RE: Is there a gay gene?

From: Adrian Teo (
Date: Tue May 14 2002 - 12:24:30 EDT

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    Hello Louise,

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Freeman, Louise Margaret []
            Sent: Mon 5/13/2002 12:12 PM
            To: Adrian Teo
            Subject: RE: Is there a gay gene?

    >AT: Wayne, I think it is an error to consider genetic disposition and
    >free will to be mutually exclusive. Genes do not directly cause
    >behavior. The path from genes to behavior is long and complicated,
    >and there is no evidence to suggest that any complex human behavior
    >is caused by genes to the exclusion of the freedom of will.

            Louise: A nice rationale, but IMHO overly simplistic. I
    think we need to expand
            beyond "genes" to "biological factors beyond our control."
    The degree to which
            behaviors are the result of free will versus something eles
    depends on the
            particular behavior and how "complex" it is. For example,
    supposed I run a
            red light and strike a person with my car, killing them. In
    one scenario, I
            did this because I specifically wanted to commit homicide.
    In another, it
            happens because did not see the light or the person. In the
    third, I suffered
            a epileptic seizure behind the wheel and my foot struck the
    gas pedal at the
            wrong time. The first incident would be entirely a result of
    my free will
            (grave wrongdoing in the eyes of the law, and presumable
    God), the last,
            completely beyond my control (no wrongdoing on my part.) The
    difficult as far
            as judging morality comes with the second... yes, I "chose"
    not to pay as
            close attention to the road as I should have, but that act
    could also be a
            result of a host of uncontrollable factors: my biology (maybe
    my color vision
            isn't as acute, or my multisensory attentional processes are
    not as sharp as
            someone elses'), the environment (car windshield was dirty,
    it was cloudy,
            person was not wearing relective clothing) or my training (I
    had a lousy
            driver's ed instructor who neglected to emphasize being careful at

            AT: In this second scenario, none of the factors you
    mentioned would free the person from culpability in any court of law.
    There is no gray here - they are all factors pointing to negligence
    on the driver's part. Not seeing the traffic light is NOT an
    acceptable excuse.

            Louise: The point it, the external observed behavior (running over
            someone with my car) doesn't look any different to a third
    party... you'd
            have to get inside my car and know what went on there to
    accurately judge the
            morality of my actions... to what degree the accident was "my fault."

            AT: Let us reason. Based on your described criterion, all
    legal persecutions of such drivers are invalid. It is not possible
    for any judge or jury to get into the car prior to the accident and
    know what went on.

            Louise: Similarly, we could have three different women who
    describe themselves as
            #1 read a Biblical passage that condemned homosexuality,
    thought "Who is this
            God person to tell me what to do?" and promptly went out and
    found a female
            lover "I'll show Him!"
            #2 was raised in a home with a violent father who abused her
    mother, and now
            totally distrusts all men, and therefore seeks out
    relationships with women.
            #3 has congential adrenal hyperplasia, a gentic mutation
    which caused her
            adrenal glands to produce high levels of testosterone in
    utero. Studies have
            shown that women with this condition show higher levels of
    tomboyish behavior
            as children and are more likely to identify themselves as
    lesbian or bisexual
            as adults. This is thought to be a result of action of
    testosterone on the
            brain during development.

            If the degree of morality in the women's sexual actions the
    same for all
            three? Are all of their actions controlled by "free will" to
    the same degree?
            Or does knowing something about the suspected causal factors
    give us basis for
            making a different judgement? If so, the answer to the
    scientific "how?"
            questions does influence the question a Christian must ask
    "Is this behavior
            right or wrong in the eyes of God?"

            AT: In cases 2 & 3, there is no will involved in the person's
    *desire* for intimate relationship with same-sex partners. However,
    humans are not like animals that are ruled by their appetites. Reason
    and will may not have much influence over desires, but they do have
    influence over *behavior*. Regardless of my personal desires, I am in
    control of my actions - I choose to do this or that, to act or to
    refrain from acting on my desires. The bible does not condemn
    homosexual orientation, but it does condemn homosexual behavior.



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