Twins Studies and Homosexualty

[Ed’s Note: This one’s a bit lengthy so I’ve put some of it after the jump. I’ve also edited the links to be a tad more manageable. Click Read More to see all of it.]

Homosexuality has been the topic of much discussion here at SEB.  I’ve tried to avoid the discussion on whether homosexuality is a result of genetics or a lifestyle choice, and have focused primarily on providing my positions as to: 1) Why the legal strategy for the promotion of same-sex marriage was flawed; and 2) A legitimate refutation of Les’s challenge that opposition to same-sex marriage is always grounded in religion.  Those discussions always get intentionally sidetracked.  So, I have engaged on the subject.  That is the purpose of this thread.  Shelley has been kind enough to serve as my counterpart in this discussion.

I don’t intend to respond to all comments.  The idea is that the thread will be a coherent discussion between myself and Shelley.  With few exceptions as to Les, Elwed, Geekmom, zilch, patness, and Ufreker, other than Shelley, I won’t be addressing comments.  That is not because I think that the comments are not worth addressing.  It is simply because I’ve spent a considerable amount of time e-mailing back and forth with Shelley to set ground rules for the discussion so that there is a coherency to the thread as far as the order of discussion.  If you must have an response, e-mail me.

We have agreed to review in this thread the twin studies starting with J.M. Bailey’s 2000 study found here.PDF file  We will then discuss the Bearmam study found here.  I will likely discuss one other study that I will link later.

It is my position that there is no evidence to support the proposition that homosexuality is genetic.  In fact, the evidence indicates that homosexuality does not have a genetic basis.  In fairness, Shelley’s position is a bit broader than my position.  She believes that there is an interaction between the biological and environmental that results in homosexuality.  The difference in our focus being that Shelley’s biological basis encompasses events that possibly happen while a baby is in the uterus.  At Shelley’s request, we will move to other areas after we have finished with the twin studies.

As a backdrop to this discussion, I’m disclosing that a large part of the reason for my participation in this thread is that I have read so many statements alleged as scientific fact that are simply not true.  Before we start with the first study, I want to go through a few of those alleged facts.

It is often times stated that 10% of the population is gay and “everybody has that gay uncle.”  Everybody does not have a gay uncle, and 10% of the population is not gay.  It is widely regarded within the scientific community that the number of gay individuals is approximately 2-3%.  Shelley has kindly stated that:

I’ll stiuplate that the population of men who identify as homosexual is around 2.5-3%.

  The reason for the misconception about the size of the population is the result of an old study from 1948 done by Alfred Kinsey.  Kinsey’s study was severally flawed, but for a long time there has been no competing data.  So for decades people cited the Kinsey study.  Today we know better.  The more recent studies do not reflect a 10% figure for homosexuality and a 33% figure for homosexual sex.

There is no gay gene that we know of at this time.  It is possible that one could be discovered.  This would be the best evidence that homosexuality is innate.  The best evidence for an innate genetic basis for homosexuality in a single genetic marker has not been found.  Shelley has kindly stated:

I’ll stiuplate that the evidence for a single genetic marker for homosexuality is inconclusive.

What really prompted my inquiry into the twin studies was everybody kept quoting a concordance rate in a study of homosexual twins.  They kept telling me that there was a 52% concordance rate for homosexuality for identical male twins.  This was compelling evidence, or so they said.  Specifically, if I recall, zilch first said it to me here.

For those reading now, if you don’t know anything about concordance rates or twin studies, here is some background on these studies that might be helpful in understanding the discussion that will follow.

Identical twins (referred to in the studies as monozygotic) have the exact same genes.  Fraternal twins (referred to in the studies as dizygotic)  have roughly 50% of the same genes.  Other siblings also share roughly 50% of the same genes.  What is being referred to as a “concordance rate” in the studies is the rate for a trait that is shared by the twins.  In the studies on homosexuality, the studies are attempting to identify the percentage of identical twins that are both homosexual.  The studies also look at the percentage of fraternal twins that are homosexual and the number of other siblings that are homosexual.

When a twin study is done, it assumes that the environment in which twins are raised is nearly identical.  The assumption is a big one, but it certainly makes sense to attempt to control for the environment to try and parse out what is genetic.  The thinking goes that if there is a difference between the concordance rate for homosexuality in identical twins and fraternal twins, then this is evidence that there is some genetic component to homosexuality.  Although attempting to control for the environment between the identical twins, one of the difficulties is that the studies aren’t able to account for the fact that families, friends, and society at large may be treating identical twins more alike than fraternal twins.  We will do comparisons with some of the other study groups to evaluate what role that may play in concordance rates and the conclusions that can be fairly drawn.

It is important to note that if the concordance rate is less than 100%, then environmental factors must be exerting some influence.  When Shelley says that we don’t see Mendialian heritability for homosexuality she is saying that there are other factors than genetics involved with homosexuality.  In other words, before we even begin the twin studies, if the 52% was an accurate gauge to use (which it is not), we know that homosexuality is deeply rooted in environmental factors.  In defense of Shelley’s position, in utero biological factors would be considered as a contributing environmental factor for causation. However, I believe that we will cover some material that raises some grave questions about the biological hypothesis.  I’ll raise that issue when appropriate.

Another thing that the reader needs to know is how the concordance rates are being reported. There is pairwise concordance and there is proband concordance.  It is possible for both members of a twin pair in a twin study to be probands, in which case that pair would appear twice in the study results.  An example—if there is a sample of 3 pairs of twins and in 1 of those pairs both members are diagnosed with condition X then according to the pairwise method the concordance rate would be 1/3 or 33%, but according to the proband-wise method the rate would be 2/4 or 50%.  It is safe to assume that proband reporting will net larger %s than pairband reporting.

We will also discuss sample populations used.  Whole textbook could be written on, and several have, sample groups.  In simple words, what you put into the pie determines whether you get apple, pecan or pumpkin.  So, we will look at how the sample groups for the studies were put together. 

My specific criticism of the Bailey and Pillard study, from which the 52% number is drawn, will be posted after I have heard from Shelley that she has reviewed this post and had the opportunity to comment should she want to.  We have agreed to spend time on this thread as time permits, which may mean that there is a long delay between posts.  Nothing other than the participants have competing demands upon their time is to be inferred from a failure to respond to the last comment within 24-48 hours. 

Les is Going to Hell for Blogging

There has been an exciting turn of events for hardcore Christian trolls that may have visited this site.  You may now take solace that Les Jenkins is most assuredly going to rot in hell.  How do I know this you say?  Well, apart from being all-knowing like Darryl, God has said so.  I think. Or maybe it was the Restored Church of God, which is just like God said so.  I think.

The Internet—and more specifically blogs—has enabled everyone to have a voice on any matter. Now everyone’s thoughts are “published” for all to see. Whether or not it is effective, as soon as something is posted the person has a larger voice. It often makes the blogger feel good or makes him feel as if his opinion counts—when it is mostly mindless blather!

Here is the definition of a blog from a highly popular blog provider: “A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world. Your blog is whatever you want it to be. There are millions of them, in all shapes and sizes, and there are no real rules…blogs have…enabled millions of people to have a voice” (emphasis ours).

Ask yourself, “Do I have a tendency to want to have a voice?”

Well, we know Les certainly wants to have a voice.  And that is most assuredly damning since we live in the 7th era of something or other, which of course is the last era before….before…. before Les goes to Hell.

Perhaps the largest problem with blogs is they cater to one’s vanity. Human beings are naturally self-centered and proud, and young people are certainly no exception! Note how the Bible describes this generation: “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up” (Prov. 30:12-13).

If you post mundane details of your life, you are in effect saying that your life is important and that people should read about it. Also, whether or not you admit it, having a blog with your name, your picture and your opinions strokes the human ego—it lifts you up. It essentially advertises the self! Many teenagers say, “Listen to me, world, and what I have to say,” when they should be focused on changing and cleaning up their lives.

If you blog, are you sure you do not partially enjoy it because your carnal nature is inclined toward vanity?

Well, for shame on you Les.  That story about the ink spot, it was all about Vanity.  We know now.  For shame, for shame.

In this time when people exhibit the least amount of character in history, there is more communication than ever before. Much of this is simply blathering on blogs—mindless words and idle communication. Blogs can be summed up as people talking about almost anything, but really nothing. There is no purpose to much of the contents—no direction.

Look at what the Bible says about idle words: “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt. 12:36). Who would want to give account to God about how many hours a day he rambled on

I’ve read the posts here.  Much blathering.  Much.  More evidence that Hell awaits for Les.

Now some of you may be feeling rather smug about your salvation, but not so fast there buckaroos.  You too could be headed for hell:

Let me emphasize that no one—including adults—should have a blog or personal website (unless it is for legitimate business purposes).

When this policy, now being instituted, was discussed with Mr. Pack and other Headquarters ministers, there was not a shadow of doubt in anyone’s mind that blogs are something youth should not be doing in any way.

As has been said before, Jesus Christ and His Church have standards. Those who desire fewer standards should go to the splinters or to the world.

Quotes from: http://www.thercg.org/youth/articles/0403-bagy.html
 

Big Brother Has A British Accent.

I’ve addressed,  tangentially, hate laws and attempts to criminalize “hate” speech.  The danger of such laws has now become crystal clear in Great Britain. 

The man at issue is Stephen Green.  Mr. Green is the Director of Christian Voice.  He has said some outlandish things.  He has said some outright dumb things.  See this press release.

Nevertheless, it is my belief that Mr. Green gets to say whatever he wants as long as he does not slander any one individual or impede a lawful assembly or engage in disorderly conduct while speaking.  Apparently that is not the case in Britain.  Britain has passed a law that criminalizes ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.’  The problems with such a law should be readily apparent from the reading of it.

What did Stephen Green do that brought forth the wrath of the South Wales police?  Well, he didn’t engage in disorderly conduct.  He distributed leaflets at a parade that was promoting tolerance.  The leaflets “were headed Same-Sex Love – Same-Sex Sex: What does the Bible Say?, and included a series of quotations from the 1611 King James Bible.” – [Daily Mail article]

(I note that zilch, one of regular posters here, has stated that of the Bibles, the King James is the “most beautiful.”)

Organizers for the parade have refused comment.  [Pink News article] Mr. Green has pled “not guilty” to the charges.

Laws such as the one in Britain criminalize thought and speech.  They make political correctness the law of the land.  They also make otherwise legal behavior, distributing leaflets and quoting centuries old literature, illegal. At least, they do make such actions illegal when done in conjunction by an unpopular personality.

I find it difficult to believe that he would be found guilty.  But that really isn’t the point.  Nobody should face prosecution for their thoughts, and nobody, except in exceptional circumstances such as inciting a riot, should ever be faced with prosecution for saying what they think. 

The Lesson

Any guesses on how the terror ploy was foiled by the British?  It’s one word Intelligence.

All I could think about yesterday was how grateful I was that the British discovered the plot and intercepted the terrorists before they could kill hundreds, if not thousands of innocents.  The next thought was that the British were obviously tracking money, calls, e-mails, and travel of the terrorists to figure out the network of insanity.  Turns out the British were doing such things, in conjunction with the U.S. and Pakistan.  British antiterrorism chief Peter Clarke said at a news conference that the plot was foiled because “a large number of people” had been under surveillance, with police monitoring spending, travel and communications.”

As I was thinking about all the intelligence work that must have been done to get to the point of arresting 24 people in Britain and 5 in Pakistan (at least 2 were arrested about a week ago) I thought about the cries of civil liberties here at home.  I understand the concerns.  I’m even sympathetic to those concerns.  Yet, the world is different than it was 30 years ago.  The fact that most men now have the passing thought about mustering up the courage to fight a takeover of the plane while boarding a plane is but one example of this.

We need intelligence.  To get that,  data mining is necessary.  I do not understand why that lesson has not been learned.

Same Sex Marriage Reached A Crescendo In The Courts

In the heady times following the Massuchusettes ruling allowing same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage activists thought the corner had been turned for their cause.  They were very much mistaken though.  The latest blow to their cause came this week when the New York courts ruled that there is not a fundamental right to same-sex marriage.  This is especially troubling for same-sex marriage advocates, because New York is a deep-blue state and the courts there are seen as “progressive.”

The New York case results from suit brought by 44 couples denied marriage licenses in various municipalities in New York.  The plaintiffs brought suit claiming that the failure to issue a marriage license to them to marry another of the same gender violated the due process clause and equal protection clause of the New York Constitution.  The clauses have been given more expansive readings than similar provisions in the U.S. Consitution, which is part of the reason suit was brought.  The New York High Court, joining Arizona, New Jersey and Indiana, rejected the claim.

At the time of this writing, twenty states have constitutional amendments explicitly barring the recognition of same-sex marriage, confining civil marriage to a legal union between a man and a woman. Forty-three states have statutes defining marriage to two persons of the opposite-sex.  Most of the constitutional amendments have been in reaction to the Massachusettes decision.  This comports with public opinion polls reflecting roughly 60-40 against recognition of same-sex marriages.

It appears that the courts will let this play out in the state legislatures from coast to coast.  I agree with the courts.  If one looks at traditional due process rights, the right to marry is fundamental.  The right to same-sex marriage is not, as even those legal scholars in favor of gay marriage will admit .  If the activists want to obtain same-sex marriage rights for same-sex couples then they must win over the public, rather than try to force feed them. 

There is only one other state in the country that might allow same-sex marriage.  The battle in the courts is largely over.  The activists jumped the gun.  As a result of running to the courts instead of winning over the public, same-sex advocates face nearly insurmountable hurdles to achieve their desired goals.  This result is a direct outccome of a belief that it is an “us against them fight”  mentality.  So much for we will break the door down tactics.

Negligent Counseling?

Negligent Counseling

In McKinney, Texas a jury recently deadlocked in a case involving a woman who severed her 10 month old daughter’s arms and left her to bleed to death, while she went to go listen to a hymn.  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11568174/

The obvious plea from the woman was insanity.  Here is a short synopsis of her behavior.

Dr. William Reid had testified that people close to Schlosser had missed obvious signs of severe mental illness.

Schlosser’s husband, John Schlosser, said he wasn’t alarmed when his wife said after church the day before the killing that she wanted to “give the baby to God.” He said she appeared normal after he calmed her down, and he thought her mental condition had improved over the previous few months.

The summer before Maggie died, Schlosser abandoned Maggie and her other two children by running away from the family’s apartment. She was found two miles away by Plano police and released from a hospital less than 24 hours later.

The Schlosser family went several times a week to the Water of Life Church. The pastor, Doyle Davidson, testified that he believes mental illness is possession by demons and only God can cure it.

Dena Schlosser, who was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis after Maggie’s birth, didn’t take medication or see a doctor in the four months before the killing.

After her arrest, Dena Schlosser was diagnosed with manic depression and declared mentally incompetent to stand trial.

The part that got my ire up was the pastor testifying that he believed mental illness was caused by possession and that only God could cure it.  It is unclear whether the family was going to church services or whether the family was seeing the pastor for counseling.  If the pastor was seeing the family for counseling, I believe the father of the little girl should seek additional justice by filing a wrongful death claim based on clergy malpractice.

If the pastor held himself out to be a counselor that could address concerns of mental illness, then he should be held to the standard of care that a reasonable counselor would be held to, his religious beliefs notwithstanding.  Under such a standard, I believe it likely that his failure to refer, recommend, consult or otherwise involve qualified medical personnel in the treatment of this woman would violate the standard of a reasonable counselor.  In addition, his failure to refer the mother, could serve as a breach of ficuciary duty not to the mother or the father, whose beliefs may or may not have been in conformity with the pastor, but to the little girl that lost her life as a result of the negligence, again assuming the family was involved in counseling. 

There are many grounds for the pastor to defend on, and a First Amendment defense stands a reasonable chance of being successful in preventing the suit from even going to trial.  Nonetheless, socking it to the congregations by forcing them to fork over the costs of defending expensive lawsuits does teach a lesson.  Don’t get quacks that think that all illness is caused by the devil or you won’t get to build a community center.

Ending the Myth of Horus

[Editor’s Note: It was my intent to have a reply ready before posting this, but I’ve found myself putting it off due to a busy weekend so I’m going to go ahead and post it as is. I’ll address it properly in the comments as soon as I have the opportunity though I’m sure there are several regulars who will probably be more than capable of addressing it first.]


I’ve heard repeated here several times that Horus, an Egyptian god, is carbon copy of Jesus.  The obvious implication by those that have made this statement is that Jesus is a copycat version of an earlier Egyptian deity.  The purpose of this entry is to disembowel that proposition once and for all.

When I first heard that Horus was the inspiration for Jesus several years ago, I didn’t give it much credence because I couldn’t establish any source material for the claims.  I still can’t, but the internet is as adept at allowing anybody and everybody to pass on misinformation.

Upon further research, I’ve concluded that this theory originated with Gerald Massey, an English poet, born 1828, died 1927.  He published primarily poems, but had an interest in Egypt.  He parlayed that interest in Egypt into several books and lectures in which he set forth the proposition that Horus was in essence the first Jesus, and Jesus was a cheap imitation.  The primary basis for his writing is the Egyptian Book of the Dead.  This is available on-line and you can easily look it up to read it yourself.  Be forewarned that forced reading of this would be an extremely efficient form of torture.

It should be noted that Massey’s actual proposition was that Jesus was a copycat from more than just Horus.  According to Massey, Jesus was a compilation of an innumerable number of Egyptian deities.  There were over 2,000 deities who had every human and godlike characteristic one can think of, excepting Superman’s power to stop a speeding bullet.

Since Massey, there is a dearth of anybody with any credentials that has adopted a straight Horus=Jesus theory.  There is a one individual that has adopted some of Massey’s thoughts and incorporated them into a book-The Christ Conspiracy.  This appears to be the basis for the claims that I see.  The author is Acharya S.  Her website is http://www.truthbeknown.com I note that Richard Price, a noted Christ Myther, and one that I take much more seriously then Acharya, said the following:

“Those of use who uphold any version of the controversial Christ Myth theory find ourselves immediately the object not just of criticism, but even of ridicule. And it causes us chagrin to be lumped together with certain writers with whom we share the Christ Myth butt little else…..

His other criticism, like mine, is that she uses very dated sources (19th Century) who were in Price’s words “eccentrics, freethinkers, and theosophists.”

Les, I am using your post from 1/3/05 as an example of the claims because you carry more credibility than most. That said here are the claims and what I have found:

Claim #1-Horus and Jesus are born from a virgin.

Horus’s mother is Isis.  Isis was married to Osiris.  We do not know for what length of time, but presumably the marriage was consummated.  Whether it was or wasn’t doesn’t matter though.  After Osiris is killed, Isis puts him back together again (he was hacked into 14 pieces) except for his penis which was tossed in a river or a lake.  Iris fashions a substitute penis for him, humps him and here comes Horus.  There is nothing virginal about that.

Claim #2-Both Horus and Jesus were born to a Mary and Joseph. (Seb)

As noted Isis is Horus’s mother’s name not Mary.  In addition, Seb is not Horus’s father, Osiris is.  Seb is Osiris’s father.  Further, Seb is a distinct name from Joseph.  Putting them side by side does not make them synonyms, and that appears to be what was done here.

Claim #3-Both were born of royal descent.

This is accurate.

Claim #4-Both births were announced by angels and witnessed by shepherds.

I can find nothing that mentions that the birth of Horus was announced by an angel or witnessed by shepherds.  I have found that Horus was born in a swamp, which is a pretty unlikely place for shepherds.  In addition Acharya mentions that Horus was born in a cave.  Massey makes no mention of this, although he does represent that Mithra was born in a cave.

Claim #5-Both were heralded by stars and angels.

There is no star that heralded Horus’s birth nor is there any angel announcing it.  Archarya in a footnote in The Origins of Christianity indicates that that there are three stars named the three kings in Orion and then relates this to the birth of Jesus.  When we look to the stories regarding Horus, we find no star or angel announcing his birth.  To the extent that Acharya S relies upon Massey and Massey relies upon what is depicted in the panels at Luxor see (from an atheist) further regarding virgin birth and pronouncement by angels http://www.frontline-apologetics.com/carrier_luxor_inscription.htm

Claim #6-Both had later visitors (Horus-3 deities and Jesus-3 wisemen.)

There is no indication that there ever were 3 wisemen.  The bible never mentions the number of wisemen, nor is there any document that reflects 3 deities at the birth of Horus.  See the website referenced in Claim #5.

Claim #7-Both had murder plots against them.

There is mention that Seth did want to kill Horus, and Herod wanted to kill Jesus.  so this is accurate.

Claim#8-Both came of age at 12, were baptized and their baptizers were executed.

There is no indication that Horus was preaching in a temple when he was 12.  In fact, Massey indicates that Hours the child was depicted as a “weakling.”  That doesn’t jive with story of Jesus preaching in the temple.  Again this appears to have been a confabulation from Acharya and repeated by others.

Horus was never baptized in any of the Horus stories.  In addition, Acharya mentions that John the Baptist is actually Anup the Baptizer.  This individual is never mentioned anywhere in any Horus account.  There is not even a footnote in Archaya’s on-line work The Origins of Christianity to support this.  There is nothing.

Claim #9-Both had 12 disciples.

According to the Horus accounts, Horus had four semi-gods that were followers.  There is some indication of 16 human followers and an unknown number of blacksmiths that went into battle with him.  Horus did not have 12 disciples. Jesus reportedly did.  Acharya failed to give a footnote to support this.

Massey points to a mural in the Book of Hades in which there are twelve reapers.  Horus is not present in this scene.  For Massey to make this connection he goes to a different scene within the same mural.  In this scene there is a picture of a god whose name is the Master of Joy.  Horus is never depicted although in other murals the artists do depict Horus.  Had the artists ascribed 12 reapers in any relation to Horus all they had to do was put Horus at the scene.  They did not.

Claim #10-Both walked on water.

Horus didn’t, or at least there is no record that I can find that he did.  Massey does not maintain that Hours did.  Massey uses wild conjecture to connect the story of fish man, Oannes, not Horus, to Jesus.  Oannes came out of the sea during the day, and went back into the sea at night.  Massey makes the two analogous because by his calculations, Jesus walked on water during the day.

As to Acharya, she as usual provides nothing to substantiate this.

Claim #11-Both performed miracles.

This is true although the miracles were different in scope and nature.

Claim #12 Both exorcised demons and raised Lazarus.

The actual claim is that Horus raised Osiris from the dead and that the name Osiris morphed to Lazarus.  It doesn’t matter because Horus did not bring Osiris back to life.  There is no mention of this in any document regarding the story.  Horus did avenge Osiris’s death, but that did not raise Osiris from the dead.

Claim #13-Both held a Sermon on the Mount; both were transfigured on a mountain, died by crucifixion along with two thieves and were buried in tombs where they paid a quick visit to Hell and then rose from the dead after 3 days time, both resurrections were witness by women, and both will supposedly reign for 1,000 years in the Millennium.

These are the most damning claims if they were proven true in my opinion.  Yet, I can locate none of this.  No sermon, no transfiguration, certainly no crucifixion w/ two thieves, no trip to hell and no resurrection.  There was an incident in which Horus was torn to pieces and Iris requested the crocodile god to fish him out of the water he was tossed into, which was done, but that’s it.  I am at a loss to refute this because I can not find anything to support it.

Massey does compares a story about the Autumn Equinox related to Osiris, not Horus, as the symbolic crucifixion.  There is no indication that Horus is involved in any way.  There is no mention by Massey of any Sermon on the Mount.  No mention or any actual crucifixion, no two thieves, no burial in a tomb.  Massey does not maintain that anything of the sort occurred with Horus.

In short, of the claims outlined in this entry, I find the comparison between Horus and Jesus to consist of the following: they were of royal descent, they allegedly worked miracles and there were murder plots against them.