'Curing' gay sheep

I'm generally against genetic engineering anyway, but this actually seems worse. If 'gayness' in these situations was caused by a hormonal imbalance, how much hormone is needed in what quantities to 'cure' them? What would these same hormones due to a child that would be straight normally, as this appears more like a vaccine than a cure?

Once more is known about the process I think we could all make a more informed moral/philosophical judgement. To contemplate it before then seems very reckless.

Well it would seem like the fewer aspects you ascribe to your "soul" the less it actually has in common with you, thereby reducing the appeal of immortality via it.

My IQ and borderline Asperger's symptoms are significant deviations from the norm. Is there a cure for me? Something that will make me less capable and less perfectionist? I find it hard to believe you are using the term "deviation" in a neutral way that you'd apply to anyone who is not within say two standard deviations of the norm.

Oh come on. You know as well as I do that deviations above the norm are celebrated and deviations below the norm are managed. Homosexuality makes life tougher. Not unmanagable or unworthy, but definitely harder.

I have said this before that I think there are two kinds of gay people. The first are biologically determined, hardwired if you will. I think they are made that way because they aren't intended to reproduce and that is how their genetic material is weeded from the gene pool. The second, and larger, group are those that are homosexual by choice. These are the ones who are heterosexual for most of their lives and suddenly 'become gay' or are bi-sexual. A small percentage of these are actual hardwired gays that were trying to 'fit in', but the majority of those in the second group are gay by choice. I have no more opinion about those than I do about any other sexually promiscuous person.

This post is not anti-gay, homophobic, whatever. I posted it, not because of the nature of the research, but because of the reaction to it. There are two parts to the question I posed. First is whether it would be wrong to 'correct' homosexuality if possible using methods short of genetic manipulation. Second is whether gay advocates are justified in their indignation or are they being 'anti-science'.

KaterinLHC wrote:
JohnnyMoJo wrote:

Mind you, I have no real opinion about this. I thought it was an interesting story, made even more interesting by the reaction of the gay community. Are they right to be so offended?

I think they do. Homosexuality is something that happens in nature - I mean, we've even got gay sheep, now! Approaching homosexuality in terms such as 'its a defect in the genes that can be fixed', that is offensive. How come nobody's trying to fix blackness, or Chineseness, or maleness? Each of those characteristics is naturally occurring; why not come up with a hormonal 'fix' for them?

Kat FTW!!! Excellent, sound point here in a definite attempt to stir up a hornets' nest.

Reminds me of one of my favorite shows on TV. TLC's "Little People, Big World". Watching that has given me a better appreciation of "little people". And it's hard for me to argue that that particular "deviation" should be genetically removed as well. There is a richness in culture that comes from the diversity of human beings.

I have anxiety. I take medication for it. Would I be happier if I didn't have anxiety or obsessiveness? Maybe. But then I wouldn't be me. And my wife maybe wouldn't have found me interesting how I am. And then I wouldn't have my wife who has her own "deviations". I couldn't stand to be without the richness of my life that directly results from the "flaws" that make me human.

The whole idea of "curing" people by fixing them to be more in line with some arbitrary idea of normalcy disturbs me greatly.

Minase wrote:
If the technology were available, I would jump at the chance to at least screen out heritable diseases like psoriasis (sorry Fars, I have it too and I'd just rather nip it in the bud for any potential offspring).

That's the thing that troubles me more; I'd love to spare any future children of mine having to deal with what I've had to deal with, but I also would want them to be whatever nature created them to be.

In some ways, if we eliminate our difficulties and imperfections through genetic manipulation (I'm purely speaking about medical conditions here), it changes who we become. I'm a much different person through what I've had to endure (in particular, the treatment I've had to endure at the callous hands of others) than I might otherwise be. And I like the person I've become for it.

"Weeded out of the gene pool"??

Wow. Now we're diving into Eugenics full force, huh?

DSGamer wrote:
Wow. Now we're diving into Eugenics full force, huh?

Only if you consider acts of Nature to be eugenics. Feel free to offer another explanation for why some percentage of the population would be born with a sexual drive that will never result in procreation.

DSGamer wrote:

I have anxiety. I take medication for it. Would I be happier if I didn't have anxiety or obsessiveness? Maybe. But then I wouldn't be me. And my wife maybe wouldn't have found me interesting how I am. And then I wouldn't have my wife who has her own "deviations". I couldn't stand to be without the richness of my life that directly results from the "flaws" that make me human.

Farscry wrote:
That's the thing that troubles me more; I'd love to spare any future children of mine having to deal with what I've had to deal with, but I also would want them to be whatever nature created them to be.

That leads to another interesting question, and an expansion of the first idea. Do parents have the right to change the characteristics of their unborn child?

The only question here is whether homosexuality could be called a disease. I have a hard time seeing it. While being gay does lead to a harder life, as Johnny points out, it is really only due to bigotry. There is no health concern. I'd much rather see a hormone treatment that would eliminate bigotry.

The only question here is whether homosexuality could be called a disease. I have a hard time seeing it. While being gay does lead to a harder life, as Johnny points out, it is really only due to bigotry. There is no health concern. I'd much rather see a hormone treatment that would eliminate bigotry.

A lovely sentiment. Completely off target and unrealistic, but we'll put you on record with the lovely sentiment of the evening.

JohnnyMoJo wrote:
A lovely sentiment. Completely off target and unrealistic, but we'll put you on record with the lovely sentiment of the evening. ;-)

I would argue that changing what a person is sexually attracted to is off-target and unrealistic as well, whether hetero or homosexual. Would I want to change a heterosexual male who has a penchant for tall blonde women? Or a woman who is attracted to "father figures"? Are we going to try to bend everyone's sexuality to meet what is supposed to be "normal"?

I would argue that changing what a person is sexually attracted to is off-target and unrealistic as well, whether hetero or homosexual. Would I want to change a heterosexual male who has a penchant for tall blonde women? Or a woman who is attracted to "father figures"? Are we going to try to bend everyone's sexuality to meet what is supposed to be "normal"?

A fine question Mayfield. Not what I asked, but interesting. Let's recap...scientists are isolating a method for changing the sexual orientation of sheep. It might have applicability to humans. I asked whether this sort of thing, barring actual genetic manipulation, is something that parents should have the right to 'correct' if that want. Perhaps if they develop the ability to identify whether a woman will be attracted to 'father figures' and change that characteristic, you'll remember to bring that back up. In the mean time, the child would conceivably never know they were ever going to be anything but straight. What is the objection to parents changing characteristics of their unborn child?

JohnnyMoJo wrote:
I would argue that changing what a person is sexually attracted to is off-target and unrealistic as well, whether hetero or homosexual. Would I want to change a heterosexual male who has a penchant for tall blonde women? Or a woman who is attracted to "father figures"? Are we going to try to bend everyone's sexuality to meet what is supposed to be "normal"?

A fine question Mayfield. Not what I asked, but interesting. Let's recap...scientists are isolating a method for changing the sexual orientation of sheep. It might have applicability to humans. I asked whether this sort of thing, barring actual genetic manipulation, is something that parents should have the right to 'correct' if that want. Perhaps if they develop the ability to identify whether a woman will be attracted to 'father figures' and change that characteristic, you'll remember to bring that back up. In the mean time, the child would conceivably never know they were ever going to be anything but straight. What is the objection to parents changing characteristics of their unborn child?

If its an expensive procedure then there will be more poor gay children then rich gay children Then we will need another tax class.

PAR

JohnnyMoJo wrote:
That leads to another interesting question, and an expansion of the first idea. Do parents have the right to change the characteristics of their unborn child?

I don't see why not. While in the womb, the parents are allowed to abort and that's pretty much the ultimate change of characteristics.

JohnnyMoJo wrote:
The only question here is whether homosexuality could be called a disease. I have a hard time seeing it. While being gay does lead to a harder life, as Johnny points out, it is really only due to bigotry. There is no health concern. I'd much rather see a hormone treatment that would eliminate bigotry.

A lovely sentiment. Completely off target and unrealistic, but we'll put you on record with the lovely sentiment of the evening. ;-)

Really? There is no reason we neeed to "correct" homosexuality if we can't classify it as a disease, or at least a defect. Since it actually doesn't lead to a "harder" life, anymore than being black does, I see no reason for it being "corrected".

Of course we cannot change bigots. That was a joke. What I find disturbing is that you are somehow endorsing the idea that we cave into the bigots. It's clear that you have set up this straw man in order to take easy shots at the gay rights movement. There is just a lot more to the issue than the blurb you posted. Rejecting everything else as irrelevent only props the straw man.

This research is going on in Oregon? That's weird. Oregon is one of the more gay-friendly states in the country. Texas I would expect, or any other Southern state. But Oregon? I'm disappointed in my state right now.

JohnnyMoJo wrote:

I have said this before that I think there are two kinds of gay people. The first are biologically determined, hardwired if you will. I think they are made that way because they aren't intended to reproduce and that is how their genetic material is weeded from the gene pool.

The question of whether being homosexual is nature's means of 'weeding out' the genetically undesirable could be supported or refuted by science. If one makes the presumption that positive evolution requires the removal these individual's genes from the pool, than one needs to presume a positive correlation between being gay and having species-endangering genetic traits. I strongly suspect that if this was tested, the results would not show a stronger correlation between being homosexual and having these bad genes than being heterosexual and having them.

Coming at the same issue using religion is a bit more complicated. This would require the presumption that a supreme being is afflicting these individuals with homosexuality to prevent them from reproducing for some reason. Why? I keep getting hung up trying to reconcile man's freedom of choice (as God grants him in the the Judeo-Christian tradition) with God preventing them from reproducing which seems an awfully lot like Him or Her interfering with man's freedom of choice.

What I do know is that cancer runs in my family. My grandmother, father and one of my sisters died from it. When I was 7 months old, I had liver and lung cancer; I was 2 years old before I was in full remission. My father, siblings and I have all been tested and doctors have agreed that genetic factors have greatly increased our chances of getting this particular disease. Neither nature nor God, however, has not seen fit to make me gay. My progeny will inherit these genes.

JohnnyMoJo wrote:

There are two parts to the question I posed. First is whether it would be wrong to 'correct' homosexuality if possible using methods short of genetic manipulation. Second is whether gay advocates are justified in their indignation or are they being 'anti-science'.

To answer the first question, I would support genetic therapy to prevent serious diseases and health-endangering conditions. As others have already said, being homosexual today may make your life more difficult due to societal factors but not more dangerous health wise (provided you are using sexual protection, and straight people should be using this too).

I don't know enough to answer the second question. If the gay advocates are calling for the immediate cessation of this research, then yes they are being anti-science. If, however, they are only protesting against the application of the research then they are not.

I think they are wrong to be anti-science but right to fear the spector of Eugenics. I know I don't like the thought of social conservatives playing God with deciding what the human race should look like.


I have said this before that I think there are two kinds of gay people. The first are biologically determined, hardwired if you will. I think they are made that way because they aren't intended to reproduce and that is how their genetic material is weeded from the gene pool.

Well, if that were true, why are they still in the gene pool? That patently can't be the explanation, especially since homosexuality occurs in non-human species. There are a number of possible evolutionary explanations, some behavioral, some environmental. For example - it's been noted that later male children are more likely to be homosexual than earlier children. This is apparently due to hormonal changes during gestation after multiple pregnancies. The possibility exists that this gives some reproductive advantage, as it reduces competition for mates and increases the opportunity for child care in the next generation.

Likewise, if it's environmental, then it's not evolutionary. It would simply be something that shows up due to some kind of exposure to a substance. This, however, seems less likely to me, especially given the recent work showing that hormones are partly responsible.


Feel free to offer another explanation for why some percentage of the population would be born with a sexual drive that will never result in procreation.

There are a number of plausible ones currently being researched.


The second, and larger, group are those that are homosexual by choice. These are the ones who are heterosexual for most of their lives and suddenly 'become gay' or are bi-sexual. A small percentage of these are actual hardwired gays that were trying to 'fit in', but the majority of those in the second group are gay by choice. I have no more opinion about those than I do about any other sexually promiscuous person.

This may be where we differ most. First off, being gay is not either/or for many people. It's a graded tendency which includes bisexuality. Secondly, I've never met a gay person - and I've met dozens - who was uninterested sexually in men, but decided that's how he was going to get along in life. Think about it. Sexual attraction is chemical in nature - it can't be faked in men unless you've got some kind of drug or pump...thingy. Now, some people may choose to pursue one attraction more than another, and some may simply be wired to be only attracted to men, but in neither case does someone become gay by "conditioning" somehow. That's based on the old and fallacious idea that being gay is a psychological condition, rather than a physical one.

I think your conceptions are out of date, is all.


That leads to another interesting question, and an expansion of the first idea. Do parents have the right to change the characteristics of their unborn child?

I believe so.


What is the objection to parents changing characteristics of their unborn child?

Exactly the same as for abortion.

Well, if they find that homosexuality is legitimately a disorder, I don't see any problem with looking for a cure. The fact that some people are happy being gay has nothing to do with it. Now if it's not a real disorder and this research is going to lead parents to medicate and "alter" their children to act a way that's against their nature, I think that's ethically questionable to say the least.

Besides, who wants to cure sheep? Cured bacon is tastier.

Lobster, perhaps this page will be of assistance.


"As a result of Hooker's finding, the American [Psychological Association]... removed homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychological Disorders in 1973. In 1975 it then released a public statement that homosexuality was not a mental disorder. In 1994, two decades later, the American Psychological Association finally stated, '...homosexuality is neither a mental illness nor a moral depravity. It is the way a portion of the population expresses human love and sexuality'."

DSGamer wrote:
I think they are wrong to be anti-science but right to fear the spector of Eugenics. I know I don't like the thought of social conservatives playing God with deciding what the human race should look like.

I don't like the thought of anyone playing "God" with genetics. Is that more what you meant or do you object more to the conservatives having the control? (Not flaming sir; I'm genuinely not sure where you were going with that)

Farscry wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
I think they are wrong to be anti-science but right to fear the spector of Eugenics. I know I don't like the thought of social conservatives playing God with deciding what the human race should look like.

I don't like the thought of anyone playing "God" with genetics. Is that more what you meant or do you object more to the conservatives having the control? (Not flaming sir; I'm genuinely not sure where you were going with that)

No flaming taken.

I don't like anyone playing God with genetics as well. However, this issue we're currently talking about is curing something that isn't even a disease. I start to think about all the things social conservatives think are diseases. Open sexuality (even heterosexuals that may like pr0n or just have sex before marriage, etc.), mild drug use, etc. etc. I can imagine them trying to find a way to have us all be good little God-loving aryans. And that scares the bejezus out of me.

It scares me in general, you're correct. And liberals are no better than conservatives in that they will often do really stupid things thinking they're being well-meaning. But I can't see them getting as excited about the ability to "normalize" the human race as social conservatives.

I think the fact that we're even talking about "curing" gayness is exhibit A. Liberals, for all their flaws, at least appreciate diversity most of the time I've found.

Robear wrote:
Lobster, perhaps this page will be of assistance.


"As a result of Hooker's finding, the American [Psychological Association]... removed homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychological Disorders in 1973. In 1975 it then released a public statement that homosexuality was not a mental disorder. In 1994, two decades later, the American Psychological Association finally stated, '...homosexuality is neither a mental illness nor a moral depravity. It is the way a portion of the population expresses human love and sexuality'."

I'm aware of that finding, and I believe it to be true. However, medicine is science, and science can be disproven, so if this is found to be incorrect then I'd hope political pressure wouldn't silence those findings.

People wrote:
I don't like the thought of anyone playing "God" with genetics.

What exactly does "playing God" mean? If God didn't want the competition, why did He make us capable of achieving this technology?

To throw this one back:

What if hormone treatment could increase the probability that an unborn child was heterosexual, yet it also increased the likelyness of its promiscuity? And hence, say that hormone treatment could be reversed so that the unborn was less promiscuos but had a higher probability of being gay?

Or, at the end of both extremes, end up being a celibate gay?


However, medicine is science, and science can be disproven, so if this is found to be incorrect then I'd hope political pressure wouldn't silence those findings.

It has however stood for what, 52 years? It's not like it's an isolated result.

Robear wrote:

However, medicine is science, and science can be disproven, so if this is found to be incorrect then I'd hope political pressure wouldn't silence those findings.

It has however stood for what, 52 years? It's not like it's an isolated result.

I believe psychological disorders are classified as disorders only if they significantly impair a person's ability to function in society. It's as much judgement call as it is science.

The parents could choose - but then it means the kid is just going to become gay in it's teenage years in order to rebel.

I remember reading something about after WW1 the male breeding population of Europe was decimated to a ridiculous level. Then soon after the birth ratio for boy's vs girls skyrocketed. Within a decade the balance was restored and the ratio resumed to normal without any conscious human intervention.
After that I can't help feeling that the natural processes that have kept us around for so long might just be better at the job than we think we are.

Gay or straight I think all parents would choose to make their kids good looking though.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:
Or, at the end of both extremes, end up a preacher?

Gorilla, that's pretty offensive.

Robear wrote:

However, medicine is science, and science can be disproven, so if this is found to be incorrect then I'd hope political pressure wouldn't silence those findings.

It has however stood for what, 52 years? It's not like it's an isolated result.

I'm not suggesting that homosexuality really IS a disorder. As I said, I agree that it's not. I'm merely saying that there is a possibility (not a likelyhood) that that is incorrect.


As I said, I agree that it's not. I'm merely saying that there is a possibility (not a likelyhood) that that is incorrect.

A dangerous observation in America, where the belief is that this statement makes all of science's conclusions suspect.