In response to an inquiry regarding homosexuality being genetic, and the Chandler Burr argument.
There is no scientific evidence that a “gay gene” exists. I ask for your patience in reading this lengthy response, as I woke up at 5am to offer a satisfactory answer.
You must first ask yourself what is science? To make a scientific statement, such as homosexuality is genetic, you are not making a relative statement, but one that is scientific, and must be testable and empirical. A few observations must then be made about the source you provided as ‘proof’.
1. Scientific research/argument from a political pro-gay rights group, whose goal it is to propagate a pro-homosexual agenda on society, is hardly a bias-free source for science. If anything, a red flag flares up since it is soaked with pre-suppositions on how they will evaluate the scientific research.
2. This is not genetic. There is scientific research with empirical/quantitative analysis, and then there is clinical research & observation. In order for something to be scientific, it must be testable. If not, it falls into the domain of the ‘lesser’ sciences (you cannot empirically test whether a ruler will be a dictator, but you can gather a ‘trait profile’ of certain similar observations in dictators. However, because we have not located a “dictator gene” we cannot replicate and test this study, and therefore it is not hard science). One provides testable results, the others compiles observations. This is a serious difference.
To make a claim gender orientation is genetic, as done earlier, one would need to point to scientists, not a political activist, and work from the scientists work, not the polluted assumptions and insights of a biased political activists’ assumptions. The activist seeks to find information that supports his cause (reading into the work). This happens with ‘gay gene’ studies and this article.
As mentioned earlier, if one argued that sexual orientation is generic, he must provide the testable proof of this gene, and be able to replicate this proof in further peer reviewed studies. This was not done. Rather, a political argument was given. The proof of the “gay gene” was not given, but assumed. However this is not surprising, as evidence for a gay gene does not empirically exist. Rather, it is a distortion made by media and pro-left/gay-rights activists upon related research.
We could sum up this paper as follows: we observe an invisible trait that may or may not be hidden but we cannot give you any ‘gay gene’ genetic proof. We assume it is there by observation.
This is not science. You MUST provide the ‘gay gene’ to say it is genetic. In addition, the research much of his assumptions rest on is lackluster (gay gene studies have not been reproduced, etc). Burr also gives inflated numbers (understandable given his political agenda), such as higher 9% homosexuality rates, instead of reasonable 3-4%.
I will repeat, there is no evidence that shows homosexuality is simply genetic. This article does not show it is genetic, but in terms says, in summary, observations are made so it probably has genetic roots. That is not scientific evidence, but politically poisoned speculation.
Even then, behavior-gene studies are poor: Science 1994
“Time and time again, scientists have claimed that particular genes or chromosomal regions are associated with behavioral traits, only to withdraw their findings when they were not replicated… ‘it is hard to come up with many’ findings linking specific genes to complex human behaviors that have been replicated.”
In rebuttal to the twin argument, head of one of the largest genetic research groups says:
“While the authors interpreted their findings as evidence for a genetic basis for homosexuality [these authors being two American activists], we think that the data in fact provide strong evidence for the influence of the environment”
In the words of the researcher Dean Hamer, who studies this topic of the ‘Gay Gene’, regarding whether homosexuality was solely biological:
“Absolutely not. From twin studies, we already know that half or more of the variability in sexual orientation is not inherited. Our studies try to pinpoint the genetic factors…not negate the psychosocial factors.”
For something to be gene specific that produces a behavior or trait, it must be what geneticists call ‘inherited’. An example is eye color, which is genetically inherited, and we can point to a gene in which it is passed down.
Inherited means directly determined by genes (exp. eye color). There is no way then, of changing this via altering one’s environment. It is set in the genetic structure of the person (you cannot change their environment to change their eye color). Sexual orientation is not this at all (as my friend shows example of, and thousands who become heterosexual mothers, fathers, etc. show). Individuals choose, recant, return, etc. of their orientation. They can move from one orientation from another, and many have sexually done so (a simple Google search will suffice).
At this point then, we can see a difference in something inherited genetically (specific genetic structure that causes a trait such as blue eyes), and something that is heritable.
For explanation, let us show how All Basketball Players are born to be basketball players. We will use three fields:
1. Twin studies.
2. Brain dissections.
3. Gene ‘linkage’ studies.
Sounds quite scientific, no? First, the twin studies: We will find that if one twin is a basketball player, you will find that the other is more statistically likely to be one. The percentage of pairs in which both twins are bb players, or not, is a concordance rate. You find that this rate is high, like that rate for sexual orientation.
We’re on to something! There must be an underlying bb gene as hinted in twin studies! We must continue exploring…
Second, we cut the heads open of several dead basketball players. We locate a portion of the brain where basketball functions occur. We compare it to that section within non-basketball players, and find that it is larger in the bb players. We then conclude this to be evidence that it is a biological factor of the brain section that predisposes someone to become bb players.
Third, we study gene “linkage” studies. We study bb players, and notice certain clusters of genes that are similar among bb players. With the supportive information in the first two points, we have proved that basketball players are genetic! No? We can expect the headlines ‘Scientists have found the Basketball player gene!’.
Actually, we cannot. In response to the third point: Some genes such as height, athleticism, quick reflexes, etc., are associated with playing basketball. They, however, DO NOT CAUSE basketball players. One may be likely to play because they have these genetic traits, but no one trait is the actual cause of basketball players, just the response there-of. Saying otherwise is unscientific. These may be common amongst bb players, but they are not the “basketball” genes.
We can say male homosexuality carries similar traits (tendency for shyness, anxiety, intelligence, sensitivity, aesthetic abilities, etc), however this is not an area heavily explored by scientists. These genetic linkages are not the cause of orientation, but a response to traits. A willful response.
In response to the second point, the brain changes with use. Playing basketball exercises that area of the brain, vs. those who do not. Growth and changes occurs. We are judging post fact, and making the assumption that portion causes basketball/orientation when in reality it is simply being worked upon willfully by those individuals, leading to the change.
In response to the first point, we merely have observed what the gene linkage studies have done. A mere response to environment and certain traits. Understandable, given the closeness of genes, the shared environment, and the gene linkages (shared size, traits, etc).
This “basketball gene” is as scientific as this “gay gene”. We have used the same arguments that political activists like Burr distort. If the basketball argument seems hardly scientific, then you can conclude the same about the “gay gene”.
In conclusion, how does science, not a political activist with a clear agenda, define sexual orientation? Mainly by psychological, social, biological factors.
“At this point, the most wifely held opinion (on causation of homosexuality) is that multiple factors play a role” (‘Gay Brain’ researcher Simon LeVay)
“Any human behavior is going to be the result of complex intermingling of genetics and environment. It would be astonishing if it were not true for homosexuality” (Dennis McFadden, University of Texas neuroscientist)
“I know of no one in the field who argue that homosexuality can be explained without reference to environmental factors.” (Sociologist Steven Goldberg).
IN SUMMARY: 1. We have observed that Burr is clearly a biased individual reading into the researcher for the propagation of pro-homosexual agenda. He reads into the research. 2. We have defined what we mean by ‘scientific’, and have shown that there is no testable body of scientific proof we can replicate on the topic that ‘sexual orientation is in the genes’. 3. Burr’s argument is from a series of observations, not hard scientific evidence. 4. Associating genes with human behaviors is incredibly poor, as pointed out by Science magazine’s 1994 article. 5. Twin studies argue in favor of environmental response, rather than a specific gene. 6. It is not genetically inherited, but heritable. 7. Saying sexual orientation is genetic is as accurate as saying basketball players are genetic; that your genes would determine you will become a basketball player vs. your genes will determine what your sexual orientation will be. In reality, certain gene traits will be noticeable in basketball players, but NOT THE CAUSE THEREOF, just as certain gene clusters may also be noticeable in homosexuals, NOT THE CAUSE THEREOF. 8. This fits the practical experience of people shifting back and force from sexual orientations. 9. Twin studies, brain dissections, and gene linkages do no mean it is genetically inherited and thus unchangeable (opposed to something directly genetically & unchangeable like blue eyes, etc).
And finally, 10. There is no evidence or proof, as Burr would want you to assume, that sexual orientation is purely ‘in the genes’. That is not science. No research on the subject is making that absolute statement. Rather, it is a combination of media presentation, and political agenda distortion, that cause you to think otherwise. I would further comment that I implore you to seek the research free of any bias baggage or political agenda you carry, or that of commentators. Go straight to the source, and ask yourself this very important question: am I looking only for information that affirms by assumptions, or am I alleviated to observe this issue in a free manner.
Science instead argued for a complex response to the three earlier factors, which I would place extreme emphasis on one’s willful response to it.
Simply said, sexual orientation is NOT genetically determined.
WITH THAT ASIDE: One final say, given we’ve run through the scientific realm. Something of the spirit must be mentioned, as it’s authority rises above that of science. Man is terribly flawed. As Burr shows, we pollute ourselves with bias. We can both look at the same scientific study, and come away with two wildly different conclusions. This is why so much philosophy conflicts. Man and his thinking, simply said are flawed (1 Cor. 1:20). We are depraved. We are, in short, sinful. We blind ourselves with ourselves. Burr seeks to find that orientation is natural, because he has an agenda. This hints at a greater need. It hints at the fallibility of man, and a need to alleviate us from ourselves. It hints at a need of revealed knowledge.
This is one reason why it is so necessary to have something that alleviates you from human frailty. I’m not talking about a strong ideology, but true perfect wisdom, and true perfect wisdom can come only from the perfectly wise. In other words, God. He is the only being who is freed of imperfections, or faulty reasoning, or poisoning bias. He is the source of truth, which is absolute, not relative. He allows us to submit our faulty will to Him, and instead attain true pure knowledge by the means of his revelation. From this revelation, this truth, we can respond. One of these truths is that real change exists. Revelation makes it clear in His revealed scriptures that homosexuality is a sin. God would not make something natural a sin (such as being black, or having blue eyes). Rather, sin is the willful choice, and the supportive action, to do something against God’s will. Homosexuality is placed alongside other behavioral sins. It is important to notice that someone like Burr places the need to prove homosexuality, a behavior, natural, because it would then justify such immorality. The individual places this desire as an idol. However perfect revelation shows otherwise (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Tim. 1:10).
Science is not an absolute source of truth. It merely provides us observations (not meaning, or purpose, or truth). Science does not have all the answers, as you cannot even prove that statement with science. We see an example above.
Our revealed source of truth, for good reasons, shows us that homosexuality is a behavioral response. A willful decision supported by actions. It is one that can be changed, as we see in Romans 6:11 where Paul is speaking to the Corinthian church, who among their members had individuals who were sexually immoral, homosexuals, and drunkards. “Some of you were like this; but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God.” (Rom 6:11).
God, in His wisdom, has offered true change. Real change. In his Son, forgiveness, and God-empowered change can occur.
One more real life point:
A militant lesbian, who was entrenched in the lesbian lifestyle, now sits within a seminary classroom. She speaks openly of what she has done, and how she considered it to be central to her very being. It was her very identity. After such a lifestyle, she came to God, and was cleaned, washed, forgiven, empowered. She was removed of such desire for behavior. Where her desires were once sexual relations with her gender, they are now a godly husband and children. She had no ‘gay gene’. She did have real change. A gene does not produce depression, but the response to environment and situations. The same of homosexual orientation. And with both, and even behavior and action, forgiveness and real change are found in Jesus (1 John 1:9).
The above argument fits within this revealed truth. This female’s experience, which my wife knows, is not suppressing her ‘natural inclination to be gay’, but has rather been given freedom, and the power to change. I married a woman who was told she would be OCD, PTSD, and severely depressed all her life by psychologists. Her father suffered a brain aneurism when she was young, and for years she self-mutilated, attempted suicide, and suffered severe depression. Psychologist told her these were rooted in brain fluids. Serotonin levels. She would need to deal with such things for the rest of her life, day by day. Then, she came to Christ. She was healed of 8+ years of what psychology attempted. All those years of ingrained behaviors. Gone. Done. Vanished. Now, empowered, forgiven, and washed anew, she is completely different. “Christ has liberated us into freedom” (Gl. 5:1).
There is true change to sinful behavior. The absolute source of truth, God, reveals to us that he did not make us for unnatural relations, but rather explains that such is a behavior which goes against his created order, and is such sin. However even then, he offers us the solution to change such behavior, one that is not within science, but in His son (2 Cor. 3:17).
Sources: Argument & outline from Is There a “Gay Gene”? narth.com/docs/istheregene.html.