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Index of FAQ about Homosexuality

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Is Homosexuality a Choice?  /  Are People Born Gay?  /  Do Genes Cause Homosexuality?


“‘The phone rang off the hook with calls from reporters; there were TV cameramen lined up outside the lab; the mailbox and e-mail overflowed,’ Dean Hamer later remembered the reaction to his July, 1993 paper in the journal Science. ‘Rarely before have so many reacted so loudly to so little.’ Hamer’s paper—‘A Linkage Between DNA Markers on the X Chromosome and Male Sexual Orientation’— had the modest ring of science, where change is often slow and incremental. But the underlying idea seemed to carry enormous implications: Homosexuality was not a choice—‘the wrong choice,’ as many religious and political leaders have demogogued on the issue. Instead, homosexuality was as much a biological fact as eye color.” This was part of a PBS report on the gay gene debate, and it is representative of the mainstream media’s coverage of what has been erroneously called “the gay gene.” For years, scientists have sought to discover a genetic cause for homosexuality which would substantiate the oft heard claim that homosexuals are born gay, and as such, have no choice regarding their behavior.

Certainly, the most renowned of these studies is that of Dr. Dean Hamer who, while with the National Cancer Institute, claimed to have found a genetic link to homosexuality. After studying 40 pairs of homosexual brothers, he found that 33 of them shared the same set of DNA sequences in the Xq28 region of the X chromosome. However, in 1995, Dr. Dean Hamer was accused by one of the study’s collaborators of selectively reporting his research and data. He was charged with research improprieties and was investigated by the National Institute of Health’s Federal Office of Research Integrity. The results of this study were never released, but Dr. Hamer was shortly thereafter transferred to another section; and it is believed by many that his study amounts to little more than pseudo-science.1

More importantly, Dr. Hamer’s results have never been reproduced. Rather, a study by the University of Western Ontario in 1999 of 52 pairs of homosexual brothers found the genetic markers cited by Dr. Hamer in exactly half of the brother pairs, which is consistent with the laws of chance. They concluded that the results of Dr. Hamer’s study “did not support an X-linked gene underlying male homosexuality.”2 Nevertheless, the media and gay activists continue to cite Dr. Hamer’s study as proof of a gay gene.

Interestingly enough, even Dr. Dean Hamer has admitted that his study did not prove that homosexuality is the result of genetic determinism, saying, “[T]here is a lot more than just genes going on.”3 He believes that genes are a factor in determining homosexuality, but environmental influences are also an important factor.4 This is necessarily true when one considers instances where one identical twin is gay, and the other is straight. Because they share identical DNA, if homosexuality were entirely determined by one’s genes, then both twins would be gay in every instance. There could never be a case where one identical twin is gay and the other is straight. The mere fact that this is not uncommon disproves any notion that homosexuality might be entirely the result of a person’s genetic composition.

This was also the conclusion of a 2014 study by Dr. J. Michael Bailey at Northwestern University. Despite the fact that many media reports touted this study as evidence of a gay gene which compels a person to exhibit homosexual behavior, Dr. Bailey announced, “Our findings suggest there may be genes at play—we found evidence for two sets that affect whether a man is gay or straight. But it is not completely determinative; there are certainly other environmental factors involved.” He even admitted that environmental factors were likely to have the biggest impact on homosexuality.5

In all fairness, Dr. Bailey appears to have desired a different outcome from his study because he prefaced his findings with the contradictory declaration, “Sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice.” This declaration was then followed by the admission, “But it is not completely determinative.”6 In other words, Dr. Bailey believes that sexual orientation is determinative—that it has nothing to do with choice—but the results of his study have proven that homosexuality is not completely determinative—that it is the result of both genetic and environmental factors.

A careful consideration of each of the scientific studies supposedly proving the existence of a gay gene would result in a stack of scientifically disqualified studies and a general consensus that there is no genetic determinative cause for homosexuality. Even the decidedly pro-gay American Psychological Association stated in 2009:7

There are numerous theories about the origins of a person’s sexual orientation; most scientists today agree that sexual orientation is most likely the result of a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors. In most people, sexual orientation is shaped at an early age. There is also considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person’s sexuality. In summary, it is important to recognize that there are probably many reasons for a person’s sexual orientation and the reasons may be different for different people.

Likewise, the pro-gay American Psychiatric Association has said, “[T]o date there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality.”8 Also, Dr. Neil Whitehead, after examining more than 10,000 scholarly papers and publications on the subject, concluded, “Geneticists, anthropologists, sociologists, endocrinologists, neuroanatomists, medical researchers into gender, and twin study researchers are in broad agreement about the role of genetics in homosexuality. Genes don’t make you do it. There is no genetic determinism, and genetic influence at most is minor.”9

Regarding the degree of influence that genetics may have compared to environmental factors, scientists vary in their assessments, crediting it for 10–60% of the equation.10 But this simply places homosexual orientation in the same category as many other orientations. Professor Warren Throckmorton explains:11

Putting the questionable figure in perspective lets [sic] look at other traits and the estimated percent of difference attributable to genetic factors according to existing research found on the American Psychological Association web site.

* Attitudes toward reading books – 55%
* Feelings about abortion on demand – 54%
* Feelings about roller coaster rides – 50%
* Attitudes towards the death penalty for murder – 50%
* Humility – 58%
* Likelihood to engage in casual sex – 49%
* Attitudes toward equality – 55%

Interestingly enough, every one of these things can be changed. A person can learn to enjoy reading books. A person can change his opinion regarding abortion. A person can become more or less humble over time. So why would we assume that homosexuality, which is no more genetically predetermined than these other things, cannot be changed? How is it that a person is born gay—end of story?

 


1. Sorba, “The ‘Gay Gene’ Hoax.”
2. Ibid.
3. Diggs Jr., “The Health Risks.”
4. Marlboro College, “Dean Hamer.”
5. Knapton, “Being Homosexual.”
6. Ibid.
7. Brown, A Queer Thing, 201.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid, 202.
10. Ibid, 215.
11. Ibid.

Works Cited

1. Diggs Jr., John. “The Health Risks of Gay Sex.” Corporate Research Council, 2002, Reprinted by Catholic Education Resource Center. Accessed March 18, 2014.  http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/homosexuality/ho0075.html .
2. Brown, Michael. A Queer Thing Happened to America. Concord: EqualTime Books, 2011.
3. Knapton, Sarah. “Being homosexual is only partly due to gay gene, research finds.” The Telegraph, February 13, 2014. Accessed June 19, 2014. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/10637532/Being-homosexual-is-only-partly-due-to-gay-gene-research-finds.html .
4. Marlboro College. “Dean Hamer – Gays, God and Genes.” YouTube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ol2D0X40Lts (accessed June 19, 2014.)
5. Sorba, Ryan. “The ‘Gay Gene’ Hoax.” World Net Daily, June 3, 2010. Accessed June 19, 2014. http://www.wnd.com/2010/06/161549/ .
6. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Crossway Bibles, 2001.

 

The above comes from our book Laid Bare . Check it out!

 

Author: Timothy Zebell, 2015