View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

You mean - it might be a choice?

Here's a new twist in the ongoing twisted attempts to justify aberrant behaviours.

An American Psychological Association publication now includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene."

If they are right - and given that it's a psychological association you never can tell - that would mean that homosexuals are not born that way.

Which would imply that homosexuality is more of a choice than the psychological establishment had tried to lead us to believe.

The APA has previously said that homosexuality is not a psychological disorder (see my earlier comment about their reliability). But now in a brochure - "Answers to Your Questions for a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality" - the APA states:

"There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles...."

Back in 1998, the APA opined: "There is considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person's sexuality."

Now they say there is no such evidence? Gee, what happend to the information upon which they based their previous learned opinion?

Before we get all excited, remember, these are the same type of folks who endorsed electro-shock therapy, lobotomies, and the belief in the emotional "inferiority" of women.

Still, it's a step in the right direction.

Now I've always held that some folks may have some sort of a disorder that inclines them toward being homosexual - the same way that some people may have a disorder that inclines them toward being alcoholics or drug addicts. But just as taking a drink or using a drug is generally a choice (unless you are subject to some form of secret CIA "interrogation" involving needles and narcotics), committing homosexual acts is a choice.

Sin enters not with the predisposition, but in the choice to act on it.

So will the APA now admit that homosexuals can change?

Labels:

7 Comments:

Blogger RailRider said...

You're over-interpreting what they said. They didn't say that there's no genetic pre-disposition, they said that it is a complex mixture of nature and nurture. (in other words: they don't know). The nature part is likely genetic.

It's comforting to take a complex issue and make it simple (see it's just genes; see, it's just a choice), but it often leads to the wrong conclusions.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

I think, rather, they have had a tendency to over-interpret (through the lens of bias) the half data they had.

They have had a tendency to over simplify a complex issue by ignoring or dismissing other components of the issue - historical, moral, anthropological, and more - when not in tune with their assumptions.

And choice is not an easy out. When there is a predispostion (due to a disordered condition) there are all sorts of complex issues and drives with which to deal.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

It's clear that for most SSA people it is beyond their ability to choose. In other words, if they weren't born that way, it happens so early and in such a hidden way, the orientation itself is not connected in any way with personal culpability.

It's also likely that the cultural environment is so poisoned that I can't imagine any strong finding one way or the other would be received. There's no way to rationalize with extremists. So even if someone determined that SSA is 0 or 100% genetic, the message will not be heard.

The Christian then must ask, what to do with the situation as it exists today. Clearly, some heterosexual people choose to be homosexual (people in US prisons) and some SSA people attempt either a cure or a life of chastity. Most healthy adults take their sexual orientation as a given and work out their lives from there. I can't condemn that approach.

12:34 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

"It's clear that for most SSA people it is beyond their ability to choose. In other words, if they weren't born that way, it happens so early and in such a hidden way, the orientation itself is not connected in any way with personal culpability."

- I don't think it is "clear" - we don't fully understand how it develops. I do agree there is some element of a predispostion that may be innate, that, coupled with environmental factors, might incline one toward such feelings.

But in the end it is a choice whether to act on those feelings - and that's where culpability comes in.

5:44 AM  
Anonymous Todd said...

Lee, given that we don't understand how it develops, and that many supposed "curative" techniques involving pornography, emotional and physical manipulation, and lies are downright immoral, I don't think the case for cure is significant, let alone strong.

As for how God made us, with a drive for intimacy outside of the fertility cycle, a strong case against permanent union has yet to be made.

Too early to know, and the landscape is too cluttered to discern clearly.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Richard Grabman said...

What the APA said was that this particular behavior was not solely the product of a given gene... not that genetics couldn't ruled out as a factor in determining ones sexuality.

I realize that for those seeking to justify their presumption that homosexuality is a "choice", any evidence that might suggest other than genetics is a comfort. I must admit I've seen very little from anyone outside the anti-gay groups that give much more than polemical lip service to the idea of a purely genetic construct.

At any rate, so what? How is that different from other "aberrant" behaviors like high intelligence, spacial acuity, left-handedness... or an unfortunate tendency to use Britishisms ("behaviour")? All are probably results of genetics, early childhood experience, socialization and plan (good, bad or indifferent) luck.

1:55 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

"At any rate, so what? How is that different from other "aberrant" behaviors like high intelligence, spacial acuity, left-handedness... or an unfortunate tendency to use Britishisms ("behaviour")? All are probably results of genetics, early childhood experience, socialization and plan (good, bad or indifferent) luck."

- Those are of a different order of being outside the norm - and are not harmful to society.

Except maybe the Britishisms.

12:56 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home