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Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:08 PM

Is There a Gene for Motherhood?

Source: ABC News

Now, researchers at Rockefeller University say the inclination that both Rory and Saorise feel at such a young age to nurture and feed their baby dolls and play with items like strollers could be something they were born with, and something that will definitely impact their futures.

In a study with mice, the researchers determined that a single gene exists that could be responsible for motivating mothers to protect, feed and raise their young.

The study's findings mean there could be a valid explanation as to why some women seem born to be maternal figures, while others come across as detached or cold or even completely not interested when it comes to children.

Some are calling the discovery the "mommy gene."

Read more: http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/gene-motherhood-143651678--abc-news-parenting.html



I posted a couple of years ago speculating that the preference to be childless may have a genetic component for some people (of both sexes) much like there's some evidence of a hard-wired component to being gay.

And I got my ass royally chewed.

For some reason, it's acceptable to say your sexual orientation is hard-wired but offensive to say your child-bearing orientation is.

I feel a bit vindicated here.

I'm not going to say whether or not genetics are involved in whether people like country music.

97 replies, 10048 views

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Arrow 97 replies Author Time Post
Reply Is There a Gene for Motherhood? (Original post)
yurbud Sep 2012 OP
hedgehog Sep 2012 #1
yurbud Sep 2012 #4
yellerpup Sep 2012 #2
Autumn Colors Sep 2012 #13
yellerpup Sep 2012 #15
KT2000 Sep 2012 #17
yellerpup Sep 2012 #19
KT2000 Sep 2012 #46
yellerpup Sep 2012 #65
BlueJazz Sep 2012 #26
yellerpup Sep 2012 #66
smirkymonkey Sep 2012 #38
yellerpup Sep 2012 #67
mzteris Sep 2012 #40
yellerpup Sep 2012 #68
indie_voter Sep 2012 #71
NJCher Sep 2012 #55
yellerpup Sep 2012 #69
csziggy Sep 2012 #60
yellerpup Sep 2012 #70
Liberal Veteran Sep 2012 #3
yurbud Sep 2012 #5
Skittles Sep 2012 #14
Liberal Veteran Sep 2012 #16
Tigress DEM Sep 2012 #54
gateley Sep 2012 #6
RebelOne Sep 2012 #42
immoderate Sep 2012 #7
valerief Sep 2012 #10
immoderate Sep 2012 #11
notadmblnd Sep 2012 #18
valerief Sep 2012 #33
surrealAmerican Sep 2012 #45
notadmblnd Sep 2012 #51
notadmblnd Sep 2012 #53
yurbud Sep 2012 #77
valerief Sep 2012 #57
valerief Sep 2012 #59
notadmblnd Sep 2012 #50
valerief Sep 2012 #58
notadmblnd Sep 2012 #64
RebelOne Sep 2012 #43
yurbud Sep 2012 #23
immoderate Sep 2012 #31
valerief Sep 2012 #34
immoderate Sep 2012 #37
valerief Sep 2012 #39
yurbud Sep 2012 #62
mike_c Sep 2012 #27
immoderate Sep 2012 #30
mike_c Sep 2012 #48
immoderate Sep 2012 #72
Tigress DEM Sep 2012 #56
Zorra Sep 2012 #63
4th law of robotics Sep 2012 #80
dipsydoodle Sep 2012 #8
valerief Sep 2012 #9
Dawson Leery Sep 2012 #12
olddad56 Sep 2012 #20
Texas Lawyer Sep 2012 #21
kiranon Sep 2012 #22
yurbud Sep 2012 #24
REP Sep 2012 #25
ejpoeta Sep 2012 #28
REP Sep 2012 #32
ejpoeta Sep 2012 #35
kestrel91316 Sep 2012 #29
undeterred Sep 2012 #36
valerief Sep 2012 #41
undeterred Sep 2012 #44
HuckleB Sep 2012 #47
yurbud Sep 2012 #61
HuckleB Sep 2012 #74
yurbud Sep 2012 #75
HuckleB Sep 2012 #76
TheMadMonk Sep 2012 #49
Cerridwen Sep 2012 #52
HockeyMom Sep 2012 #73
Arugula Latte Sep 2012 #78
4th law of robotics Sep 2012 #79
yurbud Sep 2012 #81
4th law of robotics Sep 2012 #82
yurbud Sep 2012 #90
4th law of robotics Sep 2012 #93
yurbud Sep 2012 #95
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #97
Jennicut Sep 2012 #84
yurbud Sep 2012 #89
treestar Sep 2012 #85
4th law of robotics Sep 2012 #86
treestar Sep 2012 #87
4th law of robotics Sep 2012 #88
treestar Sep 2012 #91
4th law of robotics Sep 2012 #92
treestar Sep 2012 #94
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #96
Jennicut Sep 2012 #83

Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:10 PM

1. here's a wild ass speculation to chew on -

what if the gene gets turned on and off due to perceived population pressure and/or survival rate of infants?

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:15 PM

4. then no one in New York City, Hong Kong, or Mexico City would ever get pregnant.

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:12 PM

2. I didn't play with dolls when I was little.

I never felt a strong urge to reproduce, and I was never willing to have and raise a child without a father. I never had the impulse, never heard the biological clock ticking, and am perfectly happy not having children.

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:49 PM

13. +1

Same here, but take out the "without a father" part. Never wanted any kids, period, and had ZERO interest in dolls.

However .... doting on my two cats? That's a totally different story.

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Response to Autumn Colors (Reply #13)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:58 PM

15. I always loved animals.

And all my babies have fur. Kittehs may be demanding, but they are mostly quiet. I think when I was young, I might have been talked into having a child, but I never would have had one left to my own devices.

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 03:26 PM

17. Same here

My sister has always accused me of being selfish for not having kids but that was never the issue. Having kids was just not something I even thought about- ever. Always thought it was genetic.

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Response to KT2000 (Reply #17)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 03:52 PM

19. Since we are born with the plumbing,

maybe the lack of mothering desire is connected more to one of those 'switches' that ride along on the gene rather than the in gene itself. My switch evidently never clicked ON. My sister feels the same way yours does. My lack of interest is incomprehensible to her.

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #19)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 08:57 PM

46. Years ago I recall

a study of mice that were exposed to a certain chemical. Can't remember which one but it was an endocrine disruptor. The female mice did give birth but were entirely uninterested in their offspring. So who knows - chemicals are known to trigger on-off swithces in genes.

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Response to KT2000 (Reply #46)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 08:01 AM

65. I remember something of a study like that.

True, even though all types of animals (including ourselves) are hard wired to reproduce and most have a very strong nurturing nature, there are still animals who are inadequate parents. Now that you mention it, we do run on chemical signals. Very interesting.

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 05:59 PM

26. Good for you. I mean, I admire someone who follows the..."To thine own self be true"

I believe too many women are pressured into motherhood.

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Response to BlueJazz (Reply #26)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 08:13 AM

66. Family pressure can be enormous when it comes

to making babies. But, one you reject fundie-republican family values, they aren't so eager for you to make copies.

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 07:47 PM

38. Neither have I. I always thought there was something wrong with me.

However, I am crazy about dogs and if I could I would have about 5 of them. I have absolutely no patience for children, but with dogs I seem to have all the patience in the world. I doubt very much I will ever regret my choice to remain childless, I only hope that one day I am in a situation where I can properly take care of at least one or two dogs.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #38)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 08:24 AM

67. There is nothing wrong with not reproducing.

Mothering is an enormous job and it takes lifelong commitment. Having dog companions is a great way to nurture and I hope you are eventually work yourself into a situation where you can have as many as you want.

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 07:54 PM

40. hmmm - I didn't like dolls, either, but

I love being a "mommy". I wanted kids, I love kids. As much as I gripe about being tired of raising kids (over half my life) - if I weren't so damn old and tired, I'd want more. (Though truthfully babies are much more fun than teenagers! )

So not sure about the complete validity. Though I think I'm on board with the whole "mommy gene" thing. You either are, or you aren't. HOWEVER, I think environment can play a very large part in how that "gene" may be nurtured or expressed.

You can have the gene to be a great musician, but if you've never been exposed to music of any kind, will you become one? If Baryshnikov had been born in a country without ballet? If Michael Jordan had been born where basketball is unheard of? What would they have become?

One can have a genetic predilection, but environment has it's influences.

Not that mother was all that "nurturing" actually. She was, but she wasn't. (It's hard to explain.)

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Response to mzteris (Reply #40)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 08:31 AM

68. I enjoy kids, too.

Environment definitely has its effect. My heart would be broken if I had a child feel about me the way I felt about my parents. I don't know if that factored into my disinterest in having children but feeling that way certainly busted all the romance of motherhood out of the equation.

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Response to mzteris (Reply #40)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 11:18 AM

71. I never played with dolls or really craved kids.

My husband's biological clock began to tick, I thought we had decided on a child free life. To make a long story short, I decided to have kids, I was in my mid 30s.

I would love to know more about this research. The gene itself seems to be about the drive to reproduce, the desire to have babies. However, if people who don't have the gene have kids, what happens? Does something activate? Hormones? Something?

I personally feel that something did change inside me after I had my kids in that I've made personal career sacrifices I never thought I would prior to kids.

Did I love my babies immediately? Nope. I didn't feel that rush of baby love everybody talks about. Nothing.

However, I did fall in love with them. They are the most important part of my life.

Honestly? I'm enjoying the teen years (which is where we are now) than I did the baby years. I remember everyone telling me to enjoy the baby time because I'll miss it once they're teens. I don't. I never liked being a mom to babies. Meanwhile, I love this stage of their lives. I love that they question me, have their own opinions even if they don't always agree with mine.

I wonder if this is related to this gene? Is this why some people love the baby years while others just wait for it to be over?

Meanwhile, I know I only have a handful more years with my kids in my house and now I find myself wishing I could keep them as teens forever but of course that is ridiculous. They have their lives to lead and places to go!

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 11:18 PM

55. you and me both

When I received dolls as gifts, I treated them like a Project Runway assignment.

I redesigned their dresses, made them shoes, changed their hair, staged them as puppets--I'd do about anything but rock them, "feed" them, or roll them around in a "baby carriage."

One of my little girlfriends found her parents' marriage manual," which was a book of sex positions. I used Barbie and Ken to illustrate the positions to the neighborhood kids in my puppet theatre.

Note to self for next lifetime: do not stage these performances outside your mother's bedroom window.


Cher




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Response to NJCher (Reply #55)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 08:33 AM

69. It's a good thing we didn't live next door to each other

when we were growing up. We would have gotten into so much trouble!

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #2)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 12:01 AM

60. Same here - never wanted children

I've only ever held an infant human once - not by choice. No thrill of seeing a young human struck me.

On the other hand, I am always thrilled to see new foals. Kittens are super sweet and puppies are adorable. Other baby animals give me a twinge.

Not a human baby ever.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #60)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 08:41 AM

70. Babies make me nervous.

We have over 70 nieces, nephews, and great and great-great nieces and nephews. The kids who are now parents all know I engage with the little ones best about the time they are able to sass back. Animals of all kinds have always inspired a sense of wonder and joy in me. Maybe that is because they can respond and interact soon after birth.

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:14 PM

3. If there is, my mom definitely didn't have it.

Her interest in raising kids was minimum at best.

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Response to Liberal Veteran (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:15 PM

5. could be there are people who act against their "preference" like gays who marry opposite sex.

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Response to Liberal Veteran (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:53 PM

14. question for you LV

does it upset you when you hear people refer to it being natural and supreme, a mother's love for her child? It occurs to me that children who did not have that definitely know otherwise.

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Response to Skittles (Reply #14)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 03:12 PM

16. It doesn't really upset me.

I suspect something wasn't quite right about her. She had a habit of reinventing herself every few years and always treated the past as to be "not spoken of".

She left my father and us when I was 10 for another woman. I didn't see her for the next 10 years. Then 15 years later decided she wasn't really a lesbian.

I feel sorry her now, although she died a few years ago. I was quite angry with her prior to her death and basically told her she used people as props in whatever role she had decided she would be in her own fantasy world.

It is hard to psychoanalyze someone posthumously, but I suspect she was very uncomfortable with herself and spent her life searching for who she really was.

Unfortunately, she hurt a lot of people in that search. Abandoning 3 kids, not learning how to co-exist on the same planet as her ex-husband so we could have both parents.

But she was definitely not a maternal person.

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Response to Liberal Veteran (Reply #16)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 11:12 PM

54. (((LV))) That's awfully rough. Hope the rest of your family was really good to you.

My personal experience with any mother who has problems being a mother to her children is that it's usually:

A) Her own upbringing was a bad scene
B) She has some mental health issues that aren't dealt with
C) She becomes a "Mom" because that is what everyone expects of her
D) Any combo or all of the above

Maybe there is a genetic component as well, but from how you describe your Mom she sounds like she simply was never comfortable in her own skin and couldn't really relate to anyone else without having a solid clue about her own self.

I believe that people love in the highest capacity that they are able, but it often comes out wrong. As confused as she was, as much as she hurt you, maybe it would have been worse if she'd been there day to day.

My Mom was "there" in my life, but couldn't even say, "I love you" unless we said it first. Nothing we did was ever good enough. I do know the reasons for her being that way - she lived for decades with untreated depression. I also worked through my stuff and discovered that her staying married to my Dad even though she hated him a lot was because he WAS able to say he loved us and was able to be a good Dad. She wanted that FOR us, from our Dad. So in her own damaged way, she made sure we knew we were loved even though she couldn't express it herself.

I wonder, though, if she'd just left him/us and/or gotten the help she needed, would we have all been better off?




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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:17 PM

6. Makes sense to me. I had absolutely no interest in being a mother.

That might explain the difference between me and my friends.

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Response to gateley (Reply #6)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 08:17 PM

42. Neither did I, but I had two children.

That was before the time of the birth control pill.

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:20 PM

7. There is no gay gene. It would have been extinguished.

Similarly, the nurturing instinct is developmental, not strictly genetic. One gene can't account for the wide range of parental behaviors.

Caveat: I have no credentials in biology.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:32 PM

10. I've read some researchers think lefthandedness may be caused from

an influx of testosterone during gestation. Maybe gayness or mommyness could be attributed to a similar hormonal tsunami.

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Response to valerief (Reply #10)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:42 PM

11. Yeah, gestation is chaotic.

Results are deterministic, but unpredictable.

--imm

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Response to valerief (Reply #10)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 03:51 PM

18. I'm left handed. However, I wasn't always left handed.

I broke my right arm. Once when I was about 4 and learning to write, then again when I was in the second grade. Due to school, my parents made me write with my left hand. When the cast came off I could only write backward with my right hand. I never switched back. My son is also left handed and I always figured that it was my fault because he learned his early motor skills from me.

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Response to notadmblnd (Reply #18)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 06:57 PM

33. I dunno. I'm a southpaw, my brother's a southpaw, and my sister's a rightie. However, my mother was

a rightie.

My father, who was often absent when we were young, was born a southpaw but forced by the school nuns to write with his right hand.

I've done everything with my left hand until the eighties. That's when I first used an office mouse. We shared computers in the office and the mouse had to stay on the right side, else the righties would have a hissy fit. Anyway, I learned how to mouse with my right hand, and to this day, can't mouse with my left.

Of course, southpaws have to adapt to righty things all the time. It used to be TV dials. It's still keys. Hand can openers. Scissors. Always something.

Are you a hooker leftie? (Your hand is over the line as opposed to under it or perpendicular to it.)

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Response to valerief (Reply #33)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 08:26 PM

45. Lefthandedness, doesn't usually run in families.

Older mothers are more likely to produce lefthanded offspring. It has also been linked in some studies to a slightly reduced lifespan, but nobody seems to know exactly why.

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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #45)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 10:48 PM

51. I was 34 when I became a mom.

But my sister who had her kids in her mid 20's, firstborn is left handed

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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #45)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 10:52 PM

53. Probably because we tend to be accident prone.

being left handed and being forced to live in a right handed world, lends itself to some unique accidents. For example, tying my shoelaces, I cant tie them straight. I tie them over to the right side which often causes them to come untied, then I trip over them. When my husband was alive, he tied my shoes for me. Now I just buy the Sketchers that have no laces.

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Response to notadmblnd (Reply #53)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 12:52 PM

77. I have the opposite problem. I'm right handed, but my left handed dad taught me to tie my shoes

So whenever someone notices how I tie my shoes, they either say I'm making it way too hard or just laugh and ask who taught me to do it that way.

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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #45)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 11:25 PM

57. I've read recently the reduced lifespan thing has been debunked.

http://articles.latimes.com/1993-04-04/news/mn-19170_1_study-reports

UCLA psychologist Paul Satz and his colleagues at UCLA and the University of Bergen in Norway took what Satz termed the "rather simple-minded" approach of asking 2,787 people not only which hand they use for a variety of tasks, but also whether they had been made to switch the hand they favored when they were young.

Their results, to be reported in the May issue of the journal Neuropsychologia, show that many people, particularly those who are older than 60, say they were forced to switch as children and that this increased proportion in the older groups largely offsets the decline in incidence of left-handers.

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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #45)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 11:32 PM

59. Here's an article about a scientist who thinks there's a righthanded gene.

Lefties (and some righties) are born without it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2000/05/16/science/on-left-handedness-its-causes-and-costs.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

The latest word comes from a geneticist at the National Cancer Institute laboratory here who has been working for years with yeast and mutant mice and who has developed a novel theory that he believes will explain why 9 out of 10 people are right-handed, why left-handed parents are more likely to have left-handed children and why identical twins often have different handedness.

The geneticist, Dr. Amar J. S. Klar, hypothesizes that most people have a specific dominant gene that makes them right-handed. But about 20 percent of people, under this theory, lack the right-handed gene, and these people without the gene have a 50-50 possibility -- a random chance -- of being right-handed or left-handed.

Whether a person has or lacks this gene, Dr. Klar supposes, is a function of conventional genetics, just like eye color or baldness.

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Response to valerief (Reply #33)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 10:46 PM

50. No, my hand is straight when I write. The paper is turned.

I could never understand why lefties wrote with their hand turned upside down. Learning to use a mouse was an experience.

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Response to notadmblnd (Reply #50)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 11:27 PM

58. I'm a hooker leftie, and I've read that most lefties are!

One of these days I'm going to learn to use a mouse leftie. As nature intended.

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Response to valerief (Reply #58)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 07:40 AM

64. Lol.

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Response to notadmblnd (Reply #18)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 08:22 PM

43. I was always left-handed and I my mother was right-handed

and tried to make right-handed. My father was left-handed, but I so nor think he had any influence on my left-handedness.

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Response to immoderate (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 05:13 PM

23. someone came up with a good theory about why a gay gene would survive...

Human children need a lot of care and supervision and more than two parents are a big help. Gay aunts and uncles take a keen interest in their nieces and nephews that contributes to their family genes being passed on if not their individual ones.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #23)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 06:37 PM

31. So how do you pass on the "gay gene?"



--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #31)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 07:00 PM

34. Aren't many gay men and lesbian women married to members of the

opposite sex and share children?

I mean, I've worked with lots of gay married men.

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Response to valerief (Reply #34)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 07:39 PM

37. So their gay children would have to pass it on.

But I'm pretty sure it doesn't work like that. My parents were straight -- my brother was gay.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #37)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 07:53 PM

39. No, their gay or straight children would carry the gene and pass it on

if they procreated. Gayness doesn't stop genes from being passed on. And genes can be recessive.

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Response to immoderate (Reply #31)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 12:40 AM

62. in the past, gays would still marry the opposite sex and have their gay relationships

on the side.

Or your siblings would pass it on to those kids you help raise.

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Response to immoderate (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 06:00 PM

27. I do have "credentials in biology..."

...and there are lots of well known instances of animals foregoing reproductive opportunities in exchange for some other adaptive or fitness enhancement. On edit, just to be clear, those instances persist in populations rather than disappearing. There are also instances of parthenogenetic animals, including vertebrates-- whose ova can develop without fertilization-- who perform same-sex reproductive "pretend" sex or other mating behavior as part of the process.

It turns out that issues of reproductive fitness are not always as simple as "he/she that has the most offspring, wins." Especially in highly social animals, being a spinster aunt or bachelor uncle is often more likely to propagate the genes one shares with others than is attempting to reproduce independently.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #27)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 06:34 PM

30. So where is the propensity to those behaviors originated?

The OP talks about one gene.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #30)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 09:09 PM

48. there are lots of theories....

A single gene controlling maternal instincts is a new finding in mammals and hasn't been generalized beyond mice yet, although if it survives challenge there's no reason to suspect it doesn't have similar functions in other vertebrates. But that's not likely related in any way to the other matter I was responding to, your assertion about a "gay gene."

I presumed you meant that there cannot be a gay gene-- or genes-- because it would be selected against through lowered reproductive output. My point was that there ARE lots of known instances in which phenotypes (with usually unknown underlying genetic foundations) are selected FOR in populations even though they undermine reproduction. There is a whole body of theory that attributes altruism in general and reproductive altruism in particular to such things as shared genetic identity beyond individuals, for example. But I certainly didn't mean to imply that those mechanisms or their genetic basis are well understood or known, or even generally agreed upon. But that doesn't change the circumstance that there are plenty of documented instances of behaviors that LOWER individual reproductive output being maintained in populations for long periods of time, suggesting that they are at least not maladaptive and selected against. There are also lots of instances in which phenotypes that would appear deleterious are maintained because they confer side benefits that outweigh lowered reproductive fitness. So the chain of logic that leads to your statement about a gay gene being selected against is not necessarily well supported by the actual evidence among numerous species of animals, including vertebrates, even mammals.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #48)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 11:24 AM

72. Got it. Food for thought.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 11:23 PM

56. We know so little about genetics but if it IS genetic, you know our friends will lobby to "cure" it.

The "instinct" to be nurturing can be developed, but if for some reason, someone does not have that instinct then there is nothing to develop.

I'm thinking of issues like a family history of heart disease or high blood pressure. Where positive, healthy behavior can overcome many of the factors that would make that genetic component a problem and being aware of the tendency makes a person seek out those behaviors.

IF there is a genetic component, then we can certainly quit pushing every woman to have babies whether she wants them or not and realize that even if someone isn't nurturing by nature, they can still learn the art.

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Response to immoderate (Reply #7)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 03:23 AM

63. LGBT folks sometimes have babies.

There are at least two of us posting on DU who have children.

I'm one of them.

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Response to immoderate (Reply #7)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 02:20 PM

80. You're correct in that no one has found a gay gene

 

I do believe they've done studies in mice where they were able to get male mice to behave sexually as females (and vice versa) by flooding their mothers uterus with certain hormones at key points in development.

So that would be a long term developmental difference not tied to any specific differences at the genetic level.

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:27 PM

8. Gene Tierney

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:30 PM

9. Bwahahaha! I definitely don't have the country music gene.

I don't even have the rock music gene.

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Response to valerief (Reply #9)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:44 PM

12. Lack of the country music gene gives one a 20 point advantage on their IQ score.

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 03:57 PM

20. There must be a gene for parenthood...

Because I'm a male and have always been more involved in raising my son than his mother has. Even as a toddler toddler, if my son fell down and hurt himself, he always said "I want my Daddy". Even if I wasn't there and his mom was.

He is a teenager now and I'm still mothering him. It feels natural.

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 04:32 PM

21. I think it is the second x chromosome -- can't be a mother without it.

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 04:47 PM

22. Always loved kids and animals. Sister and brother liked animals

but not kids. Mother and father didn't care for kids either. Have to go to grandparent generation to find people who liked children. What an interesting idea to further research. Have 4 children and lots of animals. Older daughter liked children but didn't want to have any. She didn't care for animals. Older son likes children a lot and has 2 and is neutral about animals. Two younger children - one doesn't want any children but likes them and other wants lots of kids. Both like animals. Who knows but I've met many women who wished they did not have children even though their children were wonderful. Felt they had to have children to conform to husband/family/society's expectations. Those pressures may be less in today's generations.

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Response to kiranon (Reply #22)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 05:14 PM

24. Maybe if this gets publicized, we'd leave those people to be free to go their own way

as we are finally doing with gays.

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 05:49 PM

25. I've always said I was "born that way" in re to being Child-Free

There's many of us in the CF community who feel the same way; it wasn't a choice, but like our eye color, part of the factory per-sets.

I tend to be open-minded about Childless-by-Choice - I don't argue with those identify that way - but there are some who feel as strongly about it as sane people do about sexuality.

This, of course has nothing to do with those who are Childless NOT by choice - though infertile women/men can be CF/CBC and just not care.

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Response to REP (Reply #25)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 06:03 PM

28. I think it's great if people who feel no need to procreate are allowed to

have that without any people trying to interject. Maybe some are not wanting kids for a reason. I mean, we have how many billion people on this planet. Some may think it's unnatural, but I think it makes perfect sense. Especially with so much overcrowding and limited resources. It makes sense that a percentage of the populace would not feel the need to add to that. My sister doesn't have any kids. I don't think she ever felt the need. I never liked dolls and such though that's what i always got. I have 3 kids now. I feel maternal about it. I love and protect my kids. My sister loves her nieces and nephews.... in bits at a time. lol. but she is also a child advocate in family court. So, she likes to help kids and families. I think it's great that people can know that and be happy with or without kids. It's all about choice. And I think it's great when people have one.

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Response to ejpoeta (Reply #28)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 06:52 PM

32. For me, like my eye color, it wasn't a choice - I've always been uninterested in children

My brother doesn't have any either, so I don't even have to pretend. I'm incapable of using "baby" and "cute" in the same sentence without "not." The only thing I find remotely interesting about children is the mechanics of language acquisition, and then only in an academic setting.

The degree of interest in children varies in Child-Free people; I'm obviously at the low end of the scale.

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Response to REP (Reply #32)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 07:23 PM

35. when i say choice, i mean that you don't HAVE to have kids.

just have to suffer people bugging you about it. i think it's great that one can know they don't want kids and just not have them. that one can take steps to not have them. that we have that choice. i know i don't want any MORE kids. and i took steps to make sure i don't. even then my SIL seems SURE that she sees me with one more. Like I should feel guilty that i am so fertile. I know she wanted more than the one she's got. But I've got plenty already. but i digress.

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 06:03 PM

29. I can totally believe that. I've never had any maternal desires at all.

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 07:28 PM

36. When I see a bunch of women gathered around saying ooh and ahh so cute

I'm always disappointed when I see that there's no puppy anywhere to be found.

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Response to undeterred (Reply #36)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 08:10 PM

41. Me, too!!!!

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Response to valerief (Reply #41)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 08:22 PM

44. We got the dog nurturers gene instead!

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 09:01 PM

47. I doubt it's a single gene.

This seems like more jumping to get some press by a researcher than anything else.

Some of the best parents I know never imagined being parents until it happened. Some of the worst parents I know wanted kids so durned bad...

Look, this is a complicated piece of human/animal life.

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #47)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 12:23 AM

61. everything is more complicated than just genes.

Even those worst parents might have "loved" those kids they wanted and never given them up for anything.

And some of those best parents might have been just as happy if they didn't have kids.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #61)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 06:15 PM

74. I would have probably been just as happy without kids.

Once we had one (and we waited a long time to have one), we really wanted another. Ah, but he had waited too long. (We knew the risks. It's not a pity party.) Still, it was an interesting thing to go through...

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #74)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 07:07 PM

75. Downs syndrome or something else?

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Response to yurbud (Reply #75)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 08:42 PM

76. Just didn't get pregnant.

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 10:33 PM

49. A certain lack of genetic variability in the parents for the latter?

 

If you know what I mean.

I do think they're on to something here. But I suspect it might be a little more complicated than a single genetic switch. I personally have zero desire to breed, but at the same time I am the responsible uncle from Hades. I won't let them hurt themselves, but I will still put a lot of years on parental clocks in the process.

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 10:48 PM

52. "Scientific" justification for social engineering.

Gee, that's never happened before.

Have you read ALL of Darwin's writings? You don't want to know what he says about Australians; for starters.

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 02:42 PM

73. I never played with dolls either

My face was always in a book. I had two kids, but have had cats since I was a little girl. Now that my kids are grown and gone, I still have my FUR BABIES.

Is there a gene for a CatLady?

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 01:25 PM

78. Mom genes. I haz them.

Also I haz cat nurturin' genes in spades.

I never liked dolls, though. Those things always creeped me out. Still do.

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 02:19 PM

79. That would mean that certain traditionally girl type games

 

are hardwired rather than being instilled by the patriarchy.

Perhaps girls aren't forced to play doll (and boys aren't forced to do other things). Perhaps there are innate differences between the genders that lead to differences in behavior.


Some people are not going to like that notion.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #79)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 02:29 PM

81. I have a daughter and had notions of brainwashing her to be a tomboy...

but before she could even walk, she liked playing dress up, and when she could talk, she'd ask for her shirts that looked like dresses. And when we take her to look at children's books, she makes a beeline for the princess ones (which my wife hates and I in no way encourage).

She will roughhouse and stuff with me too, and I'm not disappointed at all, just more intrigued to see what tendencies came pre-installed.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #81)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 02:42 PM

82. I suspect quite a lot of gendered behavior

 

is ingrained. Sure we reinforce it and add other qualifiers but the basis is in our genes.

So girls may not prefer pink dolls over blue ones but they prefer dolls in general over other toys.

Boys may not necessarily prefer football over soccer but they prefer competitive sports over other activities.

The Jewish Kibbutz movement tried very hard in Israel to establish colonies that were entirely free of gendered stereotypes. Men we encouraged to stay home with the kids, women to work in the fields (all in equal amounts) and children were given the same toys.

They found that the girls played baby with their toys and the boys played war. The women preferred to stay at home and the men preferred to work in the fields and in government. This wasn't reinforced behavior. If anything the social stigma was against adhering to these traditional gender roles but still people sort of naturally fell back in to them.

Obviously with 3.5 billion of either gender there are going to be a wide range of differences. But still the trends seem to be hardwired.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #82)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 04:16 PM

90. if they exist, that's fine, as long as we give people who don't have them latitude

to do what they want with their lives.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #90)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 04:54 PM

93. Of course

 

variations exist. Even if the trend is for girls to play with dolls that doesn't mean all girls fit that description. And not all boys like sports. And so on.

I think it's a grave mistake when we force kids to fit in to some stereotype. However I don't think it's any better when we try to go the other way and then lament that they're falling back in to traditional gender roles more often than they should (if those were entirely social constructs).

Some people get mad when their daughter doesn't play with dolls because they were trying to get her to be a traditional girl. That is wrong. Some people get mad when their daughter does play with dolls because they were trying to get her to not be a traditional girl. That is also wrong.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #93)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 06:49 PM

95. I recall a really weird specific issue like this: a sports fan gene

some people get the same kind of high just WATCHING sports as those do who are actually playing, and some only get it from playing.

I'm firmly in the latter camp, and it makes for a lot of awkward conversations.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #95)

Mon Oct 1, 2012, 12:40 PM

97. Interesting. I hadn't heard of that study

 

Studying human behaviors must be a fascinating and frustrating field.

You have genetics, environmental effects (hormones and toxins in the womb) and societal pressures. None of which is entirely isolated, all work together in various ways and to various degrees.

Oh and then I suppose there is always a great deal of randomness since people respond differently once they know they're being observed.

Throw in the fact that there is no suitable animal model for studying human behavior and it get's pretty complicated.

Hence the debate over all this.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #81)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 03:06 PM

84. My girls will dote on their dolls one minute and then kick around the soccer ball

with my husband and I the next. They play rough, too! They really hate to lose against my husband. Maybe kids are more multidimensional then we think and not one or the other.

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Response to Jennicut (Reply #84)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 04:15 PM

89. yep--but they have preferences too. Certainly individual ones and it seems like

some gender based ones too.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #79)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 03:40 PM

85. Some people don't like the idea that it is not hard wired

In fact it's the standard excuse for keeping women in their place. That's where we "want" to be.

Kids can understand things really young. Just because they don't talk doesn't mean they don't know what they are taking in. Those girls "know" they are supposed to like dolls. They are taught that from before they can articulate words.

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Response to treestar (Reply #85)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 03:45 PM

86. Occams razor

 

certain behaviors occur before the child is able to communicate in every culture (even entirely isolated ones) throughout history due to innate genetic differences or an overarching patriarchal conspiracy against woman that was apparently decided on before people left Africa, has been faithfully maintained lo these many thousands of years, and that is capable of getting to the child before the child is able to communicate.

Oh and it even crops up in human societies formed deliberately around smashing such gender based exceptions (see the Israeli Kibbutz experiment in gender equality for reference).


In no other species would it be controversial to say they behave certain ways because it's ingrained. We don't have to teach cats to chase after small moving objects, that's just part of being a cat. We don't train dogs to clump together and smell each others backsides. That's just part of being a dog. But people, no people have precisely zero built in behaviors.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #86)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 03:47 PM

87. every society previously has had roles for the genders

If they were so unchangeable, we wouldn't have a woman for SOS - she'd have stayed where she was supposed to stay. It is not innate and immutable or it would not have changed that much. But once women were freed, they went out and did the things they did not "want" to do.

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Response to treestar (Reply #87)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 03:54 PM

88. You're confusing trends with anecdotes

 

Men are in general taller than women right? That is a true statement.
Why then are some women taller than some men? How could that be!?!?!


Additionally you're mistaken in thinking that because some gender expectations where cultural constructs all of them must be.

Do boys really prefer blue to pink? Probably not, that's a cultural thing since it only popped up here recently and can't really be shown to have much of a history or cross-cultural acceptance.

Do boys prefer sports to playing doll? Yeah that seems likely since that has always been the case and not just here but in every culture and throughout history.

See the difference?

And when a society, such as the Kibbutz's, goes out of it's way to erase those differences and train their children to show no gender differences and they still crop up from no where that kind of suggests those aren't artificial constructs.

Are all societal expectations for boys and girls based on nature? No. Are they all based on an entirely on nurture? Again no.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #88)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 04:41 PM

91. girls would prefer sports to playing dolls

if that's what they thought was expected of them. You see more and more girls playing sports now that girls are treated more equally. There are even girls' softball games on TV and we never saw that when I was a kid. That's when things changed. (starting in the 70s). Now the law schools have more women than men. Women are a greater proportion of doctors than they were. Their numbers in politics have gone way up.

Men are generally taller is a physical trait. They go bald more often, too. That's just physical.

But behavioral traits - both sexes are inherently the same. Look at how women have jumped at the chance once the barriers were lifted.

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Response to treestar (Reply #91)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 04:49 PM

92. "But behavioral traits - both sexes are inherently the same."

 

That is a belief some people have but it is empirically false.

Also I never said that no girls prefer sports to dolls (or vice versa for boys).

But the general trend will be that if a child picks up a doll and plays with it as if it were a baby that child will probably be a girl.

If a kid develops a physical competitive game that involves one person winning and everyone else losing that child will probably be a boy.

Obviously exceptions exist. That's why we have statistics.

Why do girls on average start talking sooner than boys? In every culture and throughout history. Are they taught that girls ought to talk more even before they are capable of communicating? How?

Some differences are entirely taught. Some are entirely ingrained. Some are moderately ingrained and can be reinforced or stifled.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #92)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 06:07 PM

94. How can it be known when they talk?

In every culture? Talking starts for each individual at various times.

There's no proof there is a genetic difference in intellects. If women really talk sooner and that's been proven to be the case in every single culture (doubtful) then that may mean nothing, too - it's not going to prove we like to talk more. We may learn to walk sooner, and that proves what? That we are more athletic?

Once women were freed to do things reserved to males, they started flocking to it, whatever it might be. We've had women go up into space, even. And try to get into the military. People want to believe they wouldn't want to do things and it's "genetic." It's not. It's up to the individual and the more equality there is, the more women feel it's OK to try the things they want to do.

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Response to treestar (Reply #94)

Mon Oct 1, 2012, 12:37 PM

96. "94. How can it be known when they talk? "

 

Um . . . is this a serious question? How can it be known when a child is born? Observe it happening and mark the date. Simple.

How can it be known when the sun rises?

And so on.

There's no proof there is a genetic difference in intellects.


Ah see here you are attempting to alter the conversation. Intellect is distinct from behavior. Two people with 190 IQs could prefer very different past times (knitting to binge drinking). Their preferences are different, their intellects are the same.


If women really talk sooner and that's been proven to be the case in every single culture (doubtful) then that may mean nothing, too - it's not going to prove we like to talk more.


It would prove mental development occurs at different rates and in different ways between genders. Which was kind of the crux of the discussion. And it's an established fact. Ask any child developmental biologist.

Once women were freed to do things reserved to males, they started flocking to it, whatever it might be.


Not true. Where are the female deep sea fishermen, or garbage men, or miners, or line-workers, or plumbers, or soldiers? Some exist. But in the same rates? Hardly. Where are the male teachers, babysitters, nurses, and child-care workers? Some exist. But in the same rates? Hardly.

We've had women go up into space, even.


Anecdote =/= trend.

. People want to believe they wouldn't want to do things and it's "genetic." It's not. It's up to the individual and the more equality there is, the more women feel it's OK to try the things they want to do.


Even in societies that actively pursue the elimination of gender biases males and females still fall in to traditionally masculine and feminine behaviors. You won't address this fact I realize because it goes against your dogma. But it is (like the child developmental differences referenced) well established.

Consider: if you were to artificially boost a girls testosterone levels 20x this would A) have no effect or B) significantly alter her behavior. What do you think?

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 03:03 PM

83. Hmmm. I think I always wanted to be a mother.

I always really liked kids. I started babysitting when I was 12. I went to college and got a degree in psych and worked with troubled kids at group homes. Now I am going back to college to get my teaching certificate. I love subbing in elementary schools. I have a 7 and 8 year old and just have a lot of fun hanging out with them (though you have to do some discipline along with it). I couldn't imagine my life without my girls. But someone that doesn't want them? I am sure they feel they could not imagine their lives WITH kids. It probably is partly genetics.

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