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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > Why they might not find a "sexual orientation " gene.      Home login  
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 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 20
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.Page 2 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
RE Msg: 14 by abelian:

I'm sure that someone COULD do a study, to see which families have a higher than average rate of particular types of sexual orientation, and release the data. But I doubt that such data will be likely to be released in Western scientific circles, for fear that homophobic families will try to ensure their kids only date people with families who have a very high level of straight people in their family, and thus find they are supporting homophobic members of the "Religious Right".
That study has been done more than once and contrary to your konspiracy theory, one was published in the American Psychological Association's journal, Developmental Psychology , S. Golombok, F. Tasker, 1996 Vol 12, No. 1, 3-11. They found that children of a lesbian parent were more likely to explore same sex relationships if raised in an environment where homosexuality was open and tolerated, but by age 22, were just as likely to identify as heterosexual as children raised by heterosexual parents.
Did I write I was SURE that such data would not be released in Western scientific circles? I wrote: "I doubt".

Did I write which TYPES of families have a higher than average rate of particular types of sexual orientation? I wrote "which families", NOT which TYPES of families.

I KNEW that what I was writing would be likely to be picked on. So I chose my words carefully.

As my old teacher told us about exams, read what is written carefully, and then read it again, carefully, or you end up answering questions assuming things that you assumed were stated, but weren't.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 21
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 11/16/2010 5:05:07 PM
Thanks arwen. I have also known plenty of women who fit the description:

"I do know one gay woman who made a conscious decision to give men up because the were such **stards.

Yeah, back in the early 70s I knew a bunch of feminists who were fed up with men and turned to women. Within 5-8 years, most of them were back with men because it was not really who they were. "
I had the chance opportunity to observe as several women I knew, went through stages of discovering their sexuality was NOT purely hetero. I found it very enlightening. One repeating thing I saw, with many of the women who ultimately DID devote themselves entirely to other women, was a period during which they CLAIMED that they had TURNED to other women because guys were such jerks.
A more accurate explanation, which most of them later subscribed to themselves, was that the REAL reason they found guys to all be "jerks," was that THEY WERE NOT ATTRACTED TO THEM TO BEGIN WITH. Since they were ALSO dealing with societal (and sometimes Family) pressure to FIND a mate, they lashed out, blaming GUYS, for their own sexual orientation. I heard a few male homosexuals claim something similar, but the women did it much more forthrightly, and so were more noticeable. Kind of a "chicken and egg" thing, I think.
That's one of the things to keep in mind when one tries to find supporting quotes for any argument: many people say something in bold typeface one day, and that gets remembered long after they completely change their minds.
 gentlemuse
Joined: 4/2/2010
Msg: 22
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 11/16/2010 7:58:49 PM
I'm pretty sure there has been significant scientific evidence and research that suggests that being gay isn't a choice, but much like your gender, is a series of subtle differences in the mind and body. Here is just one article http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/17/opinion/17iht-edpinker.html

Interestingly, they have found things that work like "switches" inside of your DNA that turn on and off different things inside our bodies. So though it may not be a gay gene per say it might b one of these switches. This discovery was determined after scientists studied a particular type of mental illness, I forget the specifics but you can find out more about it here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/dna-human-evolution.html

I think any rational person (free from religious/clouded-judgment or homophobia) would agree that being "gay" isn't a choice but rather a common biological anomaly which should be viewed as such and not as a disease, curse or moral condemnation. It isn't uncommon for animals to commit acts of homosexuality, and they have no reproduction purposes to doing so.
 jkzoo
Joined: 8/5/2010
Msg: 23
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 2/1/2011 6:58:54 PM
It seems likely that it has a lot to do with epigenetics. So, they actually will probably tease it apart.
-jason
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 24
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 2/2/2011 3:40:28 AM
^^^ my point exactly.
 Gwendolyn2010
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 25
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 2/3/2011 3:14:29 PM
This is not my field, but I do have an observation, Igor, based on what you said in the OP.


My expectation is based on the observation that even someone of DEFINITE hetero-sexual orientation, finds that SOME of the opposite sex are attractive, and others are not. Of greatest interest, is that it is VERY common that you will discover that two between two NEARLY IDENTICAL people of the sex you are attracted to, that you will find ONE extremely desirable, and find the other uninteresting.


It seems that you are saying a gene for homosexuality can't be found because heterosexuals find SOME of the opposite sex attractive and others are not. In addition, one person might not find two very similar people both attractive.

I might have read this incorrectly, so please tell me if I did.

If I read it correctly, I don't know what attraction from the point of view of looks--or other factors--have to do with which SEX a person is attracted.

A heterosexual is attracted to the person of the opposite sex: regardless of looks, etc., that remains the same.

A homosexual is attracted to same sex: regardless of looks, etc., that remains the same.

Bisexuals are attracted to both sexes.
 societalblessing
Joined: 10/15/2010
Msg: 26
The Heritability of Homosexuality
Posted: 2/3/2011 11:20:07 PM
Another consideration that must be made in this topic is the role of the meaning of 'sexuality' in its cultural and social settings. Given that the term 'homosexuality' only came around to describe a possible set group of individuals in the 19th century, pushes doubt that homosexuality is a natural biological category. If we accept that homosexuality is a natural category that differs from the norm of 'heterosexuality' we must then conclude that whole societies such as those found on the fringes of New Guinea and Africa are abnormal as well as Ancient Greek society as examples. The amount of 'homosexuality' practiced in ancient and tribal societies, in 'natural' settings in the animal kingdom, etc suggests that 'heterosexuality' is the abnormal condition that takes prevalent social norms in controlling and altering those homo tendencies. It is possible that modern western research is plagued by negative influences of judeo-christian thought and has inverted the original state of things. Outside of studying the cultural and social meaning of sexuality-- biology, genetic theory, etc --should look at the question from the point of view that strict heterosexuality is the abnormal condition of life and attempt to explain why and how modern society has controlled this factor. Interesting research could be found such as that modern homosexuals may instead of being treated as an 'abnormal' condition, be found to be more questioning of desire. Questioning with its role of expermentation, rebellion against the status quo, personal struggle, etc leads to the common assertion that it is not choice but a balance between desire and reason that western society also holds value in. It is neither choice nor genetic or even simply sexuality, but a complex form of questioning and experimentation, social and individual.

Regarding to this aspect of the 'nature v nuture' debate in which it is either nature or choice that one becomes homosexual is a science story where modern science has not caught up witht the fact that a thing such as desire is not a story of facts that can be measured and tested but a social history of meaning--It is a story. As Michael Lancaster writes in his "The Trouble with Nature: Sex in Science and popular culture" writes- "Embedded in each story, then, we find another story: an intricate narrative architecture of fact and fantasy, discovery and projection, science and morality, a design, derived from social experiences and projects of the past, that is also part of our cultural design today: knowledge as a form of not knowing; vision as a practice of not seeing. The 'making' of 'nature'."

He is a leading social theoriest and also a homosexual. He does not believe homosexuality is genetic nor does he believe it is a choice. The story is more complex.
 Inicia
Joined: 12/21/2007
Msg: 28
The Heritability of Homosexuality
Posted: 2/4/2011 2:31:10 AM
Yes there lies an inherent problem with debating sexual orientation even in the sense of gene orientation. Which is the underlying assumption that homosexuality is aberrant. Why are we not debating the choice or nature of heterosexuality? Why is it acceptable to debate this subject as if the subjects of the debate were non human and without ability to search their freedoms, nature, and happiness without discourse and conjecture. Must heterosexuals continually support and defend the belief in their choices or lifestyle however it is attained? Do heterosexuals "ever" have to defend a lifestyle choice as long as it meets the popularly supported heterosexual ideal??? NO?? Why is it the sub culture must always "fight" for its right to "survive?"

IMO survival of the fittest social system is science's and society's aberrant misunderstanding, then with overwhelming support of the misunderstood social system, many other ridiculous theories are overarching supported. We have a naturally successful symbiotic or egalitarian social system, and it has failed miserably in this forced power and subjugation system. When we approach science from what we know we are limited.

yes looking at cultural necessity is a must and it is another accepted anthropological ( Levi-Strauss the guy we have blue jeans after lol....for a reason,but its another story) view that: inbreeding or the incest taboo has more to do with promoting societal relationships outside of the home group than to prevent or promote genetic anomalies. "Humans are prompted with direct shared rewards when they search mates external to their groups by an increase in the material status(social networking) of their familial or kin group."( The Human Challenge; Wadsworth, 2011)
This affinity does promote and prevent close inbreeding genetic anomalies however extended genetic ties when crossed create no genetic anomalies.
 societalblessing
Joined: 10/15/2010
Msg: 30
The Heritability of Homosexuality
Posted: 2/5/2011 2:10:08 PM
Kardinal


I wanna' discuss the science. Come back when you wanna' do that.


If you want to discuss the science then why comment on my post. My post was for the general participants of the discussion and not meant as a critique of you specifically. For you to think that I was addressing you and you alone is arrogance to say the least. I didn't even read your post and I did not address the post to you. If you want to discuss the 'science' then don't discuss with me, but to talk to me and then tell me not to talk to you is something my 3 year old nephew does and I like to think you are above that.

Furthermore you critize a theorist you obviously know little about (and yes I too disagree with much of what you called the pseudo-intellectual drivel spitted out by the post-moderns, identity theorists, etc and in no way am attempting to argue their stance). Lancaster does as well. His purpose in his book is to argue against sociobiological claims that reduce social meaning, values, etc to some biological charateristic (many of the natural scientists agree with this as well and it holds in reverse order). Much of his argument against such reductions is based on how pop culture uses of science and how science is affected by pop culture. He critiques genetic reductions to desire though praises its advances as a field and sees much of it as sound. For political reasons many on the left and those involved in the gay rights movement are angered by him because if homosexuality is biologically reduced they are deserving of rights. On the right he is despised because he endorses homosexuality as a good and proper lifestyle. His quest in the book is not for political reasons but to clear the brush in modern thinking of desire. It is a quest for truth by exposing certain tendencies found in modern thinking of desire and simple reductions of desire to strict biology as found in articles as in New York Times, images from commericals and television shows, how it is reported on the news, etc .

However since you felt that the need to comment on my post, interpreting what I said in a gross manner for instance [homosexuality being the (human) species-typical norm
I will comment back.

I said that strict heterosexuality may not be the norm...not that homosexuality is the norm. You seem to be conflating the idea that homosexuality is the same as an act, as a desire, as a behavior, and as a lifestyle; that given the term heterosexuality any deviance from heterosexuality must be homosexuality (and whatever that means).

However, what is understood as homosexuality changes. How we understand homosexuality affects how we study homosexuality (e.g. treating homosexuality as a medical condition). The changing views of homosexuality also affects who desires what and how one desires. If any male in today's society was raised in Spartan society they would have participated in homosexual acts. There is nothing biological about that.

If one really cares to seek a deeper understanding of such things as desire it often takes an approach that goes against common sense thinking. Why should the nature of desire be treated any different? By only treating desire through the common sense notions of what should be desired (e.g. men desire certain kinds of females) we miss the opportunity to study how desiring operates and how we learn to desire. A pure biological study of desire often times works from a point of view of norms of desire and attempts to identify deviancies and explain those deviances. It was done in criminality, race, sex, and also desire. Science exists within a cultural setting and to deny that its cultural setting as no effect on what science studies, the kinds of questions that are explored, etc is ridiculous.

Rarely does one ask questions on the The Heritability of Heterosexuality or attempt to find its gene.
 Inicia
Joined: 12/21/2007
Msg: 31
The Heritability of Homosexuality
Posted: 2/5/2011 2:11:19 PM
your right ko {I take this time out to address an individual poster as I was addressed individually).... . while I sidelined about incest taboos previously mentioned by others I did not completely exclude the reasoning on genetic anomalies . you chose to grandstand high jacking the topic I feel that the most important aspect of this discussion is our continual dehumanization of humans in the pursuit and glorification of science while you may feel the effort lies in being right that's your prerogative ...

t is rueful to report that it still exists among large swaths of both sides, but particularly in this instance among many in the social sciences and humanities, as evidence by people like Lancaster and those sill strongly influenced by Levi-Strauss.
and what is this cloaked personal character insult... here is a greatly simplified example of the type of insult you performed in reverse it is not my opinion it is just an example:

People who support Steven Pinker's research tend to have a god Complex....
 societalblessing
Joined: 10/15/2010
Msg: 32
The Heritability of Homosexuality
Posted: 2/5/2011 2:24:10 PM
By arguing that there is a cultural and social understandings of sexuality does not exclude any scientific advances in understanding sexuality. Only that it is a tight rope and a slippery slope on both sides. Second by stating that homosexuality did not become a term until the 19th century also does not exclude that homosexual acts, desires, behaviors, etc did not exist prior. Only that new understandings and the way such things were viewed, studied, treated, etc also rose that affects our understandings of homosexuality today. Homosexuality is a social meaning and a homosexual act is social. Homosexual desire is different as it relates to both the social and the mental. Finally, what many of us (including me), call a homosexual lifestyle is different from homosexuality, homosexual desire, and a homosexual act.
 societalblessing
Joined: 10/15/2010
Msg: 33
The Heritability of Homosexuality
Posted: 2/5/2011 2:29:05 PM
the above post was meant for kardinal
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 34
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 2/5/2011 4:28:59 PM
"It seems that you are saying a gene for homosexuality can't be found because heterosexuals find SOME of the opposite sex attractive and others are not. In addition, one person might not find two very similar people both attractive."
What I was trying to say, was that sexuality and sexual attraction is very complicated, and has too many parameters to it for a SINGLE genetic element to be the key. There are visual cues, smells, movements, experiences, and so forth that all contribute to who (or what) someone finds desirable. From what I've seen, sexual orientation is not so much a small set of well-defined groups, so much as it's a spectrum. If you've ever looked at a REAL rainbow, you know that there are no PURE colors in it, even though the center areas of the colors do get pretty strong. In the same way, from the people I've known, it seems that there are thousands of subtle shades of sexual orientation, and that we have selected the CENTRAL themes of some of them to organize them in our minds.
I expect that it will be found that a huge collection of genes work interactively to set our inner "pointers." The reason I think it's important to bring this up, is that I know for SURE that there are some less than wonderfully intentioned folks out there who still want to declare homosexuals( and bisexuals) to be bad, or sick people, who are choosing to behave perversely...and that when no single gene IS found to "cause" a given sexual orientation, they will take this as proof that they are right. I'd like to head those folks off at the mental pass, if I can.
 Gwendolyn2010
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 35
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 2/5/2011 4:52:25 PM

What I was trying to say, was that sexuality and sexual attraction is very complicated, and has too many parameters to it for a SINGLE genetic element to be the key.


I think we are born bisexual and it is beaten or shamed out of us. Sex long ago ceased being for "merely" procreation, and we engage in sex without the idea of having kids. (Yes, I know that is shocking.) We are prone to enjoy pleasure where we find it, but when society frowns on some sexual unions, many buckle.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 36
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 2/6/2011 8:09:55 AM
^^^^Being as I am a different person, whose experiences being who I am don't match yours, I would calmly disagree. I have not found in my own VERY self-scrutinized life, that my sexual orientation, or tastes, or desires, or pleasures, were at all influenced by society. Whether I TALKED about them with other members of that society is certainly affected, and whether I am brave enough to TRY to follow through on some things is affected, but that has nothing to do with WHAT I like or dislike.
I am thoroughly convinced that biology drives what someone finds attractive more than environment. I also RECOGNIZE, that what a society judges about behavior will heavily influence what someone does or doesn't try out, so what any person does or doesn't follow through on WILL be shaped by non-biological factors. My own knowledge of my own sexual orientation goes back to Kindergarten. The first time I came into contact with other children my age on a regular basis, I found that I was thinking about GIRLS as desirable, and had absolutely NO interest in boys at all. This was early enough that I am quite confident that society had no influence over me by that time at all. I have known a number of non-heterosexual people, and they reported that they were well aware at an early age also who they found attractive, and that when they started to get messages from society that they were "wrong" to be interested in what they were interested in, that they were confused THEN.
The people I have known who thought as you do, that we might all be born bisexual, were indeed bisexual themselves, i.e. they had always found both males and females sexually interesting. Like most of us including me, they concluded that everyone was probably the same as they were (most humans DON'T assume they are unique and special at early ages).
 societalblessing
Joined: 10/15/2010
Msg: 38
The Heritability of Homosexuality
Posted: 2/9/2011 6:55:10 AM
Kardinal,



In fact, insofar as Lancaster, or anyone else for that matter, restrict their criticisms largely to sociobiology, they are in essence attacking a straw man; and even insofar as those criticisms are themselves accurate portrayals of sociobiology (which they often even aren't), they are still 25 years out of date -- they don't reflect what Darwinian psychologists, etc., circa 1992 were doing, let alone 2011.


The book is from around 2005, and much of his book addresses evolutionary psychology. However, again the book is how such information is used by popular culture that serves to reinforce their own cultural opinions, while neglecting other research such as advances in ethnographies, etc.



How exactly would pop culture affect science, but particularly the scientists engaging in these so-called unlicensed "sociobiological reductions?”


I hold in high regard scientists and the scientific purusuit and firmly believe that most scientists attempt to control cultural influences. However, scientists are nonetheless human and as such influenced by the the larger cultural events and circumstances. They can't escape that fact. A good example is the way we study race and ethnicities after WWII and the Civil Rights Movement.



I ask, because insofar as you or Lancaster are positing that real evolutionary approaches to mind and behavior are wedded to the notion of “genetic determinism,” you are attacking a disfigured straw man.

Not only is such a straw man a false caricature of evolutionary psychology, it also poorly misunderstands genetics, developmental biology, etc.


Lancaster argues that behavior and specifically desire is so diverse that once one reduces desire from that diversity, it is tantamount to only declaring that a tree is a tree. For instance, combing through history, ethnography, and the diverse fetishes that exist today such as foot fetishes, costume fetishes, balloon fetishes, and the other myriad fetishes and desires by reducing it to some adaptive stragetgy would state only that those that desired had a greater chance of survival.



And the available evidence, which does in fact make distinctions between attitudes, desires, and actual behavior, does not augur well for your hypothesis.

The data does in fact show that at the level of both desires and actual behavior, each measure independently shows that heterosexuality is the norm, statistically speaking -- though it appears that more women have had same-sex desires or have engaged in same-sex acts than men.


I am quite sure that much of those studies are done in cultures where heterosexuality is the norm and performed on the part of the population that is able to articulate their desire, thus already inculturated.



Ah, again, this is an empirical claim. Your suggestion that our "changing view affects who desires what and how one desires" does not even sound very prima facie plausible.

It sounds to me like a form of cultural determinism. To illustrate the absurdity of a hardline cultural determinism argument about something like sexual orientation, consider the following brief thought experiment, which I will invent on-the-fly.


I am not arguing for a cultural determinism given that like biological determinism cannot explain changes that take place in history and society. However, beliefs, mannerisms, values--ideology-- also affect the nature of desire and how one desires. Though, looking at the different ways ethnicities treat, address, speak, and care for the very young with the result that different mannerisms, spaces that one is comfortable with, the way one expresses their desires, feelings, emotions, etc suggests that how one desires and acts on those desires has a cultural base (though not necessarily the only one).

It is in my opinion that biological, cultural, and ideological prescriptions are found in the root of desire (though there may be something besides such determinisms in how nature plays out, I don't know though).



This is making assumptions about the ubiquity of homosexuality in ancient Sparta. Furthermore, you seem to be running afoul of your own worry of conflating sexual desire, attitudes, behavior, and lifestyle.


I was careful enough to assert only the homosexual act and nothing more. In the end, however, the conception of desire-what it is , its portensions, etc are culturally embedded. We would not say that the medieval conception of desire with its fear, denial, etc is the same today and we would be hard pressed to argue that the nature of desire was the same then as it is today. If it is understood differently, pursued differently, treated differently by different culutres and historical eras then desire must be something that is not simply 'desire-itself'. The different social meanings of desire forces one to consider the fact that desire is something culturally rooted as desire is understood differently by different cultures. This does not mean that desire itself (whatever that is) is only culturally determined. Besides the cultural and biological causes to desire there is also an ideological factor. The story is just more complex as I said at the beginning.
 Gwendolyn2010
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 39
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 2/9/2011 7:25:58 AM

The people I have known who thought as you do, that we might all be born bisexual, were indeed bisexual themselves, i.e. they had always found both males and females sexually interesting. Like most of us including me, they concluded that everyone was probably the same as they were (most humans DON'T assume they are unique and special at early ages).


You are right, let me rephrase: I think that MANY of us are born bisexual.

It is dangerous to make assumptions based on personal experience, but I cannot tell you how many women whom I have met, talked to online, or have expressed in forums or other places where anonymity made them safe their desire to "experience" another woman. Many of them held back because culture and religion told them it was a sin. I have heard from many, many fewer men who have expressed a similar interest in other men; however, they protestation as to the disgust the idea presented made me wonder if they did not protest too much.

I also had a couple of dates with a man who was into "swinging." He said he had never considered the possibility of being with another man a feasible or attractive idea until he and his ex wife started having sex with multiple partners. Then, he changed his mind--his wife had also not considered another female feasible, but she also changed her mind.

I have no idea if studies have been made on this subject and am not interested enough to track them down, but I do wonder how many men and women would open to partners of the same sex if it were still not such a cultural taboo.

Oh, and I have NEVER met a man who, on discussing the possibility of a threesome with two women and one man, said the idea was not attractive. Most of the same men blanched at the thought of two men and one woman.
 Gwendolyn2010
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 40
The Heritability of Homosexuality
Posted: 2/9/2011 7:28:17 AM
Kardinal, absolutely and utterly no offense intended, but I never read your posts because they are just too long and too detailed. I read essays for a living and my reading comprehension is well-developed, but I just won't wade through a paper on a dating site forum!
 NotGorshkovAgain
Joined: 4/29/2009
Msg: 42
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 2/15/2011 6:19:17 AM

i'm more interested in why people want to find a genetic trigger or "cause" for sexual preference/behavior. i think motivations are always so much more interesting than mechanical parts. is it because they want to say, "well, if it's genetic then they really can't help that they're homosexual!" (as if it was something that needed helping). or, is it because they want to say, "well, if it's genetic then eventually, with a little genetic therapy we can fix that!" (as if it was something that needed to be fixed.) sounds a bit dr. mengele if you ask me.

Or maybe they just want to know because they think it's an interesting question, and they believe that knowledge leads to understanding? That's how my brain works, anyway.
 NotGorshkovAgain
Joined: 4/29/2009
Msg: 43
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 2/15/2011 6:32:20 AM
It may be that there are so many aspects of sexual attraction and satisfaction that everyone is different and its actually stupid to try and find and orientation gene.

There is a big difference between searching for something to see if it exists so you can test a theory, and searching for something to see if it exists so you can wave it around as proof that you were right, when you made up your mind without the benefit of evidence.

The first is called science. Only the second is stupidity.


However, scientists are nonetheless human and as such influenced by the the larger cultural events and circumstances. They can't escape that fact.

It doesn't matter if you listen to Bach or Lady Gaga while you work. 2 + 2 still equals 4.
 R_O_U_S
Joined: 3/20/2011
Msg: 44
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 4/16/2011 1:21:45 AM
I think it's the rapid sequencing of many genes at an early age in the epigenome.
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