Monday, December 10, 2007

They Had To Use Fruit Flies, Didn't They?

I'm sorry, but that joke's too easy. Forgive me for even making it, gentle as I tried to be.

Now read this amazing article.

While several studies find homosexuality in humans and other animals is biological rather than learned, a question remains over whether it's a hard-wired phenomenon or one that can be altered.

A new study finds that both drugs and genetic manipulation can turn the homosexual behavior of fruit flies on and off within a matter of hours...

In fact, homosexuality in the fruit flies seems to be regulated by how they interpret the scent of another. (emphasis mine--Darren)

Imagine what would happen if scientists were eventually to show the same results with humans. At that point, homosexuality would become purely a choice.

The social ramifications are astounding. Sort of reminds me of a post I wrote almost a year ago.


Donalbain said...

Frankly, does it matter if it is a choice or not? If it is a choice, then it is like religion or what football team you support. Nobody would think you should deny rights to someone based on their religion or their football team.
If it is purely genetic, then it is like being black or white. Nobody would agree that it was right to deny rights to someone based on their colour, would they?

And as for your earlier post, it was based on shitty reporting of a shitty story.. may I suggest

for a good description of the real science.

Darren said...

It doesn't matter on a personal level if it's a choice or not, but it certainly does on a societal level, especially about how the "debate" is framed.

I think you explained, in your second paragraph above, *why* the difference between choice and genetics is so important.

Donalbain said...

See, I don't see it. We dont base the access to the rights and priviledges of society based on choices such as religion, and we don't base it on non-choices such as colour. So, how is the choice/non choice nature of sexuality any different?

Remember, that if homosexuality is a choice, then so would heterosexuality be a choice. And if it isnt a choice, then neither is homosexuality. So, we would need another set of criteria to judge people other than just "choice/not choice" since the two would be exactly the same.

Personally, my criteria for judging people is wether they harm another person against their will. Wether someone is gay or straight is not relevant to that.

Darren said...

You're mistaken. If this work is extended to humans and found to be similar, then it would seem that heterosexuality would be "the given" and homosexuality would be "the choice".

You react as if I'm making value judgements here. I'm not. I've said nothing positive nor negative about heterosexuality or homosexuality.

I agree with you about judging people as individuals, and do so myself. Again, nothing in this post was disparaging against either a group or an individual.

But just as a real-world consideration, would gay marriage be the wedge issue it is for both political parties if homosexuality were solely a choice? It's that type of questioning I find fascinating.

Donalbain said...

Why would one be the given and one not? If you can choose, you can choose. BOTH become the choice. There simply is no way for one to be a choice and not the other. One may be the more popular choice, but both would still be the choice.

And if something has an effect on society, then it will only do so because of the judgements of people.

And yes, gay marriage would still be an issue, because even if homosexuality WERE a choice, then as the law stands now, then a set of people would be denied rights that are available to others. It would be EXACTLY equivalent to denying marriage rights to Catholics or Muslims whereas now there is a debate as to whether it is equivalent to denying rights to Catholics or denying rights to black people.

Darren said...

I disagree. I believe there can be a biological "default" and, potentially, a "choice". Right now I lean more to the former, but science *may* eventually change that.

Donalbain said...

Sorry, but you are flat out wrong. If there is the possibility to change your sexuality, then your sexuality is a choice. You either CHOOSE to keep it the same, or you CHOOSE to change it. Both are obviously choices.
Same as with hair dyes. I choose to be ginger, because I could change it with hair dye, but I don't.

Darren said...

I'm not "flat out wrong". We disagree. If I were "flat out wrong", there would be no debate. If I were "flat out wrong" Stonewall never would have happened because it never would have been an issue in the first place.

Donalbain said...

Stonewall was about rights. Not about wether something is a choice or not. That is where you are WRONG.

There are two states X and Y. If Y is a choice, then there is no way that X can NOT be a choice.

If you are X and choose not to change, then that is still a choice. If you are Y and change to X, then it is a choice.