Your a-f analysis misses one important point. What if even before the selection process starts, people applying for roles as a priest are heavily biased towards gays?

Consider this situation - a gay person grows up in a Catholic environment. There is a cultural expectation that you will get married and have kids. Said gay person can't stand the thought of sex with a member of the opposite sex, and so takes the only culturally acceptable role available which avoids that fate - to become a celibate priest.

This modifies "c" above - gays may be a small fraction of men, but they are likely a much higher percentage of those applying for the priesthood.

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yeah as everyone knows, young boys DON'T have a penis or testicles. You are a fucking moron left wing nut gay propagandist. grow up.straight men DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH THE SAME SEX. Look up what HOMOSEXUAL means in the dictionary, has NOTHING to do with AGE of participants you moron. Straight men molest GIRLS they are hairless AND have the correct equipment. You and your gay agenda annoys me.

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I have long suspected that having a gay son might be to provide a backup foster parent for a woman's grandchildren should one of her daughters die in childbirth. Death in childbirth was a major cause of female death in historic and prehistoric times. The average number of descendants each person had was 2, each woman had 2, each man had 2. This was the average number, some had more (the alpha males), some had fewer (the alpha male want-to-bes). We know the average number was 2 because the population was stable and did not reach astronomic levels over evolutionary time.

Having a gay son who increases the survival of your daughter's children is a better reproductive bet than having a straight alpha male want-to-be who gets killed the first time he fights an alpha male for females. A gay man won't fight over females, he won't die in childbirth. As a male, he is big and strong enough to fight the new alpha male who wants to kill his sister's children by the former alpha male. If the gay brother has a gay partner, the two of them could defend against essentially any single straight alpha male attacking them.

What I find especially interesting about this idea is that because a gay man only has reproductive success by the successful parenting of his sister's children, “good parenting genes” should become linked with the “gay genes”. If so, this may explain the “queer eye for the straight guy” effect, where the stereotype of gay men is that they are much better home makers than straight men.

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Just as lumping male heterosexuality and female heterosexuality together as a unified "heterosexuality" is likely to mislead, so also is considering "homosexuality" as a whole.

Stereotypes of lesbians belong as much to the "farmer" category as the "forager" category: hard-working, stolid, desirous of the thick-walled SUV or truck parked in a stand-alone house with a fence around it. Like gay men, gay women escape to the city, and absorb some non-traditionalness and cosmopolitanness, but these are accidental consequences of city life rather than attractive features in and of themselves.


As regards sexual orientation and genetic inheritance, women on the mother's side of a gay man's family tree tend to have more offspring than women on the mother's side of a straight man's family tree: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/...

Thus there could be genetic material that in women increases fertility and in men increases the probability of homosexuality. These alleles may be on balance fitness-promoting: your female descendants (and you yourself if you're female) have more progeny at the expense of a small increase in the probability that your male progeny will have a reduced interest in mating with females.

There are also myriad ways in which male homosexuality might be "overshooting" from fitness-enhancing strategies. I recall hearing of some fish with a dimorphism among males -- some males are power-strategists, who try to outcompete other males for access to females by being more powerful, while other males are subtlety-strategists, who try to slip in to inseminate females while the power-strategists are duking it out. In human males, large, strong, masculine-featured men may be like the power-strategists, while smaller, slighter, more androgynous- or neonetic-featured men may be like the subtlety-strategists -- the artists and musicians who befriend women and whom women "let their guard down" around. Male homosexuals may to some extent be results of overshooting subtlety-strategists.

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The author seems to be comparing apples with oranges. First he compares the rate of abusers (the 4%) with the rate of abuse (the 10%) but each abuser is probably abusing more than one person during their life so thats a nonsense comparison.

Second the comparison that is important to us is whether catholic preists abuse children under their influence more than a similar group like prodestant preists or for if we want to go further - scout masters or teachers. Because there is no attempt made to record asults at home by family members in the first set of data (the catholic preists) and that is probably the largest part of the second set (general sexual child abuse).

I am more interested in the statement by Ernie Allen so not saying that it is not true - just that the evidence is far from robust.

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This seem a bizarrely weak argument to emphasize. If a) straight men don’t molest boys, b) straight men molest as much as gays, c) gays are a small fraction of men, d) priests have contact with similar numbers of girls and boys, and e) priest selection and monitoring treat gays and straights alike, then it is hard to see how f) 80% of victims could be boys. Surely something in the process favored gay molestation.

That quotation is, honestly, one of the most poorly reasoned paragraphs I've read on OB. It makes numerous unjustified assumptions:

* That gendered sexual interest expressed toward other adults -- which is generally what people mean by "gay" and "straigt" -- translates to the same gendered interest in prepubescents. It doesn't, and publications since have confirmed the finding. So, the meaning of (a) depends on a false assumption. * That "boys" is a useful category for sexual interest without further dividing the "boys" into prepubescent and postpubescent. See "terminology" in this document. There's a big difference between interest in postpubescent minor boys and prepubescent boys. * That the distribution of boys and girls priests work with is balanced. While <a allowing female altar servers is common, the historical prohibition should lead to the presumption that numbers are probably still skewed heavily in favor of males. The burden of proof is on (d) that there is balance. * Point (e) is outright contradicted by the Catholic Church's policy on gays in the clergy. Perhaps you were thinking of the Anglican Church's policy?

Also, I have to side with other comments about the gay = forager link (which is already tenuous and heavier on stereotyping than real evidence) relationship to the molestation question.

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Hmm. As I said, my original source was dodgy, but I found some other, more reliable statistics that seem to contradict your claim here:


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Much of this can be found in the microcosm of the family, especially those that have some up by the boot straps financial success. Especially the traditional immigrant story.

First generation arrives in America - freed from the constraints their old homes put on their economic lives, they work their fingers to the bone, and are successful.

Second generation absorbs some of the "farmer" like traits from mom and dad, but also begin to take the success and freedom for granted. They see the "farmer" values and traditions as restrictions.

Third generation see the contradiction between their parents' dichotomy of "farmer" and "forager" values, and completely toss out the traditional since they don't see the underlying value in the traditions.

First generation was unequal in many ways but they would never have dreamed of divorce, unwed mothers, etc.

Second generation only sees the lack of rights, etc. none of the value of long term commitment, etc. Divorce rates rise, families start to disintegrate.

Third generation accepts the fragmented family as normal. Birth rates fall, starter marriages are considered normal, and so on.

All the traits of a pendulum swinging, never finding any balance. The most fortunate in any society are those born in the second generation since they benefit from the stability of the first generation, but they are also seeing the loosening up of the truly restrictive traits of their society. Third generation is a train wreck. The enlightened few look to their grandparents and try to mimic them. Everyone else watches reality TV, and reads Malcolm Gladwell.

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To what degree do you think "forager" features are neotenic features?

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Let me be the third in this list of comments to endorse the idea that Professor Hanson should enlarge his conceptual repertoire by reading Berkeley historian Yuri Slezkine's 2004 book The Jewish Century. Slezkine argues that the 21st Century economy makes traditional Ashkenazi Jewish traits such as literacy and numeracy, scholarship, self-assertiveness, and the like more valuable than other culture's traits that made for good farmers or soldiers.Thus, for example, Jews make up about 35% of the 2009 Forbes 400.

Perhaps Dr. Hanson will be able to fit this within his forager/farmer framework?

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Are you making some kind of group-selection argument? I'm also reminded of the finding that more "traditional" societies have less gendered difference in personalities.

My guess is that there is a large fitness effect because there is so much adaptive work going into making people heterosexual. That combined with the gender dysmorphia makes it sound more like some switch getting flipped (or more accurately since we are female by default and there are roughly twice as many male as female gays, a switch that didn't flip).

Your argument about larger populations also reminds me of the "mutational load" theory of homosexuality: 1% is a high frequency for a single maladaptive mutation but not surprisingly high if any of a larger number of mutations can cause it. And Cochran's book is mostly about how larger populations means more mutations (though his bottom-line is that natural selection speeds up).

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On hunter-gatherers, many Amerindian societies had same-sex marriage, whether they were farmers or foragers (though many of their foragers were ex-farmers, thanks to the Spanish introduction of horses). In Siberian cultures, attraction towards members of your own sex was taken as an indicator of prospective shaman status. And so on.

As for reducing reproductive fitness, how much does it actually? It may reduce the propensity to have children, but it demonstrably does not eliminate it -- plenty of homosexuals have had children. This would affect the mathematical dynamics.

Also, surely the patterns of same-sex attraction and orientation are too stable for a germ theory to make sense. As it happens, I am dubious about homosexuality having a direct genetic basis. I think it is far more likely to have a "second order" one. Hence my point about any urban-rural difference being likely the result of stronger sorting processes in larger populations. Since humans tend to select on the basis of matching cognitive traits, this would tend, over time, to lead to a convergence of cognitive traits between men and women. A process stronger in larger populations (the urban/rural difference). The most through form of "convergence" is (1) becoming sexual oriented in a way which converges with most typical of the other sex (i.e. same-sex attracted) and (2) being cognitively like the other sex (i.e. transgender/gender dysmorphia). So, the bigger the population, the larger the tendency to produce same-sex attraction or gender dysmorphia. There is plenty of research evidence that homosexuals tend to be cognitively "cross-matched" (i.e. have cognitive traits more typical of the other sex): i.e. the blokey dykes and queenie guys effect.

Ironically, to the extent that homosexuality does retard reproductive fitness (and surely it does to some extent), it would therefore tend to be a barrier to full convergence in cognitive traits between men and women. Since there is an argument that a key advantage homo sapiens had over neathanderthals was homo sapiens having more differentiated male-female roles (the men hunted, the women gathered allowing more effective specialisation -- comparative advantage anyone?) perhaps there was selection in favour of mechanisms which blocked convergence in cognitive traits.

So, far from homosexuality "confusing" male/female, perhaps it helped keep them more cognitively distinct.

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I didn't see the relevance of the pathogenic theory, and I was worried I had enough hyperlinks to trip a spam filter in my original comment.

Lorenzo, I've also heard disputes about hunter-gatherers. Cochran's point about urban-rural from what I recall was not based on current residence but on where they reported being raised. His criteria for rejecting an explanation as genetic is if it 1: seriously reduces fitness 2: has been around for a long time and 3: has a frequency above one percent of the population. He allows exceptions in the cases of conditions like sickle-cell anemia which are somewhat recent adaptations to a very fitness reducing infection. In reading some of his arguments I find the claim that all such protective mutations show a simple Mendelian inheritance pattern (unlike homosexuality), but I don't recall him giving a theoretical reason why we should expect that to be the case.

Michael Bishop, I think you meant to comment on the previous post, as there is no survey mentioned here.

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Cochrane makes claims that are not true: for example, that there is no homosexuality in hunter-gatherer societies. Similarly, the notion that a condition which discourages offspring could not be genetic shows a very weak understanding of genetics. It could easily be a recessive by-product of traits selected for other reasons. While his claims that homosexuality is more common in urban than rural environments is both more empirically contestable than he seems to realise (gays tend to flee to the city and are less likely to declare themselves in the country) and compatible with a genetic by-product explanation, since larger populations will tend to result in stronger sorting patterns in matings.

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Yes, that is correct. Paedophilia is a separate pathology from one's adult sexual orientation. Indeed, heterosexual paedophiles tend to go for younger boys than do homosexual paedophiles, since the younger boys lack the male features the heterosexual paedophiles are not attracted to.

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Finding good comparative statistics is hard. In the Boston Globe's book on clerical abuse (which I review here) Anson Shupe is quoted to the effect of the lack of Protestant equivalents -- in either serial predators or them being protected by the Church establishment.

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