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Are people born gay? Show more Show less

Few scientific questions generate as much intrigue and political turmoil as the origins of sexual orientation. Is there a clear genetic or hormonal link to sexual orientation that indicates gay people are, in the words of Lady Gaga, "Born This Way"? Can we ever know if same-sex attraction is determined before birth? Is this a question that should even be asked?

No, people are not born gay Show more Show less

To reduce sexual orientation to genetics or hormones reduces it to a binary outcome. Sexuality is not binary, it is fluid and no genetic explanation has been able to accomodate this.
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Sexual orientation is not a binary outcome

Only things with binary outcomes can be reduced to genetics. Sexual orientation is not binary, it is fluid.
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Context

With binary outcomes, it is possible to say with certainty that a foetus, if brought to term, will be born with a gene that will affect its development or behaviour. With non-binary outcomes, it is not possible. Sexual orientation is not a binary outcome and is therefore not something that is dictated before birth.

The Argument

Medical professionals can test the genetics of two embryos and tell expectant parents with 100% certainty that their babies will be identical twins. Being a twin is a binary outcome. However, when it comes to testing for qualities without a binary answer, things become more difficult. For example, we cannot test the genetics of a child and immediately determine how tall that child will be. Height is a non-binary outcome and depends on the interaction of different genes, childhood nutrition, illness, and environmental impacts. Same-sex attraction is not a binary outcome. Homosexuality is a sliding scale and is, like someone’s height, not something predetermined before we are born.

Counter arguments

Framing

Premises

[P1] Only binary outcomes are predetermined before birth. [P2] Sexual orientation is not a binary outcome. [P3] Therefore, people are not born gay.

Rejecting the premises

Proponents

Further Reading

References

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    This page was last edited on Thursday, 13 Feb 2020 at 12:38 UTC