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t3knomanser's Fustian Deposits

The Gay Gene

How Random Babbling Becomes Corporate Policy

run the fuck away

Mad science gone horribly, horribly wrong(or right).

The Gay Gene

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run the fuck away
Yet another study shows some evidence of a biological basis for homosexuality. On one hand, this is obvious. Human beings are constrained by their biology, and so everything done by a human is based in our biology.

On the other hand, this is being treated as a political coup. I'm not really sure why. I've always been opposed to what I call "The Biological Excuse", e.g., "You must accept my sexual preference because I have no control over it," is a very weak grounds for social change. I much prefer, "You must accept my sexual preference because it's none of your goddamn business."

Never mind the unintended consequences of such a claim. By focusing so strongly on the biological basis, you're turning it from a choice into a condition. If a lack or surplus of androgen during development can cause homosexuality, doesn't that give us a chance to eradicate it in the next generation? I'm not advocating such a thing, mind. But some people would.

One must face facts. That means the biological basis for all human behavior must be accepted. That means accepting, no matter how unpalatable it may seem, the fact that every action we perform arises from nothing more than some very chaotic chemistry. We can't ignore the real world.

I'm not claiming these results are false or should be ignored, but I think there is a large community that has viewed the biological basis of sexual orientation as some sort of holy grail of justifications. That has always been a mistake, because it doesn't address the social implications. The biological basis is irrelevant to social change, but if our knowledge of the biological sources advances more quickly than our social wisdom- then we have a problem.
  • There's actually graffiti in my neighborhood that bothers (quite a bit) me every time i see it. It reads, "My Gender - My Choice!"

    While falling on biology as a fatalistic "oh woe is me it happened" is bad, it's even worse for those who discount that fact and go with the "I chose to be this way!" argument. That, more than anything, empowers the bigots into shock therapy and gulag schools.

    (Which reminds me, only marginally related, I need to check to see if the anti-gulag-schools bill passed yesterday or not... It'll be good to see if my rep, whom I wrote about it, voted yea or nay.)

    It does need to be a matter of "nonyabidniss". I'm already dreading the inevitability of parents catalog shopping for their childrens' traits. Will homosexuality be an option (imagine that rebellious teen!)? Will it be the base model, with heterosexuality costing more (oh the money that would make...)
    • "That, more than anything, empowers the bigots into shock therapy and gulag schools."

      And the biological argument only encourages them to "treat" it.

      What we need is a society that respects individual choice- then it wouldn't be a problem. But the human mind doesn't work that way- for millions of years the majority has ruled the behavior of the minority because our brains couldn't do anything better. They still can't, really.

      "Will it be the base model, with heterosexuality costing more (oh the money that would make...)"

      Well, the base model will always be the old fashioned way. So gene-mixers that try and hold certain traits hostage, especially common traits (the "old fashioned way" makes heterosexuality the base model, and rightly so- species with a shortage of mating behavior don't last long (I'm lookin' at you pandas!)) are competing against "free". So you wouldn't see something like that.
  • "You must accept my sexual preference because I have no control over it," is a very weak grounds for social change. I much prefer, "You must accept my sexual preference because it's none of your goddamn business."

    Once again, OH HELL YES.

    If we decide that science has to justify our politics, we're just encouraging pseudoscience creep.

    Not to mention, MYOB should be sacrosanct.
  • (sighs) If the research is correct, we're one step closer to designer people.
    • I'm okay with designer people. I'm more than okay- I'm in favor of it.

      The question is: who gets to do the design and why? Are we going to have hordes of parents who get the "Brittney Spears" treatment for their child that will produce a girl that looks like the idoru of the moment? Or the (less likely) "Gattaca Scenario" where genetic diseases are made crimes? And so on- like any other powerful technology, there are all sorts of potential pitfalls.
      • I say yes to both, in varying measures. And both of those kind of scare me.
        • I think the latter is actually quite doubtful. But then again, people want to put the government in charge of healthcare, so, what do I know. Seriously: The government is detaining people indefinitely with a dubious legal classification and is torturing them or handing them over to less squeamish governments to be tortured. Hey! Let's put these people in charge of grandma's hip replacement!

          Ahem, sorry.

          At any rate, the former is fascinating, because it's the first time that the mind of a parent becomes truly inheritable. Oh, there's genetic markers that dictate some elements of how your brain is going to work, but there's a great deal of nurture involved too.

          But genetic tinkering allows the values of a parent to be indelibly encoded into the genes of their offspring. That's awesome, in the classical sense of the word. From cosmetic changes to fundamental changes. From eradicating disease to snake-oil gene packages that promise your offspring will be able to sing and dance and shit cupcakes.
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