Since I missed the discussion on placebo and blinding:
Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
It's more like innate might not have been the best word to choose in particular, but your bones can only grow in so many ways and if someone tries to break them there's only so many ways that a given bone will reform to the stimulus. Even with the leading explanation for sexuality actually changing, which, as far as I can recall, is still a bit of a gray area due to the usual ages of the children involved, is such that it's more whether the person who experiences that kind of traumatic event has the potential for being affected in that way.

Also it's a bad example because the bones will form as they form so long as there's nothing catastrophically wrong happening. Or maybe it's still good because I only recall equally traumatic things as giving rise to what we think are changes in sexuality as opposed to just ceasing to live life in denial and/or the closet.

Sexuality arises from the self in my view, and while people can try to break you in many, many ways, what allows one's sexuality to be broken is, again, something intrinsic to the person being broken or else the techniques would roughly work on all of us.
Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
mm. I may be misunderstanding you, but isn't that like saying your bones are innate because your body grows them - and then ignoring that your environment plays a huge part in how they form?

The question isn't about whether your sexualkity is part of you, it is about whether it would be the same in a vacuum as it is hen amongst people, in society.

I lean towards more innate, mesel'. But I can't really be sure, as I knew more about the details of the acts at age 2, than most of my fellws did by the time high school sexual education rolled around. It's entirely posible I picked it up through osmosis.
*Puts on professor hat* Ahem. Let me introduce you to the wonderful concept of phenotypic plasticity. Basically everything we are is, in some sense, genetic. We aren't evolved to be netizens, for instance, but our pre-civilization ideas about fairness, reciprocity, and punishment dictate how we respond to trolling. The degree to which environment can change how our genes express a trait (called a phenotype) is called plasticity.

The classic example is English ivy. In the shade its leaves look like this:

while in sunlight they look like this(the shape, not the disease):

This is because the lobes allow the leaves to tessellate and collect all available light in the understory, while the rounder leaves are more efficient for collecting light in the canopy. Ivy has to have genetic programming for both shapes (and intermediates) because it's a climbing plant and has leaves in both the canopy and the understory.

The human brain is a classically plastic organism. That's why, whenever I hear of a new study finding differences between men's brains and women's brains (or between straight and gay brains, or any of the other mostly trivial differences neuroscientists like to look at), I don't go OMG teh wimminz r different from us menz and tear up my feminist membership card. It's at least as likely that twenty-plus years of growing up female has changed the brain. In fact, the very fact that you're capable of learning demonstrates its plasticity.

So, what does that mean for sexuality (and gender identity)? I dunno. From what I understand from twin studies, it's unlikely that sexuality is dictated entirely by genes. It could be that everyone has the same chance of turning out either gay or straight or bi (there just isn't enough research on asexuality to say anything at all, yet), and that environment dictates the outcome. Also because of twin studies, I think that's unlikely as well. The reality is probably intermediate. Everyone has a genetic bias toward some portion of the spectrum, and then environment shapes it further. A hundred years ago, the shame of sporadic same-sex crushes I've had may have either magnified them so I'd end up more bisexual, or may have squelched them before I was cognizant of them.

Also, there's no such thing as a trait "in a vacuum." There's always an environment that shapes phenotype, even if that environment is "a vacuuum." Though typically that pheotype is "dead." Even a metaphorical vacuum is an environment: the closest two I can think of are neglect (for children) and sensory deprivation. In both cases, the phenotype that results is usually severe mental illness.

(A key note: just because a trait is plastic doesn't mean that it's changeable once it arises. Particularly for psychological traits, there's often a key period for plasticity and after a certain point, it's set in stone. Language is a good example: if a normal person doesn't have the opportunity to learn to speak by age 5 or so, you probably will remain nonverbal for the rest of their life, and your ability to learn new a new language without a significant accent basically disappears by the time you're 16. Likewise, asthma can be caused by a relatively germ-free upbringing, but by the time you reach adulthood, no amount of sterilization can cause it and no amount of grunginess can cause it. So wingnut pray-the-gay away types are still wrong and the APA is still right.)