Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > General Poly Discussions

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #11  
Old 08-04-2010, 08:46 AM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 900
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
"Good grief! Are we animals?"

Yes, we are.

Can everything we do be laid at the feet of genetics? No, though the whole range of human variation undoubtedly does have a genetic component. "Different wiring" is part of the human condition.
I wonder why we readily apply wiring to certain aspects of how we live and not to others. Should we see how people of different religious beliefs are wired differently? Or people of differing political beliefs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
Should the reason we behave in a certain way have any bearing on whether or not that behavior should be acceptable? Not that I can see.
A life well examined is a life well lived. I would think that examining reasons for anything we do is a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
So, one can say being poly or gay is OK whether it has to do with genetic inclination, early developmental experience, or because one holds personal freedom of choice in high regard and it really doesn't matter. How one chooses to view the issue is a personal choice.

I object to trying to tell other people that they can't argue for acceptability/legal recognition based on the reasons they find most compelling, however. That push to deprive people of their personal line of reasoning and their ability to choose is something I find morally repulsive.
First, where is anybody here depriving people of their personal line of reasoning? Arguing a point is not the same is depriving others of anything.

Second, there are times when a person's "personal line of reasoning" can indeed ripple out harmful effects to people who share that same identity. Great if it works for them, but there are times when it creates negative implications for everyone else. The idea that poly people are that way because they are wired that way creates an "other" mentality that creates artificial divides and creates further misunderstandings. ("Well, I'm not even going to try to understand because I'm not wired that way.")

I see nothing "morally repulsive" about calling such things into question.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 08-04-2010, 10:22 PM
jkelly jkelly is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 168
Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
I object to trying to tell other people that they can't argue for acceptability/legal recognition based on the reasons they find most compelling, however. That push to deprive people of their personal line of reasoning and their ability to choose is something I find morally repulsive.
Can you maybe expand on this? I'm not sure I understand what you're saying.

For example, if biology were to reveal that there is no genetically discernible difference between people who prefer to be in poly- relationships and people who prefer to be in mono- ones, would that be "morally repulsive"? It deprives people of their personal line of reasoning, but I don't see the moral problem there.

Maybe it's the "push to deprive" thing that confuses me. Sometimes people make statements (or tell stories) about themselves that are wrong, and I again don't see a moral problem with disagreeing with them. Further, sometimes people make statements (or tell stories) about me that are wrong, and I think it is perfectly reasonable to "push" back against that.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 08-06-2010, 06:14 AM
SchrodingersCat's Avatar
SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,131
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_essay
Good grief! Are we animals?
Uhhh.... obviously? Hmm, I'm not a plant or a mineral. Last time I checked, that left animal.

I utterly don't understand these people who think that humans are somehow above or different from animals.

We're all governed by biochemistry. All the logic in the world is useless when a pregnant woman's hormones are so out of whack she feels like she's going nuts, or when your blood sugar crashes and you feel sick, or when a football player goes into a steroid-induced rage.

Our thoughts follow our emotions. Emotions have an ability to completely overwhelm us. It requires huge amounts of thought to overcome them. Most people never learn how.

So I disagree with the essay's claim that the natural thing for humans to do is base behaviours on conscious thought. A lot of behaviour, dare I say the vast majority, is based on unconscious thought, instinct, and emotional response. Conscious thought takes a back seat to all of those.

Aside, she claims to be a carnivore. No human can live exclusively on meat. Anyone who doesn't know the difference between carnivore and omnivore has zero credibility with respect to her biological claims.
__________________
Gralson: my husband (works out of town).
Auto: my girlfriend (lives with her husband Zoffee).

The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 08-14-2010, 06:25 PM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 900
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Uhhh.... obviously? Hmm, I'm not a plant or a mineral. Last time I checked, that left animal.

I utterly don't understand these people who think that humans are somehow above or different from animals.

We're all governed by biochemistry. All the logic in the world is useless when a pregnant woman's hormones are so out of whack she feels like she's going nuts, or when your blood sugar crashes and you feel sick, or when a football player goes into a steroid-induced rage.
Nobody is disputing that we are governed by biochemistry. But at what point does the chemistry replace responsibility for our own thoughts and actions? As someone who works with youth that have severe behavioral and emotional difficulties, I can certainly appreciate the influence of biochemistry on a person's personality. But that's not what the article is taking issue with. Like I said earlier, there seems to be a desire to find *the* biochemical/genetic/otherscientificevidence reason for the fact that some people are poly and others are mono. I wonder why we feel the need to chalk that off to biology and come up with some biological reason for creating a different "type" of person when we don't generally do this for other choices we make in our lives- like what political party we are, or what religion we choose to practice or not. The point of the article is not to say that we are not animals (I took her use of the phrase to be illustrative, not factual), but to illustrate that a poly person is not any different than a mono person except that their lives and thinking are built on a differing belief system of love and relationships. Just like people of different religions operate on differing belief systems about the ultimate nature of reality, or differing belief systems about how societies should form their governing systems. Trying to say that people of differing lifestyles are fundamentally biologically different is a real insidious form of "othering" that creates separation between people where I believe none is necessary.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Our thoughts follow our emotions. Emotions have an ability to completely overwhelm us. It requires huge amounts of thought to overcome them. Most people never learn how.
I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Sure, lots of people never learn to overcome emotional volatility. Lots of other people never learn to do calculus. But that doesn't mean that these things can't be learned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
]So I disagree with the essay's claim that the natural thing for humans to do is base behaviours on conscious thought. A lot of behaviour, dare I say the vast majority, is based on unconscious thought, instinct, and emotional response. Conscious thought takes a back seat to all of those.
Let's say that's true. Should we then be categorizing and separating all differences in belief systems in life? At what point does a person actually have *any* control over their choices? I would suggest that our internal systems of logic that we build and base our conscious thoughts on is the thing that may form out of a combination of nature, nurture, conscious and unconscious thought.

But then again, I'm not sure it's possible to be "unconsciously poly" or "unconsciously mono". I think even for people who default to such things, there is a certain amount of conscious thought that goes into how a person structures their relationships. So it would make sense that one's conscious thoughts and belief systems inform how they structure their relationships in life .

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Aside, she claims to be a carnivore. No human can live exclusively on meat. Anyone who doesn't know the difference between carnivore and omnivore has zero credibility with respect to her biological claims.
The author of the article is perfectly aware of what a carnivore is. She chose to apply a bit of artistic license in how she used the word. If you're actually interested in really knowing what her "credibility is with respect to her biological claims", I suggest you comment on the article and let her address it.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 08-14-2010, 09:20 PM
immaterial immaterial is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 133
Default

This is culturally crucial stuff, outlined in the article and this thread. Political and cultural power is often wielded by people of all persuasions precisely along these crap science, "biologically wired" lines. Flimsy, sensationalistic science is a pet peeve of mine, too, and sadly a great deal of science writing one finds in the mainstream press is precisely this, even in reputable publications.

"Scientific" claims can be found supporting basically *any* form of relationship expression, sexual or otherwise. Humankind is still in the toddler stage of development regarding socio-biology and I bet in due time the early forays into this field, in retrospect, will look like medieval crank medicine and blood letting.

But, on the cultural level, this distinction between "conscious choice," (which is a whole other conversation, definitely worth having) and "biologically determined necessity" ends up having profound consequences, medically, legally, in popular opinion, etc. Here is another way that humankind is still in the toddler stage: we are desperate for something, anything, to blame. What looks like a "scientific explanation" is quite often just a thinly veiled excuse for not taking 100% personal responsibility for our own reality.

On the personal level, there was some relief for me last year when I accepted that I was *essentially* polyamorous and non-monogamous, that I personally am these things by nature, not by what would ordinarily be called "choice," but by the imperatives of my essential self. I cannot choose to be monogamous in any way that respects the definition of monogamy. This is my personal experience. But this feeling of being essentially one way rather than another needs no particular explanation. I don't need a line of reasoning to support it. I am a free moral agent and I am liberated to take full personal responsibility for who I am. I don't need biology *or* culture to "explain" my free moral agency.

The essential thing is how I behave in the world. Anyone who needs an explanation is probably not very high on my friend list anyhow.

Immaterial
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 08-15-2010, 11:15 AM
bimblynim's Avatar
bimblynim bimblynim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Oxford (uk )
Posts: 62
Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by immaterial View Post
This is culturally crucial stuff, outlined in the article and this thread. Political and cultural power is often wielded by people of all persuasions precisely along these crap science, "biologically wired" lines. Flimsy, sensationalistic science is a pet peeve of mine, too, and sadly a great deal of science writing one finds in the mainstream press is precisely this, even in reputable publications.

"Scientific" claims can be found supporting basically *any* form of relationship expression, sexual or otherwise. Humankind is still in the toddler stage of development regarding socio-biology and I bet in due time the early forays into this field, in retrospect, will look like medieval crank medicine and blood letting.

But, on the cultural level, this distinction between "conscious choice," (which is a whole other conversation, definitely worth having) and "biologically determined necessity" ends up having profound consequences, medically, legally, in popular opinion, etc. Here is another way that humankind is still in the toddler stage: we are desperate for something, anything, to blame. What looks like a "scientific explanation" is quite often just a thinly veiled excuse for not taking 100% personal responsibility for our own reality.

On the personal level, there was some relief for me last year when I accepted that I was *essentially* polyamorous and non-monogamous, that I personally am these things by nature, not by what would ordinarily be called "choice," but by the imperatives of my essential self. I cannot choose to be monogamous in any way that respects the definition of monogamy. This is my personal experience. But this feeling of being essentially one way rather than another needs no particular explanation. I don't need a line of reasoning to support it. I am a free moral agent and I am liberated to take full personal responsibility for who I am. I don't need biology *or* culture to "explain" my free moral agency.
hear hear! That said I do find exploring the explantions people have come up with so far really interesting
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 08-15-2010, 10:07 PM
MindfulAgony's Avatar
MindfulAgony MindfulAgony is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 192
Default

Ultimately, this question is a of the same fundamental type of question that we have wrestled with for centuries of intellectual debate. Are we governed by base - essentially biologically based - drives or are we rational, logical creatures that sit fully above our animal nature? This debate is ancient. The nature vs nurture debate is only one offshoot that happens to have more scientific roots.

As I understand it, the most widely held theory of personality development says that personality traits themselves ARE genetically based but such things as habits, beliefs, values, self-concepts, relationships, roles, and skills are JOINTLY formed by genetically determined traits and the environment (See work by McCrae and Costa). My own research has focused on motive personality traits pioneered by David McClelland (need for Achievement, Power, and Affiliation), but I haven't been really on top of the field in some time.

The twin studies have been a boon to finding ways to unwind the gene's versus environment questions. Identical twins, reared apart, are far more alike in personality than randomly selected pairs of people. Personality has a large biochemistry component. Recent research even points to complex states like happiness as having a large genetic component. Most people fundamentally believe that happiness is a function of external factors. Psychological research is showing something quite a bit more complex.

Also, please don't forget one fundamental fact - genes determine brain structure and, correspondingly, a good deal of our intellectual potential and capacity which has a direct relationship with our ability, depth, consistency, and nuance of the reason and logic we can employ in everyday life. See a recent article published in Nature by UCLA neuroscientists.

This is not junk science.

It's not surprising that when you get closer to the behavior patterns that are more fundamental - that underpin survival - you get more questions about whether that behavior is biologically determined or not. It is hard to avoid the topic when you are talking about sex and bonding. Both of which are critical to the success of the species. As such, like all living things, there are strong shaping factors inshrined in our genes that impact what we do. Of course, there's variability in how that basic "wiring" is built and, as a result, differences in their expression.

Impact - not determine. Humans are afforded the luxury of quite a bit of behavioral flexibility. It is indeed our distinguishing feature. So, it's safe to say that the interaction between genes and our environment (both external and internal to ourselves) impact what we choose to do.. and what we choose to do consistently. But, that doesn't mean we are completely free from our biochemistry.

Language and religion are good examples that social scientists believe are predominately determined by the environment. Sexual orientation, attachment or bonding style, intelligence... are good examples where there's believed to be a strong interaction between our biochemistry and the environment.

To put a finer point on it, I don't believe being poly is equivalent to being a democrat or being Buddhist. I find the basic argument that it's fundamentally a belief system that either appeals to us or doesn't too simplistic to me. As simplistic as someone suggesting simply that their genes told them to do it.
__________________
Male, Straight, Poly

OKC Profile

Blogs:
Mind Crush
sloetry

“Instead of getting better and better at avoiding, learn to accept the present moment as if you had invited it. And work with it instead of against it. And making it your ally rather than your enemy.”
-Pema Chodron

Last edited by MindfulAgony; 08-15-2010 at 10:20 PM. Reason: spelling... Argh!
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 08-16-2010, 06:42 AM
bimblynim's Avatar
bimblynim bimblynim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Oxford (uk )
Posts: 62
Default

thanks mindful agony.

Far as I'm aware although the formation of language (area of particular interest to me) is an interaction it certainly has a biological componnent, the technology/funding for reaserch into it just hasn't got very far yet. Same goes for cognitive processes more gernerally. Your work sounds interesting though, would you mind linking it for me/us?

Also if your in the field, would you mind doing a serch for us on neuropsych and sexuality? I can't afford the subscription :0( and its not something included in my uni course package.

Ceoli - I think maybe people trot out the "biological argument" so often because the science behind it is currently ambiguous, but they think it'll lend weight to whatever political point they want to make.

It may also be pertinent that funding for reseach seems to largely be financially or politically motivated. (religion, consious experience etc not high on priority list) shame coz thats what i find most interesting, never mind.

Maybe this is an explanation to why people focus on the biological argument, it sounds powerful so people reduce it to fit their political ideas (beliefs if you will )

Peace and love
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 08-16-2010, 07:12 AM
MindfulAgony's Avatar
MindfulAgony MindfulAgony is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 192
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bimblynim View Post
thanks mindful agony.

Far as I'm aware although the formation of language (area of particular interest to me) is an interaction it certainly has a biological componnent, the technology/funding for reaserch into it just hasn't got very far yet. Same goes for cognitive processes more gernerally.
I think what they mean when they say language is determined by the environment is that anyone who has the capacity at all to learn a language can learn any language during those critical early years. The environment determines what language you end up learning. The basic ability is genetic, but that variation doesn't impact language choice.

Now, the depth and facility that one has with language may be an interaction between genes and the environment - much like cognitive ability. But, that goes beyond the point I was making.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bimblynim View Post
Also if your in the field, would you mind doing a serch for us on neuropsych and sexuality? I can't afford the subscription :0( and its not something included in my uni course package.

Let me see what I can dig up.
__________________
Male, Straight, Poly

OKC Profile

Blogs:
Mind Crush
sloetry

“Instead of getting better and better at avoiding, learn to accept the present moment as if you had invited it. And work with it instead of against it. And making it your ally rather than your enemy.”
-Pema Chodron
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 08-16-2010, 04:19 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: New England USA
Posts: 1,231
Default No real debate

I think the danger here, and it has (as Ceoli and others mention) been a common error over the years is trying to erect a distinct wall and having everything fall on one side or the other.
In the case of polyamory, I feel it's definitely counter productive to attempt. From what I've seen in my lifetime poly inclinations can't fall on either side of a nature/nurture debate because I've seen examples of both and far more commonly some blending.
I know a number of people who's personality inclines them to....what I call 'openness'. They are the type of people who are intuitively able to 'feel' people - what many call 'vibes'. There has been a technical label often assigned to such people - they are often referred to as Empaths.

Now someone could undoubtedly argue that there was some 'nurture' influence on this, but I think there IS a distinct biological component that needs to be present in order for any nurture element to contribute to it.
For someone with this trait, i.e. 'wiring', poly - if they become exposed to it - will feel like a natural fit without nearly as much mental effort/analysis.

But then we also have another group of poly folk who have come to it through an intense analytic process including self evaluation. To them it just 'makes sense' - seems a better way to be in relationship with others. If I had to try to fit myself in one of these boxes, I think I would have to say my inclinations came mostly from study & self reflection. Although I can sometimes sense 'connection' with others, the decision to act on that came from too much intellectualization a LONG time ago lol. I looked at what a loving relationship(s) was, and why a monogamous one was preferable to a poly one and found the argument (for mono) to come up lacking. To me, poly just seemed to make more sense from a whole species perspective.

So again, I see any debate of nature/nurture in regards to poly to be nothing more than mental gymnastics or an attempt to draw needless battle lines.

GS
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 11:44 AM.