Causes of sexual orientation/Talk

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Old Talk Debate


I think RK, Dmerrill and I may be able to work together on constructing a balanced article. Some points from old talk:

  • I intend to avoid mentioning Cohen's religious views. I am unaware of his political views. I intend to concentrate exclusively on his psychological views and on genetic research his website and book have brought to my attention.
  • I think some mention of religious views of causation are appropriate, but they should take a lot less space to describe than the genetic research and psychological theories.
  • My religion specifically disclaims eternal torment in Hell. In fact, that's one of the reasons I chose to join it.
Ed Poor



Nice move. Causes of sexual orientation is a much better title.


I agree that this is a better title, but the article now needs to reflect this balance, since right now it just focuses on the causes of homosexuality. My point in creating an article on the causes of heterosexuality was to provide balance. This article should address what causes someone to be either heterosexual or homosexual, not just focus on what causes someone to be homosexual. -- Egern


A lot of this talk was really /Debate as to what "normal" is. Please show how this is relevant to causation. Then come back to /Talk Ed Poor

You also snipped the debate about use of the word "abnormal", which is a fighting word, not NPOV. But there's no surprise, since you are a man, and we all know that there are more women then men in the world, so you are therefore abnormal. GregLindahl
I won't argue that (my wife says pretty much the same thing :-) Ed Poor

You won't argue that "abnormal" is a fighting word, and not NPOV? Why, Ed, that's unusually perceptive of you. Normally you mostly ignore what I say, and only respond to my jokes. GregLindahl


I don't know much about this field, so I don't want to get involved in improving the article. I just have a comment about this: "Scientists are now in agreement that homosexuality is not a freely made choice or "lifestyle" that someone decided to follow, and many religions are updating their theologies to conform with science." Is it true that all scientists, as this implies, believe that homosexuality is not a freely made choice? No scientists believe that homosexuality is, to any degree, a matter of choice? I find that difficult to believe, but maybe that's because I'm just ignorant about this stuff. --LMS


I'd like to remove 4 or 5 sentences from the middle of the article. They don't say much. Ed Poor

Ed, your approach to many of the entries you work on is disturbing. This is a case in point. Don't you realize that some of the sentences below are the main point of this entry?
  • This is largely because heterosexuality was considered the norm and homosexuality an aberration, although this view has been contested and weakened by the results of the research as well as political activism.
This is a minor point, and is not really necessary on a page about scientific views of how sexuality is determined, but it is not inappropriate to mention in one sentence.
  • There has also been a realization that any attempt at understanding the causes of sexual attraction to the same sex will be more successful if we understand the mechanisms that underlie sexual attraction per se, and more specifically what causes many people to feel sexual attraction primarily towards members of one particular sex.
Um, this is one of the major fields of scientific research! Why delete it?!?!
  • The traditional Judaeo-Christian view that homosexuality was caused by mingling with non-Israelite tribes, man's rebellious or fallen nature, or demonic temptation has given way to scientific explanations which regard homosexuality as normal and natural.
  • Scientists are now in agreement that homosexuality is not a freely made choice or "lifestyle" that someone decided to follow, and many religions are updating their theologies to conform with science.
The part about religion should be redirected to the appropriate Wikipedia entry on religion and homosexuality. But deleting it is not the answer.
  • The last 20 years have seen an explosion in the scientific knowledge available on the genetic, biological and psychological causes of homosexuality.
This is the entire point of this entry. If you delete it, you might as well delete everything else here. Isn't this obvious? RK



Ed, it seems to me those sentences say quite a bit. What is needed is more information in addition to this, e.g., about the traditional Chinese and Indian views of homosexuality. The way forward is not to delete sentences that you simply disagree with. That way lies madness, and more importantly, less content! What's important is that we try to phrase things in such a way that everyone can agree with; and when that seems impossible, the way forward is to describe the controversy fairly, rather than try to force each other to make the article say something controversial. --LMS

This article is stubby. It basically asks a lot of questions and points the way to further article development. Dmerrill made a good start, but it's really far from finished. I'd like to add to it myself, but I fear my anti-homosexualty bias would combine with my lack of research knowledge to produce an even worse article than the stub. So, I merely defined sexual orientation is a separate article. Would someone else please refine the "causes of" article? --Ed Poor

Following moved out from end of article:


This entry is only about causal theories. It is not for discussing issues of morality, ethics, human rights, religion, etc. This is not a place to make a point about supposed "sins."

Genetic studies

Twin Studies

Biological Studies not strictly dealing with genetics

Interplay of the environment and the biological make-up of the individual. (Nature vs. nurture)

Various psychological views will also be examined.


A fascintating topic, of course.

Surely the point has been made, by researchers, that the fact that gay people are not aware of having chosen to be gay (any more than heterosexuals are aware of having chosen to be heterosexual) surely does by itself not imply that homosexuality is biological? Are those the only two possibilities? Particularly in this day and age, what could be more obvious than that cultural factors can make someone with a predisposition of some sort to homosexuality to become a self-conscious and practicing homosexual? Surely gay activists would agree with that, because they abhor the fact that some people "with a predisposition of some sort to homosexuality" might be shoehorned by a heterosexual-dominated culture into a heterosexual mold? I mean, wouldn't that be why some gay activists have wanted the school curriculums to be changed, so that more people who otherwise wouldn't become homosexual will feel freer to become self-conscious, practicing homosexuals, and less pressure to become heterosexual (or to hide their homosexuality, even from themselves--I guess that's what they say, eh)?

I'm just stating what seems obvious to me; I hope someone with more expertise in this area will help to change the article so that it is a little more sophisticated in this way. On such a sensitive topic as this, I do not want to pretend to be able to work directly on the article reliably! --LMS

Yes, but that's only part of the whole story. The primary arguments for school curriculum about homosexuality are 1) it's intellectually dishonest to pretend it doesn't exist, and 2) homophobia is a social problem that needs to be dealt with early and directly. The two main reasons for 2) are a) that it's considered the reason why gay teenagers commit suicide several times more often than their straight counterparts, and, b) as you said, it drives people into the closet. --Dmerrill

There is at least one way I can think of that might cause people be predisposed towards homosexuality (or heterosexuality) that has nothing to do with genetics, but which I presume would still be considered "biological", and that is the possibility of something happening in the womb. This article doesn't really address that question, and I don't know what the research is or the body of opinion is on that aspect of the question anyway.