The following is absolutely correct, with the caveat that the term weird there must be understood in its pejorative sense.
The Sinister Side of Plasticity
There is also a sinister side to neuroplasticity, which Norman Doidge discusses as well. Not only can culture exercise a positive influence on our neuroplastic brains, but it can also affect us in harmful ways. If mastering a language or the use of a new tool opens up new neuro pathways in our brains, subversive cultural influences can do the same. Hence, in a given environment, we may find ourselves so immersed in certain wrongful practices or assumptions that immorality can start to feel normal and righteousness weird....
The entire article is well worth reading and greatly represents part of the process of vindicating what I've been writing, and also openly publishing here now, for many years.
We were, are, and become what we feel, think, say, and do. This is why it is not proper to say "love the sinner and hate the sin" without understanding the full meaning of the terms love and hate and the various contexts in which those can be and are used by Jesus Christ. It is fully proper to both love and hate the sinner at the same time and whether that sinner is the self or other! It is also proper to understand that the self is also both self and other at the same time. This is why the first Christians understood themselves to be of one collective soul.
Now, this also clearly goes directly to the heart of the debate over homosexuality and genetics. It is quite clear that genetics exerts a different level of power depending upon the manifestation being considered. The Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart (MISTRA) showed that IQ was extremely genetic relative to "sexual orientation," which was weak if one even believes that there is any causation but rather perhaps a predisposition to weakness.
The fact is that via operant conditioning, homosexuals can be turned into 100% heterosexuals. The "testing" hasn't been done to "prove" that yet and been published. I'm saying that it is a logical impossibility that I'm wrong about it. Through radical conditioning, the brain can be made to change completely from homosexual to heterosexual. The beginnings of showing this was done by Moan and Heath: "Septal stimulation for the initiation of heterosexual activity in a homosexual male," by Moan, C.E., & Heath, R.G. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. 3: 23-30. (1972).
A 24-year-old male, overt homosexual, repeatedly hospitalized for chronic suicidal depression and found to have temporal lobe epilepsy, underwent a program of septal stimulation which resulted in subjectively reported and behaviorally observed states of pleasure, euphoria, relaxation, confidence, and sexual motivation. These responses were subsequently used to initiate heterosexual arousal and behavior. The findings have important implications for the treatment of some psychological disorders.
("SEPTAL STIMULATION FOR THE INITIATION OF HETEROSEXUAL BEHAVIOR IN A HOMOSEXUAL MALE*," CHARLES E. MOAN and ROBERT G. HEATH, Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Tulane University School of Medicine)
By electrically stimulating the pleasure center of a homosexual's brain via implanted electrodes and during heterosexual imagery and even the sex act with a female, a homosexual was turned into a bi-sexual.
Now, I'm not endorsing Moan and Heath' methods of experimentation, although it is my understanding that they had the complete consent of the test subject. What I am saying is that rewards and punishments for any feelings, thoughts, words, or deeds will reform the very brain matter, form, and function. Given enough of such positive and negative reinforcement, homosexuality can be completely extinguished. Also, a person can on his or her own begin this process concerning him or herself.
If you read the Moan and Heath report, please note the following:
Patient B-19 is a 24-year-old single, white male of unremarkable gestation and birth whose immediate family consists of parents, age 55, and a sister, 19. The father, described by the patient as a tyrannical, abusive and demanding individual given to excessive drinking and episodic anger and violence, reportedly considers his son to be a deeply disappointing young man who was a failure and coward during childhood and adolescence. The mother is characterized as an extremely withdrawn, rigid and emotionally controlled woman, whose embrace B-19 cannot recall. Rather, she serves to mediate between him and his father, is given to excessive complaining about her surroundings and circumstances and consistently approaches the patient for solutions to her marital conflicts.
You will also note that he was sexually aroused by seeing his younger sister (5 years his junior; a marked age gap) naked when they were made to bathe together as children.
His background greatly fits the pattern described by Reparative Therapists, such as Joseph Nicolosi. He was also obviously not born homosexual, as he was aroused by his sister before he became completely disinterested in females (even nearly hostile in his anti-heterosexuality) and rather completely interested in males prior to the Moan and Heath experiments.
There has never been an active interest in females, though he admits that he is somewhat aroused by pictures of women in various degrading and pitiable positions.
There was no attempt to eliminate the homosexuality through aversive stimulation of other areas of the brain. The success reported points toward future effective use of septal activation for reinforcing desired behavior and extinguishing undesired behavior.
So, what are the most important things to take away from all this? Considering the general misperceptions in society, the main thing is that change is certainly possible and has clearly been demonstrated. It is also clear that sexuality is fluid. People go from one end of the spectrum and back again. Lastly, the more ingrained the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors (verbal or otherwise), the more radical and/or long-lasting the treatment will need to be.
What absolutely is wrong to conclude is that changing "orientation" from homosexual to heterosexual is at all unethical or immoral, quite the contrary (but that's another post). What you will find out there on the Internet are foolish articles such as this one by David J. Linden (Professor, The John Hopkins University School of Medicine), "The Neuroscience of Pleasure."
This study is morally repugnant on many different levels -- the profound arrogance of attempting to "correct" someone's sexual orientation, the medical risk of unjustified brain surgery, the gross violations of privacy and human dignity. Fortunately, homosexual conversion therapy with brain surgery and pleasure circuit stimulation was soon abandoned.
Many years later, experiments in both humans and critters have revealed that most experiences in our lives that we find transcendent -- whether illicit vices or socially sanctioned ritual and social practices as diverse as exercise, meditative prayer, or even charitable giving -- activate this pleasure circuit in the brain. Shopping, orgasm, learning, highly caloric foods, gambling, prayer, dancing 'till you drop, and playing on the Internet: They all evoke neural signal that converge on this same brain circuit activated in Olds and Milner's rats and in Patient B-19. This dopamine-using pleasure circuitry can also be co-opted by some psychoactive substances, like cocaine, nicotine, heroin, marijuana or alcohol. Evolution has, in effect, hardwired us to catch a pleasure buzz from a wide variety of substances and experiences from crack to cannabis, from meditation to masturbation, from Bordeaux to beef.
"...profound arrogance of attempting to "correct" someone's sexual orientation..."? I suggest David J. Linden re-read the report. The young man consented and reported liking the outcome.
Also, his privacy wasn't invaded that I read. In fact, the researchers and therapists went out of their way to give him privacy. He self-reported the outcome with the prostitute, as she also self-reported. They weren't watching or spying. Besides, again, he consented. As for it being fortunate that such surgery and stimulation was abandoned, the method should have been abandoned due to risks with surgery. However, what definitely shouldn't have happened societally is what has happened, and that is that the mass of the general public has been completely kept in the dark and lied to about the causes of homosexuality, the dangers of homosexuality, and the successful non-surgical treatment of the homosexual mental condition, which despite various associations' arbitrary and unfounded and unscientific pronouncements to the contrary, remains a mental disease.
Lastly, as for evolution having "hardwired us to catch a pleasure buzz," that's spoken like an abject materialist. To it and rhetorically I ask a question. What part of the test and trap don't you understand?
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And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)