Last nights Stephen Colbert

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 27, 2007 5:12 PM GMT
    So, I know there was some forum topic about Gaydar, but I am too lazy to read it so you must come to me! The guest on the Colbert Report wrote an article in New York Magazine stating that certain physical characteristics relates to sexual identity. Two assertions he made:

    1. There is a higher correlation of homosexuality with people men whose pointer finger is longer than their ring finger. The converse is true for women
    (A side note on this, I heard that this relates directly to testosterone levels.)
    2. The whirl of your hair. Only about 8% of the population have a counter-clockwise hair whirl. This part of the population correlates more closely with homosexuality.

    So I looked at my fingers and took a picture of my hair (look at the back part, from whence the baldness comes) and I have neither indicator. Anyone else?

    I wonder if it relates to masculinity? I'm not very "effete" if you will. So could that be the correlation?
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    Jun 27, 2007 6:33 PM GMT
    No... it's seems more probable that the article is complete bollocks!
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    Jun 27, 2007 8:25 PM GMT
    My pointer finger is shorter then my ring finger.
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    Jun 27, 2007 8:30 PM GMT
    My penis points towards pictures of Dominic Purcell--is that an indicator?
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    Jun 27, 2007 8:40 PM GMT
    Tim! You can't say bollocks, we all know you are from Ohio.

    Skjpm, that kind of made me feel gross for some reason...
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    Jun 27, 2007 8:45 PM GMT
    Also, if it is genetic, or even developmental, there could easily be phenotypic correlation. If it is genetic, there would definitely be linkage with other genes that would make them co-segregate. So it isn't impossible that things would be an indicator.

    It obviously doesn't correlate for me or Tim. Maybe ohio just breeds homos, but I was just wondering for everyone.

    Also I thought it would be interesting just because the guys here might fall into the arbitrary category of "masculine" so if this were related to hormone levels, we might be different. In your face biology!
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    Jun 27, 2007 8:46 PM GMT
    DANG IT! I just re-looked at your profile and saw you are originally from the UK. YOu may say bollocks again. That is what i get for relying on my memory.
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    Jun 27, 2007 8:49 PM GMT
    my pointer finger is the same length as my ring finger...and my hair whirls in a clock-wise direction...consider this myth busted! :-P
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    Jun 27, 2007 8:57 PM GMT
    now, just a few people are not a sample size...

    I read the actual article just now and it said that at a gay pride rally, only 23% had the counter-clockwise whorl, when it is only 8% in the whole population. Just showing not EVERYONE that is gay has it.

    The stats still stand. Here is the article:

    http://nymag.com/news/features/33520/
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    Jun 27, 2007 9:21 PM GMT
    1. My pointer finger IS longer
    2. My swirl is clockwise (and thank you very much for making me look at my thinning spot!)

    There's another study in the recent year saying your chance of being gay increases with each older brother you have. I have two siblings: one older brother and one older sister.

    I saw the episode. Didn't take gaydar to label THAT guy.
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    Jun 27, 2007 10:37 PM GMT
    sickothesame was wondering about:

    1. There is a higher correlation of homosexuality with people men whose pointer finger is longer than their ring finger. The converse is true for women

    My understanding is that finger length is related to prenatal exposure to testosterone. The greater the exposure, the greater the difference in length between the index finger and the ring finger.

    If that's true, I doubt finger length has anything to do with homosexuality. Giving a gay man testosterone doesn't change his orientation, just his sex drive.

    I haven't heard about the scalp swirls. I did once hear that gay men are more likely to be left-handed than right-handed.

    One thing that makes me suspicious of these studies is that the measurements are usually binary---right vs left, clockwise vs counterclockwise, etc---with the 'gay' condition correlating with the opposite or inverse of what is 'normal'. I'm not saying they're not valid, I'm just wondering why no one tries to correlate sexuality and something like eye color...

  • mcwclewis

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    Jun 27, 2007 11:29 PM GMT
    Ive heard the brothers thing too...

    That actually does seem kind of accurate.

    Most of the gay men I know have older brothers, not younger....

    Correllation is not causation....

    just thought I throw that out there..... you know.
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    Jun 27, 2007 11:43 PM GMT
    right, of course correlation isn't causation in these cases. No one is gay because their fingers are too short.

    I read about the brother thing as well, and it makes sense when it comes to the mother's immune response. But interestingly enough, there is no statistical correlation in those cases that the older brother is left handed. I just think it is interesting how biology works, and since I am a molecular biologist, how seemingly unrelated things can be related.

    For example, a mutation in the genes coding for cilia will cause extreme asymmetry in humans.

    And yes, MikeOnMain, prenatal testosterone exposure is what determines finger length. Testosterone treatments post development in humans won't do anything, but things are timed amazingly in utero. SRY, in general what makes a boy a boy, is only active for about 20 minutes in our entire life. If the protein is administered to a woman in her 30s, she won't turn into a man. So basically what I am saying is that developmental exposure is significantly different than daily exposure. So low testosterone in utero wouldn't necessarily mean low testosterone now.
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    Jun 28, 2007 3:04 AM GMT
    http://60minutes.yahoo.com/segment/68/gay_or_straight

    From a while ago, but covers some biological theories for homosexuality that have been recently gaining supporting evidence.
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    Jun 28, 2007 3:12 AM GMT
    SO I JUST WATCHED THAT. And, basically this guy is trying to use the same argument that radical-Christians use to define homosexuality. Although he says that he does this to help the arguement that this is not a choice, he also admits that it can be seen as something that is manageble (like a disease) Colber(t)? does an awesome job poking GIANT holes in this guys argument. Basically, he is a fellow who wants to help people realize that not only is homosexuality genetic, but here are a bunch of instance that you can use as indicators to figure it out (probably). Although, he (the author) does go on to say that many scientists do not agree with him (really? wierd!). Whatever, props to Colber(t)? for showing us yet another example of stupidity in this world.
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    Jun 28, 2007 3:36 AM GMT
    Listen, the essayist on the Colbert Report was talking about a statistically significant correlation that was observed through scientific measurement. THere is a correlationsh between the ratios of ring and pointer finger and the swirl of the hair. That doesn't mean it applies to everyone. It doesn't mean it's 100% true. There are probably many people that can disprove this correlation. But, that doesn't mean that "the myth is busted" or that it's an inaccurate observation. You could say that there's a correlation between Asians and short stature...and when you see Yao Ming running around that doesn't mean the correlation is "busted" it just means that there are exceptions.

    As far as the science of discovering homosexuality goes, it's a topic of great interest to me. I'm studying biobehavioral health and neuropsychiatry. It's a real word, believe me. Scientists have identified parts of the brain that will show correlation to homosexuality. Ever hear of the interstitial nucleaus of the anterior hypothalamus? There exists a correlation between homosexuals and smaller third interstitial nucleus. The scientific article actually prompted some people in the gay community to make t-shirts that said: "The only thing small about me is my third interstitial nucleus"....we'll I thought it was funny.
    http://www.utexas.edu/courses/bio301d/Topics/Gay/Text.html

    But don't fear guys. I'm not Mel Gibson and it isn't a conspiracy. There are also studies who are trying to figure out the parts of the brains that determine religion. And guess what? They're making significant discoveries in this area too!

    Don't be afraid that scientists are trying to discover a "cure" for homosexuality. There is none.

    However, if scientists do discover what determines homosexuality, I'd be more worried about pre-natal screenings resulting in the termination of "gay" embryos.
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    Jun 28, 2007 3:07 PM GMT
    thank you zrs106.

    I do think it is interesting that the gay community would be so up in arms about this. Especially if we do believe it is genetic, or at least not something that we determine. Both instances would have side effects (or even affects) because of linkage or developmental changes.

    If it was discovered that this was developmental, no one but a small fraction of people would think of "curing" this. And what scientist is going to think that that is ethical? None, I guarantee. If it's genetic "radical Christians" will come to terms. All of my "radical Christian" friends did and became not so radical. Same with my mom. So maybe this is a good thing?
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    Jun 28, 2007 8:36 PM GMT
    I have four younger sisters
    the swirl is clockwise
    and my pointer finger is shorter.
    hmmm
    guess i'm not as gay as I thought I was
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    Jul 04, 2007 11:39 PM GMT
    In reference to the choice arguments, here is a slam-dunk sound-bite rebuttal:

    Heterosexuals do not choose to be straight, right? So why would homosexuals choose to be gay?

    I'll go out on a more thoughtful limb here: Feelings are not a choice - how we deal with our feelings IS a choice. Do we lie and deny? Or we accept and live wisely?
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    Jul 05, 2007 12:20 AM GMT
    Here's a twist on TDC's question: next time a straight guy tells you being gay is a choice, ask him when he chose to give up men.
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    Jul 05, 2007 4:02 AM GMT
    I haven't done a lot of studying on the subject, but my wife is an anthropologist, so I have lots of discussions about human evolution and behavior and how this relates to primate behavior.

    Here is a theory I considered:

    When I ask myself the Darwinian answer to the question - why are there homosexuals? It is apparent that there was some survival benefit for humans with a percentage of homosexuals in its population, because we exist. And the characteristic of homosexuality is not directly related to parents being homosexual. So not all children of a homosexual will end up homosexual. Not all children of hetero's will be hetero. So some combination of recessive factors determine homosexuality(or degrees thereof).

    My theory is that a strictly hetero population would not have as high a probability of having adults in their prime who devote their energy to activities other than child-rearing. Especially millions of years ago when the life expectancy was 32 years and females spent their whole lives getting pregnant, males protecting and caring for young and pregnant females, or fighting for mating privileges.

    Tribes with a couple of gay or lesbian's mixed in would have increased probablity of having more attention paid to child rearing - increasing the mortality of offspring. Or an increased probability that an adult would have time and energy to spend perfecting a craft, developing writing and language, music, developing weapons and tools, etc.

    Move that same idea more into the age of cities and civilization and you get groups of non-reproductive citizens - i.e. monks, nuns - who were really the repository for artistic development, language and writing, libraries, schools, healing. I imagine there were plenty of gays and lesbians who felt the calling...

    Some might argue that if you don't have kids, you don't survive genetically, so how could being a homosexual be a positive genetic selection. On an individual basis, it isn't. But when you look at it on a species level - it is.

    In other words, being queer (and not having kids) helps your parents genes survive because if one of their handful of Children is a queer, that child will help or improve the survivability of their neices and nephews - either directly or indirectly through social contributions. So genetically it pays to parent a queer - so long as it's not an only child.

    Tying this back to the thread - the same recessive factors that determine homosexuality my also influence those factors that produce the indicators.

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    Jul 05, 2007 5:25 PM GMT
    SKJPM-

    My penis points towards pictures of Dominic Purcell--is that an indicator?

    as does mine man!

    ....as does mine
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    Jul 05, 2007 9:19 PM GMT
    @MikeOnMain: that was clever, I luv it! :D

    @OHhiker: having dabbled in sociobiology in my undergrad days, I have asked similar questions, and came to basically the same conclusion.

    The evolutionary benefits of a given trait, say homosexsual behaviour for example, do not necessarily manifest in obvious or immediate ways. Indeed the survival of the species doesn't demand every individual express fitness in the classic Darwinian sense, but rather it is an advenatage if there are multiple means for a species to survive but where these means all work in concert and not in exclusion. This includes investment in individuals who supplement procreation with other contributions to a group's success. Oddly enough, social insects like ants & bees show us this in the extreme - the majority of their population do not procreate at all but rather they live only to acquire resources and defend the colony. That indirectly supports the case for homosexuality being of value to human survival - we just haven't figured out to make the best if it I suppose.

    Hmmm, I just happen to be at the stage in my life where I realize I probably won't sire children and raise them, and I am very concerned about the meaning of living - what should I be doing with my life then? Is work meaningful?

    Such profound questions confound me lately...
  • fryblock

    Posts: 387

    Jul 05, 2007 10:35 PM GMT
    mine is counter clockwise