These results are almost certainly "reproducible" in that you could take the same people, regenerate all the measurements again, and get the same results by running the methods described in the paper.
These results may not be "reproducible" in the sense that when they do this with a set of 2000 new individuals, they will probably not find the same SNPs at the same significance.
Public discussion that conflates these two only serves to discredit science, without improving it or its process. Worse, saying that only only the second sense of "reproducible" is worthy of "science", would severely impede the process of discovery.
As long as "reproducible" in the first sense holds, scientists can learn from each other. Scientists also need to be able to communicate with each other before announcing to the world "we've solved it all!"
I find that most people (and I'm not including you with this statement, I don't know what you think!) who are bemoaning the lack of "reproducibility" are only interested in that second sense of reproducibility, because they want to open a journal to a random page make broad statements that are widely applicable. Scientists need to be able to talk about things in narrow terms, and specifics, or they will never be able to get to the broad rules that are generally useful.
Well at least we agree that discovering universal laws is desirable. Because we want to explain the world, right?
Some more info about reproducibility:
I wonder if / how long it will be before parents have the technical means—if not the legal right—to alter their child to be gay or straight through gene therapy. Or even simply selectively bring to term one orientation or the other.
But if parents started aborting because they were homosexual, would there be any sort of moral/ethical issue?
Other comments have rightly commented it could be inverse (selecting for homosexuality), but I think all pro-lifers would prefer anyone being born, and allowing them to be responsible for their own soul, so that answer is easier for me to imagine.
I brought it up elsewhere, but this is an idea suggested in the book "The Forever War" as a way to control the population expansion.
I don't have a problem with (the concept) people selecting OUT homosexual children because I believe that there are people who will remain who will select them IN.
On a deeper level, I suspect that homosexuality is more complex than a few genetic markers - that there are epigenetic pressures there as well, and that there is a social/biological reason for their existence.
Homosexuality isn't a recent development, it isn't some "modern" issue. The Native Americans had a very different take on homosexuals than we do currently. Our outlook has shifted several times in the last few hundred years as well (the interwar period in Europe as an example). There are even some stunning modern examples that are rather counter intuitive to those who are ill informed (Iran and its views on trans genders).
Not more so than terminating a pregnancy for any other reason.
Usually it's for some reason that's justifiable, e.g. don't have the means to support it, don't want a child ever/at this moment in my life, teenage pregnancy, product of rape, fetus has some inherited disease, etc.
Merely dropping a child because it'll be gay, while being ok to keep another that wouldn't is not exactly of that nature.
Even the most casual reasoning for abortion ("I don't want a child, period") doesn't imply anything more, whereas this can be seen as implying you hate gay people.
By your logic, if homosexual attraction had genetic causes, could it not also be seen as "some inherited disease"?
You're doing a great deal of question begging. You're beginning with an ideological stance vis-a-vis homosexual attraction that is exactly a point of issue, and then tailoring moral arguments to suit the position. You've confused "the position that homosexual attraction is disordered" with "hating gay people" and then unjustifiably construed "hating gay people" as not entailed by the desire to terminate a pregnancy for whatever reason, i.e., it's okay to terminate a pregnancy for whatever reason unless the reason is that the fetus is genetically conditioned for homosexual attraction, in which case it isn't okay because that would be an act of hate against gay people by virtue of my prior ideological commitments.
You must see the absurdity of that line of thought.
The position of sound anti-abortionists would be that no matter the characteristics of the fetus, the fetus is a human being and the killing of any innocent human being is immoral. Your position, on the other hand, seems to be very ad hoc, relying on special pleading that is driven by prior sui generis ideological commitments.
Secondly, how is terminating a pregnancy because the fetus is going to be a homosexual person different from terminating because of a specific gender of the fetus? For example, in India aborting because the fetus is female is illegal or it’s rather illegal to find the gender of the baby before he or she is born.
Since it doesn't affect one's capacity to live, work, perform, etc and general health, then it could be seen as such (if one was willing to) but not justifiably more than e.g. having blue eyes.
And morality is all about rationalizations.
>The subjective ethical considerations depend on the context in which the decision is taken, and none of this discovery changes the context.
Of course it does, as it adds another factor one can request an abortion for -- and the preference against or for that (having a gay baby) is not morally seen as neutral as e.g. not wanting a sickle cell anemic baby.
I am not sure this is the case. In the GP comment, he took a population for whom both elements (homosexuality and abortion) are forbidden. You are not allowed to support either of them.
If you are not in that population, you can have an opinion on either element, independently.
This said, a liberal perspective for one element may (or is more likely) to also be true for the other one.
My point is that the choice will be easy for some to ignore their dictates that "abortion is abhorrent" and might choose to abort a "gay baby" because they fear homosexuality more than keeping their ideals.
But if you're going to accuse someone of hypocrisy I think you should be a bit more specific about exactly who you are accusing.
The idea of aborting a baby due to their likely sexuality is as horrifying to me as sex-selective abortion. I don't view this as a quandry whatsoever.
I'm keen to hear what you consider it to mean to be "opposed to homosexuality".
If you were to consider homosexuality a disordered condition (i.e. disease), then being "opposed" to it is pretty nonsensical, in the same way it would be meaningless to be "opposed" to autism or "opposed" to diabetes.
If that's not the case, then would you consider yourself to be "opposed" to it in the legal sense (homosexual acts should be illegal)? The social sense (homosexuality should be publicly shunned)? The civic sense (homosexual relationships should have no civic legitimacy)?
Since were in the realm of hypothetical, I would like to ask you a question.
If we manage to identify homosexuality as a genetic disorder, and we determined that there was a 99.999% chance that your children would be homosexual, what would you do?
Would you mind elaborating more on this? It's hard to tell if you mean "avoiding sexual misconduct" as "don't rape, don't have sex outside of marriage" etc, or as "gay men must live as if they were straight". From a Buddhist perspective, the first choice seems reasonable, if a little restricting, since it's a rephrasing of the Third Moral Precept, but the second seems far too imposing on somebody else.
A related question would be - would you have kids if under the same scenario conditions - there was a 100% chance they'd drop dead at age 10? Or 5? That potential child has a chance at life and everything wonderful and terrible it entails but not in any way that you conceive it. You'd think it horrible but maybe they'd feel grateful for the chance. Maybe they'll be the first 10 year old to cure cancer.
It's not the same thing but for it gets at the spirit of it. I mean, my child will have different problems then me. Heck, they might not even view things that I see as problems as problems. It's still my responsibility to raise them to live the best life possible as I see it and then to give them the chance to do that.
So without that- no contracts, no law, no real society - this is why people instinctivly yell for better morals when corruption is detected. Pressure on the outliers creates more contract-caste-conscripts. Problem solved.
It seems more fair to me if I bear the burden of my moral framework, given the proposed determinism.
Of course, this is sophistry; ask about whether two celibate gay men would be allowed a Catholic wedding and the answer will be no because they can't have children, nature of marriage, yadda yadda. Ask whether a man or woman without intact junk can get married and suddenly it's love that is really important.
I still think it's a pretty fair generalisation of traditional Christianity and the vast majority of Christians (liberal western Protestants are a minority on the global scale, and even they don't universally accept abortion and contraception, take for instance Pastor Anderson)
Many people still think homosexuality is a choice, not an inherent trait. The genetic argument may just be ignored entirely.
People somehow believe stranger things about the flatness of the Earth.
While I doubt we'd see these means anytime soon, it could go either way I think: Forced abortions because of sex orientation (and who says that it'll have to be the straight people that abort homosexuals, not the other way around?) or taking a pill and become gay for some months, as you wish.
I'd assume that the usage of such products would move towards more (percieved) comfortness in life (like not being gay in teenage years, bc. some studies found you're more likely to feel bad ... but being gay in college/post-college years because higher income).
/me trying to picture two guys having an abortion
I'm not sure that'll ever be possible. Once a gene has "done its work", possibly when the fetus was in the womb, that least to homosexuality (or whatever other characteristic is of interest), then editing the genome will have less or no effect.
> Or even simply selectively bring to term one orientation or the other.
This seems a lot more doable to me.
I expect it will be possible by 2025-2030.
Much of the world is also less friendly to homosexuality, to put it lightly. I wonder if they will eliminate it entirely?
I think that 50 years ago "homosexuality" would not have been "preventable" at least in the US.
However those who were untreatable were not treated kindly - it is still the era of institutionalization. We probably would have had a far more horrific solution to the precived problem than the one you suggest.
They found "support" for associations between homosexuality and some specific genetic code positions, but not strong enough evidence to be very sure of anything ("significance").
That’s pretty intense. Have you tried medication or therapy? Or anything else?
Some will take this study to mean Homosexuality is a disease, to be cured. Others will reject it, to say the science is not yet "in", the study needs replications, meta-studies are needed to verify and corroborate it. We should embrace it, and say that it is good we are not a monoculture, embrace mutation and variation. To be human is to be different.
I think sexual orientation is probably an inherent trait in most people, but to say something like educational success is just a result of genetics and not other factors like teachers, parents etc is simplistic.
Not to mention that the universe is hardly deterministic. Chaos theory and quantum physics show quite clearly that randomness and unpredictability are fundamental.
I guess I'm not super expert on QM or some of its different interpretations, but from our point of view there's not a whole lot of difference between multiple universes and actual randomness is there?
Genetic determinism is not the same as free will. Our genes don't determine everything, but together with our environment, they do.
So sane people aren't incapable of making the right choice but they are incapable of doing as reliably as others across multiple scenarios over time because there are a lot of other factors at play than being human and having free will.
Lately I’ve been siding with the first stance, but I can understand both. It comes down to the strength of your faith that Science understands (for the most part) all of the essential features of reality, and also your trust in your immediate experience.
It’s a tough question.
Which is not what the other comment was saying I don't think, but the parent comment was.
Edit to add: and even if human behavior was actually a deterministic function of their history it'd surely be a chaotic system. I can't say I really see much difference in that case.
That said, I do believe that people are more or less the sum of their parts and I accept that genetics are especially important. However, there are always people who defy expectations. I just don't except that it is a totally deterministic connection.
What else affects agency? I think you have to look to religion, rather than science, to come to any conclusion other than human actions being essentially deterministic.
Chaos theory: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory
The physical universe is not a complete mystery. To the extent that certain phenomena can be agreed to procede from other phenomena in a repeatable fashion, there is indeed reason to celebrate. As many wise men have pointed out, however, we are very small and the universe is very great. The extent of that which we do not understand at all is good reason to suspect that we must continue to deliberately blind ourselves if we are to keep patting ourselves on the back.
And mathematics is just a convenient tool with which we describe reality, no one would seriously think today that our math is deeply inscribed in the essence of reality as Galileo thought.
Apart from this, and the fact that the paper shows a very weak statistical significance, I agree fully with your last statement.
This is straight up wrong; most physicists I know, regardless of subdiscipline, basically agree on some variation of the idea that reality is somehow underpinned by algebraic structures.
How so? The p values are quite low.
I've had really interesting conversations with some of the gay people I know where I've urged them to at least start thinking about what would happen if science found a biological or genetic basis for homosexuality. If human sexuality can be altered with a probiotic, targeted antibiotic or gene therapy, the LGBT community should be prepared for the renewed attack on their way of life that would bring. Just because they intuitively consider it part of their identity doesn't mean that it is biologically so. Science isn't going to avoid investigating or finding these kinds of things, no matter how much opinion shifts towards acceptance of non-majority sexual preferences.
I can also envision a world in which increased understanding of the mechanics of our sexuality poses some interesting moral questions and scenarios. What if all sexual preferences are governed by these mechanics, not just gender? Even straight people have a wide variety of preferences when it comes to race, body type and other physical characteristics. Could surreptitiously trying to alter someone's preferences be considered rape in much the same way that using GHB to bypass consent currently is? Could we have a world where gene therapies to increase compatibility become part of marital counseling? Might 23andme.com become the world's best online dating site? Might people in cultures with arranged marriages start forming the arrangements pre-birth and then selecting embryos for IVF based on the compatibility of their offspring?
This field of study offers so many really interesting /r/WritingPrompts for near-future science fiction writers. So many of our institutions, customs and culture revolve around the propagation of the species that demystifying it could really turn society on its head in some interesting ways.
It doesn't really matter if there's no "free will", while a behavior of an individual can be approximated as a behavior of rational agent who properly reacts to an expectation of positive or negative consequences.
If a person can react rationally, then it is rational to disincentivize them. If they can't, then it is rational to move them to a psychiatric hospital, where they'll have better chances at fixing the problem knowing exact genetical causes.
The same as now.
> To be human is to be different.
Within Overton window. No one is going to embrace pedophiles anytime soon.
(Edit: this is apparently an intelligent-design advocacy publication, but it is telling how much his opponents respected him. Provine would have been touched. Here's another link, for context: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/p/ptb/6959004.0007.003/--william-...)
He had a lot of thoughtful and kind things to say, and a lot of courage to back it up. Have a gander at some of his work if it piques your interest.
Thanks for your post -- it led me to the news that he had passed away. He had so long surpassed the odds on his specific guaranteed-to-recur cancer that I almost believed him to be invulnerable.
Thank you, Will. We lead best by example; yours was superb.
None of this is true. We would still imprison those who break the law, despite a deterministic universe, for quarantine, if nothing else.
Even punishments such as fines still make sense in a fully deterministic world, and in one where there is no societal desire to be "fair" or give people what they "deserve".
Except none of them have any idea whats really going on...
Regardless, the fact that we've made any strides at all within these fields is proof of determinism. If not 100% determinism, then enough to dispel notions of a "just world."
Kuhn (short summary) pointed out that paradigms arise which, after a time, cause scientists that have 'bought in' to resist attempts to modify them. Many scientists get 'stuck' in the current paradigm and pooh-pooh attempts to modify them. The history of science demonstrates this over and over ... EG Wegener, EG Clovis.
Yep, Kuhn recognizes progress. His major point is that progress doesn't come from the orthodox establishment.
From the paper:
"classified men as homosexual based on both their self-reported sexual identity and sexual feelings"
Furthermore, how does this study explain sexual fluidity? IE: I liked kissing boys when I was 13 but I married a woman at 25?
"Well my 'science test' says that you're not."
Not to say the above comment makes any sense...
And it doesn't have to explain sexual fluidity. Human sexuality is pretty flexible by nature, but you could easily see that some genetic changes could lead to predisposition.