The Instigator
16kadams
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Pro (for)
Winning
34 Points

There is a biological cause to homosexuality

Do you like this debate?NoYes+8
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/18/2012 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,936 times Debate No: 26327
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (27)
Votes (9)

 

16kadams

Con

Resolution: homosexuality is mostly caused by biological factors

The reason "mostly" was selected is because all behaviors have some genetic impact, even if its small.

Definitions:
Homosexuality - in this case, a human being sexually attracted to those of the same sex
Biological - in this debate, biological will be defined as genetics ("gay-gene"), hormones (a second theory which I call the hormone hypothesis argues hormones in the womb cause SSA), and brain differences (see LeVay 1991 for details).
SSA - same sex [sexual] attraction

Don't change or use definitions in your argunment. Don't didley with the resolution or definitions in the debate, however you can ask for a change in the comments.

Rules :

Round one acceptance (contender only , I have to do all this)
No semantics
Drops = concession
forfeits = loss

/end
RoyLatham

Pro

I accept.

Con should now make his case that there is no biological cause for homosexuality.
Debate Round No. 1
16kadams

Con


I thank RoyLatham for accepting this debate.



A brief history of the debate



I am not sure how many people have actually followed the debate on homosexuality, so I will give a brief summary. In 1973, the APA removed homosexuality from its list of diagnostic disorders despite academic protest. Daryl J Bem, later in 1997 presented a theory known as exotic becomes erotic to the APA. Earlier, in 1991, three studies where published and these studies really got the debate to lift off. Dean Hamer in 1991 published a study finding a “gay-gene” in Xq28. Hamer’s study had no replication and got criticism in 1993 (I will show this in a minute). LeVay 1991 claims the hypothalamus in homosexual men was smaller in homosexual men—in women it is also smaller so it is easy to conclude its genetic—however after intense scrutiny he re-evaluated his study in 1994 and argued his study does not prove a biological cause to homosexuality. Byne and Parsons, 1991 (actually used against me in a forum on this website) uses a twin study—twin studies, I find, are the strongest studies on this issue—argued a genetic cause for homosexuality. In 1993, Byne and Parsons published a review and argued no genetic cause for homosexuality, based on the evidence, likely exists. Despite Byne and Parsons, in 1998 the APA concluded homosexuality was natural. The APA said there was “substantial evidence” for a “genetic or inborn” factors at play with homosexuality. Lets skip my favorite years in the middle and shoot to the most recent. In 2008, the APA changed their view (odd, considering their board is full of homosexuals themselves…). Now, they argue there is “no consensus” on the reasons why people are homosexual, and that no findings have emerged to permit scientists to claim any one factor or factors that cause homosexuality [1].



1. Twin studies and other data



As I said, twin studies are some of the strongest evidence in the debate of nurture vs. nature, so I will use them. In twin studies, I would like to note a placenta effect exists. For example, identical twins have about a 25% chance they have the same placenta. The placenta regulates what blood goes where, so 75% of the time the children have a different placenta and, therefore, will have large differences in their genes. In one study, using both identical and non-identical twins, usually 15% of the kids will have the same placenta. This gives an artificial—fake—boost in genetic factors by 15%. For example, if you have a study and it says homosexuality is 50% genetic, using the placenta effect it should really be 35%. Obviously, this does not always apply, but for any study likely note the contribution is usually slightly overstated due to the placenta effect, and that a few percent should be subtracted every time we hear these numbers [2].



NE Whitehead in his book My Genes Made Me Do It, published in 1999 but is being updated constantly in the Internet, has done a meta analysis of 10,000 studies. In chapter ten, he finds that using these studies we only see 10% of homosexuality is genetic. But, as he explains, “[s]aying a trait is, e.g 10% “genetic” is nothing extraordinary. There is at least a 10% genetic effect in anything humans are and do, simply because without bodies we can’t act in the environment at all. Everyone experiences “Genetic” effects because we all have bodies.” He further argues the genetic effects are likely indirect and weak, at best. The largest and most respected studies actually have found the concordance rate (where if one sibling is gay so is the other) find only an 11-14% concordance rate exists, and remember the placenta effect. So it is likely even lower—meaning homosexuality has no genetic cause [3].



N.E. Whitehead did another review in 2011 where he looked at the seven largest twin studies, and concludes no genetic cause for homosexuality exists. Many of the studies find a 22% concordance rate—which is considered weak, and remember the placenta effect—oh, and also note the authors note methodology might be off (like a poll for an election) and they add a margin of error. The majority of errors is about 5%, so when counting for these problems the amount homosexuality is genetic is getting weaker by the minute. Note I have only talked about the genetic margin of error, what about other errors, for example environmental factors? The mean of the studies finds non-shared environmental factors, the ones the kids don’t share (lets say one was bullied in school or the father disliked him, but not the other), these might influence homosexuality. By the way, my examples might not necessarily be the cause, they are merely clarifications. The mean of these studies finds 64% of homosexuality is caused by non-shared environmental factors. Studies from 2000 onward find a 63% non-shared environmental factors cause homosexuality. After the margins of error are taken into account, we see they are statistically equivalent. Many pro gay researchers have found a mere 11% concordance rate in their studies, supporting the N.E. Whitehead study in his book, and his conclusion in his 2011 study [4].



Bailey et. al., a pro-gay researcher, in his 2000 study argued, “ours did not provide statistically significant support for the importance of genetic factors for [sexual orientation].” Mustanski et. al. wrote a study in 2005, co-authored by our favorite Dean Hammer! Again, a homosexual himself. That study looked at the entire human genome, interestingly enough no gay gene was found. Pro-homosexual authors and homosexual authors are concluding no gay gene exists (in humans), really telling me scientific objectivism is occurring. The science is turning in my favor (it always was), but now its clear, and the APA was even forced to calm its view [5].




2. Explaining twin studies



I need to explain what 11% concordance means, because many people simply don’t know what I am talking about. So if you are wondering, it does not mean 11% of kids are gay, however it means if one twin is gay, there is an 11% chance the other twin is gay, too.



CONCLUSION:



Using the best evidence available to modern science, I see it hard to conclude a gay gene exists and harder still to prove it has a biological cause. I await my opponents response.




1. Used mainly as a reference to the APA, the source cannot be counted as super biased as I only used the quotations: http://www.narth.com...


2. http://www.mygenes.co.nz...


3. N.E. Whitehead, B.K. Whitehead, “My Genes Made Me Do It”, Huntington House Publishers, (1999-present).


4. N.E. Whitehead, “Neither Genes nor Choice:Same-Sex Attraction Is Mostly a Unique Reaction to Environmental Factors”, Journal of Human Sexuality 3:81-114 (2011).


5. http://www.drtraycehansen.com...




RoyLatham

Pro

Thanks to Pro for providng an opportunity to review some very interesting science.

1. Epigenetics is the biological mechanism explaining variation in sexual preference

First some background. Translating scientific jargon into plain English is a problem, and there is a mistake in equating “genetic” with “biological.”

Epigenetics refers to "heritable traits (over rounds of cell division and sometimes transgenerationally) that do not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence. The Greek prefix epi- in epigenetics implies features that are "on top of" or "in addition to" genetics; thus epigenetic traits exist on top of or in addition to the traditional molecular basis for inheritance." [1. http://en.wikipedia.org...]

The basic mechanism of epigenetic tags and its use to explain the characteristics of identical twins is explained in the a video. [2] http://georgefebish.wordpress.com...; (go to the link to see it.) The second video (embedded here) explains the epigenetic basis for the transmission of homosexuality and explain why twins may be different. [3]. I have repeated the arguments in the text, so the videos are not essential, but I think they are useful as background.

Consider a related question: is there a gene that determines whether a person will be tall or short? No, there is no "tallness gene." Yet, as far as I know, no one claims that whether a person is tall or not depends upon whether there was a tall person in the family that served as a role model, or that any other non-biological cause dominates the trait of height. In the case of tallness, many biological factors are involved, including multiple genes determined before birth and some post-natal biological factors like the amount of calcium in the diet. Tallness is generally not a subject that bears upon preconceived beliefs, so no one attempts a non-biological explanation of why some people are tall and others short. It is accepted to be the product of many biological factors. There are hundreds of personal attributes that depend upon multiple biological factors, and sexual preference is one of them.

There are at least four categories of influences upon a person's characteristics:

1. Genetics are the genes that determine the basic human species. Humans begin with exactly one fertile cell that includes all the genes needed to build the human.

2. Pre-natal epigenetics comprise the set of biological genetic tags that switch genes on and off as the human grows before birth.

3. Post-natal epigenetics comprise the biological genetic tags that switch genes on and off after being born.

4. Psychological influences are the factors affecting the faculty of reasoning.

Epigenetics is a relatively new area of genetic science. For one thing, epigenetics explains the mechanism by which the original fertilized cell differentiates into cells for blood, bones, and the organs of the body. In the case of identical twins, the original cell divides into two individuals before developing.

Epigenetics explains why identical twins are not completely identical. The pre-natal biological environments of the two twins are not identical, so the epigenetic tags may not be set identically. One twin may be left-handed and the other right-handed. The twins may or may not have the same fingerprints. One twin may have the same sexual preference as the other twin, but sometimes the sexual preferences are different. Because the womb environment is similar for both of the twins, there is a high correlation between the sexual preferences of twins. Whatever sets the epigenetic tags for one often sets the tags the same way for the other.

Epigenetic tags can be triggered after birth. Identical twins become less like each other over a lifetime. Their personality traits diverge, and physical traits such as a tendency to fatness or thinness may occur. This is due to variations in the physical environments of the individual producing changes in the epigenetic tagging.

2. The scientific consensus is that the mechanism in humans is biological

"Environment" in the context of the literature on sexual preference usually means the biological environment, not the psychological environment. For example, Pro cites Bearman's attribution of a fraction of concordance to twins having a shared placenta rather than to common genes. A shared placenta leads to common epigenetic tags, which are biological, not psychological.

A summary of a major research paper in Science Daily says:

Homosexual behavior is largely shaped by genetics and random environmental factors, according to findings from the world's largest study of twins.

... environmental factors (which are specific to an individual, and may include biological processes such as different hormone exposure in the womb), ...

"Overall, genetics accounted for around 35 per cent of the differences between men in homosexual behaviour and other individual-specific environmental factors (that is, not societal attitudes, family or parenting which are shared by twins) accounted for around 64 per cent. In other words, men become gay or straight because of different developmental pathways, not just one pathway."

For women, genetics explained roughly 18 per cent of the variation in same-sex behaviour, non-shared environment roughly 64 per cent and shared factors, or the family environment, explained 16 per cent." [4.

http://www.sciencedaily.com...]

So, social attitudes and family or parenting account for only 1% of homosexual differences in males and 16% in women. The difference between men and women is attributable to women having XX and men XY chromosomes. 99% and 84%, respectively, are biological causes.

3. Homosexuality occurs in 1500 species due to biological causes

Wikipedia provides a list of animal species in which homosexual behavior has been observed together with references. [5. http://en.wikipedia.org...]
It notes, "Bagemihl's research shows that homosexual behavior, not necessarily sex, has been observed in close to 1500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, and is well documented for 500 of them." This does not of itself prove conclusively that the mechanism producing the behavior in humans is biological, but it proves that biological mechanisms are commonplace. It's not plausible that gut worms et al are subject to psychological causes. There is no logical reason why humans would be an exception.

4. Sexual preference is immutable

Alan Chambers, CEO of an organization that attempts to cure homosexuality admitted that 99.9% of homosexuals never change their sexual orientation. [6. http://wthrockmorton.com... ] Virtually any learned behavior can be changed with conventional positive and negative reinforcement techniques. [7.http://www.mentalhelp.net...] That sexual preference cannot be changed proves that it is biological.

Pro's Case

a. Pro is correct that there is no consensus on exactly what causes homosexuality. We also have no consensus on what causs tallness. Nonetheless, the causes ae known to be biological. It is not known what genes are relevant, what epigenetic tags are operative, and what environmental factors set the epigenetic tags. However, all the andidates are biological.

b. The shared placenta effect is prdicted by epigenetics. It's biological.

c. As Pro quotes Whitehead, the "10%genetic" counts only the non-epignetic part of DNA. the numbers are superceded by [4]

d. Bailey et al determined that there is no "gay gene." That's consistent with the epigenetic origins of sexual preference now favored by scientists.

e. I fully dcussed twin studies. They convincingy support the epigenetic origins.

Debate Round No. 2
16kadams

Con

I am going to say this and you can take it however you want.

I am losing this debate, that is obvious. When I lose a debate, or am losing, I still generally attempt a response. But, for some reason, I have been feeling unmotivated to do any of these debates. Due to the fact I am the instigator, this is really a poor show of conduct.

I don't care how you take this, as long as one outcome is achieved: vote pro.
RoyLatham

Pro

I don't mind. It's far better to acknowledge an indefensible position than to either forfeit or go on pretending.
Debate Round No. 3
16kadams

Con

I don't see it as indefensible. I'm just not motivated to debate (I don't know why, it's lost it's charm for me).

Vote pro
RoyLatham

Pro

I don't see a reasonable defense against the scientific evidence, but no matter. Con did not provide a counter-argument to any of my four contentions in the debate:

1. Epigenetics is the biological mechanism explaining variation in sexual preference

2. The scientific consensus is that the mechanism in humans is biological

3. Homosexuality occurs in 1500 species due to biological causes,
and it is therefore unlikelyat humans are the only exception.

4. Sexual preference is immutable

My opponent hs conceded and said to vote for Pro.

The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 4
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 2 years ago
RoyLatham
@truthseeker, Evolution does not eliminate everything that is suboptimal. I was born nearsighted, and I cannot think of the lightest survival advantage in that -- yet evolution permitted it. Evolution need only be good enough for survival of the species as a whole.

However, one possibility is that homosexuality may be a response to overpopulation. It is mainly a product of conditions in the womb, so maybe signs of population stress affect the frequency of homosexuality. (Blue crabs actually change gender under population pressure -- crabs convert to female when underpopulated and to male when overpopulated.) Another possibility is that male bonding may be a survival advantage in warfare. (If so, maybe we should want more gays in the military.)

My theory, which is every bit as unproven as the others, is that the species as a whole benefits from diversity. We do we have short people and tall people, aggressive and passive people, risk takers and risk avoiders, and so forth for many physical and psychological attributes? It seems to me that a tribe will be better able to adapt to circumstances with a diverse ensemble.
Posted by truthseeker613 2 years ago
truthseeker613
I've been wondering for a few years now how evolution did not eliminate homosexuality.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
Why?
Posted by Ahmed.M 2 years ago
Ahmed.M
I wish you had that zeal and determination 16kadams.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
Sorry >.<

Fvck off emospongebob
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
The decision to remove SSA as a mental disorder was based on protests, not science which lead to disappointment of the academic field and, later, the founding of NARTH.
http://www.massresistance.org...

The APA did not let opposing scientists--like Joseph Nicolosi--enter the board on reparative therapy. Another 4 (so a total of 5) where rejected for similar reasons: they don't support the gay agenda.
http://www.mygenes.co.nz...
http://josephnicolosi.com...

The chairman of the taskforce was a lesbian.
http://ex-gaytruth.com...
Posted by Man-is-good 2 years ago
Man-is-good
I would have grown most accustomed to that penetrating silence given my lonely haunts and musings but now I find company where solitude might have sufficed as companion--and peer. ;)
Posted by Man-is-good 2 years ago
Man-is-good
One would wish that there was an universal silence, matted across the entire tableau like a fabric interwoven into the rough, mosaic of mountains and plateaus.

Human sounds prove most irritating, I must say.
Posted by Citrakayah 2 years ago
Citrakayah
Adams, what makes you say the APA's board is made up of homosexuals, and do you have evidence that the academic community that actually was relevant to the issue protested?
Posted by socialpinko 2 years ago
socialpinko
Notice who's commented on this debate so far: the two people actually debating, a homophobic Muslim, and three homos. Just thought it was interesting.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by Muted 2 years ago
Muted
16kadamsRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Bad debate arguments from Con
Vote Placed by Microsuck 2 years ago
Microsuck
16kadamsRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited
Vote Placed by wiploc 2 years ago
wiploc
16kadamsRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.
Vote Placed by Nur-Ab-Sal 2 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
16kadamsRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Both did a great job. Pro actually convinced me from the Con position to neutral, do I'm giving him argumets for that and the concession by Con. Great debate from both sides, but Pro obviously won.
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 2 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
16kadamsRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Awww. I was hoping this would be more intense than it ended up being.
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 2 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
16kadamsRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Disappointing. I was very hyped to see the outcome of this clash. Nonetheless, Pro wins and Con receives a point for conceding rather than needlessly drawing out the debate.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 2 years ago
Maikuru
16kadamsRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: I plan to read the debate but until then, args and conduct to Pro for forfeits and concessions.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 2 years ago
socialpinko
16kadamsRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Clear win for Pro considering Con's concession.
Vote Placed by emospongebob527 2 years ago
emospongebob527
16kadamsRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: This is the most sickening argument I've ever seen put forth from 16kadams.