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The "Ex-gay" movement.

post #1 of 204
Thread Starter 
I'd like to open up a thread about the topic of homosexuality, specifically dealing with honest data and scientific evidence about whether homosexuality can be successfully treated/cured.

This has been discussed in the past, but thus far it's been done in off-topic remarks in threads about other specific issues.

So let's hear it. what are the lies and what is the truth? What is the evidence supported by scientific data?

Can we be de-gayed?

I'll start.

Love In Action Co-Founder John Evans Unveils Powerful Letter Rebuking 'Ex-Gay' Ministries

"There are more scriptures dealing with divorce than homosexuality, yet, today, Christians give each other the freedom of personal interpretation regarding divorce."

"The Church has been wrong in the past regarding other issues and I'm sure there will be others before Jesus returns." (My emphasis)
post #2 of 204
I think people should strive for happiness.
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post #3 of 204
Well said Kevin.

I don't know of any studies, but I'm skeptical of the idea that a truely homosexual can be turned into a heterosexual or the the other way around.

Obviously if there are truely bisexuals (and I think there are, but based on that other recent thread others don't accept it) then they have more flexability.

The human brain is complicated. We can do a lot with will power to overcome instinct and learned behavior. I'm sure that some homosexuals given strong persuasions to live a heterosexual lifestyle will make the switch. Whether they and their partners are happy I don't know. Another way of looking at this is all those homosexuals that lived a heterosexual life until one day after XX years of marriage they said guess what I'm gay. So I'm sure it can happen the other way around.

Regardless, my guess is that these changes are mostly due to cultural pressures rather than following one's biological leanings.
post #4 of 204
I don't know, if someone didn't want to be homosexual, and making them happy would be hetero, I would be all for anything that could make them happy.

Vice versa too.
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post #5 of 204
Can a gay man have intercourse with a woman? Yes. Does he want to? No.

Can a gay man force himself to live in denial? Happens all the time.

Same application goes for lesbians.
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post #6 of 204
Thumbs up to Ke^in.

Since I don´t give much to the gene stuff (or at most is a factor that together with the social factor decides our sexual preferences without being the deciding factor) I believe that gayness can be "unlearned". Sexuality is in my view a combination of social factors interacting with the psychic. And just as you can learn to be Christian, Scientologist or atheist (and "unlearn" it as well) the same goes for sexuality. None of this of course occurs on a conscious level. It works behind our backs. And none is more natural than the other, some things just more in line with culture and the beliefs of most people than others.

But this dives right into an argument I never will learn to understand. A lot of US liberals will defend the idea that your sexuality is genetic with their life while the cultural conservatives will do the same defending the idea that sexuality is a choice. You do NOT have this debate here in europe, at least not in Scandinavia. I would estimate that my work place and my faculty at Uni have about a third homosexuals (funny little statistic: my last three direct superiors have all been lesbians) and it have never been an issue among any of the two groups.

Of course I know why its such a hot topic. If its a choice you can choose differently, if its genetic you can´t change it. So what part of science you believe in is dependent of your political view. Which, of course, is unscientific.

BUT its also a moral lie. Its a pseudo discussion. The real discussion is NOT scientific but this: Is there anything wrong with the sexuality of gays (and subsequently should it be changed)? The social conservative side believes it is while the liberal side believes it is not. This whole "scientific" debate divert the real issues and I have never figured out how the two groups decided to take on the "wrong" discussion with eachother. I think its treacherous not to go into the discussion airing your real arguments. And that goes for both groups.

And yes I know a lot of homosexuals will throw themselves over me and say "you know nothing. If a homosexual could change his or hers sexuality they would have done it long time ago because its hard to live in a hetero-dominant society as homo". Before you do that, read the post again carefully.
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post #7 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by Northgate
Can a gay man have intercourse with a woman? Yes. Does he want to? No.

Can a gay man force himself to live in denial? Happens all the time.

Same application goes for lesbians.

Yes.

But that really don´t touch the issue does it?
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post #8 of 204
WRT the original post: What the linked page describes is the equivalent to re-education camps so popular in SE asian communist countries 40 years ago. If you condemn those you have to condemn what these christian groups does. Its inhuman to regard another human being as a computer that needs reprogramming and "block outs" of "bad programs".

1984 and A Clockwork Orange, here we come.
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post #9 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
WRT the original post: What the linked page describes is the equivalent to re-education camps so popular in SE asian communist countries 40 years ago. If you condemn those you have to condemn what these christian groups does. Its inhuman to regard another human being as a computer that needs reprogramming and "block outs" of "bad programs".

1984 and A Clockwork Orange, here we come.

Having just re-united with my daughter after she went to a more mild version of one of these re-programming schools (not ex-gay, just troubled teen - and it worked very well - she is through all her troubles and seems un-scarred), I thought that I would respond with the following:

- What exactly is child rearing, if not reprogramming? You set up a feedback loop to reprogram your child every time they break the rules.

- What is prision, if not attempted reprogramming? The reason that the public rebuked the government in a clockwork orange was the inclusion of the music trigger - I don't think that they were objecting to the violence prohibition.

- There are a wide variety of these camps and schools, with a spectrum of "brainwashing severity". Some are very mild, most are for drug treatment. Do you object to teen drug treatment?

Having said that - I think that gayness is not a choice, so the parents of these gay teens are putting their kids between a rock and a hard place.
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post #10 of 204
I think we should bring back normality,better morals and whatever. Just because there are folks who have no morals doesnt mean we should let govt push it as normal. Say what you want but its not normal behavior. Its like Gambling but govt is pushing that also. Id rather Govt legalize weed before gayism which by the way doesnt go very far in creating the next tax payer.
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post #11 of 204
First of all, not being able to control who you "love" is nonsense. People become monogamous in marriage, which is not "natural", especially for men. No one reasonably expects married people to act uncontrollably -- or rather writhe in lust and agony when they meet someone they "feel" is more attractive to their current mate. And sometimes that impulse very strong, very, very pervasive, but we control that impulse most of the time. You tell yourself no, because if you apply the "just want to be happy" criterion, you're going to need an attorney, unless your mate is particularly broad minded. Most of your life will be a time when you are controlling very powerful sexual emotions -- this is only a question of what criteria you choose.

So I find the "I have a sexual desire, and I need to fulfill it, or I will become X or Y" is really nonsense.

Second, that ministries see homosexual behavior as sinful/destructive, etc. and try to proselytize people away from that lifestyle is natural. The poisoning the well technique of finding the failures, and posting screen grabs of A Clockwork Orange isn't addressing anything other than a collective paranoia.

and third:
Quote:
Originally posted by tonton
"There are more scriptures dealing with divorce than homosexuality, yet, today, Christians give each other the freedom of personal interpretation regarding divorce."

....is absolutely correct. And quite frankly, until the evangelicals, etc., who have reduced the Christian life to a mystical relationship with a cosmic penpal, whose cultural trianing for men consists of the intellectual equivalent of the The Nashville Network, who put a three-bar, minor-chord, swooning praise chorus in place of systematic theology, who can't be bothered to do anything else than play with themselves rather than lead by example, need to lead, follow, or get the heck out of the way, because there is nothing worse than a phony, preachy hypocrite.

People coming to the church selling a weekend marriage seminars, like 48 hours of pep talks and "date night" will cure 36 years of drinking out of the ESPN toiletbowl and give them a cultural purchase that they can live with. All the while the evangelicals have a poorer record in marriage than most other groups.

I get too irritated to even post about this.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #12 of 204
It seems kind of wierd to me that Christians have rejected pretty much the whole book of Leviticus except for the "don't sleep with men" part.

Isn't that kind of over-selective? Leviticus contains a bunch of rules that worked 3000 years ago (i.e. produce as many children as possible, because we need them to survive) - but don't really seem to apply to the current day.

A Christian once told me that no sin is greater in they eyes of God than any other sin, and Leviticus has rules that have been broken by pretty much every American Evangelist - so you are all going to Hell. ha ha
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post #13 of 204
nevermind
eye
bee
BEE
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eye
bee
BEE
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post #14 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
But this dives right into an argument I never will learn to understand. A lot of US liberals will defend the idea that your sexuality is genetic with their life while the cultural conservatives will do the same defending the idea that sexuality is a choice. You do NOT have this debate here in europe, at least not in Scandinavia.

So, everyone simply agrees on it, or you just don't even think about the question? I think it's a fascinating scientific question. And BTW, not all liberals believe that it's genetic - there's a difference between it being genetic and it being beyond choice. For example, it could be determined pre-natally. I think liberals agree that it's not a choice, but they don't necessarily agree on how it's determined.

In any case, since you've criticized Americans for having this debate, let me offer you this critique: Many people don't like the "gene stuff" because it violates their world view, their moral view, and so reason backwards from "I don't like it" to "it must not be true." But it is true. The evidence for the "gene stuff" (in general for behavior, not just sexual orientation) is overwhelming. You simply have to be immune to evidence to not acknowledge it.

So you don't like the gene stuff, and conclude that sexual orientation can be unlearned. Well, you don't have to deny the role of genetics to believe that sexual orientation can be unlearned. Handedness is probably 100% genetic, and yet left-handed people can unlearn it and become right handed.

Similarly, I'm sure that with a strong enough "therapy" a gay person could be made straight. The question is 1) is it right to do so and 2) at what cost to the person could it be done?
post #15 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
- so you are all going to Hell. ha ha

damn

(my point exactly)

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #16 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
So, everyone simply agrees on it, or you just don't even think about the question? I think it's a fascinating scientific question.

Its not a political hot topic. Live and let live is the attitude towards social issues like this one. And at the same time the scientific question about choice, genetics, pre-natally, social factors and/or a mix of two or more factors doesn´t exist in the general public and certainly not part of a POLITICAL debate. Againits the mix of the political and scientific I find telling.

Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
I think liberals agree that it's not a choice, but they don't necessarily agree on how it's determined.

And that I find very worring. Even if I agree (it not being a concious choice) there is something wrong with the scientific debate if liberals (as a group) believe it not to be a choice, if you by that mean that non-liberals have another attitude towards that questions. And it doesn´t matter if you only think its libeals that are smart enough to "see the truth" or that only non liberals have a more strategic attitude of using science than liberals.

Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
In any case, since you've criticized Americans for having this debate, let me offer you this critique: Many people don't like the "gene stuff" because it violates their world view, their moral view, and so reason backwards from "I don't like it" to "it must not be true."

The same goes for the other side, thats my whole argument. Keep the science out of the political debate. Would it matter to anyone of the social liberals if they knew it was a choice? I surely hope not. Then why make into a debate about that?

Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
But it is true. The evidence for the "gene stuff" (in general for behavior, not just sexual orientation) is overwhelming. You simply have to be immune to evidence to not acknowledge it.

WHen you have a hammer all your problems are nails.

Science is beyond that. A behavioural psychologist, a psychoanalytic, an analytical psychologist, a biologist adn a sociologist would all come to different conclusions and they could all back it up with data.[/B][/QUOTE]

Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
Similarly, I'm sure that with a strong enough "therapy" a gay person could be made straight. The question is 1) is it right to do so

Excatly. A political argument, not a scientific one.
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post #17 of 204
Also, this may be more American reductionism, a la "I have a problem, so I'll just hop down to the doctor for some prozac and maybe a weekend seminar that will nulliy several decades of set behavior."

People don't learn from experience, they learn through a spiritual process, so while a notable number of people are leaving the gay movement, I'd have to say it's more self-directed than not. If there are going to be reorientation programs, they would probably be something self-initiated, more than the bamboo shoots under the fingernail appraoch.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #18 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
People don't learn from experience, they learn through a spiritual process...

Going against centuries of wisdom there aren't you?

For the record, you are an idiot if you honestly believe that, philosophically, intellectually, physiologically, and chemically...
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post #19 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by hardeeharhar
Going against centuries of wisdom there aren't you?

For the record, you are an idiot if you honestly believe that, philosophically, intellectually, physiologically, and chemically...

Hmmmm, care to explain Las Vegas?

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #20 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Hmmmm, care to explain Las Vegas?

Moral decadence.
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post #21 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by hardeeharhar
Moral decadence.

Yes, but that goes right back to a spiritual decision.\

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #22 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
Its not a political hot topic. Live and let live is the attitude towards social issues like this one. And at the same time the scientific question about choice, genetics, pre-natally, social factors and/or a mix of two or more factors doesn´t exist in the general public and certainly not part of a POLITICAL debate. Againits the mix of the political and scientific I find telling.

My view is that the "choice" question isn't necessary for the socially liberal view - choice or not, the legal/moral answer would still be the same for us. But it is necessary for the conservative side. If God made homosexuals, then their argument is in big trouble.

I think there are two reasons its an issue in the US: 1) the dominance of Christian conservatives in our social discourse, and 2) the he-said/she-said nature of how our media and culture treats debate. Political debates, even when they have an empirical component, are always presented as having two equally valid sides.

Quote:
And that I find very worring. Even if I agree (it not being a concious choice) there is something wrong with the scientific debate if liberals (as a group) believe it not to be a choice, if you by that mean that non-liberals have another attitude towards that questions. And it doesn´t matter if you only think its libeals that are smart enough to "see the truth" or that only non liberals have a more strategic attitude of using science than liberals.

It is fucked up. It's the same as the evolution debate - one side simply isn't in line with the evidence, and the media/culture is so relativistic that both sides are simply treated as equally valid.
Quote:
WHen you have a hammer all your problems are nails.

Science is beyond that. A behavioural psychologist, a psychoanalytic, an analytical psychologist, a biologist adn a sociologist would all come to different conclusions and they could all back it up with data.

I don't think it's just hammer-nail. Different fields may have different conclusions, but if they have inconsistent conclusions, someone is wrong. The truth is out there, Anders. The sociologists and behavioral psychologists before them who believed that everything in life is determined by our environment are simply wrong. The evidence is in - we are born with preferences and personalities and traits that play a role in our lives.
post #23 of 204
Brussel: What is your brance of education?
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post #24 of 204
Just to throw a wrench into things for tonton, there was a study published a while back by a researcher sympathetic to gays. The study showed that many people undergoing "conversion therapy" were, in fact, converted.

The criticism of the study is that he did phone interviews with people who claimed to have gone through the therapy, most of whom were referred by an evangelical Christian conversion therapy group. So they clearly might have had an agenda.

Here's an article about the study, and another here.
post #25 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
Brussel: What is your brance of education?

I'm in psychology, why do you ask?
post #26 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Yes, but that goes right back to a spiritual decision.\

Are you saying that people are learning to go to Las Vegas after a spiritual decision?
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post #27 of 204
The reason I ask is because where you sit is often where you stand.

I know different psychologists, mostly former co-students, who disagrees on the general issue about the role of genetics with eachother. And I see a trend in at what point they studied and who their professors were and how they stand on the issues.

And as a soon-to-be sociologist () I could present data that suggest that social bagground and events correlate with what others ascribe to genetics, like sexuality.

When I say that I don´t give much for the genetic explanations its the idea that genes determine us. The argument quickly becomes that we have a true core and social experiences and society itself make us "hide" this. This is a misunderstanding of the role of the social. Genes of course plays a role, just not a deciding one. Our traits is a combination of hardware and software and we would be nothing without one or the other.
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post #28 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by hardeeharhar
Are you saying that people are learning to go to Las Vegas after a spiritual decision?

I wouldn't say you have to 'learn' how to like gambling, anymore than you 'learn' how to kick the cat or yell at the kids.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #29 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
The argument quickly becomes that we have a true core and social experiences and society itself make us "hide" this. This is a misunderstanding of the role of the social. Genes of course plays a role, just not a deciding one. Our traits is a combination of hardware and software and we would be nothing without one or the other.

I read a book about this - "The blank slate" recently. I was under the impression that we had a pretty good handle on nurture vs nature due to studies of seperated identical twins (and genetics plays a significant role in not only personality, but also other things like who you vote for and what kind of ice cream you like).
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post #30 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
I wouldn't say you have to 'learn' how to like gambling, anymore than you 'learn' how to kick the cat or yell at the kids.

I actually think you do learn how to kick the cat and yell at the kids... Those are both experiencially derived learned behaviors...
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post #31 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
I read a book about this - "The blank slate" recently. I was under the impression that we had a pretty good handle on nurture vs nature due to studies of seperated identical twins (and genetics plays a significant role in not only personality, but also other things like who you vote for and what kind of ice cream you like).

ice cream taste, maybe. who they vote for!?! not a chance in hell.
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post #32 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by hardeeharhar
I actually think you do learn how to kick the cat and yell at the kids... Those are both experiencially derived learned behaviors...

I wouldn't say that, I have several children they all came with their own wills in varying degrees "incompatible" with the rest of the world.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #33 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
The reason I ask is because where you sit is often where you stand.

I know different psychologists, mostly former co-students, who disagrees on the general issue about the role of genetics with eachother. And I see a trend in at what point they studied and who their professors were and how they stand on the issues.

Spoken like a true sociologist - there's always some social force at the root.

I've noticed that it is conflicting for psychologists. One of the cornerstones of behaviorism is the belief that all behavior is determined by the environment, and behaviorism's impact is still strong in psychology. Also, most psychologists are liberals and the idea that we are born with genetic predispositions doesn't fit well with that world view. There have also been racists and eugenecists that have talked about genetics, and so any talk of it is viewed with suspicion.

Quote:
When I say that I don´t give much for the genetic explanations its the idea that genes determine us. The argument quickly becomes that we have a true core and social experiences and society itself make us "hide" this. This is a misunderstanding of the role of the social. Genes of course plays a role, just not a deciding one. Our traits is a combination of hardware and software and we would be nothing without one or the other.

Yeah, anyone who says genes determine our traits 100% for all but a few physical traits is wrong-headed. But there have been a lot of people who've wanted to deny that any traits are genetically influenced at all. Most of the traits that behavioral geneticists look at are influenced by genes no more than about 50%. I think sexual orientation is probably lower than that.
post #34 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
I read a book about this - "The blank slate" recently. I was under the impression that we had a pretty good handle on nurture vs nature due to studies of seperated identical twins (and genetics plays a significant role in not only personality, but also other things like who you vote for and what kind of ice cream you like).

That's probably the best review of all that literature. Just a note though: most of the studies aren't from separated twins, because they're hard to come by. Most just compare identical twins to fraternal twins - to the extent that identical twins are more similar, that suggests a role of genes.
post #35 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
I wouldn't say that, I have several children they all came with their own wills in varying degrees "incompatible" with the rest of the world.

I on the other hand, know that I have a proclivity to yell at significant others because my father yelled, hence I learned the trait...
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post #36 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by New
ice cream taste, maybe. who they vote for!?! not a chance in hell.

Check out this study. They found that political attitudes were influenced by genes to some extent, but you're probably right about voting, because they found that political party identification was only weakly related to genes. I can believe, though, that a roughly conservative or liberal mindset is in your genes.
post #37 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by hardeeharhar
I on the other hand, know that I have a proclivity to yell at significant others because my father yelled, hence I learned the trait...

Or you could have inherited some aggressiveness.
post #38 of 204
Into the at, for.
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Into the at, for.
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post #39 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
Check out this study. They found that political attitudes were influenced by genes to some extent, but you're probably right about voting, because they found that political party identification was only weakly related to genes. I can believe, though, that a roughly conservative or liberal mindset is in your genes.

There seems to be grave differences in how american and european scientists and scholars view gene-studies.

My first reaction to the study is that it is totally laughable. To me it says nothing about political attitudes at all. You might be able to deduct that the behavioral patterns of identical twins are more similar than with others. That's credible, their brains are more similar than others. Their reactions will tend to be more simmilar. But to say that genes influnence how we feel aboout death penalty? ludicrous!
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post #40 of 204
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
Or you could have inherited some aggressiveness.

I don't think so... When asked if I thought it was ok to yell at a significant other, I would have responded yes until a few years ago when I realized it didn't do anything...
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