By Peter J. Smith
UNITED STATES, August 8, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Genes, environment, and self-agency determine human behavior says an expert on behavioral genetics, who also says that homosexual politics and not good science is behind the search for the "gay" gene.
Douglas A. Abbott, PhD, a professor of Child, Youth, and Family Studies at the University of Nebraska, calls the "hypothetical evidence" for genetic determinism of homosexuality" both "overstated" and "overrated."
"Except for the rare physical abnormalities (such as Huntington's Disease) at the present time, there is no evidence of a direct causative link between a single gene and complex psycho-social behavior such as sexual preference," says Abbott.
In his July article for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), Abbott explains that much of the public perception is misguided about the relationship between genes and behavior. Media reporting aids this confusion with headlines such as "Gene X Found to Cause Behavior Y". Abbott, however, says this is a "simplistic" view of the science of behavioral genetics, which studies "how genes, operating within their complex environments, connect to human environments."
"Environment" in behavioral genetics means any non-genetic influence, including internal biological factors such as nutrients, bacteria, viruses, and medicines, and external forces on a person such as parenting, family life, peers, the media, geography, war, calamities, etc.
While genetics play a role in a person's predispositions, this is a far cry from predetermining that a person will engage in certain behaviors - such as homosexuality - a view corroborated by Dr. Francis S. Collins, the head of the Human Genome Project.
Abbott employs excellent analogies to explain the relationship of genes and environment to human behavior, perhaps the most lucid being the image of a sailboat. A sailboat needs a hull (genetic dispositions) and sails (environmental factors), but most importantly a captain (free agency of the will) who "may be constrained by genes and environment - but he is not absolutely determined by them."
Supported by the authority of other numerous experts in the field of behavioral genetics, Abbott asserts there is no undisputed evidence that same-sex behavior is hard-wired into a person. Abbott also exposes the methodological, sampling, and interpretation flaws behind the "genetic theory of homosexuality" formulated in the early 1990s in three problematic studies.
"It is obvious to me, and to many others, that environmental factors play the major role in same-sex behavior, if this were not so how does one explain the thousands of men and women who have left homosexuality," writes Abbott. One such ex-homosexual is high profile former homosexual activist leader Michael Glatze, who embraced homosexuality at 14, but at age 30 "seriously began to doubt," and this year renounced his homosexuality, and embraced Christianity.
In conclusion," says Abbott, "I believe that the genetic evidence for homosexuality is just not there. It's the values and politics of homosexuals and their supporters that is driving the gay gene agenda, not good science."
Read Dr. Douglas Abbott's incisive well-documented report: http://www.narth.com/docs/080307Abbott_NARTH_article.pdf
See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
"Homosexuality Is Not Hardwired," Concludes Head of The Human
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