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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:49 pm
 


From that bastion of right-wing thought: Slate

Quote:
Born This Way?

Scientists may have found a biological basis for homosexuality. That could be bad news for gay rights.


“Baby, you were born this way.” As soon as Lady Gaga sang these words on her smash hit "Born This Way," they became a rallying cry for gay people around the world, an anthem for sexual minorities facing discrimination. The shiny, catchy song carries an empowering (if simple) message: Don’t be ashamed about being gay, or bi, or trans, or anything—that’s just how you were born. Gaga later named her anti-bullying charity after the same truism, and two filmmakers borrowed it for their documentary exposing homophobia in Africa. A popular "Born This Way" blog encourages users to submit reflections on “their innate LGBTQ selves.” Need a quick, pithy riposte against anti-gay bigotry? Baby, we were born this way.


But were we? That’s the foundational question behind the gay rights movement—and its opponents. If gay people were truly born that way, the old canard of homosexuality as a “lifestyle choice” (or “sexual preference”) is immediately disproven. But if gay people weren’t born that way, if scientists were unable to find any biological basis for sexual orientation, then the Family Research Council crowd could claim vindication in its fight to label homosexuality unnatural, harmful, and against nature.


In recent years, scientists have proposed various speculative biological bases for homosexuality but never settled on an answer. As researchers draw closer to uncovering an explanation, however, a new question has arisen: What if in some cases sexuality is caused by an identifiable chemical process in the womb? What if, in other words, homosexuality can potentially be prevented? That is one implication of one of the most widely accepted hypotheses thus far proposed. And if it’s true, it could turn out to be a blow for the gay rights movement.

Some of the strongest current evidence that some people are born gay is based on a phenomenon called the fraternal birth order effect. Several peer-reviewed studies have shown that men with older biological brothers are likelier to be gay than men with older sisters or no older siblings. The likelihood of being gay increases by about 33 percent with each additional older brother. From these statistics, researchers calculate that about 15 to 30 percent of gay men have the fraternal birth order effect to thank for their homosexuality.


The fraternal birth order effect is a little perverse. It means that a disproportionate number of gay men are born into disproportionately homophobic households. Couples with large numbers of children tend to be religious and belong to denominations that are conservative and more homophobic. Consider the numbers: 1 percent of Unitarians have four or more children, while 3 percent of evangelical Protestants, 4 percent of Catholics, 6 percent of Muslims, and 9 percent of Mormons have families that large. At the same time, 64 percent of Evangelicals, 30 percent of Catholics, 61 percent of Muslims, and 68 percent of Mormons believe homosexuality should be “discouraged by society.” (Compare that with 15 percent of Jews.) Big families that disapprove of gay people are likely to have gay people in their own clan.


Perhaps these families would be more accepting if the specific biological basis for the birth order effect were elucidated. We know the effect is biological rather than social—it’s entirely absent in men whose older brothers were adopted—but scientists haven’t been able to prove much else. One of the leading explanations is called the maternal immunization hypothesis. According to Ray Blanchard of the University of Toronto, when a woman is pregnant with a male fetus, her body is exposed to a male-specific antigen, some molecule that normally turns the fetus heterosexual. The woman’s immune system produces antibodies to fight this foreign antigen. With enough antibodies, the antigen will be neutralized and no longer capable of making the fetus straight. These antibodies linger in the mother’s body long after pregnancy, and so when a woman has a second son, or a third or fourth, an army of antibodies is lying in wait to zap the chemicals that would normally make him heterosexual.


Or so Blanchard speculates. Although the hypothesis sounds reasonable enough, it’s premised on a number of assumptions that haven’t been proven. For instance, no one has shown that there is a particular antigen that controls sexual orientation, let alone one designed to make men straight. And if that antigen does exist, does it control orientation only? Blanchard refers to its antibody attackers as “anti-male,” implying that the antigen controls for various aspects of masculinity. But when I asked him about this, he was noncommittal. Moreover, the hypothesis proposes a loose, two-way flow of antigens and antibodies between the fetus (whose antigens spread to the mother) and the mother (whose antibodies spread to the fetus). But this exchange has never been observed—and the antibodies and antigens in question are hypothetical, anyway. If they do exist, there’s no assurance that they perform this placental pirouette.


There’s a problem with this explanation. Even though the gay rights movement theoretically wants proof that homosexuality is inborn, this particular hypothesis is, unintentionally, a little insulting. “The scientists behind the [maternal immunization] hypothesis talk about it as if they’re not making judgments, but there are implicit judgments,” says Jack Drescher, former chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues. Drescher points out, correctly, that the hypothesis is fundamentally one of pathology. If Blanchard is right, then (at least some) gay people are indeed born gay, but there’s still something wrong with them. The hypothesis turns homosexuality into a birth defect, an aberration: Gay people are deviants from the normative mode of heterosexuality. We may have been born this way, the hypothesis implies, but that’s not how it was supposed to happen.


Drescher is skeptical that scientists will ever uncover a single biological basis for homosexuality—he suspects the root causes are more varied and complex—and suggests that it’s the wrong question to ask in the first place. But the hunt will go on. The gay rights movement, like the black civil rights movement before it, begins with the proposition that we should not discriminate against people because of who they are or how they were born. That’s a belief most Americans share, and it explains the success of the “born this way” anthem. If homosexuality is truly biological, discrimination against gay people is bigotry, plain and simple. But if it’s a birth defect, as Blanchard’s work tacitly suggests, then being gay is something that can—and presumably should—be fixed.


That’s a toxic view, and one that must be abandoned. We might not yet understand the exact biological mechanisms underlying sexual orientation, but we will one day soon. And if, at that point, homosexuality is seen as a disorder, the next step will be a search for a cure. That would be a tragedy—for society and for science. There’s nothing wrong with being gay: You know it; I know it; the Supreme Court knows it. But so long as large swaths of the country believe otherwise—places where homophobic families still ostracize their gay sons and brothers—any research into its biological origins is fraught with peril for the cause of gay rights.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:52 pm
 


So this raises the question that if Blanchard is correct and medical science indeed goes on to find a medical cause for same-sex attraction then what if it can also be prevented?

Should women have the right to choose to use a medication or therapy that would assure that their unborn child would be born heterosexual? :idea:

Failing that, would a woman have the right to abort a baby if it was determined to be gay?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:57 pm
 


I'd prefer it if they found a medical cure for homophobia... but heck, maybe that's just me.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:03 pm
 


raydan wrote:
I'd prefer it if they found a medical cure for homophobia... but heck, maybe that's just me.


Agreed. Wouldn't it be a treat for the bigots of the world to be treated in the womb as well?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:04 pm
 


Gunnair wrote:
raydan wrote:
I'd prefer it if they found a medical cure for homophobia... but heck, maybe that's just me.


Agreed. Wouldn't it be a treat for the bigots of the world to be treated in the womb as well?


So how would the two of you handle the 1.5 billion muslims in the world who are not exactly 'gay tolerant'?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:07 pm
 


BartSimpson wrote:
Gunnair wrote:
raydan wrote:
I'd prefer it if they found a medical cure for homophobia... but heck, maybe that's just me.


Agreed. Wouldn't it be a treat for the bigots of the world to be treated in the womb as well?


So how would the two of you handle the 1.5 billion muslims in the world who are not exactly 'gay tolerant'?


So you're in the same group as those intolerant Muslims? Good to know and rather appropriate.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:09 pm
 


BartSimpson wrote:
Gunnair wrote:
raydan wrote:
I'd prefer it if they found a medical cure for homophobia... but heck, maybe that's just me.


Agreed. Wouldn't it be a treat for the bigots of the world to be treated in the womb as well?


So how would the two of you handle the 1.5 billion muslims in the world who are not exactly 'gay tolerant'?

Why do you always compare yourself to the Muslims? :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:14 pm
 


raydan wrote:
Why do you always compare yourself to the Muslims? :lol:


Because they hail from the same distant cultural and religious roots as do Jews and Christians.

And I'd say it's pretty tolerant and open minded of me not to condemn them for every little thing. :P


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:14 pm
 


I notice a trait with Bart's arguments; he looks for something in a supposedly biased source that he believes normally portrays some agenda not of his own, to show some sort of universal agreement or consensus on his views... Like he did by bringing up friggen Pravda. He's happy to compare himself to vile enemies like liberals, commies, and muslims as long as they share his view. Radical Muslims tend to be a reactionary bunch, so there's probably a lot more that Bart agrees with, they just don't spend enough time focusing on free markets.

Frankly, I'd like you to respond to Khar and westmanguy directly, as well as other users who've confronted these diatribes and got a cold shoulder.


Last edited by Public_Domain on Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:17 pm
 


Liva and let live, dawg. Make as many biting, sarcastic comments as you need to but don't take it beyond that.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:21 pm
 


Quote:
Bearman and Brückner (2008) argue that studies showing a fraternal birth order effect have used nonrepresentative samples and/or indirect reports on siblings’ sexual orientation. Their analysis, focusing on opposite-sex twins, did not find an association "between same-sex attraction and number of older siblings, older brothers, or older sisters". A study by Francis (2008), using the same Add Health survey but with broader analysis, saw a very weak correlation of male same-sex attraction with having multiple older brothers (but did find a significant negative correlation of male same-sex attraction with having older sisters).

You can always find arguments for the other side, Bart... when you take the time to look.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:29 pm
 


BartSimpson wrote:
raydan wrote:
Why do you always compare yourself to the Muslims? :lol:


Because they hail from the same distant cultural and religious roots as do Jews and Christians.

And I'd say it's pretty tolerant and open minded of me not to condemn them for every little thing. :P


That explains why it's often hard to tell you guys apart.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:48 pm
 


Gunnair wrote:
BartSimpson wrote:
raydan wrote:
Why do you always compare yourself to the Muslims? :lol:


Because they hail from the same distant cultural and religious roots as do Jews and Christians.

And I'd say it's pretty tolerant and open minded of me not to condemn them for every little thing. :P


That explains why it's often hard to tell you guys apart.


No offense taken. I don't recall if you were around when Saladin was on here but he and I got on just fine in a strange way. He'd say something typical of a militant fundamentalist muslim and I'd take it at face value and argue with him about the merits of what he'd post. Meanwhile the liberals would do a full court press on me as if I was attacking the guy for saying something else. They just could not bring themselves to accept that Saladin really meant exactly what he'd say...which was insulting to Saladin because the dismissal was both paternalistic and accusatory as if he was lying or exaggerating. He wasn't.

So he and I got along because despite the fact that we were diametrically opposed to each other we also gave each other the respect of acknowledging that we meant what we said.

Which brings to mind the Boston Marathon bombers who were frustrated with liberals for explaining away the actions of islamic radicals as being connected to an unequal distribution of wealth or some other liberal claptrap. The liberals were and are insulting to the radical islamics because they do whatever they can to avoid acknowledging that the islamics do what they do because of their faith. That's right, the very people who preach tolerance of islam are in their actions and words completely intolerant of it.

That said, you will continue to underline this idiocy by comparing me to radical islamics when it suits you and then, sooner or later, you'll call me a bigot if I repeat what you just said here. :idea:


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:57 pm
 


raydan wrote:
Quote:
Bearman and Brückner (2008) argue that studies showing a fraternal birth order effect have used nonrepresentative samples and/or indirect reports on siblings’ sexual orientation. Their analysis, focusing on opposite-sex twins, did not find an association "between same-sex attraction and number of older siblings, older brothers, or older sisters". A study by Francis (2008), using the same Add Health survey but with broader analysis, saw a very weak correlation of male same-sex attraction with having multiple older brothers (but did find a significant negative correlation of male same-sex attraction with having older sisters).

You can always find arguments for the other side, Bart... when you take the time to look.


Sure, you can.

The questions that the Slate article itself provoked were what I found fascinating and they're relevant given that when mothers test for Down's Syndrome or sickle cell or Tay Sachs they sometimes choose to abort their babies. And the people who assert an unlimited right to choose say this is just great.

In Asia they abort babies as a practice of sex selection that favors boys over girls. As sick as it is, that paradigm is ironic to me because the people who say that this is about a woman's right to choose are protecting the right to abort women for the accident of birth that makes them women.

Then it follows that if a test were to be developed from Blanchard's work that can show a mother if her baby will be gay or straight then what happens when a mother makes an abortion decision based on that information?

Odds are, a lot of heterosexual women who believe in 'choice' will choose to abort their homosexual or lesbian progeny in favor of having children who reflect their own preferences.

The curious thing here is that Blanchard's premise is that the large families typical of religious people are a disproportionate source of the gay population. What happens if those historically pro-life people are confronted with a way to prevent their families from having gay children?

What happens if those families embrace abortion because they want to negatively select gay children? :idea:

The whole thing raises a lot of ethical questions that will probably be answered in such a way that you and I will both loathe. [BB]


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:17 pm
 


I think it would be safe to assume that if there is a gay gene, then the majority of people who would be distressed by that are the religious type. And then they'll have to decide which is worse: brining a creature of inherent sin into the world, or aborting a fetus. Let them decide that and let everyone else go on an live their lives.


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