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January 12, 2013 / JayMan

A Gay Germ? Is Homophobia a Clue?

Greg Cochran argues that it is highly likely that exclusive male homosexuality is caused by an infectious agent, likely a virus. As he explains, there are several good reasons to suspect that this is the case, including:

As Cochran notes, a complete male disinterest in sex with females is always evolutionary maladaptive. Even if homosexuals do reproduce (which they do), the reduced reproductive fitness they incur would have selected the trait out long ago. As well, male homosexuality is too common (~4%) to be the result of deleterious mutations.

So we’re faced with a pathogenic agent as the likely culprit. There are clear examples of infectious agents which produce changes in behavior, including toxoplasma, influenza, and the virus involved in narcolepsy. Cochran suspects that the pathogen is agricultural in origin (which many are) perhaps being acquired from sheep.

Discussion on the issue is on-going over at West Hunter. However, even if we find an explanation for homosexuality, there is one other thing we need to explain: homophobia. Homophobia (which is poorly named) – aversion and hatred of gays – is heritable (like all things) – indeed, significantly so (50%, as with most behavioral traits). Interestingly, and ironically, it appears to be far more heritable than homosexuality itself!

If homophobia is heritable, what purpose does it serve? Particularly, what purpose does it serve if homosexuality is caused by an infection? While homophobia is hardly limited to male homosexuals (there may be a reason for that as well, as I’ll soon discuss), it is particularly targeted at them. Studies on the nature of homophobia itself offers a clue.

Psychologist Jesse Bering blogged about studies done by Gordon Gallup on homophobia. Gallup found that homophobic reactions seemed strongest with regard to homosexuals’ contact with children:

In his first of four studies, Gallup administered a survey to 167 self-identified straight undergraduate students—males and females—a survey designed to gauge the student’s “degree of discomfort” in interacting with homosexuals who held different jobs. Importantly, these occupations varied along one dimension: the extent to which the job entailed interaction with children. Included were nine sample occupations—three that afforded a high degree of contact with kids (teacher, school bus driver, medical doctor) and six that provided moderate to low contact (lawyer, construction worker, bank teller, pilot, mechanic, sales clerk). As predicted, the degree of discomfort was significantly correlated with the likelihood that persons in these categories would come into contact with children.

Intriguingly, hypothetical gay medical doctors elicited the most discomfort among the participants, an unexpected finding that Gallup sought to better understand in his second study. “There are at least two ways to interpret the greater discomfort expressed by respondents concerning homosexual doctors,” he writes:

One possibility is that medical doctors have privileged access to children’s genitals in the context of conducting routine medical examinations, and therefore might be perceived as posing a more serious threat to a child’s developing sexuality. An interesting alternative interpretation concerns the prospect of contracting [HIV] from a homosexual doctor through nonsexual modes of transmission (e.g., blood, hypodermic needles).

In the second study, all of the characters were doctors of various kinds, physicians varying in the extent to which they would have intimate contact with children (pediatrician, child psychiatrist, general practitioner, cardiologist, brain surgeon, gerontologist). When left uninformed about the doctor’s sexual orientation, participants expressed the most discomfort about the prospect of interacting with those who had “invasive” techniques, such as the brain surgeon. But the picture changed dramatically when they were told the doctor was gay. Contrary to the HIV-exposure hypothesis, which should have produced little to no differences in attitudes toward the different gay doctors, it was the opportunity for intimate contact with children that correlated with discomfort. The participants were significantly less comfortable about the idea of interacting with gay pediatricians and general physicians than they were for the other types of gay doctors. In fact, gay brain surgeons, associated readily with infectious material, elicited the least aversion.

Gallup’s third study was even more revealing. Imagine, undergraduate participants were told, that you had a son or a daughter, either an 8-year-old or a 21-year-old, who was invited to spend the night at a friend’s house. On a scale of 1 (“not at all upset”) to 4 (“very upset”), how upset you would be, as a parent of this hypothetical child, to learn that the friend’s mother or father was gay? The participants expressed most concern when their imaginary younger child was exposed to same-sex homosexual parents (young sons being around the friend’s gay father; young daughters being around the friend’s gay mother). This was especially pronounced (mean concern = 3.3) for male participants thinking about their imaginary eight-year-old son (compared to 2.3 at the thought of him being around a lesbian). These very same male participants didn’t seem to mind the prospect of their 21-year-old son being exposed to their friend’s lesbian mother (1.6), or even for this older imaginary son spending the night around their friend’s gay dad (2.3). So, the participants’ homophobia didn’t seem to be moralistically generalized to the “gay lifestyle” but instead it emerged specifically in terms of their folk beliefs about children’s sexual impressionability.

Gallup’s final study replicated his basic findings with a broader sample. Nearly two hundred people from the Albany area, varying along a wide range of demographics (age, sex, religiosity, education, number of gay friends) were polled on a “Homosexual Reproductive Threat Scale.” Participants responded to statements such as, “I would feel uncomfortable if I learned that my daughter’s teacher was a lesbian,” “I would feel uncomfortable if I learned that my neighbor was a homosexual,” and so on. As you might expect, variables such as sex (males being more negative) and religiosity predicted homophobia. But parental status was independently correlated with negative attitudes to gays and lesbians, too; and this effect was especially salient for the males in the survey. Fathers with young children were the most homophobic.

This jives with common experience with regard to homophobia, explaining the particular resistance to things such as gays being Boy Scout masters or allowing them to adopt.

Indeed, the behavioral genetic study by Verweij et al., which I’ve cited above, found results consistent with this: respondents were more averse to having homosexuals as teachers, ministers, or doctors (all professions where they’d come in contact with children) and less averse to gays being government officials.

Gallup claims that the results of his studies have been replicated in Taiwan, indicating that this phenomenon is not confined to Western societies.

(I will note that it seems that there is one potential confound in Gallup’s studies: conservatives – who tend to hold more anti-gay attitudes – are also more likely to be parents, particularly at younger ages. I haven’t read his studies, but perhaps this is influencing his results.)

It seems then that homophobia is aimed at preventing children, particularly younger children, from being exposed to homosexuals.

Gallup hypothesizes that this may be due to “sexual imprinting” stemming from sexual contact between gays and young children. He proposes that sexual molestation of young boys by gay pedophiles “imprints” on the boys, making it more likely that these boys become homosexual themselves.

However, I doubt this idea. Indeed, I doubt the existence of sexual “imprinting” in humans, for which I’ve seen little solid evidence.

Rather, what if homophobia is aimed at preventing the spread of the pathogen that causes homosexuality?

Cochran asserts that it’s not likely that the pathogen is spread by homosexual sex. How the putative pathogen is spread is not clear at this time. Even less clear is whether there is a “critical period” for this infection to affect sexual orientation. It’s also not clear how prevalent the pathogen is in the population, or what percentage of infected individuals become homosexual.

Regardless of how the pathogen is spread, it likely that extended periods of fairly close contact with an infected individual is more likely to result in transmission of the infectious agent. If there is a critical period of time, say some time in childhood, for an infection to result in sexual orientation being altered, the evolutionary purpose of homophobia starts to become more apparent.

Indeed, as Jesse Bering points out, people aren’t most homophobic as adults, but as children:

if it’s all social learning, it’s curious, is it not, that children all over the globe must be explicitly taught not to be homophobic, not the other way around; antigay attitudes in sixth-grade boys seem as naturally emerging as language acquisition in infants. Exceptions are rare; so rare, in fact, that they make national headlines.

The “It Gets Better” Project is a testament to the homophobic attitudes that exist among children.

The aversion of gays may have evolved as a defense mechanism to protect oneself (or one’s children) from infection, and its apparently highly deleterious (evolutionarily speaking) results.

Indeed, the existence of homophobia may stand as pretty good evidence in support of Greg Cochran’s pathogenic hypothesis for homosexuality. Indeed, for as many have pointed out, homosexuals are otherwise harmless and indeed perhaps beneficial to other males in the group (reduced competition for females, for example). That gays are nonetheless hated seems hard to explain otherwise.

One possible way to test Cochran’s hypothesis is to observe if there is a higher incidence of homosexuality among the adopted children of homosexuals. Using adoptees controls for heredity, and presumably, sharing a household should give plenty of opportunity for the pathogen to be passed on to the adopted child. Ideally, the study should look only at children adopted very young, from strangers (to minimize selection bias among the adopted children). If higher rates of homosexuality were observed among these adopted children, it would point to some environmental factor – the most likely being infection.

The low, but non-zero heritability of male homosexuality may be indicative of some sort of genetic susceptibility to the pathogen, perhaps through weakened defenses or a vulnerable neural architecture.

(In the same vein as Greg Cochran’s infection hypothesis, Peter Frost has recently discussed a bacterial agent that may reduce mate-guarding behavior among men [i.e., sexual jealously], and incidentally lead to female bisexuality.)

If homosexuality is indeed caused by an infectious agent, it would have broad implications for society, particularly the prospect of being able to prevent homosexuality (perhaps through a vaccine).

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77 Comments

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  1. tyrionlanister / Jan 12 2013 6:45 AM

    In men, sexual orientation correlates with an individual’s number of older brothers, each additional older brother increasing the odds of homosexuality by approximately 33%. It has been hypothesized that this fraternal birth order effect reflects the progressive immunization of some mothers to Y-linked minor histocompatibility antigens (H-Y antigens) by each succeeding male fetus and the concomitantly increasing effects of such maternal immunization on the future sexual orientation of each succeeding male fetus. According to this hypothesis, anti-H-Y antibodies produced by the mother pass through the placental barrier to the fetus and affect aspects of sexual differentiation in the fetal brain. This explanation is consistent with a variety of evidence, including the apparent irrelevance of older sisters to the sexual orientation of later born males, the probable involvement of H-Y antigen in the development of sex-typical traits, and the detrimental effects of immunization of female mice to H-Y antigen on the reproductive performance of subsequent male offspring. The maternal immune hypothesis might also explain the recent finding that heterosexual males with older brothers weigh less at birth than heterosexual males with older sisters and homosexual males with older brothers weigh even less than heterosexual males with older brothers.

    • JayMan / Jan 12 2013 9:11 AM

      Apparently not.

  2. Ashley / Jan 12 2013 6:48 AM

    One possible explanation is what evolutionary psychologists call the “kin selection hypothesis.” What that means is that homosexuality may convey an indirect benefit by enhancing the survival prospects of close relatives. Specifically, the theory holds that homosexual men might enhance their own genetic prospects by being “helpers in the nest.” By acting altruistically toward nieces and nephews, homosexual men would perpetuate the family genes, including some of their own.

    • JayMan / Jan 12 2013 9:05 AM

      Nope.

    • Jim Profit / Nov 13 2013 6:22 PM

      Ahahah, that is some nice sociological psuedo science. Homosexuality if proven to be a virus as suggested should be eradicated, I can live without homosexuals.

  3. SOBL1 / Jan 12 2013 8:53 AM

    “Gallup hypothesizes that this may be due to “sexual imprinting” stemming from sexual contact between gays and young children. He proposes that sexual molestation of young boys by gay pedophiles “imprints” on the boys, making it more likely that these boys become homosexual themselves.”

    I actually buy this idea. Do we have any survey results for rates of homosexual molestation reported by gay men vs. straight men? How often does molestation cause odd hypersexual behavior in women? It could make perfect sense that men might ereact in an odd way if a man molests him that causes hypersexual behavior just with the model of the person who first touched them. I’ve talked to some gays about this, and even they buy it as a theory of how there are more gay men than gay women.

    • JayMan / Jan 12 2013 9:14 AM

      How often does molestation cause odd hypersexual behavior in women?

      That’s actually a great question to ask, because, as far as I know, there is no evidence that sexual molestation causes anything, particularly anything regarding subsequent sexual behavior.

      I’ve talked to some gays about this, and even they buy it as a theory of how there are more gay men than gay women.

      Which means nothing. Male and female homosexuality could (and almost certainly do) have different causes.

  4. Greying Wanderer / Jan 12 2013 12:24 PM

    Interesting stuff. However if 1% ish is plausible (comparable to exclusive lesbians) but 4% isn’t plausible then i think it makes more sense for there to be two causes – the lesbian-equivalent cause for 1% ish, and another one, possibly this pathogen for the other 3%.

    • JayMan / Jan 14 2013 10:26 PM

      Possibly so. Of course, a certain percentage of that 4% of homosexuals are non-exclusive homosexuals, which wouldn’t be as maladaptive. But yes, there very well could be multiple causes going on.

  5. SOBL1 / Jan 12 2013 3:01 PM

    First link I could google. you can find more I bet on molestation and later in life sexual issues.

    http://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/pubs/issues/issues9/issues9.html

    • JayMan / Jan 12 2013 6:02 PM

      Your link explains the problem with these types of studies:

      The tendency for child sexual abuse to co-vary with disturbed family backgrounds, other forms of abuse and possibly even victim characteristics, creates profound difficulties when it comes to interpreting correlational studies. This is particularly the case when examining long-term deleterious effects that could theoretically result from child sexual abuse itself, or from those other childhood traumas and disadvantages with which it is so often associated.

      In some cases, the adverse outcomes attributed to child sexual abuse may be related as much to the disrupted childhood backgrounds, in the context of which the abuse arose, as to the child sexual abuse itself. There are reports that poor family functioning may account for many of the apparent associations between a history of child sexual abuse and adult psychopathology.

      “Poor family functioning” being code for “poor quality DNA” in HBD’er parlance.

  6. Staffan / Jan 13 2013 7:13 AM

    Without any studies to back it up, I have noticed that these men are on the average shorter and more bald. Perhaps also a result of the pathogen?

    Anyway, it would be hilarious if there was a pathogen. I wonder how all the pc liberals will cope with that? Will we have a debate similar to that of deaf people?

  7. Matthew Walker / Jan 14 2013 9:17 AM

    What about the apparent historical attitudes towards male homosexuality in ancient Greece, Rome, relatively recent Japan, and (less sure about this one) tha Arab world? And what about Afghanistan?

    Allegedly, all those cultures took a dim view of grown men as “bottoms”, but “tops” were viewed as normal men with nothing to be ashamed of.

    Of course, that may to some degree be happy-talk by gay scholars abusing their sources, or it may have been limited to political/social elites, who always live by different sexual rules.

    But anyway, looking for a few well-documented and widely-separated counterexamples seems to me to be a quick way to bang on this idea. Unless the hypothetical pathogen just turns you into a “bottom”, which… Huh… All those cultures tended to prefer hairless teenage boys for “bottoms”, didn’t they? It “a boy for pleasure and a melon for ecstacy”, not “a man for pleasure”.

    • JayMan / Jan 14 2013 10:15 PM

      What about the apparent historical attitudes towards male homosexuality in ancient Greece, Rome

      I’ve wondered about that myself! My guess is that perhaps that itself was a time when the pathogen was running rampant in Europe, and perhaps not long after it was first introduced there. Perhaps it took awhile for people to develop immunity?

      and (less sure about this one) tha Arab world? And what about Afghanistan?

      It seems it’s not exclusive homosexuality, though, so perhaps it’s different?

      But anyway, looking for a few well-documented and widely-separated counterexamples seems to me to be a quick way to bang on this idea.

      Indeed.

  8. al / Jan 14 2013 1:35 PM

    I happen to believe the pathogen hypothesis makes the most sense, but clearly, since there are so many pathogens kids are exposed to between infancy and puberty, the bug could be just about any of hundreds, maybe thousands. It could be one we don’t even know exists even though we may all be exposed to it.

    Until we know what sense or senses are used by homo sapiens to identify “other gender” versus “same gender”, I doubt we get to the bottom of this. Rodents use the vomeronasal organ receptors to do that. Knockout mice show that absent the particular genes, female mice act like males, behaving aggressively and mounting like males, and males exhibit lordosis like females. Typical gender behavior is turned upside down, in other words. Interestingly, they discovered that both male and female circuits exist in both genders, but the vno has the switches that turn off one of those circuits in each gender. The pathways for this gendered behavior in aggression and sexuality skip the prefrontal cortex and go straight to the hypothalamus. They thought they were going to find out that at least for sexual “orientation” they were going to find a male brain and a female brain and they were shocked to find that wasn’t the case. They simply found that females had the male circuit turned off and males had the female circuit turned off.

    So, at least in mice, they know what receptors are responsible for gender recognition and mate selection and where they are.

    What the heck do we know about this in humans? Nada.

    You’d think, as visual creatures, and especially since men are so sexually stimulated by the visual, that it would be related the to vision, but maybe the visual inputs simply account for the degree of stimulation and aren’t responsible for the actual recognition of a suitable gender for mating.

    On what do blind men rely for the recognition of a suitable mating choice? Do we have any studies that tell us that same-sex attraction or behavior is more common among the blind-since-birth? Don’t blind men still have no problem desiring females even though they’ve never seen one?

    Hearing? Touch? Smell (most researchers still don’t think pheromones in humans do much, if anything at all). Taste (seems unlikely that there are inputs on our tongue that we don’t know about)?

    You look at a little kid who exhibits some girly behaviors at a very young age, as young as early toddlerhood, and you wonder what inputs/receptors are determining his sense of himself versus the world around him, like the knockout mice?

    Going at it from this direction is different than looking for the one bug (although gc is correct that no one seems to be looking for the bug.) Of course, you can’t knock out genes in babies either so you wonder how this riddle will be solved.

    What do we really know about our sense of touch and our skin? Babies are born deaf; they are born blind, yet they still turn out overwhelmingly heterosexual. All efforts to link our behaviors to pheromones don’t really suggest that we respond through these chemicals. The few studies that claim we do have used urine and sweat in concentrations so high as to be unreasonable as an explanation of our responses.

    So, taste and touch are left….or, there’s some “organ” analogous to the vno (ours is vestigial) that we don’t know about.

    I’ll stop. I’m just babbling at this point, but it seems we know so little here.

  9. torn and frayed / Jan 14 2013 2:38 PM

    If homosexuality were actually genetic then paradoxically the more it was packaged with a culturally homophobic environment the more these gene(s) would thrive. In such a society gay men would be pressured into heterosexual marriages and therefore into passing on their DNA. The specific gay gene(s) in question would need to provide some other reproductive benefit (higher social status?), with the tendency towards homosexuality being a secondary effect.

    There is some overlap between homophobia and homosexuality. The Catholic Church is one obvious example. Also the cliché of a self-hating homophobic politician cruising for hot male action repeats itself regularly.

    If it were indeed the case that homosexuality required a homophobic milieu to survive, then as Western societies become more accepting of gay men, fewer and fewer will feel societal pressure to reproduce —- although their own internal feelings of self-loathing may drive some carriers of the gay gene into a heterosexual relationship. But as children are programmed more and more to accept homosexuality the unintended consequence could ultimately be the extinction of the gay gene.

    • JayMan / Jan 19 2013 7:16 PM

      Indeed, if it was genetic. However, if it was genetic, the trait would eventually disappear, since homosexuals have reproduced fertility.

  10. Desmond Jones / Jan 14 2013 11:01 PM

    How does the germ theory explain prison sexuality? Foucault wrote that “sodomites were recidivists and homosexuals are a race”. It appears that incarcerated same sex unions are not evolved from the growth of a personal and group identity that arises from sodomy. It also suggests, as Foucault asserts, that homosexuality is a social construct and differs from the act of sodomy per se.

  11. Dan / Jan 15 2013 7:59 AM

    “I doubt the existence of sexual “imprinting” in humans, for which I’ve seen little solid evidence.”

    Schoolgirl fetish
    Leather fetish
    Panty Hose fetish
    Asian fetish
    Foot fetish

    etc, etc

    • JayMan / Jan 15 2013 8:03 AM

      Those aren’t evidence of imprinting…

    • Dan / Jan 15 2013 5:14 PM

      “Those aren’t evidence of imprinting…”

      That’s not a response. I expect my five-year old to disagree without logic.

      A pantyhose fetish in our DNA or due to a germ? Yes, we have pre-cog DNA or pre-cog germs (Minority Report movie reference) that are able to anticipate inventions ahead of time.

      Wikipedia lists like 100 fetishes, and most of them are for situations that weren’t even available to our ancestors. The only conceivable explanation is imprinting.

      And we already know that is how the it all works. Brain pathways that are associated with pleasure get reinforced. Very elementary stuff.

      Your educational gaps are showing through.

    • JayMan / Jan 15 2013 5:33 PM

      Those are all rare. If they are rare, there’s not much that needs to be explained, as rare mutations are to be expected (genetic load, for example).

      A pantyhose fetish in our DNA or due to a germ?

      Not every heritable trait was specifically selected for. Many behaviors today are the result of the interaction of brains designed in older environments that are exposed to newer ones.

      Brain pathways that are associated with pleasure get reinforced. Very elementary stuff.

      The reality is far from that as simple. And even then, there are the questions:
      Why are the events in question pleasurable in the first place?
      Will said items remain pleasurable in the future?

      Your educational gaps are showing through.

      Why is it that when people resort to personal attacks, it’s always in the middle of some really foolish argument that they’re making themselves?

      First warning. Such will not be tolerated here.

    • Assistant Village Idiot / Jan 15 2013 9:29 PM

      No, I think Dan has a point. To switch fields, economists often argue that we should not look to abstracts, but only to incentives. With sex, there may not be imprinting, but that may be irrelevant. There is reward response. There’s not DNA for fishnet stocking attraction, but a lot of men take notice (fill in other possibilities if you don;t like fishnet) and learn to turn their heads like a fish to a lure. If you look at what advertisers use to inject sex into the equation, you can see a lot of arbitrary stuff that we have learned to associate with sex. Sex with men, or older women, or hell, tree roots, could be learned in a small version and then generalised, without having much in the genes or culture to support it. Overall sexual response might be complicated and include interesting evolutionary biology tendencies that work over time and large populations, yet still be based on some pretty simple building blocks.

      It may be that one can’t turn red to green in sexual response, but that teal could move to either the green side or the blue side depending on who grabbed your genitals first. Orgasm, in a strictly Skinnerian mode, is a pretty damn powerful reward. I think you could use it to train 15 year-old boys to do just about anything.

    • JayMan / Jan 15 2013 9:57 PM

      With sex, there may not be imprinting, but that may be irrelevant. There is reward response. There’s not DNA for fishnet stocking attraction, but a lot of men take notice (fill in other possibilities if you don;t like fishnet) and learn to turn their heads like a fish to a lure.

      I see where you’re coming from here, but I doubt that that is the ultimate source of paraphilias.

      Or, perhaps, more charitably, I suspect that what you describe might contribute (after all, men associate a lot of things with signs that they are getting lucky), but most true kinks probably arise from an interaction of modern stimuli with certain temperaments. They are, more or less, flukes. Of course, there could be a certain level of selection involved, as I previously discussed.

      Sex with men, or older women, or hell, tree roots, could be learned in a small version and then generalised, without having much in the genes or culture to support it.

      Here I think you’re building a bridge too far. As Greg Cochran points out (and the primary reason that I believe Dennis Mangan is worked-up over nothing about the supposed harm of porn), nature has a HUGE incentive to make sure sexuality works right, both physiologically and behaviorally. It’s probably a whole lot harder to derail than you are suggesting.

    • JayMan / Jan 15 2013 10:19 PM

      Orgasm, in a strictly Skinnerian mode, is a pretty damn powerful reward. I think you could use it to train 15 year-old boys to do just about anything.

      I will add that this is “fire together, wire together” logic, which Steven Pinker deconstructed quite well in The Blank Slate.

  12. e / Jan 15 2013 10:16 PM

    “Orgasm, in a strictly Skinnerian mode, is a pretty damn powerful reward. I think you could use it to train 15 year-old boys to do just about anything.”

    On the other hand, 15 year old boy orgasms with nothing other than his hand needed.

  13. Dan / Jan 15 2013 10:39 PM

    Jayman, apologies if I seemed to express ad hominem. I found your explanationless dismissal at 8:03 off-putting also.

    The formation of fetishes is basic. Think Pavlov’s dog (the dog gained physical response of salivation to the sound of ringing a bell just because a bell rang at the same time as food several times).

    With our fishnet pantyhose fetish, suppose someone’s early sexual or pornographic experiences are (a) highly pleasurable and (b) include fishnet pantyhose.

    Then just as with Pavlov’s dog, pantyhose in the future results in a sexual excitement. Basic conditioning. Imprinting if you will.

    I see no reason why porn, or violent sex or homosexual elements can’t work the same way. If something is thrown into the mix it is easy to be conditioned to it. Admittedly, this line of thinking is frowned upon as it could lead to heretical thoughts in violation of Cathedral theology.

    • JayMan / Jan 19 2013 7:01 PM

      Jayman, apologies if I seemed to express ad hominem.

      No worries, apologies accepted (though that technically wasn’t an ad hominem; ad hominem ≠ any old insult).

      I see no reason why porn, or violent sex or homosexual elements can’t work the same way. If something is thrown into the mix it is easy to be conditioned to it.

      See above. This is “fire together, wire together” logic. I doubt it works that way.

  14. Desmond Jones / Jan 16 2013 5:11 AM

    Heartiste’s words (the link gives an error message, at least for me) regarding prison sodomy does not really answer the question. Annal intercourse with men in prison is simply driven by convenience but annal intercourse w/ men outside of prison is germ induced? It doesn’t make sense. Is homophobia a revulsion to annal sex w/ men or individual/group identity of homosexuality? And if the revulsion is to annal sex then are we to believe the powerful sexual drive overcomes revulsion? If the revulsion is to the identity evolved from the act of annal sex then it too is a social construct. Sodomy w/ women does not seem to generate the same reaction, thus sex between men is repulsive unless you are incarcerated and the powerful urge for sex overcomes contempt that such an act usually holds in free society. If the incarcerated are not homosexuals then why not resort to masturbation rather than annal sex with other men?

    • JayMan / Jan 19 2013 7:20 PM

      Prison rape appears to be a completely different animal than exclusive male homosexuality.

  15. e / Jan 16 2013 3:18 PM

    Homosexuals are really just Mimic Females, and it’s a genetic maximizing strategy for their mothers, not them.

    Bear with me.

    Scientists (including Cochran) cannot find an evolutionary explanation for homosexuality because they are actually trying to explain our socially constructed notion of sexual identity. It is true that deciding “I’m gay!” moving to SF and spending the rest of your days hanging out in assless chaps in the Castro is not going to improve your reproductive odds. But hunter-gatherers don’t have SF. They live in tiny communities where even if, by random chance, a totally gay person occurred, they might never encounter another person like themselves and would probably settle for the next best thing–making babies with a female. (Kind of like the opposite of prison sex.)

    (Incidentally, Cochran’s claim that homosexuality isn’t found in hunter-gatherers is simply untrue. It has been documented among Native American groups, in Papua New Guinea, Aboriginees ; hell, it’s found in Bonobos.)

    Back to the Mimic Females. Do you have kids? I’ve got sons. (And a daughter.) They’re well-behaved, for sons, and still I think sometimes they’re going to kill each other. Boys are aggressive. They fight.

    It is not in my interest that they kill each other. It is in my interest that the younger, weaker one suck up to his elder brother and get him to protect him until he is big enough to take care of himself. This means he needs to act more like a girl. Even if increases the odds that he has butt-sex with the tribal elders, this is worth it if means he lasts long enough to have even occasional sex with a female. (Most males, frankly, will fuck anything that has a hole in it, even if it’s not their first choice.)

    Interestingly, in every set of two boys I know, the first looks more like the dad, the second, more like the mother.

    Pure, exclusive homosexuality is a mal-adaptive (for the individual) social construct. But a slight feminization of younger sons to reduce family conflict and increase their chances of making it to maturity and reproducing will increase the mother’s fitness. Hence why the most likely mechanism (maternal suppression of the Y chromosome) is done by the mother to the fetus.

    • e-1 / Jan 16 2013 9:47 PM

      Another “e”? I’ll be “e-1″

      “Incidentally, Cochran’s claim that homosexuality isn’t found in hunter-gatherers is simply untrue. It has been documented among Native American groups, in Papua New Guinea, Aboriginees ; hell, it’s found in Bonobos.)”

      I believe he’s said most hg’ers haven’t even heard of it.

      As for Native-American tribes, you need to document the “two-spirit” tribes and then document that they 1) hadn’t been introduced to Europeans yet 2)had no agricuture or some animal husbandry and 3) that their males as females weren’t really captives from another tribe or Euros they had captured (since they often forced such captives to behave as women).

      As for bonobos and many other animals: same-gendered fooling around (especally with the very anxious bobobos who use genital play to calm one another down and to keep the peace) is common in the animal kingdom, but these same animals have no aversion to pursuing females with which to mate, unlike the sheep, who are like homosexual males in that a certain % of the flock doesn’t even try to mate with an estruous ewe but humps the ram instead.

      As for your comments about younger sons–it’s in your interest that the younger son learn from the older one as the older one has learned from you.

    • e / Jan 22 2013 10:15 PM

      e-1,
      *Most* hunter-gatherers have not been asked their opinions on sexual identity or buggery, simply because most hunter-gathers have been wiped out, and pre-contact data about their sexual practices doesn’t really exist because literate people only started recording that sort of information very recently. Cochran and I can both speculate about pre-contact hunter gatherers, but the available data from a limited number of post-contact societies is that some of them did practice homosexual behaviors.

      The idea of homosexuality as an exclusive sexual orientation, precluding any heterosexual attraction or behavior, is a social construct which certainly may not exist in all cultures. But every self-identified “gay” person I have met has had at least one heterosexual relationship, if not several–hence why the inclination may not have been reproduction-stopper we tend to think of it as.

      As for children, it is in everyone’s interest to learn from those around them, but this does not exactly explain homosexuality.

  16. Dan / Jan 16 2013 4:35 PM

    I find homosexuality and particularly the male variety to be highly uncivilized. I do not understand why people think acceptance of homosexuality is a mark of culture and sophistication.

    Wiping your ass with your bare hands is not considered civilized because it is a very disease-prone behavior. Eating carrion is not considered civilized because it is very disease-prone behavior.

    Male homosexual acts were until very recently not considered civilized because it is a very disease-prone behavior, involving lots of bodily fluids mixing with feces as gay activists are eager to tell us.
    http://spreadingsantorum.com/

    I continue to find the male homosexual acts uncivilized because as far as I can tell it still involves men frolicking in each others’ feces. Young people may think this is awesome but that is not progress to me.

    I do not see normalization of homosexuality as progress. If we got to the point where everyone was cool with bare-handed ass-wiping, I wouldn’t see that as progress either.

    Revulsion (homophobia if you will) is not irrational at all. It is a healthy response to a dangerous disease pathway. Gay men have off the charts rates of HIV/Aids, Anal Cancer, Chlamydia, Giardia, Herpes, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis and Syphilis.

    If there is a ever movement to normalize the eating of carrion, I want no part of that either. I suppose that is next.

  17. Patrick Boyle / Jan 17 2013 8:30 PM

    I thought I had cleared all this up a year or more ago. I guess I need to comment on more blogs than just Steve Sailer’s.

    My hypothesis is verifiable and more importantly falsifiable. I have tried to interest Paul Ewald or Greg Cochran in it but I can’t get in touch with them. I made up a blog site but it got attacked and I lost control of it. There is an easy standard medical test that disproves it. But it requires a bit of organization and funding.

    Homosexuality is a parasitical disease of the person’s mother. The disease organism is the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. At a critical period in the developing fetus the parasite invades the womb and the fetus’ sub-cortical structures reversing the target of the fetus’s sex drive at adolescence.

    Parasites modify the behavior of their hosts routinely. This is uncommon or unknown in viruses or bacteria. The T. Gondii parasite is only in humans by accident. The target hosts of the parasite are mice and cats. People only get infected when they accidentally ingest it in cat feces. Nevertheless T. Gondii is found in all peoples everywhere. Where it is most common, Human Homosexuality is also most common (Brazil).

    Normally the parasite cycles between cats and their prey – mice. The mice eat the cat droppings and become infected. The parasite travels to their brains and lodges in the amygdala and hypothalamus. The parasite changes the mouses behavior such that it becomes brave. It no longer flees from the smell of cat urine. The mouse gets eaten returning the parasite to the cat’s gut where it reproduces.

    When the parasite gets into the wrong host it often kills it. The Monterey sea otters are dying from T. Gondii that are dumped in the ocean by urban sewage. In humans the parasite is usually benign. A large percentage of the US population has this lodged in their brains and are none the worse for it. But ocassionally it causes trouble. It seems to make people worse drivers in much the same way that it makes mice brave. This may mean that it has invaded the amygdala. It has been linked to schizophrenia. Indeed more and more conditions are being traced to this common parasite.

    My prediction is that homosexuality in the infected person’s child is another of these conditions. This hypothesis explains a number of puzzling aspects of homosexuality. Homosexuality according to Simon LeVey begins in the womb. It is well established by birth. So it cannot be an infection acquired by the gay person himself. If about 2.5% or so all men are gay it is obviously too frequent to be a point mutation. If it is indeed an infection it can’t be contagious from person to person. That’s just not what we experience. The infection must be fairly common but not too common.

    The T. Gondii hypothesis is consistent with all these criteria. The gay infant may or may not respond to the test for the presence of the parasite but the mother will. To disprove this hypothesis only takes a negative test of one gay’s mother.

    • JayMan / Jan 17 2013 8:48 PM

      Interesting, but a couple of things:

      Parasites modify the behavior of their hosts routinely. This is uncommon or unknown in viruses or bacteria.

      Apparently not true. It seems influenza viruses do modify the behavior of human hosts (making them more social).

      Homosexuality is a parasitical disease of the person’s mother. The disease organism is the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. At a critical period in the developing fetus the parasite invades the womb and the fetus’ sub-cortical structures reversing the target of the fetus’s sex drive at adolescence.

      How then do you explain the high rate of discordant sexual orientation in identical twins?

      Where it is most common, Human Homosexuality is also most common (Brazil).

      Is exclusive male homosexuality more common in Brazil?

      The gay infant may or may not respond to the test for the presence of the parasite but the mother will. To disprove this hypothesis only takes a negative test of one gay’s mother.

      Sounds like a plan!

    • al / Jan 17 2013 9:21 PM

      Pat: Surely you have GC’s email. If not, have you put forth your hypothesis on his blog, West Hunter? He’s had three posts on homosex this last week, all with lengthy discussions. Haven’t seen any posts from you over there .

      Years ago I recall his saying that if it were T. gondii, you’d expect to find the ococysts(sp?). You don’t think so?

      Well, T. gondii infects sheep too. Have you emailed Charles Roselli, the Oregon reseachers looking for the cause of homosex in rams?

      Since so many Westerners have evidence of exposure to the parasite wouldn’t it be hard to tell if a mother’s exposure to it has caused any disruption in her son’s brain?

    • al / Jan 17 2013 9:22 PM

      “I guess I need to comment on more blogs than just Steve Sailer’s.”

      Yeah, you need to go over to Greg’s blog.

  18. DM Kaye / Jan 18 2013 3:27 PM

    Interesting conversation. I don’t subscribe to the germ theory of homosexuality or to the idea that homophobia is a defensive mechanism in response to a risk of infection. I think the cause of homosexuality is much more likely to reside in the oven than the bun–that it’s something that alters subtle in utero setting and modulates a trait common to all individuals. It would increase the reproductive success of the individual’s mother in many ways (and very possibly even the entire community’s reproductive success), most of which are likely indirect and nonobvious, and go far beyond intrafamily altruism and other rather clunky existing theories.

    As far as how homophobia fits into all of this, Tyrionlanister’s comment about how men with older brothers are more likely to be gay gave me some ideas:

    If straight men have an inborn aversion to gay males, that could serve an overall benefit by deterring a father from forming a close relationship with a gay younger son, enabling the father to continue to focus his time and attention on his older son(s), increasing the chance that the straight boys will pass on the father’s genes. I think homosexuality is completely fixed from birth and that men are able to perceive it in their sons by the time a boy is a toddler based on subtle and/or not so subtle clues, which could activate that inborn aversion to homosexuals. That same aversion when directed at someone outside the family, would probably tend to be more intense and more likely to be perceived as overt homophobia. And homophobia could benefit the reproductive success of all the men in the community by focusing some of their aggressive emotions and behaviors on the gays–aggression that might otherwise be directed toward other heterosexual men in the community. This could diffuse some of the potentially disruptive intragroup violence and provide a more stable environment for everyone.

    Just some thoughts off the top of my head.

  19. e1 / Jan 19 2013 1:59 AM

    “It would increase the reproductive success of the individual’s mother in many ways (and very possibly even the entire community’s reproductive success), most of which are likely indirect and nonobvious, and go far beyond intrafamily altruism and other rather clunky existing theories.”

    No, you’re not up to speed on this.

    • DM Kaye / Jan 19 2013 6:39 PM

      Considering the iffy and highly contradictory nature of most of the studies on the subject, I’d say that anyone who’s “up to speed” today, will likely be completely out of the loop before too long.

    • JayMan / Jan 19 2013 6:57 PM

      No worries, it’s perfectly understandable! :)

  20. e1 / Jan 19 2013 2:01 AM

    “… Tyrionlanister’s comment about how men with older brothers are more likely to be gay gave me some ideas:”

    This is an oft-reported “truth”; however, several studies by other researchers have *not* found an older brother effect.

    • DM Kaye / Jan 19 2013 6:46 PM

      Practically speaking, the older brother theory isn’t necessary for my idea to remain plausible. Innate aversion to homosexuality in heterosexual men would still dissuade a father from expending time, energy, and resources on a son who would be unlikely (or less likely) to pass on his genes.

    • JayMan / Jan 19 2013 6:57 PM

      Think about it: that’s much the same as younger sons being more prone to death because that would make caring for older sons easier. Does that make much evolutionary sense?

  21. The Man Who Was . . . / Jan 19 2013 12:32 PM

    I’m not really sure about this. I’m not sure if we’ve had homosexuality long enough for a whole new trait, homophobia, to evolve in response to it. Doesn’t Greg Cochran think that homosexuality only arrived with agriculture?

    Homophobia seems to be stronger in men, who take care of children less. Men also seem to use homophobia as a kind of social bond.

    Aversion to homosexual acts could have specifically evolved as a way to keep males from trying to have sex with other males of the same species, who after all are the closest thing to a female of the same species.

    Or it could be that we just find sex in general disgusting unless our disgust is overrun by attraction. Though we don’t seem to be all _that_ disgusted by sex in other species. We even tell stories to our children of romantic relationships between humans and half-human creatures, like centaurs and mermaids. But maybe we just view sexual acts as particularly degrading of us as humans, unless overrun by attraction, of course.

    • JayMan / Jan 19 2013 6:51 PM

      I’m not really sure about this. I’m not sure if we’ve had homosexuality long enough for a whole new trait, homophobia, to evolve in response to it. Doesn’t Greg Cochran think that homosexuality only arrived with agriculture?

      How many traits have evolved since the appearance of agriculture? Did you read The 10,000 Year Explosion?

      Homophobia seems to be stronger in men, who take care of children less. Men also seem to use homophobia as a kind of social bond.

      But protect children more…

      Or it could be that we just find sex in general disgusting unless our disgust is overrun by attraction. Though we don’t seem to be all _that_ disgusted by sex in other species. We even tell stories to our children of romantic relationships between humans and half-human creatures, like centaurs and mermaids. But maybe we just view sexual acts as particularly degrading of us as humans, unless overrun by attraction, of course.

      Well, there is evidence of weakened disgust response when in an aroused state.

    • The Man Who Was . . . / Jan 20 2013 12:17 PM

      RE: 10 000 Year Explosion

      Those weren’t entirely new traits though. Children have always had lactose tolerance. Compared to other species even the lowest IQ human populations are extremely smart. Those were both extensions of things humans already had.

  22. Mark / Jan 19 2013 12:42 PM

    A couple of points.

    You can explain heterosexual disgust for homosexual behavior and homosexuals themselves without positing it a defense against viral infection. As another commenter pointed out, sodomy is associated with feces. (I wonder if there’s a correlation between homophobia and unwillingness, among men, to have anal sex with females?). For another, it’s been pointed out by people wiser then I that male psychological development requires that a boy distance himself, psychologically, from his mother. Since homosexual men are feminized, it seems possible that gay men are unwelcome reminders of a man’s less masculine past. This might explain why men are more uncomfortable than women with the idea of gay men around their boys.

    Also, I think it’s likely that boys are more homophobic than adult men because they’re just less mature. Kids tease each other about everything more than adults do, not just about being gay…

    Back when I had a blog, I looked in the GSS to see if there was a correlation between homosexuality in men and month of birth. I assumed that if homosexuality were spread by a virus that infected the mother while pregnant, which was what GCochran suggested (I think), there would be some significant variance, but there wasn’t any. I think gay men were slightly more likely to have grown up in densely populated areas, while lesbians were significantly more likely to have grown up on farms, if that means anything.

    Also, you say:

    “I doubt the existence of sexual “imprinting” in humans, for which I’ve seen little solid evidence…”

    and then:

    “How the putative pathogen is spread is not clear at this time. Even less clear is whether there is a ‘critical period’ for this infection to affect sexual orientation. It’s also not clear how prevalent the pathogen is in the population, or what percentage of infected individuals become homosexual.”

    So, it sounds like there’s not much solid evidence for a pathogen either? ;)

    FWIW I do believe in sexual imprinting. I think the adult sexual behavior of people molested as children attests to it.

    • JayMan / Jan 19 2013 6:46 PM

      You can explain heterosexual disgust for homosexual behavior and homosexuals themselves without positing it a defense against viral infection. As another commenter pointed out, sodomy is associated with feces. (I wonder if there’s a correlation between homophobia and unwillingness, among men, to have anal sex with females?).

      Probably – among Whites at least, not among Blacks, I’d imagine. This weakens the association (since Blacks are far more homophobic than Whites).

      For another, it’s been pointed out by people wiser then I that male psychological development requires that a boy distance himself, psychologically, from his mother. Since homosexual men are feminized, it seems possible that gay men are unwelcome reminders of a man’s less masculine past.

      This sounds like Freudian wisdom to me. How about probably not…

      I assumed that if homosexuality were spread by a virus that infected the mother while pregnant, which was what GCochran suggested (I think), there would be some significant variance, but there wasn’t any. I think gay men were slightly more likely to have grown up in densely populated areas, while lesbians were significantly more likely to have grown up on farms, if that means anything.

      Interesting. The connection between urban living and male homosexuality is probably do to greater ease of transmission there. Can you retrieve your data for lesbians and farms?

      So, it sounds like there’s not much solid evidence for a pathogen either?

      It’s an issue of where there is no other explanation. None of the others fly.

      FWIW I do believe in sexual imprinting. I think the adult sexual behavior of people molested as children attests to it.

      See above. The evidence is very weak.

    • The Man Who Was . . . / Jan 20 2013 6:43 PM

      People do seem particularly disgusted with male-male anal intercourse, but they also dislike male-male kissing, oral sex and mutual masturbation. There seems to be a dislike of homosexual relationships in the abstract, not just when performing one particularly disgusting sex act.

  23. Mark / Jan 20 2013 12:31 PM

    “This sounds like Freudian wisdom to me. How about probably not…”

    It’s more folk than Freudian wisdom. Rites of passage into manhood are much more ubiquitous across societies than rites of passage into womanhood. The idea that boys who are raised by women have a need to prove themselves as men for this reason seems plausible. People who are X feel a stronger need to proclaim their X-ness in the presence of Y. A corollary would be the finding that, as the percentage of Muslims in a neighborhood goes up, their neighbors are more likely to self-identify as Christian, which a study out of Britain attested to.

    I guess this leaves me with two questions. First, what would be the evo-psych explanation for the development of rites of passage into manhood? Second, how does the pathogenic theory of homosexuality explain why men are more uncomfortable than women with the idea of homosexual men around their boys?

    “The connection between urban living and male homosexuality is probably do to greater ease of transmission there. Can you retrieve your data for lesbians and farms?”

    It could be, but it could also be that men raised in urban areas are more likely to come out of the closet than men raised in rural areas, for all the common-sense reasons that you can imagine. Without having a sense of what the pathogen is, you can make almost any data fit the theory. If the GSS had shown that gay men were more likely to have grown up on farms, then you could say that that was due to the pathogen being something that is carried by farm animals.

    I’m not rejecting the pathogenic theory out of hands by any means, though.

    “As far as I know, there is no evidence that sexual molestation causes anything, particularly anything regarding subsequent sexual behavior.”

    Here you go (and there’s plenty more):

    “Findings from the present study support the hypothesis that CSA [Childhood Sexual Abuse] may be uniquely related to CSB [Compulsive Sexual Behavior] symptoms, above other forms of child maltreatment, and indicate that men with a CSA history are likely to present more severe clinical comorbidities.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213412000774

    “Exposure to sexual abuse increased risks for the majority of outcomes including psychosis, affective, anxiety, substance abuse, and personality disorders. Rates of clinical disorders diagnosed in adulthood and childhood remained significantly higher among child sexual abuse cases. Older age at sexual abuse and those exposed to severe abuse involving penetration or multiple offenders were associated with greater risk for psychopathology.”

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213410002267

    “For abused women, significantly increased rates were observed for number of sexual partners, unhappy pregnancies, abortion, and sexually transmitted infections from age 18 to 21; with rates approaching those of nonabused over time. Conversely, for abused men rates were not significantly elevated in the youngest age period, but were for number of partners from age 26 to 32 and acquisition of herpes simplex virus type 2 from age 21 to 32. … While the profound early impact of CSA [Childhood Sexual Abuse] demonstrated for women appears to lessen with age, abused men appear to carry increased risks into adulthood.”

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213409000313

    • JayMan / Jan 20 2013 2:09 PM

      “As far as I know, there is no evidence that sexual molestation causes anything, particularly anything regarding subsequent sexual behavior.”

      Here you go (and there’s plenty more):

      And here’s the problem with this type of research:

      The first two studies look at populations of troubled people, self-reported abuse victims in the first case, and purposely sought out individuals with sexual “disorders” in the second. Do you think if we surveyed convicted killers, and found a fairly high incidence of child abuse among them, that this would serve of evidence of the causal role such abuse had in making them killers?

      In the case of the third study, while it took a much better tack of looking at representative population sample, finding connections between sexual abuse and, quite frankly, r-strategist sexual behavior is meaningless, for, as I said above:

      The tendency for child sexual abuse to co-vary with disturbed family backgrounds, other forms of abuse and possibly even victim characteristics, creates profound difficulties when it comes to interpreting correlational studies. This is particularly the case when examining long-term deleterious effects that could theoretically result from child sexual abuse itself, or from those other childhood traumas and disadvantages with which it is so often associated.

      In some cases, the adverse outcomes attributed to child sexual abuse may be related as much to the disrupted childhood backgrounds, in the context of which the abuse arose, as to the child sexual abuse itself. There are reports that poor family functioning may account for many of the apparent associations between a history of child sexual abuse and adult psychopathology.

      “Poor family functioning” being code for “poor quality DNA” in HBD’er parlance.

      Second, how does the pathogenic theory of homosexuality explain why men are more uncomfortable than women with the idea of homosexual men around their boys?

      Perhaps you’re asking the wrong question. Perhaps the question should be why are women less uncomfortable with the idea of homosexual men around their children (I’m not sure if it’s boys specifically or girls as well).

      Men are also more racist than women. I think it’s safe to say that men are more hostile to “the other” than are women. That that would be the cause with gays is not that surprising.

      It could be, but it could also be that men raised in urban areas are more likely to come out of the closet than men raised in rural areas, for all the common-sense reasons that you can imagine. Without having a sense of what the pathogen is, you can make almost any data fit the theory. If the GSS had shown that gay men were more likely to have grown up on farms, then you could say that that was due to the pathogen being something that is carried by farm animals.

      Quite possibly. Further study is definitely needed.

  24. Mark / Jan 20 2013 3:01 PM

    Re: Childhood sexual abuse–

    I apologize, I didn’t read the thread completely, or I wouldn’t have made you repeat yourself. I will admit that I believe that there is a causal connection between childhood sexual abuse and sexual compulsion as an adult because of my own experience with both. My sister, who was not abused, was a bit promiscuous in High School and college. She believed her promiscuity was influenced by our father’s decision to leave the family when we were children. But she was never sexually *compulsive* in the way that I was, despite having a more pathological profile overall. I think that difference between us is informative, however anecdotal.

    “Perhaps you’re asking the wrong question. Perhaps the question should be why are women less uncomfortable with the idea of homosexual men around their children (I’m not sure if it’s boys specifically or girls as well).”

    It’s the same question: Why would men and women express an evolved defense against the spread of a pathogen among their children to a different degree? It’s possible that the difference could be due to more “superficial” sex differences in personality. But it seems to me that, in general, women worry *more* about the fitness of their offspring than men, which would be in line with what evo-psych would predict, since women can potentially have far fewer children.

  25. marie / Jan 22 2013 12:01 AM

    RE: your previous post mentioning Jason Malloy’s look into the GSS data and the decline of the male homosexual.

    I was looking at mortality tables in the US for the major infectious pathogens before and after vaccines became available.

    The flu vaccine’s use grew widespread in the late ’80s-90s in the US. Maybe the decline in gay males is related to the increase in immunization against influenza.

    After all, they did determine that H1N1 caused an increase in cases of narcolepsy a couple of years ago.

    • JayMan / Jan 24 2013 10:46 AM

      I doubt the flu is the culprit. Influenza is so common that you’d expect homosexuality to be much more frequent than it is.

  26. marie / Jan 22 2013 12:48 AM

    I meant to provide this link with the above post:

    http://healthland.time.com/2011/08/23/the-curious-link-between-h1n1-flu-and-narcolepsy/

    At first, the increase in cases there was blamed on the H1N1 vaccine (of course, the vaccine crazies), but Dr. Minot of Stanford, the world’s foremost expert on narcolepsy, took off for Asia to investigate for himself, and he and his team concluded that the increase in cases was among those who hadn’t yet gotten any vaccine.

    Who knows just how many chronic pathologies are triggered by a flu virus. Too bad we don’t have any data about how many males in Canada/US born around 1915-1920 wound up gay ( the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic). If we did, we could compare that data to a comparable period of infants-toddlers in years not hit heavily by the flu.

    • m / Jan 22 2013 3:28 PM

      People suffering from narcolepsy have the same HLA type just as a high % of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers have a common HLA profile.

      Have there ever been studies that seek to find out if a high percentage of gay men have the same HLA? If so, that would surely point to an inherent susceptibility to something environmental.

    • JayMan / Jan 24 2013 10:45 AM

      Interesting. I’d have to say I don’t know. It seems that there is little research into the pathogenic model of human homosexuality.

    • m / Jan 25 2013 10:35 PM

      Okay, seems there’s new info on the H1N1 vaccine problem that contradicts what I posted above. In Sweden, a particular vaccine given in 2009 for the virus looks to have been responsible for sparking cases of narcolepsy. I was unaware of this so thought I’d add it:

      http://news.yahoo.com/insight-evidence-grows-narcolepsy-gsk-swine-flu-shot-070212916–finance.html

  27. James / Feb 7 2013 5:00 PM

    Perhaps sixth-graders’ hatred of children who wear spectacles also has an evolutionary explanation.

    • JayMan / Feb 12 2013 11:55 PM

      Strictly speaking (assuming that’s true) it does, since bullying has an obvious evolutionary explanation.

  28. g / Apr 21 2013 11:59 PM

    RE the flu….in all I’ve read by Cochran about homosexuality likely resulting from a pathogen, he has said the best bet is a common bug, one every child is exposed to, likely viral rather than bacterial. While there’s no reason it’s more likely to be influenza over other viruses, there’s no reason to rule it out either..so many strains and so many individual immunological responses to it exist that I see no plausible reason to rule it out–it could have that unfortunate side effect in approx.3% of the population.

    • Pat Boyle / Apr 22 2013 12:46 PM

      My hypothesis is that it is toxoplasma gondii. This is a very common parasite in humans. It is supposed to cycle between domestic cats and mice but it inadvertantly gets into other animals including humans. In sea otters, it kills them quickl;y. In humans it leads to a whole series of behavioral oddities including schizophrenia and bad driving.

      A woman with this infection could have the parasite migrate to the limbic system of her fetus at the critical period of sexual orientation development. The parasite is known to infect the human fetus. Since about one third of all Americans may be infected this is a plausible pathogen. Many parasites modify the sexual behavior of their hosts. I know of no viruses that do.

      Finally this is a real hypothesis not just an idle unproveable speculation. I have called for some time for someone to give the T. gondii test to mothers of gays. All should test positive. If not I’m wrong.

    • JayMan / Apr 26 2013 1:41 PM

      Possibly. I suspect it’s not the flu, but likely an unknown or poorly known agent.

  29. Patrick Boyle / Jan 5 2014 5:12 PM

    I made a video on this topic a few months ago before I discover that YouTube videos are not a very good way to get your ideas spread. I humbly submit that this video is the most sensible thing out there about homosexuality. It may very well be totally correct but it is certainly at least a plausible and falsifiable hypothesis.

    JayMan and others think that if it is a germ it is likely to be a poorly known one. I think this is exactly backwards. The numbers are wrong. Homosexuality is ubiquitous and relatively common. This argues that the infectious agent is also widespread and therefore likely to be well known.

    If it is an infection there are three or four possible agents. It could be a virus, a bacterium, a fungus or a parasite. By parasite we usually mean a larger protozoan or multicellular creature like a worm. I think a parasite is most likely because homosexuality is a condition defined by a change in the host’s sexual behavior. Internal parasites often manipulate their host’s sexual behavior. It’s very common. Viruses often manipulate their hosts’ sneezing behavior but not their sexual behavior.

    If the homosexual causing agent is a parasite then man is unlikely to be it’s definitive host. Humans simply do not shed parasite eggs often enough. Gay men often have ‘gay bowel disease’ in which they are full of intestinal parasites. That can’t be it. The facts just don’t fit. That kind of simple connection would have been discovered and cured decades ago if it had been true.

    It is likely that man is a parenthetic or intermediate or dead-end host. And that the parasite is common but is only harmful to us the host occasionally. This profile fits the toxoplasma gondii parasite.

    Also the t. gondii organism has been seen in the human hypothalamus and other sub-cortical structures. In its normal host, the mouse, it travels to the mouse’s sub-cortical brain structures and effects changes to modify the mouse’s behavior. We know that human homosexuals have had their hypothalamic INAH 3 nuclei reversed. My hypothesis is that this happens to some fetuses in the early second trimester.

    Watch the movie

    • JayMan / Jan 9 2014 4:11 PM

      @Patrick Boyle:

      Haven’t gotten the chance to watch the whole video yet, but when I do, I’ll tell you what I think.

      At the moment, I am disinclined to think it’s T. gondii. A virus is more likely. T. gondii has the dubious honor of being the best known pathogen that can alter behavior. That’s doesn’t mean that’s the culprit (that’s akin to looking for your lost keys under the street light at night).

      As well, I doubt the pathogen is passed from parent to child (or from sibling to sibling). There is no shared environment term in homosexuality, so this suggests family environment has little to do with it. An infection caught from non-family, quite possibly at school, may be the culprit.

    • Patrick Boyle / Jan 9 2014 6:22 PM

      I’m not a scientist and although I once worked on the War on Cancer, I’m not a medical researcher either. My work here is more like that of a criminal profiler. Such reasoning makes for plausible hypotheses, not scientific proof.

      If you ever do finish watching the whole video and even if you are completely won over by my reasoning – it won’t matter. For this discussion to be fruitful I need someone to simply test the mothers of homosexuals. If a significant number of them (say two or three) don’t test positive for the T. Gondii antigen – I’ll shut up.

  30. m / Jan 29 2014 10:24 PM

    “There is no shared environment term in homosexuality, so this suggests family environment has little to do with it. An infection caught from non-family, quite possibly at school, may be the culprit.”

    Jayman, there has been, according to Bailey, I do believe, evidence of some familial clustering. This is also borne out by anecdotal evidence. Talk to your gay friends and acquaintances and, at least from my experience, you’ll get several who’ll say, “My uncle or my great uncle so and so is/was gay.”

    Paul Ewald points out it’s not at all unusual for a pathogen to actually be carried and spread in an extended family (of course, they probably have a genetic susceptibility to said pathogen OR they have perhaps some familial custom/ habit/behavior that might be more likely to introduce them to the conditions whereby a certain pathogen can infect them.)

    • JayMan / Jan 29 2014 10:28 PM

      @m:

      Family clustering would be represented in the heritability term (which is low) or the shared environment term (which is 0). So that would be no.

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