Balkinization  

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The ex-gay movement as Trojan Horse

Andrew Koppelman

Christianity Today has a fascinating article in a recent issue about the evolution of the “ex-gay” movement. The article, entitled “An Older, Wiser Ex-Gay Movement,” inadvertently exposes a major fault line in the Christian Right’s position on homosexuality. Right now that fault line is a tiny crack, and the article does not dwell on it, but it shows that it is inevitable that the structure as a whole is destined to shatter.

The article, unsurprisingly given its venue, takes as unquestioned premises that homosexual desire and homosexual conduct are always evils to be avoided. It notes an important shift in the claims being made by the “ex-gay” movement, a primarily Christian movement that has been around for some decades now, promising to lead gay people away from homosexuality. In the early days of the movement, it claimed that a gay person could transform him- or herself into a heterosexual through a pure act of will. Those claims have now disappeared. The article reports that “[e]arly hopes for instant healing have given way to belief that transformation occurs through a lifetime of discipleship.”

Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, the largest of the ex-gay groups, “is frank that change does not eradicate temptation. He wonders if change is ever 100 percent complete in this life. ‘One thing we can expect as Christians is a life of denial,’ he says. ‘I don't think we're afraid to tell people that they may have a lifetime of struggle. Freedom isn't the absence of struggle, but the life of struggle with joy in the process.’”

“The ex-gay movement seeks to integrate the reality of same-sex attraction into a life of discipleship. In that lifelong journey, they expect many changes, including changes of feeling and attraction. But they emphasize that each person's experience is different, and that instant transformation is extremely rare.”

“Not surprisingly then, ex-gay ministries appeal almost exclusively to Christians. Most participants come from evangelical backgrounds and can't resolve their Christian faith with a gay identity.”

An accompanying article describes a recent study of “reparative therapy” (therapy that seeks to transform sexual orientation). The study struggles to cast that therapy in the best possible light. But among those who were deemed to have successfully converted to heterosexual, most “did not report themselves to be without experience of homosexual arousal, and did not report heterosexual orientation to be unequivocal and uncomplicated. Sexual orientation for the individuals in this study (and indeed for most of us) may be considerably more complicated than commonly conceived, involving a complex interplay of what we are instinctively attracted to, what we can be attracted to with proper attention and focus, what we choose to be attracted to based on how we structure our interpersonal environments, our emotional attachments, our broader psychological functioning, (of course) our religious and moral beliefs and values, and many more factors. We believe the individuals who presented themselves as heterosexual success stories at Time 3 are heterosexual in some meaningful but complicated sense of the term."

The abandonment of the claim that sexual orientation can easily be changed is very big news. Poll data suggests that those who think homosexuality is innate are overwhelmingly likely to support gay rights, while those who think homosexuality is a choice are likely to be opposed. Of those who consider it a choice,” a New York Times poll reported in 1993, “only 18 percent rated it as acceptable, compared with 57 percent of those who regard it as something gay men and lesbians cannot change.” (The story is here, but the link may not work for all readers.)

Now, there’s nothing illogical about thinking that homosexuality is innate and nonetheless opposing gay rights. One can regard it as an unfortunate fact of life that some people are permanently denied sexual happiness. The Christianity Today article ends on that note: “Our attractions, always disordered to some extent, must be submitted to Christ, who alone can redeem us. For those who feel strong same-sex attractions, that task is especially difficult. But it is the same basic struggle every Christian must face.”

But that story is a hard sell. Americans like happy endings. They like to think that if homosexual sex is forbidden, then another avenue to sexual fulfillment is easily available to gay people. That’s why the leadership of the Christian Right has tended to be fairly quiet about the ambiguities and tensions in the experience of those in the ex-gay movement. As Tanya Erzen shows in her fascinating study of the ex-gay movement, this has produced considerable tensions. One of her informants, a committed member of the movement, denounced the hypocrisy of his fellow Christians:

“Most of them can’t handle the truth. If you’re in the church and you’re a drug addict, murderer, whatever, guys will come up to you and slap you on the ass. You’re one of the guys. But if you state you struggle with homosexuality, you get the whole pew to yourself.” (P. 66 of Erzen’s book, “Straight to Jesus.”)

The appearance of the Christianity Today article is a significant event, because it shows that mainstream conservative Christianity is now willing to admit these uncomfortable facts. This, however, is a decidedly unstable cultural formation. My guess is that once it is generally admitted that homosexuality isn’t a matter of casual choice, resistance to the gay rights movement will be drastically enfeebled, and the salience of gay rights as an issue in American politics will begin to fade.

I used to feel decidedly hostile to the ex-gay movement. This article, Erzen’s book, and another good study by Michelle Wolkomir have persuaded me that the movement is, wittingly or not, a progressive force in American politics. They demand that the immutability claim be taken seriously, and they are not easily dismissed by the right, because they agree with the right about nearly everything else. They have a credibility and a competence in the pertinent theological claims that no one else can possibly match. They are able to speak to their own cultural group, in the same way that sophisticated Islamic feminist theologians can speak to theirs. And I predict that the truth that they are putting forth will, intentionally or not, destroy the cultural formation that they are trying to preserve and participate in.


Comments:

Andrew,

It's a big can of worms you offer up. I have some thoughts on the general correlation of belief in innateness to support for gay rights. To make my argument a bit more palatable, I include two other types of deviance: alcoholism and left handedness. I have seen parallel thinking processes applied to all three groups.

The first premise, held deeply and widely in the society at large and accepted consciously or unconsciously by the deviant herself is that said deviation is bad, a matter of deep personal shame. To take the seemingly trivial case of left-handedness, note that "the collective unconscious," as manifest in language, denotes left as both gauche and sinister. That's makes for a cute joke, but it remains fact that "the left hand path" is a euphemism for Satanism in the minds of many people who are afraid to explore it.

So, start with the premise that what you are, what makes you different is bad. Now add the premise that you can't change it. Left-handedness used to be trained out of all but the most incorrigible, and the numbers for earlier generations claim no more than 1 in ten were lefties. With the permissive teaching systems of the second half of the 20th century we've seen a rise in the incidence of left-handedness, and in this case there's plenty of reason to assume that the correlation highlights causation as well. Before the permissive trend in education, for 1-in-ten this affliction was not curable.

You are different. Your difference is bad. It is not curable. How do you resolve the cognitive dissonance of such a situation? "It's not my fault I'm bad; it's genetic (innate)."

Gay rights activists bristle at this analysis every time I've shared it, because it confronts them with the possibility that in claiming innateness they are swallowing the poisoned pill of badness. You cite numbers that only %18 percent of non-innate-believers think being gay is ok. That is where the problem lies.

Recall that within the Alcoholics Anonymous sub-culture the condition of alcoholism is deemed an incurable disease. AA has been very successful at propagating it's view of substance use and recovery, quite out of line with the empirically verifiable results of participation within that sub-culture. Quoting sociologist Stanton Peele's introduction Ken Ragge's "The Real AA":

"[Ragge] shows how researcher/academics like Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant respond to their own data showing that AA treatment is useless or worse by committing large parts of their clinical and academic work to expounding the AA philosophy...The result is an America preoccupied in a confused way with its depressed emotions and addicted actions, seeking vainly for explanations in the wrong places (God and genes) for a destructive way of life that AA does not remedy, but rather exacerbates and embodies."

The ex-gay movement like many well meaning but wrong-headed gay rights activists, are "seeking vainly for explanations in the wrong places." A better approach might be to recognize that, unlike destructive substance abuse (which must be contrasted with appropriate substance use) love of members of the same sex is as great a source of pride (and is fraught with the same dangers) as any other love. We don't need to absolve gays by saying it's God's will or a genetic trait, we don't need to absolve them at all, for it is no sin to love.
 

It appears from a recent study that sexual attraction in fruit flies can be fairly easily manipulated through genetic modification.

If human sexual attraction can also be genetically manipulated, then the entire idea that homosexuality is a matter of free choice or a product of the environment is pretty much disproven.

However, these findings also raise rather incendiary new questions.

Is homosexuality simply another natural human variation like blue or brown eyes or is it instead a genetic defect like sterility which prevents the afflicted from mating?

Should parents have the option of "curing" homosexuality in their children through genetic manipulation?

Welcome to our brave new world.
 

of course that's complete a stupid position to hole "homosexuality is a genetic trait tied to disease and discourages mating/reproduction." unless you are saying that every homosexual is a unique and unconnected aberration, and that gay people don't spawn. we do. not all of us, but i get so annoyed with folks who think there is scientific merit in connecting "homosexuality" and disease. not saying you are, just swatting down another strawcreature.

as to this post, well, no. i've seen enough of them up close, they little cowards. at the gay bar, that is. the younger ones can never stay away for very long. they are such moral cowards on so many levels, i will never put my trust in them leading some progressive charge for change in the republican party.

what does it matter if the republicans accept that jeebus won't keep jonny's cock free from falling into some helpless sinner's mouth? now being queer is a 'curse,' a 'moral test,' a reason not to breed, etc. hardly any better than they view us now, which is mostly as 'immoral sinners' making 'bad' choices. this way they get to treat us like some kind of punishment from god to erring women who watched too much Buffy season 6 in secret while pregnant.
 

and "preview" is your friend, but you've got to use it. take it from me. /hangs head/
 

chidy, don't take it hard about the preview thing. I previewed my piece about a dozen times while composing and still missed a typo or two. It happens.
 

Is homosexuality simply another natural human variation like blue or brown eyes or is it instead a genetic defect like sterility which prevents the afflicted from mating?


Over 400 vertebrate species exhibit homosexual behavior. For some, homosexuality plays a role in defining their social structure. From a biological perspective, it doesn't appear to be an aberration.


Should parents have the option of "curing" homosexuality in their children through genetic manipulation?


Hmm ... does Gattaca ring a bell?
 

Andrew, you're surely right that "there’s nothing illogical about thinking that homosexuality is innate and nonetheless opposing gay rights." But surely--and I take this to be implied by Robert's observation--the reverse is true: there’s nothing illogical about thinking that homosexuality is not innate and nonetheless favoring gay rights. For gay rights activists to stake their claim on the assumption that innateness is important here is, effectively, to suggest that there is something wrong with same-sex desire and sexual contact, but that innateness provides an excuse of some kind. If, as seems clear, same-sex sex isn't inherently harmful to the participants or to others, that ought to be sufficient reason to regard it as morally acceptable and legally protected. People concerned about gay rights needn't be--shouldn't be--concerned either about whether sexual orientation is narrowly focused (to that few or no people are actually bisexual) or invariant (so that it doesn't change over time).
 

bitswapper said...

Is homosexuality simply another natural human variation like blue or brown eyes or is it instead a genetic defect like sterility which prevents the afflicted from mating?

Over 400 vertebrate species exhibit homosexual behavior. For some, homosexuality plays a role in defining their social structure. From a biological perspective, it doesn't appear to be an aberration.


The fact that a genetic condition is shared across species is not determinative of whether it is or is not a defect. I would suggest that a genetic condition is a defect if it impairs a major life function.

Reproduction is a fundamental biological function equivalent and perhaps sometimes more important than even self preservation. A homosexual population would die out in one generation.

Let us remove this analysis one step from this incendiary issue of homosexuality. If there was a genetic trait which removed all sexual drive from people so they decline to reproduce, would you consider this trait to be a genetic defect?

However, you make a very interesting social point. Homosexuals do make a unique contribution to society which would be lost if society decided to use genetic therapy to eradicate homosexuality.

The Gattaca comparison is apt.
 

Regarding the consequences of discovering a medical intervention that alters the condition of homosexuality (which you may call a "cure" or not, as the spirit moves you), it seems to me that the current situation of cochlear implants offers a more useful guide than a science fiction move. Many Deaf people consider that the Deaf are a distinct culture (the more radical call themselves a colonized minority). They strenuously cochlear implants, which imply that Deafness is a "disease" that needs to be "cured."

However, it is pretty clear that the Deaf are losing this battle. I would be willing to bet that every commentator here, if they had a Deaf child, would have the child "cured," if possible, and the overwhelming majority of parents generally feel that way. Right now, not all cases of deafness can be cured, but the likelihood seems to be that deafness (and thus the culture of the Deaf) will in fact be eliminated at some point.
 

I think there's a significant difference between "[t]he abandonment of the claim that sexual orientation can easily be changed" and "thinking that homosexuality is innate." There's also a path-dependency explanation. Drug addiction, for instance, can't be easily changed, but it's not innate.
 

A homosexual population would die out in one generation.

But that's totally irrelevant, except to homophobic bigots who think that homosexuality will "spread" throughout the population

The right question is whether a population that is 1 or 3 or 10 percent gay will die out. And the answer is of course not.
 

Bart writes:
The fact that a genetic condition is shared across species is not determinative of whether it is or is not a defect. I would suggest that a genetic condition is a defect if it impairs a major life function.


In many species, such as bighorn sheep, homosexual activity amongst males is an integral part of how they maintain social structure. As such, it could very well be described as important to the survival of the herd.

In none of the species does homosexual activity represent either an aberration or a threat to survival.

As it is widespread amongst species scientifically referring to it as a defect is inaccurate, as it doesn't reflect a trait which is causing harm to any population or putting a population at a survival disadvantage. It may very well simply reflect that a species is social in nature as opposed to solitary.
 

"I used to feel decidedly hostile to the ex-gay movement"

"used to"? It seems like you still harbor hostility, judging by the tone of this piece.

Why is a Christian ministry offered to homosexuals who are troubled by the discordance between their lifestyle and their faith such a threat to you? The most likely explanation is your hostility to Christianity.

And I am very interested in this 400 species of animals that are homosexual. What are they? I've never heard of that before.
 

Chris said: Drug addiction, for instance, can't be easily changed, but it's not innate.

That's a matter of opinion, and many within the 12-step movement, including health-care workers with access to at least plausible if not dispositive research on the matter, believe ardently that substance abuse is genetically determined. My argument is that these people cling to the notion of innateness as a way to absolve themselves; "It's not my fault I'm this way, and there's nothing I can do about it."

The biggest difference between the case of substance abusers and gays is that there is absolutely nothing at all wrong or bad about loving or sexually desiring someone of the same sex, whereas there are many things wrong with abusing substances (be they chemicals, food, &c.)

Andrew referenced a correlation between folks who consider gayness innate and folks who are tolerant of or sympathetic to the rights and concerns of gays, with a complementary correlation between folks who "think it's a choice" and would abridge the fundamental human rights of gays. After noting those correlations Andrew suggested that the "christian" ex-gay movement might end up doing more good than harm. I disagree, on the grounds that in all instances it seems to me believers in innateness are accepting, as a fundamental premise of the conversation, that gayness is something bad which needs explaining. So long as that untrue premise stands there can never be a sound argument.

Along with this flawed premise, there is another flaw in the way the conversation usually flows: those who would abridge the fundamental human rights of gays quickly and deftly bifurcate the domain of discourse such that either gayness is innate or gayness is "a choice." This is nothing but shabbiest sophistry. Your birth tongue correlates to your genetic heritage and is far from being volitional in any fashion, yet no one is silly enough to claim there's an English gene. (Gods above, I hope there's no such fools out there.) Accepting this bifurcation of "innate or choice" is the second consistent mistake gay activists and sympathizers make, right after swallowing the initial lie that there is something that needs to be explained away or justified or forgiven in the first place. Issues of sexual preference (not to mention those of gender role typing or interpersonal bonding) are vastly more complex than can be managed with such a childishly simple view of matters.

However, sophists thrive on such childish simplicity, at least when it's working for them. I put the word "christian" in quotes above because I was heading toward the third error made by most of us most of the time when arguing to protect the fundamental human rights of people to love whom they love and get turned on by whomever happens to turn them on: disingenuous claims of moral relativism. Far too many so-called Christians claim that their view of faith, morals, divinity is the one true and only possible interpretation of such matters, attempting thereby to preempt a moral high-ground of absolute values. And folks accept this with a straight face rather than laughing it down for the palpable absurdity that it is. Maybe a thousand years ago yeoman farmers could be forgiven for accepting such lunacy as handed down to them from a paternalistic clergy, but there is no excuse for any self-identified "thinking man" here in the post-industrial world of the 21st century. Faith is one thing, and I'm all for respecting each others' faiths. But that does not require us to allow frightened bigots to pre-figure discourse in such intellectually insupportable a fashion.

Loving or being turned on by someone with the same plumbing as you isn't in any way bad. Who you love and who turns you on is a complex issue with many subtle variables which we may never fully understand...but that's ok, because it's good to love and even good to be turned on (but use a rubber, ok, and take other disease and pregancy precautions as needs be)(note, this applies with equal force to gays, progressive straights and frightened homophobes.) And an honest recognition of the relativeness of morality in no way shape or form implies a lack of morality. When and if these three premises are explicitly accepted, then and only then is the conversation likely to produce anything of value.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

This seems a good time to nod in the general direction of Professor Volokh on the lie of moral relativism:

"...one common criticism of liberals -- that they, unlike conservatives, practice “moral relativism” -- is unsound. It tends to hide the real argument, usually a substantive disagreement about a particular moral question, behind a supposedly neutral methodological criticism. It’s a distraction, and an unfair one.

I would replace "unfair" with "intellectually dishonest," after all, all's fair in love and ideological warfare. But no one can make such arguments and sustain a claim of intellectual honesty.

Full text of the Volokh piece here.
 

bitswapper said...

Bart writes: The fact that a genetic condition is shared across species is not determinative of whether it is or is not a defect. I would suggest that a genetic condition is a defect if it impairs a major life function.

In many species, such as bighorn sheep, homosexual activity amongst males is an integral part of how they maintain social structure. As such, it could very well be described as important to the survival of the herd.


You are coflating homosexual attraction with homosexual behavior, which are often very different things.

Animals and humans use homosexual behavior to establish dominance. My male dogs and your bighorn sheep do this. The ancient Greeks and nearly any prison you care to name do this. However, these animals and people generally still mate and reproduce with the opposite gender.

What we are speaking of is homosexual attraction which compels a person to mate with his own gender to the exclusion of the opposite gender.

As for whether homosexual attraction endangers the reproductive capacity of society as a whole as well as the homosexual individually, that depends on the society. In a premodern society, heterosexuals more than made up for the lack of reproduction among the 2% or so of the population which are homosexual. However, in modern society where reproduction has been reduced to a costly choice, heterosexuals are not reproducing at a rate sufficient to replace themselves nevertheless the homosexual population. So it appears our modern society may need all the reproduction it can find to keep from dying out as the Euros are doing currently.
 

[Prof. Koppelman, from the post]: I used to feel decidedly hostile to the ex-gay movement.

Same here. But then again, they don't like me either.

Cheers,
 

Robert Link:

A better approach might be to recognize that, unlike destructive substance abuse (which must be contrasted with appropriate substance use) ...

Wouldn't that be "appropriate subtance abuse"?

I agree with your point that the "genetic" argument can and does allow an implicit "badness" or "wrongness" taint; this of course is based on perhaps an inperfect understanding of the fact that there is no "right" or "wrong" in genetics (e.g., the detrimental sickle-cell trait is adaptive in some environments).

And I think that gays are entitled to a sense of pride in themselves just as much as we are, regardless of the environmental, social, and genetic contributions to them as whole persons. Any genetic contribution or predisposition is just as much present in heterosexuals, and is just part of what being a human is all about. Any choices that people make should be credited to them as well, and they should be judged on what they are ... ummmmmmm, say "the content of their character" and not the "skin" of those lying next to them....

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

If human sexual attraction can also be genetically manipulated, then the entire idea that homosexuality is a matter of free choice or a product of the environment is pretty much disproven.

Try do some studying on the concept of "heritability". Hint: It's not a single number, or even a fixed quantity. Nor is "homosexuality".

The fact that a genetic condition is shared across species is not determinative of whether it is or is not a defect. I would suggest that a genetic condition is a defect if it impairs a major life function.

Oh, bulltwaddly. Guess you get to decide what a "major life function" is too, eh? That homosexuality and homosexual behaviour persists (and not just in humans) is at least circumstantial evidence that no "major like functions" are impaired by such ... not that Mother Nature cares a whole lot about that.

Reproduction is a fundamental biological function equivalent and perhaps sometimes more important than even self preservation. A homosexual population would die out in one generation.

And yet? What about the dog that barked, Dr. Watson?

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

In a premodern society, heterosexuals more than made up for the lack of reproduction among the 2% or so of the population which are homosexual. However, in modern society where reproduction has been reduced to a costly choice, heterosexuals are not reproducing at a rate sufficient to replace themselves nevertheless the homosexual population. So it appears our modern society may need all the reproduction it can find to keep from dying out as the Euros are doing currently.

Translation from Republican into English: "It's those homos' fault that the darkies are gonna over-run us all...."

Wow, you really got 'em all there, "Bart". What a nice thought for MLK Day.

Cheers,
 

Arne, no, I didn't mispeak. Appropriate substance use must be distinguished from inappropriate substance use, the latter being substance abuse. Medicinal, sacramental and even recreational use of substances are fully legitimate, up to the point they become destructive.
 

Robert Link:

Arne, no, I didn't mispeak. Appropriate substance use must be distinguished from inappropriate substance use, the latter being substance abuse. Medicinal, sacramental and even recreational use of substances are fully legitimate, up to the point they become destructive.

I was jes' kiddin' yer. I think the right word would have been "use" for both situations. The purpose is being (successfully) served in either case; where we might differ is as to the "validity" or advisability of such use. But that would be implicit in the "destructive" v. "appropriate" distinction, no? But then again, I guess "destructive" and "appropriate" may be in the eyes of the beholder, and some folks drink to forget, in which case the two opposites may interpenetrate a bit.....

Cheers,
 

Arne: I'll drink to that. ;)
 

Bart writes:
You are coflating homosexual attraction with homosexual behavior, which are often very different things.


While it is possible draw a distinction between the two in humans, that's not so in animals. Also, the criteria you use here forms a false dichotomy. Many consider behavior as a component of attraction. What I think you're trying to get at is that the sheep who lick, so to speak, also reproduce and therefore aren't homosexual. There isn't data on that, honestly. And, its not a foregone conclusion by any stretch. But you may be right - sexual orientation may not be an either/or dichotomy.


In a premodern society, heterosexuals more than made up for the lack of reproduction among the 2% or so of the population which are homosexual.

How do you know the rates of homosexuality in premodern societies?

However, in modern society where reproduction has been reduced to a costly choice, heterosexuals are not reproducing at a rate sufficient to replace themselves nevertheless the homosexual population. So it appears our modern society may need all the reproduction it can find to keep from dying out as the Euros are doing currently.


Europeans are dying? And, in the context of your post, you clearly imply homosexuality is the cause. Please substantiate that, as it looks more like a leap of faith than a reasoned conclusion.

Please also provide more than your belief that heterosexuals are failing to reproduce enough to make up for what you think is the loss in reproductivity from the presence of homosexuals in the population.

If you find an example of a society in population decline, please provide some scientific evidence that the presence of homosexuals is causing it. Do note the world human population does not appear to be in decline by any current accounts. If you which to attribute that to anti-homosexual efforts on the part of societies, please provide something of substance showing a correlation between homosexual repression and rises in reproductive rates. That would be quite interesting, honestly.


You're arguing that homosexuality is a result of a genetic defect and is harmful the the reproductive capacity of a species. Current scientific evidence doesn't indicate a defect but merely a phenomenon common to hundreds of species which in no way impairs a species' biological viability. I have been kind enough to provide information for that. If you want to continue to argue against, please offer more than your opinions.
 

bitswapper [to "Bart"]:

If you want to continue to argue against, please offer more than your opinions.

Why start now? Then again, he could start making stuff up like he does sometimes....

Cheers,
 

bitswapper said...

Bart writes: In a premodern society, heterosexuals more than made up for the lack of reproduction among the 2% or so of the population which are homosexual.

How do you know the rates of homosexuality in premodern societies?


Lots of polling data.

BD: However, in modern society where reproduction has been reduced to a costly choice, heterosexuals are not reproducing at a rate sufficient to replace themselves nevertheless the homosexual population. So it appears our modern society may need all the reproduction it can find to keep from dying out as the Euros are doing currently.

Europeans are dying? And, in the context of your post, you clearly imply homosexuality is the cause.


Bit, c'mon now. As I posted at the outset, it appears that homosexual attraction is genetic in origin and not a choice. Without choice, there can be no fault.

I am merely observing that the Euros have such a low birthrate, that the heterosexuals are not replacing themselves nevertheless the homosexuals.

Please also provide more than your belief that heterosexuals are failing to reproduce enough to make up for what you think is the loss in reproductivity from the presence of homosexuals in the population.

Go google the subject. There is a great deal of discussion here and in Europe on the issue. Mark Steyn has a rather sensationalist book on the subject called America Alone.

You're arguing that homosexuality is a result of a genetic defect and is harmful the the reproductive capacity of a species.

No, I am pointing out that a reasonable hypothesis can be made for this proposition. We need a great deal more study to know one way or another. However, given how incendiary the subject is, very few scientists are studying it.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Bit, c'mon now. As I posted at the outset, it appears that homosexual attraction is genetic in origin and not a choice. Without choice, there can be no fault.

I am merely observing that the Euros have such a low birthrate, that the heterosexuals are not replacing themselves nevertheless the homosexuals.


Translation: As usual, I'm just spewing rightwingnut nonsense.
 

["Bart"]: In a premodern society, heterosexuals more than made up for the lack of reproduction among the 2% or so of the population which are homosexual.

[bitswapper]: How do you know the rates of homosexuality in premodern societies?

Lots of polling data [lack thereof, or even cites to, duly noted].


...

[bitswapper, to "Bart", earlier]: If you want to continue to argue against, please offer more than your opinions.

[Arne]: Why start now? Then again, he could start making stuff up like he does sometimes....


Wow. Like, just, wow. Not even a hint of embarrassment.

Cheers,
 

Bit, c'mon now. As I posted at the outset, it appears that homosexual attraction is genetic in origin and not a choice. Without choice, there can be no fault.

Typical RW thinking. Fallacy of bifurcation. Didn't bother reading about "heritability", didja, "Bart"?

Stop it. Please. Just stop being such a clueless and thoughtless a$$. Matter of fact, please go away. You have your own blog, and it's plain that your comments here do nothing but irritate people or turn them even more against anything you say. You contribute nothing but annoyance. Thanks in advance.

Cheers,
 

Bart writes:
Europeans are dying? And, in the context of your post, you clearly imply homosexuality is the cause.

Bit, c'mon now. As I posted at the outset, it appears that homosexual attraction is genetic in origin and not a choice. Without choice, there can be no fault.


Actually, in the part you quoted, I was asking you to substantiate the assertion that homosexuality had any significant effect on european birth rate - not 'fault'.

That sexual orientation is genetic in origin (something still being researched), that by no means paints a black and white picture of sexual orientation - not even the question of who reproduces and how much. Like many traits which have genetic origin, its likely not a simple switch - gay or straight.



I am merely observing that the Euros have such a low birthrate, that the heterosexuals are not replacing themselves nevertheless the homosexuals.


In the context of the discourse, however, the implication was pretty clear that the presence of homosexuals is a significant factor (otherwise, why bring it up). It was a case of guilt by association - "I'm just saying, there's gays over there and low birth rates. That's all." The "That's all"/"I am merely" part is by no means an off-the-hook clause given the context.


It would be telling, if for example, a society with a significantly higher homosexual population were experiencing significantly lower birth rates.

Please also provide more than your belief that heterosexuals are failing to reproduce enough to make up for what you think is the loss in reproductivity from the presence of homosexuals in the population.

Go google the subject.


Well, that's a total non-response.

No, I am pointing out that a reasonable hypothesis can be made for this proposition. We need a great deal more study to know one way or another. However, given how incendiary the subject is, very few scientists are studying it.


Such a hypothesis at its face certainly has the appearance of viability, but for the scientific data regarding other vertebrate species. And I agree that the topic's controversy represents a burden of entry for research. Its worth keeping in mind why that controversy exists, I think.



How do you know the rates of homosexuality in premodern societies?

Lots of polling data.


That would be very interesting polling data to see.
 

abu hamza said...
And I am very interested in this 400 species of animals that are homosexual. What are they? I've never heard of that before.


Here is one link to an article in Seed which cites research by Joan Roughgarden, Professor of Biological Sciences and of Geophysics at Stanford.
 

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