Being gay proven to be biological?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 17, 2008 4:47 AM GMT
    I recently read an article on BBC suggesting that in fact homosexuality relates to the brain and the way it is developed in the womb.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7456588.stm


    Just felt like sharing something new and exciting.

  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    Jun 17, 2008 11:58 AM GMT
    I dont think so. Nobody in my family is gay. My late father cant take his eyes off beautiful women. I dont know any member of my family who is gay..,uncle, cousin, distance relative, nobody , no one
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    Jun 17, 2008 12:16 PM GMT
    I read about something similar to this a long time ago in the book "brain sex". The brain of the fetus is "feminine" and is masculinized by the release of hormones by the mother while the fetus is developing. A whole series of factors can influence the release of the hormones including stress, age of the mother, etc.. This study supports what has been strongly suspected for some time. In "Brain Sex" they pointed to a study of gay men that were in utero during the allied bombing of Germany during WWII. A higher proportion of male births seemed to be of gay men.

    People get confused between genetics and what happens in the womb. I think what Zakariahzol is referring to is genetics. Just because your parents and your grandparents or their siblings are straight, does not really mean anything.

  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    Jun 17, 2008 12:24 PM GMT
    Well Jbe,

    The question kinda confusing. The title say something about biological and then he talk about the brain and the womb. Biological always refer to genetic isnt it?
    You know biological kid, biological father.....
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    Jun 17, 2008 12:39 PM GMT
    zakariahzol saidWell Jbe,

    The question kinda confusing. The title say something about biological and then he talk about the brain and the womb. Biological always refer to genetic isnt it?
    You know biological kid, biological father.....


    Genetics is a specific branch of science. Human biology has a broader meaning.

    Just because your biological father and mother are heterosexual does not really mean anything in terms of what the sexual orientation of the offspring will be. The opposite is true of course. You could have a gay father and a lesbian mother that produce straight kids.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jun 17, 2008 12:58 PM GMT
    This is an important distinction which needs to be stressed. Biological =/= genetic. At least, not always. There are plenty of biological things which aren't genetic. Environmental factors will never be completely identical between two people, and this is the primary way in which identical twins are different. Things like viral infections, nutritional and hormonal levels during development, and even the social differences between two members of the same family can result in substantial biological differences between people who are genetically identical.

    The evidence has been stronger for years now that homosexuality is more likely controlled by events in the womb than by genes. In general, the more previous male pregnancies the birth mother has had, the greater the probability that the current male fetus will turn out to be gay, regardless of whether he's raised in her family or adopted. (Good fun to point out if your older brother ever gives you a hard time for liking guys: "You realize, you made me gay...") No such correlation seems to exist for lesbians. There have been some suggestions about a particular region of the X chromosome, but the evidence for that is weaker than for the womb environment.

    Still: it's academic. Or at least it should be. Unless you're a scientist interested in sexual or neural development, the mechanism by which some people turn out gay while others turn out straight is kind of moot. It happens. I think it's a bad idea to base so many of the arguments for equal rights on the fact that being gay is natural. Natural is not always good, and unnatural is not always bad. I'd prefer to see more of the arguments based on questions such as: In what possible way does it harm anyone to allow gays to marry? How can you justify firing/not hiring someone due to private legal sexual practices which harm no one? It's tougher to justify discrimination when the questions are in those terms.
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    Jun 17, 2008 1:16 PM GMT
    *Kisses MSUBioNerd*

    Great post! icon_razz.gif

    I have a theory about why subsequent male offspring have a higher chance of being gay - seeing that males outnumber women and males are more or less 'replaceable' hehe - I think it's an adaptation to reduce competition between males. Gay males won't vie with others (especially brothers who have similar genes anyway) to um... perpetuate their genes. Therefore keeping the clan unit intact, the males cooperating, and the women reproducing = successful tribe. icon_razz.gif

    That's only my speculation of course and has nothing to back it up. LOL icon_redface.gif

    MSUBioNerdIn what possible way does it harm anyone to allow gays to marry? How can you justify firing/not hiring someone due to private legal sexual practices which harm no one? It's tougher to justify discrimination when the questions are in those terms.


    Exactly. I really can't understand why people are so riled up over how 'gays are made' when it's not really even the main issue. Whether we are 'natural' or not, influenced by the environment or by hormones in the womb, we are what we are now and can't change that. We should focus on our common humanity and not how our sexual orientations developed. icon_confused.gif
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    Jun 17, 2008 1:21 PM GMT
    I just love the idea that science is now backing up what we already knew....that being gay is not a "choice". That knocks the hell out of christian organizations that say being gay is a sin because in fact, God made us this way by allowing it to happen, we didn't just choose to be gay.
    Everyone knows God doesn't make mistakes and everything that he creates is good.
    Of course the church will never admit its mistake because admitting any mistake brings into question a lot of things that they say is truth.
    Along with that, christians in general will never accept the truth because that would mean they have been bigots for all these years.....especially my parents and family....lol
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    Jun 17, 2008 1:28 PM GMT
    Fundamentalists Christians will probably never change their minds about gays based on these results. Mention scientific proof to them and their eyes glaze over. After all some of these people try and explain away the dinosaurs by saying they were alive around the time of Adam and Eve! They put forward "creationism" as a valid explanation for the beginning of life.

    Intelligent, rational, informed thought does not enter into the equation. Superstition, fear and bigotry do.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jun 17, 2008 1:31 PM GMT
    I'd be careful in assuming a change in religious beliefs will result all that easily from a change in science. We've still got people who think the Earth is only 6,000 years old, after all, and that the Grand Canyon was carved by Noah's Flood. On this issue, it's still entirely possible for people to believe that homosexual activity is a sin even if there is a biological cause for why someone people want to engage in it. After all, it's still a choice to have sex, the same as it's a choice to drink or not even if you're alcoholic. Bigotry and intolerance are often not terribly rational, and thus can't be expected to go away just because one of the underlying beliefs has been demonstrated to be wrong.
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    Jun 17, 2008 4:16 PM GMT
    If you look at the evidence of many recent studies, including those which have been disproved (i.e. relative finger length) it is clear that there isn't a single gene that turns it on or off. It seems to be a complex combinations of genetics and possibly developmental biological events that create it. It would appear (I'm not saying facts here, but distinctly supposition) that since the incidence of homosexuality is moderately consistent throughout history, that the conditions required are biological rather than sociological.
    Additionally the higher incidences of being gay based on correlative genetic traits would also significantly strengthen that argument even though it doesn't prove it (as yet).
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    Jun 17, 2008 4:45 PM GMT
    BerberKnight said[quote][cite]JBE60 said[/cite]I read about something similar to this a long time ago in the book "brain sex". The brain of the fetus is "feminine" and is masculinized by the release of hormones by the mother while the fetus is developing. A whole series of factors can influence the release of the hormones including stress, age of the mother, etc.. This study supports what has been strongly suspected for some time. In "Brain Sex" they pointed to a study of gay men that were in utero during the allied bombing of Germany during WWII. A higher proportion of male births seemed to be of gay men.

    People get confused between genetics and what happens in the womb. I think what Zakariahzol is referring to is genetics. Just because your parents and your grandparents or their siblings are straight, does not really mean anything.


    My grand-mother was exposed to a tremendous amount of stress during the Algerian war against France, but all her 13 children are all straight. On the other hand, my own mother had been exposed to a tremendous amount of stress as well while being pregnant of me and 2 of my half-brothers. All 3 of us have more or less gay tendencies.

    If the stress theory is accurate, then why all my uncles and ants are straight?

    I believe my 2 half-brothers and I are not really straight because of our upbringing; deceased father and absentee/abusive mother in my case - absentee father and mother for my half-brothers' (mom divorced their dad before marrying mine)[/quote]

    Because stress does not necessarily impact women the same way. I am sure there are other factors at play including the age of the mother as well as some genetic factors.

    The likely conclusion remains the same though. People are born with a certain sexual orientation whether it be straight or gay, or somewhere in between. I wouldn't be surprised if pedophilia (attracted to children)is present at birth as well.

    In the long-run though it does not matter. What should matter is giving two consenting adults the freedom to have sex with each other regardless of gender.
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    Jun 17, 2008 5:03 PM GMT
    Here's another new article to dump on the pile:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20080616/hl_hsn/gaymenstraightwomenhavesimilarbrains
    I believe the body of evidence will simply keep growing until it reaches some critical mass that cannot be ignored.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 17, 2008 5:18 PM GMT
    i don't think there's any one answer. like all things in nature, there are many paths to arrive at the same destination. i can't discount genetics considering my great-grandfather may have been gay, my uncle is gay, my neice is gay, my cousin's oldest son (middle child) is gay (all on my father's side of the family), and i already have suspicions about my grand-nephew. i am gay and i am the oldest of three boys...brothers are not.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jun 17, 2008 7:46 PM GMT
    I feel almost like I'm picking on you here, m4m, but your post is a great demonstration of one of the biggest problems scientists have in getting certain things accepted.

    Your view on genetics is based on an anecdote. In your particular family, there are a lot of blood relations who are gay. I'm not denying that in any way. But just because it's that way in your family doesn't actually mean that either genetics or parenting style have anything to do with the probability that a given child will turn out gay. Even if it's entirely due to other factors, by chance alone there will be some families in which it's more common than on average, and certain families in which it's less common. Anecdote for anecdote, I could just as easily point out that I don't know of a single blood relative of mine who's gay. That won't be convincing to you that genetics aren't important in determining orientation, nor should it be.

    In order to determine whether genetics play a role, you need to look at large groups and do statistics on whether the probability is higher or lower depending on whether someone has a known gay relative, and ideally control for such factors as income, family size, educational level, whether the relative is a blood relation or not, whether there are different rates among children adopted by gay couples versus those adopted by straight couples, etc. There is at best very weak evidence for the possible role of one section of the X chromosome, and because of that a greater likelihood of having gay relatives on your mother's side than on your father's. But that evidence hovers very close to the threshold of statistical significance, meaning it could well be a fluke that doesn't actually mean anything biologically.

    Fundamentally, individual cases not fitting large statistical trends don't invalidate the trends. They just mean that the trends are not absolutes. There's no scientific evidence to suggest you would have a higher number of gay relatives on your father's side of the family than in the same number of unrelated strangers, unless maybe they're all related through your paternal grandmother. Even if that were the case, though, there's then no scientific evidence to suggest that you're more likely to be gay than any other randomly chosen individual. But, alas, the dictates of science and statistics do not have a strong effect on most people's minds when they give an answer contrary to what the person wants to hear. And that's one of the main reasons why we scientists can have a very hard time convincing the general public about things we've known about for a long time.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 17, 2008 7:54 PM GMT
    Top scientists say homosexuality is caused by contact of the epidermis around the patella comes in contact with floors of public facilities.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 18, 2008 7:30 AM GMT
    bgcat57 saidTop scientists say homosexuality is caused by contact of the epidermis around the patella comes in contact with floors of public facilities.



    icon_eek.gif

    Thank goodness I've never been to a bathhouse.
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    Jun 18, 2008 9:33 PM GMT
    "In heterosexual men, the right hemisphere is slightly larger. Scans of the brains of gay men in the study, however, showed that their hemispheres were relatively symmetrical, like those of straight women, ...'

    Does this mean that instead of being gay or homosexual, we can now refer to ourselves as:

    hemispherically symmetrical males

    or

    homosphericals?

    icon_lol.gif

    [url]http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1815538,00.html[/url]
  • Menergy_1

    Posts: 737

    Jun 19, 2008 3:01 PM GMT
    More following the brain comparison study, and some disturbing things to think about in terms of potential outcomes and decisions! ::

    http://www.slate.com/id/2193841/