Disclaimer: I should say I am not a psychologist or biologist, though I have a few college level courses in the prior which probably color my view. In addition, I am not sexually a homosexual and have no personal experience with that aspect of it, though it piques my intellectual interest. Also, I am European (this is apparently a synonym to many).
Question: Do you tend to support a psychological or a biological explanation to why some people are homosexuals? Do you have a "pure" or a "mixed" view of the two, and why?
My opinion: I tend to support the psychological explanation of sexuality due to it being more parsimonious. Being "born" a homosexual doesn't immediately ring clear as a biological explanation requires a number of a priori assumptions of future state of the social environment as one grows up. Two people of the same sex cannot biologically reproduce and thus face extinction. Becoming a homosexual through the psychosocial environment is to me a simpler explanation as this would imply it being either a learned behavior, which may account for homosexual couples having a higher probability of raising a homosexual child, or as a response to other environmental factors such as sexual competition.
I'll stop explaining here and rather see where the discussion goes off to.
(Two notes to add: I don't think homosexuality should be treated even if it is "treatable". It is no more a condition than preferring beer over vodka. Also, I tend to support a twin explanation of both inherited and environmental causes, though with the latter overwhelmingly more explanatory, i.e. 90%)
So you suspect the impulse or first cause, so to speak, is the social conditioning as opposed to a more primal or instinctual trigger? Personally I always saw twiggy as visually displeasing.
Are you also suggesting that an individuals personality or visual disposition, his mannerisms and such, is also predominantly a response to social conditioning? I'm sure we have both known gay men who were quite obviously gay and who grew up in an environment either not affiliated with those whom they could identify with or even hostile to homosexuality. The social environment seems to be the least of the issue for them.
Aren't most mannerisms due to social conditioning..? You are not born with the vast majority of social skills, they are learnt behavior. Modern cases of Romulus and Remus come to mind.
I have admittedly an extremely poor gaydar and was raised in one of the most feminine societies in the world (Norway) in which male-male affection is not only common, but expected. Apart from those who are feminine almost to excess (I don't know anyone fitting that category personally, but I do have to cut my hair), I've always been caught somewhat by surprise when I discovered that someone I've spent a lot of time with is homosexual.
I have spent time with too few homosexuals to make a "stereotype" of the signs to look for, I have essentially been unable to make a personally satisfactory inductive reasoning about it.
I don't think all mannerisms are social derivatives, some surely are but an obviously gay male (obvious to me at least) who grew up within an environment not conducive to homosexuality, who displayed the "signs" from an early age (my brother in law) suggests something outside that of social conditioning or more likely, prior to it and independent of it. Growing up gay to me simply means growing up with the predisposition of a genetic variance like green eyes. Homosexuals can be butch types feminine types or stealthy types and everything in between and that they seem to have always existed (though I'm not a historian) suggests society doesn't need to play a role. You really owe it to yourself to hang out with the gays for a while and see what I mean, to be quite honest I've always found them to be considerably more polite genuine respectful and decent than your average male.
Would so love to see Norway BTW.
I meant to mention my anecdotal observations of a large percentage of homosexuals who have a womanly voice in addition to their feminine mannerisms. Even feminine facial features seem to me to be more common in homosexuals. I wonder if there is any objective research on this, or am I just imagining things?
I guess it's a bit of a horse and cart situation, though I guess more in the sense of if you teach a horse to push the cart you will have it in front, If you teach it to pull it it will be in the back.
Since the debate doesn't have any immediate and clear cut answers, I prefer to think of it as nurture reinforcing nature, which further reinforces nurture, which again reinforces nature, etc.
As a bit of a funny side note, I have a friend who gets horny by math (he's doing his Ph.D now). When he speaks about it he will lean forward, touch the conversational partner, his pupils dilate - and by his own admission, become sexually aroused. I dare you to find a biological argument for that behavior. ;)
Many thanks for your gracious compliment, and may I say the feeling is mutual.
Hmm, I may have to do some research as to whether porn sites include a math category.
My guess about the passionate math maven is that it's a simple matter of male pride that gets the blood circulating down there. But that's still an interesting observation to add to the list of uniquely human sexual behaviors, unless (say) bonobos or dolphins can wax about math someday?
I recall a comedian (name forgotten) who suggested that you could open the Christmas edition of the JC Penny catalog, turn to any page you like, pick an image of something on that page and someone somewhere wants to have sex with that item.
Which reminds me; I learned in an advertising class I took at Brigham Young University (long time ago), that sex sells - particularly to guys (right, guys?).
And in response to Pope Paul; I have had my letters-to-the-editor published supporting individual sexual preference but, honestly, swishy speach and mannerisms are a put-on and annoying, in my opinion.
By the way I tend to watch your posts closely, you are one of the more contemplative individuals I have had the fortune to interact with. It's good to be back.
A funny story if I may and I apologize for straying a bit off topic. I went to a bar a few years ago I had not been to in eons. In my youth this was a nice place to have a few drinks and shoot pool so for old time sake I decided to go. I took a seat at the bar and ordered a drink prior to looking around the place and before my drink had come I was hit on. Were you to see me in person you would understand my surprise, what was even more surprising was that the person doing the hitting was a male. I recall as once being momentarily confused, thinking he was joking possibly. He was in actuality quite serious, I politely turned him down with the standard "Thank you but I'm straight" response, to which he looked at me rather strangely. It was at this point where the backdrop slowly came into view, my favorite hangout had become a gay bar. I had by this time received my drink and since having already paid, decided to finish it but I intentionally took my time so as to take in the environment a bit. After leaving I recall personally analyzing two feelings, one being that of insult at someones assumption that I "look" gay and secondly (and slightly more embarrassingly) somewhat hurt that I, despite or due to my aforementioned anatomical deficiencies only got hit on once. I called a gay friend of mine to joke about the whole scenario when I got home and was told, in regards to not being hit on, gays have a type of gaydar as well. Do you think he said that just to make me feel better?