Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Inconvenient Truth to the Gay Rights Narrative

In a recent podcast, Alan Shelmon of Stand to Reason discussed the ability of same-sex attraction to change and how this truth dismantles the gay rights narrative. You can listen to this podcast here.

On the same note, I think the claim “people are born with same-sex attraction” is nonsensical. Are we born with attractions? For example, is a newborn female attracted to the lines and curves of the female form? Or even to the lines and curves of the male form for that matter? It seems silly to me to think so. It could be said that we have no way of knowing such things. But if that is the case, then how is the claim “people are born with same-sex attraction” able to be made?

It seems to me that attractions are developed and therefore attractions that correspond to reality, and for which it is of utmost importance that they do correspond with reality, should be cultivated. Same-sex attraction is not one of those attractions for it goes against the natural order of the male and female functional parts.   

Stand firm in Christ,

Chase

15 comments:

Andrew Ryan said...

Twelve or so years after a boy is born, all things being well, he'll go through puberty and develop body hair, get a deeper voice etc. In effect, when he's born he's got a metaphorical alarm clock in him counting down to this happening. It's not a result of the environment or culture - though puberty can be delayed or hastened by environmental factors. One can say that he was 'born that way' - born to eventually go through that process. This despite him obviously not being born with a deep voice and hair!

In the same way, 'born this way' about gays just means that they were born with that destiny, in the same way that straights are born with the 'straightness' inside them - just waiting for puberty to hit. It's saying that same sex attraction comes as naturally to them as opposite attraction came to you and me. Sexual attraction in general is heavily influenced by hormones - it's in large part chemical. Increasing a man's testosterone boosts his sex drive. It's not some magical thing.

There's a decent amount of evidence to support the idea that homosexuality is set even before puberty. There are physical differences more often seen in gays than straights, there's a big correlation between being a gay male and your position in the family (ie how many older brothers you have). This applies even when you weren't brought up with those brothers, ruling out this just being an environmental thing. And anecdotally I've known lots of people who've said in advance that they suspected someone was gay even from the age of about seven due to their behaviour - non sexual cues I should add.

Since we don't know a huge amount about what makes someone have opposite sex attraction, it seems a leap for anyone to speak confidently about what causes same sex attraction. We already know that babies can be born with missing limbs, holes in the heart, inability to produce important bodily functions, damaged chromosomes etc. Why imagine it's impossible that whatever makes a girl feel attraction to boys can sometimes end up in a boy's make-up? Or that a girl could be born with whatever part of a boy eventually makes him attracted to girls? I mean, some children get born with both sets of genitals of none at all, so it's a genetic (or at least in utero) explanation for gays would hardly be a massive stretch.

Chase said...

Hello again Andrew,

I hope you enjoyed your holiday and I wish you the best in the New Year.

In the same way, 'born this way' about gays just means that they were born with that destiny, in the same way that straights are born with the 'straightness' inside them

So, gays are born with the ‘gayness’ inside them. Explain to me how this is different than saying “gays are born gay”.

Sexual attraction in general is heavily influenced by hormones - it's in large part chemical. Increasing a man's testosterone boosts his sex drive.

Testosterone does indeed boost a man’s sex drive, but does it dictate the object that sex drive is released towards?

Since we don't know a huge amount about what makes someone have opposite sex attraction, it seems a leap for anyone to speak confidently about what causes same sex attraction.

Help me understand then why you confidently state that sexual attraction is heavily influenced by hormones.

If you were merely providing it as a possibility, along with the other possibilities you provided, then the APA agrees with you. They state:

“There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.” Emphasis mine. (1)

This point was made in the post as I question the ability of the claim “people are born with same-sex attraction” to be made definitively.

so it's a genetic (or at least in utero) explanation for gays would hardly be a massive stretch.

Sure, a genetic explanation for same-sex attraction is possible, but where does that leave us? It says nothing about whether homosexual behavior is right. There is evidence that genes contribute to alcoholism, schizophrenia, unfaithfulness, violence, and disease, however, it does not tell us that they are normal or good. Dean Hamer, himself a homosexual, agrees, “Biology is amoral; it offers no help in distinguishing between right and wrong. Only people guided by their values and beliefs can decide what is moral and what is not.” (2) As does Simon LeVay, “Science itself cannot render judgments about human worth or about what constitutes normality or disease. These are value judgments individuals must make for themselves.” (ibid)

Respectfully.

Footnotes:

1. APA. Answers to Your Questions For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality. 2008.
2. Shlemon, Alan. The Ambassadors Guide to Understanding Homosexuality. Page 26. 2013

Andrew Ryan said...

Happy New Year Chase.

"So, gays are born with the ‘gayness’ inside them. Explain to me how this is different than saying “gays are born gay”."

I thought I already explained the distinction, Chase! You said in your blog post: "For example, is a newborn female attracted to the lines and curves of the female form?".

Obviously she isn't, but that's a non sequitur with regards to whether she's 'born gay', isn't it? I've two friends whose weeks old baby was diagnosed with a disorder. The disorder won't manifest for a few years, but the following are both true:
1) She was born with the disorder
2) She currently displays none of the symptoms of the disorder.

In short, saying 'babies doesn't fancy other babies' says nothing about whether people are 'born gay'.

"Sure, a genetic explanation for same-sex attraction is possible, but where does that leave us? It says nothing about whether homosexual behavior is right."

Indeed not, but your blog post said: "I think the claim “people are born with same-sex attraction” is nonsensical"

I was addressing that statement, and the argument you made to support it. If your argument was completely unimportant, why make it?

Chase said...

Thank you for the New Year salutations. I rang in the New Year sick and I am still sick. Fortunately I have not passed it on to my wife or children.

You said in your blog post:…

The question asks if a newborn female is sexually attracted to females. You answered with, “Obviously she isn’t”. So, you answer that a newborn female is not sexually attracted to females (i.e. she has no same-sex attraction) and yet you question what this has to do with whether or not she is born with same-sex attraction. Help me understand what you are saying Andrew, because I am confused. Unless by “obviously she isn’t” you meant she isn’t showing signs of same-sex attraction then I agree with you: because a newborn female is not showing signs of same-sex attraction she is not then by default not born with that attraction. However, as I already pointed out, the question is asking, “Is a newborn female sexually-attracted to females?” not, “Is a newborn female showing signs of being sexually-attracted to females?”

Based on what you have said, I would guess that you would answer the question, “Is a newborn female sexually-attracted to females?” by stating that we will not know until the same-sex attraction manifests itself. To me though it seems a non sequitur to say that because the female manifests same-sex attraction later in life then she must have been born with same-sex attraction. I think this for the reasons mentioned in my post and also in light of the evidence we get from twin studies. Michael Bailey studied the Australian registry of 25,000 twins in 2000 and he determined the twin rate for male homosexuality to be 11%. In other words, when one twin was homosexual the other twin was also homosexual one in nine times. (1) Twins are genetically identical. If same-sex attraction is in born this should be 100%. Additionally, NARTH cites a 2002 study by Bearman and Brueckner of tens of thousands of adolescent students in the U.S. in which the same-sex attraction concordance between identical twins was 7.7% for males and 5.3% for females. (2)

If your argument was completely unimportant…

I stated that I think it is nonsensical to make the claim that “people are born with same-sex attraction” and my reasons for thinking as such. One response from you was, “A genetic explanation is possible”. Me addressing that in the way I did makes my reasons unimportant? I am having trouble seeing how so, so perhaps you can show me.

“Same-sex attraction is in born” is the typical claim of the gay rights narrative because they recognize that if people are persuaded that same-sex attraction is in born it is much easier to persuade them that homosexual behavior is not wrong. If the motive for making this claim is to persuade people that homosexual behavior is right, then it makes sense to me to address your response in the manner in which I did. Especially when keeping all of our readers in mind. I am glad to know that you recognize that just because it is possible for same-sex attraction to be in born it does not mean that homosexual behavior is right, but our other readers may not.

Further, I think I have more grounds for asking, “If your argument was completely unimportant, why make it?” I made a statement and my reasons for making it. You then provided reasons for why you disagree with the statement and then ended by saying, “And, oh yes, a genetic explanation is possible.” Why go on about sexual destiny, hormones, fraternal birth order, and people’s suspicions when you could have just said, “A genetic explanation is possible”?

I've two friends whose weeks old baby was diagnosed with a disorder.

I hope this disorder is treatable and not life threatening. I will keep this little one in my prayers.

Respectfully.

Footnotes:
1. Shlemon, Alan. The Ambassadors Guide to Understanding Homosexuality. 2013. Page 24.
2. http://www.narth.com/#!gay---born-that-way/cm6x. Accessed January 3, 2014.

Andrew Ryan said...

"To me though it seems a non sequitur to say that because the female manifests same-sex attraction later in life then she must have been born with same-sex attraction."

That's not what I said. I pointed out the flaw in saying that because a baby does NOT exhibit attraction at birth then it makes no sense to say it was 'born straight' or 'born gay'. That point still stands.

"I stated that I think it is nonsensical to make the claim that “people are born with same-sex attraction” and my reasons for thinking as such."

Right, and I pointed out why your reasoning made no sense. When I did so, you replied: "It says nothing about whether homosexual behavior is right." That reply does nothing to debunk the argument I made. It's a non sequitur with regards to it.

"“Same-sex attraction is in born” is the typical claim of the gay rights narrative because they recognize that if people are persuaded that same-sex attraction is in born it is much easier to persuade them that homosexual behavior is not wrong."

And denying that claim is a typical ploy in the anti-gay rights narrative.

"I hope this disorder is treatable and not life threatening."

Not life-threatening, though can cause learning difficulties in later life. The important thing is she has two loving parents.

"Why go on about sexual destiny, hormones, fraternal birth order, and people’s suspicions when you could have just said, “A genetic explanation is possible”?"

My point specifically was to point out that "doesn't exhibit symptoms at birth" tells us nothing about whether it's fixed at birth.

"Twins are genetically identical. If same-sex attraction is in born this should be 100%."

"In born" doesn't mean totally caused by genes.

"In other words, when one twin was homosexual the other twin was also homosexual one in nine times"

Which is more than would be expected if there was no genetic link, unless you believe one in nine boys are gay.

Chase said...

Let me just ask two questions because I think we are talking past each other as usual.

1. Do you think a newborn female is sexually-attracted to females? This is the question I have been asking. I have not been asking, “Do you think a newborn female shows signs of being sexually-attracted to females?”

2. Do you think genetics is the determining factor of sexual orientation? I have not said genetics do not play any role. I have said, though perhaps not as clearly as I could have, that I do not think it can be definitively stated “genetics play the only role”. This is the statement of the gay rights narrative and is also the statement becoming the general perception in our culture. This statement is what I addressed in the post and thought we were addressing in the comments.

Thanks for the wiki link. I will read it if I have the time. However, I do not put much weight on wiki and have not since college since it was an unacceptable source to cite in our work.

Andrew Ryan said...

"1. Do you think a newborn female is sexually-attracted to females? This is the question I have been asking. I have not been asking, “Do you think a newborn female shows signs of being sexually-attracted to females?” "

No, I don't think that. Equally, I don't think that my friends' baby currently has learning difficulties. But that's a non sequitur with regards to whether the former is 'born gay' or whether the latter is 'born to exhibit learning difficulties in later life'.

"2. Do you think genetics is the determining factor of sexual orientation?"

No. But many factors fixed before birth are unrelated to genetics. Saying something isn't genetic doesn't mean it isn't fixed at birth.

The wiki link contains links to papers just as you did in your replies to me.

Andrew Ryan said...

"Do you think a newborn female is sexually-attracted to females? This is the question I have been asking. I have not been asking, “Do you think a newborn female shows signs of being sexually-attracted to females?” "

Chase, could you explain the distinction between the two? I don't really get the difference.

I can clarify my position again, but as you say, we may still be talking past each other.

I don't believe any baby comes out feeling sexual attraction. I DO strongly suspect that the sexuality people develop in puberty is in most cases set at birth – it's like a metaphorical alarm clock waiting to go off.

"This is the statement of the gay rights narrative and is also the statement becoming the general perception in our culture."

I think you're possibly missing the distinction between 'inborn' and 'genetic'. Certainly studies on birth order strongly correlating with male sexuality (and other theories) are all about what happens in the womb, which has nothing to do with genes. This is not ruled out by the twin studies you quoted either.

I quote:

"Even monozygotic twins can be different and there is a mechanism which might account for monozygotic twins being discordant for homosexuality. Gringas and Chen (2001) describe a number of mechanisms which can lead to differences between monozygotic twins, the most relevant here being chorionicity and amniocity.[1]

Dichorionic twins potentially have different hormonal environments because they receive maternal blood from separate placenta, and this could result in different levels of brain masculinisation. Monoamniotic twins share a hormonal environment, but can suffer from the 'twin to twin transfusion syndrome' in which one twin is "relatively stuffed with blood and the other exsanguinated".[2]"

1: Gringas, P.; Chen, W. (2001). "Mechanisms for difference in monozygous twins". Early Human Development 64 (2): 105–117. doi:10.1016/S0378-3782(01)00171-2. PMID 11440823.

2: Rutter, M. (2006). Genes and Behavior. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.

Chase said...

1. Do you think a newborn female is sexually-attracted to females?

No, I don't think that. Equally, I don't think that my friends' baby currently has learning difficulties.

I think you are still stuck on answering the wrong question. I am not asking, “Do you think a newborn female manifests a same-sex orientation?” or “Do you think your friends’ baby manifests a learning disorder?” I am asking, “Do you think a newborn female has a same-sex orientation?” or “Do you think your friends’ baby has a learning disorder?”

As an aside, how was your friends’ baby diagnosed with a learning disorder if the child is not currently manifesting learning difficulties?

2. Do you think genetics is the determining factor of sexual orientation?

No. But many factors fixed before birth are unrelated to genetics. Saying something isn't genetic doesn't mean it isn't fixed at birth..

So, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that sexual-orientation can be fixed at birth without the influence of genetics. I am curious, other than genetics, what else can fix sexual-orientation at birth?

The wiki link contains links to papers just as you did in your replies to me.

I referred you to a brochure produced by the APA, referenced studies cited in a published book by Alan Shelmon, and referenced a study cited on the website of a national research and therapy association. You referred me to a wiki entry.

Respectfully.

Andrew Ryan said...

"As an aside, how was your friends’ baby diagnosed with a learning disorder if the child is not currently manifesting learning difficulties?"

The baby is missing part of the 9th chromosome. This commonly leads to speech/learning problems when she's older.

"I am asking, “Do you think a newborn female has a same-sex orientation?” or “Do you think your friends’ baby has a learning disorder?”"

I think this is purely a semantic question. I think I'd say yes to both questions.

"You referred me to a wiki entry."

Chase, what's the difference between you referring me to a brochure/studies/papers etc and a wiki entry that refers to brochures/studies/studies etc? If the source is backed up then it's valid.

" I am curious, other than genetics, what else can fix sexual-orientation at birth? "

Chase, I answered in a post yesterday (which you've yet to post), where I provided direct citations to the relevant studies. It was also explained in detail in the wiki link that you removed from my post (If you include the url then other readers can make up their own minds), which as I said, also supplied extensive links to published papers.

Hopefully these will satisfy your curiosity!

Andrew Ryan said...

" I am curious, other than genetics, what else can fix sexual-orientation at birth? "

I'll repeat what I posted above: chorionicity and amniocity can both lead to differences between identical twins.

1: Gringas, P.; Chen, W. (2001). "Mechanisms for difference in monozygous twins". Early Human Development 64 (2): 105–117. doi:10.1016/S0378-3782(01)00171-2. PMID 11440823.

2: Rutter, M. (2006). Genes and Behavior. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.

"I am asking, “Do you think a newborn female has a same-sex orientation?” or “Do you think your
friends’ baby has a learning disorder?”"

To expand on why I think this is a semantic issue – it depends on whether you are referring to orientation as purely a symptom or as a condition. I have alopecia – some people say it's a condition, others say it's merely descriptive - in other words they say 'alopecia' tells you nothing apart from that I have hairloss, it's not in itself a condition.

Similarly, some people who haven't had a drink in years will say they're still alcoholics.

I'm sure there are some celibate people who say that because they don't have sex, they're not gay. I'd say that before I lost my virginity I was still straight.

Notwithstanding that, of course it's about sexual desires as well as sexual activity - could you retrospectively say about a gay person that they were gay before even puberty?

Well, you hear lots of people saying about a gay acquaintance that even at the age of, say, ten, the child was doing lots of (non-sexual) stereotypically gay things.

Certainly there seems to be many, many aspects of being gay that has nothing to do with sexual preference – gay men seem to favour certain professions way more than others, seem to be more empathetic and in touch with feelings than straight men, better dancers in general etc.

Here's a question for you – if there was a REALLY obvious physical sign that nearly always went with being gay, present from birth – much more obvious than the stereotypical things I mention above – would you say "that's a gay baby"? I mean, if it was as obvious as, say, Down's Syndrome, or albinism.

Would you say that the newborn baby 'has a same-sex orientation'? or would you still say one can only say that when puberty kicks in, even if it was a foregone conclusion that the child would be gay at puberty?

Chad said...

Wikipedia on Wikipedia:

"Wikipedia is not considered a credible source. Wikipedia is increasingly used by people in the academic community, from freshman students to professors, as an easily accessible tertiary source for information about anything and everything. However, citation of Wikipedia in research papers may be considered unacceptable, because Wikipedia is not considered a credible or authoritative source."

Chad said...

The Wikipedia info. can be found here.

Andrew Ryan said...

Chad, again, the Wiki page I gave quoted research papers and studies just as you did. If it's not credible when wiki does it, why should it be credible when you do it? Either we're trusting the ultimate sources – the studies/papers – or we're not.

Anyway, more on 'identical twins' not being genetically identical – I'll avoid Wiki in order to focus you on the research:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110328151740.htm

"Molecular geneticist Shiva Singh has been working with psychiatrist Dr. Richard O'Reilly to determine the genetic sequencing of schizophrenia using identical or monozygotic twins"

"Singh and his team have now demonstrated that the monozygotic twins are NOT genetically identical. "So if schizophrenia is in the genes, then the difference in the genetic makeup of monozygotic twins, with only one disease twin, must have something to do with the disease." Singh found about 12 per cent of DNA can vary across individuals, "Cells are dividing as we develop and differentiate. More importantly, these cells may lose or acquire additional DNA. The genome is not static.""

1. Sujit Maiti, Kiran Halagur Bhoge Gowda Kumar, Christina A. Castellani, Richard O'Reilly, Shiva M. Singh. Ontogenetic De Novo Copy Number Variations (CNVs) as a Source of Genetic Individuality: Studies on Two Families with MZD Twins for Schizophrenia. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (3): e17125 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017125

Also here:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=identical-twins-genes-are-not-identical

"Geneticist Carl Bruder of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and his colleagues closely compared the genomes of 19 sets of adult identical twins. In some cases, one twin's DNA differed from the other's at various points on their genomes. At these sites of genetic divergence, one bore a different number of copies of the same gene, a genetic state called copy number variants."

Reprot: www.cell.com/AJHG/abstract/S0002-9297(08)00102-X

In short, citing twin studies doesn't help your argument anyway, even if you ignore the influence of chorionicity and amniocity that I cited in my previous two posts.

Chase said...

Hello Andrew,

The Scientific American article you cite suggests that environment changes our genome:

“It reminds us to be careful about our environment because our environment can help to change our genome”

The Singh study suggests that our genome changes as well:

“Only additional genomic and epigenomic studies on MZ twins will offer insights into the dynamics of genomic stability and change”

If I understand your position correctly (if this is not your position please clarify), you think that sexual orientation is in most cases set at birth due to the environment of the womb, specifically, chorionicity and amniocity. Considering your citations, do you still hold that in most cases sexual orientation is set at birth? If you do, in what ways has chorionicity and amniocity been linked to a set sexual orientation?

The post stated that it seems more reasonable to think that sexual orientation is developmental. The twin studies I cited suggest this and this is not undermined by your citations.

I answered in a post yesterday (which you've yet to post) and It was also explained in detail in the wiki link that you removed from my post (If you include the url then other readers can make up their own minds)

Since you seem to think that under my blog post I have an obligation to post your comments and to post them on your time schedule, you may have the last word. Thank you for the interaction.

Respectfully.