Perhaps the fact checkers were on vacation or simply dozing on the job. Whatever the reason, thanks to the venerable New York Times, I can now add another illustration to my argument in “Same-Sex Science” (First Things, February, 2012) that science is often misrepresented in our debates about homosexuality.
Frank Bruni, in his essay “Genetic or Not, Gay Will Not Go Away“(New York Times, January 28, 2012), makes a broad point regarding which I am in complete agreement: Our societal, legal, and cultural debates will not be solved by science. But when you do cite the science, you ought to get it right.
His essay was occasioned by the recent revelations of actress Cynthia Nixon, who commented in the New York Times Magazine that she is gay by choice. Predictably, she has been savaged by those in the GLBT community who rely on the “born gay” argument, supposedly supported by science, to justify sexual orientation being analogous to race and thus to be accepted and celebrated as a “given” of the human condition.
In support of the argument that at least sometimes sexual orientation is a condition of birth, Bruni describes how “One landmark study looked at gay men’s brothers and found that 52% of identical twin brothers were also gay.” This brief explanation both fails as a description of that 20+ year old study and fails to reflect the better research published since.