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Change the mind or change the body?

electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
edited October 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
Once upon a time I saw an interesting question posed in a blog about gay rights. It was in response to some new research which pops up every now and again which examined the origin of homosexuality - i.e. what biological influences lead to it.

In it, however, was an interesting question: if a drug was developed which would change your sexual preferences back to being "straight", would you take it?

The results were mixed, but a decent number of people commented that, well, wouldn't that just make life so much easier - to be normal.

This is also coming up a lot in the transgender thread - this underlying idea as to whether we should be trying to fix peoples minds or bodies. Sure, at the moment on that issue the major thing we're capable of is fixing the body. But here's my concern: at some point, we'll probably be able to fix the mind.

Is it even morally appropriate to consider this though? My big concern is, that it isn't, but because human societies already has a disturbing propensity to murder those who's ideas don't fit, that we'll de facto force it on people anyway.

There was a piece related to this idea in Nature, who as their closing articles take some recent science and have a writer craft a piece describing the future of it (and it's usually pretty god damn awesome as a result). One was a discussion of an even more far-fetched idea - being able to eliminate undesireable habits. In it, a man who signs up for an online dating service has it returned to him that because of his interest in model trains he falls fairly far outside the statistical norm. for dateable population. In response, he undergoes a treatment which marks the brain areas most associated with his interest in model training and has them artificially blocked - ending his fascination and returning him to "normal" status.

So what does D&D think? Is our future destined to be a surprisingly bland, and morally darkened society wherein people can literally correct their brains to whatever is normal? Or will we go the other way - after all - if a treatment to switch your sexuality existed, it would be surprisingly easy to rebel by moving against the grain - going from straight to gay and so on.

tl dr; Are we but in a transitional phase of technology, where soon science is simply going to let social pressure dictate normalcy and force everyone else to chemically correct to be acceptable? Or will the same power be used to put one finger on each hand up towards the bigots?

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Posts

  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    edited October 2009
    I think we would only want to use this "treatment" for serious identity or mental issues that are causing personal distress - not for bad habits and personality quirks. If someone has an uncontrollable fascination with having sex with children, for example, it would be pretty helpful to "fix" the problem rather than force them to fight it their entire life.

    iglidante on
  • ChanusChanus I've seen things... Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    There's no inherent harm to society or yourself for being gay (I can understand arguments about harm to the self from transsexuality, not that I completely agree)... so there's no reason to "prevent" it in my opinion.


    Though, I'm neither gay nor transsexual, so I may lack perspective.

    Chanus on
    Allegedly a voice of reason.
  • HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I think people should pursue whatever lifestyle they see fit for themselves.

    Y'know what'd be funny? If some parents got their teenage son the medication to fix his orientation, and while it does work, doesn't remove the flamboyant personality he coincidentally happened to have. And they bitch about the medication not working.

    ... I'm just musing here.

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  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Chanus wrote: »
    There's no inherent harm to society or yourself for being gay (I can understand arguments about harm to the self from transsexuality, not that I completely agree)... so there's no reason to "prevent" it in my opinion.


    Though, I'm neither gay nor transsexual, so I may lack perspective.

    That's what I mean though. It doesn't harm society. But at the same time, what is my perspective on being gay? I can hold hands with my girlfriend in public, won't have jokes made about me, and will never be bashed and beaten if sighted doing the former. I take these things forgranted.

    How attractive would it appear, to be able to just make something like that just disappear?

    electricitylikesme on
  • ChanusChanus I've seen things... Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Chanus wrote: »
    There's no inherent harm to society or yourself for being gay (I can understand arguments about harm to the self from transsexuality, not that I completely agree)... so there's no reason to "prevent" it in my opinion.


    Though, I'm neither gay nor transsexual, so I may lack perspective.

    That's what I mean though. It doesn't harm society. But at the same time, what is my perspective on being gay? I can hold hands with my girlfriend in public, won't have jokes made about me, and will never be bashed and beaten if sighted doing the former. I take these things forgranted.

    How attractive would it appear, to be able to just make something like that just disappear?

    I think if that's your motivation, while I can understand it, it's not something it should be your responsibility to "fix".

    Chanus on
    Allegedly a voice of reason.
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