Thursday, January 25, 2007

Natural implications of gay sheep research

You would think obscure scientific research on how to induce sheep on a farm to breed would be non-controversial. But the NY Times reports:
Dr. [Charles] Roselli, a researcher at the Oregon Health and Science University, has searched for the past five years for physiological factors that might explain why about 8 percent of rams seek sex exclusively with other rams instead of ewes. The goal, he says, is to understand the fundamental mechanisms of sexual orientation in sheep. Other researchers might some day build on his findings to seek ways to determine which rams are likeliest to breed, he said.

But since last fall, when People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] started a campaign against the research, it has drawn a torrent of outrage from animal rights activists, gay advocates and ordinary citizens around the world ...

In an interview, Shalin Gala, a PETA representative working on the sheep campaign, said controlling or altering sexual orientation was a "natural implication" of the work of Dr. Roselli and his colleagues.

Mr. Gala, who asked that he be identified as openly gay, cited the news release for a 2004 paper in the journal Endocrinology that showed differences in brain structure between homosexual and heterosexual sheep.

The release quoted Dr. Roselli as saying that the research "also has broader implications for understanding the development and control of sexual motivation and mate selection across mammalian species, including humans." ...

If the mechanisms underlying sexual orientation can be discovered and manipulated, Dr. [Paul Root] Wolpe continued, then the argument that sexual orientation is based in biology and is immutable "evaporates."
Apparently gay activists are committed to the dogma that sexual preference is a biologically determined and immutable orientation. They are scared that scientific research will prove otherwise, and want to suppress any such research, even in sheep.

I am guessing that Mr. "Gala" did not really need to identify himself as being "openly gay".

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