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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The PC side of the nature/nurture debate

The actress Cynthia Nixon provoked a minor stir last week when she stated that for her, homosexuality is a choice.

She added that for many people it's not, but that those others shouldn't get to define her gayness for her.

This flies in the face of what gay activists claim: that they have no choice but to be what they are, and thus ought not to be criticized or discriminated against for a "lifestyle choice."

I agree with the gay activists. When I run across those who don't agree, I usually ask, "Could you just will yourself into a frame of mind where you wanted to suck dicks?"

They usually concede the argument at that point.

There is no one "gay gene" that has been discovered, but homosexuality does seem to be a matter of brain chemistry and hormones, with maybe a small environmental component thrown in. The vast majority of gay men seem to have just been predisposed that way from the time they were very young.

The separated twin studies seem to bear this out, with identical twins having a much more highly correlated sexuality than fraternal twins, and both having a much higher correlation than adopted siblings. These studies are pretty much irrefutable proof of the role of genes, and perhaps hormonal exposure in the womb.

Women in general do seem to have a somewhat more free-floating sexuality that can adapt to circumstance. There are women whom I can't imagine ever wanting to be with a guy. But I've seen many others who seem to turn lesbian by default, either because they don't attract men or had bad experiences with them.

In any case, the politically correct belief is that homosexuality is preordained, and that you have no choice in the matter. Genes rule.

However, if you entertain the notion that intelligence might also be genetically determined, you're considered evil. To be politically correct on this issue, you must believe that there are no 60 watt bulbs or 100 watt bulbs, merely different outlets. Your genes have nothing at all to do with your brightness. Your environment determines all.

So when it comes to IQ, you must disregard all those separated twin studies.

For those of us who try hard to be PC, it's all quite confusing.


Andrea Ostrov Letania said...

Even a straight woman can find sexual comfort with a lesbian, I suppose. The nature of lesbian sex is less aggressive than real sex or gay male sex. It's women hugging and caring for another. Real sex--male and female--is essentially the man conquering the woman. Some women may have gotten tired of that.
As for gay male sex, I can't imagine how any guy can find comfort in having his butthole ripped by some guy's penis.

John Craig said...

Andrea --
Women do tend to be more emotional and affectionate, so what you say about female-female relationships is mostly true; but I've heard that the dirty little secret of the lesbian community is that there are plenty of them who are into S&M as well. Your portrayal of "real sex" is very clear-eyed.

As far as gay guys, I think they're looking less for comfort than excitement. (I do realize you're partly joking.)

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I found this post. I agree with gay rights too (and don't think it's a choice), but I also think that IQ and other traits such as athletic talent are largely pre-determined by nature. So I guess that makes me socially acceptable on one issue, but a really awful and racist person on another - all by thinking the same way about both issues?

One needs to practise a great deal of mental gymnastics in order to be fully PC.

- Gethin

John Craig said...

Gethin --
I thought you'd already read the entire blog…And yes, the dichotomy is telling. Once again, we think alike.

Steven said...

ha good point. Noticing and pointing out stuff like this is definitely one of your strengths.

That said, I would imagine that thinking intelligence is hereditary isn't a cardinal sin. Variation within a group can be genetic as long as the difference between groups is environmental. The real offence is thinking the average group differences are due to genes.

In fact, one of the main reasons thinking iq is hereditary is suspect and entering dangerous territory is that it leads onto questioning the origin of group differences. If it wasn't for that, I imagine the pc crowd wouldn't care too much.

You can bring up IQ being hereditary to a normal crowd of average people and they wont be perturbed as long as you don't go into racial differences.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Your analysis is correct. If you merely mention that intelligence is genetic, it won't necessarily induce conniptions among the politically correct. But of course their great bugaboo is the idea that group differences might have some genetic basis in origin. The thing is, if you believe in the genetic basis for intelligence in general, you have to realize that it's also going to have an equivalent effect on group differences.

Steven said...

Yeah about different groups in the same country, I think you are probably right...I think the twin correlations hold strong even when they're brought up in different social classes.

However, a very logical argument is made that within group differences can be genetic while between group differences can be environmental and this could maybe apply to groups in vastly different environments, like first and third world.

I'm not sure if you are familiar with this reasoning:

Imagine you have two lots of seeds with the same genes and the same average genetic potential for plant height (maybe the same batch split in two). Then you grow them in two different pots, one in optimal conditions and the other in very poor conditions. The one in optimal conditions would produce much taller plants. Within each pot, the variation in height would be almost entirely due to genetic variation but the average difference between the pots would be almost entirely entirely due to the environmental differences.

Hence, within group differences can be genetic while between group differences can be environmental. But like I said, if this applies to IQ differences at all, it would most likely apply to between country differences.

Steven said...

On the other hand, we have people of different races living in the same society in lot so places so maybe that tells us everything we need to know. The between country differences are probably part genes, part environment imo.

The counter arguments and the element of uncertainty wont go away though. I think this will only be resolved for sure at the level of genetic analysis (gwas), which is beginning to be done as we speak.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I just responded to your comment on the Al Gore post by saying I'm agnostic on the global warming issue and don't have enough knowledge to have a worthwhile opinion. The genetic basis of IQ, however, is something I have an extremely strong opinion about, as it's something that has fascinated me wince I was 18 or 19. There's absolutely no question that most inter- and intra-group differences in IQ are nature, not nurture (genetics, except in cases of extreme environmental deprivation, accounts for roughly 75 to 85 percent of the variance). There have been lots and lots of studies over the years involving separated monozygotic (identical) twins, separated siblings, and so on which show overwhelmingly that the IQ's of the adopted children will correspond much more closely to that of their biological families than they do to their adoptive families. And the IQ's of separated monozygotic twins show an even closer correlation. The IQ gap between black and white, and even SAT score differential (which have a .9 correlation to IQ scores) remain stubbornly persistent even after years of Head Start, the War on Poverty, affirmative action, etc. And most recently, the PISA scores of US students, when broken down by race, show that each ethnic group within the US performs at roughly the equivalent level of their cohorts back in their country of ethnic origin. For one to believe that IQ does not vary by group, one would basically have to believe that the entire history of the world was one big gigantic coincidence.

Steven said...

It certainly makes sense that the frequency of IQ boosting allelles would differ in frequency between populations that have been separated for a long time, just like many other allelles.

I started investigating this a few years ago because I wanted to assure myself that the racial differences in IQ were not for genetic reasons. The more I have learnt about it, the more I have moved over to the hereditarian camp. It took quite a long time before I would let myself think that without feeling like I was on the bad side or doing something wrong.

John Craig said...

Steven --
You just effectively encapsulated the entire field. We're all brainwashed into believing in racial differences in IQ is somehow evil, although intrinsically it's no more evil than believing in any other human difference. And, like virtually everyone else who's studied the field without a huge ideological ax to grind, you've reluctantly come to the conclusion that the "evil" people are right. Congratulations on your open-mindedness.

Steven said...

thanks John.

Some people are too pc to be open minded to it at all, even if they don't have a public agenda. I know some of them and it kind of annoys me how they can be so ignorant and so emotionally charged about it. Why *should* the world be so ideal? These are the people that champion evolution in a different context.

I want to think its okay for people all around the world to mix and interbreed freely...I have some kind of globalist, 'we're all people' kind of idealism at heart. But this subject inevitably raises doubts about the group level effects of mixing. Possibly genetic engineering or some form of neo-eugenics out of my control will render this irrelevant.

I don't know if its for the best or not that this becomes known (I do worry about possible negative consequences) but at least liberals could stop blaming everything on discrimination! People saying stuff that isn't true just bothers me at a gut level. A mainstream acknowledgement of hbd reality, including gender, would be pleasing for its own sake. Then we wont have to put up with so much bullshit.

That was a very balanced consideration of where to stand on the global warming issue for a layman.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Thank YOU.

I agree with your commonsensical comment in its entirety. I -- as a Eurasian -- am a direct result of that freedom of association.

What's amazing about the PC crowd is that they always pat themselves on the back for being "open-minded," when in fact they are the opposite: close--minded to every possibility except the PC one. Disgusting.