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Copy of TOK Presentation: Homosexuality Through Nature, Nurture and Ethics.

What determines a person's sexual orientation? Is it ethical to discriminate against homosexuals? Is it ethical for homosexuals to get married and adopt children?

Lara Perez-Burgos

on 12 June 2013

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Transcript of Copy of TOK Presentation: Homosexuality Through Nature, Nurture and Ethics.

TOK Presentation: Homosexuality Through Nature, Nurture and Ethics Petra Maria Korpivaara, Flaminia Maria Vannozzi, Danielle Berlinsky and Maximilian Leo Peter Lindgren What determines a person's sexual orientation?
Is it ethical to discriminate against homosexuals?
Is it ethical for homosexuals to get married and adopt children? Introduction During this presentation we will aim to explore whether homosexuality/bisexuality is biologically determined or a choice a person makes.
We will also look into the ethics of stereotyping based on sexual orientation as well as the ethics of homosexual marriage and homosexuals adopting children. Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge Ways of Knowing:
Sense perception
Areas of Knowledge:
Natural sciences
Human sciences
The Arts
Ethics Relevant Ways of Knowing 1) Sense perception: is the physical response of our senses to stimuli. Our senses include hearing, taste, touch, smell and sight.

2) Reason: a rational motive for a belief or an action. Logical thinking.

3) Emotion: an emotion usually consists of various internal feelings and external forms of behaviour and it can vary in intensity, from say mild irritation to blind anger. Relevant Areas of Knowledge 1) Natural science: refers to a naturalistic approach to the study of the universe. Natural sciences include biology, chemistry, physics, and astronomy.

2) Human science: refers to the investigation of human life and human activities. Human sciences include psychology, economics, anthropology and sociology.

3) Ethics: also known as moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality, such as concepts of good and bad, right and wrong, virtue and vice, and justice. Sexual Orientation A person’s primary sexual attraction is also called sexual orientation.
The causes of sexual orientation are not fully understood.
Some researchers believe that sexual orientation results chiefly from biological factors. One such factor may be the effect of hormones on the developing brain of a foetus before birth.
Some scientists also think particular genes may be involved.
Other researchers believe that sexual orientation is determined by social and psychological factors.
According to one theory, children learn through pleasurable sexual experiences to become increasingly attracted to one of the sexes or both sexes. What is Heterosexuality? Heterosexuality is sexual attraction primarily to individuals of the opposite sex. Heterosexuals are called ‘straight’. What is Homosexuality? Homosexuality is sexual attraction chiefly to individuals of the same sex.
Homosexuals, especially men, are called ‘gay’.
Many female homosexuals are called and call themselves ‘lesbian’.
Scientists are not sure how many people are homosexual. Since the late 1940s various estimates suggest that 1 to 10% of men and women are attracted to people of their own sex. What is Bisexuality? Some people are not entirely homosexual or heterosexual.
People who are strongly attracted to members of both sexes are called bisexual.
Many people who consider themselves heterosexual have participated in homosexual acts at some time in their lives. Part I Is homosexuality biologically determined or is it a conscious choice or perhaps both?
What is Nature and Nurture? Nature is innate behaviour (behaviour not learned or influenced by the environment), character or essence, especially of a human.
Nurture is the process of bringing up or fostering. Nurture can also be regarded as the sociological factors as a determinant of personality. Nature vs. Nurture and Homosexuality If homosexuality is biologically determined then this implies that homosexuality is influenced by nature.
On the other hand, if a person’s sexual orientation is determined by the surrounding environment it can be considered to be influenced by nurture.
Whether or not homosexuality is caused by biological or social factors is unclear but different studies have been conducted to try and prove both sides of this argument. Nature and Homosexuality The area of knowledge that relates to nature and homosexuality is biology.
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy.
Biological studies of the brain, genes and DNA have been used in attempt to create a connection between biological factors and homosexuality. A study of the brain In 1990 Dr. Swaab conducted a study attempting to find evidence to support his theory of the brain of a homosexual individual.
Swaab conducted a series of post-mortem experiments on the brains of homosexuals.
He found that a portion of the hypothalamus in each of the test subjects was structurally different than the same portion in the brain of a heterosexual individual.
The section within the hypothalamus of the brain is the portion which controls sexual drive and function in humans.
This section was significantly larger in size in the sample brains of homosexuals then in those of heterosexuals.
A similar study was constructed by Dr. Laura S. Allen who managed to achieve similar results and also found that in homosexual men, the suprachiasmatic region of the hypothalamus is larger. The ‘Gay Gene’ Study In 1993 Dr. Hammer and his team conducted a study investigating the relationship between genetics and homosexuality.
The study showed that out of the 76 homosexual test subjects studied, homosexual men had more homosexual uncles and cousins on their maternal side than on the paternal side.
The x chromosome of the homosexual brothers was found and then tested for similar alleles. The results showed that 33 out of the 40 brothers had similar alleles, this number being much higher than the predicted 50%.
The media then eventually dubbed this the “gay gene”. Opinion: Is homosexuality determined by nature? Based on the nature studies presented, it seems that homosexuality is at least partially nature based.
However, as nature seems to be only a partial determinant, nurture can also have an effect on a person’s sexual orientation. Nurture and Homosexuality The area of knowledge that relates to nurture and homosexuality is psychology.
Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes and how they are affected by a person’s physical state, mental state and external environment.
Psychological studies of siblings and twins have been used in attempt to create a connection between nurture and homosexuality. Older Brother Study Bogaert, Blanchard and Crosthwait conducted a study in 2007 exploring the relationship between the presence or absence of older brothers and homosexual men.
The study was done by analyzing four samples of homosexual and heterosexual men (total number 944 men), including one sample of men raised in non-biological families (i.e. raised with half- or step-siblings or as adoptees).
An interconnection was found between the amount of brothers a man has and whether or not he is homosexual.
The connection found was that a man is more likely to be homosexual if he has several brothers.
The results suggest that each additional brother increases the likelihood of homosexuality by 33%. Bailey & Pillard, 1991 – twin study Bailey and Pillard used a sample of 161 male homosexual participants, all over the age of 18 with a twin or an adoptive brother.
For participants with adoptive brothers, it was stipulated that they must have entered a common rearing environment when both were no more than 2 years old.
52% (29/56) of monozygotic twins, 22% (12/54) of dizygotic twins, and 11% (6/57) of adoptive brothers were both homosexual.
The rate of homosexuality among nontwin biological siblings, as reported by the participants, 9.2% (13/142), was significantly lower than would be predicted by a simple genetic hypothesis and other published reports.
This study suggests that homosexuality can be caused by both genes and rearing.
The high occurence of both monozygotic twins (identical) being homosexual suggests that genetics can determine one's sexual orientation.
However, as 22% of dizygotic twins (un-identical) and 11% of adoptive brother pairs were both homosexual, implies that the reason for their sexual orientation may not lie in genes but in their upbringing. Opinion: Is homosexuality determined by nurture? Based on these studies, a person’s sexual orientation can also be determined through social factors such as upbringing.
Therefore, it is the combination of biological and social factors that determine the sexual orientation of a person. Ways of Knowing and Nature vs. Nurture The nature argument closely relates to the ways of knowing of sense perception.
The nurture argument on the other hand relates to emotion and reason. Sense Perception Our senses are biological, and therefore sense perception relates to the nature side of the argument.
In relation to sexuality, a person feels attraction to others through sense perception.
For example, people are attracted naturally to the smell of another person, and thus attracted to that person.
Also sight is a part of attraction. People naturally look for certain physical features in others, and feel attraction to the person they see these features displayed in.
Therefore, our senses play a role in determining who we are attracted to and hence our sexual orientation. Emotion and Reason Emotion and reason are regarded as being learnt, and hence emotion and reason relate to the nurture side of the argument.
The desire to reproduce is a natural instinct for a human being, however the emotions of love and care are not regarded as being natrual.
For example, a man and a man cannot reproduce and therefore the attraction between them is not due to a biological urge.
Therefore the emotion that causes the attraction between the two men, is caused by something other then nature.
Emotion is learnt in this case, but it can also be considered biological.
An example of this is the emotion of care can be natural in the case of parents and children, as it is a natural urge for parents to protect their offspring. After hearing this information what do you think? Is homosexuality a choice, is it biological or both? Conclusion: Nature, Nurture and Homosexuality Based on the presented studies and our opinion, it can be said that a person’s sexual orientation is determined through biological factors as well as social factors. Part II Is it ethical to discriminate against homosexuals?
Is homosexual marriage ethical?
Is allowing homosexuals to adopt ethical? What is Ethics? Ethics: also known as moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality, such as concepts of good and bad, right and wrong, virtue and vice, and justice.
Ethics is a part of decision making.
Ethics are not necessarily universal “truths”. What is a Stereotype? A stereotype is a commonly held public belief about specific social groups, or types of individuals. Stereotypes of homosexuals There are countless stereotypes on homosexuals. These stereotypes include:
Homosexuality is a phase.
All gay men will contract and die of AIDS.
Homosexuals are more sexually active then heterosexuals and are more prone to sexual addiction.
All homosexual men are feminine.
All homosexual women are masculine.
Female homosexuals have short haircuts and wear masculine clothing.
Male homosexuals love fashion and always wear stylish clothing.
Homosexuals are more prone to substance/drug abuse, especially of aphrodisiac drugs such as cocaine, amphetamine and MDMA that are thought to cause hyperarousal and hypersexuality. Stereotypes of Homosexuals (continued) Homosexual men are friendlier than heterosexual men.
Homosexual females are meaner than heterosexual females.
Homosexuals are more jealous and attached to their partners then heterosexuals.
Homosexual males enjoy surrounding themselves with women and talking about feminine things.
Homosexual men love fashion and spend more time grooming themselves then heterosexual men.
Homosexual men are more expressive of their feelings and emotions.
Homosexual men are better looking than heterosexual men in general. What causes stereotyping? Stereotyping is caused by several factors such as:
The upbringing of a person. The way in which their parents raised them.
Past experiences.
Social class.
The fashion industry.
Celebrities. Deductive reasoning Deductive reasoning is one of the two basic forms of valid reasoning. Deductive reasoning argues from the general to a specific instance.
Stereotyping can be explained through deductive reasoning.
An example of deductive stereotypical reasoning is: all homosexual men are interested in fashion. Max is interested in fashion. Therefore, Max is homosexual. Is stereotyping ethical? To a certain extent, stereotyping is involuntary and typical of human behaviour.
Stereotyping is mostly subconscious because it is used to categorize people.
In the most extreme cases, stereotyping leads to discrimination and other irrational actions. For example, the "witch hunt" in Europe in 1600s was caused by stereotypes, which led to the unjust murder of thousands of innocent women.
Although we constantly stereotype, it is unethical. This is because there are always exceptions to every generalization.
Also discrimination and irrational actions based on stereotypes are unethical. Religion and Homosexuality The relationship between religion and homosexuality can vary greatly across time and place, within and between different religions and sects, and regarding different forms of homosexuality and bisexuality.
Present day doctrines of some of the world's religions generally view homosexual behavior negatively, although this isn't always the case.
This can range from quietly discouraging homosexual activity, explicitly forbidding same-sex sexual practices among adherents and actively opposing social acceptance of homosexuality, to execution. Law and homosexuality Homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexualism related laws vary greatly by country or territory—everything from legal recognition of same-sex marriage or other types of partnerships, to the death penalty as punishment for same-sex sexual activity or identity.
For example, in northern European countries like Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark same sex sexual-activity is legal and same sex relationships are recognized.
In some western Asian countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates same sex sexual-activity is illegal and punishable with even the death sentence and same sex-relationships are not recognized. What is Homosexual Marriage? Same sex marriage (also called gay marriage) is a legally or socially recognized marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender.
Since 2001, ten countries and various other jurisdictions have begun legally formalizing same-sex marriages, and the recognition of such marriages is a civil rights, political, social, moral, and religious issue in many nations. Arguments Against Same Sex Marriage Marriage is an institution between one man and one woman.
Marriage is for procreation.
Same-sex couples aren't the optimum environment in which to raise children.
Homosexual relationships are immoral and violate the sacred institution of marriage.
If homosexual marriage is legalized, homosexuality would be promoted in the public schools.
Same sex sexual activities are unnatural. Argument I For Same Sex Marriage - Human Needs Humans have certain needs that shouldn’t be denied.
Most basic human needs include physiological needs or safety. Then are also the needs to feel love and to belong.
If heterosexuals meet their needs for love by marrying someone of the opposite sex and homosexuals cannot marry, are we saying that we do not want homosexuals to meet this basic needs? Argument II for Same Sex Marriage - Rights obtained through marriage Marriage provides rights to both individuals in the marriage.
For example, a spouse can make a decision in time of illness for the partner, when they are incapable of making decisions for themselves.
In the event of death, marriage gives legal rights to the spouse that a girlfriend or boyfriend would not have.
These rights should be given to anybody that wishes to marry. Argument III For Same Sex Marriage - Freedom of choice People who are of age and are conscious of their decisions should be allowed to participate in marriage with the person they choose.
Homosexual people should not be limited in their rights because of their sexual preferance.
Love can exist between two people of the same sex. What is Adoption? Adoption is a legal proceeding that creates a parent-child relation between persons not related by blood. The adopted child is entitled to all privileges belonging to a natural child of the adoptive parents (including the right to inherit) and the parents are legal guardians of the child. First Homosexual Couple Adopting Child in Australia Arguments against homosexuals adopting children There is a belief that there could be a larger chance for a child to be homosexual meaning that the parents influence the child’s sexuality.
It is unclear as to what the effect of the absence of a female (mother) or male (father) figure has on a child in a homosexual relationship.
It is questionable as to whether or not males have the same connection with the child as women who biologically conceive the child. Arguments for homosexuals adopting children Since natural pregnancy is not possible for homosexuals, the desire to have children is real.
Adoption is generally a carefully made decision, while in heterosexual relationships pregnancies can be accidental and unwanted.
It is unethical to deny adoptees a home just because the parents are homosexual.
According to many statistics, the divorce rate in homosexual marriages is less than in heterosexual marriages.
Single parenting, divorce, abandoning of children or irresponsible parenting could also have a negative affect on the well-being of a child. Ethics of third party decisions regarding ones right to marry and have children It is unethical and unfair for third parties such as religious institutions and laws to dictate who should be allowed to wed or to have children.
Using religion or law for the discrimination and oppression of people resprenting minority is wrong.
Every person has the right to decide on their sexuality, their object of love and their family. Conclusion: Ethics Although stereotyping is involuntary, it is at the same time offensive and unethical. This is because there are always exceptions to all generalizations. Discrimination and taking actions against groups of people or individuals based on stereotypes is unethical.
Religion, law or any other third party should not be allowed to have a say and dictate an individual's sexual orientation or life in any other way.
In relation to marriage, a third party should not be able to decide whether or not a person is allowed to marry somone of the same sex because each person has the right to decide for themselves.
In relation to adoption, homosexual parents should be able to adopt children if they wish to and can provide them with a caring and loving home. Sometimes adoptive homosexual parents can provide a more stable environment for children than some heterosexual parents (for example alcholic parents). Overall Conclusion According to our research, homosexuality is caused by both biological as well as nurture factors.
It is unethical for people to judge other people's love and sexual orientation. Everyone should be treated equally, disregarding their sexual orientation.
This means that law and religion should also recognize people as equals, as well as ensure everyone with equal rights.
Third parties should not decide who a person can or cannot love or marry nor dictate whether or not they should be allowed to have or adopt children. Bibliography
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Significance of the topic The topic is current as the views upon homosexuality are changing.
Also, juridical laws have undergone change to give homosexuals equal rights to heterosexuals regarding marriage, adoption and relationships.
Due to the changes, more homosexuals are open about their sexual orientation and therefore homosexuality is more visible in the world of today then it was before say in the 1800s.
Over the past few decades, the origins of homosexuality have been debated and investigated. It still remains undecided as to whether homosexuality is biologically determined or if social factors are the determinants. What do you think? Is there a difference between male homosexuals couples and female homosexual couples adopting children?
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