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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > can we all just agree that homosexuality is not normal?

can we all just agree that homosexuality is not normal? (Page 3)
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May 4, 2007, 12:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
What if the assault was plotted based on hatred of his job description, or his economic status, or his hair, or his luck with women? Should those all be separate crimes as well?
Those hatreds don't have a history and a common thread of being linked to violence and other problems that affect society as a whole.
     
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May 4, 2007, 01:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Those hatreds don't have a history and a common thread of being linked to violence and other problems that affect society as a whole.
All hatred is linked to violence and other problems that affect society as a whole — that's why it's called "hatred." Would you like examples from history of different classes killing each other? People getting killed because somebody thought they were a member of a rival gang? People dying because their lives inspired enmity? The idea that gays are somehow special in this regard is just the result of tunnel vision.
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May 4, 2007, 01:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Those hatreds don't have a history and a common thread of being linked to violence and other problems that affect society as a whole.
I agree that it's important for society as a whole to understand the nature and source of violent crime. That said, I don't feel it serves any purpose to have laws specific to the reason for a crime. In other words, we should label and maintain as much information as possible with regard to "hate" crimes, however from a legal perspective, if I shoot someone in the face, it should matter whether it was because they were gay, straight, or just plain ugly. I shot the person... and should be punished for shooting them...not for why I shot them.
     
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May 4, 2007, 01:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post
OK, but I hope you get my point: Arguing about definitions like this is an abstract exercise, perfect for anti-gay bigots on the internet,
I hope you weren't trying to imply something about me…

but not meaningful for people trying to do the actual work of alleviating people's suffering.
You may be right but this thread isn't about alleviating anyones suffering. It's about whether or not being gay is "normal".
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May 4, 2007, 01:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
I hope you weren't trying to imply something about me…
Not you, but some of the posters here.

You may be right but this thread isn't about alleviating anyones suffering. It's about whether or not being gay is "normal".
It seems to me that this thread (and the one that it spawned from) are about some people trying to argue either that 1) homosexuality is a mental disorder or 2) the definitions are wrong because if homosexuality is not a disorder, then things like depression and schizophrenia cannot be either.

In my view, neither are even particularly legitimate questions, because mental illness is really about identifying people who need treatment, it's not about fitting into some abstract definitional game.

For example, I think any reasonable person would try to help an individual who is suffering due to a homosexual orientation. That Reverend Haggard is a good example - he pretty clearly needs help. But it's his suffering and his fecked-up life that defines his problem, not his orientation per se, because so many other gays are perfectly healthy. Likewise, some people suffer because of their heterosexuality - a guy who can't get it up with his wife, for example.

Again, definitions of mental illness are about determining who needs help, not who should be put on some list of bad people.
     
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May 4, 2007, 01:46 PM
 
Can we all just agree that homophobia is not normal?
     
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May 4, 2007, 05:37 PM
 
I'm currently reading Pinker, and interestingly he makes a pretty good case that infanticide is normal for humans and that the west is abnormal for not practicing it (much). Guess we better start killing some of our newborn babies for the sake of normality...
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May 4, 2007, 06:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogika View Post
Can we all just agree that homophobia is not normal?
No. Homophobia seems to be all too normal, along with racism, xenophobia, misogyny and bigotry.
     
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May 4, 2007, 08:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
No. Homophobia seems to be all too normal, along with racism, xenophobia, misogyny and bigotry.
Geez that's a bit excessive.
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May 4, 2007, 08:28 PM
 
Really?
     
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May 4, 2007, 08:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post
It seems to me that this thread (and the one that it spawned from) are about some people trying to argue either that 1) homosexuality is a mental disorder or 2) the definitions are wrong because if homosexuality is not a disorder, then things like depression and schizophrenia cannot be either.

In my view, neither are even particularly legitimate questions, because mental illness is really about identifying people who need treatment, it's not about fitting into some abstract definitional game.
What IF they were to identify a simple physical "cause" of homosexuality that could be "treated" or "cured"? I think that there are a LOT of young people who are suffering because of their sexuality that would probably jump at the chance to take a pill or have a surgery to "fix" it.

For example, I think any reasonable person would try to help an individual who is suffering due to a homosexual orientation. That Reverend Haggard is a good example - he pretty clearly needs help. But it's his suffering and his fecked-up life that defines his problem, not his orientation per se, because so many other gays are perfectly healthy. Likewise, some people suffer because of their heterosexuality - a guy who can't get it up with his wife, for example.
I've known very few gay people, but don't others say that a LOT (most?) of the gay friends and acquaintances they have are screwed up in some way? Most psychological problems stem from events in the childhood, before any "gayness" issues would be much of a problem.

From my limited observation, it seems as if there is a profound internal struggle that takes place. One that perhaps is due to an internal mechanism telling them that they aren't normal? Is this possible?

I mean, if, theoretically there was a whole sub-culture of schizophrenics telling them that it's OK to be that way and it's society that has the problem, wouldn't that tend to cloud the issue of whether their problems are being caused by the schizophrenia? (that may be a bad example…)

All of this is hypothetical of course.
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May 4, 2007, 08:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
Really?
Yes.
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May 4, 2007, 09:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
From my limited observation, it seems as if there is a profound internal struggle that takes place. One that perhaps is due to an internal mechanism telling them that they aren't normal? Is this possible?
It's possible, but it's far more likely that it's a social phenomenon, since I haven't heard of any such thing in cultures where homosexuality is embraced.

Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
I mean, if, theoretically there was a whole sub-culture of schizophrenics telling them that it's OK to be that way and it's society that has the problem, wouldn't that tend to cloud the issue of whether their problems are being caused by the schizophrenia? (that may be a bad example…)
It is a pretty different case. The pain caused by schizophrenia isn't guilt over being schizophrenic — many don't even realize they have the condition. That's why it's considered at mental illness.
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May 4, 2007, 09:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
It is a pretty different case. The pain caused by schizophrenia isn't guilt over being schizophrenic — many don't even realize they have the condition. That's why it's considered at mental illness.
I don't know much about schizophrenia, if they don't even know they have it then how are they suffering?
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May 4, 2007, 09:22 PM
 
Guys, it's time I came out of the closet...

I'm.... I'm heterosexual.

There, I feel better having gotten this out in the open.
     
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May 4, 2007, 09:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
I don't know much about schizophrenia, if they don't even know they have it then how are they suffering?
     
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May 4, 2007, 09:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
I don't know much about schizophrenia, if they don't even know they have it then how are they suffering?
It often causes paranoid delusions and generally makes it impossible for them to function in the world. (Note: I don't mean they have trouble functioning because of discrimination. They're too disconnected and confused to successfully do things.)
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May 4, 2007, 09:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
Most psychological problems stem from events in the childhood...
Most? (People on this board have a real problem using that word.) Psychiatric problems are often biological problems.
     
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May 4, 2007, 09:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
Most? (People on this board have a real problem using that word.) Psychiatric problems are often biological problems.
Yeah I was hesitant to use "most" but there it is…

Even with that difference my question remains.
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May 4, 2007, 10:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by aristotles View Post
Is it normal to change the subject when confronted with something you have no rebuttal for? Moving goal posts will not help your cause.
I'm just trying to understand what "normal" is, and what it has to do with marriage. It seems to me that there are many things "abnormal", though accepted, about marriage in today's society.
     
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May 4, 2007, 10:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
Scientology? Perhaps I'm not so intrigued anymore…
I think the point was to draw your attention to who else thinks as you do. Welcome to the Scientology frame of mind, my friend.
     
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May 5, 2007, 01:28 AM
 
Apparently a lot of other people also don't think it's abnormal. I also have to admit ignorance of the fact that other states also have laws on the books banning discrimination based on sexual preference, as mentioned in the article. Maybe I'll have the great pleasure of being able to walk my oldest daughter down the aisle in the not too distant future after all, 'cause the times they are a changing.

http://www.365gay.com/Newscon07/05/050407colrts.htm

Legislation making it illegal to discriminate in the workplace on the basis of sexuality has been sent to the desk of Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter. The governor has already said he will put his name to the bill.

When Ritter signs the bill into law, Colorado will become the twentieth U.S. state to ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and the twelfth to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
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May 5, 2007, 03:11 AM
 
What is the relevance of the thread question? (normal vs not-normal). Who cares?

It is would be relevant and the animal kingdom would be informative as to something being normal or not, than homosexuality would be far more normal than e.g. religion..

Well, I'll start a new thread to find out..
( Last edited by Dennis002; May 5, 2007 at 03:21 AM. )
     
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May 5, 2007, 08:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dennis002 View Post
It is would be relevant and the animal kingdom would be informative as to something being normal or not, than homosexuality would be far more normal than e.g. religion. Well, I'll start a new thread to find out..
I remember watching the orangutans at the zoo. There were two of them. One of them squatted and left a heaping pile of fresh dookie. The other one watched. Then he looked at us, inched himself closer to the heaping pile, looked at us again, and eventually parked himself right next to the pile. Many had begun watching at this point because we knew what was expected from the animal kingdom. Sure enough, he picked up the pile and took a great big bite out of it. There are also many accounts of wildcats being stimulated by prey and eating their own young. After all, it would be abnormal for two orangutans to discuss blueprints for their own zoo.

This argument that something is normal for humans because it is witnessed in the "animal kingdom" is a little absurd don't you think?
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May 5, 2007, 08:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
This argument that something is normal for humans because it is witnessed in the "animal kingdom" is a little absurd don't you think?
Absolutely. As is the argument that what is "normal" for one human should be "normal" for another and that the first human's definition of "normal" should be used to define the rights of those who are "abnormal".

Having said that, the argument that "something is normal for humans because it is witnessed in the "animal kingdom"" was first brought up by those opposed to same-sex marriage (ie: "Homosexuality isn't natural!!!"). It is only being argued against by that crowd now that they've learned there is homosexuality in the animal kingdom as well.
     
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May 5, 2007, 10:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
Absolutely. As is the argument that what is "normal" for one human should be "normal" for another and that the first human's definition of "normal" should be used to define the rights of those who are "abnormal".
How about; why is it assumed that abnormality is bad? By definition, homosexuality is abnormal. The problem is when this is assumed negative by virtue of the fact that it is comparatively, not normal.

Having said that, the argument that "something is normal for humans because it is witnessed in the "animal kingdom"" was first brought up by those opposed to same-sex marriage (ie: "Homosexuality isn't natural!!!"). It is only being argued against by that crowd now that they've learned there is homosexuality in the animal kingdom as well.
First of all, I don't oppose same-sex marriage. I believe the Federal government should acknowledge all "civil unions" to allow for equal rights and let the churches "marry" whom they deem fit. If "marriage" has a "divine" meaning above the legislative construct, it should only be relevant to those of faith, separate from the State. If the definition of "marriage" is in decline, you can blame that on heterosexuals having defined it as a life-long commitment you make at least a couple of times in life requiring a prenup to protect your assets. Your attempt to lump me in with this "crowd" is intellectually lazy.

Secondly, Do you have anything at all to affirm your notions other than a general distaste for those opposed to same-sex marriage?

As far as I know, there is no homosexuality in the animal kingdom so... some additional "learning" may be in order. There is bisexuality however, and there are also instances of animals being stimulated and displaying humping motions when they are penetrating absolutely nothing. Likewise, masturbation is considered normal human behavior, but animals may view it as abnormal.
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May 5, 2007, 10:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
This argument that something is normal for humans because it is witnessed in the "animal kingdom" is a little absurd don't you think?
I don't think so at all. People often argue that homosexuality isn't natural, and I think the fact that it occurs with such frequency in other species too negates that argument pretty well.

Then again, people who reject evolution don't believe in the biological interrelatedness of species, so this argument of course wouldn't be persuasive to them.
     
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May 5, 2007, 12:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post
I don't think so at all. People often argue that homosexuality isn't natural, and I think the fact that it occurs with such frequency in other species too negates that argument pretty well.
I've not seen documented evidence of homosexuality among other species. Bisexuality on the other hand, is well-documented.

Then again, people who reject evolution don't believe in the biological interrelatedness of species, so this argument of course wouldn't be persuasive to them.
People who do so often misrepresent science and may be as guilty of fallacy as those trying to use bisexuality in nature as indicative in any way, of homosexuality among humans.
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May 5, 2007, 12:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
People who do so often misrepresent science and may be as guilty of fallacy as those trying to use bisexuality in nature as indicative in any way, of homosexuality among humans.
So, then it should be O.K. for a bisexual, though same-sex, couple to be married, since bisexuality is completely "normal" ... whatever "normal" is.
     
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May 5, 2007, 12:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
So, then it should be O.K. for a bisexual, though same-sex, couple to be married, since bisexuality is completely "normal" ... whatever "normal" is.
Why would you assume I'd think otherwise??? First of all, the fact that "abnormal" is viewed as negative is the problem of those who rail against the notion, not mine. Homosexuality and bisexuality are both abnormal by definition. The problem is when abnormality is assumed to be a negative thing.

Personally, I think States should acknowledge all unions same-sex or otherwise as civil unions to allow for lawful equality and let the Churches decide whom they deem fit to "marry" as a separate entity from the State. If the definition of "marriage" is in decline, it can only be attributed to the heterosexuals' definition as; a lifelong commitment you make to one person at least twice in a lifetime requiring the use of prenups to protect assets.
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May 5, 2007, 12:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
I've not seen documented evidence of homosexuality among other species. Bisexuality on the other hand, is well-documented.
This is the second time I've seen this argument - where does it come from? The scientists who study animal sexual behavior certainly have documented long-term homosexual pair-bonding as well as run-of-the-mill same-sex sexual behavior. There was the recent famous example of the gay penguins.
Roy and Silo, two chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan, are completely devoted to each other. For nearly six years now, they have been inseparable. They exhibit what in penguin parlance is called "ecstatic behavior": That is, they entwine their necks, they vocalize to each other, they have sex. Silo and Roy are, to anthropomorphize a bit, gay penguins. When offered female companionship, they have adamantly refused it. And the females aren't interested in them, either.

At one time, the two seemed so desperate to incubate an egg together that they put a rock in their nest and sat on it, keeping it warm in the folds of their abdomens, said their chief keeper, Rob Gramzay. Finally, he gave them a fertile egg that needed care to hatch. Things went perfectly, and a chick, Tango, was born. For the next 2 1/2 months they raised Tango, keeping her warm and feeding her food from their beaks until she could go out into the world on her own.
     
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May 5, 2007, 01:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post
This is the second time I've seen this argument - where does it come from? The scientists who study animal sexual behavior certainly have documented long-term homosexual pair-bonding as well as run-of-the-mill same-sex sexual behavior. There was the recent famous example of the gay penguins.
Interestingly, I've seen the same Biological Exuberance study cited as proof that animals can be bisexual. Are they exclusively homosexual? I think it is important to understand a couple of things;
a) we may be misinterpreting what occurs among animals as their expression of self-awareness, freedom, and choice as opposed to another simple explanation such as Penguins' uniqueness in lacking any external genitalia and their sexuality may be more ambiguous in general.

b) We may be defining "homosexuality" incorrectly.

c) While infanticide and cannibalism may also be commonly observed among animals, you'd be hard-pressed to connect this with acceptable social behaviors among humans right? Why would you with regard to homosexuality?

Some additional questions;

- Who published Biological Exuberance? Has it been up for peer-review and what are other scientists saying about this work?

- do you interpret the act of two female dogs licking one another's genitalia as homosexual behavior or are there any other reasonable conclusions that can be drawn?
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May 5, 2007, 01:31 PM
 
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May 5, 2007, 02:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
Interestingly, I've seen the same Biological Exuberance study cited as proof that animals can be bisexual.
I know, and that's what I don't get. Here's from the inside cover of the book:

Drawing upon a rich body of zoological research spanning more than two centuries, Bruce Bagemihl shows that animals engage in all types of nonreproductive sexual behavior. Sexual and gender expression in the animal world displays exuberant variety, including same-sex courtship, pair-bonding, sex, and co-parenting—even instances of lifelong homosexual bonding in species that do not have lifelong heterosexual bonding.
Originally Posted by ebuddy
Are they exclusively homosexual?
I don't know, but according to this, some animals engage in long-term, and even life-long homosexual pairings. Pure exclusivity wouldn't be the test with humans, and I don't think it should be with animals either.

I think it is important to understand a couple of things;
a) we may be misinterpreting what occurs among animals as their expression of self-awareness, freedom, and choice as opposed to another simple explanation such as Penguins' uniqueness in lacking any external genitalia and their sexuality may be more ambiguous in general.

b) We may be defining "homosexuality" incorrectly.

c) While infanticide and cannibalism may also be commonly observed among animals, you'd be hard-pressed to connect this with acceptable social behaviors among humans right? Why would you with regard to homosexuality?

Some additional questions;

- Who published Biological Exuberance? Has it been up for peer-review and what are other scientists saying about this work?

- do you interpret the act of two female dogs licking one another's genitalia as homosexual behavior or are there any other reasonable conclusions that can be drawn?
I think those are good and legitimate questions. I'll give you my perspective on some of them: I think we do tend to anthropomorphize animal behavior. A lot of the initial excitement over primate language abilities has been dampened by skeptical observers, for example.

But the argument I hear that "homosexuality isn't natural" is along the lines that "sex is for procreation" and "the penis isn't supposed to go there." I think you'd agree with me that this is a common argument. It's basically the point of the original post in this thread, and it's been made frequently in the previous one. It's essentially a biological argument against homosexuality. But observations of nature show that sex isn't just about procreation, it seems to be about a deeper kind of bonding that doesn't always include procreation.

About infanticide and feces-eating and all kinds of other bad stuff appearing in the animal world: In my view, it does mean those behaviors are natural. The argument we're talking about is that homosexuality is unnatural, against basic biology. It's the naturalistic fallacy to equate what is natural with what is right.
     
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May 5, 2007, 03:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
c) While infanticide and cannibalism may also be commonly observed among animals, you'd be hard-pressed to connect this with acceptable social behaviors among humans right?

There are plenty of instances where both of these things are considered acceptable social behaviors among humans.

Many more with infanticide, which pretty much every ancient society practiced, but cannibalism too.

I would say infanticide not being a socially accepted behavior has everything to do with our level technology making it unnecessary.
     
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May 5, 2007, 05:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
Interestingly, I've seen the same Biological Exuberance study cited as proof that animals can be bisexual. Are they exclusively homosexual?
Does it make an effective difference? Bisexual behavior necessarily includes homosexual behavior.
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May 5, 2007, 06:23 PM
 
Is it normal to eat with knife and fork then?
     
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May 5, 2007, 07:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dennis002 View Post
Is it normal to eat with knife and fork then?

"There are two things which clearly differentiate the human species from animals. One, we use cutlery. Two, we're capable of controlling our sexual urges." - Sgt. Joe Friday
     
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May 5, 2007, 07:38 PM
 
It is normal to have sex with a condom?
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May 5, 2007, 08:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by hyteckit View Post
It is normal to have sex with a condom?
Maybe, but you have to realize it will never love you.
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May 5, 2007, 09:21 PM
 
Slippery slope ... if we let gays marry, the next thing you know, people will be demanding to be able to marry their condoms ...
     
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May 5, 2007, 09:49 PM
 
Sh*T. I'll marry my right hand, but I'm afraid my left hand will get jealous.
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May 5, 2007, 10:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by hyteckit View Post
Sh*T. I'll marry my right hand, but I'm afraid my left hand will get jealous.
Easy, become a Mormon and marry both hands.
     
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May 6, 2007, 02:49 AM
 
Now we are getting somewhere..

But to start with, this whole having-sex-thing isn't very normal either, cloning is the way it is meant to be, just take a rib (homosexual or heterosexual) and make someone new.
     
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May 6, 2007, 03:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dennis002 View Post
Now we are getting somewhere..

But to start with, this whole having-sex-thing isn't very normal either, cloning is the way it is meant to be, just take a rib (homosexual or heterosexual) and make someone new.
Now now, let's not get into mythology…
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May 6, 2007, 03:54 AM
 
Sorry..

And next.. intelligence, is it normal to be intelligent? Everyone wants intelligent children, but half of them will normally have an IQ of 100 or less. If eating chickenliver during pregnancy would increase the child's IQ, would it be normal to eat extra chickenliver during pregnancy?
     
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May 6, 2007, 07:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Does it make an effective difference? Bisexual behavior necessarily includes homosexual behavior.
Not if it can be established that "homosexual" animals still engage in sex that procreates. Animals use sex for a host of reasons that include; relaxing fight or flight responses among bonobos, establishing dominance among other male dogs, and pair-bonding for survival among dolphins. Upon merely smelling a female dog, male dogs will become stimulated and a host of mounting behaviors are sparked. We don't quite act that way. A "homosexual" male would most assuredly not become aroused by the scent of a female. Right? I mean, unless I'm misuderstanding homosexuality. So... are the male dogs engaging "homosexual" behavior or are they simply reacting to stimuli? Much like how wildcats often react to the stimuli of prey causing them to eat their own young. They don't rely upon their cognitive abilities when faced with conflicting instincts like humans do. They simply react.

It may be tempting to compare homosexual animals with homosexual humans, but it doesn't seem they have a thing in common other than the fact they're touching one another.
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May 6, 2007, 10:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
It may be tempting to compare homosexual animals with homosexual humans, but it doesn't seem they have a thing in common other than the fact they're touching one another.
This is scary; I agree with you!
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May 11, 2007, 05:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by anonymac View Post
yes. homosexuality is not a normal behavior. a guy having sex with another guy's butt (which is what being gay is all about despite how many gay guys deny it) or two lesbians licking each other is not a normal desire.
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May 11, 2007, 05:36 PM
 
Who cares what other people do in bed, or who they fall in love with? If they are consenting adults, I say get on with it, and keep the State, and Big Christian Brother, out of their pants, beds and personal lives.
     
 
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