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June 26, 2006

The Fraternal Order Birth Effect

So long as we're doing studies, here's more evidence that being gay is something you are, not something you become. It's long been known that your likelihood of homosexuality raises with each older brother -- often called the fraternal order birth effect. What wasn't known was whether that was a nature or a nurture effect. Well, problem solved. A new study looked at children raised outside their biological home, either in adopted, step, or otherwise altered environments. The effect, even separated from the presence of older brothers, remains. More evidence that anti-gay bigotry is punishment and hatred for an intrinsic characteristic, no different than sexism or racism in nature.

June 26, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

Ezra,
What you are asking your reader to buy into, but are unwilling to say is that homosexuality is immutable, like the other examples you give of race or sex.

There are two problems with this:

1)There is mounds of evidence of people changing from straight to gay and even back again. This doesn't happen with race or sex (at least without major surgery).

2)Race and Sex are not self-defined. The characteristic of race or sex is objective but when it comes to homosexuality, you are saying that it is self-defined.

I just think this is one of those memes that the left has thrown around so much that many accept it without going through the logical exercises simply because they want it to be true so badly.

Posted by: Fred Jones. | Jun 26, 2006 11:31:51 AM

Whether or not it's inborn is irrelevant. A lot of conservatives will admit they think it's inborn. They just think that people should stay in the closet.

Posted by: Tammy | Jun 26, 2006 11:42:09 AM

There is mounds of evidence of gay people allowing themselves to believe they had been 'cured', then later reverting to practices more compatible with their natural same-sex orientation. That's not the same thing as "changing from straight to gay and...back again."

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Jun 26, 2006 12:14:45 PM

Fred,

Just because you say it's so doesn't make it so.

You actually examined this evidence or did you believe what someone else told you because he said that he was conservative?

Posted by: Dr. Squid | Jun 26, 2006 12:45:30 PM

If homosexuality is an inborn characteristic, then Fred is a bigot, just like a racist. If homosexuality is a chosen behavior, then Fred is a bigot, just like someone who hates Jews or Muslims.

Either way, Fred can't justify his bigotry with any neutral criteria -- he just hates gay people.

Posted by: paperwight | Jun 26, 2006 12:46:43 PM

This fits in my family. The third of four boys is gay.

Posted by: Rick | Jun 26, 2006 12:48:29 PM

paperwight has it exactly right.

I'd like to point out that logic chopping a la fred doesn't begin to get to the real issue which is--why should we discriminate against any person, regardless of the shape/color/design of their topology when it comes to civil rights? I see no distinction between race, religion, or sexual orientation because *none of them* are a proper basis for discimination/attack. It doesn't matter to me whether "gayness" is inborn or chosen because it simply *doesn't matter to me* what other, consenting adults choose to do with their bodily orifices or their personal relations. Why it matters to Fred and the other bigots is simply beyond me. The only thing we can say for certain in this world is that people who want to legislate/punish/attack other people for real or fancied differences in private matters are sick, sick, busybodies with way too much time on their hands and way too much invested in other people's private lives.

aimai

Posted by: aimai | Jun 26, 2006 12:51:28 PM

So exactly what have I said that was bigoted, other than examining the evidence and commenting? Is anyone that comments a bigot unless they agree with you?

Is that how you suppress opposition?

Posted by: Fred Jones. | Jun 26, 2006 12:57:03 PM

I have to take the tak that though I believe homosexuality is an inborn trait it doesn't matter. Religion is a choice and we shouldn't discriminate because of that. Why should we discriminate due to sexuality?

I don't neccesarily buy into the siblings argument - especialy when the evidence in this case is a study with what amounts to a very tiny test group. But I don't think it matters. Most homosexuals I know come from diverse backgrounds with diverse upbringing and knew early on that they were gay. As society has come to decriminalise alternative sexuality and become more tolerant it becomes far more evident that ones sexuality is genetic.

Posted by: DuWayne | Jun 26, 2006 1:03:21 PM

You're not a bigot, Fred? Prove it. Do you support legislation that would equalize homosexuals with heteros in the eyes of the law?

Posted by: Dan | Jun 26, 2006 1:04:37 PM

You're not a bigot, Fred? Prove it.

First of all, you're asking me to prove a negative. Secondly, I was commenting on Ezra's thought process in my original post (see first post on this thread). Thirdly, I don't believe you don't want to rationally discuss any of this. Instead, you wish to find articles and devices that support your prejudiced and bigoted views.

Now, if you are trulyl open and wish to discuss this rationally, then let's do so.

Posted by: Fred Jones. | Jun 26, 2006 1:09:48 PM

Hmm, I think Tom and Fred are both partially wrong. Fred is mistaken in believing that those of us who support gay rights and gay marriage need homosexuality to be entirely predetermined to support our views. Speaking for myself, thats not necessary at all. I don't believe that heterosexuality is somehow inherently better or more right than homosexuality. So even if it turned out there was no genetic or inborn element at all, that wouldn't change my beliefs about the need for equal treatment. Its possible to make more nuanced arguments, however. Genes and fetal chemistry don't necessarily predetermine everything as I understand it, sometimes they only determine tendencies.
I tend to believe that a certain number of people have tendencies so strong that they are almost certain to be either gay or straight but some other percentage of people end up somewhere in the middle and could go either way, or both.

At any rate I always found the idea that people have a "choice" about whether to be gay, ludicrous. Attraction and love are complicated things. Who can say that they really have a choice about who they are attracted to anyway? The causes of attraction aren't really all that relevant to the debate. I believe that all people have the right to pursue happiness to the extent that they can do so without hurting anyone else, and I believe taht being able to have a chance to pursue love (and lust) is an inherent part of happiness. Isn't that a strong enough argument on its own?

Posted by: Gabe | Jun 26, 2006 1:15:02 PM

Jeez Fred, just answer the man's question. Do you support equal rights for gays or not? You have said about a hundred times on this forum that you do not. Are you suddenly neutral now? Answer.

Posted by: sprocket | Jun 26, 2006 1:15:16 PM

The question of whether gays have 'equal rights' or not is the wrong question and badly worded. They do have equal rights. The question is about legislation explicitly barring discrimination against gays due solely to their orientation.

I no more have the right at this moment to marry another man then does any gay couple have the right to do so. Gays have all the normal protections against discrimiation that I have, that being for race, religion, and handicap. They do have the same rights as you and I, to speech, Kba, et al.

What they don't have specific is protections for people deciding protected actions based upon their orientation. In addition they would like to now explicitly affirm and legalize same sex marriages.

Its not really just a semantic argument that Im making. It gets to the basis of the motivation for straight people to care.

If its about equal protection under the law and the right for everyone to pursue happiness then it matters to everyone. If its about explicitly legalizing gay marriage and thats all, and getting the flamer down the street a good corporate job then straights have much less of a stake in the whole thing other then to play to their baser reactions.

Its going to make the lawbooks awfully large if we have to explicitly enable every marginalized group and minority equal treatment. Especially when it should be taken care of in the 'all men are created equal' clause. It would be nice if we in America, the supposed 'land of the free' would start learning to live like we believed in that slogan.

Posted by: david b | Jun 26, 2006 1:34:10 PM

david b: I no more have the right at this moment to marry another man then does any gay couple have the right to do so.

This is why I see prohibition of same-sex marriage as a gender equality issue rather than a sexual-orientation issue. When you go to the courthouse for a marriage license, you aren't asked if you love the person, if you're going to fuck the person, if you're going to make babies with the person, if you're gay, straight, or orange. All they care about is the genders.

If Alice, Bob, and Charlie go down to the courthouse together, and Bob asks for a license to marry Charlie, and is declined, then Alice asks for a license to marry Charlie, and is granted, that's gender discrimination against Bob. It can't be anything else, because the court clerk doesn't know anything else.

Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Jun 26, 2006 1:40:01 PM

Fred: What you are asking your reader to buy into, but are unwilling to say is that homosexuality is immutable, like the other examples you give of race or sex.

Race and sex aren't immutable.

Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Jun 26, 2006 1:42:17 PM

You have said about a hundred times on this forum that you do not.

What I have stated about a hundred times on this forum is that it is indeed a free country and, as such, you are free to be just as queer as you please. Upon that we agree.

Many of the "rights" you would like to assign to this group are not inconsistant with other groups that share the same properties that you use in your decision such as polygaminsts. These decisions are not by any means a foregone conclusion and are up for much debate.....and that is what I would like to do.

Posted by: Fred Jones. | Jun 26, 2006 1:45:16 PM

Sorry, let me clarify what I mean before Fred accuses me of believing that people can change their genetics: For legal and social purposes, race and sex are mutable.

Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Jun 26, 2006 1:45:47 PM

I'm confused about your argument David. For one thing, constutionally, the courts have rejected the argument you are making in Loving v. Virginia. They haven't extended the logic to gay marriage yet, but it certainly applies. Virigina argued that miscegneation laws were constutional because they applied equally to blacks and whites and the court said no dice.

You don't want to marry a man, you are allowed to marry a person you love and gain all the rights that marriage entails. A gay person is not allowed to do this.
And please lets not hear the polygamy argument. Its the ultimate red herring.

Posted by: Gabe | Jun 26, 2006 1:46:43 PM

Gays have all the normal protections against discrimiation that I have, that being for race, religion, and handicap. They do have the same rights as you and I, to speech, Kba, et al.

No they do not. In some states or municipalities they do but in many more places they have absolutely no protections from discrimination. Less than half of the country protects teh rights of gays against discrimination in fact.

The marriage issue is , for many gays, not an issue of marriage per say but an issue of the rights of them and their partners to have basic rights such as hospital visitations, shared insurance benifits and continuity of family. In many places if a gay couple is raising a family and teh partner with custody dies the children become wards of the state because it is illegal for the surviving partner to share in custody - for an example.

Personaly I believe that the state should get out of the mariage business and move to civil unions. Abolishing the legal status of marriage removes much of the impetuous behind discrimination of partners rights for gay cuoples.

Posted by: DuWayne | Jun 26, 2006 1:55:06 PM

Let's pretend the debate is over for a second. Do you support laws that would equalize homosexuals?

Posted by: Dan | Jun 26, 2006 2:02:00 PM

Many of the "rights" you would like to assign to this group are not inconsistant with other groups that share the same properties that you use in your decision such as polygaminsts.

People like to use this polygomy argument like discriminating against polygomists is somehiow justified too. I wuold love to heat someone explain just what the hell is wrong with polygomy or how it harms society.

I just don't see why we should make any relationship or practice that is harming no one else (or torturing animals) illegal.

Posted by: DuWayne | Jun 26, 2006 2:03:06 PM

Fred -- I'm curious, do you support civil unions, in order to equalize the ability of folks to enter into contractual agreements on inheritance, visitation, etc? Which is to say, is your problem with extending the word "marriage" or with the benefits marriage provides?

Posted by: Ezra | Jun 26, 2006 2:08:26 PM

Is my impression correct that the birth order factor only applies to male gays? If so, that should be stated clearly. I've had the impression for some time that male homosexuality is clearly a primarily inborn trait, but that the picture for women is more complicated. In any case, I think it's risky and logically questionable to build the anti-bigotry case on whether or not homosexuality is inborn. Why is bigotry justified if it isn't? Why is someone else's sex life any of mine (or the government's) business?

Posted by: Rebecca Allen, PhD, ARNP | Jun 26, 2006 2:56:18 PM

the evidence supporting biology as a large, if not defining factor, in sexual orientation is growing pretty large. Let's list a few

a) birth order studies
b) twin studies
c) the sex studies with drosphilla
d) the fact we know of 400 plus species in which sexual pairing can be same sex
e) that homosexuality appears in every society in human history- challenge you to name one where it hasn't appeared
f)the lesbian studies involving the linkage between a gene involved in particular movement of finger -
g) hormonal studies

these are just off top my head. There are others. If you don't believe in the science, that's because you don't want to believe- musth like the whole silly intelligent design various proven laws of evolution.

this comes from a guy who hasn't given up his beliefs but understands that there is a such thing as science too

Posted by: akai | Jun 26, 2006 3:18:30 PM

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