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Not Nature. Not Nurture. What is It?

Homosexual advocates have a messy problem on their hands. They don't know which side to get behind in the nature/nurture debate. So recently, many have just been attacking anybody and everybody who doesn't agree with them.

For many years gay advocates pushed the theory that homosexuality was genetic. Anyone who said that gays might not be born that way were shouted down and called names. But when genetic screening became possible concerns mounted that if a "gay gene" were found, then aborting gay fetuses might take place.

William Saletan, writing for Slate Magazine wrote about a study of gay rams which sums up the problem homosexual advocates came to have with the genetic argument:

Why so many gay rams? Is it too much socializing with ewes? Same-sex play with other lambs? Domestication? Nope. Those theories have been debunked. Gay rams don't act girly. They're just as gay in the wild. And a crucial part of their brains—the "sexually dimorphic nucleus"—looks more like a ewe's than like a straight ram's. Gay men have a similar brain resemblance to women. Charles Roselli, the project's lead scientist, says such research "strongly suggests that sexual preference is biologically determined in animals, and possibly in humans."

Roselli's interest is in the science. He figured the political upshot, if any, would be gay-friendly. After all, surveys show that if you think homosexuality is biologically determined, you're less likely to be anti-gay.

Roselli didn't just prove homosexuality in rams was natural. He tried to engineer it. In a 1999 grant application, he proposed "to determine [whether male-oriented] preference behavior can be artificially produced in genetic male sheep" by depriving male lamb fetuses of estrogen stimulation. Seven months ago, he reported that the experiment failed. The point wasn't to promote homosexuality. The point was to learn what causes it.

You'd expect conservatives to demand that the government stop funding this research. But science is tricky. If you figure out how to make sheep gay, you can probably figure out how to make them straight. And maybe you can do the same to people.
And there was the rub.

Gay advocates don't want a biological reason found, not that there's been any scientific evidence of it anyway in humans.

Now, even the American Psychological Association seems like its walking away from their full throated endorsement of the genetic argument. WND reports:
Specifically, in a brochure that first came out about 1998, the APA stated: "There is considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person's sexuality."

However, in the update: a brochure now called, "Answers to Your Questions for a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality," the APA's position changed.

The new statement says: "There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles. ..."
So, I guess, now that we're thinking that nurture might just play a role, isn't it fair to question if gay adoption might not be the greatest idea?

Nope. Because gay advocates don't like the results of that kind of science either.

WND reports:
A licensed psychologist with both clinical and forensic practice outreaches is warning that it appears children of homosexual couples are seven times more likely to develop "non-heterosexual preferences" than other children, but lawmakers establishing policy often don't know that because the researchers have concealed their discoveries.

"Research … although not definitive, suggests that children reared by openly homosexual parents are far more likely to engage in homosexual behavior than children raised by others," said the online report by Trayce L. Hansen...

The "studies thus far find that between 8 percent and 21 percent of homosexually parented children ultimately identify as non-heterosexual," the psychologist wrote. "For comparison purposes, approximately 2 percent of the general population are non-heterosexual. Therefore, if these percentages continue to hold true, children of homosexuals have a 4 to 10 times greater likelihood of developing a non-heterosexual preference than other children."

However, those researchers who found such differences "nonetheless declared in their research summaries that no differences were found," the report said.
But, of course, homosexual advocates simply bash the psychologist as "anti-gay" and attacked her credibility.

So, for many years, it was a discussion of nature or nurture but now nobody's allowed to speculate about either.

Homosexuality is an issue for many people. I won't pretend to know the numbers. But I think we'd all be better off if any conversation didn't end up in finger pointing and name calling. Open and honest debate about the well being and happiness of our children is necessary.

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Brendan said...

I've always declined that homosexuality is genetic because humans are made in the image and likeness of God. We are made as sexual creatures and to "be fruitful and multiply." Human beings are, by its definition, inherently heterosexual.

Anonymous said...

Brendan - we are all made in the image of God. But it is obvious that some humans are born with defects. It is a fact that many humans are born with two sets of genitals (called hermaphroditism or intersex). Often times this is undetectable (i.e. outwardly male with internal female reproductive organs).

Also, the Kinsey studies said roughly 10% of the population identified as non-heterosexual, while later studies put it at between 6 and 8%, which would fit within lower range of this anonymous study's calculations (between 8 and 21% is a HUGE margin of error there, and I question the reliability).

Actually, quoting WND is like quoting the Huffington post. I don't think this should be taken at all seriously.

matthew archbold said...

WND is where the study was quoted. You can like or dislike the messenger but the study is the study.

Brendan said...

There is a difference in what people "identify" as and what they actually are. Kinda like how people identify themselves as "Catholic" yet are pro-abortion.

Anonymous said...

Brendan I agree.

Matthew the "study" came from NARTH, a private organization that makes their money from treating homosexuality through therapy. This was not an unbiased source. Once again, it's like the Huffington post quoting a study from Al Franken. Take it for what it is worth.

matthew archbold said...

I will take it for what it is worth.

Warren said...

Who is biased?

To dismiss NARTH in such an cavalier manner obscures the authoritative work being done by that organization. Examine the studies, engage in reason based analysis of the facts rather than side-swiping NARTH before calling into question its credibility. Even the APA has had to admit that the work of NARTH associates merits serious consideration.

Michael said...

Besides, anonymous, you quote Kinsey as if anything he did was objective research. That 10% is completely baseless (well, maybe except for criminally insane people who were abused as kids and then abused children as adults, prostitutes, and grad students "encouraged" to take part in group sex activities by their boss and advisor).

The point is, the fact that children raised by gay parents have such a high prevalence of non-hetero behavior indicates that homosexuality is not simply biological. Given the rise in homosexual adoptions/IVF/surrogate motherhood in this country and in Europe, we will definitely know in the next 10-15 years the accuracy of this report. Matthew's right, though. What is best for the children is the most important thing, but what is not allowed to be honestly debated.

Lourdes said...

Read works by Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons. He is an incredible Catholic psychiatrist whose practice is based in Pennsylvania. A good part of his practice is working with those suffering from same sex attraction, including the clergy. I believe he is involved with NARTH as well as Opus Bonus Sacerdoti (sp?). Anyway, I can't do his work justice in a comment box, but his experience shows several childhood issues that come up repeatedly in those with same sex attraction, including poor body image, inability to play sports well, among others. Like I said, I can't do it justice here, but Google his name and you'll find a wealth of information.

Anonymous said...

Related to this topic are the writings and teachings of anthropologist and Benedictine Father Mark Gruber of Saint Vincent College and Archabbey in Latrobe PA.

Father Gruber often speaks about the "iconology of marriage" and its benefits to society. In short, he says that icons and images teach far more than words. If the "icon" of a married man and woman is treated as just another relationship among persons, he says, we're no longer teaching the next generation what marriage is. It seems to me that this would certainly apply to the children being raised in same sex relationships.

An excerpt from a short article here:

"...In witnessing to the truth about human nature, the church is adamant that same sex unions cannot and should not be afforded the status and benefits of marriage, [Benedictine Father Mark Gruber] explained, because marriage is not just any relationship between human beings.

For example, he noted that each of us has a father and a mother, and that qualifies the male-female bond in a different way than any bond of the same sex.

“The bond between a man and a woman provides special benefits to the state which no other bond can do,” Father Mark said. “And in general, the iconography of married couples provides great benefits to society.”

“Icons and images teach far more than words,” said the anthropologist, noting the image of a married couple, regardless of whether they have children, is the iconography by which we train the young to aspire to marriage.

“If we claim that two people of the same sex are the same kind of icon, we are no longer teaching the next generation what marriage is,” he said.

Scroll down to read: Same Sex Marriage: For Better or For Worse?


Renee said...

Are these children from previous heterosexual relationships (many are) or from adoption or sperm or egg donation?

As for Bredan'c comment

"I've always declined that homosexuality is genetic because humans are made in the image and likeness of God. We are made as sexual creatures and to "be fruitful and multiply." Human beings are, by its definition, inherently heterosexual."

So is it impossible to be celibate or chaste within marriage?

wildiris said...

All of the sexuality studies that I’ve ever run across all share the same underlying assumption; that our sexuality is a core or primary attribute of our nature. But what if it isn’t? What if our sexuality is actually a secondary or derived attribute? That is, there are other factors that are core or primary to our nature of which our sexuality is just the outward expression of. This would explain the various aspects of human sexuality in a much more logically consistent manner.

For instance, one problem with the God made me this way argument is there is no way to use it to explain things like pedophilia, necrophilia, and those class of serial killers who report feelings of intense sexual pleasure during the act of killing. But if our sexuality is just an outward expression of something else more fundamental to our nature and deeper inside of ourselves, then these deviant kinds forms of sexual expressions, can be seen as arising from sources necessarily completely different than those sources that give rise to sexual expressions that are considered normal.

Some conclusions that would follow from the above assumption are that people will arrive at being outwardly gay for a variety of different inward reasons, and any study looking for a “core sexuality” will never find any and will thus conclude that humans must be intrinsically bi-sexual.

dcs said...

the Kinsey studies said roughly 10% of the population identified as non-heterosexual

The "population" examined by Kinsey was made up of male prostitutes, prisoners, and volunteers. Hardly a representative sample.

between 8 and 21% is a HUGE margin of error there

It's the results of several studies, not a single study. So study A found that 8% of such children were homosexual, while study B found that 21% of such children were.

Anonymous said...

Oxford geneticist Bryan Sykes has an interesting theory about homosexuality being influenced in utero by the mother's cytoplasm - I believe the book is called "Adam's Curse" (it's about the declining genetic make-up of the Y-chromosome). Worth a read, at any rate.

Renee said...

You know, if one approached a homosexual person with all this information, he or she would probably be very turned off.

So as a suggestion the Courage Ministries...


We have several groups set up here in the Boston New England area

or the document


"Always Our Children:

"Always Our Children" via Priests With Courage

How can you best express your love—itself a reflection of God's unconditional love—for your child? At least two things are necessary.

First, don't break off contact; don't reject your child. A shocking number of homosexual youth end up on the streets because of rejection by their families. This, and other external pressures, can place young people at a greater risk for self-destructive behaviors like substance abuse and suicide.

Your child may need you and the family now more than ever. He or she is still the same person. This child, who has always been God's gift to you, may now be the cause of another gift: your family becoming more honest, respectful, and supportive. Yes, your love can be tested by this reality, but it can also grow stronger through your struggle to respond lovingly.

There seems to be no single cause of a homosexual orientation. A common opinion of experts is that there are multiple factors—genetic, hormonal, psychological—that may give rise to it. Generally, homosexual orientation is experienced as a given, not as something freely chosen. By itself, therefore, a homosexual orientation cannot be considered sinful, for morality presumes the freedom to choose.1

Some homosexual persons want to be known publicly as gay or lesbian. These terms often express a person's level of self-awareness and self-acceptance within society. Though you might find the terms offensive because of political or social connotations, it is necessary to be sensitive to how your son or daughter is using them. Language should not be a barrier to building trust and honest communication.

Respect for the God-given dignity of all persons means the recognition of human rights and responsibilities. The teachings of the Church make it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any forms of injustice, oppression, or violence against them (cf. The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986, no. 10).

It is not sufficient only to avoid unjust discrimination. Homosexual persons "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358). They, as is true of every human being, need to be nourished at many different levels simultaneously. This includes friendship, which is a way of loving and is essential to healthy human development. It is one of the richest possible human experiences. Friendship can and does thrive outside of genital sexual involvement. "

Anonymous said...

In this article you state "Open and honest debate about the well being and happiness of our children is necessary". So when a child comes out as gay, are they not happy?

The only gay people I have known to be unhappy are those who are closeted b/c their parents don't accept them. Once they've been able to come out and if others accept them, then they are well adjusted people. So even if this study ended up being true, I'm not sure why we'd have to be concerned with it.

I realize many here think this is morally wrong - but the country is not Catholic. Keep the rules within the church for those who choose to follow them. Don't worry about others.

Or - if you must worry about the children - lets concentrate on keeping kids safe from abusive parents instead of gay ones.

Ma Tucker said...

"Language should not be a barrier to building trust and honest communication."

In my experience the improper use of language is a very big barrier to building trust and honest communications. When you start talking about a "homosexual person" you can forget about building any truthful contact with anyone.

The first thing you encounter when you meet a person is their sex. Are they male or female? It is a very large part of their physical form. So a persons sex is pretty fundamental. Male and female , He created them.

You talk about their sexuality. I presume you me that which a person finds sexually attractive. I have read enough history to know that you can find a blade of grass sexually attractive with enough mental distortions. You can most certainly pervert yourself and others away from the natural ordering of sexuality. Is that what you mean?

Renee said...

I don't like labeling anyone, but if someone is going to label themselves I will first listen. You can still acknowledge that one may experience same-sex attraction and indeed know this, so they may not put themselves in situations of temptation. If someone calls themselves 'gay', I wait and listen. This may simply saying how they feel, and not entirely what they are. Eve Tushnet openly writes as a homosexual person and Catholic, she is chaste.


There has to be compassion for every person, no matter what they feel. It doesn't mean being co-dependent and having someone walk all over you by making you accept their sins though.

Rita said...

For being a Catholic blog, this site tends to spread hate and anger more than love and compassion. Love everyone regardless of sexual orientation, race, and political bias.

Renee said...

The discussion of why one maybe homosexual or experience such feeling isn't not hateful or about being angry. It's just a turn off when speaking on a one to one level with someone who is gay.

What does it mean to love though?

David Morrison is the author the book Beyond Gay, which Our Sunday Visitor press published in 1999 and which is still in print. It's gone into second print.

He is also the founder and moderator of Courage Online, an online support community for men and women living with some degree of same sex attraction who wish to do so chastely.

From David’s book he asks “Can you love others and not approve of everything about the way they live their life? If you think you must approve, and what they are doing is harmful, are you really being compassionate to them”

If a person I love is engaging in harmful behavior, I speak up. Nothing hateful about the person, whether it be a heterosexual act or homosexual that distorts the natural of human sexuality.

Anonymous said...

Something to ponder - Gay teens have a higher rate of suicide than straight teens. It is generally feelings of loneliness and isolation and fear of rejection that brings about this level of unhappiness.

When a child is gay, and they have parents who openly believe being gay is a sin and unnatural, is this a good environment for them?

I say this because I have had 2 (raised Catholic) family members surprise us and come out of the closet within the past couple years. At least one of them spent his teenage years depressed. I am fearful for those who grow up in families where they do not receive the support and who are looked at as sinners for who they feel that they naturally are.

I want my gay family members to be happy and am supportive of them. If two consenting adults decide that they want to be together, I do not see why this is my concern at all. Even if it does end up being that nurture plays some sort of roll.

I also have such a tough time believing that God would condemn these people to hell for relations with another consenting adult. How is this hurting anyone? I don't get it. I think we should all concentrate on being good to each other and not be so worried about the actions of others that are not harming anyone.

wildiris said...

Ma Tucker. The simple answer would be that one’s sex refers to the presence of an X or Y chromosome and the reproductive organs that one is born with. But this simple definition leaves out the transgender element that insist that their sex is determined not by their genetic X/Y makeup, but by how they feel about themselves.

So is one’s sex a fundamental aspect of one’s personhood, simple answer, or is one’s sex a mental construct, the transgender answer?

This is just one of the many crazy-making aspects this debate presents to straight people like myself, trying to honestly deal with these issues. To date, the GLBT point of view has been incapable of providing consistent answers to even such simple and fundamental questions as “what determines one’s sex to start with?”

On the other hand, if one’s sexuality refers to those thoughts or actions that cause one to experience the feelings of sexual pleasure, then there is no end of examples of people finding sexual pleasure doing things that have nothing to do with their genital areas. Clinical experience shows that just about any sensory input can be cross-wired to the sexual pleasure centers in the brain, leading to all sorts of odd sexual behaviors.

So the second question is, is one’s sexuality a God given aspect of one’s personhood, or is it the end result of inherited genetic predispositions influenced by environmental factors? Unfortunately, for the sake of all of us hoping to have a rational debate on these issues, the GLBT community is as motivated to give a definitive answer to this second question as a Hollywood movie vampire is in touching a Crucifix.

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