Sometimes you see a story so silly, you can't help but wonder what strange psychosis has gripped those involved.
Case in point: Some researchers at Oregon State University have been conducting research on "gay*" sheep that turns them straight. By changing hormonal levels in the brain, rams become much more inclined to mount the sheep rather than other rams.
And so, what happens? Critics become vocal, declaring that the research is an attempt to cure homosexuality and is the most horrendous attack on their dignity. Of course PETA gets involved, but they're against anything involving animals, their opinions aren't really important here.
So, could this cure homosexuality in people? Well, eventually. Maybe. Remains to be seen.
In strictly humanistic terms, homosexuality is a biological** deviation which reduces reproductive fitness. Biologically speaking, any mutation (or other abnormality) which reduces the ability of a species to reproduce is bad. I suppose if you're so-minded, getting rid of homosexuality isn't a bad thing.
I don't think like that, though, and I can't speak for those protesters, so I'll share my own thoughts on the matter.
First, I wonder what the possibility of hypocrisy is here. It's still in the realms of fiction where parents can genetically design their babies, but science is catching up. I find such work to be somewhat insulting to human dignity, but how many people think it's okay? If it's just peachy to craft a tall, athletic, blue-eyed supergenius in the womb, is it also okay to make sure he'll pass on his genes? If the "cure" is administered prenatal, what happens to a woman's choice? It seems to me if a woman can choose to kill the unborn child, she can choose to prevent homosexuality in it as well. Not that abortion has to be concurrent with this, but again, I'm wondering if there's any hypocrisy at play here. I'm not pro-choice, so I can't speak for them.
What if it's something administered to adults? In this case, that would be an individual choice, and despite the hysteria of the protesters, should be left to each individual to decide. Maybe some people don't want to be gay. Why shouldn't they be allowed to determine that? I'm told all the time that it isn't a choice. If it could become a choice, why shouldn't they be allowed to choose?
So, I'm okay with any potential adult treatments. Prenatal treatments, I'm undecided on. For conditions which threaten someone's life, I'm fine with such developmental tampering. Further than that, and I'm uncertain. Does it impinge on human dignity? Do we step on God's toes by custom-crafting human beings? (Ooh, I just thought of a good one; does God have feet so big that even he can't make shoes big enough for them?)
All I know is, you'd think from the reactions of the people in the article that these guys were kidnapping gay men off the street and dissecting their brains. Let's keep some perspective, and try to talk rationally about the science advancing. If I can remain calm about Amendment 2 in MO, I think we can be civil about this.
* - I use the "scare quotes" because I'm not really certain how they quantify homosexuality in animals. Because the rams like to mount other rams? I'm no expert on the matter, but it seems like non-human homosexuality has more to do with humping anything rather than humping specific genders. But like I said, that's my limited experience talking.
** - Again, I'm not aware of research which limits this to genetic causes or developmental causes. And if it's developmental, are we talking prenatal or postnatal development?