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Andrew

@Jerry: No doubt that childhood experiences have a long-term impact in many areas, but I strongly doubt basic sexual orientation is one of them. Contrary to your supposition, evolutionary thinkers certainly recognize a spectrum of sexual orientations, but people who are on either side of that spectrum are almost certainly there because of nature, not nurture. There's no such thing as one 'gay gene', but both the self-report of gay people (who near-universally report their preference as being always there and beyond their control) and research is pointing to a strong genetic role in sexual orientation.

@Johannes: Ah yes, 'human dignity', that fungible concept. There is a pretty deep cultural difference at work here: many English-speakers are at a loss to understand precisely what Germans or French people mean when they talk about 'human dignity'. You can assert that someone having sex with a dog is degrading his own dignity, but you can't prove it. The ultimate counter-example is, of course, homosexuality, considered a horrible crime against nature and human dignity by almost everybody until quite recently. Kant assumed quite casually that homosexuals were sick people violating profound, innate laws of nature.

I'm not arguing for zoophilia, but just saying that I find the argument that a harmless sexual practice engaged in by consenting adult humans should be banned because majorities would find it 'disgusting' is quite weak.

Johannes

I probably should not have read the taz article, it is bound to give me nightmares someday. ;)

I am pretty sure that for most people harm to animals is secondary when condemning bestiality. There is strong disgust, of course, but I believe also the intuition (which I admittedly share) that a sodomite is actually degrading himself (and thus, in a fashion, disrespecting human dignity) in a particularly loathsome way. This may not be a good reason to make it a criminal offense as there are surely many cases where it can be argued that sodomy would be a victimless crime.
But I think it is shortsighted to ignore such intuitions or moral (not legal) arguments. (This may be old-fashioned, but I do think they run deeper than mere legality.)

Instead of being put into jail, most people would probably think sodomites should undergo compulsory therapy and would prefer them to stick to furry mangas or whatever that's called instead of acting out their desires in the flesh.

Manuel

"This is yet another reminder how many German psychological 'experts' are still wedded to 1960's-era notion that many adult behaviors are related to childhood experiences."

Long-term effects of child sexual abuse would be one case of childhood experiences influencing adult behaviors.

I'm a comp-sci student and I'm not competent at all in these matters. Still, the idea that childhood experiences do not influence adult behavior strikes me as pretty odd. Probably not even Eysenck would have gone that far.

"I cringe in horror at lots of things that I don't think should be against the law, such as Bauernsülze. Why not just leave them alone?"
Probably out of two reasons:

1.) Animal rights activists view 'Zoophilia' as brutal animal rape. And in some cases, they are probably right.

2.) Zeitgeist might have changed. Lots of people just can't stand the thought that there are guys out there who fuck dogs. And, most disgusting of all, go unpunished!

As Günter Krings put it in Bild:

"[It's] embarrasing if we can only justify an important change of law like this with animal health. Moral laws and dangers to hygiene are much more obvious reasons for me."

So, it's totally unimportant whether animals are hurt or not. It's all about "moral" and "hygiene". (And next week, we reintroduce "gesundes Volksempfinden"?)

This is pretty much the Bauernsülze-reasoning. Nice analogy you found there, Andrew.

Jerry

Just as a sidenote, I strongly prefer explanations to sexual preferences based on build of personality and experiences towards those, who insist on genetics (unlike you as it seems).

Basicly it's the old 19th century story of "sin" versus "sickness" under more tolerant signs, asking whether people get attracted to others based on (concious or unconcious) decission or predetermination. Be it the preferance of certain sexes/genders, hair colours, personality traits or in this case species. Or on a nonsexual note (there is no substantial difference, that would those make stand out) political positions or favourite foods.

What the genetic stance does not get covered in a clean way are those types, who fall between the categories (sometimes leading to doubt, whether those categories, like the named homo-/heterosexuality exist at all or are only a result of socio-political fights). More often than not, defenders of genetic views tend to wave away bisexuals as confused or experimenting, acting against their given nature (and will do the same with switching voters, once they start getting on the political genes).

I doubt that and still hang with the freudian thesis, that every person is attractable to anyone (yes, in case of animals as well) given the right circumstances. How much it takes to cause this attraction depends on personal history. And some just don't care as much as others about given borders or set their own (like taking only partners of a certain zodiac sign).

Both, genetic and aquired explanations, leave room for cultural problems, be it the expectation to change, what is too deep rooted, and being blamed if not doing so, in the latter, or to be treated as a different (maybe even inferiour) race (in this case being actual racism) in the former.

I started worrying when I first read the hypothetical question, how parents would react when they got to know, their to-be-born child "will be" homosexual due to genetic analysis. Maybe my refusal towards any genetic predetermination besides a few phycical shapes is partly based on moralic beliefs.
Or maybe it's just a wannabe social scientist defending what he does see as his turf. ;-)

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