Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Anti-Gay Lies

Active links at original post: http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/03/antigay_lies.php#more


Alain's Newsletter is, much like the Worldnutdaily, home to a variety of religious right loonies. But this essay by someone named Jean Valjean Vandruff may take the cake. It's a virtual cesspool of ignorance capped off by one giant whopper of a lie:

Is homosexuality an inborn behavior? A few years ago, Dr. Simon LeVay, a homosexual, made a discovery - that a brain cell cluster (neuron group INAH3) is smaller in homosexuals than in heterosexuals. He stated, "This small brain cluster 'causes' homosexuality; therefore, it is natural."
This is made up out of thin air, a blatant lie. Not only did LeVay not say what is attributed to him, he went well out of his way to say that his study could not confirm such a conclusion. Here is his study, and this is what he says about it:


The discovery that the nucleus differs in size between heterosexual and homosexual men illustrates that sexual orientation in humans is amenable to study at the biological level, and this discovery opens the door to studies of neurotransmitters or receptors that might be involved in regulating this aspect of personality. Further interpretation of the results of this study must be considered speculative. In particular, the results do not allow one to decide if the size of INAH 3 in an individual is the cause or consequence of that individual's sexual orientation, or if the size of INAH 3 and sexual orientation covary under the influence of some third, unidentified variable. In rats, however, that sexual dimorphism of the apparently comparable hypothalmic nucleus, the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area, (SDN-POA) (16), arises as a consequence of the dependence of its constituent neurons on circulating androgen during a perinatal sensitive period (17). After this period, even extreme interventions, such as castration, have little effect on the size of the nucleus. Furthermore, even among normal male rats there is a variablity in the size of SDN-POA that is strongly correlated with the amount of male-typical sexual behavior shown by the animals (18). Although the validity of the comparison between species is uncertain, it seems more likely that in humans, too, the size of INAH 3 is established early in life and later influences sexual behavior than that the reverse is true. In this connection it would be of interest to establish when the neurons composing INAH 3 are generated and when they differentiate into a dimorphic nucleus.
Compare what he actually said to what Vandruff falsely claims he said. LeVay was a careful scientist and he did not engage in overdue speculation. He gave reasons why one conclusion seemed more likely and suggested how further research might confirm or disconfirm that conclusion. Mr. Vandruff is simply pulling false statements out of his posterior region and distorting the truth in order to make his case.

He goes on to quote Paul Cameron's thoroughly discredited "statistics" about gay men living 30 years less than straight men and to actually claim that the INAH 3 size differential is caused by homosexuality because the Bible says that God "gave them over to a reprobate mind", and "reprobate mind" apparently means "brain with enlarged hypothalamus region". You can't make up arguments that stupid if you tried. Just more fevered idiocy from ignorant bigots.

Update: Wow, if you thought the author was an idiot, check out the forums and see what some of the readers are like. We're talking epic stupidity.



Posted by Ed Brayton at 04:36 PM

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