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The Discussion - Part 3A

I was disappointed to find only two cars in the parking lot when I arrived at church with my “biker” friend. One was the pastor’s. But it turns out that six women from our sister church had car pooled. :)

We wrapped things up in this session, so there will not be a fourth one, however, much was covered, and I have added to what was discussed in the session, so I am dividing this into three parts, so as not to bore overwhelm you (this after I read a ten-page article online last night and complained about a lack of editing skills, lol).

The discussion of homosexuality and science centered around four questions. I shall address two in this post:

What causes homosexuality?
How do we define homosexuality?

(A disclaimer: I use the term “gay” a lot, and it is mostly intended in a generic sense to mean gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, or any other label one might actually prefer. I’m not trying to slight anyone, but honestly, there are lots of labels used to define sexual minorities, and it can get tedious typing and reading them over and over. Since the “T” in “LGBT” is not really discussed here, that is another reason for my decision to handle it this way.)


What causes homosexuality?

I brought this article with me from “allpsych.com.” It is the old “nature vs. nurture” debate. What I find most striking is that there are several studies cited as reasons for belief in the “nature” theory, while those who believe in the “nurture” theory only describe what they believe, not why. No data to back anything up.

Yet the article gives both theories equal weight. (Much like some mainstream news organizations. *cough*CNN*cough*)

Some highlights from the article:

The first psychological study in 1957 explored the relationship between homosexuality and psychological development and illness. Homosexuality was thought to be a mental disorder at that time and that gays had a greater tendency towards other mental health problems. People with different sexual orientations scored similarly in the tests. This was the study that eventually led the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973.

In 1990, experiments found physiological differences in the anatomical structure of a gay man’s brain in the area that is related to sexual drive and function. Further, studies showed that the differences come prenatally and are impacted little, if at all, by behavior of any kind.

There have also been studies that link homosexuality to prenatal levels of hormones.

“Nurture” theorists have a large following from interest groups such as Christian coalitions. These theories are greatly disrespected by the psychological community at large, as they provide only a result, not a cause.

There is no evidence, social or biological, to support that homosexual children were raised differently from heterosexual children.
-------------------------------------

This article does not address what I call the “tragic event” theory, the notion that most gay people were sexually molested or raped or experienced an unstable or violent childhood, and that was the “cause” of their “turning gay.” I have never found anything scientific to back that idea up, either. But I have found science that dismisses it.

An overwhelming majority of gay people say they were born that way.


You may ask why it matters what the cause is. That brings me to the second question:

How do we define homosexuality?

The book we were using as a study guide quotes, “…the value or disvalue a society places on a human characteristic is not usually determined by its scientific understanding of the causes of the condition. (For example, scientific knowledge of the variations in skin pigmentation does not explain racial prejudice.”

True. However, regardless of the causes of different skin pigmentation, the fact that it is not a choice was never disputed. The idea of homosexuality being a choice – a behavior, not a state of being – helps justify an anti-gay stance. It also makes “love the sinner, hate the sin” a more reasonable notion than it really is.

One additional historical definition mentioned in the book is worth noting: “…the definition of ‘sodomy’ in certain historical periods included sexual relations with beasts…” This may explain in part why it seems to be so difficult to separate bestiality from homosexuality in some people’s minds.

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