Re: Gay Marriage/Homosexuality

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Wed Jun 09 2004 - 22:39:34 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "bivalve" <>
To: "ASA" <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 09, 2004 8:07 PM
Subject: RE: Gay Marriage/Homosexuality

> > The evidence tells us that gay and lesbian people are as "born
homosexual" as straight people are "born heterosexual." <
> What evidence?
> There is evidence of both innate and environmental factors influencing
human sexuality. However, research on human sexuality has a number of
difficulties, including the ethical problems of experimenting on them, the
long time it takes to determine effects of childhood influences on adult
behavior, and the difficulty of getting reliable data on sexual behavior
(high risk of exaggeration or concealing of activity). There is also
evidence of extensive bias on the part of some researchers and of many of
those citing such research, so that I do not put much trust in any claims on
the topic, whether they suit my views or not. The examples of people who
have changed sexual orientation indicate that it is not entirely fixed in
all cases.
> The difference between innate and environmental influences becomes blurred
in the case of chemicals, including some popular pollutants, that impact
sexuality of animals. These chemicals are common enough and pervasive
enough in their effects that human impacts are likely, though not proven.
Although someone affected by prenatal or childhood exposure to these is
almost certainly a victim of circumstances, the ultimate cause would be
preventable harmful activities on the part of other humans.
> Inclination to sin is also innate, so whether or not one is born
homosexual does not tell us if it is acceptable. An innate inclination to
homosexuality could be considered an innate, wrongful urge that must be
controlled or defeated, or a genetic disease that should be treated, or part
of normal variation. Science can't tell us which, if any, of these is

        2 things are being conflated here. You're dealing with the 2d - why
do some persons have a non-volitional homosexual orientation. That is
indeed a difficult question & one to which we don't have any conclusive

        But the prior question is, do some persons have such an
orientation - i.e., one which they have not consciously chosen but which
began to become clear to them from the time that their sexual desires
started to manifest themselves? As much as scientists are properly wary of
"anecdotal data" - reports by untrained observers in uncontrolled
situations - I think here we cannot simply dismiss such reports. I.e.,
while we need to examine such claims critically, we have to take seriously
the ways in which people speak about their own experience. & if we do that
it seems that a small percentage of the population does have such a
homosexual orientation.

        (I was taken to task as being unscientific such statements about
anecdotal data that I'd made in a column but the critic didn't know what he
was talking about. Psychologists can't just dismiss everything patients say
about their experiences because they didn't take place under laboratory
conditions. & even in the natural sciences anecdotal data sometimes turns
out to be true: For a long time astronomers rejected claims that stones
fell from the sky as superstition, but finally had to recognize that there
are meteorite falls.)

        Given that there is non-volitional homosexual orientation, how are
their sexual desires to be "controlled or defeated"? As I pointed out in an
earlier post, heterosexuals can marry. The Reformers pointed out in
connection with the marriage of priests that celibacy is not a gift given to
all. If homosexuals can't have recognized unions and if they can't be
expected to be celibate, what then?

Received on Wed Jun 9 22:59:50 2004

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