From: Freeman, Louise Margaret [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
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
Louise: The point it, the external observed behavior (running over
someone with my car) doesn't look any different to a third
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
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
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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