Posts Tagged As: Fratenal Birth Order
December 1st, 2008
In January of 2008, Andrew Francis, an assistant economics professor at Emory University, released a paper in which he sought to apply analysis to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (“Add Health”). His results are published in the October 2008 Journal of Sex Research and have gotten some attention from those who follow the nature / nurture debate.
His abstract includes the following:
For men, I find that having one older brother does not raise the likelihood of homosexuality. Although having multiple older brothers has a positive coefficient, it is not significant. Moreover, having any older sisters lowers the likelihood of homosexual or bisexual identity.
Unfortunately, I am neither a statistician nor am I able to fully comprehend his methodology or make heads or tails of his charts. I will leave that to those better skilled than I.
But I do have some observations that cause me to be reluctant to quickly accept Francis’ assertions.
Bias: I do have concern about Francis’ motivations. In August 2007 he released a paper in which he applied economic theory to sexual behavior and HIV and declared:
I present evidence that AIDS causes some men to shift from homosexual to heterosexual behavior, whereas AIDS causes some women to shift from heterosexual to homosexual behavior. Thus, sexual behavior may respond to incentives. I consider alternative hypotheses, including biological theories of sexual orientation and stigma-related survey bias, and argue that they are unlikely to explain the results.
In a paper written in March of this year, he proposed that a 1 to 2 year incarceration be the penalty for intentionally or unknowingly transmitting HIV. And while I find that paper to be troubling, he also released a paper in October that suggested that increased social tolerance towards homosexuality causes a statistical decrease in HIV infection rates.
So please note that I am not accusing Mr. Francis of bigotry; he’s not Paul Cameron.
But behind all of Mr. Francis’ work is the assumption that sexual behavior is malleable – at least on the edges – and it’s strongly implied that orientation (what Francis calls “desire”) is as well. So it should be greeted with caution that he has released a study that confirms what he has been presuming to be true for at least a year.
Contradictory: The most important question to ask of any study is, “Does this make sense”.
While it is entirely possible for ‘common knowledge’ to be completely wrong and for research to be a tool that overthrows myth and supposition, it doesn’t overthrow mathematics or logic. And Francis’ results reveal ‘findings’ that are hard to fathom.
Francis measures sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and two measures of sexual identity: not entirely heterosexual and not even close to heterosexual. But in Francis’ model these are often contradictory and in ways that are difficult to rationalize.
For example, being raised by a single dad has no material effect on sexual desire or sexual behavior but it is a positive indicator on identity. Say huh?
Yep. Boys raised by a single father are more likely to identify as gay but they aren’t attracted to the same sex or doing anything about it.
And a few other things he found… discoveries that will certainly delight some folks who have notions about classes and races.
Young black men are more attracted to guys and are having more sex, but (except for the nelly ones) they deny being anything but 100% straight. And if a boy is more educated, he’s more likely you are to declare himself gay (while remaining virginal), while blue-collar “straight” studs are out there humping like rabbits.
Frankly, that’s a worldview that is best left to porn.
Where it all falls apart for me is in the comparison of desire and identity.
I can get that there might be some demographic that expresses desire and romantic attraction to other men but cannot or will not identify as other than heterosexual. But it makes no sense whatsoever for a study to claim that there are four demographic subgroups that are more likely to identify as gay but aren’t attracted to the same sex.
Conclusion: You can measure the credibility of a research by whether their declarations of discovery are well supported by the data.
But consider this doozy:
Given the complexity of the empirical relationship between sexual orientation and the biodemographic and other correlates, it is likely that both biological and social mechanisms may play a role.
Wait. Social mechanisms? When, oh when, did the data address social mechanisms? The closest he gets is looking at college education.
But in Francis’ assumptions, if there’s no older brother effect then it’s likely that social mechanisms may play a role. Yikes.
I don’t know whether there is adequate evidence to conclusively prove whether there is a fraternal birth order effect in male sexual orientation. And I’ll let those who are more knowledgeable tell us if this model is conducted properly.
But I think I’ve seen enough to know that I’ll not place much reliance on this paper.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.