component. Prove that and you start arresting people who discriminate against gays. That’s the wrong motive. It shouldn’t matter if being gay is natural or formative, it only matters that government keeps its nose out of our bedrooms.

    Do gays really need a permission slip from their geneticist? Why are so many of them desperate for their sexual orientation to not be their fault? “I couldn’t help it! Was was my genes!” (As if his jeans had nothing to do with it).

  109. Anyone can orgasm with anyone else.

    i dunno about you homeslice but *i* have standards.

    a more reasonable answer is “anyone can, perhaps, but they don’t.”

  110. Word to dhex. I cannot orgasm with simply anyone else. I need to be taken out to dinner first– after the Comic Convention is over.

  111. Brandybuck,

    I feel no need for a note from my geneticist, and I’m personally comfortable with “choice,” however as I and others stated repeatedly above the “nature” explanation is more politically expeditious — though with serious foreseeable drawbacks.

  112. Brandybuck –
    Are you forgetting, perhaps, the classification of self-loathing gays?

  113. Ok, your smart ads are causing some amount of controversy in my office here. gayCHUBBYdating.com? We’re getting pretty niche, here.

  114. i dunno about you homeslice but *i* have standards.

    I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, Acid Damage, but some posters around here have no standards or taste. Tina Fey? My god.

  115. it would be nice to live in a world where the phrase “consenting adults” served as an answer for “why can’t we interfere in sexual situation xyz?”

    maybe we’re getting there, sort of.

  116. it would be nice to live in a world where the phrase “consenting adults” served as an answer for “why can’t we interfere in sexual situation xyz?”

    There, fixed πŸ™‚

  117. it would be nice to live in a world where the phrase “consenting adults” served as an answer for “why can’t we interfere in sexual situation xyz?”

    Progressives are too smart for that. They’ve learned the hard way, in years past, that at some point, they want to interfere in peoples lives and choices. So there’s a drive to simply create a complicated list of exemptions– you know– like taxes. Reproductive choice is extended to pregnant women who want to terminate… only. Reproductive choice for fertility treatments, genetic filtering etc., not so much.

  118. Do gays really need a permission slip from their geneticist? Why are so many of them desperate for their sexual orientation to not be their fault?

    A physiological basis for sexual preference undermines the moral basis for objecting to it. How can it be morally wrong if it is a “God given” (again, not my phrase) attribute?

    But, apparently, I’m wrong. Chris states that one can still have moral objections to “God given” traits. IIRC, Chris is not a Bible literalist, so I’m curious what his moral basis is.

  119. Paul, in his 1st letter to the Corinthians, suggested marriage for those unable to contain their sexuality in the manner that he did. “…for it is better to marry than to burn.”

    I did no such thing. My first letter to the Corinthians said thus:

    Thou shalt have a prenup, regardless of thine economic standing.

  120. “””Like, in what way do gay men’s brains resemble the brain of a straight female?”””

    Size for one. Men’s brains are larger than women’s. A naturally born gay man will have a woman’s size brain. Seriously, look it up.

  121. A naturally born gay man will have a woman’s size brain. Seriously, look it up.

    *squinting suspiciously*

  122. Don’t mess with my Too-Too

  123. Don’t these studies on “gay brains” involve heavy use of assumptions and circular logic?

    First off, they assume that the modern concept of a “homosexual” is a legitimate and correct. The idea that there is some inherent, fundamental difference between men who are attracted to men, and men who are attracted to women – is held to be a universal truth. But didn’t this idea appear in our culture relatively recently? Aren’t there a lot of problems with this theory?

    Secondly, how can you conduct scientific studies on “gay brains” without having a measurable, scientific way of determining which brains are “gay” and which ones are “straight” before you begin the experiment?

    Aren’t these “scientists” succumbing to a logical fallacy here when trying to find the “gay gene” by automatically assuming that there is a biological origin for same-sex attraction in the first place?

    “We’re going to prove that gayness is biological by dissecting this gay brain!”

    Huh?

  124. Your position on sexual behavior is well-known: don’t even think about it unless you’re ready and willing to have a kid.

    Recent scientific evidence has pointed to the possibility that conception and sex may be linked. Stork theory advocates vehemently argue this point, but I find it plausible.

    Those of us who’ve actually had sex naturally view the act as somewhat less than traumatizing.

    I didn’t say it was traumatizing. I just found it rather tacky to insist that the option of having one’s offspring dismembered in the womb be available as a sort of insurance policy for those who want sex without consequences.

    You’re arguing with biology, not me.

  125. And no, the owner of the brain stating that he has a homosexual orientation doesn’t count as scientific. I could claim and completely believe that I’ve always felt drawn to libertarianism since birth, but just believing that doesn’t mean it’s true.

  126. Don’t these studies on “gay brains” involve heavy use of assumptions and circular logic?

    No. It’s called the scientific method.

  127. The referenced study doesn’t address bisexuality in any way.

    That’s kind of a problem, isn’t it? If you’re claiming that your study explains the basis of sexual orientation, don’t you have to take all possible sexual orientations into account?

  128. “No. It’s called the scientific method.”

    Oh, ok. Thanks for clarifying, all my questions have been answered. Thank god you were here to explain it to me.

  129. It’s called the scientific method.

    DEMAND KURV!!!

  130. Your position on sexual behavior is well-known: don’t even think about it unless you’re ready and willing to have a kid.

    I also wouldn’t recommend standing in an open field during a thunderstorm, waving a golf club around above your head, unless you’re ready to get struck by lightning.

  131. That’s kind of a problem, isn’t it? If you’re claiming that your study explains the basis of sexual orientation, don’t you have to take all possible sexual orientations into account?

    No, it isn’t a problem. Because the study results do not undermine the concept bi-sexuality. It simply doesn’t specifically address the concept. Why should it have to?

  132. And no, the owner of the brain stating that he has a homosexual orientation doesn’t count as scientific.

    Bzzz. Try again. Expressed sexual preferences are a rational data point for scientific analysis.

  133. I just found it rather tacky to insist that the option of having one’s offspring dismembered in the womb be available as a sort of insurance policy for those who want sex without consequences.

    I have to take issue here, Chris. Why do you think that sex SHOULD have consequences in the first place?

    What I find abhorrent, rather than tacky, is the idea that men have no say in whether *their* offspring are terminated in the first place. Of course, if the woman decides to keep the child, the man is expected to pay for a decision he didn’t make.

    It’s a nice little racket.

  134. First, I have no objections to same-sex relationships.

    But my personal, sexual, and romantic preferences aren’t physical traits like the color of my hair. Any evidence of a link between biology and my behavior, my preferences, etc points only to a correlation.

    Isn’t it possible that a man’s brain could appear to be similar to a woman’s because his brain chemistry reflects the choices he’s made? Brain wiring and chemistry aren’t static and I see no reason why they wouldn’t pattern themselves according to the directions you choose to take.

    If a guy chose to take up fashion and interior design, I can easily see his brain looking similar to scans of female brains whose owners made the same choices.

    I have a problem with gay gene theories because, aside from all the determinism, it makes it sound like same sex relationships are only legitimate if they cannot be helped.

    Suppose I have never expressed interest in men before and that tomorrow. Would it still be okay? Or is it only okay because of some gene thats making me do it – because seriously, why the fuck would anyone do that VOLUNTARILY? GROSS.

  135. Expressed sexual preferences are a rational data point for scientific analysis.

    While I hate to get technical about these things (wait, no, I like it), as long as the conclusion uses terms like “those who self-identify as gay…”

  136. *correction

    that was supposed to say:

    “and that tomorrow I decided to date a dude”

  137. This is why the “nature” argument for homosexuality has always bothered me. It treats it like some kind of defect to be used as an excuse: “Sorry, we just can’t help it, so I guess you’ll have to tolerate us.”

    We should be focusing more on the more universal personal freedom aspect: “Well, we’re consenting adults, so fuck you.”

    Exactly.

  138. MP,

    Because bisexuals do not have a homosexual or heterosexual orientation (or have both, if you like), yet they do have brains. So, their brain structure has to fit in this scheme somehow, right?

    It would be like me claiming I’d found the origin of hair color in humans based on a study of blond and brown-haired people only. What about people with red or black hair?

  139. As Chris alludes to, this “study” peddles a false dichotomy.

    Even if we cannot prove the “spectrum” theory of sexuality, I’d bet a year’s salary that it’s true.

  140. The brain is, after all, the biggest erogenous zone.

    Maybe it is for you, tiny dick.

    I keed. I keed the Reinmoose.

  141. We already know what happens when genetic testing allows prospective parents to “preview” their children.

    As early as the mid-Seventies with the development of amniocentesis procedures pregnant women were able to determine the sex of their developing children. The result was, no surprise, the development of sex-selective abortions. I don’t know of anyone tracking them in this country, but they occur in some substantial numbers. And, of course, they’re rampant in countries like China where one-child laws lead many parents to prefer boys.

    In the Nineties tests were developed to locate the genetic condition that results in Down’s Syndrome. The result has been that the number of children born with the condition has radically decreased as abortion of Down’s Syndrome fetuses has become almost the norm.

    There’s no doubt that if there’s a test for a “gay” gene that the result is going to be some number of abortions of those fetuses so identified. And that, ultimately, will mean less gay births and less gay people.

    The irony here, of course, is that while homosexuality may clearly be identified as genetic in nature, by knowing that, millions of individual decisions by prospective parents may ultimately mean a significant reduction in the number of gay people who are allowed to be born. Just as there are few girls born in China, and fewer and fewer Down’s Syndrome babies around the world.

    This is where the whole abortion debate is headed. Will gays (or women in China (or even here) or, if they can, Down’s Syndrome adults argue that abortions based on sex selection or genetic testing amount to a form of genocide? Will they have to argue that some prohibitions on individual choice are necessary to ensure a healthy population of women and gay people? Can feminists continue to argue for absolute abortion rights as it becomes obvious that those rights bring with them fewer and fewer baby girls? Will gays and feminists find themselves at odds on this issue?

    We’re in for some interesting times.

  142. A_R,

    It’s not a question of whether sex should have consequences, but whether it does. I’m not talking about consequences imposed by other humans, like being stoned or flogged under Sharia law, I’m talking about consequences imposed by our own bodies and natures, e.g. the possibility of pregnacy.

  143. Triumph – I love that time that you went to the opening of star wars in LA

    To a guy dressed like darth vador, motioning to his chest: “Which one of these buttons calls your mom to come pick you up?”(paraphrased)

  144. Hmmm, so you’re saying McCain has a small brain?

  145. John P Huffman,

    I don’t seriously think the feminist or gay rights movements are concerned with offspring whatsoever. They’ll take the same position that Jennifer did, that “reproductive choice” trumps all concerns of gender or sexual orientation discrimination. After all, if and embryo or fetus just a rightsless lump of cells as they suppose, treating it as a woman or a gay person wouldn’t be appropriate.

  146. As Chris alludes to, this “study” peddles a false dichotomy.

    No it doesn’t. The results of this study don’t imply a binary reality. Why do you (or Chris) think it does? Just because a gay person’s brain symmetry close correlates to that of the heterosexual brain of the opposite sex doesn’t create a binary situation. And the study also doesn’t imply a cause and effect, but rather simply a conditional indicator.

  147. I’m talking about consequences imposed by our own bodies and natures, e.g. the possibility of pregnacy.

    The risks, of course, can be mitigated via birth control (whatever type or method); the condition of pregnancy can be eliminated either naturally (which it frequently is) or by artificial, medical means (such as abortion).

    If you believe that abortion is the murder of a separate human entity, then I can see where you would take issue with that.

    The fact is, is humanity is dedicated to mitigating or eliminating the “consequences” of our actions of centuries. Those who do it with their minds make better products (like how birth control pills have gone from 70% effective to 99%); those who do it with force resort to the government.

  148. Expressed sexual preferences are a rational data point for scientific analysis.

    But science is preternaturally skeptical of studies which base themselves on “self-reporting”.

    I think, MP, it’s reasonable to say that if this were so clear cut, we’d probably already have a difinitive answer by now.

    For instance, I’ve personally never run into anyone, even in the scientific community who’s been able to answer the evolutionary question of genetic homosexuality: Presuming the genetic answer, what are the conditions that are keeping homosexuality from being bred out of the system?

  149. The results of this study don’t imply a binary reality.

    Indeed, it does, else it would have at least mentioned the other possibilities and what those brains looked like.

  150. But, apparently, I’m wrong. Chris states that one can still have moral objections to “God given” traits. IIRC, Chris is not a Bible literalist, so I’m curious what his moral basis is.

    I don’t have objections to traits, but rather to behaviors. Most heterosexual men have an inborn urge to have sex with women they’re not married to. That doesn’t make such behavior moral.

  151. Presuming the genetic answer, what are the conditions that are keeping homosexuality from being bred out of the system?

    The hormonal theory of homosexuality deals with that. It wouldn’t be “bred out” because it’s a condition of circumstance, not a hard-coded imprint.

    Indeed, it does, else it would have at least mentioned the other possibilities and what those brains looked like.

    Why? Why do I have to create a hypothesis that covers all manner of human sexual preference? Why can’t my hypothesis simply cover unambiguously expressed homosexual/heterosexual preferences?

    I don’t have objections to traits, but rather to behaviors.

    I’m still not clear. Your objection is to stereotypical behaviors of homosexuals? Or is it to anal sex? I’m not trying to be crude…I’m just not hearing your viewpoint.

  152. Why can’t my hypothesis simply cover unambiguously expressed homosexual/heterosexual preferences?

    Because it presumes pure hetero/homosexuality are valid in the first place.

    I mean, you’re telling me that the inevitable question of “what about the bisexuals” never even crossed these researchers’ minds?

  153. It’s not a question of whether sex should have consequences, but whether it does. I’m not talking about consequences imposed by other humans, like being stoned or flogged under Sharia law, I’m talking about consequences imposed by our own bodies and natures, e.g. the possibility of pregnacy.

    Biologically sex has the potential consequence of pregnancy (the window for being able to get pregnant during any given menstrual cycle is not very big), but there is a way to eliminate that consequence via modern medicine.

    The problem (in my opinion) is that there is a group of people who do in fact want to impose those consequences on others by forbidding parents-to-be from being able to eliminate the consequences of their sexual actions.

    In essence the attitudes of many people who are anti-abortion is different than stoning and sharia law only in degree. Many anti-choice people do feel that people who get pregnant should have to reap what they sow and in fact believe we shouldn’t allow humans to use medicine to mitigate the consequences of their actions re: sexual activity.

  154. Your position on sexual behavior is well-known: don’t even think about it unless you’re ready and willing to have a kid.

    I also wouldn’t recommend standing in an open field during a thunderstorm, waving a golf club around above your head, unless you’re ready to get struck by lightning.

    Still stuck in the 19th century, huh? I imagine having sex to make babies would be kinda fun. That is, if it’s anything like having sex to make whoopie it would be. A whole lot of people appreciate coitus (and fellatio, cunnilingus et al) without the entanglement of a lifelong commitment. Even “good girls”.

    To the best of my knowledgem birth control has never failed me. I have never cotracted an STD either. It really ain’t rocket science.

  155. Sexual behavior is a choice.

  156. Because it presumes pure hetero/homosexuality are valid in the first place.

    No, it doesn’t. Expressed preferences need not reflect a level of purity. “Strength of attraction” was not necessarily a data point. Just because a binary question was asked does not presume that only a binary world exists.

    I mean, you’re telling me that the inevitable question of “what about the bisexuals” never even crossed these researchers’ minds?

    No, I’m not. I’m saying that they were under no obligation to address that during this particular study.

  157. Weekly World News headline: “Nanotechnology Cured My Homosexuality”

  158. Sexual behavior is a choice.

    And your basis for believing that is what, exactly? Oh…I know…Faith.

    Next!

  159. The hormonal theory of homosexuality deals with that. It wouldn’t be “bred out” because it’s a condition of circumstance, not a hard-coded imprint.

    As I understand it, not totally. I was doing some reading after your response, and apparently, even the hormonal theory has what is termed an “evolutionary disadvantage”, leading some evolutionary biologists to explore a possible disease theory.

  160. The discussion Jennifer and I were rehashing was about abortion, not bitch control.

  161. birth control…

  162. MP,

    Do you routinely have sex with people against your will? Perhaps you should consider filing charges.

  163. even the hormonal theory has what is termed an “evolutionary disadvantage”

    Depends on who you talk to.

  164. Do you routinely have sex with people against your will? Perhaps you should consider filing charges.

    Ah, you’re picking nits. Yes, sexual behavior is a choice. A choice driven by sexual preference, which is not (typically) a choice.

  165. …birth control…

    And we’re suppose to believe that wasn’t Freudian slip? πŸ˜‰

  166. Depends on who you talk to.

    I was reading Wikipedia, so touche.

    Y’know… my sexual preferences have changed over the years. So where do we draw the line between preference and behavior? Let me first say, MP, I don’t have any problem with what you’re saying, but I find the whole question fascinating, and frankly, I don’t consider it much settled.

    Having said that, what I preferred when I was 19 has changed somewhat at a ripe age of 41. Yes, those preferences are still for the fairer sex, but within that preferential band (so to speak) they’ve changed. Ultimately, I chalk this up to influences like… MTV.

  167. MP

    Like preferring coke to pepsi isn’t a choice?

  168. Sexual preference is a choice, but only atypically?

  169. Lesbian until graduation. We were born that way.

  170. MP, differentiating between behavior and inclination is not picking fucking nits.

  171. Should our legal system treat murderers and people who just want to kill someone the same, for instance?

  172. Y’know… my sexual preferences have changed over the years. So where do we draw the line between preference and behavior?

    The hormonal theory of sexual preference does not rule out the environmental theory of sexual preference. The hormonal theory simply explains a starting point, a basis by which sexual preference is initially determined. Environmental factors may then interact with this basis point in ways that are unique to each individual.

    Some people are likely born with stronger preferences than others. Some people are born somewhat maleable. Some people with strong inborn preferences may elect to choose otherwise. There really is no bright line between nature and nurture.

    Nor, frankly, is there a good reason, beyond scientific curiosity, to try and identify one in the first place.

  173. Should our legal system treat murderers and people who just want to kill someone the same, for instance?

    Acting on a murderous impulse and acting on a sexual impulse are two wholly separate issues. Because there exists that teeny tiny problem called consent.

    c’mon. You can argue your point better than that.

  174. Like preferring coke to pepsi isn’t a choice?

    It’s not a choice…at least initially. The initial interpretation of taste bud signals is completely physiological. There are no environmental factors involved. Later, you may choose to train your mind (for any number of reasons) and learn to re-interpret those signals from your taste buds. That may not be particularly easy for some people.

  175. Having said that, what I preferred when I was 19 has changed somewhat at a ripe age of 41. Yes, those preferences are still for the fairer sex, but within that preferential band (so to speak) they’ve changed. Ultimately, I chalk this up to influences like… MTV.

    MTV? You admit it? At age 41?

    Seek professional help. Immediately!

  176. BTW Chris, I don’t think I’ve capture your position on the morality of homosexuality. You made a comment upthread that the nature vs. nurture debate is irrelevant when dealing with the morality of homosexuals. Care to expand?

  177. “Yay, sexual preference is biological, like skin color! Now prejudice doesn’t have a leg to stand on!”

  178. MTV? You admit it? At age 41?

    Seek professional help. Immediately

    Oh no. MTV when they used to play videos. (does that date me?) I didn’t say my preferences changed when I was 41, they changed between 19 and 41.

  179. “The initial interpretation of taste bud signals is completely physiological. There are no environmental factors involved.”

    I’m not really sure where you get that idea from, but okay.

    It sounds like you consider choice to be an “environmental factor”.

    It’s not, choice is independent of both physiology and environment. Envionmental effects produce physical sensations that you then choose how to interpret. I fail to see why the FIRST interpretation is apparently a mindless reflex, while others afterward are not.

    By the way, I like both coke and pepsi, because I choose not to limit myself.

  180. Also, humans have the ability to reflect on physical and environmental experiences and can choose to reinterpret them at any time even without having to re-encounter the same stimulus.

  181. “And your basis for believing that is what, exactly? Oh…I know…Faith.”

    HYPOCRISY ALERT

  182. MP,

    By the standard you’re using, nothing in life is choice, because everything we do is reflective of some preference based on prior experience and our genes. Indeed, if we go down the path you’re leading us down, there’s no such thing as consensual sex of any sort.

  183. “By the way, I like both coke and pepsi, because I choose not to limit myself.”

    Is that supposed to be metaphorical?

  184. How about the possibility that we’re congenitally non-sexual, and that sexuality is something we pick up more or less involuntarily like language & religion?

    How’d this one manage to get no response?

    Are you suggesting that sexual reproduction is a cultural artifact?

    Really?

    As for the science aspect here…given that this is a structural study rather than a fMRI, the conclusions are more straightforward if the methods are sound.

    I doubt, however, that they did a very sophisticated distributional analysis here.

    Without reading the article, I am willing to bet that the overlap between groups is large compared to the difference.

    This, of course, would mean that any discussion of “bisexual brains” would be impossible with the data…in order to do the study they need clearly separated groups so they can compare means (I am guessing some hemispherical volume ratio…)

    Give the gross level of analysis reported in the study, it wouldn’t support any particular position in the nature vs. nuture debate, imho.

  185. “Is that supposed to be metaphorical?”

    No, no. Not at all. I just meant that if you were to offer me some of your pepsi, I wouldn’t turn it down. You understand.


  186. Are you suggesting that sexual reproduction is a cultural artifact?

    I missed that too Neu.
    I believe that non reproductive sexuality is cultural. Except for those damn bonobos, they have no culture. Whenever I hear the word bonobo that is when I reach for my Holland & Holland.

  187. Did somebody here summon the bitch patrol? My pager just went off.

  188. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Research misconduct at U.S. institutions may be more common than previously suspected, with 9 percent of scientists saying in a new survey that they personally had seen fabrication, falsification or plagiarism

    Examples of misconduct reported by the survey respondents include changing data to “improve” findings, submitting false data to win a grant and misrepresenting findings

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080618/sc_nm/usa_research_misconduct_dc_1

  189. Did somebody here summon the bitch patrol? My pager just went off.

    Funniest comment on the thread.

  190. By the standard you’re using, nothing in life is choice, because everything we do is reflective of some preference based on prior experience and our genes. Indeed, if we go down the path you’re leading us down, there’s no such thing as consensual sex of any sort.

    No. Preferences don’t drive you to actually do anything. Choice is in the execution. You can also choose to modify your inborn preferences (not necessarily an easy task).

  191. But be mindful of the the ugly history of the use and abuse of science to justify persecution of gays, and tread warily.

    I second that caution. The LBG coummuinty would have been better off if they argued for marriage rights under the peaceful assembly clause of 1st ammendemnt. What’s going to happen when divorced bisexuals try to remarry? Will lesbians and gays risk underminding their arguements by supporting a bisexual’s right to stay flexible?

  192. “But while victories like California warrant popping the cork on some champagne, this occasion is far more ambiguous”

    When did the actions of a judiciary wildly over-stepping its bounds become considered a victory on a libertarian website?

  193. The discussion Jennifer and I were rehashing was about abortion, not bitch control.

    RC’z Law award winner of the fucking year! Bow down, people, to Chris Potter @ 7:42pm!

  194. Acting on a murderous impulse and acting on a sexual impulse are two wholly separate issues. Because there exists that teeny tiny problem called consent.

    Apparently,Bernd J?rgen Brandes gave consent to his murder. Does that make it OK? (Or, if you want to argue that he didn’t actually consent, would it make any difference if he did?)

  195. Apparently,Bernd J?rgen Brandes gave consent to his murder. Does that make it OK? (Or, if you want to argue that he didn’t actually consent, would it make any difference if he did?)

    There is no such thing as consenting to murder. Without getting into the particulars of the case, what we’re dealing with here is assisted suicide. Which should clearly (from a libertarian viewpoint) be legal.

  196. There is no such thing as consenting to murder.

    Bullshit. If I say, “here’s a gun, please shoot me in the head,” and you use the gun to kill me, but don’t have a legal excuse or justification for doing so (and my consent is neither excuse nor justification in my jurisdiction), then you have committed murder, and I have consented to it.

  197. Acting on a murderous impulse and acting on a sexual impulse are two wholly separate issues. Because there exists that teeny tiny problem called consent. c’mon. You can argue your point better than that.

    Actually, no, he can’t. He takes the view that all sex is wrong unless it’s done with your legally sanctioned life-mate of the opposite sex with the intention of making children.

    Arguing that I personally am threatened by the two homosexuals down the street having consensual sex behind their bedroom door is, admittedly, difficult, so I suppose people making such arguments have to be cut some logical slack.

  198. Bullshit. If I say, “here’s a gun, please shoot me in the head,” and you use the gun to kill me, but don’t have a legal excuse or justification for doing so (and my consent is neither excuse nor justification in my jurisdiction), then you have committed murder, and I have consented to it.

    The fact that assisted suicide is “Murder” in the legal sense in some jurisdictions does not change the fact that it is, in all actuality, assisted suicide.

  199. The fact that assisted suicide is “Murder” in the legal sense in some jurisdictions does not change the fact that it is, in all actuality, assisted suicide.

    I didn’t deny that it was assisted suicide, did I? I responded to the post that claimed that “Acting on a murderous impulse and acting on a sexual impulse are two wholly separate issues. Because there exists that teeny tiny problem called consent.” You can consent to another person’s acting on a murderous impulse directed at you. Maybe you don’t think that action should legally constitute murder at all, but that’s a different issue.

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