Re: Homosexuality: male & female

Bryant (
30 Sep 1996 11:11:32 -0600

In article <52ln2o$>,
Yousuf Khan <> wrote:
>I see, it seems an interesting concept, but I fail to see any connection
>between behaviour and fingerprint patterns. It would require some proof,
>like percentages of correlation. Then I'd be convinced that there might be
>some connection, even if the explanation relating the two phenomenon were
>not yet known.

Maybe it's just because I deal with this stuff on a daily basis, but I
don't think that it's much of a stretch to imagine developmental
integrity of the phenotype (including the brain) having behavioral
ramifications. We found a significant correlation (negative) between
fluctuating asymmetry and psychometric intelligence, for instance.

>Well, to be honest with you, no, I'm not interested in reading through
>their entire paper just to get the crux of the idea. Can you provide it
>yourself, since you've already read it?

Sure. The developmental "target" for the traits I'm talking about (such
as hands) is bilateral symmetry. Since the traits develop in a very
similar environment, with the same genetic substrate, deviations from the
developmental target (asymmetries) represent developmental perturbations
(stress). We know that maternal alcohol consumption, maternal emotional
stress, heat and chemical stress, and parental smoking can affect
prenatal development sufficiently to increase organismal fluctuating
asymmetry (FA).

FA can be distinguished from "intentional" or "adaptively patterned"
asymmetries like a fiddler crab's by looking at the distribution of
left-minus-right scores for a population of individuals. If the mean
deviates from zero, you have "directional asymmetry," which may not
indicate developmental stress but selective advantage. If you get a
bimodal distribution, you have "antisymmetry" (fiddler crabs exhibit claw
antisymmetry--some have larger left claws, I think, and some have larger

FA is associated with attractiveness ratings, sex partner number,
nutrition history, IQ, sexual behavior within relationships,
aggressiveness, brain size, and brain laterality (with high FA
individuals exhibiting atypical degrees of hemispheric directional
asymmetry in the brain).

>Well, I don't think phrenology was meant to be deterministic either, at
>least not originally. It just became that way after the mass media heard
>about it.

My point, I guess, is that FA and waist-to-hip ratios have an empirically
established and rigorously tested developmental basis. Phrenology did

>>So, within bisexual populations, there seems indeed to be a continuum of
>>preferences. Little wonder, then, that bisexuals have such a difficult
>>time understanding the strict orientations of homosexuals and
>>heterosexuals, eh?
>Or possibly, heterosexuality and homosexuality could just be the two
>extreme ends of the bisexuality continuum.

Viewing it that way seems fine to me. I think that homo- and
hetero-sexuality are exclusive orientations, so my nit was that while a
population may show a relatively continuous distribution of sexual
preferences, individuals may not (even though this would make perfect,
intuitive sense to bisexuals).

>It's possible that if sexual attractions are programmed into us prenatally
>through our genes, that there are also sexual revulsions also programmed
>into us. A heterosexual female, for example, would find most features of
>men attractive, but would find most features of women revulsive.

Or indifferently. Personally, I don't think it's "genetic" but
developmental--some genes, however, might predispose some people to given
developmental reactions to given sources of stress.