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Do genetics affect behavior?

Nebelous
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3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?
tkubok
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3/11/2014 9:51:56 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM, Nebelous wrote:
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?

Well, behavior depends on the brain, and im certain there are some genetic diseases that affect brain chemistry and/or developement that would produce certain behavioral characteristics.

So, I would have to say, yes.
whiteflame
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3/11/2014 11:36:05 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM, Nebelous wrote:
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?

Yes and no. In some cases, there are direct links between genetics and behavior, as we see with any number of psychiatric conditions. The remainder, however, is somewhat troublesome to interpret. The reality is that we cannot possibly know at this stage how much genetics affects our behavior, though we can investigate a few genes that are believed to affect it. Monoamine oxidase A, or MAO-A, is a protein produced by a specific gene that is also called the "Warrior gene" and is believed to make us more aggressive when it's little expressed or has fewer copies. This is because it deaminates, or reduces the activity of, several hormones and neurotransmitters that are known to have effects on behavior.

However, even the link here is somewhat uncertain, and it doesn't apply to everyone. More importantly, there's a lot of genes that we simply don't understand whatsoever. We don't know their functions, and until we can preferentially knock them out or overexpress them in humans, we might never fully understand their functions. Even if we do, the presence of the genes alone would likely be insufficient to cause behavioral changes. Genes act in networks, their products are regulated at multiple levels, and the genes themselves rarely have direct effects, instead producing proteins that actually produce physiological changes. So in order to understand the functionality of a given gene, we have to take all of these into account, analyzing RNA levels that are made by transcription, taking into account the rate and consistency of translation into proteins, understanding the rate of degradation and length of activity of those proteins, determining which epigenetic factors play a role in activating or repressing these genes and their associated products, and even understanding if this system changes over time as a result of environmental factors.

So the answer to your question, to put it briefly, is yes with caveats. Genes can affect behaviors. Whether a given gene will is another story entirely.
PotBelliedGeek
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3/11/2014 12:17:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM, Nebelous wrote:
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?

Yes, most defiantly. Any species-wide behavior is undoubtedly genetic.
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Sswdwm
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3/11/2014 12:30:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM, Nebelous wrote:
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?

Your sexual preferences (and even the fact you have one), feeding behavior, mood, response to stimuli such as perceived danger, emotions such as happiness, guilt, envy to name just a few are very deeply rooted in your genetic make up.
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Nebelous
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3/11/2014 12:41:34 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 12:30:04 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM, Nebelous wrote:
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?

Your sexual preferences (and even the fact you have one)

I would argue that genetics don't affect sexual preference, but rather it's a result of the environment in which your raised. So people aren't born gay, but they don't have a choice due to circumstances they have no control over. Fetishes can be casually linked to childhood or adolescent events, but is someone's sexual orientation a fetish?
Nebelous
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3/11/2014 12:47:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 9:51:56 AM, tkubok wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM, Nebelous wrote:
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?

Well, behavior depends on the brain, and im certain there are some genetic diseases that affect brain chemistry and/or developement that would produce certain behavioral characteristics.

So, I would have to say, yes.
I would have to agree.
Nebelous
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3/11/2014 12:51:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 12:17:53 PM, PotBelliedGeek wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM, Nebelous wrote:
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?

Yes, most defiantly. Any species-wide behavior is undoubtedly genetic.
Good answer.

Species don't have significant variance in their behaviors, correct?
Nebelous
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3/11/2014 1:00:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 11:36:05 AM, whiteflame wrote:
However, even the link here is somewhat uncertain, and it doesn't apply to everyone. More importantly, there's a lot of genes that we simply don't understand whatsoever. We don't know their functions, and until we can preferentially knock them out or overexpress them in humans, we might never fully understand their functions. Even if we do, the presence of the genes alone would likely be insufficient to cause behavioral changes. Genes act in networks, their products are regulated at multiple levels, and the genes themselves rarely have direct effects, instead producing proteins that actually produce physiological changes. So in order to understand the functionality of a given gene, we have to take all of these into account, analyzing RNA levels that are made by transcription, taking into account the rate and consistency of translation into proteins, understanding the rate of degradation and length of activity of those proteins, determining which epigenetic factors play a role in activating or repressing these genes and their associated products, and even understanding if this system changes over time as a result of environmental factors.

So the answer to your question, to put it briefly, is yes with caveats. Genes can affect behaviors. Whether a given gene will is another story entirely.
Very profound.

So do you think that when genetics is fully understood, or relatively well, we can assess an individual's behavior before they are born?
whiteflame
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3/11/2014 1:26:22 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 1:00:12 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 11:36:05 AM, whiteflame wrote:
However, even the link here is somewhat uncertain, and it doesn't apply to everyone. More importantly, there's a lot of genes that we simply don't understand whatsoever. We don't know their functions, and until we can preferentially knock them out or overexpress them in humans, we might never fully understand their functions. Even if we do, the presence of the genes alone would likely be insufficient to cause behavioral changes. Genes act in networks, their products are regulated at multiple levels, and the genes themselves rarely have direct effects, instead producing proteins that actually produce physiological changes. So in order to understand the functionality of a given gene, we have to take all of these into account, analyzing RNA levels that are made by transcription, taking into account the rate and consistency of translation into proteins, understanding the rate of degradation and length of activity of those proteins, determining which epigenetic factors play a role in activating or repressing these genes and their associated products, and even understanding if this system changes over time as a result of environmental factors.

So the answer to your question, to put it briefly, is yes with caveats. Genes can affect behaviors. Whether a given gene will is another story entirely.
Very profound.

So do you think that when genetics is fully understood, or relatively well, we can assess an individual's behavior before they are born?

To an extent, yes, I think we will be able to do so. There are always caveats, and even when we fully understand all the various functions of every human gene, we will still fall far short of understanding how well they are expressed. Even when we grow to understand the proteome (the protein equivalent of the genome), there will be plenty of gaps. Scientists are starting to look at an even bigger map - the ligome (the ligand equivalent), which is absolutely massive and incredibly difficult to parse, but is quickly opening some very large holes in our understanding of cellular processes.

Once we understand all that, yes, we'll have a good idea of an individual's most likely behavior. It won't be so much a fatalistic thing, more of a "destined" thing. The reason why I say that is that this assumes what a person is most likely to do at every crossroads they meet. So we can say that this person is most likely to go down this route due to having more aggressive or more passive behavior as a result of their molecular characteristics. That doesn't account for free will, environmental impacts, and the ability to defy one's instincts, but it should account for a sizable portion of the actions a person takes in their lives.
Nebelous
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3/11/2014 1:55:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 1:26:22 PM, whiteflame wrote:
Once we understand all that, yes, we'll have a good idea of an individual's most likely behavior. It won't be so much a fatalistic thing, more of a "destined" thing. The reason why I say that is that this assumes what a person is most likely to do at every crossroads they meet. So we can say that this person is most likely to go down this route due to having more aggressive or more passive behavior as a result of their molecular characteristics. That doesn't account for free will, environmental impacts, and the ability to defy one's instincts, but it should account for a sizable portion of the actions a person takes in their lives.
Basically if we develop a model of genetics that can be used to determine a person's inherent qualities, it would still not take into account outside factors. How much would you say non-genetic influence affects behavior, or is it something not currently known. Is genetics the determining factor in a person's behavior, but the medium determines the outcome for instance?

Why is free will reconcilable with the aforementioned? If genetics affect behavior, surely our behavior dictates our will.
Nebelous
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3/11/2014 1:59:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 1:55:53 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:26:22 PM, whiteflame wrote:
Once we understand all that, yes, we'll have a good idea of an individual's most likely behavior. It won't be so much a fatalistic thing, more of a "destined" thing. The reason why I say that is that this assumes what a person is most likely to do at every crossroads they meet. So we can say that this person is most likely to go down this route due to having more aggressive or more passive behavior as a result of their molecular characteristics. That doesn't account for free will, environmental impacts, and the ability to defy one's instincts, but it should account for a sizable portion of the actions a person takes in their lives.
Basically if we develop a model of genetics that can be used to determine a person's inherent qualities, it would still not take into account outside factors. How much would you say non-genetic influence affects behavior, or is it something not currently known. Is genetics the determining factor in a person's behavior, or does the medium determine the outcome for instance?

Why is free will reconcilable with the aforementioned? If genetics affect behavior, surely our behavior dictates our will.

Fixed.
whiteflame
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3/11/2014 2:21:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 1:59:28 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:55:53 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:26:22 PM, whiteflame wrote:
Once we understand all that, yes, we'll have a good idea of an individual's most likely behavior. It won't be so much a fatalistic thing, more of a "destined" thing. The reason why I say that is that this assumes what a person is most likely to do at every crossroads they meet. So we can say that this person is most likely to go down this route due to having more aggressive or more passive behavior as a result of their molecular characteristics. That doesn't account for free will, environmental impacts, and the ability to defy one's instincts, but it should account for a sizable portion of the actions a person takes in their lives.
Basically if we develop a model of genetics that can be used to determine a person's inherent qualities, it would still not take into account outside factors. How much would you say non-genetic influence affects behavior, or is it something not currently known. Is genetics the determining factor in a person's behavior, or does the medium determine the outcome for instance?

Why is free will reconcilable with the aforementioned? If genetics affect behavior, surely our behavior dictates our will.

Fixed.

The assumption is 50:50, but there's no way to be sure. Genetics may play a larger role for some, a smaller role for others. Environmental influence is highly variable, so it's difficult to assess. I don't think there's a straightforward answer to that question, especially not for a population. Even for an individual, we would have a hard time determining whether environment or genetics gave rise to certain traits. It's made all the more difficult by the reality that environment can affect two people in dramatically different ways, in spite of the fact that they experience the very same environment. Hence, twins don't always turn out the same.

As for free will, genes are only able to determine so much. At most, we're likely to find that genes assert control over likely behaviors and not actual behaviors. Being of a certain state of mind following an input of information is likely to produce a certain action, but it's not certain. Just because the thought is almost certain to cross your mind that you should kill someone doesn't mean that that is the action you will take. If genes dictate anything, it's the background behind our actions rather than the actions themselves. We can shuck that background at any point, it just wouldn't fit with who we are most of the time, and in so doing, we deny a piece of ourselves expression in our actions.
tkubok
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3/11/2014 2:42:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 1:59:28 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:55:53 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:26:22 PM, whiteflame wrote:
Once we understand all that, yes, we'll have a good idea of an individual's most likely behavior. It won't be so much a fatalistic thing, more of a "destined" thing. The reason why I say that is that this assumes what a person is most likely to do at every crossroads they meet. So we can say that this person is most likely to go down this route due to having more aggressive or more passive behavior as a result of their molecular characteristics. That doesn't account for free will, environmental impacts, and the ability to defy one's instincts, but it should account for a sizable portion of the actions a person takes in their lives.
Basically if we develop a model of genetics that can be used to determine a person's inherent qualities, it would still not take into account outside factors. How much would you say non-genetic influence affects behavior, or is it something not currently known. Is genetics the determining factor in a person's behavior, or does the medium determine the outcome for instance?

Why is free will reconcilable with the aforementioned? If genetics affect behavior, surely our behavior dictates our will.

Fixed.

Genetics affecting our behavior is not the same as genetics dictating our every behvaior and belief, though.

Alcohol may affect my ability to drive a car, but it doesnt mean that I will definately crash, and that I have no choice but to crash my car once I drink and drive.
Nebelous
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3/11/2014 2:42:51 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 2:21:17 PM, whiteflame wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:59:28 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:55:53 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:26:22 PM, whiteflame wrote:
Once we understand all that, yes, we'll have a good idea of an individual's most likely behavior. It won't be so much a fatalistic thing, more of a "destined" thing. The reason why I say that is that this assumes what a person is most likely to do at every crossroads they meet. So we can say that this person is most likely to go down this route due to having more aggressive or more passive behavior as a result of their molecular characteristics. That doesn't account for free will, environmental impacts, and the ability to defy one's instincts, but it should account for a sizable portion of the actions a person takes in their lives.
Basically if we develop a model of genetics that can be used to determine a person's inherent qualities, it would still not take into account outside factors. How much would you say non-genetic influence affects behavior, or is it something not currently known. Is genetics the determining factor in a person's behavior, or does the medium determine the outcome for instance?

Why is free will reconcilable with the aforementioned? If genetics affect behavior, surely our behavior dictates our will.

Fixed.

The assumption is 50:50, but there's no way to be sure. Genetics may play a larger role for some, a smaller role for others. Environmental influence is highly variable, so it's difficult to assess. I don't think there's a straightforward answer to that question, especially not for a population. Even for an individual, we would have a hard time determining whether environment or genetics gave rise to certain traits. It's made all the more difficult by the reality that environment can affect two people in dramatically different ways, in spite of the fact that they experience the very same environment. Hence, twins don't always turn out the same.

If clones were made and placed in identical but separate houses, would they behave identically? Assuming they have no prior experience to being in these houses.
As for free will, genes are only able to determine so much. At most, we're likely to find that genes assert control over likely behaviors and not actual behaviors. Being of a certain state of mind following an input of information is likely to produce a certain action, but it's not certain. Just because the thought is almost certain to cross your mind that you should kill someone doesn't mean that that is the action you will take. If genes dictate anything, it's the background behind our actions rather than the actions themselves. We can shuck that background at any point, it just wouldn't fit with who we are most of the time, and in so doing, we deny a piece of ourselves expression in our actions.
But you're implicitly denying that behavior is free will. Why are they not synonymous? How does a choice that is inherent have the ability to be chosen? If your genetics make you like the color red, then you're going to choose a red car when presented with the option. If you don't pick the red car then it's by some other factor determined by your genetics, like the model of car isn't what you want due to an aggressive nature, not because you deny your genetic coding or through the use of free will. Is this false?
Nebelous
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3/11/2014 2:58:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 2:42:50 PM, tkubok wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:59:28 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:55:53 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:26:22 PM, whiteflame wrote:
Once we understand all that, yes, we'll have a good idea of an individual's most likely behavior. It won't be so much a fatalistic thing, more of a "destined" thing. The reason why I say that is that this assumes what a person is most likely to do at every crossroads they meet. So we can say that this person is most likely to go down this route due to having more aggressive or more passive behavior as a result of their molecular characteristics. That doesn't account for free will, environmental impacts, and the ability to defy one's instincts, but it should account for a sizable portion of the actions a person takes in their lives.
Basically if we develop a model of genetics that can be used to determine a person's inherent qualities, it would still not take into account outside factors. How much would you say non-genetic influence affects behavior, or is it something not currently known. Is genetics the determining factor in a person's behavior, or does the medium determine the outcome for instance?

Why is free will reconcilable with the aforementioned? If genetics affect behavior, surely our behavior dictates our will.

Fixed.

Genetics affecting our behavior is not the same as genetics dictating our every behvaior and belief, though.

Very good point. I should change the title.
Alcohol may affect my ability to drive a car, but it doesnt mean that I will definately crash, and that I have no choice but to crash my car once I drink and drive.

Genetics may affect my ability to choose, but it doesn't mean that I will make a certain choice, and that I have no choice but to make that choice once I'm born.

I reworded your analogy to put it in context. So the question is why do you think this is true? If genetics does affect your ability to choose, then your statement is false?
whiteflame
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3/11/2014 4:04:46 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
If clones were made and placed in identical but separate houses, would they behave identically? Assuming they have no prior experience to being in these houses.

Difficult to say. Given all the same influences and their identical genetics, sure, we'd expect them to behave identically. Whether that would occur remains to be seen. Such a study hasn't been done, mainly because cloning a human being is still a ways off, but also because there might be some ethical issues involved in this sort of study.

But you're implicitly denying that behavior is free will. Why are they not synonymous? How does a choice that is inherent have the ability to be chosen? If your genetics make you like the color red, then you're going to choose a red car when presented with the option. If you don't pick the red car then it's by some other factor determined by your genetics, like the model of car isn't what you want due to an aggressive nature, not because you deny your genetic coding or through the use of free will. Is this false?

I'm denying that the impetus for a given behavior can be governed by genetics, not that the behavior itself is, at least not in all cases. Geneticists will continue to struggle with the line between what your code says you will do and what behaviors you actually use. It's somewhat simple to see that a line does exist. If we look at someone who has a fist aimed at their face, they will instinctively try to protect themselves. The way they do it hardly matters - it's built into them to respond. If we look at someone making long term decisions for themselves such as "what will I grow up to be?", however, it involves a lot of thought, a tremendous amount of trial and error, courses, apprenticeships, the influence of friends and family, and any number of other factors. That decision cannot come solely from genetics, and therefore the behavior of reaching for that goal cannot be attributed solely to it.

Yet the dividing line is hard to see. What motivates a person to kill another person? Can we blame it on their genes? The answer to that lies not solely with science. It's a huge legal issue, and people are already coming forward with excuses such as "my genes made me do it." It's really not all that different from defenses like the Twinkie Defense, but it showcases how our understanding of our makeup is altering the ways we perceive our autonomy.

Now you bring up the issue of picking a car. As you say, it's not so simple as finding your favorite color, but even the choice of color may not be imprinted solely on one's genetic code. It's a learned behavior. A boy child is presented with masculine colors much of the time, with blue being predominant, and a girl child is presented with feminine colors, such as pink. These alter our decisions of what is the best color by altering our perception of what colors are available for us to choose. As such, the decision to say that you want a red car is likely not just a genetic decision, but one of what society has imprinted upon you. Likewise, any ideas of what model of car you're going to choose also come from a variety of different inputs factoring into your decision. I want a hybrid for my next car because of the mileage it affords me. I don't particularly like the shape, but that matters less to me. Perhaps there is something in my genetic code that predisposes me to dislike that shape and to prefer mileage of a car over other factors, but both of those factors are affected by the ways I was raised and what I was exposed to over time.
Sswdwm
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3/11/2014 5:17:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM, Nebelous wrote:
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?

Separated identical twin studies give one if the easiest to grasp illustrations of the effects of genes on behavior, and lifestyle:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org...

Environmental factors are of course important, but genes are definitely the foundation behind everything.
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3/11/2014 11:12:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 12:41:34 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 12:30:04 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM, Nebelous wrote:
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?

Your sexual preferences (and even the fact you have one)

I would argue that genetics don't affect sexual preference, but rather it's a result of the environment in which your raised. So people aren't born gay, but they don't have a choice due to circumstances they have no control over. Fetishes can be casually linked to childhood or adolescent events, but is someone's sexual orientation a fetish?

Being aroused at the opposite gender is not a learned behavior. Why must being attracted to same sex be learned?
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3/11/2014 11:28:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 12:51:32 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 12:17:53 PM, PotBelliedGeek wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM, Nebelous wrote:
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?

Yes, most defiantly. Any species-wide behavior is undoubtedly genetic.
Good answer.

Species don't have significant variance in their behaviors, correct?

Incorrect. There are two types of behavior. Learned behavior varies from individual to individual and does not have a basis in genetics. Only when all Members of one species exhibit the exact same behavior, even while the individuals and/or populations are completely separate both physically and environmentally, can we say that a behavior is genetic.
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PotBelliedGeek
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3/12/2014 3:07:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 11:12:39 PM, slo1 wrote:
At 3/11/2014 12:41:34 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 12:30:04 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM, Nebelous wrote:
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?

Your sexual preferences (and even the fact you have one)

I would argue that genetics don't affect sexual preference, but rather it's a result of the environment in which your raised. So people aren't born gay, but they don't have a choice due to circumstances they have no control over. Fetishes can be casually linked to childhood or adolescent events, but is someone's sexual orientation a fetish?

Being aroused at the opposite gender is not a learned behavior. Why must being attracted to same sex be learned?

Because the genetic code for attraction to the opposite sex is very pronounced and is hard to miss, while any genetic connection to homosexuality has yet to be found. This is not to say that it doesn't exist, but rather that the evidence available to us at this point in time does not indicate genes to be the cause of homosexuality as it is with heterosexuality.
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SNP1
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3/12/2014 3:32:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 3:07:47 PM, PotBelliedGeek wrote:
At 3/11/2014 11:12:39 PM, slo1 wrote:
At 3/11/2014 12:41:34 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 12:30:04 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM, Nebelous wrote:
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?

Your sexual preferences (and even the fact you have one)

I would argue that genetics don't affect sexual preference, but rather it's a result of the environment in which your raised. So people aren't born gay, but they don't have a choice due to circumstances they have no control over. Fetishes can be casually linked to childhood or adolescent events, but is someone's sexual orientation a fetish?

Being aroused at the opposite gender is not a learned behavior. Why must being attracted to same sex be learned?

Because the genetic code for attraction to the opposite sex is very pronounced and is hard to miss, while any genetic connection to homosexuality has yet to be found. This is not to say that it doesn't exist, but rather that the evidence available to us at this point in time does not indicate genes to be the cause of homosexuality as it is with heterosexuality.

That is why they are looking at epigenetics right now
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slo1
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3/12/2014 5:51:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 3:07:47 PM, PotBelliedGeek wrote:
At 3/11/2014 11:12:39 PM, slo1 wrote:
At 3/11/2014 12:41:34 PM, Nebelous wrote:
At 3/11/2014 12:30:04 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM, Nebelous wrote:
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?

Your sexual preferences (and even the fact you have one)

I would argue that genetics don't affect sexual preference, but rather it's a result of the environment in which your raised. So people aren't born gay, but they don't have a choice due to circumstances they have no control over. Fetishes can be casually linked to childhood or adolescent events, but is someone's sexual orientation a fetish?

Being aroused at the opposite gender is not a learned behavior. Why must being attracted to same sex be learned?

Because the genetic code for attraction to the opposite sex is very pronounced and is hard to miss, while any genetic connection to homosexuality has yet to be found. This is not to say that it doesn't exist, but rather that the evidence available to us at this point in time does not indicate genes to be the cause of homosexuality as it is with heterosexuality.

Please share the information on the genetics of attraction since it is so well know and hard to miss. In particular the differences in genetic code of women and men which causes them to attract to each other would be of interest.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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3/13/2014 9:47:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Genetics profoundly affects behavior, but it doesn't determine behavior. The evidence comes in part from studies of identical twins raised separately. Identical twins are almost genetically identical, as if clones. When raised separately, they keep very similar personalities and preferences. I remember seeing a documentary that showed identical twins who had never known each other using many of the same product brands, including a very odd type of imported toothpaste. It is kind of spooky.

Some genetic characteristics seem to be "switched on" in the womb. Left-handedness is certainly genetic, but sometimes one identical twin is left-handed and the other is not. About 2% of the population is left-handed. The preference is shown soon after birth.

The gay-straight preference also seems to be determined in the womb. Sometimes one of a pair of identical twins is gay, even though the twins are raised together. The preference is shown very early. I did a debate citing the scientific references, if someone wants to google it. About 4.5% of the population is homosexual.

Some biologically male children are born without external genitalia. Parents then raise them as if they were girls, not knowing the real gender. Studies show that they invariably adopt all the inherent boy characteristics despite attempts to socialize them as girls. Genetics rules.
whiteflame
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3/13/2014 12:06:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/13/2014 9:47:51 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
Genetics profoundly affects behavior, but it doesn't determine behavior. The evidence comes in part from studies of identical twins raised separately. Identical twins are almost genetically identical, as if clones. When raised separately, they keep very similar personalities and preferences. I remember seeing a documentary that showed identical twins who had never known each other using many of the same product brands, including a very odd type of imported toothpaste. It is kind of spooky.

Some genetic characteristics seem to be "switched on" in the womb. Left-handedness is certainly genetic, but sometimes one identical twin is left-handed and the other is not. About 2% of the population is left-handed. The preference is shown soon after birth.

The gay-straight preference also seems to be determined in the womb. Sometimes one of a pair of identical twins is gay, even though the twins are raised together. The preference is shown very early. I did a debate citing the scientific references, if someone wants to google it. About 4.5% of the population is homosexual.

Some biologically male children are born without external genitalia. Parents then raise them as if they were girls, not knowing the real gender. Studies show that they invariably adopt all the inherent boy characteristics despite attempts to socialize them as girls. Genetics rules.

Well said, Roy.
AnDoctuir
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3/23/2014 6:36:51 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/11/2014 5:17:17 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
At 3/11/2014 1:36:04 AM, Nebelous wrote:
Genetics undoubtedly affect people's physical traits, but do they also affect mental or behavioral characteristics?

Separated identical twin studies give one if the easiest to grasp illustrations of the effects of genes on behavior, and lifestyle:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org...

Environmental factors are of course important, but genes are definitely the foundation behind everything.

Separated twin studies aren't necessarily anything more than a profound illustration of how precisely people will play up to inherent strengths. The trends show that environmental factors are HUGELY important and this being the case leaves us quite an extraordinary creature indeed. We're not simply robots, as you would like to believe, in any case. Let's alone that elusive notion of free will. But, frankly, it is just ridiculous to think everything is but a pre-programmed response to stimuli. Nietzsche's Will to Power with everything else as a derivative of that is a much more sensible view, evolutionarily speaking, and this does leave us a lot freer than you would suggest. It's nice to feel as though your actions aren't really your own, I get it. It's a pity for the intelligent, though, that everything is actually so rational.
AnDoctuir
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3/23/2014 7:03:40 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Derren Brown demonstrates in this video how aware we are without actually being aware of how aware we are. It's quite fascinating. I'm pretty sure this is the explanation behind identical twins opting for the same brands, rather than some irrational response to stimuli - that it's actually down to the massively rational.

Also, this video is a good illustration of how the mind will jump the gun as regards expectation. If a person is expecting to feel something, they will. The mental bypasses the sensory. I have staring competitions with my brother, and when I tell him to blink, he blinks, because he believes I have some power over him, lol. That's kind of an aside, though.

This massive awareness is easily testable, too, by the way. Or at least if you're good looking or aware that you're under someone's skin some other way. And it is MASSIVE awareness. I've seen a girl annoy a female teacher (she had the rule of the roost at home, just mother and daughter, no father), and in a room full of students receiving a talk, the teacher far in front of the girl and I, and facing away from us, I could see her reacting to the girl's physical presence, though that she was aware of it was pretty much verging on omniscience. The next time you get someone's attention watch them mimic your incredibly subtle movements, it's astounding.
AnDoctuir
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3/23/2014 7:07:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I'm pretty much absolutely certain that everyone in this thread is wrong in their thinking, to be honest, or at least if they're putting things down to irrationality. Granted, we seem very machine-like and that whole free will thing doesn't make very much sense - but we are so close to anything that one might think to resemble free will that it's astonishing.
AnDoctuir
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3/23/2014 7:18:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I mean the implications that everything as an irrational response to stimuli would have on evolution are frankly just ridiculous. There would be no evolution. Think about it. Imagine that with every beneficial mutation of physicality there had to be a congruous mutation of mentality. The simplest answer is that it's all rational. You're really, REALLY stretching the odds otherwise.
AnDoctuir
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3/23/2014 7:29:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I love how Derren Brown drops hints as to how what he's doing works too. In that video the hint was the candle being blown out, that he made us aware that there is actually pressure there. In this video it's in the control game he plays at the start. This video also illustrates how massively aware we are, by the way, and also how people will react to incredibly subtle physicality - the reason being, of course, that physicality is primarily what's to be feared, manipulated, etc.