Monday, April 14, 2014


Think about the children of Israel, after Moses led them from Egypt.  We often wonder at how stupid they were not to recognize the significance of the miracles that Jehovah did for them, through their prophet.  But that's mainly because we look at the whole thing from our modern point of view.  Think about things from their point of view.  In Egypt, Pharaoh had magicians who guided the people through mystic powers and led in the name of deities.  The plagues and signs that Moses showed the people were simply an extension of the basic worldview of the Israelites.  Because of that, it was probably a lot harder for them to view these signs and wonders as the spectacular miracles that we do, and it became difficult for them to keep following Moses.

I wonder how often we have great miracles going on all around us, but because of the structure of our worldview we entirely fail to see their significance, fail to see the miracles for what they are.  We lose the essence of the wonder in the humdrum scientific explanations, missing the amazing miracles that we are being shown in these latter days.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


One of the real problems I see in the nature of discussions dealing with orientation is consistency of vocabulary.  For example, one person may say that being uncomfortable in the presence of two guys kissing makes a person bigoted against gays; then turns around and says that being gay is not a behavior, but an innate part of a person's being.  So, is being gay defined by one's orientation, or by the act of kissing other guys?  I would venture to guess that a majority of guys who have gay orientations do not participate in homosexual relationships.  This makes the discussion somewhat tricky.  If we define "gay" to refer to orientation rather than behavior, it would be inappropriate to disapprove of gay guys who choose heterosexual relationships.  On the other hand, if we argue that a gay guy in a heterosexual relationship is not being true to himself, then we seem to be arguing that gay should be accompanied by behavior, which means we shouldn't be offended when people refer to gay as a lifestyle choice.  By not keeping consistent definitions, it makes it easy to manipulate conversations, which can make us seem dishonest.

If we want people to consider "gay" to be an orientation rather than a lifestyle choice, then we should start sticking to that convention.

Monday, April 7, 2014


I completely feel that my orientation was not my choice.  It's not some kind of decision I made.  But I can't accept that there is a big genetic component to it, either.  Think about it for a bit.  If it was genetic, it should be entirely lost from the genome after just a few generations.  Gay guys are definitely less likely to have children.  They are more likely to join a monastery or other group in which they are not likely to procreate.  The orientation would simply go away by natural deselection. But it doesn't.

Some people have speculated that there are strong sociological benefits to have a portion of the population this way.  But others also point out that homosexuality is manifest in many different mammalian species.  If it was sociologically important, we should primarily see it in species with human-like sociology, but it seems far more general than that.  So that's not likely, either.

The only thing I can possibly think of is that there is some genetic component that is advantageous to females, for which the natural side-effect is that some guys turn out gay.  That would make male and female homosexuality very very different from each other.  Actually, there is some evidence that the mechanism for male homosexuality could be very different from the mechanism for female homosexuality, so this would be a possibility.  But unless this turns out to be the case, I just don't think that natural selection would allow a genetically caused homosexuality.

I give it as my opinion that orientation is not a predominantly genetic trait.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

People Don't Change?

Okay, so I was watching the movie "Frozen" and the following lyrics are in one of the songs:
We aren't saying you can change him
'Cause people don't really change
I started thinking about how sad it would be if people weren't able to change.  Nobody could improve.  Nobody could learn.  Nobody could grow.  According to another movie, "Life is change."

Lots of things have changed for me throughout my life.  For example, I used to detest cheese.  I didn't like to eat it in any form.  Yes, I was the weird kid who didn't like pizza.  However, as I got older, my tastes changed.  I learned to enjoy many forms of cheese, and even changed my feelings for pizza.

Here's the question, though.  How much of my change was really choice?  Can we choose to change?  If we really want to change our preferences, can we just decide?  I don't think so.  My cheese example was something that changed slowly and naturally as I grew older.  I think most kids grow out of many of their dislikes as they mature.

Change is natural and healthy, so deciding that our preferences define us is dangerous.  When I was young, I decided that I wanted to be a scientist.  So naturally, I had to love my science classes and dislike English.  I defined myself by my love of things technical and my disdain for writing.  I really believed that it was me -- it was just who I was.  It wasn't until college that a professor was able to change this attitude.  I had to give up a part of my chosen identity and accept that I could write, that I did not have to be bad at English to be me.  It's surprising how hard giving up that part of my identity was, but it was a healthy change.

Similarly, I think it is not a good idea to define ourselves by our orientations.  "It's just who I am" is simply not true.  We have to not be defined by such things.  If we defined ourselves by our hair color, when our hair greys as we age it may seem as if we are losing our identity.  It's surprising how often this happens.  We all have a tendency to define ourselves by our natural traits, but our traits don't really define us.  Since most of our traits are not choices, they can easily change through natural processes, also not our choices, and we often lose sight of who we really are.  Rather, we should define ourselves by our decisions, our hopes, our convictions.  If we change the way we make choices, we can change our identities -- we can change who we are.  If we do so in a healthy way, we are growing into better people.

So, unlike the thought in the song, I say that people can and should change.