Nature or Nurture
Have you ever wondered what creates a persons sexual preference? Is it possible that their social influences and environment can lead them to certain sexual practices and same sex relationships or could it be that some people have a genetic makeup that makes it completely natural to be attracted to members of the same sex? These questions lead us to the long-lived debate of nature or nurture. Some scientists believe that people behave as they do according to their genetic predispositions or even "animal instincts." This is known as the "nature" theory of human behavior. Other scientists believe that people think and behave in certain ways because they are taught to do so. This is known as the "nurture" theory of human behavior. Is a person nurtured into becoming homosexual or are they just born that way. Nurture advocates have argued this debate with theories such as adopted lifestyle, child abuse and distant father theories. Still these theories lack the evidence supported by studies to prove them to be anything but just ideas. Although, nurture can be a slight influence, it is not a determinant. Through numerous studies to support their theories, Nature has proven with solid biological evidence to be the true cause of homosexuality. A Fast-growing understanding of the human genome has recently made it clear that both sides may partly be right. Nature endows us with inborn abilities and traits, while nurture takes these genetic tendencies and molds them as we learn and mature (Longino, pg154). End of story, right? Hardly, the "nature vs. nurture" debate still surges on, as scientist fight over how much of whom we are is shaped by genes and how much by the environment. Scientists supporting nature theories have known for years that traits such as eye color and hair color are determined by specific genes encoded in each human cell. The Nature Theory takes things a step further to say that a more abstract trait such as personality, intelligence, aggression, and sexual orientation are also encoded in an individual's DNA (Lewontin and Rose and Kamin, 137). In today’s biological research and discovery of human genes, there has been scientific proof documenting the broad majority of biological functions our genes are responsible for. These discoveries have opened the doors to possibilities that homosexuality could have a genetic and biological foundation (Shmidt, pg.56). Animal studies have discovered clues to the nature of homosexuality, and proposed theories that include the existence of a “gay gene” that actually causes homosexuality and the possibility of hormone influencing brain development and sexual orientation during the gestation of a fetus (Moalem, 166). Historically people have turned to animal observations and their behaviors to gain a feel for what is natural and what is not. It is believed that if animals ate for energy and mated to ensure the proliferation of their species, that it would also be natural for Man to engage in these same activities. Consequently, supporters whom share the same belief that homosexuality is natural, cite numerous examples of homosexuality occurring both in wild and captive animals. A prime example is held in the Manhattan’s Central Park Zoo. It was here in 2004 where the two housed male penguins successfully coupled for over six years. This male penguin couple was even able to incubate a fertilized egg that was given to them by the zoo’s chief keeper, their incubation resulted to a live birth of a chick (Smith, Online). There are numerous accounts of homosexual behavior in other animals, such as giraffes, birds, rams, bottle-nosed dolphins and many more (Bagemihl, 47). While this does present a great argument of homosexuality being natural, there is a danger in using animals as a gage for determining if something is natural or not (Bagemihl, 339). For example, there are some animals, such as the hamster that are...
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