The Instigator
Spousewontdebate
Pro (for)
Winning
1 Points
The Contender
Henrysmolen
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Is being heterosexual a choice rather than genetically predetermined?

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after 1 vote the winner is...
Spousewontdebate
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/8/2015 Category: People
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 634 times Debate No: 76320
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)

 

Spousewontdebate

Pro

When choosing a companion, a person has the right to choose whomever he or she is attracted to. The same would/should go for choosing a sexual partner of either gender. Once each partner chooses the other, either should be free to decide differently at any point. There can be no scientific data that would be reliable given the potential degree of variability with the passage of time. Attractions, whether of a sexual nature or otherwise are based on preferences through personal experiences, observations and beliefs. Simply finding some genetic correlation that can be tied to a group cannot predict behaviors that are based on conclusions arrived at through personal experiences.
Henrysmolen

Con

As a species, we would die out if it weren't in our nature to find the other sex attractive, and find the same sex unappealing in a sexual manner. If you accept evolution and natural selection, you must accept the fact that people who found their own gender attractive and tried to mate with them would fail to reproduce. The attraction to the opposite gender is an evolved trait to advance our species.
Debate Round No. 1
Spousewontdebate

Pro

Thank you for your thoughtful response.
It is natural to have a sex drive that can be, and is regularly directed toward and results in procreation. However, species maintenance is not the only objective when it comes to sex. To obtain pleasure through sex is an objective that is stated and fulfilled more frequently than is a desire advance the human species. The human species would "die out" if we didn't procreate, period. My argument does not depend on this natural fact, but rather focuses on sexual attraction as it is applied to either gender. I am making the point that behavior is not driven by genetic code, but is based on acquired preferences. I can accept your conclusion that nature provides a built in mechanism for driving us toward procreation, while maintaining that culture drives us toward many attractions that are not dependent on procreation. Sexual activity and attraction in our culture, when not dependent upon a desire to produce offspring, is driven by the perception of attractiveness. We can have a genetic preference for a certain diet that has little to do with what we actually eat. I am not judging the correctness of one's decision to eat the wrong diet or to use sex in an unprescribed way. I am making reference to how gender-preference decisions are arrived at through personal experiences and judgements.
Henrysmolen

Con

Interesting points.
You assert two things in your most recent argument that seem to contradict each other, or at least do not justify each other. "However, species maintenance is not the only objective when it comes to sex. To obtain pleasure through sex is an objective that is stated and fulfilled more frequently than is a desire advance the human species." I don't believe that obtaining pleasure through the sexual act has much to do with actual sexual ATTRACTION. If a guy offers a straight guy felatio, the straight guy can close his eyes and pretend that it is a girl doing it to him, and still receive the same amount of PHYSICAL pleasure to his genitals that he would from a girl. But, the sexual attraction that we feel towards each other, compelling us to form relationships and to have sex is a built in mechanism. I do not disagree that environmental factors such as taboos almost certainly play a role. However, a sexual attraction for more than just physical pleasure and catharsis (which can be obtained by masturbating) comes from an animalistic urge to reproduce, which is only possible with a member of the opposite sex. This point I believe can be reinforced by the fact that homosexuals are in the vast minority, as affirmed by a US census: 7% of women and 8% of men identify as some form of LGBT.
Debate Round No. 2
Spousewontdebate

Pro

A heterosexual is defined as a person who has an attraction to the opposite sex. "Attraction" is the key word. I prefer to focus on what typically drives this attraction. Is it driven by a genetic code or by the personal experiences, cultural influences and conclusions that help to form one's preferences. I can support your side of the discussion that we are designed to reproduce. We might even be pre-programmed to be attracted to the opposite sex. But, how and to what degree does that manifest itself in our existing culture? What about those who are not attracted to the opposite sex? Should we deny that a person has an attraction to the same gender when it, in fact exists. If you were to accept that attraction, would you attribute it to genetics? Probably not. I, likewise would be more apt to attribute opposite sex attraction to genetics but not same sex attraction. I don't believe that same sex attraction is driven by, nor can it be predicted by genetics. This is why I have focused the discussion title on opposite sex attraction. This, naturally brings in the element of species propagation. But, since most sex is recreational, we can move the discussion away from procreation, and focus on cultural attraction. This is what ultimately drives someone toward their preferences. Is culture powerful enough to overcome nature? Can it direct our behavior, our preferences? Absolutely. There are many other examples of this. To think otherwise would suggest that you believe that we live as nature intended while drinking soda, sitting in front of a computer or living in a space station for months at a time.
Henrysmolen

Con

Thank you for your interesting arguments. I'll just jump right in with a quote. "Should we deny that a person has an attraction to the same gender when it, in fact exists." I am not disagreeing that attraction to the same gender exists. It was my understanding that the key point was whether this attraction was genetic or not. You say that you don't think homosexual tendencies and behaviors can be linked to an evolutionary trait, which I think is most obviously true, as they would've died out. But you say that it is culture that overrides our DNA to make us act certain ways. But how, in a culture so homophobic and anti-gay, could someone's genetic drive towards the other gender be overridden so that they go to the same gender? It can't, and is obviously caused by some sort of genetic difference. This is why people can be in the closet their whole lives: obviously it's not culture that influences them to be gay, because if the culture was pro-gay, they wouldn't be in the closet, they would be openly gay. Also, you can't say that since we don't live in olden times where we were running through the jungle, that our evolutionary behavior doesn't manifest in our daily lives. We still respond to stressors like a stressful job or lots of homework with the fight or flight response, even though we aren't getting attacked by Wooly Mammoths anymore. The same is for homosexuality; our brains didn't say "oh we don't really need to reproduce that much anymore, so actually I like men". That's just not how it works. We carry our behaviors with us that make us this species. And I do not believe that "cultural attraction" can override our genetic makeup telling us to mate with the opposite gender. And in the case of gay people it is a genetic abnormality, and not a cultural preference, because nobody would choose to be demonized from their society.
Debate Round No. 3
Spousewontdebate

Pro

Your reference to the persistent built in stressors that once reacted to Woolly Mammoth attacks is a great point. But, if I lived on a ranch with Woolly Mammoths as pets, I might perceive an "attack" differently than someone with different experiences. Like stress, attraction to someone or something is a response that is built in, but how and to whom or what it presents itself depends on formed perceptions through cultural observations.
I did make reference to same sex "attraction" and not necessarily to a "tendency" toward those relationships.
You make a good point about the difficulty of allowing culture to override DNA given our lack of tolerance for a gay lifestyle. You correctly asked why, in the absence of a "genetic abnormality" anyone would choose that difficult. The answer lies partly in an examination of why we would "choose" to do anything that makes us uncomfortable, is risky, potentially unhealthy or is counter productive. People don't attribute a tendency toward procrastination to genetics. They might hate that trait and are unsure of the reasons that they continue to do it. A purely genetic response would remove the variability of choice, acquired tendencies and preferences, and create a purely homogenous trait-based culture subdivided and grouped solely by genetic indicators. Individual perspective would play an insignificant role. Our preferences, decisions and attractions are shaped primarily by the information we receive and how we perceive and process that information, rather than on genetics. Genetic codes, defined in the womb lay dormant while the mind is continually active, gathering information that is often incomplete or flawed, and is making decisions that have no traces back to a genetic predisposition. These genetic codes, established before birth would be predictive of future and present behavior. A baby, emerging from the womb with heterosexual attraction built in, should display that attraction immediately and measurably, since advancing the species is such a strong instinct. By altering or removing the genetic code, you could change the baby's future mind. Your earlier statistics state that our culture is 90% heterosexual. Statistics will also show that homosexuality has been on the rise even beyond the increase that is attributable to greater acceptance. The fact that, as it becomes more acceptable, the incidence increases demonstrates the pull cultural influences. We do not know how an individual would respond if born into 90% homosexual culture. While it might be informative, if not worthwhile to examine same sex attraction, this discussion focuses primarily on heterosexual attraction and the driving forces behind it. I believe in the role that genetics plays as far as defining our physical characteristics and initial mental capacity. But I don't believe that it drives our future attractions or preferences. To that, I give most of the credit to an acquired perspective.
Henrysmolen

Con

Thank you for your arguments. You say "Your earlier statistics state that our culture is 90% heterosexual. Statistics will also show that homosexuality has been on the rise even beyond the increase that is attributable to greater acceptance. The fact that, as it becomes more acceptable, the incidence increases demonstrates the pull cultural influences." I would like to clarify that the statistic was of more cases of declared homosexuality; that is, you can't know for certain if someone is homosexual or not unless they tell you they are homosexual. So as time passes and our culture moves away from homosexual prejudice, more people are coming out and saying they are gay, and I don't think that you can actually claim that more people are gay as time goes by. There's no way of proving it. This furthers my claim in my opinion that homo or heterosexuality IS linked to genetics, but as our culture becomes more tolerant, more people are coming out and saying that they are gay. Now since this has all been extrapolation and anecdotes, let me provide some data. According to Richard Horton of PBS, there are several biological factors that could result in homosexuality. For instance, fruit flies, which display strikingly similar sexual tendencies to humans (such as courting, fighting over mates, etc.) have been shown to exhibit homosexuality, where two males would rub genitals together, lick each other's genitals, and rub male partners with their forelegs. These homosexual fruit flies, after analysis of their genetics in contrast to fruit flies displaying heterosexual tendencies, had an abno rmally activated gene called the W gene, which is found in humans, which the heterosexual flies did not have activated. In addition, A scientiest named LeVay found in a longitudinal study of homosexuals and heterosexuals that the homosexuals had a part of their hypothalamus severely smaller than their heterosexual counterparts.

Horton, Richard. "A 'gay Gene?'" Pbs.org. N.p., July 1995. Web
Debate Round No. 4
Spousewontdebate

Pro

Thanks for the comments in the previous round.
You stated the following:
"So as time passes and our culture moves away from homosexual prejudice, more people are coming out and saying they are gay, and I don't think that you can actually claim that more people are gay as time goes by. There's no way of proving it. This furthers my claim in my opinion that homo or heterosexuality IS linked to genetics, but as our culture becomes more tolerant, more people are coming out and saying that they are gay."
You indicated, correctly that there is no way of proving an unknown but then state your opinion that the mere existence of an unprovable unknown furthers your claim of a genetic link. You then state that cultural acceptance causes more people to "say" that they are gay. I'm not sure I understand the logic of these references.
I would agree that heterosexuality IS linked to genetics in the following way. The physical structure (apparatus) to support procreation is clearly attributable to genetics. I am less clear that there is a genetic determinant causing us to be, at some point attracted to say, a blonde female, or blonde anything, or female anything. Still, I am willing to make the presumption that there is in fact, a genetic link supporting heterosexual attraction, which is the point of this discussion. But, as I stated previously, I believe that those attractions are most strongly influenced by our perceptions, beliefs and conclusions about ourselves and others. Attractions, including those of a sexual nature are always subject to change, and do. But they change only as new beliefs are adopted. I don't believe that mere genetic manipulation would reverse the acquired beliefs that we have chosen to adopt. If you, too accept this, then you are signing onto the position that I have taken.
I appreciate your references to the fruit fly study, but don't be led by the title to believe that they've discovered a "gay gene". I would say of this study that most of your references to it point only to correlations, and that correlation does not imply causation. Horton observed fruit flies engaging in homosexual activities, but if they are so strikingly similar to humans, perhaps they are affected by environmental factors as well. Or, maybe the absence of adopted beliefs and molded perceptions might cause fruit flies to be driven by genetics alone. Through genetic manipulation you might change the mind and sexual orientation of the fruit fly, thereby proving that they are driven at least primarily by genetics. Ask yourself whether the same genetic manipulation would cause a human subject to suddenly and conclusively "become" gay or straight and to immediately be attracted to the "other" sex. The fruit fly article rightly, in my opinion, concludes that it is a "huge (and dangerous ) leap to extrapolate observations from fruit flies to humans." It also states that "Such arguments by analogy seem hopelessly inadequate." As far as LeVay's observations, "he noted that it was impossible to be certain whether the anatomical differences between the brains of gay and straight men were a cause or a consequence of their preference." LeVay saw the dilemma faced with these types of studies as indicated by his use of the word "impossible".
The studies are helpful to generate useful dialogue, but leave us with the same unanswered questions that we had hoped they would resolve.
In the acknowledged absence of scientific proof, we are ultimately left to support our positions with well developed conclusions from our own observations.
Yours were well-presented and appreciated.
I've enjoyed the debate and I thank you for your acceptance and participation.
Henrysmolen

Con

Henrysmolen forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Spousewontdebate 2 years ago
Spousewontdebate
Thanks for the comments and for voting. I enjoyed this debate.
Posted by Henrysmolen 2 years ago
Henrysmolen
Burls why don't you vote then?
Posted by Burls 2 years ago
Burls
I agree with pro before and after the debate. Despite con forfeiting I can not judge who had the better arguments. Well done Pro.
Posted by Spousewontdebate 2 years ago
Spousewontdebate
This discussion actually does deal more with the heterosexual aspect of choice. Most discussions are about same sex attraction which seems to draw a more controversial response. I support an individual's right to engage in whatever consensual activity they find pleasurable. This includes sex for purposes other than procreation. But my support has little to do with what ultimately drives the choices we make.
Posted by Justfordebate 2 years ago
Justfordebate
I was listening to an orthodox christian bishop, and he said that they do not choose to be this way.It is an account of nature.Of fallen nature(not their fault) but still nature.Now to say that ALL homosexuals are this way is false, it really is.The accounts of the bible, i think are really for a more profound sort of perversion, ad one that is chosen.And not because they like men, but because they cant stop having sex, and as a sex addict, i can tell you that that is entirely possible.And entirely not very pretty( i didnt but could see how i could do it).Now there may be a different set of people that actually choose engage in homosexual acts with choice and without craving sex.Just for the sake of it, for the sake of seeing how it is and just enjoying that.But that is a very very small minority of a minority.
Posted by Spousewontdebate 2 years ago
Spousewontdebate
I'm not attempting to validate or invalidate. I'm not questioning what is normal or abnormal. I realize that most who take the position of nurture over nature do not support choices that do not align with their own. For the record, I'm on the support side of choice so no agenda here, religious or otherwise. Just focusing on the subject of attraction to which the discussions of choice v genetics typically refer. To ask the question from the straight side was an attempt to bypass the defensive posturing that can occur when asking it the other way.
Posted by Kryptic 2 years ago
Kryptic
if I'm not mistaken, this appears to be an argument asking if it's normal for us to be straight or if it's a choice to be straight.
a nature V nurture debate.

This is most likely a slip under the hood asking if it's a nature / nurture to be gay or bi or neither gay bi or straight.

but although it's in a debate setting, it's only a question.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
I think the title is a false dichotomy.
Posted by Thrillogy 2 years ago
Thrillogy
Whoa, autocorrect did not like the word heterosexuality. My bad
Posted by Thrillogy 2 years ago
Thrillogy
Uhh... I am confused. Are you arguing that hetert sexuality is a choice? That it is genetic? Or yes to one of those things, and that validates/de-validates _________?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 2 years ago
Midnight1131
SpousewontdebateHenrysmolenTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: FF