Monday, June 06, 2005

Fruit Flies

Gentle readers beware! The following article contains graphic descriptions of Fruit Fly Sex!

Single Gene Controls Sexual Orientation of Fruit Flies

This is an interesting article, mostly because it repeatedly uses the words "sex" and "fruit flies". On the other hand, it contains some particularly nasty material, including the following statement from from Dr. Michael Weiss of Case Western Reserve University:

"Hopefully this will take the discussion about sexual preferences out of the realm of morality and put it in the realm of science."

What? That doesn't even make any sense.

The discussion about sexual preferences can't be "taken out of the realm of morality." Science can ask questions about the mechanisms behind sexual behavior, but the rightness or wrongness of such behavior is inherently a moral question.

So if you get into a discussion about homosexuality anytime soon, please disregard the wild goose of "genetics vs. environment". If eating plums is immoral, then I shouldn't eat them, regardless of whether I want to. Same goes for kissing my wife, kissing your wife, playing kickball, reading books, feeding the hungry, or having homosexual sex.


Kyle said...

Now this is a conversation that I can jump on board to. I get tired of economic talk. Sorry.

I agree that people are always going to have an opinion about sexual orientation and its morality. But that isn't how I took that quote. I didn't read the whole article or know the context, but I saw the scientist as saying that he hopes that there can be serious discussion over sexuality in a scientific way and not just morality. Or perhaps people can start understanding that gays are not simply perverts or bad people or damaged socially. That there is a physiological basis for how they feel.

I think that you are right to say that just because I want to do something doesn't make it okay. And just because something seems natural doesn't make it okay. There are many things that separate us from animals and one of those things is the choice to not do something we feel like doing. But, for so long people have denegrated and persecuted gays for feeling a way that they didn't choose to feel. Those who felt this way didn't understand it any better than anyone else, and so they were left feeling alone and crazy and guilty because society said that what they were doing was wierd.

I just watched the movie Kinsey last night. I had done some research based on his findings during college and it's pretty amazing. What he did and the effect he had on how we view sex was pretty amazing. In large part I believe he may be single handedly responsible for the sexual revolution. Whether you think that's a good or bad thing, we aren't so frigid about the discussion, we know more, and because of that people are safer, in better marriages, and have a better overall quality of life if that is thier choice. It has also made sexual release easier to find which could be bad, but help is easier to find, too.

And isn't gay fruit fly redundant. What kind of complex is this study giving the macho fruit flies.

life_of_bryan said...

Great study. And to think...all this time I've wasted, never knowing that there was this huge gay fruit fly population out there that I should be persecuting. I must find a way to somehow instill a paralyzing guilt within them so that they continue to live in the shadows of society, never openly feasting at the nice produce sections with the rest of the "normal" fruit flies.

Paul said...

Hi Matthew -

I'd be interested in your reaction to the "Gay Rights/Marriage" post in my March archives. I think it was before anybody was reading my blog.

It summarizes why I just can't make sense out of arguments against homosexuality. I've come to view it strictly as a human rights issue.

Since "fruitfly" itself is obviously a gay sounding word, and maybe will eventually itself enter the human sexual lexicon, it just makes good sense for there to be gay fruitflies.

FullMentalJackpot said...

It is kinda ironic to me that most homosexuals or homosexual activists point to these studies with myopia for vindication without considering the future implications of what this knowledge will lead to. In this particular case the experimenter is ALTERING the sexuality of the insect. When we completely understand the foundations of homosexual development in humans, people will obviously develop or atleast consider a way to ALTER it.

Fundamentalist and even mildly religious who have disdain for the gay community or lifestyle may possibly support these pharmacological products and these people do generate a lot of offspring: " go forth and multiply". These may be applied during gestation, and we all know that parents make medical decisions for their children. Even non-religious people may consider that it's better for their child to not be traumatized in their youth or have a harder time finding a partner. That possition be somewhat easy for the government to assault because one can argue that the child must make the decision themselves. Might we see an underground or black-market here? However what if there are these chemical interventions for adults ? It's easy to say babies cannot make that decision, but can an adult choose his sexuality without somebody saying to him, no you cannot you must remain homosexual.

Here is a direct quote from "4. The biblical condemnation of all homosexual behaviors would not be compromised or mitigated in the least by such a discovery. The discovery of a biological factor would not change the Bible's moral verdict on homosexual behavior."
I belive you can download the actual mp3 of his sermon about "CURING" homosexuality hoisted on the endeavors of researchers hoping to reveal it's incipience as genetic/developmental noise( environment of the womb.

Even if reversal of the pattern of homosexuality isn't possible for 50 or 100 years with chemical intervention scrutiny of the parents sex cells or of the embyo's genome might become possible eventually. Diagnostic techniques could be developed that would reveal a high liklihood of developing the behavior. Can we apply a double standard here as a society adn say a woman can abort for any reason but not if the baby is gay ? Can we force parents to give birth to their gay child when they discover it will likely be homosexual and they show hesiation?

This very push to gain mainstream acceptance will, if human nature and our constant struggle against inconvenience remains immutable, likely result in homosexuals slipping further and further into the minority. Inevitably , maybe even being eliminated from the population. That is the irony

Matthew said...

Wow, this is a pretty old post to comment on. =)

That's an interesting idea - that mainstreaming homosexual people might actually make homosexuality less common. It seems like you're making a lot of assumptions about the way things will pan out, though.

FullMentalJackpot said...

yeah sorry i didn't realize the date of the post, i found the entry by googling fruit flies and homosexuality because it was in the news lately. The story in question involves deactivating the homosexual response in the insect.

Actually i disagree with the statement that mainstreaming homosexuality will cause a decline in their population. I would say that attempting to mainstream it by pushing for research that explains it's physiological roots will lead to inevitable treatments (possibly). Thus give parents options to either have homosexual children or not.

You might operate under the assumption that human homosexuality will be explained by some biological phenomenon and then no human will consider ways to disrupt or reverse it. That would seem highly unlikely as all it would take is 1 researcher to read the results of the experiment develop a strategy to interfere with it. That might either need further research or an immediate treatment could even become available. It might be that homosexual biochemistry/anatomy is so firewalled and secluded from manipulation that any subtle manipulation would kill or mutilate the individual. I don't believe that's likely.