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Gay penguins and fruit fly studies

December 25, 2007

Re "So a fruit fly goes to a

bar ... ," Opinion, Dec. 19

Marlene Zuk uses the standard apologist tactics to try to divert attention from ethical issues surrounding research into changing sexual orientation.

Her humorous, mocking tone compensates for the flimsiness of assurances if ethical questions are taken seriously.

She conflates gay desire, identity and conduct to depict homosexuality as a highly complicated interaction of biology and environment. If limited to the subjective feeling of same-sex attractions, however, the concept is far less complicated and less behavioral than she claims. She uses that exaggerated complexity to hawk raw speculation that no mechanism will be found to eradicate gay desires in humans. With that, she evades confronting the specter of perfectionist parents routinely de-gaying their children.

She says she has studied gay penguins, so she is not prejudiced, which is the scientific equivalent of loudly announcing "I have gay friends," and it is just as pathetic.

Stephen Clark

Professor of Law, Albany Law School

Albany, N.Y.

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