Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Elusive Gay Gene

The Elusive Gay Gene

I write this as a response to various discussions in which I have been involved. As a professing Bible-believing Christian, I hold the view that God intended and created marriage as the vehicle in which sexual union is licenced between one man and one woman. And that the Bible quite plainly teaches that sexual activity outside of marriage is not in accord with His intentions – His ‘blueprint’ for mankind. Inevitably, in our current social climate, this exposes me to accusations of ‘homophobia’, bigotry – and many other appellations which accompany the outrage which is stirred when someone declares a belief that goes against the ‘PC’ ruling. I refuse to be ‘speech-policed’ or ‘thought-policed’ by bullying attitudes and reactions which will not tolerate disagreement. But I do wish to lay out, so that it can be clearly seen and understood, some of the thinking behind the view I hold.

First let me say that my personal relationship with the living Lord Jesus Christ has imbued my old, stubborn, selfish heart with new life and new love. That happened over fifty years ago. I can honestly say that I bear no hatred whatsoever for any other mortal man or woman. Indeed, God’s Spirit within me presses me to do good indiscriminately to all, even to those with whom I disagree on any count. So the accusation that because of what I believe about sexuality, and the fact that I hold that homosexual activity goes against the moral directives of God to man, as explained in the Bible – the accusation that this causes me to ‘hate’ gays is totally false and unfounded. Indeed, those who have made that accusation online have no grounds or basis to do so; they know relatively nothing about me, and thus their attitude is judgmental in the extreme. So I refute that I am 'homophobic' in any way, shape or form.

Second, let me say that the reason I hold what I hold is because the teachings of Jesus and His Apostles in the New Testament leave me no alternative to believe otherwise – I am convinced that this is what the text says. And as a Christian, I view the Bible as God’s infallible word – His prescription for all I believe and how I live out my faith. If anyone would persuade me that I am wrong, let him (or her) do so from these Scriptures. Passages such as Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6 vs 9 and 1 Timothy 1 vs 10. I have read arguments that seek to explain away these direct references to the issue. I do not find those arguments any more than poor efforts at exegesis and exposition. They ‘fudge’ the text in order to reach conclusions they have already decided they wish to reach. That is not the way to read God’s revelatory word.

Third, and this is my main reason for writing here, I do not find that current or previous efforts to isolate and identify a genetic predisposition to homosexuality have been successful at all. And this despite the apparent common acceptance that it has been ‘proven’ beyond doubt. This assertion turns out to be an ‘urban myth’. There is no such absolute conclusion that has been reached on the subject.

When we examine the studies that have been conducted, we need to be careful that we do not swallow wholesale everything that is put before us. If we are not to be hoodwinked, there are some things to bear in mind. I will suggest a few:

1.       Media reporting – even the BBC – is often biased and prejudiced, and this bias will not always be either declared or obvious. The presentation of facts is often selective and incomplete. Thus we cannot rely on TV reports, newspapers or Internet to give us a reliable base without knowing ‘where’ they are coming from.

2.       The studies themselves will have been conducted by scientists or researchers ‘with an agenda’. The whole methodology of hypothesis-antithesis sets out to prove/disprove something. The statement of that ‘something’ will have been formed by a human mind with its own limitations and restrictions. To properly evaluate the results, we need to know the ‘slant’ that is being placed on the results.

3.       This means that the facts brought to light by experimentation/observation must be what we look at, not just the conclusions the experimenters have drawn from those facts, which will display (betray?) their particular bias.

4.       Experiments are not infallible. Methodology can be flawed, sampling can be biased, and unconsidered factors can intrude. Thus reproducibility of results is one of the requirements before the results of any one experiment can be accepted as valid.

With all this in consideration, my current awareness of the state of play to date is as follows:

1.       No single gene which disposes homosexuality has been identified, despite many decades of its being searched for.

2.       Experiments and studies which claim positive or significant results in this light have subsequently been challenged on various counts, and have not been possible to reproduce. Without exception!

3.       There has been indication that multiple genetic factors may – may – dispose humans towards sexual preference. But these, even when accumulated, can be easily overridden by choice or ignored. In other words, this combined genetic ‘prod’ amounts to nothing more than a mild influence, not a driving force.

I ask that others correct me if they know different. But the conclusion I have to reach here is that despite vigorous and intensive looking for ‘the gay gene’, nothing has emerged which is in any way convincing. And claims to the contrary are exaggeration or just wishful thinking.

Bottom line – no-one is ‘born gay’.

As an addendum, let me say that the argument that we observe homosexual behaviour in the animal kingdom is also unconvincing. Why this should dispose humans to act in the same way, or to excuse their doing so, is beyond me! Certainly there are other ways in which animals act that we would never dream of emulating or excusing - like fighting to the death to eliminate competitors for leadership, for example. And anyway, studies show that where same-sex acts are performed by certain animals, this does not exclude 'normal', heterosexual activity which is essential for their continued survival. There are no exclusively 'gay' animals. And there are assuredly no progeny of such creatures, even if they do exist!


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