Answer by Diane Eager
This question arose following reports in New Scientist, Science (AAAS) News and Associated Press 17 November 2014 and Discover Magazine 18 November 2014 about research by Alan Sanders of NorthShore Research Institute in Illinois and colleagues. Sanders’ team studied the DNA of 409 pairs of homosexual brothers looking for common genetic markers named single nucleotide polymorphisms. The two places they found with most shared genetic markers were a region on the X chromosome named Xq28 and another on chromosome 8 named 8q12. The Xq28 region has been previously claimed as a site for a genetic basis for homosexuality in a much smaller study published in 1993. Sanders claims the new study “erodes the notion that sexual orientation is a choice”.
Other scientists are not so sure. They point out that Xq28 and 8q14 are not individual genes, but regions of chromosomes which may contain hundreds of genes, and this kind of chromosome study has been rendered obsolete by newer studies which can target specific genes. Furthermore, Neil Risch, a genetics expert at the University of California, San Francisco, explained that the newly published results are statistically too weak to demonstrate any genetic link. Also, according to Science News, “Sanders admits that although the strongest linkage he identified on chromosome 8, using an isolated genetic marker, clears the threshold for significance, the Xq28 linkage does not. But he says both cases are bolstered by (also less-than-significant) data from neighboring markers, which appear to be shared at higher rates between pairs of brothers.” (words in parentheses in original)
Our comments on the above report have to point out that: finding a statistical association with a section of a Chromosome 8 does not prove any genetic cause and effect. Sanders’ admission that Xq28 linkage did not clear the threshold for significance is an admission that the results actually failed the accepted test of statistical association, and therefore they have no basis for even thinking there could be a genetic cause and effect from this region of chromosome. In other words, there needs to be some ‘statistical’ evidence of honesty here: these researchers did not find a homosexual gene!
To make a valid claim for a homosexual gene scientists would have identify a specific gene, know the function of the gene, and explain how the activity of this gene forced people to be sexually attracted to the same sex. No researchers have come anywhere near doing this, or even claimed to.
The weak statistical association with a chunk of chromosome 8 in a small population of only 409 sets of brothers, along with the non-significant result for a chunk of the X chromosome, in no way “erodes the notion that homosexuality is a choice”. Many homosexuals may claim they did not make a conscious choice, but we all need to admit a lot of our behaviour can be undertaken without us knowing or ever making a conscious decision at a specific moment in time, e.g. losing our temper, wanting the largest slice of cake etc.
The real problem here is how do we decide what is right behaviour, whether we feel it is OK or not? To the evolutionist, who is in essence a pragmatic atheist, anything goes, and no absolute criteria are allowable. Whatever someone ‘feels like’ is natural. Nothing is right or wrong, merely socially acceptable or unacceptable, and social norms can be changed according to the opinions of whoever is influencing society at the time (politicians, media, entertainers, etc).
The real Creator God has a totally different set of criteria. What He created sex for is the only allowable criterion, and when He says it can’t be used for homosexuality He means it.
But what is more helpful is that His comment on the real cause of homosexuality or murder is earth shattering in its simplicity as well as it unpopularity in the present culture. Mankind does things the Creator has declared to be wrong because ever since the day the first man Adam made the choice to go against his Maker, human beings have been born with a sin problem. Our innate nature is to rebel against our Creator, i.e. we are all born sinners, but the resulting sins we commit will vary with the sinner, e.g. one person may be a glutton for sex of any sort whilst another wants to be greedy for riches of any sort. The Creator’s position is that none of us are born homosexual any more than we are born murderers or thieves, so beware any Judge or lawyer acting according to the false claim that homosexuality is not a choice. Sooner or later you will face the expanded version of this falsehood: “Don’t blame me. I was born a child abuser, or a thief!” At that point all law and social legislation fails, and anarchy is inevitable. It has happened before, to the people of Israel, and God’s Word records it in the statement “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). The result for Israel was disaster, and so it will be for the whole of western society, unless we all repent, i.e. make a choice to turn back to the Creator God and only Saviour, who is Jesus Christ, and live according to his ways.
Update: A much larger statistical study was published in August 2019 using data from 493,000 results from two commercial genome testing services. Participants were asked whether they ever had a same-sex sexual encounter. The researchers found five gene variants were more common in people who had answered yes. The research team claimed that these variations had some influence on same sex behaviour, but concluded there is no “gay gene”.
Even though this was a much larger study it is important to remember statistical correlation does not, and never will, prove causation. As such, we stand by we stand by our comments above that to prove a genetic basis for homosexuality scientist must be able to identify a particular gene or gene combination, show what it does, and explain how this forces people into homosexuality. We also stand by we stand by our comments above on the real cause of homosexuality.
Related question and answers on this topic:
Homosexuality: Are you born that way? Answer here.
You claim homosexuals are not born that way. What evidence do you have? Answer here.
Homophobia? Why do you people hate homosexuals if you claim God is a God of love? Answer here.
Homosexual behaviour is widespread in animals. Doesn’t this prove it is a natural behaviour? Answer here.
There is no reference to homosexuality in any Bible prior to the 1946 RSV so why do you oppose it? Answer here.
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