Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What science has to say on the etiology of homosexuality (Part 3): How much influence nurture has on sexuality?

In the final installment of this 3 part series, we shall examine closely the effect nurture has on sexuality. Or more specifically, that question we ask is this: can you actually raise a boy in such a way that he becomes sexually attracted to men when he grows up?

To find out, let's take a look at what happens when boys who were born genetically male (that is they possess a Y chromosome) but unfortunately had gender reassignment surgery to be raised as females due to medical reasons.

The following study from the Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine is a classic, in my opinion.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

it seems a bit of a stretch to conclude (based on this study) that child nuturing has no influence on sexuality in my opinion.

firstly the study did not set out to change the "victims" sexuality (victim because i think some serious ethical lines have been crossed)

secondly if you do not even know whether a child can be taught sexual preference then how does one know the steps that are required to change their sexual alignment? maybe the steps that were required were not carried out?

thirdly these kind of experiments cannot disprove the possibility of something not being/happening, a "black swan " event.

So its still not definitive for me.

I must be stupid said...

Hi there,

On your first point, i disagree with that. If bringing up a male child as a female for decades is not considered an attempt to change their sexuality, I wonder what is.

On your second point, if you have decided that the "steps required to change their sexual aligment" are unknown, then any experiment would be considered invalid in your opinion, rendering the hypothesis that sexuality is malleable unfalsifiable.

Finally on your third point regarding black swans, do note that in the past when it was decided that black swans did not exist as they were not observed, it was reasonable to conclude that they did not exist based on the following lines of logic



Many attempts to find black swans all around the world were made.

No black swans were found.

Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that black swans did not exist.




However now that black swans were found, we can conclude now that they exist. No experiments can disprove the possiblility of anything happening. But then, would you consider that there's a distinct possibility that the gravity force on earth might act as a repulsive force on you?

Anonymous said...

hmm. i saw the first point as being that the experiment (well not really experiment more like case study) was gender realignment not sexual preference. I will accept though, that that(gender realignment) probably includes sexual preferences. So i suppose my point is a little weak.

on the second pt, a single study is not enough, with a series of experiments you could probably narrow down what doesn't seem to have an effect. or at least to some degree of probability. However it's kinda effy ethically.

third point - was trying to say the same thing as you (about the black swans) and thus that this study doesn't disprove that sexual preference are malleable.

I must be stupid said...

Hi anon,

If you read more carefully, somewhere around page 9 of that report, it was reported that there were 20 other such cases with similar outcomes. Perhaps that might explain the differences in our opinions.

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