Biological Determinism

["On a chilly Ohio Saturday morning in 1979, some time after divorcing his first wife Linda, Jim Lewis awoke in his modest, middle-class home next to his second wife, Betty.
Jim - a romantic, affectionate type - was determined that this marriage would work and made a habit of leaving love notes to Betty around the house.  As Jim lay in bed
he thought about others he had loved, including his son, James Alan, and his faithful dog Toy.

Having outfitted a workshop in a corner of his basement, Jim looked forward to spending some of the day's free time on his woodworking hobby.  He had derived many hours of satisfaction from building furniture, picture frames, and an assortment of other items, including a circular white bench around a tree in his front yard. Jim also liked to spend free time driving his [light-blue] Chevy, watching stock-car racing, and drinking Miller Lite beer.

Jim was basically healthy. Having had a vasectomy, he was done having children. His blood pressure was a little high, perhaps related to his chain-smoking habit.
He chewed his fingernails to the nub. And he suffered occasional half-day migraine headaches – “like somebody’s hitting you with a two-by-four in the back of the neck.”
He had become overweight a while back but had shed some of the pounds. ] – from Exploring Psychology, by David G. Myers

All those same things were true of Jim Springer – his identical raised-apart twin, including the phrase about migraine..  They also vacationed on the same three-block-long beach area neat St. Petersburg. Both disliked baseball.  Tests of intelligence, personality, heart rate, and brain waves were about as  similar as the same person taking the test twice.

More generally, the Minnesota Twins study found that the majority of reared-apart twins  were not just similar in IQ and personality.   They tended to have very similar speech patterns, sense of humor,  marriage patterns, careers, tastes in clothes, hobbies, etc.

Bouchard only found two pairs of male twins with at least one homosexual: one pair was concordant, the other somewhat ambiguous [one was clearly gay,  the other  had had a male boyfriend from 15-18, but not afterwards].   Larger studies have found a low concordance rate for homosexuality in males.  A recent Swedish study found 7 concordant and 64 discordant MZ pairs, and 3 concordant and 50 discordant DZ pairs.   Their estimate was that 19% of the variance was explained by genetic factors, 0.00 by shared environment, and 0.64 by unique environment – something that had happened to one twin but not to the other.

It’s worth remembering that practically everything you can measure is partly explained by genetics.  For example,  stealing from Jayman’s blog, let me list a few traits that are more influenced by genetics than homosexuality, often much more: IQ of course, ideology (liberal/conservative), interest in politics, social trust, racial attitudes, foreign policy preferences (!), women’s rights, schizophrenia, alcoholism, antisocial behavior, blah blah blah….

Nearly everything is influenced by genetics, but often genetics does not explain very much – in the sense of supplying a necessary (although often insufficient) cause. Many infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, show far higher MZ twin concordances than homosexuality does.  You could try to explain them genetically – and if you did a good job, you would probably conclude that  genetic vulnerability to  TB is a mix of ongoing deleterious mutations and selection for immunological variants that increase vulnerability to TB while decreasing vulnerability to something even worse,  say smallpox or malaria. There’s not much you could do with that information, even if you had it.

But the necessary cause, the key causal link,  of TB is Mycobacterium tuberculosis: you can have the world’s most screwed up immune system, but you still won’t get TB if you’re not exposed to the bug. And that’s useful knowledge.

Ulcers are far more heritable than homosexuality, and genetics matters: but you don’t get the ulcers without h. pylori.

Geneticists try to explain homosexuality with genetic models because that’s what they do – and because right now, ‘enlightened’ circles know that homosexuality ought to be  genetic, even though nothing else ought to be.  Strikes me that a lot of people are one Bo tree shy of a load.

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93 Responses to Biological Determinism

  1. misdreavus says:

    Homophobia has a substantially higher heritability than homosexuality.

    Makes sense to me.

    • JayMan says:

      Yes. Interesting (and supremely ironic) isn’t it?

      • misdreavus says:

        But unlike you, I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been selected for. If it had, the heritability would be much lower.

      • Mihaly Berezchuk says:

        I was reading a wiki article about bed bugs one day: “The ‘bed bug alarm pheromone’ consists of (E)-2-octenal and (E)-2-hexenal. It is released when a bed bug is disturbed, as during an attack by a predator. A 2009 study demonstrated the alarm pheromone is also released by male bed bugs to repel other males who attempt to mate with them.”

        Bed bugs aren’t humans, we can’t compare our sexual behavior to theirs, but it made me think about “homophobia”, that perhaps it developed to tip one off about predators. Or maybe bed bugs need sensitivity training.

      • misdreavus says:

        I know the answer to that, and there is no parallel for our species.

        Since midterm season is upon us, I’ll be succinct – go google how male bed bugs inseminate females.

  2. L'Esprit de l'Escalier says:

    Is success at contraception heritable? That would be paradoxical, except of course that it’s a manifestation in a novel environment of the same traits of intelligence and conscientiousness that used to be selected for because they helped us lay in food and fuel to get our children through the winter.

    Are there any traits that correlate with homosexuality in our present weird environment, but in the past showed up as something else?

  3. TWS says:

    MS might have a virus component and does have a geographic one. Maybe something like that is happening with homosexuality.

  4. AKAHorace says:

    So does anyone ever become homosexual suddenly as an infection occurs ? or do you catch this in early life and never loose it ?

  5. jb says:

    I don’t see how you can have an explanation for homosexuality that doesn’t also explain the rest of the broad range of human sexual dysfunction. I mean, it isn’t just homosexuality that needs to be explained. There are people who get sexually aroused by being shat upon, or by crushing insects, or even by killing other people! How do you explain that???

    Is there a separate pathogen for every sexual paraphilia? That just seems unlikely. Is there a single pathogen that somehow upsets the normal course of sexual development in different ways for different people? Then you still have no answer to the question of why some people end up one way and some another. But if pathogens are required to explain the more exotic paraphilias, then why do we need one for homosexuality? Why not just accept that human sexual development is a bit fragile compared to other species (perhaps because, unlike most mammals, it is not based on pheromones), and that young people can be influenced in strange, random ways by the things they see and hear, or even by ideas that they come up with themselves as they struggle to understand the adult world.

    Genetics would still be involved of course. For example, if a boy happened to be physically or temperamentally “girly,” he might get the idea that maybe he really should have been a girl. Let’s say he happens to get invited to a pretend tea party with some girls on some random day, and happens to have a particularly good time, and decides that this is much more fun than his trucks, and that being a girl is more fun than being a boy. This idea could guide his young fantasies, and eventually determine his sexual tastes when he got older. The thing is, if this happened at a young enough age it’s likely that later on he would not even remember when the idea first came into his head, and would believe he had always felt that way, in fact that he was even “born that way,” when in fact he was not.

    The beauty of this theory — that human sexuality is as heavily influenced by people’s early ideas about sex as by their hormones — it that it can explain in a unified way the full variety of human sexual weirdness. For example, if homosexuality is more common than other paraphilias, it could be because identification with the wrong sex is a fairly easy idea to come up with, while the more numerous but numerically less common paraphilias are triggered by ideas that are just less likely to find their way into the mind of a young child.

    In any case, to repeat, it’s more than just homosexuality that needs to be explained.

    • jb says:

      But if pathogens are not required to explain…

      • gcochran9 says:

        You can estimate the fitness impact for a particular syndrome by multiplying its prevalence by the average loss in fitness. If that number is small, say 10-5, the syndrome can easily be sustained at that level by mutational pressure, particularly if the trait involved is a big mutational target – i.e. if it is complex, so that there are a lot of things to go wrong. Intelligence is probably the most complex adaptation, with well over half of all genes expressed in the brain – so in that case, the sum of all kinds of serious genetic retardation, has a fitness impact something like 10-2. For another example, consider congenital deafness, which was hell on fitness in the past. I doubt if the fitness hit for mutation-riven deafness was greater than 10-3.

        Let’s talk crush freaks. They are so rare that they never even knew each other existed before the Internet showed up and greatly facilitated nuts getting together. Could they be a product of random mutation, and thus no mystery? Easily. Sure, there could be a bug involved, but there doesn’t have to be.

        The fitness hit of homosexuality is around 10-2, comparable with the sum of all other things going wrong with the brain. Yet being being interested in the opposite sex can’t be that complicated. So homosexuality is an anomaly that needs an explanation other than mutation pressure. Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it – but Cole Porter didn’t.

      • L'Esprit de l'Escalier says:

        To gcochran9: Please help me understand the numbers 10-5, 10-3, 10-2 that you give as examples of fitness hits. Is this a notation for powers of 10?

    • misdreavus says:

      In any case, to repeat, it’s more than just homosexuality that needs to be explained.

      Wrong.

      As with everyone else who is mortally confused about this subject, do the math. You don’t exact numbers — a good sense for numerical approximation should more than suffice.

      Among all the paraphilias that exist in the world, homosexuality is the only one that needs any explaining.

      • “Among all the paraphilias that exist in the world, homosexuality is the only one that needs any explaining.”

        How can you be so sure?

        Asexuality, for example, is an affliction – or lack of orientation – that affects approximately one percent of the population. These people have a complete lack of interest in having sex with anyone, which is surely at least as fitness reducing as homosexuality. At least gay men have strong sexual urges that can be redirected towards heterosexual sex on the theory that any port is good in a storm.

        One percent is closer to the prevalence of homosexuality than it is to that of, let’s say, crush freaks or doll fetishists or necrophiliacs.

      • JayMan says:

        Asexuality is another fascinating trait…

      • misdreavus says:

        That’s not a paraphilia. And I do not give a damn about self reported data – for all you know, the prevalence of homosexuality could be a minute fraction of the most commonly reported figures available, yet the epidemiological evidence speaks otherwise.

        In either scenario, Roselli has found asexuality in rams. There may be a clue here.

      • “That’s not a paraphilia.”

        What does it matter? Call it what you like, it is still a “sexual dysfunction” that can’t be fully explained by either genetics or a mutation.

        “And I do not give a damn about self reported data – for all you know, the prevalence of homosexuality could be a minute fraction of the most commonly reported figures available, yet the epidemiological evidence speaks otherwise.”

        Again, what does it matter? The number of people who don’t have sex – who in effect remain life-long virgins – is surely greater than one percent. Even if they are all secretive, chronic masturbators or timid pedophiles or just afraid of sex rather than truly asexual, their general sexual behavior is both similar to others in their group and fitness reducing in much the same way that homosexuality is.

        So for you to confidently claim that homosexuality is the only sexual dysfunction that needs to be explained is rather presumptive.

        “In either scenario, Roselli has found asexuality in rams. There may be a clue here.”

        Indeed.

      • misreavus says:

        The word “paraphilia” has a single, commonly accepted definition. Fitness reducing or not, asexuality does not fit the bill whatsoever.

        As for the prevalence of lifelong, fitness reducing asexuality among human beings, I have no clue whatsoever. But there is a difference between starving to death in a famine, and voluntarily starving yourself during times of plenty — just how often do you see the latter in nature? In the United States, actual rates of mortality from eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia are usually in the low _hundreds_ per year — not the preposterously high figures cited by feminists.

        Which brings me to the unreliability of self-reported data. When it comes to sexuality, people have been proven to lie through their teeth about everything from their partner preferences, to their sexual history, to whether or not they have cheated on a spouse, ad infinitum. (Go ask a urologist about this, they probably have some hilarious stories.) I suppose you believe that less than 15% of fourteen year old boys in the United States masturbate regularly?

        We know that the prevalence of homosexuality has to be somewhere in the ballpark range of 1-4%, because men who have sex with men spread an awful lot of diseases. According to the same survey data, at least _two_ percent of men in the United States have to be bisexual. If so, leaving aside junkies, hemophiliacs, and prostitutes, why haven’t more white, heterosexual women around the world contracted AIDS? Why are antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea and syphillis found among gay men seemingly absent in straight women? We have no such luck identifying _proven_ asexuals through their medical history, because by definition, they don’t have any sex drive whatsoever.

        If you can’t think of any plausible motive for why someone would lie about being asexual, look no further — people will lie for the stupidest and most shallow reasons, and this tendency is literally older than civilization istelf. I know of a friend who lied about being asexual to disguise the fact that he was gay. It happens.

      • “The word “paraphilia” has a single, commonly accepted definition. Fitness reducing or not, asexuality does not fit the bill whatsoever.”

        You’re dodging the point. You were originally responding to the commentator jb, who began his post by writing about “human sexual dysfunction” before he moved on to paraphilias. He’s correct. There are other general sexual inclinations and behaviors (or, in this case, the lack of them) which must be explained.

        Besides, you’re making a category error. If you’re going by the “single, commonly accepted definition”, then homosexuality itself is not a paraphilia. (Presumably, one can be both a homosexual and a necrophiliac, frotteur, or voyeur just as easily as one can be a heterosexual with those same inclinations.) So it’s a bit disingenuous to then argue that asexuality is not a paraphilia. We’re discussing rare – but not too rare – sexual behavior which would reduce fitness. Asexuality, if it exists to the degree found in surveys, certainly fits that category.

        As for you not trusting self-reported data about sexual preferences and activities, I can’t understand what you’re trying to argue. Are you claiming that if we could observe people’s sexual behavior, you don’t believe that one percent or more of the population goes through their lives without having sex? I’m sure you’d lose that wager if you were a betting man.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am afraid we have a failure to communicate. From now on, you must pay careful attention to what I say. Until a bunch activist hacks had their way with the DSM in 1973, homosexuality was classified as a paraphilia — it fits the textbook definition to a T, and you know perfectly well why nobody here with a frontal lobe accepts the authority of the APA regarding such issues.

        Among elephant seals, a tiny minority of males monopolize access to females through large harems, which leaves a large majority of hapless beta males who never reproduce throughout their entire lives. This should be no mystery to you if you have read anything about neo-Darwinian theory. Hence why I brought up the distinction between starving to death because you have no choice, and voluntarily starving to death when victuals are available. The former is no mystery; only the latter begs scientific explanation.

        As for you, I suppose you also believe that 1 out of 4 American women have been raped, that teenage boys rarely masturbate, and that bisexual and homosexual men exist in roughly equivalent numbers. If not, why?

        And I won’t bet on that, because I have no hard numbers on the prevalence of lifelong asexuality. Neither do you. Once again, we _know_ that homosexuality exists within the range suggested by polling data because gay men spread a lot of diseases. Bisexual men infrequently transmit STDs to women, which suggests that they are rare, and we have no reliable data on lifelong asexuals.

      • misdreavus,

        We definitely have a failure to communicate. In one post you say that paraphilia has “a single, commonly accepted definition.” Now you claim that your common definition was last applicable in 1973, at least in regards to homosexuality. Good to know. In any case, I prefer we focus the discussion on sexual dysfunction in Darwinian terms. Asexuality certainly fits that category.

        As for your analogy with elephant seals, there’s a huge difference between not successfully mating because you fear death if you attempt to do so, and not mating because you’d rather do something else. In modern societies at least, the people who don’t have sex certainly can’t blame it on a lack of opportunities or because they fear death.

        In brief, humans aren’t elephant seals. If you take a look around at the people having kids, you’ll find countless beta males who are fathers, and you’ll find countless other beta males who don’t have kids, but still have sex or claim they want to. This makes the rare few who don’t have an inclination to go have sex all the more unusual.

        “As for you, I suppose you also believe that 1 out of 4 American women have been raped, that teenage boys rarely masturbate, and that bisexual and homosexual men exist in roughly equivalent numbers. If not, why?”

        Because the surveys are all over the map on many of these questions (for example, I’m not sure where you’re reading that teenage boys “rarely masturbate” because that ain’t the information I’m reading), and because some of the surveys are obviously politically motivated.

        But what possible political motivation, or even personal motivation outside of the priesthood, is there to overestimate the degree of asexuality? Forty-year-old men don’t have an incentive to claim they are asexual. Even priests can honestly report an orientation without the need for asexuality. If anything, we should probably assume it’s underestimated.

        “Once again, we _know_ that homosexuality exists within the range suggested by polling data because gay men spread a lot of diseases. Bisexual men infrequently transmit STDs to women, which suggests that they are rare, and we have no reliable data on lifelong asexuals.”

        I’m not arguing that asexuality is as well understood as homosexuality.

        But it’s not as if it’s impossible to observe and measure things which might give us a more solid indication of the level of asexuality: gynecological studies on women over forty, for example, might be helpful (or they might not).

      • misreavus says:

        Once again, let me be succinct: at least for mammals, 1%, 2%, or even 30% or more of the mal members of a species failing to reproduce is hardly unusual. Not wanting to reproduce IS unusual. You are out of your depth here.

        Take a look at the world today and see how many people (men, rather, because even a near-fatal stroke of the ugly stick never stopped a woman from getting laid) are grotesquely hideous, neurotic shut-ins, loners, autistic, feeble-minded, sufferers of some embarassing sexual malady (e.g. micropenis, premature ejaculation, phimosis, etc.). Do you think any of these people would be willing to admit to a pollster that couldn’t have sex because of their own ineptitude? No, better to play the proverbial fox in Aesop’s fable and claim the grapes are too sour for your liking.

        All I have proven with the bisexual example is that people will lie about their sexual proclivities for no obvious rationale whatsoever. If you agree with that, we disagree on very little.

      • misreavus says:

        And yes, if asexuality were as common as the polls suggest, it would beggar some sort of explanation. But neither you nor I know if that is the case.

      • Lesser Bull says:

        *Are you claiming that if we could observe people’s sexual behavior, you don’t believe that one percent or more of the population goes through their lives without having sex?*

        Uh, asexual doesn’t mean celibate. It doesn’t even mean voluntarily celibate. It means not having sexual urges.

      • misdreavus,

        “Once again, let me be succinct: at least for mammals, 1%, 2%, or even 30% or more of the male members of a species failing to reproduce is hardly unusual.”

        How many people fail to reproduce is not the key question. How many people lack the sufficient desire or motivation to have sex is the critical question. The latter class of people have taken themselves out of the reproductive game before it’s even began.

        “You are out of your depth here.”

        There’s nothing about this subject that requires much depth.

        You’ve mentioned a couple of valid points. First, you argue that we have more reason to feel confident about the relatively high prevalence of homosexuality, vis a vis other sexual dysfunctions, than we do about the prevalence of asexuality.

        Second, you speculate that asexuality may have a wide variety of underlying causes, whereas the gay germ theory likely has a single pathogen trigger affecting only the small group of people who are susceptible to it

        Neither of these two valid points strikes me as being so strong that I would confidently assume, as you have, that homosexuality is sui generis, and therefore the only sexual dysfunction in need of an explanation.

        For example, you speculate about a wide variety of barriers to developing a healthy sexual appetite (penis envy, premature ejaculation, shrink wrap for foreskin, too ugly, shut-ins, etc.), but most of these come down to a similar psychological failing. I’ve seen too many ugly men vigorously pursue ugly women for me to believe that some objective standard of beauty is a real obstacle to mating. And, hey, if being ugly is a problem for a small percentage of men, then they still have prostitutes or pornography to work out that sexual appetite while they hope their luck changes.

        In Darwinian terms, we should probably expect that we live in a world where men have a psychology similar to that found in Lake Woebegone, where everyone is above average. If a man thinks he’s ugly, for example, he might also think he’s virile and strong. If he thinks he has a small penis, he also thinks he has a big chest. He compensates in some way to put himself into the game. Even if he has to lie to himself.

        Why should we expect that even a small percentage of men who are healthy physically, and perfectly capable of having sex, have psychological barriers that prevent them from ever wanting to do so?

      • Lesser Bull,

        “Uh, asexual doesn’t mean celibate. It doesn’t even mean voluntarily celibate. It means not having sexual urges.”

        I know that. But the point of that passage you quote was to get beyond the surveys and look only at sexual behavior we can measure. Misdreavus is claiming surveys don’t matter.

        And if that’s true, then asexual would be defined not by someone who reported he lacked the urge to have sex, but by someone who was physically healthy and yet chose to remain celibate (or mostly celibate) for their entire lives.

      • misdreavus says:

        At this point, it not only looks as if my arguments have sailed past your head, but that your own arguments have sailed past yours.

        That’s two strikes in one, and it appears that we agree on more than we disagree. I’ll just have to leave it at that.

      • Misdreavus,

        “At this point, it not only looks as if my arguments have sailed past your head, but that your own arguments have sailed past yours.”

        I don’t mind arrogance in a debate partner. In fact, I rather enjoy it. But I prefer to see it earned rather than an entitlement he breezily bestows upon himself just by showing up to the discussion. Your conceit would fit you better with arguments that were strong enough to match your opinions. But I suppose the benefit of being your own biggest fan is that you never have to wait long for the applause.

        Surely there are limits to comparing human sexual behavior to the mating of elephant seals, and categorically throwing out all survey data on sexual behavior, as a way of arguing that no sexual dysfunction other than homosexuality need even be explained. But if so, you seem very reluctant to recognize them.

      • misreavus says:

        Your tragic failure to comprehend any of my arguments thus far is not binding upon me. To summarize:

        1) I correctly stated that homosexuality was the only paraphilia that needed explanation. (Which of course, is true, because asexuality is not a paraphilia! Whether or not it is fitness reducing is a non sequitur. And if it asexuality as common as your surveys suggest, then it _would_ beggar scientific explanation, as I agreed from the very beginning — but let me repeat once again, none of this would change the fact that asexuality is not a paraphilia.)

        2) You responded by attacking a strawman, namely by claiming that I had suggested that homosexuality was the only sexual dysfunction that needed scientific explanation. Complete horse crap. The author of this post even published a landmark paper with Paul Ewald suggesting that a pathogen might also be the root cause of impotence — which, of course, would stil not make impotence a paraphilia. I’ve read the paper, but I doubt you have.

        3) You provided a survey as evidence that asexuality has an unusally high prevalence in the US population that is inconsistent with evolutionary outcomes. While I did not dismiss the survey in its entirety, I warned you of the poor reliability of self-reported data when it comes to sexual behavior. To that effect, I provided you evidence that the prevalence of male bisexuality is nowhere close to the high percentages cited by gallup polls.

        4) You then retreated to the bizarre (and indefensible) position that the prevalence of lifelong celibacy among men is in any way suggestive of asexuality, when the two are nowhere close to the same thing. I warned you of the absurdity of this reasoning by pointing out that it is hardly uncommon for large percentages of males in a species to fail to reproduce, or to even _attempt_ the act of coitus itself, and that such outcomes are in complete harmony with the neo-Darwinian synthesis. This is not the same as lacking a sex drive (i.e. asexuality). You strangely misinterpreted this to mean that I was comparing the sexual behavior of human males to that of elephant seals, and by my count, I made no less than three attempts to rectify your error. I won’t waste my time again.

        5) I even went as far as to provide you a plausible motive for sexually unlucky males in our society to pretend they simply aren’t interested in the opposite gender. I never once posited this as unequivocal proof that the survey data was flawed, but I did consider it as a possible reason to suspect the reliability of your polling data.

        You once again responded by conflating asexuality with an inability to find a willing female partner. Then you meandered into a series of bizarre tangents asserting that ugliness, severe introversion, sexual disorders, etc. could not possibly prevent a significant percentage of men from entertaining the company of women, presumably because they could compensate for it with other advantages. (In what fantasy universe are the scales always so balanced?) Therefore, asexuality must explain the existence of significant numbers of men who fail to attempt the act of coitus.

      • misreavus says:

        By the way, it is hardly unusual for a significant percentage of men in a population to turn out ugly, severely introverted, mentally retarded, or any combination of values that may render them entirely undesirable to the opposite sex. (Here, I speak of phenotypic values _relative_ to the norm for a population, which is the only thing that matters when it comes to reproducive fitness. Nor do I imply that unattractiveness is a _guarantee_ for lifelong celibacy, rather than a significant risk factor.) Even of all of these phenotypes were genetically canalized, unlike homosexuality, they would hardly be inconsistent with negative selection against them. Why is this the case?

        Such is the nature of continuous phenotypic variation — which, as R.A. Fisher demonstrated early on during his career, is itself (mostly) the product of countless additive alleles of small effect that are distributed from parents to children in an uneven manner. It is hardly unheard of for a stupid child to be born to smart parents, or for a runt to be born in a family of tall individuals entirely for hereditary reasons. (On average, high IQ parents have higher IQ children, and tall parents have still taller children, but even discounting the non-heritable contribution to the total phenotypic variance, the outcomes are by no means guaranteed.) None of this is inconsistent with the probabilistic outcomes that result from the random shuffling of alleles through recombination during meiosis. The existence of sexual losers in our society, in and of itself, is therefore NOT discordant with evolutionary outcomes.

        Which brings me to asexuality — if asexuality were not one extreme of a continuous distribution of phenotypes representing a complete disinterest in sex, with the other extreme indicating an overactive sex drive — and IF the prevalence of asexuality were much higher than what might be expected from the degree of selection against it, we might just have to consider a powerful environmental factor as the primary culprit. Male homosexuality indeed fulfills these criteria: 1) judging from the low reproductive fitness of gay men, there is pervasive selection and ongoing against homosexuality, and yet it exists in our society at a high frequency that is unusually discordant with genetic outcomes; 2) sexual variation among men follows a J-shaped distribution, where nearly all men are exclusively heterosexual or homosexual, indicating that it is not merely one extreme of a continuous distribution of phenotypes, 3) the twin studies prove that homosexuality has a low heritability, suggesting that a powerful, if not predominant environmental factor explains most of the variation; therefore 4) the culprit is most likely a pathogen, because pathogens are responsible for the great majority of common and fitness-reducing conditions documented throughout the entirety of human history.

        While it is possible that asexuality in the human species may also be an evolutionary anomaly along the same lines, you have not provided any conclusive evidence that this is the case. Self-reported data on human sexual proclivities is of dubious value, as we know from the paucity of male bisexuals in the industrialized world. Failing to reproduce is not the same thing as _not_ wanting to reproduce whatsoever, and even if the latter trait were common, we would have to assess the power of selection against it before speculating about an environmental origin.

      • misreavus says:

        *pervasive AND ONGOING selection

        Why do I waste so much time arguing with people about this?

      • Misdreavus,

        See my response below.

      • Lesser Bul says:

        **But the point of that passage you quote was to get beyond the surveys and look only at sexual behavior we can measure. Misdreavus is claiming surveys don’t matter.

        And if that’s true, then asexual would be defined not by someone who reported he lacked the urge to have sex, but by someone who was physically healthy and yet chose to remain celibate (or mostly celibate) for their entire lives.
        **

        Still no. The statistic of interest is neither (1) the number of people who *claim* they don’t have any interest in sex over the long term or (2) the number of people who don’t have sex. The statistic of interest is (3) the actual number of people who actually don’t have interest in sex over the longterm.

        You claim that if (1) isn’t good evidence of (3), then (2) must be. You are wrong.

      • Lesser Bull,

        “Still no. The statistic of interest is neither (1) the number of people who *claim* they don’t have any interest in sex over the long term or (2) the number of people who don’t have sex. The statistic of interest is (3) the actual number of people who actually don’t have [an] interest in sex over the longterm.

        You claim that if (1) isn’t good evidence of (3), then (2) must be. You are wrong.”

        Your distinction is so obvious it wasn’t worth noting. Clearly, we were talking about people’s behavior over the long term. You can’t read my comments in context and think otherwise.

        But if you don’t trust surveys, you’re still left with the question of how to observe or look for other empirical proof that can prove or disprove the frequency of sexual activity. Everything else is just self reporting. That was the critical difference in the original post you commented on.

    • TWS says:

      A fetish only becomes a paraphilia if it causes reduced fitness or it has negative consequences in other parts of life. I’m just paraphrasing before coffee but only homosexuality, beastiality, or attraction to inanimate objects really have the same kind of fitness problems. You get turned on by leather? You bang someone in leather. Same for pretty shoes etc. As long as you’re banging someone of the opposite sex you’re still in the ballpark. This is ignoring the effects of getting arrested for stealing womens underware or playing out a kidnapping rape fantasy with your wife. Because they don’t lower fitness as much as homosexuality does.

      Homosexuality is so fitness reducing that to understand biology it probably should be explained. Then of course cured because only a nutter wants to be crippled in some fundamental way.

      • Greying Wanderer says:

        “I’m just paraphrasing before coffee but only homosexuality, beastiality, or attraction to inanimate objects really have the same kind of fitness problems.”

        Also pre-pubescent children and post-menopausal women.

    • Misdreavus,

      Re #1 & #2: You keep humping on the lawyerly dodge that asexuality is not officially listed as a paraphilia. Who cares? For our purposes, it shouldn’t matter what psychologists think of asexuality or how they classify it. In evolutionary terms, the lack of sufficient desire or motivation to have sex is clearly a sexual dysfunction and in need of an explanation.

      The poster jb began this long discussion with, “I don’t see how you can have an explanation for homosexuality that doesn’t also explain the rest of the broad range of human sexual dysfunction. I mean, it isn’t just homosexuality that needs to be explained.” He didn’t mention “paraphilia” until the second paragraph of his post. You’re the one who herded the discussion into defining what was a paraphilia, when nobody here should give a shit.

      So when you type out, in bold letters, that “Whether or not [asexuality] is fitness reducing is a non sequitur.”, and suggest the topic is really about whether asexuality is considered a paraphilia or not, it is you who is engaging in the non sequitur, since the whole point of this discussion ought to have been about other potential sexual dysfunctions – paraphilias or not – which reduce fitness and require an explanation.

      For the love of sweet Jesus, let it go.

      *****

      Re #4: My argument did not hinge on celibacy.

      We’ve been going back and forth on how to quantify the incidence of asexuality and the reliability of self-reported sexual behavior. Since you don’t fully trust the self-reported surveys, I proposed that another way to consider the topic would be to investigate those who are fully capable of having sex, but either choose not to have it or so rarely choose to have it that they might as well not even bother. What’s in their mind is immaterial. What they say is immaterial. Just look at their health and their behavior. If a small group of people don’t go looking for sexual relief of any sort, then they are by this definition asexual.

      If you can’t trust surveys, then you have no other way to quantify asexual behavior. Everything else is self-reported.

      As for your analogy with the elephant seals, people who try to have sex and fail are materially different than people who don’t bother to try. Their thinking is different. Their behavior is different. Everything is different. That’s why your analogy didn’t work. There’s a huge difference between a bull elephant seal who gets chased off the beach and an otherwise healthy bull elephant seal who doesn’t even bother to go to the beach.

      Try to understand the difference.

      *****

      Re #5: “I even went as far as to provide you a plausible motive for sexually unlucky males in our society to pretend they simply aren’t interested in the opposite gender.”

      I don’t find it plausible. Males are evolutionary geared towards discounting the odds and keeping their heads in the mating game. This is true if they’re ugly, have undersized genitals, or have failed in all their previous attempts at hooking up.

      As for the possibility that some disillusioned older males eventually give up the mating game and report to the survey takers that they never cared about sex, that possibility must be balanced against the likelihood that some younger asexual males lie to the pollsters by telling them that they do care about sex – simply because they think that’s what’s expected of them or because they don’t fully understand yet their own lack of interest in sex. The lies can go both ways.

      • jb says:

        Just to be clear, in my original post I used the term “paraphilia” — possibly incorrectly — simply as a catchall term for human sexual dysfunction in general, which includes much more than just homosexuality. I was not thinking about any precise technical definition of paraphilia.

        My main point is that other types of sexual dysfunction do need to explained — why? because they exist!!! — and it seems plausible that whatever mechanism explains the other types of dysfunction might also explain homosexuality. Occam’s razor — why do we need two mechanisms if one is sufficient?

      • jb,

        “Just to be clear, in my original post I used the term “paraphilia” — possibly incorrectly — simply as a catchall term for human sexual dysfunction in general, which includes much more than just homosexuality. I was not thinking about any precise technical definition of paraphilia.”

        That’s how I interpreted your original post, which is why Misdreavus has been wasting everyone’s time here by focusing on what is, and is not, a paraphilia. I tried to explain that to him in one of my first posts. But to no avail. He kept wanting to talk about it as if it was relevant.

      • misreavus says:

        Oh this is growing quite tiresome. Just _what_ exactly are we arguing about?

        I have made my views abundantly clear from the very beginning. Lifelong asexuality in any species _would_ result in a near-complete loss of reproductive fitness. And if the frequency of asexuality among adult males were ever as high as 1%, it would very well be inconsistent with Darwinian outcomes. This could very well be the case, but you have no reliable evidence for that, and neither does anyone else. You are tilting at windmills here. I merely said it wasn’t a paraphilia (which it isn’t), and in either case, asexuality belongs nowhere in the context of my interlocutor’s post.

        As I mentioned earlier, impotence is yet another sexual dyfunction that is inconsistent with evolutionary odds — which is why I took care to recycle the OP’s own terminology, not mine. Atheism is not a religion, bald is not a hair color, and nobody even mentioned fitness or reproductive payoffs until you shoved your nose through the door.

        And if you think I am splitting hairs, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass. It seems you have a distaste for the commonly agreed definition of a word that is accepted by nearly all clinicians everywhere. That’s not my fault, either.

        You are still wrong about the elephant seals, but I just don’t give a damn anymore. Typing on an android tablet is a tedious chore. I leave it up to you to read up on the literature yourself.

        As for your polling data, I will take them at face value once you explain to me the mysterious disappearance of all those bisexual men in the United States. Just where are they? Once again, It is incumbent upon _you_ to prove that your self-reported data is reliable — not upon me to disprove every possible imputation of bias.

      • misreavus says:

        By the way, did you even bother reading the original study? It doesn’t seem that you have.

      • Misdreavus,

        “Oh this is growing quite tiresome. Just _what_ exactly are we arguing about?”

        Well, I can only speak with confidence about my own role in this discussion. You seem to be going in several different directions at once, and few of them appear to be productive.

        For example: On the one hand, you suggest I’m an idiot in this post. On the other hand, in the same post, you say you largely agree with me.

        I’d say that sums up your contributions to date.

        “And if you think I am splitting hairs, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass. It seems you have a distaste for the commonly agreed definition of a word that is accepted by nearly all clinicians everywhere. That’s not my fault, either.”

        Oh God, not this again. Please, not the dreaded word PARAPHILIA !

        Let’s see, Misdreavus wants us to use the commonly agreed definition of the word paraphilia – except of course when we are talking about homosexuality, in which case we are to revert to the 1972 commonly agreed definition. You know, back when the DSM didn’t even use the word paraphilia to describe sexually abnormal behavior.

        Is that clear? Misdreavus is for splitting hairs when using words, except of course when he’s not for splitting hairs. Got that?

      • misreavus says:

        I observed correctly that asexuality was not a paraphilia. Which of course, it isn’t. Biological races didn’t cease to exist in the human species the very minute the jackasses at the AAA decreed it to be so. No, even better on my part — the DSM’s very own criteria condemn homosexuality as a paraphilia, even if the standards are applied in a capricious manner according to the political whims of the academy. This seems to happens a lot in the softer sciences. (See: the definition of “racism”)

        Now it must be emphasized that you contradicted _me_. I never made the definition of paraphilia the crux of my argument, or any comment for that matter. From henceforth, if you want to call the half-life of phosphorus-32 a paraphilia, feel free to be my guest! You’d still be wrong, but that alters none of the properties of phosphorus-32.

        By the way, have you ever read the study you posted, or do we actually have to start talking about something serious? I am still waiting on those bisexual men.

      • “I observed correctly that asexuality was not a paraphilia.”

        WHO CARES !

        As jb has now confirmed, the discussion was never meant to be about what could and could not be classified as a paraphilia. You’ve now spent several hundred words avoiding the main discussion, which was about sexual dysfunctions other than homosexuality, just so you could have a much less interesting discussion with yourself.

        “By the way, have you ever read the study you posted, or do we actually have to start talking about something serious? I am still waiting on those bisexual men.”

        I’ve already explained to you why some studies, and some statistics in studies, are less reliable than others. I’m not going to do it again.

  6. Andrew says:

    The concordance of MZ twins seems weak to suggest a genetic cause. I wonder how many of the concordant MZ twins were attracted to each other. And, were these self-reported homosexuals? Perhaps there is a Rushton Similarity thing going on.

  7. Genobollocks says:

    One of the best-replicated associations in humans is the effect of older siblings (some say older brothers). There are some nice evolutionary explanations to go with it, parent-offspring conflict and ancestral neutrality. Parent-offspring conflict, for those who don’t know provides a similar arms race scenario as species-pathogen coevolution.
    You throw MZ/DZ differences around but don’t talk amniocity or prenatal environment.

    Instead you usually dismiss bad alternative theories like the gay uncle theory, which are not very highly esteemed by mainstream scholars. But what’s the reason for your theory not being taken seriously by other scientists in the field? Political correctness probably isn’t the reason, because

    1) this theory is not that offensive as it doesn’t show that being gay is a choice, though it may be a little offensive to some for the implied possibility of reversal or prevention
    2) researchers in this field actually seem to like non-pc theories (for generating media exposure, to yell at, to secretly endorse over a beer).

    So it probably is something about the theory that made it fail to garner scholarly support. While you’re good at characterising how strawman alternative explanations fail to explain homosexuality, you don’t do a particularly good job at showing how the pattern of homosexuality is consistent with one of infectious agent and you don’t choose a main potential infectious pathway, presumably because none fit.

    I feel as if some of those who style themselves “race-realists” hide behind the idea that their non-pc-inclinedness supposedly let’s them see more clearly, but in fact disengage from wider scholarly discourse, thereby ensuring that their theories aren’t falsified (but also not validated), even if they deserve that much attention. I don’t know if I should lump you in with people like Rushton, who I see as so biased in his assembly of evidence that it might as well be intellectual dishonesty.
    For now I’m happy not to lump you in anywhere, but see your arguments as coming from someone who relishes going against the grain. I’m fine with that, but one thing that really justifies distrust in a scholar is if he distorts the evidence consciously to make support for his own assertions stronger.

    One of the few scholars to cite your Infectious causation of disease paper in connection with the homosexuality speculation were Bailey and Zuk. Their evidence review simply seems not concordant with the picture you present here. But this is a blog, so you have a right to simplify things. Is there a publication forthcoming where you present more evidence for your theory? If so, I’d love a draft, the email address should be visible to you.

    By the way, do you consider human homosexuality morally wrong? If you think, you’ll experience personal trouble as a consequence of answering yes, you can just not answer, but to me it seems as if acknowledging personal biases allows others to check whether they may have biased scholarly views. One can sometimes, in my experience, not easily subject oneself to such critical scrutiny.

    Also, this belongs in a different comment, that I didn’t feel like posting at the time, here’s someone who thinks you’re wrong about mutation load vs GCTA results in IQ. I tend to agree, though I also favour mutation load as the main explanation. Would be cool to see a back-and-forth between you and him.
    http://thedifferentialist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/iq-what-do-we-expect-as-samples-get.html

    • Richard Sharpe says:

      As they have for height, these SNPs will cluster in and elucidate novel biochemical pathways underlying the development of mental systems for representation and reasoning with those representations. That’s a massive step forward. To some extent this has occured already in dyslexia, where neuronal migration genes constrained and inspired mechanisms for the dyslexic processing deficit.

      This was taken from the linked article and I had difficulty parsing it. I don’t think results from height have shed any light on the pathways underlying the development of mental systems etc.

      Also, I followed the link (to Theories of Dyslexia on Wikipedia) to the dyslexic processing deficit and did not find any such discussion. Maybe I need to follow more links.

  8. RS says:

    > There are people who get sexually aroused by being shat upon, or by crushing insects, or even by killing other people! How do you explain that???

    Those are all sadomasochistic things. Women generally like men who are dominating in the relationship and in sex — often merely symbolically. The main final cause is that she wants indication of his ability/will to dominate/compete/struggle with other men. A man may get off on symbols and acts of submission and humility, because it’s fitness-enhancing for him to avoid cuckoldry, and also to not be overburdened with other kinds of intense conflict with his mate (and her kin). A man may also be attracted to chastity or to more-or-less real/dramatized sexual reluctance or inhibition — again, cuckoldry.

    Of course, when people take such things to an extreme, some kind of exaggeratory pathology might be involved. While it’s not the only possibly-applicable pathology, various degrees of depression or ill-being are common enough — probably some are mostly-bio-determinate, others not — and may partly condition hedonisms people would otherwise wish to avoid relatively or absolutely in favor of other behavior. For example, a dude spends his free time studying the history of Rome, playing video games a couple hours a week. Such studies display intelligence and diligence, may impart some useful wisdom, and may actually be admired and fitness-enhancing in the upper classes of an old-style European or NEA, etc, society (and to a lesser extent even to this day). Later, in a lasting state of ill-being, he plays many times more video games. In brief, decadence ; ill-being has turned him from what is lofty — more desired, yet more difficult to desire — to what is relatively base. Even in an entirely temporary and exogenous situation, such as exam week, people turn temporarily to increased indulgence in vice. Of course some people just like vice a lot more than others, and may not always experience it as very undesirable (or ‘meta-undesirable’). Obviously sexuality has a wide spectrum of relatively lofty and base impulses and affects ; some fairly base ones can be pretty appealing but, just as in non-sexual life, most people carry some intuition of how the base may frequently compete with, and even damage, perhaps more or less permanently, what is more lofty.

    • misdreavus says:

      Rarely have I witnessed a commenter so diligently attempt to cultivate an appearance of erudition and knowledge, only to have his best efforts collapse before him in smoldering ruins.

      Today must be one of those days.

    • misdreavus says:

      By the way, was this a response generated by a computer algorithm? If so, I am truly impressed by the pace of innovation in AI – with just a few refinements, someday we may have a spam bot who is indistinguishable from the average commenter on Steve Sailer’s blog.

  9. Alexi de Sadesky says:

    Greg,

    Do you see diet as having any influence? Do you know of any studies that might indicate if populations that eat high amounts of processed grains have a higher incidence of homosexuality? This might be way off base but, if a gut with a diverse population of bacteria can stave off ulcers, maybe it can tackle gay gut bacteria that might cause a queer flare up too. Is that way off base?

    • L'Esprit de l'Escalier says:

      If Greg has any data in support of his pathogen hypothesis (other than sheer incredulity at the possibilty of any other explanation making sense), he is warmly invited to share it.

  10. Jaim Jota says:

    Let’s talk crush freaks. Are they sadistic perverts? Or are they experiencing our species’s congenital thirst for blood? Human, and in more recent times, animal sacrifices, were common in the Antiquity. Even today we sacrifice: “…ut meum ac vestrum sacrifícium acceptábile fiat apud Deum Patrem.” It’s all in our bloody genes.

  11. Rob King says:

    Interesting. there sure are a lot of parasites that can reprogram brains to produces some pretty complex behaviours–because this is what they want the host to eat/be eaten by, screw, be screwed by etc. Liver flukes, rabies, guinea worms, the list is huge. Is this what you are suggesting Greg?

  12. IC says:

    homosexual quarantine is needed (good reason for homophobia)

    • misdreavus says:

      Being exiled to Homo Island ’til the end of my days sounds like hell on earth. Or my dreams come true. I have a hard time deciding which.

      Either way, I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t do any good. We have no reason to believe that close proximity to gay men increases the likelihood of the disease.

      • Tom says:

        Yeah we do. Kids raised in cities, which tend to have more gay men than rural environments, are more likely to be gay than those raised in rural environments.

      • misdreavus says:

        That’s not evidence.

        What else correlates with urbanization other than the presence of gay men?

      • Tom says:

        It’s enough evidence to warrant separation from homosexuals for some people. Some people may regard the cost (homosexual children) so high that they will want to separate from as many of the various correlates as possible to minimize risk and possible exposure. Others may not regard the cost as high or may even regard it as a benefit and desire homosexual children.

      • misreavus says:

        That’s about as smart as quarantining people with polio _after_ they develop paralysis in the limbs. I dunno. Maybe we should have deported FDR himself to Manzanar.

      • Tom says:

        How “smart” it is will depend on one’s preferences.

        If someone regards the cost (homosexual children) to be high, then it’s sensible for them to separate themselves from the various correlates. We don’t know enough about the hypothetical germ and its lifecycle, hosts, transmission routes, etc. to permit finer discrimination. But even if we did, the type and degree of discrimination would depend on one’s risk appetite and preferences.

        If someone didn’t regard the cost to be high or considered it a positive, then it wouldn’t be sensible for them to separate themselves from the various correlates.

      • Diana says:

        “eing exiled to Homo Island ’til the end of my days sounds like hell on earth. Or my dreams come true. I have a hard time deciding which. ”

        I don’t understand this. Are you gay?

      • Anonymous says:

        We don’t know enough about the hypothetical germ and its lifecycle, hosts, transmission routes, etc. to permit finer discrimination.

        No, I think we know enough as it is to rule out a bunch of truly dumb hypotheses.

        And correlations are useless for prescriptive intervention if you do not know the direction of causation. I suppose you also believe that outlawing the sale of ice cream during the summer should decrease the national crime rate? Or that you can unlock your son’s inner genius by enrolling him in a Montessori school? Maybe we could all elevate our IQs by converting to Judaism.

      • misdreavus says:

        *if you DO know

        (commenter above was me)

      • Tom says:

        The type and degree of discrimination would depend on one’s risk appetite and preferences.

        Correlations are very useful for practical behavior. And knowing about correlations and acting in different ways with respect to them helps tease out the various correlations.

      • Jaim Jota says:

        Well, now we are getting closer to the answer to Greg’s leading question “What will happen if the parasite theory is proved correct?” Ostracism, quarantine,…. Hot, hot, hot.

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      homosexuals may not be the carrier

      • Tom says:

        They would be carriers for some point in the lifecycle of the germ.

      • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        The fact that homophobia has higher heritability suggests to me that homosexual males are carriers of the pathogen. However, it does not need to transmitted sexually.

      • misreavus says:

        The fact that homophobia has higher heritability suggests to me that homosexual males are carriers of the pathogen.

        Even if this is true, it does not even follow logically from your premise. Think carefully about what heritability means.

  13. diana says:

    A sophisticated discussion of fitness and genes is beyond me, because I’m dumb. Ban me, Greg if I drag down the level of your discourse.

    But I’d like to know this: how would the gay gene theory explain ubiquitous pederasty (and lots of adult male homosexuality; Plato didn’t “do it” either, although after a lifetime of thought, he concluded that heterosexual marriage really was the best idea, although it was beyond him to walk the walk) in Ancient Greece, Tokugawa Japan, and Renaissance Florence? (And Afghanistan, today.) It strikes me that a confluence of conditions “causes” a male homosexual reaction:

    1. Idealization of war
    2. Contempt for the feminine
    3. Obsession with the beauty of the beardless youth on the cusp of manhood
    4. Sex segregation
    5. Arranged/forced marriage

    Etc I think you get the point. This goes well beyond prison (situational) homosexuality. It really was the mainstream culture.

    OK, none of that pertains in modern America, and male homosexuality is “segregated” to a small minority. But once they’ve got their “marriage rights” the next step will be to break out of this minority ghetto and become part of the norm. I would love to see the look on a pro-gay woman’s face when she sees her boyfriend making eyes at other men, and not just women.

    • Lesser Bull says:

      The pathogen theory and all the other theories about uterine hormones and gay uncles are meant to explain exclusive homosexuality. There is no evolutionary problem with Greek men marrying and having a number of children in addition to a boy lover.

  14. That Guy says:

    OT: Can Greg please comment on this paper, which links IQ to Entropy:

    http://www.alexwg.org/publications/PhysRevLett_110-168702.pdf

    I find it a fascinating insight, with possible huge ramifications, but I’m no physicist!

  15. Steve Sailer says:

    My impression is that identical twins raised together tend to emphasize their differences. Consider my wife’s identical twin nephews: one wants to be an actor, the other an engineer. Compared to the rest of the world they are almost equal in their potential for either career, but, yes, the one who wants to be an actor would be slightly better at it than his brother and the one who wants to be an engineer would be slightly better at that, so they cultivate their differences.

    If they had been raised apart, they might be more likely to home in on the same career.

    • misreavus says:

      How old are they?

      This reminds me of all those bratty teenagers, who, much to their chagrin and horror, turn out to be exactly like their fathers after years of adolescent rebellion.

  16. Confusions about Race: A New Installment, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (2013).

    http://www.ln.edu.hk/philoso/staff/sesardic/Race2.pdf

  17. Kiwiguy says:

    OT, not sure if you’ve seen this, but might be of interest.

    http://infoproc.blogspot.co.nz/2013/04/common-variants-vs-mutational-load.html

  18. greg kai says:

    Regarding asexuality, a quick look at wikipedia mentioned the 2 studies (human prevalence based on self-reporting, and ram study). That’s true that self reporting is not reliable, especially for sexuality, but there is a similarity between asexuality and homosexuality for the 2 species (ram homo/ man homo and ram asexual / man asexual about the same). This makes me think that asexuality self-report may be somewhat reliable (Mainstream morality would regard asexuality as far from ideal, so it should be under-reported….although at this level (1%) u can catch fringe religious groups and so anything can go), and that the underlying cause may the same, or at least linked.

    BTW, this is only for males, I think that for the woman both a- and homo-sexuality is quite different, not the same prevalence, certainly not the same reduction in fitness, not the same pattern of exclusive homosexuality, so imho there is no reason to look for the same explanation(s) there.

    • That Guy says:

      I know someone who is part of the Asexual Community, and he told me about their online forums and about “Asexual Dating” and so on. Then I said to him, “So you’ve never ever thought of having sex with anyone?” He said that this was incorrect, that he had thought of having sex, but just never had. Fast forward about 2 years, and this same guy – who comes from a very strict and religious family – has come out as Gay…

      • misreavus says:

        This isn’t time I’ve heard this story, nor will it be the last.

        As for my “asexual” friend (now acquaintance), I had to confront him with the truth the hard way. One day, when he foolishly granted me permission to use his laptop, I couldn’t help but notice his internet search history, which he had carelessly fogotten to delete the day prior. Tee hee! The rest of the story speaks for itself.

  19. Greying Wanderer says:

    Tom
    “They would be carriers for some point in the lifecycle of the germ.”

    Maybe. Personally not so sure. My pet theory is it’s a promiscuity bug which gets passed to mothers. If so the actual carriers will be promiscuous heterosexual or bisexual men. The theory currently still has holes so may be nonsense.

    • That Guy says:

      Interesting comment.

      I read somewhere that Toxoplasmosis Gondii – the cat bug – makes people more promiscuous – connection?!

    • Tom says:

      They would be carriers for some point in the lifecycle of the germ unless you’re suggesting there is some sort of action at a distance at work, whereby homosexuals aren’t ever physically infected by the germ but are somehow turned homosexual by the germs inhabiting heterosexuals and bisexuals.

  20. Greying Wanderer says:

    Looking at it from an engineering point of view what causes sexual attraction in men?

    It may just be a pop-psychology cliche but aren’t men supposed to be visual? I recall reading research where men were shown gay or straight porn and their reaction was entirely discrete: big reaction or no reaction one way or the other.

    If that’s so then doesn’t it mean the bug has to effect the part of the brain where those visual assocations are housed?

    If a bug can rewire that part of the brain to be visually attracted to men then in theory couldn’t it rewire the brain to be visually attracted to all sorts of things i.e. is it a gay germ or a rewiring germ part of which displays as homosexuality?

    A cliche again but women are said to be less visual. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are less visual in itself but that there are other considerations *on top* of the visual considerations which make them *proportionately* less visual. If so then visual rewiring in women might not be enough to make them gay. They might think women are visually sexually attractive but if that’s only (for example) 1/3 of their attraction criterion it won’t be enough on its own to make them lesbian.

    Just some thoughts.

    Lastly – weird i know but – given that so many human diseases have come from animals is it completely impossible that sheep didn’t get the gay bug from humans?

    • TM says:

      At some point after the sex of a fertilized egg is determined a process must kick off that is designed to ensure that the object of sexual attraction be the opposite sex. Homosexuality, whatever the cause, is this process either failing to kick off, or malfunctioning and incorrectly setting the object of sexual attraction. Suppose the default setting is for male attraction. In males a process would then need to be kicked off to switch the attraction to females. If this process doesn’t kick off as designed, you get set with the default of male attraction. The germ (or whatever) could prevent the process from kicking off and you get set with the default of male attraction.

  21. gcochran9 says:

    Enough already.

  22. Pingback: Greg Cochran’s “Gay Germ” Hypothesis – An Exercise in the Power of Germs | JayMan's Blog

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