Most people are cool with gays teaching kids (today)

By Razib Khan | October 4, 2010 5:22 pm

I noticed that Jim DeMint has said some controversial things about the demographic criteria of teachers:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) says that even though “no one” came to his defense in 2004 after he said that gay people and unwed mothers should be banned from teaching, “everyone” quietly told him that he shouldn’t back down from his position.

The Spartanberg Herald-Journal described the comments this way: “DeMint said if someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn’t be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who’s sleeping with her boyfriend — she shouldn’t be in the classroom.” DeMint did not apparently state his position on whether sexually active unmarried male teachers should be similarly removed from classrooms.

My interest was piqued because there are questions in the GSS about allowing gays to teach. We can see how many people in the country agree with DeMint. How the proportion has changed over the years, and also the demographic correlates of variation in attitudes. Additionally, I wanted to compare attitudes to allowing homosexuals to teach with allowing anti-religionists and racists to teach. First, over time:


allowteach

It’s immediately obvious that the gay rights movement has fostered more tolerance for homosexuality. The anti-religious, less so. And racists really haven’t become anymore popular over the years. Let’s break it down by various demographics. But first, note that I am going to constrain the time of survey to 2002 and later, when views seem to have stabilized:

allowteach2

The raw values are below. But observe that the majority of conservatives and those who believe that the Bible is the Word of God would accede to a homosexual teaching in school. Times a changin’….

Allow to teach….
Demographic Racist Anti-religionist Homosexual
Male 52 64 78
Female 45 62 81
White 51 65 81
Black 41 53 75
Liberal 54 73 87
Moderate 48 62 82
Conservative 45 56 74
Protestant 45 57 74
Catholic 51 62 84
No Religion 54 81 90
High School 46 60 79
Bachelor 57 77 92
Graduate 58 83 94
Bible is Word of God 41 47 66
Bible is Inspired Word 50 67 85
Bible is Book of Fables 59 80 91
CATEGORIZED UNDER: Data Analysis, GSS
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  • http://Untitledvanityproject.blogspot.com Rhacodactylus

    It kind of seems to me to be tangential to talk about what “people are cool with,” we wouldn’t have a discussion about whether people were “cool with other races,” teaching, why do we tacitly endorse similar bigotry from the homophobic.

    In terms of the data, I do find it interesting the way education seems to predict tolerance of homosexuality, just as lack of a literal interpretation of the bible predicts it . . . but I’m not really surprised.

    ~Rhaco

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    It kind of seems to me to be tangential to talk about what “people are cool with,” we wouldn’t have a discussion about whether people were “cool with other races,” teaching, why do we tacitly endorse similar bigotry from the homophobic.

    1) you’re not the god of the english language, you don’t get to determine what’s “tacitly endorsing.” i take objection to your implication of homophobia, though you’re entitled to your opinion.

    2) there isn’t an analogy between homosexuality and race in the american public. for the years 2002 on for whether homosexual sexual relations are according to the american public….

    55.5% always wrong
    4.4 % almost always wrong
    6.8% sometimes wrong
    33.2% not wrong at all

    homosexuality is not isomorophic with race, which is not isomorphic with class, which is not ismorphic with religion, which is not isomorphic with sex.

  • http://Untitledvanityproject.blogspot.com Rhacodactylus

    First, it actually wasn’t my implication that you personally were homophobic, merely that the social discussion in general of whether or not it is ok to punish someone for who they are seems like one we should be past, yet for some reason we are very tolerant of these kinds of polls. I find it, at best, to be a sad indicator of our state as a nation.

    Secondly, two items don’t need to be isomorphic to be useful for analogy, they just need to be similar in the respects which are relevant to the point being made. In this case, a US Senator (the original impetus for the article) is endorsing barring individuals from specific positions based on a characteristic that some people object to due to archaic points of view, I find the analogy to be quite strong.

    I stand by my original statements. However, if I have offended, it was not intended, and I do apologize for that. I realize you are merely presenting data for a discussion, not trying to enforce or endorse homophobic behavior or policies.

    ~Rhaco

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    fair enough. there is a very strong disjunction right now between the views of left-liberal cultural elites on this issue, and the national american majority. in 10-15 years the gap may close, but certainly not right now. i feel that sometimes left-liberals forget that they’re 20-25% of the nation’s population, and especially in relation to topics such as “homophobia” they need to be aware that the categories which they utilize in their own social circles aren’t going to be useful in a broader context.

    in the year 2008 40% of 18-30 year olds still stated that homosexuality was always wrong (50% said “not wrong at all). so it’ll be a while….

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    Secondly, two items don’t need to be isomorphic to be useful for analogy, they just need to be similar in the respects which are relevant to the point being made. In this case, a US Senator (the original impetus for the article) is endorsing barring individuals from specific positions based on a characteristic that some people object to due to archaic points of view, I find the analogy to be quite strong.

    there is an analogy…but “getting into the minds” of people who object to open homosexuals teaching, i think their primary issues are twofold

    1) fear of sex abuse

    2) fear of emulation

    the first issue would be relevant in bans on interracial teaching, but not the second. that’s what makes homosexuality different than race. homosexuality is wrong by behavior, but other races are inferior by essence. from this distinction emerges differences in policy prescriptions.

  • http://Untitledvanityproject.blogspot.com Rhacodactylus

    The popularity of policies against homosexuality doesn’t make them right, that is simply an argument ad populum, and in that way it is a perfect analogy to race, and the early days of the US civil rights movement . . . neither was immediately popular.

    As far as either of those two concerns goes, it’s extremely important to base policies on evidence, and as far as abuse is concerned, it is statistically still very much a heterosexual crime. Here is a great posting on the topic from UC Davis which links to more studies than I would be comfortable linking to on someone else’s blog.

    In terms of emulation, the leading psychological data indicates that that is not a significant cause for homosexuality . . . I mean, most homosexual children have heterosexual parents, but don’t emulate them. On the contrary, there is evidence showing a interpersonal benefit to lesbian parents, I don’t see why the same wouldn’t be true of homosexual teachers.

    The problem with the final thought:

    homosexuality is wrong by behavior, but other races are inferior by essence. from this distinction emerges differences in policy prescriptions.

    is that both of those premises are flawed to begin with, other races are not inferior and homosexuality is not wrong, thus the policies derived from them (regardless of how distinct they are) are both discriminatory. So, while I agree that you are technically correct, the policy prescriptions are different, I see it as a distinction without a difference. If I were to discriminate against a race based on my estimation of their actions rather than some misunderstanding of their character, both judgement would be equally wrong.

    ~Rhaco

  • divalent

    This is one of those issues where it would be useful have a factor analysis to see how much of the variance is due to each characteristic. For example, is the apparent effect of political ideology really due to religion? Or religion and education? etc. (not suggesting you go do it, or that I intend to do so).

    BTW, what do you think the Racist Rights movement might do differently to improve their situation? :-)

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clarktech Clark

    Interesting the level of acceptance by non-innerancy believers. (I assume that’s what “word of God” vs. “inspired word” is getting at – although sometimes with questions like that one wonders the range of actual beliefs of those answering that way) 85% is really quite high and not that far from the “fable” rate.

    Your point about various isomorphisms that really aren’t but which are treated as such by some is a solid point. That said this gets into the big muddle in the discussion between inclination and acts. One might think it silly to see inclination as wrong or much of an issue yet still find the acts wrong. Of course to me it’s kind of silly to treat these wrongs so differently from say premarital sex which most fundamentalist groups and many other groups also see as wrong. Although I’d note teachers are often fired if caught acting “trashy” (typically women more than men – heaven help them if some spring break photos ever end up on Facebook.)

    Fear of sex abuse is probably the biggest issue although I personally don’t understand why. One problem is that the public, especially the middle class, tends to have irrational fears on this issue. Which isn’t to say there aren’t real fears for ones kids. A browse of the sex offenders registry and how many live close by is enough to terrify any parent. But the media tends to instill fears well beyond what any threat could reasonably be construed to be. I think a lot of fear of gay teachers is wrapped up in that more than homophobia. (Even though homophobia undoubtedly has a lot to do with it)

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    re: “trashy.” one of my HS friends deleted her FB account. she’s a 6th grade teacher, and had left a few status updates before it was deleted that teachers her age were starting to get nervous as enterprising students somehow managed to find their FB accounts no matter their privacy settings. she didn’t have anything scandalous btw…but you never know.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    a probit regression, all predictors statistically significant. here are the betas

    age -0.016
    polviews -0.356
    bible 0.783
    sex 0.327
    wordsum 0.073
    degree .113
    race -.49
    sei 0.009

    r-squared = 0.312

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    The popularity of policies against homosexuality doesn’t make them right, that is simply an argument ad populum, and in that way it is a perfect analogy to race, and the early days of the US civil rights movement . . . neither was immediately popular.

    that’s fine dude, but i don’t get why you’re wasting your time mooting this. the probability that a significant proportion of my readers even agree with the proposition that you’re arguing against as wrong is very low. and of course i’m aware of the social science re: homosexuality, as are most of my readers (well, at least those that comment, i assume i have less intelligent people lurking who don’t comment).

    the point of this post wasn’t to relitigate homosexuality and public policy, but to present the data on current public attitudes.


    BTW, what do you think the Racist Rights movement might do differently to improve their situation? :-)

    here’s where the analogy gets weird though: it’s common among many liberals to admit that they’re racist. the implicit attitudes tests seem to confirm a lot of latent racism across the whole population, though liberals are often a bit less racist than conservatives. OTOH, i think it’s a little less common to admit that everyone is somewhat gay :-)

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  • http://Untitledvanityproject.blogspot.com Rhacodactylus

    Lol, I’m just easy to get on a jag, it happens.

    Hey, sexuality is a sliding spectrum, there’s lots of colors in the homo rainbow, don’t be afraid to let your colors shine!

    ~Rhaco

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    Hey, sexuality is a sliding spectrum, there’s lots of colors in the homo rainbow, don’t be afraid to let your colors shine!

    i think the model works better for women than men. for males i think it’s more of a dichotomous character, in that there are two very sharp modes of orientation, and less of a spectrum in between.

    (fwiw, many gay men believe that the majority of bisexual men are actually just in transition from a straight self-conception to a uniform homosexual one).

  • http://Untitledvanityproject.blogspot.com Rhacodactylus

    I think that is a product of societal pressure, it’s more acceptable for women to be bisexual than men, whereas men sort of get the “in for a penny in for a pound approach.”

    I’m sort of a believer in the Jack Harkness from Dr who philosophy of sexuality, the dance card is forever growing and changing, a few thousand years from now, we’ll all just be much more open to dancing.

    But, I think it makes a lot of guys feel better to think they are 100% heterosexual instead of 97%. . . as if it mattered =)

    ~Rhaco

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    But, I think it makes a lot of guys feel better to think they are 100% heterosexual instead of 97%. . . as if it mattered =)

    well, part of my assumption comes from the left-liberal circles in college which i was aware of where it was fashionable to say you weren’t 100% heterosexual. the women did a good job of it, but in most of the male cases things seemed a bit forced. the only cases where same-sex activity wasn’t forced from what i could tell (i.e., the person didn’t seem discomforted by it), the male turned out to be homosexual later on.

    i guess you could test infants somehow once neuroscience gets better? many gay men i know knew they were gay by the time they were elementary age, though perhaps only in hindsight.

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  • B.B.

    Rhacodactylus Says:
    As far as either of those two concerns goes, it’s extremely important to base policies on evidence, and as far as abuse is concerned, it is statistically still very much a heterosexual crime. Here is a great posting on the topic from UC Davis which links to more studies than I would be comfortable linking to on someone else’s blog.

    The whole argument presented in that article looks like pure intellectual sophistry to me. They basically define homosexuality as sexual attraction to other adult males, thereby dismissing any evidence indicating that child molesters are statistically more likely to molest males compared to the rate of male-male sexual attraction in the general population, because those child molesters aren’t attracted to adult males.

    It may count as evidence indicating that homosexuals and bisexuals who have engaged in adult male relationships wouldn’t pose a disproportionate threat to kids, but contrary to its claims it doesn’t establish disproportionate homosexual/bisexual inclinations amongst child molesters as a myth.

  • pinksky

    It would be interesting to see whether the responses would differ between asking respondents about being allowed to teach as an “anti-religionist” vs. as someone “non-religious/areligious”. These two terms could mean different things to different people.

    The GSS survey question mentions anti-religious people as “against churches and religion” (and also as someone “whose ideas are considered bad or dangerous by other people.”) but this is a rather vague definition.

  • farmiddle

    As one of those less intelligent sorts lurking in the background, I thought I’d add my unenlightened thoughts to the discussion.

    Most people I’ve come across are quite ambivalent about homosexuality – they are perfectly tolerant, but still view homosexuality as at best a type of character flaw. In terms of ‘moral equivalency’, on par with promiscuity, prostitution or hard drug use. Ask parents of daughters if they’d prefer their daughter being a slut or a lesbian or parents of sons if they’d rather have him be gay or a pot head, you’d very likely get many preferring sluts and pot heads.

  • muffy

    well, part of my assumption comes from the left-liberal circles in college which i was aware of where it was fashionable to say you weren’t 100% heterosexual. the women did a good job of it, but in most of the male cases things seemed a bit forced.”

    I have a feeling that if you lived in a different culture at a different point in time (e.g. Samurai culture of Japan), you would feel quite differently about men’s vs. women’s capacity for bisexuality. Which is one reason I’m a bit weary of ppl who try to make arguments about the differences in the sexuality of men vs. women.

    many gay men i know knew they were gay by the time they were elementary age, though perhaps only in hindsight.

    True with lesbians, too (including me).

  • miko

    what muffy said… male bisexuality doesn’t seem uncommon in human history (check out all that “hand holding” in the sperm vat in Moby Dick), often in male-only environments but not always. I think in our particular society identity issues push males mostly to one end or the other, the middle ground is unstable. I realize you (Razib) were referencing particular social circumstances, however.

    I do feel like a lot of active homophobes are mostly angry/humiliated by homosexual thoughts or experiences of their own–particularly those who describe homosexuality as a failure of moral fortitude or violating a religious decree. Buddy: if you need rules to keep you from having gay sex, you’re gay.

  • http://www.lindaseebach.net Linda Seebach

    It is not necessary to believe that gay men are disproportionately likely to molest children in order to be concerned that the ones who do may selectively choose occupations where they will have privileged and largely unsupervised access to children, and in roles where they may have a great deal of influence on them — I am thinking this may have happened in the cases of Catholic priests and altar boys. The priests are all male of course, but if someone wanted access to boys specifically, that would be a situation where he would have it. And the tacit acceptance of the situation (not now but when a great many of the molestations occurred) might have been facilitated because the occurrence was not so rare that most people didn’t know about it, and the ones who did know could also observe that not much would be done about it. Word does get around eventually.

    I had a lesbian student who had her first sexual experience with a female gym teacher. The student said the teacher knew which girls would be receptive, and never bothered anyone else. But given the intensity of adolescent crushes on teachers, I am not certain this is true, or even how researchers could find out. Self-reporting may not be reliable. The student, as an adult, was horrified that a teacher would seduce young students, but did not personally regret much that it had happened to her. If she had grown up to be heterosexual, might she have been more traumatized? Or better, is it statistically more likely in one case or the other? And do people really want to find out, in case the answer comes out the wrong way? Some research can be harmful to your career, as James Coleman observed with respect to racial differences in school achievement. He reported (long after the Coleman report) that a part of the difference was related to the fact that black children in segregated schools had black teachers who were, on average, less effective than the mostly non-black teachers in the schools where white children went, but he couldn’t say that. So instead the report said black children did better in schools where there were white children, but didn’t explain why. And the result was the disastrous policy of busing for racial balance that wrecked city schools, with middle-class parents who could afford to leave doing so. Mostly white at the time, but that’s because there weren’t all that many black middle-class families. Those who could afford it left too, as they are still doing.

    There is no happy solution to problems of this sort. It’s not fair to gay men who have no interest in sex with children to have rules saying they can’t teach, but they are paying for the sins of gay men who do, and it is not simply discrimination to put children’s safety above adults’ career choices. People will judge that trade-off differently, even if they have no animus whatsoever toward gays and lesbians.

  • trajan23

    RE: Male Bisexuality,

    Japanese Samurai, ancient Athens, modern day Afghanistan, etc: These are examples of situational pederasty, not bisexuality. The best contemporary Western example is male prison sexuality: Heterosexual men, deprived of sexual contact with women, turn to the nearest thing to a female substitute.

    Rareness of male bisexuality: Michael Bailey’s plethysmograph study showed the following results:

    Numbers: 101 men
    self-described bisexuals:33
    self-described heterosexuals: 30
    self-described homosexuals:38

    Each group was shown films depicting male-male and female-female sexual activity while being monitored by a plethysmograph for signs of genital arousal.

    The genital response of the Homo and Hetero groups was in accordance with their self-described orientations, with the Homosexual men responding to the male-male scenes but not to the female-female, and vice versa.One third of the men in both groups showed no genital response.

    As with the Homo and Hetero groups, one third of the Bi group displayed no measurable response. Of the remainder, three quarters showed an exclusively homosexual response (responding only to the male-male material), one quarter an exclusively heterosexual response (responding only to the female-female material).None of the self-described male Bisexuals displayed a Bisexual pattern of arousal.

  • miko

    It is not necessary to believe that gay men are disproportionately likely to molest children in order to be concerned that the ones who do may selectively choose occupations where they will have privileged and largely unsupervised access to children

    Yup, it’s not necessary to believe it because it’s not true: homo- and heterosexuals are equally likely to molest children. So we should be equally suspicious of any person who wants to work with children, which is good and which we supposedly are.

    What is the relevance to homosexuality?

  • Miguel Madeira

    The same argument also value to prevent heterosexuals from teaching, no?

    “It is not necessary to believe that straight men are disproportionately likely to molest children in order to be concerned that the ones who do may selectively choose occupations where they will have privileged and largely unsupervised access to children, and in roles where they may have a great deal of influence on them”

  • miko

    wow, trajan23, I didn’t know they had such sophisticated genital measuring devices for samurai and ancient greeks. or maybe the sample is from a cultural context in which males tend to be more polar in their orientations?

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    i just want to make something clear, as i’m not going to follow the comments in detail on this thread: i would hold that same sex behavior is different from bisexuality. if same sex behavior is the criteria, then a much larger proportion of saudi men are bisexual than american men. i don’t think that’s true. there are some women i know who are bisexual, but have different standards (so it has to be a guy they really like, or a girl they really like, to swing that way). i’ve met at least one guy who was bisexual in this way, though he told me his attraction to women was more emotional and his attraction to men more sexual (i.e., he didn’t find male-male relationships as fulfilling in terms of a pair bond).

  • miko

    Not to bring up Bailey’s numerous problems with credibility, but are heterosexual men universally aroused by watching lesbians have sex? i find that very surprising, and wonder about the nature of the material, e.g. how strictly it adheres local cultural norms regarding the appearance and behavior of lesbians in pornography designed to arouse straight men. but i don’t wonder very much.

  • trajan23

    Miko: “wow, trajan23, I didn’t know they had such sophisticated genital measuring devices for samurai and ancient greeks.”: The pederastic nature of the vast majority of same sex encounters among the Japanese Samurai and the ancient Greeks is well documented . For example, a great deal of weight was attached to a youth “growing his first beard.” Once the beard was grown, he was no longer a source of sexual attraction. The concept of the “beardless youth” occupies a similar position in the contemporary Middle East. In such cases, the ephebic,beardless boy is functioning as a female substitute in societies where female segregation is practiced.

    ” or maybe the sample is from a cultural context in which males tend to be more polar in their orientations?” : One might also observe that male homosexuality is heavily proscribed in American society, yet the Homosexual men in the test displayed a measurable sexual response to scenes of male-male sexuality.How is it that American culture can successfully inhibit a bisexual physical response, but not a homosexual physical response?

  • farmiddle

    “homo- and heterosexuals are equally likely to molest children.”

    Is that irrefutable? Can’t say I’ve come across a convincing argument one way or the other.

    trajan23, I’m not sure that’s a very convincing data set and results. If bisexuals only represent a few percent of the population, then you’d certainly need to increase the sample sizes to detect them, expecially if bisexuals are lurking in the self-idetified hetersexuals and make up only 2 to 3 percent of the population. Also, perhaps bisexuals have moods. You may need a follow up to see if their sexual preferences are consistent over time.

  • trajan23

    Miko: “but are heterosexual men universally aroused by watching lesbians have sex? i find that very surprising, and wonder about the nature of the material, e.g. how strictly it adheres local cultural norms regarding the appearance and behavior of lesbians in pornography designed to arouse straight men. but i don’t wonder very much.”

    As I noted in my initial posting, one third of the men in each group showed no response to either the male-male or to the female-female scenes. Perhaps they found the material dull.Or perhaps they simply have low sex drives.

    Heterosexual Male response to Female-Female Sex: Although I know of no studies on the matter, girl-girl scenes in porn produced for hetero males exist in all of the porn producing nations of which I am aware: Japan, Brazil, France, Thailand, the USA, the UK, ancient Rome (there are frescoes that depict it), Turkey, etc.

    Of course, it should be borne in mind that these are scenes depicting sexual encounters between feminine looking women. Heterosexual men, for the most part, do not seem to be aroused by the prospect of two “butch” lesbians going at it.

  • miko

    For example, a great deal of weight was attached to a youth “growing his first beard.”

    So if men in the US are attracted to women with comically large breasts, or who are not obese, or who are young, but are not particularly attracted to most other women, then are they not truly “heterosexual”, but some sort of special-pleading subcategory? I don’t find pubescent males especially dainty or at all appealing sexually. If you do–[affects stereotyped gay accent] heLLLOOO!–you are gay. Or bisexual.

    “How is it that American culture can successfully inhibit a bisexual physical response, but not a homosexual physical response?”

    I don’t have any trouble thinking up plausible-sounding reasons, but I’m not a social scientist.

    Is that irrefutable? Can’t say I’ve come across a convincing argument one way or the other.
    Of course it’s refutable, it’s the null hypothesis. I am unaware of any credible refutations, but I do know that molesters are generally straight male family members, and that the general clinical consensus is that pedophilia and homosexuality are unrelated, as one might expect from observing the differences between adults and children in terms of secondary sexual characteristics.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    miko, the context of culturally accepted pederasty is often de facto or de jure sex segregation. modern afghanistan, ancient athens, are de facto and de jure cases. sparta was more of a de facto case because of the intensive training and separate living. i haven’t done much of a study on homosexual behavior in prisons, but from what i know it’s not really recognizably “gay” in a way we’d understand it in the west, rather, one male is forced to take the female role, the same sort of tendency which is attested in antiquity (when you have a model of companionate same sex relations it is noted and viewed with moral opprobrium).

  • farmiddle

    Miko, even a null hypothesis needs to be tested. What evidence is there one way or the other?

  • trajan23

    farmiddle: “trajan23, I’m not sure that’s a very convincing data set and results. If bisexuals only represent a few percent of the population, then you’d certainly need to increase the sample sizes to detect them, expecially if bisexuals are lurking in the self-idetified hetersexuals and make up only 2 to 3 percent of the population. Also, perhaps bisexuals have moods. You may need a follow up to see if their sexual preferences are consistent over time.”

    Numbers : I agree that the numbers are low, but it is the largest scale test that I know of.Obviously, the larger the number of test subjects, the greater the degree of confidence in the results.

    Percentage of Bisexuals: Please note that the 33 bisexual subjects were self-identified. They were the only group that failed to physically respond in a manner that was consistent with their self-labeling.

    Moods: Could you amplify this?Are you implying that male bisexuals will display a bisexual pattern of arousal only during certain intervals in their lives?

    Bisexuals lurking in the self-identified heterosexuals: If this is the case, why didn’t they respond to both the m-m and f-f scenes?

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    also, from what i can tell same sex attraction, emotional and physical, often does seem to emerge in situations where there’s a lot of enforced sex segregation. this can be english public schools, or men who are away at war, or people who are imprisoned. the modern developed world and hunter-gatherer societies though are two cases where this isn’t as much of an issue. there’s enough sex mixing that “supply” of the preferred sex is not much of an issue. so those who express homosexual preferences presumably have a real strong preference for this orientation. IOW, i bet that the heritability of homosexual behavior is highest in the west today.

  • farmiddle

    If the ratio is straight males to gay males is 30:1, and that members of the family have easier access to trusting minors. So, of course, there would be generally more male relative abuse than any other kind. What I’m asking is if the ratio of straight males to gay males is 30:1, what is the ratio of straight to gay pedophiles?

    You seem to pretty convinced that there would be no difference. Are there ‘credible’ studies showing that there are no differences? I doubt that as well.

  • trajan23

    Miko:

    “So if men in the US are attracted to women with comically large breasts, or who are not obese, or who are young, but are not particularly attracted to most other women, then are they not truly “heterosexual”, but some sort of special-pleading subcategory?”: Miko, you seem to be confusing preference with orientation. Most men who are “turned on” by, say, big breasts, are also attracted to smaller breasted women, only to a lesser degree. In contrast, an Afghani man who has sex with a girlish looking boy will not be at all attracted to a virile looking adult male.

    ” I don’t find pubescent males especially dainty or at all appealing sexually. If you do–[affects stereotyped gay accent] heLLLOOO!–you are gay. Or bisexual.”: Pubescent males are a source of sexual release for heterosexual men in sex segregated cultures because they look feminine.

    “I don’t have any trouble thinking up plausible-sounding reasons, but I’m not a social scientist.”: Please, enlighten us.I would like to hear your explanation for why American society can inhibit a bisexual physical response, but not a homosexual physical response.

  • miko

    Bisexuals lurking in the self-identified heterosexuals: If this is the case, why didn’t they respond to both the m-m and f-f scenes?

    You mean, why didn’t blood flow to their genitals increase when they were in a laboratory watching pornography? Maybe the 2 or 3 in his sample had just jerked off, who cares? You should read some of Bailey’s critics. I don’t go much in for psychology, but even for them he’s sloppy.

    Razib, I agree…but I don’t think these identities exist independent of context. If you’re willingly having same-sex intercourse, you are bisexual or homosexual, whether it’s pederasty or not. These aren’t Platonic states, they are operational categories that arise from GxE interactions. I am sure not all Greeks were pederasts, and some guys on the Pequod just stayed in their hammocks. There is a continuum on which everyone falls that is dependent on their brain and their environment. It doesn’t make sense to me to say that someone who derives pleasure from and seeks out same-sex intercourse is somehow not really gay/bi. You are, to some degree or other, and you are distinguishable from those who never seek it out and would not enjoy it.

    I bet you’re right about heritability.

  • farmiddle

    trajan23, first if there were only 30 hetersexuals in the study and if 2% to 3% were bi, then there’s a good chance of not getting a result from the 30 hetersexuals.

    As for clarifying my comment on moods – I think the display of bisexuality could extend not just over longer periods, but shorter ones as well. I don’t know, but it’s possible. I prefer beer, but sometimes I’ll drink wine.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    miko, agreed that there are some semantic issues here.

  • miko

    farmdiddle,

    Sorry, the “null hypothesis” thing was just a smartass joke. You’re right… but study credibility is not the problem, really, it’s sampling. There are no studies with samples from which one could derive trustworthy probabilities because they consist solely of those who have either been convicted and/or are receiving clinical treatment. I would guess that majority of child molesters are not caught or do not seek treatment, and that these might be important group differences.

    This study was based on 1 year of ER visits by abused children, fewer than 1% of the abusers were gay or lesbian, but that is impossible to interpret because we don’t know what percent of adults with access to these children were homosexual.
    Jenny et al. (1994). Are children at risk for sexual abuse by homosexuals? Pediatrics, 94, 41-44.

    There are many other studies with negative results, which as you know are hard to interpret.

    The only ones I could find explicitly supporting the gay/molester theory are Cameron’s (Psych Reports, 1985), but he simply defined all males who molested male children as homosexuals, so there goes that “conclusion.”

  • trajan23

    Miko:”You mean, why didn’t blood flow to their genitals increase when they were in a laboratory watching pornography? Maybe the 2 or 3 in his sample had just jerked off,”:So, you believe that only “2 or 3″ of the 33 self-identified bisexual males in the sample group were bisexuals, and that the rest were lying. Furthermore, you think that these two or three “genuine” bisexuals decided to “jerk off” prior to the test. Fascinating.

    ” who cares? You should read some of Bailey’s critics. I don’t go much in for psychology, but even for them he’s sloppy.”: I have read Bailey’s critics. Most of them are LGBT activists with an ax to grind.

    “Razib, I agree…but I don’t think these identities exist independent of context. If you’re willingly having same-sex intercourse, you are bisexual or homosexual, whether it’s pederasty or not.”: So, an Afghan man who has sex with a 14 year old boy because he looks like a girl is, by your definition, either homosexual (despite the fact that he is not aroused by masculine looking men) or bisexual (despite the fact that it is only the appearance of femininity that excites him)?

  • farmiddle

    If Cameron defining ‘all males who molested male children as homosexuals’ invalidates the conclusion, then how would you define a male who molests male children? You say, ‘if you’re willingly having same-sex intercourse, you are bisexual or homosexual.’ So even by your definition, wouldn’t a male that molests males be bisexual or homosexual?

  • trajan23

    farmiddle:”first if there were only 30 hetersexuals in the study and if 2% to 3% were bi, then there’s a good chance of not getting a result from the 30 hetersexuals.”: 33 of the men in the test were self-identified bisexuals. Why did they fail to display a bisexual arousal pattern, unlike the homosexual and heterosexual men?

    “As for clarifying my comment on moods – I think the display of bisexuality could extend not just over longer periods, but shorter ones as well. I don’t know, but it’s possible. I prefer beer, but sometimes I’ll drink wine.”: Do you ever feel an equal preference for both?

  • miko

    trajan23,

    I’m not confused, thanks. You were claiming that sexual attraction to a certain subset of males (beardless) does not make you gay, but only a pederast. I say that’s bullshit.

    Again, the “physical responses” you refer to are, I assume, bloodflow in genitals while looking at various kinds of porn? This kind of data does not interest me at all…it’s fMRI for your crotch. If it is true that there are behaviorally fewer bisexual men than women, or that men tend to cluster (again, behaviorally) more at the poles of some hetero-homo continuum, I don’t find it unreasonable to think that this may be due to a paucity of clearly defined social identities for men in the middle range. I have gay friends, but it is clear that gay male culture is very distinct from straight male culture. I don’t want to draw conclusions from that, but I don’t know why it would be particularly surprising for any psycho/social distribution to be bimodal.

    People keep hammering away at the apparently accepted idea that young men look like women, or will do in a pinch. Sure they don’t have beards, so it was easier to put them in drag for Elizabethan theater. I will admit they lack many of the secondary sexual characteristics of adult men. However, they don’t have any of the sexual characteristics of women. Ever heard of your imagination and your hand? Am I the only straight guy here?

  • miko

    farmdiddle,

    sexual abuse of children is not sex.

  • miko

    sex with a 14 year old boy because he looks like a girl

    I’ve never seen a 14 year old boy who looked like a sexually mature female.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    at the rate you guys are going i think we might start violating some american laws on obscene speech….

  • miko

    Actually, between all the “young boys look like women” and conflating molestation/abuse with sex, I’m getting creeped out. I’m worried trajan23 might post some links attempting to refute my last comment. I’m done with this.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    i’m closing the thread. i think we get everyone’s point at this juncture….

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Gene Expression

This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com

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