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Author Topic: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)  (Read 181577 times)

Offline bbbmedia

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #60 on: March 05, 2006, 12:15:36 PM »
I am a product of the 1950's

Every guy I knew had a close binding smother mother and a workaholic, distant father

Theoretically, all my friends in high school should have grown up gay

But they didn't

So I do not put much faith in "nurture" causing homosexuality   
What Jack remembered and craved in a way he could neither help nor understand was the time that distant summer on Brokeback when Ennis had come up behind him and pulled him close, the silent embrace satisfying some shared and sexless hunger.

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #61 on: March 05, 2006, 11:05:16 PM »
I am a product of the 1950's

Then in the late 60's we got, among others, Transactional Analysis of "I'm ok You're ok" fame.  And their "analysis" of homosexuality was "Your mother wouldn't let you be a man and your father didn't show you how".   What wisdom.


Offline Dixon

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #62 on: March 06, 2006, 04:53:27 PM »
 "The human genome as we are unwrapping is giving us the words in the language but not for the Grammar."

 And we don't know what the most of the words mean. I agree that we are a long way from understanding how genes express except for some very simple examples. We can't even reliably 'fix' those yet either.


 "Show me the genes for right handedness or musical talent"

 Funny you should mention those. I saw a study a couple of years ago that found a foetus that was exposed to higher levels of testosterone in the womb was more likely to grow up to be gay, left handed or musically talented. Or any combination thereof. This struck something of a chord (no pun intended) with me as I have a brother. He's left handed & musical. I'm gay & musical (but righthanded). (I must point out that single examples prove nothing scientifically speaking) I thought it was cool though :)

Offline kula

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #63 on: March 12, 2006, 08:21:26 PM »
Quote
While biologists look at hormones for answers about human sexuality, other scientists are looking for patterns in statistics. And hard as this is to believe, they have found something they call "the older brother effect."

"The more older brothers a man has, the greater that man's chance of being gay," says Bailey.

Asked if that's true, Bailey says, "That is absolutely true."

If this comes as a shock to you, you’re not alone. But it turns out, it’s one of the most solid findings in this field, demonstrated in study after study.

And the numbers are significant: for every older brother a man has, his chances of being gay increase by one third. Older sisters make no difference, and there's no corresponding effect for lesbians. A first-born son has about a 2 percent chance of being gay, and the numbers rise from there. The theory is it happens in the womb.

Here's the link to an article regarding the "60 Minutes" segment that was shown today that brings some of that nature vs nurture debate into another scientific perspective.  Some interesting theories from each of the studies.

The Science of Sexual Orientation
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/03/09/60minutes/main1385230.shtml

Offline Texas_Girl

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #64 on: March 12, 2006, 09:25:54 PM »
I was born this way and I have never wanted to be any other way. I love being bisexual.  If I could change something, it would not be myself. It would be the world and the fear they seem to have towards things they don't understand.

**********(¨`·.·´¨)
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Offline jpq716

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #65 on: March 12, 2006, 10:17:14 PM »
Why does homosexuality exist in nature? If homosexuality were the perverted abomination that the fundis say that it is, then it would have disappeared from the human behavior repertoire millennia ago, because natural selection does not tolerate freeloading behavior for long. And yet the homosexual orientation appears, again and again, in each and every generation. Therefore homosexuality must serve some natural purpose. The big question: what is the purpose? And yes, there is a purpose...

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Offline Blue

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #66 on: March 13, 2006, 07:54:56 PM »
Anyone see the Lesley Stahl segment on 60 Minutes last night? (March 12, 2006)

It explored advancing scientific theories of what makes us gay. Utterly, utterly fascinating!  The piece gave me, personally, great insight into the question  -- I fit the profiles to a T.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/03/09/60minutes/main1385230.shtml
[read/watch it here]



note: click "watch gay or straight" link next to photo of the 2 boys to watch the segment.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2006, 08:17:34 PM by Blue »
You wanna watch it there -- that horse has a low startle point.

Offline Blue

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #67 on: March 13, 2006, 08:06:43 PM »
Sorry, just noticed they let you view only the first 3min20sec of the segment.

If you find source showing the entire segment, please let me (us) know!
You wanna watch it there -- that horse has a low startle point.

Offline Blue

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #68 on: March 13, 2006, 08:31:32 PM »
Decided to post the text from the article because it might be available online for only a limited time:
______________________






The Science Of Sexual Orientation


(CBS) There are few issues as hotly contested — and as poorly understood — as the question of what makes a person gay or straight. It's not only a political, social, and religious question but also a scientific question, one that might someday have an actual, provable answer.

The handful of scientists who work in this under-funded and politically charged field will tell you: That answer is a long way off. But as Lesley Stahl reports, their efforts are already yielding tantalizing clues. One focus of their research is twins.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The bedrooms of 9-year-old twins Adam and Jared couldn't be more different. Jared's room is decked out with camouflage, airplanes, and military toys, while Adam's room sports a pastel canopy, stuffed animals, and white horses.

When Stahl came for a visit, Jared was eager to show her his G.I. Joe collection. "I have ones that say like Marine and SWAT. And then that's where I keep all the guns for 'em," he explained.

Adam was also proud to show off his toys. "This is one of my dolls. Bratz baby," he said.

Adam wears pinkish-purple nail polish, adorned with stars and diamonds.

Asked if he went to school like that, Adam says, "Uh-huh. I just showed them my nails, and they were like, 'Why did you do that?'"

Adam's behavior is called childhood gender nonconformity, meaning a child whose interests and behaviors are more typical of the opposite sex. Research shows that kids with extreme gender nonconformity usually grow up to be gay.

Danielle, Adam and Jared's mom, says she began to notice this difference in Adam when he was about 18 months old and began asking for a Barbie doll. Jared, meanwhile, was asking for fire trucks.

Not that much has changed. Jared’s favorite game now is Battlefield 2, Special Forces. As for Adam, he says, "It's called Neopets: The Darkest Faerie."

Asked how he would describe himself to a stranger, Jared says, "I'm a kid who likes G.I. Joes and games and TV."

"I would say like a girl," Adam replied to the same question. When asked why he thinks that is, Adam shrugged.

"To me, cases like that really scream out, 'Hey, it's not out there. It's in here.' There's no indication that this mother is prone to raise very feminine boys because his twin is not that way," says Michael Bailey, a psychology professor at Northwestern University and a leading researcher in the field of sexual orientation.

Bailey says he doesn't think nurture is a plausible explanation.

Psychologists used to believe homosexuality was caused by nurture — namely overbearing mothers and distant fathers — but that theory has been disproved. Today, scientists are looking at genes, environment, brain structure and hormones. There is one area of consensus: that homosexuality involves more than just sexual behavior; it’s physiological.

Bailey and his colleagues set up a series of experiments in his lab at Northwestern University. In one study, researcher Gerulf Rieger videotaped gay and straight people sitting in a chair, talking. He then reduced them visually to silent black and white outlined figures and asked volunteers to see if they could tell gay from straight. The idea was to find out if certain stereotypes were real and observable.

Based on physical movement and gestures of the figures, more often than not, the volunteers in the study could tell a difference.

"So, is the conclusion that gay people do in fact move differently?" Stahl asked Rieger.

"Yeah, absolutely," he replied.

It's not true 100 percent of the time; it is true on average. The researchers also studied the way gay and straight people talk, and they found differences on average there too.

This research is controversial. Some say it is reinforcing stereotypes. But to Bailey, the stereotypes suggest there's a feminizing of the brain in gay men, and masculinizing in lesbians. Ironically though, when it comes to their sex lives, he says gay and straight men actually have a lot in common.

"Straight men tend to be shallow in terms of focusing on looks. Gay men are shallow, too. Straight men are more interested than straight women in having casual, uncommitted sex. Gay men are like that, too," says Bailey.

"One has the impression that gay men are much more inclined toward casual sex than straight men," Stahl said.

"They're just more successful at it, because the people they're trying to have sex with are also interested in it," Bailey explained.

"But don't you find this interesting that the one big area where gay men are more like straight men is in sex? I mean, that is…both amusing and odd," Stahl said.

"It suggests that whatever causes a man to be gay doesn't make him feminine in every respect. There must be different parts of the brain that can be feminized independently from each other," Bailey replied.

But how and when does this feminizing occur? If the differences were already apparent in childhood, that would point to an early, perhaps even genetic origin — and that's what Bailey and Rieger are testing in a new study using childhood home movies.

In the study, volunteers were asked to rate each child's femininity or masculinity. Stahl took the test and rated two girls highly feminine.

When shown video of a toddler girl running a truck off of a table, Stahl observed, "She's really not girly. Isn't that interesting? She’s not girly."

She also observed differences in two boys, one of whom would grow up to be straight, while the other is now gay.

If you can spot a child's future sexual orientation before the child even knows he or she has one, doesn't that prove it's genetic? Studies have shown that homosexuality runs in families. So genes must be the answer. But then the researchers tell you identical twins can have different sexual orientations.

60 Minutes found identical twins Steve and Greg Lofts in New York. They had the same upbringing, have the same DNA — and yet Greg is gay and Steve is straight.

When people meet the twins and find out one of them is gay, Greg says people have asked if he's sure, and how it can be. "Everyone is curious about that," he says.

There were signs, even when they were little kids. Their mother told Stahl that Steve loved sports and the outdoors while Greg liked helping out in the kitchen. But it wasn't until high school that Steve became convinced Greg was gay.

Asked if he said anything to his brother, Steve says, "I did actually. And I think the way I worded it was something like, 'You know, Greg, if you're gay, it's OK with me. And I'll still love you the same.' And he gave a very philosophical answer. He said something like, 'Well, I love the soul of a person and not the physical being.' And in my mind, I was like, 'Yep, he's gay.'"

"I wasn't ready just yet," Greg added.

Does this prove that it's not genetic?

"What it proves is it's not completely genetic. They have the same genes," says Bailey.

Asked if that brings us back to the mother and the father, Bailey says no.

"But that's environment," Stahl said.

"That's environment. But that's not the only environment. There's also the environment that happens to us while we’re in the womb. And scientists are realizing that environment is much more important than we ever thought it was," Bailey explained.

A newborn rat pup in the lab of Dr. Marc Breedlove at Michigan State University, may, oddly enough, hold important clues to what happens in the womb.


Dr. Breedlove says he can take a male rat and make it behave like a female for the rest of its life, and vice versa for a female, just by altering the hormones it's exposed to at birth. Because rats are born underdeveloped, that's roughly the same as altering a third-trimester human fetus in the womb. But first, he said, Stahl would need a crash course in rat sex.

Dr. Breedlove explained that male rats, including one he showed Stahl called "Romeo," will mount any rat that comes their way. In the mating process, the female performs something called lordosis, where she lifts her head and rump.

If Romeo goes after a male, Dr. Breedlove says the male will seem profoundly indifferent.

But Breedlove says he can change all that. He gave a female rat a single shot of the male sex hormone testosterone at birth. Now grown up, she will never perform lordosis.

But a male rat did. He was castrated at birth, depriving him of testosterone.

"So you created a gay rat?" Stahl asked.

"I wouldn't say that these are gay rats. But I will say that these are genetic male rats who are showing much more feminine behavior," he explained.

So the answer may be that it's not genes but hormones.

"That's exactly the question that we're all wondering. This business of testosterone having such a profound influence. Does that have some relevance to humans?" Breedlove said.

While biologists look at hormones for answers about human sexuality, other scientists are looking for patterns in statistics. And hard as this is to believe, they have found something they call "the older brother effect."

"The more older brothers a man has, the greater that man's chance of being gay," says Bailey.

Asked if that's true, Bailey says, "That is absolutely true."

If this comes as a shock to you, you’re not alone. But it turns out, it’s one of the most solid findings in this field, demonstrated in study after study.

And the numbers are significant: for every older brother a man has, his chances of being gay increase by one third. Older sisters make no difference, and there's no corresponding effect for lesbians. A first-born son has about a 2 percent chance of being gay, and the numbers rise from there. The theory is it happens in the womb.

"Somehow, the mother's body is remembering how many boys she's carried before," says Breedlove. "The favorite hypothesis is that the mother may be making antibodies when she sees a boy the first time, and then affect subsequent boys when she carries them in utero."

"You mean, like she's carrying a foreign substance?" Stahl asked.

"And if you think about it, a woman who's carrying a son for the first time, she is carrying a foreign substance," Breedlove replied. "There are some proteins encoded on his Y chromosome that her body has never seen before and that her immune system would be expected to regard as 'invaders,'" he added.

It’s still not a proven theory and it gets even stranger.

"One of the things we've only found out lately is that older brothers affect a boy only if the boy is right-handed," Breedlove said. "If the boy is left-handed, if his brain is organized in a left-handed fashion, it doesn't matter how many older brothers he has, his probability of being gay is just like the rest of the population."

You can give yourself a headache trying to apply all the theories to real people. Greg and Steve Lofts both are right-handed, and they do have an older brother, so maybe that's why Greg is gay. But they also have several gay relatives, which suggests it could be in the genes, except where does that leave Steve?

Adam and Jared, fraternal twins, have older brothers, but they're ambidextrous.

Then there's the question of how something in the womb could affect one twin but not the other. There are many more questions at this point than answers, but the scientists 60 Minutes spoke to are increasingly convinced that genes, hormones, or both — that something is happening to determine sexual orientation before birth. Adam has come up with his own theory.

"I was supposed to be a girl in my mom's stomach. But my mom wished for all boys. So, I turned into a boy," Adam explained.

Asked if he wished he was a girl, Adam nodded.

"Do you think there was anything that you could have done that would have changed Adam?" Stahl asked Adam and Jared's mom Danielle.

"I could have changed Adam on the outside to where he would have showed me the macho boy that I would want as a boy. But that would not change who he is inside. And I think that would have damaged him a lot more," she said.

Stahl asked both boys if they are proud of the way they are, and both boys gave her big nods.

"Yup," Adam replied.

By Shari Finkelstein ©MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
You wanna watch it there -- that horse has a low startle point.

Offline sinne

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #69 on: March 14, 2006, 05:34:05 PM »
Last night at the Genie Awards (Canada's version of the Oscars) the Best Picture Genie went to a wonderful Quebec film called C.R.A.Z.Y. about a family of five brothers and the fourth brother's homosexuality and how it affects his relationship with his father.  It is a great film with a fantastic soundtrack.  I hope you will try to catch it.  (Interesting that it goes along with the theory re older brothers.)
 
http://www.cbc.ca/arts/film/crazy.html - an article about the film
 
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Offline Groch

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #70 on: March 14, 2006, 06:30:35 PM »
Last night at the Genie Awards (Canada's version of the Oscars) the Best Picture Genie went to a wonderful Quebec film called C.R.A.Z.Y. about a family of five brothers and the fourth brother's homosexuality and how it affects his relationship with his father.  It is a great film with a fantastic soundtrack.  I hope you will try to catch it.  (Interesting that it goes along with the theory re older brothers.)
 
http://www.cbc.ca/arts/film/crazy.html - an article about the film
 

Sinne - Thanks for the link - Unstereotypical gay subject matter for both the World's Best Picture and the Canadian Best Picture  in the same year - Fan Friggin Tastic!!
I am not sure how much play it will get state-side, but I will keep an eye on it and imagine it will go DVD.

This is another example of the type of movie that we must hope gets made more often.  There can be only one gay cowboy movie, but movies about gay siblings, or movies about gay adoptive families are more topics that focus on all of us as real people, with full lives of which sexuality is only a part.

I have no doubt but that films of this kind will effect real change.  Thanks Sinne.
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Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #71 on: March 15, 2006, 11:15:01 AM »
I don't think there is a gay, Bi or str8 gene. And I don't think it is genetics. I think you are just gay. No reason at all. I do not like Ketchup at all, my brother does not like olives. No reason. Last time I checked I didn't have an anti ketchup gene. Gay man simply are not attracted to women. They prefer men. It is not a concious chioce it just happens. .

Well, that's a complete indictment of the science of genetics, no? Isn't the basis of it that traits which are developed after birth are inherited, i.e., genetic? (Though as conditioning in the womb is turning out to be so important, that has to expand to include genes that cause our moms to behave certain ways during pregnancy.)

I think any geneticist would argue that your taste buds are inherited and that your predilections for certain foods are genetic.


Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #72 on: March 15, 2006, 11:20:00 AM »
Erm, Brokaholic, while I agree with a lot of your sentiments you seem to think genetic mutations are, by definition, bad (you use words like aberration). This is not the case. And human (infact all lifes') genes are *always* mutating (for good and bad). This actually happens at a fairly regular rate. 'Bad' mutations (bad as in they reduce a species chance of survival) tend to be removed from the gene pool. 'Good' mutations tend to last in the gene pool as they increase a species chances of surviving. So if homosexuality is genetic (as I and others here seem to think) then it must provide some advantage to the human species as a whole. ie. it's a good thing!

thanks, dixon. exactly what i was thinking as i read the post.

there was a powerful bias in there that to conclude we are different in some way is to cateorize us as inferior. huh? i think it's pretty obvious that we're different than straights. for starters, we like to sleep with men. but collectively, some other striking differences tend to jump out.

it's very cool to consider that we must be offering something really good to our societies to survive.

especiallly since natural selection seems to be fighting against us, trying to winnow us out because of our lower chance of reproducing individually. we must be doing some great things to counterbalance that.

Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #73 on: March 15, 2006, 11:25:27 AM »
Thanks for the 60 Minutes link. I'm sending to my family.

I watched it Sunday; what a was a great peice. Just scratching the surface, of course, in a 15-minute TV segment, but delved into a lot of interesting areas. (And it brought me back to this thread, where I had to catch up on the posts I had missed, and respond to a few, hence the three posts in a row.)

Also nice to see the show portray it as basically an established fact that gay people are born that way.

it would have been nice if they included more masculine gayguys, but it was a brief tv piece devoted only to the most common situations. and it was really freshing to me to see a kinda-lefty show cop to the obvious: that not all gayguys fit the stereotype of more feminine, but on average we do. i think we shoot ourselves in the wisdom foot when we try to beat back the truth. it was fun watching leslie stahl try out her gaydar--and not try to pretend it's imaginary.

i was surprised to see michael bailey is studying gaydar. interesting.

i have to think that it was candor about the feminization angle, in conjunction with the Cause question, that got me thinking in new ways about it.

i have always been curious about how we survived natural selection, when it seems reasonable we were spreading our seed with the ladies less often than the straightguys.

i have seen the "helper" theory in a lot of the literature, suggesting than by being great uncles, we improved the survival chances of our neices and nephews (perhaps in early tribal days), thereby increasing the propogation of our families. since homosexuality seems to run in families, that led to more population from our gay familes.

that has seemed very weak to me and a lot of other people, but it focuses on individuals and tiny units like families, instead of societies. in bed sunday night after the show, an alternate theory suddenly seemed obvious, which i'm sure has been discussed before, but i've never seen it in the lengthy pieces i've read (here and elsewhere). in a nutshell:

gayguys are different than straightguys, taken collectively, and perhaps we add something(s) vital to tribes/cultures that makes them successful. so much so that it offsets our evolutionary disadvantage of less personal reproduction.

consider tribe A with almost no straight familes and tribe B with quite a few. each generation, families with the gay disposition reproduce a bit less, because of their gay members, so their percentage of the population shrinks a bit. that's on a more individual basis. but on a collective basis, the gays adding something vital to tribe B make it successful enough to either wipe out tribe A or just to spread it's wealth, status and power farther and wider, and therefore, over time, it's people.

since the women's movement gained force and women play an increasing role in business and politics, there has been much talk about how much stronger it may make up: bringing skills to the table that were lacking, and perhaps more important qualities like patience and less aggressiveness. we may have already seen a taste of that through history. could the inclusion of less hyper-aggressive gayguys on war councils have helped their tribes/empires/countries avoid foolish headstrong blunders and make wiser choices?

or could the greater contributions we make to the arts, and to so many other creative and pleasant parts of daily life just made the tribes/empires with more gayguys happier people who were then more productive in their lives who build more successful societies?

---

speaking of bailey, does anyone know when we're supposed to get results from Northwestern's huge gay-brothers study. (he's not lead investigator, but on the panel.) i had a little trouble getting my brothers involved and just got my blood sent in a few weeks ago. they had begun calling about it.

Offline Poohbunn

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #74 on: March 15, 2006, 01:19:27 PM »
I think it's nature.  It's also natural.  I hate it when people say it's nurture because that makes it sound like someone did something wrong.  I had an old boyfriend in the 1960's.  We used to "make out" in his tree cabin.  He was the oldest of three (one brother and one sister) and his family life was just like mine, pretty darned "normal".  He had a rock collection and liked to build things.  He was as tough and strong as any boy in the neighborhood, not someone who was picked on for being timid, or acting "like a girl."

When we got into our Senior Year of highschool, he started listening to David Bowie and hanging out with a lesbian friend of mine.  He told me then that he was gay.  I was basically thinking, "So what? We're still friends, right?"

Last I heard he was visiting his folks and asked about me. How sweet. He asked my sister, who was at my parents' house next door, to give me a magazine that featured him and his partner. They buy homes and fix them up to be absolutely exquisitely gorgeous with interior and garden design.   They looked so happy in the photos.

I can't see anything in his nurture, or that of any other gay person I know that makes me think it was something that went on as they were growing up. 

As I said, making it nurture sounds too much like someone or some event is to blame.  And there's no blame if there's no mistake.  I just think people are the way they are, because that's just the way they are.
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