Men who have several older brothers have an increased chance of being gay -- whether they were raised together or not -- a finding researchers say adds weight to the idea that sexual orientation is based in biology.Our Whole Lives facilitators such as myself stress providing factually accurate information to our students - including factually accurate information about sexual orientation. We've been teaching that the best evidence is that sexual orientation isn't something you choose, but something you're born with; this study tends to confirm that.
The increase was seen in men with older brothers from the same mother, but not those who had stepbrothers or adopted brothers who were older.
"It's likely to be a prenatal effect," said Anthony F. Bogaert of Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada, who did the research. "This and other studies suggest that there is probably a biological basis" for homosexuality.
Of course, not everybody is going to accept peer-reviewed research as evidence that their political / religous dogmas are incorrect:
Tim Dailey, a senior fellow at the conservative Center for Marriage and Family Studies disagreed.Alas for Mr. Dailey, the research in question didn't investigate genetic links; Bogaert was looking at the so-called "fraternal birth order effect", where men with older brothers are somewhat more likely to be homosexual than others. On the other hand, Dailey isn't necessarily what one might call an impartial scientific observer. What the AP article doesn't mention is that the "Center for Marriage and Family Studies" is part and parcel of the Family Research Council. According to his FRC biography:
"We don't believe that there's any biological basis for homosexuality," Dailey said. "We feel the causes are complex but are deeply rooted in early childhood development."
There have been a number of attempts to establish a physical basis "and in every case the alleged findings have been severely challenged and questioned," he said.
"If it is indeed genetically based it is difficult to see how it could have survived in the gene pool over a period of time," Dailey added.
Dr. Dailey received his bachelors' degree in Bible and Theology from Moody Bible Institute, his M.A. in Theological Studies at Wheaton College, and his Ph.D. in Religion from Marquette University. In addition, Dr. Dailey has completed graduate study at the University of Wisconsin; Milwaukee; Jerusalem University College; Jerusalem; and Hebrew University; Jerusalem.Obviously, his vast scientific training makes him <sarcasm> eminently </sarcasm> qualified to comment on scientific research.
The article in question is currently available from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences website at http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0511152103v1