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Rev. Powell
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« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2011, 11:57:40 AM »

As Rev said, it is so politicized that it doesn't really matter what science proves or fails to prove.

I didn't say that!  It matters to me what the science says.  The politicization just makes it more difficult to get to the correct answer. 
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« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2011, 12:01:07 PM »

Humans aren't the only creatures that can be gay. There's pleanty of reports of gay animals too. Heck, I live with two male dogs and the little one is always trying to hump the bigger one.

Anyway, I think the problems rise when people try to work out whats 'Right and Wrong' for a person to behave. But thats a whole different kettle of fish.
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« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2011, 12:24:48 PM »

As Rev said, it is so politicized that it doesn't really matter what science proves or fails to prove.

I didn't say that!  It matters to me what the science says.  The politicization just makes it more difficult to get to the correct answer.  

Sorry. The only thing I meant to attribute to you is that it is very politicized. That was badly worded.
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« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2011, 12:40:41 PM »

Here's akind of a science question. I'm always reading that an ape the size of King Kong couldn't exist becasue it couldn't support its own weight. Yet there were dinosaurs that were much larger than the standard (non-versus Godzilla) Kong. So I put it to you ,scienceteers, could an ape as big as Kong ever exist?


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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2011, 02:16:27 PM »

Here's akind of a science question. I'm always reading that an ape the size of King Kong couldn't exist becasue it couldn't support its own weight. Yet there were dinosaurs that were much larger than the standard (non-versus Godzilla) Kong. So I put it to you ,scienceteers, could an ape as big as Kong ever exist?





I don't see why not.  Its muscles, tendons, and bones would all be in proportion to its size and should therefore be able to support its weight.  My question is who would clean up the huge poops?

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« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2011, 03:21:06 PM »

Is Thomas Dobly right, can one be rendered seeing impaired by science?

They always required us to wear eye protection in chemistry lab, so I would assume so.

So what's the deal with homosexuality?  Biological, psychological, both?

Yes. Goggles, everybody.

As for homosexuality, Google "nature vs. nurture" and prepare yourself for years of study.

One, the human brain is built on biology, but it's pathways and convolution are enormously complicated. However, it seems that although each individual has their own idiosyncratic thinking style, those styles tend to conform to broad patterns such as language formation, face discrimination, and an eventual sexual "instinct," for lack of a better word.

Now here are several ideas:

1. Biology is necessity. You are hardwired when born to a certain sexual disposition. Most people will find themselves attracted to the opposite sex, but some will be "toggled" to be attracted to their own sex. This idea argues for normal sex drives in all people, just with different settings.

2. Polymorphous perversity. Like a baby that sticks everything in it's mouth to see if it's worth eating, you start off with no sexual wiring whatsoever (kind of true with the puberty thing, but we'll ignore that for now). As you grow towards puberty, social conditioning pares down your broadness of vision. Most people will choose to have sex with the opposite sex, but some will be intent on their own sex.

I would argue that it is a lot more complicated that either of those choices. I lean more towards an "imprinting" view of the whole thing, but humans have the unprecedented ability to change their minds, in all aspects of that phrase. For instance, you don't see a lot of other mammals choosing a life of celibacy.

As for evolutionary advantages, it may seem that hetero sex is the most advantageous, but it may just be that sex itself is enough. Let the pieces fall where they may and watch the whole thing take off. But even then you have to take into account social structure, child upbringing, mate pairing, family structure, etc. And we still haven't talked about people with more than two sex chromosomes; XXY, XYY, and so-on.

Anyway, every point I brought up has been, is, and will be argued about vehemently. From the science point of view, you will find many who will argue point one. You will also find many who think those people are morons and support point two. You will also find many who think both of those groups are deluded and are currently preparing data that supports a brand new idea. They'll all argue about it.
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« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2011, 03:42:19 PM »

Quote
Anyway, every point I brought up has been, is, and will be argued about vehemently. From the science point of view, you will find many who will argue point one. You will also find many who think those people are morons and support point two. You will also find many who think both of those groups are deluded and are currently preparing data that supports a brand new idea. They'll all argue about it.

Your post, Mofo Rising, is excellent and very even-handed. I agree particularly with this last point, and in this way I am hoping the thread will veer back to it's original fun intent and not go the other way. Time will tell.
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« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2011, 03:57:05 PM »

Where do babies come from?

from storks of course! Wink
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« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2011, 05:56:32 PM »

Here's one.

I am fascinated by black holes. However, my brain only carried me so far when researching them and once the language starts getting overly scientific, I start to get lost. I would love a simple layman's explanation of black holes, what causes them, what makes them tick, etc.
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« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2011, 06:03:38 PM »

Is Thomas Dobly right, can one be rendered seeing impaired by science?

They always required us to wear eye protection in chemistry lab, so I would assume so.

So what's the deal with homosexuality?  Biological, psychological, both?

Yes. Goggles, everybody.

As for homosexuality, Google "nature vs. nurture" and prepare yourself for years of study.

One, the human brain is built on biology, but it's pathways and convolution are enormously complicated. However, it seems that although each individual has their own idiosyncratic thinking style, those styles tend to conform to broad patterns such as language formation, face discrimination, and an eventual sexual "instinct," for lack of a better word.

Now here are several ideas:

1. Biology is necessity. You are hardwired when born to a certain sexual disposition. Most people will find themselves attracted to the opposite sex, but some will be "toggled" to be attracted to their own sex. This idea argues for normal sex drives in all people, just with different settings.

2. Polymorphous perversity. Like a baby that sticks everything in it's mouth to see if it's worth eating, you start off with no sexual wiring whatsoever (kind of true with the puberty thing, but we'll ignore that for now). As you grow towards puberty, social conditioning pares down your broadness of vision. Most people will choose to have sex with the opposite sex, but some will be intent on their own sex.

I would argue that it is a lot more complicated that either of those choices. I lean more towards an "imprinting" view of the whole thing, but humans have the unprecedented ability to change their minds, in all aspects of that phrase. For instance, you don't see a lot of other mammals choosing a life of celibacy.

As for evolutionary advantages, it may seem that hetero sex is the most advantageous, but it may just be that sex itself is enough. Let the pieces fall where they may and watch the whole thing take off. But even then you have to take into account social structure, child upbringing, mate pairing, family structure, etc. And we still haven't talked about people with more than two sex chromosomes; XXY, XYY, and so-on.

Anyway, every point I brought up has been, is, and will be argued about vehemently. From the science point of view, you will find many who will argue point one. You will also find many who think those people are morons and support point two. You will also find many who think both of those groups are deluded and are currently preparing data that supports a brand new idea. They'll all argue about it.

A male is 11x more likely to be homosexual as an adult if he had no male figure in his life before and during the early stages of puberty. Those also have greater incidence of substance abuse and suicide.
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« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2011, 06:42:08 PM »

Here's one.

I am fascinated by black holes. However, my brain only carried me so far when researching them and once the language starts getting overly scientific, I start to get lost. I would love a simple layman's explanation of black holes, what causes them, what makes them tick, etc.

Black holes have fascinated me for years.  Stephen Hawking has some good info on them but it definitely can get confusing for the layman.  Where does the matter that's sucked into a black hole go?  Is it destroyed?  Sucked into another dimension?
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« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2011, 06:54:51 PM »


As for evolutionary advantages, it may seem that hetero sex is the most advantageous, but it may just be that sex itself is enough. Let the pieces fall where they may and watch the whole thing take off.


Okay, I'll frame my response in the form of a question rather than an "argument," since it's more something I've pondered than a definitive "conclusion."

How does a biological tendency to be homosexual get passed along to continue as a trait?

(1) Some people who are homosexual will still reproduce heterosexually.  If it's biological, we should thus see a (fairly strong) correlation between homosexual parents who have produced offspring and the sexual tendency in the offspring.  Has this correlation been observed, in cases where environmental influences were non-existent?  (Perhaps the study would include offspring with a homosexual parent that did not know the parent was homosexual, etc).  This would be a very difficult study to execute...has it been done?

(2) Homosexuality correlations in twins?  This is the classic type study in sociology when looking into 'nature vs nurture' trends.  Has this study been done?

(3) In the non-human animal world, where homosexual behavior is observed, are those specimens STRICTLY homosexual?  Or, do they engage in heterosexual activity for purposes of reproduction?  In other words, can we separate the reproductive behavior from other forms of sexual expression?

(4) The percentage of the population that is homosexual (is this 'self identified' ??) is about 1%; can a trait that exhibits in only 1% of the population be considered one that helps the survival of the species (the evolutionary driver)?  Is there another example of this?
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« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2011, 07:20:13 PM »

Here's one.

I am fascinated by black holes. However, my brain only carried me so far when researching them and once the language starts getting overly scientific, I start to get lost. I would love a simple layman's explanation of black holes, what causes them, what makes them tick, etc.

Sorry if this "overview" covers what you've already read...

Basically, a black hole is a huge, very, very deep "gravity well."  If one write the mathematical equations describing the 'shape' of space-time, there are certain places where the denominator = zero.

As you may recall, that's "not allowed" in math.  Well, that's only sorta not allowed.   Situations where the denominator ends up being zero are called "singularities," and they happen to occur rather frequently in 'theoretical' equations.  Note here that I am using the term "theoretical" in the true scientific sense (ie, a mathematical representation of something in the real world), not the layman's sense (something conjectured or guessed).

So, you have this singularity from the mathematics...what does it mean?

Consider the series 1/10, 1/1, 1/0.1, 1/0.01, 1/0.001, ... and on.  If you plug those into a calculator (or do the math in your head), you'll see that the answer is getting bigger and bigger as the denominator gets smaller and smaller.

What do you predict will happen to the answer of the division problem when the denominator is 0?

Yes, we cannot actually DO that (within our system of math, anyway), but we CAN use a calculus tool: the limit.  Now, limits are really cool in that they have some very abstract and subtle (and profound) properties, but the application of them is rather straightforward.  Simply, a limit tells us what an equation tends toward as one of the values in that equations tends toward a particular value.

So, in essence, we can say that the limit of the fraction 1/x as x goes to zero is infinity.  We cannot ever actually GET x=0, but we can make x as arbitrarily CLOSE to zero as we want, then make it a little closer and we find the second answer is BIGGER than the first.  Etc.

Okay, back the black holes...we end up with a zero in the denominator for an equation that describes the gravity, and essentially what we are saying is that the gravity is "infinite" at that spot.  That's theory.  In practice, just take the gravity there so be so immensely huge so as to create a region that is beyond what our 'ordinary' descriptions and understanding of matter.

The gravity is so large, that not even "light" can escape...hence the name "black hole."  As matter is pulled into the gravity well, the "hole" in space-time, even the atoms are ripped apart.  In "theory," the hole is infinitely deep...as it would be if it were a "true singularity."  In practice, there is a bottom there somewhere.   TeddyR

Does that help AT ALL?  Or cover the same ground you've seen elsewhere?  Confuse the matter worse?
« Last Edit: April 08, 2011, 07:22:41 PM by ulthar » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2011, 07:36:52 PM »


As for evolutionary advantages, it may seem that hetero sex is the most advantageous, but it may just be that sex itself is enough. Let the pieces fall where they may and watch the whole thing take off.



Okay, I'll frame my response in the form of a question rather than an "argument," since it's more something I've pondered than a definitive "conclusion."

How does a biological tendency to be homosexual get passed along to continue as a trait?

(1) Some people who are homosexual will still reproduce heterosexually.  If it's biological, we should thus see a (fairly strong) correlation between homosexual parents who have produced offspring and the sexual tendency in the offspring.  Has this correlation been observed, in cases where environmental influences were non-existent?  (Perhaps the study would include offspring with a homosexual parent that did not know the parent was homosexual, etc).  This would be a very difficult study to execute...has it been done?

(2) Homosexuality correlations in twins?  This is the classic type study in sociology when looking into 'nature vs nurture' trends.  Has this study been done?

(3) In the non-human animal world, where homosexual behavior is observed, are those specimens STRICTLY homosexual?  Or, do they engage in heterosexual activity for purposes of reproduction?  In other words, can we separate the reproductive behavior from other forms of sexual expression?

(4) The percentage of the population that is homosexual (is this 'self identified' ??) is about 1%; can a trait that exhibits in only 1% of the population be considered one that helps the survival of the species (the evolutionary driver)?  Is there another example of this?


I know you were asking Mofo rather than me, but my tentative responses would be:

(1)  I don't know, but even if the cause is biological, there's no reason to suppose homosexuality would be a heritable trait and lots of reason to suppose it wouldn't be.  It could occur during development in the womb.  It could be a result of hormonal factors that are largely environmental/random. There could also be a relatively common "gay genotype" that only rarely develops into a "gay phenotype" and therefore is not subject to much pressure from natural selection.

That last option would be my guess; it just makes the most sense to explain the recurrence of this biologically paradoxical trait. 

(2)  Per wikipedia (insert disclaimers) twin studies suggest some genetic component to homosexuality.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biology_and_sexual_orientation#Twin_studies.  "...the environment shared by twins (including familial and societal attitudes) explained 0–17% of the choice of sexual partner, genetic factors 18–39% and the unique environment 61–66%. The individual's unique environment includes, for example, circumstances during pregnancy and childbirth, physical and psychological trauma (e.g., accidents, violence, and disease), peer groups, and sexual experiences. [...] In men, genetic effects explained .34–.39 of the variance, the shared environment .00, and the individual-specific environment .61–.66 of the variance."

(3) Though animals sometimes engage in homosexual behavior when no specimens of the opposite sex are around, I don't think there are many exclusively homosexual animals.  I could be wrong.   

(4) 1% is the lowest figure anyone posits for the prevalence of homosexuality.  It seems to me that more than 1 out of every 100 people I've met are gay.  From my own experience I would estimate closer to 3-5%; it's certainly not as high as the 10% figure that used to be bandied about, but I doubt it's as low as 1%.  I don't see how exclusive homosexual attraction could ever be anything but detrimental to propagating the species.  I can see how a high prevalence of bisexual behavior might not have much effect at all, however.
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« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2011, 07:38:04 PM »

If one passes through a wormhole (assuming it's even safe to do so), would one not end up in another space and time?
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