Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Homosexuality: Proposed Root Cause

This post is for information only.  I wrote it in June 2004.  It represents the observations, views and opinions of the author, but is not a recommendation for any particular action other than understanding and acceptance.
Motivation for Writing this Post

The public debate about same sex marriages has recently brought the extent of homosexuality in society out of the closet. Even though I am not gay, I believe I have understood its root cause for many years and it appears to have been missed by everyone. Perhaps it is because it takes a chemist to fully appreciate its logic and how technically fundamental, and thus irrefutable, it is. Since it has now become an issue in terms of determining public policy I thought it was time to present it. Perhaps with this deeper understanding of its root cause more humane and insightful public policies will result.


To start with, I found an excellent summary of background information presented in the book "Sex, Time and Power" by Leonard Shlain, (2003) Chapters 16 and 17. I will draw from it that will allow me to be as brief as possible.

Schlain states: "From an evolutionary point of view, homosexuality is a supreme paradox." If it had a genetic cause the trait would quickly go extinct. However, throughout history the rate of homosexuality has remained essentially constant, about 3% for males and 1% for females. It appears in all human societies. Thus even though there are those who are attempting to find a genetic cause, it is obvious that it doesn't exist. This historical data is too solid and profound. It will override any genetic investigations, which are based on loose correlations.

Anyone observing the development of a baby into a child cannot avoid the conclusion that his or her sexual attraction choice is present far before puberty. The program determining it had to be present at birth.

I personally remember being attracted to my mother's form from my earliest memory. I had no such attraction to my father's body. I did not have to learn to be attracted to females. I didn't have a choice. It was not something that I learned through social/environmental interactions and then made a decision. It was extremely powerful and no social interaction was about to change it. Over the years, in the interactions I have had with homosexuals, both male and female, they all told me that they knew they were homosexual from their earliest memory, as very young children. Also, they were no more able to change it than I would have been able to change mine. In contrast to me, many of them had a strong, socially imposed motivation to do so. In spite of this, they were unable to.

The Proposed Root Cause

It is clear to me that our sexual attraction preferences are genetically carried. They are not learned after birth. However, our genes contain two distinctly different sexual attraction programs. One is for females insuring they are attracted to males, and the other is for males insuring they are attracted to females. Both options are available at conception. A selection is made during the development of the fetus. As Schlain states: "The female is the default mode for all mammalian fetuses". We all start out as females. At approximately six weeks after conception a male's budding testes will begin secreting large amounts of testosterone. This shifts the developmental sequence towards a male. When the testosterone secretion does not take place, all the fetuses even those with the male Y chromosome, will develop into females. This is the stage where the different developmental sequences between male and female are set in motion. Subsequent male and female features arise from common anatomic precursors that have the potential to develop into either sex. For example, the tissue destined to become the clitoris in the female will become a penis in a male. Since both options are genetically available, a selection process is taking place. This process selects which part of the genetic code will be expressed and which will be suppressed. Included in this are the genetically carried codes for sexual attraction. At the appropriate stage of development, the sexual attraction program is selected irreversibly. It is as irreversible as the selection between a clitoris and penis. It is not clear exactly what stage this particular selection happens. It is only clear that it does happen. This is the point where an error is made for homosexuals. The inappropriate program is selected.

At this point I revert to being a chemist. All developmental processes are chemical processes/reactions. The selection mechanism is a chemical process composed of a set of chemical reactions. Basically there is a chemical switch that is thrown and the program is selected.

As a chemist, I know that there is no such thing as a chemical reaction that has 100% yield of the preferred product. This is a fundamental prediction of thermodynamics. The yield is always less than 100%. Thus, when it is time for the chemical reactions to select the sexual attraction program, one would expect, from a simple chemical argument, that some fraction would not go the appropriate way. From the observations on the ongoing fraction of gay births, one would conclude that the reaction has about a 97% yield for males and a 99% yield for females. The remaining 3% males and 1% females are destined to be homosexual. Thus, homosexuality has a statistical, chemical yield cause. They are homosexual at birth but there is nothing unusual about their genetic makeup because it does not have a genetic cause. They can have the same fraction of normal children as non-gay people. As far as I know, I believe they do.

It is obviously absurd to judge homosexuals morally. In one sense they can be viewed has having been born with a birth defect even though many homosexuals who have found their path might disagree with that characterization. However, they would agree that it was not a choice they made. It was made for them. They are left with having to plot a course in life that recognizes it, accommodates it, and even exploit some of its special characteristics.

Birth Defect or Birth Difference?

I recently read that magnificent book: "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown. To start with, the genius, Leonardo da Vinci, was homosexual. Chapter 26 presents a discussion of Da Vinci and his most famous painting, The Mona Lisa. Brown states "The Mona Lisa's status as the most famous piece of art in the world has nothing to do with the painting itself but rather because Leonardo da Vinci claimed she was his finest accomplishment. He carried it with him whenever he traveled and stated he found it hard to part with his most sublime expression of female beauty". How could this be? Mona Lisa certainly is not particularly beautiful by today's standards and most likely wasn't in Da Vinci's time either. It also is not a great work of art. There had to be a profound but hidden message that Da Vinci held dear and wanted to convey to those who could recognize and appreciate it. Possibly he thought of it as his most meaningful legacy. What could it be and whom did he want to convey it to?

According to Brown, a computerized analysis of the Mona Lisa and Da Vinci's self-portraits show a congruency in their faces. "His Mona Lisa is neither male nor female. It carries a subtle message of androgyny. It is a fusing of both." Brown also points out that Amon is the Egyptian god of masculine fertility and Isis is the Egyptian goddess of female fertility who was once called l'isa. Convert Amon to Mona and add Lisa and you have the name of the painting. "Gentlemen, not only does the face of Mona Lisa look androgynous, but her name is an anagram of the divine union of male and female."

Why was this so important to Da Vinci and to this discussion? I believe he was communicating his belief that a homosexual is a truly exceptional person due to having the fusion of both male and female in the same body. It is not a defect, but a particular form of perfection. I believe he wanted to communicate this not to everyone, but to other homosexuals who suffered from believing they were defective. Perhaps they would recognize this subtle message and it would help, long after he was gone.

Is this particular form of perfection concept supportable? He had to believe it was a key factor in explaining his recognized, exceptional creative genius. Is it a reasonable premise in general? In support of this, Shlain presents a partial list of others: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Tchaikovsky, Newton, Milton, Michelangelo and Nietzche to name a few. We just have to look around us in our present society. On average, gays seem to possess exceptional aesthetic and creative abilities. They have made their mark not only in the arts and literature, but also in architecture, music, religion, science, mathematics and many other fields. Shlain states: "They fill a special niche in society and human culture would be considerably grayer and less sumptuous without them".

I believe Da Vinci wanted to convey the message that homosexuals do not have a defect but rather a special gift with the ability to make exceptional contributions. They should not have to hide their homosexuality. They should be able to carry it with pride. That is the message of Mona Lisa that Da Vinci held so close to his heart and the target audience.

Update 1/23/05

I just received an email from a friend who referred me to the site: http://www.rense.com/general62/pills.htm
This site presents an article titled: Mom's Pills May Turn Daughters Into Lesbians - Study

I would urge everyone to read the entire article. However, it is somewhat summarized in the first three paragraphs:

"Pregnant women’s' use of certain diet and thyroid medications may lead their daughters to become lesbians, new findings suggest.

Researchers said the findings are very preliminary and need confirmation. But if born out, they could put a new perspective on the hotly debated causes of homosexuality.

The researchers, Lee Ellis and Jill Hellberg of Minot State University, North Dakota, questioned more than 5,000 U.S. and Canadian women in an effort to determine the effects of drugs they had taken during pregnancy. They found certain types of pills were associated with a much higher rate of lesbianism among the woman's daughters though not with similarly raised rates of homosexuality among their sons."

My comments: This report is fully consistent with my theory. It seems to validate it. The drugs are probably increasing the testosterone production of the fetus, even though the exact biochemical mechanism for doing that has not been identified. Increased testosterone production would be expected to cause more females to become more male-like. One would then expect an increase rate of Lesbians, but also a lowering of the rate of Gay Males. This lowering of the rate of Gay Males is not mentioned, but may not have been measured or looked for. The results indicate a slightly adjustable chemical yield of normal vs. homosexual children, and provide support for my premise that homosexuals are born that way. They are not created by circumstances that arise after birth.