Sunday, December 23, 2012

Despite mathematical manipulation of assumptions, homosexuality remains a sinful choice, not an inherited mandate.

Homosexuality has long been an enigma for evolutionists, an aberrant behavior claiming to be natural, and a deviant behavior in search of an excuse. Despite pop-media headlines to the contrary, the latest research—distilled down to 27 pages of prodigious statistical gymnastics and double-speak—cannot demonstrate a physical reason a homosexual person is homosexual.
The homosexual population, as a political and social force in modern society, demands to be considered “normal.” After all, some animals exhibit behavior suggesting same-sex preference,[1] and evolutionists assure us we are just highly evolved animals, therefore—some claim—homosexual behavior must just be a normal variation. However, from an evolutionary point of view, same-sex partner preference makes no sense.

The authors of “Homosexuality as a consequence of epigenetically canalized sexual development,” published this month in The Quarterly Review of Biology, call the occurrence of homosexuality in either animals or humans “perplexing.” They write, “Homosexuality is frequently considered to be an unusual phenotype because it represents an evolutionary enigma—a trait that is expected to reduce Darwinian fitness, yet it persists at substantial frequency across many different (possibly all) human populations.”[2] In other words, homosexual behavior does not promote the production of similar offspring, since by its very nature it cannot produce any offspring at all.

In an effort to provide a physical explanation for behavior known biblically to be a sin, many researchers have sought a genetic explanation. After all, a genetic “excuse” would seem to get homosexuals experiencing disapproval from family and society “off the hook” and justify the “I was born that way—I can’t help it—accept me the way I am” attitude. Yet if such a genetic dictate were to be found, it would still fly in the face of Darwinian tenets. While biological families with homosexual members do have a slightly increased incidence of having other homosexual members, the authors admit the statistical likelihood—even the 20% likelihood seen in identical twins—is insufficient to justify claims that homosexuality is a genetically inherited trait. 

Furthermore, as the authors freely admit, absolutely no such “gay gene” has ever been found.
“Although pedigree studies indicate a familial association of homosexuality in both males and females,” the authors write, “more than a decade of molecular genetic studies have produced no consistent evidence for a major gene, or other genetic marker, contributing to male homosexuality. Moreover, the most recent genome-wide association study using exceptionally high marker density found no significant association between homosexuality in males and any SNPs.”[3] Thus, the authors of this study affirm that no genetic change associated with homosexuality has ever been found. And if such a “gay gene” did exist, the prevalence of homosexuality in biological families would be much higher. Furthermore, they do not claim to have actually found such a genetic or even an epigenetic change themselves.

The latest research, so proudly hailed in the headlines for proving homosexuality to be the result of gene regulation, does nothing of the kind. Despite the fact that homosexuality is a preference with absolutely no anatomical marker or trigger, the authors conclude that it must be related to hypothetical epigenetic gene regulators passed on from generation to generation. And to create an evolutionary reason for these hypothetical promoters of homosexuality to persist, they weave the scenario that these undiscovered markers might be helpful to mothers but alter the nature of their babies.

Epigenetic changes are modifications of the genetic switches that regulate gene expression. They result in a phenotypic change (change in observable characteristics) without alteration in genetic sequences. If epigenetic changes affect the DNA in germ cells (reproductively relevant cells, namely sperm or eggs) or if organisms prone to develop these changes possess a selective advantage that increases their chance of survival and reproduction, then the phenotype may be passed on to offspring.[4] Thus, to be passed on, the authors reason, these changes must be advantageous to the mother, since homosexuality cannot be evolutionarily advantageous for the offspring.

“Ultimately, homosexuality would mean that you could not sexually reproduce and have offspring—so how could that be any kind of proof of evolution? It would actually inhibit evolution, not progress it,” points out molecular geneticist Dr. Georgia Purdom of Answers in Genesis.[5]

The published report reviews what is known about the interaction of hormones (mainly testosterone) with normal and abnormal fetal development in males and females. All humans have circulating levels of testosterone, and levels in males are generally higher. However, several factors genetically intrinsic to females make them less sensitive to testosterone, so even baby girls born with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) and thereby exposed to huge levels of testosterone in the womb are only born with “ambiguous” (and repair-able) genitalia, not male anatomy.[6] Similarly, genetically programmed factors make male fetuses more sensitive to testosterone than their mothers or sisters and therefore anatomically male.
Even though the regulatory mechanisms in human fetal sexual development are finely-tuned, the researchers concluded that the very existence of complex regulatory effects are evidence that epigenetic markers could influence subsequent sexual preference—a trait having no relationship to sexual anatomy. They present no evidence that abnormalities of fetal development produce homosexual behavior. Nevertheless, they create analogies and draw conclusions.

Their paper is replete with vocabulary to put a nice face on the fact that they discovered nothing and proved nothing. They have discovered no “epi-marks” but only mathematically model what could result if such epigenetic factors existed in the first place and then got passed down through generations. The authors conclude, “Although we cannot provide definitive evidence that homosexuality has a strong epigenetic underpinning, we do think that available evidence is fully consistent with this conclusion.”[7]

“This study is basically just a mathematical model that the researchers have developed,” Dr. Purdom explains. “They report no biological assessment of this. It's merely a model they've developed, though they would like to test it in the future to see if this possibly could be some sort of link to homosexuality.”
In essence, the authors of this study have taken the fact that heritable epigenetic factors allowing organisms to reversibly adapt to an environment are known to exist and assumed they must explain homosexuality, an otherwise inexplicable behavior from an evolutionary point of view. The evolutionary enigma regarding homosexuality, moreover, stems from the unsupported assumption that homosexuality is a phenotypic trait intrinsic to the biological make-up of a person rather than a sinful chosen lifestyle.

While the study reflects wishful thinking that biological evolution could explain homosexual behavior, the media headlines not only misrepresent the results but also exaggerate the authors’ claims. To say “no evidence” (as the authors wrote) is a far cry from the declaration in the headline proclaiming proof that homosexuality has a biological genetic cause. Such misleading headlines are irresponsible ways of deliberately deceiving and manipulating busy people who often glean their news from a glance at the headlines.

What is passed on from generation to generation in human beings, in relation to homosexuality, is a sinful nature. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, people have continued to choose their own way in rebellion to God. Our Creator, has the authority to say what behaviors and passions are and are not right. He also loves us and knows what is ultimately best for us. All sin is rebellion against God. Homosexuality, as described in Romans 1:24–32, is a sin that has been particularly associated with the slippery slope of sinful attitudes and lifestyles leading to ever greater rebellion, social degradation, disease, and spiritual blindness throughout history. Dressing this sin up as natural, normal, and unavoidable does not change that biblical and historical reality.

For more information:
§  News to Note, February 18, 2012 (adaptation through inheritable epigenetic on-off switches)
§  News to Note, November 24, 2012 (fruit fly psychology)
§  News to Note, November 10, 2012 (genetic distinctions between humans and chimpanzees)
§  News to Note, June 23, 2012 (angry birds)

[2] W. Rice et al. “Homosexuality as a consequence of epigenetically canalized sexual development,” The Quarterly Review of Biology 87, no. 4 (2012):343–368.
[3] From W. Rice et al. “Homosexuality as a consequence of epigenetically canalized sexual development,” The Quarterly Review of Biology 87, no. 4 (2012):354. SNPs refers to “single nucleotide polymorphisms.” A SNP is a variation in the base pair in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene. Many mutations consist of SNPs, and such genetic changes alter the code in the actual gene and can be passed on to offspring through the usual processes of Mendelian genetics.
[4] Heritable epigenetic changes have been reported in plants, fruit flies, mice, roundworms, and humans (News to Note, February 18, 2012).
[5] Reported in a recent interview
[6] See Feedback: Hermaphroditism for more information.
[7] W. Rice et al. “Homosexuality as a consequence of epigenetically canalized sexual development,” The Quarterly Review of Biology 87, no. 4 (2012):343–368.

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