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09:05 AM on 11/07/2011
I have always thought that homosexuality was a physical, not a mental, difference; however, I think the author is in dubious territory with the existence of gay genes. I just read about a Big Lie with respect to revisionist economic theory, but it applies just as well to parts of science: scientists simply can not talk about the existence of sexuality "genes" until they can find one. "Believing" one exists does not count, as that presumes an article of faith many would not grant religions. I think it possible, even probable, we are all bisexual with variations, but when scientists get into ideas that may or may not conflict with social policy or conviction, they are in trouble.
09:24 AM on 11/07/2011
I think maybe sometimes scientists say "we believe" in lieu of "we hypothesize". It may not be correct and may be a little vague but I think scientists are a bit more intellectually mature than you give them credit for.

Saying "We hypothesize that there's a gay gene" and "We believe there's a gay gene" are synonymous in my book.
Read think read analyze read comment
10:17 AM on 11/07/2011
I know, but it is dangerous nevertheless, especially as anti-religionists, anti-intelligent design advocates dismiss out of hand anyone who uses such language. "Hypthosis" and "belief" are two ways of saying, "I don't really know."
11:13 AM on 11/07/2011
Dawkins has LOTS of faith in HIMSELF!! That is why you should NEVER TRUST HIM!!
09:26 AM on 11/07/2011
Scientists (of which I am one) have in fact found genes that determine behavioral traits. We have also found literally thousands of mutations which determine pathologies. To say that we haven't found 'the gay gene' is not quite correct. This is like the old 'missing link' argument used by anti-science fundamentalists, who refused to acknowledge the evidence for evolution because a smoking gun piece of evidence cannot be found. There is no such definitive peice of evidence, and there probably isn't for the case of homosexual behavior either. See my post above on the likelihood of a complex behavioral trait like homosexuality being multi-genic. What hasn't been determined yet are which versions of which genes, under which environmental circumstances, give rise to this behavior/identification.
Jeff Hannan
Monopoly is a cautionary tale, not a blueprint.
09:04 AM on 11/07/2011
I would be satisfying, I imagine, to be able to have evidence of some sort of genetic predisposition to stick in homophobes faces when they start talking of homosexuality as a "choice." However, once such a thing is identified, won't some enterprising young scientist begin to look for ways to "cure" homosexuality perhaps through gene therapy? That would put homosexuality on the same level as a genetic disorder or disease and that could change the mindsets of intolerant people from "it's a choice" and "it's a sin" to "it's a foul disease that needs to be eradicated." Prejudice and intolerance is still prejudice and intolerance, I think. It's one of humanity's basest impulses and needs to be overcome.
11:56 AM on 11/07/2011
All the events you claim to worry about have been happening for centuries. Agree with your last lines, though.
09:02 AM on 11/07/2011
Unfortunately, the speakers to my computer stopped working so I can't listen to the video, but the popular idea that there must be a gay gene for same-sex orientation to be genetically based represents very simplistic thinking. Far more likely that there exists a great number of evolutionarily beneficial genes in heterosexuals (hence they're passed down) which in certain combinations result in homosexual children. For example, studies have concluded that heterosexual men who score higher on psychological tests intended to measure empathy are more likely to have a gay son and heterosexual women who have a stronger than average desire to have many children are more likely to have a gay brother. Then there's the compelling idea that in the small tribes where humans have spent most of their evolutionary history a certain percentage of homosexuals may have given an advantage to GROUP genetic survival; when child rearing is an arduous task as it is for intelligent mammals fewer children than possible with more adults to nurture them may be the way to go. Less is more or "it takes a village".
All that aside and at the risk of sounding politically incorrect - I'm gay, at any rate, and care deeply about gay rights and gay dignity - many, though not all, gay people simply LOOK gay. It's easy enough for everyone to think of a few examples among celebrities. Are we to believe that gay people acquire certain physical traits when they choose to be gay?
10:31 AM on 11/07/2011
Dawkins discusses three ideas
1) The "fairy uncle" idea: Doting but nonprocreative family members can help assure survival and reproduction. It explains too much, such as grandmothers who knit warm socks.
2) The "sneak f-er" idea, more precisely the girlie man ladies' man in this context: Men who pretend to be gay in order to seduce women. This idea explains other things, but not gayness.
3) A large ill-formed idea, about genes for other things that later take a walk on the wild side when in a different environment. Again it explains too much.
Human opinions....a fascinating study....
08:44 AM on 11/07/2011
Either way, it cannot be denied that being gay is rooted in one's biology.

Oh yes it can be denied......

The central thesis of the video was that even though scientists have yet to identify the "gay gene,"

What part of "have yet to identify" does this guy not understand?

The real problem? Some homosexuals are amoung the rest of the "it's not my fault" society that cannot accept responsibility for their own decisions. I would have more respect for one who would just admit that it was a free choice than any 100 that use this lame excuse.
Jerry Callaio
Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain!
08:59 AM on 11/07/2011
Get an education.....OR my earlier posts and links..... IF you can understand them!

Otherwise you too just made a fool out of yourself. Tens of thousands of highly trained professionals in the American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations have already stated that no one chooses their sexuality.

Your post is lame and betrays scientific ignorance......I will call out every gay basher who spreads lies and misinformation!
09:02 AM on 11/07/2011
Your argument collapses when confronted with this simple fact: There are gays in cultures that punish homosexuality. What man would choose to be attracted sexually to other men given the harsh treatment they are subject to? What's in it for them?
opinions are like___we all have em
08:40 AM on 11/07/2011
I don't remember "choosing" to find girls attractive ( i'm male) just happened. Any homosexual I have ever spoken to or have known laugh at this idea of "choosing". Once again it is religious dogma screwing up peoples heads...pray the gay away...I don't think so.
Proud American Socialist
08:29 AM on 11/07/2011
I find it amazing that out of this extremely intelligent and informative conversation that everyone was having, one person of "little intelligence" can insert "hate" and get away with this.
Mods.....if anyone needs to be removed........
Show me some evidence.
09:23 AM on 11/07/2011
I'm a real believer is letting stupid bigoted people expose themselves for what they are for all to see. I'd like to see less "Flagging". (But I could be wrong).
You're heavy, and I'm not your Brother
08:28 AM on 11/07/2011
Flawed premise: namely, that everyone who engages in homosexuality has the gay gene.

And it's a self-serving premise one that gives gays license to say children and others can't be converted into homosexuals if they don't have the gay gene.

In Sparta all males were forced to engage in homosexuality to foster love -- make them more protective of each other in battle.

In prisons erstwhile heterosexual males engage in homosexuality.

There is no litmus test for homosexuality; all of the studies that supposedly identify homosexuals are flawed. The only way we know a person is homosexual is if he self-identifies.

In summation, gay is a life-style choice and we have no idea how many millions of people self-identify as gay for reasons other than a biological disposition.
Jerry Callaio
Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain!
08:53 AM on 11/07/2011
References and citations from credible Science and/or Professional organizations....PLEASE.....

And you are incorrect.....READ my over 20 links from credible sources.

Also your ridiculous assertion saying you can make someone gay is absurd and you just lost ALL credibility here by using that inane and dated argument.

P.S....Ancient Spartans are not relevant to the conversation...nor are prisons......

You cannot change someones sexual orientation.
Why are you reading my micro-bio?
09:08 AM on 11/07/2011
nonsense, the above posters points are valid and correct. it's the gay community who is afraid of this info since it totally disproves the "born this way" theory.
You're heavy, and I'm not your Brother
09:11 AM on 11/07/2011
First of all, gay is a social construct. There's no litmus test for it, nothing that's reproducible in a lab or clinic.

You fellows are always going about the piles of research that proves a gay gene, but all of it is deeply flawed -- none is a slam dunk.

During the heyday of the gay baths thousands of erstwhile heterosexual men flocked to the baths to see what was going on. Many stayed. No mystery there: have sex with a rhino often enough (a real rhino) it will become enjoyable.

But let's get back to all these sources you claim you have. Link to one of them -- just one and make it the strongest one -- and watch as I show it to be complete rubbish.
Irrelevent Blurb
09:46 AM on 11/07/2011
You're framing it all wrong.

Homosexual­ity is defined by the attraction­s, not the actions.

A person can be a gay (or straight) virgin. Your argument is invalid.
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11:51 AM on 11/07/2011
Sexuality is, for some. fluid and sometimes situational. The prison example has no bearing on attraction and self-identification. Some people are predisposed to be straight, some gay, and probably a sizable percentage are to some degree bisexual.

Why do people sit in church pews and believe their preachers know anything about human sexuality? They're neither statisticians nor scientists. They have a collection plate to fill and sensational and lurid stories make all the concernified Christians wring their hands and open their wallets.
08:19 AM on 11/07/2011
it's not a recent video
David Campbell
08:19 AM on 11/07/2011
I think we must also consider that in terms of sexuality we vary all along the spectrum from intense to little interest and that much of this is due to that first testosterone appearance shortly after conception. Note: how many of the super models, small hips, tall, thin, large breasts were found to have no uterus but a perfect set of testies in the vagina wall.
09:03 AM on 11/07/2011
"how many of the super models, small hips, tall, thin, large breasts were found to have no uterus but a perfect set of testies in the vagina wall."

Fascinating, could you provide a link?
Ioan Lightoller
Proud Gay Pagan Man, Living Happily With Husband
02:37 PM on 11/07/2011
I'd like to see that myself.
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This comment has been removed due to violations of our [Guidelines]
07:12 AM on 11/07/2011
Anyone who makes the claim that to engage in homosexual activity is merely a function of choice is necessarily bi-sexual, else they would not have to make a choice.

Most heterosexual males with whom I am acquainted, including myself, have no choice because their affinity for the opposite sex runs so strong that, not only are they not attracted to members of the same sex, the notion of homosexual contact is autonomously repugnant.
Hold on to the center
07:54 AM on 11/07/2011
Though I do occasionally have bi people tell me that I'm choosing not to be bi.

I think in general, people tend to assume from their own experience, so those who insist that they "choose" to be straight are probably bi.
06:12 AM on 11/07/2011
There are no genes "for" homosexuality. There appear to be genetic variants that cause it. That is a very different thing. See: for more on what genes are "for".
Jerry Callaio
Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain!
06:36 AM on 11/07/2011
ROFL.......that is from a BLOG.....not a credible scientific link and or a link to a professional organization or Science source such as Nature Magazine and/or Scientific American magazine.

I can find any amount of intellectual "rubbish" in a somebody's BLOG.

Genetic variants ...never heard of it...I assume you mean Single-nucleopeptide polymorphism(made up of two Alleles)......I've heard of Genetic Variance......which simply means genetic variation..........or mutation.

There is NO SUCH THING as Genetic Variants. I think you are confusing the terminology.

There is no science in your post....only rhetoric.

06:45 AM on 11/07/2011
What's the operative difference? If a genetic variant operates to affect one's sexual attraction it is pre conditioned.
06:03 AM on 11/07/2011
In his book "Sex Time and Power," Leonard Schlain postulated that there IS a benefit to humanity to have a certain percentage of the society be gay. Primarily, it provides society with some number of individuals who - by virtue of not having their own offspring - are in a position to care for the offspring of parents who can't do the job themselves. Whether natural parents are incompetent, get sick or suffer accidental death, having people around who don't have kids of their own is quite beneficial. We try to second guess nature at our own peril.
Retired cop, educator
06:34 AM on 11/07/2011
Has no one considered that with the rampant breeding of humans, homosexuality is a perfectly natural (and clever) form of population control?
Ioan Lightoller
Proud Gay Pagan Man, Living Happily With Husband
07:45 AM on 11/07/2011
Fanned and faved. I have long thought that to be the case, SameBoat. I hate to think what world population would be if there were no gays or lesbians.
08:49 AM on 11/07/2011
Hmm. If you're right, would it follow that more homosexuals to be BORN per capita into congested environments than spacious ones (Shanghai would have more than a small village)? I wonder if there are any studies out there.
06:42 AM on 11/07/2011
The operative functionality of evolution is survival in the face of changed, not benefit. The possibility exists that climatic changes may someday change to the extent that the survivors will look like "martians" and reproduce in ways unimaginable to us know.
see biography
05:30 AM on 11/07/2011
"the changing environment"
If a “sport” occurred in human physiology, embodying both male and female attributes. Would that entity be permitted to live? Given the parameters of human understanding prevalent at that instant in time.

Richard on film: “ I don’t know”
Hallelujah! and Amen to that brother. So what DO we actually know? That not doing all we can to help ensure the continuation of human existence means decreasing those chances of finding out.
10:02 AM on 11/07/2011
The continuation of human existence is not a real big problem on this planet which has now 7 billion occupants, with 8 billion hovering on the not-too-distant horizon. We are not an endangered species; we are, however, a very dangerous species. I've long thought that if human existence should cease, the rest of the occupants of this planet that we all share would heave a great and collective sigh of relief.
How did it come to this?
10:46 AM on 11/07/2011
Yes, I've often thought, especially recently, that the human species was an evolutionary mistake. I think we took a wrong turn sometime during the Neolithic era, when we learnt how to store surplus food, thus making agriculture worthwhile. Till then, as hunters-gatherers, or even pastoralists, we weren't dangerous because we couldn't increase at any great rate. The ability to store food also probably led to social inequality within the group: some people had more than others. And look at where we've ended up today, with the 1%!