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REPLY #1 TO
"HOMOSEXUALITY AND LIFESTYLE ISSUES"



Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).

It would seem, however, that there is a growing segment of the population who are attempting to "express themselves" in ways that are very hard to justify as being anything other than detrimental -- both to themselves and to society, in general. In and of itself, this would be unfortunate, but not problematic. However, it is becoming popular for such individuals (or the groups who support them) to target the general public as being "bigoted", "prejudiced", "discriminatory", "prudish", "stuffy", or just plain "wrong" for not completely condoning whatever they choose to do. In the language of political correctness, what they promote is called "sensitivity".
(R) Hi again Mark... in the spirit of debate i offer these counterpoints:
I think the burden of evidence falls upon your shoulder to proove, or at least pontificate about, how an individual or society is harmed through same sex behavior.

(MB) There is a considerable body of evidence that shows that homosexuals have a much shorter expected lifespan than heterosexuals, that they have far more medical problems, and that they suffer more from psychological disorders. The primary source of the spread of AIDS in this country has been homosexual behavior. In addition, the entire lifestyle tends to promote irresponsibility and societal upheaval.


(R) If you assert that alienation or castigation of an individual by society is a consequence, then you merely are commenting on societies attitudes under a certain climate. Alienation or castigation of homosexuals does not have to necessarily exist. For example, if society "agreed" that homosexuality was without repungnancy and a natural expression of human behavior, then widespread acceptance would be common. This propostion, i supsect, begs a deeper question. Why does society find homosexual behavior immoral?
(MB) Sexual instincts are among the strongest and most deeply-ingrained of any that we possess. Homosexuality is in direct opposition to those instincts and can't help but provoke strong feelings in opposition. Those strong feelings are what lead to the general attitude of society against homosexuality. Whether that attitude is "right" or "wrong", it's hard to say that it doesn't have to exist. No amount of political correctness can possibly eradicate it. Tacit "acceptance" won't eradicate it, either.


(R) Here in my own state, Washington, i was the unfortunate witness of a defeated proposition, one that would prevent employeer discrimination of homosexuals. The same sentiment is commonly expressed nationwide. Surely this is an example of discrimination which you have seemingly waved off as ok, since the majority of society is of this opinion (example of widespread acceptance of slavery provided here, the antebellum south, at no extra charge. can we assume then that discrimination of blacks was ethically sound?)
(MB) I'm not saying that overt discrimination against anybody is acceptable. Legislation that would specifically permit it is wrong. Please don't confuse opposition to the behavior of individuals or groups with discrimination against them.


(R) i'm of the firm opinion that advocates of same sex rights call a spade a spade when referring to anti-gay legislation. It is indeed discriminatory. Nor do i believe that advocates desire "sensitivity," just tolerance and equal rights under the law.
(MB) Such laws are, indeed, discriminatory when they serve no rational purpose. "Equal rights" should be granted to all, however, I doubt that that is the beginning and ending of the gay lobby's cause. Promoting it is an excellent way to begin to sway public sentiment, to be sure.


Since Man produces offspring by male-female sexual reproduction, any gene that would tend to reduce or eliminate a given individual's chances to reproduce would be detrimental. Since two homosexual individuals are extremely unlikely to mate and produce offspring, there is very little chance for their genes to be passed along to future generations.
(R) This point is well taken, but it assumes that if a "homosexuality gene" exists, it always expresses itself. This, as evidence suggests, is not always the case.
(MB) Whether it expresses itself or not, such a gene would still be passed along to offspring.


(R) I know of several instances where a homosexual man engaged in a heterosexaul relationship and produced children, only then to come to terms with his sexuality and leave the relationship. Why would a genetically determined homosexual practice heterosexuality?
(MB) What's to stop him? He would still be physically capable of doing so -- if only to "keep up appearances".


(R) Remember, there are strong societal forces that act on and determine human behavior. Alienation and discrimination are certainly powerful, negative reinforcers that shape behavior.
(MB) Absolutely. However, those forces have no bearing whatsoever upon genetics or the physical ability to reproduce.


(R) Also, i'm aware of several studies that point towards a biological reason for homosexuality. A study conducted by a New Jersy physician on the corpses of homosexual men indicated a size "anomoly" in the hippocampus region.
(MB) There has certainly been an ongoing effort to find the so-called "homosexuality gene". Such a gene would lend credence to the claim that homosexuals "can't help what they are" -- as if that would somehow make their behavior more acceptable to general society. The same tactic is practiced by apologists for criminal behavior, alcoholism, and other societal ills. So far, there has been no consensus as to whether or not such genes actually exist. Most "discoveries" of them have been closer to special-interest group spins on inconclusive data (or even outright fraud) then to any medical breakthroughs.


(R) Also, observations of homosexual behavior occuring elsewhere in the animal kingdom (specifically chimps, other primates and rats)might offer evidence that there is a biological determination for this, not just the excersise of abstract thought and freedom of will. Certainly no clear answers, but the process of science has only begun to work on the problem.
(MB) Correct. What is often ignored in the use of primate examples of homosexual behavior is that few, if any, of those creatures eschew heterosexual reproduction. Their homosexual behaviors amount to little more than games rather than a conscious or genetic lifestyle preference.


(R) For my own self, anectodotal evidence is enough. Slack by scientific standards, yes, but like Stephen Gould, I do my best not to ignore a "trend." Being the acquaintance of several homosexuals, i heavily consider their personal testimony. They insist that they have no choice, rather it is their natural inclination, just as mine is for heterosexuality. Short of being a solopsist, how can i reasonablly confront such proclamations?
(MB) Consider that such explanations didn't become a strategy of acceptance until recently. Also, if it wasn't a choice, why would there be any active effort to recruit or convert people to the homosexual lifestyle?


(R) Surely their assertion of a natural inclination towards homosexuality is as intellectually valid as my own claimed tendency towards heterosexuality.
(MB) Individuals will always come up with some sort of rationalization (intellectually valid or not) for their own behavior. If they have a strong lobby group supporting them, the "party line" of the lobby group will tend to become incorporated in those rationalizations.


(R) Why would anyone "choose" a lifestyle that has so much negative, social stigma attached?
(MB) The same question could be asked of devotees of any number of things from cult religions to drugs to unusual sexual fetishes. If social stigma was of primary importance to them, it's rather unlikely that they would act as they do. How many of us do at least one thing that society might not see eye-to-eye with?


(R) Tragically enough, many homosexuals have committed suicide because they were unable to deal with the guilt, self loathing, alienation, and hatred conferred on them by social standards of right and wrong. In light of this evidence, i'm forced to conclude that homosexuality has origins beyond mere conscious thought.
(MB) People commit suicide for all sorts of reasons, both strong and trivial. Heck, people have committed suicide because they've been turned down for dates or because their team lost the big game. Suicide doesn't validate the reasons behind it. It only suggests emotional weakness.


(R) Again, we must ask the question...Why does society find homosexuality immoral? Many, if asked this, would respond that the answer is simple: God declared it as such. We both know that this is rot, but there has never been a greater influence on human culture and society than the Church. Present day anti-homosexual sentiment is a moralistic hold over from early proclmations of this powerful social engine. But why did humanity ascribe a mythical god with a disdainment for homosexuality? Beats the hell out of me.. xenophobia, maybe.
(MB) When the early Hebrews defined their God and wrote the Bible, there was no such concept as "political correctness" and little, if any, tolerance for individual deviation from societal norms. However, this is a reflection of instinctive attitudes towards sexuality, not an imposition of them. Of course, one can overcome instinct with reason, but that would still neither change nor justify a given behavior.


(R) Again, no easy answers. Those of us who can find no ethical or reasonable objections to homosexuality (don't give me the will of the people thing again.. see slavery example) are compelled to accept and protect it under the law, as we do all other expressions of socially accepted human behavior.
(MB) Granted. However, sexuality is such a basic instinct, that society's attitudes towards certain expressions of it are unlikely to change quickly. With so many negative side-effects of homosexuality that have nothing to do with "morality", it will be even more difficult for it to gain widespread acceptance. The gay lobby might be able to gain tolerance for it, however. People can and will always criticize, but they are also willing to look the other way.



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