Talk:Biology and sexual orientation

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Twin studies / theories of causeEdit

Probably best to update the twins studies to the meta-analysis in Bailey's 2016 review rather than primary sources. I don't really think the 'criticisms' needs its own heading (just look at the citations for it, good lord). It's not about it being a random sample and its not about MZ concordance rates, but about (a) the difference in MZ and DZ probandwise concordance rates, and (b) the statistical model of genetic and environmental influence – and as Bailey points out, the only plausible model from these together is the multifactorial threshold model. Sxologist (talk) 10:01, 2 July 2020 (UTC)

I'm wondering about the structure of this article in general. Should everything be under one giant 'empirical studies' section or separated under heading type 1? I am also surprised there is no section dedicated to hormones given the substantial volume of evidence related to androgen uptake shown through digit ratio and ear structure. Sxologist (talk) 10:54, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
Additionally, I'm not sure having a section titled "Empirical studies" is right? Sxologist (talk) 11:09, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
Regarding this? Yes, criticisms should be included. Both here and at the Environment and sexual orientation article.
I'll think on the headings. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 21:14, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
Agree, I just don't think it warrants a subheading because it can be mentioned very easily in the middle of the history of events. I.e. research began with early self-selecting studies, the criticisms came, and then more recent twin studies relied on the random contacting of people in population twin registries. Bailey 2016 is the most comprehensive meta analysis and the median of .24 concordance is the best available and as close to the true rate as anyone can get (thus far). Sxologist (talk) 07:20, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
Regarding the headings, one thing I find odd is on mobile a lot of the actual ~interesting content~ sits under empirical studies, but it’s long and drawn out. I feel like it could just be split according to genes, hormones, FBOE, physiology etc? My eyes just go to ‘biological theories as a cause’ and I’m left unimpressed. I know it means more sections, but many of these could be more encyclopaedic in nature. The current genetic subsection, for example, is rather long winded and at times redundant.
There also needs to be some thought about the ‘biological theories’ section. First, what actually counts? For example, the maternal immune response hypothesis (FBOE) is really it’s own theory of a distinct cause. But other things could also be interpreted as a ‘biological theory for the cause’ that tie into evolutionary biology, like genes causing increased fecundity in women, and causing androphilia in men? This section could technically grow to be quite sizeable. I’m sure that’s not a bad thing, though.
I also don’t know if the ‘early fixation hypothesis’ is the correct title given for that first paragraph. It seems more like brain arrangement hypothesis. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t early fixation more of the Oedipal/Freudian explanation of early psychoanalysts? I’ve never heard that phrase in a biological context. Sxologist (talk) 23:22, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
Regarding "early fixation", I changed that terminology with this edit. It seems like the maternal immune hypothesis is an aspect of that; I wouldn't say off the top of my head that that's a distinct theory, but if the sources do treat it that way, then okay. With splitting or rearranging the "empirical studies" section, I'd have to think about that. If you have a specific proposal, that may help. Maybe the section at the bottom about anatomy should be combined with that as well in some way. However, I don't think discussion of evolution should be combined with theories about development in the individual; this is because of the difference between proximate and ultimate causes, as explained at Tinbergen's four questions. Crossroads -talk- 03:57, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
That seems pretty good. That way sub headings could be incorporated under it to briefly describe a few related hypotheses, e.g. Maternal Immune Response for some men (FBOE), and androgen receptivity/uptake in others which all relate to brain arrangement or wiring (I am just brainstorming here). I've recently read a lot of responses to Breedlove 2017 in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, and they were really fascinating since brain arrangement with relation to androgen could be manifesting itself in so many different ways. LeVays was brief and good. McFaddens explanation of androgen uptake (and hyper-masculinzation producing a monotonic effect), rather than simple under/over exposure, was perhaps the most interesting. I was surprised to see biologists are finally taking seriously the research out of US/Canada/Sweden with relation to sexual orientation and facial structure. Especially after a longitudinal research was published showing masculinization/feminization of face is highly influenced by androgens. There's probably also room to mention the possibility of different typologies of gay men down this line of reasoning, the fact that some researchers like Bailey think that while there may be multiple prenatal influences, that ultimately they may come through one single final pathway of sexual orientation (i.e. no different typologies, only androphilic or bisexual brain formation).
With regards to structure, it's hard to picture things another way when they've been set in that format for so long. My general feeling is that it should be easy for users to access certain parts, and given most traffic probably comes from mobile - shorter sections with descriptive H1 titles are useful. The easiest path would probably be to switch a lot of the subheading's into H1 headings... i.e. genes, epigenetics, birth order, fertility and heritability studies, brain structure, physiological differences, gender nonconformity, quasi-experiments (boys reassigned female) and animal research (in no particular order here). Maybe this is a lot of headings, but IMO it makes more sense given how far one has to scroll through the genes section (including that table) to get down to all the rest (on mobile). Many people would probably dry up reading all those gene studies, since it's stated quite early on how much of a role genes play. If it was me, I'd want to move on to other explanations by then and scroll to the next section, but on mobile you're not sure whats coming next. The theories could still remain in place below these areas to explain how all those things interlink. I might be way off base here, and I don't think it should be changed in a rush. Maybe there's a better way, but I get the feeling that since each area of research is quite substantial it would be good to have separate headings. We can take our time. Sxologist (talk) 07:20, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
Agreed that the brain development subsection needs expansion, and the sources you mention here could be used for that. As for the headings, lets all think about that for a while. I might have to look at WP:MOS to see how much of a role mobile appearance plays in heading layout. Crossroads -talk- 22:08, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
I'm not a fan of a lot of headings (subheadings or otherwise), and especially if the headings only contain a little bit of material (see MOS:Paragraphs). The reason I'm not keen on extra subheadings is because, like I've noted times before on Wikipedia, it can make Wikipedia articles look substantially longer than they are from the table of contents. And this can make the article difficult, or more difficult, to navigate through. To combat clutter in the table of contents, Template:TOC Template:TOC limit is sometimes used. But I'd prefer to just not add excessive subheadings.
As for naming the headings, and the article setup, we could work that out in a sandbox by proposing one or more examples. It's easier to get a better idea of what we mean and agree on in that way. The visual is helpful like that. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 02:29, 4 July 2020 (UTC)

Just regarding brain arrangement theories. This kind of splits into three main subcategories (as far as I am aware). The first is neurohormonal theory, linked to the exposure of androgens, or the uptake/sensitivity to them along certain regions of the brain. Then it splits into two different maternal immune response hypotheses. The first is the anti-male antibodies as demonstrated by the FBO effect. The second is a maternal immune response unrelated to male antigens, and Blanchard has (so far cautiously) implicated it in first born gay sons and even lesbians. Blanchard found that mothers with first born gay sons and lesbians had less successive children, perhaps indicating that this type of antibody effects sex differentiation processes, but unlike FBO effect, it is detrimental to the viability of future fetuses (I think it was even stronger in mothers with lesbian daughters). He did leave a comment in a journal recently that he has another paper with data coming out shortly. Since all of these three brain arrangement theories would implicate atypical sex-differentiation processes, there can be homosexuals with physiological outcomes that look attributable to neurohormonal theory but may be truly attributable to antibodies. For example, Marc Breedlove always seems to regurgitate his masculinized digit ratios for lesbians, but ignores Richard A. Lippa's digit ratio study (one of the largest) with a sample of N=2,000+ which found gay men had feminized digit ratios, and lesbians had no differences with straight women. Theres another paper in the mid-2000's with similar findings. I think the vast majority show lesbians having masculinized ratios (at least butch ones) but they are smaller than Lippa's. It gets quite complex. This may be related to a variety of different cause typologies as LeVay points out, where some are related to androgen receptivity and a third is related to antibodies – and then how much of this also implicates gene for androgen receptivity? Unfortunately the media and LGBTQ activist/groups appear to have moved largely back to a social constructionist view, for example, Rebecca Jordan-Young is frequently quoted in NYTimes articles bashing any study that implicates biology and sexual orientation, because that would mean she had to cede ground on sex differences. I guess they also don't want there to be a biological implication because it could mean prevention of sexual orientation? Anyway, J. Michael Bailey doesn't even care for physiological markers because behavior that emerges with no encouragement, and despite opposition, is the "sine qua non of innateness". In his view gender nonconforming children fare the "poster child for biological influences on gender and sexuality, and this is true whether or not we measure a single biological marker". These perspectives are outlined in a variety of papers but if I propose some edits I'd want to refer to all of the evidence (excluding the social constructionists argument, which I might briefly cover in environment/sexual orientation?). Let me know if I am missing something. Sxologist (talk)

Okay. I'd encourage you to keep working at it until you have written what you feel is a well-rounded overview, and then you can add it to the article or propose it here first; discussion and tweaks can then follow either way. I don't think we need to discuss social constructionism in this article. That is in fact discussed at Sexual orientation, but I need to work on that section.
Regarding "the media and LGBTQ activist/groups appear to have moved largely back to a social constructionist view", I don't think I would go quite that far, but it does seem to me there has been a shift in this regard over the last several years. And we do definitely hear some pro-LGBT people nevertheless (and foolishly, in my view) endorsing social learning or constructionism, whereas a few years before that was almost always associated with the religious right. The idea has long existed in some parts of academia, though, but scientific research has since moved beyond that. Crossroads -talk- 03:21, 5 July 2020 (UTC)

Definitions for environment influenceEdit

Sxologist, in your sandbox, you currently state state "social environment, this could include rearing styles, parenting, societal acceptance." But, as you know, that's not all that social environment means with regard to sexual orientation or behavior. It also means how genes interact with social environment (including individual, non-shared environmental experiences), as in the case of behavioral genetics (although behavioral genetics cover more than one thing) or something like the "exotic becomes erotic" theory.

As for your latest above comments, I will get back to you on that. I need to catch up with my watchlist and then log off Wikipedia. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 01:00, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

My sandbox is clearly a scatterbrain copy-paste working point from which I work up from. There are numerous sentences which are not even finished, nor legible, nor correct – and I know this - hence the disclaimer at the top of my sandbox. The sentence actually makes a lot more sense when you know it was with regards to twin studies, and should have read ‘shared environment’ rather than ‘social environment’, hence the confusion. The sentence is valid in that respect. Just because it’s in my sandbox doesn’t mean I would copy that into an article. It would have appreciated a response to the concerns I raised above, rather than being called out for something I wrote in the middle of the night in my sandbox... by the way, it actually pertained to the Environment and sexual orientation article and not this one. I understand it’s public, but if you read my other sentences in my sandbox, they at times make no sense or are unfinished – that’s just the way I work. Regardless, it wouldn’t have ever copied something that poorly written into an article. I‘m going to refrain from making rough edits in my sandbox again, I really thought the whole point of a sandbox was that you were allowed to be rough with your edits and not be criticized? In no way did I say “hey go look at this proposal on my talk page”. Sorry to be defensive, the simple fact is that I did take offence. I appreciate your corrections and comments (and your adjustments to my edits), but as you point out, I know there are other variables at play and nothing about my sandbox was ready for someone to look at and critique. Thanks. Sxologist (talk) 02:29, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
By the way, as I highlighted here, I intended to propose section explaining what the environment meant, for the article Environment and sexual orientation. The inclusion of that section in my sandbox was a brief thing I put in there last night to remind myself to finish doing that. But I understand where your concern came from. Sxologist (talk) 02:39, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
(edit conflict) (old "ec" because I was away from my computer for sometime). Like I stated on your talk page, it did not occur to me that you would be offended or uncomfortable by me mentioning your sandbox. Also, I am in the habit of discussing article matters on article talk pages. I wanted to go ahead and address that aspect in case you edited the section in question very soon. This means that I wouldn't have to address it after the fact (after it's already been added). The content you copied and pasted to your sandbox was taken from this current "Empirical studies" section of the Biology and sexual orientation article, which does not begin with information about twins. The twins subsection is a little below it. I can see that your sandbox, like many sandboxes, especially in the beginning, is "a scatterbrain copy-paste working point." But people commonly add pieces to their sandbox, work on those specific pieces, and then add those specific pieces to the article. You know, while the rest of the sandbox is "a scatterbrain copy-paste working point." You had recently edited the "Empirical studies" section. It is only logical for me to think you would edit it again very soon. And as for "it actually pertained to the Environment and sexual orientation article"? There has been overlap with your edits on this topic. And what I stated pertains to either article.
I had a health episode while reading your response and trying to respond in turn. So I need to get off Wikipedia as soon as possible for the day. But I just want to state that you blew this out of proportion. There was no calling you out on my part or criticizing you. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 03:23, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
Thank you for clarifying. I do not think you meant to cause offense. I shouldn't have said you 'called me out' and instead, assumed good faith. For context, I was pulling an all nighter while doing some work and editing at the same time, and that is part of the reason I snapped. Again, I did try to de-escelate by removing the comment but I see that's not up to me to do. I never once thought my sandbox was 'private' but I did not think it was being monitored per se. Additionally, I am operating on past comments where you have said you were snappy with regards to my edits (I have also expressed that this wasn't a bad thing). Sorry to hear about your health. Sxologist (talk) 13:14, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
No, you didn't bring on the episode.
As for "operating on past comments where [I] have said [I was] snappy with regards to [your] edits"? Yes, here, I stated, "I'll try not to come across as snippy regarding your edits in the future." But I didn't mean that I was battling with myself to not be snippy when it comes to edits you make. I just meant that I was snippy in that case, and that I would try not to be snippy with regard to your editing in the future. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 02:29, 4 July 2020 (UTC)

Yeah, userspace pages like sandboxes aren't private, not even private property, since things like spam aren't allowed even there. It is available for development of encyclopedic content of course. I generally don't spend time commenting on sandboxes, since it's usually unfinished and whatever issues there are with the text might get resolved by the author anyway. If the issue remains after it is officially proposed or mainspaced, then I spend time on it. Crossroads -talk- 04:07, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

Duly noted, and thank you. Sxologist (talk) 06:32, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

Removal of contentEdit

@প্রলয়স্রোত: I undid your edit which removed the 'near perfect quasi experiment'. As I wrote in the edit summary, this is not a "study that has not been replicated". It is a meta-analysis of seven follow up studies of boys who turned into girls at birth, and given estrogen. Don't accuse something of "not being replicated" when it has been replicated dozens of times, but these 7 are the only ones who have provided sexual orientation. I suggest you read the David Reimer article for the most prominent of such cases. Also, you commented that "many criticisms regarding studies which supports homosexuality is genetical have been removed earlier". Actually, I removed the 'criticisms' subheading specific to twin studies because the sources had nothing to do with gay twin studies nor the criticisms of them. I am going to propose a brief statement of the criticisms directly into this section because it is brief. The main criticism was that the samples were non-representative, and recent twin studies have used twins from population sample twin registries, which have found a concordance rate of 24% which is the best available and very likely the 'true' rate of concordance. Through twin studies, and genome wide studies, it's conclusively shown that there is a genetic basis but that other factors are at play. Criticisms of twin studies do not disprove that there is a genetic link. Sxologist (talk) 21:29, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

Agreed, the source it is from is as good as they come on this topic, per WP:RS, and it should stay. Crossroads -talk- 22:09, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
As well as the quasi-experiment, I would say natural experiments could be included... e.g. congenital adrenal hyperplasia and it's effect on androgen receptivity in women has provided more evidence that androgens effect sexual orientation. According to this, "13 published studies have revealed that 20% to 50% of females who have congenital adrenal hyperplasia will identify as lesbian or bisexual in adulthood" (it's probably covered in Bailey). A lot of the new research and publications are interesting since they comment on peoples brains having different receptivity/uptake of androgen... meaning two people can be exposed to different amounts of androgen and have similarly 'masculinized outcomes', and inversely, two people can be exposed to different amounts of androgen and have the same masculinized outcome. McFadden covers this in this article which is a recommended read. It's paywalled but I'd recommend using a site which must not be named. Levay had similar thoughts. Anyway I'll try to focus on doing one thing at a time - but food for thought and it's pretty easy to refer to this natural experiment since it's been covered so much. Sxologist (talk) 22:50, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
@Sxologist: That was a meta analysis, I agreed. But the conclusion of this analysis is based on only 7 people, the sample was totally limited. Anyone will call it a sample biased analysis. Thats why the analysis was also criticized by the author of analysis, himself. Have you any reference of other study where more than 7 people showed such sexual orientation? If not, then let this content remove.Sorghum 03:51, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
@প্রলয়স্রোত: No, it does not need to be removed. John Money's failure to reassign infant boys into girls is a very famous part in the history of the view that sexual orientation is a learned social construct. Where exactly did the researchers say it was a small sample so it wasn't valid? They said "rejecting these findings because of their small sample size would be a mistake, even though a larger sample would obviously be desirable. First, the findings comprise the closest test of nature versus nurture with respect to sexual orientation, and right now they are all we have. Second, the seven cases have remarkably similar outcomes with respect to sexual orientation. There is no good reason to suspect that this would change if additional cases similar to these were added. Because of the limited sample size, however, the data provide much stronger support for the importance of nature than they do for the lack of importance of nurture". Did you actually read the full statement? If you're going to recommend edits, you better provide some good evidence to do so without cherry picking a small methodological flaw. A quasi-experiment is a pretty good starting point from which scientists can infer answers from. I will remind you, these boys were also put on estrogen (which I am going to edit into the text), and many were castrated at birth. I will also include reference to the aforementioned points. But to reject such a drastic intervention as "not a big enough sample" is odd. You are not the arbiter of what get's put into a wikipedia article. Wikipedia is to summarize the findings of experts. Sxologist (talk) 04:31, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
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