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Are people born gay? Show more Show less

Few scientific questions generate as much intrigue and political turmoil as the origins of sexual orientation. Is there a clear genetic or hormonal link to sexual orientation that indicates gay people are, in the words of Lady Gaga, "Born This Way"? Can we ever know if same-sex attraction is determined before birth? Is this a question that should even be asked?

Yes, people are born gay Show more Show less

Various studies have found a direct link between genetics and homosexuality.
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The fraternal birth effect

The more older brothers you have, the higher the likelihood of you being attracted to members of the same sex.

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Misleading Health Warning

Context

Studies indicate that the more older brothers you have, the more likely you are to be born gay.[1]

The Argument

For every older brother someone has, they have a 33% greater chance of being gay. However, this does not apply to adopted siblings.[2] The linear correlation between fraternal births and homosexuality indicates that there are genetic or hormonal impacts that dictate a child’s sexual orientation.

Counter arguments

If this argument were true, then as family sizes decrease, the number of gay people should also drop. It would also suggest that in places like China, which adopted a one-child policy, the number of homosexuals would drastically decrease. This has not happened. The number of gay people in society has remained stable despite family sizes decreasing significantly.

Framing

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Premises

[P1] There is a direct link between the number of older brothers you have and the likelihood of being gay. [P2] This link is not visible in adopted siblings. [P3] Adopted siblings have the same upbringing but different genetics. [P4] Therefore, the causes of same-sex attraction is genetic. [P5] Therefore, people are born gay.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P4] If this was the case then as family sizes decrease, so would the number of gay people.

Proponents

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Further Reading

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References

  1. http://www.pnas.org/content/103/28/10771.long
  2. http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/ajp.153.1.27

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 13 Feb 2020 at 12:36 UTC