Monday, June 15, 2009

The Gay-Roman-Emperor Gene

An odd bit of evidence against the theory that sexual orientation is a fixed variable, more or less constant across populations, with a genetic origin, evenly distributed amongst the various strata and occupations of society:
I was reading Gibbon, and was struck by his wry little footnote where he reflects that of the first fifteen Roman Emperors, "Claudius was the only one whose taste in love was entirely correct." Even if we assume that Kinsey's inflated "one in ten" statistic is accurate, we should only expect that 1.3 of these men would be homosexual/bisexual in his inclinations. Two would be within normal statistical deviation, three would be a little odd but perhaps explicable if we theorized that the Claudians were carrying a male homosexuality gene, but twelve of thirteen does seem a little improbable.
Perhaps the numbers could be trimmed a little. We could assume the Julius Ceasar's alleged carryings-on with a certain foreign King were just scandal cooked up by his detractors. We might admit that Augustus was subject to similar scurrility. With Tiberius and Caligula, however, their sexual proclivities are well substantiated; Nero married male eunuchs on two occasions; Trajan's male lovers were widely known, and Hadrian had his favourite, Antinous, deified. Even if we go out of our way to doubt the evidence of bisexuality amongst Roman Emperors, it has to be admitted that at least fifty percent of them were involved in same-sex relationships.
Which means that the cause of their same-sex attractions was not inborn. It was not the result of social ostracism during their formative years. It was not caused by the uterine environment. The only possible reasonable hypothesis is to conclude that their same-sex interests were caused by cultural and environmental factors -- by the availability of handsome youths interested in a bit of political prostitution, by the social ideals surrounding homosexuality in high Roman society, by the privileges of imperial power, and so on. Not by DNA.

8 comments:

  1. You can verify with APA:
    APA revises 'gay gene' theory - “Gay gene” theory dealt a knockout punch.
    Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 5/14/2009 6:30:00 AM
    The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" -- meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are born that way.

    For decades, the APA has not considered homosexuality a psychological disorder, while other professionals in the field consider it to be a "gender-identity" problem. But the new statement, which appears in a brochure called "Answers to Your Questions for a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality," states the following:
    "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...."
    That contrasts with the APA's statement in 1998: "There is considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person's sexuality."

    Peter LaBarbera, who heads Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, believes the more recent statement is an important admission because it undermines a popular theory.

    "People need to understand that the 'gay gene' theory has been one of the biggest propaganda boons of the homosexual movement over the last 10 [or] 15 years," he points out. "Studies show that if people think that people are born homosexual they're much less likely to resist the gay agenda."

    Matt Barber with Liberty Counsel feels the pronouncement may have something to do with saving face. "Well, I think here the American Psychological Association is finally trying to restore some credibility that they've lost over the years by having become a clearly political organization as opposed to an objective, scientific organization," he states.

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  2. Thank you for your bluntness on a topic that admits very little unpressured truth,

    a priest of the Catholic Church

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  3. Totally agree with your conclusion. It is also notable that after the fall of Rome the Eastern Roman Byzantine Emperors and the new barbarian kings are not known for their homosexual practices; precisely because the Christian culture had gained ascendancy and its culture redirected the predilections of those in power.

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  4. So by the argument presented here, there was a higher precendence of hemophilia in European royalty because they *chose* to be hemophiliacs?

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  5. you forgot the rest of the sentence, did you find that bit too uncomfortable...

    "...both play complex roles;
    most people experience little or no sense of
    choice about their sexual orientation."

    It does you little credit to misrepresent others as the APA states that whatever the origins of sexual orientation, choice is not an option for most and so IS a "fixed variable"

    Every conclusion you draw after that is therefore false, but you knew that anyway.

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  6. If there's no so homosexual gene, therefor there's no heterosexual gene either. The sole point of heterosexuality is breeding purpose. Why a man and a woman would stay together if one of them is infertile. If it's a matter of choice, why a man who don't want children would continue to stay with a woman, why not go with a man. Same thing for a woman who don't or can't have children, why not go with a woman instead? It always been shown that a woman and a man together have more opinion divergence than two persons of same sex together. This is why women tend to have other women friends, men have other men friends. I'm a bit confused at all this energy used to find "where homosexuality come from", when this energy could be use at better thing. We live in a world where there's far more bigger threat than homosexuality.

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  7. I just discovered this blog and I'm planning to follow. Just a comment on genes: while there is no proof of genetic causation of homosexual orientation, that fact should not be taken to prove that there is no genetic predisposition toward it.

    Further, while the story of the Roman Emperors does not logically prove that genetics played no part, it at least strongly suggests that a culture (or subculture) in which homosexual activity is tolerated, even expected, is likely to lead to homosexual behavior by men who in other cultural settings would refrain from it.

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  8. This is true and it's nice to hear the truth instead of the constant lies. It's also one reason why, in England at least, homosexual culture consists largely of upper middle class white males. Unfortunately the government does also.

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