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  2. Why Is It So? was an Australian TV show that ran for over 20 years. It was one of my favourites when I was a kid. It was hosted by Professor Julius Sumner Miller and demonstrated physics in a a fun way. The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) has collated a number of the funniest and entertaining segments. https://www.abc.net.au/science/features/whyisitso/ Enjoy!
  3. Thorn Wilde

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    I do understand that desire and that need. It's just that the scientific method doesn't work like that. You have to go into it as unbiased as humanly possible, and so far studies either attempt to prove that homosexuality is definitely genetic, or that it definitely isn't. Why does that have to be the answer? Wouldn't evidence that sexuality is fluid and that heterosexuality is no more natural or normal than homosexuality because both form part of a sexual continuum also serve the same purpose? And can't people's sexualities be hardwired without it necessarily being genetic? We're stuck in this loop where everyone is looking in the same place. They're all standing around the same box going, 'I'm sure the house keys are in here,' instead of spreading out and looking all over the house. Maybe the keys are on the table in the corner, hiding in plain sight, and nobody ever bothered looking. And, unfortunately, regardless of where the keys are, somebody will just sit down and say, 'There are no keys.' Even with empirical evidence right in front of their noses, people will ignore it if it suits their agenda (see climate change and vaccines, and then let's not get further into those in case it gets political). There will always be people who want to make gay people straight. And the idea that people are born either gay or straight is harmful to already marginalised groups. Not to mention that all of this research focuses more or less exclusively on gay cis men and doesn't take into account gay women (some of it being actively misogynistic by suggesting that female sexuality isn't on par with male sexuality, which, have you met any cis women?) or the existence of bi- and pansexuality (with some, as we see here, actively trying to prove that these sexualities don't actually exist), and nor does it bother to include the existence transgender or intersex people. And don't ask me to count the number of times I've been asked to just pick a team or been told, 'But you're gay/straight now cause you're dating someone of the same/opposite sex/gender.' Much the same way as I've been asked to pick a gender and been told that there are only two of them, which is also scientifically speaking demonstrably false (and much easier to disprove). This from members of the LGBTQ community as well as from straight people, by the way. We're all human. We all have to live on this planet and try to get along. And the far more important battle here is to impress that upon people, the fact that in the grand scheme of things none of this matters, and can't people just be allowed to be with who they want and be who they are? Something that both straight and LGTBQ folks would do well to consider. Isn't that more important than rooting around that same old box looking for keys you may never find?
  4. Rigby Taylor

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. It is important for same-sex-oriented people to know their sexual preference is not a choice, when society, laws, family and schools condemn them for 'choosing' to be gay, and try [sometimes violently] to change them back to heterosexuality. If there is irrefutable proof that our sexual identities are hard-wired in the womb, then such abuse will eventually cease. As you suggest, human sexual identity is a continuum from 100% same sex oriented to 100% opposite sex oriented, with every possible combination in between. When studying bisexuality, it seems the researchers did not take into account different environments that trigger sexual desire. In a mixed-sex environment, a guy might choose a female, whereas in a male-only environment [of which there used to be plenty until a few years ago] ...travelers, hunters, soldiers, sailors, deep sea fishing, prisons, work gangs, schools... men frequently formed sexual attachments to other males, that were also loving and long-term. Societies such as those of pre-European-invasion Papua New guinea, were examples where men married and bred with females, but lived and loved with males. It is an especially English disease to insist that everyone be to conform to a common behavioural norm, which is why the ex English colonies were the last western nations to decriminalise homosexual activity.
  5. Thorn Wilde

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    Ah, the book is as old as from 2005. This could explain why their views on bisexuality are so outdated. The second review you shared is interesting because it's so overwhelmingly negative towards the book. There are a couple of points in that review that are worth looking at: This paragraph suggests that both heterosexuality and homosexuality develop at some point during childhood. That is to say, that we are all born bisexual, or perhaps rather asexual, with preferences developing as we grow. This explains why heterosexuality is more common, because we all grow up in heteronormative environments, but in no way suggests that heterosexuality is in any way more natural or normal than homosexuality. Not saying this statement is true, but it's an interesting thought. Why are we so against the idea that social factors can, in fact, influence sexual orientation, in either direction? Sexuality can demonstrably be fluid. Many people change their sexual identities over the course of their lives. Many start out thinking of themselves as straight and later considering themselves gay, this is extremely normal. The opposite can also be true. Some then say, 'Oh, I was really gay/straight all along, I just thought I wasn't,' while others are perfectly comfortable with the idea that they were straight and then became gay, or vice versa. And people who consider themselves gay can fall in love with and be sexually attracted to a person of the opposite sex without changing their sexual identity. The problem is social pressure to change one's identity, not the fact that it happens. So there were studies at the time that concluded that people can in fact be attracted to both sexes, even if it did not conclude that this attraction can be equal. I believe there are many more recent surveys and studies that refute this and show that equal attraction is beyond possible and even common. A point that is not made here is that research geared towards bisexuality receives almost no funding whatsoever, so there are in fact very few studies at all. I can't recall the actual numbers, but I saw a statistic someone shared last Bisexual Day of Visibility, which showed that research geared towards male homosexuality receives many times as much funding as female homosexuality, and that both of those receive an outlandishly large amount of funding compared to bisexuality. This is puzzling since the B in LGBT is, in fact, the largest group under that umbrella. When a book like this then uses the lack of evidence that comes from the fact that hardly any studies are being performed as proof that bisexuality doesn't exist, I think vexation is a natural and appropriate reaction for those of us who identify as such. Of course, the problem with this review is that it too dogmatically presents a definitive answer to a complex question. I don't believe there is any such thing. And, as I've already stated earlier in the thread, I don't think it matters. Why is this so important? Why are we dying to know? Can't it just be a thing that is?
  6. Rigby Taylor

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    Apologies for omitting a link and for making you a tad wild; I have no desire to be a thorn in your side, I just thought the article interesting from the point of view of the causes of homosexuality. Here's the link to their book with a few reviews And another review of it. I'm very pleased you're a contented Bi, and agree with your contention that some people are equally turned on by both sexes.
  7. Thorn Wilde

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    Not necessarily, though. Many conclude that it's not genetic, but based on hormonal exposure in the womb. That makes it no less biological or innate, but it also doesn't make it genetic. I'm sorry, but hell no. 'Either one or the other but not both?' Guess I and every other bi person I know is a huge outlier, then! As if bisexual erasure isn't a big enough problem in our society already, now they're gonna try and come up with 'scientific proof' that we don't exist? Hell no. And where do trans people fit in here? What's their definition of straight and gay? Is it penis and vagina? Guessing they're going by primary sex characteristics here, like everyone else does. Poor gay man who falls for a trans dude, I guess. According to these people his boyfriend will never be able to turn him on. Since you didn't share a link I have no idea where the article you quoted came from or who the academics in question are, but I call bollocks. Guess what? My libido is not through the roof and I'm still bisexual! I still find both men and women and variations thereupon attractive! I still enjoy sex with each of these subsets of humans! I still fall in love with people regardless of which part of the gender spectrum they appear on and it has nothing to do with my libido. I can go months without craving sex with other people at all. This text so much simplifies the entire issue of sexuality that I can't understand where the scientific method has even been applied. Unless we're down to its most basic components, science never deals in absolutes. Ideology does. So I will respectfully request that those 'scientists' take their 'results' and go take a long walk off a short pier.
  8. Graeme

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    Twin studies are useful when analysing if something is genetic. If it's genetic, there should be a difference reported when comparing identitical twins with non-identical (fraternal) twins. Many years ago I read of one such study on homosexuality. While identical twins didn't always share the same sexual orientation (as @Thorn Wilde mentioned above), the percentage of identicial twins that did was much, much higher than for fraternal twins. From memory, the figures were something like 60% vs 10%. The obvious conclusion is that there is a genetic component to homosexuality, but there is something else involved, too. Since it's known that some genes are only active when triggered, the most likely answer is that homosexuality has a genetic component that only manifests when triggered. Some speculation is that the trigger occurs in the mother's womb, but that's still largely speculation. I think this one is the study I remember (with the percentages being 65% and 30% for identical vs fraternal twins). However, Wikipedia lists other studies with wildly different results. I'm still of the opinion that the twin studies show a genetic component to homosexuality, but there's no 'gay gene' per se that makes a person gay. It's much more complex than that.
  9. Rigby Taylor

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    Genetic plays in being gay, say authors Science has so far trodden carefully in the controversial debate about whether gays are born or made. Disparate pieces of evidence – such as homosexuality running in families, and identical twins having more similar sexual preferences than ordinary siblings – have long suggested that biology rather than upbringing shapes sexual preference. Now two researchers are throwing out the caveats in an attempt to "out" the bald scientific truth: we are born either straight or gay and nothing will makes us otherwise. In their book Born Gay: the Psychobiology of Sex Orientation , Glenn Wilson, reader in personality at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, and Qazi Rahman, a psychobiologist at the University of East London, declare that "the accumulation of evidence from independent laboratories across the world has shown that the biological differences between gay and straight people cannot be ignored . . . our sexual preference is a fundamental and immutable component of our human nature". Wilson and Rahman's account goes beyond whether there is a gay gene – there is no single gay gene, but genes do contribute – and considers the effect of sex hormones to which foetuses are exposed in the womb. The boldly titled book says the research leaves absolutely no room for parental or societal influence on this intimate trait. Children cannot be seduced or otherwise led into homosexuality and, however overbearing the mother or absent the father, no amount of poor parenting can waylay a child born to walk the path of heterosexuality. No serious, evidence-based scientist, they charge, would deny that sexual orientation is fixed at birth. The authors also speculate that we face an evolutionary future in which homosexuals become more prevalent. The genes that are implicated in gayness do not just influence sexual orientation – in low doses they might confer personality advantages to heterosexual men (such as making them loyal, empathic and considerate), turning them into attractive mates and thus propagating those genes further. Rahman says that his view of corrective therapies designed to turn gay men straight is simple – they will never work: "You just can't do it. If people suggest they can, I ask them, 'Can you turn someone from straight to gay? Show me the evidence'. But it's never going to happen, is it?" Andy Forrest, communications officer for Britain's Stonewall, a charity that campaigns for gay equality, says the book's central message rings true for most gays. "Most people I've come across say they've always been gay and that their upbringing has played no part in whether they are gay or not. They would say it's an innate part of who they are, not something they need to be 'cured' of." According to Wilson and Rahman the biological origin of sexual orientation means that discriminating against gays and lesbians is as justifiable as discriminating on the basis of eye colour or ethnicity. They have declined to reveal their own sexual orientations. So, why are some men born gay? Homosexuality tends to run in families, prompting a search for the so-called gay gene. In June biologists in Austria discovered fruit flies can be turned gay by altering a single gene. It is almost impossible that a single gene determining human sexual orientation exists: identical twins, who have identical genes, do not always have the same sexual preferences. But it points to genetic influence. "Gay men tend to have more gay brothers than straight men," Rahman says. "Heritability is thought to be around 30 to 40 per cent, which means that around 30 to 40 per cent of the variation in homosexuality is down to genes. Strictly speaking, it's better than zero (which would imply no role for genes) but that shows there's significant environmental variance." And this, Rahman says, is where a "massive misunderstanding of the concept of environment" comes into play. Studies have shown that the popular idea of environment – parental upbringing, peer norms, the family home, schooling – have no effect whatsoever. For example, the psychoanalytical idea that distant fathers or overbearing mothers sabotage their sons' sexual development is not borne out by evidence. Wilson and Rahman dismiss such theories as "beyond the pale of science". In conversation, Rahman is more brutal, dismissing "95 per cent of psychology as rubbish". Initial sexual experiences do not appear influential – one study showed boys educated at single-sex boarding schools, where early same-sex experiences are relatively commonplace, are no more likely to become gay than other boys. What about the seduction hypothesis? Men who, as boys, had gay encounters with men have reported that they already knew they were gay before the encounter. Adopted children of gay and lesbian parents are predominantly heterosexual. The missing environmental link, the authors argue, is the womb. This would fit with findings in the early '90 that the brains of gay and straight men differ slightly. Rahman explains: "We argue that genes produce differences in the brains of pre-straight and pre-gay foetuses and those differences might affect certain receptors in the brain that influence the activity of male sex hormones." Put simply, Wilson and Rahman suspect that some male foetuses absorb low amounts of testosterone in certain parts of the brain: full absorption is needed for full masculinisation. "In a foetus which has a genetic predisposition to be gay, these receptors are not as effective at soaking up testosterone. The result is that this slightly insensitive part of the brain follows the default development route, which is female." orientation – in low doses they might confer personality advantages to heterosexual men (such as making them loyal, empathic and considerate), turning them into attractive mates and thus propagating those genes further. Rahman says that his view of corrective therapies designed to turn gay men straight is simple – they will never work: "You just can't do it. If people suggest they can, I ask them, 'Can you turn someone from straight to gay? Show me the evidence'. But it's never going to happen, is it?" Andy Forrest, communications officer for Britain's Stonewall, a charity that campaigns for gay equality, says the book's central message rings true for most gays. "Most people I've come across say they've always been gay and that their upbringing has played no part in whether they are gay or not. They would say it's an innate part of who they are, not something they need to be 'cured' of." According to Wilson and Rahman the biological origin of sexual orientation means that discriminating against gays and lesbians is as justifiable as discriminating on the basis of eye colour or ethnicity. They have declined to reveal their own sexual orientations. So, why are some men born gay? Homosexuality tends to run in families, prompting a search for the so-called gay gene. In June biologists in Austria discovered fruit flies can be turned gay by altering a single gene. It is almost impossible that a single gene determining human sexual orientation exists: identical twins, who have identical genes, do not always have the same sexual preferences. But it points to genetic influence. "Gay men tend to have more gay brothers than straight men," Rahman says. "Heritability is thought to be around 30 to 40 per cent, which means that around 30 to 40 per cent of the variation in homosexuality is down to genes. Strictly speaking, it's better than zero (which would imply no role for genes) but that shows there's significant environmental variance." And this, Rahman says, is where a "massive misunderstanding of the concept of environment" comes into play. Studies have shown that the popular idea of environment – parental upbringing, peer norms, the family home, schooling – have no effect whatsoever. For example, the psychoanalytical idea that distant fathers or overbearing mothers sabotage their sons' sexual development is not borne out by evidence. Wilson and Rahman dismiss such theories as "beyond the pale of science". In conversation, Rahman is more brutal, dismissing "95 per cent of psychology as rubbish". Initial sexual experiences do not appear influential – one study showed boys educated at single-sex boarding schools, where early same-sex experiences are relatively commonplace, are no more likely to become gay than other boys. What about the seduction hypothesis? Men who, as boys, had gay encounters with men have reported that they already knew they were gay before the encounter. Adopted children of gay and lesbian parents are predominantly heterosexual. The missing environmental link, the authors argue, is the womb. This would fit with findings in the early '90 that the brains of gay and straight men differ slightly. Rahman explains: "We argue that genes produce differences in the brains of pre-straight and pre-gay foetuses and those differences might affect certain receptors in the brain that influence the activity of male sex hormones." Put simply, Wilson and Rahman suspect that some male foetuses absorb low amounts of testosterone in certain parts of the brain: full absorption is needed for full masculinisation. "In a foetus which has a genetic predisposition to be gay, these receptors are not as effective at soaking up testosterone. The result is that this slightly insensitive part of the brain follows the default development route, which is female." In other words, the neural circuit that promotes sexual desire towards women is never laid down; the result is a male who is attracted to other men. This also explains, the authors claim, why gay men show a "mosaic" of female-like and male-like cognitive traits. In their handling of language and in their spatial awareness, for example, gay men are more similar to women than to heterosexual men. As Rahman puts it, this makes gayness just one item in a package of traits hewn in the womb. In 2003 he showed that the startle response – how people respond to sudden noises – was different in gay and straight men. As this response is instinctive and cannot be learnt, it was viewed as further evidence that gay and straight men are neurologically different. Why should some male foetuses absorb less testosterone than others? It is possible, the researchers say, that there is a chemical battle between the mother and her foetus, much like the clash of blood types that can cause a mother to develop antibodies to her unborn child. The antibodies can stay in the blood and threaten future pregnancies. The idea that the womb environment may have consequences for future siblings is interesting because researchers have noted a sibling pattern among gay men called the "big brother effect". The more older brothers a man has, the more likely he is to be gay. It is possible that maternal antibodies developed in early pregnancies may cross the placenta in later pregnancies to disrupt testosterone absorption. Lesbianism may also be due to hormonal conditions in the womb (although scientists stress that lesbianism cannot always be examined as a direct parallel of male homosexuality – there is no "big sister effect", for example). "There's a protein in the womb that protects female foetuses from excessive exposure to male sex hormones," Rahman says. "Perhaps this protein doesn't kick in early enough in lesbians." Some brain circuits then follow the male development; a sexual preference for women may be a consequence. Lesbians show more male-like language production, which strengthens the theory of "neural sexual mosaicism". As for bisexuality, there is no biological evidence that some people are turned on equally by both sexes. Physiological studies show that self-declared bisexuals exposed to straight and gay erotica are aroused by either one or the other but not both. Academics suggest that bisexuals may be omnisexuals with libidos so high that the gender of the target doesn't matter.
  10. The Slow Mo Guys on YouTube show off the destruction of lots of things. It is a great big time suck... https://www.youtube.com/user/theslowmoguys How Fast Does Glass Crack?
  11. Thorn Wilde

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    Exactly. Seeing as records of lesbianism go back literally as far as written records go, it seems odd that there's so little scientific focus on female homosexuality compared to male homosexuality. Why aren't people interested? I read an interesting thing today about gay women in the military during WW2. Turns out that like more than half the women who served then were gay. Which makes sense, as straight women with husbands and children would have been less likely to enlist. It also turns out that this was an open secret, and that a lot of people wanted to root it out. But if they had they would have lost crucial combat personnel, including some of the most decorated members of the WAC, and so they left it be. An interesting piece of history, I think.
  12. Timothy M.

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    If it did mention daughters it was only the straight ones, ie the future mothers of (gay) men.
  13. Thorn Wilde

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    There are so many theories out there... You bring up an interesting point when you mention daughters. Next to no research like this is performed with regard to homosexual women. This goes for female sexuality in general, of course, but it becomes really obvious when you look at studies into homosexuality that don't even mention women other than as mothers of men. In all likelihood, the article you're referring to didn't mention daughters at all, since you can't remember it. Most of them don't.
  14. Timothy M.

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    I haven't read the article, but I doubt there is one gay gene. I would expect a complex of genes which can be expressed or not depending on circumstances (like the womb theory). I recall reading another article which looked at why male homosexuality persisted, assuming they did not have children (which of course plenty of closeted males do). One outcome was that females with high fertility (or is that fecundity?) had higher chances of producing both gay and straight sons, and perhaps also daughters carrying this trait (I can't remember if the latter was the case). The article didn't explain why, but simply put forth the connection, and I think it also discussed the evolutionary advantage. The theory went something like: it's good to have non-reproductive members in large families, because uncles (and aunts) will help with the off-spring of their brothers and sisters since this will ensure the continuation of the genes they themselves carry.
  15. Thorn Wilde

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    I should probably add that even if there's no 'gay gene', that doesn't mean that being gay is a choice or something that's not innate. There are many ways for something to be biological, or neurobiological, without it being genetic. We are far more biologically complex than our genes can properly account for.
  16. MichaelS36

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    Indeed. Humans seem to have this need to box everything and label it carefully. Many of us bemoan labels. Frankly, you can label me GAY, DOM, and SADIST. You can tattoo them on my forehead. I don't care. I will live my life my way. As should everyone. It is time to get over labels, and as you say help each other. So much time is wasted on finding out why, for things that do not matter. I'm sure we have better things to work on like our environment and poverty. Very thoughtful post, Thorn.
  17. Thorn Wilde

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    Oh, I'd also like to add that I know two sets of identical twins where one is straight as an arrow and the other is waaaay gay.
  18. Thorn Wilde

    Being Gay is Genetic.

    Hmm... I've read about things like this before. I've also read about the theory that homosexuality is caused by lack of androgens in the womb, and recently I read an article about some scientists who claimed that their AI could predict whether a person's gay or straight based on the shape and features of their faces (modern phrenology, basically). The article (from last January) refutes this claim. The problem with research like this is that there is no scientific consensus. People have claimed to have isolated a 'gay gene' before, and it's turned out to be bollocks. Another problem is that these studies are performed almost exclusively on male homosexuals. They exclude female homosexuality, which is just as prevalent, and explain absolutely nothing about bisexuality. Finally, there's the actual existence of intersex people to consider where, as it turns out, variation in sex chromosomes and genomes appears to have little to no impact on sexual orientation. Going by many other studies, this is demonstrably false. Only one of the cited studies to this claim is from the last decade, and it's become more and more common for men to identify as bisexual; far more than those who identify as homosexual. Heterosexual > bisexual > homosexual. Presumably this is because more 'straight' men are admitting to sexual attraction towards other men. Whatever the reason, the B in LGBT is by far the largest group, but also the one that receives the least amount of attention, research, and funding. Personally, I'd rather there was no gay gene. Consider the implication of selective abortions of gay foetuses, for instance, or further gatekeeping in the LGBTQIA community based on genetics in addition to everything else. Of course, what I want has no impact on reality, but I wish scientists would stop trying to figure out why people are gay, and instead focus on helping people
  19. Doing a project for my Psych course, and came across this Scientific Study: Genome-Wide Association Study of Male Sexual Orientation It's a very technical journal piece, but it does prove that Gay Men are genetically different from Heterosexual men. ____ Sanders, A. R., Beecham, G. W., Guo, S., Dawwood, K., Riegar, G., Badner, J. A., Gershon, E. S., Krishnappa, R. S., Kolundzija, A. B., Duan, J., MGS Collaberation, Gejman, P. V., Bailey, J. M., & Martin, E. R. (2017, December). Genome-Wide Association Study of Male Sexual Orientation. Scientific Reports, 7(Article Number: 16950 (2017)), . Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-15736-4
  20. "Live Long and Prosper" Does that mean we have to find Romulus next? They kind of go together in Star trek
  21. I totally missed this post yesterday. I blame being up for over 48 hours. That is friggin cool! They found an optimal planet in the same star system that Roddenberry used for Vulcan... If they don't name it Vulcan, they would have missed huge chance to be a huge geek!
  22. I figured @BHopper2 would have said something about this, given his love of Trek Maybe @W_L too?
  23. Yup. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/scientists-find-planet-vulcan-from-star-trek/ar-BBNxGv9?OCID=ansmsnnews11
  24. Pentagon's New Super Weapon Kinetic Bombardment (wikipedia)
  25. I've always been a fan of the rail-cannon. The USNavy has a fully functional system in sea trials. That can be adapted to space, as it's reactionless, and uses magnets to launch solid metal chunks. It would have the velocity that the ship was moving at, plus the additional speed from the launch cannon. It's also a staple of the SciFi genre.
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