A new study by Andrew Francis of Emory University in the Journal of Sex Research casts doubt on both the fraternal birth-order effect and reparative drive theory.
Here is the abstract:
Using a nationally representative sample of young adults, I identify the family-demographic correlates of sexual orientation in men and women. Hence, I test the maternal immune hypothesis, which posits that the only biodemographic correlate of male homosexuality is the number of older brothers, and there are no biodemographic correlates of female homosexuality. For men, I find that having one older brother does not raise the likelihood of homosexuality. Although having multiple older brothers has a positive coefficient, it is not significant. Moreover, having any older sisters lowers the likelihood of homosexual or bisexual identity. For women, I find that having an older brother or having any sisters decreases the likelihood of homosexuality. Family structure, ethnicity, and education are also significantly correlated with male and female sexual orientation. Therefore, the maternal immune hypothesis cannot explain the entire pattern of family-demographic correlates. The findings are consistent with either biological or social theories of sexual orientation.
The sample is large and the measures of sexual orientation, while brief, cover behavior and attractions. Here is more on the sampling:
I use the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a nationally representative study of adolescent health in the United States (Udry, 2003). Adolescents in grades 7 through 12 were initially interviewed in 1995 and 1996 (Waves I and II) and were reinterviewed in 2001 (Wave III). The sample size of male respondents is about 5,000, and the sample size of female respondents is about 5,600. Table 1 displays summary statistics. At Wave III, all respondents in the sample were 18 years old or older. About 88% were between the ages of 20 and 24.
Sexual orientation was assessed with this item:
‘‘Choose the description that best fits how you think about yourself: 100% heterosexual; mostly heterosexual, but somewhat attracted to people of your own sex; bisexual, that is, attracted to men and women equally; mostly homosexual, but somewhat attracted to people of the opposite sex; or 100% homosexual.’’
As noted, the theory that the likelihood of any homosexuality is enhanced via more older brothers is not supported by this large, representative sample. In addition to a look at older brothers, Francis also examined other family demographics. Although unrelated to homosexual behavior or attraction, having older sisters was associated with a slightly reduced identification as less than 100% heterosexual. This finding contrasted with the 2002 Bearman and Bruckner study which found an elevation in homosexual romantic attraction for fraternal twin males with a female twin.
For females, Francis found that having siblings decreased slightly the likelihood of most same-sex outcomes. None of the correlates predict sexual orientation well. In every case, the size of the differences were trivial. With large samples, one does not need a large difference between groups to attain statistical significance.
Francis also examined family structure and found more trivial associations. For instance, he found a 3.8% increase in the likelihood of ever having a same-sex sexual partner among those who did not live with either parent. In contrast to reparative theory expectations, he reported that identifying as less than 100% heterosexual for males was associated with living with only dad. No romantic attraction or same-sex behavior was reported for males living with only mother.
There were other factors which Francis reported but the real take home point from this study is how little any of these variables predict sexual orientation. This study undermines reparative drive theory due to the unremarkable performance of the parental variables to predict orientation. One would expect to find great differences between male heterosexual participants and same-sex attracted participants if fathering/mothering were crucial to male sexual orientation as Joe Nicolosi teaches. In fact in this YouTube video, Nicolosi says that the main factor in the development of male homosexuality is a distant or hostile father.
The Francis article finds very little predictive power in family dynamics of any kind. There is no predictive power at all for those whose parents are separated. Living with dad should insulate against a homosexual outcome and living with mom alone should enhance the likelihood of same-sex attraction and/or behavior. In this sample, it does not.
498 thoughts on “New study casts doubt on older brother hypothesis and reparative drive theory”
I can’t seem to post on another thread no matter how hard I try so this is just a test to see if this goes through.
Dr. Throckmorton – did this study get any publicity? I did not see anything about it. It seems like it would be hard to explain for those who believe the father-son relationship is at root for SSA.
I looooooove the fat germ story. I wonder if the extra fat cells that the virus triggers us to produce are food or shelter for it in some way.
No doubt most of you have heard today about the findings that a certain adenovirus (one of many such respiratory viruses) causes fat cells to multiply. If not, consult any of your local newspapers or turn on the tv! Actually, this finding has been out there for some months, but only today is getting big press. Yes, one reason, but only one, some people are fat is that they have contracted a virus that causes an increase in fat cells.
One of the networks interviewed their medical specialist who pointed out that the discovery of how the virus does what it does resulted from their studies of a girl with diabetes. Furthermore, researchers studied why one member of an identical twin pair was fat while another was thin, and that also led them to the virus.
Just a reminder about omnipresent pathogens and what they can do.
Where’d you hear this, that it’s going to be released next month?
I keep thinking back to that horrid, inarticulate Lyn Sher report on the study. From what she said, one would have thought that Sanders told her they had found a connection, a link, but she was only able to say “it’s very complex” and smile, happy to “know” that it was “genetic.”
Now, as I said before, she was so inarticulate, so unable to explain what the team had found “so far” that I couldn’t determine if she herself had reached her own conclusions, if she was incapable of understanding what they had shared with her or if they had actually shared anything with her other than their belief that there was indeed a biological component to SSA. I have a feeling she had confused “genetic” with “biological” but who knows.? Her report was useless. I know that “complex” is usually a term used when no firm connection has been established.
Ya know at this point I don’t know what’s coming out next month. I know a genetics study is due out in very early 2009 but beyond that… EEEEeeeeeeeee.
As for the gibberish from Lyn Sher I can only imagine how bad it’s going to get if they find so much as a weak correlation. Genes probably correlate with everything including all of the things that have nothing to do with genetics. Cochran’s Leprosy and TB examples comes to mind.
This piece about the UCLA research refers to Sanders’ research. As I initially understood it, the NW study was an effort to find a sample size big enough to fined out once and for all if what Dean Hamer said he found was actually there and this article confirms that.
Holy moley! Ten million dollars to map a base pair of 46 chromosomes! Wow. I had absolutely no idea it was still that expensive.
As for the Baily reference to the study at NW of discordant MZ twins, I’m lost.
Drowssap, you said,
I am confused. Perhaps you or someone else can enlighten me. Directly below are three paragraphs from Baily’s Northwestern website. They speak to the the NW research.
Thus, in Bailey’s words, the study was to involve MZ twins discordant for homosexuality.
However, this link ( http://www.gaybros.com/brochure.pdf ) I thought initially was about the same research, but perhaps I am mistaken, for it suggests that the Sanders/Bailey team is studying families with at least two gay brothers, not MZ discordant twins.
So, are these two separate studies that are being conducted simultaneously? Anyone know? What gives?
What the heck? My brain must be confused as well. I thought there was only one gay gene study underway.
Precisely, Evan, and that is why I was so careful with my language. (I have added some emphasis below to illustrate.)
There is no rigid language there, for sure. I figure that there are exceptions to just about everything. Also because there is no “proof” for much of anything at this point, we leave open all kinds of possibilities, especially for a small %.
My example of my mother’s friend was meant as a musing about the possibility of such a thing existing for a few, thus the “I wonder….”. And of course, I added that if experiences such as his were the key, there would be a high % of SSA which there isn’t.
Yes, “if” and “how” experience contributes to biological expressions constitutes a growing fied of study. I recall that post I offered several days ago about the epigenetic markings on the brains of suicide victims who had been abused as children. There were interesting findings, but more study is needed as the researchers say.
As to your other points: 1) I’ve a close friend whose two sons are in their late twenties. My friend and I have talked at length about how the women chase these two to the point of her sons being disgusted. These young men are bright, educated, respectful of women, and both are looking to settle down now that they have completed their educations and have good jobs. However, their mother, certainly no prude herself, has shared with me how disgusted they are by the behavior of the …I’ll call them “girls” rather than “women” since their behavior reminds us of the behavior of teenage girls. It was my generation that inaugurated “women’s lib,” but let me tell you, this is not what we had in mind. I could go on at length about the lack of respect young women have for themselves, but I’d be preaching to the choir probably.
2. Now, my personal opinion on what you refer to as a gayification of men. It is my very strong opinion that most women detest the idea of a man trying too hard to look “beautiful.” It’s an absolute, total turn-off, and yes, my apologies to the non-straights on the blog, but straight women have adopted a saying, fair or not— “Ug, gay,” when they see a man who is seen as trying hard to be noticed through his clothing, hair styling, accessories, etc. Confession time–yes, we see such “showing off” as a woman’s job, not a man’s, and to a straight woman, the guy loses a sense of masculinity in our eyes. WE’ve been witnessing the result of marketing, I’m afraid, and most women are not impressed.
BTW, this is indeed a topic among women who have reached the age of 30 and beyond. Oh, and the sic-pack abs????? I wonder if straight men really know that that too is not a turn-on for most women? We like a strong physique, but one that doesn’t look as if it took hours of lifting weights and hours of checking out one’s self in the mirror. We like natural just as most men really don’t like heavy make-up on a woman.
If a man looks in a mirror longer than the little time it takes to comb his hair neatly, most women are not impressed! Vanity in a man over his looks is not a trait we like. No peacocks!
You mean all this moisturizer and couture clothes I wear isn’t going to attract the women – ah darn it 🙂
Seriously though I wonder how many women are attracted to metrosexual men. I suspect there is more to this movement than marketing. I suspect most women would prefer a well groomed man to one that is – well – a slob. How far the balance between the two extremes is – I couldn’t say.
It is interesting that in subcultures of the gay community (specifically Bears and the Leather community) – the gay metrosexual look is shunned – rather harshly. I like the bears, I really do (ie my partner is a bear) – but sometimes I think they go out of there way to look like plumbers 🙂
You separated experiences from biological factors in your argument. However there is no proof that experiences can shift attractions. On the contrary, I think experiences are biological too and one may be drawn to them because of certain biological givens. There is evidence for this in PTSD. But I would agree with you that shyness in men in an age of women’s empowerment might lead some men to give up on their OSA potential and take the shortcut to uncommitted and easily available free sex.
Another one on the experience factor. I find myself a lot more attracted to women dressed in the understated style of the 80s (which was probably overstated compared to what came before) than the present style of the noughties. I think this is due to the ongoing pornofication of women, that dampened some of their attractiveness by overexposure. One friend of mine says he thinks we as generations are very different in one major respect: the more recent the generation, the shorter the attention span. I see a link between the instant reactions needed in a video game (like a first-person shooter), the emotional extraversion of the “ADHD generation” and the instant gratification using pornography (which he calls it “already pop culture”).
One more observation – men are being gayfied in the entire media: body piercing and tattoos, flamboyant hairstyles, intensive cosmetic care, the body beautiful, flashy clothes, and so on. That might create in some different experiences of attractions on a biological background similar with their parents’. But I don’t think we’re talking about major changes. Biology must lie at the foundations of feelings, keeping in mind that humans are in a way biologically cultural, meaning that they use their biology in different ways according to culture, historical age, climate, etc.
Mary, I did not mean to slight this point of yours, yet in re-reading what I said, I think I may have so I’d like to add some things. You certainly make a valid point.
In thinking of one gay man I knew (actually he was a close friend of my mother), I often wonder about the very individual experiences that some people have that may nudge them in a direction. If ever there were such a person who found himself in an environment that might do that, it was he. Not to bore you with all the specifics, but I can see that some events of his very young life might have led him to feel as if women were traps (they had to be cared for perpetually, sacrificed for), that women were either Madonnas who ought not be touched/lusted after (like his mother) or whores (like the women who earned their money in the boarding house in which he was raised.) Yes, his dad had abandoned the family , and he was the only child old enough to have felt the tremendous weight of his father’s loss and the sting of that abandonment as rejection; yes, when he was quite young he was made fun of for his weight; yes, he was a responsible kid who tried to earn money for the family and acted as a surrogate husband to his mother (who relied on him emotionally–never a good thing for a child) and a surrogate dad to his younger sibs, always sacrificing for them as he wished his dad had for him; add to that the fact that the one really enjoyable experience of his young life–the church acting productions and plays at school where he found himself around a few closeted gay men who befriended him–and one can imagine that he fit the stereotype gay boy that NARTH pushes in all these ways and in some I haven’t mentioned.
So, I would never discount that there are people whose individual experiences put them in places that might influence their sexual experimentation and thus fashion what they are emotionally and physically comfortable with.
However, while I am sure many such people exist, I can’t see that they account for a huge % of the homosexual population. I can understand why certain experiences could drive someone AWAY from being physically intimate with a member of the opposite sex more easily than I can understand how certain experiences could drive them TO being physically intimate with the SS.
However, at the risk of falling back on a stereotype, I will say that I think it is true that boys/men do seek physical outlets much more readily than girls/women do. So, in that regard, if a man was averse to being with a woman because of something in his past, then perhaps being with another man as a physical act is not so hard to understand. (For example, it never ceases to amaze me that men often want to have sex when something is troubling them and life is chaotic while women least want sex when they are emotionally upset and their world is spinning. I am forever confounded by men. LOL.) On the other hand, I could argue that it would take a heck of a lot for a young man who, for whatever reason, was averse to being with women, to then turn to men, since doing so results in such derision and scorn.
So, I do think the specifics of one’s life can account for many things and no formula fits all, for sure. However, I don’t think it accounts for the % of homosexuals we think there are. When one considers the horrendous, traumatic experiences that have visited the billions of people who have inhabited the earth, if those experiences were the major reason people wound up SS attracted, the % of homosexuality would be much, much higher. Nature has found a way to see to it that ,in spite of just about everything we face, men and women are attracted to one another in order to propagate the species.
Thus, while for some, the SS attraction surely must be rooted in their own individual experiences, for the greater %, I think biology must be at work.
Your second post was closer to what I was trying to communicate.
Of course, there are cultures which dictate homosexuality and that is one conversation. Then there is the culture that is interpreted by the sensitive individual who almost abhors the idea of the sexuality, sexual roles, etc.. that are the norm. For example, there are girls growing up today whom I know are in lesbian relationships – GIRLS – not women. And many will respond with the… I just don’t want it …. mentality when it comes to the sexuality of boys and men and how it is in their schools, on tv etc… In case anyone has not noticed we are inundated with sex. And so their response has been to be with a girl friend. I wonder how this culture facilitates that option and how these girls will respond later in life – when they have more control over thier own “culture” And then Carole, there are men like the one you describe. They just have grown up with an outlook of the opposite sex that they do not desire that for themselves. So while we can talk about germ theories etc… being inseminated with a parasite or germ etc… while exercising through the course of cultural influences (and culture and influence change over a short period of time btw,) we have a dynamic that is interactive and not isolated in a gene or molecule.
If Obama starts pouring money back into the genetics research relating to this behaviour, you can bet it will become more acceptable and media driven. That will not make it any more scientifically sound, but then how often is the society misled by charismatic leaders only to find that they have been following the wrong path. Science is not immune to this problem either. For that reason it is extremely important that all ideas are being presented and examined in an open forum and it is recognized that anyone who tries to silence these ideas is only trying to push or justify their own agenda.
You are pretty much onto something with that. Next month Bailey is going to release his genetics study. You can bet if they found even the slightest correlation with SSA and a particular gene the media is going to have a field day. We’ll have to endure months of gay gene silliness before it all dies down.
Not to worry, the rate of scientific advancement increases every year. The truth (whatever that is) won’t be able to hide much longer.
Mary, you raise a very intriguing question. I think that when we speak of homosexuality, we probably need to keep in mind the difference between what they call preferential homosexuality and that which is the result of learned and shared cultural practices.
Certainly we know of cultures in which what we would term homosexual behavior, particulary involving men, has been part of the culture of at least certain segments of a population (ancient Greeks, certain tribal groups in which a homosexual act was part of an initiation rite into manhood, prison populations of both men and women, boarding schools, etc.)
So yes, culture plays a very important part in whether or not men and women feel those behaviors are encouraged or supported as a matter of tradition especially. However, in almost all of those instances in which we find a cultural tradition, the people were not exclusively homosexual in either their behavior or more importantly, in their DESIRES. Men in prison revert to heterosexual behavior once they are no longer incarcerated, for example. The greatest percentage of women do as well. Boys in boarding schools turn their lust to members of the opposite sex once they have access to the opposite sex. I think biologists see most of these behaviors we term “situational” in the same way they view masturbation–a way of finding sexual release and pleasure rather than an indication of one’s type of attraction.
The kind of behavior that biologists are trying to put a finger on is the kind in which a person does not desire the opposite sex when the opposite sex is availabe. Yes, he or she may be capable of performing with the opposite sex (through the use of fantasy, for example) but that person doesn’t feel that powerful sexual attraction to the OS partner nor does he or she prefer the OS partner to the SS partner. Of course, there are many who can’t perform at all; so it is the desire, the nature of primary attraction that they are interested in.
Perhaps there will always be a gray area between the biological and the culturally learned.
On the other hand, perhaps not. It is not at all out of the realm of possibility that, in the case of some tribal groups, for example, that a male, a tribal elder who had some power w/in that group was SSA and that he himself may have actually begun a practice of initiaton which satisfied his needs. In that way, a tradition may have been born and incorporated into a culture. That is a possibility. Many traditions develop simply because of the power of one individual or a few.
I think that in the next 5 years, we will know a great deal more, and that will of course, change the discourse between the patient and the therapist tremendously.
If the cause is identified, and I believe it will be in the not-so-distant future, the nature of all discourse on the subject (and a huge number of other subjects) will change. This subject does not exist in a vacuum. Studies of how the brain works , new technologies enabling us to examine this organ in ways unavailable to us before, are raising innumerable questions about human behavior period.
That point can’t be overstated.
For example right now Obama could make anything cool just by associating himself with it. Of course there would be a backlash from the other side. But in a nonDemocratic society there isn’t the potential for backlash.
IMHO gay and straight men (or whatever the specific part is that makes us either gay or straight) is probably a tiny thing. I don’t think the increased “female wiring” that apparently gay men have on average is anything but a tertiary byproduct. So I dunno… I could be 100% wrong but I bet scientists will find a way to switch attraction just like a light switch, just like they did with flies last year.
A giraffe switch…. that one I dunno. 😎
Regarding my previous post, it appears the researchers involved in that study are not the same as the ones who injected the stem cells in mice and reversed the birth defects. Since they are colleagues at the same university and experts in this very specialized field, I imagine they work closely together; it looks as if they have several different projects going. As the one researcher pointed out, the discoveries are coming at a rapid pace.
You know, Drowssap, I still think that Ewald and Cochran are so right about research –it seems that the people who have received the very big bucks for research may not actually be climbing up the “wrong tree” since it’s probably true that every tree tells them something worth knowing, but it surely seems that pursuing a more direct line to unraveling the mystery (climbing the tallest tree, so to speak) has been avoided–I suspect the touchiness of the subject has, as Cochran pointed out, caused this.
It seems to me that since the 1999 Atlantic article in which Cochran’s idea first got major attention, the studies have increased ,even though none of them seem to explicity suggest they are looking for pathogenic etiology.
However, in just doing a quick Google search and noting the dates of the studies, one can see that after that ’99 article and the subsequent attention paid to Ewald’s, Cochran’s, and Hamilton’s insistence about the link between pathogens and a multitude of diseases, notice how many studies of things like schizophrenia, depression, MS, even Alzheimers. etc. began to concentrate on pathogen triggers and particularly on common viruses. Researchers finally “got it”–the BBB couldn’t keep up with many pathogens’ ability to re-invent themselves in order to sneak through that barrier.
That reminds me of a Churchhill saying from WW2.
“You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing after they have tried everything else.”
I suppose science is the same. Socialization, genes, hormones and everything else has failed to explain SSA. Like it or not scientists will eventually have to look in the right direction.
Does anyone ever consider how homosexuality will look in the younger generation in 10 or 15 years? Will therapists who work with unwanted SSA see different issues being presented with their clients?? Will this force therapist to readjust their paradigms of working with clients??? I think culture has a huge amount to do with how people grow up sexually. It’s not just mom amd dad that are putting the screws to kids but the culture in which they are raised. And though (I believe that homosexuality is part biological) will we ever really get the connection to how a sensitive person is interpreting the surrounding culture?? Just wondering. Maybe older brother in a new culture will have a different influence on the sensitive younger brother …??
Equally likely: five years from now scientists inject him with neural stem cells and he become a giraffe.
Here’s another article about the Israeli research with a bit more info.
Cool finding. This wave of research is about to end a lot of human misery. Yet again more evidence that the Arabs need to leave the Jews alone. Freakin’ A, at least stop bombing them until after they’ve cured all physical and mental disease. Is that too much to ask? 😎
Ok, one last wild observation.
5 years from now during clinical testing scientists attempt to cure depression in a man who has suffered in it since his teens. Just by chance this man happens to be gay. Scientists inject him with neural stem cells and his depression is cured. In addition his attractions begin to change almost immediately. Over the course of a few weeks he realizes that he has become completely straight.
Ok, the big question.
Does his depression come back? 😎
@Drowssap: Sorry, I don’t think the research community is going to get a bailout.
One thing that stood out to me was that these scientists are working out of Israel. You’d think the Arabs could stop bombing the Jews at least long enough so that they could cure mental illness. Don’t the Arabs have handicapped kids that need help too? Please! If the Palestinians ran out the Jews what would they use that space for? The former science lab would probably turn into an empty lot for 50 years. If mankind was lucky maybe we’d get a used tire store in exchange.
Thanks again for that link. I went to the NY Times Science section and didn’t find reference to the Science Daily article, which didn’t make sense. Then, I did a search for it in the last few issues of the NY Times Science section, didn’t find it, which made even less sense. Then, I Googled it and found several articles from several sources, each saying the same thing as your link.
I wondered why it wasn’t in a recent edition of The Times, and then I paid closer attention to the article. This group of researchers had released their findings a while back so I would guess the Times did cover the story at that time. Perhaps this recent Dec. 30, 2008 article was meant to be a year-in-review article? I wonder.
The team will appear before the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research this coming July, where they will present their findings to their peers. After that, we should be reading quite a bit about their research, and you can be sure the requests for funding further research on EVERYTHING will come pouring in.
You are right. This is truly revolutionary for investigation into…well, EVERYTHING!!
I think it deserves its own link for discussion since I am sure the people who often post on Warren’s blog and Warren himself (and all people, really) are likely to have strong opinions about stem cell use. Perhaps that is best left to this coming July. What do you think?
I can’t wait for July. I hope these guys get a billion dollars and I hope 100 other researchers copy their work. Why work on Parkinsons, Depression, OCD and Autism seperately when a shot of Neural stem cells knows how to cure them all?
If there was a new thread on this subject the only thing I would have to add right now would be WOW WOW WOW!!!!!!! I have a hunch that if we eliminated all mental illness, even subclinical illness the violent crime rate would drop to almost nothing. Sure, there would still be crimes of passion, but there wouldn’t be any more psychos or unstable people.
Ok, maybe I’d have one thing to add. I don’t think Neural stem cells have anything to do with aborted fetuses. I think these are just regular stem cells.
BTW if these neural stem cells really work they’ll radically change the world. No more mental illness of any type… ever. WOW! If they aren’t harmful they could inject every 2 year old and even the slightest scratch would be healed. Heck, inject everybody and the world would be 1000x safer place.
In the meantime they’d be great to test on gay sheep. Inject them full of neural stem cells and if they turn straight that’s a dead giveaway it was damage related. If they stay gay it’s evidence in the other direction.
Something tells me that this is going to be in the history books in just a few more years.
Thanks for that link. Amazing, really. Now that a new President is about to take office, I am sure the stem cell issue will be reintroduced, and I wonder what that will result in.
There was/is indeed a good article on the BBB, but in doing a quick Google, I can’t find it. I’ll give it a look later. There are lots of Google searches that result in lot of good reading material. Just type blood brain barrier or more specifically, pathogens and the blood brain barrier.
The research in this area is a kind of two-birds-with-one-stone thing–in gaining a greater understanding of the strengths of the BBB, we have also gained knowledge of its vulnerabilities. Delivering therapies that reach things like brain tumors has been difficult as the BBB has kept out the very chemicals that could save someone’s life where tumors lie in unoperable areas. However, studying how some bacteria and especially viruses sneak their way through the gatekeeper has helped researchers come up with ideas for how to deliver chemicals that can cross it and get to the area they want to treat.
One thing that absolutely amazes me is how wily viruses are. Man, can they evolve or what? And, they disguise themselves so craftily.
I’m actually laughing right now remembering the visceral reaction I once had to a virus. The flu was doing its thing in my town that year. Mid January came, and I thought I had escaped it. Nope. I have never gone from feeling so perfectly well to so perfectly sick ( temp of 104) so quickly, with every muscle in my body, including my fingers, aching. I got ill on a Friday night, saw the doctor on Monday. A chest film confirmed pneumonia. He treated me at home for two weeks with two different antibiotics, and I just got worse. He hospitalized me and tuned me over to a lung specialist who explained that the virus that had been infecting people had simply grown stronger as it spread and that I had gotten its very virulent lastest incarnation. I was out of work for 5 weeks.
I know it’s stupid, but as I lay in that hospital bed, I came to feel as if that virus was a person, a person I detested. Had it been 1918 when that flu pandemic hit, I would have been a goner. I can still remember the people who came to take blood gases; there was one incompetent who couldn’t get the needle in the artery. Ugh, the knowledge they were going into an artery grossed me out. I about passed out watching. Veins, okay, arteries, ohhhhh!
Yes, I wash my hands a lot now, but the old rhinovirus has gotten me this winter!
Mega-Uggh! Ya know, when someone is sick enough to be in the hospital the only person who feels worse is his/her parents. 😎
Speaking of “bad forces” beating us up sometimes I wonder if that might actually be real. I generally imagine that their is one, productive/positive force in the universe guiding things. Then other times when I’m getting my butt kicked I wonder if their is an anti-force working in the opposite direction. I guess I’ll know on the other side. 😎
Time to do some BBB googling.
If it is ultimately proven that SSA is the result of some type of infection I don’t think people realize how quickly scientists will have a fix available at least in a lab setting.
Brain Birth Defects Successfully Reversed Through Stem Cell Therapy
In this case scientists didn’t even need to target a specific part of the brain. They injected the mice with neural stem cells and these cells automatically found the damage and repaired it.
Our comments keep getting progressively squished so I’m going to reply out here. 😎
I knew that was true but I’ve never read articles on that. Do you have any links handy?
BTW, not only do pathogens zap our brains but our own immune systems zap our brains when they try to protect us. That’s one common route to Schiz. Flu virus gets into a pregnant mom and her immune system shoots out Interleukin-6 which zaps her babies developing brain.
Not long ago there was speculation that perhaps in ancient cultures people with Schizophrenia were thought to posess magic and they rose to power as Shamman. This accounted for how a gene that would cause Schiz could survive at the 1% level. Nope… it’s just flu virus, Toxoplasma, TBE and probably many others.
I just came across this mention of the fish parasites again on a science blog. It’s really an amazing phenomenon.
The Puppet Master’s Medicine Chest
Funny you should bring this up again because over the holiday, I saw my nephew, an avid outdoorsman, and I mentioned an infection in fish that was causing odd behavior. Before I finished, he interrupted with its name. He was quite familiar with it and has witnessed the behavior. (We live in CA).
On a related topic, here’s a link to this ’08 summary of a study done by C. Roselli along with the UCLA researcher, Bocklandt. I know Roselli works with sheep all the time and that his research is certainly not limited to the “gay sheep” angle but rather to all facets of the neurobiology/physiology of sheep, but the fact that this particular study was done with Bocklandt makes me think that they decided to take a look at whether prolactin is involved in the orientation of rams.
Yeah that is fascinating. Interestingly enough last year scientists figured out how to switch sex orientation in flies by changing one chemical. No doubt Bockland and Co. are testing that on gay sheep as we speak. Maybe it’s a different chemical but I doubt it’s any more complicated. I remember Cochran mentioned that the system that regulates sexual orientation in humans was probably 100x less complex than the system that regulates a function like hearing.
I remember Cochran mentioned that the system that regulates sexual orientation in humans was probably 100x less complex than the system that regulates a function like hearing.
I recall that comment also. That would make sense from an evolutionary standpoint, wouldn’t it? If the system that drove reproduction was too complicated, the species would have a heck of a hard time surviving.
The one thing that has revolutionized research into all kinds of things since about 1999 is the acceptance that we were very wrong in our assumption that the blood-brain barrier was just about impenetrable. That incorrection conclusion had led studies in the wrong direction for a hundred years. T
Of course, parts of the brain , the ones that often are thought to be implicated in orientation, aren’t protected by it at all.
I think this might be a good example of how the average person’s math gets messed up. The more common an anomoly is the less likely it is to be genetic. Most people would guess that since 100% of fish are doing something counterproductive, the behavior must be genetic. In fact it’s strong evidence that it couldn’t possibly be genetic.
Good find! I’d never heard of such a phenomenon until I ran across Cochran. Somewhere Cochran mentioned another parasite that caused “Whirling Disease” in fish. To my utter amazement this phenomenon is everywhere.
Parasitiod Turns Its Host Into A Bodyguard
If this is what SSA is… excuse my language but holy freakin’ crap.
Somebody is going to figure out gay sheep and odds are it’s the result of some type of infection. If it turns out to be a mind control parasite instead of an innocent imune response gone awry… EEEEEEeeeeeee.
I don’t know how societies around the world would respond to that but it might get scary.
This one is for you, Drowssap, since I know you follow this kind of thing closely, and I didn’t know how to put it on another thread.
Behavior and pathogens, again, this time a parasite manipulating behavior by interfering with neurotransmission.
It reminds me of the rats and toxoplasma gondii infection. Those rats (or were they mice?–those rodents) who were infected weren’t frightened by the smell of cat urine as that toxo manipulated them to get near their ultimate host, the cat.
Truly amazing stuff.
I don’t know how you or others feel about the word “tolerance” – when used to describe an individual’s sexual preference or love interest, I do not like it. One should never feel they are being tolerated because of this. Jag taught me this.
we are moving, slowly but surely, from tolerance to acceptance
Is this to verify that acceptance is knowing that same gender sex exists or that it is accepted as right and normal in society? I don’t think tolerance equals acceptance in most instances for many things.
As a side note – our discussion reminds me of a similar one in a movie called The Family Stone with Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, etc… Its not my favorite movie by far, but the holiday dinner table discussion when SJP talks about not wanting a gay child because of the hardships it might face is very interesting. If you haven’t seen it, check it out and let me know what you think! 🙂
I’m sorry to tell you this, but this is definitely not true across the board. Several female friends of mine have shared with me that they secretly WANT to see two men together. I’m sure not all females feel this way. I’ve also known a few men in my life who have publicly declared their ill feelings for homosexual relationships and then privately and usually secretly engaged in them – LOL! That happens more than I probably even realize.
You are right however the, what did you call it, “ick factor” still exists, but thanks to education is slowly being done away with – we are moving, slowly but surely, from tolerance to acceptance, which seems to be the normal progression of these things 🙂
Thank you so much for understanding what I was trying to say. And yeah, I agree , the whole talk about a vaccine/cure became very fantastical – we still don’t have a cure for the common cold for crying out loud, not to mention a vaccine for HIV, despite the fact that research on that retrovirus has been heavily funded and studied for at least 25 years 🙂
I’m not exactly sure what you mean by gay leadership, but the important word in your quote above is NOW. Attitudes are changing everyday, and I think the pontificating that goes on regarding the causes of homosexuality and what some parents might or might not do will be moot in the near future. After being witness to so many different theories as to the cause of sexual orientation, I’ve come to believe that there isn’t going to be any one factor that makes a person gay – or straight for that matter. The entire process is likely very complex, and we’ll never have an answer at least in our lifetimes.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have discussions about the morality of changing our children – having “designer” children, because we believe it will improve their lives or ours.
Yep that’s where they are ask for money.
So I figure if they asked for money in 2005 they got in 2006. These are guys with careers and other responsibilities so lets say it took another year to get situated. So maybe they got started sometime in 2007.
I don’t know how long it takes to get results. Maybe 2 or 3 years? So who knows, maybe sometime in 2009/2010 we’ll hear something.
Here is an interesting post from one M.E. Howell on the blog “Was Darwin WRong.”
Scroll down to the the email from Howell about half way down the page–the Jan. 4th, 2005 post.
Ann, I wish I had an answer for you.
Let’s face it, science and government have had a long and unfair history: research dollars on men’s health issues in the past far exceeded money spent on women’s issues. The dollars were NOT spread around at one time. Women were an after-thought. Only after a big stink was made about how much money had been spent on prostate cancer research versus breast cancer research did this country change its funding practices and move to a more equitable distribution of dollars.
As I recall, Congress was given a very public tongue-lashing and that led to some changes.
Remember when heart disease and digestive disorders were considered “men’s health” problems? True, in the 50s and 60s, more men than women were dropping dead of heart attacks, and that was probably because more men than women were very heavy smokers, but women also suffered from ulcers and digestive disorders, and women also suffered from heart disease, cancers, but they were not included in the research. As we know now, symptoms of ailments like heart disease often present differently in women than in men. We only know that now because science was finally shamed into studying women’s health problems.
Same goes for race. Example: many African-American men who suffered from hypertension were given drugs that weren’t working in controlling their high blood pressure. Doctors were baffled. Turns out that many medicines for HBP that work on Caucasian men don’t work at all on much of the black population of the country. However, the sample subjects in the research were white males. Whites, Asians, Blacks….react differently to many medications.
As for why there has been such a paucity of research on lesbianism, I can guess at several things,but admittedly, some guesses:
1. Bias in scientific research–men first!
2. Science and research in general was and still is (but to a lesser extent ) populated by men and those men are/were more likely to see male homosexuality as more “abnormal” than lesbianism. First, male homosexuality is more common, they believe. (I think a lot of scientists just look at women who love women as “Hey–that’s women for ya–ya just can’t explain ’em!” I say that only in partial jest–I do think that men see the primal male sex drive and lust for women as something much stronger than a woman’s drive…thus, male homosexuality is more anathema to them.
3. Regarding the last point–I do think that researchers and theorists like Cochran start with the male because of the evolutionary notion that the male was/is indeed led by his sex drive–nature’s way of seeing to it that males impregnated enough women to keep the species going. After all, a lot of women might have been sterile; a lot of impregnated women and their babies never would have survived pregnancy and the birth process; so, the men had to be fit enough, and that meant a very lusty sexual appetite to do their part. All I’m saying is that I think they look at a man’s lack of desire as much more of a problem to the species than to a woman’s lack of desire. A woman needn’t have lust/desire to have sex and get pregnant. (Of course, sure is better if she does!)
4. The in-progress and very large UCLA DNA study of twins does indeed include women. I think it’s the first study of its kind to do this. Perhaps this study will open doors into the entire field.
5. Autism? You know, I have wondered the same thing, but then again remember that multiple sclerosis affects more women then men.(hey, great new findings on ms that may prevent it and even help reduce symptoms in those who have it)
Perhaps the key to why some things strike men more than women and women more than men (other than say exposure to toxic agents) is that a woman’s immune system and a man’s may not be the same, but there are so many variables at this point, who knows?
I keep thinking about the alcoholism studies. A woman is much more susceptible to the effects of alcohol not just because she is generally speaking lighter with less body mass than a man, but because her stomach lining doesn’t give her as much protection as does a man’s. It’s thinner and more readily absorbs the alcohol.
My question would be, why has the incidence of autism shot up as much as it has? What the heck is going on? One kid in 150 falls on that spectrum? Wow.
Is it an environmental agent that wasn’t around decades ago? Infection? What?
Sorry I haven’t been able to answer your questions. Here’s to research!
I have no connection to Cochran on any level. I read on a blog somewhere that he had asked for funding. Whether that is true and whether he got it or not is an entirely different matter.
However, my gut instinct tells me that work by him or others is probably underway. A lot of people want to figure this out and as of right now all the popular theories have been exhausted. It just makes sense that somebody (or a lot of somebodies) somewhere is working on this. Whoever figures out the first big clue that sticks will surely end up in the history books.
and I don’t think it surprises him at all that there are fewer lesbians than male homosexuals.
Do you know of any research that has been done on this as to why? So much is talked about regarding males but not females. Also, I’m wondering why autisim shows up more in boys than girls.
Evan, you said,
I know that GC has said in the past that he didn’t feel as if male homosexuality and female homosexuality would necessarily have the same cause or trigger. Essentially he points out that from an evolutionary point of view, women who self-identified as lesbian or bi-sexual still had a lot more kids than did male homosexuals. In other words, the fitness hits were different.
Maybe you have read this, but here’s a link to an interview several years old.
He answers some follow-up questions too that specify his position He also addresses a question about imprinting since I notice that many people believe that somehow an experience or series of experiences “imprint” on a human’s brain and that somehow accounts for a biological switch to SSA. He is not a proponent of that at all.
I also know that he has additionally said that 1) he hasn’t studied female homosexuality and that resources/studies about it were rare in the literature and 2) differences between the male and female brain don’t surprise him at all.
I don’t think he has excluded that a pathogen could do the same to some women, and I don’t think it surprises him at all that there are fewer lesbians than male homosexuals.
Thus, far be it from me to explain. I don’t know.
As for Eddy’s comments which you pointed out…I think it’s reasonable to believe that one cannot come up with a hypothesis that accounts for all human experience, and GC has made it clear that that is not what his hypothesis is about–he is not trying to offer an explanation for all homosexual activity, but, yes, for the majority of preferential homosexuality. He is concerned with why from a relatively early age, gay boys are physically attracted to and aroused by men and are not physically interested in or aroused by women.
I have read remarks from him since these, much more recent remarks and his position about a viral cause had not changed. In fact, he seemed to have grown even more adamant that that was the trigger.
Now, having said this, I admit that I haven’t seen any GC comments on this topic within the last year; however, I haven’t really searched either. Maybe Drowssap knows.
I see you mentioned that GC believes that males and females are born with circuitry for mate attractions and that in a male, one circuit should shut down and in a female, another should shut down. Is this a GC hypothesis or something someone else said or proved? I am unaware of this except, of course, with the fruit flies.
Also, I was unaware that there were rumors, as you said, that GC had received private funding for a study. Can you elaborate on the time frame of when you came across this? Thanks.
Cochran doesn’t know, clearly I have no idea. But if I had to guess it wouldn’t be the germs per se. It would probably be triggered by the bodies immune reponse. How it might work in men and women I have no idea. It’s all pure speculation. The increased incidence of left handedness (and potentially the hair whorl difference) is the only clue that something is going on.
Eddy wrote a great post that deserves reprinting and commenting (see #144499).
It’s amazing how short social memory is and how strong exposure to socially accepted views can influence how we build our expectations of entitlement. For instance, if you read most media on women’s ideas on what a good husband or partner would be, they state it clearly right from the start that physical attraction is a must. For women, love must be the basis of marriage or relationships today. Even in the debates we have here, most of us assume that physical attraction must have been the basis of pairing and reproduction during much of our past. This socially accepted belief influenced scientific practice too. Scientists tried to live up to this belief and produced evidence to support it. Helen Fischer, an anthropologist, proposed an influential model of mating that started from lust leading to attraction and proceeding to attachment. She might be right about our very distant past, but this view is very recent in modern times. How many would be willing to accept that most people did not believe, less than one century ago, that attraction and love must precede marriage? Historians already know that very well (I recommend anyone interested in the subject to read ‘A History of Private Life’ coordinated by Georges Duby and Philippe Aries, Volume V, Riddles of Identity in Modern Times). Actually, marriage during the Middle Ages was a contract with lots of provisions for property management and political significance for rich people, whereas for poor people it was mostly about sharing resources. A marriage based on attractions was one lucky shot for both man and woman, rare enough to inspire folk stories and legends.
I’m sure that a binary logic of sexuality imposed by society forces mainly binary orientations. But I’m not as sure that it greatly impinges on one’s biological workings.
Roughly speaking, first came the psychodynamic explanation, then followed many decades of research on hormones, more recently genetic research asserted itself and now there is some discussion on environmental chemical influences. The subject of sexual orientation looks like one big Rubik cube that many hands are trying to solve using different moves. Probably the solution is very simple in its model, but there are many ways to influence one’s development to get to a particular outcome. Social factors could produce some irreversible changes in one’s biology, which would in turn produce social effects (traumatic memory cannot be erased yet). We are used to think about the social and biological as being distinct and working separately, but they may have unexpected ways to influence each other.
Men and women today live in enclosed spaces and lead mostly sedentary lives; one intruding creature like a small animal or a spider can alarm a brain developed by many hundreds of years of evolution but habituated to less exciting encounters. Growing up in crowded environments and depending on the modern comforts of life exerts very different pressures on ancestral instincts of aggressiveness and arousal to threatening stimuli than it used to when the man had to club his lunch. Did the instinct change? We can still see aggressive displays today, but it’s not a matter of survival for each individual as it probably was thousands of years ago. It’s a radically different setting: men and women are equal in rights, each individual is protected, men are still expected to pursue women but are also taught to respect them as equals, people use remnants of instincts that were developed back in an ancient and violent past. These instincts have not adapted to a more pacific and stressful environment like ours. Social expectations further complicate how instincts are channelised.
Anyway, I wanted to react to a good comment that Eddy wrote.
Could a germ cause both male and female homosexuality or should there be two different germs? If it’s one, you (Drowssap or Cochran) should explain how could the same germ produce different changes in different genders, causing a mirroring effect in sexuality.
I have often wondered about the parallels (sp? ) drawn between deaf society and gay society, where deaf people seek to preserve their “heritage” as a unique trait and as do gays.
I cannot believe that my parents would have made the choice for me to experience this pain, both coming and going.
I do see now what you meant when you said that Jayhuck’s position that “parents should not” and my position that “but parents will” are addressing two different things. Yes, I didn’t say what I thought parents should or shouldn’t do; rather I stated what I believe they would do and why they would do it. Got it. Thanks for the observant clarification.
I am sure what I would do is easily seen in light of my comments, but like many others, I feel it would be up to parents, not me nor anyone else.
That’s a point to be considered. For some, this topic would take into consideration not only the very personal , but also the social and cultural —as in the deaf community.
Sure, thank you.
You are right, it comes down to numbers. The odds are against gay children being born either through natural selection or otherwise.
I appreciate what you wrote in #149398 – you addressed some very core issues that are not always talked about but certainly should be. Thank you.
I think I understand the disconnect. Some people view homosexuals as a distinct and seperate type of human being instead of a simple trait. Some deaf activists are on the same page. Hearing loss isn’t a trait, but instead the definition of a distinct type of human being. Anything that treats hearing loss appears like genocidal hatred to those on the fringe.
Patrick, you said
The parents’ very decision to get the shot implies such a choice, Patrick. They would be aware they were innoculating to prevent their child from getting a pathogen that might cause homosexuality. They would not see such an action as either immoral or amoral. In fact, for all the reasons I have listed before about how and why parents make decisions about their children, I will state that they would see their choice to innoculate as a moral imperative. Why? Because as I said before, they’d believe that to do otherwise would put their child’s happiness at risk.
Going even further, I will state that if there were a cure for homosexuality announced tomorrow, it would virtually disappear over the next few decades. Of course, that would depend on the safety of such a cure. I don’t even think an expensive cost would stop people–only the safety of the cure would give them pause.
I think it incredibly naive to believe otherwise. After the Navratilova gay sheep flap, a Connecticutt state rep tried to float a bill that would outlaw any medical attempts to cure homosexuality should that become a reality. It didn’t get off the ground. No support–no surprise there. Even if one country actually were to outlaw a cure, others would allow it. There’d be no way to stop parents from doing as they wanted.
As fewer and fewer gay babies were born and grew into adulthood, the choice to prevent it would become even easier for what few parents there were who did happen to feel the moral outrage you might want them to feel.
Gays could, of course, do as some in the deaf community have done. Some in that community have taken measures to preserve what they call their deaf culture by refusing to allow coclear implants in their children.
So, gays (or straights) could have babies, hoping to keep alive homosexuality, but if a pathogen really were the cause–big trouble–you’d almost have to inject babies with that pathogen to keep the numbers up, right? That wouldn’t go over too well, and all the while, as people were immunized against the pathogen, the numbers of gays would shrink to the point that gays themselves would realize the pool of like children was so small as to be a huge problem for a gay child. This presumes, of course that most gays wouldn’t want to innoculate from the get-go along with the straights. I don’t know.
This is indeed one of the concerns parents, gay and straight, would have about gay children. They know how difficult it is to eventually find a person whom they love and who loves them back and with whom they can share their lives. A parent thinking about the numbers would be upset by their child’s prospects: 2.5%-4.5% gay ( I think those numbers pretty much cover the range) of boys in a high school of, say, 1800 kids? A kid who is 16, a sophomore, has a “choice” of how many suitable dates? On the low end, about 22 in the whole school. On the high end, about 40. A straight kid theoretically has 50% of the school available. In actuality, we know kids stratefy themselves based on age, looks, interests, etc. but you see the point.
After you factor in those variables, the kid has few choices; later in life, when settling down with a special person becomes important, he still has that problem. Yes, he can increase his mate choices by moving to gay enclaves, which is what many do today when they move to the cities, but again, that places geographic limitations on the person, and thus career limitations. This is the parents’ kid, you see? Parents are always thinking of their child’s future advantages and disadvantages in life. A parent doesn’t want to do anything to limit the child’s options in life. This is a big, limiting option to a parent. To you, maybe no… to the parents, yes.
Then, there’s the theoretical, “You had a chance to insure I was straight, and you put me through this hell?” Don’t think a parent wouldn’t wonder about the child’s reaction to the parental choice. How many straight kids at the age of 16 would turn to their mom and dad and accusingly say, “You had the option to increase my chances to be gay and you didn’t do it? How dare you.”
Of course, there are all kinds of other things a parent would consider, but availability for mate selection is a big concern. The homosexual boy/man will actually have a greater selection choice for sex, yes, more than the heterosexual male population, for the gay man hasn’t the strictures of women/marriage that a straight man does in his late 20s, 30s but not for mate selection.
I think that the idea of some sort of cure down the road really does seem possible to many in the gay community, and that is why they reject such theories of causation. At one time they wanted, understandably so, to find a biological cause because it really is true that as people accept the biological causation model, they are more tolerant of homosexuality. This acceptance on the part of many that homosexuality is not a “sick choice” as some have demonized it, has led to political gains and changing attitudes about rights. That is a whole other issue, however.
Political and social attitudes which have evolved concern how the recently enlightened feel about homosexuality and about the gay friends and colleagues they know—who are other people’s kids–not theirs! Prevention for their kid? A cure for their child when the child is but an infant or toddler? That’s a totally different story, and it’s what parents will do as individuals that will matter in terms of numbers.
So, if a biological cause is actually identified, gay leadership now worries that there will be efforts for a cure, and they are right. That’s how science works. That’s how people think. They don’t consider the condition of homosexuality to be “natural,” (intended by nature in the developing fetus or child) no matter how liberal their politics. They know enough science to believe that something went out of whack. Growing numbers harbor no ill will toward gays although, truth be told, they still find the behavior (sexual and otherwise) incredibly odd and I’d be less than truthful with you if I didn’t tell you that straights, even women (since we do know men are less accepting) still think in terms of the “ick factor” when they think of men having sex with men or men being romantic with other men and the same for women. These “ick” reactions may be biologically based themselves.
Nevertheless, millions have grown to accept and promote the movement for equality. However, their political attitude doesn’t affect their attitude about their child–the one who could be insured of being hetero. Guys, to parents, hetero IS the natural state. When gays argue otherwise, straights roll their eyes. When my close gay friends try that one on us, we are honest enough to let them see the eye roll. When someone who isn’t that close to us tries it, we do an invisible eye roll. I mean, come on–it’s one thing to fight for rights, another to try to tell intelligent people that homosexuality is simply a variant trait for diversity.
One doesn’t need a biology class to see how things were designed to work so such arguments do more damage than they are worth.
Last point–. We have spoken of a hypothetical pathogen. Let’s toss that out and pretend it will not be a pathogen at all. Okay, the same efforts to find a cure will occur if any biological cause is actually identified–hormonal, genetic, combo–any.
People don’t stop science. They just don’t. Science can proceed very, very slowy or just slowly or sometimes quickly, but it does eventually find answers.
If the cause is discovered and it’s very complicated, why then, it will take longer, maybe so long as to be out of thinking range for any of us, but I think a few of you have your heads in the sand on this issue.
Most parents could make a very long list of reasons for their choice, but when asked to sum them up, they would say, “I want him/her to be happy and this gives him the best chance. It’s what’s natural. It’s why we are designed the way we are.”
They might ask of you who disagree, “What is so great about homosexuality that I should not insure that my child is hetero if I can do that safely?” I can’t think of any answers that would sway too many parents.
Why nother. Jayhuck uses distraction, attacking the commentor (sp?) etc… to avoid answering anything real to the conversation. He will go round and round in some loop de loop logic trap he has set up.
Please see above. He has refused to answer any of my questions with science.
It is okay for him to use Kinsey as a resource but should anyone refer to a NARTH scientist or resource – all hell and “morality” questions break out.
But your positions here Carole are not addressing the same thing.
Jayhuck is saying that such a vaccine should not be given – he is making a moral statement about the use of a vaccine.
You on the other hand are just stating that most mothers given the choice – would choose to have a vaccination that would prevent homosexuality. Perhaps true, I have no idea, but it is worth pointing out that your positions are not really addressing the same thing.
I think Evan really hit the nail on the head here though – this conversation has just gotten rather too fantastical.
There is no positive evidence that a pathogen causes homosexuality
Even if there is, there is no idea about what this pathogen is, when it strikes or how it would be prevented.
There is no reason to believe that even if the pathogen was known, anything could be done about it (consider for instance how long they have been working on a HIV vaccine – which gets far more dollars).
Gay people are probably safe for mine (38 years old) lifetime – and probably for all of our lifetimes – from erradication.
It might be fun and challenging to talk about what-if statements – an imagine some future state of affairs – but for now and the foresee able future gay people are here to stay (and in this gay man’s opinion the world is better for it). It could also very well be that by the time this is even possible – whether a child is gay or straight becomes a moot issue.
Yes, all right! My description of how those people with those conditions were treated and how African -Americans were treated because of their skin color (cruelly and unfairly) helped. Hooray! And gays have been treated unfairly too! So, see, you DO agree by the end of your post! The beginning of your post was, however, full of diversionary tactics.
Race is not caused by a cell-destroying infection. Race is not a maladaptation; it’s an adaptation. Race (unlike skin color) cannot be changed or prevented as can facial disfigurements and the hypothetical homosexuality that results from the hypothetical infection.
The question debated /discussed has always been, “What would happen if it did turn out that homosexuality was caused by a pathogen that infected and killed brain cells, a condition which led to homosexuality—what if an effective and safe vaccine of the mother and/or the new-born were offered to parents, a vaccine which gave immunity to the pathogen?
Seriously now, Jayhuck, we each know the other’s position by now so there is no sense in going further. I understand where you stand, and that’s all we can really hope to accomplish here–to effectively communicate where we stand. We cannot hope to persuade. We can assume effective communication has taken place when we can correctly re-state the other’s position.
So, in fairness to you, I will state your position as objectively as I can so that you can at least know that I have listened to you and have heard you correctly. Here goes: your position is that if parents could prevent this infection from occurring, they should not opt for the vaccine to prevent it unless such an infection caused not just homosexuality but damage of another sort, a sort you would consider a serious threat to the health of the child. Your position is that as long as the infection caused only homosexuality, nothing else, parents should not say “yes” to the shot.
Similarly, I do trust that you are clear about my position. Here goes: My position is that almost all parents presented with the option of a safe vaccination would have the doctor administer it.
In addition, I understand that you believe that many parents, a growing number, would not do this, and you take issue with my saying that almost all parents would have the vaccine administered.
I think I have accurately summed up both your position and mine. Hopefully we have both been heard.
“Oh my my” – And “Hello??” “tiny itty bitty thingy”…THESE are the marks of intelligent conversation?? It sounds as if you may be misreading my comments.
You did miss my point because when I was talking about overpopulation I wasn’t talking about how parents felt about it – I was talking about fitness taking care of itself so to speak.
You also keep failing to address those many parents who can and do do terrible things to their children with the idea that they are “protecting them”. I never said anything about cleft palates – that was you. What I did talk about parents doing was doping their kids, educating/driving them out of a childhood, having medically unnecessary plastic surgery performed on them. Do you really think those things are ok? If not then we agree that not ALL things parents do with the idea of “protecting” their kids are good. You may choose to be like these parents Carole, but I won’t, my friends who are gay and have children will not, and many if not most of my friends – the people I care about and choose to spend time with, will not be (are not) either
And lets not forget that science has a long history of people using its process to further bigotry and prejudice.
There are many discussions we need to have Carol – some we are already having – and while so many people spend so much time speculating just how homosexuality has come to be, gay people are making inroads around the world – soon the idea of whether or not we can implicate a pathogen in the cause of homosexuality will be moot 🙂
The same thing could have easily been said of being African American not all that long ago 🙂
Maybe you’ve seen this, but at the end in a post, he mentions the kind of bug it might be or at least the kind of critical size community it would have.
Oh my, my , my. What do I have on my hands here? Whew ! You are a marvel, Jaychuck.
Here’s one example of how I don’t think you read the posts carefully: the original discussion involved the un-proven theory that an infection zapped brain cell nuclei, probably in the hypothalamus, causing homosexuality. Hello??? From the discussion of that so-called “gay germ” hypothesis of Greg Cochran someone began this hypothetical scenario of, “What if that hypothesis were true, and what if a vaccine could prevent such an infection–either in the mother (who then couldn’t transmit it in utero to her fetus) or to an infant who had not yet been exposed to said pathogen?”
Here’s another example of a tiny, itty bitty little thingy I said in my post that did iindeed address your notion of overpopulation–when a man and a woman find out they are pregnant, it is not the overpopulation of the world they are thinking about. NOT! Trust me. You said you will soon be a father? When your son or daughter comes down with a fever of 104, you will NOT be thinking about the overpopulation of the world.
Here’s another little example of my addressing a point of yours…when people decide to get pregnant, the “causes” of the world , the social injustices that exist (i.e. overpopulation, HIV and malaria in Africa or hunger in Appalachia, Puerto Rico deserving to be the 51st state, the inequality of the distribution of wealth and resources among the peoples of the world, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the fact that the Oakland A’s never have a salary structure that can compete with the New York Yankees, embracing homosexuality for justice’s sake) means absolutely nothing! Trust me! Pregnant? Bringing a new life into the world? You have a lot on your mind, and while the world’s problems don’t disappear, you have a helpless little person in front of you that has to have your total attention.
Oh, and you know how I said that a cleft palate wasn’t analogous to homosexuality. Well, after I had already sent the post, I realized that it was actually very much like homosexuality in many ways: it isn’t chosen; it is totally unrelated to a person’s character; it doesn’t cause a fitness hit to the species; it’s not contagious; it leads to teasing, harrassment, bullying, emotional pain, and it happens to children, who happen to be physically and emotionally vulnerable to such treatment even though the child is wonderful and has loving, supporting parents and may also have an extended, supportive family. Ever seen the stats on who has an effect on children and teens that rivals, by adolescence even surpasses in power and influence a loving and supporting family? The peer group.
Think a parent wants to throw the dice on that one by hoping their child encounters none of that kind of treatment? Oh, and what about a child who happens to be especially effeminate? Think parents can wave a magic wand and make society treat the kid with respect?
We parents do all we can to fix a cleft palate or a hare lip or facial disfigurements. Now, do you think parents around the world are unfair, that they are cruel and unenlighened, that they are controlling because they have their infant sons and daughters cleft palates fixed? Their big birthmarks removed from their faces? A hare lip softened by cosmetic surgery?
Okay, I might as well sink further: If a doctor told parents that a shot to the mother would prevent a facial disfigurement from ever forming in the fetus to begin with and would save the baby surgical procedures down the road, would you think taking that action would be controlling by the parents? (Oi vey. What am I doing here?)
A happy baby with as few major obstacles placed in his way in early life is what parents hope for their babies.
I think I gave this link before, but maybe you didn’t read it. I’ll offer it again. Marc is a frequent poster. His observations about the basic discussion we are having here is very interesting. You disagree with him, but you might be interested in the “enlightened” views some have in that discussion. The comments start off in one direction and as people begin to think over things…..well, look for yourself.
There are 94 comments and the ones relative to this topic start about half way down. but you might be interested in all of them.
Get the dose high enough and probably anything would work. Of course they’d have to wait a generation to see the results because it’s not going to affect adults.
But if possible would rogue nations use this? Of course. Even the USA experimented with the concept of a “gay bomb.” Although I think in our case the goal was to make something that worked immediately.
If you were an Arab and you had a “gay germ” why WOULDN’T you release it on Israel? It works on every level.
You and I couldn’t agree more on that! 🙂
Relax, this thread was getting into Fantasyland anyway.
They are just being ridiculous – if they ARE being serious then they are only shooting themselves in the foot and its still funny 🙂
An additional note – I really do understand your concerns, and I see where you are coming from, but if the strides that gay people have made over the last 20 years are any indication, all this talk about a gay germ and vaccinating children, may be a moot point!!!
Are you really being serious about a ‘gay germ’ bomb – drowssap ?
I thought the point was it was a ubitquous pathogen that only caused gay kids in susceptible individuals. Thus a ‘gay germ bomb’ wouldn’t work anyway.
I am with Jayhuck – this is a really really stupid idea. It isn’t April 1 afterall.
Right, but think about this scenario: gay scientists could become gay germ terrorists.
No way, too risky, gay germ manipulation would probably be severely punished.
You guys should take this show on the road – seriously!!! 🙂
LOL! Stop guys – you’re killing me 😉 🙂 This is better than listening to Pat Robertson
Fasten your seatbelt, then. Gay genes are coming next and it’s going to be a thrill, either way.
Holy smokes I had never thought of that. If there really was a gay germ agressor nations could release it in high concentrations on their enemies.
They could weed out undesirables and repopulate with loyalists without ever firing a shot. All they’d need is patience.
Nobody in the middle east likes the Kurds. If this was available you can bet Turkey would use it on them. Arabs would certainly attempt to use this on Israel. Nations would be forced to develop a countermeasure.
LOL – that has GOT to be funniest thing I have ever heard. 🙂 🙂
Yep, the more a boy is exposed to PCB’s in the womb the more feminine he will become.
Effects of Perinatal Exposure to PCBs and Dioxins on Play Behavior in Dutch Children at School Age
BTW, check out the news these guys have been producing. They talk about biological feminisation caused by pollutants, but there are other news in the media on some kind of a “boy crisis”. If they are connected, it spells environment.
You know, if a germ is found to cause men to be gay, it could be used as a weapon of mass destruction. It’s a matter of state interest to combat that germ and get it out of the environment once and for all. The alternative is too risky, ie all men being turned into homosexuals.
So if a gay germ is found, homosexuality is kaput. No need to ask parents, it’s a biological hazard.
I feel as if I’m repeating myself, but if the HYPOTHETICAL pathogen causes bodily or mental injury along with conferring same-sex orientation, that would be VASTLY different than a pathogen that simply causes someone to be gay but causes no harm. Depending on the nature of the pathogen, that would change this discussion.
I don’t ever remember about talking about a vaccine that infected brain cells – help me refresh my memory on this.
Otherwise, you seemed to completely miss my point – You appeared to ignore all the terrible things I listed that parents have done and continue to do to children “in the name of protecting them”. The discussion we need to be having is whether or not parents should be able to do anything they see fit as long as they feel it will protect their child. The clear answer to this is a resounding NO! This is about ethics – bioethics if you will.
You also didn’t say anything about my point about a small hit to fitness being good for a world that is just starting to wrestle with the problems of over-population
AH – but the world already is changing to some extent and is definitely headed in a more progressive and forward thinking direction – think about all the strides made by gay people just in the last 20 years – there will be a time when even the most paranoid and controlling of parents won’t feel the need to alter their child as they see fit in order to “protect” them.
And you are absolutely wrong about parents – not ALL parents feel or act in the way you say they do – apart from all the gay parents I know, I know several parents of gay children – and they do not seek any type of therapy or see a need to alter their children in any way – so don’t try and lump ALL parents under one afraid-that-their-child-will-be-homosexual umbrella, because that is not reality either!!!
It is not the parents who seek safety for safety’s sake who change the world (although you are right, they do exist) – It is those parents who instead of feeling the need to blend into the world, who seek homogeneity, are able to stand as individuals and are not afraid to be different
I’m reprinting this just because I think it bears repeating 🙂
Is it safe to assume from now on that you do not answer questions but insist that other people do so?
Realistically speaking if Cochran is right the virus involved is a common cold or flu virus or something along those lines. Perhaps it’s not one virus but the result of pathogen overload.
But in any case I think there is a decent chance that society won’t have a serious debate about a gay germ vaccine. Scientists are about to release a universal “A” flu vaccine. A universal “A B” vaccine won’t be far behind. Strep Throat, Herpes, and Epstein Barr vaccines will be on the market in another decade. Gene splicing has radically improved the ability of scientists to produce effective vaccines. Beyond that scientists are creating a technology where they shake pathogens to death with sound waves that shoot through our bodies. The future does not look bright for pathogens that infect humans.
If a “gay germ” exists there is a good chance that over the next 10 to 30 years we’ll wipe it out and never know.
You said in answer to me…
You are right–only a small % of the world’s pop. is gay and so the species itself is not going to take a fitness hit. The species will not perish because of homosexuality.
However, we were talking about the hypothetical situation of parents being presented with an option to vaccinate a mother (even before she was pregnant perhaps, hypothetically again) so that her child would not be infected with a germ that infected brain cells. Thus, this is a very personal decision for parents. A man and a woman thinking of conceiving a child or who are already pregnant are thinking about their son or daughter, not about the population of the world, not about a child they might have one day years down the road, but about a child who is about to be conceived or about to come into the world in a few short months. Theoreticals are totally out the window in this instance. They mean nothing. A distant future and the clear present are rarely treated the same by the mind and the heart.
At that moment, their decisions are based on what they believe will be the best for their child. Killing brain cells sounds pretty darn scary. I don’t think most parents would consider this to be the “small hit to fitness” as you describe it.
You ask if it’s a “bad thing.” Anything, and I do mean anything that a mother or father thinks will cause their child extensive hurt, biological or emotionally…are you kidding? Forget the brain cells, actually. They don’t care what the “hit” is, homosexuality or deafness or being born with one kidney or a birthmark that covers the face or crossed eyes or a cleft palate or an infection that leaves a small lesion that one day will result in stuttering…the list is endless.
Yes, I know that you would argue that if the world were a fairer place, then the parents wouldn’t be likely to view homosexuality as something that would be problematic for their child. I know that you don’t think it fair that homosexuality be compared to a cleft palate or being born with only one kidney, but that’s not the world parents and prospective parents live in. Anything that they feel might cause a world of pain for their child is not considered something small, not considered a “small hit” to their child’s emotional fitness. Most of them, thank God, dearly love the child that is born to them. They love them with cleft palates and with one kidney and with birthmarks and with their stammering and with their homosexuality, but that’s not the scenario of our hypothetical.
The world is a tough and unforgiving place. Your comments tell me that you are very aware of that. While those with enlightened views can speak with certainty about how it would never matter to them, once they find out they are pregnant, suddenly the realities of the world hit them. No longer are they speaking of a hypothetical child living in an enlightened, hypothetical world that operates under Arthur’s code of chivalry. Reality hits. That’s their child, a child for whom they are responsible, and that child has one and only one shot at life, and in but a few months, that child will be born not into the world that exists in their imaginations or in their dreams, but into the world they know can be very cruel.
You can spurn these parents, detest their ideas, loathe their “cowardice” if that’s what you might want to term it, deride their decision, but they do it for their child. They would not call it cowardice. Surely you can see they would call it “protection.”
In this hypothetical situation we have created in this dialogue, these parents are not changing the child; he or she has either not even been conceived or has only recently been conceived. I don’t want to forget, lest we get too carried away, that this is indeed hypothetical. It could come to pass or it could be complete rubish, but you have asked questions and because I have participated in raising the topic of infectious causation, I feel obligated to respond as best I can. I don’t seek to change your mind, only to make my thought process clearer.
It’s my belief that no matter the idealistic ideas of the parents…when push comes to shove, no parent sacrifices his or her child to a cause, however noble. They may themselves sacrifice themselves, but not their child, not their child. Parents chose a path they feel gives their child the best chance at happiness from the earliest age. Given a choice, they would remove not the hurdles their child must one day jump, but any walls they feel might enclose them.
As for your friend’s answer to your hypothetical, I myself would have answered exactly as she had when I was young, a decade before I was ever pregnant. I can think of two reasons I would have answered that way: one, I would have really meant it….being a non-parent and being one about to be a parent is like the difference between oil and water; two, if I suspected my gay friend would not have accepted any other answer without being very hurt or very angry, I would have said what he wanted to hear.
However, you, not I, observed her so I will accept that she was telling you how she really felt.
BTW, the irony of your posing the topic to her and your being happy about her plans to discuss this hypothetical with her classmates was not lost on me. The topic is interesting to her, I take it, as she was eager to share it with others, and you understood that and accepted it, but you have not been understanding of it when others on this board have discussed the same issue. You eyed us suspiciously for raising the issue and discussing it, yet you are quite happy that your friend is about to do the same thing. That’s confusing to me.
Patrick, you said…
“A bad outcome” certainly depends on the parent’s view, yes. It’s my belief as I detailed above , that most parents would feel that their child would be at a disadvantage. I am no seer, no researcher so it’s only my opinion. That is why this hypothetical was best answered, I think, by those who said it would be each parent’s decision.
Patrick, you said also…
And Mary, you said…
Yes, the result does have to be judged separately. We weren’t, however, simply talking about the existence of a microbe, but microbes that left cells without nuclei and/or damaged the function of neurotransmitters, that is, an infection that destroyed cells. Yes, it would be up to each person to determine if the result of the damage mattered to him or her.
Please forgive me for this Patrick – but it was worth reprinting 🙂
No – no more than I think parents should be able to change the race or height of their children if it is not medically-necessary to do so
Drowssap – What question(s) are you talking about??? 🙂
Well then lets get back to the point of the this discussion. Assuming that Cochran is correct do you believe parents should be allowed to vaccinate their children against the “Gay Germ” so that they can grow up straight?
Why don’t you answer any questions? You complain that others don’t answer your questions. Then I answer your question and you tell me you can’t answer mine until I answer another question. Then I answer it and then you move on to something else.
Yes – Ann – it should – abortion is NOT something to be taken lightly and any parent thinking about this should make sure to give it plenty of thought – and ethics should play a part in that discussion 🙂
However – we already have laws on the books regarding this issue – and its a complicated and emotional one
Why do you always change the discussion to abortion?
Would this also apply to the pre-born child in jeopardy of losing their life because of a decision their mother is making for them?
AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!!! 🙂
But that’s the rub Drowssap – what does “ensure their child’s life is happy” mean? For many parents today it means educating/driving them out of a childhood, encouraging them to get medically-unnecessary plastic surgery, doping them, pushing them to the point of breaking, etc… So we can’t merely stop the discussion with, parents will do…., because often what a parent THINKS is going to make their child happy, actually ends up hurting them in the long run. The conversation has to continue with us asking ourselves, is what this parent doing ethical, right or good – and should they be allowed to do what are often questionable things to their children?
So it is ethical to take the risks of vaccination (any risk) so you can make your child 1/2 inch taller (which in no way makes them healthier) and whether it makes them happier seems debatable as well.
It seems to me the answer here is to not try and use science to make the differences between people to go away – so everyone is ‘happier’ – the answer is to work with society so people can accept difference.
And please don’t hide behind the cloak of parental care – not everything parents want (or think they want) for their children is something that should be granted.
You aren’t going to answer the question so let me answer it for you.
1/2″ 1″ 2″ or 3″ is completely immaterial. Any involved parent will invest whatever they have to ensure their child’s life is as happy and healthy as possible.
I would never dope a child to make him/her taller. I happen to know a little about biology and medicine and that would almost certainly be unhealthy.
Would you give HGH to kids to gain 1/2 inch, 1 inch , 2 – back at ya 🙂
And btw, vaccination is not without risks – just as receiving hormones isn’t.
Ok, so a half inch in adult height doesn’t cut it. Now we’ve got a discussion.
Would you vaccinate over losing 1 inch in adult height?
What about 2 inches?
What about 3 inches?
At what general point would you be willing to invest in a $120 shot and an afternoon at the pediatrician’s office for your child?
Germs. They exist in our body. We call them good if they contribute to our health. So it is negotiable whether or not a woman would see a germ that causes homosexuality as good or bad. Perhaps it also causes creativity, musical genius, etc…
I suspect that many “foreign” bodies interact with the growth process.
As to the gay issue, Ann, I wonder how many people would say they would rather be straight if society truly was accepting.
I wonder about that as well and don’t know if we will ever have a true answer. The only thing we can probably do is specifically ask the question you posed, which is a good one.
Vaccines were never meant for vanity purposes but to prevent or diminish the effects of illnesses and unwanted conditions. I am not sure how many actually work and I am sure many have caused unintended harm as well. I do think it should be a personal choice as to what vaccines adults choose for themselves and what they choose for their children.
I am not saying they shouldn’t have the choice – only that choosing to vaccinate based on losing 1/2 inch in height – can only really be vanity to the highest degree.
Lets say that a virus only causes one to lose 1/2 inch in height – should that be be vaccinated against. And is this really any different than pushing human growth hormone on kids – because the vanity of parents who want their children to be that little bit taller.
We are not talking dwarfism here – which does bring extra medical problems – but 1/2 an inch.
As to the gay issue, Ann, I wonder how many people would say they would rather be straight if society truly was accepting.
I have heard more often than not from people who say if they had a choice, they would be straight versus gay. If the choice of a vaccine is offered for children, shouldn’t that be a personal choice? Women make life and death choices for their pre-born child all the time and it is considered a personal choice and that choice is protected and defended.
You would vaccinate over losing 1/2 inch in height ?
Stepford children here were come.
I should mention that the biggest result of “gay germ” infection would be nothing at all. If 3% of men are gay that means virtually every person gets hit with this pathogen. Most don’t get hit with enough at the right time or have the proper susceptability to become gay but it would have to be everywhere.
Over 90% of the population gets hit with Epstein Barr virus. However only a small percent develop glandular fever more commonly known as “Mono.”
As always it’s up to the parents. What if a germ had the potential to infect children and ultimately reduce adult height by 1/2″?
Like you said, is a small hit to fitness like this necessarily a bad thing? Is it really a big deal to be 1/2″ shorter? Are shorter than average people bad, or evil or inferior? Should short person advocacy groups demand that a certain percentage of children become infected?
What do you think?
It would be your choice as a parent to avoid vaccination for your child.
However realistically speaking it wouldn’t be a “gay” only germ. Herpes is fairly harmless to most people but it can cause Cerebral Palsy in children and Alzheimers in the elderly. Who knows how many other things it causes.
A gay germ would probably work something like that. Some people might turn gay, others might become transgendered and a few might get a respritory tract infection and die. It all depends on someone’s natural susceptabilities.
The assumption always seems to be in these discussions – that something caused by a germ or microbe is always bad – and should be prevented. But you cannot infer a good/bad result from a cause (good or bad). The result has to be judged separately.
Is homosexuality a bad outcome – I certainly don’t think so and many would agree (and disagree) with me.
And lets take the case of a vaccine. Firstly there is no vaccination that doesn’t come with some risk (even small ones). Then lets look at what is trying to be prevented by the vaccine – homosexuality. In my mind this works out to a poor risk benefit ratio – there is no benefit in preventing homosexuality – and there will always be some risk with any vaccine. Not vaccinating to prevent homosexuality would win in my mind.
However, given todays climate I am sure many do see a benefit in preventing homosexuality and would choose a vaccine if one were available. I have no doubt that if such a think were available today – that many would opt for it.
As a side note – my friend is going to be having this discussion with her students at the University sometime soon. I’d love to be a fly on the wall during that talk 🙂
I’ll answer your question after you’ve answered my last one above 🙂
But the world’s population is NOT all gay and will never be – only a small percentage is. My next question, in light of this, is, is a small hit to fitness like this necessarily a bad thing – we seem to be starting with the presumption that a hit to fitness is always bad – but is it – especially on such a small level? I’m thinking about this in terms of over-population, btw.
Regardless – I am sorry if I cam across as overly-sensitive on this issue – My friend’s response to this discussion struck me as wonderful. She saw no need whatsoever to be having this discussion – and her reasoning was great.
I DO appreciate honest scientific inquiry – I was trained in the natural sciences – but I ALSO think its worthwhile for us to explore the reasons behind why someone would be so interested in this issue – especially when the issue involves a much maligned and victimized minority. Surely you, Carol, can admit to the fact that people, even some scientists who get involved with this issue do it with less than the best of intentions. Prejudice and bigotry are hardly unknown in the field of science, and a recent discussion I had with someone else on this thread leads me to believe that things other than scientific inquisitiveness are driving some people.
So while I by no means want to quiet this discussion, I also don’t think we should be dismissing the importance of examining the reasons WHY we pursue such a topic – I do not doubt that many do it for purely noble academic reasons, but I also do not doubt that there are those who pursue this for reasons that enable them to rationalize internalized bigotry, prejudice and even homophobia.
I seem to always fail to edit. Sorry. That last sentence was meant to be part of an previous paragraph, but I think I made the same point earlier so ignore it. The “it” referred to was the germ theory of causation.
Holy mackerel, you seem to be mighty testy about talking about causation. Either you too are very interested in it, or you are interested in the people who are interested in it, but I suspect you are interested in both. Were you not, I doubt you’ d post on the subject at all.
I guess when it comes to this subject or any other, everyone has a different reason for interest, but it strikes me as curious that you would find people’s interest in this subject as suspect. It’s a very interesting subject for almost all people. My gosh, it deals with sex. What human being doesn’t have an interest in sex? So, there’s one reason right there for our interest –S-E-X!!! A very interesting subject, all aspects of it.
Then, there’s science. What person who has enjoyed studying a bit of biology isn’t interested in this subject? It’s a riddle, and human beings love riddles. I am not making light of a serious topic, but there is truth, I think, in what I say about people loving to solve a mystery or hoping that one day a mystery will be explained. Why do we study black holes? String theory? Why does a guy like Steven Hawking sell millions of books to those of us who can’t understand upper division physics? Mystery, mystery explained or at least attempted to be explained.
I don’t know if your reference was to me, but if so , that’s fine. I’m glad to answer your query.
I did explain earlier and by way of introduction that my interest in this topic is related to recent research and debate about the pathogenic cause of illness and causes of odd and unexplained behavior. Yes, IMO homosexuality falls into that category. If you think it is not odd from an evolutionary standpoint and I do, we would each be wasting our breath to argue over that specific point. I mention this not because I expect you to accept my position, but rather so that you know my thoughts on it. I don’t think it’s immoral, for heaven’s sake, just odd from a biological perspective–a mystery.
There are the reasons that I specified in a post several days ago (roommate’s problems in college with eating disorders and bi-polar illness, my sister’s depression, etc. behaviors of students I had over the years ) and a personal reason as well which I’ll now explain.
I have, over the last few years, begun to experience panic attacks, but only when I am driving and only when I am driving on a freeway and ,even more weird, only when I hit certain kinds of terrain when I am driving on the freeway. Panic attacks in the car, even when she was a passenger, struck my sister (half sister, btw) when she was in her 30s. I had never, ever been afraid of driving in any conditions all my life. In fact, I was always the one who wanted to drive so when it happened to me, I was stunned and began researching it on the net. In so doing, I came across some astounding things not only about panic attacks, but also about something called PANDAS. Warren pointed them out to me the other day, but the truth is, I had already run across the reference, and what I read blew my mind.
When I was a very young kid, I had what I now believe was and sometimes still is, OCD, a mild case, thank God. No, I didn’t wash my hands repeatedly, but I went through ritualistic counting and looking under my bed at night. I “had to” do things in a certain sequence, and there were times when I lost sleep doing them!
While this was very upsetting as a child, I hid it from my parents so that they wouldn’t get upset. Little by little, it subsided, and I always managed to hide it, primarily because the worst of the compulsion occurred when I was alone in my room.
It disappeared for years, but whenever life became very stressful, I once again began going through this ritual with counting that I knew/ know is perfectly irrational, but if I didn’t do it, I felt something bad would happen, not to me, but to people I loved.
Even when I was a kid, I told myself it was silly supersition, just stupid, irrational superstition. In all other aspects of my life, I was this logical kid, then a rational adult, but there were times that this popped up. Now, I think I know what it was and is.
MOst of the time, it is now a rare occurrence. When I read about PANDAS, I was struck by this: at the age of 8, I was home from school sick. My mother had gone to the neighbor’s to get something, gone for only a few minutes. When she returned, she found me looking under the chair in the living room. She asked, “What are you doing?”
My response was, “I’m looking for the money you hid.” I vaguely recall saying it, and when she said, “What the heck are you talking about? I never hid any money,” I knew she was right and that I had said something really stupid. I was in a daze of some sort. My response was enough to make my mother rush to me, put her hand on my forehead, and shove the thermometer in my mouth.I had a very high temp, was taken to the doctor pronto; he announced that the weird comment, the daze, was the result of the high fever. I had a very bad strep infection!
PANDAS? Who knows. Certainly seems possible, doesn’t it? I tend to think it describes my OCD. I can’t be sure because my memory can’t really place when those ritualistic behaviors began–before that infection, after, during. I just don’t remember.
So, I’ve lots of reasons to have grown very interested in the pathogenic cause of disease. We may never know, but I do believe my OCD, even though it’s a very mild case, may have been caused by that infection. I was a very sick kid with that strep infection. I also wonder if both my sister’s and my problems with panic attacks, manifested at a late age, (certainly mine struck at a very late age), doesn’t also have something to do with brain damage caused by an infection.
Thus, any mention of pathogens and what they may cause has become an interest of mine.
So, in reading of such things, I read several times that homosexuality might also be the result of a brain infection.
Now, as for this comment from you:
You ask what would we do if a germ “conferred race”. I’d ask if the germ that conferred race (that’s a problematic wording but I guess you mean skin color?) caused a biological fitness problem. That would be the first question. The next would question would be, “Did it cause emotional or severe psychological distress?”
However, your question is really cleverly worded, I noticed. Certainly you want to argue that minorities (African-Americans are those you specified) may indeed have emotional distress, and I am sure you wish to point out that such distress as they have experienced is not because of their race but because of the prejudice of society, and of course, you’d be right. Their “race” as it is biologically determined, is certainly not the cause of their distress if indeed they have ever felt such distress.
HOwever, that’s not at all what the gay germ hypothesis suggests, is it? It doesn’t put forth the notion that race is a function of damaged cells, does it?
So, let’s ask this question: Is being a minority, such as African-American, like being gay? Socially, in this country anyway, yes, it is, for the groups have much in common. Both have suffered from a “trait ” which is not their choice. Both have been demonized.
A third question: biologically speaking, does one’s race confer a huge fitness cost to those of a certain race? No. If the world’s population were all black, would the species survive? Yes. If the world’s population were all gay, would the species survive. No.
Those who put forth the germ theory do not suggest that race is the result of damaged cells in the brain, a damage which affects how many offspring are produced. They do suggest that homosexuality is the result of damage to cells in the brain.
I can understand how a gay person would not like hearing that being gay was the result of damage to any part of his body, especially the brain. Science sometimes tells us things or hypothesizes things that upset us. The cause is not yet determined. Maybe it will never be known or at least never known in our lifetimes, but I suspect one day, it will be established. The cause is the cause, whatever it is. We can’t force it to be what it isn’t.
I’m past child-bearing age, and you didn’t ask me this, but I’ll answer it anyway. If I were pregnant and medicine could give me a safe vaccine preventing an infection to my child’s brain, would I decide to get the shot? Yes, I would. How the heck could I ever know how much the infection might affect my child’s life? How many cells would be damaged? Those cells were supposed to be there. If someone tells me I can safely insure that cells that are in my child’s brain would be preserved and I could insure that , of course I would do that. If the doctor told me that cells in my child’s eyes, nose, liver, whatever, could be safely protected against an infection, I would take steps to ward off the infection. The reasons are reasons you have heard many times from people who have spoken on this board. I won’t repeat them, for I don’t believe I could add to them.
It doesn’t suggest that a black person is black because of damage to a certain population of brain cells that affect something as significant as partner selection and porpensities to life-long patterns of behavior.
Maybe I missed that in the thread earlier.
For arguments sake lets pretend that Cochran is correct. In that case any preventative vaccination would be voluntary.
Ok, so back to black people. If an African American wanted to have a medical procedure that gave him a European appearance (didn’t Michael Jackson do this?) who am I to stop him? It’s individual choice.
Ask your straight PHD friend if she is pro-choice on this. For that matter wouldn’t you be pro-choice on vaccination?
Isn’t it frustrating when a person who is asked a question directly, does not answer?
Please be more specific about what you mean by the terms “normal” and “screwed up” – I’m curious!
Its interesting – I was discussing our conversation today with a straight girl today who is getting her PhD at a nearby University, and she could not, for the life of her, understand why we were having this discussion. She didn’t feel that it mattered because gay people should be taken and accepted as they are and not studied under a microscope! They are, to her, as normal and as worthy of acceptance and equal rights as any other individual on this planet. I told her that I agreed with her and that I found it interesting that when I asked the two people on this particular thread who seem to be most interested in the gay germ theory what they would do about a germ that conferred race on a person, specifically if that germ caused someone to be African American – not one of them answered – not one of them responded how they would treat such a germ and its corresponding vaccine. Very very telling if you ask me 🙂
Your heart is in the right place but your experiment misses one important factor. If boys and girls were completely seperated on different islands they wouldn’t develop in a normal, human way. During all human evolution boys and girls have developed in close proximity to each other. That’s the natural circumstance under which male/female minds are designed to develop.
If you radically altered normal human circumstances you might create a person with a really screwy personality or tastes but would it mean much to people like us?
Sorry for the misspelled name, Evan!
Thanks, Even. I had seen the first link before, but not the 60 Minutes piece on the twins.
But no documentation forthcoming?
Thank you SO MUCH for understanding Patrick! Whew! I have seen the same numbers you talk about above 🙂
Some of the arguments on this topic have been deployed many times before. We had some pretty solid debates here on this issue from many perspectives. I recommend you check out a few past topics to get an idea of the arguments used:
Study examines brain differences related to sexual orientation
60 Minutes Science of Sexual Orientation: An update from the mother of twins
The latter starts from a Gender Identity Disorder issue, but it gets into everything.
Ray Blanchard found that the correlation FBO – homosexuality is valid only for right-handed men. Unfortunately, in this paper Andrew Francis ignored Blanchard’s newest study (2006), did not include it in his bibliography and chose to invalidate older findings.
My 2 cents: The study of sexual orientation is becoming something of a fashion. If an economist studies sexual orientation by doing a bit of statistics on some data from a national survey, then it’s a new academic niche that holds the promise of a good career.
The debate here is great as always, though.
Most of the demographic studies I have looked at – look at behaviour only for getting a number on gay persons. Numbers vary – between men and women and from study to study. Usually there are in the 1 – 5 % range based on behaviour.
I haven’t seen studies that talk about identity, but I have seen studies that talk about attraction. Some show numbers as high as 20% having *some* same sex attraction.
I think Jayhuck is right, that it is very reasonable to assume that not all people will tell the truth in these surveys. Particularly, if they don’t feel safe doing so. There seems to me intuitively little reason to lie about being gay (or having ssb) when you are not – but certainly reason to lie about not having ssb (same sex behaviour).
I am not aware of any comprehensive study that parses out samesex identity, samesex attraction and samesex behaviour when it comes to the numbers. But I haven’t looked at this topic for a long time.
Until individuals feel safe in a chosen environment to disclose how they feel sexually, we can only guesstimate from those who choose to disclose it under any circumstance or environment. While those figures might tell us a lot, they do not tell the whole, true story.
Tell me about it! It is not worth the argument with those gays we deal with on a daily basis. The criticism for leaving homosexulaity is so huge that I say nothing in the general public or I diminsh my involvment so greatly that others are lead to assume that I never identified as gay.
I was thinking about those who did report being gay at one time (such as myself) and now if the same question were to be asked I would report differently.
As with all social statistics, the numbers are not static and they move, bending and flexing through time.
I know gay people want representation in society.
For all we know, there could be fewer gays than what is reported.
Right – and there could be many more people who have separated from their former identity as gay and choose to be anonymous so they avoid the cynicism that often comes from others who do not take the same path.
I understand the Jayhuck has not criticised the information using any scientific backup. He said that there are more gays than that which is reporting.
AGAIN, I will state that statistical analysis was completed (BTW, there is a margin of error and it usually says +/- and then quotes a number for how far it can be off with another percentage number stating with what confidence that quote is) And Jayhuck has not mentioned these numbers, nor refuted them with any scientific accuracy or statistical analysis of his own – or anyone else’s for that matter.
So his claim that there are more gays is not back up at all
1) He has not quoted the stats, the stats analysis, the level of confidence and it measure, the margin of error, the measuring or anything
2) He simply states – There are more gays.
Well, with the 10% rule of thumb that used to be quoted without question, doesn’t anyone think it’s time to have gay people use scientific methods to prove their numbers?
Thus far, on this blog, the only forthcoming statments from the person claiming there are more gays than the ones being counted has provided nothing, no answer, no critique of the statistical analysis etc… None.
For all we know, there could be fewer gays than what is reported. Please see margin of error, levels of confidence etc..
.(Guys really this is first year stats)
E Turnseed –
That is some of what I was saying, but not the main point. My point is there are many people who identify as gay but do not share that information in polls, in interviews, in surveys, etc – out of fear. This is going to cause a problem bigger than simple sampling errors are going to be able to fix – which is why we still don’t have a reliable working number
What you say is ALSO a theory – I’m not arguing on any particular side on this one 🙂
If 3% is wrong is it going to be all that wrong? Give or take 2% it’s right in there somewhere. I’m stickin’ with good ol’ 3% for now.
I think you are missing something. Try to google another genetic anomaly like SSA that is present in say 10% of the world population. You won’t find one. The more gay people there are, the less likely it’s a gene. You are arguing on the wrong side on this one.
I think that what Jayhuck was saying is that no one knows the exact percentage of people exclusively attracted to their own sex. A proportion of them identify as gay — this is the percentage we can find in surveys, depending on culture, sampling and other variables. At the same time, a lot less is known about the proportion of people who experience mixed attractions in various degrees. Women are the best example here. Most researchers admit that women are more fluid, but it seems that there are less lesbians than gay men.
I think it’s impossible to develop and think outside your own culture. There’s a lot going on in the environment that contributes to a certain distribution of outcomes.
Here’s a social experiment that will never be done: Send two representative samples of babies on two different islands, one island of boys and one of girls. Let them have all the resources they need to develop under the close watch of their parents. Organize games that includes any type of boy and punish any attempt at rejecting anyone. Let the boys be exposed to stories and images of girls, but no actual girl. Do not expose them to any concept of sexual orientation. When they hit puberty, have some competitions set up where boy teams and girl teams can compete. After the event, ask them questions about how they perceive the opposite sex. Create an internet database where each boy and girl can choose a set of individuals they are most attracted to. See what sex is each individual mostly attracted to.
The experiment does not eliminate possible influences of parenting styles, but at least it should eliminate expectations of sexual orientation outcomes and reduce any possible influences produced by trauma. It should also be able to test the theory that attractions are (not) the product of biology only.
I am using these resources for the US Census. Again the phrase statistical analysis comes up??? Does anyone study statistics and their applications anymore?
Sort of defeats Jayhucks arguing that he did not answer that he was gay on the last census survey. They did not ask. It’s a statistical calculation from the questions that were asked. LOL!!!!
The Census Bureau does not enumerate who is gay or not. I don’t know where Mary got the idea that the Census knew the percentage of gays. E Turnseed is correct about the 2.8% of men being gay and 1.4% of females being lesbians. That was a demographic study from 1994 that was used in Lawrence v. Texas. I use 3% all the time because a somewhat bigotted acquaintence of mine keeps telling me that the number of gay men is rising (precipitously – or as he puts it “you’re coming out of the woodwork“).
Check out the FAQ from the http://www.gaybros.com site:
This is very different from every advocating position I’ve seen. They talk about potential for desire and behavior and about identities, based on how some people think about themselves as being gay and describe themselves accordingly. They also emphasize that there are no clear boundaries between the two.
Understanding this concept is to help us with critical thinking.
Sorry Warren et al, I know this thread between Jayhuck and I went sideways from the topic but I could not overlook the comment about how many gays there really are in the population. If we are going to understand the presence of homosexuality, then I thought it was worth pointing out the inconsistency in quoting numbers from undocumented sources or one person’s guess.
Thank you for the indulgence.
So now you have provided another source from another survey completed at a different time tha t comes to the same results and you still are arguing? Where is your proof? As important as this is to you and you have no statistical criticism of the statistical analysis done by either survey?
This amounts to you stamping your feet and not getting your way. YOUR guess has not provided any criticism except a blatant and obivious finger pointing “They’re wrong!” But you have no research, gay or otherwise, study, or anything that has analyzed the analysis??? NOthing??
No proof that YOUR guess is correct, yet. But you have corrborated the US Census. In other words, you have backed them up.
All you are syaing is that no one can proof your perspective, not even you.
Shall I remind you of today’s post by Warren??
Confirmation bias – connotes the seeking or interpreting of evidence in ways that are partial to existing beliefs, expectations, or a hypothesis in hand.
– Raymond Nickerson, Review of General Psychology, 1998
Does this remind you of anyone??? Maybe…. you?
And are you aware that you tried to flip the topic by reporting on transexuals??
Again, for the sixth time, you have provided no scientific criticism or proof to YOUR guess.
And for about the third time you have tried to change the topic.
That source is an older one – but the general idea is that no matter who does the study, no matter the amount of privacy, anonymity or confidentiality promised, there are still going to be people who don’t speak out – this then supports what several articles on the subject have already said, which is that there is no currently reliable number of gay people in the US, because getting a reliable number is just too difficult.
Every article I’ve ever read about gay population results always suggests that the population is likely under-represented – for all the reasons, and probably more, that I gave above.
Sigh – I’m going to regret this I know –
The US Census is not sound science either Mary, especially when it comes to this issue! The scientific community cannot offer you a reliable number of gay people that exist in this country because it does not have one – there isn’t one – you will hear different percentages from different groups that are based on different samples – not a single one has been shown to be “reliable” – YET, anyway. I’m not saying we won’t get there
As usual, you will go away without answering anyone directly.
What is gay? How is it defined? Can you refute the statistical analysis (please look that up) with any meaningful statiscal criticism besides YOUR guess.
If you need to walk away, please do. You have not provided anything meaningful to the questions that were posed to you. It has always been up to you to provide meaning – to YOUR guess.
I justpointed out that thus far, you have not.
I understand. Have you ever considered that you do not? That you may be stuck in a paradigm that is ever popular and overly used to over simplify incorrectly the vast expression of sexuality that exists among humans?
You’re right. We cannot have a meaningful discussion when you cannot provide sound scientific proof that your statement about the US Census being wrong. We cannot discuss anything meaningful when you inisit on using Kinsey to define sexuality. Did you ever consider that a man who uses children without ethical check and balances in his study might be off??? People do not need to put themselves on his spectrum scale to define their behavior. Were the children that he used to measure length of stimulation before orgasm gay or straight? NO ONE KNOWS.
And again for about the fifth time, we cannot have a meaningful discussion when you avoid answering questions with scientific proof to back up your claims about other people.
I’m not reading too much into things. You are avoiding answering directly. Pointing the finger at me is an old tactic but not useful here – you still have not provided proof of any of your claims.
For the record, I’m not mad or angry – just frustrated that you didn’t understand the point I was trying to make. You read far more into what I was saying than was there, and it obviously pushed a button of yours – we can’t have a meaningful discussion when things like that happen. I’ll try and stick to my word on staying out of this discussion – it has just been hard when you aren’t accurately representing my original point.
You obviously aren’t listening to me anymore and care more about standing up on some soap box and ranting than really listening to what I have to say so, as much as I hate to do this, I have to end this incredibly unproductive and pointless discussion.
Ummm.. you are interpeting one man’s sexual experience as falling on a spectrum between gay and straight?
I wouldn’t call it anything other than a horny kid catching a ride home and getting off. But you seem to read much more into the experience.
Let’s take another example. Does it mean that a boy who is molested as a child by a man, and reaches orgasm, must be gay?
And for the most part as soon as you start calling someone gay or their behavior gay or their thoughts gay – then I stop reading and ask what do you mean. That’s all I did and you gave no reasonable explanation for your definition. You got mad and wanted out of the conversation. So be it. Then you are free to leave.
You simply continue along the same old party line of gay is gay. That’s all. It seems to me that there is more in the mind and body of human beings than how they have reached orgasm.
I don’t agree with most of what Kinsey did – but I saw something in what you said that reminded me of his idea of sexuality – that there was a spectrum to it – and that people fell all along that spectrum – and I’ve never read or heard anything that refuted that idea. Your “variety of sexuality” comment merely supports it.
Oh wow – do you even read my posts? I acknowledged that kinsey’s research had its problems – it definitely did, but that doesn’t make every single idea he had wrong? I never said you WERE referring to the Kinsey study – I never suggested you liked Kinsey – heck, I never suggested you even KNEW who Kinsey was – LOL – this discussion has just gotten ridiculous and so far from what I was originally trying to say – sigh – I’m worn out!
First, I was not referring to Kinsey study and do not find that doing research on children or inmates to be representative of the population or ethical science. He did not use aduquate statistical analysis. You may want to review the “science” he presented. Show me the statistical analysis – I am starting to think you do not understand this term nor field of study???
Secondly, while you may quote a rogue scientist for your benefits to believe what you want, it does not mean that you can leave scientific proof for your own statments unanswered and be expected to hold water in this conversation.
By the same token – everyone who has an opposite-sex thought or experience isn’t heterosexual “at that time or forever” either! 🙂
If true that’s pretty darned interesting. I remember reading a story about a guy who konked his head and woke up with amnesia. Eventually he came out of it. A few months later he broke up with his girlfriend and came out of the closet.
Could he have always been gay? Well I guess he might have been, I dunno. On the flip side could a konk on the head make someone gay? Unless the neurons reponsible for sexual orientation are completely indestructable I don’t know why not. Sure it could happen.
Absolutely – Kinsey’s research may have had its problems but his spectrum of sexuality idea was spot on! 🙂
Ann and Mary – I absolutely agree with this:
But this has nothing to do with what I’m talking about. ALL I’m saying is that we have no good numbers yet for how many gay people there are in this country. You may choose to stick with the census figures Mary, I’ll maintain there are too many problems with it – and we can go our separate ways, ok?! 🙂
I can tell you of my shock when one of my boyfriends admitted to gay sex (received oral sex from a man) and then laughed about it!! And believe me – he was not, is not gay. Horny – yes! Gay – not. He was 19 at the time??
I was shocked by his openess. And thankful for his openess. It reminded me of the variety of sexuality that exists.
Not everyone who has a same sex thought or experience is gay at that time or forever or repressed.
Thank you for your well reasoned thoughts on this – while some would like this to be the case, well, it just isn’t.
Of course, Jayhuck, you are excused once again from providing any scientific information to back up your claim.
Your right it is not about anything other than when you argue over gay people being counted and you have no proof to show that YOUR definition is valid or accurate. You have avoided any scientific proving of your claim and have jumped ship.
You have not proven the ability to redefine the number of gay people in the population as quoted by the US Census. Just showing that inconsistency – again.
I see no reason to continue this conversation with you because you are making this to be about something it is not – this is not about you and I and how each of us may or may not define the word “gay” – but I can’t seem to get beyond that with you.
How can you possibly prove something like that? When there are gay people, couples, families who do not want to share with the government that they are gay? It IS a fact that these people exist – how many of them exist isn’t something any of us can answer. If the most representative samples find gay identification to be under 4%, then why are scientists still saying things like 3% of MEN are gay, or using other figures like 7% of the population, etc. If this is such a done deal, why can no one, even educated seemingly balanced and interested people settle on a number? The fact is that there IS no good number. We have some samples, possibly good ones, but even good ones can’t tell us how many gay people are out there who aren’t sharing that information with us.
I was not lying when I said that neither I nor my friends stated on any census that we were gay – we did not. I think for us it was more a matter of not knowing we could – but still – Warren – I would think you of all people would understand this argument.
Maybe you missed today’s post by Warren?
Confirmation bias – A tendency to search for information that confirms one’s preconceptions.
– David Myers, Social Psychology, 8th Ed., pg. 112
At best Jayhuck, good grief, you have exhaustively played your card on re-defining people’s lives to fit your own description of yourself.
Just pointing out that when you say gay and when others say gay – there are different definitions. And YOUR definition does not define other folks – by other folks’ standards.
But you said it pretty clearly – that the 3-4 percent is wrong. That’s a huge statment without any scientific rebuttal.
Well, then any information from the US Census then must be considered wrong by your definition. Any reporting can thus be considered false by your standards even after using statistical analysis for margin or error and false reporting. Something you still have not answered????
Rather, it would be more convincing it you produced evidence to support your position, rather than simply assert it. All surveys contain the usual cautions about self-report but the best most representative samples find gay identification to be low, under 4% whereas the behavioral items find higher estimates.
The 3-4 report is not accurate Mary – it may help us in some ways, but it can’t be accurate because of how private so many gay people, couples and families can still be. It may be a guess Mary, but it is one that is shared by many, many people FAR more educated and even more directly involved with this issue than I 🙂
Oh good grief Mary – I should have known this had nothing to do with what I was trying to talk about but about what you THOUGHT I was saying. Sigh
So, you are still defining gay by YOUR own terms. You are saying that people like you are therefore – gay like you.
As well, and as usual, you did not address the scientific aspect of statistical analysis for false reporting, margin of error etc…
Again, 3-4 is the report. Far less than the 10% that gays (myself included at the time) used to tell people. And nothing that you can refute using any scientific study that is current or accurate.
YOUR guess is just that YOUR guess.
I did not say you were hiding something. I said you were re-defining gay and defining others through YOUR own definition of yourself.
It is a guess Mary, but I challenge you to find any respectable statistician, psychologist/scientist anywhere who thinks that we have a good idea how many gay people there really are in this country. There aren’t any. Its problematic to get a good number when so many people still hide this fact about themselves out of fear or because they are still in the closet.
It doesn’t matter how “private” something maintains it is – many many people who are gay will still not admit to it on paper, in a “private” interview, etc. As I said before, there are gay people who are afraid to be out, in any way shape or form. Drowssap seems to acknowledge this.
Perhaps we should be using the word homosexual – It seems as if you are trying to make this about something it is not Mary. Neither I nor any of my friends who are far more OUT than I am, have ever admitted in any census to being gay. To be fair, I was not trying to hide anything, I just don’t remember seeing that box to check 🙂
There are gay people who do not share the fact that they are gay with many people – and many others still hide it.
The US Census is private. Again, it depends on who you are asking and how they describe themselves.
Not everyone who has a same sex thought or experience is gay at that time or forever or repressed. You have begun to re-define gay when you talk about a person who does not describe themselves as gay as being gay. That is YOUR description.
And you are aware of statistical analysis and how there are measures for margin, error, false reporting etc….
Unless you have verifiable information that is more current or thorough – at best – you are talking about YOUR guess.
That depends on which theory to which you adhere 🙂 Those who do not hold to the gay germ theory as you do would say differently
Well in fact you are correct. I use 3% as a guesstimate. But ironically the higher the percentage the greater the chance that Cochran and the Gay Germ theory are correct.
BTW – Drowssap’s comment was that 3% of MEN are gay – I’ve seen the 7% of the population is gay figure before in other places as well – but I think what we have to accept is the fact that we really don’t know how many people are gay. Some places suggest anywhere between 3 – 8% of the population – not surprisingly, anti-gay sites will frequently try and argue for the smaller end of the percentage spectrum – but we don’t really know. Gay people, even in today’s more tolerant society, still have good reasons for not outing themselves in any way depending on their circumstances
I was just trying to point out that there are many people who will not publicly admit to being gay, even though they are – even in surveys, interviews, polls, etc. So the 3-4% mark is probably the best place we’ve ever had to start, but there is an excellent chance that there are many more people who are gay but don’t “admit”, probably out of fear or even because they are still in the closet, to being such.
But how is gay being described? And who is describing who is gay? Is it the person who is self described as gay or is it someone else who is describing their behavior, thoughts, or past?
The US Census reported about 3-4% of the population as self described gay. Sort of like straight from the horses mouth.
I am more inclined to think that YOUR guess is different than the US Census Report. Understandably – you want more representation and so will not believe a census report and have chosen to believe outside the person who reports about themselves.
That is false Drowssap – we don’t know how many men are really gay, that is at best an educated guess. Surveys, polls, interviews and questionnaires have only gotten us this close – there is a VERY, VERY good chance more men than that are gay!
Now, speaking of GC, the comments about his book (scroll to Dec 2) turned very interesting today. For some eyebrow-raising evolutionary commentary, follow the sequential line of those comments; it leads to his riddle and to some very interesting stuff.
Chimerism is an interesting concept. But if it were true it would be larger than all other genetic anomolies put together… and probably then some. 3% of men are gay, that’s a lot of people.
Why couldn’t natural selection take care of gay-chimerism if it found a way to fine tune every other aspect of human biology? Shouldn’t we expect to find heart-anomoly-chimerism and liver-anomoly-chimerism and a dozen other types of chimerism that affect small but significant chunks of the population? Why would gay-chimerism be the only common type in all of human biology?
Stuff tends to work like other stuff.
I recall reading that neurosurgeons treating brain trauma injuries are not unfamiliar with the phenonmenon of a patient’s apparent shift in the object of their affection/lust for during their hospitalization/recuperation as their brain swelling subsides. At one time, they assumed that drugs might be causing that, but many now believe that the swelling is interfering with the neurotransmitters ‘s functions. This has not been studied, however, it must be said–it’s only anectodal evidence from these doctors, and I just throw it out in that vein.
Have you read this-the chimerism theory of homosexuality? While this is a from blogger, I googled plural pregnancies after reading his post a while back, and I did find a study or two from the researcher studying plural pregnancies. If nothing else, it’s an unusual read, but I would think if it had any merit, we’d have heard of such a thing. Know any research about this? Check it out.
Many studies have found an increased incidence of left handedness among gay men. Kenneth Zucker called this evidence of “developmental instability.” Anthony Bogaert says it could be evidence of “developmental stressors.” That could certainly mean infection.
Also in the conclusion of the most recent Swedish twin study from the Karolinska Institue they included “illness and trauma” as a potential cause of SSA. That’s not an easy phrase to include in today’s politically correct enviornment. Scientists read the headlines and I think they know which way this is heading. If the various incarnations of the gay gene theory go kaput, hormones are kaput, socialization is basically kaput. There isn’t a lot left that could randomly affect 3% of the male population.
Where is the evidence?
I might not always be the best “explainer”.
A) The gay germ theory isn’t designed to explain why straight men have sex with each other in prison (and other phenomenon) any more than Narcolepsy is an attempt to explain why Mexicans take siestas.
B) The gay germ theory is an attempt to explain why some men, from their earliest memories are more or less exclusively attracted to men.
C) Gay men are in no way spreading gay germs. If the gay germ exists it’s probably a common cold or flu virus or some other mundane pathogen. It hits nearly every person early in life and for some people it alters their development towards homosexuality.
D) Cochran has theorized that all men carry the “computer code” for attraction to men and attraction to women. Straight men produce a specialized neurotransmitter that triggers the “attraction to women” instinct and supresses the “attraction to men” instinct. Perhaps having a limited amount of this transmitter would create bisexuality? In any case this concept has been born out in fruit flies.
I meant that there’s no evidence for it. IE, no gene. The Italian guy took a couple of hundreds of gay men, interviewed their maternal and paternal families and found a small difference in the number of descendants on the maternal side. Something like 2.69 children compared with 2.32 in straight men’s families, and the aunts 1.98 children compared with 1.51. That could be due to economic changes or any other random factors. My father lived in a poor side of the country, so his parents only had three kids. That was a maximum in the same area. My mother lived in a part of the country where the land was better suited for farming, so her parents had seven children who survived into adulthood (one dead girl during her childhood). Both my grandfather’s and grandmother’s families were big and most people in the same area had many kids, because there was plenty of land and cattle to feed all of them. They needed as many children as possible to work the land and tend the cattle. Now there are a lot less children in the same area. Why is that? Because young people fled the country and found jobs in the cities. No one is crazy enough to have seven kids in the city. According to the theory, men who moved to the city and had less children also became straighter. Apparently, it’s not that simple…
The “maternal fertility hypothesis has two legs [studies] to stand on, Andrea Camperio-Ciani, University of Padua, Italy, 2004 and Green & Keverne, Journal Theoretical Biology, 2000 Jan 7.
Ooops, I just saw the comments! 🙂
I am trying to reply to the comments here, but none of my replies get posted. At the same time, other people’s comments get posted in no time. Am I being sidelined here?
I remember GC speaking of the common viruses as ones that might do more damage than we think. He also reminds us of the many we discover each year. Plus, anyone in this modern world must think of the toxins around us and other things as well.
I wish I had washed my hands a lot, but I just figured I was developing a good immune system by not doing it as often as I should have. Wrong.
And since we are on the subject…
Cold Sore Virus Linked To Alzheimer’s Disease: New Treatment, Or Even Vaccine Possible
Wash your hands folks. It almost always comes back to pathogens.
I get it…I guess that it’s just that in the past we thought of nurture as only having psychological impacts whereas now it seems that epigenetics shows there are biological changes in response to environment and maybe nurture, so that made me think “What if?…”
If any common, human interaction turned 3% of men gay we would have evolved defense genes to cope with it. Mankind has had approximately 250,000 years worth of evolution to work out the kinks in human socialization. It just couldn’t happen.
It would take a very strange or abusive series of events to turn a man gay. That’s definitely not true for most gay men.
Sorry about the poor editing of my post above. It was meant to end with “Do I make any more sense here”? (I certainly doubt it).
I meant to delete what followed that.
But, that’s not what I meant. I am having trouble articulating what I mean. All of the things you say above, I am in agreement with and understand. Of course everything pushes for heterosexuality, evolution and society, culture, of course. Survival of the species!
What I meant was…could experience soon after birth (maybe at the age of one day, one month or one year) lead to a process of methylation in a very small % of boys, a process which fixed attraction to the same sex?
Okay, a hypothetical—an infant is lovingly held and comforted by a male in the family when the baby is hungry or wet or otherwise disturbed. He feels warm and comforted. That stimulus along with something else (it would have to occur along with something else or else all boys treated lovingly by males would be gay) provokes the process of methylation (as in the methylation in the suicide victims who were abused) that leads to a later gay orientation.
I only ask because most of the people who have espoused the nurture cause of homosexuality speak of circumstances in the family which are negative, not positive. And, they have spoken of the psychological effects of such dynamics as the absent father, the over-protective mother, not of the positive effects of a loving family and the biological effects on our brains of circumstance and environment.
What if a biological process takes place that shuts off the OSA circuit because of what could be construed as a positive or pleasureable experience for an infant or very young child?
I am not arguing for this. In fact, I feel silly even bringing it up, but I wondered how a scientist would answer the question especially if it now seems that we know there are biological gene expression changes formed by experience.
Add to that all the recent neurological findings about brain plasticity, and while I realize that this can’t and shouldn’t occur easily or else the species wouldn’t survive, I started wondering if in the past we have erroneously thought of “nurture” as if it had only psychological ramifications rather than biological ramifications like the ones the suicide study may suggest.
I mean several years ago, what did we know of epigenetics?
Do I make any more sense here?
I can see that something else would have to be going on; after all, that would mean boys treated well
Now, I realize that millions of little boys are treated with love and affection from the time they leave the womb by male figures so one would think that if such a thing were so, the incidence of homosexuality would be higher. However, it’s just a question about how life experiences at a very, very early age, might set biological things in motion.
I am certainly not saying I buy it, I just wanted a basic biological primer on why we don’t think it could happen that way. Look, it’s a biological anomaly, a fitness-hit biologically no matter how one looks at it, but we’ve been talking about the biological “triggers” of it, and when I saw that link about the child abuse, I wondered.
I mean, it wouldn’t have to be something bad that happened to the infant–it could be something very good, something that pro
Three problems with that theory.
A) For most men preferential homosexuality doesn’t appear to turn off or on as a result of life experiences. Gay men stay gay, straight men stay straight.
B) Nobody can find an obvious pattern of life experiences that leads to male homosexuality. Gay men come from good homes and bad homes and every kind of home inbetween.
C) Society strongly pushes heterosexuality at every level. Nothing that normally occurs in life promotes homosexuality. In fact not even 100 years ago gay men could easily be killed just for being gay. And yet there were still a significant number of gay men floating around.
Professor Bailey said it pretty good the other day.
I posted this link a while back and meant to ask some questions about it, but didn’t at the time so would someone help me? It’s the McGill U. study about brain comparisons between sets of suicide victims–those who had suffered child abuse v. those who had not and how there are epigentic markers on those who suffered from abuse.
I do understand that even identical twins, especially as they grow older, express differently for some things. I do understand that studies show that environment (say, a move from the mountains to the flatlands or from an isolated area to the big city) can cause a difference in expression for things like respiratory functions.
So, the question is …did the child abuse itself lead to the epigenetic markings? And, if so, what were the consequences of that gene expression? This, then, is the idea that nurture impacts acutual biology, right, actual genetic expression?
Here’s where I need help. If genes can be expressed differently over our lifetimes, then why have most of us so summarily dismissed the nurture aspect of homosexuality? (I know that I certainly have done that.) By “nurture,” I simply mean experience, whether that experience is good, bad, or neutral.
If experience creates biological/neurological genetic expression, help me to understand how science believes this does, does not, could or could not affect the etiology of homosexuality after birth.
This does not seem to be at the root of most respected scientific studies. I thought I understood why studies had moved in the direction they had the last several years, but reading a piece like this has me confused all over again.
Now, since I’ve been asking about methylation and all…I am getting the drift right here? Does this study seem to be suggesting that
Roselli isn’t trying to make sheep that are more or less masculine. That’s not particularly interesting. Don’t men on steroids have a propensity for Rhoid rage? Everybody knows that hormones alter behavior.
The point is to alter a ewes hormone signature and reliably produce gay sheep. That would be a big deal and so far it aint happenin’.
I remembered reading Saletan’s article on the rams’ story. I wonder if he got his percentages right about the number of gay rams in the wild. I would imagine the sheep ranchers could give the researches good info on the approximate percentages of them in domesticated flocks even before the researchers did their study.
If the percentages are actually that high, it’s very interesting….
Anyway, in case you haven’t read this… http://www.slate.com/id/2158877/
Maybe some of those rams felt rejected and just went in an easier direction. They were tired of hearing from the ewes about their having a headache, you know? Sometimes we women are like that–we like to be courted— have a romantic evening out, a lovely dinner, maybe dancing (especially nearing a certain time of the month) or else forget it. LOL.
Reporting one blocked reply again…
Thanks for the info!
Narth might not exactly be on the cutting edge when it comes to an understanding of SSA. However Neil Whitehead does a good job explaining the latest twin study on homosexuality. As per usual the genetic contribution is pretty minor.
Latest Twin Study Confirms Genetic Contribution To SSA Is Minor
20% or therabouts is the generally accepted number for identical twin cocordance and SSA.
Here is a link to Bailey’s famous Australian Twin study released in 2000.
Male identical twins were 20%, females were 24%.
Genetic and Environmental Influences on Sexual Orientation and Its
Correlates in an Australian Twin Sample
The germ hypothesis is plausible and has potential to explain many odd facts about this issue. But there are a few problems with the arguments its proponents used.
1. There’s no evidence for it. Just like the maternal fertility hypothesis, this one has no leg to stand on. It’s pure deduction.
2. Diseases and illnesses caused by pathogens cannot be compared with traits. It doesn’t matter how low or high concordance rates are in terms of genetic factors, because these terms are used in any genetic study whether the causes of a particular disease are genetic or not. It doesn’t matter that, as you said, scientists used to believe that those disorders are caused by genetics and then realized they were missing a great deal about the role of pathogens (I highly doubt it that there is a consensus on that). What matters is that researchers know that sexual orientation is not a question of either-or, like disorders. When you make an argument for pathogens, you assume that any given individual is either a host or not. So someone who is not a host to a pathogen causing homosexuality cannot be attracted to any individual of the same sex to any degree. Where does someone who is mainly attracted to the opposite sex and mildly attracted to the same sex fall in this classification? Are they a host to the presumed pathogen or not?
3. Scientists who study this topic have used scales for continuous gender traits which tally closely with variations in sexual orientation. If the pathogenic hypothesis is true, then it should explain variations not only in behaviors and attractions (brain effects), but also in physical characteristics (effeminacy in men and masculinization in women). You don’t see sons who are more masculine than their fathers or daughters who are more masculine than their mothers. Gender traits run in the family, whereas pathogens strike randomly. How would you explain this?
I’m not discounting the germ theory. I think it might be a promising line of research. But it might not be able to explain all of the cases. It might explain only acquired same-sex attractions, but not those felt by gay adults very early in their childhood or by people with GID. Or it could partly explain them, the other part being the result of inheritable traits.
Also. Where did you get your 20% stat from?
So the cartoon’s percentage seems to be way off. Does anybody know where they got there stats from?
Approximately 95% of the population has a natural immunity to the bacterium Mycobacterium Leprae that causes Leprosy. However if someone is in the 5% that is genetically susceptible LOOK OUT! Identical twins are equally susceptible and since they are the same age, live in the same house, go to the same school, play with the same friends, etc. etc. there is an enormous chance that if one is exposed so is the other.
But even though there is an 83% concordance among identical twins for Leprosy it’s not a genetic disease. It’s caused entirely by bacteria, the genes simply make someone susceptible.
By comparison male homosexuality is like 20% concordant. That’s pretty darned low.
Interesting. I’m no geneticist, but could the argument be made that if one twin is not immune to the bacteria, that it is very likely that the other twin is? Thus the argument could be made that there is concordance genetically for leprosy?
At the 1:50 mark in that cartoon.
Eegads, 70%? I guess when you’re making up numbers you might as well pick a big one. But even if 70% was correct it wouldn’t be as high as Leprosy which according to Cochran has a staggering 83% concordance among identical twins. And of course Leprosy isn’t genetic at all. It’s caused by bacteria that 95% of the population are immune to.
I am not sure, but cloning could be an imperfect test. The methylation that was incomplete early in the developing fetus could possibly be complete in later cells?
I have no investment in this idea, except that it logically appears to me to be one which at this time has the greater efficacy – at this time. If some heretofore unknown bug/germ/virus is discovered that’s making everyone gay…. well, then the US Army “gay bomb” might not be the farce some think it to be!
So that little cartoon in “For the Bible Tells Me So” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liAlLNA9cbY) was wrong? How shocking.
Actually when the “gay sheep” controversy erupted people complained that Roselli was trying to cure gay sheep. In his response (or someone in his department) he said that in fact they were trying to do the exact opposite, CREATE gay sheep. They were working every variable to see what would produce a gay sheep and so far they couldn’t.
Of course they found interesting things. If they don’t find interesting things they don’t get the next round of funding. But so far no gay sheep.
It seems to me that a lot of complicated things have to run in a very specific way for this theory to work and MAYBE THEY DO! But you oughta be ready for the possibilty that they won’t.
If someone clones a gay sheep and it turns out straight I think that blows up just about every version of the gay gene theory. If the clone is gay like the original Hamer would be vindicated. Speaking of which why isn’t Hamer on this right now? It seems like the perfect test.
Yep…. it is exactly that imprinting which was hypothesized by the 2000 study which showed more females in the maternal families of gay men
So, as I understand it, DNA methylation is one method of what is known as gene imprinting. It’s one thing that mitigates gene expresssion, right? A protein “sheath” essentially turns off a gene.
http://www.geneimprint.com/site/what-is-imprinting (among many other things male sexual orientation is listed in this particular explanatory link.)
I am right then, Lynn David, in my understanding that this is what the UCLA study by Sven Bocklandt hopes to study with its sets of male and female twins?
Yeah, I read that. Except this idea doesn’t rely upon a single sexually-antagonistic gene but is likely a property of the chromosome itself.
And the randomness of the methylation process doesn’t mean that MZ twins are of necessity both homosexual.
. . .
For what it’s worth this is what Cochran had to say about the extra fertility hypothesis in 2005.
You might find this article interesting since you are about to be a parent.
Gay dads want baby to be straight
I just read the thread and Cochran has the best one liners! 😎
Maybe his best statement and one that Lynn David might need to see is this.
I did a brief search of the gnxp archives to see if that’s where I might have read comments about the Roselli ram conclusions of 2007. I lacked the time to continue, but will try some other time.
What I happened quickly was an old 2005 thread. If anyone is interested click on the 54 comments–gCochran joins in the discussion and is his usual imperious self, but his comments are worth the read.
Darn, darn, darn…I read somewhere a piece about how these findings (or at least part of them) and the pathogen theory aren’t contradictory in part, that the “neurochemical and neuroanatomical” differences may be due to yes, infection. However, for the life of me I can’t remember the source. Sorry.
Good links. Thanks.
Show me where he has attempted to do that. I know of no such experiment. I do know of this:
Brain Research, Volume 1110 (2006) Expression of steroid hormone receptors in the fetal sheep brain during the critical period for sexual differentiation
Endocrine, Volume 29 (2006) The effect of aromatase inhibition on the sexual differentiation of the sheep brain…. Which concluded the following:
It seems you have been reading with your bias as the monkey on your back. They have not attempted to make homosexual sheep or stop homosexually-oriented sheep from being born as such.
I’ve read about Roselli’s work. He can’t make rams straight or gay by playing with hormones in the womb. If he could we’d all know about it and they’d be checking this out in humans. And if for some reason he COULD make rams gay by changing the maternal hormone signature we’d have to learn why it was being altered in the first place.
As for pertinent you don’t consider it the least bit interesting that flu virus is implicated in Schiz and Autism? What about OCD and Strep Throat? How about the antibodies that suggest a virus causes Narcolepsy?
My mentions of MS and Diabetes are included to show the overal direction that science is headed. People like Dean Hamer know this but they’re throwing up a last ditch smoke screen in an effort to slow down the inevitable. This can only end up one way and that’s environment.
You are wrong about what was attempted and what was learned.
And why should one….
Such advancement in science necessarily be the reasoning behind all of what is to come in determining the human condition? That is simply the expression of a bias, nothing more.
Come up with some evidence. So far you have none that is pertinent.
Addendum to last post.
The “A” flu vaccine is going to be followed up by an “A & B” vaccine. C is pretty whimpy so that solves virtually our entire flu problem. Most people think of the flu as only a problem for the lungs. Wrong, it’s a major cause of mental illness.
Group A Strep vaccine is in development
OCD is tied to Strep Throat. Today kids get Strep Throat vaccines but not Group A and I believe that’s the really deadly one.
Several Epstein Barr vaccines are in development. At least one is either currently in widespread testing or ready for it. This causes Mono… and cancer and apparently Multiple Sclerosis. Who knows how many other things it causes. Maybe mental illness is one of them.
Just ten years from now looks like a very good time to be born. 😎
It saddens me to think of all the suffering that goes on around the world because of seemingly insignificant pathogens. I suppose we are lucky to live in a time when we know whats going on. In the old days people thought mental illness was the result of evil spirits.
Universal flu shot in clinical trials
This vaccine stops all “A” strains of the flu. Perhaps millions of chlidren will avoid mental illness when it’s use becomes widespread.
One of the reasons I first became interested in studies of the brain and behavior was because of what happened to a dear friend and college roommate. We had noticed that for some time food had been disappearing from our cupboards and fridge. We shrugged at first, assuming the boyfriends of some of our roommates might have been mooching. Mysteriously, this continued on and off, and one day a light bulb went off when I was taking out the bathroom trash basket. There were several wrappers of Ex-lax. I recalled the times my other roommate and I had heard sounds of vomiting coming through the thin apartment walls.
In the year 1968, such odd behavior as that (we identified what had been happening and asked our roommate just what had been going on) was chalked up to an emotional disorder, a psychological problem. We knew her father was an alcoholic–we blamed our friend’s trouble on her growing up with such a father and on her problems with her studies.
Things got worse. By the following year, she was hospitalized. We were told that her bingeing and purging was called bulimia, a term we had never heard of. BTW, she had told us that her older sister had once been hospitalized because she had lost too much weight. Yep You guessed it, but at the time we had never heard this term either–anorexia nervosa. Things got worse again for our friend, and the final diagosis was manic-depression. My friend’s life has been a series of periods of relative calm followed by periods of upheaval and suffering for her and all who love her.
Over the course of many years, I witnessed the ravages of bulimia, anorexia, depression, bi-polar on many of my students. Two of my students committed suicide, and I still feel that especially with one of them I should have seen the signs, yet I didn’t.
We all have seen the broken lives that arise from such illnesses. My sister spent a month in a hospital for depression decades ago. It seemed to have come out of nowhere. She was told in that year of 1970 that there had been for reasons they didn’t understand, a “chemical change in her brain.” She was one of the lucky ones, for there has never been a recurrence of that.
I am grateful to the researchers, the thinkers, the counselors, all the practitioners who work so hard to treat the people who suffer from so many of these things. For a while now they have improved treatments through both counseling and drug treatments, but the prevention of such things has been beyond our grasp. I think we are on the edge of a frontier when it comes to all this, as it seems that causes are not that far from being detected for some of these things. At least that’s my hope.
Whoops. It just dawned on me. This thread is about homosexuality and the fraternal brith order (well, the FBO seems to have gone out the window several comments ago. LOL.) I am not at all trying to link homosexuality to mental illness. My comments about mental illness spring from having read a post above about neurotransmitters ,and that topic is what sparked what I am rambling about here. I hope you will indulge me.
I have read a great deal about the mysteries of these neurotransmitters, the neurons, the receptors, the synapses, the re-uptake processes, etc. It seems that so much of what we need to know in order to help the sufferers of so many mental disoders are related to these chemicals and the processes that send them here and there and yon.
It was just a month or two ago when a close friend brought up the sad news that her niece had to quit her teaching job because for the umpteenth time, her behavior had grown erratic. Her niece is bi-polar and has good months and bad months, good years and bad years, but this time, her employers told her she must take a very long leave or else be terminated.
In talking to my friend, I happened to ask her if her sister-in-law had been ill when she was pregnant with my friend’s niece. Her eyes grew large. “You bet she was! When she found out she was pregnant, she spent the afternoons on my couch. I took care of her–mono.”
Now it was my eyes which grew large, I am sure, for I had just read an article about how the common Epstein-Barr virus, one to which all of us have been exposed, and one which causes mono in some, had just been linked to bi-polar disorder in a number of cases. Hmmmmm. Add to that the knowledge that my friend’s nephew, the second born to her sister-in-law, committed suicide, “out of the blue” as the saying goes, in high school, and one wonders if the notion that pathogens that most people withstand with no problem wreak havoc on others is not what is going on in many instances.
I said earlier that when it comes to research about the cause of homosexuality, I “have no horse in this race.” I simply meant that the cause is irrelevant to me. I see the eventual outcome in discovering the cause to be simply one more scientific advancement into the mysteries of the brain and behavior. The discoveries about one thing lead inevitably to the discoveries of others.
I suppose the reason I have leaned toward a pathogenic cause is simply because in reading about so many other things, I have come across this notion of germs affecting the brain in ways we simply never imagine years ago.
However, my knowledge of genetics, evolution, epidemiology, chemistry….all of that…is extraordinarily limited. Thus, I appreciate when anyone else can share what he or she has read or thinks to be a possibility. It widens my base of knowledge to get as much information as I can. So, thanks to those who offer such information. I appreciate it.
And once again to show the direction science is headed…
Epstein Barr virus implicated in Multiple Sclerosis.
Ten years ago all we heard about was genes, now it’s all going the other direction.
That was the theory anyway. Obviously scientists can’t test that on humans but they have on sheep. Up in Oregon (can’t remember the guys name) they played with masculinizing hormones every different direction including turning them completely off. They had no luck producing gay sheep. Hormones are one of the very first biological theories for SSA. If that idea had merit we’d know by now.
“On Denmark, the urban areas are quite tolerant but the rural areas are not. There is much variation regarding how homosexuality is regarded.”
Sounds alot like is what is going on in the states if you ask me. Urban areas are ALWAYS more tolerant of things that tend to attract torch wielding villagers in other areas 🙂
My apologies – much of what I said above should have been directed to Ann 🙂
By that, I mean I’ve heard from many African American friends that they wish they had been born white! That is an old wish that goes back decades!!!!
“I have continuously heard from friends, acquaintainces, and others in some form of media who have same gender attractions that if they were to have had a choice in this, they would choose not to have these feelings and would prefer to be heterosexual.”
I have heard these same things said by African Americans? Does that mean that what they want is right, moral, or good? In my opinion, no, it is not! It is a response to a society that is terribly lacking in tolerance and acceptance. Please try to look at it a different way 🙂
Thanks a lot for that UK study reference. I’ll look for it.
More importantly, I am really glad you are out of hospitals and rehab and back to your computer. Good health to you!
Gee, I had never read this from him before. That leads me to a question, then. As I understood it, every fetus starts out with a female brain, one which Cochran and others have termed the “default brain.” As the mother’s body responds to the XY fetus in her, she sends androgens at specific times to the male fetus’ brain, “masculizining” it, as the process is described.
It has been hypothesized by many, therefore, that homosexuality results from the fetus not receiving these adrogens either when he should or in the amounts he should or maybe both. This supposedly occurs in the first trimester or even more crucially, I believe I read, in the first 6 weeks.
I know I once read that Cochran said he felt that the likely cells a pathogen strikes destroyed the area responsible for OSA and that therefore, the fetus’ brain would, at least regarding sexual attraction, default to the female position.
Now, that was what he said back around 2000, IIRC. I know that his hypothesis has grown a bit more specific over the years so perhaps what you pointed out is something fairly new that he has said. The male brain having both circuits available and one awaiting a stimulus sounds as if it contradicts the notion that a male brain must be masculizined and if it isn’t , it defaults to the female “fallback” position. (my quotes.)
I know that GC likes to refer to the function of whatever cells he feels are involved by using a layman’s term–he has said he like to think of those cells as if they are responsible for a “search image.” I also know that lately he has spoken of neurotransmitters as an area of great interest.
On another note, GC’s new book, written with Henry Harpending, is being released: The 10,000 Year Explosion, How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution.
In the comments section to the gnxp thread, I laughed at GC”s post . I must admit, I am putting the book on my Christmas List:
First, someone questioned him about his position on the Neanderthals, and he responded with typical assuredness:
“Look, once upon a time, I argued that there ought to be mitoviruses, a virus that hijacks the_ mitochondrial _ replication _apparatus instead of the nuclear machinery. I had to wait ten years for someone to find it.”
Then, when asked about the content of his book, he listed many of the topics covered and then added, “And you should have seen the things they wouldn’t let us put in the book…though in fact you probably will.”
Guess I’ll await those things that they “wouldn’t let” them put in. HA.
Largely correct but not entirely correct. Many studies have found an increased incidence of left handedness among gay men. Kenneth Zucker called this evidence of “developmental instability.” Anthony Bogaert says it could be evidence of “developmental stressors.” That could certainly mean infection. Also in the conclusion of the most recent Swedish twin study from the Karolinska Institue they included “illness and trauma” as a potential cause of SSA.
But you are right, nobody has directly tested for a gay germ. However I think that’s changing.
I should also note that Cochran has suggested that all of the circuitry for both “attraction to women” and “attraction to men” is contained in every male brain. Neurotransmitters determine which circuit is turned on and which lies dormant. Sure enough scientists found that is exactly how it works in flies. Change one chemical and sexual orientation would switch in minutes.
In Fruit Flies, homosexuality is biological but not hard-wired
Epigenetic refers to any heritable traits that do not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence and sometimes occurs over several generations (I guess like baldness in men).
Not really analogous, but sorta.
The British study was from 2000, all I have on it now (I had a computer failure a few days after I returned home from a 9+ month stay in hospitals/rehab centers) is the following:
They also mentioned homosexuals. And what struck me is that it fit my family and the families of several others I know.
About the evidence being completely lacking regarding the Cochran hypothesis.
Yes, evidence is indeed lacking and so are the dollars for the research to test the hypothesis.
It’s difficult in these politically charged times to get monies if one states the purpose of the research is to test whether preferential homosexuality is the result of a brain infection. Certain segments of people go ape s–t.
One would have to word things much differently, not that such wording doesn’t already go on to a degree.
I mean look at the screams of silly protest that came from Martina Navratilova and PETA when they discovered that sheep ranchers commissioned an Oregon institution to study rams that had no interest in mating with ewes. To the public their protests looked ludicrous, but to the researchers such behavior was more than silly given some horrendous attacks made on some researchers in this country.
Neither PETA nor Martina N. have any great standing with the American public regarding their opinion about scientific research, but they can cause individual problems for those scientists. Many researchers don’t want the personal and professional hassles. Members of PETA tried to kill faculty members at the University of CA, Santa Cruz, because their research used animals. Things have gotten crazy.
Cochran has claimed in years past that such research can ruin a career. He himself would, however, pursue it if there were the dollars and the microbiologists willing to undertake it.
I think things might have gotten better, , but I don’t know that for sure. He made what seemed to be a simple suggestion–clone a few of those rams uninterested in ewes and see if the clones are also uninterested in ewes. If that is happening, I haven’t heard about it, but I wonder….
Still, most of the dollars have been going to studies that are gene-based in theory. One also needs people and institutions who aren’t afraid to tackle the hypothesis. It could be that this hypothesis will be tested in another country, not here. Also, testing brain tissue is not possible and to use cadavers is not the optimal strategy for a host of reasons.
Just because results haven’t been produced doesn’t mean the hypothesis isn’t a good one. Now, should other research (say, the UCLA study which is very well funded) turn up definitive results, that’s another matter. Nothing has turned up conclusive results yet.
Thanks for the hint. (Duh! Slapping my forehead–the thing was staring me in the face!)
Yes, I have read the results of the Italian study, but not the English one. I have also read some criticisms of the conclusions of the Italian study, but what else is new when it comes to conclusions and criticisms? LOL. I know there are more studies to see if they can find replicate the results..
So, the theory that increased female fertility is a kind of swap for an occasional male who either can’t or won’t reproduce or will reproduce, but to a lesser degree, is kind of like the “one sickle cell will get you protection from malaria” swap, right?
About the UCLA study? Now, I understand what they theorize but is the shutting down of a gene what is meant by “epigenetics”? The term seems to be used so very many ways I have grown confused.
And your evidence is…… completely lacking! Even Cochran admits that.
Thanks so much for copying that article. I appreciate it.
I was struck at first by M. Bailey’s remarks about the Swedish study as “one unlikely to be bettered in the near future” since he and Alan Sanders have their own study of twins which is either completed or about to be.
Then, I realized that the Swedish study involved only a survey of a large sample and that the survey was then used to derive concordance rates of MZ and DZ twins whereas the Sanders’ study involves DNA analyses. Also, the Swedish study surveyed both men and women whereas the Sanders’ study involves only men.
I assume, therefore, that Bailey’s remark that the the Swedish study is not likely “to be bettered in the near future” means that the numbers he sees in the twin study he is conducting with Sanders must be very close to the numbers found in the Swedish study.
Of course, maybe I am totally wrong here : maybe Sanders’ team didn’t/ isn’t trying to establish those concordance numbers, but that makes little sense, doesn’t it? After all, why go to the trouble to recruit twins, test their DNA, and not establish those numbers along with testing their DNA? From what I read, the sample size was supposed to be large. Guess we’ll find out soon enough.
So, yes, the Swedish study was only a survey and the answers to that survey were plugged into a model. From that the researchers derived twin concordance percentages and I am sure that Bailey did mean that no study of the present or near future is likely to be more accurate than the Swedish one on that point.
However, in using their model, the Swedish researchers came up with
I think it all comes down to common sense. I do not like it when mothers promote hair coloring, teeth whitening, provocative clothes, or plastic surgery for their teenage daughters just so they will be in the mother’s image. I also do not like it when a father taunts his son for not wanting to play sports or other activities he is not interested in. I have continuously heard from friends, acquaintainces, and others in some form of media who have same gender attractions that if they were to have had a choice in this, they would choose not to have these feelings and would prefer to be heterosexual. I must respect this. If this desire that they express could be protected through a childhood vaccine, then I endorse it. I also think God gave children parents to protect, nuture, and guide them until they are old enough to make choices for themselves. Some do this with an ego and self centeredness, demanding that their child develops in the parent’s image – others do it with a profound love that transcends all ego and centers on the complete well being of their child and what is ultimately going to nourish that. If they are faith based or not, usually they want their child to be grow and develop in the image of God, not themselves.
That concept or something just like it could theoretically be true. But I think the problem it runs into is the problem that EVERYTHING runs into. Genes play a part in everything but all of the big things are falling like dominos to infectious or other environmental explanations. The weight of science is headed in that direction and if you play the odds homosexuality won’t be any different.
If Camperiano is ultimately proven correct it will be an amazing and unprecedented discovery. If Cochran is proven correct we’ll wonder why somebody didn’t figure this out in the 1960s because it’s so obvious.
This is the text of the Science article you linked to:
What Sanders said was that the evidence is substantial for genetic factors so far and that it’s the only big factor scientists know something about. It doesn’t look like Lynn Sher said more than that.
Is this the piece you mentioned?
First, Carole, a hint, it’s the “blockquote” tag or “bquote” on the bar above the text box.
I don’t know what triggers it. It may be purely random – in men. In women (and Drowssap will deny this) it could be that genes on the X-chromosome in some way increase female fertility, likely through increasing the number of female births (there is an Italian and English study that support this, but more work is needed). As females are always more important to the breeding success of a population fertility is increased. Men aren’t that important, one can service several females.
Thus whatever increases fertility is likely to be that which allows gene expression from the X-chromosome in gay men. Thus gay men have nothing to do with fitness to the breeding population (other than their support roles) and are basically a by-product and thus they are basically neutral in regard to evolutionary fitness.
I am sure that the more operative problems that gay people experience are more personal than the general culture. First there is the hurdle of getting acceptance within your immediate and extended family. Then there is your religion, which in my case was an extended family situation. That’s a lot more personal than a black person might feel, who often had/have the solace of family and religion.
Perhaps different and yet somewhat the same.
Lynn David said: (BTW, help guys–how do you make someone’s quote show up in a gray box–I’m computer illiterate here!)
“Well, you grow up in a straight culture, with expectations hung on your shoulders, and no matter how “gay-friendly” a culture may be, there are still many areas of that culture, religion being among the most prominent, which are not gay-friendly. If you should have read GoogleNews recently and filter on ‘gay Netherlands violence’ you would have found that even in the most gay-friendly cultures that there are elements which do not accept and are thus still causitive of worry among gay peoples.”
Yes, there would be such places that remain especially cruel and intolerant.
That made me think about the prejudice toward, in particular, blacks in our country for a good part of our history ; I am sure that there are still many pockets where a black man/woman are treated very badly.
I wonder if they exhibited the same kinds of emotional problems that we read about affecting the gay community if those reports are on target.
@Jayhuck: On Denmark, the urban areas are quite tolerant but the rural areas are not. There is much variation regarding how homosexuality is regarded.
“The tradeoff is they probably aren’t susceptible to something else.”
On a different but similar note then there is always Sickle Cell Anemia – which, in one area and instance can confer resistance to Malaria, and in others, can be a fatal disease.
Yeah – I have to defer to Lynn regarding the Denmark study – that study is one that has been discussed ad nauseum on this site. – Its odd that you bring that study up, because it is used relentlessly by the religious right to further their own particular agenda – however, as Lynn said, No matter how “open” or “accepting” a society says it is, there are going to be elements of the larger culture that are not. Gay marriage and tolerance are one thing, but to radically embrace gay people is another. No society has done that yet – and, to be fair, ONE study hardly proves anything – at least when it comes to science 🙂
Yes, I have heard of the aromotase/ androgen theories.
Have you ever read what is theorized to trigger such an anomaly? I mean, why would this happen in a mere small % of men? Do those who hold this idea have any idea of why the mother’s x-chromo behaves as it does?
Sure, anything that happens in a way that would not have happened in the ancient world might increase the chance of disease. Our immune systems aren’t evolved for the modern world.
I had to read the Atlantic Article from 1999 again. Near the end they mention that scientists suspect that Schizophrenia might be triggered by flu and other viruses. Today (just 9 years later) they know that’s true. Roughly half of all Schiz cases are now believed to be the result of a slew of different infections. Flu, Toxoplasma, TBE and maybe a few others are the culprits. Autism is now linked to flu virus and it looks like it will turn out the same way.
Of course genes make us susceptible to these things but without the infection, no disorder. It’s just like Carole’s family that is susceptible to sinus infections. The tradeoff is they probably aren’t susceptible to something else.
If so, such a manipulation would likely have to be effected in utero within the first trimester. The “body” that may be worked upon in the hypothalamus produces aromatase that catalyzes testosterone into androgen in the brain. Androgen is then used thought to create some of the masculine features (supposedly also a heterosexual orientation) in those first few months of gestation.
Somehow I don’t think that would be likely. And the test for such a possiblity is of the mother’s X-chromosome. And it may not show up the tendency, basically it’s a crap-shoot and somewhat unpredictable. And yet more postive data (out of a UCLA study) exists on the hypothesis than Cochrans conjectures.
Just as an aside, the methylation or switch in the “on” or “off” position , so to speak, would be a discovery that still might lead to a very contentious path, for if that turns out to be the case, within a generation or so, (if I understand what little I have read) science will be able to manipulate the switch to the on or off position.
Is that the case?
What about the recent finding that C-section babies are much more likely to develop type 1 diabetes than babies delivered vaginally?
One theory is that the baby taken by C-sec is not properly immunized by going through the mother’s birth canal; another suggests that the handling of a C-section baby exposes it to more hospital pathogens (I’ve no idea why this would be so–do they handle the baby differently than one that is delivered vaginally?
Another is that complications that forced a C-sec to begin with might be a causal factor.
Since we are on the subject of infections that cause disorders that were previously thought to be caused by genetics…
Rats’ virus holds clues to diabetes
It’s pretty obvious to any science watcher that this is the way just about everything is headed.
Well, you grow up in a straight culture, with expectations hung on your shoulders, and no matter how “gay-friendly” a culture may be, there are still many areas of that culture, religion being among the most prominent, which are not gay-friendly. If you should have read GoogleNews recently and filter on ‘gay Netherlands violence’ you would have found that even in the most gay-friendly cultures that there are elements which do not accept and are thus still causitive of worry among gay peoples.
For the same reasoning as Cochran it cannot be a dedicated gene. But it stil may be genetic. That would be in the realm of gene expression from an unmethylated (failed to shut down) X-chromosome.
Yeah, I quoted that article to you above.
Now THAT is what I have been looking for… thank you!
Ok… more to come barring the Throckmortonian “pit of hell.”
Listen the gene expression “off” or “on” idea is intriguing as well. I certainly lack the knowledge to understand complicated genetics.
Oh, check this out! I was wondering if this article would be posted on the gnxp site, but so far I haven’t seen it. If I do and when I do, I’ll look forward to the discussion of it. Very interesting but I haven’t read much about it:
Thanks, Jayhuck and Drowsapp,
I was wondering if Sanders ran not only DNA sequencing, but HLA typing as well. I know that Cochran complained in a post a few years ago about a study (I am sorry–I don’t remember the study) done by someone. He requested the HLA types of the subjects and was denied access to them. One wonders why.
I know Sanders had a large budget so I wondered if he did the typing as well. That could reveal some things. I am sure that even if no firm findings are established, this sample is large enough that it will add to the fundamental base of knowledge for all the researchers who follow.
Yeah, from what I have read that sounds like someething he would say. But he said there that he’d bet it happens outside the womb.
Ok, so he’s saying it more than likely happens early in life, but he cannot rule out that it happens in utero – why? Because: “There is no positive evidence” for his theory. Whereas there is an amount of positive evidence for a genetic cause via gene expression (unlike Cochran’s statement to the contrary in 2005).
My point about the lithp is utter sarcasm. What lisp? There is an effeminate affect in some guy’s voice, but, heck, there’s also a bunch of gay guys who sing baritone or bass in gay choirs. And I’ve known men with the most effeminate of voices who are as straight as you can be. Sorta fails just like reparative therapy.
More to follow, if this doesn’t get shunted off to the “Throckmorton pit of hell.”
I can’t get the article either.
My educated guess on the study is this…
A) They’ll find a few genes that might correlate with SSA in some men.
B) They’ll find that if men don’t posess a particular set of genes they don’t become gay. But most men with these genes don’t become gay either.
C) They’ll find nothing much at all.
It’s almost always something like that.
BTW you are right on the state of medical reporting and reporting in general. Aye Carumba!
I think in that case you and I are going to be in complete agreement. The parents shooting their kids up with hormones to make them compete at a higher athletic level are complete kooks. These people are not looking out for the best interests of their children.
It does sound like Lynn Sherr was incompetent. I’ll read the article now 🙂
Most of you probably know about the large twin study being headed up by Alan Sanders of Northwestern. He hoped to study a sample large enough to once and for all put to rest whether they could find a gene or genes that code for homosexuality. In fact, he rather boldly stated that if Hamer was right, that there was a gene on Xq28 as he argued there was, that this study would confirm it or disprove it once and for all.
Well, this summer I happened to catch a piece on “Good Morning America” about the Northwestern study. Now, along with liking to read science blogs, I profess my others passions–politics and journalism. I studied journalism in college and it saddens me to see what has happened to it in this day and age of quick sound bites and pablum.
The “reporter” assigned the story and who went to Sanders’ lab was Lynn Sher. I was truly embarrassed by the incompetence of her reporting. She exchanged a few words with Sanders, who explained his team had collected a huge number of DNA samples, and beyond that, not much else was said.
However, back in the studio, speaking to one of the hosts of “Good Morning, America, ” Sher was asked about the study. She was factually beaming, smiling from ear to ear. She explained that Dr. Sanders was not finished compiling the results (they were expected by the end of this year) but that “so far” things looked “good.”
Judging from the look on her face and the questions she asked, the host felt just as I did, I guess–what did “good” mean?
Sher explained that if people could just believe that gayness was “genetic” that “there would be less prejudice” and wasn’t that “just wonderful”? Of course, studies do show that the more people believe that homosexuality is innate, not a “choice, ” there is less bias and more acceptance. However, one wondered if Sher was a cheerleader, a rather dim-witted one at that, or a responsible journalist.
The host herself pressed her, asking, “Well, what do preliminary results seem to suggest? Have Dr. Sanders and his team learned anything new?”
Sher stumbled and grinned and beamed and said “Well, it’s…..uh….it’s….uh, terribly complex. It’s not totally or exactly genetic…but it is.. well, uh, it’s just so complex. It’s just so hard to explain. It’s just such a complex thing.”
And there you had it. There was no explanation–just a babbling “reporter” who showed no sign of intelligence and no journalistic objectivity. Furthermore, she had imparted no information.
As a viewer, I sat, mouth agape. Had I been her boss, I would have fired Sher, whose work I have seen before on another ABC news magazine show. Never had I seen her so unprepared nor so incoherent, so inarticulate. Evidently the host and director felt the same way for they seemed to cut the segment short.
It was obvious that if indeed Sher had properly interviewed Sanders and his team, they either told her very little or she understood very little. I suspect the latter. It angered me first because I fear for the state of journalism, second because as a viewer, I expected to be given a comprehensible explanation, even if all she could say was, “They still don’t know the cause” or “They’ll reveal their findings after all the data are compiled and studied,” but instead, all I got was a babbling woman who didn’t know what she wanted to say and who, I knew, didn’t know the difference between the terms “biological” and “genetic.”
The distinction is especially crucial because the public, out of their own laziness in reading and because “reporters” like this are sooooo bad, also don’t make a distinction between “biological” and “genetic.”
Okay, my rant is over.
Here’s the question I have for you. I happened upon this link the other day:
It looks as if one of the researchers on Sanders’ team, Mike Bailey, may have been quoted about this very study in Science Now Magazine.
I don’t have access to this journal, and I guess you could say I am too cheap to spring for the ten dollars to read the article when I can’t even find out by looking at the page if the article is a paragraph or an article of greater length.
Has anyone read this article? Has anyone seen any “partial results” of the Sanders’ Northwestern study? I have read what many expect to come out of the study, but I have seen nothing in the way of results.
Anyone know? As I said, last I heard, the results were expected at the end of this year, which is this month.
non-necessary = non-medically necessary 🙂
“And what happens to the few kids who don’t get the vaccination? It would be harder than ever for that small group. Imagine the pressure on these kids when they aren’t outnumbered 30 to 1 but more like 1000 to 1. Any parent who would purposefully put their child in that situation is the living definition of cruel.”
You already see parents today doing their best to alter the physical and emotional aspects of their children – from using growth hormones, to steroids, to requiring ridiculous amounts of exercise, to non-necessary plastic surgery (for CHILDREN).
Do the children of parents who can’t afford these things suffer? Probably. Does this make what these parents are doing to these kids, right?
How do you know Ann when a parent is TRULY doing what is right for the child, and when the parent is simply viewing their kid as an extension of themselves – many terrible and immoral things are done to children everyday in the name of “protecting” them. Where does it stop? When do we say, enough is enough?
“Yes, gays and lesbians can have genetic offspring, but remember that we are talking hypothetically about a husband and a wife in a doctor’s office being told that a simple shot with no side effects can prevent their child from getting a germ Given that scenario, what do you think people would do , all things considered.”
I was simply responding initially to your statement that parents want grandchildren – if they are given the facts, they will understand that a person does not have to be straight to give them grandchildren – that’s as far as I was going with that argument.
We have to assume a great deal here – and I wonder now, just how helpful these discussions really are, when there is still so VERY much we don’t know about this issue (we don’t even have a very good idea how many gay people there really are in this country) – As for the couple in the doctors office, it depends on how parents are presented with the information and how the HYPOTHETICAL pathogen itself acts – if all it does is confer on people a certain orientation, that is VASTLY different than a pathogen that is connected both to orientation and to some kind of physical/emotional “defect”.
It is emotional Carol – but to ignore the REALITY of bigotry and prejudice, even in the most noble of people, is dangerous. We all can and do have hidden prejudices that can effect our choices, and those are things that are as – probably, MORE important to deal with than some theoretical “bug” 🙂
I honestly DO understand what you are trying to say though 🙂
I remember reading a story about a young transgendered boy. He wasn’t even in KG yet and he had attempted to cut off his penis. He said it didn’t belong. Imagine the years of emotional torment this child and his parents will go through. Theoretically speaking if a simple vaccine could stop this who would be against it?
I would imagine that if this comes to pass many transgendered parents will be near the front of the line to get their kids vaccinated. They know the pain involved first hand.
You are too kind. I’m not too worried about adults. Their life choices are their own. But when kids are involved… GRRRrrrrrr. A parents #1 job is to look out for them. Thankfully most parents do.
It is unconscionable to imagine that any parent would withhold the well being of their child to accommodate their own thoughts or beliefs about homosexuality I know some would but it just seems unbelievable to me. My heart would stop if I had to answer to any child that asked why or how I could compromise their future and emotional well being for my own self serving reasons. Every opportunity we have to love and protect any child and their well being now and for ther future, it is our obligation to do so. As always, I appreciate your unbiased thoughts – they make a lot of sense to me.
Thanks for the analogy and yes, I do see your point.
If indeed that kind situation arose, and if again (hypothetically, of course) parents could have a child with high IQ but one who was infertile or vice versa, then we are back to the parental choice, assuming the medical technology and its safety were available. Even more of a head-scratcher would be low IQ/ high fertility–maybe double trouble.
Not being an expert, however, I wonder if a pathogen would do this-cause one area of the brain to not perform at all while causing another to superperform, especially when the two areas (as in your example, IQ and fertility) are unrelated to a common endeavor.
In the case of a stroke, we know that therapies can help a patient’s brain to recover some of what the stroke affected and train some relatively underused portions to take over. We know that a blind person develops an acute sense of hearing, but as I understand that phenomenon, even a sighted person can train himself to develop an acute sense of hearing. That is, he need not be unsighted to develop supreme acuity in hearing. He simply needs the stimulus, a motivation.
So, I don’t know that a pathogen would result in such a circumstance. Maybe yes, maybe no. I’ll leave that to the experts in the field, but your point is well-taken.
Natural selection, however, a function of genes, *can do* such a thing if Henry Harpinding, Cochran, and Jason Hardy are right in their paper about the Ashkenazi Jews.
They make the case that that the high IQ of this group relative to other groups is the result of their history of being isolated from groups around them, and from performing jobs which demanded high intelligence —and that intelligence was thus selected for; there was, therefore, a low gene flow which, in turn, wound up affecting the group with many neurological problems. Gee, I hope I haven’t botched up that explanation too badly!
If they are right, there was a genetic trade-off of sorts–high IQ=good, various serious diseases=bad.
It’s like the trade-off evolution gave many on the African continent–one allele for sickle cell, and great, you are immune from the most virulent strain of malaria; two alleles and you’re not going to live long with sickle cell anemia.
Hypothetically speaking imagine that childhood exposure to a common cold or flu virus would reduce a man’s adult height by around a half inch.
Given the choice, how many parents would vaccinate against this? My guess is that somewhere around 100% of involved parents would. Do parents secretly fear and hate shorter than average people? Of course not. Parents want the best possible lives for their children.
If you were a parent you wouldn’t feel any different. Assuming that Cochran is correct (and he might not be) would parents opt for a vaccination? Of course they would. Nearly everyone would vaccinate whether they were gay, straight or inbetween. Being gay is hard, being transgendered is even harder. No loving parent, not even Dean Hamer would want to add an extra burden to his child’s life.
And what happens to the few kids who don’t get the vaccination? It would be harder than ever for that small group. Imagine the pressure on these kids when they aren’t outnumbered 30 to 1 but more like 1000 to 1. Any parent who would purposefully put their child in that situation is the living definition of cruel.
The mental health study I was referring to was the NEMESIS study by Sandfort et al.
As for disease – lets put it this way – suppose there was a virus that caused part of the brain to be changed – so that someone’s intelligence was attenuated but also make infertile. From a biological point of view – anything that doesn’t perpetuate the species is a maladustment. But from a social point of view would anyone really consider an intelligence attenuation as something that is undesireable – I wouldn’t think so. Which goes to my point that you cannot determine if something is socially desireable or good – by looking at its evolutionary purpose. Basically, it seems all too often people move from something being wrong or a maladustment from a biological point of view – to the view that something is wrong on other levels as well (morally, socially, mentally etc).
Just to add to Drowsapp’s link–here is the original 1999 Atlantic Magazine article–it has three parts.
What really got me to thinking that GC is on the right course is that since 1999 when this article was written, so much of what he and Ewald have said about common diseases and illnesses being caused by pathogens has indeed been substantiated by research. They arrived at their conclusions based on their knowledge of evolution and genes.
Even as we speak, lab rats all over the world are trying to identify the virus or viruses or bacteria that cause atherosclerosis and several cancers. All along, especially in the case of cancer, we were led to believe it was just a matter of genetic inheritance. We all felt doomed by our genes. Turns out, we are not doomed in most cases, especially if research is funded (and if drug companies see a financial benefit to the research).
In another generation or sooner, our kids will reap the benefits of what these guys proffered as the lab rats are now on the right track in so many cases..
It’s not an easy chore to identify many viruses for they evolve so quickly and have so many stealth capabilities but hey, whoever thought in 1960 that in a few short years, we’d put men on the moon?
1. I must not have been clear: I am not a scientist and have no deep understanding of the difference between a disease and some other state or condition. The term “maladaptation” is just fine with me. I am sure that most scientists and educated laypeople can agree on that one. Indeed, I have seen the term used a great deal in the literature. In fact, that’s why it is studied so much–it’s a maladaptation that ,so far anyway, has not been able to be explained according to the precepts of evolutionary theory.
However, from what I do know about the language of science, “maladaptation” would only describe the behavioral outcome, not the cause of the outcome. While that term probably works well now even with scientists, I wonder if they’d continue to use it among themselves and in science texts if indeed the cause was actually indentified.
In that case, I think the behavior might still be termed a “maladaptation” or a “biological anomaly,” but the actual cause leading to the behavior would get another name.
So, I don’t know what that “condition” might be called one day should the hypothesis be proven true.
Just out of curiosity, what would you choose to term it if we were to find that a virus had destroyed those particular brain cells in some individuals?
2. As to the question about whether or not it is part of a syndrome–again, I must have miscommunicated. I thought I made it clear that GC stated he saw no evidence of its being a part of a syndrome, but that doesn’t preclude researchers in this country and others from asking questions about it and examining whether there are other correlations.
After all, for years society /science really didn’t ask the right questions or maybe didn’t ask questions at all; as a consequence, many thought homosexuality was a mental illness and then later an emotional problem caused by a weak father and a domineering mother . (In fact, I guess people in orgs like Narth still do).
So, yes, of course I do know it isn’t classified as a mental illness. What has that to do with my points, however?
I thought we were talking about the hypothesis that homosexuality may be triggered by a pathogen(s) which destroys a subpopulation of brain cells which under normal conditions (those which haven’t allowed a viral or bacterial invader) cause opposite sex attraction.
3. I thought the study to which I referred was a Danish study of two or three years ago, not the one Warren mentioned not long ago, but I could be wrong about that. You called it a Dutch study. I am not familiar with that one, I must admit.
4. Let me ask you this up front. I do believe in being honest here–would it upset you to find out that a common virus or even a rather rare one was the cause of homosexuality? You mention that people have “pathologized” homosexuality. I understand how you mean that, of course.
However, from the standpoint of science and medicine, what are you really saying? I gather you don’t think it to be a pathogen, but let’s put your personal feelings as to its cause aside for a moment and ask this: what if it is the result of an infection? Just pretend.
If that were to be the case, do you want or do you expect researchers around the world to sit on that information, deny people the knowledge of its origin? (Not that they’d ever be able to hide that forever.)
Since you quoted it here is a link to the article. To the best of my knowledge it is the only story ever written on the Gay Germ Theory.
Did a Germ Make You Gay? Caleb Crain, Out Magazine, August 1999
Disorder vs disease vs ?? – I think there has been a far too long history of pathologizing homosexuality. Now from a purely evolutionary point of view it might be classified as a disease or maladaption. But evolutionary biology isn’t the only way to view the world – mental health professionals for instance have a different view of what a disease is – and don’t classify homosexuality as one. There are all sorts of concepts of what health is – apart from just looking at its biological advantage.
Secondly about the Dutch studies on mental health and gays/lesbians. This topic has come up before. Three things I will mention – the authors themselves don’t see homosexuality as a disease from their study – in fact they comment on it being due to minority stress (other minorities – even ones not as heavily stigmatized as homosexuals – suffer from more mental health problems). Secondly, if you look at the numbers in these studies (and I did have a number of them saved but not sure where I put them at the moment) – heterosexual women faired significantly worse than heterosexual men – clearly we aren’t go to call being female a syndrome or a disease. And thirdly, the vast majority of heterosexuals and homosexuals in these studies are free of any mental health problems. I would think if there was a ‘syndrome’ these problems would be much more common.
Cochran shoots from the hip and if you’ve ever read his posts he is blunt… more precisely he is the definition of blunt. There are a whole lot of scientists who pussy foot around an issue but they rarely say anything important or interesting. Cochran is not that guy.
In related news 95% of the financial experts on TV have been telling us for years that everything was just fine, the economy was going to go up forever. One guy, Peter Schiff said the exact opposite was true over and over. His YouTube videos are legendary. Not surprisingly he is just as blunt as Cochran.
I think it takes a certan personality type to spot an accepted truth that doesn’t make sense and then drive hard against the grain of society until you are proven correct.
Thank you for your reference, “It might hit before birth, but wouldn’t have to.” I know he’s said it in several different ways. In one quote he compared it something else that hit before birth and didn’t usually affect both twins. Weird but apparently possible.
1. Lynn David,
GC does *not* state that this hypothetical pathogen “must hit early in life”. Cochran states in this interview (and in many of his other pieces) that “It might hit before birth, but wouldn’t have to.” I think he was trying to emphasize that whatever the particular pathogen, he doesn’t believe it strikes a person at a late age. The brain would have to be susceptible to infection and usually that would be either in utero or within the first few years of life. He has done more recent interviews and written posts that support what he said in that interview.
2. As for calling it a “disease” –while it may be politically incorrect to say this and hard for many to hear, this is a scientist talking, not a politician or a friend or a neighbor–he is about pure science, and anyone who has read him knows he is a guy who is blunt. We may not like his style, but he has been right about a myriad of things. If you want politically correct language from a man who believes Cochran offers the best explanation, read Paul Ewald who is a much more genteel, polite sort.
As for the lisp–yes, Cochran has wondered– is there is a syndrome involved in homosexuality? He is not the only one to ask himself this question. Many fitness-hitting disorders are accompanied by physical traits that are easily observed. He states that homosexuality does *not * appear to fit into that category–within that context is why he mentions that there exists a certain subpopulation of gays who speak with a sibilant lisp, not just a lisp, but a particular kind.
The reason he brings it up is that it seems to be something observed in many parts of the world; thus, he was simply wondering if that sibilant lisp was related to a physical trait that could be part of a syndrome. Is it simply an affectation some gay boys/men take on, or does it have a physical basis or does the adoption of it by some gays signify a biological compulsion? These are valid questions when one is looking at something biologically. Again, science must ask questions if it is to get answers. Pure inquiry. Ask no questions, get no answers.
In the end, GC has said he hasn’t seen evidence that suggests homosexuality is part of a discernible syndrome, at least not a syndrom with obvious physical abnormalities. However, there has been a great deal of questioning over the last 5 years as to whether or not gays have more mental health problems than straights.
Now, having read that the first time, I laughed. “Well, of course, they’d be likely to have more problems in that area, ” I concluded. “After all, if one feels different, is shunned by family, society, etc., wouldn’t one be more likely to suffer from emotional problems than those in the general poppulation?”
It seemed obvious why gay men in particular might seek medical, psychological help. However, they are now looking specifically at Denmark, a country which is deemed (for lack of a better word) as “gay-friendly” as there is. Gay marriage has been allowed for some time, gays are “out”, etc. They are disturbed by the most recent research –gay men have higher suicide rates, , higher levels of depression, including bi-polar, there’s a higher incidence of compulsive behaviors than in the straight population.
Now, no one should leap to any conclusions here, and they are careful not to. Perhaps those emotional problems are those related to substance abuse or social stigma, even though the stigma is not what it is in other countries.
However, they are going conduct more research into this. Demark has a database that helps them in their research (marriage registry, twin registry, etc.). The underlying question is “Are such higher incidents of emotional disturbances related to sociological factors , personal factors, or biological factors?”
3. Lynn David, you quoted GC as saying the following:
“And if the older-brother effect had general power, homosexuality should be more common among the Amish and Hutterites – something like 1.8 times more common. It should have been more common in colonial America than today.”
Yes, I recalled he said that in one of his gnxp posts. His following sentence reads, “Hard to know for sure but I see no sign of it.” He has never been a fan of the older brother effect.
4. If you are interested in pathogens and epidemiology, Ewald is fascinating, and is considered the number one guy in his field, truly a remarkable thinker who has caused a sea-change in the field. There is, I believe, a brief YouTube or two of pieces of his lectures about how and why pathogens evolve to be either fairly benign or virulent, like malaria. Many have urged our public health agencies to listen to Ewald how to change their policies so that some very serious pathogens might be forced to become more benign. Alas, we all know how slowly government agencies move, indeed how slow they are to react to new findings.
5. I am not a biologist so w/out looking it up, I really don’t know the scientific definition of a “disease” versus a “disorder” versus whatever you want to call it, but because I am a thinking person, I do know enough to understand that the human body would rather not have any brain cells or other cells, for that matter, be destroyed by an invader such as a bacteria, virus, toxin, etc. regardless of the symptoms or behavior that invader caused by its intrusion.
People either want to know the truth about biological and medical and scientific phenomena or they don’t. I prefer the truth. That’s what science is after, or should be, regardless of what it finds. Much of what we know about biology is found accidentally–scientists looking for one thing often find out about something else. All
It took Ewald’s books and Hamilton’s ideas about how germs, not genes, were the primary causes of many things we once thought were “genetic, ” to get researches off their duffs to look at things in new ways; it took some time, but finally many scientists started looking for bacterial and viral and toxic invaders for illnesses for such things as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, and a myriad of other things like depression, compulsions, etc. The basic idea, as GC says, is that genes are there to “optimize function” not to cause fitness hits to an organism. There are really only a few genes that do that, and they are, like sickle cell anaemia, a defense to a disease. The other “bad things” are mutuations, but hey, they know the basic mathematical likelihood of mutations and the accompanying syndromes that result.
For a long time a few thinkers believed cervical cancer was caused by a virus. No money was forthcoming to study it. My grandmother died of it at an early age. Now, there is a vaccine for it. We know that other cancers are pathogen caused too. There are genes that make one person’s chances of getting a certain cancer more likely than the chances of another person getting it, but in most cases, the new thinking is that yes, pathogens are the cause of many cancers. Find that pathogen as the trigger and spare many lives.
It doesn’t matter to me what the cause of homosexuality is. I don’t have a horse in this race except knowledge. Knowledge is good; wisdom, the ability to use knowledge wisely, even better.
I suspect that whatever that cause is, once it is identified, some people, for whatever reasons, will be upset and some will be, for some reason, happy. Some won’t care at all except to be glad that science has, as it has done in the past, explained something that we didn’t understand once and for all. That’s what we expect science to do.
Will there be social ramifications once a cause has been determined? I suspect that yes, there will be. That is always the case when science discovers something.
Again, a hypothetical: What if the cause were deemed to be totally genetic? What if today researchers identified one gene or two or three that coded *directly* for homosexuality? How would that be any different from the cause being pathogenic? The same issues, the same moral/ethical questions would arise in the world’s population. Parents would one day be given the option of testing in utero just as they do for Down Syndrome and other, yes, “illnesses or diseases.”
Whether you or I like that idea will be irrelevant.
If the cause is found, you can be sure that science will one day find a way to prevent it or “treat it,” and parents will have the legal authority to do with that information what they will. It will not matter what you or I think. It will be a parental decision.
I can’t find it. He must have written it in a thread on GNXP which makes it basically a needle in a haystack. But it’s in there 100%. I suppose I could look through every chat thread on GNXP for the last five years… uggh.
I don’t have an encyclopedia of everything Cochran has written online but I specifically know he wrote this and it is online.
To paraphrase he said something like,
“I’m not saying it couldn’t take place in the womb because certain things do work like that, syndrome X (can’t remember the name) can affect one twin and not the other. But you have to bet it took place out of the womb because….(you know the rest)”
It’s in one of his rants or articles.
Show me where.
I was wrong about where I got the idea that it happened in young age; it was not at Gene Expression. At the paper at:
Where Cochran says:
So he’s saying it must hit early in life. And homosexuals are diseased. With that lithp. Great…..
BTW…. Cochran had this to say about the Older Brother Hypothesis at the Gene Expression: Biology of Homosexuality posting [you have to go click on the Comments link, one of those Haloscan pop-ups]:
Anybody who thinks I’m anti-gay doesn’t know the first thing about me or why I write on this board in the first place. Jayhuck knows this. I think he had too much Egg-Nogg last night. 😎
You are correct. Cochran contends that the low concordence rate for identical twins indicates that whatever triggers SSA happens in the first few years of life, not in the womb. But he stated that it is at least feasible that it could happen in the womb.
As for the infection leaving a mark you are correct again. Schizophrenics tend to have a definite look. However Autistics, kids with OCD and Narcoleptics now appear to be the victims of common infections and I don’t think they have a look. It probably depends on the infection and when/how it occurs.
I dunno this is all hypothetical. The gay germ theory could go down in flames just like every other theory so far. I think it’s true but who knows? Once scientists find the actual neurons that create sexual orientation I think the rest of the answers won’t be far off. They recently found sexual orientation neurons in fruit flies. I’m sure that scientists are moving up the evolutionary ladder as we speak.
Completely wrong. The FBO theory is that the male fetus itself is the cause of the immune response. And indeed there is a study from Stockholm that does indicate (based upon the number of miscarriages) that mothers do have an immune response (greater percentage of miscarriages following a male birth than female birth).
Then there is the lisp Cochran says we all have. Hutph? That was a sarcastic response.
Then there is this:
Which is why Cochran’s hypothesis doesn’t have anything to do with an infection in utero. Cochran thinks it happens in the first three years of a person’s life. He said as much in a posting at Gene Expression in 2007. This doesn’t seem to make sense to me because he seems to like the Levay/sheep studies and everyone associated with those studies seems to think that the hypothalamic differences are something set in the first trimester of human gestation.
A comment on Bantu or Bushmen and the lack of homosexuality there. This is also a possible effect of genetics. These tribes are close to that earliest of mitochondrial Eve’s at 180,000 years ago. Most ethnic groups have mitochondrial Eves that show their mutations at about 50,000 years or less. Thus whatever genetics that results in homosexuality may have been developed (uncovered) some generations after the first humans.
Now let’s see if Warren (well, his surrogate the posting program) will allow this to post.
Warren… .please check your spam filter/folder/pit of hell again.
Thank you, Lynn
I can understand your strong feelings on this subject, Jayhuck. I do. A subject like this is an emotional one.
BTW, congrats on becoming a new dad!
I really hope you reconsider what you said about such discussions bringing “to light how a person TRULY feels about minorities.” I don’t think that’s the case here at all. In fact, for all you know, I myself could be a minority who knows full well how minorities are often treated.
Perhaps we will have to agree to disagree. I simply believe that most parents, straight and even many gay, would, upon being told that a shot could prevent the nuclei of certain brain cells of their child from being destroyed by a virus, opt for the shot.
Yes, gays and lesbians can have genetic offspring, but remember that we are talking hypothetically about a husband and a wife in a doctor’s office being told that a simple shot with no side effects can prevent their child from getting a germ Given that scenario, what do you think people would do , all things considered.
I am not even arguing for the morality of the choice. I am simply stating what they would do.
By irrational, I mean that some parents will act irrationally in hopes of preventing their child from hurting, when what they are often doing is making things worse –
However, I DO understand what you are saying, but I don’t agree with your conclusions – I think if given ALL the facts, parents might very well, on the whole, not choose such a vaccine.
I am gay, and I will be giving my parents grandchildren. My friend Allison who is married to another woman has two daughters. Being gay does not prevent a person from having children, or giving their parents grandchildren. And being gay is NOT as hard today as it was in the past.
Using your reasoning, you would, I expect, also vaccinate against a microbe that caused someone to be African American. I know parents can and do act irrationally, but I would hope that most would at least stop and really think about what they are doing before they ever did something like vaccinate against a person’s sexual orientation (you know, assuming that will ever be an option).
Your example was quite detailed, but I wonder how useful it really was. Often, these discussions bring to light how a person TRULY feels about minorities – the inner prejudices and bigoted feelings we all carry to a certain extent – and I think, in this case, that is what happened.
“it covers the ENTIRE range of common flu viruses ”
Only known viruses Drowssap – that virus mutates – which is why NO vaccine will be able to completely prevent the disease
Gay people certainly have the right to exist. I am sure that Drowsapp wasn’t thinking that a gay person shouldn’t exist. I think he was telling us how he’d feel about a pathogen infecting his unborn child’s brain, any pathogen regardless of its effects, and I think (sorry if I am being presumptuous) that he was surmising how most parents would react were they told that it could be prevented.
There was a very lengthy and interesting dialogue on the gnxp blog about this.
Purely for the sake of argument, let’s say that we do discover that a virus infects a certain number of XY fetuses in utero, and in 3-4% of them causes the boy to be gay. ( It could be a pathogen like polio which is an intestinal bug that rarely causes anyone any trouble, but in a certain segment of the population, for reasons we don’t know, migrated to the nerve sheathing and caused paralysis and even death.)
So, let’s say that medical science has reached the point where doctors can innoculate the mother with no side deleterious side effects to either her or her unborn child. Realistically now, how many of those parents wouldn’t innoculate the mother so that she couldn’t pass on the germ to her baby?
SAy that the “gay pathogen” strikes not fetuses but young boys from birth to approx. the age of 4 or 5. SAy again that such an innoculation was available–this time for the child. How realistic is it to expect parents not to innoculate their child as long as they deem the innoculation has no harmful side-effects?
Whether parents innoculate their child or the mother carrying the baby has nothing to do with how a gay person today lives his life. It has to do with a parent not wanting his or her child to be infected.
Lots of things are instinctive (I hate that word from a biological perspective, but you know what I mean by it, I am sure.) Parents want their child to face the least amount of resistance in the world, and they want grandchildren. Facts of life. That’s how humans behave, and they do so with their child’s interest in mind.
Why do you constantly feel it necessary to tell me what I would do Drowssap? I wonder where that need comes from?
Again, NO – believe it or not Drowssap, I would not make that choice – and there are many many others who feel the same
You aren’t being honest. Of course you would make the choice.
But to be even more honest we had beter bug out before Warren drops the hammer on us. That’s a lot of short posts.
Sorry Dr. Throckmorton! 8-(
I wouldn’t pick Drowssap – if I had the choice, I wouldn’t make the choice – do you understand?
Wait a minute you haven’t been honest with yourself and answered my question.
If you had a choice would you pick a plain, vanilla straight son or a transgendered son?
I never want to have that choice – because its not really mine to make. Making a child over in your image – or in your image of what you believe is right, good or easy, is wrong, and ultimately dangerous – not just for the child, but for the continuation of the species
Now I know how you feel about deaf people. Touchee
You obviously would vaccinate against any such microbe that created a child of any minority then right? Black, Asian, etc… African Americans still have difficulty because of their skin color so I’d guess you’d want to vaccinate against that right?
If you had a choice if your son would grow up transgendered or plain, vanilla straight which would you chose?
“My answer is still the same I’d vaccinate in a heart beat. I’d want my child to have an easy, uncomplicated life. Nobody ever described being gay as easy.”
Many things in this life aren’t easy Drowssap, but in the end, ARE worthwhile. Its good to see how you feel about gay people, and it explains a great deal where your fascination with the gay germ theory comes from. I often wondered.
The new flu vaccine isn’t like the one they have right now. I think it’s 2 or 3 shots, it covers the ENTIRE range of common flu viruses and it lasts in theory for a lifetime. It’s gonna rock! I never thought I’d get excited about flu virus. 😎
Still no cure for the common cold.
As for the Flu vaccine – I get it on a regular basis, but the last 2 years I have gotten the flu. I understand the importance of the vaccine, especially for the elderly and immunocompromised, but I would someday like to see figures on just how effective it really is!
That’s probably not the way it will work. Assuming it’s even true it’s going to be some minor illness that can also trigger SSA in certain people.
Ok, but lets say the infection only triggers homosexuality and has no other effect. My answer is still the same I’d vaccinate in a heart beat. I’d want my child to have an easy, uncomplicated life. Nobody ever described being gay as easy.
“And it is really silly to makes this an argument that parents that wouldn’t eradicate this microbe are choosing the side of the microbe – they simply *shock* don’t find the idea of having a gay child as something that is bad – so there is nothing here that needs treatment.”
Thanks Patrick! 🙂 🙂
LOL – Oh Drowssap – being a smart@… will only get you so far 🙂 Obviously there are millions of deaf people still around today, despite the widespread use of the Rubella vaccine.
You are assuming a GREAT deal in this discussion though – One, that there is a microbe that causes homosexuality, Two, that it operates LIKE the Rubella virus did with deaf people – What if the microbe’s ONLY effect was to cause a kid to be gay but had no detrimental effects on a person’s health? Would you still vaccinate?
What if Homosexuality was caused by the Flu virus? (that would be a prime contender)
A lifetime flu vaccine against all B or C types (not sure which) is nearly out. Would you vaccinate against the flu if the side effect is almost no chance your child becomes gay?
If that isn’t the exact scenario it will be one just like it.
Are you saying that deaf people are destroyed? I’ve known many deaf people who lead wonderful full lives. Your implication that deaf people are somehow less than the rest of us is deeply offensive to not only me but the entire deaf community.
My decision to get my kid the Rubella vaccine has nothing to do with the kid being deaf or not – it is to prevent the kid from getting German Measles
I can tell you right now that you are going to get your kid vaccinated against Rubella and everything else. This makes you like 99% of the population.
If I found that a germ caused high intelligence I would not vaccinate the kid against it – I find it amusing and not just a little interesting that you compare homosexuality with microbes that destroy a person’s health –
My point drowssap, was that people are already more microbes than anything else – how much of their presence influences us – for the good and bad.
And it is really silly to makes this an argument that parents that wouldn’t eradicate this microbe are choosing the side of the microbe – they simply *shock* don’t find the idea of having a gay child as something that is bad – so there is nothing here that needs treatment.
So you are not going to get your kid a Rubella vaccine and take the chance he/she might be deaf?
I don’t know why you feel the need to tell ME what I would do or how I feel – or for that matter how most people would or should feel, but more and more it sounds as if you’re trying to make yourself feel better 🙂
Drowssap – If I could vaccinate the kid against attitudes like yours, I would – alas, I will have to settle for education 😉
Why take issue with the Rubella pathogen that could make your child deaf? Do you hate deaf people or think you are superior?
See this is just ridiculous. Of course you’d get the gay germ vaccine. Everybody got the Rubella vaccine except for a few hippies. There is no difference.
Ah Drowssap – but there is the rub – a “few deaf activists” in your words are in reality a majority of the deaf community.
It would be easier for you to believe my friends said that only to tell me what I want to hear I’m sure – In fact, I expected such an argument from you. I can tell you in all honesty, because of my close relationship to them, they were not lying to me.
Congratulations! My advice to you… get your kid vaccinated.
Besides Drowssap – children in the womb are at the mercy of so many and varied things, why take issue with the microbe that might make your child gay?
They are lying to you because they think that’s what you want to hear. Either that or they represent the 1 in 500 people who really are looking out for a microorganism instead of their child.
In the case of deafness we actually do know that it’s caused by prenatal infections. Rubella vaccine (which you undoubtably got) cut down the number of deaf people by about half. Should we get rid of Rubella vaccine for the benefit of a few deaf activists who want to preserve sign language?
And so you know, I am most likely going to be a parent in the very near future 😉
Inside the human body germ cells outnumber human cells by about 10 to 1. Which of course relates in no way to this concept.
Drowssap – I have had the gay germ talk with at least two sets of parents in the past and they emphatically said they would do no such thing – so it still seems to be about you and your attitude towards gay people.
Of course we don’t know if germs are responsible. It’s just a theory. We are speaking hypothetically.
I can tell you’ve never been a parent, hehe. Trust me on this one you’d stomp those germs into obvlivion no questions asked.
Ah but drowssap, human bodies are more microbes than they are anything else. At least by the numbers.
I find it odd that you can state so emphatically what is the genuine self here (give the microbe data) – but to suffer so myopically that you think everyone will see it as you do.
This seems like ridiculous argument to be having since we can’t even cure the common cold – and because the chance that gay people are born of a pathogen seems to be slim! Still
Whose interests are YOU looking after Drowssap?
I would NOT Drowssap – and you know why??? Because I believe that gay people deserve the right to exist, germ or not! This sheds a great deal of light on how you feel about gay people and possibly why you seem to be drawn to the gay germ theory!
Que? What are you talking about? Of course I’d stomp those germs so would you or anyone else. Dean Hamer would stomp those germs. Whose interests are you looking out for the kid or the foreign microorganisms?
If you had a pregnant wife I guarantee you with 100% certainty that you’d stomp those germs with no remorse. That’s your kid, not the germs kid.
Attitudes like THAT Drowssap go to the heart of what you believe about gay people – and that is disturbing.
I believe those were Italians living on an island off Italy. For generations some of their young men would pee blood around the age of puberty. They built this anomoly into their culture. Around the turn of the century one of these kids and his family immigrated to the USA. A doctor ran across this kid and realized instantly that this wasn’t right. What these people had built into their culture was actually the side effect of a common infection.
I honestly can’t believe you just said that about gay people! At least you are showing your true colors – “I think everyone can agree that we should stomp that microorganism into oblivion.” –
You are absolutely wrong about that – everyone can NOT agree that we should do such a thing!
And honestly Drowssap – we STILL don’t have a good idea of the exact numbers of people in this country and others that are homosexual – ALL WE KNOW are the people who have chosen to be OUT about their homosexuality – this number may be but most likely isn’t representative of the number of people who are gay!
If somebody chooses to be gay that’s their own business. But if a foreign, microorganism infects a mother and changes her child from straight to gay I think everyone can agree that we should stomp that microorganism into oblivion.
Sorry I was so inarticulate about my comment about the Bushmen and the Bantu. I was rushing, although that’s not really a good excuse, is it?
Forgive me for mixing up the two, but according to anthropologists who’ve done the research, one of these groups had vaguely “heard” about the phenomenon (from outsiders, perhaps–sorry, don’t know) but “couldn’t wrap their minds around it,” as the saying goes; the other group was disbelieving that such a thing existed.
The idea is, of course, that these isolated tribes have not been exposed to the same kinds of pathogens as most of the rest of the world has.
It is true that, as Cochran says, we grow used to something when it’s been around for a _really_ long _time. I can’t find the link right now, but he points to a group of people in which many of the young men who worked in the rice paddies began urinating blood. Lacking any knowledge of what might be causing this, the people decided it was male menstruation, and began celebrating the coming of age of these young men. When outsiders with medical knowledge visited the group, they knew immediately that the boys were infected with a bacteria from the water in which they had been working, and of course, it was the bacteria which caused their infection and the resultant bleeding.
The point is this: since it has been around for such a long time, most people of the world are used to the idea of homosexuality, even if it’s true that they don’t understand its cause, even if it’s true that many harbor very negative attitudes about it –the idea is that regardless of how one thinks about homosexuality, we acknowledge that it exists because we are used to seeing gay people, reading about gay people, having gay family members, gay friends, gay co-workers, etc.
When we are THAT used to something, we tend to think it has been around forever whether it has been or not. With such things we don’t understand, people tend to think something mysterious, something unexplainable is at work. Thus, the idea that homosexuality is most likely the result of an infection is new and very threatening to many.
I myself had no emotional investment in the subject, yet I found myself laughing at the idea at first, until I completed my reading and realized the logic of the pathogen theory and until I established through research the bonafides of Paul Ewald, Greg Cochran, and R. Hamilton, people about whom I knew nothing.
Isn’t it strange that the news that schizophrenia and narcolepsy and peptic ulcers and atheroschlerosis, etc. are caused by pathogens was not met with such gasps?
So, we have a lot of Freudian nonsense out there, at least regarding preferential homosexuality. To put a willing and attractive woman in front of a healthy man and find him lacking in sexual desire makes no evolutionary sense whatsoever. Because it made no sense, humans came up with a multitude of explanations to fill the void, just as the people whose boys were peeing blood came up with an explanation that they felt made sense.
I would imagine that their reaction to doctors giving those boys a little pill and then witnessing the boys’ urine turn clear of blood was as amazing to them as all the discoveries of germs leaving their mark on our brains is now to us. The idea that the brain is a common target of wily pathogens is very new to us.
Here is a one quote from Cochran:
“Another point worth mentioning is that the prevalence of homosexuality probably varies a lot. It seems to be considerably more common in young men who grew up in urban areas than in rural areas, something like a factor of three, which is also true of Schizophrenia. This is a much bigger effect than the birth order stuff. If you look out in the real sticks, say among the Kalahari Bushmen, there doesn’t seem to be any at all. Typically, hunter-gatherers have trouble believing that homosexuality actually exists.”
Who created that definition for “lots of people”? I’m just curious 😉 “Lots of people” is a very relative term!
Yes, but do we find the same number of cases of strep throat or colds in every single population around the world? No, we don’t!
Anything that approaches 1% of the population is LOTS of people.
Flu and cold viruses, probably Strep Throat and other common things work just about the same way everywhere. But realistically speaking it isn’t the actual pathogen, it’s the way the body responds to the pathogen. A whole range of pathogens could trigger a common immune response that has the potential to make someone gay.
If the FBO turned out to be real (this study says it’s not) it would prove the concept of the gay germ theory. A mother’s immune response can make someone gay.
Sure, but what does “lots of people” mean? Is reducing fitness, in this day and age, a bad thing? Has everything that has ever reduced fitness been found to be a pathogen? And do pathogens hit populations in nearly exactly the same way around the globe?
I went into Cochran’s “collected rants” section and pulled out this gem. 😎
You might like this. Somebody built a Cochran fansite. 😎
World Of Greg Cochran
Interesting point about the pathogen/urban areas 😉 – although that theory (the pathogen theory) seems to be fraught with problems.
That is true – but what are you saying about the Bushmen or Bantu? If there is less evidence of homosexuality among these groups – and there may be, I have no idea – how much of that has to do with sociology and how much has to with biology. As we know, just because a person sleeps with someone of the opposite sex, this does not make that person heterosexual. There are other questions that would have to be answered to determine something like that.
Anyway – I have no idea if that’s where you were going with the Bushmen, Bantu example – that’s just where MY mind went. 🙂
I’m curious to know how anyone could speak with any degree of certainty on homosexuality in rural areas if homosexuals who live in those areas could not be honest with others, or possibly, even, themselves?
Jayhuck and Eddy,
Yes, of course –you both bring up good points. That’s what first came to my mind too. However, Paul Ewald and Greg Cochran, as evolutionary biologists, have thought of this as well, and I’ll have to defer to them as the experts in the field.
Obviously if a pathogen is involved in the etiology of homosexuality, we’d expect to see a greater percentage of homosexuality among young men who were either born or who grew up in more densely populated areas.
Then too, it must be pointed out that there are populations of hunters and gatherers who have never heard of homosexuality. Bushmen, Bantu?
Yes, thank you. I had indeed read about PANDAS and just recently too. Remarkable findings!
keep = give 🙂
In addition – I can say from personal experience, there is a real danger that exists to gay people who are OUT in rural areas – a danger strong enough to keep most gay people who choose not to move a reason to stay IN the closet 🙂
Not to be a killjoy but urban vs rural homosexuality would also fit with my theory re peer and societal impact. There is a touch more pressure in an urban center than in the rural.
“Cochran maintains that homosexuality is indeed more common in men who grew up in and around cities than in men who grew up in rural areas and that this phenomenon is *not* just a by -product of gay men moving to cities to become part of a community of others like them.”
I say this first because I feel its ironic, but I grew up in a VERY rural area – on a farm actually – and I am gay – of course I realize that proves nothing, but I found it amusing.
It would be fairly easy to explain why you FIND more homosexuality in and around cities, and that is because it is simply easier to be OUT in those areas. Does that mean there isn’t a similar proportion of gay men in rural areas? – No! – all it means is that gay people in rural areas, as common sense probably dictates, are not as out, or out at all, like those who live in more urban areas 🙂
Hi! As to where I have been…since retiring I have been enjoying reading science blogs, particularly Gene Expression and of course, now this one!
The people who regularly post on gnxp are way above my head most of the time as my formal science education ended when I left college and joined the work force. However, I love reading about a variety of topics and my interest in this topic grew from reading the posts on that site. Having finished all the archival posts there on this subject, I read as much elsewhere as I could (yes, even iNARTH). I have made checking out the articles and the comments and the links on the gnxp board a daily ritual–mornings with science geeks and my hot coffee. Um, um, good!
Cochran himself, as you probably know, posts on gnxp on occasion. You mentioned in another of your posts somewhere on this blog that you’d be quite interested in knowing if geographic area of birth seems correlated at all to homosexuality. . That topic was the subject of discussion on the gnxp site. Cochran maintains that homosexuality is indeed more common in men who grew up in and around cities than in men who grew up in rural areas and that this phenomenon is *not* just a by -product of gay men moving to cities to become part of a community of others like them.
If you click on this link, then on the “comments” under the post, it will take you to a lively discussion of an article and to a discussion between gCochran and some other posters about the urban/rural question.
You might like this one.
National Institute of Mental Health. How Strep Triggers OCD – New Clues.
Yup. The only reason the FBO has the potential to exist at all is because it is so rare. 1 in 500 people passes muster. 3 in 100… not a chance.
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE!!!!! 😎
I’m so glad that you’ve finally come over to the dark side. 😎
But honestly, a common infection that alters development makes the most sense. Autism, Schiz, OCD, Narcolepsy are all related to infections and the bodies immune response. Somebody, somewhere is doing research on gay sheep and will figure this out.
On a related note:
Flu virus during pregnancy triggers Schiz and Autism in offspring, mechanism discovered
Lynn David – You are correct that the numbers are pretty small. However, that is a tribute to how small the effect of is of any fraternal birth order effect. If it exists, it accounts for only a sliver of homosexuality.
Carole – The pathogen theory is intriguing. I intend to post on this but check this out via Google sometime – PANDAS – Not more than one of the bears but an autoimmune disorder related to strep throat.
Legolas – I think either one could be justified. I am not a stat theory expert so I referred your question to a colleague who is and will get back to you. My impression is that either approach will come pretty close to the same result: None of the predictor variables predict much of anything.
Sorry, in the above post, I typed OSD, when I meant OCD.
BTW, I enjoyed reading all the comments. This is a lively, interesting group.
After reading as much as I could of Greg Cochran and Paul Ewald and their explanations of the pathogenic causation of disease, I have to believe that the “gay germ” theory is really the answer. I laughed my head off when I first read it, but then started reading further, and now I laugh at myself for having doubted it.
We know that our old notion that the blood-brain barrier prevented most bacteria/viruses from invading our most sensitive organ was silly. Indeed, it appears from recent research into all kinds of disorders that viruses in particular are able to penetrate that barrier, and if it turns out that the hypothalamus is indeed the center of sexual attraction as it is now suspected to be, that means that it’s even easier for pathogens to attack the brain since the hypothalamus lacks the protection afforded by that blood-brain barrier..
Based on their track records, I’d lay down money on the views of these two men. Unfortunately, the people who actually receive the monies and conduct research in the labs lag behing the evolutionary theorists like Ewald and Cochran. They’ve been chasing the gene theory.
I think the day will soon come when all kinds of disorders and conditions related to behavior–depression, bi-polar disorder, OSD, panic attacks, ADD, ADHD, schizophrenia, and yes, homosexuality, are traced to what are probably viral attacks on certain neuron populations. In fact, the link to schizophrenia and narcolepsy and pathogens has been established.
What we used to think of as harmless childhood infections have probably left their marks in ways we never could have imagined. Googling recent studies on all of these disorders shows that researchers are finally on the right track.
It does seem to be true that homosexuality clusters in some families, but that comes as no surprise to Ewald who speaks of the fact that all of us come from families that have immune systems that are susceptible to one thing or another. For example, in my family, terrible sinus infections are the norm whereas I sit astounded by a myriad of friends who’ve never experienced a terrible case of sinusitis. In my family, rhinoviruses cause real sickness, not just a case of the sniffles.
Then too, in addition to the fact that family members may share susceptibilities, Ewald and Cochran point out that family members can be carriers. No symptoms of an illness need be blatantly visible in order for the pathogen to do its thing–survive in the host and eventually be passed on to a new host.
A fetus or even a child who is under the age of four or so could still be very susceptible to viral infections that wind up zapping a certain subpopulation of neurons or which destroy certain receptors. As Cochran suggested, they ought to be looking at certain neurotransmittors in those sheep.
I must agree with Drowsapp on this. Pathogens are the trigger. It’s the only argument that passes all the logical tests provided we are talking only about preferential homosexuality, meaning that a man is simply not interested in a woman as an object of his lust even when they are available.
I recommend anyone who hasn’t read Cochran/Ewald on the subject do so. Cochran takes care very quickly of how the supportive uncle theory simply doesn’t pass the math test.
As I pointed out on the Box Turtle Bulletin, I am concerned that this study uses linear regression to predict dichtomous outcomes. I’m pretty sure logistic regression is what is called for here. Any thoughts?
Now that I have read this paper I am not sure his sample, though large, was representative. Bogaerts only found that the older brother idea was viable in 7% of cases (if I remember correctly). I don’t think this study necessarily discounts the older brother idea as one stressor which might have biological significance.
Eh… I’ve lost blood and his regression doesn’t make sense to me anymore. Here’s a <strong>link to his paper .
That happens to be correct. It COULD have an evolutionary advantage. But so far nobody has been able to come up with a benefit that makes sense.
It has not been proven otherwise, either. As far as evolution goes – still whatever path a scientist takes (and there are several in this field) -evolution theories – are just that theories.
Thank you for finally reading what I wrote. You happen to not like it. That’s fine.
It is a theory.
LOL. MySpace karaoke (also accessible through ksolo.com) is a feature where they provide the karaoke version of a boatload of songs. You then have the option of listening to that version, listening to a good professional artist’s version, listening to other MySpacer’s versions, or recording a version yourself. (You can also do an audio and visual version but, so far, my webcam simply won’t get in sync with the audio so I’m restricting myself to audio only.) I signed up for a MySpace account several years back primarily to keep up with my nieces and nephews but now use it primarily for karaoke practice.
Thanks BT Carolus and E Turnseed for your responses. As I hash things out in my head, response–whether it be agreement, disagreement or agreement with qualifiers–is crucial to my ‘thinking it through thoroughly’. Much appreciated!
I do tend to reject genetic causation–in the sense that I don’t believe any gene makes you gay or straight–but I do concede that pre-birth factors affect all of us. Children seem to be born with temperaments. I’ve known too many parents with an angelic first child who decide to go for another only to be blessed with a demanding ‘little monster’. My own mother told me once that I was a unusually ‘independent’, for lack of a better word. I’d get fussy as babies often do but I’d reject cuddling and soothing talk as the means of resolving my fussiness. I appeared to be the most obedient of my siblings but that was only because I happened to agree with the logic of the rule being laid down. If I disagreed, however, there was often hell to pay or, in other circumstances, I’d be obedient on the outside while adamantly defiant on the inside. My dad once told me that I was asking questions before the age of six that he hadn’t ever asked in his entire life. While I don’t know if that tendency was genetic, it does appear to be inborn.
My thinking is that if those tendencies were genetic, my sibs ought to have a share of them too.
Thats what I used to think until someone set me straight on a different board. The human species is about 250,000 years old. For roughly 240,000+ of those years we lived in small groups of hunter/gatherer tribes. This is where 98% of human evolution occured. The competition for women in these environments was enormous and it’s the main reason men have such a strong sex drive. We needed motivation that would encourage us to risk our lives to fight for the right to reproduce. The top few got the spoils of the tribe and most men who survived to adulthood never had children.
This started to change in the first agrarian societies but nearly all of our evolution had already taken place.
In 1,000 AD Europe a gay gene might have a much longer shelf life because marriage and monogamy were compulsory. In 20,000 BC Europe the same gene wouldn’t have a chance.
That happens to be correct. It COULD have an evolutionary advantage. But so far nobody has been able to come up with a benefit that makes sense.
No one knows any genes right now for any type of sexuality. This debate on what advantage would they have, how would they get from one generation to another and so on is purely theoretical. It’s more about scientists trying to build models in expectation of genetic findings.
We must also be aware that a lot of the research going on is motivated by advocacy. Scientists know that people need reasons and arguments for their identities and they work to provide that. For all that effort, most scientific studies are very modest and cautious in their conclusions. Only bias can stretch their findings to make them look definitive right now. We’re still talking about one big X. Maybe the biggest of them all.
Eddy wrote in 144499:
You’re right about the SSA box thing. We still don’t know what people mean when they say they are this or that. I’m sure most of them don’t lie, but feelings escape any metrical system. We can’t measure attractions. we don’t know if these scientists who study gays and straights actually study gays and straights or rather people who identify as that for whatever reasons (including biological, social, developmental, value-based, psychological, familial, etc). It’s bound that a big part must be biological and out of anyone’s control, but so must be any degree of changing feelings, fluidity, for that matter. None of them have been proved yet. Fluidity can happen keeping social-environmental conditions equal, therefore it must be biological if not influenced by other unseen environmental factors. But feelings can also change to some degree if we change our social environment. Most people agree, though, that no one can change the deep rooted foundation of feelings, and that’s what scientists understand by sexual orientation – the stable and unchangeable part of adult sexual feelings.
You can have sex with someone you don’t desire most, you can be attracted to someone you don’t have great sex with and you can become attached to someone you’re mildly attracted to. Many researchers know these things are separate. Culture does instill this image of love, starting from desire (the chemistry), on which attraction and relationship build, which is true when it works. But most of the time we don’t hook up with the person we’re most attracted to and we’re not attracted to someone who is most attracted to us. Etc.
We are influenced, as you say, by society in that we are encouraged to focus on a certain sex. If it doesn’t work, then maybe it’s the other sex. It’s one big roulette, what can I say.
What people recognize as beauty changed a lot in time and will continue to do so. Could that go so far as to influence the sex we are attracted to? I’m thinking that we can’t verify this for the past. What we see from the past are images of what was deemed safe enough for the public mostly. There was a lot of pressure on artists to paint some people and leave out others. They used to paint plump women because fat people were generally seen as prosperous, ie they had plenty to indulge on. Most of them were the big shots of their time. They had money, power and were educated — that was enough for others to admire them and consider them attractive. But underneath that, there still was some biological foundation that made men attracted to peasant women too. We have evidence from thousands of years of men writing to praise women’s eyes, hair, voice, walk, waist, etc, etc. They had no media by today’s standards to manipulate their perceptions on such a scale. You could argue though that genders being reared apart might come to notice these bits because of that.
There’s a debate on whether humans have instincts like animals or not. We won’t have that discussion here, but I think we can agree at least that for humans learning and development play a bigger role than they play for animals. Male mice don’t prefer one female over another, they prefer females and react instinctively when they catch their pheromone trails. We’re not that instinctive, we’re a lot more choosy when we look for the right person to fulfil that desire. It’s impossible that genes do not play any role in that. Our brains are built on genetic material and they’re different from one person to another. The debate will be on how much those differences influence our development and how much freedom we have to go where we want to go. There’s plenty of surprise for both sides on this issue, social-ists and biological-ists.
I think we will get closer to truth thanks to this clash of perspectives and, in this respect, you’re doing a good job at contributing to the social and cultural influence part of explaining attractions. Right now, after a number of genetic studies failed to give any final answers, there is some dissatisfaction with the genetic perspective. I don’t think anyone’s as taken by it as they were back in the 90’s; that enthusiasm is fading away. However, it’s too early to call it dead in the bud, a scientific fashion, before it gets the chance to explain whatever part genes play in sexuality. Then we’ll be able to see how much those genes are influenced by interaction with parents, peers, school, media, stereotypes and who gets to have a final say in the statics and dynamics of sexuality.
Up at post 144787 Drowssap said, “I’m talking about the hard realities of natural selection and you’re talking about the meaning of human life.” And you said in response, “You’re right. The meaning of life is driven by other motives than just offspring.” I rather think this illuminates why the two of you have become marooned in “loopy world.” You seem very defensive about the idea that childless individuals are being ‘labeled’ by Drowssap (and me in post 144815) as “unsuccessful,” and keep trying to illustrate ways in which childless individuals contribute to society. The problem is that both Drowssap and I are not measuring success, in this particular case, as based on contributions to society. We are basing it on the single criterion of natural selection, which is whether an organism has passed its own genetic material down to the next generation via viable offspring. Obviously childless individuals have not done so, and so cannot be considered, by that measure alone, successful.
Before you go on defense again, I happen at the moment to be a childless woman (like you, I gather), with only limited expectations of having children in the future. Obviously, if my ultimate measure of success is producing offspring, then I might as well jump off the nearest bridge. But I, like you, recognize that there exist other things which rank as much more important than reproduction as far as measures of success go.
You seem to at least grasp this much. But then you keep citing sociobiology (which is an extremely controversial field when applied to humans, especially regarding things that not everyone agrees have genetic bases). The problem with the sociobiological model, as it applies to a gene that causes someone to be gay, is that it would theoretically also cause that person to not have offspring. Because of this, even if the people who are gay are extremely successful with their contributions to their siblings’ offspring, they still are not passing down their own genetic material. This means that, over time, the non-gay-gene allele will surpass the gay-gene allele in the gene pool, and the gay-gene will be eliminated. There’s no DNA-fairy running about making sure that nice people who contribute greatly to society but don’t reproduce still get their DNA passed down.
There’s one other issue I’d like to bring up. As I mentioned in the post I’ve already referenced, both you and Drowssap have not taken into account the fact that there has never been a large population of gays who have not reproduced. That renders both arguments somewhat moot, because as far as we can tell for most of human history (up until less than the last hundred years) most people with gay tendencies have still had at least some children. And in all likelihood many more people were childless who were straight than who were gay (ie Catholic priests).
Normally, my memory doesn’t fail me and I know I read his biography somewhere and was surprized to find that about Hawkings, since I knew he had been married many times. I could’t find that reference again though. If I’m wrong and the guy never said that, then I have no problem to take that part back. Better check again next time!
But you got the idea. Ordinary people don’t live by the theory of evolution, they negociate all sorts of compromises to avoid loneliness and/or homosexuality. The theory of evolution doesn’t apply so well to humans, because we are notoriously fickle and intelligent enough to go beyond nature.
Upon reading your reply, I think I understand your argument better. I still think that it is more likely that the influences you’re talking about cause firm adoptions of gay identities, rather than the root of physical sexual attraction. However, I could also see how your idea of “natural desires getting twisted,” perhaps through some trauma or natural predisposition acted upon by circumstance, could explain it as well. The trouble is, I don’t see how any of that could be proven, especially not well enough to convince…ahem…a certain fruit-fly and flu-research fan.
If you don’t mind my asking good-naturedly, in response to your post at 145594, what on earth is MySpace karaoke? It sounds truly frightening.
I agree that thread is stuck in loopy world. I’m done.
The fact that you don’t respond is fine with me. I realized a long time ago that you have one particular area of fascination. I do find it ironic though that you respond now…the one and only time that I’ve asked you not to.
I will freely admit, as I did in my last post, that I’m interested in conversation on those thoughts or theories that I presented in previous posts on this thread and that I reiterated in my latest two posts–if anyone is interested. it seems everytime, over the course of my involvement with this blogsite, that I’ve brought up these theories something always prevents discussion of them. I can deal with having them refuted; I’m not so keen on having them simply ignored.
Mary and Drowssap–
I have no idea what’s going on in your dialogue that appears to be stuck in a most serious loop but I’m serious about at least trying to pursue conversation with others. For either of you to try to participate in this other conversation will only lead others to believe that it will be as unfruitful as the loop you seem to be stuck in. At the moment, I believe the best way to keep them separate is that you stick to what’s been engaging you for the past several days and refrain from engaging in this one. I fear that if people see me dialoguing with either of you–even on this different slant–they’ll not respond figuring they’ll get caught in that loop too. Let’s catch up to each other on another topic…Warren is always full of surprises that I’m sure will bring us back together in conversation.
In fact, this reproductive drive (you can alomst argue) is killing the species. We lack resources to feed all the hungry people of the world. We have grown by over 2 billion in less than 20 years. The exponential growth projection puts the world at a staggering lack of resources including fresh water and protein rich foods within the forseeable future. This is major topic of discussion for organizations such as WHO, Global ecomonies, sociologists, Humanitarian Rights Activists etc… (please read professional journals )
You know Drowssap – I’m going to end this. You are nit pciking details to things I never wrote.
Here’s my statment: Homosexuality could have an evolutionary advantage to the species.
That’s it. Nor more no less. Not greater, not lesser.
I’ve given examples, certainly not all the examples I can imagine, but enough to get the idea across. I did not say it was proven. Like all evolutionary ideas – it is a theory. You insist I am saying something else. And really your insistence that childless people are less valuable is annoying and hurtful to all the childless people in the world. There is something more than just the drive to reproduce.
Please read up on the subject of sociobiology. You won’t like it.
I am tired of trying to make you see that you have misquoted, taken words and sentences REALLY out of context, etc….
Discussing with you has become nothing more than continually reminding you that I did not write something, say something, or etc….
I suggest you look up the term evolutionary advantage.
I agree – getting genes into the next generation is critical. Does it always take a direct form or can it take an indirect form? For example, a sister helps another sister with “chores” so the one sister can spend more of her resources on children. Or a cousin helps save a child of his/her cousin but loses their life in the event (yet the genes indirectly are perpetuated.) Or another kin relative (who has not procreated) sacrifices his life in a battle because he has no family and understands that the man he has stepped in stead of has a family and a young child on the way, or may produce more offspring in later years?
I am trying to put this in the most basic and simplest model for you.
I am beginning to think Drowssap that since you refuse to look up terminology that you are just mad that I don’t see things your way and that I think homosexuality has given the species an evolutionary advantage? That must be it because you talk around in circles, use no references, and continue to misquote me.
Sure why not. From an evolutionary standpoint getting genes into the next generation would be considered critical.
I assume you are refering to your statement that
By “field terminology” you mean there is an alternate definition to the phrase “evolutionary advantage” other than better, superior, etc.?
Drowssap – ther you go again.
I used field terminology -which I have suggested you look up.
I did not say critical way – that is your terminology.
Can you define it for me?
Sorry Eddy. I read your posts but I don’t always respond.
This one is a Twofer…
Why ask me what the critical advantage is? You said there is one in the first quote. So what is it?
Ya know – the sensitive person is likely to move in many directions away from the crowd (those who live in the first and second SD) in many forms. Sexually, creatively, intellectually, socially etc….
If you live in a society that berates you for having a different view of sexuality teenagers make no bones about teasing you. As well, so will your siblings and quite possibly your parents. If our only options are caveman mentality with the dallas cheerleaders and homosexual – then we have issues. And we seem to have the two extremes pretty much wrapped up and packaged for our children to choose one or the other.
But if we lived in a society that did not impose one way or the other – I think the spread of sexual experience would look very different than it does today. Hate to say it – but I think many, many people have homosexual potential that they are truly unwilling to look at or accept (because their value system prevents them) Yet, IMO there are few truly fully only homosexual people around. It has been marketed, politicised, etc…. and even if a gay person want to leave the lifestyle they have been educated to believe that they cannot.
Re your last paragraph, I’m not suggesting that society is giving people the idea that you should be gay; I’m suggesting that it is saturating us with subtle (and not so subtle) images of what a real man is, what a real man feels, what a real man wants and that when a young male takes notice that he doesn’t fit that bill, he can form a variety of conclusions from ‘I’m different’, ‘there’s something wrong with me’ to ‘I must be gay.’
Well-meaning parents worry about the sexuality of their six year old–not because he’s exhibiting any signs of sexual interest–but because he’s sensitive, non-aggressive, artistic, bookish. Or later–still before the child exhibits any sexual interests whatsoever–because he’s not athletic. (I’m not laying blame on parents here, BTW, I’m demonstrating how even adults are affected by these societal messages.)
This sensitive child is likely having the message ‘you’re different and there’s something wrong with you’ driven home by playground bullies and school bus banter. Eventually, they internalize the messages.
I don’t believe that the pressure is as far-reaching for girls but it certainly exists. Parents fret that their ‘tom-boy’ girl may be gay–or that a girls lack of interest in domestic concerns might be a sign that she’s gay. Again, long before she has any sexual interests at all. Or if she’s too interested in stereotypically male pursuits like contact sports or auto-mechanics. (Again, I think Liz–way up there in the comments–demonstrated the varieties of these messages and the conclusions a child could draw from them.)
I’ve visited CollegeJay’s site a few times, BTW, and appreciate much of what he has to say. He reminds me of me in my early ministry days.
I think that there’s a lot of merit to the idea that we should look at sexuality much more broadly than just from a physiobiological angle. However, I’m not exactly sure where to start from. College Jay published a blog post entitled “What it’s Not Always About” a month ago which speaks to the non-physical side of attraction.
I think perhaps the big problem is that we’ve got these much-maligned labels of gay and straight, which we apply in a way that makes sexuality seem sort of like gears in a car. You can either be in drive, reverse, or neutral if you’re bisexual, and few people think that it’s possible to shift from one to the other. Peter Ould just posted video of a talk he gave which addresses that (it’s called “Lecture at St. John’s Nottingham”).
I think that your idea of sexuality as an adoption of values that have been impressed upon us makes more sense from the standpoint of somebody adopting the modern identities of gay and straight, rather than as the root of those attractions, if only because I can’t imagine where anyone is getting the idea that they should be gay, in our world of Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.
Sorry Eddy for overlooking your post.
I spent at least ten getting Drowssap to admit that he embellished my qoutes, posts, thoughts etc… and that he was not staying with the dialgoue.
I think that is now cleared. I hope he reads you post as well.
That’s your theory. I have stated clearly what are my thoughts. You embellished them beyond anything I actually said. Clearing that up was huge in and of itself.
When you say “critical way” – exactly – what do you mean? How do you define critical and how do you define way?
I am sorry I did not respond to your comments – please let me read them again and I will post a little later when I get home. Your comments are usually so informative and well thought out (that’s just a fact) that I am sure I felt complete just absorbing the information in them. I will let you know if that is the case after reading them again.
Okay-here’s the deal-I’m going to be both personal and brutally honest.
I’m having a very hard time with the fact that comments I’ve made on this thread have been pretty much ignored. I don’t know if that’s because they made so much sense that there was nothing to add or challenge or if they were so off the wall that they didn’t deserve a response. For a time, I thought it was that they were off-topic but since we’re at the point where we’re discussing Stephen Hawkings sexual orientation, that certainly can’t be it.
I believe that it’s perfectly acceptable for Drowssap and Mary to continue their conversation and I encourage them to do so but I feel minimized as a long-term and thoughtful blogger when my statements aren’t even acknowledged. I presented my thoughts on ‘what’s instinctive’ with trepidation. I am neither a scientist or a psychologist. So it would have been nice to hear whether folks thought I was way off the mark or not. I presented, once again, my theories on how socialization and the media are having a dramatically increased effect on individuals that might be a huge contributing factor to the development of SSA but, once again, no comments telling me whether I’m on the right path or barking up the wrong tree.
Beyond that, I suggested a possible resolution to the ‘ex-gay’ label which still troubles many here. Again, zero response.
As the runt in a family of 7 boys, I know that sometimes you have to shout to be heard…so I’m shouting.
If the reason my comments have been ignored is that I’m an unreasonable wack-job, I’ll accept that as well. I’ve discovered MySpace karaoke and can spend my free time there just as easily.
Just for the record, I do not want responses from Drowwap or Mary. You both have quite enough going on with the conversation you’ve been carrying on for the past three or four days. It’s obviously of earth-shattering importance and I wouldn’t want to distract you. I believe the site will support both your ongoing dialogue and another conversation.
I’ll make this even simpler. It’s not enough to say that male homosexuals contribute because everybody contributes. They have to contribute more in a critical way in order to stay even with straight men. It is the most basic math.
Does that make sense to you?
Yeah, that’s what I thought. I’ve never heard that he was gay before this thread.
uestion: Drowssap, who said that the conrtibution was 200%?
You are aware that you are confusing your assumptions with what I wrote?
Who said the gay men contribute more?
Who said that the contribution had to be care taking of children?
I do recall giving some example but those not being the only ones.
Can you completel reference and spell out step by stpe exactly where your assumptions are coming from?
Because truthfully, you are adding in much to my posts that was never mentioned.
Oh pardon me – I see you did that.
Did you read the post?
Post number please. So I can reference. Thanks.
When did Stephen Hawking admit to being gay? He’s been married twice and has 3 kids and I find no mention of this on google other than a couple of chat rooms.
Not only was he married with children but also began an affair with his caretaker =-0
I don’t know how to do the links yet so I copied and pasted this from etrade –
TORONTO, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Internationally renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has been appointed to the post of distinguished research chair at a quantum theory and cosmology institute founded by Research In Motion co-CEO Mike Lazaridis
When did Stephen Hawking admit to being gay? He’s been married twice and has 3 kids and I find no mention of this on google other than a couple of chat rooms.
This is your first post on the topic.
Ok, so what critical gift do gay men contribute that is something like 200% superior to what straight men contribute? You realize that in many hunter gatherer societies polygamy was normal and 3 out of 4 STRAIGHT men wouldn’t have children of their own. Gay men “contribute to the group” isn’t good enough because everyone contributes, women, men, children, handicapped, etc. What special thing do gay men contribute that is critical and significantly better than what others contribute?
I think as soon as anyone realizes that gay men have to contribute something better just to stay even with everyone else the whole concept falls apart.
Gay men do not need to have an interest in children to contribute to the society or group that protects, raise, etc… children. They need to contribute reources to the group that ALLOW others to spedn resources on children.
This is soooo easy to see as a point (even if you disagredd) you seem to be missing the idea?
I DID NOT SAY that straight people DO NOT contribute. Where did you get that idea?
Your own bias???
Pleas find that quote (the post number) and quote in CONTEXT.
Anything after this Drowssap wiill be a re-post of this post
1) QUOTE IN CONTEXT AND USE POST REFERENCE NUMBER (bedcause you are taking most of one sentences out of context)
You’re right it does take a village. The problem with your theory is that straight men contribute to the village too. For a gay gene to survive gay men have to contribute to the survival of the village about 200% more than straight men. What would that be?
Gay men and straight men have the same interest in children. If gay men had maternal instincts equal to women it would be a different story.
I’m sorry I meant Drowssap – not David. Long day.
Instead of reviewing the blog with you. I suggest
1) you quote me exactly and in context
2) you review what I previously wrote about homosexuality having an evolutionary advantage to the survival of the group/species.
3) If you read something out of context then ask, addres that instead of skirting the issue and trying to point me into another direction (that we have discussed at length)
I have listened to you. That procreation is the evolutionary advantage to the species that is more important than other traits – because without procreation the species would end.
All I am saying is that it takes a village for the species to survive into the next generation. Right now, the world is precariously set in the hands of a few people who could kill us all. Whoever created that creature (should he or she do it) was not an advantage. And all the aunties and gay uncles and priests who didn’t want to reproduce have added to the survival of the species, a hec of a lot more than some guys Austrian parents.
I’ll let the science speak for itself. That extra fertility hypothesis is going to go bust as soon as a few more scientists look into it. Nothing like that has ever been found before, or is about to be found. There is no scientific precedent for their claim and nothing else in human biology works like it allegedly does. Realistically it’s just not going to happen.
Even if it IS true that fertile women tend to have gay sons what would that even mean? Fertile women might be more likely to have Autistic sons too. It could mean 100 different things. Corelation is not causation.
You’re right those traits do have advantages in specific environments. So what’s the advantage to male homosexuality that you were talking about?
I forgot about a gay gene years ago. Do I have to repeat myself time and time again for your benefit? Or are you prodding me for the benefit of those who read these comments…. which I imagine are rather few. Ok… no gay gene.
A genetic cause of homosexuality begins with female fertility (Italian study) and possibly a predisposition for the birth of women (British study) which are likely associated with a gene or genes (heck could be the way junk DNA is ordered on the chromosome). That genetic signature would be an inherant property of the X-chromosome itself, which would result in a chromosome which resists being shut down – methylated (UCLA study). This is of no consequence in women (UCLA study) except that it may be associated with the increased fertility and predisposition to produce females (link not yet shown to exist).
In phenotypical males it could result in expression of certain genes which allows for a spectrum of preferences/gender identity in the human male from bisexuality thru homosexuality thru a heterosexually-oriented transgendered person to finally a homosexually-oriented transgendered person as an endpoint. Thus male homosexuality appears to be quite random and need not be shared by identical twins as gene expression does not ultimately depend upon a single gene.
That remains as a viable hypothesis; none of that is falsified.. The idea that you might link fertility to “virtually anything” and there need not be anything “special about homosexuality” fails to take into consideration the ultimate link in this issue, the X-chromosome.
Please, falsify it. BTW, increased female fertility and a predisposition to produce females is the only thing in my family that I can see to link (comparing stories of family life among my ancestors) with the male homosexuality I have seen in myself and on both sides of my family tree, although the distaff side should only have importance in my case.
. . .
In theory, natural selection makes particular traits advantageous because they are more likely to become inherited by reproduction. It doesn’t mean that they are linked with reproduction (like attractions). Stephen Hawking, the British physicist, admitted to being gay but he’s been married many times and fathered a few children. The guy is paralysed, lives in a wheelchair and is gay, but that didn’t stop him. I guess, it must be kept in mind that:
1. Evolution is a theory, and
2. Humans are the shrewdest creatures around.
After re-reading what you wrote. I’d prefer you take a course on evolution and get the real definition of what advantage means and how it is used by those in the field.
Blond hair has an advantage, dark skin has an advantage, social grouping has an advantage, etc… etc… etc…
Did I say they evolutionarty advantage was greater or more?
Please quote me in full, refer to the post by number. I would like to the see the full context of what you are readin.
One question about the extra fertility hypothesis. Couldn’t it be applied to virtually anything? By that I mean mom’s could have an extra fertility gene but the side effect is children with an increased chance of Leukemia or Scoliosis or Acne or pretty much ANYTHING that reduced the average fertility of children? What’s so special about homosexuality? This hypothesis could be applied to anything.
I don’t have a link handy but I’ve read that scientists don’t suspect a gay gene in regards to sheep. Like humans there is no pattern of inheritance and “insignificant heritability.” Sheep are just like humans in this regard, homosexuality happens in a seemingly random fashion.
Nothing like that has ever been proven in humans and I doubt that will change. Forget about the actual gay gene, Hamer says there is no pattern of inheritance. Expression or not they should be able to spot a pattern. This one just isn’t going to happen.
By definition if you say that homosexuality has an advantage you are saying that it does more. That’s what advantage means. Advantage does not mean less or same, it means more.
Drowssap – please quote me where exactly I said that.
I said that I can see where there is an evolutionary advantage for homosexuality.
So…. Warren, check your spam file again. Why is it that I post something with a little bit of html and it doesn’t get through? But this one likely will….
Your statement concering natural selection is only meaningful if you don’t have wherewithall to envision a practical mode by which evolution should give a population a breeding population an advantage and yet produce members who would detract from that advantage. One way of doing that is to increase female fertility [as shown in an Italian study] and also produce more females – more wombs [as shown in a study of British transgendered and homosexuals].
In that respect evolution would consider gay men as ‘by-products.’ Unfortunately, that is how many cultures through the ages have also seen them – including our own.
When did that go down? Not that I believe in any gay gene – sheep or otherwise (but do in a genetic predisposition leading to gene expression).
No, I’m saying that you say that gays contribute more to the survival of communities than straights do. That’s the whole basis of the Gay Uncle Theory and other group based concepts. The theory is that gay people contribute significantly more to the community than straights do. That’s how their genes stay even with straights even though they don’t have children. Of course that’s ridiculous. Gay men don’t contribute more to communities than straight men do.
Your thinking seems chaotic to me
First you say – gays have no ervolutionayr advantage
Then you say gays contribute more to the survival of the species
And then you say I am off track.
Do you sit around and flip coins to decide what you will write?
Natural selection doesn’t predict any significant number of gay men. If 1 in 500 men were gay it wouldn’t be all that interesting. In that case hormones, unique gene combinations, phenomenon like the FBO and random chance would be logical explanations. But it’s more like 3 in 100 men are preferentially gay. That’s pretty darned interesting from a scientific standpoint. The only other species with large numbers of preferentialy gay males are sheep.
Scientists don’t believe in a gay sheep gene and hormones have been altered to death and they still can’t produce gay sheep. Something very interesting is going on.
That’s where your idea goes off the tracks. If gay people have fewer kids they have to contribute considerably MORE to the survival of their relatives than straights contribute. In fact something like 200% more. That just isn’t happening. Gay and straight men contribute the same.
I am not sure why you thought I was offended by anything in this thread. I have never been offended by anything on wthrockmorton.com.
Rich Uncle???? Didn’t anyone wonder why he didn’t have children of his own?
so I figured out that most men and women are happy with their orientation. If they’re not, why would they identify as straight or gay?
Identifying oneself in a particular way does not always equate happiness.
But nonetheless, homosexual behavior and gene predisposition continue to present in every generation.
Drowssap – I never said gay people contribute more – maybe that’s your problem – you were offended by something that was never said.
As the name implies – you’ve got it backwords.
I’m sure they do and I’m sure that there is also a number of women who are unhappy about those feelings. But that was the picture according to official records, in which 95% of men are straight and 97% of women are straight. In surveys, about 5% of men identify as gay and 3% identify as lesbians, so I figured out that most men and women are happy with their orientation. If they’re not, why would they identify as straight or gay?
I didn’t mention any bisexuals because their number is even smaller and most of them might be straights or gays in denial.
Any idea on how I can get on this guy’s Christmas Card list? 😎
Most of those 5% of men who are only attracted to men, according to surveys, identify as gay so they’re happy about it.
I’m not sure that most are happy about it. Many consider these feelings unwanted and are not content or happy at all about them.
Let me see if I get this idea right. 95% of men are completely straight, strongly attracted to women but unable to be attracted to any other men. This is an evolutionary advantage over some men who are only attracted to men, because it makes them attracted to women without any problem so they can easily pass their genes on to future generations. This is probably because of some brain wiring that makes most men 100% attracted to women.
The rest of 5% of men who are only attracted to men, it could be because something weird happened when they developed (parenting, chemicals, hormones).
If this is the right picture, then there’s no big deal about sexual orientation. Why do people keep talking about it, because very few people are gay and it can’t be a choice if they were not attracted to their own sex. If you’re straight, you cannot force yourself to have sex with someone of your own sex right? Most of those 5% of men who are only attracted to men, according to surveys, identify as gay so they’re happy about it. So do those 95% of straights who are happy about being straight. To sum up, 99% of people are happy with their orientation, gay or straight.
There could be less than 1% of men who go against their orientation for different reasons. But other than that, I don’t see what the big deal is about it. It’s only a problem of academic interest for scientists to see why 5% of men are only attracted to men. When they find out, it’s going to be clear why gays didn’t have the evolutionary advantage that straights have.
I have a Rich Uncle Theory – If you have a rich uncle, send him a card for every possible holiday.
Not so much a theory but a free association.
Technically speaking having children is not an “evolutionary advantage.” Being straight is the advantage because it is more likely to lead to children. The children are just the end result.
You are missing another point. Straight people contribute to the welfare of others just as much as gay people do. Just because someone is gay or childless doesn’t mean they contribute MORE to the welfare of society or the survival of the group.
Forget the Gay Uncle Theory, I’ve got a new one. It’s called the “Straight Uncle Theory.” Straight uncles are more likely to teach their nephews masculine type skills that increase their survival rate. In addition straight uncles are more likely to be chiefs or warlords and this higher status increases the survival rate of their neices and nephews.
I have two questions for commenters who make use of the “evolutionary advantage” term:
A. Do all the people who have children have an evolutionary advantage?
B. Do all the people who don’t have children not have an evolutionary advantage?
Since it seems the word sociobiology seems to have been overlooked or possibly not understood
It is controversial. However, for those who believe homosexuality is part nature and part nurture – this makes a lot of sense. It is how genes can be influenced by society. And how that can be advantageous to the group. Not just homosexual behavior but all sorts.
You may agree with him but it lacks a sociobiological perspective.
The group won’t survive if everyone had children, or the drive to procreate.
Your definition of succesful is not the only definition. Again, you define it as having children. With that kind of definition then all childless people should kill themselves now since they are not succesful people. It is a bias on your part as well. And I have mine. Just think … a childless woman who thinks that a succesful life is not tied to children from her own womb.
People contribute ideas, inventions, change minds that propel the human drive in new directions.
I don’t think there has been a large population of gays (our largest pop being modern times – current) I do think that the way we define sexuality and people has changed over time. that a predisposition to homosexuality in the past may have been thwarted in exchange for marriage (political connections) wealth, and care for old age.
Just more than the simple idea that sperm in womb is what propels all people???
I have to say, I’m coming down on Drowssap’s side on this one. I understand your point about childless individuals still being able to contribute (even greatly) to society. However, that still doesn’t give them, or their societies, evolutionary advantage. From the standpoint of evolutionary biology, an individual must pass on genetic material to the next generation in order to be considered successful. There is no DNA fairy deciding to slip ‘gay genetic material’ into the child of a straight couple because a nice gay man is helping them out with the kids and he deserves to have his DNA passed on too. If the gay man doesn’t reproduce, any theoretical ‘gay gene’ dies with him. Of course I’m sure you’re aware of that, already.
Alternatively, from the standpoint of history, I think you and Drowssap are both acting on the same particularly unstable assumption that there has been a (relatively) large population of ‘gays,’ whether identified that way or not, who did not reproduce. I believe you will find that for a variety of reasons, across history and cultures, as well as across both elite and peasant populations, this has not been the case.
Drowsapp – I also think you might consider that your own bias as a male who is not interested in his own children to be a determing factor when you demise homosexuals to having no evolutionary advantage.
You’re right. The meaning of life is driven by other motives than just offspring. And a great deal of people who do not produce contribute to the welfare of children. That would be gay people and that would give the species an evolutionary advantage.
I doubt you will understand since you seem to be back dated to a time that has not existed for over 5000 years. Since we have evolved greater heigth, leisure time, social structures etc… but it would be ridiculous to also consider that we evolved passed the “gotta get my sperm into her” drive. Selection takes but a few generations. And men and women don’t need the economic cooperation they used to – to succeed.
BTW, I think we should all be celebrating the demise of the Fraternal Birth Order Effect. I guess it’s not completely dead yet but if big studies don’t find it it’s probably not long for the world.
If we can’t know what causes SSA at least we know one more thing that doesn’t cause it. That’s a small step forward.
I think we are talking about two totally different things.
I’m talking about the hard realities of natural selection and you’re talking about the meaning of human life.
Your Prarie Vole link is interesting but not exactly related. Heterosexuality and homosexuality have nothing to do with child rearing.
And I was simply pointing out that some human men have a paternal interest in child rearing which is genetic. That it is built into our gender – IRRESPECTIVE of sexual orientation. But some men might have it and some men may not depending upon the form of the gene.
I wasn’t commenting upon homosexuality/heterosexuality there at all.
So if offspring is the currency – don’t you sort of hire others who don’t have children to help out with your own so you can have one or more????
And what is the motive of those childless people. Do they love your children as much as you do? No.
HOwever, they do believe in the supporting of the human species and are helping out??? Is their only focus for themselves to have children??
Then we shall not meet on ideas if you disagree on this very important point.
I have to disagree with you on that point. As far as Mother Nature is concerned having offspring is the entire ball game. They are the currency of life and there is no close 2nd place. In fact there isn’t a 2nd place at all. Our health doesn’t even rate as important. Many creatures are required to sacrifice their lives to have offspring. Male spiders come to mind.
I wonder when you’d show up. 😎
Your Prarie Vole link is interesting but not exactly related. Heterosexuality and homosexuality have nothing to do with child rearing. If gay men commonly showed the same maternal instincts that women have it would be a different story. As it is gay men don’t act any differently than straight men when it comes to raising children.
LOL. A zillion posts today. I think it was E Turnseed and Liz who made comments that fit it with my theory posted way up near the beginning. Liz, in particular, dramatized how individual response to environmental factors can play out in a myriad of ways.
Just this weekend I was pondering how much Exodus at large subscribes to NARTH’s somewhat narrow views of the origins of SSA. I know there was always a camp that laid the blame on smothering mothers and distant fathers but, even way back when I was still involved, there were others trying to bring balance to that. My own thinking was that those could be contributing factors but that there was plenty of evidence to suggest that some responded differently (as Liz suggested) to the smothering or the distance and there was also plenty of evidence that some turned out gay when neither factor was in place.
By the way, I never did give up the quest to find a replacement for ‘ex-gay’. I came up with one today that might work. How about SIBS? “Somewhere-In-Between Sexuality”. It doesn’t shout ‘complete change’; it doesn’t proclaim a celibate or bi-sexual orientation; it allows for people to be in various stages but it doesn’t force them to accept any label that they feel doesn’t fit.
The point that the individual is not the point and that for the survival of the species (humans in this case) must survive as a group.
In case you have not noticed, all over the world human beings have grouped themselves together for that very reason.
Diminshing people down to a sexual drive is heterosexually male centered at best. We all have the sexual urge and drive. I dare you to tell me that if someone performed oral sex on you and you were totally blindfolded that your body would really care who it was. We all (except for some) like the feeling of sexual stimulation. And societies throughout history have defined what sex is appropriate for procreation, for leisure, or for employment. Christianity says – only men with women and women with men. No other combination. It does not mean that it does not exist in our bodies to respond to stimulation from a variety of sources. It exists. But christianity says not to indulge in that behavior.
There is a reason that is specified – because the potential exists within us to do so. Just like the potential to commit any other act that is “forbidden” Understandably, stealing, lying, cheating all strategies observed in nature and man that have evolutionary benefits. We are (by our doctrine) not to do so.
Also, it’s not all about babies for survival of the species. Offspring are important – but that’s not all. Homosexuality and the practice of same sex activity has a role and a place in many societies across the world and throughout history.
The potential exists to have same sex sex. The benefit to you and to the person engaged in the activity is different. And for them to have purpose in their life – they will find (most anyhow) some way to contribute to society. So homosexuals find a place and role.
Please see any historical account of any society, birth rates, marriage contracts, leisure time, military conflicts and conquests etc…
Warren, look for the isolated child and you can predict [depression, anxiety, divorce, eating disorders, violence, a wounded healer, a great songwriter, Carl Jung, and so on].
I probably missed some outcomes. You can keep saying that same-sex attraction is directly associated with any given social factor, but that won’t make it so. Whereas pair-bonding is apparently responsive to social experiences, we do not know that erotic attraction is. Going a little further, it is possible that sexual attractions are altered or come and go based on pair-bonding experiences. We still await more research on that one. That may be the indirect link, if there is one, between bonds with parents and homosexuality.
BTW, that was a huge oversimplification on my part –
But you kind of get my drift???
The social expectations change over time. Depending on our response, a child who percieves he is socially/emotionally isolated in some way – with the potential to express homosexuality will have a greater chance of actually expressing it.
We respond differently to a fatherless or distant father today in today’s culture than we did (speaking of caucasions only) in previous social periods.
Today, we express our discontent with our lack of father in new ways. We have many online communities, new support groups, surrogate father programs etc.. in place where as in the past – 60’s 70′ and part of the 80’s we did not.
We still define our biological father or step father as distant, non-emoptional etc … but we get our needs met through new means that did not exist in the past.
Aslo, our expectations of what our expression of ourselves has changed. Most of us (caucasion again) come from broken family lives. That used to be a taboo issue or one that did not have an outlet for expression – other than an internalized deficiency. Today children can get online and through social networking get many new ideas on how to express their discontent with mom, dad, siblings etc… and they have more opportunity to succeed socially in a chosen group of friends. Back in my day, you had your school pals and that was pretty much it. Not so today. You can go online and find others who experience like you do and get support.
So when I say that recent social structures – I mean the world has changed. There will always be people who have the potential to express homosexuality – but the environmental factors that support it can change.
Warren, look for the isolated child and you can predict gayness.
Once again, evolution is not necessarily about an individual advantage but works instead upon a population of interbreeding organisms.
Drowssap jousting with Mary….
I am not sure that lesbianism necessarily has a heritable aspect that is worked upon by evolution. However for gay men the two studies I have seen point to a reasons of increased female fertility and more female wombs being born.
And then for men there is gene expression from an incompletely methylated X-chromosome….
Is there a reason nothing I post is showing up?
Once again, evolution is not necessarily about an individual advantage but works instead upon a population of interbreeding organisms.
Drowssap jousting with Mary….
I am not sure that lesbianism necessarily has a heritable aspect that is worked upon by evolution. However for gay men the two studies I have seen point to a reasons of increased female fertility and more female wombs being born.
And then for men there is gene expression from an incompletely methylated X-chromosome….
It’s called AVPRa1. Some voles -like the prairie vole – are monogamous and the males spend a lot of time helping to raise their pups. Other voles – like the meadow vole – are not, the males have multiple mates and don’t spend a lot of time helping to raise the pups. Scientists have found that the prairie vole had a longer form of the AVPR1a variation, while the meadow vole had short version. In a crucial experiment to show the importance of AVPR1a, researchers showed that if they put the long version (from the prairie voles) into the meadow voles (who normally have the short version), the meadow voles abandoned their wandering ways and became monogamous.
AVPR1a actually has a long history of being linked to behaviors in humans. A variation has been associated with altruism and linked with propensity to be involved in creative dance, dieting behavior, and conflict between siblings. Other variations in the AVPR1a gene were recently associated with age of first sexual encounter and reproduction. According to the researchers who have carried out these studies (and it should be mentioned that all but the sexuality study came out of the same lab -http://www.herzoghospital.org/index.asp?id=328), the common thread between all of these associations between behavioral traits and AVPR1a is social interaction.
Most of above from: http://spittoon.23andme.com/2008/01/09/sex-money-dancing-eating%E2%80%A6and-voles/
Citing the following:
What looks increasingly suspicious is that variations in parenting correlate in any strong or direct way with variations in sexual attractions
do you mean “does not correlate”?
It also doesn’t mean that parental dysfunction is at the root. We just don’t know. When twin pairs raised together turn out differently so often, it is a fair inference that something other than parenting is at work. When people reared in similar environments turn out differently so often, it is a fair question to ask, how much of the variance relates to unique temperament.
Clearly parents are important to many aspects of personality. What looks increasingly suspicious is that variations in parenting correlate in any strong or direct way with variations in sexual attractions. We have lots to learn yet.
funny this is being discussed in here…I was having this very discussion with a friend last night. Only it wasn’t about gayness in particular: it was about generic maladjusted adult children and parenting. I don’t know that we saw eye to eye. Because I really believe that things do not happen in a vacuum. Her argument that maladaptive adult behavior was totally random and/or genetic was that she had two children and one had turned out great, one not so great. Now I know her history and I can probably point to the factors that played a large role in how the not so great kid went astray. It was not random. Because the other child perhaps had insight or maybe was exposed to a different way to live, however briefly (maybe a book she read, or conversation with a friend, something she might not even realize) and she grabbed ahold of it does not negate the fact that the parenting her brother received most definitely affected the outcome. This woman was a good mother; I think she was defending that. But the dad was an absent jerk. She shielded the kids from him, but I know from personal experience that kids know even what parents think they are hiding really really well. Kids are perceptive. Things do not have to be glaringly horrible (ie the sort of stuff that will show up in a survey) for them to have vast effects on the way children process and respond to the world as they grow up. Just because the cause and effect is not a nice replicatable study does not mean that homosexuality just popped up in a vacuum. So much rests on OTHER environmental factors along with the family of origin and how the lessons learned in the family of origin teach the child to respond to other difficulties they encounter. In other words, if there is a subtle message that “you are not man enough’ in the family of origin, anything that seems to reinforce that is seen through that lens. Individual personality probably plays a role in exactly how children respond to family dysfunction. It is important to remember too, that the seemingly unscathed children in a family may in fact be VERY dysfunctional, even though they appear to function in society and are responsible. Think codependency. In a home with an angry abusive father, one son may grow up to mimic their fathers behavior and while heterosexual, treat women with low regard. One daughter may be frantic for male attention and become promiscuous. Her younger sister may observe her promiscuity and decide that it is not a good idea and instead decide that she will be the “good girl” and become a nurse and devote herself to her job and have a very hard time saying “no” to anyone who asks for help. A third sister happens to have an extremely close friendship with an older girl whilst at the same time observing her brother and father and deciding that men are probably dangerous. She becomes a lesbian.The younger brother observes all this, especially dad and older brother and decides if this he cannot bear to treat women that way and since he is very sensitive, he hungers for male attention in a way his brother doesn’t. He becomes gay. A lot of this has quite a bit to do with personality and the myriad variations in how those personalities interact with others in the family who also have different personalities and responses to dysfunction. Just because every child responds to the same family dysfunction in a different manner doesn’t mean that parental dysfunctions are not at the root of those of the children.
This is interesting – something I guess is obvious but not considered too much in discussion of this subject. Wouldn’t what you just said above address some questions about gender identity? You’re right about women (straight or lesbian) having a maternal interest in children, whereas men (straight or gay) do not have that same interest. How we feel sexually and who we are attracted to seems to be separate from this. Is there something “built-in” to our gender regarding this and is immune to most interferences while another part of our us might be vunerable to an environmental force regarding sexuality after conception? If so, and who knows if it is, it would be interesting to understand how one part seems to be more vunerable than the other and why.
does the reparative drive theory have any substance or credibility or just none?
@Mary: That did not compute
You are missing the main point. It isn’t that gay men are worthless to the survival of a group. It isn’t that they are half as valuable. It isn’t that they are even 95% as valuable. If they have children (or cause their neices and nephews to survive) at just .999% the rate that straight men do any gene involved is doomed. Gay men aren’t any more interested in the care of children than straight men are. Take away the sex drive for women and it’s not even close.
For a gay gene to exist anywhere it would have to be slightly MORE productive than a straight gene in at least one common environment. From there it could spread around. Sickle cell genes spread outside the Malaria belt, but even in that case not by much.
figuring out the reasons we feel the way we do is one thing – what we want to do with those feelings and self perceptions is another. If we never figure them out or don’t fit in with how others have figured it out, we still have to resolve to ourselves how we want to live and be. That is is very personal and ongoing journey through a life time and subject to many different ways of thinking and being.
Opps – but you get the idea.
That gay is predicted by fatherlessness in recent social structures does not predict gayness.
@Michael Bussee: You understand this study as far as it goes, but the implication that gay is inborn or intrinsic is not addressed by this study. One may still become or unbecome gay, but via mechanisms not addressed by this report.
It is significant however, that the prediction by some that fatherlessness might lead to more gayness is not supported here.
Do I understand this correctly? There is little predictive influence by family structure? You mean, parents don’t make their kids gay? Good and bad parents can both have gay offspring?
If so, would someone please tell NARTH, EXODUS and the whole reparative therapy circus to stop blaming parents? It looks like it simply isn’t true. Maybe gay isn’t something you become. Maybe it’s something you are.
And you’re making a huge assumation.
Take a look at primate groups. For example, it has been discovered that the females of the group that do not have children actually have a role (this has only been discovered since those who study primates now iuncludes women scientists.) Also, not all males will procreate and yet they have a contuned benefit to the protection of the group even though they do not engage with the offspring in the same manner as the females.
I suggest, rather than making assumptions (and one can tell by your writing that you have not studied primate groups, sociobiology, or other fields) that you do some research before jumping to a conculsion. You really sound, …… unlearned on the subject of group survival.
Anything after this… is just going to be me asking you to read or do research (current research.)
A homosexual man’s contribution to children ad a resource to the community does not have to be directly involved with child rearing to be an evolutionay advantage.
That’s true if you play against everyone at the same time for the same pot and they do the same. But short guys don’t play against tall guys, they play against someone their own size. Shyer women are scared by aggressive men, so they chose mates from less aggressive men who are capable enough to impress them. In turn, less aggressive men know that prom queens are out of their league, so they go for the less confident women. Most people prefer compromise to loneliness (or to homosexuality), especially women who have a very short window of opportunity to strut their stuff. Men, on the other hand, are advantaged by age, as younger women are attracted to more experienced men, who have already secured status and resources.
Evolutionary pressures are different on each gender. It’s sexual antagonism that drives the race: men’s physical power is their advantage and women’s disadvantage because it can overrule their say in the selection of mates in primitive environments. Women have gossip and irony as means of indirect aggression to shame a man and drive him away.
The less aggressive/more homosexual men from today could be the product of women selecting less aggressive partners. They gained in security to their evolutionary advantage (countering men’s sexual antagonistic advantage of aggression), but they lost in the quality of sex and attractions to their mates. Guess what? These less aggressive mates were more inventive and they had to keep on their toes to impress women. That meant lots of physical techniques and new skills. It’s what lots of young men do when they project themselves physically using facial hair, posture, jokes, and all sorts of talents to win a certain woman. It’s that …or bust. That’s evolutionary race.
I think you are overlooking a great deal.
Humans haven’t changed one bit. The #1 fear of burglars is a homeowner with a gun.
If you find an environment where gay men have a .001% advantage over straight men you’ll find a lot of gay men. So far nobody has found this environment.
If you’ve ever been to a casino you understand evolution. Give the house a .001% advantage and no matter how much money you start with if you play enough hands you’ll leave broke. Give yourself a .001% advantage and you break the house every single time.
Genes become fixed or go extinct for the exact same reasons.
I guess it depends on what study you are talking about. The most common MZ number I see floating around is 50% to 60% for Autism.
Their is a clear difference between women who don’t have children for any number of reasons and gay men. Historically speaking childless women DO spend a lot of time raising and helping out with other mother’s children. Nearly all women love children and devote a lot of time and energy to them. On the flip side gay men don’t apreciate children any more than straight men do. If gay men had the same mothering instincts that women had a gay gene would start to make some theoretical sense.
The history that is most relevant is PREhistory. Humans have only lived in agrarian communities for about 5,000 to 10,000 years depending on location. Before that time we lived in tiny groups of hunter gatherers for about 250,000 years. Nearly all human evolution took place during that era. Around 80% of women who survived to adulthood had children while just 20% of men who survived had children. If you ever wondered why men are physically larger than women and have about 2000% too much sex drive that’s why. 😎 The competition for mates was huge for men. Being gay, or maybe even being effeminate would have been a death sentence for a man’s genes. If you’ve ever seen a pack of wolves fighting over food I think that’s a pretty good window into what men of that era behaved like.
RE — the study of homo/hetero -sexuality.
Fluidity is just as “biological” as orientation. If a man, for instance, is most of the time attracted to women, but some days is attracted to men, the odds are that he will not report his secondary attractions. A few sensation seeking men might show it in behavior and they could report it, though, depending on how large the sample is to capture this low occurrence and what environment people from the sample live in (country, culture, location, social network).
If a gay-identified man is sometimes attracted to women, the odds are he will not report that, because his identity has been politically challenged, so it’s not in his interest to report that, whether or not he ever acted on attractions to women. If a gay man doesn’t know how to play the heterosexual game, he will fail at impressing the woman even if he was attracted to her and wanted to have sex with her. Would a guy like this ever report attractions to women, or would he keep silent because it’s a source of frustration to him? My bet is that he might tell a friend and get ridiculed for that, but he won’t say it publicly, because the status of his identity might come under question.
This is what self-reporting studies like this one will always fail to capture. Researchers cannot put biological hypotheses to final test if they rely on self-report. They should use equally biological measures for orientation to make sure we have correlations based on evidence of the same type.
Another point is that if there are multiple paths that lead to homosexuality, then studying them all together in a sample will result in inconclusive correlations. Even if some might be the product of fraternal birth order, if the others are not, researchers are going to miss one valid correlation for a subset.
On the parental factor, different children have different needs and respond differently to having one parent or both. Researchers would have to measure first how each individual is pitched on different scales and what type of parenting did they have to determine their coping styles. A family in which the older boy grows distant from his parents because he is jealous on how much attention his little brother gets might influence both sons’ future orientations. The older brother might grow up heterosexual because he learned detachment very early and coped with it, while the little brother might become the prisoner of his parents’ protection and his brother’s rejection. If the second brother was more vulnerable by a biological effect like FBO, then a familial dynamic might not help him counter the effect by coping behavior.
Of course, everyone is not a bit disordered. But the symptoms we find in the Autistic Spectrum Disorders are not a discrete phenomenon. Some traits can be found in the broader phenotype of relatives. Avoiding eye contact or having difficulty at coming up with the right emotional answer in a particular context is the product of these traits. That’s why I said that everyone is on the autistic spectrum, in the sense that traits are continuous. The same with homosexuality.
It depends on how you see evolution.
In nature, things are a lot more savage and left to uncertainty of outcome than this popular idea of evolution entertains. In fact, that’s why we have evolution, because there is uncertainty of outcome and species have to fight for their chance at survival. They don’t have a programmed path to survival that they follow blindly; all creatures are constantly trying to solve problems to get to their ultimate goal which is reproduction and survival. Reproduction happens in spite of many difficulties, sometimes against all odds. In the wild, animals are constantly in danger, they have to fight to get a chance at reproduction. It’s not like animals or humans resign themselves to a non-reproductive role because the environment is not protective enough, or they do not feel the greatest pleasure having sex with a particular sex. They fight to mate and have offspring. Reproduction is a matter of aggression and dominance.
Why would it be hugely different with humans? I think this is where the problem is. There is a popular perception that being reproductive is like having something for granted, ie heterosexuality, or not having it. Evolution doesn’t work this way, the comfortable way. Many people in the past, just like animals in the wild, have been fighting for their chance to have offspring. Whether or not they felt greatest having sex with the opposite sex, that was no one’s concern, because it was not as important as today. We have to bear in mind that we live in a particular age, in which we have a culture of pleasure: anyone’s goals is to increase comfort, well-being, maximise pleasure. That is totally remote from what happens in the animal kingdom, where the rule is conflict and success by dominance. This human culture of pleasure makes people ask themselves ‘who am I most attracted to?’ or ‘with what sex can I get the maximum pleasure by having sex?’ This is what created this homosexuality/heterosexuality divide. The fact that humans have become creatures of comfort and have gradually reduced their willingness to fight for survival. Now many prefer to solve this problem by inventing theoretical reasons to justify the outcomes in sexuality produced by the present culture of pleasure and comfort. It’s not the first time in history that this happens. It has happened in Ancient Greece, in Renaissant Florence and many other historic periods.
That’s why evolutionary ideas borrowed from the animal realm do not function well when you apply them to humans. Darwin did not build his theory starting with humans. He started with species of birds and went on to extend his deductions to other species. For this reason, evolutionary theory is not entirely consistent for all species equally. He had enormous difficulties with social species, like ants, because they seemed to contradict his theory completely: most ants don’t reproduce; they collaborate to support others to reproduce. Humans are even more difficult to explain as a social type of mammal. Some might say we have created our own level of evolution.
It’s important to know that the idea of evolution is not as simple as “programmed instincts lead to reproduction, if not — there was a genetic or biological accident that created non-reproductive individuals.”
What drives evolution is mostly of this type of dynamics: —conflict, antagonism, uncertainty of outcome, aggressive and forced solutions, problem solving in adverse environments.
What does not drive evolution is: —comfort, pleasure, identity, self-ascribed role, peace, eternal values, using predefined solutions in protective environments, etc.
Where do we fit human society in this picture? We are right now working against the usual forces of evolution that we find in the jungle, but the baseline struggle is still animal in the classical evolutionary sense. As people move up in society they get skills suited for environments in which survival is not based on physical dominance. It’s easy to see how, in a society of comfort and pleasure, people who use and identify with their homosexual potential target this type of environments, where their language skills or mimetic skills are sought for.
Obviously this study doesn’t really address parent-child dynamics. However, more than it debunks reparative drive theory, does the data on family structure (pp. 373, 375, 376) lend general support to theories which privilege the biologically based nuclear family for raising children?
I wonder, like all social stats, do the variations in response correalte at all with variations in expected social structure over time?
For example, it used to be uncommon for a child to be raised by only one parent or to admit having a dysfuntional family. Therefore, the respondent who felt more deeply about the family environment also expressed homosexual desires – his expectations made his impression of himself and others go another direction? And then today, we have dysfunctional vocabulary for every ill or corruption of the “ideal” family and an individual can articulate his impressions with others more immediately and get instant feedback – directing him onto a new route or outcome??
In other words, what in the environment can cause an individual to divert along another sexual path is his interpretation of events. And socially our culture is continually redefining what is expected or not expected thus there will always be affected individuals regardless of “his distant father” yesteryear or his “awkward self acceptance” in one form or another today. That’s speaking just about any environmental influences (keeping in mind those individuals who have the biological potential to express homosexuality )
I was under the impression that the 20% figure was for DZ twins, with MZ coming in at closer to 50%? Presumably the MZ twins also share identical conditions within the womb, including the effects of the flu virus. So how does the flu theory explain that any better than the ‘gay gene’ theory? I don’t, by the way subscribe to said ‘gay gene’ theory. However, I don’t see why the flu theory should be elevated above it.
Incidentally, the autism concordance rates tend to be between 60 and 98% for MZ, 0 and 11% for DZ, and ~3% for siblings. This doesn’t take into account the strong likelihood of non ‘full-blown’ autism (ie Aspergers or other ASDs [PPDs]) being present in siblings of autistic individuals. In which case genetics looks like it plays at least a small role. (in fact, the link you gave regarding schizophrenia admits as much in the third paragraph).
As well, don’t diminish my role in the life of human history to one of being unsuccesful because I do not have offspring. We contribute just as much to the group continuity and survival as any who has produced offspring.
I think your bias is showing. Check your sociological history notes. Medicine man, shaman, slave, endentured servant, man servant, dresser, driver etc… Where brothers were not available, “best friends” were.
I am just saying that throughtout history there has been a place for the homosexual within the community or family group only – the mention of their sexuality (and sexuality of people in general) was not identified as we do today.
Their predicliction for lack of procreation may have operated to move them into roles within the community. Little secret??
Life centers around the production of life. Some produce and for thos who do not – we support.
Sort of like the side kick role in a hero’s story. Very useful and the hero cannot complete his task without the help.
Twin studies of gay men show very low concordence. Something like 20% or so. Scientists can’t detect a pattern of inheritance either. That all but rules out a true “gay” gene. If homosexuality isn’t caused by genes and if you still believe it’s caused by biology then it almost has to be something in the environment. That means anything from flu virus to anchovies to motor oil. But realistically it has to be something that’s been around a long time and that we can’t defeat with evolution. That pretty much narrows it down to pathogens or more likely our bodies immune response to pathogens.
For women that makes a ton of sense. I think that’s why sexual orientation in women appears to have the strong potential for fluidity. However most men aren’t fluid at all. I think something else is at work for gay men.
The evolutionary advatange to homosexuality is that it provides an adult resource to the commmunity that is not depleted by offspring. In other words, it takes more than just a mom and dad to raise a child.
How do twin studies fit into either the flu causes autism or homosexuality theories? Also, how does the variance between ASDs (especially within families) fit into the flu theory?
It’s totally unknown how it might work. Once scientists determine which cells in our brains are responsible for sexual orientation I expect we’ll start to get some answers. That’s going to happen sooner rather than later.
SSA doesn’t offer men an individual, evolutionary advantage. Without that benefit there is no reason to suspect we should find a wide spectrum of male sexual orientations.
Let me point out that everyone isn’t a little bit Autistic. But at least in the case of Autism you could make the case that different types of intelligence/personalities might prove beneficial in different environments.
Hahaha – I did that backwards – but you get the idea!
We live in an age where we confuse love, sex, desire and attraction
@Marty: No, living arrangements. This study is not the one that dismisses reparative therapy in a comprehensive manner. However, if fathering was a huge issue, then you would expect larger numbers in the parents separated group, given the disruption in family life and the moms only group given that father is not in the picture. Since we do not when in the life of the child any of these demographics happened, we cannot say that this is a direct test of reparative theory. However, with a sample as large and as representative as this one is, if father absence/discord was as major as reparative drive suggests among same-sex attracted males, one would see some elevation in SSA among these males.
Everyone is on the spectrum of autism, but few are in the disorder zone. Everyone is one the homosexuality spectrum, but few are exclusively homosexual. Scientists need to change perspective, they need a new kind of imagination to work on this.
It’s not a question of right or left, it’s a question of back or forth. They are wrongly focused on the gender part, because the population is most vulnerable in the atypical area. But the trait does not depend on the gender component and it does not disappear where atypicality disappears. It’s relative between different people.
There can be many types of attractions to one’s own sex (not same sex!). Some might describe it like looking at others as being themselves from outside, which is totally different from how women see men. Those who increase aggressiveness kind of “get out of themselves” and are less attracted to their own sex and more to the other sex. How many gays are shy and less aggressive?
Autistic children react more to images of their own face than to others.
How many are intelligent, introverted and too rational?
People With Autism Make More Rational Decisions, Study Shows.
Some could be feminized — different type (hormonal), but others might be a subclinical type of autism that runs in the entire population in different degrees (genetic, environmental).
That’s how the whole thing looks like.
This study does nothing but contribute more to the long succession of self-reported social outcomes. The odds are that most self-identified gays are mostly genuine, but you never know what’s on the other side. There’s little incentive to report homosexuality, mostly for openly gay people. That can scramble statistics a lot. What family do you compare with what? The whole thing trickles between your assumptions.
For a host of reasons they may have had that 0% attraction to the female form. Many times they do notice and appreciate females for companionship and they also ‘know what’s attractive’ but have precluded themselves from ‘being attracted’. So many of those makeover folks are gay men. Somewhere in their brains they’ve made a strange distinction between what’s attractive and being attracted to it. That’s a part of the confusion I was alluding to.
Sometimes they read other things into the attractiveness: high maintenance, vain, too self-assured, wants a he-man, etc. So the attractive become unattractive by virtue of a value judgement. Other times, they might notice that ‘real men’ should be drawn to the large-breasted Playboy/Dallas Cowboy cheerleader image and, because they are more focussed on a whole person rather than their sexual parts, they conclude that they aren’t ‘really attracted’. Those with a moral upbringing often can’t relate to being sexually charged by everything female. There’s a continuing war within between respect for the whole person and the impersonal sexually charged attraction that we are being force-fed daily.
Until we begin to understand the non-sexual components of our attractions–both straight and gay–we won’t fully understand what motivates–or demotivates–us.
I don’t see how that could be. How environmental could inheritable homosexuality be? What about people who had only opposite-sex attractions but no same-sex attractions during childhood and puberty? Does the environmental bug strike randomly vulnerable people?
Can you clarify something for us here?
“ One would expect to find great differences between male heterosexual participants and same-sex attracted participants if fathering/mothering were crucial to male sexual orientation … Nicolosi says that the main factor in the development of male homosexuality is a distant or hostile father.”
Yet your previous quotes from the study only referred to living arrangements — living with mom alone, or dad alone. Did the study attempt to assess emotional reliationship issues (distant, hostile fathers or mothers), or simply logistical living arrangements?
The problem I see with that theory is that gay people shouldn’t always be gay if it was a subtle difference. There are a lot of gay men who for an entire lifetime have 0% attraction to the female form.
Let’s not forget the possibility that SSA could be a combination of natural desires that got twisted. The very notion that there is one (or one set) of biological or environmental causes comes from the fact that we have identified SSA as ‘a condition’. We’ve labelled the box and now we’re trying to make the contents of the box live up to the label.
We live in an age where we confuse love, sex, desire and attraction. Since we don’t recall how our desires came to be, we assume that they must have always been a part of us. We like to presume that we are not influenced by the subtle and not so pressures of peer and societal influence.
There was a time when couples were joined to one another by family agreements. The primary attraction was that our family or tribe grow in wealth and numbers. Paintings in the Raphael period depicted sensuous women who, by today’s standards, would be regarded as ‘fat chicks’ in serious need of a weight loss and excercise program. But, at the time, their ample bodies symbolized both wealth and health and men responded sexually to them. (I’m guessing that the female body type that is most often hyped by the media of today–and hence lusted after or desired by men–would have been almost repugnant to men in that age.)
Societal influence is so pervasive that we remain blind to it…we can’t see the forest for the trees. I saw a commercial this morning for fireplace restoration where the homeowner’s were discussing the ‘ugly fireplace’ that came with their house. It wasn’t marred, disfigured, broken…it’s ugliness came in the fact that it was a red brick look popular in the ’50’s. It was once considered to be lovely and desireable–and without changing–is now so ugly and repulsive that it needed to be replaced at considerable expense. (Once so desireable that people paid to have it and now so ugly that they’ll pay to get rid of it—and yet, it didn’t even show signs of aging.) I’m sure those homeowners think of their aesthetic appreciations as simply natural and logical, almost innate responses…but the evidence suggests that their sensibilities have been tempered by lifelong exposures to messages and values that they took in without any conscious awareness.
I know that sounds like a serious detour but I am persuaded that while we view the sex drive as instinctive we don’t fully grasp that how much of it is instinctive and how much of it is learned. I think it’s instinctive to desire companionship; I think it’s instinctive to pursue pleasureable experience; I also think it’s instinctive to want to live forever (through progeny or a legacy). But, beyond that, I’m not sure how much of our sexuality is instinctive or inborn.
But it’s our distorted view of what’s instinctive that leads us to look for explanations for the SSA condition. We presume that some major cause–whether it be genetic, pre-natal or environmental–MUST be present…must have caused a deviation from the instinctive. However, if the parts that are instinctive are simply those that I cited above, then it’s easier to see that it wouldn’t necessarily take some gene, some pre-natal influence or a specific environmental/societal set-up to allow for the development of SSA.
Thinking about it – I don’t know if I believe in the reparative drive theory but do suspect we all want to have sex and just hook up with those that “understand” us. We’re not repairing anything, just seeking comfort, connection, intimacy and for those who have experienced a homosexual encounter as satisfying – then like any other animal, or creature, we return because the experience had benefits. And we weren’t appalled.
My odds on combination.
Option B) SSA is set in motion by external, biological input. Because SSA isn’t a new phenomenon the trigger almost has to be prenatal or early childhood exposure to a germ or virus of some sort. More than likely it’s the bodies immune response, not the pathogen itself. Genes might play a roll in susceptability.
Autism appears to work like this.
Exposure to Meningitis switches children from right to left handed. (see chapter 2.2)
Can you clarify hypothesis B?
Older Brother effect lies smoldering in a ditch
Reparative drive theory scattered in a million pieces
No discernable pattern of inheritance
Gay gene theory barbecued
Only 2 hypothesis have survived
A) SSA is triggered by some sort of socialization that so far can’t be detected or explained
B) SSA is triggered by some sort of outside, biological environmental input… just like everything else.
I like my odds on B. 😎
Speaking of environmental input I just found the craziest one of all.
Light causes Cancer
As crazy as this sounds if you google around you’ll see that this is the real deal. Keep your bedroom dark at night, it boosts your immune system and keeps you healthy.
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