WARNING. SENSITIVE CONTENT!
“Are our sexual preferences acquired through social learning or are some people literally born gay? What are the genetic and prenatal hormone contributions of sexual orientation? How do ‘gay genes’ survive extermination by non-reproductiveness? What possible adaptive value might they have? Cultural and historical variations in acceptance/intolerance of minority sexual preferences?” (Questions from the lecture).
See lecture with Professor Glenn D Wilson on Gresham College, UK.
“Born Gay? The origins of sexual orientation.”
Is it possible that modern science in the future will solve the enigma of homosexuality and what causes homosexual behavior? And is there a genuine interest to perform such research, and for what reason? Can we find homosexual tendencies among animals? These are some of the questions that Zachary Moore ponders over in his podcast Apologia: Evolution 101. Although he takes an atheistic, scientific approach on the subject, it raises many important questions about homosexuality. These questions may in turn provoke thoughts about what role it plays in animal life as well as among humans.
Listen to his programme entitled “Why did homosexuality Evolve?”
Hear more from Apologia on Archive.org. Also do a search on iTunes for more.
“The most comprehensive behaviour-genetic study of sexual orientation is that of Langstrom et al (2008) of the Swedish Karolinska Institute. With a sample of 7600 twins, these researchers found that 35% of the variance for men was due to genes and that virtually all that remaining was down to the non-shared environment, i.e., factors making you different from your siblings. This rules out parenting as a cause of male homosexuality, so all those ‘smothering mothers’ and ‘weak or absent fathers’ at whom the Freudian finger is accusingly pointed can relax – it’s not their ‘fault’ that their son is gay, except for the genes they might have contributed.”
(Professor Glenn D. Wilson on “Born Gay”, Gresham University, UK)
Note: Langstrom, et al (2008) “Genetic and environmental effects on same-sex sexual behaviour: A population study of twins in Sweden, Archives of Sexual Behaviour”.
Researchers today have a good picture of what makes us behave in other social functions. As modern research has not found a “gay gene,” is it possible then that they could look at other factors such as the influence of neurotransmitters in the brain, prenatal events such as the influence of chemicals, the complexity in chains of molecular events and signal substances or issues concerning chromosomes? There are, however, interesting studies done on mice, where male mice in foetal stage have been injected with female hormones. When these male mice were born, they clearly show a feminine behavior. Scientists have also been able to revert the situation. What happens in science then? Will those diagnostic instruments be used to determine whether a child in the womb will develop homosexual behavior as the child grows up? Such examinations are used today to determine if a child is suffering from some sort of disease. What are the implications of such a research?
ALTERING ORIENTATION – A RELIGIOUS OR A SCIENTIFIC QUESTION?
If we find a way to and are able to alter the outcome, what would such a discovery mean legally, ethically and morally? What is so alarming is that organizations are so overwhelmingly interested in gender research. And as long as there is an interest in such research there will always be research of this kind. That goes for both biased and non-biased research. What is the reason for this interest in what scientists and researchers are looking for in human sexuality?
Religion has traditionally shown reservations against researchers when for example their studies shows that homosexuality and heterosexuality is deeply established in humans, and some even say that it to some extent can be altered and adjusted by means of natural development, or hormonal treatments, whatever pleases current state of being. Often times, people seeking help for unwanted “same sex attraction” (SSA) do that of religious reasons and convictions, we must understand and respect their desire to get help and provide a lot of support. I feel very strong for people suffering from something that they have not asked for. But it is so sad, because the guys I have met, who have gone through ex-gay therapy because of their belief, feel miserable and unsuccessful when they failed to remove their homosexual feelings. They put the blame on their environment, parents or themselves, it is very sad. The reason why they will change is first of all a religious conviction, but it can also come from a pressure from the environment and a fear not to conform to the religious beliefs. These people, our brothers and sisters, need all support, help and understanding they can get.
Then we have the idea that we are born in sin. The idea of the Original Sin is derived from the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in the Jewish Bible. Now, let us try to approach the Scriptures with care and respect. “We are born in sin,” as the saying goes, this is a concept unknown in Jewish belief. Instead, we are all responsible to do whatever we can in this life, here and now, to embrace G-d and live in peace with all fellow human beings and the rest of the creation. We are all inclined to do good and less good things.
We have a dilemma with the different approaches to the origins of homosexuality, that also goes for science. Through the whole of human history, people have been appalled by this subject that has not left anyone without strong emotions. Discussions in all disciplines; medicine, biology, psychology, pathology, neuroscience, gender research, philosophy and theology give us an image of a debate characterised by upset feelings. Let us talk calmly, discussing and asking questions.
Back to the world of research. Former ex-gay therapies have not been so successful. The result: a lot of dispair, depressions and attempted suicides among the people as a result. Subsequent counseling and support appears to be absent in many cases. Gender confusion or other things that may be a problem for the individual, whatever causes and effects, need to be met by professionals within health care but also within spiritual guidance in our churches, synagogues and mosques. But it must be done at that person’s request and conditions.
FUTURE SCENARIO – EUGENICS?
A scientific scenario in the future might look like this: A pregnant woman visits a maternity hospital. Where nurses and doctors perform routine checks of the foetus and they take blood samples from the mother, but in a future scenario they can also take samples of the foetus in the womb of its mother. The results may give an indication how big “risk” or “chance” (depending on how we see it) there is for the child in the future to develop a homosexual behavior.
We know that many people have a high moral standard regarding issues of life, euthanasia, abortion and prenatal diagnosis, and that is honorable, but how would they react to the question “if you were affraid that there is a risk that your child might develop a homosexual behavior in the future, and we can use certain techniques to discover the causes of homosexuality and even provide a solution, would you still give birth to the child or choose to medicate?”
I hope people will act on the fact that a child is a wonderful gift and is welcomed and in great need of love, affection and closeness? Live and let live, it is time we start thinking and see the miracle in all life!
Lecture held by Professor Glenn D Wilson on Gresham College, UK. “Born Gay? The origins of sexual orientation”.
Gresham College Lecture on Born Gay
© 2012 Jonathan Axelsson
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