from"Born that way" theory
The Innate-Immutable ArgumentFinds No Basis in Science
In Their Own Words:
Gay Activists SpeakAbout Science, Morality, Philosophy
A. Dean Byrd, Ph.D., MBA, MPHShirley E. Cox, DSWJeffrey W. Robinson, Ph.D.
The following article was published in the Salt Lake City Tribune, in a slightlyabbreviated form, on May 27th, 2001.
Salt Lake City Tribune
has published several articles in recent months regardinghomosexuality. While many of the articles are well-written, they do not reflect thescientific literature. In fact, the social advocacy of many of the articles seems to suggesta greater reliance on politics than on science.Leaving aside the politics of the issue, perhaps it is time to examine the innate-immutable argument about homosexual attraction. First of all-although the issue isenormously complex and simply cannot be reduced to a matter of nature vs. nature-theanswer to that debate is probably "yes" - it is likely that homosexual attraction, like many other strongattractions, includes both biological and environmental influences.What is clear, however, is that the scientific attempts to demonstrate that homosexual attraction isbiologically determined have failed. The major researchers now prominent in the scientific arena-themselvesgay activists-have in fact arrived at such conclusions.Researcher Dean Hamer (1993), for example, attempted to link male homosexuality to a stretch of DNAlocated a the tip of the X chromosome, the chromosome that some men inherit from their mothers. Referringto that research, Hamer offered some conclusions regarding genetics and homosexuality."We knew that genes were only part of the answer. We assumed the environment also played a role in sexualorientation, as it does in most, if not all behaviors..."(Hamer and Copeland, 1994, p. 82)."Homosexuality is not purely genetic...environmental factors play a role. There is not a single master genethat makes people gay...I don't think we will ever predict who will be gay" (Mitchell, 1995).Citing the failure of their research, Hamer & Copeland further write,"The pedigree failed to produce what we originally hoped to find: simple Mendelian inheritance. In fact, wenever found a single family in which homosexuality was distributed in the obvious pattern that Mendelobserved in his pea plants" (1994, p. 104).What's more interesting is that when Hamer's study was duplicated by Rice
with research that was morerobust, the genetic markers were found to be nonsignificant. Rice
concluded:"It is unclear why our results are so discrepant from Hamer's original study. Because our study was largerthan that of Hamer
we certainly had adequate power to detect a genetic effect as large as reported inthat study. Nonetheless, our data do not support the presence of a gene of large effect influencing sexual
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