Skip to comments.Natural homophobes? Evolutionary psychology and antigay attitudes
Posted on 07/28/2012 10:16:55 PM PDT by Maelstorm
Consider this a warning: the theory Im about to describe is likely to boil untold liters of blood and prompt mountains of angry fists to clench in revolt. Its the bestthe kindestof you out there likely to get the most upset, too. Id like to think of myself as being in that category, at least, and these are the types of visceral, illogical reactions I admittedly experienced in my initial reading of this theory. But thats just the non-scientist in me flaring up, which, on occasion, it embarrassingly does. Otherwise, I must say upfront, the theory makes a considerable deal of sense to me.
The work in question dates back to 1995-1996 and involves a four-paper exchange published in Ethology and Sociobiology. It is a dialogue between two influential evolutionary psychologistsGordon Gallup of SUNY-Albany, whose work on human sexuality Ive covered before, and British psychologist John Archer of the University of Central Lancashire. Their primary debate is about whether or not peoples aversion to homosexuality (colloquially called "homophobia," although both authors acknowledge that this is a misnomer because it is more a negative attitude towards this demographic than it is fear) is a product of natural selection or, alternatively, a culturally constructed, transmitted bias. That this discussion ended in 1996, and not a single study to my knowledge has sought to disentangle the various knots in both scientists positions, is revealing in its own right, and probably reflective of shifts in the social zeitgeist since then.
As Archer notes, most evolutionary research on homosexuality involves trying to locate its fringe gene-enhancing benefits. This homosexuality-is-adaptive-too approach complements a growing tolerance for gay individuals, such as, happily, myself. Gallup comes at things from a very different angle, instead asking why there is such disdain for gay people to begin with andalthough cultures may vary in their relative degree of tolerance or practice of homosexual behaviorswhy no cultures actually endorse exclusive, lifelong same-sex relationships.
The Gallup-Archer debate hinges on a multi-study empirical report by Gallup. In it, he aims to test his hypothesis that negative attitudes toward homosexuals is a function of parents implicit concerns that their childrens sexual orientation is malleable. Formulated originally with Susan Suarez in 1983, Gallups idea involves the following central prediction:
So-called homophobic reactions should be proportional to the extent to which the homosexual [is] in a position that might provide extended contact with children and/or would allow the person to influence a childs emerging sexuality.
Remember, adaptive behavior is behavior that simply favors genetic replication. So just as being cuckolded results in maladaptive, unprofitable parental investment in someone elses biological offspring, gay offspringeven your own biological childare less likely to reproduce, and are likewise genetically costly. There are caveats. Just as a stepchild can contribute to ones genetic success in indirect, non-reproductive waysfor example, by helping to raise your younger biological offspring, their half-siblingsgay offspring can do the same. But Gallups is an all-else-being-equal argument, and it makes sense in strictly biological terms. "In its simplest form," he clarifies, "parents who showed a concern for their childs sexual orientation may have left more descendants than those who were indifferent."
Gallups position rests on a set of assumptions about the development of sexual orientation, assumptions that are in fact challenged by Archer. Well get to Archers criticisms eventually, as well as Gallups responses to them. But first, lets have a look at how Gallup went about testing his hypothesis that homophobia stems from unconscious, gene-driven, parental concerns.
In his first of four studies, Gallup administered a survey to 167 self-identified straight undergraduate studentsmales and femalesa survey designed to gauge the students "degree of discomfort" in interacting with homosexuals who held different jobs. Importantly, these occupations varied along one dimension: the extent to which the job entailed interaction with children. Included were nine sample occupationsthree that afforded a high degree of contact with kids (teacher, school bus driver, medical doctor) and six that provided moderate to low contact (lawyer, construction worker, bank teller, pilot, mechanic, sales clerk). As predicted, the degree of discomfort was significantly correlated with the likelihood that persons in these categories would come into contact with children.
Intriguingly, hypothetical gay medical doctors elicited the most discomfort among the participants, an unexpected finding that Gallup sought to better understand in his second study. "There are at least two ways to interpret the greater discomfort expressed by respondents concerning homosexual doctors," he writes:
One possibility is that medical doctors have privileged access to childrens genitals in the context of conducting routine medical examinations, and therefore might be perceived as posing a more serious threat to a childs developing sexuality. An interesting alternative interpretation concerns the prospect of contracting [HIV] from a homosexual doctor through nonsexual modes of transmission (e.g., blood, hypodermic needles).
In the second study, all of the characters were doctors of various kinds, physicians varying in the extent to which they would have intimate contact with children (pediatrician, child psychiatrist, general practitioner, cardiologist, brain surgeon, gerontologist). When left uninformed about the doctors sexual orientation, participants expressed the most discomfort about the prospect of interacting with those who had "invasive" techniques, such as the brain surgeon. But the picture changed dramatically when they were told the doctor was gay. Contrary to the HIV-exposure hypothesis, which should have produced little to no differences in attitudes toward the different gay doctors, it was the opportunity for intimate contact with children that correlated with discomfort. The participants were significantly less comfortable about the idea of interacting with gay pediatricians and general physicians than they were for the other types of gay doctors. In fact, gay brain surgeons, associated readily with infectious material, elicited the least aversion.
Gallups third study was even more revealing. Imagine, undergraduate participants were told, that you had a son or a daughter, either an 8-year-old or a 21-year-old, who was invited to spend the night at a friends house. On a scale of 1 ("not at all upset") to 4 ("very upset"), how upset you would be, as a parent of this hypothetical child, to learn that the friends mother or father was gay? The participants expressed most concern when their imaginary younger child was exposed to same-sex homosexual parents (young sons being around the friends gay father; young daughters being around the friends gay mother). This was especially pronounced (mean concern = 3.3) for male participants thinking about their imaginary eight-year-old son (compared to 2.3 at the thought of him being around a lesbian). These very same male participants didnt seem to mind the prospect of their 21-year-old son being exposed to their friends lesbian mother (1.6), or even for this older imaginary son spending the night around their friends gay dad (2.3). So, the participants homophobia didnt seem to be moralistically generalized to the "gay lifestyle" but instead it emerged specifically in terms of their folk beliefs about childrens sexual impressionability.
Gallups final study replicated his basic findings with a broader sample. Nearly two hundred people from the Albany area, varying along a wide range of demographics (age, sex, religiosity, education, number of gay friends) were polled on a "Homosexual Reproductive Threat Scale." Participants responded to statements such as, "I would feel uncomfortable if I learned that my daughters teacher was a lesbian," "I would feel uncomfortable if I learned that my neighbor was a homosexual," and so on. As you might expect, variables such as sex (males being more negative) and religiosity predicted homophobia. But parental status was independently correlated with negative attitudes to gays and lesbians, too; and this effect was especially salient for the males in the survey. Fathers with young children were the most homophobic.
A year after Gallup published his theory of homophobia, Archer critiqued it in the same journal. "I shall argue," he writes, "that there is perhaps too great a willingness to assume that the sorts of human behavior with which we are familiar today can necessarily be viewed in adaptive terms." Archer rightly notes, in fact, that the best predictor of adult sexual orientation is gender nonconforming behavior in early childhood. So Gallups central position that homosexuality occurs via "seduction" of (especially male) children is flawed. Rather, says Archer, "the link between pedophiles and male homosexuals is one that has been encouraged by media depictions of all those with nonheterosexual orientations as deviant."
Not so fast, Gallup reacts to this media conspiracy claim:
Although the incidence of heterosexual pedophiles exceeds that of homosexual pedophiles by a factor of about two to one, individuals in the population at large with a heterosexual orientation outnumber those with a homosexual orientation by about 20 to 1. Thus, although there are fewer homosexual than heterosexual pedophiles, the proportion of homosexual pedophiles is considerably higher than that of heterosexual pedophiles. Homosexual pedophiles also tend to be highly promiscuous. [In 1987], the mean number of victims of heterosexual pedophiles was 19.8, whereas among homosexual pedophiles the average number of victims was 150.2. Because they have more victims, homosexual pedophiles have a correspondingly greater likelihood of being apprehended, and this might account for their disproportionate representation among those arrested for sex crimes.
Furthemore, Gallup never claims that being seduced by a gay pedophile is the only path to homosexuality, nor thatobviously"turning gay" is an inevitable outcome of being molested by an adult of the same sex. Instead, he argues, in the ancestral past, such developmental experiences would have led to statistically more homosexuality outcomes than would the absence of such encounters, and thus there was a selection bias for homophobia, apparently exacerbated by becoming a parent.
Recent evidence offers some support for Gallups model: menbut not womenwho were sexually abused as children by same-sex adults are more likely than non-abused males to have homosexual relationships as grownups. Most researchers believe that there is something like a "sexual imprinting" process that occurs in early development, which may help to explain this, as well as fetishism and paraphilias. Note also that some of the most virulent homophobia today can be found on the playgrounds, which is consistent with the sexual imprinting model. Children and teens stubborn reluctance towards tolerating gays and lesbians may itself be an adaptive proscription orienting them away from same-sex experimentation. Gallup points to data showing that boys whose first masturbation experiences are around other boys are more likely to be homosexual as adults than are those who are alone.
Archer favors an alternative evolutionary theory of xenophobia (hatred of outgroup members) to account for Gallups findings. Gays, he argues, have been homogenized into stereotypical pedophiles because of media biases, just as racist British people refer to anyone of certain Asian originwhether from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, or Pakistanas "Pakis." Xenophobia would have been an adaptive strategy in the ancestral past, says Archer, given the ever-present threat of social dissidence within groups and also the invasion of other groups.
But, replies Gallup, this still doesnt explain the data in hand. "How can xenophobia," he counters, "account for the fact that college students who have yet to become parents feel more uncomfortable about the prospect of being in the presence of a homosexual teacher than a homosexual construction worker or airline pilot? Similarly, how would an appeal to xenophobia explain the fact that students report feeling more uncomfortable about the prospect of being in the presence of a homosexual pediatrician or general practitioner than a homosexual brain surgeon?"
And this, as I mentioned, is pretty much where the debate ends. Ive revived this fifteen-year-old discussion in the hopes that it might spark new research. Gallups work is intriguing, his theory sound. Yet his studies are imperfect, the data remain un-replicated, public attitudes have changed (dramatically, in the US) and other cultures may differ in response to homophobia manipulations. One thing that is important to keep in mind, however, is that societal changes in attitudes toward homosexuals may not mirror peoples implicit biases. Todays answers may very much sound like the voice of gay-friendly 2011 but, as any social psychologist knows, you cant always trust what people tell you as reflecting their private attitudes. (They may not even be aware of these themselves.) So researchers today would have to be very clever in probing for what have rapidly become socially inappropriate feelings.
Sometimes, science can be exceedingly rudeunpalatable, even. The rare batch of data, especially from the psychological sciences, can abruptly expose a societys hypocrisies and capital delusions, all the ugly little seams in a culturally valued fable. I have always had a special affection for those scientists like Gallup who, in investigating highly charged subject matter, operate without curtseying to the court of public opinion. And, before anyone does so, what an absurd, spineless suggestion for science to refrain from engaging in any intellectual inquiry, from exploring theoretical possibilities, because we fear what we may learn about ourselves. Its the devils we dont know that we have the most to fear. That Gallups ideas could be championed by antisocial conservatives to promote further intolerance against gays is inevitable, perhaps; but if its any consolation, it should also have them doing a bit of navel-gazing, seeing that their hatred is just an artifact of their godlessly evolved minds.
Read it and then check out his latest latest jab Chikfila and Sarah Palin. What can I say a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut but is still blind.
I don't fear them.......simply disgusted.
I also don't think that pedophilia is a nut that has fallen far from the homosexual tree....courtesy of Dan Savage, a frequent White House visitor.
About time that they share this with us, too bad for military age males, many of them will be thrown out and sent to jail for their reactions in coming years.
more and more it seems that getting a post-graduate college education turns you into a moron when it comes to human nature.
“Simple question, why is my disgust for homosexual behavior a phobia to begin with?
I don’t fear them.......simply disgusted.”
They disgust me and I disgust them. Nothing new.
“... his theory sound. Yet his studies are imperfect.”
I agree with the review. Year One was horrible.
In the provided scenarios I could make an example such as:
My son is invited over to a neighbor's house to play with their son, where, unknown to me, my son see their son kill kittens for fun.
The new logic being, if disgusted by this behavior, I have a phobia.
The rational mind is easily molded into contemporary form.
Thanks for confirming that disgust is a healthy reaction to that which is abhorrent.
It’s good he’s honest about the incredibly high percentage of child abusers among homosexuals. But normal folks (and civilized homosexuals) don’t want homosexuals around children, not just because parents are afraid of their sons being turned queer, and therefore childless, by the experience of being abused. It’s that they don’t want to see children abducted and murdereda nasty habit of homosexual pederasts he doesn’t mention.
Yes, but the “phobia” takes it from reasoned debate to questioning your motives (subconscious motives at that!).
Islamophobia. Another PR move. Instead of debate, those concerned about Sharia law in the U.S. (oh and those beheading homosexuals overseas) are now ‘phobic.’
Where’s Christophobia? Need to hire a PR firm to start getting MSM types to call any Christian bashing a phobia.
Most are exhibitionist as seen the such thing as their parades...beyond hope of being decent humans. Those that live their lives like everyone else and stay out of peoples faces are not the problem, its the scum of both sexes that piss off most people...
a death sentence for rapers of children will sent a bunch back into the closet (their term) not mine. It also ticks me off that the msm uses the term molested in relation to those that rape boys....call them what they are rapists...no better than those that rape female children...
It’s establishing a ‘new normal.’ MSM via TV and movies overloads ‘gay’ characters, presenting them only in a positive light. Any negatives and there are bans and protests.
Excellent, well put and simple.
The Truth is like that.
They just chalk it up to the decadent west = Satan and we’re on the way to collapse.
The real goal for ‘gay marriage’ is gay couples can walk into any church in America. If the church refuses to marry them, the church loses its tax exempt status.
Basically, EVERY church in the U.S. will have to accept ‘gay marriage’ or be shut down.
That’s the whole ‘civil rights’ talk — co-opting that history, yes, but also setting up the lawsuits.
At some point Bibles will be banned from public schools for containing ‘hate speech’ against gays. Or they’ll omit those sections from Bibles.
Think that’s crazy?
It already happened in Canada where someone was convicted of ‘hate speech’ simply for quoting the Bible’s views on homosexuality.
As a matter of fact I don't like a lot of folks but I do not/could care less what they think.
What I will not abide is anyone telling me what I should think< I don't care. If I don't like you I don't like you..nothing will ever change that fact..
Most all gays I know are NORMALPHOBES...
I’m not afraid of gays.
I don’t support their agenda, or their “unions” and their lifestyle choice is utterly repulsive to my sensibilites.
But afraid or fearful?
I think not.
It is not some random “evil-utionary” occurrence.
It is called SIN.
And humans have a SOUL with a CONSCIENCE.
And thus, deep down, everyone KNOWS it is rebellion.
I’m going to coin a new word. It’s not homophobia. It’s homonauseum or homotaedium, if you like. LOL. I have no fear of them, but their behavior certainly disgusts me.
It’s good to know that psychological warfare is not working on you.
In the movie Slap Shot, Paul Newman says at one point , so how are you going to react when you come home and some old queen is seducing your teen aged son??
Homosexuality is a mental disease. I feel sorry for the afflicted and I am all in favor of seeking a cure for them but absolutely no way will I allow my children to be exposed to their disease.
“....antisocial conservatives to promote further intolerance against gays is inevitable, perhaps; but if its any consolation, it should also have them doing a bit of navel-gazing, seeing that their hatred is just an artifact of their godlessly evolved minds.”
In that final sentence this faggie author bares his fangs & reveals his true heterophobia.
YOU WILL ALL FACE GOD ONE DAY... you also had better remember what HE did to Sodom... sodomites.
What I feel about it as well. It would be interesting to conduct an experiment with all the heterosexual people who try to convince themselves that homosexuality is the same as heterosexuality. When one of their children is conceived, they would have a chance to press a button making their child either hetero or homo. How many hetero parents would press the homo button? Can we say zero. A lie detector test would be interesting as well. The facts are, if you're a normal heterosexual, the sight of two homosexuals kissing is nauseating. And the knowledge that a homosexual is in private contact with one of your children of the same sex is highly disturbing.
“Most all gays I know are NORMALPHOBES...”
You’re just sensitive to being the butt (no pun intended) of all those gay jokes about “breeders” which are ever so popular amongst the gays.
Seems to me, from an evolutionary standpoint, that homosexuality is a dead end. How do genes get "enhanced" if they're not passed on through reproduction?
THIS definitely deserves repeating:
It is not some random evil-utionary occurrence.
It is called SIN.
And humans have a SOUL with a CONSCIENCE.
And thus, deep down, everyone KNOWS it is rebellion.
If a heterosexual man pursues/oogles/pesters a woman because he is seeking physical relationship, that is rightly called sexual harrassment and he is subject to disdain at the least, and legal action or occasionally physical punishment for that offending behavior.
If a homosexual man engages in parallel obnoxious behaviors toward a heterosexual man, seeking a physical relationship, the liberals tell us that that is just “cruising”. If the heterosexual reacts with disgust, that is now considered abnormal and “homophobic”.
Or so the liberal establishment tells us.
This, of course,is the sort of thinking that allowed Sandusky to “do his thing” for all those years.
Homosexual behavior is mother nature’s way of spinning off bad genes real quick. Fags are, in a way, sort of jumping out of the gene pool. This behavior was conducted “in the closet” up to now.
Whenever anyone tries that on me, I ask them "Are you under the impression that phobias are a personal choice?".
Under the excessive pile of words, the author is describing a nature-nurture issue.
People don't want gays around their kids. Does it matter whether this is instinctive aversion or learned aversion? Either way it's beneficial. Why? Because gays are set in a sexual mode that occurred in childhood, often due to inappropriate sexualizing behavior -- abuse -- and one's children are in that impressionable period when their sexual identity is vulnerable to derailment by inappropriate behavior. Gays are fixed in pre-adolescent years, and that's why they gravitate to children, and that's how they spread their affliction.
Like most other chicken-egg, nature-nurture issues, it's pointless to ask which factor prevails. There's no one without the other.
There is so much faulty thinking in that last sentence the author is clearly mentally ill.
Hate comes from envy. This isn't hate, but disgust. It's homosexuals that envy us. They envy being able to join the military, get married, have children. Their envy matures into hate and an evil want to destroy. So when homosexuals say people hate them they are actually projecting their real hatred onto others.
Nothing natural about it. Or have you located the gay gene? No, there isn't one. Homosexuality is acquired. All animals have some capacity to absorb information and adjust behavior; with this capacity comes the potential for misinformation, maladjustment and misbehavior.
The gene you want to look for is the one that reads "Enter a string," or "Write in vote," or "Suggestion Box." :)
And the author deserves credit for calling 'homphobia' a misnomer.
That is to say, that 'homphobia' is applied to feelings which are not fear, but disgust, and therefore not a 'phobia.'
And in other cases where it is fear, this fear is not irrational, and thus once again not a 'phobia.'
"And in certain other cases where it is fear, this fear is not irrational, and thus once again not a 'phobia.'"
There are certainly cases where the term 'homophobia' is technically correct.
Part of the theory of evolution is the concept of ‘group’ of ‘collective’ fitness.’
The evolutionary researcher looks at a given behavior and tries to fit it into some kind of advantage. Usually he attempts to show an advantage to the individual in the sense of increasing that individual’s progeny.
However, when he can’t find an advantage to the individual, he looks for an advantage to the group, or even the entire species.
‘Altruism,’ whatever one takes that to mean, is the number one type of behavior that evolutionary researchers seek to explain with their group fitness theories.
Thank you for that explanation, but I have to ask: if those assumptions really do drive researchers, doesn't that suggest that the researchers have an underlying belief that there must always be some benefit somewhere in a given trait?
I think a cursory glance at the fossil record shows that there were all kinds of dead ends and that would belie the researchers' apparent assumptions. If I understand you correctly, it sounds like researchers try, in some cases, to make a square peg fit into a round hole - which doesn't sound very scientific.
History shows us that sexuality is to greater or lesser extent malleable. A descent into decadence when a given civilization has peaked invariably leads to widespread incidence of homosexual behavior as well as increased acceptance of that abberrancy. Maybe honest evolutionary biologists, that rarest of breeds, would view this as a safety valve of sorts, preventing the replication of a corrupt, lazy, diseased evolutionary dead end of a society, for the protection of the species as a whole.
The Bible puts it differently, being given over to a reprobate mind because they have no inclination to good. The inclination to unrepentant sin becomes so great that God just allows them to descend further into the ultimate decadence, with men burning with lust for one another and even the women giving up the natural use for one another. The widespread embrace of homosexual behavior follows the decline and accelerates it.
Societal taboos against homosexual behavior are a survival mechanism, no matter how you approach the matter, scientifically or religiously. And again, being honest, all the leftist advocates of accepting homosexual behavior are not working for the survival of our society, they're committed to destroying it, as demonstrated in various communist tracts and manifestoes. They're in opposition to God and are using homosexuality as just one more way to break it all down, to remold it into their supposed egalitarian utopia. Like all revolutionaries who have outlived their usefulness, there are going to be some very surprised people when they're lined up and shot, or gassed, or starved.
More than disturbing: unacceptable. If a homosexual tries to approach my children, he or she (or it) will be repulsed. If one of them tries to seduce or molest one of my children, sex modification surgery will be performed for free and immediately.
That was my surprise. I try never to get into the non-scientific ‘evolutionary story telling’ where many evolutionary scientists try to assign value judgements to evolution. Based on my study I believe there are several paths to homosexuality. One path is seemingly a transmission of ‘evil’. Where a child (especially male) ones are targeted by siblings,parents, relatives, or those who have access to them for molestation and usually it is the younger smaller more accomodating children that are targetted. Homosexual men especially report an abnormaly high incidence of having sufferred child abuse which there are many studies that show this affects the sexual imprinting of the child and how they associate arrousal pain and self image. I could go into more detail but time doesn’t permit. I do believe there are other avenues to homosexuality and that is the retrobate mind. One example I know of personally is a Professor who always had a endless appetite for young co-ed women. He cheated on his wife for years and finally ended up with a young man in a homosexual relationship. That said considering the male homosexuals I’ve known personally have all sufferred molestation at a young age. One in particular where I know personal details had normal interest in girls before his uncle molested him the guy also tried to burn the town down incidently. This case makes me feel particularly badly. I’m personally just tired of the insistence of the lgbt activists on maintaining what is absolute lie where this is concerned. I understand why they cling to it and I do believe there are greater forces at work. The deceiver keeps busy and not just in this area. The full scope of deception in our current culture is jaw dropping.
You misunderstand. This is my theory: The bad genes are just a bad random combination causing mental problems that mother nature has deemed horrific. The homosexuality is just the vehicle, not the causation.
Oh, no. It shouts it out loud. ≤}B^)
I think a cursory glance at the fossil record shows that there were all kinds of dead ends and that would belie the researchers' apparent assumptions.
I believe that there is universal agreement that there are many dead ends in the fossil record. I do not believe that this in itself belies the evolutionary workers' assumption. Just because a species was adapted to a particular environment doesn't mean that it will survive forever, because the environment changes.
(Here I mean 'environment' in the general sense meaning the entirety of the bisophere, which includes for example the rise of competing species.)
I hope to hear more about your theory because your second post is less clear than your first!
You said homosexuality is mother nature's way, iow a natural thing with some ostensibly beneficial purpose, did you not?
Now you say homosexuality is some sort of vehicle, but of what? Bad genes? Elimination of bad genes? What?
My position is that it is unnatural and a consequence of circumstances. Animals are adaptable to some extent, naturally; and adaptation entails the possibility of poor adaptation. A classic example would be the "imprinted" gosling that takes a human for its mother and thereafter finds its own kind unattractive.
Being gay is a sexual dysfunction like being frigid..
except this dysfunction comes from wrong information..
accepting wrong information..
Being gay is WRONG... its not just queer ... its WRONG..