Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

August 3, 2011

1 out of 3 young Iranian men “gay”?

Filed under: Data Analysis,Gay,Health,homosexuality,Homosexuality in Iran,Iran — Razib Khan @ 9:46 am

Married at age 21

A few years ago the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, asserted that his nation did not have gays as they did in the West. What Ahmadinejad seems to have meant is that a public gay identity does not exist in Iran. He has to be aware that homosexual behavior is not unknown in his nation. More generally Ahmadinejad’s comments brought up the issue of men having sex with men throughout the Middle East before marriage. This is a taboo topic in much of the region, so getting good quantitative data seems pretty much impossible. But today PLoS Medicine came out with a paper with a result which suggests that the anecdotes of relatively widespread homosexual behavior in the Middle East are not totally unfounded or unrepresentative (the journalist Hugh Pope has indicated that Middle Eastern men have sometimes assumed he would naturally be open to sexual propositions because he was a Westerner. He grew a mustache to discourage such inquiries) . The paper is about HIV, Are HIV Epidemics among Men Who Have Sex with Men Emerging in the Middle East and ...

July 11, 2011

Blank slate when you want it that way

Filed under: Behavior Genetics,Genetics,Heritability,homosexuality,Psychology — Razib Khan @ 10:44 am

Tim Pawlenty debates Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ idea:

Gregory pressed, asking “Is being gay a choice?”

Pawlenty ultimately said, “I defer to the scientists in that regard.”

Again, Gregory pressed: “So you, you think it’s not a choice. … That you are, as Lady Gaga says, you’re born that way.”

Said Pawlenty: “There’s no scientific conclusion that it’s genetic. We don’t know that. So we don’t know to what extent, you know, it’s behavioral, and that’s something that’s been debated by scientists for a long time. But as I understand the science, there’s no current conclusion that it’s genetic.”

This is one issue where the American Left has a tendency to be on the side of the hereditarians. In contrast, the American Right emphasizes the plasticity of human behavior, and its amenability to cultural pressures and individual will and contingency. Transpose the structure of the arguments to male-female sex differences, and many of the basic elements would be preserved, but those espousing them would invert politically.

One issue which needs to be clarified is the distinction between something which is explainable by genetics, and something which is not explainable by genetics but may still have a biological basis. It does seem that

June 27, 2011

Muslim Britons & the gays

Filed under: Culture,homosexuality — Razib Khan @ 10:57 am

Sunny Hundal states:

The poll marks a sharp contrast to findings by Gallup in 2009 that 0% of British Muslims were tolerant towards homosexuality. But the two results are not contradictory: Muslims can agree that Islam does not tolerate homosexuality, while celebrating gay rights enshrined in the law.

This is possible. But honestly it just doesn’t pass the smell test. This is a tenable position for very religious people, and the norm among inward looking sects derived from Anabaptism, in part because they believe that they are islands of virtue in a fallen world. But this is a minority position usually. Passionate religious views generally entail passionate espousal of policy prescriptions, whether you think it is good or ill. And Muslims as a whole have not been keen on the extreme church-state separationism which radical Protestant sects have advocated. I double checked in the World Values Survey, and 28 out of the 41 Muslims, 68%, agreed that homosexuality was “never justifiable,” as opposed to 25% of the general British population.

So what’s going on? I suspect that the poll is aggregating a host of divergent views and reactions. How many dollars/pounds are you will bet that non-religions Britons are more tepid toward gay rights as than the median British Muslim? I’m willing to be $250 dollars that this is not so. Rather, I suspect that some of the lukewarm responses are probably to those who on the far cultural Left who want much more radical sexual orientation anti-discrimination legislation passed, in particular in regards to marriage rights.

Via thabet’s twitter.

January 5, 2011

Cultural differences

Filed under: homosexuality,Pederasty,Sex — Razib Khan @ 9:16 am

Speaking of sex, DADT (Afghanistan Edition)

And, the impact of those experiences is already being felt in portions of Afghanistan, putting American forces squarely in the middle of complex moral, social and sexual issues. A source at Army Special Operations command tells In From the Cold that Afghan women, emboldened by the presence of U.S. troops. have complained about beatings they’ve suffered at the hands of their husbands. The domestic violence reportedly stemmed from the inability of the women to become pregnant and produce sons, highly valued in Afghan society.

When U.S. civil affairs teams (and other special forces units) quietly investigated the problem, they quickly discovered a common denominator. Virtually all of the younger men who beat their wives (over their inability to become pregnant) had been former “apprentices” of older Afghan men, who used them for their sexual pleasure. Upon entering marriage, whatever the men knew of sex had been learned during their “apprenticeship,” at the hands of the older man. To put it bluntly, some of the younger Afghans were unfamiliar with the desired (and required) mechanics for conception.

October 4, 2010

Most people are cool with gays teaching kids (today)

Filed under: Attitudes,Data Analysis,GSS,homosexuality,Jim DeMint,Social Liberalism — Razib Khan @ 4:22 pm

I noticed that Jim DeMint has said some controversial things about the demographic criteria of teachers:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) says that even though “no one” came to his defense in 2004 after he said that gay people and unwed mothers should be banned from teaching, “everyone” quietly told him that he shouldn’t back down from his position.

The Spartanberg Herald-Journal described the comments this way: “DeMint said if someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn’t be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who’s sleeping with her boyfriend — she shouldn’t be in the classroom.” DeMint did not apparently state his position on whether sexually active unmarried male teachers should be similarly removed from classrooms.

My interest was piqued because there are questions in the GSS about allowing gays to teach. We can see how many people in the country agree with DeMint. How the proportion has changed over the years, and also the demographic correlates of variation in attitudes. Additionally, I wanted to compare attitudes to allowing homosexuals to teach with allowing anti-religionists and racists to teach. First, over time:


It’s immediately obvious that the gay rights movement has fostered more tolerance for homosexuality. The anti-religious, less so. And racists really haven’t become anymore popular over the years. Let’s break it down by various demographics. But first, note that I am going to constrain the time of survey to 2002 and later, when views seem to have stabilized:


The raw values are below. But observe that the majority of conservatives and those who believe that the Bible is the Word of God would accede to a homosexual teaching in school. Times a changin’….

Allow to teach….
Demographic Racist Anti-religionist Homosexual
Male 52 64 78
Female 45 62 81
White 51 65 81
Black 41 53 75
Liberal 54 73 87
Moderate 48 62 82
Conservative 45 56 74
Protestant 45 57 74
Catholic 51 62 84
No Religion 54 81 90
High School 46 60 79
Bachelor 57 77 92
Graduate 58 83 94
Bible is Word of God 41 47 66
Bible is Inspired Word 50 67 85
Bible is Book of Fables 59 80 91

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