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Old 12-31-2006, 06:38 AM   #1
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Political Interference In Science

While Bush appointees are making the Earth a few billion years younger and eliminating the Big Bang from NASA publications you get a few stories like this
SCIENTISTS are conducting experiments to change the sexuality of “gay” sheep in a programme that critics fear could pave the way for breeding out homosexuality in humans.

The technique being developed by American researchers adjusts the hormonal balance in the brains of homosexual rams so that they are more inclined to mate with ewes.

It raises the prospect that pregnant women could one day be offered a treatment to reduce or eliminate the chance that their offspring will be homosexual. Experts say that, in theory, the “straightening” procedure on humans could be as simple as a hormone supplement for mothers-to-be, worn on the skin like an anti-smoking nicotine patch.

The research, at Oregon State University in the city of Corvallis and at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, has caused an outcry. Martina Navratilova, the lesbian tennis player who won Wimbledon nine times, and scientists and gay rights campaigners in Britain have called for the project to be abandoned.

Navratilova defended the “right” of sheep to be gay. She said: “How can it be that in the year 2006 a major university would host such homophobic and cruel experiments?” She said gay men and lesbians would be “deeply offended” by the social implications of the tests.

But the researchers argue that the work is valid, shedding light on the “broad question” of what determines sexual orientation. They insist the work is not aimed at “curing” homosexuality.

Approximately one ram in 10 prefers to mount other rams rather than mate with ewes, reducing its value to a farmer. Initially, the publicly funded project aimed to improve the productivity of herds.

The scientists have been able to pinpoint the mechanisms influencing the desires of “male-oriented” rams by studying their brains. The animals’ skulls are cut open and electronic sensors are attached to their brains.

By varying the hormone levels, mainly by injecting hormones into the brain, they have had “considerable success” in altering the rams’ sexuality, with some previously gay animals becoming attracted to ewes.

Professor Charles Roselli, the Health and Science University biologist leading the research, defended the project.

He said: “In general, sexuality has been under-studied because of political concerns. People don’t want science looking into what determines sexuality.

“It’s a touchy issue. In fact, several studies have shown that people who believe homosexuality is biologically based are less homophobic than people who think that this orientation is acquired.”

The research is being peer-reviewed by a panel of scientists in America, demonstrating that it is being taken seriously by the academic community.

Potentially, the techniques could one day be adapted for human use, with doctors perhaps being able to offer parents pre-natal tests to determine the likely sexuality of offspring or a hormonal treatment to change the orientation of a child.

At least it's practical concern.

For livestock I don't see the ethical dillemma, if humans could ever have such procedures done then I would be in favour of it being elective; it seems that much of the criticism is rightly based on such technology being used on people without their consent, but if it is going to be out there then isn't there an imperitive to make sure that it is used ethically.

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Old 01-01-2007, 04:07 AM   #2
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As I understand it, it wouldn't need to be elective (and will fail as such) in humans, were it possible, because gay men and women are no different to heterosexuals in that they are what they are. I'd not choose to change my sexuality, as would very few, I suspect. This thinking that gay men and women might like to choose is ludicrous. It is the bigots in heterosexuals who so graciously build loopholes by saying something would be purely 'elective' when in reality, it is straights who need to do the changing - of attitude.

This still reeks of the implication that being gay is wrong and flawed and needs changing. When in fucks name will society stop trying to find ways to cure something which isn't broken?

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Old 01-01-2007, 04:30 AM   #3
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Indiviudals can accept who we are, maybe society can one day accept people for who they are, but if ever we reached a world where indiviudals had such control over themselves.

Now the argument about the pressure brought to bear on family members who are gay by their own relatives is where it really sits; such pressure makes the concept of it being elective open to criticism.
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Old 01-01-2007, 08:52 AM   #4
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I could definitely see it being an issue...bigoted straights could use it as an argument for homosexuality being a "choice", because, you know, "you could always take that 'straight' pill".

Interesting about the sheep, I wasn't aware of that. Kinda punches a hole in the whole "gays choose to be 'that' way" drivel the bigots love to spout.
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:28 AM   #5
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I partly grin over this, because this is ultimately a latent admission that "homosexuality" is not a choice. Such research, unfortunately, is inevitable, as scientists have long stated that it is their job to see if something is possible, no matter how offensive it is; and they leave the issue of ethics to politicians.

However, as I have studied, sexuality is believed to be fixed by the third month of fetal development--after which it is forever unchangeable. Merely injecting a hormone, for instance, is not going to change an intersexed person; and I ultimately have my doubts as to whether any hormone injection or patch can affect anyone after that third month. But that's where I see mentions of possibly offering pregnant women hormone supplements.

Ultimately, this ends up seeming like additional drivel for the bigots to spout, but, as we've seen before, it's not like it takes anything substantive for them to spew such crap anyway.
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