Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Some Resources for the "Nature and/or Nurture" Debate

In a recent discussion, Peter O. left this comment:

I'm not asking you to defend your sexuality. I'm asking others to defend their assertion that homosexuality is a biological/genetic phenomena.
First, for us less scientific types, IT sets the stage:

...As a professional geneticist (although not one who studies homosexuality; my gig is cancer research), and a professor who teaches the subject, may I point out YET AGAIN that someone does not understand genetics.

Almost no complex traits can be traced to a single gene. Okay? NONE. Not even blue eyes/brown eyes, although they are pretty close. Certainly nothing as complex as behavior.

Even in fruitflies.

Nothing complex is solely nature or nurture, but both. You may have the genes to be 7 feet tall but if you aren 't eating a good diet you won't get there.

There are plenty of studies showing that human sexuality exists on a continuum, not a binary. It's extremely complex.

However, there are also plenty of studies showing a very strong genetic component to homosexuality; it may not be the single gene absolute concordance that the conservatives want (see preceding) but it is vastly, vastly higher than chance.

Go read Pubmed if you want the citations...The VAST majority of medical and psychiatric opinion is clear on the subject...
With that in mind, here are a few resources that were mentioned in that discussion, as well as additional items that have been suggested in this thread:

Developmental Biology, by Scott F. Gilbert.

Quirks and Quarks,: Searching for the Gay Gene, by CBC Radio.

What Mental Health And Medical Experts Say About "Curing" Gays, by Outfront.

The Robert Spitzer Study by the Rainbow Alliance.

TVC Presents Deceptive and Misleading Information about the APA, by the Rainbow Alliance.

On "left handedness," from Barry and IT.

Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, by Bruce Bagemihl.

Evolution's Rainbow and A Plea for Diversity, by Joan Roughgarden.

This is just the beginning, of course. Suggest resources in the comments, and I'll add them to this list.


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