Thursday, October 10, 2019

Is this the Gay Germ? Part II



Courtyard with Lunatics, Francisco Goya (1746-1828). Why is HIV much more likely to cause cognitive impairment in the body of a gay man than in the body of an intravenous drug user? Has an unknown pathogen been caught in the dragnet of AIDS studies?



My last post focused on certain discrepancies in data on AIDS victims: as antiretroviral therapy becomes more widespread, there has been a decline in opportunistic infections, but the decline hasn't been the same for all pathogens. In particular, some brain infections have shown modest declines or no change at all. 

Has an unknown pathogen been caught in the dragnet of AIDS studies? This pathogen would coexist with HIV only because it, too, is associated with the gay lifestyle. It would not be a "cofactor" that makes the HIV infection worse. In fact, it probably precedes the HIV infection by many years. This unknown pathogen may target certain sites in the brain of its host early in life in order to change his sexual orientation and thereby increase its chances of transmission to another host. It thereafter remains in the background until its host has reached an age when he ceases to be useful. The pathogen is then no longer penalized if it causes damage to surrounding neural tissues. Various neurocognitive disorders could therefore develop in its host from late middle age onward.


AIDS in gay men and intravenous drug users

This post will focus on discrepancies in data from two other papers. The first one is a study of AIDS victims in the Italian city of Bologna. Some of them contracted AIDS via homosexual/bisexual behavior, and some via intravenous drug use. One finding strikes me as unusual: "Compared with injecting drug users, homosexual/bisexual and heterosexual participants had ORs of 9.6 (95% CI, 2.2-42.7) and 6.3 (95% CI, 2.2-18.3), respectively, for cognitive impairment" (De Ronchi et al. 2002).

In other words, when the researchers looked at AIDS victims, they found that cognitive impairment was ten times more strongly associated with homosexuality/bisexuality than with intravenous drug use. That finding is curious because the ratio of ten to one doesn't correspond at all to the ratio of homosexuals/bisexuals to intravenous drug users among Italian AIDS cases. In fact, intravenous drug users made up about 60% of those cases in 1997 (Wikipedia 2019). The Bologna study took place between 1994 and 1997.

Why is HIV much more likely to cause cognitive impairment in the body of a gay man than in the body of an intravenous drug user? Do druggies take better care of their mental health? The evidence actually suggests the reverse: HIV-associated dementia seems to progress more rapidly in intravenous drug users (Bouwman et al. 1998). The latter finding also points to a qualitative difference between the two groups: dementia seems to develop more slowly in gay men.


HAND and HAART

The second paper is a review of studies on HAND [HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders]. It notes that HAND can develop even in individuals on HAART [Highly active antiretroviral therapy] with no detectable traces of HIV:

Furthermore, 21% [of individuals in the CHARTER study] developed HAND despite effective HAART (although the precise number who were aviremic is unclear). Similarly, in a cohort of individuals with AIDS, 21% of aviremic individuals (who also had undetectable CSF HIV RNA) progressed to HAD [HIV-associated dementia]. A third prospective study also identified HAND in 8-34% (depending on the time point of the assessment) of aviremic patients without comorbidities and with a nadir CD4 cell count less than 200 cells/µl (McArthur and Brew 2010)

The authors suggest that HIV can produce irreversible neural damage that becomes noticeable only much later in life. Well, perhaps. Nonetheless, it seems to me more parsimonious to postulate a second pathogen.


Parting thoughts

Clearly, HIV does cause cognitive impairment. The Bologna study showed a strong association between HAND and low white cell counts. But it looks like a certain proportion of HANDs are due to a cause that exists independently of HIV infection.

Please note: I'm not arguing that HIV is interacting with an unknown pathogen to cause cognitive impairment. I am arguing that these two pathogens impair cognition independently of each other and in different ways. They share only one thing in common: they have a much higher incidence among gay men than in the general population.

Finally, I'm not arguing that this unknown pathogen is the only cause of male homosexuality. There are likely multiple causes. In a nutshell, male homosexuality seems to be due to a genetic predisposition interacting with something in the environment. The genetic predisposition is a smaller-than-average neuronal population that promotes a heterosexual orientation. Normally, natural selection keeps it from falling below the threshold needed to sustain attraction to women. Certain environmental agents, however, can cause this neuronal population to fall below the threshold: fraternal birth order effects, stressful events during pregnancy, exposure to environmental estrogens during childhood, and, yes, a pathogen.

I don't know whether my views on the "gay germ theory" are consistent with Greg Cochran's. I hope he will deign to provide his comments.


References

Bouwman, F., R. Skolasky, D. Hes, O. Selnes, J. Glass, T. Nance-Sproson, W. Royal, G. Dal Pan,  and J. McArthur. (1998). Variable progression of HIV-associated dementia. Neurology 50(6): 1814-1820.
https://insights.ovid.com/article/00006114-199806000-00048 

Cochran, G.M., Ewald, P.W., and Cochran, K.D. (2000). Infectious causation of disease: an evolutionary perspective. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 43: 406-448.
https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.182.5521&rep=rep1&type=pdf 

De Ronchi, D., I. Faranca, D. Berardi, et al. (2002). Risk Factors for Cognitive Impairment in HIV-1-Infected Persons with Different Risk Behaviors. Archives of Neurology 59(5): 812-818.
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/article-abstract/781960

McArthur, J.C., and B.J. Brew. (2010). HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders: is there a hidden epidemic? AIDS 24(9): 1367-1370
https://journals.lww.com/aidsonline/Fulltext/2010/06010/Circulating_proviral_HIV_DNA_and_HIV_associated.17.aspx?Ppt=Article|aidsonline:2010:06010:00017|| 

Wikipedia (2019). HIV/AIDS Public Health Campaigns in Italy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_Public_Health_Campaigns_in_Italy


34 comments:

Anonymous said...

The commenter Sean mentioned in the previous thread about baldness being associated with homosexuality in a recent study.

I recall you hypothesized before that male pattern baldness might be caused by a fungus or some other pathogen which feeds on sebum which is produced by DHT.

Sean said...

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3558911 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01542417 M. arctoides is relatively non violent. Andreas Wagner mentions that the play of many immature animals (even spiders) is often practice for the sexual act. In chimps the immature males will mount male and female alike, but the homosexual mounting becomes vanishingly rare in adults. Primate species like the one which goes bald, and the one with red lips, are much less violent and much, much more gay than chimps.

Magnus said...

Link 1


Link 2

Magnus said...

"Given that 1) excess prenatal testosterone exposure has been implicated as one of the factors etiologic to left-handedness, stuttering, and dyslexia; 2) the prevalence of left-handedness, stuttering and dyslexia is higher among males compared to females and higher among homosexual men compared to heterosexual men; 3) there is a preponderance of males among those involved in the aforementioned creative endeavors, especially among those with top-notch ability in said creative endeavors; and 4) plenty of evidence exists suggesting excess prenatal testosterone exposure as one of the major factors etiologic to male homosexuality [evidence in my book plus here], one can propose with some confidence that the ability to be a top-notch fashion designer requires a high level of masculinization of some parts of the brain."

Magnus said...

"[...] androgens can be expected to influence various simple structures in a dose-response manner, but beyond a level that a developing organism can handle, the developmental disturbances caused by excess androgens will not result in a dose-response effect but a non-linear effect on complex structures (which require a longer time and a more stable developing environment to develop properly). Thus, excess androgens from fetal development onward could result in hypermasculine forms of simple structures such as body hair or penis but hypomasculine forms of more complex structures such as the musculoskeletal system and certain brain structures."

Sean said...

Erik H's old ideas about the effect of testosterone seem a bit arbitrary. He mentions hair, but male pattern baldness is most certainly not taken as hypermasculine and a sign of virility (or assertiveness) by either women or men. Also, testosterone is as much for male--male competition as sex. " When the intact stags were implanted with testosterone, no changes were seen in rutting behaviour, but there was a noticeable increase in aggression ...". Gay men are more passive and that is why I think I think Wrangham, Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University is right that strong selection against reactive violence explains a lot about homosexualty.
Immune cells in the brain have surprising influence on sexual behavior. The gum disease bacteria makes use of inflammation to eliminate its rival bugs in the mouth, so one can't be too sure, but at present I think the evidence is some kind of immune system dysregulation rather than fiendish manipulation is what tips the balance for homosexuality (schizophrenia too).The gene variant that is by far the most associated with schizophrenia is the amped up inflammation version of C4. Homosexuals are prone to thyroid dysfunction.

Peter Frost said...

Anon,

It's naïve to think that parasite manipulation affects only ants. Humans, with their large brains, present many opportunities for manipulation by pathogens of many sorts. This is an understudied subject largely because we focus more on pathogens that trigger an immune response and develop rapidly. A lot is going on below the radar ...

Sean said...

Peter, I asked GC several years ago whether he thought a bug spread by homosexuals causes homosexuality and he said he didn't know, but it seemed unlikely unless molestation of little boys was more common than anyone realised. While you have interesting thoughts about how a gay germ would work and found some indications there may be bugs caught through homosexuality that damage the brain, I don't see evidence of specific behavioural modification by such a pathogen in the same way that Toxo makes rats attracted to the smell of cats, which is something spelling the rat's immediate demise and therefore obvious manipulation.

Having sex with, or sex acts performed on one, by a member of the same sex just isn't that clear cut deleterious to subsequent reproductive fitness. If a single gay sexual encounter could convert largely heterosexual youths to exclusive homosexuality, there would be an excellent case for manipulation, but as far as I am aware no one has ever claimed it to be a no-going-back-activity. Homosexual activists tend to claim the opposite: that far more apparently straight men have tried gay sex than are willing to admit it. Complete flipping of a basically straight male's sexuality by an encounter, would even if a rare occurrence be something homosexuals would have noticed, it would be a celebrated thing in the gay subculture that they have that power.

Anonymous said...

I don't see evidence of specific behavioural modification by such a pathogen in the same way that Toxo makes rats attracted to the smell of cats, which is something spelling the rat's immediate demise and therefore obvious manipulation.

The homosexuality would be the behavioral modification. This modification opens up transmission vectors dramatically. Homosexuals tend to have extremely high numbers of sexual partners and sexual encounters, especially compared to typical heterosexuals.

Anonymous said...

Having sex with, or sex acts performed on one, by a member of the same sex just isn't that clear cut deleterious to subsequent reproductive fitness.

Peter has made many interesting posts on the topic of parasite manipulation and sexual behavior:

https://evoandproud.blogspot.com/search/label/parasite%20manipulation

Also see Jim Bowery's comments here:

https://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2011/05/demon-within-part-ii.html

Sean said...

"THE vast majority of autoimmune diseases have been shown by genome-wide association studies to be associated with particular HLA alleles and we find a couple of those in Denisovans," Norman added. "So it looks to me like modern humans have acquired these alleles, but we weren't kind of prepared for them, we hadn't grown up with them, and in some circumstances, they can start to attack us as well as the viruses and other pathogens." Gay people tend to be prone to Graves disease, which is an autoimmune disorder.

In tribes where there were berdaches having contact with straight men then having sex with women, it seems to me everyone would become infected horizontally of vertically by such a bug as Peter is suggesting. I have heard it suggested that many Afghans are homosexual though. The increase in homosexuality seems modest enough. It seems to me that flaming homosexualty would have increased by an order of magnitude in the modern West if there was such a bug and given the decline in taboos against experimentation.

In the modern West, an awful lot more heterosexual men have tried anal sex with a woman than regularly indulge in it. A tendency for young males who indulge in homosexuality (and this would in the majority of cases be by penetrating a passive homo) to then become flaming queers desperate for receptive sex with other men would be good evidence something was manipulating their behaviour. Yet such a sexuality flipping phenomenon would also have been noticed by gay men, or cross dressing males presenting as transexuals and seeking sex with straight men, and their complaint is precisely the opposite: that straight acting men regard the trysts as an adventure that does not define them, and go back to women.

Even though they are much less violent than chimps, bonobos are far more violent that humans. Bisexual bonobo perma orgies would be a superb vector for a sexually transmitted bug, as the whole population participate. Do bonobos all hump one another the way they do because of an STD pathogen in their brain, or is it the same Neural Crest domestication syndrome that may be what gives them pink lips that has simply brought down their inhibitions?

Grey wolves can smell other animals a couple of miles away, their domesticated descendants can't. In the recent study that found an increased propensity to EVER HAVE HAD A SEXUAL ENCOUNTER with another man (pace G.Cochran I think that is the proper criterion) for a couple of human snps, one seems associated with male pattern baldness--MPB has a Neanderthal origin I have read--the other is in the sense of smell region. Konrad Lorenz noted that domesticated animals are far less discriminating about what they eat and as a result eat more, they are also sexually undiscriminating and promiscuous. His doodlings also seem to indicate he suspected baldness as well as pot bellies and short extremities were a result of domestication.

There are totally gay males with an astronomical number of sexual contacts; yes, but they may be similar to gluttons who eat until they get obese and diabetic. Obesity has been attributed to a virus admittedly, so I cannot say there is not something similar for homosexuality. By my way of thinking the degree of causing very specific and drastic behavioral change in the host being posited for a gay infection seems to lack support.

Anonymous said...

His doodlings also seem to indicate he suspected baldness as well as pot bellies and short extremities were a result of domestication.

The figures in his doodles have neotenous traits. Babies have hair that resembles male pattern baldness:

http://images.agoramedia.com/ugcphotoservice/100/2015/9/27/34153769/df8e0761-80c2-41b7-a72d-56a687a7ec28.jpg

Sean said...

If you look at catwalk models and fantasy art, the look humans desire and admire is wild type. So obviously the changes of domestication were a deleterious side-effect of selection for something else. Gregory Clark says there has been selection for being a bourgeois, how can that not have culled those genetic variants conferring violent propensities? Who can doubt that middle class people in the most prosperous economic areas of a country are more likely to be gay? They most certainly are more likely to identify as homosexual.

Anonymous said...

Catwalk models tend to be very slender, tall, and androgynous. People have suggested that the reason for this is that the designers tend to be homosexuals and favor this type, or that the designers want something akin to walking clothes hangers that emphasize and focus on the clothes, rather than the models' bodies. It's not a type that heterosexual men tend to favor, like swimsuit models.

Sean said...

Anon, The model look (which actresses like Cameron Diaz have) is not overtly sexual, but it is high status. My impression is that hetero men who can take their pick (eg Tom Brady) nail their full share of slappers, but settle on the tall aristocratic women much more akin to haute couture models than female porn performers. Anyway, to get back to the topic.

While the look, that as Lorenz noted ancient Greek and previous civilisations admired, of broad shoulders, narrow hips, long limbs, powerful musculature and tight flat stomach is more typically male than female, even swimsuit models have them and are thus to normal women as wolves are to dogs in their bodily proportions. The very relevant point K. Lorenz made is that wild animals are relatively picky and slow to accept food and even more discriminating about a new mate, but even the females of domesticated (geese) will make overtures to a strange male in a way that strikes the observer as decadent. Across all species, Domestication syndrome results in a loosening of breeding constraints.

"THE abstract for Ganna’s talk referenced another provocative result: Heterosexual people who possess these same four genetic variants tend to have more sexual partners"

So there you have it: the death penalty for demonically violent males may reduce hetrosexuality, but by leading to less discriminating sexual choice it's offsetting the narrow calculus of natural selection. Moreover, dogs can do stuff that wolves with their strength, power, keen senses and infallible instinct cannot. In the modern world the most successful countries might well be the ones that are least heterosexual, the least Cro Magnon.

Anonymous said...

Brady is an interesting example because he's actually fairly atypical among elite athletes and quarterbacks. He was not a top prospect going into the pros and was noted for being slower, less athletic, and less of a natural quarterback than most others. His success and especially his longevity (he's one of the oldest ever to play) is attributed to his discipline and coaching staff more than to his natural talent, and also attributed to his "personal trainer" Alex Guerrero, whose training is in Chinese medicine from a now defunct diploma mill. Some speculate that Guerrero and his "Chinese medicine" is a cover for performance enhancing drug use by Brady.

Brady's wife Gisele Bundchen is also an atypical example among catwalk and haute couture models. It may be hard to believe nowadays, because large buttocks and body proportions are prominent in the media and are something many ordinary women aspire to, but when Gisele came on the scene in the 90s, "heroin chic" was in vogue and ultra skinny physiques were the norm among models. Gisele was considered to have large buttocks and thick, shapely legs by the standards of the day. Fashion people thought she was fat. She arguably started the trend that has culminated in the Kardashians and the obsession with large buttocks today.

Sean said...

Intellectuals and men of high status and social class tend to choose women for other reasons than reproductive fitness, otherwise they would be highly partial to women with far higher that any model waist to hip ratios, who were shorter than average. The working classes seem more heterosexual probabally because as the effects of testosterone suggest, brawling hetrosexuality has throughout history been a brake on moving up in a society.

There are perhaps other things going on, Melvin Konner:- "EVOLUTIONARY logic suggests that young women and their parents, in choosing less violent mates through the generations, could provide steady selection pressure toward lower reactive aggression—steadier pressure than infrequent dramas of capital punishment could."

Look at all the mass entertainment eulogising the tough cop or CIA operator. Human societies encourage not wolves, but the bulldog breed, disciplined proactive aggression that is released on command from higher authority.

While it is true that being substantially homosexual by innate propensity has in recent decades become severely deleterious to fitness it must have been less true in the past. "ELDERLY people today were born into a world of 70-odd years ago which was in most important respects the opposite of what it is today ... conventionally-minded time-travellers from the 1940s would find themselves in a world where just about every value, belief, and expectation they had—and every one of those listed above—was either turned into its opposite, made irrelevant, or condemned."

Were heterosexual propensities one dimensionally competed against homosexual ones there could only be one winner. But if there are qualities that go along with genes for homosexuality, such as having more sex of all kinds, not being quickly killed off as a troublemaker, and better position in society with the extra resources to bring up children, then it isn't possible to say that genes causing homosexuality would have been eliminated by natural selection. I won't say that the virus idea is definitely wrong though, one can imagine a vertically transmitted virus that nudges sons toward gayness, but makes daughters more attractive and attracted to men, which seems a lot more likely to me that a gay virus spread horizontally by homosexual contact.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if there's a male preference for the tall, willowy look you describe as high status and aristocratic. High status men settling for such types may be tied to assortative mating.

High class, aristocratic women tend to be tall because their male forebears tend to be tall. High class, aristocratic men tend to be tall because that class selects for social and interpersonal dominance. Height is a significant advantage in social and interpersonal dominance. People are naturally deferential to taller people, associate height with authority and leadership, and literally look up to tall people. There are likely very basic mental modules at work here related to how children associate height with parental authority.

Sean said...

It's not a male sexual preference it's more like way that people like the look of wolves, Afghan hounds or thoroughbred horses. Anyway, homosexuality is more common among middle class and above people.

Onthesly said...

I suppose what I don't understand is how homosexuality among adult men spreads a virus that was supposedly caught in early childhood. Most gay men just sleep with other gay and bisexual (i.e. already infected) men.

I also don't understand why the carrier of a virus that changes the host's sexual orientation becomes useless to it after a certain age given that people continue to have sex past their forties.

I think Jason Malloy, a long time ago, noted that he looked for support for the pathogen theory in the seasonality of gay men's birthdays and didn't find any.

Anonymous said...

It's not a male sexual preference it's more like way that people like the look of wolves, Afghan hounds or thoroughbred horses.

"Horseface" is an insult men direct towards taller women who often have a certain facial structure.

Sean said...

Yes, but that rather proves my point that selection for the wild look is responsible for the prestige of supermodels, and that is neither homo or hetero sexual inspired. Compare Przewalski's horse to a thoroughbred and it is obviously true the appearance of wild type robustity can be selected for in domesticated animals, or aristocratic families (eg Stella Tennant) if rampant heterosexuality is not calling the shots. Higher social class people are more socio economic successful and less heterosexual I think.

"Baldie" is a terrible insult for a young man. Girls don't like balding young men (quite correctly if they are looking for a 'Sexy Son' fathering husband), and I was dubious that a virus that wanted to spread by sex would cause baldness. It now turns out that male pattern baldness is associated with a gene for reduced hetrosexuality, and I think the gene is for reduced propensity for violence. The connection can be seen in the aggression/sex double effects of testosterone, which the metabolites of, receptors for, and sensitivity to are known to cause baldness.

Peter Frost said...

"I suppose what I don't understand is how homosexuality among adult men spreads a virus that was supposedly caught in early childhood. Most gay men just sleep with other gay and bisexual (i.e. already infected) men."

That is a historically recent form of homosexuality. Before the 20th century, male homosexuality was overwhelmingly between older heterosexual men and boys on the brink of puberty.

"I also don't understand why the carrier of a virus that changes the host's sexual orientation becomes useless to it after a certain age given that people continue to have sex past their forties."

See:
http://medind.nic.in/iaa/t13/i8/iaat13i8p207.pdf

Below the age of 50 years, all men (n = 19) were sexually active with zero percent reporting no sexual activity. Only one person (5.26%) was partially sexually active.
After the age of 50 years (n = 49), 24.48% of men were fully sexually active; 30.61% were partially sexually active and 46.93% were not sexually active.
After the age of 60 years, none of the men were fully sexually active. ‘No sexual activity’ increased from 20% in the 51-60 years age group to 87.5% in those aged >70 years. Sixty-nine percent men aged 60-70 years were not sexually active.
After the age of 70 years, 86% males were not sexually active.

Anonymous said...

The connection can be seen in the aggression/sex double effects of testosterone, which the metabolites of, receptors for, and sensitivity to are known to cause baldness.

Can you explain this further?

The hair loss drug Finasteride works by interfering with the secondary effects of testosterone, which include head hair loss and body hair growth.

The highest rate of male pattern baldness is among Mediterranean/Near Eastern Caucasians, who tend to have lots of body hair. The lowest is among East Asians, who have the least body hair:

https://melmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-10-at-4.21.40-PM-1280x612.png

OntheSly said...

"That is a historically recent form of homosexuality. Before the 20th century, male homosexuality was overwhelmingly between older heterosexual men and boys on the brink of puberty"

Even so, most gay men will tell you they knew they were gay before puberty, and a lot of cross-sex specific behaviors and preferences (e.g. an aversion to roughhousing) that are highly predictive of adult homosexuality in boys are evident, again, years before puberty.

I'm pretty sure Cochran's theory, at least, posited that the germ was one that was regularly caught in the course of early childhood, but only affected the brains of a small minority of boys, for whatever reason.

I'm open to the gay germ theory, I just don't think it makes a lot of sense. Why would the germ redirect attraction from women to men? Why wouldn't it just make an infected man more promiscuous with women? It would seem to involve less of a cognitive overhaul and a sexually compulsive straight man would spread the germ farther and wider than a non-sexually compulsive gay man.

Anonymous said...

Even so, most gay men will tell you they knew they were gay before puberty

This sort of thing is called confabulation, and it's not unique to homosexuals:

https://web.colby.edu/cogblog/2017/04/17/eager-to-please-confabulation-in-healthy-and-amnesic-individuals/

"Confabulation is the unconscious process of producing false memories, and it can affect anyone. Those affected by confabulation range from amnesic patients to an average person participating in a psychological study. Obviously, the severity and consequences of the confabulation vary depending on the individual and the situation...

A paper by Max Coltheart examines confabulation in a range of individuals, from healthy to amnesic. Wilson and Nisbett (1978) tested confabulation in healthy individuals by asking random shoppers to choose a the best quality pair of stockings between 4 identical pairs. As a follow up, shoppers were asked to explain why they chose the pair they did. People offered all sorts of explanations, citing the superior texture or hue of the particular pair of stockings, which were obviously unfounded, since the stockings were all virtually the same.

This displays a classic trait of human nature: the keenness we all show for giving the correct or expected answer. When asked to complete a task, we overlook logic in favor of successful completion of the task: in this case, giving the answer that’s expected. Wouldn’t you rather give a response than admit that you don’t know something?

Another study in Coltheart’s paper examined confabulation in hypnotized individuals (Barnier, Cox, Connors, Langdon and Coltheart 2010). Subjects were hypnotized to believe that the person in the mirror they were asked to look in was a stranger. When questioned by the experimenters about why they saw a stranger in the mirror, subjects came up with all sorts of explanations in order to make sense of the seemingly impossible situation, including suggesting that they were looking at a photograph or through a hole in the wall. Experimenters also asked the subjects whether one of their family members would be able to tell the difference between them and the person in the mirror. Amazingly, subjects replied “no,” citing specific differences in physical features between themselves and the mirrored person, when of course, just like in the stockings experiment, there were none.

These responses, like the subjects’ made-up explanations of the differences between stockings, show the human tendency to find causes, even if they are false, to make sense of a situation.

In many cases of question-provoked confabulation, researchers point out that the subjects/patients had the opportunity to respond “I don’t know” when asked to explain the logically impossible situations. Yet instead, they confabulated, coming up with elaborate false explanations for the occurrences. This attempt to rationalize their actions or statements appears to be a better alternative to having no explanation at all (Malle 2006)."

Sean said...

Finasteride causes erection problems. Maybe it makes you less violent too, and perhaps a little bit gay!

"I'm pretty sure Cochran's theory, at least, posited that the germ was one that was regularly caught in the course of early childhood, but only affected the brains of a small minority of boys, for whatever reason. I'm open to the gay germ theory" He must have changed his mind because he said he did not know when I asked him years ago.


A Gay Germ theory worthy of the name (Peter's alone I think) surely must be positing a specific bug spreading by causing homosexuality. At the very least any Gay Germ thesis must suggest a particular strain is increasing the number of gay sex partners, and/or altering the role taken in homosexual contacts (eg dominant 'top to passive 'bottom'). Without entailing spread through the vector of a homosexual behaviour created by a specialised infection, a hypothesis is not really a Gay Germ one .

Anonymous said...

Finasteride causes erection problems. Maybe it makes you less violent too, and perhaps a little bit gay!

But it also prevents or reverses baldness. You originally suggested that baldness was associated less violence and gayness.

Anonymous said...

Without entailing spread through the vector of a homosexual behaviour created by a specialised infection, a hypothesis is not really a Gay Germ one .

Why? That would depend on how virulent the hypothetical pathogen is.

Sean said...

Not much of a gay germ if it sometimes makes gay males as a rare but lasting after effect complication of something like influenza in the mother. When the immune system is activated one feels depressed and in need of rest. A bug that got under the radar of the immune system and while preserving all cognitive functions flipped, or at least tipped the balance, to get an infected male spending his prime reproductive years flamboyantly cruising for endless same sex contacts, would be very well adapted indeed and so deserve the name of gay germ.

Baldness under 30 years old is more of a risk factor for heart trouble than being obese, and in folk wisdom bald men are seen as less assertive (not a great jump to saying less violence prone). A huge genetic study detected an allele association with being gay (baldness associated DNA area) was statistically significant. The stump tail manque goes bald and is relatively non violent and surprisingly partial to being gay. I suppose all these things point to sensitivity to hormones and their metabolite being the obvious suspect. Sensitivity to the testosterone metabolite DHT is AFAIK the main factor in baldness. If reducing the action of DHT with Finasteride can have the common side effect of erectile dysfunction and gay men experience erectile dysfunction at a higher rate than their heterosexual counterparts, as they do, then my line of reasoning is one's body is defaulted set for maximum heterosexuality and attractiveness to women under the constraints of any selection collaterally mitigating against total straightness. Hence trying to chemically tweak one's metabolism for less baldness is likely to de-optimise into a less hetrosexual state.

Anonymous said...

"Before the 20th century..." - this is a blatant lie, and even if it were true, the "theory" remains spurious and does not explain how, today, adult men "spread a virus that was contracted in early childhood "

"it's called confabulation" - which serves the same arguments (sexual abuse and gender nonconformity in childhood) that try to corroborate the "theory"

Sean, you also make a lot of spurious claims: "gay men experience erectile dysfunction at a higher rate than their heterosexual counterparts", "A huge genetic study detected an allele association with being gay (baldness associated DNA area) was statistically significant", that's all LIES

There are actually two reasons why conservatives like you and Coch want to spread this "theory"

- first: homophobia
- second: incapacity to fully understand natural selection..

First of all, humans evolved to be capable to differentiate sex from procreation. To control sex impulse as well to use it in recreational related-activities. It's mean non-reproductive sex desire seems to be in-selection among humans, too. Broader is the sexual behavior spectrum, more diverse it will be;

Secondly, sexuality is correlated with cognition and personality. Humans evolved to be psychologically and cognitively diverse because it's better have different specialist types to solve different problems. So it's expected a mix among so-called masculine and so-called feminine traits, and it's also mean about sexual desire. A matter of probability;

Thirdly, only very strong and specifically-defined natural selection can ''clean'' population's related phenotypes from ''debris'' as homossexuality.

There are some anecdotal evidence of more common bissexual behavior among heterossexual african-descent men... R-strategy or huge fertility to attacks environmental challenges also mean trends to higher phenotypical variation or hyper-sexuality maybe;

Fortly, your evidences sound very weak, like a incident correlation... only way to prove it it's finding direct association between fungus and behavior. Like, in the exact way, a homossexual guy feel sexual desire to another male, so-called ''germ'' manifest in the brain. Also, what i already said in Pumpkin Person blog. If you find some microorganisms, unusual ones, in healthy homossexual male sperm, so, this theory also possibly will have some breath.

Fifhtly [whatever]: you know we have the similar number of bacterias and cells, right*

I don't believe if there is a ''gay germ'' will not have a ''sexual germ''.

That's the problem about science without philosophy, i mean, not verborragic crap lots of white thinkers had produced, and i'm including many ''non-liberals''. Scientists put their personal biases over ethics.

To fully understand homossexuality we must understand all sexuality. Why not try to understand the biological origins about heterossexual behavior**

Still about heritability. Autism seems pretty heritability and some people also believe it's a kind of ''brain infection''. Higher or lower heritability may mean less than we bet. And all the time people is confusing heritability with inheritance levels, what's matter for selective processes.

How explain one of the identical twin pairs with no ''fungus/pathogen/germ infection''*

AND MORE

Sexual abuse or maternal stress don't cause male homosexuality
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11091252_Prenatal_Stress_and_Gender_Role_Behavior_in_Girls_and_Boys_A_Longitudinal_Population_Study
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26619850/

And if there is a "gay germ", then surely there would also be a heterosexual germ

Anonymous said...

"exposure to environmental estrogens during childhood, and, yes, a pathogen" - stop talking shit, you'll never find the cause for homosexuality from these lying and explicitly idiotic assumptions

Male pattern baldness is caused by dihydrotestosterone, which is produced by testosterone. Eunuchs don't go bald.

"People are psychologically biased to see bald men as dominant leaders"

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/people-are-psychologically-biased-to-see-bald-men-as-dominant-leaders-a7872761.html

"according to research from the University of Pennsylvania, there's something powerful about having a smooth dome.

In three experiments, researcher Albert Mannes found:

• "Men with shaved heads were rated as more dominant."

• "Men whose hair was digitally removed were perceived as more dominant, taller, and stronger than their authentic selves."

• "Men experiencing natural hair loss may improve their interpersonal standing by shaving."

Now a data scientist for the US government, Mannes argues that the shaved-and-dominant link comes from cultural associations, in the same way that being tall and having a deep voice each signal dominance.

"In US society ... shaved heads are often found on men in traditionally masculine professions," he writes, "so dominance may emerge through stereotypical associations with these figures."

Anonymous said...

Genes for male homosexuality in the recent study (2019) include several associated with male behaviors such as risk-taking, promiscuity, autism and cannabis use.

Given that 1) excess prenatal testosterone exposure has been implicated as one of the factors etiologic to left-handedness, stuttering, and dyslexia; 2) the prevalence of left-handedness, stuttering and dyslexia is higher among males compared to females and higher among homosexual men compared to heterosexual men; 3) there is a preponderance of males among those involved in the aforementioned creative endeavors, especially among those with top-notch ability in said creative endeavors; and 4) plenty of evidence exists suggesting excess prenatal testosterone exposure as one of the major factors etiologic to male homosexuality, one can propose with some confidence that the ability to be a top-notch fashion designer requires a high level of masculinization of some parts of the brain

High testosterone, higher propensity of child abuse, and male mentors returning from incarceration with homosexual experiences under their belt could create a decent enough environmental motive for homosexual attraction

Male homosexuality is related to excess prenatal testosterone exposure

Anonymous said...

I am alarmed at some of the comments on this blog passing for scientific discussion--you are speaking of people as if they have a disease. The way some of the commentators have talked about homosexuality reminds me of 19th century discussions of eugenics regarding Black people--where the speaker is completely unaware of their bias and power in the discussion. Be careful about that--if you speak about a group of people as if they were statistics or lab experiments, it will discredit anything you are trying to say. It's fascinating for example how many assumptions have been included in the discussions--that homosexuals are weaker than heterosexuals (regarding indigenous cultures) or that homosexuality implies a feminization of men (really? is that always the case?) or the fact that homosexual women have been conveniently left out of the conversation entirely. Constructing a thread along these lines says more about the contributors than it does about the topic! For my part I would suggest that 1) sexual identity is not reducible to sexual activity, it is not the same thing, and what constitutes sexual identity is far more complex than is being understood in this thread. 2) evolution and natural selection could be twisted into explaining homosexual ACTIVITY, perhaps, as has been shown, by additions that are far fetched at best (viruses for example) but it does not explain sexual identity (love idealization, spirituality, worldview). 3) Because of this, a biologistic explanation of sexual identity will inevitably fail under the weight of its own presumptions and lack of complexity that must factor in non-biological variables.