Saturday, January 24, 2009

Homosexuality, a psychodynamic process?

I’ve recently been conversing with a Christian on about homosexuality. He is making many dubious claims about homosexuals and condoms that have led me to develop this post and probably more to follow. The primary basis for his claims is that homosexuality is a purely psychodynamic process and has no physiological basis. This contradicts all reputable scientific, medicine and psychological organizations that I am aware of so I did a quick review of the literature.

Homosexuality has been demonstrated to have an underlying physiological influence by many different examples of research that have evolved from twin-sibling studies to more recent brain and physical trait studies.

The earliest study that I’ve found supporting a physiological influence on homosexuality was a twin study from 1952 [Twin and Subship Study of Overt Male Homosexuality. Am J Hum Genet]. The author stated:

“It is also quite evident that the presently available genetic evidence, especially the observation of practically complete concordance as to overt homosexuality in monozygotic male twin pairs, throws considerable doubt upon the validity of purely psychodynamic theories of predominantly or exclusively homosexual behavior patterns in adulthood.”

There have been many twin studies since and they have all pointed to a physiological basis to homosexuality. Here is the short list:

A family history study of male sexual orientation using three independent samples. Behav Genet. 1999;29:79–86.

Evidence for maternally inherited factors favoring male homosexuality and promoting female fecundity. Proc Roy Soc London B. 2004;271:2217–2221.

Familial aspects of male homosexuality. Arch Sex Behav. 2000;29:155–163.

Family size in white gay and heterosexual men. Arch Sex Behav. 2005;34:117–122.

Sperm competition and the persistence of genes for male homosexuality. Biosystems. 1993;31:223–233.

Homosexuality, birth order, and evolution: Toward an equilibrium reproductive economics of homosexuality. Arch Sex Behav. 2000;29:1–34.

A genome-wide scan of male sexual orientation. Hum Genet. 2005;116:272–278.

Molecular investigations into complex behavior: lessons from sexual orientation studies. Hum Biol. 1998;70:367–386.

Is homosexuality familial? A review, some data, and a suggestion. Arch Sex Behav. 1981;10:465–475.

A family study of sexual orientation. Arch Sex Behav. 1982;11:511–520.

Human sexual orientation has a heritable component. Hum Biol. 1998;70:347–365.

Biological versus nonbiological older brothers and men’s sexual orientation
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 July 11; 103(28): 10771–10774.

Sexual orientation and the size of the anterior commissure in the human brain.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 August 1; 89(15): 7199–7202.

Twin and sibship study of overt male homosexuality
Am J Hum Genet. 1952 June; 4(2): 136–146.

It should be noted that these studies are often cited as evidence for a genetic influence to homosexuality but they are also compatible with a hormonal influence, maternal immunity or any combination, thereof. It should also be noted that very few aspects of human nature are dependent upon a single variable but is the culmination of interactions between physical and environmental factors.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Darwin Day Editorial

February 12 is Darwin day, commemorating 200 years since Darwin's birthday. Darwin is credited for founding evolution, which is often defined as descent with modification. Most of us are not aware of the daily impact of Darwin's theory of evolution. Evolution's most tangible benefits are found in the fields of medicine and agriculture. Evolutionary theory is responsible for such treatments as flu immunizations and many medicines, as well as genetics and disease pathology. Our knowledge of heart disease, obesity, infectious disease, disease of pregnancy, cancer and many more all have been impacted by evolution and its mechanisms. So, this February, remember the real and tangible benefits that this often misunderstood theory has provided us in our daily lives.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Why does god hate Christians?

Nine people are dead and over one hundred injured in the collapse of one of the largest evangelical churches in Brazil. Whenever I read a report such as this I ponder the apparent inconsistency with the religious belief and actual world events. It always amazes me how Christians, Muslims and all of the rest can always rationalize this type of tragedy and still believe that there is a loving god watching over them. Sure, I've heard plenty of excuses but none has more explanatory power to explain the random events of the world than the natural explanations.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I happened upon a film on cable, the other day, that caught me eye because I rembered hearing a story about the graphic novel, last year. The movie, Persepolis, is a coming of age film set in Iran during the islamic takeover and the Iran-Iraq war.

This is a very powerful film that really demonstrates the effect that fundamentalism can have upon liberal and moderate religionists, let alone atheists and apostates. The change is most obvious in the beginning of the film when the women go from wearing normal western type clothing to full burkas. While there are examples of fundamentalism on men, it is most notable with the women. They are arrested for dressing inappropriately or being alone with a male when single.

Another point of interest was the constant religious propaganda during the war. It was non-stop even in her grade school. It may have been a contributing factor to the deaths of millions of young boys and men that surrendered their lives for the promises of an afterlife and martyrdom.

Unfortunately, this type of religious bullying is still occurring throughout the world. In Afghanistan, school girls are having acid thrown on them for going to school. Gays in the US having their liberties Unconstitutionally restricted.

Why? These acts and restrictions are the work of religion with a lot of bigotry, hatred, nationalism and thirst for power thrown in for good measure.